Zephyra

Title The Pallid Princess, Lady Despair
Portfolio Gluttony Disease Undeath
Alignment Neutral Evil
Worshipers Varies
Worshiper Alignment Neutral Evil
Domains Death, Evil, Magic, Strength, War
Subdomains Blood,Daemon, Divine, Ferocity, Murder, Undead
Favored Weapon Scythe
Symbol Skull-decorated Death head's moth
Allows creation or rising of undead: Yes
Favored Animal(s) Death head's moth
Sacred Colors Red, green

Obedience

Cover a table (or suitable flat surface) with a black velvet cloth and spread a feast atop it. If you are in the wilderness or another area where fine food is not readily available, load the table with the best quality food you can find in whatever amount you have. Eat to the point of painful fullness, sipping wine between dishes and reciting a prayer to Zephyra. At the end of the hour, consume a piece of rotten fruit, rancid meat, moldy cheese, or other spoiled bit of food. Trust in Zephyra to protect you from any sickness or disease that might follow. Treat your caster level as 1 higher when casting necromancy spells.

Dogma

Zephyra is the Anvari goddess of physical excess, disease, and the undead. She is mostly worshiped by dark necromancers, the undead, and those wishing to become undead. Sometimes those who live gluttonous lifestyles make supplication to her, as do those suffering from a serious illness upon handsome princes just to see the unique patterns they form on royal flesh. To her, the dull existence of a dead soul is pointless and tedious compared to the vibrant intensity of mortal or undead sensation, and creatures should cram as much sensation into existence as possible. Asceticism is repugnant to her.

Zephyra is an utterly amoral, hedonistic goddess, concerned only with satiating her own desires regardless of the consequences others suffer. Like Cerie, she strives for experience and a full appreciation of the world-but her appreciation is utterly selfish. She was once a mortal woman with a tremendous appetite for life, one who rebelled against the notion of being judged by Lyvalia and losing the joys of living. Somehow in death she found the strength to tear herself from Lyvalia's endless line of souls and return to Xilrin, becoming a divine being and the world's first undead creature. Her existence is a corruption of the natural order; some say her first divine footprints upon the soil of the Material Plane birthed plague and infection, and that the first shadows and wraiths were born of her breath.

The goddess's half-rotted form limits the sensations she can experience, so she makes up for this lack with gluttonous depravity-she's tasted the brains of human infants to savor their innocence, torn the heart from the
last living member of a race just to feel the sensation of its hot blood on her hands, and inflicted boils and leprosy

Zephyra is usually depicted as a beautiful, raven-haired woman from the waist up-much like her mortal self, though she's as pale as a hungry vampire. Her lower half is rotted and withered, decaying farther down until only
blood-covered bones remain at her feet. When she walks, she leaves bloody, skeletal footprints. Although she sometimes manifests nude in the faithful's visions, she usually appears wearing a sheer red or black gown. From neck to toe, the gown is stained with hideous patches of black, brown, and red.

Though the Pallid Princess's church is interested primarily in undeath, some cults focus on her gluttonous aspect, indulging in decadent feasts of food, alcohol, and drugs, as well as lavish orgies. Unfortunately, in many
cases these "dilettante" cults decline into more depraved practices, eventually embracing necromantic profanities and conversion to ghouls, vampires, and similar creatures. When Zephyra is pleased, common food tastes delicious, water turns to fine wine, and meals are never so filling that the diner feels uncomfortable. There are also stories of starving worshipers unexpectedly finding injured or freshly killed meat (in some stories, the meat
is humanoid).

