Maglubiyet the Mighty One

Okay, you were probably expecting Trishina next, but she has been slightly delayed (off berrating Deep Sashelas for pursuing an elf maiden, I imagine). Instead, I bring you the chief of the goblin and hobgoblin pantheon, Maglubiyet! Compared to Gruumsh, there was surprisingly little canon on the Lord of Depths and Darkness, so I wasn’t very constrained in my writing. I’m definitely getting a better feel for these documents, too. After working on this one, I’m kind of looking forward to working on Bargrivyek, as I think I’ll turn him into one of the favored gods of spelljamming goblins. That will be a little while off though. Anyway, without further ado, here is Maglubiyet.

Maglubiyet (PDF Version)
(The Mighty One, Lord of Depths and Darkness, the Lord of the Flaming Iron Throne, the Battle Lord, Fiery-Eyes, the High Chieftain)
Greater Power of Acheron, LE

Portfolio:  War, rulership, destruction, hierarchical order, goblins and hobgoblins
Aliases:  Kartathok (Cerilia)
Domain Name:  Avalas/Clangor
Superior:  None
Allies:  Bargrivyek, Hextor, Khurgorbaeyag, Nomog-Geaya
Foes:  Gruumsh, the orcish pantheon, the Seldarine, the dwarf and gnome pantheons
Symbol:  Bloody axe
Wor. Align.:  LN, N, CN, LE, NE, CE

The High Chieftain of the goblins and hobgoblins, Maglubiyet (mag-LOO-bih-yet), is the iron-fisted ruler of his pantheon. As with Gruumsh, lord of the orcish pantheon, the Battle Lord of the goblins pushes his followers to war, conquest, and glory. He represents rigid order and strict discipline, teaching that they are the keys to strength and victory. He is the patron of both goblins and hobgoblins equally, as well as the degenerate norkers. He is known by many names, but they usually vary by clan and tribe; one exception is the world of Aebrynnis, where he is known as Kartathok to the goblins and hobgoblins, as well as the closely related bugbears.

The Lord of Depths and Darkness rules a smaller and more divided pantheon than does Gruumsh One-Eye. Most worlds have a plethora of lesser gods and demigods, but the Battle Lord is quick to destroy any who seem likely to challenge his authority. He allows the racial deities of Nomog-Geaya and Khurgorbaeyag to exist, as he understands the need for the goblins and hobgoblins to have specific patrons of their own. Both deities long ago learned to bow to the Lord of the Flaming Iron Throne. He also allows Bargrivyek to exist, as this mediator deity, unheard of amongst the other goblinoid deities, calls for unity and cohesion across racial and clan boundaries to increase the battle strength of the goblinoids, which resonates strongly with Maglubiyet’s preference for order and strength. He long ago had a pair of loyal sons, but fearing what he saw as their eventual challenge to his power, he sent them on a succession of suicide missions against the pantheons of the dwarves and orcs until they eventually fell. His paranoia has left him with no lieutenants he truly trusts, and it is a loss he feels keenly.

Maglubiyet is known for having few friends outside of his own pantheon. His strongest hatreds are reserved for the gods of the dwarves and gnomes, whose followers compete for habitable space in the upper underdark of many worlds. While his followers do not covet the living spaces of the elves, the Seldarine’s frequent alliances with the dwarven and gnomish pantheons have earned the High Chieftain’s eternal enmity. He has a long standing dispute with Panzuriel for the latter’s usurpation of the koalinths, a race of marine hobgoblins. This has yet to come to more than words and accusations, however, in part because the Battle Lord has yet to figure out the best way to take action against the aquatic lord. Despite their continuing war on Acheron and Maglubiyet’s intense dislike of the orcish deities, he and Gruumsh do occasionally ally when their goals coincide, such as the assault on Arvandor instigated by Araushnee and the more recent Unhuman Wars that swept Wildspace. The Lord of the Flaming Iron Throne can count on no other powers as reliable allies.

