Monday, January 24, 2011

Porandor: Orc Gods

Below is the central orc pantheon revered in the Porandor Empire. All of these deities are revered, though the cults of Shargraas and Yurtis are more discreet than the others. The gods of other races are worshiped in The Empire, sometimes even by orcs, but they will be detailed in another post.

Bahgtru (Intermediate Deity)

The Strong, the Leg-Breaker, Son of Gruumsh
Home plane: Infernal Battlefield of Acheron
Symbol: Broken Thighbone
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Portfolio: Loyalty, stupidity, brute strength
Domains: Chaos, Destruction, Evil, Strength
Favored Weapon: Crunch (Spiked Gauntlet)
Gruumsh's son is a the god of mindless brutality and loyalty. Other deities think Bahgtru slow and stupid, an appellation that drives him into a fury but is none the less correct. Bahgtru values nothing more than pure physical might and is contemptuous of anyone who he feels is weaker (which is just about everyone else). Despite his stupidity and general disdain for others, Bahgtru is fanatically loyal to his father. By extension, he expects his clerics to follow the orders of their chieftains unquestioningly. This philosophy has earned him the position as the orcish god of loyalty as well as strength.
Bahgtru is a huge, incredibly muscular orc with dirty tan skin and dull green eyes; his tusks, protruding from either side of his mouth, are glistening white from gnawing on bones. He wears little other than a great pair of cesti, or spiked gauntlets, studded with steel rivets, with which to beat his victims flat.

Clerics of Bahgtru must have a minimum strength of 16, and must keep themselves physically fit. They cannot wear armor, but may use weapons as they choose. Those clerics who lose their required strength lose their other powers as well, and will have their spirits crushed in Bahgtru’s fists in the afterlife. His sacred animal is the ox. His holy days are on battle days, and services to honor him must be conducted on a battlefield. The bones of orcish enemies are sacrificed to him before battle.
Bahgtru is served by baatezu, imps, maelephants, rust dragons, rust monsters, and yugoloths, although many of these are quickly put off by the Strong Arm's lack of intellect and attempt to leave (not always successfully) as quickly as possible. Other than the headaches mentioned above, Bahgtru rarely shows his favor or displeasure through such omens as the discovery of gems, as he lacks the foresight to plan such things.

Gruumsh (Greater Deity)

One-Eye, He Who Never Sleeps, the One-Eyed God, He Who Watches
Home plane: Infernal Battlefield of Acheron
Symbol: Unwinking eye
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Portfolio: Orcs, conquest, strength, survival, territory
Domains: Chaos, Destruction, Evil, Strength, War
Favored Weapon: Bloodspear (Longspear or Shortspear)
As the father of orcs and the leader of the orcish pantheon, Gruumsh is a fearsome and terrible god. He exhorts his followers to great acts of savagery and bloodshed, teaching that only by taking what they want from those weaker than themselves may they prove their superiority above the other races. He calls no one friend who is not an orc and holds a special hatred for elves and especially Corellon Larethian for an ancient grudge. His preferred weapon is the Longspear.
Gruumsh appears as a huge orc in black full plate. His skin is a sickly gray-black and covered almost completely in battle scars. He possesses only one eye, although its placement varies; either one singular, central eye (like a cyclops), or an eye on the right with an eyepatch over the left socket (in this form, a long, angry red scar can be seen on either side of the eyepatch.

As orcs that are not clerics or adepts are forbidden to speak his name, Gruumsh is also known as "One-Eye," "The One-Eyed God," "He-Who-Never-Sleeps," and "He-Who-Watches."Gruumsh's priests wear dark red vestments, war helms, and black plate mail. His sacred animal is the giant rat. His holy day is the new moon, and he is worshipped in orcish lairs. A sacrifice of blood is made to him monthly.
Gruumsh is served by baatezu, imps, maelephants, rust dragons, rust monsters, and yugoloths. He shows his pleasure by the discovery of eye-sized and shaped bloodstones, carnelians, eye agates, fire opals, garnets, lynx eyes, red tears, and rubies. Sudden blindness in both eyes or a blackened right eye (see above) are signs of his displeasure.

