LE Greater Deity
Aliases: The Caster of Coin, The Looming (derogatory, mainly dwarves), The Provider, Roly-Poly (derogatory, inhabitants of Tartarus), The Sower of Grace
Portfolio: Gluttony, Luxury, Conspicuous Consumption, Prosperity, Easy Living
Favored Weapon: dagger
Domains: Darkness, Law, Repose, Travel, Water
Tenets: Bladesmith, Bloodlust, Consumption, Depravity, Diligence, Gluttony, Punishment, Suffering, Travel, Weakness
Due to his popularity on Thepa, Lugial’s divine symbols come in variety of shapes and sizes. Though even with this vast array of images, they do hold a thing in common. They are all made from copper. Lugial does not demand specificity for the appearance (other than its material) of his divine symbols because he simply does not care. On the other hand, the material they are molded from must be relatively pure. Any alloy less than 95% purity cannot funnel his divine power. Bronze is utterly useless and really quite despised by Lugial even though it is rather common among his worshipers.
Lugial cherishes this ore for a very good reason. It embodies his essence. Copper has a myriad of uses from folk medicines and decorations to weapons and armors. Furthermore, copper is an essential trace element needed for life. On the surface this beneficial metal appears beautiful. But in the absence of attention, it begins to corrode, quickly. Lugial is much the same. His appearance to Thepa’s inhabitants is that of a bountiful, graceful deity but when he is inspected closely his decay becomes apparent.
Lugial does not mind. In fact, he rather enjoys the comedic oddity that occurs each time a soul is tainted. He savors the stain, which illuminates another facet of his nature. Lugial adores blood. Divine symbols are typically formed into daggers and are expected to be used. Ceremonial sacrifices are commonplace, but there are more subtle actions he relishes above the obvious. The simple act of eating a meal is by far his favorite. When a worshiper or advocate uses one of his symbols to cut flesh into bite size pieces, it kindles his dark light. And to leave the blade unwashed afterwards, pleasures him in such a way that cannot be described to mortals.
Lugial is one of the few evil deities accepted by the goodly inhabitants of Thepa. World wide worship of Lugial has become the norm as most countries celebrate him as the deity of food and drink. His presence in societal functions is vast ranging from birthday celebrations to weddings. He presents himself as a benevolent soul only interested in the welfare of Thepa and its people. But there is a darker side to Lugial’s worshipers.
Gluttony is known to make you penniless and many a merchant take advantage of this fact. They provide delicacies, sweets, savory meats, all in the voice of pleasure, yet they furtively take the spoils of honest hard work. These merchants care not for their customers. Yes, they might find enjoyment from others indulging in their products but it is a selfish delight. Merchants do not realize the evil that they spread, and it does spread.
Customers wallow in the rich foods and in short time they become obese, lazy, soon to die; and still the merchants feed them. The providers do not care. When a patron dies the supplier simply moves on to the next dupe, who is typically young and inexperienced with the evils of the world. Of course this manner of life is never seen as malevolent, but it definitely is. It is truly a sinister system.
Lugial’s worshipers find themselves in love with money. Not because it gives them power over others, but because of its purchasing power. Money is everything to them. They can use those small metal coins to live luxurious, sedated lives filled with all sorts of vices. The Caster of Coin even has his image on several coins that are currently being produced in Thepa. Yet his impact does not end there.
Since many countries overlook his downfalls, Lugial has decidedly expanded his influence down a few more deviant avenues. Lugial is the deity of pharmaceutical substances. Whether used to heal or as illicit drugs, it matters not. People look to him for the very thing that makes them sick, the addictive crippling poisons he so willfully offers. Generally it is too late for the ones who have become aware of his enticing trap. The holes they have unwittingly dug are far too deep for them to scale. They die with an unusually happy sadness knowing that they enjoyed their lives while regretting the final outcome.
Lugial’s plan is ingenious. He does not even need to spend a moment of time to recruit advocates. They flock to him. The mere presence of decadent food and drink, drugs and gold is all he needs to sway the goodly folk. He is by far one of the most powerful daeva in existence and appears to only be gaining in power, especially with Thepa leaving the hunter-gatherer stage of development for a more prolific era.