She rarely uses animals as messengers, but sometimes sends a death's head moth to lead a devout worshiper to a reward, or clouds of biting flies to warn away or punish a mortal. . When she's angry, food and water taste like
ash and fill the belly with gnawing hunger that cannot be sated, and the target of her ire may be afflicted with rotting or swelling diseases that make it difficult to eat or speak. She has been known to paralyze an offender's
legs so the victim must crawl, or reverse the taste of his food so that garbage and sewage are the only things he can bear to swallow. The afflicted can alleviate the condition by making a large sacrifice to Zephyra, either

at a temple or by providing some gluttonous feast, drug experience, or other orgiastic excess in her name. On rare occasions, the only way to alleviate the curse is by willingly engaging in cannibalism, an act that taints the
offender's soul and all but guarantees eternal allegiance to the Pallid Princess. Zephyras holy symbol is a death's head moth, often drawn so the skull-markings are exaggerated, or even depicted as a skull with a moth's wings, legs, and head

The Church

Those who worship death, revere disease, and are insatiable gluttons who demand experience without repercussion are the primary followers of Zephyra. Her worshipers care less about spreading her faith than they do about
increasing their pleasure in her name. They may start at one of the gateway churches-a place devoted to pure sensation, in which life is an orgy of feasts and flesh, drugs and stimulants-but most discover that ordinary delights soon begin to pall, and seek to satisfy ever-darker hungers. Most of Zephyra's worshipers are dark necromancers, undead, or those who hope to become undead (such as servants of vampires, spellcasters pursuing the path of the lich, and so on). Her faith is illegal in most lands, and shunned in most societies that do not ban it outright.

Occasionally, a gluttonous prince or merchant may secretly keep a shrine in the goddess's name, praying for bounties of food, drink, sex, or other physical pleasures. In some lands, desperate folk pray to Zephyra to relieve symptoms of plague, and necromancers who prove themselves useful by putting undead to rest or controlling them so that they do not harass the living may find a measure of tolerance from mortal communities.

The church is organized as a matriarchy, with a powerful cleric, usually female, at the head of each temple; if the priestess is a daughter of Zephyra, the entire temple is considered especially blessed. Priests
who can create undead, either through magic or through the passing of their own undead taint, are called NecroLords, and receive extra privileges. Congregants are

divided into two castes. The higher caste is known as the ghula, which consists of privileged members who may or may not be members of the priesthood. They are served by the famished: initiate members attempting to prove
themselves worthy of recognition by the church. Rank inside the congregation may sometimes be an inversion of rank outside it, and if one of the famished is of higher social status outside the church than a ghula, the ghula
treats the famished respectfully in public to preserve the church's secrecy. Like most evil cults, the secret church is scattered and cell-based, and contact between congregations is infrequent.

Prayer services to Zephyra consist of susurrant whispers, quiet chants, and eerie moans. Drums may be used to announce visitors and mealtimes, but otherwise music is rarely a part of the proceedings. Worshipers
usually consume a ritual meal-which could be anything from a sweetmeat to bread and gravy to human flesh, depending on the congregation. Wealthier churches provide lavish feasts for the faithful (sponsored by
wealthy patrons or paid for by selling spells or undead labor), and it's not unheard of for a priest to move to a starving village and offer intoxicating foods to layfolk to gain followers.

Marriages within the church do not include vowing "until death parts us," as the undead members stand as proof that vows can persist beyond death. The Pallid Princess supports the institution of marriage and other long-term romantic commitments, as sharing pleasures can enhance them, and she blesses even unions between the living and the undead, as long as the living partner plans to follow his spouse into undeath, or the undead partner plans to extend the living partner's life somehow. Zephyra cares not about procreation or the genders of the people involved, only that the commitment is true. Divorce is frowned upon, as it shows disrespect to the partner and to the goddess herself. Murdering a spouse is an acceptable alternative, however, especially if the dead spouse remains in or near the home as a skeleton, zombie, or mummy.

The Pallid Princess also supports adoption, particularly by predatory undead who kill living parents and raise the offspring as their own; this increases the number of creatures worshiping the goddess. Many temples
keep a "blood mother," a woman whose role is to bear children, either to raise them as members of the church or to offer them as sacrifices. The church allows contraception among its living members to keep pregnancy
from interfering with hedonistic pursuits, and has no opinion on abortion or infanticide.

