Ashmedai (4e Deity)
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Ashmedai was the second oldest god of Stormforge created by Thronin and considered the brother of Arbeorn and many of the other greater deities. He is widely depicted as having a handsome visage, good manners, and an extremely charismatic nature, however he is always portrayed as requiring a cane or walking stick to hide that he walks with a limp.
For his part in the first death of the goddess Aaru, he was cast out of Godsend by Thronin and resides in the nine hells. Ashmedai's temples are most likely found within the towns and cities of humans and occasionally demi-humans or monstrous settlements, however the temples are always concealed behind a web of secrets, false temples, and reinforced by the wealth and power of upstanding members of the society with a secret devotion to Ashmedai.
Ashmedai is also called the god of power, god of tyranny, god of domination, god of evil, god of strife, lord of the damned, arch-devil, and overlord of the nine hells. He was called Asmodai up until the end of the Second Age and held the title of God of Fire and Lord of Invention before his favored follower, Tatenal taught him the meaning of betrayal by stealing the knowledge and truth of the gods and murdering a goddess when the other gods attempted to retrieve the situation from him. Evil creatures, devils, and tyrants worship him. He commands:
- Seek power over others
- Repay evil with further evil
- Exploit kindness for personal gain
- Show no compassion for the weak and downtrodden
- Betrayal is the weakest form of evil, seek out the betrayer and humble them with your might
Ashmedai's followers remains the largest and strongest of the evil faiths, however Ashmedai's followers masquerade as small ancestor cults in good aligned societies. Due to this clerics devoted to Ashmedai typically receive their training from lowly devils who are assigned by Ashmedai to watch over his clergy and look for signs of betrayal from within as well as threats from outside the faith. Each cleric is expected to sign a contract in blood stating that upon their death their soul belongs to Ashmedai. A contract signed in blood is called a Soul Contract.
The quests for followers and clergy of Ashmedai are include establishing new cults, destroying cults of Tatenal, and undermining the structure of good societies from within. This would include, but is not limited to:
- Clearing a ruined temple so that it can be dedicated to Ashmedai
- Seeking treasure or profit in dungeons to strengthen the coffers of the local cult
- Entering the kings castle to discover knowledge that will help you blackmail the king into selling his soul to Ashmedai
- Hunting down and killing a cleric of Tatenal before he can betray you and your cause to the city garrison
The clerics of Ashmedai say their prayers once per day by renewing their Soul Contract with their god in blood. Any cleric who fails to renew his contract forfeits his divine powers until he renews the contract. The signing however is more symbolic of the lack of betrayal because regardless of once a contract is signed the soul belongs to Ashmedai and only another god may barter for the soul upon the persons death. Ashmedai typically won't sell a soul he owns unless he receives a significant profit and even other gods are reminded to Read the fine print before they bargain for a soul Ashmedai owns.
Special rites and rituals are held on the nights of the new moon and at funerals ceremonies.
Heralds and Allies
When he wishes to have representation in Godsend he sends his mistress the succubus and fallen angel, Naamah.
Truth or Myth
Whether fact or myth Ashmedai shows many similarities with the Asmodeus of other worlds, however both have been seen in the Nine Hells and both claimed rulership over that plane. It is speculated by some that when his being was cast out of the higher Planes his essence shattered and Ashmedai and Asmodeus are just fractured parts of a greater whole