Alia – Mechanical Goddess

Sculpture by John Duncan Fergusson

Saw this sculpture on Wikipedia today, and it inspired me. Looks like an appropriate goddess for the mechanical men who run about in NOD.

ALIA, GODDESS OF THE MECHANICAL MEN
Goddess of Sun, Wisdom, Harmony, Dance
Neutral (LN)
Worshiped by Mechanical Men, Sages, Engineers, Royalty
Carries no weapons

Alia is the sun goddess of the mechanical men. The mechanical peoples have a different relation to the Sun than living creatures. They require no warmth, and do not eat, but they do require light and recognize its central place in the scheme of things. To the mechanical men, Alia is a goddess of reason and harmony, and her priests are usually Lawful (LG) or Neutral (LN) as a result. Her role as a slayer of darkness/evil or bringer of new life is underplayed by them, and instead she is conceived as more of a wise woman, holding a combination of a salon and grand ball, in which the other heavenly spheres dance and commune. Her priests, therefore, are skilled at dancing and are more sages than warriors, though they acknowledge the need to combat Chaos (Evil), as it attempts to disrupt and wear down the mechanical universe, of which they are microcosms.

CULT SPELL: HARMONIOUS ACTION

Cleric 4 (Clerics of Alia only)
30 ft. range
1 minute duration

Harmonious action permits all allies within the spell’s range to move and act in perfect harmony while engaged in melee combat. The cleric chooses one enemy target in particular. Each of the cleric’s allies, in addition to making a normal move and melee attack, can make an extra melee attack at a -5 penalty on the cleric’s chosen foe, provided that foe is within their range.

The Gods of the Future! [Quickie]

Found a few images today that serve well as gods of the future that might travel back to hassle pseudo-medieval adventurers …

God of Telephonics

and thus also god of telemarketers and family

His priests wear rotary dials as amulets and wear armor woven from copper wire (equivalent to chainmail), and are capable of casting message by sacrificing a silver piece.

Goddess of Automobiles

and thus also goddess of freedom, getting laid and blood on the asphalt

Her priests wear gloves, buff coats and goggles over their armor, and the men are expected to cultivate glorious full mustaches; they bear the holy spoked wheel on their round shields and can cast stinking cloud once per day

Goddess of Aeroplanes

and thus also goddess of travel, air sickness and tiny bags of peanuts

Her priests and priestesses wear golden wing pins on their blue tunics and can cast fly once per day, but must be sitting in a cart or wagon to do so – they spell effects the cart rather than the priest or priestess; in addition, the priestesses can cast create peanuts and coffee or tea (a variation of create food and water) once per day, but only while in flight

The first image is from Love Truth Beauty

Law vs. Chaos, the William Blake Way

The internet is wonderful for stream of consciousness discovery. Last night, I was writing a bit about orcs for Blood & Treasure – specifically creating a table of military units – and in the process found a reference to the very interesting mythology created by William Blake in the last decades of the 18th century. Just like that, I had the perfect pantheon for Dweomer Bay, Nod’s nod to Colonial America.

If you don’t know about this little gem of creativity (I’m not going to pass judgment on is validity), I’ll do my best to present the basics, which, frankly, is all you really need for a fantasy RPG that has warrior-priests who mostly concern  themselves with exploring dungeons. If you’re looking for a stand-in for Christianity, it should work rather well.

In essence, Blake’s mythology would be one in which Chaos (or Chaotic Good, in 9-fold alignment terms) is “good”, and Law (or Lawful Neutral) is “not good”. It has a central figure, the giant/man/land of Albion, who is divided into four Zoas:

Tharmas: Tharmas is the primordial man, who represents instinct and strength. If I had to choose an alignment, I’d go Neutral.

Urizen: Urizen is reason and tradition; a cruel god of Law. Probably Lawful Neutral. He was the primeval priest, who separated from the other Eternals to build his own alienating and enslaving realm of religious dogma – a fallen universe – in which Los and Enitharmon enter to give birth to their son, Luvah/Orc, the spirit of revolution and freedom.

Luvah (Orc): Luvah represents love, passion and emotive faculties. He is known as Orc in his most amorous and rebellious form. Luvah is probably Chaotic Neutral. He is the embodiment of the American Colonies, which Blake apparently imagined would be a new utopia. Orc provokes the Angel of Boston to rebellion against the Angel of Albion, who considers Orc the anti-Christ. Orc considers the Angel of Albion to be the anti-Christ.

Urthona (Los): Urthona is also known as Los, and represents inspiration and imagination. This guy is Chaotic Good. He is commonly depicted with a hammer, and is the father of Luvah/Orc. Urthona is the redeemer of the fallen universe created by the rebel Urizen. Los himself fell and took on human form, and then went to work binding Urizen to a human form, a “Human illusion, in darkness and deep clouds involvd”.

Urthona (Los), Enitharmon and Luvah (Orc)

Each of these four Zoas has a feminine “emanation”:

Enion: Enion is maternal, and is paired with Tharmas.

Ahania: Ahania is celestial, and is paired with Urizen. She is discarded by Urizen.

Vala: Vala is seductive and shadowy, and is paired with Lovah/Orc. Her daughters are death and love human sacrifice, and must be confronted and defeated by Jerusalem to bring the Zoas back together as a single divine body.

Enitharmon: Enitharmon is musical, and is paired with Urthona/Los.

There are other “divinities” as well:

Rintrah represents “revolutionary wrath” (the fact that the American Revolution has an impact on Blake’s mythology makes it perfect for Dweomer Bay). His brothers are Palamabron (pity), Bromion (scientific thought – also the passionate man) and Theotormon (desire/jealousy – also the chaste man). They are the sons of Los. Bromion is loud and lustful, and eventually rapes Oothoon (the soft spirit of America, or female sexuality), symbolizing an America trapped by the the science of Newton and the philosophy of Locke.

Bromion, Oothoon and Theotormon

Urizen’s sons are Thiriel (Air), Utha (Water), Grodna (Earth) and Fuzon (Fire). Fuzon rebels against Urizen, attacking him with fire and then declaring himself God. This leads to Urizen accidentally creating the tree of mystery and nailing Fuzon’s body to it.

Los entering the grave

The Queens of Elemental Earth

This idea popped into my head today, so I explored it a bit.

