Mirklak the Orcslayer

I found a brief mention of this deity in The Great Gray Land of Thar booklet of Elminster’s Ecologies. The description of the ogres in that land, as well as the section on their gods, offered great fodder for expanding ogre culture and faith. In particular, the additional deities of the ogres, the ancient kingdom of the ogres, and the depiction of Vaprak as wholly ogrish rather than a mix of ogre and troll gave me the idea that the Thar ogres are actually descended from ancient spelljamming colonists, perhaps from the ogre empire that appears to be in the sphere of the Steel Star. Regarding Mirklak, I made him an amalgam of the various ogre heroes mentioned, and to whom all deified ogre heroes merge with.

Mirklak (PDF Version)
(The Orcslayer, the Tharkul)
Demipower of the Abyss, LE

Portfolio:  Warriors, ogre warrior virtue, bravery, leadership, ogre nobility, war
Aliases:  Maulog (Thar), Vorbyx (Thar), none others widespread
Domain Name:  524th Layer/Shatterstone (the Tharkul’s Keep)
Superior:  Vaprak
Allies:  Ysshara
Foes:  The orcish pantheon, the goblin pantheon, Vaprak’s foes
Symbol:  Two-handed sword over an orc skull
Wor. Align.:  LN, N, CN, LE, NE, CE

Mirklak (meer-CLACK) is the ogrish deity who embodies the qualities of leadership and bravery that ogres look for in their nobility. He is dispatched by Vaprak to inspire ancient ogre lineages faced with great foes, and to organize burgeoning ogre tribes into powerful and cohesive kingdoms. He is known by many names, for it is said that all great ogre kings were incarnations of him.

Mirklak’s origins are unknown, although sages speculate he was once a mortal ogre who so impressed Vaprak that he was elevated to divine status as a reward. It is not even known if Mirklak is his original name, or just the name of his most widely-known incarnation. Whatever his origins, he serves Vaprak loyally and unquestioningly, acting as his agent when a more strategic mind is needed. Compared to Vaprak, Mirklak is essentially a civilized deity, and as such he is only known to ogre tribes who rise above the petty barbarism that ensnares much of that race. He represents a more orderly life of kings and nobles than most ogres experience. To that extent, he has come to be seen as a patron of ogre magi, although he does not formally include that race in his portfolio.

There are as many legends and myths about Mirklak as there are ogres who venerate him. Most such stories follow one of a handful of templates, however. One of the common stories tells of a hero who, due to his bravery and courage, is rewarded with unusual powers or weapons from Vaprak. This ogre-hero then goes on to conquer the surrounding ogre tribes and create a single kingdom under his rule that enslaves or destroys competing races, and heralds a golden age of ogre rule. Another typical story tells a tale of a heroic ogre war leader whose entire army is slain by a far greater force. As the last warrior, the hero enters an enchanted berserk fury granted by Vaprak himself and manages to slay all of the foes on the field of battle, and permanently end his tribe’s greatest threat. By far the most common foe in these tales are orcs, with humans a distant second. The third sort of tale commonly told about one of Mirklak’s heroic forms is a tragic tale, wherein the noble ogre hero enters single combat with the leader or king of another race, with orcs and humans again being the most common adversary. This foe is a treacherous and deceitful warrior, who employs tricks and magic to slay the ogre hero; more often than not this brings about the destruction of an ogre kingdom and is used to describe the former glory that a tribe’s current enemies have stolen from them.

Mirklak cannot dispatch his sole avatar to the Prime Material Plane through his own power; as such he tends to make active use of his other manifestations instead. He and Vaprak both agree such use of power is preferred; and so Mirklak’s avatar only makes an appearance when Vaprak himself deems it necessary, and such occasions are extremely rare.

Mirklak’s Avatar (Fighter 20, Cleric 10)
Mirklak appears as a straight-backed, noble-looking ogre or ogre mage with yellow-brown skin and black hair, wearing shining bronze scale armor. He casts spells from the spheres of all, charm, combat, healing, law, necromantic, protection, summoning, and war.

AC 2; MV 12; HP 168; THAC0 1; #AT 5/2
Dmg 2d10+9 (two-handed sword +3, +8 Str, +2 spec. bonus in two-handed sword)
MR 10%; SZ H (13 feet tall)
Str 20, Dex 10, Con 20, Int 15, Wis 15, Cha 16
Spells P: 6/5/3/3/2
Saves PPDM 3; RSW 5; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 6

Special Att/Def:Mirklak wields Orcleaver, a large two-handed sword +3 that acts as a vorpal blade against any goblinkin (orcs, goblins, kobolds, etc.), beheading any foe successfully struck on a roll of 18 or better.

Mirklak is able to issue a five-word command to all ogres (including ogre magi, merrow, ogrillons, and half-ogres) within hearing range once per turn. All ogres who fight within 100 feet of him are continually affected by prayer and need never check for morale while he still stands. He can cast an aid spell on all ogres within a 30-foot radius sphere once per turn.

