Olidammara is the god of rogues, bards and any who promote the good things in life, especially wine, revelry, music, humor and tricks. He is delighted to help give a moment of respite to ordinary people who are sorely lacking in times of misfortune.
As the patron of music and art of any kind, all those who try to make the world a more beautiful place through these means have his blessing. He particularly likes wine — making it, then drinking it in good company is one of the most joyful things you can do in life. And you should enjoy yours: temperance and solemnity are the poison of the soul. It's also noted that he has a liking for women.
Olidammara is the archetype of the big-hearted robber, the one who robbed the rich to give to the poor. As such, he is a patron deity of good aligned thieves and beggars. In fact, Olidammara is motivated more by the challenge of a daring flight than by the benefits that can be derived from it. And, if it is true that he likes to torment the wealthy and the self-righteous, he often does so more for fun than for the sake of redistributing wealth to the poorest.
Olidammara is one of the most eccentric gods, who loves tormenting other deities and mortals attached to an orderly life and routine. He does not hesitate to tease Hextor or taunt Nerull, and he is often involved in minor intrigues with the other gods (but not so trivial as that for the worst or most rigid gods), with repercussions that can make life more difficult for his followers.
Olidammara has a few devotees devoted entirely to his worship (mainly bards and thieves) but they are greatly outnumbered by those who pray alongside the other deities. Across Flannesse, from small country inns to taverns in large cities, wherever people like to drink and party, the cult of Olidammara finds a niche of occasional worshipers.
Many bards revere him as the patron god of music, and many thieves beg him to guide them and bring them luck in their work, whether it is for good or bad.
ClergyOlidammara's religion is loosely organized, but his clerics are numerous. They usually work among urban folk or wander the countryside. Olidammara's clerics often have a second occupation, such as minstrels, brewers, vintners, or jacks-of-all-trades. Thus, they can be found almost anywhere doing or wearing anything.
Few cities permit open worship of the deity of thieves, so Olidammara's church is little more than a loose network of hidden shrines tended by secretive clerics. These temples are always located in an urban environment—usually at the heart of Thieve's Guilds, Smuggling Rings or sewer networks—because the followers of Olidammara enjoy the music and vices of the city and find little of interest in more rural environments.
The Fingers of the Laughing Rogue live for the opportunity to deceive. Some church members believe that any creature they can take advantage of is weak and exists only for their benefit. Most, however, have had hard lives themselves at some point, so they focus on the wealthier members of society who, they believe, are more deserving of their attention. In addition, openly lawful individuals are frequent targets of the Church.
Becoming a cleric of Olidammara seems easy to an outsider—it's basically just one party, theft and escapade after another. But would-be clerics are being keenly observed even in their least sober moments as more senior followers of the Laughing God look for the right mixture of joy, mischief and an appetite for parties.
Like Olidammara himself, members of the Church are unreliable when it comes to agreements. They can change allegiances on a whim if doing so appears entertaining or profitable. According to the church, many forms of deception exist and white lies are just the beginning. For these reasons, any follower of Olidammara forms only a few close friendships.
VestmentsThere is no strict dress code but Jokers usually wear green, brown, or mix green with brown or black clothes. They prefer loose clothing, under which they can hide many things. They particularly like emeralds, the color of which recalls that of the eyes of their god, and almost always wear one mounted on a ring, pendant or earring. Their dress is not indicative of their rank in this clergy very little hierarchical, except that perhaps the highest levels often hold an emerald of great value.
The sacred symbol of many priests is a real mask, while others prefer to wear a mask only on very special occasions and have their symbol engraved on a medallion or on a large ring.
HierarchyMembers of the church of Olidammara refer to themselves as "Fingers of the Laughing Rogue". The church of Olidammara is very disorganized. Although its priests are numerous, it is more akin to a fraternal order with chapters scattered all over Flanaess. The hierarchy is essentially based on age and experience, but it is not imperative to adhere to to such formality. The oldest are usually esteemed, even revered, for their skills and wisdom, and act as advisers to the youngest.
Priests are often given a title, always related to alcohol and its trade, to indicate their rank. A novice could be a "Swig" or a "Ounce", while a high priest would be called "Keg" or "Gallon".
Shrines and TemplesThe temples of Olidammara are rare. Nevertheless, as his disciples claim, wherever there is wine, laughter and songs, it is a temple dedicated to Olidammara. In fact, shrines dedicated to Olidammara are frequently installed in performance halls and inns, unless one of the rooms in its buildings acts as a sanctuary.
