Gods of the Flanaess: The Elder Elemental God
Date: Tue, December 06, 2016
Topic: Gods & Followers

"Demons such as Lolth and Orcus are indeed evil, but this creature lies somehow deeper. It manifests the incipient madness and depravity that may lurk at the back of all our minds that we cannot control, so irrational and deranged, yet so hateful and full of purpose. Such is the disgust this foul thing inspires even in myself."-Iuz, Lord Of Pain. 


Domains: Prowess, creation, chaos, power, horror, the four elements

Home Plane: Unknown. Some theories state that the Elder Elemental God resides on the Prime Material Plane. Others state that it resides in the Abyss, or in Pandemonium.

Alignment: Chaotically evil

Alignment of Clergy: Chaotically evil

Alignment of Worshippers: Many of the Elder Elemental God’s followers are chaotically evil, but it also accepts worship from lawfully and neutrally evil beings.

History and Relationships: The Elder Elemental God’s origins, and indeed its true nature, are shrouded in mystery. The horror’s very existence strikes terror into the hearts of most of the beings who are aware of it. They refuse to study or examine it, fearing the incipient madness and depravity the creature seems to project, to say nothing of their dread at attracting the creature’s full attention. However, some those brave-or foolish-souls who have tried to further understand the creature have come up with many conflicting theories as to its origins and true nature.

One theory is that the Elder Elemental God is one of the original horrors that threatened the Oerth under the command of the Dark Lord, Dread Tharizdun. When the Dark Lord was laid low by the gods, and most of his followers imprisoned beneath the Black Ice at the far northern end of the Flanaess, the Elder Elemental God was said to have escaped the fate of its brethren. It was sorely wounded in the aftermath of the battle, however, and came into conflict with Lolth, Demon Queen of Spiders. Lolth imprisoned the Elder Elemental God seperately from its brethren, personally ensuring that it might never be freed.

Another theory holds that the Elder Elemental God is in fact one of the demons that was vomited up by Dread Tharizdun along with the devils and daemons that would eventually come to control the lower planes. The demon was said to be brothers to the horrific Juiblex, well known as one of the demon lords of the Abyss in modern times, and to the monstrous Ghaunadaur, who became a full-fledged god that haunts our sister world of Abeir-Toril.

Like all of its kind, the demon sought to increase its power. It attempted to do so by gathering the powers of the Elemental Planes into itself, so that it might control them for its own benefit. However, the elements make up all of existence, including the madness and wickedness present both in mortal creatures like humans and in the gods themselves. The demon’s powers were greatly enhanced as it was transformed into the Elder Elemental God, but he was driven mad by the insanity it absorbed along with the elemental energies. It was at this time that Lolth, the demoness who had become the demon’s chief rival, seized the opportunity to exploit his elemental nature for herself. Using elemental spells of her own design, Lolth imprisoned the God at a convergence of the Elemental Planes, leaving it trapped and unable to escape.

Yet another theory says that the Elder Elemental God was itself formed from the elements themselves by the madness and evil that existed among the gods and mortal creatures like humans. Instead of that part of the elements tainted by madness and evil being absorbed by an already-existing demon, the elements themselves were poisoned by these horrific forces and gave rise to a creature almost literally formed from nightmares.

This is, perhaps, the most disturbing theory of all-that the Elder Elemental God was formed from the lurking madness and vile depravity that may lurk within the hearts and minds of almost all creatures in existence, even of the most seemingly pure and good. According to this theory, the Elder Elemental God sought little more than to consume and destroy, and it found common cause with the lurking monstrosities Ghaunadaur and Juiblex. According to this theory, Lolth came into opposition to the Elder Elemental God when it sought to corrupt the drow that had come to revere her to its own worship. Ghaunadaur had achieved a similar feat on Abeir-Toril, and Lolth had no intention of letting such happen on Oerth. By clever use of magic and wit, she seized on his elemental nature and imprisoned it, once again turning its own powers against its.

