|Titres|| Dowager of Illusions;|
formerly Maiden of Mists
|Domaines||Death, Evil, Law, Trickery|
|Sous domaines||Deception, Devil, Thievery, Undead|
|Arme de prédiléction||Net|
- 1 Introduction
- 2 PERSONIFICATION AND REALM
- 3 DOGMA AND WORSHIPERS
- 4 TEMPLES AND SHRINES
- 5 A PRIEST’S ROLE
- 6 HOLIDAYS
- 7 APHORISMS
- 8 HOLY TEXT
- 9 RELATIONS WITH OTHER RELIGIONS
- 10 NEW SPELL
- 11 CREATE DRUG
- 12 OBEDIENCE
- Mahathallah knows she will die—she has seen it. In the courts of the Boneyard, she judged countless souls. Generations, whole worlds, and entire millennia of spirits passed through her court en route to their afterlives. Mortals called her the Maiden of Mists, whose gaze pierced any veil and whose whisper parted any fog. She never sought praise, but she came to be worshiped nonetheless as one of the mysterious leaders of her kind: a psychopomp usher. Though her mistress, Pharasma, the Lady of Graves, never said as much, she was pleased. Mahathallah, however, could never entirely accept the prayers raised in her name. Her faithful claimed she knew every beginning, every act, and every end, but that wasn’t true. Mahathallah knew every mortal’s demise, and in her wisdom predicted the dooms of far greater beings—but to her own end she was utterly blind.
Ignorance of one’s own death is ofen a blessing to mortals, but the conclusion of her own existence tormented Mahathallah. That one failure of her perfect sight eventually consumed her vision, blinding her to all else. Over time, she became so preoccupied that she could no longer serve the souls seeking her judgment.
Realizing this, she went to the Lady of Graves. Mahathallah beseeched Pharasma to reveal why the goddess had impaired her sight, why she was able to see every end except the one most important to her. The goddess paused in her balancing of life and death for only a moment, just long enough to remind her servant that only those who travel the River of Souls may learn their fnal fate.
Mahathallah lef the Boneyard. She traveled to the mortal realm, waited for a portentous moment, and used her nearly perfect vision to fnd the last being to die in that instant. She then followed that spirit’s path along the River of Souls.
The length of the River of Souls diﬀers for every creature, but for Mahathallah the path was particularly winding. By the time her route returned to the Boneyard, all her shrines were rubble. She stood once more before the goddess at the center of the multiverse. Without a word, Pharasma pulled back the illusions of time and revealed Mahathallah’s fnal moment. The Maiden of Mists had never understood the fear mortals associated with death, and so had no concept of the terror she would face upon witnessing her own immortality’s end. And Mahathallah ﬂed.
None can say all the places Mahathallah wandered. The eldest sahkils of the Ethereal Plane recount her passing with furious awe and proud scars. Tales on mortal worlds tell of the crone who spoiled destiny, unraveling the planetary fates. But ultimately Mahathallah’s ﬂight drove her to one of existence’s deepest pits: Hell itself. Only Mahathallah knows what Asmodeus promised, but the Prince of Darkness calmed her as no other could. Ancient now as only a deity can be, Mahathallah turns her vision to the service of Hell, a maiden no longer, but the Dowager of Illusions.
PERSONIFICATION AND REALM
The Dowager of Illusions numbers among the nobility of Hell as the most elusive of the four demigoddesses known as the Whore Queens. Her appearance endlessly changes from that of a youthful, though cadaverous, angel wearing a dusk-hued burial gown to a rotting crone trailed by tatters and shattered wings. This cycle of decay and regeneration passes erratically, sometimes taking as much as a day or as little as a moment. Although typically cold and dispassionate, Mahathallah’s emotions seem to aﬀect her appearance, youth being the mask of her anger and age that of her nihilistic wisdom. Ever changing, Mahathallah is impossible to accurately depict. Artists ofen represent her as a vaguely feminine fgure cloaked in somber mists, or by her symbol alone—a glaring eye surrounded by an assortment of occult sigils.
