Zarus (3.5e Deity)
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|Symbol:||Visage of a perfect Human male set upon a shield and geometric starburst.|
|Portfolio:||Humanity, Domination, Perfection.|
|Clergy Alignments:||Lawful Evil, Lawful Neutral, Neutral Evil.|
|Domains:||Destiny, Evil, Law, Strength, War.|
Long ago, according to legend, Zarus was the first man, created by the world itself. No deity had a hand in his creation, because no deity could have conceived such a perfect creature. Members of the other races trembled to see him, for they knew that he was their superior in every way. His grace surpassed that of the Elves, his sturdiness astounded the Dwarves, his crafts were the awe of Gnomes and Halflings everywhere.
As long as Zarus was alone, the other races allowed him to live, secure in the knowledge that he could not reproduce. But Zarus was not content. He spoke with the world and begged for a mate -- and it created his wife, Astra. She was as perfect a woman as Zarus was a man, and the other races trembled yet again, fearing that this perfect couple would spawn a new race that would overshadow them all. To prevent this, the leaders of each race gathered in secret and plotted Zarus' demise. They brewed a poison and mixed it in fine wine, which they gave to him as a wedding present.
Zarus knew that the others plotted his death, but he could not honorably refuse the gift. He toasted their health, and drank. The poison worked swiftly, but as Zarus felt his life departing the world took pity upon him and elevated him to godhood. Now Zarus looked down upon the world, and he wiped away the tears of his wife Astra. "Do not weep for me, beloved," he consoled her, "for I am now a god, and set to watch over our people. You will bear me children -- they already lie in your womb -- and these will be the start of our race. All the other races will quake in fear, knowing that they cannot match us."
This is the story told in the Book of Zarus, the holy scripture of his church. Zarus is called "the true Human god" and is considered the only god who places Humans before all others. He cares nothing for the other races, only for Humanity, and encourages his followers to prove themselves better than any nonhuman. Unfortunately, he also fosters the belief that Humans deserve to rule the world, treating other races as servants. His priests teach that other races are inferior, in need of Human guidance -- and Human masters.
The clerics of Zarus encourage conquest and slavery. The worst sin a Human can commit, according to the Church of Zarus, is to mate with a non-Human and produce a child. This child is a taint on the race and must be removed.
Zarus appears as an incredibly handsome Human male in his prime, suffused with a golden glow. Zarus encourages his followers and priests to become as perfect as possible, and to dominate other races.
Zarus' priests look for attractive, healthy youths who show pride in their abilities and arrogance toward anyone weaker. They recruit these people by offering to make them the best they can be. These acolytes are subjected to strict training, honing their physiques, and at the same time they are taught that humanity is the superior race and deserves to rule the world. These young clerics learn both how to give rousing speeches and how to wage war. They begin preaching in villages and towns, spreading their message.
Zarus sends his followers to destroy enclaves of other races, kill their heroes and leaders, and steal their artifacts. He encourages Human armies to conquer non-Human lands and subjugate their people.
Zarus prefers action to words, and his followers pray to him by exercising and by taking part in athletic competitions where they can demonstrate their superiority. Every morning they perform their exercises, vowing to be the best they can be and to demonstrate to other races that humans are superior in every way.
Zarus' temples are handsome structures, not elaborate but extremely well made and with tasteful decorations. The walls are covered with tapestries depicting mankind's talents: scenes of hunting, farming, weaving, and other occupations. The altar is always a gold statue of a perfect Human male, a representation of Zarus himself.
Zarus' worshipers pray to him before a physical competition, before a war, and before entering the territory of another race. Ceremonies are short and direct, and require physical exertion.
Herald and Allies
Zarus has no herald -- he claims he needs none. He sends Medium, Large, and Huge elementals in response to planar ally spells.
*The Book of Zarus
Book I: Genesis
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, there was the World and from the World came all things. The last and most perfect creation of the World was Man. His name was Zarus and he was the first of the races of Mankind. Zarus came into the World without the hand of any being, mortal or immortal, being raised. He was created from and by the World alone.
Genesis 1:2 When the older races saw Zarus, they trembled. His grace surpassed that of the Elves of Corellon Larethian. His endurance surpassed that of the Dwarves of Moradin. His skills and craft surpassed that of Garl Glittergold’s Gnomes and Yondalla’s Halflings. His strength surpassed that of the Orcs of Gruumsh. Zarus was perfect in every way. All trembled lest Zarus breed a races of his like, superior to all others, but Zarus was alone.
Genesis 1:3 In his loneliness, Zarus called out to the World from which he had sprung for a companion. The World answered. Astra was created by the World, just as Zarus had been created. She was perfect and Zarus’ mate. Now, the other races grew fearful and prayed that Mankind be destroyed. Corellon heard the prayers of the Elves that Mankind be destroyed. Moradin heard the prayers of the Dwarves that Mankind be destroyed. Garl Glittergold and Yondalla heard the prayers of Gnomes and Halflings that Mankind be destroyed. Gruumsh heard the prayers of Orcs that Mankind be destroyed.
