Friday, July 7, 2017

[CSIO] Religions of the City State Part 3: Arghrasmak, The Toad, and Manannan

Religions of the City State
Par 3 of 3

7) ARGHRASMAKHAR (“The Way of the Beast Within”)
Gods: Arghrasmak, The Gargoyle, patron of brute strength and brutishness, anti-intellectualism and counter-elitism, simple pleasures and decadent gratification, and sexual virility and wantonness. No other gods are found at the temple — it is said that none of the very few who found the god hale company could stand his snoring. Even Tama Hama, the indiscriminate goddess of wanton depravity, was unable to withstand the god of virility’s foibles.


The Gargoyle, Arghrasmak, in His Lair
Whether Arghrasmak is a gargoyle that has attained divinity, a balrog with a severe skin problem, or a god that has fallen to a baser level is one of the great mysteries of the faith (such as its mysteries are).

Worshipers: Common rabble, who find the simple and mostly unwritten canon of the temple quite appealing, especially the regular orgies of drugs, alcohol, and wanton debauchery. Thugs and muggers, laborers and whores, hedonists and murderers, and anyone who favors the strength of the Id over the Ego and the extirpation of the Super-Ego, can be found at the temple.

Priesthood: Mostly clerics, with a few shamans, and a handful of anti-paladins.

Patriarch: Laghar the Awful

Alignment: Neutral and Chaotic. Clerics must be Chaotic to advance beyond 6th level.

Symbol: A gargoyle horn and a gargoyle fang juxtaposed in a “yin-yang” style arrangement on an octagonal field.

Regular Worshiper’s Benefits: Discount access to orgies of beer and free love. You get a 10% discount on all spell-casting services and events.

Semi-Exclusive Worshiper’s Benefit: As above, plus you may use a language slot to learn the language of gargoyles and grotesques, or learn it later through worship and training. You get a 25% discount on all spell-casting services and events.

Initiate Worshiper’s Benefit: As above, plus you may cast strength. Once you have cast the spell, you regain its use only after you sacrifice at the temple and engage in at least two hours of prayer. You get a 50% discount on all spell-casting services and events.

Afterlife: The faithful believe that they will be reincarnated in the form of physically powerful and virile monsters, able to take revenge on the rich and powerful who used and abused them while they were living — that is, when they think about death and the afterlife at all.

8) FEELEEBOOFOH ZOTHAGGOS (“Temple of the Toad”)
Gods: The Toad, known as Zothaggos, is said to be an ancient god, old when the gods of the modern era were not yet born, mighty in magic, yet indolent and sluggish by nature, much as are the creatures from which it takes its name. It is said to reside in a great hidden temple complex deep in the Mermist Marshes, the center of its worship and power. The Toad grants wisdom and power to those who feed it sacrifices. It is said that it can animate its idols to defend its followers and treasures, though the faithful pay much in sacrifices to recompense their master for its efforts.

This is not the Toad God you are looking for...
The temple and its god have been the patrons of the city harbor since long before the founding of the city, for Modron, the goddess of the river, had been lost for long centuries, and thus the Toad ruled the waters of the Roglaroon near the marsh and for some distance seaward. The Toad’s control of the hither waters of the Roglaroon remains strong, so much so that there is no temple to Modron in the city to this day, and the nearest shrine is almost five miles downriver.

Worshipers: Most worshipers at the Temple of the Toad are members of Old Clan families from the city or from the Vatrachee, the semi-savage dwellers of the Mermist Marsh. Both have ties to the villagers of the southern farmlands in the Darkfield Vale near the Mermist Swamp. They all tend to be an in-bred lot, with bulging eyes, webbed fingers and toes, and warty faces. Converts are few and far between, generally those wishing to marry into one of the clans, or minor nobles given small holdings among clan lands. Then again, those passing near the swamp on a journey, or leaving by boat from the harbor, are well-advised to leave an offering at the temple, lest the “Toad take his toll,” as the saying goes.

Priesthood: Clerics, druids, and shamans, with a handful of magic-users.

Patriarch: Kudrun the Peaceful

Alignment: Neutral or Chaotic; clerics may be either and still rise above 6th level.

Symbol: A simple depiction of a resting toad.

