Tuesday, June 11, 2019

How to Cleric in Moog

This is a quick, down and dirty guide for Clerics and other faith-based characters in the World of Moog. It is written for 5E but much of it can be easily used for Old School version of the setting. OK, so maybe 1200+ words isn’t all that brief.

Human, Dwarf and Halfling Good and Neutral aligned PC clerics worship either The Five (The Gods of Law), one of the individual Gods of Law or the Mother Goddess C’pu (alternately named C’ephu). Halfling clerics being extremely rare will in almost all cases choose to worship Vat Oldy M’m. Heretics of the Ardahune (pronounced ard HOON, basically any human with levels in Barbarian) people of the North have different names for most of the Gods of Moog. Quite a few of their clerics worship Thaumus the Wanderer (similar to the Hindu myth, except in this case a rather viscous snapping turtle that rises from its sleep to lift the world of Moog, carrying it along on its back as it crawls across the Void) , The Great Dragon (actually Ourbosas the Dragon Goddess of Destruction) or Korn the God of Battle (Note that Korn is actually a despicable God of Chaos, but there’s no convincing the Ardahune of this). In all cases, choose whatever domains you wish as the faiths and Gods themselves are just not all that codified. The Gods of Law are completely disinterested in the affairs of men. The Gods of Chaos are far more active and seek to destroy and corrupt. C’pu and her mortal followers actively oppose them.

C’pu: Mother Goddess and Principle Deity of the setting, a typical Earth Goddess and a rare source of Goodness in the otherwise grim setting

The Gods of Law
·      Axyay Gr’gg: God of Sorcery and Treasure
·      Sear’n On: God of Knowledge, Engineering and Enlightenment
·      Helmso: The Bloody-handed God of War, Battle, often confused with Korn
·      Vat Oldy M’m: The Laughing God, God of Luck, Patron God of Halflings
·      Mentrekfranz: God of Valor, Patron God of Henchmen and Adventurers

Dwarven Dieties
There is probably no difference whatsoever in the Dwarven faith and that of the more common faith of men and halflings. They do however use the following naming conventions:

·      The Stone Mother: C’pu?
·      The Jarl: Axyay Gr’gg?
·      The Smith: Sear’n On?
·      The Warrior: Helmso?
·      The Tinker Vat Oldy M’m?
·      The Skald: Mentrekfranz?

Elves Good and Neutral aligned Elven PCs venerate all of the non-evil Godlike beings to varying degrees. Players may choose to worship the entire pantheon or pick from one of the divine beings discussed below.

Principle among all Gods is C’ephu al Lunanari whom the Elves hold in the highest regard. Ourbosas Balorian is considered a neutral entity, equal in power to C’ephu, and venerated for her Fire aspect and the life-giving gift of sunlight. Even more troubling to the other Good Folk is that Elves tend to admire and even share some degree of affinity with dragons. As the progenitor of all dragon kind, Ourbosas is viewed as a source of great knowledge and the deepest magics. Elves do not view her as a purely evil entity, and this of course is pure heresy in the view of Humans and Dwarves. Halflings are too busy eating and drinking to care.

Yet another heretical aspect of the Elven theological view of the cosmos, is that the Five (as they are known among the human and dwarven clerisy) are actually lesser beings known as Vylldane, still powerful, but no longer True Amesha. There are in fact, several additional entities known to Elves that humans and dwarves appear to have little knowledge. These beings are just slightly less powerful than the two Greater Amesha and are known as Dolor Ami.

Moreover, a close study of the Elven mythos suggests that the Elves see the world in terms of a strict hierarchy of sentient life, a pyramid scheme of sorts where divine and semi-divine beings attempt to work their way up the ladder of Ascension. A few of these ascendant Dolor Ami are held in great reverence by the Elves. Korenuos God of War and the Wilds, Yeeshan’th Goddess of Art and Music, Selsitheench God of Magic and Norlorg God of the Woods are the most prominent though there are a few others. It is not lost upon the clergy of Human and Dwarf that these entities are astonishingly similar to the four Ruinous Princes of Chaos. Elven clerics expect to be viewed with suspicion by clerics of the other races, but this doesn’t seem to trouble them. This is mostly due to the confidence, pure arrogance even, that the Elven view is far closer to being correct and that the others are simply jealous of the superior Elven standing in the great game of divine Ascension.

