The Ancient Brethren
Before anything there was nothing and out of this nothing Came the Ancient Brethren.
- Old Celestian text over the Gates of Wisdom
Before the existence of any Gods or even the Planes, there were the Ancient Brethren. The average person doesn’t even know of their existence and anything they may know or heard of relating to them comes from unsubstantiated rumors and myths.
The Ancient Brethren consist of an uncertain number of entities; however, most learned scholars consider the following to be among them; Asmodeus, Jazirian, The Serpent (Mok-Slyk), The Spelljammer, The Lady of Pain.
Their roles in the creation of the multiverse are merely speculation and legend.
A derided and hotly contested segment support that an Illithid God, Ilsisine*is also one of the Ancient Brethren.
Jazirian Couati God, Lawful Good, His realm known as Uroboros, the Gates of Wisdom, could be found in Solania, the 4th of the 7 Heavens. The Ruby Palace of Sardior was said to appear here on its way through the Planes. Jazirian with Ahriman established the fundamental principles of planes: the Unity of the Rings, the Rule of Threes, and the Center of All, creating the ring-shaped cosmos. Jazirian was killed by Merrshaulk.
Rumor: It is said that Mok-Slyk was the one who taught Vecna magic
Ilsisne “Great Brain or Powerful Brain” patron deity and creator of the Illithids. Oryndoll is considered a holy place. Based in the Caverns of Though in the Outlands. Foes of Ilsisne include Lloth.
Asmodeus – Prince of Darkness, he who is most feared, keeper of the Rovagug, the Rough Beast. Asmodeus is often considered to be one of the Ancient Brethren. Prince of Darkness, one of the rulers of Hell, one who is Most Feared. Penned the contract of creation. He is the one who keeps the Rovagug “The Rough Beast” trapped in the Pit of Gormuz, the only key to its prison kept by Asmodeus.
Celestian: The Far Wanderer, Oridean God from Oearth. One of the major powers worshipped on the Rock of Bral. Celestian got along with other gods of travel from other pantheons (Ie Desna) but especially his brother Fharlanghn the Far Traveler also from Oerthian Panthion. Celestian has several astral devas at his disposal whom he could call for aid when needed. There is a College of Celestian on the Rock of Bral (Lenata Starborne graduated from there) and a large temple in the Barrier Peaks on Grayhawk. Portfolio: The cosmos, stars, space, firmament, sky, wandering, exploring, traveling, dreams
Domains: Travel, Wildspace, Knowledge, Trickery, Psionics
Allies: Dalt (GH), Delleb (GH), Fharlanghn (GH), Heward (GH), Keoghtom (GH), Lendor (GH), Murlynd (GH), Pelor (GH), Procan (GH), Rao (GH), Velnius (GH), Xerbo (GH), Zagyg (GH), Rais (SJ/GH), Muamman Duathal/Marthammor Duin, Sehanine Moonbow, Hermes, Puchan, Selne (FR)
Foes: Erythnul (GH), Hextor (GH), Iuz (GH), Tharizdun/Dark God (GH), Vecna (GH/RL), Wastri (GH), Elder Elemental God, Great Mother, Ilsensine
Symbol: An array of seven “stars” (a diamond, amethyst, sapphire, emerald, topaz, jacinth, and ruby) blazing with the fire of distant suns on a black circle.
Labelas Aneroth: “Lord of the Continuum” he guards against those who would alter history. Little known Elven God of Time, longevity, the moment of choice and history, has few followers. No known alliances or conflicts with other Gods. Lives in the realm of Arvandor on the plane of Arborea.
Desna: Varisarian Goddess, one of the original 8 deities but instead of building Golarion, she built the Heavens, Ancient Goddess of Freedom and Luck with aspects in travel. Desna strongly opposes Lamashtu and actively hunts the demigod, Ghlaunder. Night hags hate Desna. Desna is an enemy of Xhamen-Dor.
Desna’s home is Cynosure, a demiplane on the material plane in a castle known as Sevenfold Cynosure. It can exist simultaneously in Elysium and Cynosure if she wishes it.
Sekhmet “The Lady of the Slaughter, Avenger of Wrongs”, Chaotic Neutral. Violently opposed to the “Pale One” and those that follow that dark deity. Goddess of Women and vengeance.
Istus – The Goddess of Fate is the Baklunish goddess of fate, destiny, divination, the future, and honesty. Her symbol is the golden spindle with three strands. Three aspects; a cold maiden, a haughty noblewoman and an old crone. She has a strange cloud-like companion who is a Prince from the Demiplane of Time. Istus dwells in the Web of Fate.
The Lady of Pain – One of The Ancient Brethren, She does not This enigmatic being serves as the ruler of Sigil. None know her origins, or even her nature; she has existed for as long as Sigil has, and Sigil has been known almost as long as mortals have existed on the planes. Never speaking and rarely intervening, she acts only through her servants, the dabus. Resembling the dabus in some respects, the Lady appears as an expressionless female, hovering a few inches above the ground, never making a sound. Her pale face is ringed by a crown of blades, protruding from her flesh, and those whom her shadow falls across are flayed alive, sliced to ribbons by her very nature.
There are almost as many theories about her origins as there are citizens of Sigil; some serious, others less so. Some claim she is merely a fiend, the first being to discover Sigil and thus taken by it to rule. Others claim she has her origins in the ancient past of the multiverse, a contemporary of the Serpent or the Dark Powers. Still others claim her a daughter of Poseidon, an advanced form of dabus, or even seven giant squirrels on each other’s shoulders with a ring of levitation and a costume.
