Thursday, March 21, 2013

Campaign Design - The Lords of Hell: Darmas

Darmas

War Leader of Hell; The Great Slaver; The Scourge of Battles; Demon Lord of Tyranny, Conquest, and Duergar

Alignment: Lawful Evil.
Domains: Command, Competition, Conquest, Tyrant, Weapons.
Summon Monster: Darmas' clerics can summon axiomatic and fiendish creatures using summon monster spells.
Symbol: A pair of mummified severed hands.
Favored Weapon: "The enslaver" (waraxe).
Related Prestige Classes: Order's Tyrant.

Darmas is the general of Hell's armies, a menacing figure clad in black plate armor with a helm that covers his face, and bearing a black waraxe inscribed with red runes. He rides a massive fiendish beast that has matted black fur, fangs that drip acid, and claws of steel. Legend holds that neither Darmas' face nor any other part of him has ever been seen, and some maintain that the suit of armor is merely an animated shell, and the beast that it rides is actually the embodiment of the god. Others holds that the suit of armor is empty, but that the armor itself is Darmas. Others scoff at such notions and call their proponents heretics. No matter the truth, Darmas is the very embodiment of the cruelty and horror of war, demanding that his followers be remorseless and ruthless in battle. He is also the unyielding and pitiless tyrant, ruling over all he can reach with an iron hand.

In some myths, Darmas is said to have once been devoid of armor until, aided by evil dwarves, he stole into Wünd's workshop and absconded with his black armor and axe, earning the enmity of the Lord of Smiths. Darmas' priests say that this is a lie concocted by the Celestial Lords to smear the name of their patron out of jealousy at his imposing and awesome presence. All agree, however, that Ishi inscribed the runes of power upon his cruel axe head, which enchant the blade to inflict terrible wounds that never heal upon those it strikes. During the War in Heaven, Darmas severed the hands of the sleeping Heim, and now wears them on a chain around his neck as a trophy. Darmas led the armies of Hell on the field of battle, raising his red and black standard on the battlefield to defy the Lords of Heaven.

Darmas was the last of the Infernal Lords to be swept from the field of battle, standing against the combined might of Vali, Thunor, Tiwas, and Forseti, before Wünd took his hammer and Heim took his vengeful sword to the Tyrant Lord and sealed his fate. When he was cast down, the fall shattered his body, scattering the pieces across the underworld. Woda enchanted the parts of Darmas with magical concealment so that they could only be found with great effort, and his devoted duergar followers spend much of their lives hunting for the scattered remnants of their lord Darmas.

Darmas' worshipers are found among evil warriors, tyrants, unjust rulers, and especially duergar. He is also honored among those worgs who bother with such things, who hold fervently to the belief that Darmas is, in fact, the great beast. Darmas holds a special hatred of Wünd, a sentiment his devoted worshipers share. Among duergar, Darmas is regarded as the unyielding ruler of their race, demanding total obedience in exchange for his favor.

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Campaign Design - The Lords of Hell: Belial

Belial

The Scaled King; Commander of the Demon Host; The Inquisitor of Hell; Demon Lord of Scaled Creatures and Domination

Alignment: Lawful Evil.
Domains: Domination, Evil, Reptile, (Scalykind), Summoning.
Summon Monster: Belial's clerics can summon axiomatic and fiendish creatures using summon monster spells.
Symbol: A trident wrapped with a serpent's tongue.
Favored Weapon: "The tines of torment" (trident).

Belial is the commander of the demonic host, and is awesomely powerful to behold. His head is like that of a giant lizard or snake with black horns and fangs with deadly poison, his eyes are yellow with black pupils. His upper body is shaped like that of a man, but with four arms and his skin is plated with blue green scales, while his lower body merges into that of an immense snake tail, and a jagged row of bony spines that run up his back. He has huge dragon wings, and the tip of his tail is barbed and drips virulent poison. Belial has no legs, but travels like a snake along the ground, supporting his upper body with this serpentine lower body. He carries a massive black trident in one hand, and a cruelly barbed scourge in the other. Belial delights in cruelty, and he is also the torturer and inquisitor of Hell.

