Grasp of Orcus
Baphomet, also known as the Horned King, embodies the destructive force of rage and the savage aspects of nature. His cult is a powerful force within minotaur society, helping to steer the race toward its evil, bestial side. His creed is to embrace the beast within, so worshipers often include mercenaries, pirates, and savage tribes of barbarians.
Baphomet is an aggressive, boastful demon with delusions of grandeur that infect his worshipers with blinding zealotry. He is violent and easily angered. Although he can be cunning, he prefers to act on impulse. Creatures who appease Baphomet’s whims are allowed to live, while those who express doubts are crushed beneath his hooves. Baphomet sometimes dons an iron crown with the severed heads of slain enemies impaled on its sharp tines. He wears sparse armor and carries an enormous greataxe called Heartcleaver.
Baphomet, the bellowing Horned King, dwells at the center of an infinite maze, filled with twisting corridors and trapped switchbacks. Its never-ending passages connect to several other labyrinths elsewhere in the Abyss, including the Valley of Crypts on Thanatos (Orcus’s realm). Such connections bring legions of (often unwitting) visitors to the Endless Maze, where they soon become hopelessly lost. In time, they come to welcome death at the jaws of the slobbering beasts dispatched by Baphomet to prowl the maze in search of intruders.
Numerous minotaur tribes inhabit the maze, led by huge savage hybrids with demon blood. These creatures revere Baphomet as a patron deity, and such is their devotion that some eventually escape the maze to spread the worship of the Prince of Beasts to the minotaurs of the world. Numerous wild goristros hungrily wander the forlorn hallways of the Endless Maze, keeping the larger corridors and galleries free from intruders. The demon lord tolerates raiding parties of glabrezus who occasionally abduct these creatures to lash them into the service of a distant demon lord, for Baphomet knows that the goristros’ stature and battle prowess carry his legend to all corners of the Abyss.
For all the demons and mindrending horrors of the maze, the layer supports a large number of mortals capable of providing either succor or danger to visiting adventurers. These furtive, untrusting creatures are the Lost, usually gnolls or humans released from the dungeons below Baphomet’s palace at the Lyktion. Baphomet and his servitors casually hunt down these pitiful creatures as a way to slake boredom or to hone their skills for more important battles.
When an allied demon lord or powerful mortal spellcaster wishes a service from the Prince of Beasts, Baphomet instructs him to find a specific member of the Lost, and refuses to discuss anything else until that individual has been brought to him. In remote corners of the layer, members of the Lost gather in motley gangs to eke out an existence while desperately searching for escape.
Baphomet’s angry rivalries with other demon lords, particularly Yeenoghu and Graz’zt, fuel most of the armed conflict in the Endless Maze. Vast hordes of demons and mortal warriors flood the tunnels in an attempt to destroy the Prince of Beasts in his lair. Few invaders manage to negotiate the labyrinth well enough to pose a serious threat to the demon lord. Even those who know where they are going must first defeat Baphomet’s creations before they can get a chance to battle the master.
The corridors in the Endless Maze appear as worked passages, 10 to 20 feet wide, with smooth walls and a ceiling as high as the passages are wide. Here and there, the hallways open into grand, vaulted
Baphomet has significance to the party, and Born in particular, as Vital, Born’s twin brother and a recurring enemy of the party, is in thrall to the Horned King. Vital is pushing his master’s agenda in a terrifying competition with Orcus, a race to see which of the monstrous demon lords will be unleashed upon the mortal world by the Wheel of Law. Atour Bamerea, Born’s home city, was overthrown by Baphomet’s cult, and Vital was directly responsible for the death of the twins’ parents. Since the fall of his city, Born has considered himself the last free minotaur of Atour Bamarea, and he blames Vital and Baphomet for this circumstance.