Advocates, Direct Followers, and Minions
common: arden, goblin, kobold
rare: dwarf, nalu
As stated before, Lugial is a welcomed deity on Thepa. You will not only find his worshipers everywhere, but his advocates as well. And although many of his advocates are from the evil races, it is important to note that they do not specifically follow him because of evil intentions. Most seek him out for the need to survival or they just believe that people should be pampered. As such, many of his clerics are neutral and choose to channel positive energy.
Advocates of Lugial do not perform rituals in churches or monasteries, but rather they spend time breaking bread with family, friend, and community. Feasts are common, whether at the dinner table or at the enormous festivals erected to celebrate Lugial’s part in the reaping of crops. His clergy are in attendance at as many meals as possible, and they are seemingly never more present than at eating establishments.
Tavern owners and their frequent customers adore Lugial. The patrons indulge in the sins of the world through the medium of saloons, whether it is food and drink, or illicit drugs and a prostitute. Taverns are the most likely place to meet an advocate of Lugial. Why not patronize these establishments? People are generous to the vessels of Lugial. It is a rare occurrence for a member of his clergy to go thirsty in a bar. These clerics are superstars. They never starve.
Even with the mass of Thepa accepting him, not all take on his faith with decadent prosperity in mind. Arden clerics join his flock for something more tangible – their survival. They believe that their afterlife will be blessed with a horde of infinite food, thus it is through the ratfolk that Lugial gains his first blood offerings.
Arden do not have much to offer Lugial. They simply live in communities that will never become wealthy. So to appease him, they sacrifice the one thing they can spare, prisoners. Arden are not above murdering in the name of survival. After all, they see these humanoid sacrifices as a boon to victims as well. The innocents are reuniting with Lugial to live out an existence in peace and comfort. Little do the arden know that this is far from the truth.
Factuality and the lack there of does not end with the arden. Goblins are also duped in to believing that Lugial played a vital role in their creation. Many goblin societies believe that The Rise was caused by divine intervention, that the “accident” was not an accident at all but rather Lugial bringing a bountiful blessing to his people.
Lugial plays an enormous part in goblin culture. Most offerings are food and drink to pay reverence for granting their new form. Though, in some smaller sects goblins sacrifice humanoids, typically enemies of their tribes. These deaths are meant to persuade Lugial into granting them the strength to vanquish their enemies. In a goblin’s mind supplying their adversaries allows Lugial the opportunity to spot their weaknesses. Flaws the goblins hope to learn from their faithfulness.
Sacrifices come in more than just blood, especially for the diminutive reptilian race. A common misconception is that Eadiac is the only deity to receive rival divine symbols from the kobolds. This assertion is false. Lugial maintains as many followers as Eadiac in the warrens. It is the kobolds’ insatiable hunger for gold that pulls them to Lugial.
What is most surprising is the fact that kobolds know the truth of Lugial’s character and that they are completely fine with following him. Lugial is a deity that punishes the weak. Kobolds hold onto the belief that they are stronger than the other souls that reach Tartarus (mainly because of their industrious nature) and as such, they can only prosper in his realm of gluttony.
The domain of humans, on the other hand, is oblivious to Lugial’s nature. They associate Lugial with their golden age. And if there is one deity that humans favored over another, it is most certainly The Provider. Humans believe that Lugial is their best shot at getting back to a world prior to the Cataclysm; hence their abundant sacrifices. Humans offer food, drink, and drug in a flood of never-ending attempts to entice him into grant the support needed to reclaim their “rightful glory”.
The final significant races advocating for Lugial are rare, yet both hold reliable numbers in his clerical ranks. The nalu, being fond of drink and drug, pursue lives of indulgence in the great human cities. They are susceptible to Lugial’s charms and are drawn in with easy. Those who become spoiled wish to share their experiences with their kin. Not to harm, but to delight. These clergies build small shrines beneath water and near the large human cities to attract their brethren. Lugial’s allure is hard for nalu to deny, since copper is a staple of their culture.