Goblin myth is similar in many ways to orcish myth, featuring Maglubiyet as leading the goblins and hobgoblins against the other races after they had been left out of the allotment of territories. Where orcish myth typically pits Gruumsh against the Seldarine, the Mighty One is typically pitted against Moradin and the Morndinsamman. Goblin creation myths speak of their rejection by the other races who dwell under the hills and mountains, and the Battle Lord appearing in their hour of despair to lead them in revenge against those who had shunned them. The myths typically reinforce the need for order and discipline in order to defeat their enemies, and show the intelligence and leadership abilities of the chieftains and priests. The specific details of the myths vary wildly, often incorporating the local powerful families and locations to better reinforce the current power structure by emphasizing the rightness of their rule.

Maglubiyet only infrequently sends his avatars to the Prime Material. His primary focus being on the battle against the orcish hordes on Acheron, and lacking lieutenants to entrust the fight to, keeps his focus turned there. As such, he utilizes his priests and shamans as direct mouthpieces for his will far more than most of the other goblinoid deities. He will send his avatar if it is to oppose the direct intervention of a dwarf, gnome, demihuman or humanoid avatar that would adversely affect the goblins and hobgoblins who worship him. He may also send an avatar to lead a battle if it has the potential to cause significant and wide-ranging destruction upon the enemies of his people, but otherwise he entrusts his priests to carry out his will.

Maglubiyet’s Avatar (Fighter 35, Priest 22)
Maglubiyet appears as a huge, terrifying goblin with ebony skin, glowing red eyes around which flames lick and sputter, and with sharp fangs and clawed hands at the end of powerfully-muscled arms. He uses priest spells from all spheres, using reversed spells where applicable.

AC −5; MV 12; HP 213; THAC0 −10; #AT 5/2
Dmg 2d8+16 (battle axe +4, +10 Str, +2 spec. bonus in axe)
MR 30%; SZ L (9 feet tall)
Str 22, Dex 18, Con 19, Int 15, Wis 15, Cha 19
Spells P: 11/10/9/9/9/6/3
Saves PPDM 2; RSW 5; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 6

Special Att/Def: Maglubiyet always wields a bloody, coalblack battle axe of sharpness +4 called the Reaver of Souls. Once per turn, he can project burning hands for 16 points of damage. Once per day, he can haste himself and speak an unholy word.

The Mighty One has a +2 bonus to all saves vs. fire, and suffers −1 point of damage per die from normal or magical fire attacks. He casts spells from the sphere of elemental fire at twice his level. When slain, the body of the avatar explodes as a 10-die fireball. The High Chieftain can only be hit by weapons of +2 or better enchantment.

Other Manifestations
As Maglubiyet’s attention is so focused on his war with Gruumsh’s hordes on Acheron, he communicates directly with his priests and shamans far more often than most other goblinoid deities do. Blood seeping from the edge of an axe is one of the most common omens, and shows the priests the Mighty One’s approval for a course of action. If he disapproves of a plan of action, an axe, preferably one of high-quality or an ancient heirloom, held by a clansmember will rust away to nothingness in a matter of moments. He may also send messages through the unusual or uncharacteristic actions of worgs and wolves kept as mounts. Oral tradition is important to the interpretation of such messages, as the priests hold a tradition of chronicling all such incidents the clan’s priests have experienced. Misinterpretation of these events is almost always grounds for sacrificing the offending priest. On occasions where specific and complex actions are required of a clan, the Lord of Depths and Darkness will cause one priest to enter a rigid trance and utter his instructions. Any priest affected must make a system shock roll after the trance passes or have his heart give out from the divine power that enters his body. A priest who survives will still lose half his current hit points, which can be healed normally.

The goblin pantheon is served primarily by renegade baatezu (any least and lesser type), barghests, and wolves (normal and dire). In addition, Maglubiyet is served by achaierai, bakemono, bladelings, dao, efreet, earth and fire elementals, earth and fire mephits, imps, maelephants, mites, nightmares, oni, reaves, sligs, sword spirits, and wolves (winter wolves and worgs). He demonstrates his favor through the discovery of abandoned dwarfholds and gnome burrows, the skeletons of gnomes or dwarves buried by rockfalls or cave-ins, bloodstones (represents especially strong favor), carnelian, deep red garnets, and rubies. He shows his displeasure by the discovery of goblin and hobgoblin skeletons buried by cave-ins or rockfalls, violent earth tremors that collapse whole goblin warrens or topple hobgoblin buildings, as well as steam vents that burst open to scald large gatherings of goblins.

