Luthic the Cave Mother

Luthic is the only major female deity amongst the goblinoid pantheons. She is wife to Gruumsh and mother of Bahgtru, and is the patron of female orcs, as well as those warriors who defend orcish settlements. She was a very interesting deity to work on, actually. I tried to twist the usually good aspects of healing, nurturing, and protection to have an orcish, lawful evil twist; for example, she teaches that only strong, worthy orc warriors deserve healing, while cowards do not. And, as with the other goblinoid deities, I’ve tried to inject some culture into the lives of orcs, so they’re more than just one-dimensional brutes who think of nothing but killing (or the overdone “noble savage” that seems to pop up in some settings). As always, comments are welcome!

Luthic (PDF Version)
(The Cave Mother, the Healer of Warriors, the Great Mother)
Lesser Power of Acheron, LE

Portfolio:                 Females, fertility, medicine, healing, herbalism, servitude, caves, morale, midwifery
Aliases:                     None
Domain Name:           Avalas/Nishrek
Superior:                   Gruumsh
Allies:                       Bahgtru, Ilneval, Shargaas, Yurtrus, Grumbar
Foes:                           The Seldarine, the dwarf and gnome pantheons, the goblinkin pantheons
Symbol:                     Cave entrance rune
Wor. Align.:             LN, N, CN, LE, NE, CE

Luthic (LOOTH-ick), as the sole female power amongst the bellicose orcish pantheon, represents all the domestic aspects of orcish society. As wife of Gruumsh and mother of Bahgtru, she is seen as the epitome of an orcish female, for she is servile to her mate and has produced a strong warrior son for him. In these roles, she also represents the fertility of the orc race, although many male orcs look to One-Eye as the patron of male fertility. While the sole widely-accepted female deity amongst the orcish pantheon, she is by no means soft. She is harsh in her judgments and a vicious combatant when defending the lairs and children of orcs, for they are the future strength of the orcish tribes. As the Cave Mother, she is seen as the protective embrace of the caves and caverns that so often constitute the homes of the orcish race. Caves are Luthic’s womb, from which warriors are born and boil forth to wage war upon the other races. Finally, she is also the one who gave rudimentary medicine and herbalism to her followers, thus enabling them to heal brave warriors so they can more quickly rejoin battle.

Within the pantheon, Luthic holds little concrete power, as the proper role of orcish females is servitude. However, this belies her actual influence. As Gruumsh’s mate, she can bend his will on many issues through playing to his ego and subtle cajoling, although she never directly contradicts his commands. Her son, Bahgtru, is also fiercely loyal to her, listening to her advice even over his father’s. Through him, Luthic is able to exert her will in areas typically considered male domains within the pantheon. She is aware of Ilneval’s interest in her, and although she is loyal to her mate, she is not above dropping indirect suggestions to the War Maker in order to manipulate his actions, although she does not put him into positions that would cause conflict between him and either her son or her mate. Like most of her fellow powers, the Healer of Warriors is disgusted by, and fears, Yurtrus White-Hands. While their portfolios would seem to conflict, Luthic in fact sees Yurtrus as a vital element to keeping tribes strong, by weeding out the weak members, while her priests keep the strong and vital members healthy and cured. The only member of the pantheon with whom the Cave Mother has genuine conflicts with is Shargaas, the Night Lord. They tend to be minor however, as Luthic’s focus is on caves near the surface, while the Stalker in Darkness is concerned with the depths of the underdark. Outside of the pantheon, the Cave Mother maintains few contacts. It is rumored she has had secret communication with Hecate, Wee Jas, and Cegilune in an attempt to get them on the side of the orcs in the battle with Maglubiyet, but it is unknown if any of them have responded to her overtures. She holds a deep-seated hatred towards the gods of all of the traditional enemies of the orcish peoples, including the dwarven, elven, gnomish, and goblin pantheons.

Luthic is a hard, ferocious deity whose interests in medicine and healing have nothing to do with relieving suffering. Healthy warriors can protect the tribe and slay their enemies, whereas wounded or sickly warriors cannot. The Cave Mother dispatches avatars infrequently, usually only after a great battle, to administer healing to wounded warriors. She is much more likely to do so if another battle is soon to follow. Luthic also sends avatars to protect the females and children of an orcish settlement if they need to flee the attacks of racial enemies. She may also send an avatar to observe and protect orcs engaged in fertility rites.

