Tiamat

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Tiamat
Tiamat Symbol.jpg
Five chromatic dragon heads in a circle, or a dragon head with five claw marks
Alignment Lawful Evil / Chaotic Evil (depending on edition)
Divine Rank Lesser God
Pantheon Dawn War, Draconic, Faerûn
Portfolio Evil Dragons, Wealth, Greed, Vengeance
Domains 3E: Evil, Law, Scalykind, Tyranny
4E: Tyranny, Vengeance
5E: Trickery, War
Home Plane Great Wheel: Azharul (Baator)
World Axis: Banehold, Azharul (Tytherion)
Worshippers Evil Dragons, Treasure Hunters, Tyrants, The Vengeful, The Avaricious, Merchants
Favoured Weapon Dragon head (Heavy pick)

Tiamat, also known as the Polychromatic Dragon and the Mother of Dragonkind, is the goddess of Chromatic Dragons in Dungeons and Dragons, and as such is a centerpiece of the lore.

Genesis[edit]

Precisely where Tiamat comes from depends on the cosmology you're using.

In the Great Wheel, Tiamat was one of the first dragons created by Io, the overgod of the Dragon Gods, being spawned at the same time as her brother, Bahamut (who for whatever reason is stuck with only one head). The two took an instant hatred to each other, which is understandable as they're literally polar opposites in terms of morality, and have battled ceaselessly for dominance over dragonkind across the multiverse ever since.

In the World Axis, she was created alongside her "brother" Bahamut when the Primordial Erek-Hus slew Io, the Father of Dragons, by chopping him in half lengthways with one stroke of a mountain-sized adamantine axe. Rising from the corpse of her "father", she and Bahamut destroyed the Primordial, before turning on each other. This is why the two are such polar opposites in this continuity; each is an embodiment of one half of the diverse personality traits of Io. Where Bahamut represents the nobility and sense of justice his father had, Tiamat represents his other characteristics: avarice, pride, arrogance, and the raw power to get away with it.

Unlike her brother and father, Tiamat has five heads, with each head being of a different color (White, Black, Green, Blue, and Red). She has the abilities of all of the Chromatic Dragons, with each head able to use its associated breath weapon, on top of her immense physical size and a massive, sting-tipped tail, like that of a wyvern.

Domain[edit]

She is a vain, greedy, lustful and arrogant goddess, expressing what would be extreme hubris if she weren't already a god. Though she is a paragon of dragon strengths, she shows few of their weaknesses; she is not impatient, nor overconfident (when dealing with other gods). Her primary concern is the propagation and well-being of chromatic dragons as a whole, ensuring her children become owners of the world. She believes this goal necessarily requires overthrowing the rule of Bahamut and establishing supremacy over metallic dragonkind. Like Anonymous, Tiamat never forgets and does not forgive. Although she is not adverse to occasionally burning a village to the ground for the lulz, Tiamat is not exactly an up-front goddess; she is a long-term plotter and schemer, carefully manipulating others in Tzeentchian plots that are so subtle and so long-reaching that an enemy would likely find themselves unprepared even if they had foreknowledge of what she had planned years in advance, making her a deity of Just as planned.

Dwelling[edit]

In the Great Wheel, Tiamat rules over a dominion called Azharul, a swathe of territory found within Nessus, the first layer of Baator (at least in 5e. prior to that edition she ruled Nessus itself as the lowest Archdevil). Nobody is quite sure why Asmodeus puts up with her there, but she remains there, and has even created a race of humanoid dragon-like fiends called Abishai to aid her in administering to the place.

In the World Axis, Tiamat lives in the astral domain of Tytherion, a realm shared with Zehir, God of Murder. Her realm in this shared dominion, still called Azharul, is located in the ravines and hewn out in the rock of Tytherion. Why the goddess of dragons lives underground and the lord of serpents in the highest reaches of the domain is the story of how Tiamat set up her realm. After her defeat at the hands of Bahamut, Tiamat took a liking to Tytherion and set up shop there, chasing Zehir's followers to their bastions and temples, large buildings build above ground, leaving Tiamat with the rest. Though they wage no open war, Tiamat is constantly scheming against Zehir, planning on claiming the domain for herself one day. The splatbook on the Astral Sea even admits that both Zehir and Tiamat would be way happier if they just traded which halves of the dominion they inhabit, but they're too greedy and Stupid Evil to ever think of doing that.