Altars sometimes consist of a simple pile of stones at the edge of a country road or an alcove in a small alley. Only a distinctive mark indicates that it is an altar dedicated to Olidammara. At nightfall, people can place an offering of wine, food or a few pieces of copper there, which disappear at dawn. The theft of these gifts is not considered blasphemy if the perpetrator is particularly poor. Either way, few people care about how the offerings went.
Very often, when an inn is linked to the cult of Olidammara, climbing vines run along the walls, sometimes even inside the building.
Temples set up in honor of Olidammara often double as show houses or taverns, and many of their priests ply their talents on stage, most having some level of talent at musical performance. Such temples are exceedingly informal even during "services"; since most rituals, liturgies, and even simple prayers are encouraged to be made up as necessary (like the Ceremony of the Cork to celebrate the opening of a particularly fine wine), there's almost no ritual.
His temples exist in two forms: public places where the arts are practiced and wine is drunk (in other words: concert halls, museums and inns) and outright temples to the Rogue. The larger "temples" are almost always hidden (for example in the city's sewer system) because they often serve as a hideout for thieves. Those who know where to find such an Olidammara temple can sell/buy all kinds of stolen or illegal good there.
RitualsFollowers of Olidammara worship on Starday nights. Worship, for Olidammara's followers, are often just massive parties, usually in a popular tavern, to drink, sing, gamble and fight until sun-up. Some of the more common rituals and ceremonies include:
Ceremony of the Cork - Practiced when a particularly good bottle of wine is opened.
New Moon Follies - A three-act comedy performed by and for Olidammara worshipers
Barrel of Repentance - A whole barrel of alcohol must be drunk with at least two friends, all night long.
Gambling Day - Once a week, or when enough people are gathered or feeling wealthy, clerics of Olidammara make bets with each other, often wagering anything from money, basic items, to magic and services.
Holy DaysThe entire week of Brewfest is considered a holy time by Olidammara's faithful. Other holidays include:
Taste of a Hundred Years (01 Olidas) - On this day every year, a cask of wine is opened that was made one hundred years ago.
The Feast of the Doubling Dare - Celebrated just after the new year, this holiday includes a contest in which the participants challenge each other to perform ever-wilder pranks and deeds.
The Masquerade of Masks - On this day everyone places mask on them and are free of all judgement and inhibitions and dance and sing, eat and steal, and come the night time revel in faceless but harmless debauchery.
The Great Escape / The Last Laugh (05 Olidas) - A huge feast representing Olidammara's escape from the Room Without Doors — the prison of the gods. This festival always takes place in spring but has no fixed date, because no one knows at what precise moment Olidammara was able to break free (which does not matter much for the faithful). It is not known who proclaims the date for the coming year but, at the end of the Naked Season Festival, all the members of the clergy know what day the celebration will take place.
It is customary for at least one member of each chapter be thrown in prison, in an attempt to escape in the coming week. Failure is considered a bad omen, and those who have not managed to escape must put themselves at the service of the other members of the clergy (as soon as they are released). A successful escape gives a good reason to have a tumultuous party, to open the best bottles of wine and to pierce the barrels of beer reserved for special occasions.
As you can imagine, some spectacular escapes took place during the previous festivals and have become legendary. It is believed that those who made an "impossible" escape, are blessed by Olidammara in person.
ScripturesOlidammara's religion lacks a single holy book, but instead maintains hundreds of mutually contradictory collections of parables and songs. Any attempt to codify or reconcile these texts is anathema to Olidammara's creed, which teaches that chaos should be embraced and material things have little importance or intrinsic value.
In WarIt's a rare occasion indeed when the church of Olidammara rallies to war. Such instances are truly significant events that could mark the end of existence (or their own). In such instances, the church never fights cohesively, relying instead on guerilla tactics; members tend to stick to themselves, hiding in the shadows or staying invisible while summoned monsters fight for them. Alternatively, some use illusions to distract their foes while they strike from behind, using hit-and-run tactics to confusticate and deceive their enemies.
AfterlifeSomewhere, on the outer fringes of heaven, by Kord's fields of Ysgard lies the Den of Olidammara, a great hall of mazes and hidden rooms, with at the center a great hall. Filled with all kinds of scoundrels, gamblers, performers and party-goers alike, the Hall is home to the Great Party. In the center stands a great divan which is where Olidammara often sits when not out on some scheme.
