Semuanya the Survivor

Wrapping up the reptilian deities is Semuanya, the patron and creator of lizard men and their kin. Semuanya is an aloof deity who exists and survives for the sake of surviving and existing, and teaches his followers that survival and propagation is of paramount importance.

Semuanya (PDF Version)
(The Survivor, the Breeder, the Watcher, the Seeker, the Progenitor of All)
Lesser Power of the Outlands, N

Portfolio:                 Survival, propagation, lizards, crawling reptiles, swamps
Aliases:                     Sstasa (Astromundi)
Domain Name:           Outlands/Semuanya’s Bog
Superior:                   None
Allies:                       None known
Foes:                           None known
Symbol:                     Egg
Wor. Align.:                Any

Representing one form of the reptilian ideal, Semuanya (seh-moo-AHN-ya) is the aloof and amoral patron of lizard men and their kin. He is unemotional and uncaring about anything beyond the existence and continued survival of the lizard folk. Unlike the serpentine deities, whose outlooks tend to gravitate strongly towards the extremes, the Survivor is unconcerned with good or evil, order or chaos, maintaining a strictly neutral outlook.

The lizard folk hold a tautological view of Semuanya. In their telling, he exists to fulfill his purpose, and his purpose is to exist. Whether this logical paradox could truly sustain his divine essence is unknown and of no interest to lizard men theologians; they believe he has always existed and always will, regardless of anything else that happens. In their mythology, Semuanya brings the world into existence through the hatching of a great egg, and the lizard men through the hatching of many smaller eggs. Such stories are somewhat convoluted, however, since the eggs are never described as being laid by Semuanya, but they are always described as his. Whether this is because of some now-lost feminine aspect or counterpart, or a mythological hermaphroditic element that has not been preserved is unknown and left to sages to debate. For their part, lizard men priests simply say that Semuanya is the Breeder, the Progenitor of All if they are asked for their thoughts on the matter. In addition to his creative element, he is seen by lizard men as the ultimate warrior, but in mythology he never faces known deities or representations of racial enemies; instead all of his foes are concepts that endanger his followers. In one story, he faces the Gnawing Hunger, a creature with many mouths that eats the food from the bellies of lizard men, leaving them eternally hungry, while in another he faces the Burning Mountain, a creature that breathes fire and sheds ash and pumice like snow; in each case, Semuanya stoically and unemotionally dispatches these monstrous concepts after a lengthy metaphor-laden battle, saving the lizard men from the natural dangers they represent.

Such stories reinforce the disconnected nature of Semuanya. Everyday struggles and concerns do not garner his interest, nor does the fate of individual worshipers. He is only concerned with the long-term survival of his people, and that seems to govern his actions. He does not maintain the web of alliances and animosities that other powers so frequently participate in; the only times he has been known to battle or aid other deities, it has been because such an action directly benefited large populations of lizard men. It may be this very element of his persona that keeps him from confronting Sess’innek. Some sages have speculated that despite the Emperor Lizard’s hostility towards tribes worshiping Semuanya, the Survivor sees him as inherently improving the overall survivability of certain lizard man groups. Whether this is truly the case is unknown as Semuanya never responds to queries about his motives, and other sages speculate Semuanya is instead patiently biding his time until an opportunity to take the fight to the demon lord arises. A number of other deities understand Semuanya’s nature, and have been able to frame their cases in such a way that the Survivor is more likely to grant aid; Shekinester seems to be particularly apt at doing so, and recent rumors have it that Set is attempting to gain an alliance with the Survivor.

Given his nature, it comes as no surprise that Semuanya is not a particularly active deity. He typically only sends his avatars to handle threats faced by multiple communities simultaneously, such as major climactic shifts, meteor impacts, and major invasions of predatory creatures (including intelligent or extraplanar types). His goals in such cases are rarely to stop the catastrophe, or even to lessen the impact, unless it is the only possible solution; instead, he acts to preserve some portion of the population in question so they can continue to propagate. Some lizard men in the Vast Swamp on Oerth have a legend that Semuanya appeared and opened a gate for them just before their swampy homelands in the Suel Imperium were ravaged by the Rain of Colorless Fire, and some lizard men native to the Grinder in Greyspace claim they once had a small kingdom on Borka hundreds of years past. An old story told by the lizard men of Coliar say they originally came from a distant, now-lost world devastated by the Zephyrs of Unbecoming, and the two remnant lizard man populations in Clusterspace claim they were preserved by their deity Sstasa when the great planets in that sphere crashed together in a terrible cataclysm. It is known that Semuanya’s avatar was forced to manifest on Toril during the Avatar Crisis, but not where; whether this experience has changed his perspective on events is not known.

