Luthic is the orcish goddess of fertility, medicine, females, and servitude. Luthic embodies the orcish feminine ideal, subordinate to male orcs but still protecting the cohesion of orcish society. Her sacred animal is the cave bear.
As wife of Gruumsh and mother of Bahgtru, she is seen as the epitome of an orcish female, for she is servile to her mate and has produced a strong warrior son for him. In these roles, she also represents the fertility of the orc race, although many male orcs look to One-Eye as the patron of male fertility. While the sole widely-accepted female deity amongst the orcish pantheon, she is by no means soft. She is harsh in her judgments and a vicious combatant when defending the lairs and children of orcs, for they are the future strength of the orcish tribes.
As the Cave Mother, she is seen as the protective embrace of the caves and caverns that so often constitute the homes of the orcish race. Caves are Luthic's womb, from which warriors are born and boil forth to wage war upon the other races. Finally, she is also the one who gave rudimentary medicine and herbalism to her followers, thus enabling them to heal brave warriors so they can more quickly rejoin battle.
Luthic is a hard, ferocious deity whose interests in medicine and healing have nothing to do with relieving suffering. Healthy warriors can protect the tribe and slay their enemies, whereas wounded or sickly warriors cannot.
Luthic's church forms something of a backbone in most orcish tribes, as she can count most of the tribe's females as followers. They tend to the domestic needs of their people, such as child-rearing and meal preparation. They also direct the activities of agriculture and food gathering. In addition, they work to ensure a healthy next generation of young orc warriors through frequent fertility rites and the use of their healing and herbal knowledge. They also use these same powers to keep morale high, or raise it again after war or disease has inflicted a loss upon their people.
The priestesses are very powerful and influential amongst the tribes females, and usually oversee their actions and duties. It is not uncommon to find them mated to the most powerful males in the tribe, such as the chief, chief priest of Gruumsh, or politically powerful warriors. While they are servile to their mates and the males of the tribe, they can often get their way through subtle manipulation and flattery. Males in the tribe usually leave the females to their own devices when it comes to issues of child-rearing, food gathering, and tending to the orcish hearths, as these are "unmanly" activities.
VestmentsDuring ceremonies and holy rites, Luthic's clergy wear robes and caps made of black and brown bear fur over leather clothing. The robes and caps are usually decorated with the teeth and claws of bears; higher ranking priests generally have more decorations. They always carry a pouch of dirt, which the priests believe is necessary in the use of their healing spells. The holy symbol used by the clergy is a bear jawbone rubbed with a mixture of red ochre and soot.
Clergy members wear the typical garments for the tribe when they are not conducting services or attending ceremonies. When a combat situation is imminent, they generally use light armor, such as leather, and whatever weapons are typical for their tribe.
HierarchyThe vast majority of priests are female (about 9 out of 10), but she does have male followers that tend to focus on her aspects of healing wounded warriors and the ferocious defense of home and hearth. Novices in the service of Luthic are known as the Children of the Cave, while full priests are called Brothers/Sisters of the Cave, and specialty priests are known as Denmistresses/masters. The hierarchy of her clergy is rigid and well defined, with the most powerful priestess leading the group in all rites. This priestess is known as Sacred Cavewarder, and lesser priestesses have titles such as Sacred Mother, Sacred Midwife, or Sacred Medicinemaker. Males serving Luthic are not part of the general hierarchy, but are considered a separate branch known as the Defenders of the Sacred Cave (see Luthic's orders). Shamans are not part of the clerical hierarchy, although they are considered brothers and sisters of the faith.
TemplesUnlike the priests of other orcish gods, Luthic's priesthood creates quite a large number of shrines. As she is the goddess of caves and caverns, such places are especially sacred to her priests; it is considered especially auspicious if such a site is or was the lair of a cave bear. Small caves near surface-dwelling orcs are quickly consecrated to the Cave Mother. In the Underdark, a chamber within the orcish tribal complex that can hold a large number of priests at one time will be declared sacred to her, and taken as her temple. Only when there is no suitable cave nearby will her priests worship her on the surface. In all cases, holy sites must have a floor of dirt, and in the very center is a large hearth. When the sites are within the confines of an orcish village or tribal complex, the priests also store herbs for drying and later use. The walls, entrances, and perimeters are usually carved with crude runes that recite prayers and supplications to the Cave Mother. Occasionally the priests of Gruumsh build squat stone temples; in such cases a shrine of Luthic will always be located inside. As befits the wife of the chief of the orcish pantheon, these shrines are in the central chamber of the temple beside (or obscured behind) the altar to One-Eye. If the temple is large enough to have a subterranean level, there will be an additional, larger shrine to Luthic located there.
RitualsClerics and adepts of Luthic pray for their spells each day whenever the moon is highest in the sky. Since holy days are tied to the new moon, the symbol of orc fertility, and the most important holy day in the clergy of the Great Mother is held on the winter solstice. This celebration, known as the Coming of the Winter Cave, is a great feast time and fertility ritual. The female orcs of the tribe, led by Luthic's clergy, prepare a massive feast of all food that will not keep through winter, while readying the rest for storage. This is the traditional time for warriors, particularly those freshly raised to adulthood over the previous months, to claim mates from amongst the widows and unmated females. After short ceremonies certifying the relations, the great feast is held, during which the males regale each other with stories of their great deeds, and the deeds of the ancestors. After the feast, prayers to Luthic and Gruumsh are invoked, asking them to bless the tribe with many strong children the following year. This is typically when a great many orcish young are conceived.
OrdersThe Defenders of the Sacred Cave is the only military order associated with Luthic's church. They function primarily as protectors of the priestesses and the holy sites of the Cave Mother. They also function as general defenders of villages and encampments, as well as the women and children, when the tribe goes to war. While defending female clergy and children, they enter an enraged state, gaining a +2 to their attack rolls but suffering a −2 to their armor class. The order is entirely male, and consists mainly fighters and a few clerics. They can be found on all worlds where Luthic has a strong presence.
Rumors exist of a secret group of female Luthicar monks existing within some tribes, attacking unarmed since females are denied the use of weapons by males.
Life is sheltered within the earth from which it springs. Honor the wisdom of the Cave Mother, whose strength is the backbone of the horde and the root of valor in battle. Understand your position within the tribe and do your part to stengthen the tribe against all rivals. The cave is the sheltering embrace of the Mother of Bahgtru and the bastion of orc strength. Endure all hardships.
Luthic is described as a matronly orc with very long claws. She fights bare-handed with her claws because only the males of the community were allowed to wield a weapon. She might also use powerful spells, as such arts were not considered manly in orcish culture.
Luthic is the wife of Gruumsh and the mother of Bahgtru, though only the latter listens to her. Bahgtru honors his mother's commands, even above Gruumsh, a small rebellion on the part of his otherwise loyal son that the One-Eyed God tolerates only grudgingly. The other orc gods pay her only a small amount of respect, and only because she is the wife of Gruumsh, treatment she grudgingly accepts as her lot in life even if she detests it. Luthic harbors a deep hatred for the traditional enemies of the orc pantheon, including the goblinoid gods, the dwarven gods, and the elven gods.