Enemy Gods: Modron and her people, the merfolk of Crespar, are the greatest enemies of the god and his worshippers. Guerilla warfare between the factions is the rule of the day in the Mermist Marsh as both sides battle for complete dominance. Zothaggos has an ancient rivalry with his brother Tsathoggus, but it rarely breaks out in open warfare; the two temples usually merely compete for followers and treasures.

Regular Worshiper’s Benefits: Discount access to spell casting and networking with the families of the Old Clans, some of which still have positions on the Clanute, hold much land in the Darkfield Valley, and no small influence with the Overlord and the bureaucracy. You get a 10% discount on all spell-casting services and events.

Semi-Exclusive Worshiper’s Benefit: As above, plus you may use a language slot to learn the language of giant frogs (and toads), or learn it later through worship and training. You get a 25% discount on all spell-casting services and events.

Initiate Worshiper’s Benefit: As above, plus you may cast animal companion (giant toads/frogs) (note that you are limited to no more than 2 HD per level in giant toads/frogs as companions at any one time). Once you have cast the spell, you regain its use only after you sacrifice at the temple and engage in at least two hours of prayer. You get a 50% discount on all spell-casting services and events.

Afterlife: The temple has a complex belief in the soul passing through different stages of existence, much as a toad passes through different stages in its life cycle. A person’s soul in this life is merely an “egg,” and when the soul passes on this life, it hatches into a “tadpole” and goes on to the Great Celestial Swamp, where, if it has found favor with the Toad, it will eventually evolve into the “toadlet” stage, beyond which little is known but much is suspected. If out of favor with the Toad, the soul may be consumed by the infernal beasts that live in the Great Celestial Swamp, such as Glornax the Great Gar, Bulgorax the Demon Bird, or Krilnax the Devil Maw, a giant flaming crocodile — the temple believes in many, many such demons (some of them even exist).

9) JEE MARREY CHIAMBLE (“Temple of the Sea God”)
Gods: Manannan Mac Lir, God of the Sea and his wife Fand, Queen of the Sea Fey. Followers of the other goodly Tharbriana gods may leave votive offerings at a common pantheon altar, but there are no clerics of other gods at the temple. Modron and her followers are not welcome; though she is the daughter of Manannan, he keeps good relations with his wife Fand only by not reminding her of his infidelities with Rhiannon, mother of Modron…

Manannan Mac Lir making a ruckus.
Worshipers: Anyone who travels along the River Roglaroon or otherwise depends on the waters of river, sea, or ocean can be seen at this temple regularly. The Roglo River-Folk are commonly found here, either arriving from or setting out on a new leg of their circuitous water-gypsy life. Any sailor who foolishly leaves port without having left an offering at this temple is generally cast overboard by his shipmates, ere the city is out of sight.

Priesthood: Clerics, druids, rangers, bards, and paladins.

Patriarch: Negardis the Upright.

Alignment: Neutral and Lawful; clerics must be Lawful to advance beyond 6th level.

Symbol: Triple spiral

Enemy Gods and Demons: Donn, God of Death and Demons (enemy of all the other Tharbriana gods); Proteus, the Shepherd of Neptune (daughter Modron’s former consort); Lord Skortch (a vile demon-god of fiery death and destruction); and the Demon-Prince Plooshuhn (Lord of Defilement and Desecration).

Regular Worshiper’s Benefits: Merchants, sailors, and fishermen who visit the temple regularly make many, many contacts among their brethren, as, unfortunately, do river pirates. Worshipers can also contact the merfolk of the River Roglaroon through the temple. You get a 10% discount on all spell-casting services and events.

Semi-Exclusive Worshiper’s Benefit: As above, plus you may use a language slot to learn the Merfolk tongue, or learn it later through worship and training. You get a 25% discount on all spell-casting services and events.

Initiate Worshiper’s Benefit: As above, plus you may cast create water. Once you have cast the spell, you regain its use only after you sacrifice at the temple and engage in at least two hours of prayer. You get a 50% discount on all spell-casting services and events.

Afterlife: Faithful souls that properly performed rituals will join Manannan Mac Lir and Fand in their undersea realm; those who performed the fewest or least reincarnate as mere eels or fish, the greater as dolphins or whales, and the greatest as merfolk. Those who failed to perform the rituals properly or regularly will be ignored, their soul doomed to wander the Shadowlands forever, fodder for demons. Those who piss off Manannan will be condemned to be reincarnated as jellyfish, shrimp, or even plankton.

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