OrdersMany bard organizations are on very good terms with the cult of Olidammara, but none are officially associated with it. The same is true of thieves' guilds.
Life must be grasped with both hands and a life without fun isn't worth living. Joy must be brought to all. In the good times, people should celebrate and share their happiness as well as their wealth, whether spiritual or material. In darker times, people should have fun so as not to succumb to despair. Misery, temperance and solemnity are to be avoided because all end up poisoning the soul. One should not go through life without laughing or experiencing joy on a daily basis.
Music is the voice of the soul, not just an art for art, but rather a means of expression so that all creatures can understand you.
Making others laugh at your expense is a good thing; making them laugh at the expense of someone else is a superior thing.
Olidammara, most often appears as a slender young man with olive skin, merry green eyes, chestnut hair, and a rakish beard. His magical mask allows him to take any form, however, and he often goes incognito. His favored musical instrument, the Kantele of the Oldest, can conjure illusions and real matter and shape the emotions of those who listen to its sounds as if they were moist clay.
Olidammara, bard of the gods, is on good terms with Aasterinian, Fharlanghn, Dalt, Garl Glittergold, Ehlonna, Ye'Cind, and Kord. Heironeous and Hextor may find him annoying at times, but they tolerate him because of his charm and humor. He even gets along with Zagyg, despite their past run-ins; the Mad Archmage appreciates Olidammara's embrace of chaos. Olidammara sponsored the apotheosis of the demigoddess Rudd, who remains his favorite among the divinities. He also sponsored Kuroth. He is the brother of Scahrossar, but these two deities have nothing to do with one another, and their relationship is only mentioned in the most obscure of texts.
Kurell feels great jealousy toward Olidammara for his greater popularity among thieves, and seeks always to steal away his worshipers. Astilabor dislikes the Laughing Rogue. Olidammara avoids Nerull, Erythnul, Iuz, and other blatantly destructive deities, as their malevolence is jarring to him. He would have liked to be their friend, but contents himself with teasing them gently.
MythologyThe Shaping of Oerth - In the Old Tales, Olidammara is one of the gods that fought against the Primordials during the First War. After the defeat of the Titans, he was kind of around during the period in which the gods shaped Oerth, but he always made excused to get out of working. What he *did* do, however, was muck up the work of the other gods, adding his own touch of chaos to the world. It is said that Erythnuul was so enraged by these pranks that he descended into madness, becoming the god of madness, torture and slaughter. His anger nearly broke the world in two and he needed to be restrained. It is said that Olidammara laughed all the while.
Stealing the Sun - His most famous escapade was stealing the sun from the sky while the gods battled Erythnuul, just to prove he could (some say he drove the god mad just to distract the others). He was eventually tricked into admitting his theft by his close friend Fharlanghn, the only one to ever trick the Laughing Rogue. He was then trapped in the Room Without Doors, which he subsequently escaped through unknown means.
Andromalius - Andromalius, once Olidammara's herald, repented of mischief and roguery on his deathbed, hoping in this way to cheat his god of his soul. This, Andromalius believed, would be the greatest theft of his long career.
The Laughing Rogue was at first upset with his servant at this apparent betrayal, but soon he laughed, realizing the irony of a thief who seeks to steal by forsaking thievery. Yet he couldn't accept Andromalius' spirit, for that would ruin the joke; nor did he wish for another god to have such a clever soul. Finally, the god decided to "steal" Andromalius from the cosmos altogether, casting him into a void between existence and non-existence. Whether Andromalius appreciated this "joke" was never clear.
The Grand Illusion - This myth tells of how Olidammara, in the guise of a beggar and wielding the Kantele of the Oldest, inspired a rebellion against a tyrannical lich-king thousands of years ago.
Olidammara and the Grand Talisman - This myth tells how Olidammara, traveling in the company of Fharlanghn, charmed the truename from the Nameless Demon and forced him to give up the amulet that contained his soul.
Zagig and the Carapace - This myth, of very recent vintage, tells of Olidammara's attempt to loot Castle Greyhawk of its treasure in the last days of Zagig Yragerne's residence. To his surprise, his protege Rudd was imprisoned there in Zagig's Godtrap. He tried to rescue her, but Zagig turned the tables on him and imprisoned him in the form of a small, carapaced animal. Olidammara escaped, later stealing some of the Mad Archmage's treasure anyway. He retains the ability to form a shell to protect himself, leaving the shell behind as he teleports merrily away.