Ilneval (Intermediate Deity)

Son of Strife, the Horde Leader, the War Maker, the lieutenant of Gruumsh
Home plane: Infernal Battlefield of Acheron
Symbol: Bloodied longsword
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Portfolio: War, combat, overwhelming numbers, strategy
Domains: Evil, Fire, Law, War
Favored Weapon: Foe Smiter (Longsword)
As Gruumsh's chief lieutenant, Ilneval holds a prominent position in orcish life. Unlike Bahgtru, Ilneval teaches that strength is not only in the arm but in the mind as well. He is an ambitious deity with eyes for the throne of Gruumsh. Ilneval would never betray the orc race however, no matter how strong his ambition. When the chieftains call for war, it is the clerics of Ilneval who marshal the forces and lead the battles. His favored weapon is the Longsword.
llneval is more of a “captain’s god” than a god of the common orcish soldier; Gruumsh is preferred by chieftains and orcish kings, and Bahgtru by common warriors. Though Gruumsh does not trust Ilneval, He-Who-Never-Sleeps has Bahgtru on his side, and this relieves some of his concerns.

Ilneval's priests wear red metal armor and red metal helmets. His holy days are on battle days. Blood and weapons are sacrificed to him both before and after battle.
Ilneval is served by baatezu, imps, maelephants, rust dragons, rust monsters, and yugoloths. He shows his pleasure by the discovery of bloodstones, carnelians, fire opals, garnets, red tears, and rubies, especially by particularly blood-hued gems of these types. He shows his displeasure through wounds on followers that refuse to stop bleeding or will not heal (especially if said wounds feel as if filled with acid), or by wounds that drip pitch-black blood.

Ilneval and The Empire
During the Days of Doom (the Orc/Elf war) it was Ilneval and his clerics that pulled the discordant forces of the orcs into a real fighting force. Since those days the Empire has been largely maintained by the cult of this orc god, and so he is greatly admired as the symbol of what an orc king should be. So great is his influence that the Emperor must be chosen of this god as a Blackguard as well as being of impressive physical and mental skills.
Needless to say that the cult of Ilneval and the cult of Gruumsh have a tense relationship at times. Because open conflict would devastate orc civilization, the cult of Ilneval are careful to be respectful of Gruumsh, and at all times.

Luthic (Lesser Deity)

The Healer, Great Mother, the Cave mother, the Blood Moon Witch
Home plane: Infernal Battlefield of Acheron
Symbol: Orc rune for home
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Portfolio: Caves, orc females, home, wisdom, fertility, healing, servitude
Domains: Animal, Earth, Evil, Healing, Protection
Favored Weapon: Tooth and Claw (Unnarmed Strike)
Luthic is the consort of Gruumsh and mother of Bahgtru. She represents the subservience of orc females and is associated with fertility, healing, and caverns. Her clerics tend to the wounded from battles, care for children, and attend childbirths. It is her clergy which more than any other that ensures the continual survival of the orc species by ensuring a steady supply of young to replace the dying. She teaches that life springs from the earth and to the earth all must return. She also teaches that each orc must know their place in the grand workings of the tribe.
Luthic appears as a huge female orc who wears no armor, but has unbreakable black claws four feet long. Her hair and eyes are dull black and her skin is dark brown with a medium brown on the nose and ears.

Orcs who follow her worship sometimes rub dirt on themselves to ensure they will have many children, and clerics use earth in casting curative spells (though this is purely a symbolic gesture and not a true material component of the spell). Luthic’s worship is one of the few that allow male and female orcs to become
clerics; nearly all of the other deities permit male clerics only. Luthic's priests wear brown and black leather armor and fur caps. She is worshipped in caves and her sacred animal is the cave bear. Luthic's most sacred day is midwinter's day, when treasures are sacrificed in her name.
Luthic is served by baatezu, black dragons, cave fishers, deep dragons, imps, maelephants, rust dragons, rust monsters, shadows, shadow dragons, and yugoloths. She shows her favor by rumbling at cave entrances and by the discovery of black opals, black pearls, black sapphires, jet, horn coral, obsidian, and onyx. She shows displeasure by lighting ordinarily dark areas, and by rock falls at cave entrances. If she is displeased by a whole community, the birth rate may drop precipitously, even to zero.

