This is part of a series on Arth’s Pantheon. Twice a month we’re taking a look at life on Arth and the gods that shape it. If you’re new to the series, get started with an overview. This post looks at the god of death.
Arth’s Pantheon comes in all shapes and sizes, but Mordo Ogg stands out among them. The God of Death rules his realm alone, and he isn’t associated with any race of Man or monster. He does not pursue followers, or reward those that seek him out. But for a distant god ruling over the end of life, Mordo Ogg is surprisingly accepted, and even seen as amiable in some cultures.
After all, he’s not like the death gods you get in other universes, with all the plotting and mass killing and such.
Mordo Ogg is one of the younger gods. Its said that all people were as ageless as the Elves and Sten in the Age of Creation. With mankind, gods, and spirits at peace and no monsters about, that meant everyone was effectively immortal. That changed when the demons invaded at the start of the First War.
Some legends say Mordo Ogg was the first mortal to die. Some say he was a son of Al’Thadan and Al’Matra. Some say he was a demigod born from a union of Ad’az and a mortal Dwarf, though this theory is very confusing to most people.
Wherever he came from, Mordo Ogg arrived near the beginning of the First War. Scriptures of Musana and Thordin say that the souls of mortals cut loose from the weave were getting stuck in the Hall of the Gods, and it was interfering with the great weave. Mordo Ogg is credited with ushering those lost souls on to the appropriate heavens, restoring balance to the Hall.
The Lord of the End
Mordo Ogg’s realm lies between Arth and the Hall of the Gods. When someone or something dies, their souls are sent to the Lord of the End, who renders judgement. Various stories show him weighing mortals on a great scale, reading of a dead person’s deeds from a great book, or even administering a math quiz; the truth is that nobody knows how Mordo Ogg judges the dead, or if he is even doing the judging. Followers of Ad’az believe their god renders a verdict for dead Dwarves, and Mordo Ogg merely delivers it.
What is agreed upon, however, is that Mordo Ogg ushers a soul to its final destination (or at least its next one). Especially noteworthy mortals are sometimes sent to the side of a god that favors them, and some of the angels and minor gods of legend are said to have been great souls who died valiant deaths. A more common fate for a soul is to be sent to one of the heavens, which may or may not be a good thing. (As the old Halfling proverb says, Dog Heaven is Cat Hell.) People who led unworthy lives may be unwoven altogether, their essence returned to the great weave. And especially evil folk may find themselves cast out into the nothing beyond the hall, where they could be dragged into one of the hells or sent to wander aimlessly through eternal chaos.
It took an odd sort to serve in the priesthood of Mordo Ogg. The Lord of the End had few followers and no treasury. He rarely afforded his clergy power and bestowed few rewards on them for their devotion. And when a priest finally arrived at their own end, all of Mordo Ogg’s scant teachings were clear: there was no special treatment for his disciples.
Then again, the god of death demanded little of his followers, and people asked even less of them. And while the majority of people went all their lives ignoring most of the pantheon, all of them bowed to Mordo Ogg at least once.
— Son of a Liche, Chapter 6
Mordo Ogg doesn’t have many temples, and really only a handful of shrines. He delivers few scriptures, and has no teachings. Other gods leave mortals wondering how to curry divine favor, but Mordo Ogg is clear: you cannot. Death will come for you, a verdict will be rendered, you will meet your fate. All Mordo Ogg wants from any person is one visit, and all he needs to do to get it is wait.
That being said, the God of Death is very clear that he only wants one appointment per mortal, and any form of Undeath breaks that tenant. Whether undead killed a second time face any grief from Mordo Ogg is unknown. The walking dead on Arth, however, find fierce and powerful opposition from his scant clergy.
Mordo Ogg’s Day
One quirk of Arth’s Calendar is that one day a year has no month (or sometimes up to a week of the year; it is a quirky calendar.) This is Mordo Ogg’s Day, or Mordo Oggs Days in a Dark Year. The last day of Fadelight is called Life’s Eve, Mordo Ogg’s Day after it is a worldwide celebration.Even as it honors the God of Death, however, the holiday is about celebrating and enjoying life and family, and appreciating the remainder of those things. Traditions vary, but they commonly involve large meals. holly scattered about, paper lanterns, wrapped gifts, massive fireworks displays, and small rag dolls that children ceremonially throw into a fire.
For more about the true spirit of Mordo Ogg’s Day, check out A Song of Three Spirits, the first novella set on Arth. In it, rich men are haunted by the ghosts of Mordo Ogg’s Day Past, Present, and Yet to Come. If it sounds just like a familiar holiday tale that you already know and love, be prepared: it’s not.
That’s it for this section of Arth’s Pantheon. You can get a good overview of the gods of Arth here. There’s more Arth Lore available on the blog as well. And in case you haven’t journeyed to Arth yourself yet, check out my books for some fantasy adventure that’s so funny, it’s epic.