The primal earth has produced many wonders, but none so lovely (and few so powerful) as the so-called Queens of Elemental Earth. These five sisters are worshipped as goddesses by many of the folk who dwell beneath the earth and are honored by all elemental earth creatures.

The queens look like astoundingly beautiful statues of women in their natural state. They are translucent and gleam with an inner light that produces a magical aura. Within their eyes dance shimmering motes of light that affect all upon which they train their gaze. They dwell in luxurious palaces beneath the ground, served by lesser elementals and fey creatures.

While the queens are ground in neutrality, with some preference for order (i.e. Law), they are, as one might expect, possessed of a very keen appreciation for the wonder that is them. They do not like to be disobeyed or their intentions and desires frustrated, and they have no qualms about destroying lesser creatures that get in their way.

All of the queens can move through rock, stone and soil as easily as a human moves through the air. They suffer half damage from all attacks from manufactured and natural weapons.

Adamantia
Adamantia is Queen Diamond. She has a smooth body of translucent crystal with inner reflections of pink. Adamantia is the strongest and most durable of the five sisters, and she is unforgiving in her disdain of imperfection and muddled thinking. She is always under the effect of a true seeing spell and a zone of truth. She is worshipped as a goddess of clarity, truth and perfection. Her stronghold is a fortress of gleaming adamant, with every surface stark white and lit by a soft, pinkish-white glow. Her court includes elemental earth creatures as well as entities of Law and a host of human paladins that have declared her the focus of their courtly, chaste love.

Adamantia produces an aura of truth (see zone of truth above) that also acts a protection aura against chaotic creatures (per protection from evil, 10-ft. radius). Her gaze acts as a hold monster spell.

Adamantia can cast the following spells as innate abilities: At will – charm person; 3/day – break enchantment, charm monster, cure disease, dispel magic, haste (self), invisibility; 1/day – dimension door, ray of enfeeblement, strength, suggestion, wave of exhaustion. She can also cast spells as a 10th level cleric.

Adamantia: HD 21; AC -7 [26]; Atk 2 strikes (4d6); Move 36; Save 3; CL/XP 30/7400; Special: +2 or better weapon to hit, aura, gaze, earth glide, half damage from all weapons, suffers double damage from sonic attacks, immune to fire, resistance to cold (50%), magic resistance (65%), regenerate 3 hp/round.

Rubinia
Queen Ruby, Rubinia, is composed of a translucent red substance. Her hair (though it is merely sculpted on her head) appears wild and unkempt and her eyes gleam with power. She is worshipped as a goddess of fire and passion and strength. Her court includes elemental earth creatures as well as exiled or rebellious elemental fire creatures. Her stronghold is enclosed in a ruby sphere with spherical chambers that look like bubbles within the sphere and connected by curving tunnels that radiate out from her central court. Gravity is completely relative within the sphere, with people able to walk on all surfaces.

Rubinia produces an aura of weakness (10-ft. radius) that forces people to pass a saving throw or be affected per a ray of enfeeblement. Her gaze forces people to pass a saving throw or be enraged (per the emotion or rage spell, depending on which version of the grand old game you play). Enraged folk never turn their anger upon Rubinia or her servants. Her touch ages people as the touch of a ghost.

Rubinia can cast the following spells as innate abilities: At will – augury; 3/day – charm person, divination, dispel magic, haste (self), invisibility; 1/day – dimension door, flame strike, heal, heat metal. She can also cast spells as a 10th level magic-user.

Rubinia: HD 21; AC -6 [25]; Atk 2 strikes (4d6); Move 36; Save 3; CL/XP 30/7400; Special: +2 or better weapon to hit, aura, gaze, earth glide, half damage from all weapons, suffers double damage from sonic attacks, immune to fire, resistance to cold (50%), magic resistance (55%), regenerate 3 hp/round.

Esmeraude
Esmeraude, Queen Emerald, is the most sensuous and beautiful of the sisters, possessed of a green, healthy glow and a warm, though unyielding, touch. Her stronghold is a paen to love and romance, being a series of limestone caverns with jade pools, rushing streams, laughing waterfalls and gardens of flowering trees, ferns and flowers. Her court consists of elemental earth creatures, nymphs and dryads.

Esmeraude radiates an aura of blinding beauty (per a nymph) and her gaze stuns creatures for 2d4 rounds. Her kiss can grant magic-user’s the effects of a mnemonic enhancement for 24 hours, but also imbues upon them a geas that they must visit her once per year and serve her faithfully for one week.

Esmeraude can cast the following spells as innate abilities: At will – cause blindness; 3/day – cure blindness, cause fear, dispel magic, haste (self), invisibility; 1/day – charm monster, dimension door, entangle, plant growth, suggestion. She can also cast spells as a 12th level druid.

Esmeraude: HD 21; AC -5 [24]; Atk 2 strikes (4d6); Move 36; Save 3; CL/XP 30/7400; Special: +2 or better weapon to hit, aura, gaze, earth glide, half damage from all weapons, suffers double damage from sonic attacks, resistance to cold and fire (50%), magic resistance (55%), regenerate 3 hp/round.

Amethysta
Queen Amethyst appears as a woman of translucent purple crystal accompanied always by three legendary panthers with purple-black fur. She is a queen of dreams who commands a court of elemental earth creatures, succubi and illusionists. Her court is held in a palace of mottled purple walls set in a maze-like layout, with many secret chambers where visitors can rest themselves on comfortable beds stuffed with celestial goose down and sleep under silk and satin, perhaps never to wake again.

Amethysta produces a purple aura of slumber (as the daze spell) and her gaze causes confusion. Those struck by her, even lightly, must pass a saving throw or fall into a deep sleep. She can deliver a kiss that drains levels per a succubus.

Amethysta can cast the following spells as innate abilities: At will – sleep; 3/day – cause fear, dispel magic, haste (self), invisibility; 1/day – dimension door, dream, nightmare, phantasmal killer, poison. She also casts spells as a 10th level illusionist.

Amethysta: HD 21; AC -5 [24]; Atk 2 strikes (4d6); Move 36; Save 3; CL/XP 31/7700; Special: +2 or better weapon to hit, aura, gaze, earth glide, half damage from all weapons, suffers double damage from sonic attacks, resistance to cold and fire (50%), magic resistance (45%), regenerate 3 hp/round, life drain.

