Perhaps one of the few deities who can rival the disgusting nature of Vaprak is the patron of troglodytes, Laogzed. While he grants spells to the troglodytes, he did not create them, and cares little for their welfare, granting spells simply because he doesn’t care enough not to. He is shunned by most other powers, and used as a divine disposal by those willing to deal with him or willing to risk getting close.
Laogzed (PDF Version)
(The Devourer, Eater of Souls)
Demipower of the Abyss, CE
Portfolio: Eating, gluttony, waste, filth, elimination of unwanted things
Domain Name: 181st Layer/Rotting Plain
Foes: Baervan Wildwanderer, Callarduran Smoothhands, Deep Duerra, Eilistraee, Ghaunadaur, Laduguer, Lolth, Segojan Earthcaller, Selvetarm, Vhaeraun
Symbol: Lizard’s head
Wor. Align.: CN, LE, NE, CE
Of all the putrid, vile powers that exist on the planes, few are as disgusting as Laogzed (lay-AG-zed or LOWG-zed) the Devourer. He wanders his domain in the Abyss, the Rotting Plain, constantly looking for anything edible; which is to say any flesh, be it living or long dead. His appetite is legendary, surpassed only by his laziness.
Laogzed is patron of the troglodyte race, although how this came to be is a mystery. No creation myth among that race makes mention of the Devourer, and his powers and interests make the creation of a race unlikely. In addition, while Laogzed has been included in loose pantheons worshipped by some reptilian and amphibious races, there’s no evidence he is a remnant of some ancient troglodyte religion. The most widely accepted theory holds that at some point in the distant past, troglodytes witnessed an appearance of the Devourer’s avatar, and those who survived were impressed by his depraved gluttony, taking up worship of the Devourer.
Of Laogzed’s own origin, little concrete information is known, and he does not share that information with mortals. It is almost certain he is the spawn of a powerful reptilian tanar’ri, possibly a marilith, but his father is not known for certain. The most widely accepted belief is that he is the offspring of Panzuriel the Enslaver, and it is known that Laogzed was a member of his court for a time before being exiled to the Rotting Plain. Panzuriel refuses to respond to queries on the matter, and it is believed he has even directed followers to attack questioners, leading many to take these actions as confirmation. Other competing theories put the Devourer’s parentage at the feet of the being known as the Elder Elemental God, or Ramenos, or even Semuanya.
Laogzed appears wholly uninterested in the politics of the powers, listening only to those who bring him something to eat. Should he be disturbed without an appropriate offer being made, he is quite happy to make the petitioning being a meal. In this way, he has become a sort of disposal system of the planes, with tanar’ri, yugoloths, and even the powers themselves slipping unwanted objects into a tasty meal for him to dispose of; such things are believed to be irrevocably destroyed, merging with the substance of his domain itself. As such he neither cultivates nor accepts alliances with other deities, although the tanar’ri report one apparent exception. The demons have reported that the Devourer has been seen in conversation with the dark elven power Kiaransalee multiple times despite an apparent lack of food offering on her part. how the Revenancer managed this is unknown, but sages speculate she may struck a bargain by offering some sort of powerful or dangerous object the likes of which Laogzed had never eaten before. The purpose of this alliance is unknown, but there was a recently recorded incident of an appearance of an avatar of the Devourer beneath the surface of Oerth, where he apparently feasted on a war party of illithids and their thrills, leaving a nearby drow settlement untouched. Whether this was related or not is unknown.
Despite his laziness, Laogzed is an active deity, ever driven to satiate his hunger. His avatars typically appear for a short time, most often in rough proximity to a troglodyte cave, and usually for no more than ten rounds. He then attempts to eat anything nearby, including unlucky troglodytes without the sense to flee. He is somehow able to send avatars to the Prime Material Plane without aid; speculation over this often revolves around some side-effect of the banishments endured by Panzuriel or the Elder Elemental God, or perhaps it was an ability gained through long and regular feeding on dangerous magical items.
Laogzed’s Avatar (Cleric 22, Fighter 16)
Laogzed appears as a short, fat, nearly tail-less lizard with toad-like proportions. His skin consists of slimy scales of an amphibian appearance which constantly ooze a disgusting acidic mucous. Covering his body are boils, warts, and patches of loose, dead flesh in a constant state of molting, and his eyes burn with a hungry yellow light. Laogzed uses spells from the spheres of all, animal, charm, combat, creation, divination, elemental (air and water), necromantic (reversed), plant, protection, and minor access to chaos.