Semuanya’s Avatar (Fighter 29, Mage 16, Druid 16)
Semuanya appears as a large, muscular lizard man with shiny dark green scales and dark, grey eyes. He never speaks any more than necessary, and his voice is deep and dry. The Survivor is a perfect lizard man specimen, with no scars, deformities, or any other blemishes, and perfect proportions. He typically wears nothing but a simple loincloth of leather fringed with blue-green beads, but is said to have appeared in the past with a crested bronze helmet and a bronze breastplate. He draws his spells from the spheres of all, animal, combat, creation, divination, elemental (earth, water), healing, necromantic, plant, protection, time, wards, and weather, and all schools save illusion/phantasm and conjuration/summoning.

AC 0; MV 15; HP 204; THAC0 −8; #AT 5/2
Dmg 2d8+13 (large club +3, +8 Str, +2 spec bonus in club)
MR 30%; SZ L (12 feet tall)
Str 20, Dex 18, Con 21, Int 17, Wis 17, Cha 14
Spells P: 9/9/8/6/4/3/1, W: 5/5/5/5/5/3/2/1
Saves PPDM 3, RSW 5, PP 4, BW 4, Sp 6

Special Att/Def: Semuanya wields Shellrazor, a large club +3 studded with sharpened shells, which allows it to deal slashing and bludgeoning damage. Any creature struck by this club must make a saving throw vs. spell with a +2 bonus or be stunned for 2 rounds.

The Survivor has an effective Charisma score of 25 to all intelligent non-serpentine, non-draconic reptilian humanoids, even Sess’innek’s Lizard King creations. He can command all normal and giant lizards and crocodiles within sight. Twice per day, he can summon 3d6 minotaur lizards (as the animal summoning spells). He can cast log to lizard at will, and once per day he can cast entangle and transmute rock to mud.

Semuanya is immune to weapons of less than +2 enchantment, and his hard scales makes him immune to nonmagical bludgeoning damage (large missiles, creature attacks, etc.), and he suffers only half damage from magical blunt weapons. The shiny nature of his scales make it 25% likely that any bolt, ray, or light-based spell is reflected from his body, and he is 90% resistant to all illusion/phantasm spells. He regenerates 5 hit points per round when in swampy terrain.

Other Manifestations
The Survivor rare manifests his power to his mortal followers. Almost all instances of him doing so have involved great danger to at least one community of lizard men. In such cases, he usually grants a powerful priest a cryptic vision of an upcoming disaster, but rarely indicates what course should be taken to avoid or survive the event. In cases of invasions or attacks that could threaten total destruction of a community, he has also been known to send dozens of aggressive crocodiles to attack the invaders and aid lizard men in battle. The only instance in which he manifested to a follower when a catastrophe was not close at hand is said to involve the creation of the Bloatfly class of Spelljammer vessel. The original designer claimed she was divinely inspired, but the claim was never verified and simply accepted as fact given the great benefits the ship brought spelljamming lizard men trying to breed stronger offspring.

Semuanya is served primarily by crocodiles, normal and giant lizards of all sorts, and muckdwellers, as well as basilisks, black dragons, brown puddings, darters, gaunds, green dragons, hatori, hydras, rhaumbusun, stargazers, turtles, werecrocodiles, and zards. He displays his favor only through the discovery of snail and mollusk shells, and has never been known to signify displeasure through any particular discoveries. Lizard men frequently attribute the overall success or lack thereof of their community to his favor or displeasure, however.