The Church
Clergy:                      Clerics, specialty priests, crusaders, shamans, witch doctors
Clergy’s Align.:      LN, LE, NE
Turn Undead:           C: No, SP: No, Cru: No, Sha: No, WD: No
Cmnd. Undead:         C: Yes, SP: Yes, at priest level −2, Cru: No, Sha: No, WD: No

All clerics (including multiclassed fighter/clerics and cleric/thieves), specialty priests, crusaders, shamans, and witch doctors of Maglubiyet receive religion (goblin) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency.

Of all the goblinoids, goblins and hobgoblins are the most tolerant of having priests of all of the pantheon’s deities within the same tribe; however, Maglubiyet’s church is almost always the most politically powerful. They are always influential advisors to the clan chiefs, if not chieftains themselves. They enforce strict hierarchies within the tribes, punishing those who act above their station. They do, however, encourage ambition and advancement, except where their own power is concerned, often sending those who are a threat to their own power on suicide missions against dwarves, gnomes, or other enemies. Encountering a tribe that has turned its back on the Battle Lord is almost always grounds for a holy war with the aim of total annihilation of the heretical tribe. The only known exception to this general rule is in Wildspace, where Bargrivyek’s influence is significantly greater, and tribes are more likely to work together for a common goal despite religious differences.

Temples dedicated to the High Chieftain do not vary significantly by race and clan. Most goblins tend to carve a holy shrine out of the rock within a central location of their warren. At one end of the shrine will typically stand a low pedestal topped by an overly large statue of Maglubiyet, crafted of black basalt by the best artisans the clan has to offer. The idol’s hands are always outstretched to accept a sacrifice. The walls of the temple will be decorated with the skulls and heads of past sacrifices, with specific decorations and adornments that vary from tribe to tribe. Colors will typically be subdued, with greys, greens, blacks, and reds being preferred. Hobgoblin temples are generally similar, but built with thick stone walls when aboveground, and having a roof of black or dark grey slate or another type of stone. Underground, they look very similar to those of the goblins, except with dressed stone walls and stone floors. In either case, captured tapestries, standards, flags and the like will hang on the walls, preferably splashed with the blood of the humans and demihumans they were taken from.

Novices in the service of Lord of Depths and Darkness are called the Unproven. Full priests are known as the Sons of Maglubiyet. The hierarchy is extremely rigid; however, each tribe or nation has its own power structure. All tribal clerical hierarchies share the same rankings, starting with Knife, Bloodied Knife, Mace, Bloodied Mace, Spear, Bloodied Spear, Sword, Bloodied Sword, Axe, and culminating with Bloodied Axe. Above this, individual titles based on battle exploits tend to be granted by higher ranked priests. The highest rank of priest within a tribe will be known as the Grand Bloodied Axe of the Battle Lord. Shamans have individualistic titles granted by the chief shaman upon formally joining the priesthood. Specialty Priests are known as war cleavers. Shamans have individualistic titles granted by the chief shaman upon formally joining the priesthood. The Battle Lord’s clergy is comprised mostly of goblins (60%), followed by hobgoblins (32%), norkers (6%), and a small number of koalinths (2%) that have rebelled against Panzuriel. Females are never allowed to join the ranks of the clergy due to prejudice against the “weaker sex.” Specialty priests (48%) make up a plurality of the priesthood, followed by clerics (34%), fighter/clerics (8%), crusaders (6%), and cleric/thieves (4%). Shamans and witch doctors are not part of the clerical hierarchy, although they are considered brothers of the faith. Shamans are found in about three times as many Maglubiyet-dominated tribes as witch doctors.

Dogma: Order is strength, strength is victory, victory is the meaning of life. Discipline must be strictly maintained, for disorder brings weakness and defeat. Crush those who would deter you from your goal. Do not step out of line or act above your station; those who do are troublemakers and require punishment. Seize power and influence directly.

