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On the Religions of the Flanaess: Boccob
Posted on Wed, July 04, 2007 by Farcluun
CruelSummerLord writes "
All is ephemeral...all will pass in time...save for knowledge and magic.  These things must be kept in balance, to ensure their continuity in the world.  Against this backdrop, good and evil are immaterial."-Extracted from The Grand Loretome of Boccob, a holy book of Boccobian religious writings. 





BOCCOB

Domains: Magic, sorcery, arcane lore, balance

Home Plane: The Ethereal Plane

Alignment: Truly neutral

Alignment of Clergy: Any

Alignment of Worshippers: People of all alignments can be found worshipping Boccob, although few do so directly.  Humans, elves, pixies and other fairy-folk, illithids, the derro, the drow, and any other magically-inclined race are the ones who pay the most reverence to Boccob in one way or another, although Boccob has few followers in any event.  

History and Relationships: Boccob is seen by many mortal scholars, including his own clergy, as being more of an attempt to put a face and understanding to the magical ether that permeates the Oerth.  Beory the Oerth Mother is seen as inscrutable and difficult to comprehend by her mortal followers, and so too is Boccob.  There is a definite intelligence and understanding in this magical ether, so too is there in the Oerth in general, but Boccob (as the magical ether is generally viewed as male, while the oerth itself is viewed as female) is less concerned with the fates of mortals and petty matters of good and evil than he is with the survival of magic in the world and its knowledge. 

Boccob figures very rarely in most religious myth and writing outside that of his own church, except that he joined with the other gods in putting down the Dark Lord in the Age of Night.  Some of the gods, most notably Titania, Corellon Larethian, Ilsensine, Lendor, and Wee Jas, called on assistance from Boccob, seeking the gifts of magic for the races they were creating, and Boccob responded without question, regardless of whether the gods in question were good or evil; such things mattered not to Boccob. 

Boccob has always been cold, aloof and distant, seeking to maintain the integrity of Oerth’s magic.  As such, he has no true allies or enemies, save perhaps for his servant Zagyg, who is one of the very few mortals to have become a god himself.  Zagyg also serves to bring magic to those who would learn it, and other eccentrics who are often as weird and strange as the magic of Oerth itself.  Boccob does view the Dark Lord, Dread Tharizdun, as an enemy, for the Dark Lord poses a threat to all existence, up to and including the very essence of magic itself.  

Teachings: Boccob’s church teaches that a person is essentially alone in the world, and that he or she must seek to understand every aspect of the world around them.  The study of magic and arcane lore is an essential part of this understanding, for magic permeates everything from the skies to the waters to the souls of the living and the power animating the undead.  Tied into this belief is a belief that one’s own ethical and moral leanings, while personally important, are fleeting and immaterial, while only magic is truly eternal, and thus the study of magic must take priority over considerations of good and evil.  This knowledge must be carefully used so that it does not upset the natural balance of magic in the world.  Boccob's clergy does not actively promote ethical or moral balance in the world, but rather the balance of knowledge, so that it does not become too strong or too weak, or that too much power comes into the world at once.  As such, they commonly warn against attempts to manufacture too many magical items and objects without carefully considering the consequences. 

Boccob is depicted in a wide variety of forms in religious art, according to the race that depicts him.  Humans commonly depict him as an aging sorcerer, shaman, wise man or sage dressed in clothing that reflects age and wisdom according to the cultural mores of the believer-in the Flanaess, this commonly means purple robes marked with stars, moons and magical sigils, and bearing an etched runestaff.  Illithids revere Boccob as a prominent organ in the great brain of Ilsensine, derro depict Ilsensine as a brilliant, all-knowing derro savant, and the fairies generally depict him as a fairy who serves as consort and advisor to Titania. 

Interaction with Outsiders: The faith of Boccob is commonly involved with sponsoring and assisting universities that teach magic and sorcery, such as the University of Magical Arts in Greyhawk.  The clergy frequently sponsors aspiring and intelligent youths who wish to learn magic, either paying some of their costs and otherwise ministering to the students of such universities with food and medical service.  The church also acquires and sells magical ingredients needed for potions and scrolls at a discount for these guilds, in cases where they can make special deals with merchants otherwise wary of dealing with wizards. 

