Faith of Zenthar

Portfolio: Military power, patriotism, and undeath
Domains: Evil, Law, Death, and War
Alignment: LE
Holy Symbol: An eight-pointed silver star on a black shield
Favored Weapon: Morningstar

The Faith of Zenthar is unusual amongst the religions of Tolrea because it features religious veneration of a nation. This religious movement began at the connivance of Zenthar the Lich-King, in life a powerful elven wizard who led an evacuation from the lands of the Empire of Auresh (then the home of an elven civilization in the process of being overrun by human barbarians out of the east who eventually founded the empire). After rescuing all the elves he could from the fall of elven civilization and fleeing with them across the sea, Zenthar resolved to guard them and their descendants against a recurrence of the same events.

To this end, the wizard founded a city-state which his subjects named Zenthar after him. The loss of the elves’ homeland to the humans had rendered him and many other elves agnostics, and rather than offer his devotions to gods who may or may not have existed, he and the elves in his care channeled a sufficient degree of faith and hope into their new city that some of them effectively became clerics of the state. Not long after, Zenthar became a lich in order to serve as an eternal guardian of his people and their new homeland.

The Lich-King has since manipulated the clergy of the Faith of Zenthar, selectively revised history, and cultivated the mystique of his position as head of state; in the years following his transition to undeath, he became convinced that over time he could expand the power of the Faith of Zenthar through conquest, and tap into that power directly by creating an identification between himself and the state. In so doing, he believes that he might become a god on earth, and hence able to protect his subjects against all comers.

A side effect of the Lich-King’s efforts has been that many of his subjects do in fact see him as an exemplar of the faith—by casting aside his mortality to guide and guard the state in perpetuity, Zenthar has created a predisposition for his subjects to accept and even aspire to undeath. This has also attracted many ambitious and powerful individuals to the kingdom and its faith. Vampires and other sentient undead from outside of Zenthar’s borders also seek refuge in a place where their kind is not widely persecuted. The net effect has been to create an orderly but amoral society which values patriotism, ambition, and planning above mercy or individual liberty.