T’zen’kil the Lasher

The second-to-last deity in the neogi pantheon is the cruel T’zen’kil, god of pain, torture, and slavery. It is a foul being that enforces the social order and the idea that neogi superiority means that lesser beings deserve suffering. These elements have also made it the informal deity of neogi cooks and chefs.

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T’zen’kil (PDF Version)
(The Lasher, the Tongue Lasher)
Lesser Power of the Abyss, NE

Portfolio:                 Torture, pain, suffering, slavery
Aliases:                     None
Domain Name:           434th Layer/Karish (the Lashpens)
Superior:                   Ka’jik’zxi (Dead)
Allies:                       None
Foes:                           Every other power
Symbol:                     Whip dripping blood
Wor. Align.:             LE, NE, CE

A wicked and cruel being, T’zen’kil (tuh-ZEN-kill) is the neogi deity of torture and suffering. Through these concepts, it has become the deity of slavery, for in the neogi mindset pain and suffering is the natural condition of a slave. It is sadistic in the extreme, delighting in inflicting anguish in all forms, be it physical or mental.

Neogi myth includes T’zen’kil in the plot to overthrow the great creator-god Ka’jik’zxi along with the other members of the pantheon. Its role was one of rounding up the resources needed to create the poison that ultimately slew their creator. It delighted in this duty, for myth states that the ingredients included the screams of innocents and the mental anguish of the grieving, and T’zen’kil found itself quite skilled at extracting these resources. However, when the time came for Ka’jik’zxi to die by this poison, T’zen’kil felt it was far too easy and merciful of a death. Resenting its brethren, T’zen’kil is said to have attempted to gain access to the tattoo of ownership that is carved into a piece of Ka’jik’zxi’s flesh that landed in the Abyss but was blocked independently by both Kil’lix and Thrig’ki; the three have battled each other over it ever since.

The Lasher lives to inflict pain and suffering to such a degree that many sages believe such things sustain its being. They hold that should T’zen’kil ever be prevented from doing so for an extended period, it would wither away to nothingness. It enjoys inflicting all sorts of pain and is just as skilled at uttering a cutting remark that causes mental anguish as it is flaying the skin from a being. It is also very shrewd and uses the type of pain and torture that are most likely to achieve whatever its current goal is. However, it also maintains large stocks of slaves on which to engage in base torture and experimentation. Even the tanar’ri are wary of the Lasher’s domain and minions, for more than a few fiends are kept suffering in its pens for their interminable lives. It is said that those T’zen’kil keeps for his pleasure are kept just at the cusp of the maximum suffering they can sustain without dying for the extent of their natural lives. Still, not all who serve the Lasher suffer in this way; T’zen’kil is well aware of when a lack of pain can be a suitable motivator for those who are highly skilled.

T’zen’kil’s realm is a vast complex of walled slave pens and fortresses filled with every variety of torture device, including many unique examples. It periodically drives its forces out to battle with those of Thrig’ki, although rarely do they have a conclusion other than stalemate. It also has thousands of guards and agents on the lookout for any incursion by Kil’lix on its territory. Any creature not known to serve T’zen’kil who enters its realm is likely to get captured and tortured, although a handful of stories about successful escapes are known to circle the bars of Sigil.

T’zen’kil is not directly active on the Prime Material Plane, preferring to focus on the fight against its brethren and enjoying the suffering of those it has captured. Instead, it is known to send slaves and servants beyond its realm to capture more creatures for its slave pens and torture chambers. On rare occasions the Lasher itself will venture forth, especially if the targets of its pain are difficult to capture or move, or if the pain it can evoke is more significant in situ.

T’zen’kil’s Avatar (Cleric 27, Bard 16, Fighter 10)
T’zen’kil appears as a black neogi with sparse fur of the darkest red. It is covered in tattoos that evoke pain and suffering, favoring blood-red coloration with dark blue and pale pink highlights. It has bloodshot red eyes, but its most unusual feature is its sandpaper like tongue that is fully ten feet long. It draws its spells from all spheres and schools, but only uses the reversed versions of those in the healing sphere.

