|Aliases||The Lord of Shadow, the Masked God of Night, the Masked Lord, the Masked Mage, the Shadow, the Shadow Lord|
|Alignment||Chaotic/Neutral Evil (see below)|
|Divine Rank||Lesser God|
|Portfolio||Thievery, drow males & rebels, evil activity on the surface, Shadow Magic|
|Domains||3E: Chaos, Drow, Evil, Travel, Trickery
|Home Plane||Great Wheel: Ellaniath (Carceri)
World Tree: Demonweb Pits (Abyss)
|Worshippers||Drow (Males, Halfbreeds, Rebels, Disenfranchised, Surface-Dwellers), Rogues, Assassins, Poisoners, Wielders of Shadow Magic|
|Favoured Weapon||Shadowflash (Short sword)|
Vhaeraun is one of the more interesting gods in D&D. He is a member of the Dark Seldarine that actively seeks to rebel against his mother, Lolth, although unlike Eilistraee and Zinzerena he is mostly malevolent in nature.
We say "mostly" because one of his biggest criticisms of his mother is the way she has male drow treated. In fact, the way he and his priests are written are vaguely reminiscent of 60s and 70s era feminists, with the caveat that their egalitarian attitudes towards the sexes does not extend to other races; once he has male and female drow united, he wants them to take their rightful place as the masters of the world by returning to the surface and enslaving everyone there.
Divine Titles & Role
Vhaeraun (pronounced: /veɪˈrɔːn/ vay-RAWN) is also called the Masked Lord, the Masked God of Night, The Shadow, and, less frequently, the Shadow Lord, the Masked Mage and the Lord of Shadow. He is the drow god of drow males, thievery, territory, shadow magic, spellfilchers, and evil activities on the surface, aimed to further drow goals, interests, and power there.
When appearing to mortal eyes, Vhaeraun appears as a handsome male drow covered by a protective cloak of shadow, which he can use to become invisible and to teleport. Stories claim his eyes change color to indicate his mood; red for rage, blue for happiness, green for puzzlement. To try and counter the effectiveness of his seditious preaching, Lolthite-spawned myths claim variously that either his iconic mask hides scars left on his face as punishment by his mother, or that his mother cut out his tongue.
Like most drow deities, Vhaeraun is arrogant (often vain) and vindictive, championing the superiority of the drow over all other races and encouraging his followers to unite across the gender lines in the name of better conquering the other races. Scheming and underhanded, he bears a hypocritical fury at being deceived and will not tolerate the use of underhanded tactics against himself or the drow.
Despite these traits, he's also a pragmatist, and believes in the importance of cooperation - especially when it comes to undermining or otherwise battling the influence of his mother, Lolth; he is known to try and unite the other members of the Dark Seldarine against her.
By the standards of most gods, and of drow gods in particular, Vhaeraun takes a great deal of interest in his followers and makes himself actively involved in their lives - he answers the pleas of his faithful worshipers about 15% of the time, even in the form of sending divine servants in cases of real need. In events where Vhaeraun has actively interacted with his followers, he's seemed legitimately protective of them - he's even been seen providing protection to those in his vicinity when he could, and the means to avert self-sacrifice to those working for him. His own followers have been known to call him a caring god, and by drow standards in particular, they're not exactly wrong.
Vhaerun's pragmatism also makes him a realist. He knows that Lolth far outclasses him in terms of divine power, so he takes the subtle approach, focusing on moving against her in secretive ways. His primary concerns focus on increasing the power of himself, his worshippers, and the drow as a whole, and decreasing the power of his enemies. He preaches the importance of passive resistance to his people, especially when this builds up momentum to become open action. He supports teaching the ideas that contradict Lolth's dogma. When he has the chance to act directly against another god, he's known to be willing to enter the front line himself.
One weird bit of D&D lore concerns Vhaeraun's alignment: in the Greyhawk setting, he's Neutral Evil, but in the Forgotten Realms, he's Chaotic Evil. Planescape tries to handwave this as being a result of different aspects existing in different crystal spheres.
"The shadows of the Masked Lord must cast off the tyranny of the Spider Queen and forcibly reclaim their birthright and rightful place in the Night Above. The existing drow matriarchy must be smashed, and the warring practices of twisted Lolth done away with, so that the drow are welded into a united people, not a squabbling gaggle of rival Houses, clans and aims. Vhaeraun will lead his followers into a society where drow once again reign supreme over the other, lesser races, and there is equality between males and females."
- An exhaustively detailed writeup of Vhaerun's history and lore spanning his every appearance from 1st to 5th. It does use the past-tense for the article, since he was killed off during the Spellplague, but also notes that he was brought back to life after the Second Sundering.