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Mordiggian...was a benign deity in the eyes of the inhabitants of Zul-Bha-Sair. A colossal shadow appeared that was not wrought by anything in the room. It filled the portals from side to side, it towered above the lintel – and then, swiftly, it became more than a shadow: it was a bulk of darkness, black and opaque, that somehow blinded the eyes with a strange dazzlement. It seemed to suck the flame from the red urns and fill the chamber with a chill of utter death and voidness. Its form was that of a worm-shapen column, huge as a dragon, its further coils still issuing from the gloom of the corridor; but it changed from moment to moment, swirling and spinning as if alive with the vortical energies of dark aeons. Briefly it took the semblance of some demoniac giant with eyeless head and limbless body; and then, leaping and spreading like smoky fire, it swept into the chamber.
The Charnel God, Clark Ashton Smith.

Mordiggian is a Zothiquian God who is mainly worshipped by ghouls.

Overview

Mordiggian is a Great Old One, worshipped by several human cults and cults of ghouls as a kind of symbol of Death.

He is the primary god of the city-state of Zul-Bha-Sair, attended to by a mortuary-cult of ghouls dressed in long, hooded robes of purple paired with silver skull masks.

Described as swirling darkness, a gigantic shadow, a worm shaped column. Although capable of ferocious acts of wrath when roused to anger, he is generally a peaceful, amiable god who genuinely respects his faithful worshippers and who merely asks to be fed with the bodies of the dead.

This name is used in Zothique, Man's last continent, and it is entirely possible that this gigantic creature is the same as Shaurash-Ho, although the name might go back to medieval France, and be a corruption of the Latin "Mortician" (to do with the dead). May be identical to Cynothoglys.

Appearance

Mordiggian is a living cloud of darkness, capable of congealing and coalescing all or portions of his form within the inky depths to serve his needs, whether he’s manifesting a long, grasping limb to pluck a ripened morsel from a coffin-platter, or visiting his wrath upon those who dare to tread upon halls where only the dead may walk.

The Charnel God’s favored form is that of an immense worm with a set of grasping tentacles arrayed around a central maw; this fanged maw appears often in the god’s symbology.

When he appears, all fire and heat is sucked into his swirling, void-like body, instantly lowering the temperature by many degrees, and filling the area with a deathly cold and still air. All within the presence of the Great Ghoul are blinded by the weird changing and dazzling form of the necromantic god.

Personality

Mordiggian does not appear to be especially malevolent and has been known to spare those who have not personally offended him or his followers (the ghouls); when a trio of Necromancers snuck into the temple, the wizards were torn apart by the Ghoul priests while Phariom and his newly revived wife were spared at Mordiggian's bidding.

As one of the Necromancers said "Mordiggian's Wrath, though rarely loosed, is more terrible than any other deity. And it should not be thought by wise men to break into his sacred house." So while Mordiggian is attributed with immense powers of destruction, he is apparently a calm and benign deity.

Power and Abilities

Mordiggian attacks by engulfing victims, sucking away their life force, and dissolving their bodies. Nothing remains of the God's prey, and they are never seen again in the waking world or in the Dreamlands.

History

In ancient times, Mordiggian was the god of ghouls, yet as these undead spread throughout the countless worlds, many of them lost their way and fell into decadence. These ghouls have forgotten the Charnel God, and only pockets of those from Leng who have not degenerated maintain the ancient rites today.

Mordiggian's age cannot be reliably tracked, as he can move back and forth in time. As far as one can look into the past or future, his cult can be found.

Mordiggian’s primary worshipers in the modern era are humans who venerate him as a death god, yet to the untrained eye, these men and women are little more than ghouls themselves. Using vile rituals and surgical practices, they transform their limbs and visages into ghoulish countenances. In cities where such grotesqueries would cause incident, his worshipers wear heavy cloaks and silver masks to hide their shapes. Mordiggian’s temples are grand mausoleum-cathedrals placed in positions of prominence in their cities.

Cities that host such temples have no graveyards of their own, for the priests of Mordiggian collect the bodies of the dead and place them, free of charge, into their sacred vaults for “disposal.” As such, undead and corpse-borne disease are rare contagions in cities under Mordiggian’s care, yet sometimes his priests are too eager in gathering the “dead,” and have been known to take away those in comas or deathlike trances from which they could have recovered.

Myth and Legends

Mordiggian was once the patron of all ghouls, but most of them have since forgotten him and converted to the worship of other death gods. Only pockets of Leng ghouls continue to maintain their ancient rites. Most of Mordiggian's modern followers are humans who deformed themselves to resemble ghouls, and hide these features under silver masks and heavy cloaks.

Mordiggian's temples are either hidden vaults under graveyards, or great mausoleums in positions of prominence in cities. Priests of Mordiggian collect the dead in such cities for free and feed them to Mordiggian in their sacred vaults. Sometimes they are too eager to gather the 'dead', and also take the comatose, despite their potential of recovery

Quotes

Apparently, ghouls have a god of their own too, and their name is so freakin' hard to pronoun, I'm gonna skip it entirely. He seemed not to be in-line with your stereotypical evil undead god, however, and is more in line with a peaceful god of death.
Diana Black

Gallery

Trivia

  • Mordiggian's cult considers ghouls who have converted to the worship of other deities, like Kabriri, heretics and seeks to exterminate them everywhere they can be found.
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