Zaffira
Zaffira is a bubbly, almost giddy queen of sapphires. She appears as a beautiful, young woman with translucent blue skin, her eyes like star sapphires and her hair tumbling like cascades of water down her back to her ankles. She dwells in a floating palace of sapphire walls and misty, damp halls occupied by elemental earth creatures as well as sylphs and other exiled air creatures and giant eagles. Zaffira is worshipped as a goddess of innocence, truth and courage.

Zaffira produces an aura of euphoria. Folk who enter it must pass a saving throw or be calmed, losing all desire to commit violence or even engage in argument. Her gaze causes people to break into uncontrollable laughter (per the spell).

Zaffira can cast the following spells as innate abilities: At will – hold person; 3/day – cause fear, discern lies, dispel magic, haste (self), invisibility; 1/day – globe of invulnerability, mark of justice, ray of enfeeblement, resilient sphere, strength. She also casts spells as a 12th level cleric.

Zaffira: HD 21; AC -6 [25]; Atk 2 strikes (4d6); Move 36; Save 3; CL/XP 23/5300; Special: +2 or better weapon to hit, aura, gaze, earth glide, half damage from all weapons, suffers double damage from sonic attacks, resistance to fire and cold (50%), magic resistance (65%), regenerate 3 hp/round.

Image found HERE. Painted by Jean-Baptiste Regnault (1786).

NOD 9 PDF On Sale Now!

Five days into July, and the June issue of NOD is finally on sale. Currently, I have only the PDF up for sale – when I have a print copy in my hands for review I’ll put the print version up for sale as well. PDF price is $3.50. For this princely sum, you get:

Yun-Bai-Du – Fantasy city for the Mu-Pan setting introduced in NOD 8. Features some keen art by Jon Kaufman.

Altered States of America – Campaign Sketchbook article describing a Napoleonic fantasy campaign set in a North America of warring states.

The Titans’ Door – A Pars Fortuna adventure for low level characters that takes place in a massive stone door and challenges the party to enter through the keyhole and unlock the door. Features an illustration by Kelvin Green.

Washed Out in Washoe – A Mystery Men! adventure for super human heroes; The Black Dragon is holding Silverado City ransom – can the heroes stop him from wiping it off the face of the Earth?

Plus magic coins and portals, the Jack-of-All-Trades class and another installment of Phantastes. 60 pages. Click HERE to purchase.

Some Holiday Magic for the Season

Here’s a little preview of an article appearing in NOD #6 (any time now – almost there).

Bag of Goodies
The bag of goodies works in much the same manner as a bag of tricks, save instead of producing small animals (other than kittens and puppies), it produces small, simple toys. The prospective recipient of a gift must reach into the bag while making a wish, pulling out either a small toy made of wood or tin or, if they are chaotic or evil, a lump of coal. Wishes for swords will produce wooden swords, which can be used as clubs in combat. The bag operates once per year per person.

Chimney Charm (Spell, MU Level 2)
By touching one’s finger to one’s nose (but not placing it inside – different charm), they ascend through any chimney-like tube or hole, regardless of size and unharmed no matter what other material (smoke, water, acid) might be coursing through said concourse.

Dreidel of Fortune
This clay top can only be made by a lawful cleric of at least 3rd level. The dreidel is inscribed with the glyphs that mean “Nothing”, “Half”, “All” and “Put In”. When a gold piece is offered (it disappears when the top is spun) and the top is spun while chanting a charming ditty, the dreidel has the following effects (roll 1d4):

1. Nothing – Nothing happens to the spinner
2. Half – All spells and powers used by the spinner work at 50% efficacy for the next 24 hours
3. All – All spells and powers used by the spinner work at double efficacy for the next 24 hours
4. Put In – The spinner loses 1d6 x 100 XP to the top

And a petty god for the season …

Saint Nick (Demigod)
Saint Nick is the fey demigod of just desserts. He appears as a jolly gnome, dwarf or human (as he chooses) with white hair, a long white mustache and beard, a large, red nose and twinkling eyes, dressed in red robes and wearing a pointed red cap. Saint Nick carries a large, green bag from which he can pull any desire of a good creature who petitions him with a sacrifice of milk and cookies (per limited wish), but for wicked creatures he instead pulls out a large whipping stick and beats them to within an inch of their life (i.e. 1 hit point). Saint Nick is as strong as a frost giant and as nimble as a sprite. He can use the following spells at will: Animal Summoning (8 reindeer), Charm Monster, Chimney Charm, Detect Evil, ESP, Know Alignment, Magic Snow Ball and Uncontrollable Laughter.

Saint Nick’s clerics dress like their patron, with red robes over their armor and a whipping stick at the ready. They can learn the spells Chimney Charm and Magic Snow Ball when they learn to cast cleric spells of the equivalent level. Saint Nick’s clerics must pass on 50% of all treasure they collect to the poor and needy. At 9th level, they build fortified orphanages and hospices, conducting waifs and the sick from cities via caravan to their palaces of generosity.

On the Gods of the Motherlands – Part Three

Mithras
Michael
Lawful god of valor, honor, chivalry and soldiers
Wields a lance
Served by angels
Symbolized by a bull or cross
Mithras’ clerics enjoy a +1 bonus to hit and damage the undead

Mithras is a demigod associated with Minerva. His cult originated with the dervishes, who cast him as the prophesied slayer of Tiamat. Mithras is a patron of chivalry and is worshiped by soldiers and the nobility.

Mithras is depicted as a handsome young warrior wearing a Phyrigian cap and a crimson cape. His temples, called mithraeum, are constructed in caves and kept secret, for his is a mystery cult that is spread from initiate to initiate. A place of honor in his temples is reserved for an idol of the god slaying a bull, a serpent and dog drinking from the animal’s bleeding wound. Other symbols that may appear with the idol are a goblet, small lion, raven and scorpion. Twin celestial torchbearers stand on either side of the idol with their legs crossed. Above Mithras, the symbols for Sol Invictus and Luna are present in the starry night sky. New initiates to the cult are brought to such a temple where a mystagogue explains the symbolism and theology. A rite is then performed to re-enact the Water Miracle, in which a bolt is fired into a rock, causing water to spout from it.

The Mithras cult has seven ranks, which are in order: Raven, Bridegroom, Soldier, Lion, Perseus, Sun-Courier and Father.

Mithras is celebrated September 29.

