The Old Gods of Leng
While Morus contains many established pantheons and groups of gods that are aligned with each other, there are just as many that have no particular affiliation; old gods who sprung up one by one over the course of centuries, evil gods worshipped only by small cults, dead gods and the gods of specific races, including the gods of monsters - all are listed here. Note that not every god can be listed here; most races and creatures that have any sentience worship one god or another, and the more fractious will worship scores of their own heathen gods, each granting power to their own shamans; there are simply too many to list. Here, however, is a list of the "major" miscellaneous gods.
A dwarvish god by origin, though widely worshipped by heraldry-keepers and historians of all races. Jortengrad is the god of roots both physical and figurative; he is the patron of miners, delvers, and those who carve out the stone to make homes that will never feel the ravages oftime. He is also the god of the roots of family, of oaths and vows made. The easiest way to displease him is to forget one's history, ignore one's family and break one's oaths. Amongst the dwarves, he is sworn to when a feud is declared. Priests of Jortengrad gain the legend lore of a bard as they level up.
Although a figure of veneration amongst dwarves, Jortengrad is also popular in Vingaard, Arelon and Lorknir - all of which have a long and storied history. In particular, many of the heralds and historians of Vingaard, with its ancient noble houses, pay homage to Jortengrad. Those who hold Jortengrad dear as a patron god must always remember their roots and never betray family or comrades. They must always keep their word and must cherish and protect written words and records wherever possible. In particular, falsifying documents or recording false accounts is an act of heresy. More generally, those who follow Jortengrad should study history - both the history of the world and their own personal history. History must be learned from to prevent avoidable tragedies.
Incantus is a popular god throughout Leng; his temples tend to consist of small groups of warrior-priests that pledge themselves to their duties. Incantus is the god of protection, vigilance, and duty - he is known as The Watcher and Great Eye. His symbol is a great ever-watchful eye emblazoned upon a shield. Followers of Incantus dedicate themselves to the principles of duty, protection and the eternal vigil. They respect those who are straightforward in their dealings and who dedicate themselves absolutely to their cause with conviction - whether that cause is good or evil.
Incantus is seen by many as a guardian deity, and is invoked by those who wish to keep a thing secret as well as by those who wish for something to be warded against abuse or misfortune. It is traditional for builders to engrave his holy symbol into the foundation stones of their buildings. Above all, Incantus values stability and tradition; for this reason, his priests are often seen as conservative, preferring to preserve society as it is rather than progress it and risk losing something.
As a god of law and order, Incantus is rarely worshiped in eastern Leng. In Lorknir and Vingaard, the gods of the Trinity are far more likely to fulfil this role. However, even in the east he has a position as a patron of builders and architects, and a god to invoke to protect one's property before leaving it on a long journey.
Incantus is Lawful Neutral, but his priests may be of any lawful alignment. At level 1, Priests of Incantus gain the ability to create a shield of faith around an ally by concentrating for one round, which persists as long as they are within 100 feet. This shield of faith grants the priest's Armour Class to the target, and transfers any damage taken by that person to the priest, instead. Priests of Incantus favour knightly weapons, and they are known as Protectorates.
Maraysi, Venyar and Quotharn
The three horned Kings of Dust worshipped by the Qhalessi, the nomads of the Plains of Dust. They lay down the strict religious observations and practises of the Qhalessi, who would rather die than betray them, the most important of which is the ritual cleansing of the body with dust. They also grant the power of the Pazuzu, the Dust Demons, to their most faithful servants, making the prospect of fighting these fierce warrriors even more terrifying. The Qhalessi believe that those who serve the Kings of Dust faithfully and follow the tenets will become Pazuzu themselves upon their death, while those who are unfaithful will become part of the kamiseen: the cursed desert sandstorm that sweeps through the Plains and kills anything it touches.
Maraysi, Venyar and Quotharn place various demands on their followers, many of which seem alien and arbitrary to those who come from outside the Plains of Dust. Their holy scriptures make many references to the sins of the past, and treat the harsh desert of the Plains of Dust as both a gift and a punishment for man's folly and corruptible nature. Of the many demands placed by the Kings of Dust, loyalty to family and humility are the most important. The Qhalessi know that there are great mysteries in the Plains of Dust, but preach that a wise man is not one who unravels mysteries, but accepts that they are not meant to be known and puts his faith in the gods to protect him. An old Qhalessi proverb goes "The cunning man must know every thread of his tent; but when he is done he has only a pile of threads and burns up in the sun. The wise man sleeps peacefully in the shade."