Genesis 1:4 In secret, the older races plotted to poison Zarus. In a gift of wine at his wedding to Astra, the older races offered a toast to Zarus’ health with poisoned wine. Zarus knew of the jealousy of the older races but honor prevented him from refusing the treacherously offered cup. Zarus drank, and died, but the World would not allow such injustice and raised Zarus as a god as great as the chief most gods of the older races and greater still as would be revealed in time.
Genesis 1:5 Now a god, Zarus wiped Astra’s tears and together they sired the races of Mankind.
Book II: Apotheosis
Apotheosis 2:1 Astra bore Zarus many children. In their perfection, they spread over the face of the World, adapting to the different lands in which they settled. Some of Zarus’ children had dark skin. Others had tan or olive skin. Still others were pale. All were the children of Zarus and formed the races of Mankind. In their seemingly infinite diversity, all honored Zarus and proved the most perfect of the creatures of the World, superior to all the other non-Human races.
Apotheosis 2:2 In the First Epoch (Ordus Dominus Dominum or OD&D), no race could fully equal the achievements of Mankind. While an Elf might grow great in the fighting arts and as well in wizardry, a Human could surpass an Elf in either or both. And so it was in every way; other races would prove themselves able but Man was always superior.
Apotheosis 2:3 In the First Age of the Second Epoch (Annus Dominus Dominum or AD&D), Man grew mightier still. No matter how a creature of another race might show a diversity of talents, Man would prove greater in any one or more. The best any of the lesser races could do is perhaps equal Man in a single area, but Man would always prove the superior overall.
Apotheosis 2:4 In the Second Age of the Second Epoch (Annus Dominus Dominum Secundus or AD&D2E), much the same was true. While there was much ferment among the older races and attempts to better their state compared to the exalted state of Mankind, these efforts ultimately failed. Humanity remained dominant and no non-Human races could equal the achievements of Man. At the end of the Second Age, a great cry went up from the non-Human races and their gods again heard their pleas.
Apotheosis 2:5 In the Third Epoch ( Tertium Dominus Dominum or 3D&D), the older races were raised up to challenge Man. Now Dwarves were gifted with the potential for sorcerous might. Elves might be great warriors. Even lowly Gnomes, Halflings and half-Orcs could think to challenge Mankind’s claim to domination. Yet, the blood of Zarus flowed strongly in Man. His feats were greater. His skills were unsurpassed. Humanity was favored in all ways, while the favors newly bestowed upon the older races were more limited. The world still belonged most fully to the Human race as it always had belonged to that most perfect of races - the Children of Zarus.
Book III: Transcendence
Transcendence 3:1 Zarus guided each of the races of Man as best he could, but even Zarus, greatest of the gods, grew tired. The other non-Human races and their gods never stopped trying to destroy Zarus and His Children. In comely guises, they sought to seduce Human men and women. Abominable admixtures of Humans and the more fecund of the non-Human races began to be commonly seen. Humanity had turned from Zarus and he turned his back upon them. Mankind knew not of Zarus.
Transcendence 3:2 Zarus’ wife, however, took pity on Humanity. Earlier elevated to godhood by the World, much as her husband, Astra determined to raise up among Mankind other gods, that Mankind might have succor until Zarus would again turn his face toward Humanity. So it was that Astra gave something of her power to other beings that they might become divine. Astra was diminished but new gods arose among humanity.
Transcendence 3:3 In the Third Epoch, Zarus revealed himself anew to his people. Many did not recognize him. Many denied him. It was in the manner of things, however, that Zarus was unquestionably of the World. That his connection with the World was of a different sort than any seen before was attributable to the transcendent nature of Zarus’ divinity. Zarus was revealed as a god of the World, but also the Father of Man throughout the multiverse. His status as the only greater god of Humanity is without question and settles all arguments. It is proof of Zarus’ love for His Children that he grants them free will to question, even Himself.
Transcendence 3:4 Zarus’ relationship with the other gods of Humanity is complicated. Zarus holds a pride of place superior to any other Human god or goddess. He is the archetype. He is the realized embodiment of all that is Human made divine. Zarus does not, however, ask that Mankind renounce their other deities. He cannot, for these divinities have proven themselves worthy of His Children’s worship. Yet, Zarus cannot be denied. He is Humanity. In His wisdom, Zarus reveals himself to His Children slowly, without force and without demand. All shall come again to revere Zarus, for only Zarus well cares for Humanity for itself and nothing more. Zarus is the Father of Man.
Book IV: Commandments
Commandments 4:1 That Mankind shall know its place in the World and shall know how best to fulfill its destiny, Zarus has made known Commandments to be followed by all Humanity alike. Those of the races of Man who reject the Commandments, thereby reject their Humanity and become as any non-Human races - inferior and subject to the will of Man. It the command of Zarus that all who reject their Humanity be shown no mercy, even below that of the non-Human, who may earn grace by serving Mankind as their natural superiors in all things.
Commandments 4:2 Thou Shalt Live. Man must survive, endure and prosper.
