Boccob is the god of magic, arcane knowledge, balance and foresight. He is recognized throughout Flanaess as the god of magic and knowledge. As such, seers and soothsayers implore him for omens, the sages consult him to decipher arcane and the mages often seek his help to create magic objects or new spells.
Boccob is nicknamed the Uncaring because he cares little for the fate of people, nor whether he is worshiped or not. Boccob rarely has any desire to interfere with events occurring on Oerth. He is the least interested of the deities, having no agenda to push.
Boccob stands apart from the other gods and almost never leaves the halls of his library located in the Outer Lands, preferring to send his servant, Zagyg the Mad, to represent him. In his halls, it is claimed that he holds at least one copy of each magic object (with the exception of artifacts and relics) never designed by mages or illusionists and a copy of all the alchemy formulas written to it. day. Despite his immeasurable knowledge, Boccob always seeks to learn more about the structures of the Planes, profane magic and forgotten legends.
Among the Bakluni, Boccob is known as Al'Zarad, the god of Magic and Learning, portraying him with Baklunish facial features. Regarded as a creation of Istus, Al'Zarad has few worshipers.
The cult of Boccob is disdained by ordinary people and its followers are almost all scribes, sages, soothsayers or mages. They often have a small personal altar and practice their faith in discretion, only very rarely going to a temple. He is known to every culture.
The members of the Boccob clergy have a quest identical to that of their god: collecting as much knowledge as possible, guided by a pure and objective spirit of absolute neutrality. The magic of the mysteries is not venerated as such, but as a formidable tool put at the disposal of those who manage to master it. Creating spells or magic items is a sacred task.
Like their god, the Eyes (name commonly given to Boccob's priests because of their symbol: the Eye of All Vision) do not concern themselves with the number of their faithful. His clergy remain aloof from worldly affairs and all neutral and moral/ethical opinions that are too clear cut are frowned upon within the faithful. They are serious and solemn people, devoted to the search for knowledge, spending their time in libraries, laboratories or going on an adventure in search of magic objects, precious books or other rare lost items.
All of Boccob's priests are custodians of mysterious knowledge and unusual facts, some even hold unique copies of powerful mage spells. The common people see them as rather mysterious priest-mages, wise men who hold truths which they refuse to transmit in their integrity and whose words, therefore, must be listened to with distrust.
Boccob's followers celebrate powerful magic in all its forms, performing ceremonies when a magic item is made or a new spell discovered. They adamantly oppose any attempt to destroy a magic item or any magical place. Most of Boccob's clerics keep busy rooting out bits of magical lore, recovering lost magical items, and investigating mysteries.
Boccob's clerics are alert for signs of magical aptitude among youngsters, and they offer education to any youth they deem worthy of the privilege, whether noble or commoner. Clerics of Boccob almost always learn their prayers and sacraments in a classroom at a major temple-college. Anything that involves powerful magic involves the followers of Boccob. Creating or destroying artifacts, uncovering new kinds of magic, and travelling the Outer Planes are all common quests. A follower of Boccob might rescue a sorcerer captured by bugbears, brave a ruin to retrieve an ancient spellbook, or break up a cult of ur-priests seeking to cut off magic power to all but themselves. Prayers to Boccob have remarkably florid language. One common one begins, "Hail and I greet you, Boccob, Master of Magic, All-Seeing, All-Potent Revealer of Mysteries Beyond Compare. Whose Perspicacity knows no boundaries, most puissant protector of the eldritch realms, both known and unknown..."
Members of Boccob's clergy often multiclass as wizards or sorcerers. Boccob's clerics are usually neutral, or a derivative of neutrality. The church does not actively encourage others to study magic, but neither does it discourage them, as the church's primary concern is balance.
VestmentsCeremonial garments are purple, enhanced with gold, and decorated with intricate patterns and esoteric symbols. In some temples, the difficulty of deciphering the runes embroidered on a robe is indicative of the level of the priest. The more obscure the runic language, the more important the priest in the temple.
HierarchyStanding within the church is determined based upon one's contributions to knowledge and magic. Thus, many sages and wizards hold sway within this organization. There is no overall hierarchy within Boccob's church. Individual temples determine who is in charge, though they all use the same format for determining temple leadership. A council of five selects the church leader based upon the quality and quantity of an individual's research and scholarly writings during the previous five years, and the individual's knowledge of arcane lore, as determined through five days of testing. Any priest may take these tests, regardless of level. Once chosen, the temple's administrator holds that office for five years.
TemplesOfficial temples (called the Bastions of Knowledge) are rare and are almost all found in only the largest cities. In fact, most places of worship come down to small altars in libraries, schools of magic, or in the home of a worshiper. Some priests erect their homes away from civilization, in places difficult to access. However, young priests travel a lot, moving from city to city, from place of knowledge to place of magic, and then celebrate worship on altars more or less improvised.
Boccob favors tall, round towers for his temples (although one in Greyhawk city is a pyramid) and almost all are magically protected from outside interference. Many have colleges for the study of both divine and arcane magic, and visitors are as likely to meet wizards as well as clerics inside.
