Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Temples of the City State of The Invincible Overlord


This is the first post in an experiment to see if I can convert the temples of the City State of the Invincible Overlord into the religious outline from the previous post. The version of CSIO is the second edition from 1980 so there’s a few difficulties. The first one is that this edition was part-way between LBB D&D and AD&D. So the range of deities in the city includes some from GD&H as well as ones which were included in D&DG. Indeed, the gods of the city state are an interesting mix of major and minor, multi-planar, and local with a range of characteristics which makes it an interesting challenge to fit into any single framework.

Another point is that the alignment system in the 2nd edition seems to be a 5-point system with LG, CG, LE, CE, and N only. There are hints in the text that the authors wanted this or that NPC to be, say, LN - in particular, the overlord himself - and that applies to the gods as well. I’m going to try to represent the full AD&D 9-point system in this series of posts but I’m sticking to my stance of eschewing Concordant Opposition, although I will revisit it in the future.

So let’s get started:

The Temple of the Gargoyle

This temple is an example of a Holy of Holies. Indeed, an extreme example as the god physically dwells here and nowhere else.

The Gargoyle, Arghrasmak, is a demi-god of some sort from the Elemental Plane of Earth and is only worshipped in the city and the nearby area.

All the normal clerical spells can be obtained here up to 5th level, the highest that Arghrasmak is able to grant.

Symbol is a grey sphere held in a black claw. Clerical mace heads are normally in this form.


As a chaotic, the Gargoyle dislikes the rule of law and has become a sponsor of thieves in the city. As an evil chaotic, he encourages the more aggravated cruel sorts of theft in order to increase suffering.

As an elemental his interests are in things from the ground - gold, silver, jewels, and loves to accumulate these for no more reason than he likes them.

Beyond these things, Arghrasmak has little interest in the mundane world and spends most of his time sleeping and plotting the eventual overthrow of those who forced him from his border kingdom in the Inner World, as he calls the Plane of Earth. Anything which increases his standing amongst the denizens of that place will gain favour.

He is dangerous to attempt to deal with and his word, although rarely given, is seldom honoured. He really only wants the treasures of the underworld. Worship is nice but the clergy’s main function is really as a bodyguard.

Sacrifices and Dedications

For (any number of) third to fifth level spells, the god must be awoken by three sacrifices of metal (100gp worth), magic (any item, even a scroll of a single spell), and blood (1HD animal sacrifice). The deity will then wake, spend the requisite time in mental communion with the cleric, and return to its sleep.

Magical items usable by clerics are retained as dedications, everything else goes into the pit within which Arghrasmak sleeps. His stony skin soon destroys many of the magical items, but he retains a few useful ones in case of emergencies.

Lay Members

The temple’s congregation is mostly thieves and the temple itself is responsible for the thieves’ quarter’s existence as it offers sanctuary to its laity. Normal members (casual, 0-level thieves and beggars) pay 5sp per festival, and are expected to attend at least one per year (making up for missed events by paying the shortfall).

Classed thieves are expected to pay 100gp value per level per year and for this they get the protection sanctuary and +5% to their ability to hide in shadows.

All members in good standing will (must) receive the services of an appointed litigation trickster from the guild thereof if arrested for theft-related crimes. If the member is found not-guilty of their alleged crime, the fee is half the amount they were accused of; if found guilty the fee is only a quarter of the claimed amount. Note that the issue of whether the member actually stole anything at all is not relevant here.

The Overlord has compromised with Arghrasmak on sanctuary, avoiding a direct confrontation with a being of unknown but substantial power. Arghrasmak has abandoned human sacrifice, and the Overlord recognises the boundary of the temple as beyond his reach. The entrances, of course, can be guarded as he sees fit, so long as he does not actually barricade them.

Priests and Clerics

As well as access to the spells below, the high-priest and those of priestly level are granted +4 on all saves against petrifaction (including flesh to stone) once per season.


The first full moon after each solstice and equinox divides the Gargoyle’s year into four seasons. Missing four of these festivals in a row without good reason (DM’s decision) will result in loss of clerical status.

Special spells

Due to Arghrasmak’s nature, he can not personally grant spells without being physically present - and he has never left his pit/nest in the last 450 years - so remote shrines to him are only able to grant first and second level spells. These shrines tend to be underground caves, grottos, or platforms in high, rugged mountains where some one or other of his followers has settled down to play the role of local priest.

These require 100gp value per level. Animal sacrifice is valued at 50gp per hit die.

  • Stoneskin; Level 2; V, M; 1seg.

    Otherwise as 4th level magic user spell.

  • Forget; Level 1; V, M; 1seg

    Otherwise as 2nd level MU spell.

These spells are also available at the main temple in CSIO. Additionally, Arghrasmak has one each special forth and fifth level spell which can be obtained at the main temple:

Protection from Petrifaction (Alteration)

level: 4 Components: V,S,M
Range: Touch Casting Time: 4seg
Duration: 1 turn Saving Throw: -
Area of Effect: Creature touched  

Explanation/Description: Grants immunity for ten minutes only against any magic which would turn the recipient into stone.

Stoneform (Alteration)

level: 5 Components: V, S, M
Range: Personal Casting Time: 5seg
Duration: 1rnd per level Saving Throw: -
Area of Effect: Caster  

Explanation/Description: When this spell is cast, the cleric takes on the stony form of a gargoyle. While in this form he or she can only be struck by magical weapons and can attack either with a weapon as normal, or by using their hands (single attack routine doing 1d4/1d4 plus any strength modifiVitrificationNitrificationto normal heat or cold and against magical attacks of these forms takes half damage or none, depending on a saving throw.

Armour class is reduced to 5 or remains as it was before, whichever is best.

The form is not winged unless the target is, in which case it can fly at a rate of 12“ so long as the caster is unencumbered, 6” if carrying heavy gear, and nothing if very heavily loaded or worse. Manoeuvre class is E.

In this form, only spell casting that does not require somatic components and which can be performed with nothing more than the holy symbol as its material component may be performed.

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