Username Password
   or Create an Account
HomeForumsFAQArticlesReviewsDownloadsLinksTop 20Feedback
 Features
 
Greyhawk Wiki
Is Down :(


 
Gods of the Flanaess: Zilchus
Posted on Thu, June 24, 2010 by LordCeb
CruelSummerLord writes ""This gold piece that I hold before you is what has built our thriving society. Wealth and commercial trade are the building blocks of the world, the lifeblood of our state, and our greatest friend and treasure. And yet the gold coin is but a partial symbol. Not everyone has a vast fortune of gold coins, but they possess the equivalent with their own skills and talents. Each of us has our own inner wealth, given to us by Zilchus, that we may invest and exploit in commercial trade to further enrich both ourselves and the society as a whole."

-Stakaster Villaine, Patriarch of Zilchus, delivering a sermon at the temple of Zilchus in Greyhawk, 588 CY.

ZILCHUS

Domains: Power, Prestige, Money, Business, Influence

Home Plane: Nirvana

Alignment: Lawfully neutral

Alignment of Clergy: Any lawful or ethically neutral

Alignment of Worshippers: Any. While Zilchus is primarily worshipped by humans, he is also revered by many demihuman merchants whose own racial pantheons lack gods of trade or commerce.

History and Relationships: While he was never known for his fighting skills, Zilchus nonetheless played an essential role in the battle against the Dark Lord during the Age of Night. A consummate negotiator and a master deal-maker, Zilchus is said by his clergy to have done much to foster the alliance between the gods that eventually led to the defeat and imprisoning of Dread Tharizdun. Through Zilchus’s silver tongue, enemies were made into allies as they fought the horrors wrought by the Dark Lord and his nightmarish minions.

Cunningly, Zilchus did not seek the same boon that many of the creator gods demanded from the Oerth Mother in the aftermath of the Imprisoning War. Rather than creating his own race, he instead used the influence and credibility he had gained with many of his fellow deities so that he could be revered by the races they were creating. At the same time, Zilchus continued to foster negotiations and deals between the gods as their spheres of influence were sorted out. Many gods came to him for advice, which gained him ever more power and status among his peers, although he was careful never to seem overwhelmingly powerful or dominating, lest respect turn to resentment and he would lose everything he had fought to gain.

Zilchus had a hand in teaching trade and commerce to many of the mortal races that flourished upon the Oerth, so that this his prestige spread around the world and across the races. From there, his influence has only blossomed, although he continues to wield it judiciously. Today, he continues to enjoy a highly respected status among the gods.

Zilchus’s allies include almost all lawful gods, from Rao to Asmodeus, from Moradin to Hextor, from Yondalla to Ulaa, all of whom agree to one degree or another with his concepts of a society adhered to by strict laws where trade can flourish. He is closely allied with Rao, who often persuades quarreling gods to let Zilchus mediate between them, although their relationship is at times strained by Zilchus’s support of the slave trade and his alliances with evil beings such as Hextor and Asmodeus. His greatest love, however, is his wife Sotillion. The goddess’s exuberant nature and joyful attitude towards life offer Zilchus a respite from his duties and also incidentally allow him to spend some of his vast riches in pampering her, something which the otherwise frugal god secretly enjoys.

Zilchus’s enemies include rival merchant gods such as Osprem, gods of thievery and theft such as Rudd, and chaotic gods who seek destruction, such as Incabulos and Nerull. Zilchus takes the same dim view of his fellow merchant gods as many of his human worshippers do of their competitors, and the gods of theft often seek to steal what Zilchus and his worshippers view as their rightfully earned wealth. Gods of death, misery and destruction are disliked by Zilchus because the chaos and horror they spread are, as one might expect, hardly conducive to a thriving trade or economy.

Teachings: Zilchus’s faith teaches that the best society is an open one dominated by trade and commerce, governed by a rule of law that punishes lawbreakers and enforces the rule of contracts. Trade and wealth are viewed by Zilchans as the lifeblood of society, upon which everything is built and everything may flourish. It is trade that allows the blacksmith to obtain food for his efforts, and trade that allows the farmer to purchase the tools he needs for his work. The wealth generated by the flow of trade strengthens society as a whole, and those who work the hardest may obtain the most power, prestige and influence in return.

