Sunday, April 11, 2010

On the Gods of Nod: Ophir

What follows is the pantheon I worked up for the city-state of Ophir on the Wyvern Coast. The gods and goddesses are based, more or less, on Phoenician and Levantine deities. Each of the deities has a cult spell for his clerics and/or druids. For the neutral deities I list some sacred animals that their druids may turn into with their shape-change power. The portions in italics are open game content.

Also called Lord
Deity of youth, beauty and rebirth
Wields a club
Served by nymphs
Symbolized by a boar
Aligned with Neutrality
Druids may learn the spell Lamentation (see below)
Sacred animals are the boar, bull and ram

Adonis is the god of youth, beauty and rebirth. His mother, Myrrha, was turned into a myrrh tree by Derceto to protect her from her father. Adonis was born from the tree when its bark was rent by a boar’s tusks. At birth, the boy was so lovely that Derceto hid him in a chest that she gave to Kore for safe keeping. But the goddess of death was so taken with the youth that she would not give him up. Ultimately, it was decided that Adonis would spend six months with Derceto on earth and six months with Kore in the Underworld.

The cult of dying Adonis belongs to women. They celebrate a two day festival at midsummer. The first day is spent in mourning, with worshipers uttering lamentations and beating themselves. The second day, celebrating his rebirth, is spent in feasting and merriment.

LAMENTATION (Druid Level 1)
Range: Earshot
Duration: 1 round + 1 round/druid level

By uttering loud lamentations to Adonis, a druid can cause all humanoids in earshot to fall into tears for the duration of the spell. While overcome with sorrow, creatures cannot perform any action beyond self defense.

Also called The Eighth
Deity of healing
Wields a short bow
Served by angels
Symbolized by a caduceus
Aligned with Law
Clerics learn the spell Soothing Touch (see below)

Asclepius is the god of healing. He was fathered by Zadok with one of the seven Titanides after he had already fathered seven other sons. Asclepius was once pursued by Astarte to the point that he castrated himself and died. Seeing the error of her ways, Astarte restored him to life with the warmth of her body and made him a demigod.

Worshipers of Asclepius make votive offerings of statuettes of people healed by him, especially babies and children. Asclepius temples may be carved into the rock of the earth or built atop massive limestone pedestals measuring 230 ft wide, 160 ft long and 70 ft high. They often include paved pools, sculptures of sphinxes and lions and bas-relief sculptures of hunting scenes.

SOOTHING TOUCH (Cleric Level 2)
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 minute

This spell temporarily restores 1d4 points of damage per level of the subject. These temporary hit points disappear after one minute.

Also called Face of the Lord, Queen of Heaven
Deity of fertility, love and war
Wields a spear
Served by angels and the fey
Symbolized by a pentagram
Aligned with Neutrality
Druids learn the spell Crown of Stars (see below)
Sacred animals are the antelope, lion and horse

Astarte is the goddess of fertility, love and war. She is depicted as a naked woman, enthroned, flanked by sphinxes and holding a bowl beneath her full breasts. Her symbols include the horse, sphinx, dove and circled star (pentagram).

Astarte is the daughter of sky and earth, the sister-wife of Shedu. She has seven daughters, the Titanides, and two sons, Pothos (Longing) and Eros (Desire).

At Astarte’s festival, worshipers bake small cakes, burn incense, pour out drink offerings and raise sacred poles in her honor.

CROWN OF STARS (Druid Level 5)
Range: Sight
Duration: 1 turn/cleric level

With a word, a crown of stars appears above the druid’s head. Lawful (or benevolent) creatures that view the crown must succeed at a saving throw or be unable to attack or otherwise harass the druid. Neutral creatures (including animals) who see the crown must succeed at a saving throw or fall under the control of the druid. Chaotic (or malevolent) creatures who view the crown must succeed at a saving throw or be struck blind.

Also called Lord of Flies
Deity of disease and falsehood
Wields a whip
Served by demons
Symbolized by a fly
Aligned with Chaos
Clerics learn the spell Infestation (see below)

Baalzebul, the Lord of Flies, is one of the fallen spirits who reigns in Hell as second in command to Lucifer. He is the patron of disease, falsehood, flattery and death. Sacrifices, sometimes of children, are made to him to bring relief from plagues. Baalzebul and his worshipers work to undermine and ultimately control civilization. His priests are silver tongued and crafty, tempting princes and the priests of other gods to do their work for them. Baalzebub appears either as a giant fly or a fly-headed man.

INFESTATION (Cleric Level 2)
Range: 20 ft
Duration: 1d6 rounds

The cleric causes one creature per level (up to 10) to feel the sensation of maggots crawling beneath their skin. Subjects who succeed at a saving throw see through the illusion but are still harassed by the sensation and suffer a -1 penalty to all actions for 1 minute. Those who fail their saving throws fall to the ground, tearing and rending their flesh, inflicting 1d3 points of damage to themselves for 1d6 rounds. Fortunately, the poor souls will pass out before they kill themselves.

Also called Lady Goddess of the Sea
Deity of the sea and fertility
Wields a spear or mace
Served by the fey
Symbolized by a mermaid
Aligned with Neutrality
Druids learn Derceto’s Transformation (see below)
Sacred animals are the dolphin, hawk and lion

Derceto is a mermaid goddess of the sea and fertility. She is the inventor of useful tools, patron of astrology and mistress of destiny. She usually appears as a mermaid with two tails or as a naked woman riding atop two lions or riding in a lion-drawn chariot. Her symbols include the lion, crescent moon, scepter and fish-spear.

Derceto is a strict mistress. Her cultists are beggar-priests who must emasculate themselves and are forbidden from eating fish. They carry copper coins bearing the likeness of the goddess.