Mahathallah shows her favor to mortals through lucid dreams, euphoric visions, fres hissing like sof laughter, and the disappearance of signs of age (whether minor or dramatic, but always temporary). Her disapproval comes in the form of wicks that refuse to catch ﬂame, patches of wrinkled skin, suddenly ineﬀective drugs, and—most dramatically—blindness.
The Dowager of Illusions is lawful evil and her areas of concern include death, fate, and vanity. Her favored weapon is a net—a metaphor for obsession and ensnaring magic. Her domains are Death, Evil, Law, and Trickery. Her priests are primarily clerics, mesmerists, oracles, and witches. Mahathallah’s divine realm is known as Voiporl, a dank, cavernous land where rents in the distant ceiling reveal the dizzying spin of alien constellations. Occupying caverns connecting Phlegethon and Stygia (the fourth and ffh layers of Hell), Voiporl is a realm of violet sand dotted by ancient temples with onion-shaped domes, cavernous pillars, and oasis gardens as big as jungles. Souls escaped from Phlegethon’s mines and workshops ofen ﬂee into this dim desert, where they are typically picked oﬀ by gigantic serpents or dragonﬂies, if not the desert witches, medusas, and undead who seek wisdom in those depths.
DOGMA AND WORSHIPERS
Mahathallah’s primary care is her followers’ ability to spread the core tenet of her faith: that mortal existence is limited and meaningless. Through whispers and drug-induced visions, she pulls back the veils of lies that obscure the profound facts of existence. Each stage of her teachings reveals the pure meaninglessness of life, and she claims to mislead only to reveal deeper truths. Yet Mahathallah is no anarchist. Lessons gravid with metaphor teach her followers that they hold the special ability to see through falsehoods and to craf their own—to fnd the grain of truth that pins every falsehood to reality. Those who recognize a lie can dispel it, make it true, or turn it to their service. Thus, her teachings strive to make her followers false arbiters of reality, convincing them that they are unto the gods themselves.
Mahathallah’s lessons foment arrogance and vanity, elevating her followers above the world’s blind throngs and encouraging them to distrust common wisdom and instead put their faith in the insight she grants. The teachings also impart a callousness toward those outside the faith, as the goddess’s followers spread the power of illusion, serve as guides to and interpreters of hallucinations and dreams, and capitalize on the ignorance and gullibility of the masses.
Ceremonies held in Mahathallah’s honor are rare and short, ofen revolving around haruspicy conducted at the solstices or equinoxes and the sacrifce of portentous beasts (blind birds, albino reptiles, or multi-headed goats). More elaborate displays are reserved for impressing useful rubes. For the most part, Mahathallah’s worship revolves around study, arcane and alchemical experimentation, and the seeking of visions—alone or in small groups— preceded and followed by prayers to the demigoddess. Many of Mahathallah’s philosophies call to outcasts.
She oﬀers the wisdom to see what others can’t, visions confrming one’s superiority over the common multitudes, and the power to turn the mysteries of life and death against one’s foes. Mahathallah has no care for who follows her or how mortals comfort themselves. Her clergy is dominated by women, especially in areas where there are strict gender roles or tension between genders, but the goddess has no special regard for her female followers, and men who feel powerless ﬂock to her faith as well. Members of third, ﬂexible, and nonbinary genders are also common in Mahathallah’s faith.
TEMPLES AND SHRINES
Worshipers of Mahathallah don’t build temples. Their scattered congregations collect around the dwellings and teachings of a single elder. The homes of such women are ofen ancient, sulfurous caves marked by ominous rock formations—though mossy huts and dark yurts aren’t uncommon. The interiors are cluttered with ritual tools for spiritual communion and the conﬂicting reeks of toxic herbs and natural gases abound. Although minor rituals and private fortune-tellings might transpire in such places, the most devout followers believe the goddess’s temple lies within their own minds—and only the worthy are granted the key.