What About Druids? How Do They Work?

Druids are found mostly among Men and rarely among the other races (but hey this is 5E so it’s fine to roll up a cringe-worthy Dwarven Druid so we can all laugh at you). The druidic faith is very close to that of the Elves and in fact, the earliest druids were taught their faith by the Wood Elves of the Gloamingwood (pamphlets were most likely involved). Druids should pick either a lesser God detailed in the Elven entry above as a patron or Ourbosas or C’ephu. Druids of the Ardahune race of men usually choose to venerate Thaumus the Wanderer, but there are exceptions.

We Were Promised Paladins. There Are Paladins in Moog Right?
A few, yes, Paladins in Moog are either squeaky clean do-gooders (the Hands of C’pu) who follow C’pu and go about righting wrongs, rescuing princesses and the like or they’re fiery zealots (the Hands of Helmso) who wield their sword for the glory of Helmso. Members of the former are admired by all, with the noted exception of the Murder Hobos in an adventuring party who have to walk on eggshells around them. The latter are frankly terrifying to most folks and even the most pious among the clergy believe the Hands of Helmso take things a bit too far. Both have a Knightly Order located in Vermistadt and as knights they are afforded a wide degree of rights and privileges in the city. You should probably be playing a human if you’re a paladin but there could be rare exceptions.

And Rangers? Aren’t They Divine Casters as Well?
These characters are not necessarily a devout group, but they do know how to draw energy from the same sources of power that fuel druidic magics. Assume that your PC has more than a passing familiarity with the Druidic faith and follow the directions in the earlier entry for Druids. This faith would be actually quite strange for a Halfling or Dwarf, but those sorts of characters likely grew up in an extremely isolated and rural setting and knew only the druidic faith in their youth.

Closing Thoughts
It should be noted that in some cases, there appear to be holes in the belief structures and even conflicts among the Good Folk of Moog. This is by design as players and NPCs are not meant to know or even understand the fullness of the cosmos and its mysteries. Roleplaying in Moog occurs at a time of great, even appalling ignorance. Your PC might be certain of the correctness of his beliefs and outraged by the conflicting believes of others. It’s possible even that you’re not all that religious in the first place and are in essence a clever fraud. Alternatively, perhaps your PC fully accepts that ignorance is the lot of mere mortals and is completely open and accepting of all faiths of the Good Folk of Moog.

The Mythology of Moog

Mythology of Moog

The following is a long-accepted translation from the Codex Incarnaeum which describes the birth of the world. The views expressed in the translation, with some ethnic and regional differences, are widely regarded as genuine by most scholars, though the High Elves of the Island Kingdom Immensea hold that this is but one interpretation of ancient events. Elves are difficult in that way and don’t really discuss creation or theology with Men or Dwarves. Most men, dwarves and halflings hold this to be as close to canonical, or fact if you will, as one might get in these ill-informed times.

Oswald Myrthenbaum
The Esoteric order of the Dragon, 4019

And so, it was before the sun burned bright in the Void that Great Ourbosas, She Who Soars in the Void, Maker of All Things, brought forth a shimmering and perfect egg. “BEHOLD,” she spoke unto the nameless spirits that attended her “HERE IS MY MOST PERFECT AND DREADFUL DAUGHTER, AND WITH HER I AM WELL PLEASED.” 

Here, we see the words of Great Ourbosas set in all capitals reflecting her divinity and great power over all lesser beings. It should be noted that this may be due to the original text of her words be set in the Dark Tongue, which lacks the upper case and lower-case structure of Common.

Oswald Myrthenbaum
The Esoteric order of the Dragon, 4019

Casting their eyes upon the magnificent egg and the unborn godling contained within, the obedient Amesha roared and capered with great, and rousing approval. There were however among the Amesha, five rather disgruntled and relatively bored spirits who were never as attentive as Great Ourbosas would have liked and seeing their feigned disinterest at the presentation of her heir, set her into a rage. 