Each individual, Zilchans teach, has their own particular set of talents. These gifts should be used to participate in society at large, contributing in one’s own special way to generate wealth both for themselves and others, thereby improving one’s lot in life. Such wealth generation is by no means limited to commercial trade-a musician or an artist can produce artwork that other people will pay for, a sage can research information for paying clients, and so forth. The sale of physical goods, while very important to Zilchus, is hardly the only type of trade that flourishes in society. The purchase and sale of knowledge and talents, where every person maximizes their own abilities, is as much a part of the Zilchan philosophy as is the sale of trade goods.

Needless to say, not everyone will be able to attain the same level of success in society. To that end, Zilchans teach that the greatest and most skilled individuals will gain the most power and influence. Wealth, whether in physical riches or in the esteem with which others hold a person, is a sure means to power, and the pursuit of both is a high ideal to Zilchans. Just as some people will rise to become leaders, others will become followers, and people can shift between the roles over the course of their lives. Such changes come naturally to the faith of Zilchus.

The use of one’s wealth and influence is just as important. Creature comforts and luxuries are certainly not a sin if they are a reward for hard work, but anyone who indulges in these must be careful not to lose their edge. Enjoying luxury if a person remains vigilant and hardworking, but becoming indolent and lazy is a grievous sin in the eyes of Zilchus. Similarity, money and influence can be spent freely if they are done with a profitable end in mind, but the foolish spending of wealth and the squandering of influence are just as bad, if not worse, than sloth brought on by excessive pampering.

The virtues of the Zilchan faith include cunning, ambition, initiative, the judicious use of resources, the ability to predict coming social or market changes, the ability to win friends and influence people, the pursuit of fairly earned wealth, and increased social prestige.

The sins of the Zilchan faith include sloth, laziness, stupidity, the waste of resources (whether money or social credibility), and being exploited as a fool. Note that spending one’s wealth on personal luxuries and pampering is not necessarily viewed as a sin, provided that one does not become indolent from their creature comforts.

Interaction with Outsiders: The church of Zilchus is extremely active at all levels of society, and is intimately involved with merchants and governments in much of the Flanaess. Its clerics can be constantly heard haranguing politicians and bureaucrats for lower tariffs and taxes, or for money to be spent on infrastructure. As one of the wealthiest priesthoods in the Flanaess, many Zilchans actively spend their churches’ wealth lobbying for their preferred policy changes. As noted, the expenditure of wealth and prestige is entirely commendable if it brings about a desired end.

Of course, the faith of Zilchus also engages in more traditional clerical duties for its members. Marriages, blessings, exorcisms, healings, and purifications are performed on a routine basis. However, most Zilchans are notoriously uncaring towards those not of their faith, and typically do not heal or otherwise help them unless they can gain through donations, conversions or prestige and influence.

While the faith of Zilchus is highly influential and involved in many different countries, most ordinary folk do not typically interact with it. The faith is otherwise uninterested in farmers or laborers, and generally only contracts with adventurers when it wishes to hire them to perform some specific service.

Due to the prevalence of merchants across the Flanaess, the faith of Zilchus is among the most widespread churches as well. Despite its activism, few rulers distrust it, as the faith is very careful to restrict its commentary to commercial matters. It is welcome just about everywhere except Iuz and the Theocracy of the Pale, where it is officially banned. In the lands of the Ice, Frost and Snow Barbarians, the Rovers of the Barrens, Blackmoor, and the Tiger and Wolf Nomads, the faith is simply unknown, as too few merchants travel to those distant lands to ply their trade.

Zilchus’s most prominent temples are in Greyhawk, Kalstrand, Nulbish, Zelradton, Thornward, Dyvers, Chendl, Willip, Hookhill, Irongate, Niole Dra, Gradsul, Rel Mord, Oldred, Scant, Schwartzenbruin, Istivin, Radigast City, Veluna City, and Verbobonc.

Variant Sects: Extensive debate exists within the church on the acceptable limits of trade and its proper role in society. Many followers of Zilchus have no problem at all in selling weapons and supplies to humanoids, participating in the slave trade, or engaging in any other trade that could be seen of dubious morality. Many good-aligned followers of Zilchus lament this tendency among their fellow clergy and lay worshippers. The good-aligned clergy feel that such types of trade both undermine the status of merchants and provide an excuse for meddling do-gooders to interfere with trade and commerce, to say nothing of the humanitarian reasons behind such interference.

