Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ages of Lingusia: the Chaos Gods


Principle Gods of Chaos:

Profile: Orcs and goblinoids, deformity, monsters, might, battle
Alignment: chaos
Baragnagor is one of Selene’s bastard offspring, or possibly a nephew. The deformed idiot god is considered to have lacked imagination or full ability, having been tainted by chaos. At the dawn of creation, he observed the other deities creating their children, the many races of the world. He is said to have been unable to produce beings of his own, and so he stole the body of man and the head of a beast from the other gods. He jammed the parts together at random, and created the orcs and other beast-kin races. The orcs take this as gospel, though it does not bother them that their god might be simple in mind. Instead, the idea of a being who’s thought is singular means, in the orcish mind-set, that his vision is clear for battle, a far more important virtue. Still, the priests of Baragnagor seem to have no problem scheming within the clans of the orcs.
   Baragnagor is a conventional patron of the orcs, and most all tribes at least have a shrine or shaman dedicated to him, even if they have also chosen to follow another deity or demon lord. Baragnagor means strength, victory, and the defeat of enemies in the orcish mindset.
   As Baragnagor is a chimeric being, followers tend to regard other chimeric creatures as divine. Orcish tribes who find a nest of chimerae, for example, will try to tame them and raise the infants to be war beasts.

   Baragnagor is depicted as a great, deformed giant with the head of a crocodile and tail of a dragon. His form changes over time, and his skin is at once furry, scaly, and feathered. He is a terrible, chmeric creature.

Profile: power, lust, pain, torture, angst, fear, envy, hate, batrachian undead
Alignment: chaos
   This fallen demiurge of Chaos is said to have died more deaths than most. Having been an ancient devonin lord ensorcelled in to the service of the Prehunate Empire ten thousand years ago, Belphegor was slain on the fields of battle when the gods cast down the heretical pre-human civilization of old. Thousands of years later, the dark necromancers of the Kadantanian Empire sought to resurrect the demon god, and he was brought to life through much sacrifice, rising from the festering remains of his subterranean tomb to live anew. For centuries, the Kadantanians were a force to be reckoned with, but at last they were destroyed in war, and Belphegor’s vampiric undeath could not be sustained. He fell once again in to deathly slumber, only to be awakened again by agents of Draskis, in which descendents of the Kadantanian necromancers had found new power. He became the patron god of the doomed city Draskis, and it’s vile inhabitants eventually set about to creating a new temple-tomb in which Belphegor’s undead body could reside. The Temple of Necropolis Damniskovus was completed just recently, and already it’s evil presence is causing strife in the lands of Cymeer.
   Belphegor manifests as a terrible black toad, the size of a dragon. Upon his back are the countless souls of his most faithful, flailing their limbs about, trapped in his form like abominable warts. He can release these trapped beings, who defend him as various demons and undead.

Profile: lord of chaos, bringer of apocalypse
Alignment: chaos
Dalroth is the dark lord of the chaos pantheon, and his followers serve chaos with their very lives. No good or sane being is known to follow him, though evil nations have chosen to follow Dalroth, but the society as a whole falls in to such corruption and chaos that it eventually succumbs to anarchy.
   Dalroth is described as one of the fist generation of ancient gods, sometimes described as the brother of Naril. He was born in to the world a corrupt being, and from birth knew his destiny was to serve the furtherment of Mala’Kor, lord Chaos itself.
   In the Codex of Creation, Dalroth is described as the overseer of Armaggedon, the god who shall hearld the end of everything. He is said to have forged the Abyss by order of Mala’Kor, and to have bled freely of his own blood, each drop landing upon the boiling earth of the newly created Abyss, spawning the infinte armies of the devonin, his people.
   Dalroth is a pervasive influence throughout the world. His legacy in the history of Lingusia is great, and he was the lead general of the forces of Chaos in the War of the Gods. He is a betrayer, destroyer, and the symbol of corruption and power at any cost among the Middle Kingdoms. His followers almost always begin as evil men and women who seek ways to further themselves, and quickly succumb to the siren call of evil and destruction which Dalroth advocates. His priests are sometimes called Entropomancers.
   Dalroth’s strongest followers include the Black Circle of Dahik, a coven of priests and wizards dedicated to chaos which have recently survived a coup deep within the Ashtarth empire. In far Galonia, two different sects followed his call of doom, including the Red Robes, a corrupted branch of the Circle of Twelve, magicians all who seek greater magical power through the study of Dalroth’s will, and the cultists of the Dark Pharoah, Lord Xauraun reborn as the divine ruler of that southern realm (though he is formally known as Xaros).
   The Red Robes are sometimes called “The Order of Circles” by its members, for there are ten circles of illumination and advancement. The first nine are held by various elightened priests, and the tenth is held by the solitary Grand Mage, who is always cloaked in secrecy, and whose name and identity are never truly known. It is said that those who reach the ninth and tenth levels alone are privy to the true secrets of the Lords of Chaos, and that they are given a permanent place of power in the afterlife of the Abyss.