AC −1; MV 12; HP 154; THAC0 4; #AT 3 or 1
Dmg 1d6/1d6/2d4+1 (claw/claw/bite) or 1d8 (tongue)
MR 25%; SZ M (5 feet tall)
Str 12, Dex 19, Con 17, Int 19, Wis 16, Cha 14
Spells P: 11/11/9/9/9/9/5, W: 4/3/3/3/2/1
Saves PPDM 2; RSW 6; PP 5; BW 8; Sp 7

Special Att/Def: T’zen’kil enjoys physical combat against those with no chance of defeating it, as this gives it an opportunity to inflict needless pain. Otherwise, it prefers to hang back utilizing its magic and allowing minions and servants to fight its foes. In melee, it favors only using its whip-like tongue that can strike creatures up to 10 feet away. Those struck suffer 1d8 points of damage; this damage is doubled if the target is wearing no armor as the tongue flays bare skin. In addition, a victim must make a saving throw versus poison or suffer the effects of a symbol of pain for 1d8 rounds as its saliva seeps into the wounds. It can also utilize its claws and bite as a normal neogi; its bite injects normal neogi poison (slowing for 1d8 rounds), plus the effects of a symbol of pain for a like amount of time if a saving throw versus poison is failed. It is always accompanied by Rixt, a massive umber hulk with a pair of displacer-beast tentacles sprouting from its shoulders (12+12 HD, hp 108, 14 feet tall, immune to pain effects and caused wounds, additional attacks of 2d4/2d4), as well as a variety of other creatures.

The Lasher can create a symbol of pain with twice the area of effect once per day, as well as each of cause light wounds, cause moderate wounds, cause serious wounds, and cause critical wounds twice per day each. It can create hopelessness (as the spell emotion) in a single creature at will, in addition to any other action it takes.

T’zen’kil is immune to all caused wounds, magical pain, poison, and all forms of mental domination and control. It can only be struck by weapons of +1 or better enchantment and cannot be magically compelled to speak or reveal the truth if it does not wish to do so.

Other Manifestations
Like all neogi deities, T’zen’kil never manifests its power to aid its followers. The neogi believe this is because of an oversight in the contract forged with their deities.

The neogi pantheon is served primarily by divine servitors in the form of umber hulks and normal spiders of all sorts, but T’zen’kil also calls upon baku dark ones, inquisitors, and lesser yugoloths (all mercenaries). It never displays its favor or displeasure through discoveries of any kind.

The Church
Clergy:                      Clerics, specialty priests
Clergy’s Align.:      LE, NE, CE
Turn Undead:           C: No, SP: No
Cmnd. Undead:         C: Yes, SP: Yes, at level −2

All clerics and specialty priests of T’zen’kil receive religion (neogi) and reading/writing (neogi) as bonus nonweapon proficiencies.

Neogi drawn to T’zen’kil’s faith are usually those who monitor the slave populations of a community, for they use pain to punish and motivate their slaves. The Lasher is also the favored deity of neogi torturers, interrogators, and chefs due to the considerable overlap these professions have within neogi society. T’zen’kil’s faithful are not overly ambitious once they achieve one of these positions, although they will not pass up easy opportunities for advancement, either. However, they are often content in positions where they can administer pain and suffering to others, as these are tasks that bring them joy. A member of the Lasher’s faith who has achieved one of these positions can be almost trustworthy as a subordinate, at least by neogi standards.

Temples dedicated to T’zen’kil are almost nonexistent; those that do exist are almost invariably found in long-term slaving enclaves. Such temples are bleak and often stained with blood, and are decorated with chains, manacles, and a dizzying variety of devices dedicated to torture and pain. Shrines are significantly more common, found both on ships dedicated to taking slaves and in the personal quarters of interrogators, chefs, and torturers. These shrines are simple affairs, with a small brazier for burning offerings, surrounded by blood-soaked chains and whips, and often decorated further with bones or a skull of some past victim.