The Amesha who remain unnamed in this passage may well be in fact the Dark Gods of Chaos, but scholars are unsure of this. That there may be more Amesha than is commonly thought remains a possibility. Certainly, the High Elves suggest so and name these beings Ami.

Oswald Myrthenbaum
The Esoteric order of the Dragon, 4019

“I CAST THEE DOWN LAGGARDS. DOWN FROM ON HIGH. DOWN UPON THE SURFACE OF THE MOOG EGG SHALL YE ABIDE UNTIL MY BLESSED DAUGHTER ROUSES HERSELF FROM HER GREAT SLUMBER.” Thus, spoke the Great Dragon Goddess and behold the five were made small, given weak forms and made to crawl upon the face of the Egg of Moog until the End of Days.

Then did Great Ourbosas belch forth a mighty gout of God Flame and thus was the sun lit so that it might warm the Egg in the Void. Then, did She Who Soars in the Void command that shimmering jewels should be hung in the sky so that the Moog godling would not grow bored with the limitless and featureless Void around her, and thus break free from her Egg before the appointed time. The obedient Amesha leapt into the reaches of the Void hanging the stars as the Great Dragon Goddess bade them. All save C’Pu, First Among the Amesha who was given the task of watching over the slothful five, ever mindful that they should make but little
mischief on the Egg, nor escape through some trickery or spell. 

And here is the source of the first great schism. C’Pu, known as Ami CePhu Lunara to the Elves is regarded as an equal to Ourbosas by Elven folk (and others) and that the two are in fact, the only Greater Amesha. Furthermore, it is suggested by the High Elves that the translation here is “laughably inaccurate” and that in fact Ourbosas’ God Flame rages above us as the Sun. In essence, according to Elven lore, Ourbosas IS the sun and C’Pu is the moon. Indeed, some Elven Priests among the Wood Elves of the Gloamingwald, hold C’Pu or CePhu as being the Greater of the Two Goddesses.  The commonly held notion in Vermistadt that a sunny day bodes an ill omen springs from this belief, heretical though it may be to much of the local clergy, that the sun is a “great and evil dragon goddess”.

Oswald Myrthenbaum
The Esoteric order of the Dragon, 4019

Thus, was Moog created and the lesser gods imprisoned. On the second day of Moog, were born the great dragons, the lesser children of Ourbosas who sprang forth from the dark places of the Moog Egg and multiplied in great numbers. In the Great Days of Boredom that came after, as the Moog Egg hung in the Void, so then did the gods fall to bickering among themselves and so they crafted many servants to entertain them. The servitors of the gods; men, elves and dwarves, soon fell to fighting among themselves, as the lesser gods had hoped all along, being fond of petty violence and bloodshed. This continued for an Age until C’pu, who had always had a soft spot for the elves, brokered a peace between man and elf.

The dwarves however were having none of this peace stuff and continued to make war to the delight of Helmso and Sear’n On, until C’pu taught them the joys of mining and gem-cutting. This worked for a time. Soon enough though, the dwarves, being petty and small-minded, not unlike the lesser gods really, decided that the lands of Men and Elf had nicer deposits of ore and gemstones. Finally, C’pu came to realize that the dwarves remained committed to violence, grudge-holding and a general attitude of poor sportsmanship and envy. Even the dragons were complaining at this point and the Five had grown bored again and were no longer paying close attention, so C’pu seeing no other choice, summoned the dwarven lords and their emissaries to her great temple. There she taught the dwarves the deep magics of distilling and brewing and at last, their greed and avarice were appeased or besotted depending on which side of the conflict you ask.

It is worth noting here that there is no mention of the fanciful Turtle God Thaumus and his long journey across the void which we find in the Ardahune legend The Song of Thaumus. This largely discredited origin myth of the barbarians of the north has quite a few similarities to the more accepted tale found in the Song of Ourbosas. It appears that the Ardahune faithful worship mostly the same five Gods of Law and C’Pu but have in essence, adapted the names via their own crude, guttural utterances which pass for some sort of spoken language. The Thaumus Blasphemies as they are known by the High Church of Vermistadt have filtered into the imaginations of many of the small folk of the Olde Duchy.

Oswald Myrthenbaum
The Esoteric order of the Dragon, 4019