Profile: assassins, profit from death, treachery, murder             
Alignment: chaos
   Haro is the lord of assassins and the principle deity of worship in the enigmatic cult of the Fire Knives, an ages-old cult of assassins that revere this dark chaos god. More about the cult and its beliefs can be found in the section on Orders and Organizations of Lingusia.

Profile: insects, plagues, famine
Alignment: chaos
The dread lord of the insects, a god king of Ethenur, the dreamlands, Kathack is the embodiment of the mystical unknown and the unknowable. Beasts and insects inhuman and beyond imagining, are said to have sprung in to existence from the errant dreams of this dark and prodigious god.
   Kathack has few, if any human worshippers, but among the insect men of Karaktu, the khitteck spiderfolk of the Faerie Woods, and the kattachi scorpionmen of the Hyrkanian Deserts, Kathack is dark and fearsome lord.
   The worship of Kathack among his spawn is varied. Those who seek his power supplicate and obey, turning to dark and ominous means of gaining their god’s favor. Others, less inclined to the spirit of evil and touched by the spirit of Ga’Thika, seek only to offer sacrifice or worship in exchange for warding bad luck or being left alone. The khitteck, expecially, have no overt interest in the pursuit of evil as a species, and tend only to see Kathack as the god who blesses their hunt.
Appearance: Kathack appears as many different monstrous beings, usually being depicted as belonging to the species which is worshipping him in a given area. Kathack’s true form is ever-changing, a great mass of parts and pieces belonging to all of his spawn.

Profile: keeper of undead, lord of darkness, gladiators, pits
Alignment: chaos
   Orcus is one of several demon lords who have risen to such prominence that they are worshipped as if they were gods by the monstrous denizens of the world. Orcus aspires to become the dark lord of the undead, a position of great opposition among the Death Patheon of Lingusia.

Profile: madness, insanity, chaos, obsession, and nothing
Alignment: chaos
Slithotep is the mad offspring of the elder gods Naril and Selene, brother to Death, and the betrayer of all things living. His madness and the reasons for it are manifold, chief among which is his inherent instability as a being composed of chaotic energies.
   Slithotep has long plagued the world, and his mortal form, like so many other gods, was destroyed in the War of the Gods. His body was lain to rest in the Slithotendan Mountains, where his corrupting essence consumed the very land and aided in turning the once beautiful region in to a place of madness and decay. In fact, Slithotep did not truly die, for his body, composed of the essence of Chaos, existed outside the fabric of reality, and he gradually reformed a material form. His body takes on many shapes, but in recent centuries Slithotep has taken on the form of whole structures and buildings, including the weeping citadel of the Hyrkanian Deserts and the Hut of the Wailing Woman in Mitra’s Forest. Some think the Wailing Woman, a mad witch is Slithotep’s avatar, but they are wrong; she is a woman he took as his mortal wife at one time, long ago, and whom he will not let die, even though his corruption has driven her permanently mad.
   Because of the purile and horrific practices associated with Slithotep’s worship, the cultists who follow the god are of a particularly deviant nature. All true dedicates to Slithotep must choose a form of madness, usually of a psychotic, delusional or sociopathic nature. Even if they didn’t have a mental problem before joining the cult, the rituals involved in indoctrination guarantee that the cultist is mentally scarred afterward.
Appearance: Slithotep can take any form, living or inanimate, and any size, shape, or substance within reason. There are some who have met Slithotep, even entered his very belly in the form of a great hall or keep, and never even known it. Anyone doing so, however, must make a Wisdom check at -5 each hour to avoid a creeping, permanent debilitating madness from setting in.

Profile: Shadows and darkness, undeath
Alignment: chaos
   Phaedra in this era is an unknown; she is the goddess of Shadow and has manifested in that domain as its ruler thanks to the chronomantic ledergdemain of her lord Unarak. Together, Phaedra and Unarak have managed to use the chronomantic meddling of Huuarl and his agent Aeon to traverse the timestream and reappear in the past, with no one able to amend their actions. Each entity returned as a shade, a wisp of their future selves; Phaedra possessed the body of a mortal woman who was her ancestor.
   To date Unarak and Phaedra have stolen the power of Vishannu, whom they had an advantage over, for in their future his treacherous secrets had been laid bare and the two stole a powerful prehunate artifact from him, one whould could steal the divine essence of an actual god. They subsequently took this divine spark and used it to steal the shadow kingdom from Penumbros, who now lies exiled and powerless in the dark wastelands of the Shadow Kingdoms. Once their kingdom was secure, the two assassinated the ancestors of the demigod Thalion, who would one day rise up to defeat them in the future. Phaedra, drunk with new power, now conspires with Unarak on their next actions.

