The Eye of Rholdroth
Gods Worshipped Within and Around the Kingdoms of Lothukor
Gods Within and Around the Kingdoms of Lothukor
Lamashtu (pronounced lah-MAHSH-too) is the mother and patroness of many misshapen and malformed creatures that crawl, slither, or flap on, above, or below the surface. Her unholy symbol is a three-eyed jackal head, which may be represented in many ways, and her sacred animal is the jackal. She was once a mighty demon lord who became the first such entity to achieve true godhood and is now classed as a major deity. Lamashtu, in a stance befitting her demonic origins, considers all other gods enemies. Pictures of Lamashtu portray her as a jackal-headed woman, with a third vertical eye in the center of her forehead, heavily pregnant, with feathered wings (like a raven’s), a snake’s tail, and taloned feet (like a vulture’s). She is often depicted carrying her two deadly blades, Redlust and Chillheart: the former is of fire, the latter of ice. The blades may grow and shrink from a falchion to a kukri. Her head may vary depending on the nature of her worshipers: gnolls preferring the jackal head, medusas a snake’s, harpies a hawk’s, and so on. Lamashtu and her deranged faithful hold creatures of deformity, monstrosity, and virility in high regard.
Desna (pronounced DEZ-nuh) was one of the first deities, but while her peers burdened themselves with the task of creating earth she spent her time building the heavens. She’s changed little since those earlier days, and she and her followers delight in exploring the world. Desna is an ancient goddess of freedom and luck, and is credited with the creation of the heavens. In her earliest days the god Curchanus, an enemy of the goddess Lamashtu, was her mentor. Lamashtu laid a trap for Curchanus and stripped him of his beast domain, ripping it from his godly essence. As he died he gifted Desna with the domain of travel; she has traveled the planes and worlds since, opposing both oppression and Lamashtu wherever she encounters them, and spreading her word while making an effort to experiencing new wonders when she can. Unlike most of the other deities, Desna has no true realm in the Great Beyond, although she does occasionally travel to a small castle that floats above the rugged beauty of Elysium. Her true home is among the stars of the Material Plane, where it is rumored that she lives in a place called the Sevenfold Cynosure, somewhere in or around the star Cynosure. Desna and her faithful hold creatures that symbolize freedom and the night sky as beautiful and holy; of particular favor are butterflies, which often appear to signal the goddess’ favor, the lyrakien, and certain fey creatures of the night. Desna is the goddess of travel and journeys, and there are few who traverse the roads who wouldn’t spare her a prayer or a simple-worded plea for benediction. Scouts, sailors, and those who travel for travel’s sake make up a large amount of her following, though her domain of luck also makes her a favorite deity among gamblers and thieves. The informal clergy of Desna is primarily composed of clerics, though on occasion bards are called by some song or whisper in the night to follow her path. Temples of Desna are few and far between, with most locations dedicated to the goddess being no more than roadside shrines erected in her honor; her faithful often leave markings and dedications in newly discovered areas and secluded locales. Those few temples that do exist often serve as observatories and are as open to the night sky as possible.
Erastil (pronounced eh-RAS-til) is one of the oldest gods still worshiped in the land. His religion dates back to before the Age of Darkness when small farming communities and hunter-gatherers prayed to him for bountiful harvests and successful hunts. He is a god of the hunt and of farming, leading his followers by example and good deeds rather than flowery rhetoric. Erastil is an elder deity, his worship hearkening back to the time when mankind first set about harnessing the wilderness and mastering nature. Legends claim that it was Old Deadeye himself who crafted the first bow and gifted it to humans, a gift to assist them in overcoming the challenges of the world. Even as the accomplishments of civilization mount, Erastil continues to embrace and represent the simpler pleasures life has to offer. Depictions of Erastil are commonplace in the homes of his followers. Such images usually portray the deity as either an aged human with the bow and gear of a trapper, or as an elk-headed humanoid. These depictions often show Old Deadeye holding fast against various beasts and animals of the wilds. In times of need, Erastil has also been known to appear to lost hunters in the form of a stag. Animals held in high esteem by Old Deadeye include elk, deer, and other hoofed creatures. Those who please Erastil are often rewarded by increased yields, both from farm and field, while earning his disfavor can lead to damaged or ruined crops and poor hunting.Erastil’s herald is known as the Grim White Stag, who appears as a gigantic white stag with branches in place of its antlers, and vines wrapping around its legs.