Boccob’s faith is not politically active anywhere, and as such few governments see it as a threat except when they try and restrict who may and may not learn magic, as is fairly common even in good-aligned countries like Furyondy and Sunndi.  Most governments are thus content to ignore it, although some rulers will consult the clergy on arcane matters and seek its counsel when choosing a court wizard or magician.  There exist few open temples to Boccob anywhere, the most prominent examples being only in Veluna City, Rel Astra, Chendl, Rauxes, Eastfair, Kalstrand, Dyvers, Rel Mord, and Niole Dra.  Otherwise, smaller shrines may exist at magical universities and wizards’ guildhalls, and are generally ignored by the ruling authorities because they engage in magical research and ministering to the students and members of wizards’ schools and guilds. 

Most citizens will simply pass and ignore a shrine or temple to Boccob, or one of the god’s clerics, if they pass it in the streets.  Superstitious folk may view them with suspicion, fearing arcane magic in general, and so there are few followings of Boccob anywhere in places like the lands of the Suel Barbarians, the Bandit Kingdoms, or the lands of the Wolf and Tiger Nomads, but these are lands not conducive to Boccob’s followings in any event. 

Adventurers who are not themselves followers of Boccob generally enter a Boccobian temple to buy and sell magical scrolls and potions, or the special ingredients needed to make such things.  The prices charged or offered for such things are obviously better if one is a follower of Boccob.  Fortunately, most wizards are themselves followers of Boccob, or their guilds have chosen the church to see to the spiritual needs of their members, and so the precious ingredients can be purchased at a discount. 

Otherwise, the church of Boccob has no interest in healing the sick, wounded or poor, unless these are members of the church or show talent for sorcery.  Poor families whose children are very intelligent sometimes rely on the patronage of the church of Boccob to enroll their youth in magical academies, although the price for this is the church getting the right to educate the child in the teachings of Boccob. 

Variant Sects: Boccob’s church is small and scattered, and as such is not inclined to have lengthy scholarly debates, save on the workings of magic and its capabilities.  There exists some debate on the proper use of magic and society, with some clerics claiming that it should be used either to protect the mortals of Oerth or to dominate them, but such extremist opinions are generally frowned on by most sects.  One renowned patriarch of Boccob was heard to say that if Boccob was to use his power to “protect the mortals of Oerth”, he would be both very irresponsible and neglectful of his true duties. 

Adventuring Clergy: Boccob’s clergy does not commonly adventure; they are usually not interested in promoting good or evil, although some may travel to sate their thirst for knowledge by studying the magic and lore of far-off lands.  The most common worshippers of Boccob are sages, professors, mystics, shamans, scholars, and other academic types who have no interest in adventuring.  As such, the clergy rarely travels except from one city to another on matters of research, or in holding conferences and discussions with other groups knowledgeable in the arcane arts.  Clerics are also welcome to indulge their interests in other fields, such as the planes, philosophy, anatomy, alchemy, heraldry, zoology and any number of other academic interests. 

Boccob’s clergy does not seek converts, as usually those would respond to the god’s teachings come to the church.  They might let it be known that they will support those who wish to learn magic but lack the wealth necessary to pay tuition fees in return for conversions, and thus actively seek enterprising youths who have the talent for sorcery, but otherwise tend to keep to themselves. 

Boccob’s clergy does not commonly adventure; they are usually not interested in promoting good or evil, although some may travel to sate their thirst for knowledge by studying the magic and lore of far-off lands.  The most common worshippers of Boccob are sages, professors, mystics, shamans, scholars, and other academic types who have no interest in adventuring.  As such, the clergy rarely travels except from one city to another on matters of research, or in holding conferences and discussions with other groups knowledgeable in the arcane arts.  Clerics are also welcome to indulge their interests in other fields, such as the planes, philosophy, anatomy, alchemy, heraldry, zoology and any number of other academic interests. 
Boccob’s church is small and scattered, and as such is not inclined to have lengthy scholarly debates, save on the workings of magic and its capabilities.  There exists some debate on the proper use of magic and society, with some clerics claiming that it should be used either to protect the mortals of Oerth or to dominate them, but such extremist opinions are generally frowned on by most sects.  One renowned patriarch of Boccob was heard to say that if Boccob was to use his power to “protect the mortals of Oerth”, he would be both very irresponsible and neglectful of his true duties.  Boccob’s clergy does not commonly adventure; they are usually not interested in promoting good or evil, although some may travel to sate their thirst for knowledge by studying the magic and lore of far-off lands.  The most common worshippers of Boccob are sages, professors, mystics, shamans, scholars, and other academic types who have no interest in adventuring.  As such, the clergy rarely travels except from one city to another on matters of research, or in holding conferences and discussions with other groups knowledgeable in the arcane arts.  Clerics are also welcome to indulge their interests in other fields, such as the planes, philosophy, anatomy, alchemy, heraldry, zoology and any number of other academic interests. 