Mirklak is immune to non-magical weapons. He cannot be affected by any spell or ability that causes fear or reduces his morale, nor is he affected by spells that impede his personal ability to attack (hold monster, slow, curse, ray of enfeeblement, etc.). Spells that protect others (stoneskin, etc.) operate normally.

Other Manifestations
Mirklak only has two known manifestations. In his first manifestation, he permanently grants a portion of his divine power to an ogre, turning him into something akin to an avatar. While the ogre maintains his personality, he quickly feels an undeniable desire to unite ogre tribes into a single kingdom. An ogre granted such power gains four fighter levels, or becomes a 10th level fighter, whichever is higher. If the ogre was a priest, he becomes a multi-classed fighter/priest, even if the rules don’t normally allow it. In addition, he gains 3 points of Intelligence and Charisma. Once per week, he may cast bless and prayer, and he may cast aid once per day. Finally, Mirklak may gift the warrior a magical weapon of great power; it takes him 10 years to create a suitable weapon, so such giftings are very rare. Mirklak’s other manifestation is the exact same as the 10th level berserking power granted to his specialty priests (see below); like the power, he only uses it on lone ogres surrounded by foes in battle. In both cases, should the ogre affected be venerated as a deified hero upon his death, regardless of when that is, Mirklak subsumes that identity and continued veneration of the heroic ogre becomes part of his priesthood. Mirklak only uses these powers with Vaprak’s permission.

Mirklak rarely acts through any creatures; when he does, these are typically tribal totem beasts or those considered noble or admirable by an ogre tribe. Mirklak shows his favor through the discovery of ancient ogrish artifacts and symbols of nobility and kingship. He does not display his displeasure, leaving such displays to Vaprak.

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

All clerics and specialty priests of Mirklak receive religion (high ogrish) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency. All members of Mirklak’s clergy must be descended from ogrish nobility or ogrish heroes.

Mirklak’s clergy is found only within great ogrish kingdoms or those populations descended from them, such as the ogres of Thar on Toril, as well as the majority of ogre magi clans. He may be known and worshipped by multiple names in any given community; each such identity corresponds to a mythic or legendary heroic ancestor mentioned in the community’s histories and stories. While each identity is considered to be a different god by the ogres, and they may each have clergy, all are truly Mirklak and follow his basic tenets with only minor variation. Ogre tribes that have never had the sophistication to build a great kingdom will invariably only worship Vaprak or a foreign power; any heroes they venerate will not have true clergy, and will not be connected to Mirklak. In some tribes, his clergy may enjoy an odd dynamic where they are spiritually inferior to Vaprak’s clergy, but politically superior to them. Such tribes often have a delicate power-sharing balance that requires cooperation between the two clergies to avoid significant infighting. In such cases, outward expansion usually keeps both clergies happy.

Due to their secondary status in ogre religion, Mirklak’s clergy do not build temples separate from those of Vaprak; worshiping instead at shrines within the Destroyer’s temples. The only exception is within ogrish empires of considerable size, such as continent-spanning empires or the empire located in the crystal sphere of the Steel Star. Such temples always mimic those of Vaprak, but are never as big. Shrines always depict the local hero form under which ogres worship the Orcslayer, with small statues being the most common method of depiction. Sometimes relics said to have been used or won by the hero will be displayed in the shrine as well.

Novices of Mirklak are known as Tirokar, which means “novice warrior.” Full priests are known as Dukrolar, which means “war leader of noble blood.” Ranks within the priesthood vary from kingdom to kingdom, but typically have a military hierarchy. Specialty priests are known as tharkular. Only males are allowed to join the priesthood, with ogres (60%) outnumbering ogre magi (30%) and merrow (8%); only rarely are half-ogres and ogrillons (2%) found within their ranks, and only if their fathers are of noble ogrish blood. Mirklak’s clergy is dominated by specialty priests (50%), with most of the remainder being shamans (35%), and clerics (10%) and fighters (5%) making up the remainder.

Dogma: Exemplify the ogrish warrior spirit. Lead from the front, and never be afraid. Inspire your warriors to mimic your deeds. Victory is worth any price, but choose your battles wisely. Never back down from a challenge or single combat.

Day-to-Day Activities: Mirklak’s priesthood comprises the warrior nobility of their tribes. They spend their time ensuring fitness n themselves and their warriors, and drill them on standard tactics and maneuvers. They also engage in politics and participate in tribal administration. During times of war, they are the leaders and planners of the ogre armies, acting as a tempering voice in the ears of the followers of Vaprak. At the same time, however, if they feel victory is within their grasp, they will sacrifice any resources or troops necessary to achieve it.

Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Mirklak’s clergy observe no widespread holy days. However, dates of significance to the local incarnations of Mirklak are often celebrated, with coronations, heroic deaths, and great victories being common types. Celebrations take the form of feasts and ritual combats, although suitable celebrations popular with nearby races (usually orcs or humans) may be adopted.

