Rovagug

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Desna, Asmodeus, Sarenrae, and Calistria (left to right) battle Rovagug (centre).

Rovagug
Rovagug's unholy symbol.
(Deity)

Titles
The Rough Beast
The Destroyer
Enemy of the Gods
The Great Destroyer
The Unmaker
The Worldbreaker
Adjective
Rovagug
Realm
Alignment
Areas of Concern
Wrath
Disaster
Destruction
Worshipers
Orcs, gnolls, savage tribes
Edicts
Destroy all things, free Rovagug from his prison
Anathema
Create something new, let material ties restrain you, torture a victim or otherwise delay its destruction
Cleric Alignments (1E)
Domains (1E)
Chaos, Evil, Destruction, Weather, War
Subdomains (1E)
Blood, Catastrophe, Demon, Protean, Rage, Storms
Cleric Alignments (2E)
Domains (2E)
Air, destruction, earth, zeal
Alternative: swarm, void
Favored Weapon
Symbol
Fanged spider
Sacred Animal
Sacred Colors
Brown, red
Source: Inner Sea Gods, pg(s). 124–131 (1E)
Gods & Magic (Second Edition), pg(s). 40–41 (2E)

Imprisoned since the Age of Creation, the god Rovagug (pronounced ROH-vah-gug)1 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.23

History

According to the Windsong Testaments, just after the current incarnation of reality came into being, Pharasma took her first step off the Seal in fear of something chewing and gnawing beyond her perception. Her next steps led to the birth of the first deities and one of the new gods stepped forth beyond Pharasma's first 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 in the first place.4 In the earliest days of creation, Rovagug was tasked with burrowing through the Outer Rifts.5

As mortal life began, Rovagug gnawed his way out of the deepest Outer Rifts and jumped across the Astral Plane to invade the Universe. He consumed seven planets, but as they had no names nor histories their taste was dull, and he put up only a token fight when the other deities drove him back to the Outer Rifts.65

After Asmodeus killed Ihys, Rovagug sneaked into the Material Plane again and fed on the world where the murder took place. As its inhabitants died in agony, Rovagug revelled in the taste, and he proceeded to destroy 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.57

As Rovagug turned his attention away from Axis to three different worlds—Earth, Androffa, and Golarion—Sarenrae decided that Rovagug would have to be defeated, and gathered under her banner an unlikely collection of gods: Abadar, Apsu, Asmodeus, Calistria, Dahak, Desna, Dou-Bral, Erastil, Gozreh, Pharasma, and Torag, along with a number of other gods from more remote parts of the world.5238

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.3 Calistria lured Rovagug to Golarion and distracted him 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 impaled him with the Star Towers that prevented him from hearing prayers, and the archdevil Asmodeus bound him with a key crafted by Abadar that only the Prince of Darkness could turn. Sarenrae then repaired the rift, leaving behind a smooth scar and instructed her followers to avoid it. Rovagug's defeat marked the end of the Age of Creation.893510

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 the people of Gormuz, 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 itself. The Pit of Gormuz, as it was called, was filled with all kinds of monsters, including Ulunat, the first Spawn of Rovagug.81110

Ulunat would be the first of a dozen Spawn that Rovagug unleashed upon Golarion's surface over the next 5,000 years.12Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 153. Paizo Inc., 2008 Some of his followers claim that Earthfall awoke Rovagug from his torpor, and that the time of his release is rapidly approaching.13 However, the Dead Vault has held itself fast and Rovagug remains imprisoned today.8

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.14

Home

Rovagug lies sleeping within the Dead Vault, his divine flesh feasted upon by vast wrackworms.15 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'.168

The scar which Rovagug left behind as he gnawed his way out of the Outer Rifts 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 Outer Rifts might have been Rovagug's old divine realm, but he remains imprisoned far from it.68

Appearance

A depiction of Rovagug in conflict with Sarenrae.

