And (semi) triumphantly I return to posting! I’m still working on the deities, of course, but it’s going slow for a number of reasons, but part of it is that I am not focusing on one deity at a time any more, so it seems slower. I have split up the deities into a series of Books, with the first one comprised of the Goblinoid deities (Orc, Goblin, Bugbear, Kobold, and Meriadar and Stalker). It’s coming along quite well, actually, and probably about 66% done. I don’t have a full sheet to post right now, but I do have a preview, of a deity who quickly became one of my favorites so far: Skiggaret, the Deranged One. I’m especially fond of his Dogma.
Clergy: Specialty priests, shamans, mystics
Clergy’s Align.: CN, NE, CE
Turn Undead: SP: No, Sha: No, Mys: No
Cmnd. Undead: SP: No, Sha: No, Mys: No
All specialty priests and shamans of Skiggaret receive religion (bugbear) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency. Upon gaining a new level, all specialty priests, shamans, and mystics must check to see if they have developed a form of insanity. To calculate this chance, subtract the character’s Wisdom from 25. A roll below that on percentile dice indicates the priest has developed a random mental condition, such as those described in the 7th-level wizard spell descent into madness from the Player’s Option: Spells & Magic tome. The mental condition is permanent unless cured by a heal spell (at which point every time they gain a level, they must perform a new check), but will never progress to another condition. The affliction will never prevent combat performance or the performance of their religious duties, although it may impact how well they carry such tasks out.
Those rare bugbears who actually worship the Bringer of Fear live apart from society, rather than as part of it. They are viewed with fear and disgust by most bugbears, who believe in appeasing and distracting the Deranged One with torture and sacrifices, rather than calling upon him directly. Any tribe where the priesthoods of either Hruggek or Grankhul are dominant will exile followers of Skiggaret if discovered. Only followers of the Stalker, equally rare and exiled from their tribes, are ever known to willingly associate with priests of the Bringer of Fear for long periods of time. Occasionally rogue tribes who have been through considerable hardship will take up worship of the Messenger of Doom, but this rarely lasts long, as the fear of his attention is too deeply seated to overcome. However, despite their feelings towards the priests, bugbears will almost never willingly slay a follower of the Deranged One, out of a greater fear of bringing Skiggaret’s wrath down upon them. Their fear is so strong that smaller tribes may even leave their lands to escape the influence of the exiles.
Priests of the Messenger of Doom build no temples or shrines. They mark out no holy sites, instead performing their duties wherever and whenever they feel the calling. Except for the remains of sacrifices, there is little evidence left of Skiggaretan worship in an area, even to those familiar with his worship.
As exiles and individuals, the priesthood of the Instigator is not organized into any sort of hierarchy. Those who feel drawn to his service do not learn from other priests; instead, they find their own path to his worship, based on old stories and legends, as well as subtle hints instilled directly into their minds by the Bringer of Fear. They have no single name for themselves, but are called Hands of the Instigator by other bugbears. Specialty priests are known as derangers. The clergy of Skiggaret is comprised entirely of male bugbears, as Lord of Madness does not speak to any other creatures, nor does he pay any attention to females. Skiggaret’s clergy is comprised mostly of specialty priests (72%), but includes a small number of mystics (4%), with shamans filling out the rest (24%).
Dogma: Fear is life. Fear is death. Fear leads to life. Fear leads to death. Bring fear. Avoid fear. Fear fear. Fear a lack of fear. Survive the fear, and be strong. Be strong to survive the fear. Instill fear in others. Bring the fear of death to the enemies of the people.
Day-to-Day Activities: Priests of the Deranged One spend most of their time wandering. They relish instilling fear and madness in others, especially if it instigates violence. They preach the disjointed messages of their god when they encounter other bugbears, and try to instigate them to raid other races, in order to create greater fear of the bugbear race. They have no regular service or duties, and tend to torture and sacrifice any lone intelligent creature they encounter, although their teachings do not lead them to battle creatures obviously stronger than themselves. Unlike their sometimes-allies, the followers of the Stalker, they do not hate life, per se, and will aid and defend bugbears against outside forces. As such, they can be valuable to local bugbear tribes, even if they are disquieting.
Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Skiggaret’s priests observe no special holy days or events, nor do they have any specific ceremonies they perform as a whole. Individuals occasionally develop ceremonies, but these never spread beyond themselves. The priests are too individualistic to adopt the specific ceremonies of their fellows.
Most bugbear tribes will perform a mass sacrifice any time they have suffered extreme hardship from monsters, enemies, or environmental forces. They do this to appease the pantheon as a whole, and set aside a specific portion for the Messenger of Doom, hoping he will carry the pleas for aid to the rest of the pantheon. On other occasions, in order to ward off potential wrath and anger from the Deranged One, they chant prayers to him while ritualistically torturing prisoners. Oddly enough, none of these ceremonies are practiced or overseen by priests of Skiggaret.
Major Centers of Worship: Followers of the Instigator have no holy sites. Torture and sacrifice is held wherever it is convenient, as Skiggaret cares little for the location, only the contents and sincerity of bugbears invoking him.
Affiliated Orders: Priests of the Bringer of Fear are virtually all exiles and individuals, and thus have no military or monastic orders of any kind. They occasionally attach themselves to bandit gangs or wandering tribes but they are usually run off after a short time.
Priestly Vestments: As there is no organized priesthood or theology in service of Skiggaret, so too is there no formal religious garb. However, they almost universally imitate their god by painting their hands, feet, and lips red; most often with fresh blood. The holy symbol of the priesthood is a claw or hand charred in a hot flame so the digits curve in on themselves.
Adventuring Garb: Priests of the Deranged One pay little attention to their appearance. They are often disheveled, with matted, dirty, and snarled fur and tattered clothing and armor. They also maintain the practice of painting their hands, feet, and lips whenever possible.