Priests of the Kings of Dust do not have the ability to turn the undead. However, in times of great need, especially when their way of life and their beliefs are threatened, the Kings of Dust will grant the aid of the Pazuzu to a Qhalessi priest in battle, which is what gives the Qhalessi such a fierce reputation as fighting alongside demons and makes the priests of the Qhalessi, who are called Elistan (plural Elistar), the effective leaders and advisors of the Qhalessi. However, Pazuzu can only form within 1 mile of the Plains of Dust, so the Elistar are loth to leave the Plains. The Pazuzu fight as elementals and can have anywhere from 2 to 20 Hit Dice; the strength and number of Pazuzu granted depends on the level of the priest and the importance of the cause; the priest also has no control over when the Pazuzu are called though they can beseech the Kings of Dust for aid in a desperate battle and hope they answer.
A god local to the natives of the Sea of Pearls, with its colonisation by Arelon she persisted in the new colonies, and worship of Myrkul is relatively common in that area. Myrkul is a goddess of fire. Her followers believe that fire is the purest form of energy and that as such, it has the power both to consume and cleanse, burning away impurities and leaving that which is raw and clean beneath.
Those who follow Myrkul believe that the ideals of good and evil are human constructions that cannot be trusted. The primal energies of flame, on the other hand, are objective; dross and filth is burned away while that which is pure and strong will flow and run true. Fire is something to be respected and revered, for it is a force of destruction just as much as one of creation. The forest fire extinguishes countless lives, but it lays the groundwork for new life to grow. In the same way, followers of Myrkul believe that it is necessary to burn away weakness in order to allow strength to flourish.
On a day to day basis, worshipers of Myrkul should not listen to the veiled words of politicians of priests who speak of good and evil. Instead, they should seek primal and fundamental truths that transcend human perception. The only way to do this is to test the world for themselves, subjecting it to the fire - whether literally or metaphorically. That which survives the trials and hardships is said to be tempered by the fire; closer to essential, elemental truth. That which crumbles and breaks when placed under pressure has no value, and can be discarded.
In this way, each of the followers of Myrkul is encouraged to draw their own conclusions and find their own path through empirical means - even priests can be Good, Neutral or Evil depending on their own experiences. They are known for testing and pushing others, even friends. From the perspective of a priest of Myrkul, causing another person to endure hardship and test the strength of their ideals and perceptions is a pious act, even if it brings no personal gain to the priest or to Myrkul himself.
Priests of Myrkul cannot be harmed by normal, nonmagical fires; very hot fires or those that are magical in nature are still dangerous, however, affecting them as though they were wearing a Ring of Fire Resistance. In addition, a priest of Myrkul can reach into an existing flame and "pick up" a handful of it, allowing them to hurl it as per the 2nd-level priest spell, Produce Flame. When they "pick up" some of it, the existing conflagration is reduced by a proportionate amount, though its fuel is unaffected. A burning torch will produce a single throwable flame, while an average campfire may produce 5 or 6. Priests of Myrkul like to fight with flame, torches and flaming arrows, but may use any weapon.
The Silent Monarch
The Silent Monarch. Father Death. The Pale Taker. The Grim Reaper. The embodiment of death and emptiness is known by all, though most who make reference to him do so in a wholly metaphorical sense. Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that the Silent Monarch is a very real force; his only will is that those who are meant to die do so, and that the souls of the dead pass to their destination beyond the veil. Worship of the Silent Monarch is not encouraged by the Temples, but death-priests are unavoidable in many places - the ancient catacombs of old cities are attended by them, and have been for centuries. Few are willing to uproot the servants of such a grim deity, distasteful though they may be, and as they usually do nothing more than run the catacombs they are usually left to their own devices. Those with clerical powers bestowed by the Silent Monarch are very rare, but not unheard of. In all cases, their causes are mysterious and vague, and it is thought that Father Death communicates more closely with his clerics than most gods. It is known that they have no problem with undead animated by sorcery or divine power, but work to quiet the "natural" restless dead whenever possible. Beyond this, little is known of their purpose - though some speculate that they move to ensure the death of those who are intended to die, or that they hunt those who have cheated death.
The Silent Monarch is feared everywhere, but has a strangely prominent position in Vingaard. Despite the absolute authority of the Trinity, even older beliefs place the Death-Priests in charge of the keeping of the dead. The catacombs are tended by them, the rites are performed by them, and they guard the gates of death itself. The Temples of the Trinity in Vingaard are not happy with this state of affairs of course, but the Death-Priests are too powerful, too firmly entrenched in tradition, to uproot - and when their anger is aroused, they will stop at nothing to redress the balance.
