Diirinka is the treacherous and cruel patron of the degenerate dwarves known as derro. Exiled from the Morndinsamman for his crimes against his brother and mortal dwarves, he hides in Pandemonium, paranoid that his enemies, especially the illithid god Ilsensine, will find and destroy him. Diirinka is interesting because he doesn’t have a traditional priesthood, and has special wizard-like characters called Savants instead. I took this opportunity to “formalize” the Savants into a type of Specialty Priest, but without priest spell access; I tried to match the basic and somewhat randomized way the savants operate in the Derro Monstrous Compendium entry.
Diirinka (PDF Version)
(The Betrayer, the Father, the Cruel Master, the Deep Lich, the Brother-Betrayer, the Great Savant)
Intermediate Power of Pandemonium, CE
Portfolio: Magic, savants, knowledge, cruelty, derro
Domain Name: Phlegethon/the Hidden Betrayal
Foes: Brandobaris, Fortubo, Ilsensine, Maanzecorian, the Morndinsamman, virtually all other powers
Symbol: Spiral of gray, black, and white
Wor. Align.: LE, NE, CE
Now isolated and hidden, Diirinka (dee-RINK-ah) was once the deity of magic and arcane knowledge among the Morndinsamman. His crimes and exile has twisted him and his dwarven followers, the derro, into petty, cruel, and treacherous beings, willing to betray anyone for his own ends. He hides away in a dank realm on Pandemonium, fearful of those who hunt him and seething in hatred for all life.
Little dwarven lore is preserved of Diirinka and his lost twin Diinkarazan, for their faith has been long forgotten by most communities. What there is typically portrays the pair as the youngest of the first generation of Moradin’s offspring, and the pair were rebellious and troublesome from the start. The fragmentary legends apparently describe them in rather un-dwarf-like terms, for they apparently eschewed the mining and metalwork of their brethren, and showed an unusual aptitude for magic not seen among the other dwarven gods. Whatever mythic cycle once existed amongst the dwarves appears lost now, although sages speculate they would have revealed Diirinka had the common dwarven character flaw of greed, but it manifested as a thirst for magical and arcane knowledge. Further, according to fragmentary dwarven lore, the twins wanted a race of dwarves of their own, modeled after themselves and featuring talents not found among other dwarves. Whether they pursued this wholly in secret or only after being rebuffed by Moradin is not preserved, but the twins seem to have embarked on a series of escapades to enhance their magical knowledge, both to the surface and angering the young human deities there, and deeper and deeper into the earth. Sages speculate that a growing selfish streak manifested in Diirinka at this time, and suspect he dragged his brother along on these adventures over Diinkarazan’s objections.
At this point the story of the twins becomes more concrete, both in preserved dwarven myths and illithid legends. Deep beneath the earth Diirinka and his brother came across a hidden chamber filled with magical secrets, artifacts, and an abundance of the raw elemental form of magic. How they found this chamber is not preserved; while most sages believe it was just happenstance, a persistent theory claims they followed a rumor shared with them by Abbathor. However they found it, Diirinka and Diinkarazan began rapidly gathering all they could carry, disregarding a glowing green crystal hovering in the center of the chamber, and barely taking note when a spectral brain-like form appeared above it, observing them coldly. What they’d discovered was a secret cache of knowledge and magic of the mind flayer god Ilsensine, and he was none too pleased to find a pair of upstart dwarves stealing from his hidden cache. The twins started to flee from the Great Brain of the illithids, but in a selfish act of cruelty, Diirinka stabbed his brother in the back and left him to suffer the full force of Ilsensine’s wrath while he himself escaped. With his stolen magic in hand, the Brother-Betrayer returned to his own realm and secluded himself away from the other dwarven deities, and set about experimenting on his followers to create the race he’d always wanted. Failure followed failure for centuries on end according to fragmentary dwarven myth, with those failures that survived disposed of in the deep underdark of numerous Prime Material Plane worlds, leaving dwarf-like abominations and mindless shambling creatures skulking in isolated cavern complexes, forgotten by their creator. Finally, with the inclusion of some human traits, he perfected the first derro, an agile and magically-adept dwarven race, quite unlike their forbearers, and imbued with a portion of the stolen magic of Ilsensine.