Neptunus
Nethuns, Poseidon
Neutral god of the sea, storms and earthquakes
Wields a trident
Patron deity of Dominions
Served by fey, water elementals
Symbolized by a trident or dolphin
Sacred animals are the dolphin, horse and bull
Neptunus’ druids can cast Water Breathing as a 2nd level spell

Neptunus is the god of the seas, oceans, rivers, lakes, and earthquakes. He has the power to create new life forms and is the creator of bulls and horses. He can also summon and control non-divine forms of sea life and change his own shape into that of any living being at will. In his true form, he is a man standing a hundred feet tall holding a trident and wearing a crown.

Neptunus is capable of raising islands up from the sea or shattering them with earthquakes. He can bring fair weather to sailors or strike them with a terrible storm, necessitating sacrifices in the form of drowning horses.

Neptunus is the son of Saturnus and Rhea, and the brother of Jove, Juno, Pluto and Vesta. His consort is Amphitrite. He has fathered many heroes, including Theseus and Orion. He is the father of Arion the talking horse by Ceres and the father of Pegasus by Medusa. Other monstrous children are the tritons, mermaids, cyclops and giants.

Neptunalia (July 23-24): Games are held during this festival, including a knightly tournament and boat races. People erect colorful pavilions and use them for feasting and entertaining friends.

Pluto
Aidoneus, Dispater, Hades, the Silent One
Neutral god of the underworld and its treasures
Wields a mace
Served by earth elementals and the undead
Symbolized by a ram’s head
Sacred animals are the ram, raven and serpent
Pluto’s druids can rebuke undead as a cleric 3 levels lower

Pluto is the King of the Underworld and lord over all it contains, from the souls of the dead to the precious metals and gems locked inside it. Pluto is also the god of wine under the name Dionysus Cthonios. He also has a measure of control over the creatures that dwell underground, especially the treasure hording dragons. Although not evil, Pluto is grim and morbid, and thus not popular among gods or mortals. In fact, mortals fear him enough that they rarely utter his name, lest they draw his attention. Although Pluto rules the Underworld, he is not death itself. That entity is called Thanatos.

Pluto’s kingdom is called Erebus and contains such places as the Asphodel Meadows, Elysium and Tarterus, the abode of the Titans and devils. The five rivers of Erebus are Acheron (Woe), Cocytus (Lamentation), Phlegethon (Fire), Lethe (Oblivion) and Styx (Hate).

Pluto is the brother of Neptunus and Jove, and with them defeated the Titans and claimed rulership over the cosmos. His wife is Persephone, daughter of Ceres.

Secular Games (May 31 – June 3): Every hundred years (a saeculum) the Secular Games are held in Pluto’s honor. The games include all manner of athletic endeavors, with nightly sacrifices of lambs, she-goats, bulls, sacrificial cakes, cows and sows.

Prometheus
Theuth
Lawful god of learning, writing and magic
Wields a staff
Patron deity of Ibis (as Thoth)
Served by elohim
Symbolized by a quill or book
Prometheus’ clerics can learn one 1st level magic-user spell at each odd level, and cast them in place of cleric spells

Prometheus is the god of magic, philosophy, science and learning. He is the patron of scholars, illusionists, scientists, wizards and potters (since he created man from clay). Prometheus’ temples are gathering places for philosophers and scholars to debate and learn; they are often connected to universities and colleges. Promethean clerics are dedicated to the protection of their deity’s worshipers, and the enlightenment of human and demi-humankind.

Prometheus is the brother of Epimetheus (“Afterthought”), Atlas (“Enduring”) and Menoetius (“Ruined Strength”). His parents are the titans Japetus and Clymene. Prometheus’ gift of fire to mortals earned him the enmity of Jove, who had him bound to a rock while an eagle ate his liver every day, only for it to grow back. Prometheus was eventually freed by Hercules.

Venus
Aphrodite, Astarte, Turan
Lawful goddess of love and beauty
Wields a mace
Patron deity of Ishkabibel
Served by elohim and nymphs
Symbolized by a mirror or crown
Venus’ clerics enjoy a +1 bonus to reaction checks

Venus is the goddess of beauty, love and gardens. As befits her position, she is an enthusiastic companion of the male gods. She is married to Vulcanus, but this did not stop her from consorting with Mars, Neptunus, Pluto and others. Venus can charm any male, god or mortal, and can generate strong emotions (love, hate, anger, sorrow, etc.) in any intelligent being. The myrtle, dove, sparrow and swan are sacred to her.

Although she can assume any form (all of them beautiful), in her true form she is a woman of astonishing beauty with golden hair. She also has a more martial aspect, sometimes appearing armored and carrying a mace.

Venus was created when Cronus castrated his father, Saturnus, and cast his testicles into the sea. She is married to Vulcanus, but has had notable affairs with Mars, Mercurius, Pluto and Adonis. Her children include Cupid, Phobos, Deimos, Harmonia and Fortuna.

May Day (May 1): The day is celebrated by the gathering of herbs and wild water (from which holy water is made), the blessing of houses, ‘beating the bounds’, greenwood marriages, and dancing around May Poles.

Volcanus
Hephaestos, Mulciber, Weyland
Neutral god of fire, volcanos, smiths and invention
Wields a battle axe
Patron deity of Galardis
Served by fire elementals
Symbolized by a hammer and anvil
Druid totems are the bull, boar and serpent
Volcanus’ druids enjoy a +1 bonus to save vs. fire and heat

Volcanus is the god of fire, earth, and the forge. He is the smith of the gods, creating their weapons, armor and thrones. Volcanus is also a patron of engineers and an expert trap maker. Temples of Volcanus are decorated with precious stones and metals and are usually supported by the local guild of smiths.

Volcanus is depicted as a dour, ugly man with a twisted leg. He carries the tools of a smith and his skin is blackened from soot and exposure to fire.

Volcanus is the son of Juno, created by her alone as Jove created Minerva. Hurled from heaven for his ugliness, he was found by the sea nymph Thetis and raised as her son. His wife is Venus, though they are estranged due to her indiscretions. He is the creator of Pandora from clay and the father of Periphetes, the demi-god of bandits.

Vulcanalia (August 23): Bonfires are created in honor of the god. The bonfires are used to roast fish and small animals and a red bull-calf and a red boar are sacrificed at the god’s temple to ward away destructive fires.