AC 2; MV 12; HP 168; THAC0 5; #AT 2
Dmg 3d10 (bite)
MR 50%; SZ L (10 feet tall, 12 feet long)
Str 21, Dex 15, Con 19, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 1
Spells P: 9/9/9/9/9/6/3
Saves PPDM 2; RSW 5; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 6
Special Att/Def: Laogzed uses no tactics other than trying to eat anything nearby, favoring fleshy mammalian life over others, although he can digest nearly anything. The Devourer swallows any man-sized creatures or smaller if his attack roll succeeds by 12 or more. Creatures swallowed suffer 4d10 points of damage from the caustic stomach acid each round. Laogzed’s stomach can sustain 30 points of damage before he expels a swallowed creature. Any creature slain by the stomach acid is digested, along with all of their equipment, and irrevocably lost.
Creatures coming into contact with the Devourer suffer 3d6 points of damage from the acidic poison that constantly oozes from his flesh, and must make a successful saving throw versus poison with a −4 penalty or be slain. Weapons or items striking his flesh must make a saving throw versus acid or be destroyed; magic items gain a +1 bonus to the save per +1 of enchantment.
Once per turn Laogzed can cast a stinking cloud with double the area of effect, and once per day he can cast cloudkill. He is immune to paralyzation, all poisons, and all acids save those of a dragon’s breath weapon or from a divine source. He can only be struck by magical weapons. To lizard men, gaunds, tren, and similar creatures, Laogzed has a Charisma of 18; to troglodytes, his Charisma is 25.
Laogzed sends no omens or messages to his followers, nor does he typically manifest in any way other than sending an avatar. In extremely rare cases, he may manifest roiling, billowing fog banks that duplicate the stinking cloud spell, but with quadruple the area of effect. This manifestation never appears to directly aid his followers or harm their enemies, and is just as likely to negatively affect one of his priests as it is to affect their enemies. His reasoning behind these manifestations are unknown, and some sages speculate they are reflexive rather than intentional.
The Devourer is served primarily by incarnates of gluttony and sloth, as well as amphi dragons, basilisks, bonesnappers, dracolisks, frogs and toads of all sorts, froghemoths, greater basilisks, gulguthydras, hezrou tanar’ri, hydras, lizards of all sorts, otyughs, and thessalmonsters. He never expresses approval or disapproval in any way save an appearance of his avatar, and whether such an appearance reflects one or the other is open to interpretation.
Clergy: Clerics, specialty priests, shamans
Clergy’s Align.: LE, NE, CE
Turn Undead: C: No, SP: No, Sha: No
Cmnd. Undead: C: Yes, SP: No, Sha: No
All clerics, specialty priests, and shamans of Laogzed receive religion (Laogzed) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency.
Laogzed’s priesthood is generally antagonistic towards other faiths, especially if they are seen as a threat to their power and authority within troglodyte tribes. Even if another faith represents little threat to their power, the Laogzeddan clergy attempts to stamp it out in order to enforce strict monolatrism within their tribe. Priests and shamans operate as advisors and moral guides for their Chiefs and tribes, but rarely involve themselves with tribal politics in order to ensure their favor from whoever leads. Outside troglodyte tribes, Laogzed sometimes finds worship among other reptilian races, but only those with a similar destructive, xenophobic bent as troglodytes embrace him. Where he is seen as a member of a reptilian pantheon, he is seen as an unsavory brute responsible for base urges. Rarely worshipped among such tribes, he is typically propitiated or called upon to ward off his influence; priests serving him typically do so only in secret.
Temples are almost never constructed in Laogzed’s honor; those that exist are usually defiled temples to other deities, or constructed by races other than troglodytes. Dank caves are the favored location for the rare temples in the Devourer’s honor, and often have a statue of a troglodyte or a toad-like reptile as a centerpiece, looking over an altar. Troglodytes usually worship where they live, constructing little more than an altar and a religious icon. Troglodytes favor icons carved from jade or green serpentine for their icons, and some shamans recommend locations rich in such materials as good locations for their villages, believing them to be blessed by Laogzed himself. Shrines are never constructed by troglodytes; they typically do not believe any religious representations besides the tribal altar and icon is necessary.