Here the myths of Diirinka diverge, for derro belief holds that the other dwarven gods were jealous of the Great Savant’s perfect creation, and feared their magical might. With propaganda and lies, they convinced a coalition of human deities to assist them in driving the derro deep underground, away from their rightful home ruling the old dwarven kingdoms. In contrast, orthodox dwarven myth states that Moradin and his other kin were horrified at Diirinka’s betrayal of his brother Diinkarazan and his vile experiments on mortal dwarves, and banished them from dwarven lands, with allies among the human powers preventing them from settling on the surface. With no choice left, the derro fled deep underground, and were eventually forgotten by most dwarves.
The Betrayer hides himself away from both the Morndinsamman and Ilsensine, whom he rightfully believes still hunts for him. Diirinka’s long isolation and fear has left him a petty and hateful being. It is said he hates everything, even himself, perhaps as what little remains of his conscience gnaws at him for the betrayal of his twin brother. He still hungers for magical knowledge, and directs his followers to acquire all they can by any means. To further his avarice for magic, it is said he has traded knowledge of the creation of the derro with evil sorcerers on many worlds to gain magic, but such a trade is always double-edged, for in the end, the newly created derro often overthrow their masters. Planar sages believe just such an exchange led to the enmity the deity Fortubo holds towards Diirinka. These sages hold that the Betrayer traded the knowledge of creating derro to the wizards of the Suel Imperium on the world of Oerth whose pantheon included Fortubo, creating a rift in that pantheon at the same time. Local sages, however, believe their world is the origin of derro throughout the multiverse, and claim Diirinka and Diinkarazan were the first derro created by the Suel. Planar sages suspect that Diirinka, and perhaps his brother somehow, incarnated an avatar in order to ensure the derro there turned out as he wished. Finally, it is said that many powers have themselves attempted to do what Diirinka himself did, and steal some magical bauble or knowledge from him, though few are believed to have succeeded. One such deity is the halfling god Brandobaris. The details are hazy and vary from story to story, but the Betrayer seems to have a special hostility towards the Master of Stealth.
Diirinka is only active on the Prime Material Plane to serve his own ends, which only rarely involves defending his creations. He feels that if a group of derro isn’t up to the task, they deserve to be wiped out. Only if his followers appear on the brink of complete annihilation will he intervene, and even then he only does enough to avert total destruction. Otherwise he pays little attention to what his followers do or teach so long as they continue to make their race more powerful and revere him completely. When Diirinka’s avatars appear on the Prime Material Plane, they are most likely searching for new magical knowledge or artifacts, or inflicting wonton cruelty on hapless mortals.
Diirinka’s Avatar (Wizard 31, Priest 18, Fighter 14)
Diirinka appears as a small lich-like derro, with desiccated and decaying flesh, pinpoints of burning red light in his eye sockets, and patches of wild, pale yellow hair. He wears an ever-changing tattered robe of swirling black, grey, and white. He draws his spells from any school or sphere, favoring reversed spells where appropriate.
AC −3; MV 18; HP 142; THAC0 7; #AT 2
Dmg 1d4+6 (dagger +3, +1 Str, +2 spec. in dagger)
MR 50%; SZ S (3½ feet tall)
Str 16, Dex 19, Con 16, Int 19, Wis 18, Cha 16 (1 to non-derro)
Spells P: 10/10/9/9/6/4/2, W: 7/7/7/7/7/7/7/7/7
Saves PPDM 4; RSW 3; PP 5; BW 7; Sp 4
Special Att/Def: Diirinka avoids melee combat, preferring to make use of magic to deceive or harm his opponents. If forced into melee, he uses Fratricide, a dagger of venom +3 filled with Type E poison. In addition, while he has no other thieving abilities, he can backstab unsuspecting creatures as a 20th-level thief.