Whatever the case may be, all the theories agree on the Elder Elemental God’s enmity with Lolth, and generally also with its alliance with Ghaunadaur and Juiblex. They also say that the Elder Elemental God’s initial forays into Oerth led it to subvert creatures of many different races, from humans to elves to giants, to worship it. Seeing the consuming, destructive nature of the creature, and what it portended for her own fate if the creature was allowed to continue, the Oerth Mother Beory herself is said to have struck the Elder Elemental God down, breaking it into scattered shards. This is said to have been Lolth’s moment to permanently imprison the monstrosity.

However, despite the vigilance of Beory and Lolth alike, some few pieces of the Elder Elemental God’s essence are said to still lurk on Oerth. It is thus able to manifest some of its power, however small it might be, and to grant all levels of divine spells to those creatures who worship it. Nurtuing a deep hatred of the goddess and demon that imprisoned it, one that has driven it even further into madness, the Elder Elemental God strives to be free, and to gain vengeance not just against its jailers, but against all living things, and even the Oerth itself…

Teachings: In keeping with its mysterious, alien nature, the Elder Elemental God’s teachings are difficult to fully understand. It certainly demands to be honored as a god, and to receive the sacrifices it deems its due. The God also likely seeks to be freed, and to drive its priests to any effort that would achieve this end. Those who help it achieve these ends are rewarded in a variety of ways, from clerical powers to dread magical items like the fearsome tentacle rods wielded by its most powerful clerics.

However, the Elder Elemental God’s character is otherwise almost unfathomable. Indeed, so long as it receives the honor and sacrifices it demands, it does not seem to care at all what its followers do. The God’s reactions to its clerics and other mortals that interact with it can be bizarrely erratic. It may consume a priest rather than a sacrificial victim if the priest is standing too close to its altar; it may randomly increase the powers of those who disturb it, even if they are enemies to its clergy; it may randomly slay particular creatures or drive them mad, even if they are its own worshippers. It does not seem to have any particular ethical or moral outlook that it seeks to teach its followers, other than the benefits of power, and the belief that using any means to gain this power is acceptable.

Some observers point to this as proof that the Elder Elemental God is indeed insane, granting boons to allies and enemies alike, driving them mad, or simply consuming them for its own hunger. Its reasoning powers, such as they are, centre only around its immediate gratifications, and its long-term goal to be freed. Indeed, this may be part of its appeal to some of its more intelligent followers. As long as they are capable of appeasing the Elder Elemental God with honor, glory and sacrifice, they may otherwise use the powers the God grants them for their own personal gain and pleasure.

Interaction with Outsiders: The Elder Elemental God’s cults are exceptionally rare, but they are feared and hated wherever they are found. This fear and hatred are well-earned, for the Elder Elemental God attracts individuals with both great intelligence and a lust for power, who take advantage of the God’s permissive nature for their own ends.

Perhaps the most infamous cult of the Elder Elemental God was the one headed by Eclavdra, the head of House Eilservs in the drow vault of Erelhei-Cinlu. Originally a follower of Lolth, the power-hungry Eclavdra built House Eilservs into the most powerful one in the entire vault. She desired to formally have House Eilservs recognized as the full-fledged rulers of Erelhei-Cinlu, but was rebuked by the priestesses of the Fane of Lolth, who were the actual rulers of the vault.

Angry at having her ambitions thwarted, Eclavdra and her House abandoned the worship of Lolth and turned to revere the Elder Elemental God. This suited Eclavdra particularly well, as the God’s demands were easy for her to satisfy and its erratic nature meant it did not object to her using its powers for her own ends. The additional insult to Lolth, the God’s longtime enemy, was an added bonus.

However, this merely led to a stalemate. The power House Eilservs received from the Elder Elemental God made up for the loss of the power it originally received from Lolth, and the innate power of House Eilservs made it impossible for the Fane to destroy Eclavdra and her followers. Nor did House Eilservs have the power to challenge the Fane on its own.