Zephyra's rivalry with Lyvalia has made the goddess of undeath particularly spiteful toward expectant mothers of that faith, and she teaches her priests minor curses and hexes that can harm or kill a fetus or birthing mother. The church does not prohibit suicide, and old priests with no means to turn themselves into undead may offer their spirits to the goddess while offering their flesh to the living. ,this ritualistic
self-sacrifice invokes the power of Zephyra. Devout worshipers expect to be raised as undead of some kind, either at their own expense or as a reward for their service.

The date on which a worshiper becomes undead is called ashenmorn, and is commemorated annually like a birthday. For many, it's the last time that they will see daylight. Ashenmorn is a solemn day of lone personal reflection, though a particularly sentimental undead who

can create spawn may choose to convert a loyal minion on her own ashenmorn as a gesture of affection. In theory, Zephyra's faith is about breaking and surpassing taboos, and thus nothing is ever forbidden. In practice, however, turning one's back on the church, renouncing the path of undeath, and exercising asceticism and altruism instead of gluttony are sure ways to draw the ire of the Pallid Princess.

Temples and Shrines

Each of the Pallid Princess's temples is built like a feast hall, with a large central table serving as an altar and numerous chairs surrounding it; her hidden temples use this same setup, but with a less ambitious scale. Most
temples are adjacent to a private graveyard or built over a crypt, and they're often inhabited by ghouls (which embody all three of the goddess's interests). Though the goddess does not use daemons as minions in her own
realm, it is not unusual to find daemon servants guardians in Zephyra's most powerful temples.

Taboos

In theory, Zephyra’s faith is about breaking and surpassing taboos, and thus nothing is ever forbidden. In practice, however, turning your back on the church, renouncing the path of undeath, and exercising asceticism and altruism when you should be expressing your gluttony are sure ways to draw the ire of your goddess. Divorce is not welcomed among the faithful, though ending a marriage through murder is entirely acceptable, especially if the murdered partner is reanimated as an undead servant of the other.

A Priest's Role

Zephyra's faith attracts creatures passion and vice who believe that the world is their playground, who want experience without limits and repercussions, and who perpetually chase hedonistic sensation. The vices of those who serve her tend to become ever stranger and more demanding as servants advance in the faith; even if a particular cleric begins by venerating only the goddess's gluttony aspect, her willingness to help her adherents achieve immortality via undeath speaks to the most basic desires of mortals. As a cleric grows more powerful and increasingly associates with the undead, she may come to feel outraged that something as trivial as death could end her pursuit of experiences. And as the chill of age begins to wither her, serving or allying with a powerful vampire or lich may seem an ever smaller and smaller price to pay for a cold eternity in which she may seek to sate her various pleasures with immortal abandon.

Most of Zephyra's priests are clerics or necromancers (particularly sorcerers with the undead bloodline), as well as a few similarly inclined witches. Antipaladins are also drawn to her faith, as are barbarians prone to excess, bards seeking sophisticated channels for their primal appetites, warriors who wish to command respect from beyond the grave, and miscellaneous undead who rise to positions of power in the church regardless of magical ability. Most priests are skilled in Diplomacy, Heal, and Knowledge (religion). A slight majority ofher followers are women, and the proportion is closer to three-quarters in cultures and lands where women's paths to power are otherwise limited.

Priests generally have few official duties beyond Mutual protection and aiding aspiring undead, for Zephyra is satisfied when mortals excessively consume in her name, and she is content with the slow rate at which undead propagate. her cult concoct agressive plans such f as converting entire towns to zombie slaves or feeding grounds for undead. Clergy often conceal their allegiance and find employment that allows them frequent access to dead bodies, such as working as gravediggers, mercenaries, or butchers.

A priest with strong culinary skills might find work as a chef at a noble's manor, in a general's retinue, or even in a restaurant. The luckiest find a wealthy patron, giving them the luxury to create rich, fattening, delicious meals that encourage gluttony in those who consume them. Only in undead-controlled lands do Zephyra's priests practice their faith openly. There they serve in traditional clerical roles, such as spiritual advisors, healers, government officials, and so on.