Luthic’s Avatar (Priest 28, Fighter 20, Earth Elementalist 14)
Luthic appears as a huge female orc with unbreakable black claws four feet long. Her hair and eyes are dull black and her skin is dark brown, lighter around the nose and ears. She favors spells from the schools of elemental earth and abjuration, and the spheres of elemental earth, healing, necromancy, and reversed sun, although she can use spells from any school or sphere.

AC 0; MV 12, Br 6; HP 141; THAC0 1; #AT 2
Dmg 4d4 + 1 (claws, +1 Str)
MR 15%; SZ L (8 feet 6 inches)
Str 17, Dex 17, Con 16, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 15
Spells P: 9/9/9/9/9/9/6, W: 6/6/6/5/5/3/2*
Saves PPDM 2; RSW 5; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 6
* Numbers assume one extra elemental earth spell per spell level.

Special Att/Def: Luthic never wields weapons, instead striking with each of her long, steel-like claws once per round. Any armor-clad being struck by these claws must save vs. breath weapon or find their armor damaged and useless, although normal repairs are possible. Any magical bonuses the armor provides are applied to the saving throw roll. She always carries wand of earth and stone; the smooth mineral tip functions as a stone controlling earth elementals that can summon elementals of twice the normal hit dice. Tied on a thong around her neck is a pouch from which she can draw herbs and mix into a potion of extra healing. The mixing requires one full round to complete. Any other creature who attempts to draw herbs from the pouch receives seemingly beneficial plants, but the resulting mixture instead produces a poison potion.

While underground or within darkness, the Cave Mother cannot be paralyzed, petrified, blinded or deafened. She can see normally in magical or normal darkness. She regenerates 2 hit points per round while underground, and can cast darkness, 15′ radius at will. Once per round, her touch can heal 20 points of damage to any orc if she so desires.

Other Manifestations
Luthic is amongst the most active of the orcish powers. When especially pleased with a follower, she may manifest in one of three ways. If the follower is in combat, or likely to see combat, she may grant the orc the benefits of the claws of Luthic spell as if cast by a 10th level priest. If the follower is within a community of other orcs, the Cave Mother may manifest as a black or brown nimbus around the hands of her follower. The former effect grants the laying on hands ability of a paladin of tenth level, although the same restrictions that affect her specialty priests apply. The latter effect allows the follower to touch a pregnant female and grant an uncomplicated pregnancy. Omens from the Cave Mother take many forms. Most common is a set of claw marks on solid stone, the length and direction of which can be interpreted by her priests. She also manifests as a rumbling in cave mouths, the intensity and duration of which determine whether it is a sign of her blessing or disapproval. A darkening of an area is an indication to her priests that the location is important in some way, either as a location they should go or one they should avoid.

Any orc who would abuse her name are in danger of earning the Great Mother’s divine wrath. If she notices such abuse, she may afflict the individual with a wasting disease, which requires a saving throw versus death magic at −4 to avoid. If the save is failed, the orc will die painfully in 1d4+4 days, during which they become weaker and more emaciated as the days pass.

Luthic makes her will known primarily through the actions of bears of all sorts, especially cave bears. She is also served by earth elementals, earth elemental vermin (crawlers), earth fundamentals, earth grues (chaggrins), earth mephits, imps, mites, osquips, and owlbears. The discovery of black hematite, brown jasper, jet, obsidian, black onyx, smoky quartz, and geodes of all sorts, hidden sources of healing herbs and plants, and wild yet docile deep rothé are all representations of her favor. Her disfavor is expressed through the same sorts of gems that disintegrate upon handling, blighted healing herbs, and rabid and diseased deep rothé.

The Church
Clergy:                      Clerics, specialty priests, mystics, shamans, fighters
Clergy’s Align.:      LN, LE, NE, CE
Turn Undead:           C: No, SP: No, Mys: No, Sha: No, F: No
Cmnd. Undead:         C: Yes, SP: No, Mys: No, Sha: No, F: No

All clerics, specialty priests, mystics, and shamans of Luthic receive religion (orcish) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency. Only females become mystics of the Cave Mother, and only males may be fighters in her service. All members of her clergy are required to take either the healing or the herbalism proficiency.