Few beyond the Death-Priests willingly choose the Silent Monarch as their patron, though his name is often on the lips of soldiers, executioners and all those who face death on a daily basis. For those uninitiated into the mysteries of the Death-Priests, there is little in the way of dogma - the Silent Monarch is, for the most part, an uncaring deity. He cares only for the execution of destiny, for things to die in their rightful time and manner, and for those who have resisted the call of death to be laid to rest.
A "dead" god that was once worshipped by ancient priests around the Plains of Dust, U-Bastis has little power over Morus in the present day. When the ancient empires that sprung up in the Plains of Dust after its creation crumbled, so too did the priesthood of U-Bastis. She is survived only by her temples and the powerful Staves of U-Bastis, which maintain some power even in the present day. She has power over cats and felids of all kinds. Her priests gain the ability to speak to all feline creatures, and usually elicit friendly reactions from them.
Besides the legendary Staves of U-Bastis, there is one other artifact associated with her, known as the Ring of Aket-Ten after the priestess who originally received it from her. It is an artifact of immense power. Once worn, nothing short of a sharp cleaver will ever remove it from the wearer's hand. The wearer literally has nine lives - any time when they would be killed, maimed or seriously disfigured they will instead vanish, leaving behind everything but the clothes they are currently wearing and the ring itself, and reappearing at a random location within 100 miles. Each time this happens, the number of lives remaining will be deducted by 1 - upon losing their last life, they will die permanently. An even less-known power of the ring is that its lives function to grant longevity to the wearer - at a time when the wearer would otherwise die of age, the ring will lose one of its remaining lives and their lifespan will be extended by around 100 years. The location and even the existence of the ring is unknown, since Aket-Ten lived in the times of the Ancient Githites and the ring vanished shortly after her death.
Xan, Keeper of the Book
Some gods deal in good or evil, in law or chaos. Others deal in their own motives; the destruction a certain hated being, the upholding of a universal tenet. But not so with Xan; Xan deals in no absolutes. Rather, as Keeper of the Book, Xan deals in the balance. Even the druids only seek for a balance between nature and civilisation to preserve the existence of both, but Xan's insight is deeper. Xan knows that the shadows are deepest when the light is brightest: without the light, no shadows may be cast, and without the darkness to contrast it, the light is meaningless. Even as they rail against each other, neither opposite may be allowed to eradicate the other. The balance must be maintained; this is the will of Xan.
Since Xan's will and ways are alien and their arbitrariness is absolute, there is little organised religion, although some Druids pay him homage. His priests can be found scattered across Leng, where they use the gifts he grants them to maintain the balance between good and evil, law and chaos, and light and dark. It is said that servitude to Xan can calm the heart of a man with a heavy burden of evil deeds and bring peace and order to his life.
Priests of Xan wield the quarterstave, mace, club and sling. The major spheres of the Xan are All, Protection, Summoning, Elemental, Law, and Chaos. The minor spheres of the Xan are Animal, Thought, Travellers and Time.
Aethelred the Uncertain
The god of uncertainty. He is the patron of those on unsure and untested ground, and as such is widely worshipped both by novices and apprentices - those schooling in new arts with which they are unfamiliar, and by explorers and adventurers, those who seek out new and unfamiliar ground and bring it under their heel. He is also a god of tests and trials, the difficulties which one must face in order to progress and learn.
One of the old gods, Ahti is still widely worshipped by sailors, pirates and seafaring men around the world, and is one of the few gods who are shared by Norse and Southrons alike. He is depicted as a mighty warrior, and his symbol is that of a sea-serpent. He is a god with two faces; on one hand, he is the patron of fishermen, of sailors and particularly of warriors on the sea. He has power of the winds and the waves, and sailors pray to him for a smooth voyage. He is said to bestow his favor on the daring and the brave, and any captain who abandons his ship invokes the curse of Ahti.
Ahti has a darker face, though; that of the depths. He is said to have spawned the dark sea monsters the dwell beneath the waves of stormy oceans, and to bring terrifying storms upon those who displease him, to drag them into the deep. It is said that Ahti takes valiant warriors who die at sea to his halls at the bottom of the ocean. Ahti dwells in the Deep Hall, a realm of the Elemental Plane of water that can be reached through the deepest parts of the ocean. However, he spends most of his time unclothed and without mortal shape, travelling as a spirit through the waters of Morus. He is always attended by a number of water elementals.
