Monday, January 20, 2020

Ghoz Vahk, the Great Eater

Ghoz Vahk
The fangs of the Great Eater lay bare, the rumblings of his pain resounding like thunder.
Few names strike as much fear and disgust into the hearts of men as Ghoz Vahk, the Great Eater. Depicted as a wicked cross between a white scaled dragon and a vulture adorned with feathers black as night, shrouded in a cloak of green flames; Ghoz Vahk is a terrifying visage. The god of a tribe of cannibalistic Lizardmen, the Great Eater has an insatiable hunger, demanding his followers to hunt and feast in order to satiate his ravenous lust.

Whilst a dark being, Ghoz Vahk has no evil intent; Ghoz Vahk merely wishes to alleviate his own unending suffering, and feel the hunger no more. Those who may meet or commune with Ghoz Vahk will find him jovial and easily amused, if absurdly impatient, tiring of distractions quickly unless satiated. Take care not to trifle with the Great Eater, or impede him from his feast- or you may find yourself his next meal.
You are hungry, are you not? Give in to the feast, partake in the revel; suffer no more, there is plenty.

Whilst the core goals of those who align themselves to Ghoz Vahk are to hunt and kill and feast in service of satiating their dark god, the true pursuit of those who follow the Great Eater are to alleviate suffering through any method required, as voraciously as needed. With great zeal, those who follow the Horned Vulture are encouraged to seek the cure to their distress, no matter how destructive the pursuit. To revel in what makes them happiest, and in great excess, no matter the cost to those around them, is the way of the one who follows Ghoz Vahk.
Holy Symbols
Heed these signs, for they signal something vast and terrible; a ravenous hunger, famished for bone and blood.

The skull of a vulture is the primary holy symbol to the priests of Ghoz Vahk, with the vulture being seen as an emmissary of their dark god, being scavengers who openly feast upon the carcasses of the dead. Fire is also of great significance to those who follow the Great Eater, as it consumes all around it in a nigh insatiable appetite, to the great destruction of all it touches. Flames that burn green are seen as a sign of Ghoz Vahk's influence, and are said to be a mark of his presence.
Fear not the god, for he will not harm you; it is his zealots that care little for you, only to appease their god.

Whilst wreathed in leathers and bone, wielding primitive weapons of bone and bronze, those who devote themselves with satiating the hunger of the Great Eater shall find themselves blessed with gifts of considerable might, as they are given tools with which to serve the needs of their great god. Given some control over evil magics, priests of Ghoz Vahk have some control over the green flames that their god breaths from his maw, capable of burning even through stone. Among their mastery of various curses and hexes, priests of Ghoz Vahk find themselves with the ability to consume nigh anything, able to chew through bone and rock with ease- even poisons pose little danger to them when ingested.

But even these powers pale to the greatest blessing given to these emissaries of death; the ability to devour magical power. Whilst requiring rest after frequent use, priests to the scaled vulture may consume magical energy in their presence; from eating an enchantment off of a lock, to biting a bolt of lightning out of the air; priests of Ghoz Vahk can gobble up nigh anything at all, so long as they get it in their jaws. As they eat spells in this manner however, the more appetizing the priest becomes, as they carry more and more latent magical power inside them- and so upon death, Ghoz Vahk himself will consume spell devourers, absorbing their might into himself.
Take pride in the hunt, and rejoice to the great feasting, for our god is pleased with our bounty! Rejoice!
Those who follow Ghoz Vahk have many duties, with a fair amount of ceremony surrounding them all. The greatest task of the cultists of Ghoz Vahk is to satiate his ravenous appetite, and as such organize sacred hunts upon great and mighty beasts. Blessed by the priests, the hunters will go forth and slay the greatest beast they can find, with he who gave the killing blow being showered with praise, along with being allowed to claim the largest share of the beast for himself.

The great feasts of the Lizardmen are a thing of legend, with the followers of Ghoz Vahk being encouraged to revel and celebrate the slaying of a great beast. Such gatherings are seen as ceremonies held in honor of the Great Eater himself, as those attending engross themselves with the fresh kill as a sacrifice to their god, eating it in his stead.

When a great warrior or priest has been dishonored, it is customary he be killed and cannibalized, so that his might may strengthen and appease Ghoz Vahk, if even for a moment. Whilst a harsh punishment, such a death is seen as a great honor, and is held partaken with much respect.
There is little time for rest! Hunt! Feast! Revel! For now and ever, for all eternity, by the grace of god.