Lugial’s temptations fall on the good as well as the evil. Dwarves are known for their appetite of precious metals and gems, and that gold streak can go awry in the darkness. Dwarves have always possessed an unhealthy desire of treasure, which can become black and corrupt. The dwarves that fall into Lugial’s hands deteriorate quickly. Depravity overcomes them and they become willing to do things once considered sacrilegious. Dwarves in the deepest depths of their descent have been known to sacrifice their own brothers for the horror known as The Looming.
Lugial’s typical form is that of a short, round, fat man covered with thousands of pus ridden boils. He wobbles from place-to-place on his stumpy legs grinning awkwardly at anyone foolish enough to glance his way. His fiery orange hair, which is invariably unkempt and quite dirty, frames his disfigured face and disproportionate eyes.
No one truly understands why his eyes are so different, though many have speculated. The most common story suggests his left eye, which is light blue and slightly larger, is the dominate organ used for sight. His smaller eye, the dark brown one, appears to be employed only when interrogating captured adversaries. Some claim Lugial is able to ascertain falsehoods by observing the shifting color of an aura that surrounds a person – an assumption that is most likely myth.
Lugial is a grotesque creature. None that have seen him can suggest otherwise. And if his appearance thus far has not soured the benign opinion of this grand deity, his choice of attire will. Lugial sews his clothing into his skin. Loose fitting garments cause him anxiety so he dedicates an enormous amount of time pulling and stretching his raiment to his skin, which causes it to bleed and clot. He devotes little time to cleaning his body as he would rather spend it torturing those around him. In turn, his wounds become septic and fester. The pus that oozes from his body causes an unbearable stench to permeate the space around him. Even after he leaves an area, this foul odor will continue to linger for several minutes.
The Sower of Grace, as many residents of Thepa call him, might be identified as a benevolent deity to them but on his own plane he is not perceived as such. Lugial does not spend his time on Thepa. His presence in the world is unimportant to him since recruitment is self-proliferating. So instead, Lugial spends his days tormenting the petitioners of his realm. He is a simple creature, easy enough to understand and even easier to work with. But even so, he is a very powerful deity; one that few dare challenge for he is also a punishing daeva.
He enjoys watching others in pain and spends the majority of his time traversing Tartarus in search of those stupid enough to get caught in his little traps. Those that become paralyzed unfortunately discover that Lugial has a petite appetite. He devours his prey slowly, piece by tiny piece, finding great joy from watching the horror in the eyes of his food. He will take as much time as possible so he can to relish in their misery.
Lugial is predictable but at times he can become less so, fickle in a sense. If something less pressing comes up, he may very well be swayed to leave his quarry and address the situation, which has been known to take longer that first anticipated. This extra time gives his meal a chance to flee. Those who are able to escape do not normally recover. The body parts consumed by Roly-Poly are permanently lost to them, a relatively common sight to Tartarus. Partially eaten souls have flooded the vast plains of his realm.
The last tidbit of information known of Lugial is his “precious”, a dagger named The Dragoon. It is a ghost-touched blade that ignores all defensive bonuses other than dodge and force effects, and has a special property to make those hit with it save or be compelled to partake in a random sin or indefinitely feel nauseated. This sickness will only cease if the afflicted chooses to commit the preferred sin. Lugial takes advantage of this curse by offering the most repulsive options available to gratify the newly developed desire. Seeing his true essence, one can only deem him a wholly wretched creature.
Tartarus is one of the stranger realms known to Thepa. Matter was drawn from the Outer Planes to fashion a cylindrical shape of rock; it was then twisted into the shape of a Möbius strip; and finally sealed onto its self to create an infinite loop. Its interior dimensions create a self-contained plane upon which its inhabitants drudgingly lumber through their filth and waste. This piped world extends a mere thirteen hundred miles in length, a rather short distance in the overall scheme of things. On the other hand, its width is exceptionally large. The circular aspect at its largest expanse is well over one hundred fifty thousand miles around and spans nearly fifty thousand miles.