On the Gods of the Motherlands – Part Two

Continuing the Gods of the Motherlands with Hercules through Minerva.

Also – For those that purchased an electronic copy of NOD #4, I have attached the missing cover. You should be able to download it again with the cover – if not, let me know and I’ll send it to you as a PDF.

Hercules
Donar, Heracles
Lawful god of strength, adventure, heroism and rebirth
Wields a club
Patron deity of Guelph
Served by elohim and cherubim
Symbolized by a lion
Clerics can cast the magic-user spell Strength

Hercules is strength personified. While still an infant, he strangled two huge snakes with his bare hands. Hercules is a fearless adventurer whose many escapades are the stuff of legend. A robust, cheerful man, he has an appetite for food and women that almost equals that of his father.

Hercules appears as a stout man with a long beard, usually wearing a lion’s skin or leather armor, brandishing a large, wooden club. Hercules is the son of Jove by the mortal woman Alcmene. Being born by Jove from an extra-marital tryst has earned Hercules the enmity of Juno, protector of marriage and sister-wife of Jove.

Hercules is best known for his Twelve Labors, quests he had to complete to atone for killing his own children when he was driven insane by vengeful Juno. The labors included killing a giant lion, hydra, giant deer, giant boar, cleaning stables, killing the Stymphalian birds (giant cranes with metal beaks), capturing a giant bull, rounding up carnivorous horses, stealing the girdle of Hippolyte, queen of the amazons, herding the cattle of Geryon, fetching the Apples of Hesperides and capturing Cerberus, guard dog of Hades. Because many of these labors included slaying giant beasts, Hercules is often taken as a patron by rangers.

Grande Tourney (July 22 – August 7): During the Hercules’ tournament, people compete at various athletic and musical contests. Brass tripods are awarded to the victors.

Jove
God, Jupiter, Zeus
Lawful god of the upper sky and royalty
Wields a lightning bolt
Patron deity of Nomo
Served by angels and air elementals
Symbolized by a lightning bolt
Clerics can cast the magic-user spell Lightning Bolt as a 5th level spell, dealing damage as though 2 levels lower.

Jove is the king of the gods, though his command over them is far from absolute and his decisions are often challenged. Jove is the god of the sky, the ruler of all high things, including the clouds, rain, wind, thunder, and mountain summits. He is the protector of laws, friend of the weak, and dispenser of justice. Jove is also worshiped as Father Oak, or the Green Man, the masculine force of procreation.

Although Jove can take any form he wishes, he often assumes the form of a powerful, bearded man with regal bearing when he visits the mortal world. His true form is that of a ball of fiery light so intense that no mortal can look upon him without bursting into flames.

Jove is the husband of Juno, queen of the gods. He is the father of Minerva, Apollo Helios and Hercules. His brothers are Neptunus, ruler of the oceans, and Plutus, ruler of the Underworld. Jove’s father was Saturn, king of the titans.

Gulestide (December 22-28): Gulestide is not only a time of feasting and merriment, but also a time when the world is turned upside down; masters and slaves, teachers and students and nobles and peasants switch places for a time, with the proceedings led by an elected Lord of Misrule.

Juno Regina
Hera, Saturnia
Lawful goddess of women, marriage and cattle
Wields a spear
Served by angels and erinyes
Symbolized by the cow, peacock or pomegranate
Clerics of Juno can, at 5th level, summon an erinyes once per month to punish an oath breaker

Juno is the goddess who protects women and the sanctity of marriage. She is known for her vengeful nature, especially toward the paramours of her husband Jove. She is the queen of the gods, often depicted enthroned and wearing a diadem and veil. Poets usually describe her as cow-eyed, indicating large, beautiful eyes.

Offerings to Juno take the form of pomegranates and poppy seeds, or ivory ornaments in the shape of pomegranates and poppy seeds.

Juno is the wife and elder sister of Jove and the daughter of Rhea and Saturnus. Her children by Jove are Mars, Juventas, Discordia and Ilithyia, goddess of childbirth. She reputedly created Vulcan without the aid of her husband in response to his creation of Minerva.

Matronalia (June 1): On this day, women perform rites in the temple of Juno. They are permitted to wear their hair down and not permitted to wear belts or any knots in their clothing. Husbands are expected to say prayer for their wives and children give presents to their mothers.

Mars
Ares, Camulus
Chaotic god of war
Wields a spear
Patron deity of Azsor
Served by demons
Symbolized by a spear and shield
Clerics of Mars are permitted the use of swords, though they must be cleaned of blood after use and anointed with expensive oils (worth 10 gp with each use)

Mars is the god of blood lust and slaughter. He is fond of strife, anger, and unrestrained blood-letting. As such, he is not a very popular god and is only worshiped by a large numbers of people in the city-states of Guelph and Nomo. Vultures and dogs are sacred to him.

Mars usually appears as a large man with burning, hateful eyes and a permanent scowl etched across his mouth. He wears ornate platemail armor and carries a flaming sword.

Mars is the son of Jove and Juno, the husband of Bellona and the lover of Venus. He is attended by Deimos (terror) and Phobos (fear) in battle, his sons by Venus, and by Adrestia, his daughter by his sister Discordia. Other members of his retinue are Nike, the deathless spirit of victory, Kydoimos, the demon of the din of battle, the Makhai (battles), the Hysminai (man-slaughters) and Alala, personification of the war cry. Mars’ other children by Venus are Cupid and Harmonia.

Armilustrium (November 12): On this day weapons of the army are purified and stored for the winter. The army is assembled and reviewed and garlanded with flowers. Trumpets blare and citizens gathered with their arms and armor take part in a procession with torches and sacrificial animals. Young noblemen dressed as ancient warriors with red capes take part in ritual dances.

Mercurius
Hermes, Lugus, Psychopompos
Lawful god of trade, gambling, thieves
Wields a club
Patron deity of Blackpoort
Served by elohim
Symbolized by a cadeuceus, tortoise, cock or winged sandals
Clerics can cast the magic-user spell Charm Person

Mercurius is the god of travelers, merchants, thieves, gamblers, athletes and eloquent speech. He also serves the gods as a messenger and an arbitrator of disputes. As a god of travelers and a slayer of giants (Argos, in particular), some rangers choose to worship Mercurius as their patron.

Mercurius is depicted as a handsome, athletic youth wearing a broad-brimmed traveler’s hat and carrying a white caduceus (winged rod entwined by two serpents).

