"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.
ELDER ELEMENTAL GOD
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.