The Church
Clergy:                      Clerics, specialty priests, druids, shamans
Clergy’s Align.:      NG, LN, N, CN, NE
Turn Undead:           C: Yes (if good), SP: No, Dru: No, Sha: No
Cmnd. Undead:         C: Yes (if neutral or evil), SP: No, Dru: No, Sha: No

All clerics, specialty priests, druids, and shamans of Semuanya receive religion (lizard man) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency. Shamans must breed every year in order to maintain good standing with Semuanya; should they ever become infertile, they lose one experience level per month. Many shamans commit ritual suicide at this point. This requirement doesn’t apply to clerics, druids, and specialty priests.

Semuanya’s priesthood holds widely varying alliances, with the only predictable element being that any alliances they hold will bring tangible benefits to their tribe in the short term. This is not to say they are quick to renege on agreements or betray allies; instead, they see such things as a means to a specific end, and when that end is achieved they consider the alliance or agreement satisfactorily concluded. Members of the clergy are particularly distrustful towards non-reptilian humanoids, with the more evil or more primitive groups finding it difficult to see them as more than prey. Most tribes that follow Semuanya’s teachings are isolationist at best and xenophobic at worst; they attempt to ignore outside groups and conflicts that do not appear to impact their lives immediately or directly. This can lead those tribes with no contact with other lizard men groups to slowly decline as the population becomes inbred and the people fatalistic or morose. However, the risk of extinction causes a transformation in other communities, causing them to be aggressively expansionistic or explorative and gregarious as they attempt to make permanent contact with other communities or find other methods to increase their population. For some unknown reason, this mentality is found at significantly higher rates among lizard man communities who are aware of spelljamming than among those without such knowledge. This behavior is never advocated by Semuanya’s shamans, however.

Shrines dedicated to the Survivor tend towards the simplistic. The priesthood favors simple stone altars on which sacrifices to their God are made, which rest below a stone statue of Semuanya. This statue is often garbed in the ceremonial robes of a priest and brightly painted. Additional decorations consisting of crocodilian or giant lizard skulls are common as well, but by no means universal. The Semuanyan clergy holds that a portion of the Survivor’s divinity resides in these statues, and they make regular sacrifices in order to keep their God well fed. Depending on the tribe’s outlook, these may be live sacrifices or burnt offerings of the choicest pieces of their meals; the general wealth and local resources dictate the frequency of sacrifices more than anything else. Temples dedicated to Semuanya are very rare, found almost exclusively among those lizard men communities that are aware of spelljamming. Such temples tend to be squat stepped pyramids of stone or mud brick, with an altar and statue at the top, although enclosed, roofed structures are rarely found among those with friendly relations with local humans, dwarves, or other such races.

Novices in the service of Semuanya are called Hatchlings, and full priests are called Life Seekers. The priesthood has no hierarchy, but younger members of the clergy are expected to give deference to older members; those who do not are often physically chastised for their failure. Younger priests who strike or attack older priests without cause commit a grave offense to Semuanya and lose their spellcasting powers until they atone. It should be noted that no priest has ever lost powers for battling another priest in tribal warfare, however. Older priests are referred to as Revered Father or Revered Mother, while the younger priests are referred to as Brother or Sister. Specialty priests are called propagators. The overwhelming majority of Semuanya’s clergy are lizard men (including advanced lizard men; 76%), with a small number of lizard-kin (agrutha, cayma, geckonids, varanids, etc.; 12%), tren (3%), khaasta (2%) hurwaet (primarily salt wiggles; 1%), varkha (1%), tortles (1%), and other races (firenewts, laertis, lizard kings, pteramen, troglodytes, etc. 4%). Almost any race capable of becoming priests is allowed to join the clergy, but it is extremely rare for any creatures besides non-serpentine reptilians to do so. The priesthood is quite egalitarian, with only a slight favoring of males (52%) over females (48%). The clergy is dominated by shamans (84%), with the remainder of specialty priests (10%), clerics (4%), and druids (2%) found almost exclusively among the advanced lizard men, hurwaet, tortles, and other more sophisticated races.

