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Ubtao

(pronounced oob-TAY-oh)
Creator of Chult, founder of Mezro, Father of the Dinosaurs
Pantheon
Faerûn
Quick Descriptions:
Ubtao is a strong male of indeterminate age, with dark brown skin the color of fertile earth, closely cropped black hair, and a neatly trimmed goatee. He has an emotionless face and distant eyes. He is wearing a loincloth and a gold gorget around his neck.
Ubtao's temple is a sandstone structure with a flat stone roof and numerous tall columns surrounding the building. The columns have intricate symbols of mazes carved all over them. The entrance is a large open archway that leads to the main worshiping chamber, full of benches and a large altar near the back. Dark metal braziers line the walls, and keep the room well-lit. Tall open windows surround the room, dispersed between the tall interior columns.
Ubtao's cleric is a human man with short black hair, and intricate designs painted around his eyes. He has on a loose-fitting light brown robe, with a tabard carved from wood and painted with intricate mazes.
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Ubtao is the chief human god worshiped on the peninsula of Chult (a tribal community mostly covered in jungles). He is described as a passive, unemotional deity, endlessly patient and rarely emotional. The Father of the Dinosaurs maintains a palpable emotional distance from both mortals and other deities, and he seems to stand aloof from the daily doings of the world and his followers. Only since the Time of Troubles has he has a renewed interest in the doings of his followers. The many jungle spirits worshiped in Chult are all aspects of Ubtao.

Worshipers, Clergy & Temples

Many Chultan people venerate Ubtao and believe that Ubtao created the jungle and all the humans and animals that populate this hot, green microcosm. Ubtao also raised the holy city of Mezro from the jungle with his own hands and resided there for a time—until the people drove him into the heavens with their nagging demands. Ubtao watches over the world with disinterest, letting women and men go about their lives without any interference. He demands no formal worship, but in return offers little divine guidance.

The church of Ubtao is split among several wholly independent sects, all based in the Jungles of Chult among the various clans of the humans: the Mazewalkers, Spiritlords, Jungle druids, and the Spearbearers of Ubtao.

Mazewalkers, found only among the inhabitants of the city of Mezro, see to the general spiritual welfare of the clan. Mazewalkers, as true priests of Ubtao, also look upon the world as a maze through which people must pass in order to reach an eternal reward. They are passionate in their devotion to helping others overcome the trials of mundane existence, but can sometimes place more reliance upon hope than action. They teach children and adults the history and lore of the Chultan peoples, provide council about important life decisions, such as marriage, and attempt to mediate interclan disputes, and help teach and uphold the law of Mezro.

Spiritlords, based outside the city, seek to smooth their clan's passage through the spirit-infested world. They live to insure the clan does not offend an ancient ancestor or elemental deity by missing a ritual or a sacrifice. They can also coax favors and knowledge from the capricious and jealous spirits.

Jungle druids attempt to get the scattered clans to learn how best to fit into the web of jungle life. They are often cast in the role of clan healer, and also accumulate and pass on knowledge about animals, animal behavior (including that of dinosaurs), and plants. Jungle druids are often the trainers of the few domestic animals that the humans keep.

Ubtaoans and Ubtaoan clergy are very tolerant of other faiths, allowing them to be practiced in peace in Chult and even in the holy city of Mezro, as long as their practitioners do not attempt to forcibly convert fellow Ubtaoans. Due to the agreement between the Faerûnian and Mulhorandi pantheons and Ubtao, clergy of other pantheons who attempt to establish more than temporary shrines in Chult will be discouraged from doing so by their deities (at first through visions and then through more heavy-handed methods, such as the cessation of spell granting and special powers).

Vestments

Mazewalkers favor loose-fitting tobes (TOE-bays) that are comfortable in the ever-present humidity. During worship ceremonies they adorn themselves with intricate designs painted around the eyes and tabards carved from wood and painted with intricate mazes. Spiritlords wear simple loincloths, even if the rest of the tribe favors robes, and sometime wear decorative overskirts made of long, furred animal tails. They adorn themselves with necklaces of animal and dinosaur fetishes and carry intricate masks carved from ironwood, which play a central role in their rituals. Jungle druids wear the garb common to their clans, but often decorate their garb with symbols or pictures of animals and dinosaurs. Mazewalkers and jungle druids usually wear a small depiction of a maze made of gold, silver, or (more typically) carved semiprecious stone, ivory, or bone as a holy symbol. Spiritlords's masks function as their holy symbols.

