Balthazar (3.5e Deity)
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|Symbol:||The Sword over a Shield|
|Home Plane:||Deific Sphere|
|Portfolio:||Crusades, Justice, Holy Cleansing, Zeal, Discipline|
|Clergy Alignments:||LG, NG, LN|
|Domains:||War, Law, Liberation, Glory, Nobility|
|Favored Weapon:||Longsword, Greatsword, Warhammer, Heavy Mace, Heavy Flail|
Standing tall among the other deities of the Pantheon, Balthazar represents the ideal of Justice, and as such, is constantly in pursuit of the rectification of all wrongs and evils. Because of this, he is notably a good, if rather unyielding and strict deity, not uncommonly demanding rigid adherence to his decrees and discipline among his followers, and being the original source of the trope that usually surrounds paladins. Given his natural sense of justice and the need to pursue it, his influence is felt on Tirr in the form of numerous paladin and Knightly orders, the frequent distribution of quests to followers, and the constant support he lends to those who purge evil in his name, regardless of whether they are followers or not.
As he commonly appears, Balthazar does not typically have multiple forms, but one grand one: That of a Godly King, clad in opulent, regal full plate, silver and pure, often depicted as being made completely of Adamantium, wielding a golden Longsword opposite his Shield. He is depicted in this form in almost every mythical log, artistic depiction, and bard's song, and it is has served as the inspiration for most uniform armors of both Knight and Paladin orders.
Balthazar is unusually respected among most mortal regions, though he is widely held in contempt by followers of the Aesir, who see the god's rigidity as one of the most obstinate and largest obstacles in the way of returning their own deities to power. He has and continues to argue strongly against mercy for Aesir, stating that they were given an ultimatum, and even then refused to cooperate, and thus have accepted the burden of their new station, fairly.
His followers are most numerous among paladins, knights, guards, and other similar roles of guardians, due to his teachings consisting of the persecution of evil, in the defense of good. He rebukes the weak-hearted and the treacherous, and praises those able to follow through in the pursuit of evil. He cares little for his followers, intimately, and they generally accept this, knowing that his word is that of a pure warrior for the sake of righteousness: He is not their caregiver, but simply the commander; All that matters is their unanimous goal. For this reason, followers of Balthazar are more willing to make sacrifices among their allies and themselves in their quest to rid the world of evil. They still generally try to keep all out of harm's way, and they cannot consider civilians under this same ideal, but if push comes to shove, most feel strongly that their lives are forfeit if it means they can serve the cause.
Followers of Balthazar tend to detest rogues and assassins (Who must skulk about in the shadows and often involve themselves in less than righteous causes), dislike fighters and barbarians (Who are viewed as uncivilized, undisciplined warriors and people), and like clerics and monks (Who are regarded, generally speaking, as holy and/or disciplined warriors, worthy of respect). This applies only to good characters, as Balthazar discourages contact with neutral and evil characters. They especially find amicability and hatred within paladins and blackguards, respectively, however.
Association with demonic and diabolical creatures, even the most tame, or, on the rarer side of things, those of good alignment, is strictly forbidden, and most followers of Balthazar are immediately hostile towards them, or at least highly provoked by their presence. It takes a large force of circumstance to make a follower of Balthazar trust or even care for these beings in the slightest, if devout. Furthermore, when it comes to spell-casting, followers of Balthazar may never use summoning spells to summon a creature of an alignment other than good. In return, paladins' Smite Evil ability now does an additional 1d6 sacred damage each time it is used against an evil entity. Clerics gain the ability to use Smite Evil as if they were a paladin of the same level.
Clergy and Temples
Clergy of Balthazar are often former or still serving Paladins or Knights. They guide the newer and younger members of the order into their duties and civil services, while maintaining hierarchy and order whenever in the temple. Lower level members are simply Paladins and Knights, either out of specific duties, commanding in absence of the elders, or training newer initiates.
Temples devoted to Balthazar are often adorned with tall statues of Balthazar, and columns, slightly smaller, that hold the roof and awnings. They usually have a large number of steps, that also measure wide, in an attempt to display a certain 'place' above other institutions. They are usually adorned with tapestries displaying the Sword-upon-Shield emblem, against a dark gray color, trimmed with goldenrod.
Like most deities of the Pantheon, explicit temples of worship are typically rather rare, with a major exception in the city of Goldengate, which has a major temple to all of the Pantheon deities. Chapters of this same temple, however, have gradually been springing up outside of the main temple, and can be found in a number of major and minor cities across the land. They are noticeably more rare on the continent of Loupe.
As one of the five major seats in the Pantheon of Tirr, Balthazar's motions often counteract Mephistopheles' and Serberus', and he constantly threatens their lives, the arguments escalating into violence that must be stopped by either Fate or the Great Mother. While he and his common adversaries are bound by the pact made before time, they still manage to cause enough fuss to seriously bar progress. In one respect, he is essential in the balance of the Pantheon, often serving to limit evil and promote good.
The Major thrones aside, Balthazar maintains some good relations with many deities, for various reasons: Gahss, Mara, Tirros, and Vanguard have all had more good encounters with him than bad, and have generally remained amicable. Surprisingly, despite his strong sense of justice and bad blood with the Aesir in general, he also seems to respect Bahamut, as the two have fought alongside each other many times in the past, and share similar values.