She does not allow Gods to enter her domain though clerics are tolerated. Illithids are not seen in Sigil though they do send spies and emissaries there. Etsuriko is the only living person known to have heard her speak.
The Spelljammer – The Spelljammer is a legendary ship which looks like a gigantic manta ray, and houses an entire city on its back. All spacefarers (people who live in wildspace) have heard of the Spelljammer but very few have ever seen it themselves. It is this ship that gives its name to “spelljamming”, “spelljamming helms” and anything else connected with spelljamming. The ship has been reported to have been seen in countless spheres for as long as records go back. Even some groundlings (people who live on planets that have very little or no commerce with spelljamming communities) have legends about it. There are hundreds of conflicting legends about this ship, and a mythology has developed about the ship that is similar to the legends surrounding The Flying Dutchman.
The Spelljammer is one of The Ancient Brethren.
The Serpent (Mor-Slyk by the ancient Flan peoples) is an entity of godlike power, believed to be the personification of arcane magic.
The Serpent appears as a long, snakelike, semi-transparent entity. The Serpent’s head bears draconic features, and several dorsal ridges run along its back.
The Serpent is said to be a member of a group of unfathomably old entities known as the Ancient Brethren, which though similar to gods, are not exactly gods, though some beings honor them as such. The Lady of Pain, Asmodeus, and Jazirian are also sometimes said to belong, or to have once belonged to this group, and supposedly Vecna is a descendant of the Ancient Brethren. There may also be a connection between the Ancient Brethren and the draedens and baernoloths born before the multiverse began.
The Serpent is believed to have personally instructed Vecna in the ways of magic. Vecna’s mother, Mazzel, told her son that the Serpent gains its power by devouring the souls of those who honor it.
Other rumors include that the Serpent is a guise of Asmodeus, or that the Serpent doesn’t exist at all. Perhaps it is only Vecna’s own madness and insight whispering back at him from within the darkness of his own one-eyed skull.
Source The Great Library of Grayhawk
Mordenkainan – Oerthian archmagis (30th level spellcaster) and leader of the Circle of Eight on Grayhawk. Vecna may have destroyed the circle of Eight on his first attempt at becoming a greater deity. Mordenkainan is credited with creating a great many useful and powerful spells. It is said he inhabits The Tower of Urm and uses it as a vehicle to travel the multiverse,
Estevaan – One of the top movers and shakers of Sigil, Estavaan the Merchant Lord is head of the Sigil Office of the Planar Trade Consortium.
Black Monolith – with glowing lights projecting an image that shifts. (We had a vision of it while walking the spiral path on the desert planet) Melisande Denaris recognizes it as Guidance.
Eclavdra – Eclavdra is the leader of House Eilservs and the most powerful priestess of Lolth. Her former consorts include Lyme, Derakhshan, and the demon lord Graz’zt. She also has a son, Athux. Eclavdra now serves as Lolth’s chief diplomat, as well as the supreme mortal ruler of her organization and religion. Eclavdra is a powerful, ravishing drow priestess of Lolth. She is known for her cruelty and complex scheming, and her total lack of compassion. She eliminates rivals before they can become threats.
Luigi – The Beholder (Owner of the Laughing Beholder)
the famous beholder and tavern keeper. Luigi is an extremely wise and knowledgeable beholder who is one of the very few members of his race to understand the beholder’s destiny to learn and to teach. Luigi is a civic minded and well-liked citizen of Bral and spends most of his time listening to the rumors of far spheres and great adventures.
Luigi is more than happy to share information with anyone who cares to seek the answers from him, but he has an infuriating tendency to withhold vital knowledge. He cannot reveal knowledge that would upset the balance of the cosmos and on many occasions that could depend on something as simple as an adventurer knowing where to find a fabled ruin or a reclusive hermit. All he asks in return is a story or song for his many patrons.
The Laughing Beholder is rarely troubled by bullies or hoodlums. Large Luigi’s powerful magical abilities quickly put an end to trouble virtually before it starts.
This is where Commodore Vedis Valentine worked for years as the head tavern wench before she became an adventurer. Luigi also warned the Spelljoined that the Illithid were using the Chronomancers as batteries and using Fate Eaters within the Loom to clean up their changes to avoid being noticed by the Fates and Fortunes. It was also he that explained the significance of the Spelljammer tattoos in their ability to be “unstrung from fate”.
- Mindflayer Wizard* – A couple possible theories
Illithids eschew magic in favor of psionics, those that choose to study wizardry over psionics are often ostracized and disconnected from the elder brain. They must achieve immortality via undeath instead of merging with the Elder Brain, becoming Illithid litchs called alhoons. These alhoons are only concerned with their own survival rather than that of the hive.
Strom Wakeman is an alchemist and explorer from Grayhawk. Wakeman, an enterprising trader and scholar of Underdark exotica, allowed himself to be captured by the Illithid on one of his expeditions. With a non-magical mixture of various herbs that Wakeman named laethen, he was able to preserve his consciousness through ceremorphosis, and learned to use his psionic powers to keep from having to consume brains. Thus, he worked against the Illithid plots from within. The legend of the Adversary was born from his frequent sabotage, though the actual acts were never connected to him. The players’ characters in the adventure become his agents in stopping the illithids’ plans, as his own movements rely upon secrecy from his “fellow” illithids.