The Endless Destruction
The Great Darkness
Dahak is the patron deity of evil dragons, particularly the chromatic dragons.1 He is a god of destruction, chaos, rage, and draconic greed, the polar opposite of his father, Apsu the Waybringer. However, he is a patient god capable of civility when the situation calls for it, biding his time until the time is right to slay his father in their final battle on Golarion.2
Dragons believe Dahak was one of the original gods created by Apsu and Tiamat at the beginning of creation. While the other deities began to create, Dahak chose to destroy. He is credited with transforming Hell into a place of agony and flame. He is also believed to be the creator of the metallic dragons, which he formed solely to hunt as sport. Seeing the destruction and chaos wrought, Apsu entered the Material Plane in order to end Dahak's reign of terror. However, Tiamat saw Dahak as a son and wanted him spared. In a deal to save Dahak, Tiamat healed some of the wounded metallic dragons. These dragons became the original chromatic dragons.3
A more expanded myth tells that Dahak was Tiamat and Apsu's firstborn and enjoyed exploring the primordial plane of Hell. When he returned to Apsu, he saw that his parents had born many more children, whom Apsu showered with affection. Growing envious over time, Dahak eventually killed all of his siblings in a cataclysmic rampage. He then forcefully reincarnated his brothers and sisters as mortal dragons on the Material Plane. These would become the first metallic dragons, whom he hunted for sport. Apsu descended unto the Material Plane to stop his wayward son in their first epic clash, but Tiamat intervened on her son's behalf before Apsu could finish Dahak. She helped her son escape with several revived and wounded metallic dragons, which would eventually transform into the first chromatic dragons.4
Dahak withdrew to heal his wounds. During the Age of Creation, when he learnt about the Immortal Ambulatory, a roaming demiplane that his father created, he prepared to assault it, until Apsu suddenly came to Golarion to battle Rovagug, and Dahak followed him. Dahak engaged in battle with Rovagug and initially intended to betray his father to the Rough Beast, but when he recognised Rovagug's threat to the whole Great Beyond, he changed his mind and committed fully to aid the other gods against Rovagug, despite his destructive nature. After Rovagug was defeated and contained in the Dead Vault, Apsu spoke to his son, expressing his surprise at how Dahak did not betray him. Dahak then vowed to kill Apsu, who declared that Golarion would be their battlefield; the battle between Apsu's and Dahak's followers still rages on Golarion.356 Apsu remains worried that, should Dahak win this battle, his reckless destruction could potentially weaken the chains binding Rovagug.4
In -5280 AR, amid the destruction wrought by Earthfall, Dahak saw a chance to wreak havoc on Golarion without drawing his father's wrath. After several years of research, he discovered a flaw in a portal of Alseta's Ring and managed to manifest himself on Golarion. He carefully invested the manifestation with just enough power to avoid rousing Apsu. Before Dahak could finish the job started by Earthfall, in -5277 AR, he was stopped by the Ekujae elves, who, at a great cost of lives, managed to turn Dahak's own power against his manifestation, trapping it without a body in the spaces between the portals of Alseta's Ring.789
Dahak's divine realm is the Adamantine Morass, a tunnel network stretching throughout the depths of Caina, Hell's eighth layer.6 Dahak is known to control a powerful item known as the Well of Venoms that is capable of destroying the artifacts collectively known as the Orbs of Dragonkind and it is believed the well is kept within the Adamantine Morass.10 This network of tunnels runs deep throughout the lowest depths of Caina. Dahak enjoys chasing intruders through the complex tunnel system for his own enjoyment. Those not able to provide a good enough chase are inevitably captured and tossed into the Well of Venoms to die.11
The only descriptions of Dahak tell of him as ugly, scarred, and covered in spikes, with a burning hatred in his eyes for his father, Apsu.12 When he manifests on the Material Plane, his avatar causes numerous destructive events known as dragonstorms, which incorporate the breaths of all five chromatic dragon species: acid rain, lightning bolts, toxic fog, firestorms, blizzards and enormous hailstorms. In addition, all dragons caught nearby are infected by Dahak's fury, filling them with rage and causing them to lash out at the environment.13
