Quick Scroll: Symbol Worship Advocates Deity Plane
LG Greater Deity
Aliases: The Martyr Dragon, The Suffering Sage, Balancer of Scales, The Guide (respectful), The Righteous Daeva (very offensive, used to mock his followers’ pain obsession)
Portfolio: Virtue, Enlightenment, Pain, Growth, Spiritual Strength
Favored Weapon: long bow
Domains: Animal, Charm, Law, Rune, Water
Tenets: Arcane, Bravery, Draconic, Feywyld, Harm, Humility, Improvisation, Lust, Secretive, Wanderlust
The Vazuetion faith does not embellish themselves or their surroundings. A symbolic gesture observed by all advocates to emulate their elohim. It is apparent that Vazuet needs neither adoration nor recognition. And as such, it is also understandable that his advocates are not overtly gild with his holy symbol. A simple molded bronze swan that is covered with runic markings is the extent of his requirements. Most of these runes describe Paradise, Vazuet’s home plane.
Public knowledge of Vazuet’s worshipers is limited due to several factors. Most importantly is the fact that there are so few of them on Thepa. Cults never number more than in the teens, and in most cases they do not break ten members. His worshipers are also a very secretive people unwilling to speak to others aside from common courtesies and infrequent conversations for the purchases of life’s necessities. But even these inadequate clues have offered a glimpse or two into his followers’ world.
The Awakened believe that there is a finite amount of evil in the world. They also believe that pain is derived from evil, so inflicting pain upon something or someone will, in theory, lessen the amount of evil available for others to experience. The Awaked have found two ways to exploit this belief system: fighting those they deem evil and self-harm.
Attacking and destroying an enemy seems rather self-explanatory, but for the Sleepless (a name used by others for the Awakened who appear spoiled) killing is not enough. They feel that their enemies must endure the most amount of pain possible before they perish. Even so, the torture that the Sleepless inflict is not easy for them to stomach. They do not find enjoyment by hurting others. They simply see the process as a necessity for the rest of the world, “For the greater good.”
The other, more aloof, Awakened are the ones that inflict pain upon them selves. A process that is executed with neither the intent to die nor to cripple one’s self. His cultists only levy enough suffering to cause bleeding and scarring. After all, the divine conflict must be fought as a war, not a battle and any significant wounds would deter from that goal. Yet on rare occasions the Awakened do end up maiming themselves. A few of these documented cases involve incurable diseases, old age, and martyrdom.
Advocates, Direct Followers, and Minions
common: amoraq, sobekite
uncommon: elf, fenodyree, goblin, nalu
rare: arden, human
The ratio of true advocates to lay worshipers is massively skewed for Vazuet. A bit under half of his cults’ collective membership has gone from mere worship to the raw force of devotion a potential cleric needs. The most significant reason for this fact is the echo chamber effect of these small religious groups. The group’s followers egg each other on, feeding the raw power of faith until it kindles into their ferocity and zealotry. Thus, every group of wandering Awakened has at least one so-called “Lucid Teacher” with the potential for higher cleric levels and two subordinate acolytes.
Unsurprisingly, the most common race among advocates is sobekite. They share the more benign elements of his outlook on life, with the bonus of already being nomadic. What lights the fire varies, but the most frequent reason is a penance quest. By working for forgiveness, these penitent sobekites believe that they are permanently cauterizing the wound their actions have caused and removing that evil from the world.
Slightly less common than a sobekite is the amoraq, who understand wandering and what it means to feel pain, the very pain their destructive rage can cause. So they follow the Martyr Dragon seeking productivity for their curse, the reduction of evil in the world, and quite simply because by learning to inure themselves to agony they learn how to avoid raging at their pain.
Though Vazuet’s churches lack raw numbers, they do not lack variety. Elves and goblins come to the Guide for similar reasons; both races’ thoughts revolve around their forests being despoiled by outside forces. Their homes are typically threatened by evil. Ergo, they actively go forth to quell the evil at its source, and they end up falling into the orbit of the Awakened in the process.
Nalu and fenodyree, like sobekites, are nomadic – yet they do not tend to leave their communities. Becoming a wandering Teacher requires a threat they cannot normally avoid. These races generally need the death of their families to occur and to have the Awakened close by when it happens. These necessities are what most likely keep these two races from having more advocates.
The odd ones out, among the most frequent Lucid Teachers, are humans and, quite bizarrely, arden. Humans are motivated by disillusionment, constantly striving for the past glories common among humans. As far as they can tell, there really is not anything particularly good and noble about these dreams, so they reject that “civilization” to focus on a more hermetic lifestyle.
Arden, however, are products of a strange flip. More benign examples of the rat folk, those who have come to view other races as part of their clans, are sometimes faced with a danger that threatens all of their family. Rather than the normal panicked-but-effective fighting they are known for, these humanoid’s dispositions flip. They suddenly accept danger as a fact of life, becoming brave to the extent of a borderline suicidal follower. And this type of person is something the Guide can work with by focusing and redirecting the worshiper for the cause of good.
Vazuet may be the youngest of the elohim, but he is certainly not the weakest, a power that comes from the Feywyld. During his ascension, Vazuet found true enlightenment in the forms of channeling, harnessing, and using the energies from that living plane. And though he has been mostly forgotten by the peoples of Thepa, his ascension is still very fresh in the minds of those with power, both in the heavens and hells.