In this case, the key Mahathallah’s followers speak of is a spiritual state of being, but also a closely guarded drug called adyton (see the sidebar on page 75). Only Mahathallah’s most devoted worshipers know the process of its creation, but the result is a fne, magical violet powder. By dusting their eyes, users immediately fall into a trancelike state while their consciousness enters an immersive mindscape (Pathfnder RPG Occult Adventures 234). This mindscape, known as the Adyton, is a vast, labyrinthine temple that ﬂoats in a balmy, sunless expanse. Here, Mahathallah’s worshipers from across the planes trade mysteries and raise praises to the demigoddess. Various scholarly devils (particularly bone and cabal devils), undead, and sahkils make pilgrimages to the Adyton, sharing and bartering secrets.
The mindscape is nearly infnite—every shadowy arcade and veiled shrine seems to connect to still other curving corridors. Those visiting the Adyton never feel hungry or thirsty and time passes more rapidly. The Adyton is a permanent mindscape controlled by Mahathallah herself, and changes at her whim.
A PRIEST’S ROLE
In Mahathallah’s faith, the demigoddess’s servants are sworn only to their deity and themselves. They consider uniting congregations, identifying and rooting out heresy, spreading dogma, raising monuments, and repeating rote ceremonies to be frivolities that waste time in the already ﬂeeting moment of mortal existence. For a true servant of Mahathallah, life is entirely about earning a place alongside the demigoddess and her grandest disciples in death, where they together can share the secrets of reality—and perhaps change its course. They are a tightlipped lot, saying little and allowing outsiders to assume much. Many live in squalor, indulging in hallucinations and psychic journeys, and ofen gaining reputations as inscrutable seers. Most hate the blind squabbling and meaningless pursuits of so-called civilizations. Rather than seeking to ruin nations and cities, those followers of Mahathallah who endure the presence of common folk trade on what they have learned, cultivating favors among the powerful and turning addicts into their slaves.
None willingly share all of their secrets, except with their daughters and those they adopt as such. Mahathallah embraces most worshipers, provided they prove their devotion to her, to exploring the secrets of the planes, and to keeping the secrets of her cult.
This attracts many selfsh magic-users, especially those who seek to trade on secrets and half-truths as routes to power. Many reclusive, neutral seers also drif into Mahathallah’s fold, avoiding the darker mysteries and more wicked members of her ﬂock. Bitter souls also join the faith, vainly believing Mahathallah speaks truth to them even as she reveals all else to be a lie.
Most of Mahathallah’s priests sleep during the day— avoiding the hottest hours or recovering from late-night rites. In the evening, they tend their gardens, collect plants best harvested under the dying sun, and prepare their homes for visitors. Soon afer dusk, many accept supplicants, perform fortune-tellings for money, or otherwise instruct those who look to them for counsel.
They perform their magic at midnight or otherwise seek communion with the demigoddess, be it through meditation, drugs, or the pursuit of other altered states. The worthiest of Mahathallah’s followers live almost a second life in the Adyton, studying or teaching amid those from distant lands or worlds.
Mahathallah’s holidays are largely tied into rare cosmic conjunctions and abnormalities. Her faith celebrates leap day, the extra day at the end of Calistril that only occurs every 8 years. They call this rare occasion Fateless Day, marking it as a time when fate loosens its bonds, promises don’t stand, and the River of Souls ceases to ﬂow. Mahathallah’s worshipers claim that a “back door” to death opens on this day, and that the dead who know what to look for can slip past Pharasma without being judged. Many sacrifces to Mahathallah and suicides among her followers take place on this day. The next Fateless Day occurs in 4720 ar.
Mahathallah’s believers trade in veiled wisdom and subjective truths. The maxims common among her followers share similar qualities.