In the War in Heaven Belial led the demon host into battle, but was turned back by the combined efforts of Tiwas and Forseti. Legends hold that Belial’s great fortress of mud is located in the middle of a fetid, steaming swamp. After the War in Heaven, Belial's realm was transformed into a frozen wasteland, and he was imprisoned in an ice cavern underneath his fortress. The cold and ice has driven Belial's body into a torpor, and even his most devoted servants are kept from aiding him by the infernal chill of his surroundings.

As the ruler of infernal reptiles, Belial prefers intensely hot and humid conditions, and disease and rot are rampant throughout his realms. Snakes, crocodiles, and poisonous lizards are favorites of this demon. His realm is also home to scores of demons and other fiendish creatures that form the core of the demon host. Although he has a number of human followers, most of his adherents are drawn from the evilly inclined scaly creatures of the world that revel in his foul worship, such as evil dragons and depraved lizardfolk.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Campaign Design - The Lords of Hell: Baal

Baal

Lord of the Baleful Eye; Evil Prince of Earth, The Iron Lord; The Devourer; The Terror Below; Demon Lord of Gluttony, Decay, Ratmen, and the Dark Places Under the Earth

Alignment: Neutral Evil.
Cleric Domains: Cavern, Decay, Gluttony, Iron, Subterranean.
Unholy Warrior Domains: Earth, GluttonyHorror.
Summon Monster: Baal's clerics can summon fiendish and terran creatures using summon monster spells.
Symbol: A lidless eye.
Favored Weapon: "The carving knife" (falchion).
Related Classes: Unholy Warrior.
Related Prestige Classes: Champion of the Dark Seven, Servant of Baal.

Baal is a mountain of fat, a huge and corpulent gnawing beast with a blinded right eye. All he touches rots, withers, crumbles, or rusts away, and is then put into the gaping maw of the ravenous creature. He is the lord of the slitheren, as the ratmen are in awe of his perpetual hunger. The gaze of his poisonous left eye is deadly enough to kill any living thing he looks at, and the lid of the eye is so heavy that it required four of the strongest ratman warriors to lift it for him. Baal is eternally ravenous, and consumes everything he comes across, but no matter how much he eats, he is never satiated.

Before the War for Heaven, Baal had two eyes, and his gaze slew his enemies by the score until Yng shot out his right eye with an arrow, causing Baal to stumble which allowed Thunor to cast him down from Heaven. Now Baal hates both Yng and Thunor, and his followers and Yng’s followers are mortal enemies. When he was cast down, Baal's might was so great that he had to be crushed beneath a mighty mountain to prevent him from escaping. The mountain is slowly being destroyed from within by Baal's malevolent touch, and when he struggles to free himself, he is said to cause earthquakes.

Baal's priests pay honor to the Demon Lord's voracious and destructive nature, seeking to bring forth their inner beastial. Worship of Baal is almost universal among the slitheren, but he has few worshippers other than that race. Of his few non-slitheren priests and devoted servants, most are wererats, and rats, a perpetually hungry creature that can eat anything, feature prominently in his worship. Ritual feasting on rotted meat is practiced, and commonly ritual cannibalism. Many of the rituals associated with Baal involve consuming the bodies of their enemies. Baal's clergy are sometimes opposed by the White Hand because they occasionally reanimate the corpses of their enemies, which are then ritually destroyed so the undead flesh can be consumed, a practice that even the vile priests of Tuni and Tunar find abhorrent.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Campaign Design - Religion in the Three Worlds: The Lords of Hell

Arrayed against the Lords of Heaven are the nefarious Lords of Hell, a group of twenty-one vile powers that are the personifications of misery, woe, and cruelty in the Three Worlds. Collectively these evil beings are known as the Lords of Hell, or the Demon Lords, and their worship is outlawed in most of the "civilized" regions of the campaign. The Lords of Hell are not generally available as divine patrons for the players in the campaign to choose, although almost everyone is award of them due to the predatory activities of their agents. Evil clerics and blackguards must select one of these demonic beings as a patron, but since player characters are generally not permitted to play evil characters, players may not do so (other than possibly choosing to be a cleric of Lyssa).

