I have a thing for ersatz mythologies, from Lord Dunsany's interconnected fables -- to Tolkien's complex milieu of nature spirits -- to the still-growing Cthulhu Mythos -- and on and on. There is something both chess-like and clockwork about the inter-workings of a coherent pantheon. As the pieces move, new narratives take shape.
Considering how well our community projects have been going thus far I thought it might be interesting to find out how the OSR talents that frequent this blog would tackle a rogues gallery of weird deities. Something in the vein of Judges Guild's Unknown Gods and the OSR community project Petty Gods, devoted to a particular flavor of divine powers.
THIS BUSINESS ABOUT THE "FLAVOR"
- Think MALTHEISTIC gods. Gods who are feared and loathed but still looked to for... something. Protection in some cases, succor, even a degree of mercy. Or perhaps stranger and less savory things.
- Each of these gods should be able to assume material forms that reflect their deep cravings and obsessions.
- Each should be interested in particular sorts of offerings and sacrifices.
- Some might have cohorts or consorts.
- Only a name, an alignment, a description and a general concept are really necessary at this point. Not all gods will be understood in the same manner or to the same degree.
- If you feel there is some connection with another of the gods on the list, point it out in your description. Confabulate!
- This is intended to be a pretty loose style guide, so by all means let your imaginations run rampant.
* * *
- Melejzedik, the Constant Wanderer. Melejzedik eternally roams the world: no place is unvisited by him and no place in this world or the next is his home; nowhere is he welcome, but nowhere may refuse him entry. In our world Melejzedik manifests as a tall, thin old man with wild hair and beard, dressed for walking and with a haunted look to his eyes. When he visits, he does not speak and he does not stay long, but he will take with him some thing or someone when he leaves, and he is often called upon for just such a purpose. But only Melejzedik's wandering is eternal - his wandering companions ultimately return, albeit changed by the experience. [PCB]
- Dehu-uggontha, the God of Septic & Sewers. CE. This god of septic matters manifests as a 40 foot tower of offal. The god is surrounded by a choking cloud of stench & 1d20 giant flies. There are the undigested souls of those taken by this god struggling within it. It may choose to speak through these souls at any time & often asks many questions of those who called it. The creature knows of the many treasures found within the sewers, pits, outhouses, etc. of monsters, kings, fools & worse. It may with the sacrifice of something of great value reveal one of those lost treasures with a Charisma roll. The god itself often is called to take away the filth of a community & will add that waste to its bulk adding 1d10 pounds of hit points. The curse of Dehu-uggontha may manifest as an offal cloud which will hang around its target until the offender makes amends. The more serious version of this curse causes the person to cry offal from his eyes. The curse will manifest during the most inappropriate times at social gatherings. It causes a loss of -4 on Charisma when it manifests. At least 200 gold pieces must be buried at a shrine of this god for it to hear a person's plea repentance. Many demi humans call this god Father Offal & burn candles in its name made from goat dung. The children of this god are pudding created from blessed offal in its temples & can be summoned as guardian creatures. [Needles]
- Churfaz, the Maggot-King. CE. Churfaz's manifestations usually take place in wells and cisterns. It erupts as a mass of grave worms and filth that corrupts the very source of the water (at least until the deity's curse is removed). After several days the maggots that constitute Churfaz will begin to hatch and become a cloud of stinging flies. The buzzing of these flies becomes the very voice of Churfaz, who will immediately begin to issue strange commands and requests. Churfaz craves dead meat, and it must be placated to prevent its spread. It chooses its servants among the malformed and the outcast. Each of these annointed bear its mark -- a rosy, inflamed cyst on their scalps. [Gorgonmilk]
- The Flaw. LE. God of murder. The Flaw may be summoned by speaking certain words in a pitch black room or cave. He always comes when summoned, though the only evidence of his presence is a flush of the cheeks, cold breath and whispers in the ear. If summoned he will answer any questions about any murder ever committed, but before he leaves he will whisper the name of someone the summoner must kill.(treat as Geas). Anyone who tries to look upon The Flaw with infravision will briefly see a frail old man before collapsing in throbbing pain and for days will see pools of blood welling up on every surface they look upon. [Lum]