Dogma: Survival and propagation of the people are of paramount importance. Affairs outside the tribe are of no interest unless they have a direct impact on the fertility or survival of the people. Counsel individuals on appropriate partners and ensure the healthiest, strongest young are borne of such unions. Avoid matters and concerns with no bearing on the future of the people. Speech is more impactful when it is rare and powerful. Live long. Reproduce. Ensure the safety of yourself and the race.

Day-to-Day Activities: Despite the rather vague and flexible doctrines of Semuanya’s faith, almost all shamans and most other priests are somewhat xenophobic and counsel their communities to eschew outside contact, even with other tribes of lizard men unless it is for breeding purposes. They are expected to look after the well-being of the tribe with a particular focus on medicine and healing, but they also direct agricultural and educational endeavors. Many are also skilled at hunting and train the animals that guard their settlements. They have little to do with war and combat besides serving in an auxiliary role by using their magic and skills to reduce injuries and deaths and disable foes; only rarely do they participate in front-line combat except in defensive actions. This is not to say they aren’t skilled warriors, however; many a warrior has mistaken their lack of direct participation as a sign of weakness, to their detriment.

Among communities that are more outward-looking or gregarious, the priests still serve as a cautionary voice, although they see wisdom in maintaining outside contact in order to strengthen their people. They perform many of the same duties as described above, but also take a hand in trade and diplomacy to ensure their people benefit directly from such dealings.

Regardless of their personal roles, members of the priesthood take part in breeding every year, and it is considered a grave sin should they fail to do so. Those who find themselves infertile due to injury or age often commit ritual suicide or end up giving up on life and wasting away.

Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: The Semuanyan clergy hold three days as especially holy. The first is the start of the breeding season. On this day the clergy hold a rite intended to invoke the Semuanya’s power to grant members of the community planning to have offspring greater fertility. Those wishing to gain this boon gather before the altar and offer up valuable or specially prepared foodstuffs to their deity, after which the priest sprinkles blessed herbs or waves fragrant incense over the heads of the supplicants. In communities that have no fixed breeding period, this ceremony is often held at the start of the new year by their calendar.

The second holy day falls on the day when the first eggs are laid in a given year. On this day the priest leads the community in a ceremony of thanks to Semuanya, and reiterates local creation myths that describe the creation of their race. This is followed by a sacrifice of foodstuffs in a holy fire, and the priest completes the ritual by anointing the eggs with blessed oil. In communities that breed all year, this ceremony is typically held on the spring equinox and may involve carved wooden or stone eggs as stand-ins.

Finally, the third major ceremony is held to ritually accept newborns into the community. Usually held on the day following the first egg hatching, the priest sacrifices a great feast to Semuanya, and reiterates in a ritualistic manner the important obligations the hatchlings will have to the community when they grow, and then blesses the young with incense. Finally, the priest ritualistically repeats common duties and expectations for the parents on what to teach the young as they grow. This ceremony is usually held on the last day of spring in those communities that breed year-round.

None of these ceremonies have common names; instead they vary from community to community.

Major Centers of Worship: Very few large temples or holy sites dedicated to Semuanya exist. One of the largest is known as the Dome of the survivor, located in the largest lizard man city on the world of Coliar. This city, Hissta, is the seat of government of more than a dozen smaller islands, and is one of the major spelljamming trading posts on the world. The temple sponsors the program that sends spelljamming vessels into orbit around Realmspace’s sun in order to produce stronger offspring, and it is even said priests some centuries back invented the popular Bloatfly vessel. The priests are scrupulously fair about the waiting lists that they maintain, even ensuring they themselves do not get preferential treatment. Those few lizard men who try to bribe their way into better positions are flogged, and any priest caught altering the rolls is thrown off the edge of the island without trial. These rules have kept the lists virtually unbiased for at least one hundred years.

The temple itself is a large, round, squat structure with a domed roof over a statue of Semuanya nearly 20 feet tall, carved from a single enormous piece of jade. The temple is administered by Elder Klaarstha Jadescute, who has served as high priest for nearly 57 years, and recently celebrated his two-hundredth birthday. He is especially wise, but favors very lengthy considerations about issues, and is considered particularly conservative compared to his predecessors and the younger priests. He advocates for closing the port to all traffic that is not necessary to getting more Bloatflies into solar orbit, although this is a minority view among the lizard men of Hissta.