Worse yet, such Zilchans fear that such action could fatally undermine both the prestige of the merchants who engage in it, and ultimately come back to harm the economy as a whole. People who are sold into slavery can hardly be expected to be involved in buying or selling trade goods, while trafficking with humanoids could easily backfire if those humanoids use the weapons you sell them to destroy your homeland! Similarly, many of these Zilchans fear that such actions only harm the prestige and influence of the commercial classes among governments and the population as a whole, making them less trusted by rulers and commoners alike. Short-term gain may prove disastrous in the long-term, as the profits made at the present time might cost merchants as a whole dearly in the long run.

Other clergy, however, deride these claims as sentimental nonsense, and claim that what matters above all else is the free flow of trade and wealth, regardless of the means to attain it. They point to the fact that many humanoids and monsters take wealth out of the economy through their raids and murders. When these monsters use their treasure to pay for commercial goods, the merchants are in fact bringing that wealth back into the legitimate economy, where it can be circulated for the greater gain of all. As for the trafficking of drugs, slaves or other goods of dubious morality, many of these merchants reply that many rulers of the Flanaess do not in fact seem to care about these trades, as the merchant classes remain as influential as ever. They also claim that anyone who is foolish enough to become addicted to narcotics, or to be taken into slavery, could not have been expected to thrive in any event. It is hardly the Zilchans’ fault, after all, if someone fails to make the best use of their talents and ends up condemned to addiction or servitude!

Predictably, the issue of charity is also hotly debated among Zilchans. Some Zilchans, whether out of compassion, pragmatism or both, believe that if merchants donate some of their wealth to the poor and less fortunate, they will gain in prestige and influence in society. Pointing to the Zilchan doctrine that spending large sums of money is perfectly acceptable if it profits the spender in some way, these Zilchans claim that merchants who donate wealth benefit in the long term from their generosity. Better yet, they claim, those on the lower rungs of society may have a better chance of exercising their own talents to the fullest, and better participating in the economy.

Other Zilchans condemn what they view as a foolish waste of money. They claim that, rather than feeling grateful to their benefactors, the recipients of charity will instead become indolent and dependent on it rather than working to maximize their own abilities. Wealth used in this way is drained out of the economy and wasted on foolish projects when it could be directed more profitably, replying with the Zilchan doctrine that foolish wastes of money and influence are a grievous sin.

Adventuring Clergy: The church of Zilchus does not have many adventuring clergy, as most adventurers do not have the inclination to work as merchants while also slaying monsters and embarking on quests. More typically, the church will contract adventurers to carry out quests on its behalf, or they will take gems, jewelry, vases, tapestries and other non-monetary treasures off adventurers’ hands in exchange for hard coin.

Still, some few enterprising social climbers who are followers of Zilchus may follow the adventuring life either to gain seed money for their own mercantile ventures, or the prestige and influence many famous adventurers can gain through their bold deeds. Such clerics are required to tithe only twenty percent of their wealth to the church, which otherwise believes a hard worker should keep as much of his wealth as possible. However, they are typically not allowed to wear armor heavier than chain mail, or edged weapons larger than daggers, as large weapons and heavy armor have been known to make many of a merchant’s potential customers nervous. Appropriate presentation is just as important to a Zilchan as actual deeds. However, Zilchan clerics may associate with whatever races they wish, as well as travel wherever they please, as the clergy does not trouble itself with such petty details.

"
 
 Related Links
  · More about Gods & Followers
· News by LordCeb


Most read story about Gods & Followers:

Wee Jas Resurrected

 
 Article Rating
 
Average Score: 4.5
Votes: 4


Please take a second and vote for this article:

Excellent
Very Good
Good
Regular
Bad

 
 Options
 
 Printer Friendly Printer Friendly

 
"Login" | Login/Create an Account | 2 comments | Search Discussion
The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

No Comments Allowed for Anonymous, please register

Re: Gods of the Flanaess: Zilchus (Score: 1)
by Argon on Tue, June 29, 2010
(User Info | Send a Message)
Nice take on Zilchus! Not only was the submission informative
it makes sense as well. Different forms of wealth nice, now I view the clergy in a whole new light.



Re: Gods of the Flanaess: Zilchus (Score: 1)
by Mystic-Scholar on Sat, September 25, 2010
(User Info | Send a Message) http://mysticscholar.blogspot.com/
Very informative. While still presenting Zilchus as rather predatory in His business dealings, which can have negative connotations, it also shows a positive side to His attitude towards business.

The divisions within His church -- with its variant sects -- also offers many possibilities during game play. Rival church factions could be pitted against one another. Interesting.

Well done, CSL, well done.




Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises

Contact the Webmaster.  Long Live Spidasa!

PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
Page Generation: 0.23 Seconds