Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Goblinoid Deities of Sharn

More cleaning out of some of my old gaming folders today- here's some stuff that I posted to the old pre-4e Wizards forums on goblin-specific interpretations of various members of the Sovereign Host pantheon. The idea was that goblins who had immigrated to Sharn generations before and integrated with Human/Demi-human society would eventually adopt the worship of the Sovereign Host (or be converted by local priests) but would adapt the traditional views of the Sovereign Host gods to better fit with Goblin values and lifestyles.

Tukuul'daar - Patron of Laborers:  Depicted as a wiry, weathered goblin wearing thick leather gloves, and carrying a large hammer or sledge.  Once known primarily as a protector and benefactor of slaves, Tukuul'daar (whose name means 'strong shoulders') was converted into a deity of protection and labor following the goblin's emancipation by King Breggor of Breland.  Tukuul'daar is said to work alongside those who make their living by the sweat of their brow, intervening at critical moments to provide strength that a goblin might himself lack.  A religious gobling worker who has finished a difficult task might say that Tukuul'daar worked at his side, while a more common (and less reverent) expression is to say that a task is 'fit for Tukuul'daar', that is to say, more work than anyone could reasonably be expected to undertake.  Tukuul'daar is also seen as a figure of the common man; a companionable, hard worker who ends his day with a stop at the pub, where he carouses with Dhakal'an (the goblinoid equivalent of Olladra).  With the influx of larger goblinoids from Darguun, and other creatures from Droaam, Tukuul'daar is regaining some of his martial and protective aspects.  Goblins look to Tukuul'daar to protect them from the larger, stronger creatures, and to prevent them from being taken into servitude.  His clerics are mostly retired laborers without living family, who are provided a pension by tithes from other goblin laborers in the city (usually level 3-5 commoners, possibly with 1-2 levels of either warrior or (more rarely) adept).  Occasionally, a young firebrand will take up the god's mantle, and act as a labor organizer or champion of the rights of oppressed goblinoids.  Scholars believe that Tukuul'daar represents a fusion of an older goblin deity that was worshipped by goblin slaves in post-Dhakaan Khorvaire with the worship of Dol Dorn, introduced by Malleon the Reaver when he conquered the goblinoid city of Duur'Shaarat.

Madruu - The Clan Mother: Depicted as an elderly female goblin, with an infant crooked in one arm and a long spoon in the other hand.  Madruu is a domestic deity, primarily concerned with affairs of the family and home.  Her worship is largely informal.  There are few formal shrines to her, and no organized temples, but most goblinoid homes have a small altar to her located in the kitchen or common living area.  Madruu's clergy are elder female goblins, usually widows who live with their children or grandchildren.  They act as hubs of goblinoid communities, serving as matchmakers, midwives, teachers, and therapists to their own family and the families around them.  Because goblins tend to live in cramped conditions, in extended family units, tensions can run high among goblin families, and Madruu's clergy often act as arbiters in disputes over marriage, inheritance, children, and divorce.  While their decisions do not carry the weight of law, the desire of Sharn's goblin population to avoid attracting the attention of civic authorities means that many disputes never reach Sharn's court beacause of the decision of a goblin granny somewhere in the undercity or Malleon's Gate.  Madruu's cult is considered to be a form of the worship of Boldrei, though some of her aspects (her association with fertility, midwifery, and birth) may have been assumed from Arawai.  The word 'Madruu' is an ancient goblin term for mother that has taken on an honorific significance, and continues to be used as a term of address for an elderly female goblin, or the oldest female in a clan or family.  Clerics of Madruu are typically commoners with a few levels in adept, focusing on skills and magic relating to healing and diplomacy.

Kesruuk - The Listener:  Depicted as a goblin youth, with one hand cupped to his ear.  Kesruuk is a peculiar form of Aureon, often referenced but little worshipped by most goblinoids.  In goblin society, the emphasis on academic knowledge is diminished compared with the value placed on more practical forms: local knowledge, oral tradition, and secrets.  Kesruuk is the omnipresent deity of 'word on the street' and overheard rumor.  He eavesdrops at every window, watches every interaction, and remembers all that he hears or sees.  Adulterers and thieves make offerings to shrines to Kesruuk to keep their deeds secret, while suspicious spouses and worried merchants pray that Kesruuk will whisper something in their ear.  The network of street urchins that keep organized crime figures and local leaders informed of new goings-on in the neighborhood are called 'Kesruuk's children', and forms a vital link in the intelligence gathering networks of thieves and inquisitives alike.  Kesruuk is represented at goblin temples to the Sovereign Host, but has no temples or clergy of his own.  Anonymous tips (in the form of unsigned notes) are often left at shrines to Kesruuk- they range from romantic advances from secret admirers to admonishing someone to bathe more often.  Anyone is free to read the notes left at Kesruuk's shrines to learn secrets about the community that someone would like shared.