Nethys (pronounced NETH-uhs) is a god who holds magic above all things. He gained enough power to witness all things, and this both fueled his divinity and shattered his mind. He is a god of magic, torn between destroying the world with one hand and saving it with the other. Ancient texts tell of a God-King whose mastery of magic allowed him to gain unparalleled power. With these abilities he became a god by seeing all that transpired on all planes. However, this omnipresent knowledge also drove him irreparably mad. This dual-edged nature of magic is cherished by his followers and is epitomized in his apotheosis. Although his madness makes it hard to act on long-term plans Nethys is active and approachable by all deities for aid in their ventures. He remains neutral for the most part, unless his powers of omnipresent knowledge reveal he is being betrayed or threatened. He particularly allies with those requiring the use of magic, regardless of nefarious or benevolent cause. There are limits even to Nethys’s love of destruction, and the annihilation of the earth is not his wish. He appears as a frightening male human emanating with great energy. One side of him is youthful and dominating, almost glowing with power, while his other half is charred and crackling with leaking magic. Nethys holds magic above all things, those unable to do or use magic are held as lesser by the faith, denied the divine majesty of working spells. Creatures with magic abilities or properties are held as sacred to his faith.
Sarenrae (pronounced SAER-en-ray) is known to her faithful as the Dawnflower, the Healing Flame, and the Everlight. She teaches temperance and patience in all things. Compassion and peace are her greatest virtues, and if enemies of the faith can be redeemed, they should be. Yet there are those who have no interest in redemption, who glory in slaughter and death. From the remorseless evil of the undead and fiends to the cruelties born in the hearts of mortals, Sarenrae’s doctrines preach swift justice delivered by the scimitar’s edge. To this end, she expects her faithful to be skilled at swordplay, both as a form of martial art promoting centering of mind and body, and so that when they do enter battle, their foes do not suffer any longer than necessary. Sarenrae manifests as a bronze angelic beauty, with golden hair composed of flowing flame. From one hand emits a holy light which trickles down like liquid luminescence, whereas the other holds a scimitar emblazoned with radiant fire. Her holy light provides healing and sustenance, while the scimitar creates gusts of winds that remove disease and fear. A large portion of Sarenrae’s priests are composed of clerics, but within their ranks are also paladins and rangers, as well as a few druids and bards. Some priests work as personal retainers or healers for the wealthy, while others survive on assistance from congregational worshipers. A common form of worship by priests is to awaken with the dawn and give thanks and praise to the rising sun. The scimitar is a favored weapon and its use is held in high regard.In battle, Sarenrae’s clerics become dervishes, ready to destroy irredeemable corruption.
Kind and caring halflings often worship Sarenrae, tending to the sick and elderly. Rarely, a halfling may be born with red hair and, as this is seen by halflings as a sign from the goddess, these halflings are expected to become part of Sarenrae’s clergy. Knights of Sarenrae identify themselves by wearing white scarves around their helms and wielding the scimitar. They are willing to offer mercy to those enemies who seek absolution and renounce evil. The temples of the Dawnflower are open-air buildings. Priests often travel from one temple to the next. Church services are held outdoors and are joyous affairs that feature singing, dancing, and music.
Torag (pronounced TORR-awg) is a stoic and serious god who values honor, planning and well-made steel. He is an often distant deity, lending magical power to his clerics, but leaving his followers to make their own way through life, knowing that this will make them strong and determined. The dwarves believe that Torag created the world at his great forge, striking it again and again with his hammer to get the shape he desired. As rocks tumbled and the sparks flew, the dwarves were born, made of stone with bellies full of fire. Torag appears as a powerful and cunning dwarf, busy at his forge hammering out a weapon or shield. He is the consummate planner, with a contingency for nearly every situation. Art shows him as a stereotypical dwarf in intricate armor and carrying his warhammer Kaglemros (Dwarven for “forger of many weapons”). The ancient church of Torag can be found in all dwarven lands, and in many human ones, especially the harsh northern lands. Nearly half of Torag’s clerics are dwarves, and although many humans have taken up his call, they only number so large among his worshipers because they breed faster and are more populous than dwarves. Among dwarves almost all of his priests are clerics, with maybe ten percent being paladins or other followers. Among his human followers nearly all are clerics, and human paladins of Torag are essentially unheard of.