Eclavdra sought to break the stalemate with an elaborate plot. Using the stupid but charismatic fire giant king Snurre Iron Belly as her figurehead, Eclavdra orchestrated a grand alliance of giants that would invade the lands of the western Sheldomar Valley. The puppet kingdom resulting from the giants’ conquests would generate the wealth and power that would give House Eilservs the advantage against the Fane, and allow Eclavdra to ultimately challenge and triumph against Lolth’s followers.

So much is known, but darker rumors also hint that Eclavdra had another purpose in mind. The keys to the Elder Elemental God’s prison were said to be kept in the Fane of Lolth, and Eclavdra sought these to free her otherworldly patron. By freeing the God, Eclavdra would enjoy even greater power and rewards, even as nothing and no one could stand before her. There would be no limit to the power she could command, with the Sunless Sea being merely the first of her future conquests.

In the end, all came to naught. King Snurre and the other leaders of the giant alliance were slain by a daring band of heroes, and Eclavdra lost control of her alliance. Lolth and her followers initially sought to take control of the giant alliance for themselves, seeking the same power and wealth from the surface that Eclavdra did, but the same band of heroes that thwarted Eclavdra are said to have thwarted Lolth herself afterward.

The details of what happened, as well as the exact identities of the heroes who accomplished the deed, vary with each telling. However, the Elder Elemental God is still believed to remain imprisoned, and Eclavdra is not said to have been upset at this. Despite the heroes defeating her attempts to free the God, they inflicted so much damage to Lolth and her followers that Eclavdra was able to seize control of Erelhei-Cinlu herself anyway. The Elder Elemental God was not disappointed with her failure to free it-assuming it even noticed the event!-as she still provided it with a steady stream of glory, sacrifices and worship. With its short-term needs satisfied so easily, the God hardly cared for anything else.

The catastrophe brought about by Eclavdra’s plotting demonstrates the capabilities of the people who might be expected to follow the Elder Elemental God. Far from being insane or erratic themselves, they often prove to be surpemely cunning individuals capable of exploiting the Elder Elemental God’s madness and short-sighted nature to do almost anything they wish. Indeed, one may not wonder if they themselves are the true masters in their relationship-provided they do not cross their lord…

Variant Sects: The Elder Elemental God does not have any variant sects, or even many followers. Each of these sets of followers is its own particular cabal, interested in its own agenda, and acting on its own. While such cults are very rare, they are also exceptionally cunning and dangerous, easily on the same level as the Horned Society, the Scarlet Brotherhood or the followers of Iuz, and capable of the same destructive accomplishments.

Although it is not confirmed, the fell mages Galap-Dreidel and Keraptis, as well as the Wizard-Priest lord of the Isles of Woe are thought by some sages to have been past followers of the Elder Elemental God. If this is indeed the case, it is decidedly in keeping both with their terrifying levels of power, and their own innate cunning.

Adventuring Clergy: Few of the Elder Elemental God’s clergy adventure, not least because they would be immediately executed if their true identities and beliefs were discovered. Those few adventurers who do worship the Elder Elemental God likely act as spies for their cult’s master, or to gather power and wealth to found their own cabal with their own followers.

Such beings may wear almost any kind of armor, and wield almost any kind of weapon-the Elder Elemental God cares nothing for such things. Nor does the Elder Elemental God seem to care what kinds of races its clerics affiliate with-orcs and giants are as welcome as gnomes and elves when it comes to followers…and as sacrifices.

To the extent that it even notices its followers’ activities, the Elder Elemental God is said to bless those of its followers who constantly provide it with a steady stream of sacrifices, who make an effort to free it (even if they do not succeed) and who strive for glory and power, as the God’s own prestige is enhanced by the success of its followers.

This article comes from Canonfire!

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