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    Gods of the Flanaess: The Oerth Dragon
    Posted on Wed, November 28, 2007 by Dongul
    CruelSummerLord writes "'Come to wield power, and they will hate you and fear you. This is as it should be - hatred and fear will compel obedience, and bring you power. This, then, is the cycle; the key to existence upon this Oerth, as revealed by our master.' - Brea'kanek Dwarfcleaver, goblin cultist of the Oerth Dragon, instructing young goblins in the worship of the Dread Dweller in Darkness.

    Gods of the Flanaess: The Oerth Dragon
    By: CruelSummerLord


    Domains: The Oerth, the sky, the weather
    Home Plane: The Oerth itself, beneath the Drachensgrab Mountains
    Alignment: Lawfully evil
    Alignment of Clergy: Lawfully evil, lawfully neutral, truly neutral, neutrally evil
    Alignment of Worshippers: Any. The Oerth Dragon is worshipped by humans, orcs, ogres, hill giants, and many of the other sundry races of the Pomarj, especially the Drachensgrab Mountains.
    History and Relationships:
    Most sages know little of the Oerth Dragon. Indeed, many dismiss it as a folk-tale or as a primitive aspect of the Oerth Mother Beory. As is so often the case in scholarly research, these sages ignore or devalue the oral lore of the Flan elders, which proves exceptionally useful in researching and unoerthing ancient legends and hidden secrets.

    According to Flan elders of the Uleks, Celene, the Gnarley Forest, Urnst, the Cairn Hills and Abbor-Alz and Keoland, the Oerth Dragon is an evil spirit from the dawn of time, one of those dragons who had absorbed the thoughts and emotions of the humans, the dwarves, the elves, and all the other sentient races that emerged by fiat of the gods. The Oerth Dragon stood out among its kind, a dragon that exceeded many others in its cruelty, spite, and wickedness. It sought and gained excessive favor from Tiamat, the creator of the evil dragons, becoming almost akin to her in strength and power.

    However, the dragon’s greed and cruelty became its downfall, as it sought to usurp Tiamat’s power. At the same time, it began ravaging the newly born mortal races, the foundlings of the Oerth Mother born with both good and evil in their hearts. The dragon gave in to the most base aspects of its character, a lust for power, a blind urge to destroy, and a cowardice that caused it to fear and hate anything that could rival it in power.

    The destruction and murder it caused soon proved intolerable to the gods, most particularly to the Oerth Mother, who viewed herself as the nurturer and protector of all mortal beings, elf and orc, human and goblin. Tiamat was also angered by her consort’s attempts to steal her power, and his attacks upon the orcs, gnolls, and other humanoid races who had begun to worship her. In a rage, Tiamat struck the dragon down in a terrible battle lasting sixty months, and then flung it out of the Nine Hells, whereupon the Oerth Mother took the creature and imprisoned it beneath the volcanic passages of the Drachensgrab Mountains, where it would be burned and suffer, imprisoned for all eternity.

    The dragon’s angry spirit remained entombed for untold millennia, until it began to be worshipped by the humanoids and outcast Flan that came to the Pomarj. A cult sprang up in its name, and the connection the mortals formed with the dragon’s spirit allowed them to receive clerical spells. The cult ministered to the debased and cruel peoples that migrated to the Pomarj, its mantras of greed and hatred appealing to many a wicked heart.

    The cult of the Oerth Dragon, as the creature came to be known, eventually backed the rising of the Slave Lords in the 560s and 570s CY. While harboring no political ambitions of its own, even the Slave Lords required spiritual guidance, and they found the permissive attitudes of the Oerth Dragon’s clergy and its lack of complicated rules or rituals very appealing.

    The Oerth Dragon’s theology, such as it is, teaches blind hatred, greed and respect through fear. A person exists only for himself above and beyond everything else in the world, save for the Oerth Dragon itself. A person must strive to be respected and feared-if others do not respect and fear the person, he must command these emotions. The blind acquisition of power, and the destruction of those in the way, are acceptable means of commanding this respect and fear. Those with power have proven themselves worthy-all those who do not respect and fear the worthy are fit only to be hated and destroyed.