Being the mightiest of the qlippoth lords, Rovagug appears as a bizarre, alien, monstrous, worm-like being, with innumerable limbs, eyes, claws, teeth, and other, more unmentionable parts.176

Relationships

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.13 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.18

Providence

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.13

Servants

The horrific Tarrasque is Rovagug's current herald, although prior to its birth, other spawn have served in this capacity.19 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.20

Great Spawn of Rovagug

Rovagug's most famous emissaries are the great beasts known as the Spawn of Rovagug, 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 Ulanat "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.21222310
Kothogaz (before -632 AR)
Attacked Ezida, and in the 300s AR more famously Vudra. Its heart is in 101 pieces.
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.11
Xotani (??? AR)
Also referred to as the Firebleeder.24 Its grave lies in the Garundi nation of Katapesh.[citation needed]
Chemnosit (??? AR)
Also known as the Monarch Worm. Feared throughout the Darklands; possibly still active.9
Volnagur (909? AR)
A winged beast.9 Likely still active.[citation needed]

Lesser Spawn of Rovagug

Spawn typically discounted from official tallies of Rovagug's brood due to their lesser power and influence.

Crawling Hunger
An intelligent, beclawed purple worm.25
Gray-Stag-Devourer
A many-headed beast that stalks the Crown of the World.26
Urtleytlar
A scylla who escaped from the Dead Vault and went on to become a cleric of her progenitor.27
The Emkrah
The Spawn that will never be, grown from still-born egg sacs.28

Other servants

These three beings have only been sighted in The Pit of Gormuz.19 Their servitude indicates that they are probably not spawn.[citation needed]

Galulab'daa
A gibbering mouther considered to be more violent and insane than most of its kind.2930
Trilochan
A three-eyed dragon who fought Kothogaz in Vudra, only to be corrupted by its venom.31
The Weeper
The ruler of the Trough of the Rough Beast, the uppermost level of the Pit of Gormuz.25
Yigachek
A bebilith with an unusual corpse-like coloring.19

Church of Rovagug

A cleric of the Rough Beast.

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,32 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.[citation needed] He is also a frequent object of veneration by Keleshites,33 Kellids,34 and half-orcs.35

Worshipers

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.[citation needed] Rovagug is also popular with cambions36 whose treatment by society over their fiendish heritage has damaged them so much that they want to bathe the world in their pain.37

He is the primary deity of the orcs,38 and ropers consider him to be their creator-deity.39

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.40 Also in Katapesh, other worshipers of the Great Beast are driven in a mad quest to blot out the very sun itself as an act of revenge against the hated Sarenrae.41

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.42 Rovagug is also one of the Three Feasters, the deities worshipped by the Koboto tribe of the Sodden Lands,42 and also has a few xulgath followers.13

Clergy

Tasutek, human warpriest of Rovagug.

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) mercenaries19. 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.[citation needed]

Church services are brutal and violent, featuring sapient sacrifices, stomping, shouting, and breaking valuables.43

Temples and shrines

Churches to The Beast are banned in nearly every civilized city, and his worship is suppressed in most nations.2 Secret shrines and sacrificial sites may be recognized by the presence of the famous Fanged Maw symbol (seen on this page), or the less common symbol, a claw surrounded by a spiral.[citation needed]

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.43 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.44 Located in Pale Mountain, this currently ruined temple is widely avoided because of its dark reputation.[citation needed]

Unholy texts

Rovagug has and needs no official unholy 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.43

Although a codified unholy 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.45

Holidays

Any holidays celebrated by Rovagug's dedicated would be suppressed in civilized lands. There are no holidays common to all congregations.43

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.46 The stormy month of Rova is named after the Rough Beast.47

Favored animals

Gods are often associated with certain animals, either because they possess a quality favored by the god, or because the god's faithful feel a special kinship to them. Rovagug's favored animals include scorpions, worms, spiders, vermin, and rabid animals.48