Five times per day, the Betrayer may pluck a magical thread from his robe and strike a target as a touch attack to deliver a potent spell effect, with all saves made against these attacks with a −4 penalty. He can draw the threads in any combination, with white ones capable of delivering a slay living attack, grey threads delivering a disintegrate attack, and black ones delivering a destruction attack. He always carries a wand of cold with maximum charges, while one of his fingers is adorned by a ring of telekinesis (400 lbs. limit). His robe is pinned with a full-strength brooch of shielding.
Just the sight of the Great Savant’s form is enough to cause any creatures of 5 Hit Dice/levels or less to flee in terror for 5d8 rounds. He can only be struck by weapons of +1 enchantment or greater, and is immune to sleep, charm, paralyzation, enfeeblement, polymorphing, and insanity, as well as death magic and cold and electrical attacks.
The Great Savant does not send omens to his followers, and only rarely manifests his power, favoring appearances by an avatar when he wishes to involve himself in mortal affairs. His only known manifestations take the form of a feeling like a painful itch in the mind of a follower; this itch starts out fairly painful, but becomes less pronounced as they move in a direction Diirinka wishes them to go. The destination is always some lost cache of magic or knowledge that the Great Savant wishes his derro to gain access to, but in his cruelty and desire for only the strong to survive, the journey is always fraught with deadly monsters and traps; in fact, if there are two paths a follower can take and one is significantly less dangerous, the mind itch becomes more painful if a derro attempts to follow that route.
Diirinka is served primarily by golems and simple undead creatures, as well as disenchanters, ghostlights, hakeashar, hook horrors, incarnates of anger, covetousness, and envy, inquisitors, magebanes, magical leeches, nishruu, quasits, subterranean puddings and oozes of all sorts, vargouilles, vorr, and will o’ deeps. He is not known to manifest his pleasure or displeasure through the discovery of any objects.
Clergy: Specialty priests
Clergy’s Align.: LE, NE, CE
Turn Undead: SP: No
Cmnd. Undead: SP: No
All savants (specialty priests) of Diirinka receive religion (derro) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency.
The undisputed authority in derro communities are the savants, who use the dogma of Diirinka to ensure their divine right to rule. They enforce discipline and order within communities by exerting control over all areas of life, and use their power to weed out troublemakers, rebels, and those with the clear potential to be a popular leader. In the rare cases where an intelligent and charismatic warrior becomes too popular to eliminate cleanly, the savants are quick to make them figurehead leaders, so they can continue to exert true leadership of their people. They use the theology of the Betrayer as a propaganda tool to shape and mold the feelings of the derro, and direct their aggression outwards, especially towards other dwarves and humans. Because of their aggression and periodic Uniting Wars, virtually all other underdark races fear or despise the derro, and hold Diirinka in contempt.
Temples built to honor the Betrayer also function as governmental buildings and schools and quarters for savants. They tend to be squat and brutalist structures with libraries and storerooms for magical artifacts and paraphernalia, as well as chambers for teaching student savants. Annexes or towers that hold private quarters for senior savants usually rise from or expand off the rear of the structure. The front chambers serve as council rooms and offices, off of an atrium shrine dedicated to Diirinka. The shrine is decorated by a series of spiral designs matching the Betrayer’s symbol, and often includes murals or friezes of derro subjugating various races and raiding settlements. Whatever races the derro compete with locally always feature prominently in such artwork, always being enslaved or slaughtered. Iconic representations of Diirinka are never found on the premises, however, and derro consider such things blasphemous. An open space before the temple typically is used for public ceremonies that are used by the savants to promote hatred of non-derro and create fear within their slave communities, often with public executions of slaves on fabricated charges.
