The Gray Protector, Master of Crafts, The Exile, The Slave Driver, The Taskmaster, The Harsh
Intermediate Power of the Infinite Battlefield of Acheron
Symbol: An broken crossbow bolt on a shield
Home Plane: Acheron/Thuldanin/Hammergrim
Alignment: Lawful evil
Portfolio: Duergar, Crafts, Protection, Magic, Magic Weapons, Artisans
Superior: Moradin (estranged)
Allies: Deep Duerra
Foes: Blibdoolpoolp, Blood Queen, Callarduran, Smoothhands, Diinkarazan, Diirinka, Great Mother, Gzemnid, Ilsensine, Ilxendren, Laogzed, Maanzecorian (dead), the Morndinsamman (except Deep Duerra, Dugmaren Brightmantle, and Sharindlar), Orcus (dead)/Tenebrous (undead), Psilofyr, Shevarash, Urdlen, the drow pantheon
Core Worshipers: Duergars
Worshipers: Dwarves, fighters, lore masters, soldiers
Cleric Alignments: LE, LN, NE
Domains: Domination* (CD), Earth, Evil, Law, Magic, Mind* (CD), Protection.
Favored Weapon: Grimhammer (+4 warhammer)
Ever since the duergar branched from their dwarven cousins, Laduguer (laa-duh-gwur) has harbored bitter resentment. The Gray Protector views his cousins in the Morndinsamman as indolent lay-abouts more concerned with maintaining outdated traditions than with progress and artifice. That’s not to say Laduguers is a free thinker—he clings to his own brand of intolerant discipline, weaving a doctrine of obedience to one’s leader, empowerment through the exploitation of slaves, enrichment through the creation of magical weapons, and protection through an unforgiving program of stern military preparedness. Strongly xenophobic, Laduguer urges his charges to avoid contact with other races except for limited trade and slave raids.
Clergy and Temples
The duergar recognize no difference between religious and secular authority, making Laduguer’s clerics (known as thuldor, a dwarven term meaning “those who endure”) the nominal rulers of gray dwarf society. The duergar see their existence as a constant struggle agaisnt other Underdark races, and the thuldor form the single constant that has kept the race united and powerful ever since the days when Laduguer’s clerics first led the gray dwarves away from their surface brethren. Many temples include sizable stables used in the care and breeding of steeders, large monstrous hunting spiders used as transport by many Underdark races. The duergar, under the guidance of the thuldor, have cornered the market on these highly trainable, versatile beasts of burden, granting the race considerable financial clout in the Night Below. The clerics are expected to serve in the military.
Thuldor pray for spells in the morning, usually before dedicating at least an hour to concepting, creating or improving of a magical weapon. The duergar enjoy few religious ceremonies of note, as celebration offers a dangerous break to the toil upon which the duergar owe their protracted existence. Clerics of Laduguer seldom multiclass, occasionally becoming divine champions, fighters, or loremasters.
Description: The deity of the duerar, Laduguer occasionally still answers the prayers of other dwarves. The Gray Protector, as he is called, demands constant toil and a rigid hierarchy from his subjects, many of whom are slavers or would-be warlords. Would-be clerics of Laduguer engage in hour after hour of repetitive prayer, punctuated only by
hard physical labor or similar hardships. Those who don’t wash out of the process become clerics and inflict similar mind-numbing initiations on the next generation of followers. Laduguer’s quests often involve awakening – and hopefully controlling – some long-buried evil. If an army of slaves is trying to unearth a fallen, ancient labyrinth-temple, Laduguer is probably behind it. Prayers to Laduguer are simple one- or two-sentence affairs, but they’re repeated dozens of times with the same rhythm and intonation. Laduguer has simple temples unadorned with decoration. Many have torture chambers, prison cells, or battle arenas attached to them. Laduguer offers his followers few rites, because time spent in ceremonies is time spent away from more proper duties. “Rituals? Get back to work!” says the cleric of Laduguer.
History/Relationships: No mortal knows the exact reasons behind Laduguer’s exile from the Morndinsamman. The gold and shield dwarves claim that he committed unspeakable crimes against his brethren and was only saved from Moradin’s great Soulhammer by the temperance and forgiveness of Berronar. The gray dwarves explain the story somewhat differently, painting the Gray Protector as an advocate of a righteous, innovative philosophy that nonetheless so offended the Dwarffather that Laduguer was cast from the pantheon forevermore. Regardless, the Exile is at best tolerated by Dugmaren and Sharindlar; the rest of the Morndinsamman hold him in deep scorn. Deep Duerra, thought of by many as Laduguer’s daughter, is his only true ally (and even she hatches multiple schemes against him). His race’s dominance of the steeder market has gained him enmity from Lolth, and an ancient dispute with the demon prince Orcus simmers healthily to this day.
Dogma: The children of Laduguer have rejected the feckless and feeble gods of their forefathers and withdrawn from their lazy once-kin so as not to be tainted by their weaknesses. Strict obedience to superiors, dedication to one’s craft, and endless toil are necessary to achieve wealth, security, and power. Nothing is ever easy, nor should it be. Suffer pain stoically and remain aloof, for to show or even feel emotion is to demonstrate weakness. Those who are weak are undeserving and will suffer an appropriate fate. Adversity is Laduguer’s forge, and the harsh trails through which the duergar must pass are his hammer blows—endure all and become stronger than adamantine.