As with the Lords of Heaven, non-clerical inhabitants of the Three Worlds don't regard any of the Lords of Hell as being particularly more dangerous than any other. Although most inhabitants of the Three Worlds would not call upon their aid, they do regard them as powerful entities whose influence needs to be warded against. On the other hand, giants, trolls, goblins, kobolds, orcs, gnolls, and the denizens of regions such as Isakoti, Jaatemaa, Loring, and Polthia would tend to call upon their powers as needed, but even they probably feel some trepidation when doing so, because while the Demon Lords may be willing to offer aid, they do so for a price.

Unlike the Lords of Heaven, who mostly work together, or at least don't actively work against one another, the Lords of Hell are a cantankerous lot, and their priesthoods and followers oppose one another nearly as often as they oppose the forces of Heaven, with the various Demon Lords often vying with one another to establish their supremacy. Some of the Demon Lords even see others of their number as deadly enemies - the rivalry between Ninkurra and Gangyn, for example, is bitter and deadly. The twenty-one Demon Lords are:

Abonde, Mother of Giants; The Blood Witch; She Who Whispers at Night; Demon Mistress of Giants, Trolls, Hags, and Witches
Baal, Lord of the Baleful Eye; Evil Prince of Earth, The Iron Lord; The Devourer; The Terror Below; Demon Lord of Gluttony, Decay, Ratmen, and the Dark Places Under the Earth
Belial, The Scaled King; Commander of the Demon Host; The Inquisitor of Hell; Demon Lord of Scaled Creatures and Domination
Darmas, War Leader of Hell; The Great Slaver; The Scourge of Battles; Demon Lord of Tyranny, Conquest, and Duergar
Gangyn, The Spider Spirit; The Venom in Shadows; Lady of a Thousand Poisons; Demon Mistress of Shadows, Assassins, and Poison
Halpas, Evil Prince of Air; The Destroyer; The Nemesis of Heaven; The Relentless Gale; Demon Lord of Reckless Wrath
Iku-Tyrma, Evil Prince of Ice and Frost; The Foehammer; The Lord in the Ice; Demon Lord of Frost Giants, Sloth, and Winter
Ishi, The Red King; The Oathbreaker; The Ruby Sorcerer; Demon Lord of Evil Enchanters, Dark Magic, Pride, and Treachery
Kalma, The Exiled One; The Maiden of Misfortune; Demon Mistress of Ghosts, Spirits, and Calamity
Khil, The Reaver; The Leg Breaker; The Seething Chain; Demon Lord of Orcs, Fury, and Savagery
Kivutar, Mother of Plagues; The Queen of Maggots; The Rotted Temptress; Demon Mistress of Sickness and Pestilence
Lug, of the Mighty Blows; The Skull-Smasher; The Bone Grinder; Demon Lord of Hill Giants, Ettins, Ogres, Revenge, and Hatred
Lyssa, The Maiden of Sorrows; She Who Sees; Demon Mistress of Madness, Confusion, and Despair
Ninkurra, Queen of the Infernal Hive; The Consuming Swarm; Demon Mistress of Goblins, Torture, and Vermin
Oxossi, Lady of the Black Fang; The Carrion Eater; The Beastlord; The Slayer; Demon Mistress of Gnolls, Evil Beasts, and the Wild Hunt
Sethra, The Princess of Lies; Mother of Serpents; The Forked Tongue; Demon Mistress of Snakes and Beguilement
Sirchade, That Which Lurks; The Many-Eyed Lord; Demon Lord of Suffering, Slime, Fungus, and Rot
Surtan, Evil Prince of Fire; Flame of the Underworld; Lord of the Black Forge, Demon Lord of Fire Giants and Greed
Tunar, The Pitiless Queen; The Blood-Drinker; The Dark Lady; Demon Mistress of Vampires and the Underworld
Tuni, The Reaper of Life; The Bringer of Darkness; Lord of the Crypt; Lord of Ghouls; The Closed Mouth; Demon Lord of Death and Darkness
Vassatar, The Finder of Secrets; The Deceiver; Demon Lord of Kobolds, Avarice, and Thievery