Student savants are known as Searchers for Lore, while full savants are called Masters of the Mystic Arts. Each full savant adopts a unique title, often related to their areas of sage expertise. Known titles include Scrivener of Secrets, Master of Military Might, Mystic of Mycology, Student of Northern Lore, and Alchemical Arcanist. Each individual clan or community creates their own hierarchy for the savants, with the highest ranking members typically serving as a ruling council. While not truly priests, savants serve much the same role within derro communities, and advance in experience using the specialty priest experience chart. The priesthood of Diirinka, such as it is, consists solely of savants; no clerics or other priest classes are found within the clergy, nor are other races besides derro allowed into the ranks. For unknown reasons, there is a two-to-one ratio of males (66%) to females (34%) among the savants. In times past, dwarves of other subraces were called to be clerics and crusaders of the Great Savant, and it may be some still are on worlds unaware of the twins’ exile. Similarly, derro communities without the influence of savants may contain clerics or crusaders of Diirinka, but this has never been confirmed.
Dogma: Seek out knowledge that others hide away, and liberate it for the good of the Great Savant’s creation. The magical gifts the Father imbued in his savants are proof of their divine right to rule; keep a tight rein on power and never let any question this order of creation. Strength is all-important for the derro people; weed out the weak and ineffectual to make the people stronger. Unite the clans in a great host at regular intervals and wage war on those around you; this will winnow out the chaff and destroy the might of rival peoples. It will also bring in many magic-laden surface dwellers, curious to the great wars beneath their feet, who can be taken as slaves and their magic added to the collective knowledge of the Deep Lich’s people. Remember always that the derro are superior to all others, especially the children of the lazy and pathetic Morndinsamman, who are jealous of the Great Savant’s perfect creation. Non-derro are suited only for menial labor or death, and unworthy of respect. They should be made to fear their rightful masters.
Day-to-Day Activities: Savants of Diirinka spend much of their time scouring the underdark for knowledge, lore, and magic. Each one chooses areas of expertise that interest them, and focus a great deal of their attention on those subjects. They also act as the leaders of their communities, as well as teachers of the history and culture of the derro, with a focus on ensuring all young derro are properly indoctrinated into the beliefs of the community, and never question the status quo. They also oversee the treatment of slaves, using wanton and extreme cruelty to enforce discipline. Many also research ways to make slaves more compliant and reliant upon their masters, using fungal extracts to pacify and lobotomize them.
The only religious rituals savants are required to perform, other than veneration, is the sacrifice of newly discovered magical knowledge. Magical scrolls of spells a savant community has never encountered before, spellbooks with the same, and tomes of new arcane knowledge must all be sacrificed, although savants are allowed to make copies if they desire.
Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Diirinka’s priesthood observes no widespread holy days. Each community tends to develop a handful of regular ceremonies with religious overtones, but they are in fact conducted to reinforce the political and social dominance of the savants. The periodic Uniting Wars, by contrast, have significant religious aspects. Common derro are taught that these wars are done at the behest of the Great Savant in order to keep the other races from becoming too powerful, as well as a way for all derro to prove their worth and skill in his eyes.
Major Centers of Worship: Derro do not travel to religious sites as a rule of thumb, but occasionally temples or locations gain such interest. More often, temples gain prominence simply by being the seat of power for an influential derro nation. One such temple is the Vault of Arcane Mysteries in the Honeycombed Halls of the Diirinken, located somewhere beneath the Abbor-Alz mountains on Oerth. The influence of the savants extends well beyond the clan Diirinken, for they claim suzerainty of no less than six of clans of derro. It is their Council of Savants who determines when the Uniting Wars take place, and which other races are targeted.
Affiliated Orders: The savants of Diirinka sponsor no distinct martial or monastic orders; all derro communities nominally act according to the will of the Great Savant himself.
