Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Iron Wants to Kill You

This is the first in a series of informational briefs of some of the 90 gods in the Holy Selmat setting.

Belief: Ironism. Adherent: Worshipper of Iron. Collective: All Irony
Epithets: The evil metal, Starmetal
Secret Epithets: Endfather, Conclusion, The Calling One, Sinking
Holy City: formally none, in principle any desecrated holy city of another god.
Holy Symbols: a wavy dagger, a falling star, anything made of iron, a bracelet with 26 beads, a dowsing rod.

Almost everyone on Earth can tell you about iron— that rare metal that when forged is stronger than even bronze, and which severs the soul of all those it kills. Kings execute traitors and other wicked men with iron weapons. This is not out of malice but because they fear facing them again in the afterlife. Because it destroys soulstuff, it is one of the only effective weapons against demons, angels, and ghosts.

Long ago, Holy Selmat itself was enthralled to the Priests of Iron, harsh rulers whose only and most sacred life was the destruction of souls. Their reign ended when the prophet Elijah washed up on the shore, passed their impossible tests via miracle, then called the tide two miles inland to drown them. They were succeeded by the Waste-Lords, who were also quite bad but not nearly as ideological. The Priests of Iron are likely originators of any module-dungeon I would want to incorporate, since they are ancient, they don’t need to adhere to Biritist ideas of what’s normal, and they were malicious enough to do whatever evil thing happened in a given dungeon.

Now, that god called Iron, which is iron, is largely powerless and entirely inanimate, more so a malicious intent than an active threat. Still, just as anyone holding an item made of mithril is holding the blood of Mithras, so is anyone holding an iron weapon holding an evil and ancient god.

The cosmic servant of Iron is a many-limbed beast in the void called Nemesis, who nudges chunks of iron out of their slumber so they may crash into the world. Some say that once all the iron is collected on the Earth, the god Iron shall walk among mortals and bisect every soul. Here’s hoping.

Iron weapons deal +1 damage and bypass any damage resistance. Iron armor grants +2 AC and is difficult to sunder. Some characters have an “iron resistance” ability. This is expressed as a percentage and indicates the probability that, if slain with an iron weapon, their soul will actually survive. The vast majority of people have zero iron resistance.

Some spells learned by servants of Iron:

Dowse: while sleeping, you are vexed to nightmares, visions of the nearest source of iron within [dice]2 miles. If you are not currently in a city, this is probably buried underground. You know the most direct route to the iron.

Execute: When you execute a bound person, regain 1 HP for each fatal wound inflicted, and gain a +[dice] bonus to your next save that day.

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