Novices in the service of T’zen’kil are known as Unlashed. Full priests of the Lasher are known as Givers of Pain. The church has no formal hierarchy, with all full priests being nominally equal. However, deference is usually given to those who are more skilled at inflicting pain while keeping victims alive the longest. Specialty priests are known as lashtongues. The composition of the Lasher’s priesthood is overwhelmingly specialty priests (80%), with a much smaller number of clerics (20%). The clergy of T’zen’kil is almost exclusively neogi (98%); tso (2%) are rarely as abjectly cruel as their Prime Material cousins and umber hulks are never drawn to its service.

Dogma: Pain is pleasure, for the giver. The ability to freely give pain shows dominance, and so neogi should inflict it often on weaker races. Pain is a tool; it controls, it breaks, and it extracts truth. Make use of this tool to further your goals. All other creatures are slaves, and all slaves are meat. Pain tenderizes and enhances flavor; inflict it before a meal and savor your work. Pain can be given with words as well as whips; learn the words that will inflict the most pain on your victims.

Day-to-Day Activities: The clergy of T’zen’kil are most often found on neogi vessels that make their living collecting and trading slaves. They are uninterested in the finer details of acquiring slaves, however, leaving that to others; they much prefer overseeing a ship’s complement of slaves. They use brutal tactics to keep them in line but are also well aware that in some cases they cannot leave physical signs of their work. On ships devoted to raiding or war, they can often be found in charge of prisoner interrogation and torture, and throughout the neogi fleets they can be found serving as cooks. They revel in these roles, and often actively avoid ambitious actions that could advance their rank. Finally, in rare circumstances, they serve as diplomats and envoys, although their penchant for cutting remarks has backfired more than once.

Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Each year, neogi observe a holy day dedicated to T’zen’kil known as the Bargain of Pain. Like all neogi holidays, it is held on one of five intercalary days on their calendar, each spaced 72 days apart; the Bargain of Pain is the second such day.

On this day, a community of neogi, typically a ship’s crew, offer up a sacrifice of a slave in order renew their bargain with the Lasher. This bargain is seen in neogi theology to confirm and uphold the natural superiority of their race over all others. The ceremony starts with a lengthy diatribe about the inferiority of other races, often targeting local antagonists of the neogi race. When that is completed, a single slave is offered up to the Lasher, but not through an immediate sacrifice. Instead, the neogi leading the ceremony attempts to inflict a great deal of pain on the victim while keeping them alive as long as possible. The ideal victim is one who will be both hardy and very vocal about their pain; for this reason, gnomes and halflings are among the favored sacrifices. Dwarves are considered too stoic, while humans and especially elves are seen as too delicate for an ideal ceremony length. When the sacrifice does finally die, the length of their survival is seen as an omen for coming year. Umber hulks are only sacrificed in the direst of circumstances, and other neogi are never sacrificed.

Major Centers of Worship: The clergy of T’zen’kil is not known to have established any major temples or other sites of importance to the faith.

Affiliated Orders: While the church of the Lasher sponsors no martial or monastic orders, most independent neogi interrogators, torturers, and chefs look to the clergy for guidance and the dissemination of new techniques.

Priestly Vestments: The priesthood of T’zen’kil wears robes of brown, matching the shade of dried blood, fringed with the red of fresh blood. Especially powerful and accomplished priests will often have these robes made from the hides of creatures they have tortured, although this requires considerable work. Regardless of the composition, the robes are decorated with symbols that evoke the scars left on flesh from whips. Many members of the clergy also tattoo themselves with similar designs. All priests also prominently sport a tattoo of a half-coiled whip dripping blood, which serves as their holy symbol.

Adventuring Garb: Other than their tattoos, there is little to differentiate T’zen’kil’s clergy from other neogi. They often carry implements of torture with them, especially whips, but otherwise they make use of no weapons or armor, as normal for their race.

