Monday, January 23, 2017

Deities, Divinities, and really Scary Things

Hey Game Fans, we’re taking a look at some world building ideas and concepts for the home setting i run.  If you’ve checked out my other world building articles, this is the setting that focuses on Lakeport and the larger world around it.  Today i’m going to  take a look at one of the more colorful gods for the setting, Hassur, The Lord of Hell.  before i get started on Hassur himself, let me give you a little background for the gods of this world.  

Broadly speaking, the gods divide themselves into a variety of groupings and factions, but the grouping i am concerned about today is the old gods and the new gods.  The Old gods predate one of the most important conflicts of the setting, the Fey War.  These are the gods that originally found this world and shaped it to their designs and interests.  They shaped the great forests and mountains, and populated the world with creatures in their own image.  The first Gods to walk the world were the gods of Giantkind, the Fey themselves, and the three Elder Wyrms.  A few other gods would appear after this first establishment, most notably Ahrimaius, the God of Creation.  THese are the Gods of antiquity, and they made the world the way it was, for good or for ill.  

The Fey War began as internal issue between a small fey enclave and their neighbors.  It spiraled out of control to a level of violence and bloodshed that would haunt the old places of the world forever.  At the darkest point of the war, when the Me’Ah’Chin hordes looked ready to take the fight to the Gods themselves, the eldest of the Fey Gods, Grandfather Oak, cast the most powerful magic anyone had ever seen.  He summoned heroes and champions from across time and space to the Garden where Oak had planted his first seeds.  He made them a simple offer.  If they would turn back the tide of darkness and save the world, he would bestow upon the seeds of godhood, and make them the new gods of the world.  

Heroes to the end, most of these people died during the war to liberate the world.  Heroes from thousands of worlds and cultures fought, bled, and died in a distant land to save it from the most terrible monsters they had ever encountered.  When the last battle had been fought, and the dead tallied, less than fifty of the thousands of heroes and champions were still standing.  A few would succumb to lingering injuries sustained in the war, and their number would be diminished even further by a tragic incident.  

The survivors returned to the Garden, and Grandfather Oak kept his word.  Each hero or champion became the living embodiment of an idea or a race.  One by one, the new Gods and Goddesses organized themselves, and set about the work of trying to heal the lingering damage the war had caused.  Some places were never completely healed, and there are distant parts of the world that still think that ancient war rages….but that’s a story for another time.  

Hassur, the Unbroken Chain


Hassur was a terrible fiend before the war broke out.  Rumored to be an Archduke of Hell from some distant version of the world, Hassur was a general and tactician of no small skill.  Thousands of battlefields felt his guiding hand during the war, and there are at least three known instances of Hassur saving an ally by taking what would have a mortal wound for them.  After the war, he became concerned with the souls of the survivors, and the manner in which they returned to the world.  He took as his personal concept the idea of an afterlife of suffering and misery, to purify the unworthy before they returned to the great wheel of souls.  Naming this place Sheogrol, he took that as his concept, and set to making an afterlife so terrible, so fierce, that the living would strive to be better souls in this life, and the next.  

Combining the worst parts of distant planes he’d visited, he created a blasted hellscape that shook the will of his own servants.  Not a hell divided by philosophical differences, but a place of endless suffering and agony to purify the soul, or crush it entirely.  Not to be outdone, several of his more powerful servants created fiends of temptation and vice.  The wrath that fell upon their collective heads was terrible, but for the voice of one of his servitors.  

“If the souls of the living have no temptation, no vice to draw them towards a path of potential wickedness, how can we ensure that the souls that re-enter the cycle are truly worthy of it as they are?  Without exposure to temptation, how can we be sure that souls receive the proper punishment and rejuvenation before they return?”  

Those words stirred Hassur, and he allowed the tempters and their minions to do their dark work.  He also altered a portion of his domain, providing a sanctuary for the worthy souls before they returned to the world.  In this way, he became the lord of the underworld.  He takes his position as the guardian of souls very seriously, and the most likely way to find oneself on the receiving end of his attention is to subvert the soul after death.  .

Relations with Others

Hassur is a welcome sight among the gods and goddesses of his pantheon.  He rarely has time to attend formal meetings, but his presence is a serious one.  The Gods he gets along most favorably with Oskar, the Lord of Death, (they share a great deal of mutual overlapping areas), and Ahrimaius, the Lord of Creation, (who binds souls into new bodies).  He gets along very poorly with Pureheart, because of philosophical differences on the proper use of power, and most of the racial gods have at least one grievance or another to lay at his feel.  Most of the Pantheon are thankful for the service he performs, and while his domain may be ugly, his own service at keeping control of it has been exemplary.  

Relations with Servants

Hassur has a wonderfully interesting series of interactions with his servants.  Most of them are petty, power grabbing miscreants who desperately want to be closer to the top of the pile than the people underneath them.  The ones at the top of the pile are perfectly aware of the balancing act one has to maintain to please the Lord of the Afterlife and manage to accumulate power.  He detests schemers, and has very little patience for grandiose plans to accumulate more power.  He’s destroyed many servants over the years for overthinking their place in the universe, and allegedly keeps a few around as object lessons to help the others keep their minds on work.  

Relations with Mortals

Mortals tend to be a sad lot, willing to make deals and bargains for all manner of temporary gains.  Hassur roots for the power of the soul of the sentient creature, and hope that it has the temerity and fortitude to resist temptation, work hard, and earn their place in the afterlife.  He roots for heroes and hopes that they can overcome the challenges that they seek out.  His clergy, the few of them that there are, watch over the souls of the elderly and the infirm.  The other place they are common sights are schools and orphanages.  The young need strong guidance to make sure that they start off on the right path, and the black clad clerics that smell of hellfire are among the most motivated teachers in the world.  

Unusual Sayings

“Careful boy, you’ll have the Devil’s eye on you”  The Devil’s Eye is an indicator that something you’ve done has drawn the attention of Hassur personally.  Usually said as a “Be Careful, make sure you know what you’re doing” type of a statement, it’s a warning to be mindful of one’s actions.  

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