Alten Thorngage (Doomblades) (3.5e Deity)
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|Symbol:||The Doomblades, crossed, over a pile of platinum, enveloped in black fire.|
|Portfolio:||Expansion, Corruption, Slavery, Confinement, Fire and Ice, Insanity, Runes|
|Clergy Alignments:||Lawful Evil, Lawful Neutral, Neutral Evil|
|Domains:||Commerce, Destruction, Domination, Doomblade, Evil, Fire, Greed, Law, Madness, Mind, Planning, Rune, Shadow, Tyranny, Winter|
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Alten Thorngage was a halfling Cleric, Shadowdancer and Runecaster. However, he inserted the heart of a sort of shadow elemental into his own, slowly corrupting him. Once he turned Lawful Evil, he fled from the party after stealing a massive fortune from a powerful barbarian. However, the party chased down and killed him with assistance of the party. A minion of his escaped with his body and his Doomblades, and traveled to the shadow plane where his entire fortress was rigged to Plane Shift to. Upon arrival, his soul was infused into the Doomblades, permanently affixing him to them. However, he retained all his power, and over time, he gained even more by possessing hapless victims and using them to exert his influence on the world. After a time, he became a god, gaining sway over hundreds of cults dedicated to him.
Followers are expected to follow the ideals of expansion and capitalism, while (preferably legally) making live sacrifices to him. Most are corrupt capitalists, some running huge and immoral trade empires, others working under said trade empires. While conquest is not their ideal, Thorngage always appreciates a good conquering nation, especially when several of his favored warriors named after his prison, the Doomblades, intervene with their magical imprisonment. However, one of his core tenants is that in conquest, as many should be imprisoned and enslaved as possible. A final aspect of Thorngage's dogma is that all should learn his ways - that is, magic, runes, and shadows. A great majority of followers do their best to follow the first and second through a level of Adept while focusing on runes, and the third by learning spells such as Shadow Spray and Shadow Double and Darkness while continuing to see with spells like Ebon Eyes.
Clergy and Temples
Temples to Thorngage are almost always dark, filled with runes and charged with desecrating energy. Those who are not worshippers of Thorngage find themselves assailed by dozens of prepared runes the moment they walk through the door, usually draining their strength until they fall to the ground, lifeless. Within the temple, the entire area is generally lightless. The centerpiece for most temples is an altar made of platinum coins, made by Doomblade's special ability. Each temple has at least one Doomblade who founded it, but some with only one have pitifully small altars while other large ones have altars the size of a building in itself. Additionally, the entire temple usually has an aura of shadow, draining strength by 1 for every hour spent within it to nonbelievers. The centerpiece of each altar is usually several runes, usually at least one of Ebon Eyes, one of Darkness, one of Dispel Magic and one of Lesser Restoration. Then, unless a follower makes continuous offerings, use of these runes can be easily denied and the protection from strength drain revoked, effectively evicting the follower and possibly killing them when their Ebon Eyes is dispelled. At this altar, sacrifices are made, usually in the form of leaving the victim to die from Strength drain. Any major altar also has a sacrificial knife for killing the victim In addition to all these features, temples to Thorngage usually have a set of replica Doomblades, ranging from a +1 Flaming Obsidian Kukri and a +1 Frost Obsidian Kukri to nearly full replicas, with all powers except god-killing. Lastly, temples of Thorngage are also often used as business centers, occasionally with an area with only mundane shadow used for transactions.
Clergy of Thorngage are usually, as described in Dogma, divine casters focused around shadow and runes. There are six levels of worshippers:
- Exarchs(14+): Always Doomblades, these priests run the largest of temples, create altars, and lead conquests. They also head businesses and are generally well known.
- High Priests(10-16): This level includes Shadowdancers capable of summoning shadows, used as high-level spies, and higher level runecasters capable of improved runes, who run smaller to mid-sized temples. Until a High Priest has a level of Doomblade, they are not considered Exarchs. However, there is a class of High Priests who are at least 8th level runecasters, who make permanent runes. These runecasters are the only ones who exceed 13th level yet remain High Priests - they have rights and privileges similar to Exarchs but differing roles and power. At this point, very few are still Shadow Couriers - most have undergone the Rite of Shadow Ascendance a second or third time. Only a few chosen are kept as Shadow Couriers, and these few enjoy somewhat heightened privilege
- Priests(6-9): These are clergy who have taken their third level of Runecaster, or their first level of Shadowdancer, up until either category becomes worthy of High Priesthood. These priests might lead the shabbiest of temples, usually with only the prerequisite hundred platinum coins in an altar. Until they become high priests, all clergy stay as either Runecasters or Shadowdancers, not both, though Shadowdancers utilize Inscribe Rune to make lesser runes while Runecasters continue focusing on shadow spells. Shadow Couriers also belong to this category, but are often considered lower class.
- Disciples(2-5): These are younger clergy, capable of some casting but not particularly strong spells. Usually adepts, sometimes with a level of warrior, expert, or aristocrat, these clergy run everyday sacrifices and push the buttons of business. Upon reaching sixth level, most undergo the Rite of Shadow Ascendance, raising them to a Runecaster or Shadow Courier.
- Slaves and Lower Class(1-2): Anyone without casting capabilities is mostly shunned within the Thorngage classes. While they exist, they have no privileges or rights that are not given to ordinary people, yet are still expected to give tithes and worship daily, ignoring the incredible drain on their life force. However, those who persevere are allowed to undergo the Rite of Shadow Ascendance, making them a Disciple. Until then, they are treated as slaves. Slaves and these mundane people are used for menial tasks such as cleaning, building, hard labor businesses and other such tasks, and go unpaid, poorly fed and without homes.