Mysteriously, gravity pulls those inside the tube toward its rocky landmasses. No one is quite sure why the force functions in this way, not even Lugial, though a few speculate. Some believe it is due to the amount of the rock beneath their feet, drawing them toward the object with the largest mass. Others think the tunnel itself is spinning and causes centripetal force (everything to be pulled toward the outside). In all likelihood, both are true, though it doesn’t really matter. Gravity behaves normally for this realm.
Petitioners have little time to contemplate these things, and to be honest, they would rather spend their spare time trying to figure out how the sun of this torturous realm works. A miniature star, significantly smaller than the sun of Thepa, travels through the heart of the tunnel. It takes this heat source twenty-six days to complete a cycle. An area of Tartarus at any point receives direct sunlight for about two days, dusk and dawn events for a day each, a twilight effect for another day each and utter darkness for the remaining twenty days.
This rotation causes a rather cold and icy hell where nothing grows, at least not very often or with any girth. On the fringes of the receding darkness, plant-life explodes with activity. The flora produced during the time of daylight is mostly nonvascular plants that thrive in the mounds of waste left by petitioners. Liverworts are the first to sprout as they require less light than their cousins the hornworts. Hornworts only grow to harvestable condition after the direct sunlight has passed. They tend to produce the greatest amount of sustenance from the passing light source and are valued by all the inhabitants of Tartarus.
But the most valuable of all the floras is mint. It is used to soothe the stomach and make what is eaten tolerable to the palate. Unfortunately, it can only be found at the brink of darkness, the crucial time when twilight ceases to exist and the true horror of Tartarus can be fully realized. This shaded area is where the most powerful devils roam in search of the prized spice. They use this herb to secure contracts and in turn their power over the weaker denizens of Tartarus.
Another very important staple of Tartaruin diet is fungi. The inhabitants of Tartarus have no choice but to defecate and urinate as they shuffle on, forced to propel themselves through their heaping piles of waste. Yet, it is this very repugnant mess that provides for them.
Fungi flourish in this sort of environment. It is found everywhere. Unfortunately, not all of the fungi are edible, which produces another sort of problem. Trial and error must be used to figure out which fungi are edible and which are not. This process has a very dangerous learning curve. The most unfortunate of newcomers to Tartarus find The Moonlit Lover descending upon them – a horrific sight for the first days in this nauseating Realm of Corruption.
As you can tell, this tubular effect causes most creatures to continuously migrate, a tireless dreary march without end. Most petitioners are forced into the darkness. They do not possess wings or the luxury of letting a cycle pass them by. In the best of circumstances, the strongest petitioners are able to stay just behind the last bit of light gathering what resources are left over from the devils.
On the flip side, the weaker petitioners struggle to stay just ahead of the oncoming light. Those near the end of the cycle do not find much for food. They feed themselves mostly with the fauna of the night. Bugs such as flies, cockroaches, and dung beetles are common meals – protein enough to keep one alive, yet little in the value of carbohydrates.
Sometimes these weaker petitioners cannot keep up, and their only chance of survival is to hide. This is where caves come into play and the mountains of refuse littering the land. The most intelligent of these underdogs are crafty enough to conceal themselves during the daylight hours. When night comes, they are able to scavenge what the more healthy petitioners consume and thusly granted a chance to move up the rungs of the ecological ladder.
Some petitioners attempt this maneuver without being forced into it, though it is important to note that the decision to smuggle one’s self away is quite risky. If discovered, the stronger fiends simply tear the limbs from the petitioner and leave him for Lugial to feast upon. The devils never share with others and the sheer fact that a lesser creature might attempt to steal what is rightfully theirs brings doom upon the trespasser.
As you can tell, this environment is fraught with opportunity to commit sin. The need for survival is very strong, but what is most compelling is the chance to gain an advantage over your peers, to get a step ahead of those surrounding you. Altruism holds no place in this realm.
Artwork provided by Sandara
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