The Talk Out of Ardeep

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The Talk Out of Ardeep

Postby Ian » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:10 pm

Strange talk has come out of the southern reaches of Ardeep Forest, east of the city, for several years now.

First it was of weird behavior by the animals, many of whom seemed more bestial than their kin, more hostile to the loggers and villagers of nearby lands, and who resisted even the calls of the druids of the wood.

Next it was of an insane creature, some sort of undead woman, calling herself the Chosen of a deity none had ever heard of. A group of adventurers investigated then, and while the talk of the undead woman continued thereafter, there was somewhat less panic involved in the tales.

Then the talk was of inexplicable weather patterns in the wood, isolated glades that withstood that year's unnaturally cold winter as if autumn had never left.

Now new figures walk the woods, men and women bearing an unknown holy symbol, while here and there some who had faithfully followed the likes of Silvanus and Mielikki for years or decades have turned their backs on those faiths. The fires of fanaticism burn in their eyes, and their talk is the same: "The Wildlord stirs, and he yearns to bring back the Old Ways."

The elves of the wood aren't talking much, though whether it be due to concern or lack thereof is uncertain, and the nearby human village of Glittering Springs is more or less clearing out. The bandit groups that make their homes in the forest are likewise steering clear.

Of what will the talk be next...?
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Re: The Talk Out of Ardeep

Postby Ian » Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:15 pm

Paraphrased from the other forum, since it's down and the post originally made there is thus gone:

...this is what the talk is of next.

The village of Glittering Springs has been fully abandoned now for some time, and is quickly being reclaimed by the forest. The southwestern reaches of the forest of Ardeep have been overgrown in a nearly primordial wave, and what dwells now in that wood makes even the most nature-attuned elves of the land a little uneasy.

The Wildlord rises. Some of his followers from the wood even venture to Waterdeep from time to time, either seeking news from the outer world or to spread the word of their faith to those who are receptive to it--quietly, cautiously, in small groups scattered throughout the parks and groves of the city, and with the followers of Sag rarely staying too long in the city (as if its physical appearance makes them uncomfortable). Some even suggest having seen one or two of Sag's followers surrounded by nothing but a flock of birds or a pack of feral cats, the animals listening intently or making noise in unison, as if being led in service.

Sag's mortal champion, his Chosen, stays in Ardeep, lever leaving, always watching. Some suggest it is part of the wood itself now, a creature no longer wholly human--if indeed it ever was. Some suggest it was once a Waterdhavian noble, of a house now forgotten. Only a few know for sure.

(OOC: Jhebbal Sag is an actual thing, and a thing you yourselves can choose to worship if you like--it's not a plot hook so much as a background change to the setting itself. Below follows a Faiths and Pantheons-style entry for it; what lies below is not common knowledge, but rather what a cleric or druid of his faith would know.)

The Primeval Lurker, The Wildlord
Symbol: A thistle with blood-red thorns and roots of bone
Alignment: True neutral (trends towards NE)
Cleric Alignments: CN, LN, N, NE, NG
Portfolio: Wild animals, natural lore
Worshipers: Barbarians, druids, rangers, sentient animals and plants
Domains: Animal, Earth, Plant, Retribution, Storm, Water, Weather
Favored Weapon: "A fanged vine" (scourge)

Jhebbal Sag is the long-forgotten first deity of nature, his original portfolio (according to him) having encompassed much of that held today by Lurue, Malar, Mielikki, Silvanus, Talona, and Talos. Having existed in a time when deities were far more powerful than those of today, Jhebbal Sag remembers those days fondly, when he ruled all the wild lands of Toril and beat back the encroachments of civilization with brutal, savage menace. Through events long since lost to history, he has been reduced to but a shell of his former self--but in these tumultuous modern days, that he has returned to the world at all is something of a foreboding omen for things to come.

Angry and bitter at the state of the world through his absence, Jhebbal Sag is a fairly unpleasant figure, and his mindset seems alien to many aside from his closest followers. Once devoted to the ideal of balance with the same zeal as Silvanus, Jhebbal Sag believes the planet is in danger of being lost to those who have disrupted the natural order of things, and seeks the outright destruction of all that represents "civilization." He acts with some restraint, however, perhaps knowing the futility of the mindlessly destructive rages from Talos, Malar, and their kin...or perhaps due to some past experience as yet unknown to others. Sag's approach is more subtle, as he seeks to change the hearts and minds of those who follow the "weaker" deities of nature.

Jhebbal Sag's church is small, its influence limited primarily to the forests of the Sword Coast and the North, and his humanoid followers are primarily those druids and rangers who have turned from the existing nature deities to follow him. His primary source of power, however, is from the animals of the world--a number of whom still Remember him through some sort of primitive, ancestral memory, and revere him openly. Sag bestows upon his followers knowledge of the primeval wilds that flourished when he was last a great power, and bids them cultivate and spread those flora and fauna in the (perhaps vain) hope that the world might one day retake its old shape.

Clerics of Jhebbal Sag pray for their spells at sundown, when the feeble forces of men must retreat and those of the wild run free to begin their hunt. The Cultists of Sag celebrate The Feast of the Moon and Midsummer, marking each with a revel in the darkest reaches of their forest, dancing and cavorting amid the beasts they so revere.

History/Relationships: Jhebbal Sag claims to be an Old One--one of the Elder Pantheon that predated nearly all of the current deities of Faerun. Most of the other deities of Faerun believe him dead or forgotten, and those that don't are in strong debate as to whether they should destroy him once and for all or wait to see what sort of harbinger he might be for the return of others from his age. Sag himself loathes most of the current nature deities, feeling that their weakness has left the natural world subject to the predations of civilization, but he also opposes the mindless, indiscriminate destruction wrought by Talos, Malar, and their ilk. He was one of the few deities to ever peacefully coexist with both Selune and Shar, was friendly after a fashion with Jergal, and respects the ruthless brutality with which Umberlee rules her domain.

Dogma: Barbarism and savagery are the natural state of the world, and all should be returned to that state. Defend the trees and wild animals of the world, especially those that Remember, and spread them where possible into lands that have been stolen and sullied by those who do not respect them. Watch and manipulate when overt action is unreasonable, but remember always that civilized peoples are the enemy of the wild, and their influence is a disease to be purged. Those that would desecrate the wild places of the world are to be destroyed, but those who respect the power of nature should be embraced as brothers to the glory of Sag.
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