We Are as You See Us: Many of Mahathallah’s followers appear ragged and weather-beaten, with clothing to match. To most, they look like hermits or outcasts, and are frequently dismissed as such. However, the learned and their fellow devotees recognize mystical reagents they carry, their wrinkles of experience, and the stains of oracular drugs on their eyes. So the faithful summarize this duality in this saying, and oﬀer it to outsiders as a bit of wisdom that most mistake for a greeting.
Mahathallah has no universal holy text, but her followers share a great deal of wisdom in the libraries of the Adyton, passing along discoveries and researching lost secrets. Many of Mahathallah’s followers keep records of their studies in journals widely referred to as “mysteries.”
The Mysteries of Salaur: Widely copied and traded among Mahathallah’s Qadiran followers, this encyclopedic tome focuses on the cultivation of hallucinogenic plants, particularly bloody methods of haruspicy, interpretations of dreams, and predictions of cosmic alignments. Any character who succeeds at a DC 20 Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (nature) check realizes that several of the purported facts are entirely fctional. A successful DC 25 Wisdom check, however, reveals numerous metaphor-coded prayers and rites to Mahathallah hidden among the fctions, including the process of preparing adyton. Salaur herself, a Keleshite mystic born in 1500 ar, is said to have found a way to preserve her body in a state of near death so her mind can eternally explore the halls of the Adyton.
RELATIONS WITH OTHER RELIGIONS
As one of the Whore Queens—or Angels of Vengeance or Queens of Light as these infernal demigoddesses are ofen known by their worshipers—Mahathallah has close ties to Ardad Lili, Doloras, and Eiseth. Of those in the group, however, she and Doloras compete to be most aloof. Much like Mahathallah, Doloras values wisdom over petty mortal distractions. The two have a dispassionate and distant, but mutually benefcial, relationship of trading secrets—typically exchanging Mahathallah’s mysteries of nature and the cosmos for Doloras’s innovations of science and suﬀering. Actionand emotion-driven Eiseth typically has little tolerance for Mahathallah’s patience and slow revenges. All four distrust the others and regard them as competitors, though they ofen ally with one another against other prominent devils, albeit reluctantly. Mahathallah ofen counsels Doloras, the group’s de facto leader, lending her memories of ancient lore and deadly prophecies alongside Ardad Lili’s appels for romance and revenge. In all of these cases, the followers of Mahathallah consider those who worship the other Whore Queens as allies in faith, and deal with them fairly—so long as these other servants respect their insight.
Among the other rulers of Hell, Mahathallah owes much to Asmodeus. Whatever the Prince of Lies promised the fallen psychopomp to bring her into Hell’s fold, her loyalty remains strong even afer millennia of horrors. Some in Hell claim that the Dowager of Illusions would have met her fate long ago if not for Asmodeus’s protection. Mahathallah also has close ties to Barbatos and Geryon, who share her interest in the darkest secrets of the multiverse. She and Barbatos have a strange sort of relationship, as they share prophecies and predictions of the future with one another. While she grounds her predictions in ageless planar insights and potent divinations, Mahathallah has yet to divine the source of the Bearded Lord’s foresight.
Mahathallah also has ties among sahkils (Pathfnder RPG Bestiary 5 212), forged during an eon of living among them. Her relationships vary; the sahkil tormentor Eil the Cancer Note admits to owing her countless favors, while Beiltod Goremouth holds an ancient grudge against her. A mysterious fgure among sahkils, Agra the Ridwife, also grudgingly acknowledges Mahathallah as her mother.
The churches of Desna and the empyreal lords Andoletta and Immonhiel go out of their way to stymie Mahathallah’s worshipers, viewing her faithful as hoarders of truth and corruptors of nature’s secrets. As with most things, Pharasma appears to not care about for Mahathallah’s rebellion, and neither she nor her church hold any special concern for the demigoddess’s followers.