Areas of the temple may have very limited access. In certain buildings and wings, visitors may be disarmed and undergo a meticulous magical examination, and sometimes even a proper search. In addition, rumors claim that the smallest corners of the temples of Boccob are under constant magical scrutiny and that, if a thief succeeds in stealing an object from him, the clergy have the means to find it wherever he hides.
Visitors to a temple of Boccob usually get a cool greeting at best and are never truly welcomed unless they have some unusual magic item to offer for examination or money to spend on spells, magic items, or information. Most Boccob temples provide magic item identification and a number of divinations to the public.
RitualsReligious services combine complex rituals, the burning of incense, the recitation of formulas of alchemy or spells, and many praises of knowledge expressed in the various languages mastered by the officiant. Certain ceremonies incorporate all these elements and can thus last for hours, even days, when their declared goal is to obtain a special favor from Boccob. However, most offices that are celebrated have only a few of the elements listed above and last no more than a few minutes—an hour at most. The frequency of religious services varies, except in large temples where they are held daily. The presence of a member of the congregation is not compulsory if he's in the middle of a magical work. Many rituals are performed impromptu, responding to the request of a visitor who wishes to identify a magic object, translate a text or decipher a message, or solemnly formalize the authorship of a discovery, the creation of a spell or a magic object.
Arcanuum: This ceremony takes place once a year, on a date set by the temple administrator. After an hour of very pompous rituals carried out by the priest of the highest level present, all the officiants exchange the knowledge acquired during the past year.
Five Years This ceremony formalizes the appointment of an administrator at the head of a temple for the next five years.
Holy DaysCelestial Conjunctions: As many clerics of Boccob are astrologers, profound conjunctions of the stars, moons, and Wanderers are observed by the church with the uttering of prophecies and other various complex ceremonies.
Great Discovery: Celebrated early in the year, this holiday honors the magical discoveries made in the previous year. Every five years, the holiday is expanded to include testing for magical talent and expeditions to rediscover lost lore.
The Days of Thought: These days are devoted to introspection, the following of Boccob putting aside their dilemmas and current activities, to try to learn more about their own psyche. During these four days, the priests of Boccob remain cloistered in their room in a state of meditation and withdrawal.
The Feast of Jesters: Like the cults of Lydia, Lirr, Norebo, Olidammara, Ralishaz, Trithéréon, Rao and even Iuz, the followers of Boccob take part in this celebration. During the Feast of the Jesters, servants are prompted to the head of a village, a town or even a royal court. They enact silly laws that must be followed by everyone, even the noblest—although traditionally a representative of true authority is appointed to exercise control and repeal any proclamation that could have disastrous consequences. The Feast of the Jesters is celebrated in many regions where the authority is not too strict (the Pale Theocracy having banned it).
The Last Rite of the Prophet - When a powerful cleric or other devotee of Boccob dies, a somber eulogy is held (as was done for Riggby recently). In addition, some of the magical power is drawn from the corpse to empower a magic item.
ScripturesThe Uncaring's Will: Divided into five chapters and twenty-five subchapters, this is the core text of Boccob the Uncaring's faith. It is a collection of sermons and prophecies discussing the origins of the faith, epistles from early members of the religion, commands from Boccob himself, and obscure predictions of the future.
Words of the Prophets: This is literally a collection of prophecies of all sorts, many of them of doubtful veracity. Acolytes of Boccob study them as much to learn divination's limitations as its successes.
The Rare Water: Considered a heresy by some Boccobites, The Rare Water claims that each spell cast forever diminishes the amount of magic in the multiverse. Those who trust this book therefore seek to use magic as little as possible. The mainstream church of Boccob teaches that the use of and creation of magic actually replenishes the amount of magic available.
OrdersMany schools and guilds of magic are affiliated with the cult of Boccob. The largest guild supported (discreetly) by the clergy of Boccob is the Faucongris magic guild, on which depends the University of Magic Arts (the most famous school of magic in all of Flanaess). In general, the cult of Boccob agrees to associate with guilds and schools that accept members from any alignment, or that excludes all extremes.
Balance takes precedence over Good, Evil, Law or Chaos. We must reject the incursions of Good as the oppression of Evil. We must repeal overly rigid laws, without sinking into anarchy for that. Magic is the most important thing that the world offers us and it is necessary to preserve it so as not to upset the balance. Magic is neither good nor bad, neither fair nor chaotic, and it is best to exercise it in a spirit devoid of ethical judgments.
Boccob is usually portrayed as a middle aged man with white hair who wears purple robes decorated with golden runes. He is described as carrying the very first staff of the magi with him at all times. In addition, he knows every spell ever created and can travel to any time and dimension. He is the possessor of the only magical library that contains a copy of every potion, spell, and magic item in existence.
Boccob guided the apotheosis of his servant, Zagyg. He is allied with Delleb. The Archmage of the Deities is opposed to Tharizdun, who he believes is slowly draining magic from the Oerth.