Those who follow the scaled vulture and face death will find themselves taken to the realm of their god; a desolate wasteland filled with the bones of giant creatures, with great beasts with which to endlessly hunt and kill wandering the endless expanse, all for the amusement of Ghoz Vahk and his followers.

At the center of the plane is errected an immenesely large Ziggurat, with the top being the place with which Ghoz Vahk hosts an endless feast, a party incomparable to any other- with meat abundant, and other morsels aplently. When not lost in the wilderness killing, his followers gather to dine alongside their god, and renew their strength; only to go out and fight and kill once more after they rest, in an endless cycle.


Hey! Thank you for reading this. Ghoz Vahk is a god originating from a weekly AD&D game I've been attending for close to three years now, and has been perhaps one of the best tabletop experience of my life. Ghoz Vahk is very important to me, as he was once the character I played through a significant portion of that game, the Lizardman wizard Sneeze.
By the final battle of the campaign, after becoming a vampire, growing wings, and a boatload of other things, he ascended to Godhood, and became the megal ultra lizard dragon vulture we know him as now. He's perhaps my greatest achievement in any D&D game ever, so I just felt extremely compelled to share what he became; as setting agnostically as possible of course, so you yourself can hack and pluck him into your own game, of course!

If you've read to this point, thank you. I'll shut up about my dear precious god, now. Maybe I'll post the Priest of Ghoz Vahk class me and my DM built for him for use with AD&D sometime? Maybe I'll write up a B/X variant of it, idk. Thanks for reading, regardless!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

The Mok'shai

The Mok’shai
Seek not refuge from the Storm; rather, prepare thineself, as a soldier unto the rains.
Born unto the never-ending storm, said to be the soldiers of the great conflict of the heavens. The Mok’shai are a people native to a world ravaged by ceaseless rain, of the constant ringing of thunder, the howls of wind, and the maddening beats of raindrops. A world of giant trees, of a sky blocked by a sheet of clouds. A world hellbent on destroying it’s people, whether it be through great floods, or ravenous monsters. Yet despite all this, the warriors of light do not give in.

The Mok’shai are a people of middling height, and firm builds. Their most notable features are their skin twinged red, and their eyes pale as mist. They dress in simple things; in the hides and carapace of the monsters lurking in the Rainforests, as well as simple decorations of bone and wood. Despite the bleakness of their homes of stone, the Mok’shai take pride in their colorful clothes, said to be symbols of hope, a reminder of what awaits at the end of the conflict.

The Great Conflict
Do you hear their cries? Their calls of valor, their screams of desperation? There is a conflict, in the sky. The Gods fight and die there. And we shall assist them.

In a time immemorial, it was said that there was paradise; a land without worry or want, free of conflict. With clear skies, and an ever shining sun. This land was home to the Gods, ever content to live out eternity in their garden. But all was not well  in Paradise. One God, named Mishal, grew frustrated with the stagnancy of Paradise, and hungered for change. And so, he set out to be the harbinger of it, crafting Demons of which to cause strife, and carry out his divine conflict. 

When it was discovered that the Demons causing trouble in Paradise was the fault of Mishal, the Betrayer God slew the most beloved of the Gods, and declared war upon Heaven, snuffing out the divine light to show his endless legion of the sky. At the death of their beloved, the Gods wept, and flooded paradise with their sorrow. This was the first of the rains, the constant personification of the Gods’ eternal grief over their loss. 

The Gods were prepared to avenge the Beloved, no matter the cost. But they needed soldiers, before they could fight back. And so to reclaim heaven, they crafted the Mok’shai, the steadfast warriors of light. Born to avenge the Beloved God, and reclaim heaven, in the great conflict of the sky.

The Storms ravaging the world are a result of the great conflict, the eternal battle raging in the sky between the Gods, and the Betrayer. The howlings of the wind are the cries of war, the beats of thunder are the blows of weapons, and the rains are the blood and tears of the Gods. It is said that the Mok’shai are the soldiers of the Gods, meant to fight the Demons of the betrayer. And as such, the Mok’shai use their lives to become strong, and ready for the war to come, so that in death they may fight to reclaim peace.

