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5/22/2013

PETTY GODS: Iä! All Hail the God Who Is Jale

Originally conceived as an ersatz-Nyarlathotep, the Jale God has grown into his own godling and occupies a central place in the meta-theology of PETTY GODS. He was called Im Ra Jash by a forgotten race that once peopled a long-sunken chain of isles found in a sea commonly avoided by sea-merchants, a region where the water takes on an unearthly color. Jash has many other names and is known to take a variety of forms. In classical terms he is a Trickster with limited (though considerable) dominion over fate. His popular visage, sacred to certain cultists and magic-users, is the emaciated figure depicted below.

Idol of the Jale God
Illustration by Paul Gallagher

Like PG as a whole, His Atrocity is a communal effort. Several writers have contributed to the Jale Mythos and created some of the God's divine aspects. These appear in physical form from time to time, separately or simultaneously:

The Averted Onlooker (aka The Laughing Rot) 
by Logan Knight

"The Onlooker comes into the light, sunken sockets bereft of sight, green bone grown over the pits. A smile splits his face and a chittering, choking laughter fills the room, as does a steady tinkle of teeth hitting the floor, tiny organic jade sculptures falling from his mouth like a spilling jar.

"His body follows in the shadows, a dark hulking thing, scraping forward on legs bent like a rat's and a field of arms that sprout and claw and beckon. But it is the wet naked body of a man that drags itself from the shadows and into the light behind the laughing living death mask. The shine of his deep green skin makes his flesh seem to sink in and out of itself and the material plane.

"He is here to take your eyes. You have seen so much agony. The Jale God will carry it in his belly."

The Lady of Rains (aka The Kingdom-Breaker)
by Grant Stone

"She is most commonly found in wealthy and populous cities, newly admitted to the circles of the rich and powerful. To those with great wealth or social status, she appears as a woman (or man) of remarkable beauty. When she arrives in a city, the doors of high society are immediately thrown open to her. She finds herself invited to discreet private soirees. She will be seen sitting next to prominent businessmen or politicians at important social events. Her remarkable beauty will be remarked upon so often it may seem to be the only topic of conversation.

"The Lady travels in a discreet, yet obviously expensive, black carriage with smoked windows, pulled by four jet black horses. She often wears long dresses of red or yellow; when in public she is never without a chiffon veil in the same color as her dress.

"No more than a week after her first appearance, she will take a lover, often more than one. She seeks out the men and women with the greatest political power: high-ranking clergy, admirals and generals, chiefs of guilds, kings or emperors. These people will of course find her completely irresistible. It is not unknown for a merchant or lord mayor to immediately throw his spouse and children out in the street upon taking up with the Lady of Rains. While she enjoys such small dramas, she prefers affairs that are, initially at least, discreet. In either case, she is immediately taken into her target's confidences. Within days her opinion is being sought about significant business, political or military decisions. Many thousands of wars have been initiated by the nodding of her head.

"Before the month is out, the Lady's plans will have come to fruition. Scions of noble houses will fight openly in the street; Traders will burn the warehouses of their rivals; generals will raise their armies against their own leaders; the navies of nearby and allied nations will be sunk in their ports. And all the while, as the realm is ruined, the upper reaches of society are lost in a haze of balls and pageants and spectacle, interrupted only by the occasional assassination.

"When she leaves the city, the Lady of Rains may leave her carriage and lift her veil. The lower classes, those with ragged clothes and grime-stained faces, will see her true face: the ancient skin, the weeping eyes, the double row of teeth, licked by the grasping tentacle that serves as her tongue. Her mere presence in the poorer parts of the city will spark riots, fires and widespread panic. As the kingdom falls, so does the city.

"Several days after the Lady of Rains has departed, a few nobles, if any are still living, will walk through the smoking ruins of their lives. Their cries of loss will join those of the dying and bereaved.

"And in some other place, a black carriage passes through the gates of another great city."

Thwizeviblyz (Petty God of Baby Laughter)
by Matt Schmeer

"Every time a baby laughs, Thwizeviblyz (whose name is best pronounced by the untoothed mouths of children) is greatly pleased and grows in strength. As his power is tied to the health of the human and halfling populations (elven and dwarven babies do not laugh), his power waxes and wanes with the tides of famine, drought, war, and plague. In good times he is one of the most powerful of gods, in bad times one of the weakest. Yet Thwizeviblyz persists as long as the Jale God persists, overseeing the birth and death of civilizations over the ages.

"The key to his longevity is that every child unconsciously worships Thwizeviblyz. Being born is a fate no mortal soul can avoid, and Thwizeviblyz knows there is nothing sweeter than innocent souls enjoying the moments before fate's fingers begin to twist their life's threads. Young children's unbidden laughter at life's minor absurdities mesh with his own view of the cosmos.

"His presence goes unnoticed by those over three years old. But those under three know him as shadows upon walls, curtains fluttering in a windless room, and soothing voices emanating from beneath closed doors. He cannot be attacked in these forms. Thwizeviblyz brings the gift of teething everywhere he goes; the sharp pain in the mouth a reminder that life is pain and blood and fire in the mouth. Tonya, the Petty Goddess of Children's Teeth, is grateful for this service and owes her existence to him.

"If a party carries children under three within their ranks, Thwizeviblyz might bestow a Blessing upon the party that gives a +3 to morale, +1 to STR, and +2 to CON. However, he has a particular hatred of mimes, clowns, jesters, and jokers, whose worthless mouth noises bring forth false laughter from children. If a party includes one of these lousy comedians, his Blessing will also cause their jokes and antics to have no effect on children of any age; in fact, children will instead flee from them in terror.

"If a child should die through the party's fault while under the Blessing, the Blessing will immediately become a Curse and the party will suffer the bonuses as penalties instead. This curse can only be lifted by a cleric of 10th level or higher.

"Thwizeviblyz will often manifest among adults in a tavern as a lice-ridden, besotted old man who sits near the hearth and speaks nothing but gibberish if approached. If he is treated well while in this guise, (plied with drinks, fed a food of the gods, etc.), there is a 3% chance he will grant a Limited Wish; if it is an unbidden child who treats him well, he will grant a Wish. He's used to being treated poorly or ignored and will go out of his way to blend into the crowd to avoid notice."

Verthish (Petty God of Single Pips) 
by Matt Schmeer

"Verthish appears in the crowd during games of chance involving dice. He usually manifests as an aged, long haired, one-eyed man wearing a brown cloak armed only with a dagger and carrying a white staff. To all outward appearances, he is normal human rabble who likes to gamble. He will wager large sums on the outcomes of the games themselves rather than participating in the games.

"He is impressed with those who act hastily and recklessly in pursuit of high stake gambles  and on occasion will manipulate the outcome of the dice  in their favor even if it means a financial loss for himself.

"He abhors loaded dice and will ensure their owner loses every game in which such dice are used.

"If attacked, he will defend with Fairness, a +3 dagger that dispenses an additional +3 against cheaters, and Balanced, a +3 quasi-intelligent bonewood staff that once per day can cast The Curse of the Jale God, Im Ra Jash, at a target of its own choosing.

"If defeated in battle, Verthish will turn to smoke and return to his original plane. After 1d4 weeks, the weapons will lose their magical abilities."





2 comments:

  1. That's some pretty respectable work on the idol there.

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  2. The Lady of Rains is a delightful disaster waiting to happen in a city near you. Beautiful. Well done Grant!

    ReplyDelete