|Titles|| The Rough Beast|
Enemy of the Gods
The Great Destroyer
|Areas of Concern|| Wrath |
|Worshipers||Orcs, gnolls, savage tribes|
|Domains||Chaos, Evil, Destruction, Weather, War|
|Subdomains||Blood, Catastrophe, Demon, Protean, Rage, Storms|
|Sacred Colors||Brown, red|
|Images of Rovagug|
Imprisoned since the Age of Creation, the god Rovagug (pronounced ROH-vah-gug) seeks only to destroy creation and the other gods. Believed to be imprisoned in a state of torpor somewhere deep within Golarion, his increasingly restless stirrings are taken by many to be the cause of volcanic activity and earthquakes.
According to the Windsong Testaments, just after the current incarnation of reality came into being, when Pharasma took her first step off the Seal in fear of something chewing and gnawing out there, leading to the birth of the first deities, one of them stepped forth beyond that fearful step, and in so doing would be transformed and absorbed by that fear. None can remember whether that fear became Rovagug or was Rovagug at the first place.
In a time so long ago that perhaps even the alghollthus do not remember it, long before the creation of Golarion, the qlippoth lord Rovagug gnawed his way out of the deepest Abyss and sought to destroy the Great Beyond. Even then an ancient being, Rovagug was responsible for the destruction of countless worlds. During this period, he rampaged through Axis in the greatest calamity that ever befell the Eternal City, laying waste to many districts which have never recovered to this day. Eventually, the other gods decided that Rovagug would have been defeated, and drew his attention away from Axis to Golarion, where he was opposed by an unlikely collection of gods: Abadar, Apsu, Asmodeus, Calistria, Dahak, Desna, Dou-Bral, Erastil, Gozreh, Pharasma, Sarenrae, and Torag, along with a number of other gods from more remote parts of the world.
Many gods died in this battle, but their names have been forgotten; certainly the gods who sided with the Rough Beast will never be remembered. Calistria distracted Rovagug while Torag and Gorum forged the shell of the Dead Vault and Pharasma imbued it with potent wards against escape. Sarenrae then sliced open a rift in the Windswept Wastes on Casmaron on Golarion's surface, sending Rovagug stumbling into the Dead Vault. Dou-Bral immpaled him with the Star Towers that prevented him from hearing prayers, and the archdevil Asmodeus bound him with a key only the Prince of Darkness held. Sarenrae then repaired the rift, leaving behind a smooth scar and instructed her followers to avoid it.
After Dou-Bral travelled outside the Great Beyond and returned as Zon-Kuthon, the Star Towers started to degrade, allowing Rovagug to grant divine magic again. Meanwhile, Sarenrae's faithful misunderstood her commands and built the city of Gormuz over the scar; as she feared, Rovagug's influence corrupted them, and they refused to hear her further warnings. In -3923 AR, Rovagug tricked Sarenrae into smiting Gormuz in a fit of wrath; in so doing, she opened a vast rift leading to the Dead Vault iself. The Pit of Gormuz, as it was called, was filled with all kinds of monsters, including Ulunat, the first Spawn of Rovagug.
Ulunat would be the first of a dozen Spawn that Rovagug unleashed upon Golarion's surface over the next 5,000 years. Some of his followers claim that Earthfall awoke Rovagug from his torpor, and that the time of his release is fast approaching. However, the Dead Vault has held itself enough that Rovagug remains imprisoned today.
According to the Concordance of Rivals, when the End Times come, Rovagug will be freed by a desperate Asmodeus in the hope that he will consume the other apocalypse. Indeed, Rovagug will devour the rest of creation before consuming himself, leaving behind only Groetus to turn off the light of the cosmos and a Survivor to rebuild it anew.
Rovagug lies sleeping within the Dead Vault, his divine flesh feasted upon by vast wrackworms. The Dead Vault, which has served as Rovagug's prison since his defeat at the hand of the divine coalition in the Age of Creation, is a demiplane whose physical boundaries can be seen from Golarion's molten core, but whose interior is not part of Golarion itself. From outside the Dead Vault, Rovagug can be seen, immobile and imprisoned, like an insect preserved in amber. Inside its inner surface, he is always visible, impaled by the Star Towers, on the 'sky'.
The scar which Rovagug left behind as he gnawed his way out of the Abyss in the Age of Creation still remains in the Abyssal realm of Yad Iagnoth. Despite being formed long before, it shares the same shape and breadth as the Pit of Gormuz. It is unknown which dark, undiscovered corner of the Abyssal might have been Rovagug's old divine realm, but now he remains imprisoned far from it.
While Rovagug hates most deities equally, his rage is primarily directed at Sarenrae. She was instrumental in keeping him subdued long enough so that Asmodeus could contain him. They had already been at war against one another numerous times when Rovagug was imprisoned, and it is said that Sarenrae placed the fire of the sun at the heart of Golarion to eternally burn the Rough Beast in his prison. All other deities hate the Devourer as well, and even feuding gods join together to oppose his release. Rovagug is believed to have some relationship with the mysterious Groetus because of their mutual interest in destruction, but he has no overt ties with the God of the End Times.
Volcanic eruptions are said to be the result of the Devourer turning in his sleep, while violent winds are the result of his breath erupting from the dark places of the world.
The horrific Tarrasque is Rovagug's current herald, although prior to its birth, other spawn have served in this capacity. His divine servitor race are the thognorok qlippoth, disgusting sentient symbiotes who long ago feasted upon the Rough Beast's skin, blood, or other bodily fluids and were forever transformed.