Day-to-Day Activities: Priests of the Mighty One are aggressive creatures, always pushing for war, conquest, and goblin glory. Most shamans and witch doctors act as advisors to their clan chieftains, although a small percentage gains enough power to set themselves up as leader. When the clan goes to war, they typically operate from behind the lines to support the warriors rather than fighting the enemy directly. On the other hand, in about half of all clans that contain full-blown clerics and specialty priests, the high priest is also the chieftain. These priests can always be found leading battles from the front lines. These clergy members do not engage in hopeless causes of their own making, however, and will carefully formulate plans to utilize the tunnels and terrain they know, as well as traps where ever possible, to gain the greatest advantage possible. In almost all tribes, there is unspoken encouragement to speed along one’s superior to Maglubiyet’s warband; in turn, this leads to many priests sending their juniors on suicide missions if they let their ambitions show too much. All priests and shamans ritually bless warriors before battle by anointing them with the blood of a recent sacrifice.

Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Once a month, on the new moon (or as best as goblins can tell when underground), all clans hold a ceremony called Maglubiyet’s Blood Feast, which the priests teach is a transfer of life energy to feed the High Chieftain and keep him strong. Before a chanting audience of clan members, the priest or shaman leads prisoners into the temple and, using a blessed axe, ritually beheads them before the idol of the mighty one. The severed heads are placed upon the outstretched hands of the idol and are left there until the next sacrifice. The preferred victims are dwarves or gnomes, followed by other demihumans or humans, orcs, other goblinoids, or in the most dire of situations, junior members of the cult. Despite the name, no actual feasting by the clan members takes place; in fact, they are expected to fast during the day of the sacrifice. The number of sacrifices a clan may make during this ceremony is usually evidence of how successful they are militarily; the more prisoners they capture, the more they will sacrifice. This ceremony must be completed at least once a month, but there are certainly times when the ceremony will be held more often. Clans in dire need of divine aid are quite likely to perform this ceremony twice a month or even weekly; in addition, truly successful clans may do so as well, as thanks to the Lord of Depths and Darkness.

Major Centers of Worship: Major holy sites dedicated to Maglubiyet are kept close secrets by those goblins who know of them. There was a great temple to the whole goblin pantheon located on the world of Borka in Greyspace; whether it survived the destruction wrought by the elves or not is unknown. The temple, known as the Bloody Halls of the War Axes, was built into the side of a cliff and fronted by thick fortress-like walls surrounding an open-air plaza. Once within the cliff face, ten foot high halls stretched out in multiple directions, leading to the smaller shrine chambers of the rest of the pantheon, while a large vaulted hall fifteen feet high lead straight into Maglubiyet’s altar chamber. Within the altar chamber stood a giant, twenty foot tall idol of the High Chieftain, believed to have been carved by a small clan of enslaved stone giants.

Near the western edge of the High Peaks in Erlkazar, overlooking the Plains of Pehrrifaal, lies the entrance to the largest city of the Starrock goblin tribe and capital of King Ertyk Uhl’s self-proclaimed kingdom. Within this subterranean city lies the temple known as the Vault of Flame and Iron, sanctified primarily to Maglubiyet, but with significant sub-temples and shrines to each of the other gods of the pantheon. High Bloody Axe Gratyk Uhl, younger brother of the king, has been instrumental in the binding of the smaller goblin tribes that once warred amongst each other in the mountains of Erlkazar into powerful unified tribe they are today.

In recent years, persistent rumors out of the Goblin Marches and the Stone Lands on the world of Toril indicate an ancient temple from the nation of goblins that existed there over one thousand years ago has been rediscovered and rededicated to the service of the Lord of Depths and Darkness. The temple is not yet a threat to any of the humans who live nearby in Cormyr, but if it is able to recruit or subdue the local tribes, a new and formidable power could arise in those lands.

Affiliated Orders: The largest military order associated with the church of Maglubiyet amongst the Known Spheres is called the Steelbiters. They are always composed of many of the most powerful (5th or higher) crusaders, fighter/priests, and specialty priests of the tribes, mounted on worgs of the largest size (maximum hit points). They answer only to the high priests of the Battle Lord, and keep themselves independent of clan politics, only fighting enemies of the goblins and hobgoblins. The Steelbiters are found only amongst the most organized and sophisticated goblin nations; as yet, they have been seen only rarely on worlds such as Toril or Oerth, and are much more common on worlds with spelljamming hobgoblin and goblin populations.

