Zuoken

Master of Da’Shon and Edel, Servant of the Lady
Demigod

Symbol: A striking fist
Home Plane: Oerth
Alignment: Neutral
Portfolio: Mental and physical mastery
Core Worshippers: Baklunish
Worshipers: Fighters, monks, psions
Cleric Alignments: LN, CN, NE, NG, N
Domains: Celerity* (CD), Mind* (CD), Strength, War.
Favored Weapon(s): Fist of Zuoken (unarmed strike)

Description: Zuoken (zoo-OH-ken) is an ascended martial artist in the service of Xan Yae. He was a Baklunish man of unremarkable appearance, but he had achieved the highest level of skill in edel (“gift of fate,” psionics) and da’shon (“falling hail,” a complicated form of unarmed combat practiced by one of Xan Yae’s sects). His symbol is a striking fist. In 505 CY, he stopped manifesting to his faithful; investigation has revealed that his essence is held somewhere in the central Flanaess; his followers continue to seek the exact place so that he may be freed. “To learn da’shon is to be on the path to perfection, for the use of weapons is a hinderance to the ability of mankind to attain the goal; once the goal is reached, one can use such things without fear of losing sight of perfection. One must strive to achieve the pinnacle of physical and mental ability. One must pursue harmony to achieve perfection, so every issue must be considered from both sides so that a balance may be struck between the two, allowing a harmonious resolution.” Zuoken’s clerics teach da’shon and the way of Zuoken and Xan Yae. They wander the land to accelerate their physical and mental advancement, undergo many tests of hardship within and outside their temples in the pursuit of perfection, search for their god’s prison, and attack monks of the Scarlet Brotherhood when encountered. As aging and infirmities are concerns for those who perfect their bodies, they care for the elderly to acclimatize themselves with its changes. Although Zuoken is confined in some way, his clerics receive their spells normally.

As a mortal Baklunish human, Zuoken mastered the twin arts of Edel (“gift of fate,” psionics) and da’shon (“falling hail,” a form of unarmed combat). While in the service of Xan Yae (a lesser goddess), he was raised to the status of demigod and began attracting all sorts of followers who sought out perfection. His gradual rise to greater power ended in 505 CY, when he was imprisoned by Zagig along with eight other demigods below Castle Greyhawk. There he has remained ever since, leaving his followers without guidance.

Followers of Zuoken are almost always monks or psions, and the most powerful are both. A typical cleric dresses in light, plain-colored clothing tied with a simple sash bearing Zuoken’s symbol. They spend most of their days practicing, meditating, and spreading the word about the value of perfection— although many undertake these tasks while searching for their missing patron. It was not until recently that Zuoken’s clerics determined the deity’s fate, and even now they search for ways to free him from his prison.

More than a thousand years ago, devastating war ravaged the vast region west of the Flanaess, approaching the interior of the Oerik super continent. Two immense empires of mythic cultural development and decadence clashed in a conflict destined to have no victor. This was the height of the Age of Glory, and both sides boasted resources and weaponry that seem imaginary by today’s standards. The Mages of Power of the Suloise Empire held such a mastery of arcane magic that their thoughts forced the universe to realign itself according to their whims. In the north, the Baklunish Empire is said to have built a window in time at the immense standing stones called the Tovag Baragu—the Navel of the World. It took just more than sixty years for the empires to erase one another from history in a continent-engulfing catastrophe known as the Twin Cataclysms. The Suel wizards acted first, working in concert to manifest the Invoked Devastation, a magical catastrophe so destructive that its exact form remains a mystery to this day. In response, Baklunish Mage-Priests called down the Rain of Colorless Fire upon their Suel enemies, reducing the arrogant empire to the ashen Sea of Dust.

The opening decades of this clash of civilizations spawned countless martyrs and cultural heroes. Among the earliest was Zuoken, a daring monk of the twilight goddess Xan Yae who, along with thirty-eight of the Baklunish Empire’s most skillful martial artists, defended a tactically critical mountain pass from an entire army of Suel invaders. The unarmed heroes held the pass for three days and nights until the entire foreign army had been destroyed. Of the valiant monks only Zuoken remained, feted as a legendary hero—the Survivor—of the war’s early years. After inspiring a generation of monks to serve the Empire, Zuoken set out upon the Drawmij Ocean to the storied Pinnacles of Azor’alq, where he passed legendary tests to gain access to the Baklunish heavens and immortality as a demigod.

Whereas the capture of Iuz had been a political imperative, Zuoken was more a target of opportunity for Zagig’s apotheosis gambit. The Survivor had taken to an isolated life in the Outer Planes, where Zagig and Kelanen had encountered him in earlier days. They had departed as friends, but Zagig required what he required, and he considered Zuoken’s capture a victory nonetheless and moved on to the next deity on his list without a second thought. Zuoken remains imprisoned below Zagig’s Tower, but he is far from forgotten in the western lands. Even now a suspicious cult of monks in the City of Greyhawk has established a fail-safe plan to return him to the world.

Gods of the Flanaess

Zuoken

Greyhawk Samaryllis Samaryllis