Ahti grants clerical powers to those who follow his ways; those who hold the waters sacred, who understand the importance of courage and the sanctity of a ship's crew and its honour. Priests of Ahti are not restricted in their weapon usage, and gain the ability to call up favourable winds and control the weather in various ways This power is strongest on the sea, where they can crush their enemies' ships with terrifying storms, but it is weak on the coast and almost powerless inland. As such, priests of Ahti tend to stay close to where Ahti's songs can be heard in the sea air.
A god of magic-users and spellcasters in general. Worship of Azuth was taboo throughout most of history due to the widespread hatred of spellcasters, but has experienced a resurgence in recent times. He embodies principles of scholarship, the freedom of information and sharing of knowledge, and a feeling of kinship and brotherhood between magic-users. The core principle of Azuth is that whatever their moral and ethical standpoints, all magic-users are brothers in magic, and the pursuit of magical knowledge comes before all else. The greatest crime amongst the followers of Azuth is the destruction of magical lore, spells or magic items, no matter how dangerus. Azuth is Chaotic Neutral, and only takes multiclassed wizard/clerics as priests. Temples of Azuth are often sought out as an alternative to finding a master for magical training, but they are not very common.
Those who venerate Azuth are taught to uphold knowledge, especially the free sharing of knowledge. Worshipers of Azuth believe that "information wants to be free", and that all people will be improved in the long run by the free sharing of knowledge. The idea of a necessary secret or of something too dangerous to be public knowledge is something they view with disdain - in the long run, they say, knowledge is a force of liberation. Hiding it is a form of oppression, perpetrated by the strong against the weak to preserve their power. A spell is a force that elevates the capability of the one who wields it; it is the wielder who decides whether to use it for good or evil.
Temples of Azuth store magical lore and spells, and will trade it for lore that they do not already have. They are very rare, however. Most magic-users are taught to respect Azuth, but he has little in the way of organised religion outside of the Scribes, a faction of adventurers dedicated to protecting and preserving knowledge, based out of the city of Antiras in Lorknir.
Molyb, the Gibberer
Molyb is known as the Jester, the Idiot King, and the Laughing Man. He is a god that is little worshipped, one who is absolutely insane. There is absolutely nothing he desires, no end he wishes to further, no enemy he wishes to defeat. He is an entity of chaos and an agent of change, and he desires only one thing: novelty. The only thing that Molyb prizes is that which is new, which is different, which is interesting. Apathy, mundanity, and boringness are anathema to him, and a servant who does not pique his curiosity will not survive long. Molyb does not take clerics, but those who serve him can be powerful indeed, for his gifts are bestowed freely upon his servants. In truth, Molyb is not a true god, but an immensely powerful demigod who, despite lacking true divinity, taps into chaotic powers that would put some gods to shame. It is this that allows him to interact so directly with his mortal followers.
Molyb dwells in the Laughing Castle, a great obsidian fortress in the plane of Pandaemonium, where he dwells along with those followers who were ineresting enough in life to join him in death. Through countless obsidian viewing portals, he watches his earthly servants. Though he takes humanoid form, he is in truth a great incorporeal being whose consciousness spreads through, and is, the Laughing Castle.
Molyb is no traditional god, and has no clergy or clerics as such. His temples are few and far between, mostly built in times gone by. They depict a peculiarly carven face that seems to assume different expressions depending on the angle it is viewed at, in front of which stands an obsidian altar carved of a single block of the volcanic black glass. These obsidian altars link directly to his realm, and those approaching them may enter into his service, with all the potential benefits and dangers this represents.
A local god of Leng believed to have originated with the natives of Dalmar, Nimble is the god of shadows, feats of skill and forgetfulness. He is little worshipped, and often looked to by thieves, acrobats and vagabonds. Halflings, as well, tend to idolise this god, who embodies their tendency to compensate for a lack of brute power with trickery and quick wits. Nimbul is believed by some to be the son of Jaeril. Nimbul is chaotic neutral, and while he does not give clerics, he is said to manifest in the dreams of pious thieves, as well as in the form of a sixth sense for danger.
Nimbul is also the patron of musicians, who often must walk the roads to make their way and trust to their own fast fingers to bring bread to their mouth. An old folk tale has musicians as favorites of Jaeril, who chastised an arrogant Nimbul by forcing him onto Morus and cursing him so that his deft legs could move only in a minstrel's dance, and his sly fingers could be used only to work the lute. Since that day, it is said, Nimbul has had a special appreciation for the plight of the minstrel and safeguards them always. Every headquarters of the Collegiate of Bards has a small shrine to Nimbul.