The Ironguards of the Battle Lord are dedicated to the defense of his holy sites. They are not a hierarchical organization like the Steelbiters are; there are generally no more than four members of the corps guarding any individual temple. All members are trained by the temple clergy using specific forms and rules laid out by Maglubiyet himself. Each member of the order is at least a 3rd-level fighter/cleric, and will have at least one magical weapon or set of armor, usually created by the clergy of Maglubiyet or passed down from a previous Ironguard. As with the Steelbiters, they are aloof from clan politics, as it is their sacred duty to defend the holy sites of the Lord of Depths and Darkness. Like the Steelbiters, however, they are typically found only amongst those populations of goblins and hobgoblins who are more advanced than the typical group found on worlds such as Oerth. They are especially common on spelljamming vessels that contain sanctified shrines to the Mighty One.

Priestly Vestments: Ceremonial raiment of Maglubiyet’s priests is very similar regardless of tribe, due mostly to the direct word of the High Chieftain to his priests. Priests wear conical hats made of leather or metal, and must be kept impeccably clean. In addition, they wear long grey-green robes, adorned with metal trinkets and jewelry from past sacrificial victims. In contrast to the hats, the robes are expected to get bloody; however, once every three months, the priest must acquire a clean set and burn the old on the altar as an offering to the Battle Lord. The holy symbol of the faith is a small black iron or stone double-headed axe, with the blades dipped regularly in blood. If the blades are not coated in blood at least once a week, the holy symbol loses its power and the priest is unable to cast or pray for spells.

Adventuring Garb: Goblin and hobgoblin priests garb themselves accordingly when entering battle. However, given the choice, they prefer to wear their conical hats, as well as scale mail painted grey-green. If the scale mail is not available, or something else is available that is significantly better, such as magical armor, they will wear a pair of grey-green sashes from either shoulder, decorated with the teeth of their sacrificial victims.

Specialty Priests (War Cleavers)
Requirements:          Strength 13, Wisdom 9, Charisma 10
Prime Req.:                Strength, Wisdom
Alignment:                LE
Weapons:                   Any
Armor:                       Any
Major Spheres:         All, charm, combat, divination, elemental fire, healing, necromantic (reversed forms only for 4th-level and higher spells), sun (reversed only), war
Minor Spheres:         Creation, guardian, law, protection, summoning, wards
Magical Items:         Same as clerics
Req. Profs:                Battle axe
Bonus Profs:             Animal handling (worg), animal training (worg), engineering, intimidation, land-based riding (worg), or mining (pick one)

  • War cleavers can be goblins, hobgoblins or norkers, although most war cleavers are goblins.
  • War cleavers are not allowed to multiclass.
  • War cleavers may select nonweapon proficiencies from the warrior group without penalty.
  • War cleavers can cast charm person (as the 1st-level wizard spell) once per day.
  • At 2nd level, war cleavers can issue a four-word command (as the 1st-level priest spell) once per week. Targets of this spell save with a −2 penalty.
  • At 5th level, war cleavers can cast strength (as the 1st-level wizard spell) upon 1d4 targets by touch, once per day.
  • At 6th level, war cleavers gain a permanent +1 to hit dwarves, gnomes, or orcs. The priest may choose which bonus he receives, but this can never be changed later.
  • At 7th level, war cleavers can cast burning hands (as the 1st-level wizard spell) twice per day.
  • At 10th level, war cleavers can cast blessed weapons of the Battle Lord (as the 5th-level priest spell) once per day.
  • At 15th level, war cleavers can cast flame arrow (as the 3rd-level wizard spell) once per day.

Maglubiyettan Spells
In addition to the spell listed below, priests of the Mighty One can cast the 3rd-level priest spell call pack, detailed in the Priest’s Spell Compendium Vol.I.

1st Level
Charm Wolf (Pr 1; Enchantment/Charm)
Sphere:                    Animal
Range:                     0
Components:           V, S
Duration:                 Special
Casting Time:          4
Area of Effect:         30-ft. radius, 1 wolf
Saving Throw:        Neg.

This spell affects normal and minimal wolves, dire wolves, and worgs. One wolf can be affected, and the time between saving throw checks is three months for normal wolves or one month for worgs. If the wolf is under magical influence or willing followers of a character such as a ranger or druid, the caster’s influence can be contested. Both the caster and the original master roll Reaction checks, applying normal modifiers based on Charisma scores. The individual with the lower modified roll wins the contest. The caster gains a special −2 bonus to this check in addition to any other modifiers that may apply.