Mercurius is the son of Jove and Maia, a daughter of Atlas. His children include Faunus, the god of satyrs, Hermaphroditus, a man merged with the nymph Salmacis, Fortuna, goddess of fortune, and Autolycus, prince of thieves and grandfather of Ulysses.

Shrovetide (April 1): Merchants sprinkle their heads, ships, wagons and merchandise with holy water. Shrovetide is a day of raucous celebrations with a carnival atmosphere.

Minerva
Athena
Lawful goddess of wisdom, crafts, strategy and war
Wields a long sword
Patron deity of Gwenth
Served by angels
Symbolized by an owl
Clerics can cast the magic-user spell Shield (see below)

Minerva is Jove’s favorite daughter and the virgin goddess of strategy, architecture, sculpture, spinning, weaving, horses, ox olives, prudence, and wise counsel. Though she is a warrior goddess, she is no less skilled in the arts of peace, inventing the potter’s wheel, teaching men to tame horses and helping them to build great ships. Minerva is also a patron of chivalry and knighthood.

Minerva is depicted as a statuesque woman of great beauty attended by an owl. She wears the Aegis, a breastplate of goatskin with serpent fringes, a shield that bears a gorgon face, and a helm decorated with a winged lion.

Minerva was created by Jove without a mother, and as a virgin has no offspring of her own. She is often accompanied by Nike, the goddess of victory. She has aided many heroes, including Ulysses, Jason and Hercules.

Candlemas (February 1): The highlight of the day are candle-lit processions and rites of purification. It is especially an artisan’s holiday. Women consult fortune tellers on this day, plays are exhibited, and contests for orators and poets are held.

On the Gods of the Motherlands – Part One

The Priestly Colleges
Although many deities are worshiped in the Motherlands, the following deities are the most popular and well known. Most city-states have a temple or shrine to each of them. Each city-state in the Motherlands has a college of priests (usually 10 to 20), with one priest assigned to manage each temple. The college is headed by a pontiff, and each temple priest is assisted by a staff of lesser clergy. Some city-states have an upper college dedicated to the Motherlander deities and a lower college that oversees the temples of foreign deities.

Apollo Helios
Apollon, Apulu, Belenus
Lawful god of sun, music, archery and herdsmen
Wields a bow
Patron deity of Antigoon
Served by elohim and nymphs
Symbols are the lyre, crook, sunburst or cross
Clerics can cast the magic-user spell Fireball as a 5th level cleric spell, dealing damage as though 3 levels lower.

Apollo Helios is the god of the sun, archery, medicine, healing, light, truth, oracle, colonists, patron defender of herds and flocks, music and poetry, homosexuality, harmony, order, reason and plague. He helps ripen crops, destroys pests, cures illnesses, and protects shepherds and their flocks. Apollo is not entirely beneficent. He carries a bow with terrible arrows that visit plague and disease upon the targets he fires them at.

In his true form, Apollo Helios is a beardless young man of divine beauty who radiates warmth and light. Apollo Helios always carries a lyre or longbow; in fact, the object he carries can take either form as the god desires.

Apollo Helios is the son of Jove and Leto, half-brother of Mars, Minerva and Hercules and twin brother of Diana.

Midsummer’s Day (May 15): People build huge bonfires and walk themselves and their livestock between them to protect them from the diseases of warm weather. Masked mummers frolic and folk stay up all night making merry.

Atlas Telamon
Lawful god of strength, perseverance, exploration
Wields a club
Patron deity of Dweomer Bay
Served by devas, giants
Symbolized by a globe or compass
Clerics can cast the magic-user spell Enlarge

Atlas is worshiped not only as a deity of strength and endurance, but also as a god of exploration and cartography. He is the strongest of the titans who separates the heavens from the earth. Atlas appears as a giant of man holding the tools of exploration: compass, sextant, spyglass and globe.

Atlas is the son of Japetus and Clymenem, the daughter of the titan Oceanus. His brothers are Prometheus, Menoetius and Epimetheus. His own children are mostly daughters, and include the Hesperides by Hesperis, the Hyades and Pleiades by Aithra, and Calypso, Dione and Maera by unspecified goddesses.

Atlas’ temples are supported by merchant societies and in turn fund cartographers and explorers. Temples of Atlas are decorated with images of exotic lands, animals and people. The classic cleric of Atlas will wear three-quarters plate and be found at the head of a column of explorers plunging into unknown lands.

Ceres Dea Frugu
Demeter
Neutral goddess of grain, agriculture and fertility
Wields a staff
Patron deity of Lyonesse
Served by fey creatures, earth elementals and erinyes
Symbolized by a poppy, sow or mare
Sacred animals are the bear, crow and horse
Druids can cast the spell Respite from Death

Ceres is the queen of the fruitful earth, goddess of agriculture, and patron of motherly love. Without her blessing, no crops may grow on the earth. Ceres will not hesitate to use this fact to blackmail men and other gods if the need exists. Ceres also has control over the weather. A sow is sacrificed to her when a death occurs in a family. Ceres is a usually a benevolent goddess. If her worshipers ignore their duties, however, she does not hesitate to destroy their crops and send famine upon them.

In her true form, Ceres is a beautiful woman, but she can change her own shape and that of others at will. She carries the cornucopia, or horn of plenty, and a scepter.

Ceres is the daughter of Saturn and Rhea and sister of Jove, Juno, Vesta, Neptunus and Plutus. She is the mother of Persephone by Jove. When pursued by Neptunus, she took the form of a mare to escape him. She could not hide her divinity, though, and Neptunus took the form of a stallion and coupled with her, producing a daughter called “the Damsel”, who leads the avenging erinyes, and a black-maned, divinely swift, speaking horse called Arion.

Lammastide (August 1): Celebration of first fruits, when loaves are baked from the first harvested grain and shared with friends and family.

Respite from Death (Druid Level 4): A recently killed comrade’s soul is released from the Land of the Dead as a shade for a limited time. If the person’s body has not been destroyed, it can re-animate it as a zombie with the mentality of the deceased (with one half of the deceased memorized spells, determined randomly, and all special class abilities except saving throws and attack bonuses, which are per a zombie’s statistics). The shade can persist in the re-animated body for 24 hours only. If the body cannot be inhabited, the shade uses the statistics of a shadow, but can only remain for 1 hour. In either case, the soul cannot subsequently be raised, resurrected or reincarnated for a period of 9 months.

