The Deities of the Flanaess: Incabulos
Date: Fri, July 27, 2007
Topic: Gods & Followers
"Disasters, horrors, nightmares and ruin are but part and parcel of the existence Master Incabulos has created for us. We are merely acting in the world's best interests in spreading misery and terror in his name, making them realize the truth of their hellish existence."-High Legate Gragokor the Broken-Jointed, formorian cleric of Incabulos, Collected Speeches and Writings On the Nature of the Existence Handed Down by Master Incabulos.
Plagues, sickness, famine, nightmares, drought, disasters
Alignment of Clergy:
Alignment of Worshippers:
Truly neutral, chaotically neutral, or any evil, although people of any alignment can rarely make offerings to Incabulos to propitiate him or ask his priests to pray on their behalf. Most worshippers of Incabulos are human, although he also has many worshippers among goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, hags, formorian giants, and other diseased or malformed races.
History and Relationships:
In mythology, Incabulos is portrayed as a dark, malign figure feared and hated by almost every other being in the multiverse, from the lowest mortals to the highest gods. It is said that he only participated in the rising against Dread Tharizdun out of necessity, and is only tolerated for his role in keeping the Dark Lord enthralled with nightmares so he does not wake up.
Otherwise, Incabulos is blamed for many of the disasters that have afflicted the Oerth since its earliest days-from the Rain of Colorless Fire and the Invoked Devastation to the outbreaks of sickness and plague which decimated many Flan peoples during the Great Migrations, to the corrupting and polluting of the Queen of Air and Darkness of the fairy-folk, to even the moral rot and decay of the Great Kingdom in the Age of Great Sorrow.
In every myth where he appears, Incabulos is viewed as the source of misery, hatred, disaster and fear. He is described as a vortex of hatred and fear, spurning everyone and everything around him and in turn being spurned by them, indulging in his own sadism and mania. The only god who could possibly have anything less than mutual hatred for Incabulos is perhaps Nerull, whose grim work complements his own, as do their roles in keeping the Dark Lord bound and imprisoned. Teachings:
Incabulos’ followers teach that existence is a darkly twisted, nihilistic thing, a curse that Incabulos inflicts to strengthen and purify mortals before he eventually reclaims them. To that end, they believe that life is an endless sortie of miseries and hatred, and that followers should be prepared to fight back and live every day as if they could be destroyed at any moment. Incabulos could take them at any time, and they should be ready by following his dictates and beliefs.
Incabulos counts among his followers many mentally debased and twisted people who those sages expert in psychology describe as “sociopaths” and “psychopaths”, people who are unable to feel any empathy for those they might hurt or injure. Many of them prey on the weak, the young and the helpless in ways too disgusting and depraved to describe here, either wallowing in self-hatred at what they are doing or getting a sick pleasure out of it.
As such, many of those who revere Incabulos believe that it is their duty to spread these miseries to the innocent or helpless. Showing mercy or compassion are viewed as sins, and many sects further believe that it is a sin to not spread the miseries of their god. The “virtues” of the Incabulian faith include spreading fear and misery in Incabulos’s name, encouraging those who are suffering from hurt or loss to convert to the dark god. In this way, disasters and misery are encouraged and continue to spread.
Interaction with Outsiders:
As with its god, the faith of Incabulos is widely hated by all others in the Flanaess, and is officially banned everywhere save such debased lands as the Pomarj, the Bandit Kingdoms, Rel Astra, and Ahlissa, where the few prominent temples to Incabulos are established. Underground cults persist in many countries, however, and cater to depraved individuals at all levels of society, from the richest to the poorest.
In less intolerant and less discriminating countries, such as Greyhawk, Dyvers, Keoland, the Duchy of Urnst, the old Great Kingdom, the Sea Barons, the Sea Princes, the Lordship of the Isles, Idee and the Horned Empire, unofficial cults are tolerated in some areas for the work they do in some areas for treating the diseased and acting on behalf of those who wish to propitiate Incabulos to avoid nightmares, disease, drought or disaster.
However, they are generally strictly monitored, not allowed to preach in the streets or actively seek converts, and are usually burdened with crippling taxes that make it impossible for them to extend their activities. They are further harassed by other groups in society, from rival churches to common citizens to more orthodox Incabulian sects. Few people want to have anything to do with the followers of Incabulos except when absolutely necessary, and so the god’s priests and followers are shunned at social functions and coldly ignored by the rest of the populace.
There are some few sects of the Incabulian church who believe that nightmares, diseases, sickness and famine are part of the everyday cycle of life, and that people should accept such things as part of the way of the world. These are the unofficial cults that will operate openly and be (very) grudgingly tolerated by the authorities and their fellow citizens. While evil, these clerics do not actively harbor malice or hatred towards others, simply viewing it as their mission to spread knowledge, acceptance and understanding of what they view as obvious facts. Their sparsely attended sermons are given neither to threatening ravings or fire-and-brimstone speeches, but rather being cold, calm and matter-of-fact.
Needless to say, such sects are viewed with disgust and loathing by their fellow clergy, even more than they are by the rest of society at large. As such, the very few followers of Incabulos that follow such sects tend to be lonely, directionless folk coping with loss, self-hatred or a lack of meaning in their lives, joining with other outcast souls in the only place where they have ever found acceptance. Most outsiders only deal with them in attempts to ward off nightmares, droughts, diseases and famine by making donations to the deity.
Those priests of Incabulos that adventure almost always do so in disguise, as they would be burned at the stake were their deity discovered in most lands. In fact, Incabulos has few priests wandering as adventurers, as his clergy prefer to be involved in wicked plots meant to spread misery and harm in the world, rather than wandering the Flanaess delving into dungeons or seeking out new lands and riches. When they do adventure, Incabulians generally tend to wear whatever armor best helps their disguise, while favoring quarterstaffs as weapons, as these are both easy to obtain without undue questioning, can be carried almost anywhere, and are extremely common.
Many of Incabulos’s clergy are not human, as previously mentioned, and those goblins, formorians and other inhuman races who revere him (always portraying him in a manner suited to their race, generally a hideous skeletal creature resembling one of their own race and dressed in clothes marked with disturbing, alien sigils) commonly minister to their peoples in many ways. They provide healing and guidance to their peoples, and act as seers and shamans for the kings and chieftains of their people.
Human priests of Incabulos may freely associate with these wicked beings, and are encouraged to preach to them of the glories of Incabulos and how the nightmares, disasters and misery he brings can offer them greater glory and power. Priests of Incabulos, of whatever race, must tithe forty percent of the income they gain from their activities to the church, sacrificing it in rituals to the god if they are not associated with any organized sect.