Priestly Vestments: Savants wear hooded robes of grey with bands of black and white when conducting ceremonies. Emblems of rank, if used, are typically worn as a pendant or affixed to the shoulder of the robe. No holy symbol is needed by the savants, but most still wear Diirinka’s symbol of a black, white, and grey spiral somewhere on their robes. It is said such a symbol was used by Diirinka’s dwarven priests before his exile.
Adventuring Garb: When traveling or going to war, Diirinka’s savants favor the typical equipment of their clan and community. If available, they will make use of magical protection and weapons whenever possible. Savants will make use of heavier armor if they do not plan to utilize their spellcasting abilities, but this is a rarity and will otherwise not be found in armor heavier than studded leather.
Specialty Priests (Savant)
Requirements: Intelligence 15, Wisdom 10
Prime Req.: Intelligence, Wisdom
Armor: Any up to studded leather, plus shields
Major Spheres: Special
Minor Spheres: Special
Magical Items: Any, see below
Req. Profs: Sage knowledge (Spells & Magic)
Bonus Profs: Reading/writing (Derro)
- Savants must be derro.
- Savants are not allowed to multiclass.
- Savants may select nonweapon proficiencies from both the priest and wizard groups with no crossover penalty.
- Savants use the monster THAC0 table, starting at 19 at level one and advancing two points at every odd level (i.e. THAC0 17 at 3rd, etc.). Further, they gain the best saving throw available for their level from the warrior and wizard charts.
- Savants may make use of any magic item they come across without penalty, although not all items prove useful for them. They may cast spells from wizard scrolls and priest scrolls as a member of the given class with the normal chance of failure. They suffer no harm for handling or reading a magical tome that increases levels, but also do not gain any benefit, regardless of the class level that is increased. To make use of weapons or musical instruments of a magical nature, they still must have an appropriate proficiency. They are not immune to the negative effects of cursed items.
- Savants gain spells as granted powers, mixing the normal divinely granted magic of priests with the arcane study of wizards. Further, the talent to become a savant is inherent to an individual; it cannot be taught or bred for. Spells are gained at random, although especially old savants have been known to study a spell long enough to have gained the insights to add it to their list of spells. Once a spell is known to a savant, it can never be exchanged for another. Spells have their normal casting times, as well as verbal and somatic components, but material components are never needed. A savant need only rest to regain usage of their spells every day; no prayer or studying is needed.
- All savants have spent enough time studying a single topic to become a minor sage on the matter. They must take the proficiency Sage Knowledge (Int −2) at character creation, choosing any subject as listed in Player’s Option: Spells & Magic or the DMG in table 61, as well as more specific subjects such as the history of certain nations, races, or religions. They may not spend slots as they gain levels on additional fields of study as these may come as granted powers later, but they may spend proficiency slots to gain bonuses to any sage knowledge proficiencies they do have. Finally, whenever gaining this proficiency, the savant has an additional −4 penalty to their proficiency check.
- Until they have gained sufficient power and experience, all savants are considered students. To become a full savant, they must achieve 5th level and be approved by a majority of all current full savants. They continue advancing until 7th level as a student if they have not been granted the status of full savant, although they gain none of the powers of the levels beyond 4th. Upon advancing to the status of full savant, additional powers manifest one per month until all powers are gained. Advancement to full savant is nominally based on skill and diligence in studying and aiding full their full savant masters, but is more often based purely on personality and whether enough full savants like the student.