Novices of Laogzed are known as Moltlings. Full priests of the Eater of Souls are known as Devourers. Individual priests take unique titles of their own. Specialty priests known as malodors. The clergy of Laogzed includes only small numbers of lizard men and their kin (such as varkha, agrutha, etc.; 4%), tren (2%), and gaunds (1%) outside of the majority troglodytes (93%). Males (75%) outnumber females (25%) within the ranks, although the priesthood is one of the few ways for female troglodytes to hold power. Shamans (90%) form the majority of the clergy, with only small number of specialty priests (5%) and clerics (5%) making up the remainder.
Dogma: Meat is meat. Tender, tasty flesh provides strength to the eater and the Devourer, and humanoids are the most tasty. Feast on flesh for it feeds you and the Devourer. Take what you desire if you can win it; spoils go to the strongest warrior. Dispose of the old, the broken, and the worthless. Embrace the new and the strong. Shed old skins, and with them old mistakes, old failures, and old curses; be reborn again in the new skin.
Day-to-Day Activities: The Laogzeddan priesthood encourages their tribes to raid and war humans, demihumans, and humanoids in order to gain meat and steel items. They act as advisors for their chieftains and the rest of the tribe, regularly engaging in extispicy to predict the outcomes of battles, raids, and personal decisions. They preach that the food they ingest is sent to Laogzed to enjoy after the mortal troglodytes have eaten it, and thus eating is itself an act of worship.
Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: On Midwinter, the troglodyte clergy of Laogzed holds the Shedding of Skins, an annual ceremony of renewal. This ceremony is held as deep underground as the tribe can get, although not so far from their tribal lands as to be dangerous. During this ceremony, the troglodytes shed their old skins and sacrifice them in a great bonfire. The priests attempt to sacrifice a human, demihuman, or humanoid, but this is not required by Laogzed. Troglodyte tribes that do not live underground, or do not have access to caves, will hold their sacrifices in a large clearing in the center of the village. Similarly, tribes of creatures who do not shed their skins will most commonly sacrifice captives or large amounts of food in a bonfire instead. This ceremony, even among non-troglodytes, is seen as a ritual cleansing, washing away old mistakes and feuds and starting fresh. Members of the tribe are expected to forgive grudges and failures, although in reality this rarely happens.
Major Centers of Worship: Troglodytes and the other creatures who worship Laogzed rarely live in civil societies responsible for great works of construction; as such, there are very few temples or other widely recognized holy sites among the Laogzeddan clergy. Tribes are very protective of sites that hold holy significance to them, rarely letting outsiders, even other tribes, know of them, as they believe it brings the Devourer’s special favor upon them.
Affiliated Orders: Laogzed’s clergy sponsors no martial or monastic orders.
Priestly Vestments: Ceremonial garb is rare among the Laogzeddan clergy; when it is worn, yellow-orange robes are favored. Ornamentation such as necklaces and bracelets are common, often items stolen from humans and humanoids, or made from humanoid bones. The holy symbol used by the priesthood must be a trophy taken from a human or humanoid personally slain by a priest; small bones like vertebrae or fingerbones are most common.
Adventuring Garb: Priests of Laogzed wear little in the way of armor when engaging in combat, trusting in their armored hides instead. They sometimes use pieces of scavenged armor, but these never constitute full suits of armor. They favor javelins as their preferred weapons, followed by stolen steel melee weapons. Only as a last resort will they use their own tribal weaponry.
Specialty Priests (Malodors)
Requirements: Constitution 12, Wisdom 9
Prime Req.: Wisdom
Major Spheres: All, animal, combat, necromantic (reversed), plant, protection
Minor Spheres: Divination, elemental air, elemental water
Magical Items: Same as clerics
Req. Profs: Javelin
Bonus Profs: Eating (PHBR10)
- Malodors must be troglodytes, tren, lizard men (and their kin), or gaunds.
- Malodors are not allowed to multiclass.
- Malodors are immune to all ingested poisons, as well as the harmful effects of eating rotten or putrefied food. Note that they cannot subsist on such foods, nor will they necessarily like the taste, just that they will never get sick from eating such things.
- Malodors can cast putrefy food and drink (as the reverse of the 1st-level priest spell purify food and drink) once per day.
- At 3rd level, malodors can cast grease (as the 1st-level wizard spell) or magical stone (as the 1st-level priest spell) once per day.
- At 5th level, malodors can cast stinking cloud or Melf’s acid arrow (as the 2nd-level wizard spells) once per day.
- At 7th level, malodors can cast ray of enfeeblement (as the 2nd-level wizard spell) or hold person (as the 2nd-level priest spell) twice per day in any combination. In addition, humans (but not demihumans or humanoids) suffer an additional −1 penalty to their saving throws against these spells.