Luthic’s church forms something of a backbone in most orcish tribes, as she can count most of the tribe’s females as followers. They tend to the domestic needs of their people, such as child-rearing and meal preparation. In addition, they work to ensure a healthy next generation of young orc warriors through frequent fertility rites and the use of their healing and herbal knowledge. They also use these same powers to keep morale high, or raise it again after war or disease has inflicted a loss upon their people. The priestesses are very powerful and influential amongst the tribe’s females, and usually oversee their actions and duties. It is not uncommon to find them mated to the most powerful males in the tribe, such as the chief, chief priest of Gruumsh, or politically powerful warriors. While they are servile to their mates and the males of the tribe, they can often get their way through subtle manipulation and flattery. Males in the tribe usually leave the females to their own devices when it comes to issues of child-rearing, food gathering, and tending to the orcish hearths, as these are “unmanly” activities.

Unlike the priests of other orcish gods, Luthic’s priesthood creates quite a large number of shrines. As she is the goddess of caves and caverns, such places are especially sacred to her priests; it is considered especially auspicious if such a site is or was the lair of a cave bear. Small caves near surface-dwelling orcs are quickly consecrated to the Cave Mother. In the Underdark, a chamber within the orcish tribal complex that can hold a large number of priests at one time will be declared sacred to her, and taken as her temple. Only when there is no suitable cave nearby will her priests worship her on the surface. In all cases, holy sites must have a floor of dirt, and in the very center is a large hearth. When the sites are within the confines of an orcish village or tribal complex, the priests also store herbs for drying and later use. The walls, entrances, and perimeters are usually carved with crude runes that recite prayers and supplications to the Cave Mother. Occasionally the priests of Gruumsh build squat stone temples; in such cases a shrine of Luthic will always be located inside. As befits the wife of the chief of the orcish pantheon, these shrines are in the central chamber of the temple beside (or obscured behind) the altar to One-Eye. If the temple is large enough to have a subterranean level, there will be an additional, larger shrine to Luthic located there.

Novices in the service of Luthic are known as the Children of the Cave, while full priests are called Brothers/Sisters of the Cave, and specialty priests are known as denmistresses/masters. The hierarchy of her clergy is rigid and well defined, with the most powerful priestess leading the group in all rites. This priestess is known as Sacred Cavewarder, and lesser priestesses have titles such as Sacred Mother, Sacred Midwife, or Sacred Medicinemaker. Males serving Luthic are not part of the general hierarchy, but are considered a separate branch known as the Defenders of the Sacred Cave (see below). More information on them can be found under the “Affiliated Orders” section. The Cave Mother’s clergy contains mostly orcs (58%), but large numbers of orogs (25%) and half-orcs (15%), with much smaller numbers of scro and ogrillons (2%) can be found within her priestly ranks. The vast majority of priests are female (90%); her male followers tend to focus on her aspects of healing wounded warriors and ferocious defense of home and hearth. The bulk of the Cave Mother’s clergy are specialty priests (56%), followed by a smaller number of clerics (32%), and a smattering of exclusively male fighters (8%) and mystics (4%). Shamans are not part of the clerical hierarchy, although they are considered brothers and sisters of the faith.

Dogma: Caves are the sheltering embrace of the Great Mother, and from which all life springs. Her wisdom and strength are the root of valor and the backbone of the tribe. Do your part to strengthen the tribe against rivals. Know your place within the tribe, and endure all hardships. Brave warriors wounded in glorious battle deserve healing; cowards do not. Knowledge of herbs and plants were granted to the tribes by the Cave Mother; use them and share the knowledge amongst the people.

Day-to-Day Activities: Luthic’s female followers are in charge of the domestic activities within the tribe. They oversee the care and raising of young orcs, meal preparation, and care of the injured and sick. They also direct the activities of agriculture and food gathering. All male followers of the Healer of Warriors are members of the Defenders of the Sacred Cave (see below).

Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: The most important holy day in the clergy of the Great Mother is held on the winter solstice. This celebration, known as the Coming of the Winter Cave, is a great feast time and fertility ritual. The female orcs of the tribe, led by Luthic’s clergy, prepare a massive feast of all food that will not keep through winter, while readying the rest for storage. This is the traditional time for warriors, particularly those freshly raised to adulthood over the previous months, to claim mates from amongst the widows and unmated females. After short ceremonies certifying the relations, the great feast is held, during which the males regale each other with stories of their great deeds, and the deeds of the ancestors. After the feast, prayers to Luthic and Gruumsh are invoked, asking them to bless the tribe with many strong children the following year. This is typically when a great many orcish young are conceived.

