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The Gods of the Flanaess: Wastri
Posted on Fri, April 11, 2008 by Dongul
CruelSummerLord writes "It is only by necessity, and not by nature, that we must dwell within the lands of our reptilian friends and allies. Through mutual aid and cooperation, we may destroy those rivals and enemies who oppose us in the eternal struggle to survive in our own homelands, and the bullywugs, yuan-ti and other creatures who are the rightful owners of the marsh may thereby see us returned to our proper homes. The dwarves, elves and other heathen races threaten to destroy us, but no man lives in the marsh by choice. Being able to return to his own homelands after destroying his enemies, man may live on his own in his rightful territory, and the amphibians and reptiles live in theirs. - Excerpted from the Holy Scriptures of the Divine Fen-Lord, Chapter XVII.

The Gods of the Flanaess: Wastri
By: CruelSummerLord

WASTRI

Domains: Amphibians, Bigotry, Hatred.
Home Plane: The Prime Material Plane, particularly the Vast Swamp in the southeastern Flanaess.
Alignment: Lawfully neutral, tending towards lawfully evil.
Alignment of Clergy: Lawfully evil, neutrally evil, lawfully neutral, truly neutral.
Alignment of Worshippers: Any ethically lawful or neutral. Wastri is generally worshipped by humans, bullywugs, grippli, lizard men, tasloi, yuan-ti, and other marsh-dwelling races.

History and Relationships
As one of the second generation of gods born after the imprisonment of the Dark Lord during the Age of Night, Wastri was a deity revered by humans. A lonely, isolated figure, he was often mocked by other human gods for his twisted appearance and dark fascination with the idea of altering and mutating humanity, which occurred to him when he saw the beings being created by gods like Ramenos and Mershaulk, that crawled through the slimy marshes and swamplands. Impressed by their strengths and powers, Wastri came to think that by imbuing the human race with these amphibious traits, it could become stronger thereby and triumph over its enemies, including not only the goblinoid races, but also the demihumans and fey creatures being created by many other gods who had contributed to the fall of the Dark Lord.

Having been forced to fight for respect and kind treatment all his life from his fellow human gods, Wastri ironically found more kinship among the gods who had inspired him, rather than his fellow humans. A bitter hatred developed within him due to this rejection, feeling that an ungrateful humanity had spurned his attempts to help it, even as it consorted with enemies that Wastri felt would destroy them as soon as it suited them. With their different appearances, lifestyles and habitats, Wastri felt that the amphibians would make better allies than the dwarves or elves, living separately from the humans while simultaneously offering advantages.

Rejected by most of the gods of the humans, who found advantage in dealing with their elven or dwarven counterparts, Wastri grew isolated from other human gods and made contact with the gods of the bullywugs and other hateful creatures of the marsh, who welcomed him as one of their own and allowed him to be worshipped by their peoples, becoming part of their pantheons. However, Wastri never forgot how his fellow humans had spurned him for the company of demihumans, and he nurtured a deep loathing and hatred for the demihuman gods and the races they created. Residing on the Prime Material Plane to be closer to his followers, Wastri now wallows in the mire of the Vast Swamps, urging his followers on with hatred and loathing.
Among his allies, Wastri counts Ramenos, Merrshaulk, Laogzed, Semuanya, Panzuriel, Istishia, Pyremius and Syrul, either because their races revere him and support his goals, or simply because of their watery or poisonous nature, both of which dovetail with his love of marshes and swamps. Wastri’s enemies include all other nonhuman gods, both good and evil alike, and even some of the Suel gods worshipped by the Scarlet Brotherhood, whose ideas of racial purity are anathema to Wastri’s ideas of strengthening humanity by incorporating the traits of other worthy species.

Teachings
Wastri’s church teaches that dwarves, elves, gnomes, halflings and other races that share the lands of humanity are enemies, who will inevitably clash with humans in the struggle to survive. Different races who share the same territory are certain to confront one another over resources, territory, or trade, and humanity must destroy its enemies, or be destroyed by them in turn. In turning to Wastri, his clergy teaches, humanity can be armed and prepared for the inevitably confrontation with its enemies. Those who freely consort with demihumans are deceiving themselves and betraying their race, and must be destroyed or otherwise punished. Orcs, goblins and other humanoid races are viewed as enemies of humankind, no better than dwarves or elves as enemies of humankind. While they may be exploited as battle fodder, they too must be destroyed in the long run.

The solution, Wastri’s clergy argues, is to find allies with whom humanity will not clash, and to imbue their greatest traits with those of humans to thereby create a stronger and more prosperous race. Allying with dwarves or elves will only lead to betrayal and destruction in the long run, but races such as bullywugs and yuan-ti, whose most common habitats are not those shared by humanity, have much to teach in both wisdom and arcane knowledge, as well as positive physical traits that humanity can absorb for its own use. These marsh-dwelling races pose no threat to humanity unless they are first crossed, for they live apart from humanity. As such, Wastri claims that humanity has much to learn from other races, but ironically these races are those that live separately and apart from humans.

The virtues of the Wastrian faith include hatred of demihumans and slaying them in combat, reverence of amphibians and reptiles, loyalty to one’s community, taking vengeance on traitors and those who have crossed you, the ability to speak plainly and clearly, maintaining the separation of the communities of humans from those of the reptilian and amphibian races, and making friends with those whose interests do not threaten yours, most particularly reptiles and amphibians.

