Ssyth, The Serpent of Death, Mortal God of the Lizardmen
Ssyth is the worldly incarnation of death whose mere presence is poison to the body and soul. Like all the mortal gods, Ssyth was created from a shard of the fallen Miradros, the Elder God of Pride who was once second only to the Mother in power. The fragment that became Ssyth fell in the area that is now the swamp of death. It was flooded an eon before in a battle between the elemental gods of earth and water,but it was only when Ssyth arrived that it became touched with evil. Virtually nothing survives there any more, save for the lizardmen, vile creatures of Ssyth’s own making who serve his dark will.
The Powers of Ssyth
Ssyth sleeps and has slept since his creation. The magic of the Mother holds him in check beneath the temple that the lizardmen have built for him. It is said that should Ssyth awaken it would be the end of the world, for nothing living can defeat death. However, even in slumber the power that this god exerts is considerable; all living creature within 1,000 miles of Ssyth (except the lizardmen and certain hardy animals in the swamp of death) lose 1hp every day and this cannot be restored until they are out of that range. All living creatures with 100 miles of Ssyth lose 1hp every hour, while those within 10 miles lose 1hp a turn. Straying within 1 mile of Ssyth increases the hit point loss to 1hp per round, while looking upon or touching Ssyth would cause instant death top anything with less than 10 levels or HD, including Lizardmen.
Ssyth also passes on powers to his priesthood and protects his champions, but other than that he does not play an active role in the world. It is often assumed, wrongly, that Ssyth is the God of Death, in fact the serpent is nothing more than the representation of the death of Miradros. He does not adjudicate who should live and who should die, nor does he exercise any control over the time of death. Primarily he is the God of Lizardmen and in this function he represents a final destructive force, for the lizardmen do not make or build, they only destroy. Bards sing that though Urh and the Shadow fight the battle, win or lose Ssyth is always victorious.
Perhaps inspired by the hopelessness of mortality, the Cult of Death, dedicated to the destruction of all living things has sprung up across Alanthor in reverence of Ssyth. The cult is constantly searching for a means to raise Ssyth from sleep and bring about the end of the world.
The Avatar of Ssyth
Like all mortal gods, Ssyth is represented by his true spirit in the form of an avatar. The avatar of Ssyth is the great serpent beneath his temple in the swamp of death. Though none have ever looked upon it the Serpent is said to be a mile long, jet black and able to swallow a dragon whole with one snap of its jaws. Such a creature would be immune to anything but the greatest of weapons (+5) and the most powerful of magic (10th level) – though rumours that the snake cannot be destroyed are a falsehood, the great elven mages have long prepared for the rise of Ssyth and it is possible that several of them have weapons or spells which would indeed deliver death unto death itself.
Clerics of Ssyth
There are no Lizardmen clerics, but the most powerful of the lizardman necromancers serve as his clergy and interpret his will through visions and dark communions. The human priests of Ssyth are almost entirely restricted to Alanthor and worship of Ssyth by other races is unheard of. All clerics of Ssyth are Chaotic Evil, Neutral (Chaotic) Evil or Chaotic Neutral (Insane). For reasons explained below the leaders of many priestly cults devoted to Ssyth are liches.
Allowed weapons: Clerics of Ssyth have no weapon restrictions, though they are instructed to bring about death with speed.
Recommended NWP: Often clerics of Ssyth must hide their faith and practice other crafts. A priest of Ssyth by night may well be a blacksmith or a baker by day.
Clerics of Ssyth have major spell access to the following spheres: All, Chaos, Combat, Necromancy.
They have minor spell access to the following spheres: Divination, Healing, Wards, Elemental: All.
Additional Granted Powers: The following powers are in addition to the standard spells and abilities of a cleric.
At 3rd level a cleric of Ssyth can raise one skeleton or zombie into unlife per level per week.
At 12th level a cleric of Ssyth can cast death spell once per week.
At 18th level a cleric of Ssyth dies and becomes a lich with all the powers and vulnerabilities associated with that transformation. No special preparations are made for this and no phylactery is used. This transformation allows the cleric to make a pilgrimage to the temple of Ssyth without harm where they will be given a task from Ssyth as interpreted by his high priests.
Holy Symbol: The holy symbol of Ssyth is the coiled snake.
Turning Ability: Clerics of Ssyth can command undead.
Role-playing Notes: Clerics of Ssyth perform their work passionlessly and tirelessly. The believe the world must end so that all the pain it inflicts can be stopped. At best, Clerics of Ssyth are deeply misguided who treat murder as the best way to help any situation, at worst they are monsters who seek to spread death across the world and wrap it in a shroud of decay. There are a few moderate sects within the Cult of Ssyth who they believe death purifies the soul and that all living being are essentially corrupt and must die – these people are often found in the service of liches and vampires whom the venerate as disciples of Ssyth. What the liches and vampires think about this is unknown. It is almost certain that priests of Ssyth are attempting to reconstruct the physical form of the dread lich Zaranar – though this ancient necromancer was at his height even greater than Ssyth and any attempts they make to enslave him to the service of the serpent are almost certain to fail.