chatdemon writes "In the vast tracts of swampland and jungle which lay across the southern margins of the Flanaess and the lands beyond, many of the more civilized gods followed by humanity prove to be of little help or influence. And with humanity once more pressing it's way through the often fetid and dank lands of the south, they turn, once more, to an ancient and almost forgotten Suel god...
Forgotten Gods of the Suloise: Mekarah
by Chatdemon (email@example.com)
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
Royal Academy of Wizardry, Westkeep
I am pleased to report that my research has uncovered substantial information relating to your query of late. The crude idol you sent for my inspection tested my patience in its cleaning, but I was rewarded with a worn but unmistakable rune, the ancient Suloise mark of valap, which means roughly wingless wyrm. The rune was considered holy to followers of a cult that grew out of the ancient Imperial colonies in the area we now call the Amedio Jungle. The sect has been long thought extinct, but it is within reason to think the Lizardfolk of the Hool region may have adopted some form of worship for Mekarah, the god venerated by the ancient Suloise cultists who carved this idol from the volcanic glass found in the western hills of the Amedio.
Attached are my notes on Mekarah and his faith, in hopes that the knowledge may somehow shed light on the activities of the Lizardfolk in your area.
Candles bright and words warm,
Librarian Corypheus, Royal Archive at Cryllor
-- From Dispatches & Diversions; collected letters, by Ilbrysis Noltheod of Cryllor, 592 CY
The Wingless Wyrm
N Intermediate God of Jungles, Marshlands, and Reptiles and Reptilian creatures
Also known as Makara to the Olman, and Nauran to the Lizardfolk, Mekarah is venerated primarily in the endless jungles that stretch south from the Flanaess. Increases in slave trading, as well as human encroachment into the Hool Marshes in southern Keoland and the Vast Swamp in southern Suundi have sparked a renewed interest in the faith on the Flanaess mainland in recent years.
Mekarah gained his place in the Suloise pantheon roughly 3000 years ago, when Suloise settlers first began to set up colonies at the Eastern end of passes through the Southern Hellfurnace mountains to trade with the Olman kingdoms in the jungles. The Suloise quickly learned of the dangers, and potential benefits to be reaped from, the reptiles of the land; snakes, alligators, giant lizard species, even a small but healthy population of dinosaurs. In learning from the Olman tribesmen how to coexist with such strange beasts, they began to understand the importance of paying homage to the nature spirits of the jungle, but where wary of abandoning their religions completely, and refused to adopt shamanism and spirit worship outright. When the Olman were asked about the god that presided over these nature spirits, they were understandably confused, since their religion has no divinity or gods, only spirits of various rank and importance who coexist within the jungle, but eventually assumed the Suloise settlers wished to know the the name of the king of the lizard spirits, so that is the name they offered in answer, Makara, which was slowly corrupted to Mekarah by the difference in the two languages.
Mekarah is nature god, his clerics performing the role of druids in the jungles and marshes of the southern Flanaess. Their primary duty is tending to and establishing relations with the various reptilian races, allowing creatures of both warm and cold blood to coexist in the bountiful environments the wetlands provide. Beyond this, they sometimes serve as guides or aid small communities within their territories with farming and enduring the sometimes harsh weather and even harsher animals without destroying the delicate balance of nature.
The muddy lands are both the giver of life and the bringer of death, only those who learn their secrets and seek harmony with the flora and fauna of the wetlands will survive and prosper therein. Work with the scaled peoples, and encourage harmony between them and the other races. Above all, respect all of Mekarah's children, for all the animals of jungle and marsh, whether big or small, can be deadly if dishonored.
Clerics of Mekarah are fairly uncommon, expcept in the vicinity of the Amedio or Hepmonaland Jungles, and the Hool Marsh and Vast Swamp. Other large temperate and tropical wetlands may host a small circle of followers, but it is likely that Old Faith Druids will be more common. The two groups have no major disagreements, and are generally able to coexist peacefully in areas where their territories overlap.
While the clerics of this faith have much in common with Druids, members of that class are not admitted into the faith's 'thickets', the term they use for groups of followers in their faith. Druids characters may venerate Mekarah, but they gain no benefits of affiliation with the church, and are not respected as true faithful by the rest of Mekarah's Clerics.
Rangers, on the other hand, are a vital part of the church, and are accepted as full equals in the churches ranks if they pay proper homage to the god. Rank in the church is based solely on age, a tradition tracing its origins back to the Olman Shamans who first taught the Suloise and Lizardfolk the lore of this faith.
Domains: Animal, Plant, Water, Beastmaster
Weapons: Stone or Bone Spears and Daggers
Garb: Mekran Clerics tend to dress very lightly, wearing what is needed only for survival in their hot, humid homelands. They tend to favor tattoos of various reptiles and often concoct simple facepaints to mimic the colors and patterns of some of the reptilian races of their area. The holy symbol is the skull of a small lizard (a real one, not a token replica) which the cleric or ranger must stalk and defeat himself in unarmed combat at 1st level before gaining any of their class benefits. Once defeated, the lizard's skull is removed, drived and worn as a amulet on a leather or similar thong around the cleric's neck. If this symbol is ever lost or stolen, the cleric or ranger may carve or otherwise fashion a temporary replacement until they can return to a suitable terrain to battle for a new one, but the suffer the effects of a Curse spell until they do so, using Curse option 1, applied to Wisdom (in other words, they suffer a -6 penalty to their wisdom and all related skill, ability, and save checks)
Note: Forgotten Gods, Suel"