Saturday, January 8, 2011

Animals in Greyhawk Religion

Building off my post about elephants in the Flanaess, I remembered a topic I had often wanted to lampoon in my comic but could never find an angle on for some reason, and that is deities of the Flanaess and their associations with ordinary animals. Gods representing animals is by no means strange as mythologies go but I believe it is an underplayed and overlooked facet of gaming these fantasy religions. A brief run over of several published deities of Greyhawk shows some predictable but sometimes interesting relationships.

Allitur (God of Ethics) rides an untiring horse named Keph.
Bleredd (God Smithing) has an iron mule as his holy symbol (not to be confused with the iron horse Lou Gehrig).
Bralm (Goddess of Insects) of course has insectoid wings but has been known to change into a giant wasp or scorpion. She can summon normal insect plagues.
Ehlonna (Goddess of the Forests) has power of horses in human form (and unicorns in elven form). She carries arrows of slaying for woodland creatures such as bears, stags, etc.
Geshtai (Goddess of Wells) has a pet fish named Gumus that summons other water creatures (fear Gumus god of gold-fish!).
Iuz (God of Evil) in his old man form has an assist dog named Spike. Okay I made that one up. ;)
Jascar (God of Mountains) is a little known canon deity but he is one of the few specifically associated with equines. His forms include a giant heavy warhorse (or a pegasus).
Llerg (God of Beasts) is an obvious deity of animal lore. He can shapechange into any carnivore, including dinosaurs. He favors the form of a cave bear, giant alligator and a giant snake.
Norebo (God of Gambling) can change into any animal up to the size of a horse but favors the form of a raven, cat or mouse (I assume for quick get-aways).
Obad-hai (God of Nature) Befitting the stereotypical druid deity, Obad-hai can assume the form of many sylvan creatures. Animal-wise he is noted to change into a badger, brown bear, boar, giant eagle, giant goat, giant lynx, giant otter, giant owl, giant pike, giant porcupine, giant stag (watch out for Ehlonna) and wolf (no dire wolf?).
Olidammara (God of Rogues) is famous for once being polymorphed into a "carapaced animal" by Zagyg. This is a form he still retains characteristics of in human shape. I probably don't have to tell you what animal that is.
Osprem (Goddess of Water)  can shapechange into any aquatic form she chooses, but favors dolphin, barracuda and sperm whale. Much like Aquaman, she can summon sea critters of the same type of form she is in.
Raxivort (God of Xvarts) can take the form of a giant bat or a rat (no word on whether they are still blue colored).
Pelor (God of Healing) can summon flights of giant eagles (good for picking up halflings).
Phaulkon (God of Air) can also summon giant eagles and furthermore is immune to the attacks of any feathered creature (Take that Pelor!).
Syrul (Goddess of Deceit) can polymorph into anything from the size of a fly to as large as a lion. Also for some reason giant octopi, giant rats, wolves, worgs, and giant wolverines won't harm her (I bet giant squids attack on sight though).
Telchur (God of Winter) strangely is accompanied by a winged albino bull. (not a natural animal yes, but I had to mention this one).
Trithereon (God of Retribution) is famous for his animal companions, Nemoud the Hound, Harrus the Falcon and Ca'rolk the Sea Lizard (what is a sea lizard exactly?).
Wastri (God of Amphibians) is famous of course for his affinity with toads and probably looks the way he does do to a half-botched polymorph spell.
Xerbo (God of the Sea) you can guess has the ability to charm or talk to any sea creature he wants. But did you know he has a pass between fish power which works like a druid's pass plant spell? That one takes the award for weird animal abilities.

So there you have it. I'm sure I missed many references, feel free to add any I missed. One comment though. I find it interesting that martial deities like St. Cuthbert, Heironeous or Hextor have no animal forms or even transports of note. Keph would look real cool in the reins of Heironeous instead of Allitur...


James said...

Iuz (God of Evil) in his old man form has an assist dog named Spike. Okay I made that one up. ;)

I am so swiping that idea! :)

Anonymous said...

Damn! James beat me to it! LOL

What's with Pelor and Phaulkon . . . no goat drawn chariot? Thor would be sooo embarrassed. Phaulkon, an iguana? Really? LOL

Mystic Scholar

Grol said...

I can only assume that Olidamarra's form was that of a Pill bug.