Continuing the 30 Day D&D Challenge from Polar Bear Dreams and Stranger Things:
6. Favorite Deity:
There’s a short list of contenders for this spot, but when we get down to brass tacks the winner for my favorite deity is:
Take a monster goddess from the oldest epic in history, give her an extra four heads, color code them to the D&D evil dragon types, and put her in charge of the first of the Nine Hells. When your game is called Dungeons & Dragons, the queen of all evil dragons is about as epic as it gets.
This sentiment was shared by the creators of the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon series where she was a recurring character. The show overall was a simple battle between good and evil carried out each week, but Tiamat’s role in that universe was unique. More powerful than the show’s main villain, possibly more powerful than the enigmatic Dungeon Master, she cared nothing for their struggles. Tiamat was a force beyond that. She was a being of rage to be feared by everyone and whose motives were known only to herself. It is debatable how well the series captured the spirit of its namesake game, but they captured the essence of Tiamat perfectly.
Newer editions of D&D have given a more “human” side to Tiamat, complete with a human avatar. This is probably the fault of Takhisis, her analog in Dragonlance who fills a different cosmological role. Humanizing Tiamat misses what makes her such an interesting being. Our mythology has demons and devils vying for our souls, making Faustian bargains with the most lowly peasants and giving us a false belief in our own importance. But Tiamat is a dragon-goddess and her followers are as far beyond us as we are above vermin. She cares more for our gold than our souls and that should give us pause.
I loved the random tables for stocking dungeons that were included in the Monster Manual and Fiend Folio, with each successive table presenting a list of more powerful creatures your players might encounter. I remember the surprise and fascination I felt seeing Tiamat listed on the last table. The idea of coming around the corner and stumbling into the Chromatic Dragon was both ludicrous and appropriate at the same time.
Why would Tiamat be wandering the depths of some random dungeon? I have no idea. I’m just the DM and Tiamat does not explain herself to me.