The faith of Boccob is commonly involved with sponsoring and assisting universities that teach magic and sorcery, such as the University of Magical Arts in Greyhawk.  The clergy frequently sponsors aspiring and intelligent youths who wish to learn magic, either paying some of their costs and otherwise ministering to the students of such universities with food and medical service.  The church also acquires and sells magical ingredients needed for potions and scrolls at a discount for these guilds, in cases where they can make special deals with merchants otherwise wary of dealing with wizards. 

Boccob is depicted in a wide variety of forms in religious art, according to the race that depicts him.  Humans commonly depict him as an aging sorcerer, shaman, wise man or sage dressed in clothing that reflects age and wisdom according to the cultural mores of the believer-in the Flanaess, this commonly means purple robes marked with stars, moons and magical sigils, and bearing an etched runestaff.  Illithids revere Boccob as a prominent organ in the great brain of Ilsensine, derro depict Ilsensine as a brilliant, all-knowing derro savant, and the fairies generally depict him as a fairy who serves as consort and advisor to Titania.  The faith of Boccob is commonly involved with sponsoring and assisting universities that teach magic and sorcery, such as the University of Magical Arts in Greyhawk.  The clergy frequently sponsors aspiring and intelligent youths who wish to learn magic, either paying some of their costs and otherwise ministering to the students of such universities with food and medical service.  The church also acquires and sells magical ingredients needed for potions and scrolls at a discount for these guilds, in cases where they can make special deals with merchants otherwise wary of dealing with wizards. 

Boccob is seen by many mortal scholars, including his own clergy, as being more of an attempt to put a face and understanding to the magical ether that permeates the Oerth.  Beory the Oerth Mother is seen as inscrutable and difficult to comprehend by her mortal followers, and so too is Boccob.  There is a definite intelligence and understanding in this magical ether, so too is there in the Oerth in general, but Boccob (as the magical ether is generally viewed as male, while the oerth itself is viewed as female) is less concerned with the fates of mortals and petty matters of good and evil than he is with the survival of magic in the world and its knowledge. 

People of all alignments can be found worshipping Boccob, although few do so directly.  Humans, elves, pixies and other fairy-folk, illithids, the derro, the drow, and any other magically-inclined race are the ones who pay the most reverence to Boccob in one way or another, although Boccob has few followers in any event.   Boccob is seen by many mortal scholars, including his own clergy, as being more of an attempt to put a face and understanding to the magical ether that permeates the Oerth.  Beory the Oerth Mother is seen as inscrutable and difficult to comprehend by her mortal followers, and so too is Boccob.  There is a definite intelligence and understanding in this magical ether, so too is there in the Oerth in general, but Boccob (as the magical ether is generally viewed as male, while the oerth itself is viewed as female) is less concerned with the fates of mortals and petty matters of good and evil than he is with the survival of magic in the world and its knowledge. 

AnyPeople of all alignments can be found worshipping Boccob, although few do so directly.  Humans, elves, pixies and other fairy-folk, illithids, the derro, the drow, and any other magically-inclined race are the ones who pay the most reverence to Boccob in one way or another, although Boccob has few followers in any event.   Boccob is seen by many mortal scholars, including his own clergy, as being more of an attempt to put a face and understanding to the magical ether that permeates the Oerth.  Beory the Oerth Mother is seen as inscrutable and difficult to comprehend by her mortal followers, and so too is Boccob.  There is a definite intelligence and understanding in this magical ether, so too is there in the Oerth in general, but Boccob (as the magical ether is generally viewed as male, while the oerth itself is viewed as female) is less concerned with the fates of mortals and petty matters of good and evil than he is with the survival of magic in the world and its knowledge. 
"
 
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