Major Centers of Worship: The largest temples and shrines dedicated to the Cave Mother are always part of temples of Gruumsh. Other than those, followers of the Healer of Warriors do not build large, independent temples. However, shrines dedicated to her dot lands currently or formerly under the control of the orcish races. It is nearly impossible to enter an orcish cavern complex and not find one of her cavern-shrines somewhere within.

Affiliated Orders: The Defenders of the Sacred Cave is the only military order associated with Luthic’s church. They function primarily as protectors of the priestesses and the holy sites of the Cave Mother. They also function as general defenders of villages and encampments, as well as the women and children, when the tribe goes to war. While defending female clergy and children, they enter an enraged state, gaining a +2 to their attack rolls but suffering a −2 to their armor class. The order is entirely male, and consists exclusively of fighters (70%), specialty priests (20%), and clerics (10%). They can be found on all worlds where Luthic has a strong presence.

Priestly Vestments: During ceremonies and holy rites, Luthic’s clergy wear robes and caps made of black and brown bear fur over leather clothing. The robes and caps are usually decorated with the teeth and claws of bears; higher ranking priests generally have more decorations. They always carry a pouch of dirt, which the priests believe is necessary in the use of their healing spells. The holy symbol used by the clergy is a bear jawbone rubbed with a mixture of red ochre and soot.

Adventuring Garb: Clergy members wear the typical garments for the tribe when they are not conducting services or attending ceremonies. When a combat situation is imminent, they generally use light armor, such as leather, and whatever weapons are typical for their tribe. At all times, they carry a sack of dirt, which they use when casting healing spells.

Specialty Priests (Denmistresses/Denmasters)
Requirements:          Wisdom 9
Prime Req.:                Wisdom
Alignment:                LE for males, LE, NE, CE for females
Weapons:                   Any edged weapons, no arrows
Armor:                       Any up to leather
Major Spheres:         All, creation, elemental earth, guardian, healing, protection, sun (reversed forms only), wards
Minor Spheres:         Charm, combat, necromantic
Magical Items:         Same as clerics
Req. Profs:                Herbalism
Bonus Profs:               Healing

  • Denmasters may only be Lawful Evil, but denmistresses may be of any evil alignment.
  • Denmistresses and denmasters must have orcish blood. Most denmistresses and denmasters are orcs or half-orcs, but orogs, ogrillons, and scro may all become denmistresses and denmasters.
  • Denmistresses and denmasters may not multiclass.
  • Denmistresses and denmasters may lay on hands (similar to the paladin ability) for 1 hit point per priest level once per orc. They can only use this ability on warriors wounded in battle.
  • At 4th level, denmistresses and denmasters can cast darkness (as the reverse of the 1st-level priest spell light) for double duration once per day.
  • At 7th level, denmistresses and denmasters can regenerate 1 hit point per round for one continuous turn, once per day, but only while underground.
  • At 10th level, denmistresses and denmasters can summon one 8-HD earth elemental once per week. The elemental appears at a distance between 500 and 1000 yards, at a location the priest indicates. The elemental is completely uncontrolled and unaware of who summoned it; as such, it goes on a rampage and attacks any creature in sight. The elemental returns to the Elemental Plane of Earth after one hour. This ability is typically used to distract an attacking force while the females and young of a tribe escape.
  • At 13th level, denmistresses and denmasters can cast heal (as the 6th-level priest spell) once per day. They can only use this ability on warriors wounded in battle.

Luthite Spells
In addition to the spells listed below, priests of the Cave Mother may cast the 3rd-level priest spell ease labor and the 4th-level priest spell fertility, each detailed in Powers & Pantheons in the entry for Shiallia, and the 6th-level priest spell earth walk, detailed in Demihuman Deities in the entry for Dumathoin.