The sins of the Wastrian church include tolerance of demihumans and humanoids, allowing them to live without slaying them unless such actions would hinder your goals, slaying and murdering bullywugs, lizard men and other marsh-dwelling races, disrespecting the environment of the swamplands, and consorting too often with these races. While it is a virtue to ally with them, Wastri holds nonetheless that essential separation is important, and allying with them only when necessary.

Interaction with Outsiders
Most of the states and people of the Flanaess view the church of Wastri and its doctrines with revulsion and disgust for various reasons, considering them dangerous fanatics who pose serious threats their own well-being. Oftentimes this is due to the presence of demihumans within a realm’s social structure, or its alliance with powerful demihuman interests, who are important mercantile or military allies. While certain types of internal discrimination may be tolerated by the demihumans, who profit nonetheless from dealing with the humans or otherwise need their support, in no way would they tolerate the presence of a church that actively calls for their destruction. As such, the rulers of all demihuman realms, as well as almost all human lands in the Flanaess, officially bar the church of Wastri and declare it an outlawed faith, whether for reasons of moral enlightenment, pragmatic self-interest, or both.

It is also worth noting that the faith finds no more acceptance in overtly evil realms such as Iuz, Northern Aerdy, the Horned Society, or the Pomarj. Quite often, this is because various evil religions are already well-entrenched in positions of power within these countries, and are not known for tolerating powerful religious opposition. Ironically, they show more leniency towards goodly faiths that operate within their lands, as social convention usually dictates that these churches restrict themselves to assisting the poor and sick, or otherwise engaging in activity that does not actively threaten the status quo, lest they suffer the consequences. As well, in these realms the orcs, goblins and other creatures themselves are major segments of the population, or are otherwise important allies to the humans in power, and in a manner similar to the demihumans, do not tolerate the presence of a religion that views them as lesser beings fit only to be used and destroyed.

As such, the church of Wastri is typically found allying with bullywugs, yuan-ti, and other marsh-dwelling races, hatching plots against established kingdoms and powers. Whereas other evil faiths can operate openly in goodly lands, gaining converts and engaging in non-threatening activities, the Wastrians are hated and attacked almost everywhere they go. As such, they become magnets for isolated, embittered humans who feel rejected and hated by their peers. Humans who have suffered tremendous loss, particularly when their opponents are demihumans or had demihuman allies, have found support among the church of Wastri, who exploits their bitterness and anger to recruit them to Wastri’s teachings. The alliance with reptilian and amphibian races, which typically elicits disgust and hate from almost all other parties in the Flanaess, ironically offers succor to these lost souls.

Due to this same disgust and hate, the major temples of Wastri exist not in the towns and cities of the Flanaess, but rather in places such as the Vast Swamp, the Pelisso Swamp, the Cold Marshes, the Troll Fens, the Mistmarsh, the Gnatmarsh, the Rushmoors, and the Hool Marshes. Isolated human communities thrive in all these fens, and the church of Wastri ministers to them by performing marriages, healings, exorcisms, blessings, and all other standard priestly duties. Similarly, they minister to communities of bullywugs, lizard men, and other nonhuman creatures when clerics of their respective racial gods are not available.

Variant Sects
Unlike most other faiths, the church of Wastri has few if any major divisions or debates among its theologians. Generally united in their desire to see humanity triumph over its rivals, it is claimed that by forming alliances with the creatures of the marsh, a terrain where few humans care to live, it is hoped that mutual advantages may be conferred, both in terms of knowledge and even physical traits.

While some may view this as a dilution of humanity, most senior clergymen respond that these beings are not major rivals to humanity for wealth and resources. Hence, they may safely be cooperated with, and both physical and cultural interchange can proceed apace. They may learn from humanity, and humanity from them, without threatening the territories of the other. Those humans who dwell within the marshes have been forced there by the blindness and stupidity of the humans who consort with demihumans and humanoids that fail to realize that they sow the seeds of their ultimate destruction.

Adventuring Clergy
The adventuring arm of the Wastrian faith typically operates subtly and secretly when operating outside the marshlands, as they know that announcing their faith would lead them to be attacked. Typically, they seek to gain wealth and power for the church or its nonhuman allies, often acting as its agents in preparation for an invasion or as part of some other dark scheme. As metal armor is generally impractical in the marshlands, most Wastrians wear leather or hide armor, often specially treated with various oils to increase its hardness. Their weapons are commonly spears or various types of polearms, and they often incorporate techniques learned from the amphibian or reptilian races into their fighting styles. Clerics must tithe thirty percent of whatever treasure they acquire to Wastri, and are generally encouraged to use it for the benefit of the community to allow it to expand and grow, or to cultivate alliances with other marsh-dwelling races, rather than hoard it for their own use.

Adventuring clerics are encouraged to seek out those who may be hurt or embittered, and to preach to them the virtues of Wastri and the evils of allying with demihumans, who often make convenient scapegoats for these angry humans. Should they move to the marshlands, the community is thereby made stronger, and Wastri will be pleased. Otherwise, the church can act to defend its human communities from outside threats, including those marsh-dwelling races who view the Wastrians as enemies, although it is encouraged to try and ally with them against their true foes-the dwarves, elves and orcs of the world.

Wastri is said to smile upon those of his followers who slay and murder demihumans, humanoids and their human supporters, who make alliances with bullywugs, lizard men and other races and actively build bridges between the communities, and defend the communities of marsh-dwelling humans from outside threats."
 
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