Known spawn of Rovagug
Rovagug's most famous emissaries are the great beasts known as his spawn, which have appeared between -3923 AR and ca. 1000 AR.
- Ulunat (-3923 AR)
- A colossal beetle, which travelled west past the Obari Ocean to Garund where it was eventually defeated. Around its shed carapace the Osirian capital of Sothis has grown up. The orc oracles of the Brimstone Haruspex call it Gormuz (as in Pit of Gormuz) and that it will return again when a dark comet appears in the sky. The few remaining records of the time state that it was impervious to weapons and spells.
- Kothogaz (before -632 AR)
- Attacked Ezida, and in the 300s AR more famously Vudra. Its heart is in 101 pieces.
- The Tarrasque (-632 AR)
- Also known as the Armageddon Engine. The most terrible of the spawns of Rovagug. Destroyer of Ninshabur. Currently sealed away in a hidden cavern beneath Avistan.
- Trilochan (before 300 AR)
- Three-eyed dragon, fought Kothogaz in Vudra.
- Xotani (??? AR)
- Also referred to as the Firebleeder. Its grave lies in the Garundi nation of Katapesh.
- Chemnosit (??? AR)
- Also known as the Monarch Worm. Feared throughout the Darklands; possibly still active.
- Volnagur (909? AR)
- A winged beast. Likely still active.
- The Slohr (3537 AR)
- Known primarily for trampling the Arthfell Forest. Its connection to Rovagug is unconfirmed.
- Crawling Hunger
- An intelligent, beclawed purple worm.
- A gibbering mouther considered to be more violent and insane than most of its kind.
- A bebilith with an unusual corpse-like coloring.
Church of Rovagug
Rovagug has no large-scale, organized church, but is revered in gatherings large and small throughout Golarion. Across the Inner Sea region, his worship is most concentrated in the savage Darklands, the Hold of Belkzen, the frozen Realm of the Mammoth Lords, and the harsh deserts of Osirion and Qadira. Rovagug is certainly respected for his destructive power in all nations; the bombard known as the Great Maw of Rovagug in Alkenstar is evidence of this. He is also a frequent object of veneration by Keleshites, Kellids, and half-orcs.
His worshipers are savage monsters or human nihilists. They glory in destruction for its own sake and dismiss building and creating as a pastime for those too weak to destroy. Some worshipers do so out of nihilistic misery, others out of self-loathing, and yet others through a simple, burning rage towards the universe. All are dedicated to Rovagug's destructive mission.
He is the primary deity of the orcs, and troglodytes, and ropers consider him to be their creator-deity. The Carrion Tribe gnolls in Katapesh have abandoned the worship of Lamashtu for the favor of Rovagug — how the Mother of Monsters feels about this is unknown.
The numerous boggard tribes of the Sodden Lands revere Rovagug. They view the appearance of the Eye of Abendego (an event which greatly benefited them even as it destroyed the surrounding nation of Lirgen) as a manifestation of the Rough Beast, and it sparked off a religious pogrom which led to the slaughter of their priests of Gogunta. Rovagug is also one of the Three Feasters, the deities worshipped by the Koboto tribe of the Sodden Lands.
Priests wear shaggy coats dyed in strange colors and hideous masks representing monstrosity and dissolution. A priest of Rovagug makes no contribution to normal society; at best, they may be (unreliable) mercenaries. They typically spend their day hunting beings and things to kill and destroy, saving only that which can be utilized in creating greater destruction. The hierarchy is based solely on raw destructive might, and to rise in the hierarchy, another must be thrown down.
Church services are brutal and primitive, featuring sapient sacrifices, stomping, shouting, and breaking valuables.
Temples & shrines
Churches to The Beast are banned in nearly every civilized city, and his worship is suppressed in most nations. Secret shrines and sacrificial sites may be recognized by the presence of the famous Fanged Maw (seen on this page), or the less common symbol, a claw surrounded by a spiral.
The rare, true temples of Rovagug are built in caves and other underground locations, with a deep pit in the center (representing Rovagug's prison) that doubles as a midden. These temples also feature a "tame" monster, barely controlled by the priests, which serves as a guardian. The House of the Beast is a nigh legendary temple of Rovagug, said to have been built by a spirit birthed from the very heart of a volcano, and was the center of a multiracial cult that gained strange and terrible powers in return for sacrifice to the Great Beast. Located in Pale Mountain, this currently ruined temple is widely avoided because of its dark reputation.
Rovagug has and needs no official holy text. He makes his desires known to his faithful by pressing his primordial and awesome thoughts directly upon their minds. These thoughts primarily concern the destruction of all that exists, and freeing the Rough Beast from his ancient tomb.
Although a codified holy text would be contrary to the destructive nature of Rovagug, some unofficial writings do exist. The lunatic Chalmus Col penned the Cycle of the Beast and The Red Mark of Xhor, a bloody spiral imprinted with curses in the name of Rovagug.
Any holidays celebrated by Rovagug's dedicated would be suppressed in civilized lands. There are no holidays common to all congregations.
However, some orc shamans celebrate the Waking in early spring. Also, in circumstances of celestial conjunctions in the night sky, the celebration of Lastday may occur. This holiday is irregular, but more often than not occurs in autumn. The stormy month of Rova is named after the Rough Beast.
For additional resources, see the Meta page.
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