2nd Level
Claws of Luthic (Pr 2; Alteration, Necromancy)
Sphere:                    Combat, Necromantic
Range:                     0
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 2 rds./level
Casting Time:          5
Area of Effect:         The caster
Saving Throw:        None

This spell temporarily transforms the caster’s fingernails into extremely long, sharp, unbreakable claws, allowing two slashing attacks (one per claw) at a +2 bonus, for 1d4+2 points of damage each. The caster cannot use a normal weapon, or perform any fine manipulation due to the length of the claws. The claws are hard enough to dig through solid stone at a movement rate of 1.

The spell can be ended at any time at will, and the caster’s nails instantly revert back to normal. The reversion banishes any damage done to the limbs, wiping out hit point damage, any mutilations, or even magical withering.

The spell requires the priest’s holy symbol and a pair of front teeth from an osquip, the latter of which are consumed in the casting.

3rd Level
Embrace of the Cave Mother (Pr 3; Alteration)
Sphere:                    Combat, Elemental Earth
Range:                     20 yds. + 10 yds./level
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 5 rds. + 1 rd./level
Casting Time:          6
Area of Effect:         1 creature
Saving Throw:        Special

This spell must be cast earthen or unworked stone walls or floors. The spell causes a pair of arms made of stone or earth (half again as large as normal orcish limbs) to sprout from the surface next to or beneath any creature targeted by the caster of Large size or smaller. Each round, the arms will attempt to grasp the chosen creature, attacking twice as a warrior of the same level as the priest, dealing 1d6 points of damage if the arms are made of stone, and 1d4 if made of earth. If both attacks are successful, the arms encircle the creature and begin to crush it for 2d8 points of damage per round until the victim is dead, the spell expires, or the arms are destroyed. The limbs have AC2 and 7 hit points per caster level if made of stone, or AC5 and 5 hit points per caster level if made of earth. One third of all physical damage dealt to the limbs, rounded up, is also suffered by a grappled victim.

The spell requires a rib bone from any mammal the size of a small dog or larger, which the priest must snap in half.

7th Level
Return to the Cave Mother’s Womb (Pr 7; Alteration)
Sphere:                    Elemental Earth
Range:                     30 yds. + 5 yds./level
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 Special
Casting Time:          7
Area of Effect:         1 creature
Saving Throw:        None

Orcish mythology holds that all life is ultimately born from the earth itself, metaphorically known as Luthic’s womb. Upon casting this spell, a priest begins chanting a litany of prayers to the Cave Mother and curses aimed at a single target creature. At the end of the round, a rent is opened in the earth beneath the feet of the target creature, just large enough to swallow it, requiring a save vs. spell, adjusted for Dexterity, to avoid falling in. Creatures not standing on the ground (flying, on a ladder, etc.) cannot be affected by this spell. If the saving throw is made, the priest may continue to chant, opening new rifts beneath the target at the end of each round, to a maximum of one turn. If the target fails his save, he falls into a 6 foot deep pit, which then immediately begins closing. While the pit is sealing, the creature can attempt to escape by making a successful Strength check. At the end of the following round, the ground will fully seal itself back up, as if it had never been disturbed. Once sealed in the pit, a creature only has a limited time to be rescued before they run out of air and suffocate, following the standard rules for holding one’s breath (see Player’s Handbook p.122; characters can hold their breath for a number of rounds equal to ⅓ their Constitution score). If the creature is sealed in stone, spells such as stone shape or transmute rock to mud must be used to free them; if sealed in earth and soil, normal digging tools can be used. This spell cannot be used to open a pit in worked stone or paving materials; only unworked stone, loose soil, and packed earth can be affected.

The spell requires the priest’s holy symbol, which she must hold for the duration of the chant.


2 Responses to Luthic the Cave Mother

  1. Hi,

    Apologies for the off-topic comment, but I couldn’t find a contact email for you.

    A while ago I put out an ebook of my writing, called The New Death and others. It’s mostly short stories, with some obvious gamer-interest material. For example I have a story inspired by OD&D elves, as well as poems which retell Robert E Howard’s King Kull story The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune and HP Lovecraft’s Under the Pyramids.

    I was wondering if you’d be interested in doing a review on your blog (either a normal book review, or a review of its suitability as gaming inspiration).

    If so, please let me know your email, and what file format is easiest for you, and I’ll send you a free copy. You can email me ( or reply to this thread.

    You can download a sample from Smashwords:

    I’ll also link to your review from my blog.


  2. AuldDragon says:

    Hi, unfortunately, I don’t review books. I’m not very good at it, to be honest.

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