In artwork, Dahak is depicted as a chromatic dragon of titanic size. His scales are a combination of dark crimson and black. His body is covered from tail to snout in spines, and Dahak's massive tail seems to be as long as the rest of his body is. He is usually portrayed breathing fire.14
Church of Dahak
There are few dedicated cults of Dahak, partially because his worshipers mostly consist of serpentfolk and especially evil dragons, with humanoid followers being a rarity. Worshipers have been known to wear their unholy symbols proudly, safe in the knowledge that few people would even recognise their religion. The greatest sacrifice his followers can hope to make is that of a metallic dragon, and these cults often dedicate themselves to this task above all else.15
Most dragons view Dahak with hate, but some evil dragons choose to serve after being offered power and immortality.312 Alongside his father, Dahak is one of the most popular deities on Triaxus, particularly among dragons and dragonkin.16
Some believe that Dahak created wyverns and drakes in an effort to create his own draconic servitors, although others point out that this act of creation contradicts his destructive aspect. He is nevertheless worshiped by wyverns and drakes as their creator.1
Long after Dahak's rampage in the Mwangi Expanse, his influence lingers. Many cults of Dahak, most recently the Cinderclaw Cult, continue to wreak havoc, seeking to bring back their god so he can finish his job.1718
Adventurers who follow Dahak tend to be barbarians, bloodragers, rangers, and warpriests. They can be civil with others up until the point of combat, when they erupt into a vicious rage against their enemies. These servants of Dahak differ from the nihilistic followers of Rovagug in that they can maintain self-control, usually saving their anger for those who provoke them or truly deserve it. His followers tend to dress in a variety of colors, with blue, green, and red being most dominant, though red and black are more common due to clothing being singed by fire or stained by blood. Dahak's unholy text is The Pyre of Dahak, written by the insane gold dragon prophet Gunnarrex.19
Dahak and his father Apsu are arch-enemies, the two having battled countless times across history. They once worked together to imprison Rovagug, but Dahak has no intention of ever doing this again and focuses his entire existence on the eventual final battle against Apsu.6
Dahak originally received his divine realm from the archdevil Mephistopheles, and crafted the quill Visineir for Mephistopheles in return, but there is no binding contract between them. Asmodeus is cordial with Dahak; it is rumoured that he has offered to weaken both Apsu for Dahak and Dahak for Apsu, making his true intent unclear. Some devils believe that Asmodeus and Mephistopheles are ensuring Dahak's continued existence for some nefarious purpose.6
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
- Inner Sea Gods, 188. Paizo Inc., 2014 .
- “Dahak” in Inner Sea Faiths, 34–36. Paizo Inc., 2016 .
- “Other Gods” in Gods and Magic, 52. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Dahak” in Inner Sea Faiths, 36. Paizo Inc., 2016 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 216. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Dahak” in Inner Sea Faiths, 36–39. Paizo Inc., 2016 .
- “People of the Mwangi” in The Mwangi Expanse, 43. Paizo Inc., 2021 .
- “Adventure Toolbox” in Hellknight Hill, 71. Paizo Inc., 2019 .
- “Adventure Toolbox” in Hellknight Hill, 75. Paizo Inc., 2019 .
- “Legendary Artifacts” in Artifacts & Legends, 33. Paizo Inc., 2012 .
- “Dahak” in Inner Sea Faiths, 39. Paizo Inc., 2016 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 228. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Broken Promises” in Broken Promises, 7. Paizo Inc., 2019 .
- “Dahak” in Inner Sea Faiths, 34. Paizo Inc., 2016 .
- “Minor Deities” in Faiths of Corruption, 17. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Planet of Dragons” in The Frozen Stars, 75. Paizo Inc., 2013 .
- “People of the Mwangi” in The Mwangi Expanse, 76. Paizo Inc., 2021 .
- “Cult of Cinders” in Cult of Cinders, 5. Paizo Inc., 2019 .
- “Dahak” in Inner Sea Faiths, 38. Paizo Inc., 2016 .