Excerpts 05/03/2002

Faiths and Pantheons
VelsharoonThe Vaunted, Archmage of Necromancy, Lord of the Forsaken Crypt Faerûnian Demigod

Symbol: A crowned laughing lich skull on a solid black hexagon
Home Plane: Dweomerheart
Alignment: Neutral evil
Portfolio: Necromancy, necromancers, evil liches, undeath
Worshipers: Divine disciples, liches, necromancers, seekers of immortality through undeath, Cult of the Dragon
Cleric Alignments: CN, LN, NE
Domains: Death, Evil, Magic, Undeath
Favored Weapon: "Skull Staff of the Necromancer" (quarterstaff)

Velsharoon (vel-shah-roon) is a vain, selfish, petty, but very canny deity consumed with vengeance, obsessed with experimenting on living and dead beings, and unconcerned with the fates of lesser creatures. In many ways he continues to act like the mortal he recently was, albeit with far greater power at his disposal than before.

The church of Velsharoon is a new one, and what hierarchy exists is found within individual temples. Many clerics of Velsharoon spend their days in necromantic research, seeking to understand and expand the faith's collective knowledge of life, death, and undeath. Most have created hundreds of undead servitors, some of them unique. When an undead creation has served its purpose, these self-involved researchers often brand the symbol of their deity on its chest and then order it to wander randomly across Faerûn. Other clerics of Velsharoon are involved in "support" activities for the faith—grave robbing, embalming, or teaching. A few of the more congenial low-level clerics sometimes cure the minor ills of the populace to bring in funding or worldly supplies for the church and to more easily gather information about its enemies.

Clerics of Velsharoon pray for their spells at midnight, when the secrets of the night are best unearthed. For a relatively young faith, the clergy of Velsharoon have quickly established a large number of holy days and rituals. The faith has yet to coalesce into a homogeneous creed, however, and widely varying rituals are found not only in different temples but within individual temples as well. Two rituals have become fairly widespread. The Binding of the Crypt and the Pact of the Everlasting are two rituals performed by powerful clerics, allowing them to return as an undead creature or be raised from the dead automatically if they are slain. Both rituals involve numerous other horrible incantations and the foul sacrifice of numerous good-aligned sentients. Prominent theologians of the faith claim that these rituals are merely the two of seven to be revealed by Velsharoon along a path to achieving immortality. Many clerics multiclass as divine disciples, necromancers, or (if part of the Cult of the Dragon) as wearers of purple (see Chapter 4).

History/Relationships: As a mortal, Velsharoon was a renegade Red Wizard of Thay whose chief rival was Szass Tam. He discovered a method laid forth by Talos for a mortal to achieve divinity, but quickly realized that the Storm Lord would simply exploit him until he was destroyed. Velsharoon then shifted his allegiance to Azuth, who, with Mystra's help, blocked Talos from seeking vengeance. Velsharoon has since secretly renewed his alliance with Talos and has begun flirting with Shar, although he still nominally serves Azuth. Velsharoon loathes Cyric, Jergal, and Kelemvor, for all three routinely upset his plans.

Dogma: Life and death are the twin faces of eternal existence. To surrender to either one is to resign oneself to obscurity. True power lies in the twilight zone between life and death. By seeking to explore and extend the mortal condition and form—even mortal life itself—knowledge of the world and its infinite complexity, is extended. Let no one interfere with the pursuit of such research, for the end result will more than justify the necessary sacrifices along the path. Knowledge is power, and knowledge of life and death brings power over all beings, living and unliving.

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