Saturday, August 20, 2011

Lost Gods of Greyhawk Revisited

As an armchair scholar of Greyhawkian apochrypa, one of my rarest sources for idle reading is AOL's Best of Greyhawk files. The Best of Greyhawk is a collection of pseudo-articles and list postings between Greyhawk fans and authors (notably Roger Moore), back when the internet was still a newish thing (is AOL still around?) and the setting we all love and cherish still held a wealth of lore to debate over. Darn I missed out on all that fun!

One entry that caught my eye in Best of Greyhawk #2 is on the topic of "Lost" Gods of Greyhawk, by a poster named "Iquander". Iquander for those who haven't been around online Greyhawk for a long time is better known as Erik Mona, presently publisher of Paizo Publishing. Here is what he offered up way back in 1995:

From: Iquander
Date: 95-04-01 03:05:12 EDT
Re: "Lost" gods of Greyhawk

It just so happens that deities of Oerth have been a subject of interest for me. As has been stated earlier, both guides to Greyhawk (the original boxed set as well as FTA) include nearly comprehensive lists of Greyhawk's gods and goddesses. Here are some more that I've found along the way.
Greater Powers
Tezcatlipoca: Olman god of the sun, disorder, war and wealth, Tezcat' is CE. His stats are found in the old Deities and Demigods book. A sworn enemy of Kukulcan, Tezcatlipoca often assumes the form of a jaguar to mix with the Olmans. He is a Greater power. Kukulcan: Olman creator god, Kukulcan presides over the air, arts and metallurgy. Also known as Quetzalcouatal (sp), he can be found in the Deities and Demigods tome. He is LN and a Greater power.
 Lesser Powers
The neutral Olman god of the moon and Lightning, Apocatequil held great sway in the Olman Empire. He is a Lesser power.
"The forgotten lesser god of portals and enclosures," Dalt is LN and favors Mordenkainen, to whom he had led to the Silver Key of Portals.
The Demon Prince of Lamias and evil scheming, Graz'zt has great interest in the current events of the Flanaess. Father to Iuz through the archmagess Iggwilv, Graz'zt is heavily involved in the plots of his cambion son. As a Demon Prince, Graz'zt holds the powers of a lesser god.
Hurkakan: Olman lesser god of floods, ancient Olman rituals honored this deity for providing regular flooding in the lands of the Empire. He is LG.
Landron: God of Order, Winds and the Seasons, Landron has fallen out of favor with the people of the Flanaess and now enjoys worship in only large centers of religion, such as Innspa. He is a lesser power and LN. (For more information regarding Landron, see "Quag Keep," by Andre Norton)
Demon Queen of Spiders, Lady of the Drow. (I'm pretty sure you all know about her.)
A little known lesser power devoted to patterns and totality of action, the followers of Om preach a form of predestination in that all mortals enact the plans of the gods. Therefore, free will is not honored by this deity or his ascetic followers. In my campaign, Om is N. (For more, though not much more, see "Quag Keep")
CE lord of Gnolls, Yeenoghu enjoys worship on Oerth. Statistics can be found in "Monster Mythology."
The celebrated CE bat god of the Olman underworld (Mictlan), Zotz is at ends with most of the Olman pantheon.
Zuggtmoy: Consort of Iuz, Lady of Fungi. More information on this demon princess may be found in "The Temple of Elemental Evil."
The Olman demigod guardian of the underworld, Chitza-Atlan appears as a mummified centaur and signifies death with his coming. He is NE, and frequently works with Zotzilaha. (On a side note, in my campaign, Chitza-Atlan was one of the nine demigods captured and imprisoned by Zagig Yragerne)
Oeridian demigoddes of Agriculture, Merikka holds a relatively small flock within some farming communities on the Flanaess. She is CG. (Again, in my campaign, Merikka fell to the traps of Zagig. She's better now, though).
Stern Alia:
Demigoddess of Law and Truth (the Correct and Unalterable Way), Alia is heavily worshipped in Medegia, where she is seen as the mother-figure for Hextor and Heironeous. She is LN (And, coincidentally, was one of Zagig's prisoners in my campaign).
Tlazoteotl: The Olman Mother Goddess of Earth (meaning soil). She is LG. (And also, for me, a prisoner)
Xilonen: The Olman Hairy Mother Goddess of Corn, Xilonen is NG. (Again a prisoner of Zagig).

That pretty much does it. Some of these powers are pretty obscure, but they all come from established TSR works (save for Landron and Om, who come from Quag Keep). Though I don't have my bibliography with me, most of them can be found in The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. Others are in T1-4, GDQ, N1, the novels, and a few other places. I suppose, in the interest of completion, I should make mention of the demon Maelfesh from the Rose Estes novels, but it really seems much too painful.

PS: Including the beings from my last post and the nonhuman deities worshipped on Oerth (see the last few pages of the FTA Atlas book), the Flanaess and the northern tip of the Olman Empire have captured the interest of _106_ deities. Seeing as how the Flanaess is only one part of one of four continents and scores of islands, I'd say there's something important about Oerth that normal humans like us just can't understand.

Alot of the deities and developments mentioned by Mona in this post surely made it into general canon when he became involved in the authoring of the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer several years later. Indeed, many of the mentioned Olman gods got further development in 1999's The Scarlet Brotherhood by Sean Reynolds, where Erik also was credited as a "Greyhawk Sage." Even so, a few of these gods are still "lost" to us. For example, Apocatequil did not make the cut and is not on any Greyhawk wiki list that I can locate. I also wish Landron and Om had been imported into the roleplay setting over from Andre Norton's novel. They sound intriguing and could make good fodder for a future article. Hint!

That's all for now. Before I end I must give credit to the hard work of Best of Greyhawk editors Leo DiBenigno and Nathan Irving (of Oerth Journal fame) and Tal Meta for his revised PDF version of the publication.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for that Mort. But you should have listed it as an ancient historical text.

After all, your blog states that "Pluffet Smedger the Elder" is "part of the past," and we know that the sage Iquander lived before Pluffet Smedger."

So, Iquander too is, "butt dust."


Mystic Scholar

mortellan said...

Well when you put it that way....sheesh!

Argon said...

Wow not even regular dust. He's butt dust that's harsh. I think it was an interesting read. I'm sure there's a plethora of stuff still lingering from the AOL boards.

Keep it coming UllMaster.