One recent development is the discovery by a saurial druid in the Lost Vale on Toril that his prayers are being answered by Semuanya ever since he was brought to that world by the evil god Moander. Whether Semuanya is in fact the same deity he worshiped on his home world has not yet been determined, due to the differences in names and languages used by saurials and the humanoids of Toril.

Affiliated Orders: The priesthood of Semuanya supports no martial or monastic orders.

Priestly Vestments: The standard ceremonial garb of the Semuanyan clergy consists of a hide kilt dyed a vibrant blue-green. This kilt is often decorated with small reptilian bones that gang as a fringe and clack together as the priest moves. Around the neck is often worn a necklace of crocodile or giant lizard teeth, and a skull or feathered headdress rounds off the ensemble. Body paint or tattoos are also often displayed prominently. The holy symbol of the clergy consists of a thumb-sized polished stone of blue-green or off-white hue in the shape of an egg, or a stone that, when polished, resembles a lizard eye.

Adventuring Garb: When not performing their duties, the Semuanyan clergy typically wear simple blue-green kilts and simple jewelry. If expecting to engage in combat, they favor hide armor and utilize a shield, typically of leather and whicker. Clubs are the favored weapons of the priesthood, as well as spears, javelins, and darts. They never use tridents, however, scorning them as symbols of Sess’innek’s priesthood. Communities with heavy trade and contact with humans and demihumans often adopt weaponry and armor types common to their craftsmen, such as swords and plate armor.

Specialty Priests (Propagators)
Requirements:          Constitution 12, Wisdom 9
Prime Req.:                Constitution, Wisdom
Alignment:                N
Weapons:                   Any save trident
Armor:                       Any
Major Spheres:         All, animal, creation, elemental (earth, water), healing, plant, wards
Minor Spheres:         Combat, divination, necromantic, protection, time, weather
Magical Items:         Same as clerics
Req. Profs:                Club, healing or herbalism (choose one)
Bonus Profs:             Healing or herbalism (whichever was not taken as a required proficiency)

  • Propagators may be any non-serpentine reptilian humanoid, although most are advanced lizard men.
  • Propagators may not be multi-classed.
  • Propagators may select nonweapon proficiencies from the warrior group with no crossover penalty.
  • Propagators gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls and damage when defending eggs of their community, and need never check for morale in such a case.
  • Propagators are immune to the effects of spells that alter or affect their emotions, such as fear, emotion control, emotion, confusion, symbols of hopelessness or discord, etc. They may also dispel such effects in others at will (as dispel magic) with a touch; these dispel attempts gain a +4 bonus to the rolls.
  • Propagators can cast cure light wounds or shillelagh (as the 1st-level priest spells) once per day.
  • At 3rd level, propagators can cast spiritual club (as the 2nd-level priest spell spiritual hammer but deals damage as a club) once per day.
  • At 5th level, propagators can cast scales of Semuanya (as the 2nd-level priest spell) once per day.
  • At 7th level, propagators can cast log to lizard or its reverse (as the 4th-level priest spell) once per day.
  • At 9th level, propagators can cast cure serious wounds or animal summoning I (as the 4th-level priest spells) once per day.
  • At 12th level, propagators can cast insect plague or animal growth (as the 5th-level priest spells) once per week.

Semuanyan Spells
1st Level
Barble (Pr 1; Alteration)
Sphere:                    Animal
Range:                     Touch
Components:           V
Duration:                 1 turn/level
Casting Time:          4
Area of Effect:         1 creature
Saving Throw:        None

This spell causes the recipient’s body to grow barbles, long, semi-flexible spines extending from the creature’s scales. The barbles have the effect of improving the creature’s Armor Class by 2. In addition, the caster may attack with the barbles in lieu of his normal attack mode, causing 1d6 points of damage on a successful hit. Opponents who are foolish enough to grapple with a barbled creature suffer that damage automatically each round they are so engaged.

Because of the awkward size of the barbles (some of which reach over a foot in length), the spell recipient may be unable to enter some small openings, such as narrow cave mouths. Also, surrounding objects may be accidentally caught on the spines, and the spell recipient is quite limited in his choices of clothing and other equipment worn on the body.