If the original master fails, a wolf must successfully make a saving throw vs. spell or be charmed. Any creature that has suffered damage from any action of the caster during the same encounter is immune to the effects of this spell.

Charmed wolves regard the caster as a trusted ally. They do not gain any ability to understand his speech, but they instinctively protect him from hostile creatures or foes, and may follow more complex orders or suggestions if the caster finds a way to make his wishes known. Self-destructive orders are ignored. If the caster harms or attempts to harm an affected creature, the spell is negated.

3rd Level
Blood Axe (Pr 3; Alteration)
Sphere:                    Combat
Range:                     Touch
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 5 rds. + 1 rd./level
Casting Time:          5
Area of Effect:         1 hand axe or battle axe
Saving Throw:        None

Blood axe causes the caster’s axe to appear as if fresh blood constantly drips from along its cutting edge. The axe temporarily becomes magical (if it was not already) and gains a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls. The attack and damage bonus increases by +1 at 8th, and the damage bonus increases by +1 again at 12th level, to a maximum of +2 to attack rolls and +3 to damage rolls. These bonuses are cumulative with any magical bonuses the axe may already have. The caster must wield the axe; if it is given to another to wield, all bonuses the spell grants do not apply, though the spell does not end. When the spell expires, the axe reverts to its normal state.

The material component is the priest’s holy symbol.

5th Level
Blessed Weapons of the Battle Lord (Pr 5; Enchantment)
Sphere:                    Combat
Range:                     Touch
Components:           V, S
Duration:                 1 turn
Casting Time:          5
Area of Effect:         1–6 weapons
Saving Throw:        None

This spell imparts Maglubiyet’s blessing on up to six weapons. To bless these weapons, the priest must touch them all within one round of casting the spell. Blessed weapons take on the appearance of the Battle Lord’s own axe, colored coal black and dripping blood. With this blessing in effect, weapons inflict double the damage dice upon enemies struck, before any magical bonuses or strength adjustments. For example, a long sword +1 would cause 2d8+1 damage, while a warhammer would cause 2d4+2 damage. Only melee or hand-thrown weapons can be blessed with this spell. It fails to affect bows, slings, arrows, or any other propelled missile weapon and any attempt to enchant them counts towards the weapon total the priest can affect. The spell can bless 1d6 weapons, but the priest does not know how many he can affect with any given casting of the spell. He must touch weapons until one does not change appearance.

2 Responses to Maglubiyet the Mighty One

  1. Tonguespout says:

    Looking through some old Dragon Magazines and found this, suggesting that priests of Maglubiyet also receive immunity to fear at L5 (from Dragon #141):

    Goblins and hobgoblins
    Goblin and hobgoblin shamans both
    worship Maglubiyet in his giant goblin
    form. The deity treats both races in the
    same manner. At each monthly ceremony,
    these shamans must sacrifice the living
    hearts of two levels or hit dice worth of
    foes per level of the shaman. It is vital to
    note that these foes must possess souls
    (spirits of animal life energy will not do);
    the Mighty One accepts nothing less. Failure
    to give proper sacrifices causes the
    shaman’s spells and extra hit points to flee
    him in the next battle, never to return.
    [Humans, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, and
    half-elves are assumed to have souls; elves,
    half-orcs, and other beings do not.]
    To gain levels, the shaman must sacrifice
    the still-beating heart of a human warrior
    of a level equal to or greater than that
    which the shaman hopes to gain. The
    sacrifice must have been personally
    defeated in combat by the shaman or by
    use of the shaman’s magic.
    Maglubiyet’s shamans may not use healing
    spells. This includes any spell with
    cure as part of its title, and includes neutralize
    poison as well. Goblin and hobgoblin
    shamans are free to use the reverses of
    these spells, as well as a few combat spells
    which Maglubiyet approves of: command,
    spiritual hammer, and sticks to snakes. In
    addition, those shamans who survive to
    5th level are granted immunity to fear
    even fear of a magical sort. It is said that
    the Mighty One absolutely refuses to see
    his shamans flee from fights.

    • AuldDragon says:

      Oh, thanks, I must have missed that entry. I’ll have to go back and incorporate that into the entry.

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