- Ywehbobbobhewy, Lord of Waters, King of Mirrors, Patriarch of the Most Profound. CG. Ywehbobbobhewy's manifestions occur in churning or disturbed waters, fragments of shattered mirrors, and deep thoughts that should not be thought. He appears as a pulsing mass of a thousand-eyed fleshy, clawed, tentacle-like appendages and grinning toothy mouths cackling with maniacal laughter. Ywehbobbobhewy is most pleased with offering of thoughtless thoughts and good intentions, but savors the flesh of priests of Churfaz the Maggot-King as the most delectable of offerings. Ywehbobbobhewy's servants come from the most learned of the learned ranks: those who have glimpsed the divine without divine assistance and have been driven mad by what they have glimpsed. Sociopaths and/or academics, in other words. The Dark Moon festival is held in Ywehbobbobhewy's honor every fourteenth year. Although outlawed in many kingdoms and empires, in rural villages the rites of male virgin sacrifice and blood debauchery are practiced on this darkest of nights. It is said that only on this night will Ywehbobbobhewy himself assume human form and walk among his worshippers, most often appearing as a one-eyed, lute-playing hunchbacked midget accompanied by a two-legged bald cat which rides on his shoulders. [Matt Schmeer]
- Urgog-Baz. NE. Urgog-Baz is the harsh summer god of the sun and drought. He is pictured as giant red eagle with the head of lion. He nifests as a nearly unstoppable wildfire in a forest or on the plains. Urgog-Baz's mark (it could interpretted as a blessing or a curse depending on who is asked) takes the form of hideous and highly visible burn scar. The scar is not debilitating or maiming. The blessing comes in the form of a seemingly mundane fire at moment of enlightenment that cause the marked to make life-changing descision. Urgog-Baz enjoys offerings of anything living or dead that can be consumed by fire. Larger and sentient offerings are perfered. He does not speak, he only sends symbols in the form of something burning down. His name is also invoked to protect against monsters that come out at night, such as vampires and werewolves, and the undead. [Nate]
- Aghalza. CE. Minor goddess of the northern steppes, placated by fearful nomads. She manifests as a stealthy shadow or smoke with lambent cat's eyes the size of gold coins. In her presence, frost will form on damp metal or glass. Her mark is bestowed on the favoured during nightmares, a three-tined scratch on the chest. She is sudden death to the young (babies, calves or ponies) and feasts on those lost. She is invoked to harm enemies and wards against thieves, gypsies and the fey. Those few who worship her use icicles as ritual daggers and make blood offerings. Where there is permanent snow, she is invoked all year. In warmer lands, she is invoked between autumnal equinox and spring equinox – to invoke her in warm lands outside of these times will incur her wrath. This usually takes the form of an encounter with a manticore. [satyre]
- Seppophis the Huntress, Mistress of Snares and Entanglements. NE. Usually depicted with the body of a nubile dancing girl holding aloft a length of rope and a dripping, barbed javelin. In place of her head is a mass of long spider's legs, extending in an irregular nimbus past her shoulders. She is the patroness of all who earn their living by pursuit and evasion, by enticement and sudden surprises. Thieves and other scofflaws on the run attempt to propitiate her with substitute sacrifices (she is believed to be partial to trapped, but uninjured flies) while watchmen, bounty-hunters and and frustrated revengers hope to secure her blessing as they pursue their quarry. Brigands and pirates offer prayers and sacrifices for wealthy, unguarded victims. Prostitutes, jewelers, and perfumers give her reverence, as do all manner of mountebanks and swindlers. Every year, in Galbaruc, an elaborate ceremony takes place on the Street of Crushed Petals in which a fantastically costumed and masked troupe of stolid, upright citizens and officials representing Law square off against their opposite number, representing Chaos. Through a series of competitive dances, recitations, songs, and feats of strength and cunning, two opposing champions are chosen -- suitors to the goddess, and these are led in a winding parade to the outskirts of the city, to the cave believed to be the entrance to Seppophis' lair. Both champions enter the cave, though only one will emerge in the morning, maddened and screaming. The other has been taken as the Consort of Seppophis, and is never seen again. His faction will enjoy a bonus to all activities relating to their trade for the remainder of the year. When Seppophis deigns to take human form, it is either in the guise of a slim, dark-haired girl, smelling faintly of cloves and cinnamon, or of a gaunt, silver-haired matriarch of no known family line. She is attracted to scenes of intrigue and hopeless entrapment. [Jeremy Duncan]