Diana Prima Dea
Artemis, Brigantia, Nicevenn
Neutral goddess of maidens, the moon and hunting
Wields a bow
Patron deity of Tremayne
Served by dryads, nymphs and giant animals
Symbolized by a boar or the moon
Sacred animals are the eagle, boar and wolf
Druids may cast the spell Coursing Hound

The huntress Diana is the patroness of young girls and the mistress of beasts and all wild things. Because she will have nothing to do with men, she is a favorite goddess of the Amazons. Except for helping women during childbirth, she avoids involving herself in mortal concerns and matters. She values her privacy, and will severely punish any man violating it. Merchants, always on the hunt for profits, also pray to her to give them persistence.

In her true form, she appears as a slim young girl wearing buckskins and carrying a longbow. She is sometimes mounted upon a stag. Oak groves are sacred to her. Diana is the daughter of Jove and Latona and the twin sister of Apollo Helios. She is associated with the water nymph Egeria and the woodland god Virbius.

Diana’s high priest is the rex Nemorensis, or “King of Groves”, stationed near a sacred lake near Tremayne. The rex Nemorensis attains the position through a trial by combat, killing the reigning king of the grove. Combat may only be initiated, though, if the challenging druid is able to pluck a golden bough from one of the trees in the sacred grove.

Those trees in whose dim shadow
The ghastly priest doth reign
The priest who slew the slayer,
And shall himself be slain.

Whitsuntide (May 15): On this day Whitsun Ales (fairs) and horse races are held, mummers dress as wild forest men, and hunting is forbidden.

Coursing Hound (Druid Level 2): The druid conjures a ghostly hound that can track on a roll of 1-5 on 1d6 (-1 chance for each day since the tracks were made, additional -1 chance if the tracks have been obscured by snow, hard stone or running water). The hound exists for 24 hours and cannot attack or be attacked.

Hecate
Hekat, Trivia
Neutral goddess of ghosts, witchcraft and curses
Wields a dagger
Served by demons and the fey
Symbolized by a torch and key
Sacred animals are the wolf, serpent and horse
Priests can cast the spell Entrancing Dance

Hecate is the enigmatic and dark virgin goddess of the undead and witchcraft. She is also associated with childbirth and rearing, doorways, walls, crossroads, torches and dogs. Most city-states, towns and villages honor her with, at the very least, a shrine and a lichfield. She is also associated with the concoction of medicines and poisons, thus making her a patron of alchemists, apothecaries and assassins. Hecate is served by chaotic clerics and druids.

Hecate is depicted as a three-headed goddess, either with the heads of three maidens or with the heads of a dog, serpent and horse. She is the daughter of the titans Terra and Uranus, the Earth and Sky.

The most common offering to Hecate is meat left at a crossroads. Dogs are sometimes sacrificed to her. A more intense ritual requires one to bathe in a stream of flowing water at midnight, don dark robes, dig a pit and then offer a libation of honey and blood from the throat of a sheep. The libation is placed on a pyre next to the pit by the petitioner, who then leaves the site, never looking back.

Hallowtide (Nov 1): The boundaries between the Mortal World and the Ethereal Plane are thinnest on this day. People light bonfires, stay up all night, drink beer and enjoy the end of the harvest season.

Entrancing Dance (Cleric/Druid Level 3): As the priest dances, all those present (except the priest’s allies, unless the priest chooses to affect them as well) must save or become entranced. A new save must be made each round the priest dances without interruption (i.e. takes damage), and a dancing priest loses any dexterity bonus to Armor Class. Entranced creatures take on a bestial aspect and begin attacking one another savagely (+2 to hit and damage) until no rivals survive or the dance stops.

On the Gods of the Golden Sea

The native deities of the Golden Sea region are based on the mythologies of the Eastern Mediterranean, especially the Phrygians, Dacians and Thracians. Almost everything that is known of these entities comes to us from the Greeks and later Romans, and is viewed through their lens. Most of these gods and goddesses were adopted by the Greeks into their own pantheon, usually in positions that were no doubt inferior to the positions they held in the estimation of their native worshipers. Because there were many gaps in the knowledge of these divinities, I did my best to fill them in a suitably pulp-fantasy style.

Besides the deities listed here, several of the deities of the Motherlander pantheon (to be published in the near future) originated in this pantheon, including Bacchus (Dionysus), Hecate and possibly Proserpina (Persephone).

Note: The spells below, and only the spells, are designated Open Game Content.

Kubeleya (Cybele)
Also called Great Mother, Mountain Mother
Deity of Nature, Mountains, Caverns
Wields a staff
Served by earth elementals, fairies of a grim humor
Symbolized by the lion, bees
Aligned with Neutrality
Druids can cast Victory Chant (see below)

Kubeleya, also called Cybele and Rhea, is the grim goddess of the mountains and mother of the gods. She appears as a stately woman with a dour expression. She wears a long, belted dress, a high, cylindrical headdress called a polos, and a veil covering her entire body. One of her hands rests on an attendant lion while the other holds an instrument that resembles the tambourine. She is often pictured in a lion throne or a lion-drawn chariot.

Kubeleya’s consort is the demigod Attis. Attis has a bizarre origin. The demon Agdistos was a creature that was half man and half woman. It so terrified the gods that they killed it in a suitably bloody manner, and from its castrated male organ grew and almond tree. The remainder of Agdistos became Kubeleya.

One day, Nana, the daughter of the river god Sangarius, picked an almond and laid it on her breast, where it promptly disappeared and impregnated her. Nana abandoned the infant, who was raised by a he-goat in the hills and later adopted by human parents. As an adult, his beauty was godlike and attracted the attention of Kubeleya. Unfortunately, Attis had already been promised to the daughter of the local king. As the wedding songs were being sung, the jilted Kubeleya appeared in all her transcendent power, causing the wedding-goers, including Attis, to go mad and castrate themselves. Attis died, apparently of blood loss, but Kubeleya relented and resurrected him as a pine tree. This occurred on March 25, and is celebrated in the Hilaria festival, an orgiastic ceremony of wild music, drumming, dancing and drinking.

Kubeleya’s priests are called korybantes. They are male eunuchs (self-castrated, like Attis) who worship the Great Goddess in full armor with rhythmic stomping and the clashing of spear on shield.