    Leaders are thus worthy of obedience only so long as they can compel it and punish those who displease them-in this way an organized following manifests itself and ministers to the followers of the Oerth Dragon, but priests are not to interfere in the power-struggles that occur between other individuals and groups. Should they prove worthy, the Oerth Dragon’s clergy must provide for them.

    The Oerth Dragon sets the ultimate example for its followers, in a way continuing the draconic tradition of incorporating on a large scale those traits they received of humanity and its allied races. Its lust for power, hatred of those who do not fear it, and attempts to destroy those who get in its way are examples it has set since the dawn of time. It also holds the ultimate power to command obedience, not only through denying spells to its followers, but also by commanding the very mountains themselves to crush and destroy its followers if they displease it. Certainly, some claim that the Oerth Dragon ravaged and destroyed the home of the Slave Lords as punishment for what it viewed as their failure, although the Slave Lords were certainly not part of the Oerth Dragon’s cult, nor were they acting on its behalf. It is unknown exactly what happened in the City of Suderham after the fall of the Slave Lords, and whether or not the Oerth Dragon was responsible.

    Interaction with Outsiders
    The Oerth Dragon is not involved in large-scale political action or evil plots; the only interaction outsiders may have with it is if they cross some of the mad cultists in the Pomarj. There, the cult ministers to many of the slavers, bandits and murderers that live in the Pomarj, offering them healings, blessings, marriages, counsel, and all the other typically priestly duties.

    It was through the support of the Oerth Dragon’s cult that the Slave Lords succeeded in establishing major operations in the Pomarj. Although they did not work for the Oerth Dragon, the Slave Lords nonetheless accepted one of its clerics as a member, and allowed him a voice in its decisions. The cult thus profited from seeing its ideology put into practice, although in no way was it the leading or even a significant force in the Slave Lords’ operations. The Oerth Dragon has no overriding agenda besides simply attaining more power and respect, and the Slave Lords served admirably in that capacity. In truth, it was more to the Oerth Dragon’s benefit than the Slave Lords, as the evil organization could have functioned just as easily without the cult’s support.

    Variant Sects
    The Oerth Dragon’s cult, being little more than an exercise of cruelty, savagery and murder done in its unholy name, is not given to religious debate or sectarianism. That said, secular political tensions, hunger for power, and racial animosities often spill over into feuds between factions of the cult, and the cult itself is constantly clashing with those of other gods, such as Nerull, Maglubiyet, Gruumsh, Incabulos, or Pyremius. Religious worship is not limited by race-Maglubiyet is as likely to count humans or ogres among his followers in the Pomarj as Erythnul is to have orcs or hobgoblins. As such, the rivalries and intrigues between the different cults and religions of the Pomarj for followers and political power is very intense. Only the presence of strong, centralized leadership, such as that currently imposed by Turrosh Mak, or that was being developed by the Slave Lords before their defeat, could curtail this violence.

    Adventuring Clergy
    It is exceedingly unlikely that the Oerth Dragon’s cultists would ever become adventurers, as the Oerth Dragon cares nothing of what goes on beyond the borders of the Pomarj, and his cult is not interested in spreading its worship beyond the Poor March. Cultists are more likely to be found ministering to bands of human and humanoid raiders, or ministering to the soldiers in Turrosh Mak’s army, than they are adventuring to seek their own fortunes or spread the teachings of their depraved lord. In their work, they may wear whatever armor and use whatever weapons they please-the Oerth Dragon is utterly indifferent to such mundane details.

    The Oerth Dragon does demand that his followers sacrifice seventy percent of all the treasure and plunder they gain to it, under penalty of being destroyed and devoured by the dragon while they sleep. Otherwise, the Oerth Dragon does not care what its followers do, so long as they spread fear in its name and bring it greater glory by attaining greater power, respect and fear for themselves.
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