Ul'tekesh - The Wild Twins:  A combined form of Arawai and Balinor, Ul'tekesh receives little attention from urban goblins.  Arawai is depicted as a youthful female goblin, holding a sickle and a basket of wildflowers.  Balinor is depicted as a male youth, clutching a bow in one hand and tugging on the chain of a hunting dog with the other.  The wild twins occur more in mythology than in active worship; they are the embodiment of nature, having dominion over plants and animals respectively.  Goblins make token offerings to Arawai when planting gardens, and butchers may have shrines to Balinor in their abattoirs.  Most animal and plant life goes unnoticed by Sharn's goblins, and the Wild Twins receive correspondingly little notice as well.  The exception to this rule are the goblins that live in the deepest levels of Sharn's sewers and undercity; here, where strange creatures roam more freely and more of their food comes from odd fungi and scavenging, the Wild Twins are invoked to protect undercity tribes from ravaging beasts, and to ensure that the pickings are never slim.  Clerics of Ul'tekesh (the two are generally worshipped together) are likely to be undercity goblins who lead tribes of scavengers.  They are often Experts of level 3-5, with ranks in Survival, Knowledge: Dungeoneering, Appraise, Swim, Climb, Spot, Listen, and other survival skills, and adepts of level 1-3.  Many of them have the Filth Eater Feat (from Sharn: City of Towers), to represent their experience at surviving on the bounty that the wasteful surface dwellers provide.

Dhakal'an - The Clever Trickster:  The most popular deity in goblin society, Dhakal'an (whose name, roughly translated, means 'free lunch') is a deity of good fortune, opportunity, and , where necessary, deception.  He is depicted as a laughing goblin youth, raising a goblet in a toast with his right hand while holding a coin (representing fortune of both types) in the other.  Dhakal'an represents the sophisticated goblin's ideal of a good life lived with minimal work and effort, and minimal conflict.  His victories over his foes always come through quick wits and a gilded tongue, resorting to the odd blow to the back of the head only when necessary.  He slips through life giving the appearance of compliance when necessary, all the while secretly staying a step beyond his oppressors (usually depicted as buffoonish humans, hobgoblins, or other larger races who are attempting to force Dhakal'an to perform hard work on their behalf).  Dhakal'an is the drinking buddy of Tukuul'daar, and together with Madruu the threesome represent the pillars of goblin society in urban Khorvaire.  Dhakal'an is the ideal of an easy life and good living, toasted at every celebration and heralded as a bringer of victory and good fortune.  Tukuul'daar is his more even-keeled companion, more willing to do an honest days labor, but never unwilling to take the shortcuts that the more clever Dhakal'an offers, nor ever passing up an opportunity to knock off work early for an evening at the pub.  Dhakal'an may steal Tukuul'daar's lunch from time to time, but the latter knows that when the big score comes, Dhakal'an will share all with his friends and family.  Dhakal'an in this way represents the looser goblin notion of personal property, which manifests itself negatively as a propensity for theft and positively as an inclination towards sharing and generosity in times of plenty.  Dhakal'an's clerics always have at least one level of Rogue, and usually a level or two of adept as well.  Adventuers and higher-level goblin NPC's in the community are quite likely to be at least supporters of Dhakal'an: the rogue class and the Arcane Trickster prestige class are popular among his followers.  Followers of Dhakal'an often contribute a portion of any ill-gotten gains to his shrines and temples, where it is distributed to the neediest in the community.  Dhakal'an also strictly enjoins his followers against making victims of their neighbors and clansmen; as a result, faithful goblin rogues generally refuse to go after targets in goblinoid neighborhoods.  Small organized crime groups with ties to Dhakal'an's church run protection rackets in their neighborhoods, primarily because of the lack of watch protection.  They are loosely associated with the Boromar clan, paying tribute each month while maintaining some autonomy.  They are deeply troubled by the expansion of the Droaamite-led Daask into traditional goblin areas like Malleon's Gate, but lack the strength to mount much of a direct challange.  The Boromars offer limited backing, being more concerned with more lucrative rackets in the city that are also under threat.

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