VICTORY CHANT (Druid Level 2): The druid, by chanting and stomping, gives his allies a +1 bonus to hit and damage for as long as he keeps it up.

Adrasteia (Nemesis, Invidia, Erinys)
Also called Implacable, One from whom there is no escape
Deity of Protection and Righteousness
Wields a long sword and scourge
Served by inevitables (see NOD #3)
Symbolized by a scourge
Aligned with Law
Clerics can cast Unerring Huntress (see below)

Adrasteia is the goddess of the cosmic sea, dispenser of justice to the wicked and protector of the righteous. In some myths, she is the nursemaid to the infant Jupiter, who grants him a golden ball containing the universe as a toy. In others, she is Nemesis or Invidia, the goddess from which escape is impossible. She appears to her worshipers as a winged maiden with a face unmarred by pity. She might carry the scales of justice, or simply a sword and scourge. Adrasteia is a patron of magistrates and judges, soldiers and gladiators.

UNERRING HUNTRESS (Cleric Level 3): This spell allows the cleric to follow the path of a wanted criminal or blasphemer unerringly for a number of days equal to her level. During this time, she has no need of sleep and feels no hunger. If she has not captured or killed her quarry by the time the spell ends, she collapses into a deep slumber for a full day and cannot be roused.

Kotys (Cottyto, Cottytus)
Deity of the Moon, Caves, Darkness, Lust, Hunting
Wields a spear
Served by bacchae, demons, satyrs
Symbolized by the full moon
Aligned with Chaos
Clerics can cast Benighted Revelry (see below)

Kotys is a lunar goddess of hunting and wild revels. All of her sacred rituals are conducted at night, preferably by the light of the moon. These rites include raucous midnight orgies accompanied by shrill piping, the clashing of brass cymbals and the thunderous roll of drums, and nighttime relay torch-races on horseback.

Kotys appears as a woman wearing a foxskin cap and short chiton, wrapped in a leopard skin and holding a spear in one hand and a torch in the other. She has a hooded mantle on her shoulders fastened with a brooch and high, leather boots.

Kotys’ priests are called baptai due to the purification ritual they undergo to join the priesthood. They are not unlike the baccae who worship Dionysus / Bacchus.

BENIGHTED REVELRY (Cleric Level 3): This spell affects all sentient creatures within sight of the cleric who fail a saving throw. For the duration of the spell (1d6 rounds per person) they will act in one of three ways:


1 – The person enters a drunken stupor, falling over themselves and finding it impossible to do anything.


2 – The person becomes a raving lunatic, attacking whomever the cleric desires with their teeth and claws. The lunatic attacks twice per round but suffers a 2 point penalty to their Armor Class.


3 – The person acts like a love-starved satyr, attempting to grapple the nearest creature they find even remotely attractive and, well, what they do if successful depends on what kind of game you run.

Men (Lunus)
Also called The Lunar Bull
Deity of the Moon
Wields an axe
Served by nocturnal fey
Symbolized by the crescent moon or an ox skull
Aligned with Neutrality
Druids can rebuke/command lycanthropes as a cleric two levels lower than their druid level

Men is the so-called Lunar Bull, a deity presiding over time and the changing seasons. He appears as a rugged man with crescent horns, like those of a bull, atop his head, and sometimes with the head of a bull in the manner of the minotaur. He wears a Phrygian cap and a belted tunic, and is accompanied by white bulls and white lions.

Sabazios (Karabazmos)
Also called Great God, the Horseman
Deity of Health, Vitality, Abundance, the Underworld
Wields a staff or spear
Served by barghests, demons, wraiths
Symbolized by Hand
Aligned with Chaos
Clerics can cast Ghastly Steed (see below)

Sabazios appears as a black-skinned rider on a white horse. He wears a himation and is depicted carrying a staff of power or a spear. Sabazios is the conqueror of the Lunar Bull and the Solar Dragon, and represents male vitality. Games are held in his honor every five years. Sabazios is believed to by the father of Dionysus. Motherlanders associate him with Pluto.

Sabazios rules the Land of the Dead, emerging with a party of cthonic fey and wraiths to conduct hunts on the nights of the new moon. On these nights, villagers stow away their animals and keep indoors, for all night they hear the baying the barghests and the blowing of spectral horns.

Sabazios’ is the patron of horsemen and his priests are all skilled at riding and mounted combat. They blacken their armor and conduct ritual sacrifices of white bulls and ritual hunts of great beasts like chimeras and manticores. Sabazios is also a psycho-pomp, and thus represents the transmigration of the soul after death. This makes him a patron of magic and magic-users. Such scholarly followers honor sabazios by tattooing their right hands with so many sigils and designs that they are nearly black.

GHASTLY STEED (Cleric Level 2): This spell summons a ghostly white steed with the stats of a warhorse with maximum hit points. The steed is tireless, and serves for a number of hours equal to the cleric’s level divided by three. The cleric can exchange one hour of the spell’s duration for one minute of etherealness, but only while mounted on the steed.

Zalmoxis
Deity of Thunder, Strength, War, Incantation
Wields an axe
Served by berserkers, demons
Symbolized by his axe
Aligned with Chaos
Clerics can cast Thunderstruck (see below)

Zalmoxis appears as a handsome man, unclothed, wielding an axe or lightning bolt. He is a sky father and a deity of masculine power, a god of uncontrollable passions that are often unleashed as violence.

Zalmoxis’ most fervent worshipers believe he is the one true god who accepts their souls after death. Because they do not believe they can ever truly die, they fight as berserkers, gaining two attacks per round and suffering a 2 point penalty to their Armor Class. Zalmoxis is also skilled in the arts of incantation and singing, and thus is worshiped by bards.

Zalmoxis’ clerics wear no armor and only a small amount of clothing. They cultivate a wild, feral appearance and are permitted to wield axes and chopping blades in battle. Because they do not use armor, their Hit Dice are increased to 1d6+2 and +3 hp/level after 9th level.

THUNDERSTRUCK (Cleric Level 2): This enchantment is placed on the cleric’s weapon. The next time it hits in battle, it unleashes a terrific peal of thunder. The victim of the hit must pass a saving throw or be stunned for 1 round. Everyone within 20 feet, including the victim of the hit but excluding the cleric, must pass a saving throw or be deafened for 1d6 minutes.