Specialty Priests (Lashtongues)
Requirements:          Constitution 13, Wisdom 9
Prime Req.:                Constitution, Wisdom
Alignment:                NE
Weapons:                   None (Any)
Armor:                       None (Any)
Major Spheres:         All, astral, charm, combat, divination, elemental, healing, necromantic, thought, war
Minor Spheres:         Animal, protection, summoning
Magical Items:         Same as clerics
Req. Profs:                Healing or Herbalism
Bonus Profs:             Etiquette

  • Lashtongues must be neogi or tso.
  • Lashtongues are not allowed to multiclass.
  • Lashtongues are immune to magical pain (such as a symbol of pain) and are allowed a normal saving throw to avoid the effects of all cause wounds spells, as well as harm and wither.
  • Lashtongues can cast charm person or taunt (as the 1st-level wizard spells) once per day.
  • At 3rd level, lashtongues can cast cause moderate wounds (as the reverse of the 2nd-level priest spell, cure moderate wounds) or regenerative pain (as the 2nd-level priest spell) once per day.
  • At 5th level, lashtongues can cast painful insults or whip of pain (as the 3rd-level priest spells) once per day.
  • At 7th level, lashtongues can cast cause serious wounds (as the reverse of the 4th-level priest spell, cure serious wounds) or emotion: hopelessness (as the 4th-level wizard spell) once per day.
  • At 10th level, lashtongues can cast blast of pain or torture (as the 5th-level priest spells) once per day.
  • At 12th level, lashtongues can cast pain contagion (as the 6th-level priest spell) once per week.
  • At 15th-level, lashtongues can cast symbol of pain (as the 7th-level priest spell) or wither (as the reverse of the 7th-level priest spell, regeneration) once per week.

T’zen’kilan Spells
In addition to the spell listed below, priests of the Lasher can cast the 3rd-level priest spell whip of pain, detailed in Faiths and Avatars in the entry for Loviatar, and the 5th-level priest spell blast of pain, detailed in Faiths and Avatars in the entry for Ilmater.

2nd Level
Regenerative Pain (Pr 2; Necromancy)
Sphere:                    Healing
Range:                     Touch
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 1 rd./level
Casting Time:          5
Area of Effect:         1 creature
Saving Throw:        None

By means of this spell, the caster causes a target to heal 1 hit point each round until fully healed or the duration expires. However, this healing is accompanied by searing, burning pain at the wound sites; this pain is so intense that the target believes they are instead losing 1 hit point each round. Should a target believe they have fallen to zero hit points from this pain, they must make a saving throw versus petrification or collapse unconscious for 1d6 turns. If the saving throw is successful, they perceive their hit points as staying at 1 for the round, and another saving throw is required the following round as their perception again holds that they have fallen to zero. This continues until the spell expires, at which point the pain ends and the false damage is replaced by the correct amount of healing they received.

The perception of this damage is not strictly illusory, as the pain is real; it cannot be disbelieved. Magic that eliminates pain (rather than cures injuries) ends this spell prematurely, halting both the perceived pain and hit point loss and the actual hit point gain. Immunity to magical pain renders one immune to this spell as well, including the healing. Cure wounds spells have no direct effect on this spell but can end it prematurely by bringing a target to full hit points, and so can appear to be effective.

The material component for this spell is a poultice containing salt or hot pepper extract and healing herbs worth at least 10 gp.

3rd Level
Painful Insults (Pr 3; Enchantment/Charm)
Sphere:                    Charm
Range:                     30 yds.
Components:           V
Duration:                 1d4 rds.
Casting Time:          3
Area of Effect:         1 creature
Saving Throw:        Neg.