Commandments 4:3 Thou Shalt Conquer. Man must expand his dominion over all things.
Commandments 4:4 Thou Shalt Rule. Man must rule over all creatures and may take his ease and service from those ruled.
Commandments 4:5 Thou Shalt Be Fruitful and Multiply. Man must increase in numbers to fulfill his destiny.
Commandments 4:6 Thou Shalt Have No Others Gods Before Me. Man may worship as he pleases but must not forsake the fundamental laws of Zarus.
Commandments 4:7 Thou Shalt Honor Thy Fellows. Man must respect man, even as he strives against him in competition to prove his superior humanity.
Commandments 4:8 Thou Shalt Honor Thy Self. Man must rule and improve himself to be prepared and fit to rule others.
Commandments 4:9 Thou Shalt Make No Pacts That Bind Thee to Other Than the Human. Man shall not serve but may only be served.
Commandments 4:10 Thou Shalt Cull The Weak. Man must strengthen the race and must not suffer weakness or infirmity.
Commandments 4:11 Thou Shalt Suffer Not the Fool. Man must strengthen his mind that none may gainsay his just judgments and rule.
Book V: Corollaries
Corollaries 5:1 From the teachings of Zarus flow certain, inevitable consequences of natural law. These Corollaries reveal the further word of the Father of Humanity. Hold true to these principles for they are second only to the Commandments of Zarus.
Corollaries 5:2 There shall be comity among the races of Man. All Humanity is equal before Zarus. No man may hold himself superior over his fellow man if both obey the laws of Zarus. Racism is a sin against Zarus. The Human races must stand united to rule the non-Human races.
Corollaries 5:3 There shall be comity between men and woman. Men and women are equal before Zarus. No man may hold himself superior over any woman, nor woman hold herself superior over any man, if both obey the laws of Zarus. Sexism is a sin against Zarus. The Human races, men and women, must stand united to rule the non-Human races.
Corollaries 5:4 No man or woman shall mate with a non-Human and produce offspring. The mixing of the Human and the non-Human in a being is an abomination in the eyes of Zarus. The offspring of Man must be Human, and Human alone, to fulfill Mankind’s destiny. The half-Human is not Human and must be culled.
Corollaries 5:5 Mankind bears the heaviest burden for only Man is fit to rule creation. It is Man’s destiny to rule and guide the non-Human races. Those of the non-Human races who accept the law of Zarus should be treated within the law of Zarus. Those of the non-Human races who resist the law of Zarus must be culled unto the last generation.
Corollaries 5:6 No Human or non-Human, either of whom accepts the laws of Zarus, may be enslaved. Slavery of the followers of the laws of Zarus is a sin against Zarus. Service may be taken of the followers of the laws of Zarus but they must not be enslaved. Only the weak among Men and those who reject the laws of Zarus, Human and non-Human, may be rightfully enslaved to benefit and serve the will of the Children of Zarus.
Corollaries 5:7 No one shall use poison. Zarus was poisoned by the followers of the non-Humans and their gods. Zarus and his Children are superior and need not resort to the use of poison. The use of poison is a sin against Zarus. Poisoners must be culled.
Corollaries 5:6 Zarus was created by the World and by the World alone. Astra, the Mother of Humanity, was created by the World and the World alone. The Children of Zarus must honor and respect the World. Those among Mankind called druids must be respected and honored. They may not be enslaved nor culled. Those among Mankind called witches, who obey the Eighth Commandment of Zarus and make no pacts that bind them to inhuman masters but who honor the World, must be respected and honored. They may not be enslaved or culled.
Corollaries 5:7 Man shall not be ruled by clerics or priests. The priests and clerics of Zarus and all other Human gods are advisors to Man and must not seek to rule Man under a mask of assumed divinity. No Man shall suffer to be ruled by clerics or priests. Such is a sin against Zarus and all shall be culled. Man is free to choose to accept his destiny and the laws of Zarus or to reject Zarus and be culled. No priest or cleric may interpose themselves between Man and this choice. Man owes his highest allegiance to himself and himself alone. It is the will of Zarus.
Corollaries 5:8 To rule, Man must be wise in all things. Man is the glory of Zarus and a temple to Zarus, superior to all other beings. Man shall raise up to himself and to Zarus every art, every craft, every science and knowledge. It is Mankind’s duty to promote civilization, to banish ignorance, to acquire knowledge and to advance the Human races to be worthy of Zarus and the Humanity that is Man’s birthright. Man shall glean knowledge even from the non-Humans that he may know their ways and have knowledge of all. To be called ignorant shall be the greatest of shames in the eyes of Zarus, second only to being called weak.
Corollaries 5:9 As Zarus is the Father of Humanity, God the Creator of Humanity, Astra is the Mother of Humanity, Goddess and Giver of Life to Mankind. All shall honor and respect Astra as Zarus. In Astra’s name may the wayward atone for sins against Zarus and seek new life in his divine favor.
*Fan-made material http://orderofzarus.hyperboards.com/action/view_topic/topic_id/2