As befits a deity so closely associated with the anvil and bellows, the vestments of Torag’s clergy are a long, well-used smithing apron, and hammer. Rings of various sorts (whether worn on the hands, in the ear, or woven into the hair or beard) are also common, symbolizing friendship, debt or allegiance. Tradition is a focus for knights who follow Torag. Action, rather than ceremony, is what these knights crave. They can be counted on to protect their communities without hesitation.Torag condemns suicide, and the souls of his worshipers who take their own lives are condemned to the first circle of Hell.
Urgathoa (pronounced oor-gah-THO-ah) is the goddess of physical excess, disease, and the undead. She is mostly worshiped by dark necromancers and the undead. Sometimes those wishing to become undead and those who live gluttonous lifestyles make supplication to her. On occasion, folk infected with plagues make offerings to Urgathoa. She is generally depicted as an attractive, pale-skinned, and ebony-haired woman. Unlike most other beauties, at her waist, her flesh begins to rot and wither away, leaving her as little more than a blood-soaked skeleton from the hips down. She is often similarly manifested, but wearing a loose fitting gown stained with black, brown, and red splotches. Urgathoa’s minions include powerful vampires, liches, and other authoritative undead. Some female clerics of Urgathoa are transformed after death into undead creatures known as the Daughters of Urgathoa. Her priests are primarily composed of clerics and necromancers. They have few responsibilities to uphold, other than helping those who desire undeath, and protection of their own. Understandably, they often are secretive of their religious inclining in public. The priests have been known to compel their enemies to eat their own fallen comrades. The ceremonial clothes of Urgathoa’s worshipers are a loose, floor-length, gray tunic, with a white or gray cape. The lower half of the tunic is usually shredded. Most ceremonies involve consuming great amounts of food and drink. Senior priests of Urgathoa sometimes practice a ritual known as the Reaping. The priest will put on a grey robe, and arm himself with a vorpal scythe. The priest then heads out into the world to cause as much death and destruction as he can before he is driven back to his sanctuary. They believe that if Urgathoa is pleased by the outcome of the Reaping she will grant a boon to the priest. Urgathoa’s temples are modeled after feast-halls, with a large table serving as an altar. Usually temples are near a graveyard or a crypt, both of which are inhabited by ghouls. Her greatest temples are often guarded by daemonic servants
Gorum (pronounced GOR-um) is a god of battle above all other pursuits; it is said that if there is ever a time with no more conflicts to be fought, he would rust away into nothingness. Known as the Lord in Iron, his faithful believe he is present in every iron weapon of war that is forged. Gorum’s presence was unknown in the earliest days of the land. His clergy claim he was formed from battle itself, a suit of iron armor standing alone on the battlefield once the dust had settled; his genesis is generally considered to have resulted from conflicts that erupted between orcs and humans. Gorum is considered the divine embodiment of martial prowess, of glory on the battlefield, and it is believed that should conflicts like those that birthed the deity ever cease, he will perish as a result of their absence. He concerns himself with few matters outside of battle, and this attitude extends to include his relations with other deities. He sees little value in matters of diplomacy and politics, considering the pursuits of his divine peers as frivolous a best. The Lord in Iron is considered brash and impulsive; he takes what he wants, by force if necessary, and answers any direct opposition to his will with violence. Gorum’s manifestation is that of a gigantic humanoid being in darkened heavy armor. His helmet covers all defining features except for a pair or fiery crimson eyes. No matter to whom he appears, Gorum will always appear to be the tallest creature, even when among giants and other large humanoids. The god is worshiped by mercenaries and barbarians all across the world. Gorum’s temples tend to have the appearance of strongholds or citadels. They are walled and gated, and spikes adorn the structure. They are always kept stocked with metal weapons. Shrines to Gorum are typically an organized pile of rocks with a helmet or blade set atop.