Mazewalkers, jungle druids, and spiritlords employ varieties of weapons, armor, and shields common to the Chult. The most common weapons employed by Chultan priests are a type of spear known as the yklwa and a type of club known as the kerrie. The yklwa is a short stabbing spear about 4 feet in length with a swordlike blade about 18 inches long (Weight 4, Piercing, Damage Id8/ldl0). The kerrie is a hardwood (typically ironwood) club with a long straight haft and a head that resembles a slightly flattened ball (Weight 4, Bludgeon, Damage 2d3/ld4+l). The knob may be faceted, and it can vary in size from that of a fist to much larger. The kerrie can be thrown with surprising accuracy. Other weapons commonly employed include short-handled hand axes, daggers, short swords, scimitars, long bows, and hunting spears.

High-ranking priests wear breastplates and helmets of dinosaur hide. Priests are proficient in the use of the shield.

Temples

The only true temple of Ubtao is known simply as the Temple of Ubtao or the Maze of Life, and it dominates the city of Mezro. Members and clergy from all three faiths may worship there. The temple does not hold any organized services, though impromptu ones may be organized among those present at the temple or groups may independently request that a time or day be held open for their use.

Rituals

Clerics and druids of Ubtao pray for their spells at noon, when Ubtao's majesty hangs over all Chult. Most native humans consider themselves religious, though they show it in ways that astound travelers from other parts of Faerûn. There are seemingly scores of sacred ceremonies and holy days, many of them particular to ancestors that have passed on, the time of year, the location the people are going to hunt at, move to, or pass through next, or necessary before performing certain activities, such as hunting a certain animal or burying the dead. Yet when their small, moveable stone altars are not being used for these ceremonies, they treat them as if they were just another rock. Mazewalkers are usually clerics while Spiritlords are usually adepts. Jungle druids are druids. Many of the clergy multiclass as rangers.

Orders

Spearbearers of Ubtao make it their duty to protect the world from Dendar. Their goal is to give Ubtao the necessary strength to defeat the Night Serpent, when she finally comes to eat the sun. Towards that end, they conduct a large number of rituals, many of these involved sentient sacrifices.

The barae of Mezro are seven men and women, mighty champions of Ubtao, chosen by their god to defend the holy city of Mezro. They live forever; their wisdom and faith shield them from old age and sickness. However, they can be murdered or lose their lives on the battlefield. In return for everlasting life, they must protect Mezro from all harm.

If a bara is killed, another is selected by Ubtao to replace him or her. That is the only time a mortal may enter the barado, a special location in the great Temple of Ubtao. The bara test is deceptively simple and centers around the Chultan belief that each individuals life can be represented as a maze. If the supplicant correctly completes the maze of his or her life, Ubtao grants the new bara a fantastic power to be used in service to Mezro. If the supplicant fails, she or he is carried off into the afterlife. The women and men who become bara are sworn to secrecy about the nature of Ubtao's test.

The barae live for the defense of Mezro. If the city were utterly destroyed, they would crumble to dust. While the city thrives,they are graced with a number of special abilities.

Dogma

Ubtao created the jungle as a test for his people, a maze for them to pass through on their way to a heavenly afterlife. Learn the maze that represents your life, for you must know it when you meet Ubtao in the afterlife. Understand your place in the jungle, represented by your maze. Respect the dinosaur, for they are the Children of Ubtao, agents of his will and gifts of his bounty.

Appearance, Manifestations

Ubtao is commonly depicted as a powerfully built Chultan male of indeterminate age. He has distant eyes, dark brown skin the color of fertile earth, closely cropped black hair, and a neatly trimmed goatee. He is endlessly patient and rarely emotional.

Ubtao appears most commonly as a gigantic tyrannosaurus rex.

Relationships & History

Ubtao's only ally is Thard Harr. Likewise, Ubtao's chief foe (other than Eshowdow) is Sseth, an aspect of Set acting as deity of the yuan-ti.

History

During the Blue Age, when Toril was still a new world, the gods and the primordials fought for dominance. This Age came to a sudden stop when the primordial known as the Dendar the Night Serpent took the sun out of the sky. Eventually, the Elder Gods won the fight when the primordials were betrayed by one of their own: Ubtao the Deceiver.

Ubtao made an agreement with the rest of the Faerûnian pantheon to guard the Peaks of Flame for the day when Dendar the Night Serpent enters Toril and ends the world. As reward for this service, the other deities granted him sole control over Chult and agreed to leave his lands alone and never to spread their own religions there. Over time Ubtao's essence began to split into many nature spirits which now are spread across the jungle, one of these was the shadow entity Eshowdow. Shar recently absorbed Eshowdow, and it is believed this activity might be the beginning of the end for the agreement between Ubtao and the rest of the deities.
The Symbol of Ubtao - Maze
Symbol: Maze
God Alignment: N
Worshipers Alignment
LG NG CG
LN N CN
LE NE CE
Domain:
Planning, Plant, Protection, Scalykind
Portfolio:
Creation, jungles, Chult, the Chultans, dinosaurs
Worshipers:
Adepts, chultans, druids, inhabitants of jungles, rangers
Plane: Arborea
Alternative: House of Nature
Weapon: Heavy pick