Upheaval in Zhaltssom
God of: Terror, destruction, evil, bloodlust
Alignment: Really belongs in his own super-evil alignment, but counts as chaotic evil
Domains: Chaos, Destruction, Evil, Madness, Strength, War
Favored Weapon: Claws (humanoid priests are proficient with battleaxes instead)
Holy Symbol: Three dragon heads
Represented as: Dahaka is generally depicted as a grotesque and battle-scarred serpent. The sharp teeth in the mouths of his three heads drip with a saliva composed of the collective sins of all mortals, and his two arms are bound backwards to the top of his middle head with unbreakable chains formed literally of concepts. The exact concepts that form his bonds are unknown to Dahaka’s followers and deliberately kept secret from all other mortals, for it is rumored that knowing their composition weakens the chains’ durability.
Key Tenets: Dahaka is unusual among the deities in that he is not coherent enough to preach any key tenets. Mortal worshippers would only know to destroy all else and spread the terror that feeds their deity, and many know that if Dahaka is ever freed, they would not be spared his wrath… not like it stops them.
History: The story of Dahaka is deliberately suppressed by the other deities as a means to prevent people from worshipping him. Nevertheless, some bits of the story have survived the purging attempts – it is known that Dahaka came into existence before the rest of the current pantheon, and it is known that he used to have a lot more power. His powers over weather, madness, bloodlust, and torture were deliberately ripped from him by the other deities, who deemed it necessary in order to save themselves. When Dahaka ate the unknown deity that stripped him of his bloodlust (thus gaining it back), the gods took drastic measures and chained him to a rock far beyond the stars, where nothing dares approach him.
The common beliefs are either that Dahaka was part of the previous pantheon, or he single-handedly caused its destruction.
Influence: Dahaka is one of those deities who should not have any influence left based on what the gods have done to him, but he still manages to derive power from the raw terror and rage of mortals and incite them to do terrible deeds. However, if asked, the gods would all give their servants a standing order to kill worshippers of Dahaka swiftly (evil deities expect the deed to be done on sight, whereas the rest require proof that the victim is indeed a Dahaka worshipper), deeming them too far gone to have any hope of redemption. They would insist upon the order in utter defiance of any oaths the mortal has sworn – though the gods acknowledge that the hesitance in breaking such oaths is the thing that makes mortals what they are. As a result, Dahaka’s influence is most felt in isolated regions of the world, where few other servants of the gods dare to tread.
Allies and Enemies: Put bluntly, Dahaka would find it utterly impossible to find allies among the other gods. He is too blind and primal a deity and presents far too much a threat to the rest of the pantheon to find any possibility of kinship. Ose, Tiamat, Baphomet, and Hati draw the greatest of his wrath – Ose for seizing his powers of madness, Tiamat for seizing his weather control abilities, Hati for conceiving of his prison, and Baphomet for both robbing him of his torture powers and deliberately amplifying his suffering with the chains of concepts.
Priests, Temples, and Clergy: Dahaka’s clergy is almost entirely formed of monsters, considering that few humanoids would be so far gone as to worship him. As a result, the priesthood tends to be organized by power. It pretty much goes without saying that Dahaka’s temples are banned in every region that is even remotely civilized, so his ‘temples’ are actually nothing of the sort, usually just being very deep caverns with a hollowed space for a sacrificial pit. The only known official rite involved in Dahaka worship (mainly because anyone who would go to study other rites of a deity like this would be considered beyond insane) is sacrificing mortals, and the sacrifices tend to be very drawn-out, the better to draw more torment to slake the thirst of the bound god.
As a note for those dealing with such ‘temples’, converting them is considered preferable to destroying them, for even destruction of his own ‘temple’ would benefit Dahaka. Tiamat especially makes it a point that these ‘temples’ need to be converted to the causes of other deities to rob Dahaka of influence.
Holy Texts: A deity as utterly mad and incoherent as Dahaka has no capability for divine writings. Dahaka’s entire tradition is spoken – the better to avoid being tracked by the other deities and their servants.