The Jungle
We live in the wreckage of a once perfect world; the conflict has ravaged it, destroyed it beyond recognition. But with peace, we may rebuild.
Once, the world was a paradise of eternal sun. Now, the skies are blocked out by thick clouds, brewing a ceaseless storm. The constant rains have ravaged the world, with the regular flooding making the lands nigh inhospitable. And yet, the Mok’shai survive. While traditional crop farming is nigh impossible under the harsh conditions of the storm, high above in the tree canopies survive many creatures; great birds, gigantic snakes, massive insects, and winding systems of moss and fungi. 

And so, the Mok’shai farm the mosses and fungi of the great trees to survive, and hunt when able. Eggs are a necessity of the Mok’shai diet, as well as mushrooms, and stews. Meats are more rare, and several mushrooms have been cultivated to mimic it, but it’s a matter of great celebration when fresh meat is obtained from a hunt. Fruit is also abundant, but is highly contested among the wildlife, and so somewhat dangerous to obtain.

Down on the surface of the world, at the roots and trunks of the great trees, lies a bed of hostility. Great predator cats, primates, and many other manner of beasts make their home at the forest bed. This is also where the Mok’shai reside, surviving the floods in their massive Ziggurat cities. These great monuments of stone stand stalwart against the forces of the Jungle, as well as harboring it’s people from the storm.

The Ziggurat Cities
When one wishes to stand against a storm, to survive the test of time, one should take shelter in stone.
Massive structures of stone, the Ziggurat Cities are the safe havens of the Mok’shai, standing defiantly against the inhospitable nature of the Jungle. Their history is unclear, as they have been present for as long as the Mok'shai are aware. There are many theories as to their construction, but many simply ask; how? According to the Mok'shai, the Ziggurats should be impossible. With the constant threat of flooding, mining isn’t feasible, unless one already had a Ziggurat city from which to mine stone safely. And that isn’t even to mention how difficult moving the stone from location to location would be. By all accounts, the construction of the Ziggurats should not be possible.

And yet, they stand. Nearly completely submerged during a flood, they are as if islands among a sea of water and trees. Inside, quarries for stone, and farms for moss and mushrooms, are paramount. All the necessary resources for survival are attainable from within a Ziggurat City. Temples to the Gods stand at their peak, with which the Storm Heralds may commune with the great generals of the Sky, and receive instruction from the Gods. 

While having all the necessities of life available to them, the Mok’shai were born for war. And so, they hunt the great beasts of the Jungle to prepare for battle; and often, conflict between the Ziggurat Cities will break out, usually as a contest for resources, or to whip ‘complacent’ cities back into fighting shape. But while the Mok'shai were born for war, they do not neglect the arts. It is said that when the Conflict is won, and the skies clear, the Mok'shai will be given a place in paradise. And so it is important to them, to learn how to live as the Gods- surrounded by art and song. Of course, paper is nigh useless to record anything in the Jungle, and so records are carved into stone, to stand the test of time as the Ziggurat Cities do.

The Storm Heralds
Brace thineself against the Thunder, for the Gods do not speak softly.
One cannot have a legion of soldiers, without a commander to lead them. For the Mok'shai, the Storm Heralds are their great commanders, acting as the mouthpiece of the Gods, being able to commune with them, or so they believe.

The Storm Heralds are marked by three key features; first among them, they wear feathers of the great birds of the canopy, vibrant and grand. Second, they wear upon their person the few precious pieces of metal available to the Mok'shai, their jewelry not made of Wood or Bone. Third, and the most prominent, they carry lightning scars across their body, often covering the arms.

You see, for a Storm Herald to be appointed, they must stand atop the Ziggurat during a particularly violent storm, or even a flood, and hold aloft the most precious item the Mok'shai have; the Lightning Rod. A pole of metal, the craft of which is unknown to the Mok'shai. Their origins are a mystery, as they’ve existed alongside the Ziggurats for millenia. If successful, then the Herald to be shall be struck with lightning, seen as a communion to the Gods. If he lives, he is now a fully fledged Herald, acting as a mouthpiece for information on the current state of the War.

It is said that the first Storm Herald, Onn Hadrada, was the first to harness fire for the Mok'shai, by holding aloft a wooden staff. When he communed with the Gods, his staff held a solitary spark, of which was used to bring fire to the soldiers of light.