- When savants gain the use of a new spell, it is selected at random from the following list of standard spells. If a duplicate is rolled, it means the savant has gained an additional casting of the spell per day.
|01||affect normal fires (as the 1st-level wizard spell)|
|02||anti-magic shell (as the 6th-level wizard spell)|
|03||blink (as the 3rd-level wizard spell)|
|04||cloudkill (as the 5th-level wizard spell)|
|05||ESP (as the 2nd-level wizard spell)|
|06||hypnotic pattern (as the 2nd-level wizard spell)|
|07||ice storm (as the 4th-level wizard spell)|
|08||invisibility (as the 2nd-level wizard spell)|
|09||levitate (as the 2nd-level wizard spell)|
|10||light (as the 1st-level wizard spell)|
|11||lightning bolt (as the 3rd-level wizard spell)|
|12||minor creation (as the 4th-level wizard spell)|
|13||paralyzation (as the 3rd-level wizard spell)|
|14||repulsion (as the 6th-level wizard spell)|
|15||shadow magic (as the 5th-level wizard spell)|
|16||spider climb (as the 1st-level wizard spell)|
|17||ventriloquism (as the 1st-level wizard spell)|
|18||wall of force (as the 5th-level wizard spell)|
|19||wall of fog (as the 1st-level wizard spell)|
- Savants can comprehend languages and read magic(as the 1st-level wizard spells) at will.
- At 2nd level, savants have a 50% chance to learn one spell in the above list, or gain a +1 bonus to their chosen sage knowledge proficiency check.
- At 3rd level, savants have a 50% chance to learn one spell in the above list, or gain a +1 bonus to their chosen sage knowledge proficiency check.
- At 4th level, savants that have not gained a spell yet automatically do so, rolling on the above list and disregarding a roll of 20. Otherwise, they have a 50% chance to learn one spell in the above list, or gain a +1 bonus to their chosen sage knowledge proficiency check.
- At 5th level, full savants have a 30% chance to gain four spells from the above list, 20% chance to gain two spells and one additional field of sage knowledge (with the penalty described above), or a 50% chance to gain three spells and a +1 bonus to their chosen sage knowledge proficiency check.
- Starting at 5th level, savants can work together to enchant magical items without the specific need to cast enchant an item, permanency, or similar spells. Enchantment works much as it does for normal wizards, but one of the savants must perform spell research to learn the necessary rituals to conduct the enchantment. For example, if four savants wish to create an item that would normally require a 2nd-level spell, two third-level spells, and a 4th-level spell, each one can perform the research on one of these spells to learn the appropriate ritual. Once the research is concluded, the savants spend one week per spell required to actually enchant the item; in the above scenario, a full month would be necessary to conduct the required rituals. This process exhausts all of the savants’ normal spellcasting for the days needed, save their abilities to comprehend languages and read magic. At the conclusion of this process, percentile dice are rolled to determine if the object was successfully enchanted; there is a base 4% chance per level of full savant and 2% per level of student savant involved, to a maximum of 95%, that the enchantment is successful. For example, if an 8th level savant, a 7th level savant, and two 5th level savants were involved in the creation, the item would have an 80% chance of being successfully enchanted. A minimum of two savants must be involved, with no maximum, but no more than half of those involved can be student savants.
- At 6th level, savants have a 50% chance to learn one spell in the above list, or gain a +1 bonus to one of their sage knowledge proficiency checks.
- At 7th level, savants have a 50% chance to learn one spell in the above list, or gain a +1 bonus to their chosen sage knowledge proficiency check.
- At 8th level, savants have a 50% chance to learn one spell in the above list, a 35% chance gain a +1 bonus to their chosen sage field proficiency check, or a 15% chance to gain one additional field of sage knowledge (with the penalty described above).
- Savants gain no additional levels beyond eighth, and do not improve in hit dice, saving throws, or THAC0 any further. However, they may conduct spell research to gain additional spells if they do not have a full set of nine spells. This spell research takes three times as long and costs three times as much as normal spell research; only wizard spells of up to 6th level may be researched. Further, they continue to accrue experience, and they gain proficiency slots when they would normally do so for a specialty priest with equivalent experience points. These slots can be used to improve existing proficiencies or take new sage knowledge fields, provided they do not already know three fields of study.
Diirinka does not grant priest spells to his followers, and so has no special spells available to his priesthood.