With this spell, the caster unleashes a torrent of insults against one creature, bringing on feelings of inferiority and worthlessness. The caster must make these insults in a language the target can understand, and they are allowed a saving throw versus spell to avoid the effects. If the saving throw is failed, the victim is dazed for 1d4 rounds, and all attack rolls, saving throws, ability checks, and the like suffer a −5 (or −25%) penalty. If the victim is a spell caster, they cannot cast spells above 3rd level. These penalties can be dispelled with an emotion spell (courage, hope, or happiness effects), a successful dispel magic, or a heal spell. Further, a successful use of a bard’s inspiration ability can also eliminate the effect.

5th Level
Torture (Pr 5; Necromancy)
Sphere:                    Necromantic
Range:                     40 yds.
Components:           V, S
Duration:                 2 rds.
Casting Time:          5
Area of Effect:         1 target
Saving Throw:        Neg.

The caster asks the target a question as he or she fashions a terrifying phantasm of demonic torture and casts it into the mind of the target. If the target fails a saving throw and does not truthfully answer the caster’s question, the target is racked with ultimate agony and loses half of his or her current hit points (round down). If the target fails the first saving throw, the caster may ask a second question, which requires another saving throw in the subsequent round. If this saving throw also fails, the victim perishes from the effects of the torturous phantasm should he or she refuse to answer truthfully. Truthful answers do not allow the spell to cause pain or hit point loss in any circumstance, and the caster can ask a maximum of two questions before the spell ends.

6th Level
Pain Contagion (Pr 6; Necromancy)
Sphere:                    Necromantic
Range:                     Touch
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 Special
Casting Time:          9
Area of Effect:         1 creature
Saving Throw:        Special

With this fearsome spell, a priest can inflict debilitating pain on a creature by touch. The insidiousness of this spell reveals itself in the following round, as any other creatures that come into physical contact with an afflicted being can also contract this debilitating pain. The initial affliction may be avoided if the target makes a saving throw versus spell with a −4 penalty; if the save is successful, they suffer no ill effects. If the save is failed however, the victim immediately feels their body wracked with pain for the next 1d4+1 days. This pain is not severe enough to disable a victim, but it does reduce Dexterity by two points (or a −1 penalty to AC if a creature has no Dexterity score) and all attack rolls are made with a –2 penalty. Further, a Constitution check is required any time a character wishes to concentrate or perform a complex action (studying or praying for spells, picking a lock, etc.); failure ruins the attempt. Any creature touching an afflicted person during the duration of the spell must themselves make a saving throw versus spell or contract the pain contagion themselves, lasting for the full duration of 1d4+1 days. The contact must be close; while clothing and armor are no barrier to the transmission of this spell, a weapon strike in battle would not transmit the pain contagion.

This spell may be eliminated with a successful dispel magic or heal; cure disease and remove curse have no effect. All cure wounds spells can alleviate the pain for a number of rounds equal to the damage the spell would restore; for example, a cure light wounds spell that heals 7 hit points of damage would eliminate the pain for 7 rounds. However, such spells (including heal) require a touch, meaning the would-be healer may themselves contract the pain contagion.

Creatures immune to pain are also immune to this spell, neither contracting nor transmitting it. Creatures that have contracted a specific casting of pain contagion cannot be afflicted by it again, although a new casting can be contracted. Finally, the caster is always immune to his own pain contagion and can designate one other creature per level who cannot be affected by the spell.

The material component for this spell is a sealed golden vial (worth 100 gp) containing a mixture of sap from a poison ivy, poison oak, or a similar plant and the blood of a creature that died from an infectious disease. This mixture requires one week and 100 gp to prepare properly.

One Response to T’zen’kil the Lasher

  1. Alzrius says:

    A quick note: in the fifth bullet point under the specialty priest listing, “regenerative pain” should be italicized.

    Also, bringing back the torture spell from Die Vecna Die! is a nice easter egg. As the last official spell published for AD&D 2E (magazines notwithstanding), it’s good to see that it hasn’t been forgotten. As it was, I was half expecting to see the various Nybor’s spells here too, since they’re also pain-inflicting spells.

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