Thursday, April 4, 2013

D is for Dungeon God

Also known as the Lord of the Underworld, King of Demons, Father Chaos, Goblin-Maker, Elf Bane, Master of Monsters, the Great Adversary, and a dozen other epithets, the Dungeon God is the risen form of the Fallen Titan Moerdreth. He is the single-most powerful and widely worshiped of the gods of Chaos and Evil, though the King of Devils would dispute it out of sheer obstinacy and spite.

After the Elder Titans slew him they cast his body into the Abyss at the roots of the world, beneath the many Hells. But he did not fall through the Abyss into the Void, instead landing upon some shelf or crevasse near the very bottom. From his twisted, rotting heart sprang an unholy black maggot that burrowed up through the Roots of the World. For long millennia this blind, mewling, undying thing crawled through the Hells and the Underworld and the spaces in between, until it found the Heart of Chaos. There it merged with the heart and formed around itself a cocoon, and for centuries more transformed in the cocoon while bathed in the energies of the Heart of Chaos. Then, after 666 years, the cocoon hatched, and out strode that which is now known as the Dungeon God.

This was long ages before the coming of the Elysians. Of the wars that were fought by the Goblinoids and Orcs at his command, little is known today, save in the lore of Elves and the tales of Dwarves. But the age-long conflict had already simmered down ere the founding of Deshret, and remains at a low boil to this day. Why the Dungeon Lord had not continued to pursue his great crusade against the Elves, Dwarves, and other races of the world is a bit of a mystery, but the major factor seemed to have been the interference, once again, of the Elder Titans. For, from some time in the ancient, Elder Days – it is said, from around the time of the sinking of the lands around the Eternal Mountains and the forming of the Serene Sea – until the Doom of Elysion and the rise of the God of Law, the power of the Dungeon God had been hemmed in, physically and mystically, by the Elder Titans.

With the removal of the Elder Titans from the world, the Dungeon God was free to act once again. Unlike in previous ages, when he had little to do with the races of Men, save in forming minor, petty cults, he founded a great temple. The First Prophet of the Dungeon God appropriately enough was Umbreo, an apostate of the God of Law. The Temple of the Dungeon God, also known as the Anti-Church, was founded along the same lines as the Temple of Law, though of course opposes it in every way.

The anti-clerics of the Dungeon God even conduct their rites in vile mockery of the holy rites of the clerics of the God of Law. The major difference is that the temples of the Anti-Church, unlike those of the Gregorian Church, are independent of each other, and unlike the independent but usually friendly temples of the Elysian Rite, often compete with each other most violently. Each sect is led by its own Evil High Priest, equivalent to an Archbishop or Metropolitan. There is a sect of Dark Hierophants, led by the Father of Darkness, the Ascended Umbreo, who guide the Anti-Church overall in major matters of theology and policy, but each evil high priest is otherwise free to do as he pleases, as is the nature of Chaos.

While sects differ in minor details, anti-clerics of the Anti-Church generally wear rust red robes trimmed in black. The trim is covered in vile sigils done in copper, silver, or gold thread, the more valuable, the greater the rank. Each sect varies wildly on the nature of their headgear; it is an important mark of distinction. One sect might wear skullcaps, another skull masks, still a third horned helms, and so forth, the larger, more decorated, and more ostentatious, naturally the greater the rank. Many sects also revere a Chaos Beast, an ally or servitor of the Dungeon God, in blasphemous mockery of the reverence of the Holy Saints of the God of Law. As such, many Beast Cults are allied with, if not actually fronts for, the Anti-Church.

Anti-clerics possess sorcerous powers in direct opposition to the miracles available to the clerics of the God of Law. They can cause wounds, or cause blindness or deafness, create plagues, slay the living, conjure hellfire and demons, and so forth. Unlike the miracles granted to the clerics of the God of Law, these are not miraculous in nature; they are forms of sorcery that must be learned through normal occult means. Many anti-clerics are also practitioners of eldritch wizardry.

Very little is taboo to the anti-clerics; really, they are allowed to do as they please as long as they do what they are told by their superiors and do not do anything that is moral, ethical, just, or kind (save as when necessary to keep up appearances if living or travelling incognito). Whenever they perform an act of kindness under such circumstances, they must later perform a blasphemous act threefold its equivalent in evil to make it up to their lord.

Sacrifices are preferably in the form of sentient races, ideally beautiful elven maidens, however as such are hard to come by, beautiful human maidens are a close second. The further from this ideal the sacrifices, the more must be provided. Like most such gods, the Dungeon God also enjoys sacrifices of gold, gems, jewelry, and other wealth, again split between his own “personal vaults” and the clergy. Few vaults are more cunningly designed and deviously trapped than the dedicated treasuries of the Anti-Church!

The afterlife promised by the Dungeon God is one either of vast rewards or eternal punishment. For those who obey his wishes and succeed in their endeavors in his name, their reward is eternal life, either as a major undead (wraith, spectre, lich, etc.) or as one of the exalted dead in his Hells, with all the power and majesty that comes with it. For those who fail to meet his expectations, an eternity of torment by those who succeeded. There is no safe middle ground…

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