2nd Level
Autohemorrhage (Pr 2; Necromancy)
Sphere:                    Animal
Range:                     0
Components:           V, M
Duration:                 1 rd./level
Casting Time:          5
Area of Effect:         The caster
Saving Throw:        Special

By means of this spell, the caster is able to selectively burst blood vessels at the corners of its eyes and spray a stream of blood at an opponent. This blood is magically amplified and mixed with foul-smelling and -tasting components that cause the target to choke and gag on the mixture. The caster must make an attack roll with a +4 bonus to hit a creature’s face; if the target then fails a saving throw versus poison, they stop must spend the rest of the round and the following round trying to expel the foul liquid from their mouth and eyes. During this time, an affected creature is unable to move more than ten feet per round, loses any defensive bonuses due to shields or Dexterity, and attacks made against them gain a +2 bonus.

Expelling blood from the eyes takes as much focus as normal spell casting and weapon attacks, and thus cannot be done in the same round as any action of that sort, although normal movement is capable in the same round that blood is expelled. Avians are entirely immune to the spell’s effect, while mammals are especially susceptible and suffer a –2 penalty to their saving throws. As this spell uses the caster’s blood rather than creating it magically, the caster suffers 1d3 points of damage every time blood is expelled.

The material component for this spell is a dead venomous insect, such as certain types of harvester ants or bees. Scorpions, spiders, and other non-insect arthropods cannot be used.

Scales of Semuanya (Pr 2; Alteration)
Sphere:                    Combat
Range:                     0
Components:           V, M
Duration:                 1 rd./level
Casting Time:          5
Area of Effect:         The caster
Saving Throw:        None

When this spell is cast, the priest’s scales toughen significantly and take on a gleaming sheen. For the duration, the caster’s Armor Class improves by two for all physical attacks, and he suffers only half damage from nonmagical bludgeoning attacks. Against magical bludgeoning attacks, including magical weapons, spiritual hammers, and the hailstone version of the ice storm spell, the caster suffers one less point of damage per die, to a minimum of 1. The gleaming finish of the casters scales that this spell grants a +2 bonus to saving throws versus spell’s and magic items that generate a ray or beam (such as ray of enfeeblement, disintegrate, and a wand of paralyzation), as well as light-based spells. Further, there is a 10% chance the magic is reflected back at the source.

This spell has no effect on creatures that have no scales. The magic is not cumulative with any armor besides shields, although magical protections work with the spell. This spell does not function with any other magic that alters the scales or skin of the caster, such as barble or barkskin.

The material components for this spell are a small mirror and a piece of shell from a turtle.

3rd Level
Harden Shell (Pr 2; Necromancy, Alteration)
Sphere:                    Animal
Range:                     Touch
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 1 month/level
Casting Time:          1 turn
Area of Effect:         1 shelled egg
Saving Throw:        None

By means of this spell, the caster magically hardens the shell of a single egg such that it cannot be broken by normal external forces. For the duration of the spell, normal attacks by creatures with less than 19 Strength or creatures of unrated Strength scores of smaller than Huge size cause no damage, and the egg gains an item saving throw of 2 against all listed attack types save Disintegration (which is otherwise normal for the egg). This magical hardness has no effect of the viability of the egg, and the developing creature within suffers no unusual hardship at the time of hatching if the spell is still in effect. Once hatched, the remaining eggshells lose all magical hardening.

This spell is exhausting to cast, and doing so requires the priest to rest for one hour afterwards. Further, the caster loses one point of Constitution until they can rest for a full eight hours. This effect is cumulative with multiple castings of the spell, and the eight hours of rest cannot be completed concurrently. Thus, a priest who has cast this spell three times in one day must rest for three nights for a full eight hours each to fully recover the lost Constitution. Any shelled egg, such as those laid by avians, reptiles, and some mammals, can be affected by this spell.

The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and a small polished stone egg of some hard stone, such as granite. This stone egg is consumed in the casting.

One Response to Semuanya the Survivor

  1. Barastir says:

    Smal correction, on “Other manifestations”: I think you meant “The Survivor rareLY manifests…”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *