The third of the good archomentals is Ben-hadar, an arrogant and provincial ruler who many believe pushes the boundaries of what is considered good. While he does care for the well-being of his followers, he has little interest in what happens beyond the borders of the Plane of Water.
Ben-Hadar (PDF Version)
(Prince of Good Water Creatures, the Archomental of Good Water, the Glittering Surf, the Boor)
Near Power of the Elemental Plane of War, NG
Portfolio: Elemental water, currents, solitude, quiet
Domain Name: Elemental Water/Coral Reef of Ssesurgas
Allies: Ahto, Eadro, Persana, Sunnis
Foes: Blibdoolpoolp, the Elder Elemental God, Olhydra
Symbol: Circle of coral with currents within it
Wor. Align.: LG, NG, CG
The most isolated of the Princes of Elemental Good is Ben-hadar (ben hah-DAR), the Archomental of Good Water. An arrogant and boorish entity, he relishes solitude and the natural beauty of water, even to the point of dismissing other forms of beauty.
Ben-hadar resides within a fortress hidden in one of the many coral reefs that float about the Plane of Elemental Water. This fortress is a large, quiet place filled with tunnels and chambers that channel the currents in gentle and pleasing manners, creating beautiful dappled light patterns and soft musical sounds. The palace is a beauty to behold, but few outsiders ever see it, as Ben-hadar dislikes visitors disturbing him; only his followers are ever truly welcome. In the rare event that some visitor manages to secure an audience with the Prince of Good Water, they have found him with few manners and quite provincial. He speaks bluntly and is unconcerned with how his words are received; in his arrogance he sees little point in politeness or niceties, as he sees all others as his lesser.
The origin of the Prince of Good Water is rumored to be connected to the Elder Elemental God, but the truth, as with most of his archomental brethren, is obscure. Further, the common story portrays him as the offspring of a union between the Elder Elemental God and the Sea Mother Blibdoolpoolp. In the telling of such tales, his arrogance and brusque manner are inherited traits from his parents, while his disgust with their methods drove him towards good. Regardless of the truth, Ben-hadar has clearly sided with the forces of good and cares for the well-being of his followers even if his rude manner and lack of interest beyond the plane’s borders makes it difficult to form and hold alliances. He manages to maintain tenuous relations with other powers of good and neutrality on the plane, but just barely; beyond the borders of the plane his only ally is fellow Archomental of Good, Sunnis, and this alliance is maintained entirely by her efforts. He has long-standing feuds with Chan and Zaaman Rul, the other two Archomentals of Good, neither of whom can stand what they refer to as his arrogant and parochial viewpoint. The Matriarch of Stone does what she can to shift his attitude and concerns but has had no success so far.
Ben-hadar has little interest in activities that take place outside of the Plane of Elemental Water; as such he has not been known to make any voluntary excursions to the Prime Material Plane. This has left the building of his faith on that plane entirely to his followers; his lack of interest is such that he has neither encouraged nor forbidden it.
Ben-hadar’s Form (20-HD Water Elemental)
Ben-hadar appears as a tall, gangly humanoid figure of sparkling blue-green water. His eyes scintillate like sunshine reflecting off a crashing wave, while his emotions roll across his face like a storm-tossed sea when he is angry. His long arms end in large lobster- or crab-like claws. Full details of his physical form can be found in the Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix III. Should Ben-hadar become a demipower or more powerful, he is likely to continue to use a modified version of this form for some time.
Ben-hadar has never manifested his power on the Prime Material Plane, nor does he offer any guidance to his followers. He does grant spells, however, so he does not entirely neglect them. Should a follower commit any evil act, they instantly and irrevocably lose access to the spells he provides.
The Prince of Good Water is served primarily by water elementals, but also calls upon bzastra, nereids, spitters (elemental vermin), undines, ungulosin, water drakes, water fundamentals, and water mephits. He is not known to display pleasure or displeasure to his Prime Material followers, although they regard the discovery of heretofore unknown places of great watery beauty as a sign of his favor.
Clergy: Clerics, specialty priests, shamans, wizards
Clergy’s Align.: LG, NG, CG
Turn Undead: C: Yes, SP: No, Sha: No, W: No
Cmnd. Undead: C: No, SP: No, Sha: No, W: No
All clerics, specialty priests, and shamans of the Prince of Good Water receive religion (Ben-hadar) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency. As Ben-hadar is only a near-power, he can only grant 3rd-level spells to his followers on the Prime; if he appears in person, or for those on the Elemental Plane of Water, he is able to grant 4th-level spells as well.
One of the smallest archomental cults on the Prime Material Plane, Ben-hadar’s faith is mostly found among the merfolk and locathah, where it is regarded with suspicion but not hostility. In these and other aquatic communities, it is usually considered strange that an individual would choose to worship a foreign power rather than Eadro, the creator of each race. Similar attitudes hold among tritons and sea elves as well. At this time, the cult has not spread into the communities of merrow, koalinths, sahuagin, and other evil races, with the possible exception of a handful of malenti communities who reject the evil of their heritage. Among surface dwellers, cults tend to maintain secrecy out of fear of being mistaken for that of the better known Olhydra or other evil watery deities. They are found almost exclusively among races that live on or near large bodies of water.
No cults of the Prince of Good Water have become large enough to construct temples thus far, but it is likely that any who would do so would follow the aesthetic styles of their communities. They consider any location of great watery beauty, such as undersea grottos, coral reefs, and high waterfalls, to be sacred to their patron. They will often create small shrines in these locations, typically consisting of beautiful shells or corals in a circular arrangement. They do not consider such locales to be theirs exclusively and are happy to work with other faiths to protect them, so long as they are willing to share the beauty as well.
As yet, all cults devoted to Ben-hadar have unique hierarchies and titles; no formal organizations have spread amongst them. This is due in large part to the Prince of Good Water having done nothing to create such a hierarchy among his followers on Elemental Water, and such material issues are not a concern of his followers who travel to the Prime Material Plane to spread his faith. Specialty priests, known as gyres, are currently only found among these followers on the Plane of Elemental Water. These specialty priests make up a small portion of the priesthood (3%); shamans (64%) are the most common on the Prime Material Plane, with a relatively large contingent of clerics (28%) and the remainder being wizards (5%). The faith of the Archomental of Good Water is most commonly found among the merfolk (24%) and locathah (19%), while humans (17%) have a fairly significant cultic presence; the rest consist of selkies (10%), sea elves (6%), tritons (5%), water genasi (3%), nixies (3%), sea sprites (2%), malenti (1%), and other aquatic races (koalinths, merrow, sahuagin, scrags, etc.; 10%).
Dogma: Water is necessary for life; without it lands dry out and die and no creature can survive without. It is powerful; able to knock down walls and put out raging infernos. But it also contains immense beauty. Relish the quiet grottoes and the high waterfalls, the crashing surf and still lakes. Protect these areas and those who live in harmony with them.
Day-to-Day Activities: Followers of Ben-hadar work to maintain the beauty of natural watery places. They despise exploitation and overfishing of such locales and work subtly to stymie activities that they view as harmful. Only if such actions fail to drive off plunderers do they act openly and hostilely. They have no issue with those who only take what they need, however, and if some individuals cause unintended damage, they will attempt to warn them about their activities before taking any overt action.
Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: The faithful of the Archomental of Good Water have not yet created any widespread holy days. They typically tie their local observances to watery phenomena, such as tides, monsoon seasons, or regular spring flooding. Sacrifices are common during these ceremonies, usually taking the form of artistic creations with a watery theme or objects that will add to the natural beauty of a locale.
Major Centers of Worship: No widely recognized holy sites are known to the church of Ben-hadar besides his palace on Elemental Water. Cults in contact with each other often share places of particular beauty, however, and as the cult spreads, such locations may eventually take on greater religious significance.
Affiliated Orders: Ben-hadar’s faith is not large enough to sponsor any martial or monastic orders.
Priestly Vestments: The particular garments worn by followers of the Archomental of Good Water vary from race to race, but they always consist of a medium blue like cyan fringed with white, representing the foam of cresting waves. The holy symbol used by the clergy is either a naturally formed circle of coral or a disc engraved with a symbol representing a circle of coral.
Adventuring Garb: Piercing weapons are favored by members of Ben-hadar’s cult, although the specific forms of weapons and armor typically depend on the make-up of the cult and its location.
Specialty Priests (Gyres)
Requirements: Constitution 12, Wisdom 12
Prime Req.: Constitution, Wisdom
Weapons: Dagger, knife, net, spear, trident, underwater crossbow
Armor: Any aquatic armor
Major Spheres: All, animal (aquatic only), astral, charm, elemental (water), healing, summoning, weather
Minor Spheres: Elemental (air, earth), guardian, plant (aquatic only)
Magical Items: Same as clerics
Req. Profs: Survival (sea or aquatic)
Bonus Profs: Swimming (if a non-aquatic race) or direction sense
- Gyres can be of any race capable of becoming priests, although most are genasi or tritons. Until Ben-hadar becomes a true power, only those trained by another specialty priest or those who travel to the Elemental Plane of Water to train directly with him or his servants can become a specialty priest.
- Gyres are not allowed to multiclass.
- Gyres take twice as long to drown as normal and can withstand underwater pressure to twice their normal depth. They gain a +2 to any saving throws versus spells that operate on water pressure or have a chance to drown a target, as well as any spells that deal damage from water (but not ice or cold).
- Gyres may use magic items related to water and the sea regardless of class restrictions. Similarly, they are unable to use any items related to fire.
- Gyres can cast wizard spells from the school of elemental water as described in the Limited Wizard Spellcasting section of “Appendix 1: Demihuman Priests” in Demihuman Deities.