Shargaas (Intermediate Deity)

The Night Lord, the Blade in the Darkness, the Stalker Below
Home plane: Bleak Eternity of Gehenna
Symbol: Skull on red crescent Moon
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Portfolio: Night, thieves, stealth. Darkness, Underdark.
Domains: Air, Evil, Magic, Trickery
Favored Weapon: Nightstaff (Quarterstaff)
Shargaas is the orc patron of silent death. A cruel and secretive deity, he is favored by those who work in the shadows, especially assassins and thieves. Clerics of Shargass are a secretive lot hiding themselves within the tribe to cull the weak with stealth and cunning. Orcs who live in the ever-present dark of Iroth's underworld revere him as their patron even above Gruumsh. A fact that angers the Orc-Father but there is little he can do without risking a war that could jeopardize his own power.
Shargaas appears as a tall jet-black orc with black hair and eyes. He wears black leather armor and a cloak that seems to be made more of darkness then any sort of cloth. He wields an obsidian and mahogany quarterstaff.

As might be expected, orcish bandits and thieves hold Shargaas as their patron, as do other regular orc tribes. Clerics of Shargaas are usually multiclassed (cleric/rogue or cleric/assassins). Shargaas' priests wear red and black leather armor and leather caps. His sacred animal is the bat. The major religious holidays in the worship of Shargaas are the times of the new moon, when the sky is dark and cloudy. Stolen items are sacrificed to him monthly.
The Night Lord is served by baatezu, barghests, black dragons, deep dragons, imps, maelephants, nightmares, shadow dragons, slasraths, terlen, undead of all sorts, vaporighu, and yugoloths. He shows his favor by the discovery of black opals, black pearls, black sapphires, jet, horn coral, obsidian, and onyx. He shows disapproval by the sound of distant wailing and his dreaded "cold fevers", which wrack the victim in great pain and often lead to a prolonged, agonizing death.

Yurtrus (Intermediate Deity)

White-Hands, the Lord of Maggots, the Rotting One
Home plane: Gray Waste of Hades (Fleshslough)
Symbol: White hand on dark background
Alignment: Neutral Evil (Lawful Evil tendencies)
Portfolio: Death, disease, misfortune.
Domains: Death, Destruction, Evil, Water
Favored Weapon: Mace (with head made in the shape of a white fist)
Yurtrus the White Handed represents the fearful and superstitious nature of orcs as the bringer of disease and misfortune. Yurtrus does not communicate with other deities or even with his own clerics and is feared rather than worshiped. Orc children are frightened into obedience by their elders by threatening stories of the Silent One, who impatiently awaits (they are told) to drag them off to his cold halls. These stories do not exaggerate the truth; Yurtrus is the undisputed lord of the orcish dead, and his realm on the diseased-filled plains of Oinos is filled by the rotting, wailing spirits of those he has claimed as his own.
Like Shargaas, the Rotting One's relationships with the rest of the orcish pantheon is rather distant due to lack of interaction and planar distance. The only member of his pantheon he feels more than a cool indifference is Shargaas, with whom he has a long-standing dispute over the portfolio of undeath.

The clerics of Yurtrus wear pale white gloves made from the skins of nonorcish humanoids, or humans during their ceremonies. They wear thin armor (equivalent to cloth) woven of the same materials or animal skins painted white. Yurtrus' sacred "animal" is the skeleton. His holy days are on the new moon, and he is worshipped in underground crypts. Appropriate sacrifices are made to him monthly.
Yurtrus is served by baatezu, gehlereths, gulguthras (otyughs, etc.) hordelings, imps, maelephants, nightmares, rats, undead of all sorts, and yugoloths. He rarely sends omens other than in the form of diseases and plagues, though he has on occasion shown his favor by the discovery of emeralds, jade, sphene gems, and similar gems, all having a particularly sickly green hue.

Next: Other gods of Porandor, Orc culture and further details of the setting!
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