Major Centers of Worship: Tombs believed to be the final resting place of a local incarnation of Mirklak is always counted amongst the most sacred sites of his clergy. If such a tomb is lost, his priesthood constantly searches for it, although this rarely overrides present concerns. If the tomb is known, it is considered a grave taboo for any creature to disturb it, and the priesthood will hunt down culprits as far as they are able in order to recover sacred relics. Ruins and battlegrounds related to Mirklak’s life are also held sacred.

Affiliated Orders: Mirklak’s priesthood has no martial or monastic orders associated with it.

Priestly Vestments: The ceremonial garb of the priesthood of Mirklak varies by location, but typically consists of armor and a robe in the colors of black and gold. Plate or scale armor is preferred, but piecemeal armor is common among tribes that cannot manufacture their own equipment. Headwear between individual priests is diverse, and often features horns, antlers, or skulls of slain beasts. Such headwear is considered sacred and passed from priest to priest, and if old, often has associated tales of heroism attached. The most common holy symbol of the priesthood is a piece of orc bone stained in orc blood; human, goblin, or other humanoid bones and blood are common in lands without orcish adversaries.

Adventuring Garb: When adventuring or going to war, Mirklak’s clergy wears the best armor they can obtain, with preference placed on plate or scale armors. Weapons favored include two-handed swords, great clubs, mauls, and axes. When leading troops, they often wear a harness that allows them to strap a banner or standard to their back, making them easier to find and follow in the chaos of battle.

Specialty Priests (Tharkular)
Requirements:          Strength 16, Wisdom 9, Charisma 15
Prime Req.:                Wisdom, Charisma
Alignment:                LE
Weapons:                   Any
Armor:                       Any, no shield
Major Spheres:         All, charm, combat, protection, summoning, war
Minor Spheres:         Healing (reverse forms only), law, necromantic
Magical Items:         Same as fighters and clerics
Req. Profs:                Any sword, close-quarter fighting (PHBR10)
Bonus Profs:             Endurance

  • While most tharkular are ogres or ogre magi, merrow, half-ogres, and ogrillons may become tharkular if they are of noble blood.
  • Tharkular are not allowed to multiclass.
  • Tharkular receive Constitution hit point adjustments to their Hit Dice as if they were warriors.
  • Tharkular may select nonweapon proficiencies from the warrior group without penalty.
  • Tharkular-led ogres (including ogre magi, merrow, half-ogres, and ogrillons) fight as if one morale category better. In addition, any negative morale modifiers are halved. If the tharkular is slain or incapacitated, all allied ogres lose one rank of morale (in addition to losing benefits of being led by the tharkular) and must immediately make a morale check.
  • Tharkular gain a saving throw with a −4 penalty against fear, charm, command, or domination type spells that normally allow no saving throws; against those spells that do allow a save, they make the save with a +2 bonus.
  • Tharkular can cast aid (as the 2nd-level priest spell) upon themselves once per day.
  • At 2nd level, tharkular can cast bless (as the 1st-level priest spell) once per day.
  • At 4th level, tharkular can cast command (as the 1st-level priest spell) twice per day.
  • At 6th level, tharkular can cast prayer (as the 3rd-level priest spell) once per day.
  • At 7th level, tharkular can make three melee attacks every two rounds.
  • At 9th level, tharkular can cast cloak of bravery (as the 4th-level priest spell) twice per day.
  • At 10th level, tharkular become immune to fear spells, as well as the fear effects and auras generated by creatures with 10 HD or less.
  • At 10th level, tharkular cast all spells from the sphere of war as if they were twice their actual level.
  • At 10th level, tharkular who find themselves alone and surrounded by attackers enter a berserk state. In this state, they suffer a −2 penalty to their Armor Class, but attack twice as often with a +2 bonus to attack rolls and damage. In addition, the tharkular regenerates much as trolls do, healing 1 hit point per round. The tharkular continues fighting even after being reduced to 0 hit points; if they reach −10 hit points however, they immediately die. In this berserk state, they cannot differentiate friend from foe.
  • At 12th level, tharkular can issue a command (as the 2nd-level priest spell) that affects all allied or enemy ogres (as chosen by the priest) within hearing range. They can issue this command once per day.
  • At 13th level, tharkular can make two melee attacks per round.

Mirklakian Spells

1st Level
Mirklak’s Standard (Pr 2; Enchantment/Charm)
Sphere:                    War
Range:                     Touch
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 1 turn/level
Casting Time:          1 turn
Area of Effect:         1 battle standard
Saving Throw:        None

By casting this spell, a priest can enchant a single battle standard or banner to invoke awe and confidence in allies, and fear and doubt in enemies. Any allied combatants fighting within visible range of the standard bearer ignores their first morale check, and from then on gain a +1 bonus to all additional checks. Enemy warriors fighting within sight of the standard suffer a -1 penalty to their morale checks for the duration of the spell. Should the standard fall (i.e. if it is destroyed or the bearer slain), the effects of the spell are immediately reversed for 1d4 rounds before expiring completely.

The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and a tuft of fur from a great cat or the feather of an eagle.

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