- At 9th level, troglodyte malodors can secrete oil from their skin that mimics one of the common types of magical oils (i.e. oil of impact, oil of preservation, oil of fiery burning, etc.) once per week. This oil can be used immediately or bottled to be used later. A special case is oil of fiery burning; if a malodor secretes this and makes a saving throw, they can move their body in such a way that the oil is sprayed outward to a radius of 10 feet, dealing 2d6 points of damage to any creatures in the area of effect other than the malodor (save vs. spell for half); if the initial save is failed by the malodor, the oil ignites as if they were the target of a flask of oil of fiery burning. Using this ability prevents a troglodyte from secreting their normal foul-smelling oil for 24 hours.
- At 11th level, malodors can cast cloudkill or vile venom (as the 5th-level wizard spells) once per day.
Camouflage (Pr 3; Abjuration, Alteration)
Duration: 1 turn/level
Casting Time: 8
Area of Effect: 1 creature
Saving Throw: None
Through the use of a camouflage spell, the recipient can alter the coloration of its hide to match whatever background it rests against. But beyond this change in hue, this spell also slightly alters the hide of the recipient to blend in with the surrounding terrain. Thus, in a bed of kelp, the creature develops frond-like extensions over its body. If lying on a cave floor, the scaly hide becomes mottled and bumpy.
All of these physical changes make the creature nearly impossible to notice. It can surprise an opponent on a 5-in-6; even those beings who are extraordinarily perceptive (rangers, elves, and so forth) suffer this disadvantage. In addition, the spell lessens the likelihood that the concealed creature can be detected by Divination magic (such as detect invisibility or true seeing) to only a 5% chance per level of the caster.
To gain the benefits of the spell, however the creature must remain quiet and still, moving no faster than MV 1. Otherwise it will be noticed.
Emetic Curse (Pr 3; Necromancy)
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 6
Area of Effect: 1 creature
Saving Throw: Neg.
With this spell, the caster curses a touched being with the inability to hold food down. The target is allowed a saving throw to avoid the initial effects; should the saving throw fail, they will begin vomiting up the contents of their stomach within 1d6+4 rounds. From then on, they vomit up any meal 1d6+4 rounds after they finish eating. For each day of the curse that passes, the target suffers a cumulative −1 penalty to their Constitution score. Furthermore, after the third day, the victim of an emetic curse must make a system shock roll or die from the strain and lack of sustenance.
The curse may be broken with a remove curse spell or by eating food specially blessed by a priest; such food must be spartan and grain-based, with crackers or hardtack being the most common foods used for this procedure. Rich foods, meats, fruit, and vegetables do not suffice, even if blessed.
The material component for this spell is a pinch of powdered stibnite (antimony) or the root of the ipecacuanha plant.
Moltings (Pr 5; Alteration, Conjuration)
Sphere: Animal, Creation
Range: 20 yds.
Components: V, M
Casting Time: 8
Area of Effect: 1 skin
Saving Throw: None
This is perhaps the most potent of spells for any scaled creature. As sages and rural folk know, reptiles must molt their skins in order to grow, and often these sheddings can be found in the territory if not lair of such animals. When this magic is cast on the shed skin of any reptilian creature, intelligent or otherwise, it causes the molting to animate and come alive under the command of the caster.
A molting so created appears as a smaller, lighter version of the creature from which the skin came from. In game terms, the molting is one size level down from its parent (i.e., a size G dragon would create a size L molting, and a size L rock lizard would yield a size M skin).
To discover the molting’s statistics, refer to the chart below:
Hit Dice: one-half parent’s
Hit Points: one-quarter parent’s
Move: twice parent’s (such creatures can even fly!)
THAC0: Parent’s score −4, minimum of 20
# of AT: Same as parent
Damage/Attack: T size 1d2
S size 1d4
M size 1d4+1
L size 2d4 (Note that a molting cannot inflict more damage than its parent creature; in such cases the amount is the same as parent.)
Special Attacks: None
Special Defenses: As parent
Moltings are affected by magic much in the same way as their parent stock, except they are immune to any attempt to charm or beguile.
The number of moltings at any one time created from a parent’s shed skin cannot be more than half the creature’s Hit Dice. A molting lasts until it is killed or wanders farther than 10 miles from its creator.
Sometimes these creations are purposely devoured by a hungry or ailing reptilian parent, for doing so heals that creature a number of hit points equal to those the molting possessed; in such cases the molting passively accepts its fate.