During the War in Heaven, the Lords of Hell rallied their armies and marched upon the Gates of Heaven. The great conflict is told in the myths and legends of the Three Worlds, but the end result is well-known: Kivutar's child Füllar sided with the Lords of Heaven and the Lords of Hell were defeated and cast down, to be imprisoned until the end of the world, when they will rise again for the final battle between the forces of light and darkness. Despite their confinement, the Lords of Hell remain potent, capable of communicating with and acting through their servants, many of whom have dedicated their efforts to freeing their infernal patrons.

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Campaign Design - The Lords of Heaven: Yng

Yng (Freyr)

The Lord of the Golden Disc; The Lord of Many Colors; The Summer Lord, The Great Master of the Winds; Celestial Lord of Sunshine, the Sky, Archery, and Creatures in Flight

Alignment: Neutral Good.
Domains: Birds, Desert, Rainbow, Sky, Summer, Sun.
Summon Monster: Yng's clerics can summon auran and celestial creatures using summon monster spells.
Symbol: A sun disk of gold with a red eagle displayed.
Favored Weapon: "The Rainbow" (longbow or composite longbow).
Related Prestige Classes: Shining Blade of Yng.

Yng is the lord of light, the sun, the sky, and the patron of all flying creatures. Although he is paired with the wild and tempestuous Brid, Yng is steady and calm, guiding the sun with a steady hand every day to rise and set in its constant, reliable way. Where Brid is rash and impetuous, Yng is reflective and thoughtful, carefully considering and planning his decisions before he commits himself. In many folktales, Yng is called upon to extricate his foolhardy consort from some predicament she has found herself in as a result of her impulsive nature. Yng is portrayed as the ever-suffering but ever-tolerant spouse, always coming to Brid's aid when she is in need, seemingly regarding her mishaps with kindly affection.

Yng is counted as one of the mightiest of the Lords of Heaven. Despite his contemplative nature, he is said to be terrible to behold when roused to anger, when he fights he is said to shine like the sun itself. Yng is fearsome when hunting and his wrath in battle is dreadful. He rides a giant eagle with red feathers and talons of gold whose wings are so powerful they cause great gales when it flies. Yng is closely associated with the composite longbow and in legend he is considered the greatest archer of the gods, but the stories also recount him battling his foes with a mighty longsword. He owns a many-colored bow that is said to never miss when he fires it, a yellow, shining blade that glows like the sun, and a helm decorated with two brilliant yellow gems. Legend holds that rainbows that appear in the sky are reflections of Yng's great bow, drawn over the earth as the celestial lord hunts his enemies. During the War in Heaven, Yng confronted Gangyn, the great shadow spirit, as well as Abonde, the mistress of night, and drove them back into Hell with his radiant light. Yng holds a special hatred for Tuni, and his priests are called upon to oppose the Demon lord of Death at all times.

He is also said to own a cloak that can make any who wear it become invisible at will. Yng holds dominion over the sun, and is said to guide it through the sky in a great chariot pulled by a great convocation of eagles. He rules over all of the creatures of the air, and any who travel in the skies fall under his authority. His worshippers can be found everywhere, but those who rely upon the wind and the sun for their livelihoods, such as sailors and farmers, are most likely to seek his favor.

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Campaign Design - The Lords of Heaven: Wünd

Wünd (Wreylund)

Lord of the Forge; The Dwarf Lord; The Divine Crafter; Celestial Lord of Smiths, Craftsmen, and Dwarves

Alignment: Lawful Neutral.
Domains: Craft, (Dwarf), Earth, The Forge, Metal, Stonehearth.
Summon Monster: Wünd's clerics can summon axiomatic and terran creatures using summon monster spells.
Symbol: A smith's hammer or other crafting tool.
Favored Weapon: "The smith's hand" (warhammer).