Servants[edit]

Tiamat's first and foremost servants are the chromatic dragons. About 95% of them serve their goddess in some way. Those who prefer a different deity have a grim fate waiting for them: in the depths of her lair behind a pair of 100' adamantine doors Tiamat has a collection of the souls of those chromatics sworn to other deities, locked up for eternity. Tiamat has recently begun to create the Spawn of Tiamat in notable numbers, who are born from the eggs of dragons instead of the regular wyrmlings, or from two Spawn of the same kind mating. Dragons who sire the Spawn of Tiamat consider it a good omen and a sign of Tiamat's favor to have part-dragon monsters born instead of their own children born from their eggs. These are divided into five groups, based on their color: the Blackspawn who consist of strong raiders (and one type looking like spiders for some reason), the Bluespawn who are mostly unintelligent beasts of war, the Greenspawn who are small(ish) ambushers who work best in forest and swamp environments, the Redspawn who are the Spawn's primary source of magic (fire magic of course), and the Whitespawn who gather in large numbers and excel at fighting in cold environments and clan warfare.

Aside from the Chromatics and Spawn, Tiamat counts a notable number of humanoids amongst her servants, mainly Dragonborn and other part-dragons, such as spellscales, dragon-kin and half-dragons, and Humans. Most Kobolds worship individual dragons as gods, but the smarter ones who know about Tiamat might turn a tribe to her worship instead. The Queen of Chromatic Dragons demands reverence, homage, supplication, and tribute from her subjects. As a divine dragon, her hoard is believed to be worth trillions.

The World Axis version of Tiamat is particularly focused on her non-draconic worshippers, since all gods of note in that cosmology pursue a broader faith. She is considered the Goddess of Wrath and Greed, and as such appeals to anyone who wants loot or revenge. The dragonborn of Arkhosia, despite their reverence for Io, had decidedly less positive feelings for Tiamat; her worship was mostly kept at arms length, with the empire officially throwing its faith behind worship of Bahamut and the Arkhosian Imperial Church (a trinity of Kord, Ioun and Erathis). The closest thing to an open worship of Tiamat was the fledgling faith known as the Temple of Io's Children, which worshipped Bahamut and Tiamat side by side as twin incarnations of Io's will, downplaying the moral extremes of both gods and presenting them as polar opposites that point to a middle way, neither good nor evil but striving toward a draconic ideal.

Another thing of note is that Tiamat "likes" to "give audience" to mortals in her "inner sanctum". In other words, Tiamat likes her some non-divine dick. Most of the time this means she fucks a chromatic that impressed her, but she's also known to have courted catastrophic, metallic, planar and scourge dragons. Amongst her current fuckbuddies is a Dragonborn, though it's not mentioned if she takes her human shape before having sex with humanoids. The climactic adventure for Scales of War also reveals that, at least in the World Axis, she constantly experiments in producing true godly spawn, and as a result keeps a harem of enormously pregnant female chromatics, though it's unclear if these merely serve as brood mothers for the eggs that Tiamat conceives with her male lovers, or if she is somehow experimenting with impregnating them herself.

Depictions[edit]

  • In Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Tiamat first appears as a unique boss-monster in the Greyhawk setting. Later, she has the first layer of the Nine Hells assigned to her as her 'home plane,' giving her Outsider status and the ability to avoid permanent death.
  • In the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon, she was powerful enough to kick the shit out of both the Dungeon Master and the Venger, the show's main antagonist, giving you a general grasp of how goddamned powerful she is.
  • When she feels the need to deal with mortals, she typically assumes the form of an exquisitely beautiful dark-haired human sorceress.
  • In the Dragonlance setting, the goddess of evil stuff "Takhisis" uses a Tiamat form as her avatar and is essentially a slightly tweaked version of her.
  • In AD&D 2nd edition, the Forgotten Realms campaign setting has a religion dedicated to her.
  • In D&D 3rd edition, she's pretty much still the same, though she favors her natural, five-headed form.
    • Her cult and an avatar appear in Red Hand of Doom. Pretty much all the dragon themed books have evil dragon stuff related to her.
  • Eberron has a vastly different Tiamat. Tiamat is not a true god but a demon overlord that was imprisoned long ago. She has the ability to corrupt dragons, especially chromatic ones, and provide a "blessing" that imbues servants with draconic might. Her minions, like those of the other overlords, are attempting to free her. If they succeeded it would be dark times for Khorvaire, not merely because of Tiamat herself but because the dragon armies will go full scorched earth to contain or destroy her (and if you're unlucky, they'll do this just because of the possibility).
  • In D&D 4th edition, she is no longer considered a unique type of dragon, but always referred to as a goddess who happens to have a draconic primary avatar.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, her cult in the Forgotten Realms attempts to bring her back to Faerun from the Nine Hells, which is the focus of the first major storyline, "Tyranny of Dragons". If your players really fuck up, the cult could even succeed. In a lot of ways this version is like the Dragonlance Takhisis, because if she actually succeeds and returns to Faerun, the first thing she does is eat all the Cult of the Dragon cultists and humiliate their leader Severin, who brought her back - despite them worshipping her - just because she feels like being a dick, again.