The Rat God
Burrows and deep places. The heartbeat of the undercity. A thousand eyes. Sharp fangs flashing in the darkness. Brothers and sisters innumerable - what is one life, with a thousand kin to take your place? The Rat God. The Rat God. Acolytes of the Rat God wear brown robes and they meet with torches in sewers, surrounded by their brethren. They serve the Rat God, and the Rat God demands tribute. From the wealthy, the strong. Those who live in shining houses with perfumed servants, wearing robes of silk and chains of gold. These are the enemy of the Rat God; their wealth must be sacrificed to him. In exchange, the Rat God will protect you: slave, urchin, street rat, beggar, thief. Come to the Rat God; he will not betray you. He protects the downtrodden, the diseased, the filthy. He is the patron of the swarm - the many who must overcome the few. Good and evil do not matter to the Rat God; only kin matters.
Servants of the Rat God despise and distrust those who are aloof, selfish, and powerful. Self-reliance is the domain of the privileged - those who are wealthy enough or strong enough to stand alone and cast aside all others. No matter how powerful they become, the servants of the Rat God do not do this. They will never abandon their kin, their family. Becoming a Rat-Priest's kin is easy - you must join the family. You must put aside your selfishness and become part of the pack. Give the Rat God his tribute, obey his priests as they hand down his will, and the Rat God will protect you. For the Rat God protects his own. Rat-Priests help their kin first of all, but after them come the weak, the filthy, the starving and the downtrodden. They treat beggars, lepers and the poor as equals and will often help them in times of need, though they will implore them to join the Rat God's swarm all along. As noted above, the Rat-Priests mistrust loners and the rich most of all. They are strongly opposed to the ruling class and as such are considered a treasonous cult in many places.
The Rat God and his servants are not well-liked in many civilised places upon the Sea of Pearls, partly because their opposition to wealth and power can be seen as treasonous. They are considered by many to be a cult, and in many places meet only in sewers and secret places. However, they are not the kind of cult to be content with the shadows. In many places where the common people are dissatisfied with the tyranny of the ruling class, the Rat God is an appealing champion. Servants of the Rat God have a particularly unsettling tradition that is an unspoken vow of retribution against tyranny - a large number (one might even say a swarm) of figures cloaked in heavy brown robes will assemble in a public place. They will take no action of any kind; they will only stand there and chant: The Rat God. The Rat God. The Rat God.
The major spheres of the Rat God are All, Animal, Creation, Necromantic and Summoning. The minor spheres of the Rat God are Combat, Divination and Wards. Priests of the Rat God may prepare the wizard spell Summon Swarm as a 2nd-level priest spell. It only ever summons rats.
At level 1, servants of the Rat God gain the friendship of rats and other vermin. They will never be attacked by these and may pass safely in their midst. Spells such as Summon Swarm will fail to affect them. At level 3, they gain the power to communicate with rats. The rats will relay anything they have seen, but communicating with individual rats is difficult and tiresome - the Intelligence of a rat swarm when communicated with in this way is the same as that of a mob of Cranium rats. A few rats will give very little information, but 100 rats can speak with the unified voice of the Rat God. Besides simply giving out information, these rats can also impart the will of the Rat God when gathered in large numbers. This does not confer the magical or psionic abilities of cranium rats upon them, nor does it actually confer true intelligence on the rat swarm - they simply speak with this level of intelligence when communicating with the priest. They cannot be given commands, but one rat can be told to go and gather its family for the priest to speak with. At level 5, servants of the Rat God gain the power to take the shape of an ordinary brown rat. At level 10, the priest becomes a natural lycanthrope wererat.
A dark name whispered by evil hags and sorcerors of demonic magic, Seidar is a god of the undead. Ghosts, spectres, wraiths and shadows all fall within his domain. It is said that if a mortal pleases him with his hatred and anger, he will stop his soul from passing on to the afterlife and make them into a being of dark power to carry out their evil will. The price for this is that when they are defeated, their shades go to his Kingdom of Ghosts in the Gray Waste, where he is served by thousands of evil spirits ranging in power from the very weakest to those of terrifying strength.
Besides foul necromancers, evil witches and all those who practice the arts of devilry and domination, Seidar is also the patron god of the kingdom of Grey Trolls, found in the Uncharted Lands in the north of Leng. Seidar is pleased by necromancy, particularly the subjugation and domination of souls. He is pleased by the weakening of all barriers that shield mortals from the shadows and hungry spirits that lurk in the Ethereal, and by the conjuring or creation of all forms of undead - especially intelligent undead.