References

For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. Erik Mona, et al. “Appendices” in Campaign Setting, 247. Paizo Inc., 2008
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 3: Religion” in Campaign Setting, 167. Paizo Inc., 2008
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 216. Paizo Inc., 2011
  4. James Jacobs. (October 31, 2019). The Windsong Testaments: The Three Fears of Pharasma, Paizo Blog.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 James Jacobs. (January 2, 2020). The Windsong Testaments: Rage of Creation, Paizo Blog.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 2: Fiendish Realms” in Book of the Damned, 157. Paizo Inc., 2017
  7. John Compton, et al. “Monitor Worship” in Concordance of Rivals, 38. Paizo Inc., 2019
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Robert Brookes, et al. “Chapter 3: The Great Beyond” in Planar Adventures, 212. Paizo Inc., 2018
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 153. Paizo Inc., 2008
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Benjamin Bruck, et al. “Chapter 2: Places of Myth” in Mythic Realms, 28. Paizo Inc., 2013
  11. 11.0 11.1 Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 5: The World” in Campaign Setting, 201. Paizo Inc., 2008
  12. Amber Stewart. “Other Dimensions” in The Great Beyond, A Guide to the Multiverse, 50. Paizo Inc., 2009 "Over the next 5,000 years [after -3923 AR] the cyclic eruption of horrors continued to issue forth from the lip of the Pit [of Gormuz]".
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 225. Paizo Inc., 2011
  14. John Compton, et al. “The End Times” in Concordance of Rivals, 49. Paizo Inc., 2019
  15. Robert Brookes, et al. “Chapter 4: Bestiary” in Planar Adventures, 251. Paizo Inc., 2018
  16. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 245. Paizo Inc., 2011
  17. James Jacobs. “Before Sin” in Beyond the Doomsday Door, 64. Paizo Inc., 2012
  18. Sean K Reynolds. Groetus” in Beyond the Doomsday Door, 73. Paizo Inc., 2012
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Sean K Reynolds. “Gods of Golarion” in Gods and Magic, 32. Paizo Inc., 2008
  20. Sean K Reynolds, et al. Inner Sea Gods, 305. Paizo Inc., 2014
  21. Clinton Boomer. “The Spawn of Rovagug” in The Final Wish, 49–50. Paizo Inc., 2009
  22. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 119. Paizo Inc., 2008
  23. Adam Daigle. “Continuing the Campaign” in Pyramid of the Sky Pharaoh, 64. Paizo Inc., 2014
  24. Erik Mona, et al. Howl of the Carrion King, 88. Paizo Inc., 2009
  25. 25.0 25.1 Benjamin Bruck, et al. “Chapter 2: Places of Myth” in Mythic Realms, 29. Paizo Inc., 2013
  26. Clinton Boomer. “The Spawn of Rovagug” in The Final Wish, 49. Paizo Inc., 2009
  27. Adam Daigle. “Sea Monsters of Golarion” in From Hell's Heart, 68–69. Paizo Inc., 2012
  28. Darrin Drader, et al. “Bestiary” in The Jackal's Price, 80. Paizo Inc., 2009
  29. Benjamin Bruck, et al. “Chapter 2: Places of Myth” in Mythic Realms, 30. Paizo Inc., 2013
  30. Sean K Reynolds, et al. Inner Sea Gods, 131. Paizo Inc., 2014
  31. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 155. Paizo Inc., 2008
  32. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 58. Paizo Inc., 2011
  33. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 15. Paizo Inc., 2011
  34. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 16. Paizo Inc., 2011
  35. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 29. Paizo Inc., 2011
  36. Paizo referred to cambion planar scions as tieflings until the publication of Player Core. These cambions are unrelated to the type of demon with the same name.
  37. Colin McComb & Hal Maclean. “Blood of Fiends” in Blood of Fiends, 12. Paizo Inc., 2012
  38. James Jacobs, et al. Classic Monsters Revisited, 55. Paizo Inc., 2008
  39. Nicolas Logue. Roper” in Dungeon Denizens Revisited, 50. Paizo Inc., 2009
  40. Stephen S. Greer & Amber E. Scott. “Land of Adventure” in Dark Markets, A Guide to Katapesh, 16. Paizo Inc., 2009
  41. Stephen S. Greer & Amber E. Scott. “Land of Adventure” in Dark Markets, A Guide to Katapesh, 22. Paizo Inc., 2009
  42. 42.0 42.1 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 175. Paizo Inc., 2011
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 43.3 Sean K Reynolds. “Gods of Golarion” in Gods and Magic, 33. Paizo Inc., 2008
  44. Stephen S. Greer & Amber E. Scott. “Land of Adventure” in Dark Markets, A Guide to Katapesh, 4. Paizo Inc., 2009
  45. Colin McComb. “Faiths of Corruption” in Faiths of Corruption, 11. Paizo Inc., 2011
  46. Colin McComb. “Social: Religious Holidays” in Faiths of Corruption, 31. Paizo Inc., 2011
  47. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 248. Paizo Inc., 2011
  48. Amanda Hamon, et al. Animal Archive, inside back cover. Paizo Inc., 2013