His mortal name was Vesper Allen Zedge. A man recognized as one of the world’s most powerful, living wizard. A title he held until the day of the Cataclysm. It was through his guidance and sacrifice that the rift closed. In a moment of clarity, he found the answers to why the rift existed, where it led, and how to control it in the future. He employed his newly found knowledge to end the rifting event. And by doing so, he personally absorbed an unimaginable amount of energy from the surrounding dragons and spared the lives of his comrades. Utoriasalzi, Equnillatiaop, and Tartorphellis (the three oldest and mightiest of the dragons) died that day. Their essences swallowed by Vesper. As such, Vazuet’s name was created. Vazuet is an acronym of Vesper’s full name and the name of the three dragons he destroyed.
Today, Vazuet takes the form of a platinum-colored dragon (Paradise) or that of a short elderly man (Thepa). He actively participates in every day life on Thepa with the intent of never allowing another apocalyptic event to occur. Specifically, he works directly with the good dragons of Thepa and the world’s other powerful goodly creatures by supplying advice and resources to them. In some cases, he has been known to appear to an advocate in his true form (the dragon). But these situations only take place when the person is instrumental in keeping the Feywyld’s influence balanced with Thepa.
Aside from his life’s purpose, Vazuet tries to use his time wisely. Unfortunately, his spare time causes more problems than he would like. Vazuet has great love and respect for his advocates. And as such, he spends a significant amount of time thinking about them and how they act. This interest is where the complications come in. Vazuet tends to forget that his advocates have minds of their own. And although his advocates are very similar of mind, they do have differing opinions. His oversights in these situations rarely cause friction for the world or even his followers, but they do cause him great distress.
Stress is a common theme for this elohim. Vazuet is a shaker and a mover. He reacts to problems, rarely considering the long term effects to his decisions. He believes that improvisation is his greatest gift. It has served him well in the past and continues to maintain Thepa to this very day.
Nevertheless, his heavenly responses have caused strained relationships with some of the other elohim, none more than Baris. Vazuet sees Baris as an indulgent of patience. He feels that Baris’s idleness in regards to daeva matters has left the elohim weaker. Unfortunately, Vazuet can do nothing. Baris won’t budge on his decisions and Vazuet will not war with him. Thus, his frustrations grow.
From above, Paradise looks like an expansive mass of earth surrounded by an octagonal, crystalline ocean. A second octagonal body of water, much smaller than the first, is located near the center of Paradise’s solid terrain. From this lake, eight rippling rivers flow outward toward the ocean.
From its side view, however, this realm looks more like a giant mountain with a lake located on its summit. Small overhangs jut out from the mountain. They grow larger the farther down the mountain they appear. The sides of these tiered vantage points are sheer crystal cliffs. And the features that look like rivers from above are in fact waterfalls that separate Paradise’s landmass into roughly eight equal sections.
Upon the topmost tier of the mountain above the large lake flies an island castle of crystal. This structure is the citadel of Vazuet. Vazuet rules his plane benignly from here, ensuring that all of the laws are fair and just, and assigning quests to those that seek them. The remaining seven tiers have corresponding rulers, generally former dwarves or humans. Their responsibilities fall upon the mundane tasks of running a kingdom. Vazuet does not rule Paradise, but rather he entrusts others to manage it and keep its peace.
The second tier is dominated by mountains and is filled with the homes of dwarven and duergar souls. The land has its own symmetry, though it is not flawless. The third tier is just as mountainous as its predecessor, yet it also holds massive forests. Much like the second tier there is an obvious, though not perfect, symmetry.
The fourth tier is hilly and filled with expansive forests. A few broad areas of farmlands are scattered throughout this region. At the center of each large meadow lies a castle. These areas are connected to one another via a network of bridges and roads.
The fifth tier is completely agrarian. Its appearance resembles a land pulled straight from a fairy tale book. A shining white castle lies at the heart of each region; Groves of fruit trees stand in place of forests; And plenty of harmless woodland animals circulate the trees and woodland floors. The land is a princess’s dream.
The sixth tier is a broad, sweeping plain. It has eight floating castles at the center of each region, but is otherwise seemingly devoid of features. Those who travel here, however, often find themselves in the middle of strange forests or other odd areas. This phenomenon is due to the castle’s rulers who create illusions to test those seeking entrance to the hovering citadels. This land is primarily used for those souls that seek adventure.
The seventh tier is a vast desert. There are, however, roads and oases as well as seas near the outer edges of this land. The eight rulers of these lands often invite travelers in, posing unique challenges for them. This tier is often considered a less demanding land of adventure. It is designed to support those unable to inhabitant the sixth tier but still desire the wanderlust all adventurers possess.
The bottom tier is a vast ocean bordered by small crystal mounds and an effect similar to that of Shangri-la. East meets west and north meets south. The ocean swells with fresh water and is filled with edible marine life. Many theorize that the water from this ocean somehow flows back up to the top tier in a never-ending cycle.
The realm of Paradise is wholly structured. Seasons on each tier occur in exact cycles. Other than the small variances of weather, nothing comes unexpectedly. Even the life cycle of petitioners happens systematically. Once every eight years, Vazuet will open the gate for souls to ascend into the Realms of Purity or to forcibly reincarnate them. These Passage Festivals are the grandest of all celebrations. The entirety of this heaven plans, prepares, and partakes in this holiday.
First Artwork provided by Sandara
Second Artwork provided by Eric Lofgren
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