Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Campaign Design - The Lords of Hell: Lyßa


The Maiden of Sorrows; She Who Sees; Demon Mistress of Madness, Confusion, and Despair

Alignment: Chaotic Neutral.
Domains: Confusion, Despair, Insanity, LimboMadness, Mania.
Summon Monster: Lyßa's clerics and favored souls roll 1d18 when using summon monster spells. They may summon creatures according to the result of the die roll: (1) anarchic, (2) aquan, (3) auran, (4) axiomatic, (5) bone, (6) celestial, (7) corpse, (8) corrupted, (9) fiendish, (10) fioð, (11) ice, (12) ignan, (13) ísern-souled, (14) magma, (15) ooze (16) shadow, (17) smoke, (18) terran. Roll each time one of Lyßa's clerics casts a summon monster spell and use the new result for the current spell.
Symbol: A disc spattered with random colors.
Favored Weapon: "The wheel of despair" (chakram).
Related Prestige Classes: Knight of Bedlam.
DM's Note: Although Lyßa is counted among the Lords of Hell, she is not herself actually evil, but rather a force of pure chaotic insanity. Consequently, a player could technically play a character devoted to Lyßa, although given that most of her followers are afflicted with various forms of madness, this would pose a difficult role-playing challenge. As DM, I reserve the right to approve (or disapprove) any character who is a devotee of this deity.

Lyßa is the saddest of all of the divine or infernal powers, and some do not even count her as one of the Lords of the Infernal Realms. Long ago, before any records exist that tell the tale, Lyßa suffered a terrible loss that drove her mad with sorrow and despair. She remains now isolated in a thatched hut at the center of the endless swamps of the Hells, mindlessly weeping and wailing for all eternity with only the ghostly Kalma for company. Lyßa did not participate in the War in Heaven, indeed many question whether she even could have participated had she shown the desire. The Lords of Hell did consult her for guidance, and it was her rambling revelations that led them to take the actions that led to the cataclysmic confrontation between Heaven and Hell.

Lyßa's madness has a strange side-effect: Once in a great while, her mind sharpens and she can see the future with startling clarity. Lyßa is consequently, the oracle of the Demon Lords, who call upon her foresight when they are desperate. These moments are rare, and one might have to sit by her and listen to her lunatic ramblings for hours, days, weeks, months, or even years before she has a moment of lucidity and will answer a single question. The only catch is that because she is insane, her predictions, although always completely accurate, are inevitably phrased in such a away that they are always misinterpreted and are only comprehensible in hindsight. This does not stop supplicants from making the frightful journey across the spirit-filled swamps and braving the terrors of Kalma to consult with Lyßa. And it is not only the Lords of Hell who seek out Lyßa's divinations - the legends are filled with stories of courageous heroes who brave the terrors of the grim odyssey to her door in the hopes of learning some valuable insight that could save them or their loved ones. These tales frequently end in tragedy, but there are enough that could be called a success (for certain values of success), that the desperate might still be tempted to make the attempt.

Lyßa's followers are rare, but do exist. They all seem to be afflicted by some sort of insanity, ranging from delusions to paranoia to violent mania. Whether those who are mad are drawn to worship Lyßa, or worshiping Lyßa drives her followers mad is not entirely clear. Her shrines are usually in forlorn, nigh inaccessible, remote locations and usually house a mad oracle and possibly a handful of slightly less mad caretakers. Others of her faithful wander alone on the streets and cities of towns in the Three Worlds, uttering lunatic ravings mixed with almost unintelligible prophecies.

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