Commoners usually avoid priests of Zephyra, fearing their association with vice and undeath, but may seek them out for advice on how to bury a corpse to prevent it from rising as an undead on its own and how to protect it from predators. Clergy may pose as clerics of Lyvalia, offering blessings and funeral rites to communities lacking a true priest of the Lady of Graves, and malicious members use this ruse to provide commoners with "newly invented" wards against the undead that prove useless after the priests direct undead allies to these communities for easy hunting. In lands suffering from plague, they may pass themselves off as knowledgeable healers, treating some of the sick and leaving others to die, or perhaps curing uncomfortable but harmless illnesses while infecting patients with quiet and deadly diseases. Zephyra's priests rarely make demands in return for their services, preferring to use people's own desires to drive them to depravity.

Holy Text

Crafted by Zephyra's first antipaladin, Dason, Serving Your Hunger is an extended meditation on the greatness to be found by sacrificing all for sensation. It's a cookbook filled with decadent recipes and instructions for dressing
and preparing various humanoid races. It also serves as a primer for taking a conciliatory approach to dealing with the undead, as well as for transitioning into an intelligent form of undead oneself, and focuses mainly on vampires, ghouls, and wights.

Holidays

As a goddess who believes existence should be a continual celebration of one's own power and urges, Zephyra places no additional significance on particular dates.

Relation With Other Religions

Zephyra is largely content to indulge her own needs and desires, and most other powerful entities leave her alone to do that; as a result, she has fewer enemies than most evil gods. Lyvalia, however, considers undeath
an abomination, and pursues Zephyra and her kind whenever they are found. Good-hearted Eyvra seeks to "heal" the goddess and her followers, which naturally strains relations between them.

The Pallid Princess appreciates avasir's cities for the plagues they foster, and sometimes operates side by side with Alessa, as the lust goddess's portfolio is similar without overlapping. She often allies with the

she directs mild annoyance at Kiyoshi's strict discipline. Her ire is tempered by his devotion to moderation rather than abstinence, however, and she is intrigued by the idea of tasting his physical perfection. The goddess supports the Whispering Way for its promotion of undeath, but allows her priests to form their own opinions of it, as those adherents who focus on her gluttony aspect may object to it. Zephyra vampires
and ghouls, for example, must feed on the living, and if the cult manages to convert the entire world to undeath, these undead would starve, so they shun the cultists or even work to keep them from becoming too successful.

Zephyra's church has little desire to crusade against other faiths, even those like Cerie's and Eyvra's who actively hunt its congregants, as members would rather spend their time indulging themselves than fighting others. That said, they aren't above undermining those faiths when opportunities present themselves, and take particular satisfaction in raising members of those faiths as undead when possible. They generally go out of their way to avoid antagonizing Avasir's church, as cities serve many of Zephyra's interests, and work amiably with servants of Alessa when their interests align.

Zephyrians are open to friendly relations with cultists of those Empyreal Lords who revel in swaying their followers to embrace pleasure its own sake, though followers of virtuous return the cultists' overtures. They are occasionally roused to ally with other congregations against ascetic reformers who operate in what they consider their territories. For the most part, however, they prefer to ignore other faiths and their adherents, though if outsiders play some part in satisfying the urges of the faithful, members of the church can become extremely charming and friendly.

Zephyra's Dark Knights

The Dark Knights of Zephyra are creatures of the night, Plague-bearers and bringers of death. They seek to spread Zephyra's gifts by the sword and by emulating their goddess. Their tenets include the following affirmation.

  • The grave is open to us all. We hasten the living on their inevitable path
  • The deathless are the true expression of existence, for they are beyond life and death. I will emulate their ways and destroy those who would defile their timeless perfection.
  • I have no duty but to my hunger and my goddess.
  • Existance is hunger. Both life and death feed on life i am an instrument of transition.

The following content has been adopted from the god, Urgathoa, created by Paizo. Due to the game's individual setting, races, names and locations may be altered or removed entirely. Please recognize that these gods are not canon to the world of Golarion, so any comments, complaints, or concerns can be directed to the game's admin staff for further inquiry and answers. Thank you in advance.

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