Profile: slavery, control, domination, subjugation, castes           
Alignment: chaos
   Thasrik is an ancient Lord of Chaos, one of the most vile ands corrupt, but surprisingly unmotivated in comparison to his cohorts. Thasrik gains power through the subjugation of others, and wherever societies go bad and begin the wanton enslavement of one another, the presence of Thasrik’s secretive order can’t be far away.
   Thasrik’s order, sometimes called the Servants of the Dominator, are strongest in Hadros, where they are endorsed by the Emperor himself, and have a visible footing in the slave-driven lands of Hotepsala, a land which depends on the productivity of slaves for its great monument building. His cults appear more secretively throughout Lingusia and Takkai as well, inserting themselves in to otherwise normal lands and spending years chiseling away at the foundations of established social systems to try and foment a desire among the superior classes for a stronger and harsher system of slavery and abuse.
   Many gladiatorial arenas throughout the Middle Kingdoms are also prime locations for the Order of the Dominator to make an appearance, as the castigation and execution of slaves in the arena is considered an especially desirable effect for this deity.
   Thasrik’s symbol is the Old Tongue runes for pain and humiliation, but his physical form, which is rarely ever pictured, is that of an immense, bloated demon dressed in a black cloak and hood, wielding a whip and spear.

Profile: undeath
Alignment: chaos
   Unarak is one of two active gods of the so-called Shadow Pantheon. With Phaedra he has returned to the past, exploiting a loop in time created by Huuarl and his minion Aeon when they sent agents back in time to prevent the formation of the ancient book of prophecy that would awaken the Skaeddrath and lead to the destruction of the world in fifteen hundred years. Unarak originally rose to power after the alternate timeline’s cataclysm, during which a vacuum amongst the gods and a severing of ties to the planes allowed the lich king once known as Anharak to sieze control over the domain of undeath. He broke the tethers between the souls of the dead and the afterlife, forcing the souls to migrate back to the plane of the living, where he forced them to reanimate in the bodies of the dead. A plague of undead, called the Plague of Unarak, spread, and it took two centuries before it was completely contained after a band of young avatars rose to defeat him and end his magic.
   In this distant future Unarak was cast down, but now he has an opportunity to redeem himself, for the dreaded god’s shadow spirit has escaped back in time, taking advantage of the Time Lord’s efforts to destroy a much greater threat to the world, to reposition himself and his favored ally Phaedra to strike out against the realm in a time and place when he is relatively unknown.
   Both Unarak and Phaedra found host bodies, Unarak presenting himself to Anharak, the mortal sorcerer whom he once was before he became a lich, and informing him of the inevitable defeat, death, and rebith he would undergo before his rise to godhood six centuries hence, followed by another defeat shortly thereafter. It took little convincing to his younger self to bond with the shade of the future, and Unarak seized control of his old body’s mind, snuffing out what he once was and remaking himself anew.
   Unarak and Phaedra then joined together, to exploit the second known weakness. Deep in the jungles of Amech, in a prehunate ruin lost to time, they found an amulet that allowed one to siphon the divine power of a god from his dying form. They knew of this amulet from their future alliance with the traitorous god Vishannu, who was in their alternate future responsible for the Cataclysm through his manipulations. They then sought out Vishannu and mortally wounded him in a moment of surprise, using the amulet to steal his life force. They were partially successful; Vishannu’s favored avatar and champion Avolakita stopped them at the last moment, and with his last breath he gave her his remaining divinity. She is now a demigoddess, and seeks revenge against the Shadow Pantheon.
   Unarak and Phaedra then travelled to the remote demiplane called the Shadow Kingdom, and struck quickly and decisively, stealing the domain from Penumbros, as well as stealing his divinity. Penumbros was not slain, but now lurks in the far corners of the Shadow Plane, conspiring about how to restore his divnity and kingdom.
   From their new throne the two began a process of seeking out the known ancestors of the avatars that had slain Unarak in the future, and snuffing them out. Thalion’s clan was first, and more are yet to come. Such a complete revenge has rarely been seen in the history of the world.
   Unarak’s powers of undeath are strong, but they are hindred by the power the Cataclysm gave him in the future. Unarak has not yet solved the question of how to create a new Undead Plague, for he knows that to recreate the Cataclysm would invite certain destruction at the hands of the Skaeddrath once they are freed from imprisonment, and so he is contemplating other options to achieve power in this young era…perhaps, even, to find a way of usurping the power of the dangerous but disordered Chaos Pantheon, using his knowledge of future events to his advantage against Dalroth, Slithotep, Haro and others…

All text copyright 2011 by Nicholas Torbin Bergquist, all rights reserved

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