Lawful Evil or Chaotic Evil?[edit]

Tiamat's listed alignment in official publications has alternated between Lawful Evil and Chaotic Evil multiple times. In 5th edition alone Tiamat is initially listed as Lawful Evil in the Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide, Chaotic Evil in The Rise of Tiamat, and is referred to in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes as "a force of Chaos bound to a place of Law." It can be easily explained : She has five heads. It may imply that she has multiple personalities of different alignment and goals.

Gallery[edit]

The non-human deities of Dungeons and Dragons
Leader Others
Dragons: Io Aasterinian - Astilabor - Bahamut - Chronepsis - Falazure - Garyx - Hlal - Lendys - Null - Sardior - Tamara - Tiamat
Drow: Lolth Eilistraee - Ghaunadaur - Keptolo - Kiaransalee - Malyk - Selvetarm - Vhaeraun - Zinzerena
Dwarves: Moradin Abbathor - Berronar Truesilver - Clangeddin Silverbeard - Deep Duerra - Dugmaren Brightmantle - Dumathoin - Fortubo
Gendwar Argrim - Gorm Gulthyn - Haela Brightaxe - Hanseath - Laduguer - Marthammor Duin - Muamman Duathal
Mya - Roknar - Sharindlar - Thard Harr - Tharmekhûl - Thautam - Ulaa - Valkauna - Vergadain
Elves: Corellon Larethian Aerdrie Faenya - Alathrien Druanna - Alobal Lorfiril - Angharradh - Araleth Letheranil - Darahl Firecloak - Deep Sashelas
Elebrin Liothiel - Erevan Ilesere - Fenmarel Mestarine - Gadhelyn - Hanali Celanil - Kirith Sotheril - Labelas Enoreth
Melira Taralen - Mythrien Sarath - Naralis Analor - Rellavar Danuvien - Rillifane Rallathil - Sarula Iliene - Sehanine Moonbow
Shevarash - Solonor Thelandira - Tethrin Veraldé - Tarsellis Meunniduin - Trishina - Vandria Gilmadrith - Ye'Cind
Giants: Annam Diancastra - Grolantor - Hiatea - Iallanis - Karontor - Memnor - Othea - Skoraeus Stonebones - Stronmaus - Surtr - Thrym
Goliaths: Kavaki Kuliak - Manethak - Naki-Uthai - Theleya - Vanua
Gnomes: Garl Glittergold Baervan Wildwanderer - Baravar Cloakshadow - Bleredd - Callarduran Smoothhands - Flandal Steelskin - Gaerdal Ironhand
Gelf Darkhearth - Nebelun - Rill Cleverthrush - Roykyn - Segojan Earthcaller - Sheyanna Flaxenstrand - The Glutton - Urdlen
Goblinoids: Maglubiyet Bargrivyek - Grankhul - Hruggek - Khurgorbaeyag - Kikanuti - Nomog-Geaya - Skiggaret
Halflings: Yondalla Arvoreen - Brandobaris - Charmalaine - Cyrrollalee - Dallah Thaun - Sheela Peryroyl - Urogalan
Illumian: Tarmuid Aulasha - Glautru - Soorinek - Syeret - Wathaku
Orcs: Gruumsh Bahgtru - Ilneval - Luthic - Shargaas - Yurtrus
Raptorans: Tuilviel Glithien Duthila - Kithin - Lliendil - Nilthina - Ventila
Others: Aventernus - Balador - Blibdoolpoolp - Cegilune - Daragor - Diinkarazan - Diirinka - Eadro - Elder Evils - Eshebala
Ferrix - Gaknulak - Great Mother - Gorellik - Gzemnid - Hleid - Iborighu - Ilsensine - Jazirian - Kanchelsis - Kecuala
Kuraulyek - Kurtulmak - Laogzed - Maanzecorian - Mak Thuum Ngatha - Merrshaulk - Parrafaire - Psilofyr - The Patient One
Quorlinn - Ramenos - Raxivort - Refnara - Rhiannon - Sekolah - Semuanya - Sess'innek - Shekinester
Skerrit - Solanil - Squerrik - Ssharstrune - Syranita - Vaprak - Wastri - The Whale Mother - Zehir
The deities of 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons
Lawful Neutral Chaotic
Good Bahamut
Haramathur - Moradin
Amoth - Lakal
Nusemnee - Pelor
Avandra - Corellon
Sehanine
Neutral Erathis - Raven Queen
Sagawehn
Aurom - Io - Ioun
Melora
Gorellik
Kord - Laeris
Evil Asmodeus
Bane - Tiamat
Nerull - Torog - Vecna Gruumsh - Khala - Lolth
Tharizdun - Zehir