The Seas of Arnesia
Dythadin, the Hooded One
General Domains: Wealth, Thievery, Knowledge, Skill, Snakes
Arnesian Domains: Trade, Pirates, Fog
Other Names: Shadow Prince, the Serpent, the Gilded God
Holy Symbol: A jagged serpent
Astral Realm: The Implicit Maze
Divine Servitors: Couatl
The epitome of individualism and self reliance, Dythadin is the god of personal achievement and self perfection. He is lord of wealth, both monetarily and intellectually, as well the exchange of this wealth…both voluntary, and not. He is there, in the treasuries of profitable merchants and skilled thieves; he is known whenever a language is mastered, a trade is made, a lock is picked, or a great deed is accomplished. His worshipers seek to improve themselves, expand their knowledge, or fatten their purses, regardless of the means.
Civilizations revere Dythadin as a god to both merchants and the thieves who rob them. He does not favor one over the other- wealth belongs to those with the power, skill, and desire to claim it, whoever it is. Likewise, scholars honor Dythadin as a patron to any who desires knowledge, regardless of what that might be. In legitimate society, cities build libraries in his name, businesses keep small shrines to honor him and trade agreements often open with a prayer to him. He is gifted with Goldenday, the sixth day of the week, and traditionally the day when workers receive their pay and debts are collected.
Criminal enterprises, too, recognize him, but in different ways. Thieves and other criminals observe a variety of superstitions out of respect, if not real piety, the most common of which is known as the Serpent’s Cut,where a thief will leave a single coin from his haul under an overturned bowl- a small offering to the Gilded God.
Outside of cities, Dythadin is mostly known through his association with serpents. Snakes are said be Dythadin’s favorite creation, and are thus considered to share in his affinity for knowledge. Because the difference between medicine and poison is typically a matter of dosage, poisonous snakes are thought to be the most knowledgeable of all, especially in matters of healing, herbalism, and alchemy. Many shamans and medicine-men carry a staff carved with a snake motif for this reason.
Dythadin’s association with snakes, however, also extends to the treacherous serpent men known as yuan-ti. These cunning reptiles secretly plot the subjugation of all other races, and assassinate any who stand in their way. Dythadin is said to be their creator and the subject of their fanatical devotion, though none can say if he hears their prayers.
Outside of the yuan-ti, religious orders dedicated to Dythadin are uncommon- the Hooded One has little use for prayers, rites, and churches, instead helping those who help themselves. Scholarly orders are the exception, often sporting a small clergy dedicated to him. Rumors do persist, however, among certain circles, of an elite band of thieves and learned men dedicated to expanding the power of Dythadin, perhaps going so far as to steal the domains of other gods, though these rumors have never been confirmed.
Dythadin’s astral domain is known as the Implicit Maze, a massive labyrinthine structure said to house any number of treasure vaults, art galleries, libraries, and audience chambers. Tending the Maze are his divine servants known as the couatl- feathered serpents who compete with one another for standing and prestige among Dythadin’s court. The Maze is said to house untold secrets, but also uncountable twists and dangers- it is said that some parts of the Maze cannot even be explored physically, but are rather accessed through the imagination. Those who lack the necessary skill, or the god’s favor, risk being lost in the Maze forever.
Dythadin is the best deity to worship because
he does not judge his followers nor condemn their motives- he cares only for results. He is the supreme god of individualism and self improvement, constantly pushing his worshipers to expand their minds and surpass their limitations. For Dythadin, there is no tension between one’s personal desires and public commitments- do as you desire, whether that is kindly benevolence or not. So long as you are prepared to train, practice, and grow, you have a welcomed seat at the Hooded One’s table.
Dythadin is the worst deity to worship because
he cares nothing for the world around him, nor for his followers. His followers mistake the god’s indifference for a kind of impersonal motivation- in truth, Dythadin views his worshipers as nothing more than means to an end. He is a god of supreme selfishness whose tenets create misers, oligarchs, and elitists who care nothing for the suffering of those less fortunate. For those not equipped to thrive in a state of constant competition, Dythadin has no concern or pity.