Clerics of Mahathallah can prepare ghost sound and prestidigitation as orisons, disguise self as a 1st-level spell, minor image as a 2nd-level spell, and major image as a 3rdlevel spell. Her priests have access to the following spell.
School conjuration (creation); Level cleric 4, druid 3
Casting Time 1 round
Components V, S
Range 0 ft.
Effect 1 dose of a drug/3 levels
Duration 1 minute
Saving Throw none (see below); Spell Resistance no The caster conjures into being one of the following drugs: aether, ﬂayleaf, opium, pesh, scour, shiver, or zerk. The drug must be used within 1 minute of being conjured or it dissolves into worthless dust—though the effects of the drug may last far longer. Drugs created by this spell cannot be sold, but they can be given to other creatures. A creature taking the drug typically must be either willing or helpless, though some drugs might be inhaled, applied to injuries, or slipped into food if the caster acts swiftly—see each drug’s description. The DC to resist a drug created by this spell is based on the creator’s caster level, not the DC listed in the common versions of the drug. For more information, see Drugs and Addiction on page 236 of the Pathfnder RPG GameMastery Guide.
As a special use of this spell, a worshiper of Mahathallah can create the drug adyton (see sidebar). A Mahathallah worshiper can create only adyton once per week, regardless of her level or how many times she casts this spell. The spell otherwise functions—and creates as many doses—as normal.
The following describes the ritual a worshiper of Mahathallah must perform to take full advantage of the Deifc Obedience feat, as well as the boons for the evangelist, exalted, and sentinel prestige classes found in Pathfnder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Gods.
Spend an hour in deep meditation, reﬂecting on the nature of the cosmos and your exceptional place above all others in the multiversal scheme—preferably while under the effects of a perception-altering drug. The DC of all illusion spells you cast increases by +2 and you gain a +2 profane bonus on saving throws to resist mind-affecting effects.
1: Voice from the Mist (Sp) ventriloquism 3/day, hypnotic pattern 2/day, or major image 1/day
2: Persistent Illusions (Su) Whenever you cast an illusion spell with a duration of concentration (plus any number of rounds), add half your level to the duration.
3: Indirect Dose (Su) You can apply drugs of the injury type to a weapon as if they were poison. Additionally, you can’t accidentally expose yourself to a poison or a drug when applying it to a weapon—though you are still exposed if you roll a 1 when attacking with a poisoned weapon.
1: Mists of the Mind (Sp) silent image 3/day, invisibility
2/day, or create drug (see above) 1/day
2: Breathe in the Cosmos (Su) Upon ingesting a drug— including those conjured by the create drug spell—you heal an amount of damage determined by the severity of that drug’s base addictiveness: 1d6 for minor, 2d6 for moderated, 3d6 for major. Additionally, when taking the drug adyton, you automatically succeed at the Will save. 3: Breathe Out Death (Su) You know the secrets of controlling the ﬂow of blood and toxins in your body.
You gain a +4 saving throw against poison and can no longer become addicted to drugs. Additionally, you gain a +4 bonus on rolls to become stable when reduced to negative hit points. Finally, your life span is supernaturally lengthened, with each aging step (middle age, old, venerable) being postponed by a number of years equal to double your Wisdom score.
1: Dervish in the Mist (Sp) disguise self 3/day, blur 2/day, or displacement 1/day
2: Inescapable Fate (Su) When you wear armor not made of metal, its maximum Dexterity bonus increases by 2. This applies to armors normally made out of metal, but crafted from different materials like bone or obsidian (see Pathfnder RPG Ultimate Equipment). Additionally, the DC for entangled creatures to escape a net you wield increases by 1 for every 4 Hit Dice you possess.
3: Cut to the Truth (Su) Whenever you attack a target and have to roll a percent mischance as a result of effects such as concealment, blur, or similar effects, reduce that percent miss chance by 10%. Additionally, when taking the drug adyton, you automatically