Wünd is the master of all crafts and delights in works of skill, however small or great they may be. It is said that he placed all of the gems in the earth when he crafted the substance that makes up the stones and rock, and the gold, silver and other metals that may be found under the land are where they are by his hand. Some believe that the courses of the veins and types of minerals that may be followed by miners may, if properly interpreted, provide his followers with advice and guidance. Wünd is said to have manufactured all of the weapons and armor of the gods that were used in the War in Heaven, and myths hold that those armaments he makes can never be broken and never miss when used in battle. Wünd is also credited with crafting Heim’s silver hands and eyes, Tiwas’ golden arm and great oath ring, and the cage used to imprison the demon hound Garm, as well as many other wondrous and powerful items. In the War in Heaven, only Wünd could stand before the heat and fury of the fire demon Surtan, having become inured to the flames by his long labors over his intensely hot furnaces. Protected by his iron mask and flame hardened war shield, Wünd used his great war hammer and felled the fire demon, who was cast out of heaven. Because of this, Surtan hates and despises Wünd and his followers seek to destroy Wünd’s adherents whenever they find them.

Wünd always is depicted as a mighty and stoutly built blacksmith clad in a leather apron. Among dwarves, Wünd is always shown as a massively muscled dwarven smith, a representation that is not uncommon among other races. This deity is very popular among dwarves, who hold that the most skilled and worthy dwarven smiths are taken to his great workshops to become his assistants, but craftsmen and miners of all races revere him. His consort is Hlín, the kindler of the sacred flame, and in legend it is her who lights the fires of his holy forges. Wünd is also shown working closely with Hoenir, and some story-cycles even claim that it was the Dwarf Lord who created the Machine Who Makes, although this is a decidedly minority view. As would be expected for the lord of smiths, Wünd’s followers favor the warhammer, which is his chosen weapon.

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Campaign Design - The Lords of Heaven: Woda

Woda (Oman)

The All-Father; The Blind Lord; The Runecaster; Celestial Lord of Magic and Knowledge

Alignment: Neutral Good.
Domains: (Alvar), Knowledge, Magic, Mentor, Rune, Wisdom.
Summon Monster: Woda's clerics can summon anarchic, axiomatic, and celestial creatures using summon monster spells.
Symbol: A length of cloth tied into a loop, as a blindfold.
Favored Weapon: Staff.

This celestial is the leader of the Lords of Heaven and he is regarded as the patron of sages, sorcerers, and diviners of hidden mysteries. In legend, Woda carries the Runestaff, a mystical weapon upon which is carved runes setting forth the sum total of the knowledge of the heavens, as well as the secrets of the foundations of magic. In his search for knowledge, Woda traded his worldly sight to learn the innermost secrets of the mind of the Grym and the events that took place before the celestial lords were created, learning things that are said to torment him at all times. Many stories about Woda involve his dealings with mortals, but he almost always walks in disguise, usually appearing as a tall, gaunt old man with a cloth bound over his eyes, with gray hair and a beard, and wearing a rough cloak and a hood or broad-brimmed hat.

Woda has a pair of wolves who guard his throne, and a pair of ravens who bring him news of everything that happens throughout the world every day. Woda owns the Cauldron of Abundance, in which everyone who draws from it finds food according to their merit and none are left hungry. He is the spouse of Eiur, and the acknowledged father of Forseti, Füllar, Heim, Rúadan, Syfa, Tiwas, and Vali. In the War in Heaven, Woda’s magical might was tested against Ishi, and the two locked in a mystical struggle, matching enchantment against enchantment. In the end, the All-Father's magic proved to be stronger, and Ishi was forced out of the gates of Heaven, and fell with his compatriots to be imprisoned in Hell.

It is said that when he sits upon his throne, he can see throughout the past, with only the darkened pits of Hell being beyond his backward seeing vision and he can hear anything that is said in the world, so long as the winds can carry it. As the master of magic, this celestial lord is very popular among the alvar, who claim that he holds them in special favor. All clerics of Woda may treat Speak Language as a cleric class skill for free and are required to learn to speak Quolin no matter their race. Clerics devoted to Woda usually favor the staff as a weapon. Clerics devoted to Woda may treat the wizard class as an additional favored class. Many of his most powerful priests become Mystic Theurges.

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