- Gyres can cast create water (as the 1st-level priest spell) or still water (as the 1st-level wizard spell) once per day.
- At 3rd level, gyres can cast holding current or wave (as the 2nd-level priest spells) once per day.
- At 5th level, gyres can cast carrier current (as the 3rd-level priest spell) or wall of water (as the 3rd-level wizard spell) once per day.
- At 7th level, gyres can cast control fluid (as the 4th-level wizard spell) or enhance water creature (as the 4th-level priest spells) once per day. Currently, this power is limited to those gyres who operate on the Elemental Plane of Water; should Ben-hadar eventually become a demipower, this and the other powers listed hereafter will become available.
- At 9th level, gyres can withstand underwater pressure to four times their normal depth and are completely immune to all harmful water-based magic (but not ice or cold), including magic that drowns or harms through water pressure. They suffer an additional +1 point of damage per die from electrical or lightning attacks, however.
- At 10th level, gyres can summon 1d4 water mephits or 1 bzastra who serve faithfully, even laying down their lives, for 6 turns. The creatures appear anywhere designated within a 30-yard radius on the round after the summoning. This summoning can be performed once per week.
- At 16th level, gyres can summon a 16-HD water elemental once per week. The elemental is utterly loyal, and control cannot be wrested by another spellcaster. The elemental serves for one turn per caster level, until dismissed by the caster, or until dispelled by the appropriate magic.
Splash (Pr 1; Invocation/Evocation)
Sphere: Elemental Water
Range: 5 yds./level
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 4
Area of Effect: Special
Saving Throw: Special
With this spell, the caster can cause a volume of liquid to splash out of an open container. In the case of small volumes, such as that found in a glass or mug, the effect is typically no more than to empty the contents onto any creature holding it. For larger containers, of a volume equal to that of a typical bucket or greater, the caster can choose to uniformly splash the liquid on all creatures within six inches of the container per caster level, or they can direct the splash to arc at one single target up to one foot away per caster level. This can be a great tool for extinguishing a torch or similar flame. Any liquid can be splashed in this manner, such as water, wine, or acid. Any creatures or objects splashed are affected based on the liquid type; for example, a splash by acid will cause damage as the splash of a vial of acid, while the directed arc would act as a direct hit by a vial of acid. Fiery creatures splashed by normal water suffer damage equal to an equivalent splash or direct hit by acid.
Creatures within the area of a general splash are allowed a saving throw versus breath weapon to avoid the splashed liquid entirely. Those targeted by the arcing splash are allowed a saving throw versus breath weapon with a −2 penalty to avoid the splash, while unattended or stationary objects are automatically splashed. This spell has no effect on liquids within sealed containers. The total volume that can be expelled from a container is one gallon per level of the caster.
Holding Current (Pr 2; Alteration)
Sphere: Elemental Water
Range: 30 yds.
Components: V, S
Duration: 1 rd./level
Casting Time: 5
Area of Effect: 1 creature
Saving Throw: Neg.
By means of this spell, the caster creates a powerful water current around a single target. A targeted creature is allowed a single saving throw versus spell (modified for Dexterity) to escape the current as it is forming, otherwise the current is such that any attempt made by the creature causes it to be pushed back into the center. When created, the current starts about a foot away from the creature, creating a column that only allows the creature to swim up or sink down; it stays with the creature in such a way that they cannot swim out of the columnar current above or below it. Only creatures of Size L or smaller can be affected; the current is not powerful enough to create a full circle around larger creatures. This current creates no suction or whirlpool effect, so it can be cast on a creature on the surface and has no risk of pulling them under.
This current, while strong, causes no injuries to the creature it contains. However, it does offer a degree of protection against missile or melee attacks that pass through it. All melee attacks made through the current are made with a −2 penalty, while all small missiles passing through suffer a −4 penalty to their attack rolls.
Carrier Current (Pr 3; Alteration, Conjuration/Summoning)
Sphere: Elemental Water
Range: 60 yds.
Components: V, S
Duration: 3 rds. + 1 rd./level
Casting Time: 6
Area of Effect: 30-ft.-radius globe
Saving Throw: None
When this spell is cast, all affected creatures feel a current flow around them, moving them faster. They all move at 150% (round fractions up) of the MV rate of the fastest swimmer among them. All those in a carrier current must remain within a 30-foot radius, the fastest in the lead with all others swimming in her wake.
If this speed is more than twice an affected person’s normal speed, such characters suffer a −6 Dexterity penalty against dodging any obstacles while under the effects of a carrier current. If the lead swimmer stops moving, the carrier current ends prematurely, but any other person under its effects can cancel its effects merely by swimming outside the area of effect. The maximum number of characters affected is equal to the caster’s level.
Thus, four surface dwellers (MV 6), two locathah (MV 12), and a mermaid (MV 18) would now all move at a movement rate of 27 (18 × 1.5 = 27), though only the mermaid has any real maneuverability and does not suffer the −6 Dexterity penalty.