The World of Tel-Avi
Asmodeus, the “God of the Talirean” and “Prince of Nessus”, was once worshiped extensively across Talingarde and numbered among the more powerful deities of Tel-Avi. Since the Asmodean Purges, however, his faith has been reduced to cult status and shoved to the fringes of society. Consequently only the most extreme and devout of his former worshipers still pay him homage, making the overall constituency of the cult much more evil than its original incarnation.
Some say that when the world was forged, Asmodeus wrote the contract of creation, agreed to by the gods and medusae. His faithful believe that this contract holds the key to their lord’s final victory, ushering in a new age under his infernal reign. He believes in strict discipline, unwavering obedience, and the strong ruling the weak. He loves the art of negotiation and delights in deals that appear fair but actually give one party a disparate advantage. The Prince of Nessus expects and appreciates flattery, though he recognizes it for what it is. Frequently shown as a red-skinned humanoid with black horns, hooves, and a pale aura of flames, Asmodeus often appears as a foil in art depicting good deities, especially Mitra. In his temples, such roles are reversed, with the Prince of Nessus standing tall as the other deities bow before him.
Priests of the God of the Talirean are clerics, blackguards, diabolists, or thaumaturgists. Most are careful in their exercise and pursuit of power, understanding that a foolish overextension leaves one vulnerable to those watching for any weakness. His priests work with slavers, bureaucratic governments, despots, and nobles in positions of power (or those hoping to be). They whisper dark promises in the ears of the desperate, arrange meetings between people of influence, and travel to bind or destroy rogue fiends (especially demons) to convince folk that their faith
supports order and opposes wanton destruction.
Priests see devils as people rather than monsters, greater or lesser players in the immense infernal bureaucracy that all right-minded individuals should join. Of course, they see lemures and other minor devils as expendable, and non-lawful fiends even more so. Unlike a typical mage who controls devils with brute magical force, an Asmodean mage parlays carefully with devils, rewarding those in the Prince’s favor and abusing those out of it. All priests at least dabble in the Knowledge of the planes; doing otherwise limits advancement in the church. Most have skill in negotiation.
Races and Alignments: Unlike Mitra, Asmodeus allows all races in his cult. Worshipers of Asmodeus are universally Lawful or Evil with even lawful good and chaotic evil worshipers allowed (though such characters are often watched carefully by the more orthodox cultists).
Ceremonies and Practices: A typical day for a priest begins with prayer, a meal, then reporting to a superior for orders or following extant orders if no superior is present. Evening prayers usually include a blood sacrifice, typically a small animal or some of the priest’s own blood. Significant prayer events require greater sacrifice, possibly including a human or other intelligent creature. Divine spellcasters usually prepare their spells after evening prayer.
Followers of Asmodeus believe in order and knowing their place in the grand scheme; in many cases, they aspire to a higher position and work to prove they are worthy of it. They study their betters to learn necessary skills, watch their equals to jockey for position, and keep an eye on their inferiors for signs of exploitable talent or dangerous ambition.
Services to Asmodeus require the chanting of long phrases without error, blood sacrifice, bells, and acts of domination or submission to reinforce position within the church. Sometimes devils are conjured to participate in the events. The Prince’s doctrine is recorded in the Asmodean Monograph, though that work is greatly simplified and relies on numerous appendices and supplementary volumes.
Domains: Clerics and Inquisitors of Asmodeus can choose from the Arson, Deception, Devil, Magic, Slavery, and Tyranny domains.
Inquisitors of the God of the Talirean may choose from the Conversion, Damnation, Heresy, Imprisonment, Persistence, and Torture inquisitions.
Holy Symbols: Worshipers of Asmodeus use a pentagram as their holy symbol.
Restrictions: Divine spells and powers granted by Asmodeus suffer the normal effects of diminishment that other religions suffer. This diminishment is occurs anywhere outside of the borders of Talingarde or Hell.