Range: Personal
Duration: 1 hour

The druid takes on the form of abilities of a merfolk for 1 hour. In addition to gaining the lower torso of a fish and the ability to breath water, the druid grows fierce claws on his hands, gaining an attack that deals 1d6 damage.

Also called Skillful-and-Wise, Deft-with-both-hands
Deity of craftsmanship, smiths, magic
Wields a war hammer
Served by elementals
Symbolized by a hammer
Aligned with Law
Clerics learn the spell Perfect Object (see below)

Kothar-wa-Khasis is the god of craftsmanship. He is the patron of smiths, engineers, architects and inventors. As the creator of sacred words and spells, he is the patron of sooth-sayers and magicians. Besides crafting the weapons of the gods, Kothar also built Shedu’s magnificent palace of silver, gold, lapis lazuli and fragrant cedar wood. When Shedu sends rain to earth, it is Kothar who first opens the window of his palace.

PERFECT OBJECT (Cleric Level 2)
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 hour

An object touched by the cleric becomes perfect in composition and construction. Armor will have a +1 bonus to AC, weapons a +1 bonus to hit, etc. The items are not magical, and perfected weapons cannot be used to strike creatures only harmed by magic weapons. This effect lasts for one hour.

Also called Lord of the Land
Deity of the sea and chaos
Wields a spear
Served by demons and water elementals
Symbolized by a scourge
Aligned with Chaos
Clerics learn the spell Seven Deadly Stings (see below)

Lotan is the god of the primordial seas. He rules storm and destruction, and was cast out of Heaven because of his evil temper. Lotan is the brother of Shedu, Melkarth and Astarte. He has had occasion to war with both of his brothers. He can take the form of a powerful merman with a curled, blue-black beard or that of a seven-headed sea serpent. His palace is in the deepest depths of the oceanic Abyss. Lotan's consort is Belatu.

Lotan's temples are often built near the sea. They are black buildings, imposing and terrible. His priests wear black robes and hunt the streets at night for sacrificial victims to quell the primordial rage of their master.

Range: Touch
Duration: 1 round/cleric level

By anointing a staff with sea water, the cleric can bring forth seven serpentine heads from its tip. In battle, the staff strikes once per round for 1d6 points of damage. Creatures hit by the staff must make a saving throw against poison or suffer one additional point of damage per level of the cleric.

Also called King of the City
Deity of sailors, warriors, traders
Wields a sickle-sword
Served by cherubim
Symbolized by a murex shell
Aligned with Law
Clerics learn the spell Whirling Death (see below)

Melkarth is the god of sailors, heroes, the fighting arts and traders. Melkarth is invoked in oaths and contracts. He is known to send visions to warlords and kings. Most importantly, he is the inventor of the rare and expensive purple die that is the basis of his worshipers mercantile success. His worshipers can be seen leaping in the air and falling to their knees, on which they spin like tops. He is celebrated each February in what is called the “Awakening”. His temples are large affairs and always feature two pillars of bronze or gold.

WHIRLING DEATH (Cleric Level 1)
Range: Personal
Duration: 1 round/cleric level

The cleric begins spinning wildly, gaining an additional attack each round and a +1 bonus to AC and melee damage.

Also called King
Deity of fire, evil
Wields a mace
Served by demons and fire elementals
Symbolized by a golden calf
Aligned with Chaos
Clerics learn the spell Consuming Fire (see below)

Moloch is a wicked spirit cast out from Heaven who is worshiped as the god of fire. He is depicted as a man with golden skin and the head of a bull or oxen. Great brazen idols of Moloch are constructed like ovens, with sacrificial victims placed inside to be burned to death. During these sacrifices, priests beat drums to drown out the cries of the victims. Moloch is a revered by those who worship power over all things. His priests and worshipers are warlike, overbearing and violent. Sacrifices to Moloch are made to ensure victory in war and to call down rain.

CONSUMING FIRE (Cleric Level 5)
Range: 30 ft
Duration: See below

This spell lasts for one round per cleric level, up to a maximum of five rounds. During the first round of the spell, the target suffers 1d4 points of damage and feels searing pain in his hands and feet. He must succeed at a saving throw or drop whatever he is carrying. During the second round, the victim suffers 1d6 points of damage and feels the lick of flames on his arms and legs. He must succeed at a saving throw or suffer a -1 penalty to hit and to AC. In the third round, he suffers 1d8 points of damage and feels that his torso is on fire. If he fails a saving throw, he is compelled to strip off his armor and douse himself with water. In the final round, he suffers 1d10 points of damage and feels as though his face and hair are aflame. He must succeed at a saving throw or be stunned for 1d4 rounds.

Also called Bull God, Patriarch, Creator of Creatures
Deity of creation, the sky, rainfall, fertility
Wields twin clubs
Served by angels, shedu and lammasu
Symbolized by a human-headed bull
Aligned with Law
Clerics learn the spell Blinding Light (see below)

Shedu is the supreme deity and creator of human beings. He is the lord of the sky and sun who governs rainfall and thus the growth of crops. Shedu is the protector of life whose absence results in famine, death and chaos. His brothers are Melkarth and Dagon (his terrible rival) and Astarte is his sister-wife. Shedu either appears as a golden skinned man wearing a horned helm and bearing twin clubs or as a human-headed bull. His earth-bound servants include androsphinxes, shedu and lammasu.

BLINDING LIGHT (Cleric Level 4)
Range: See below
Duration: 1 round/cleric level

The cleric’s head is surrounded by a halo of bright light. Those within 60 feet must succeed at a saving throw or be blinded for 30 minutes. While the spell lasts, creatures are unable to directly look at the cleric, giving them a -5 penalty to hit him in combat.

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