Al'Akbar

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Template:Greyhawk Deity

In the World of Greyhawk campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game, Al'Akbar (/ˌæl ˈækbɑːr/ al-AK-bar)[1] is the Baklunish demigod of dignity, duty, faithfulness, and guardianship. His symbol is a cup and eight-pointed star, images of the legendary Cup and Talisman that now bear his name.

Publication history[edit]

The name "Al'Akbar" was first mentioned in Issue #7 of Strategic Review, when Ned Healey wrote a description of "the Cup and Talisman of Al'Akbar", and associated them with worship of Allah.[2] ("Al'akbar" is a contraction of the Islamic salaah "Alla-hu Akbar". ["Allah is the greatest"])

In the 1st edition AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide the Cup and Talisman were described as venerated artifacts that had been given to Al'Akbar, the high priest of the Paynim gods.[3] However, the Paynim pantheon was never subsequently developed, and in later editions, Al'Akbar became associated with the Baklunish pantheon.

The Cup and Talisman were the focus of the non-canonical 1986 adventure module Day of Al'Akbar, set not in the world of Greyhawk, but in a generic desert kingdom called Arir.[4]

Second edition AD&D's Book of Artifacts suggested that the god who granted the artifacts to Al'Akbar had been Pelor.[5]

In 1998, Wizard of the Coast's newly reminted Greyhawk campaign elevated Al'Akbar to the Baklunish pantheon as a demigod.[6] The Living Greyhawk Gazetteer (2000) subsequently linked Al'Akbar to the "True Faith" and "Exalted Faith" practiced in several regions of the Baklunish Basin.[7] Gary Holian's 2003 "Paladins of Greyhawk" article introduced the name Al'Asran, "a being bathed in sunlight", as Al'Akbar's patron.[8]

Description[edit]

Al'Akbar is a golden-skinned Baklunish man. He is lawful good. His favored weapon is the falchion.

Relationships[edit]

Al'Akbar is subordinate to the other Baklunish gods, remaining a mere demigod out of respect for them. His faithful oppose the sadistic elemental cults of Ull. Al'Akbar is allied with Heironeous.

Realm[edit]

Al'Akbar has no realm of his own. He dwells in Mount Celestia's fifth layer, Mertion, in Soqed Hezi, the City of Swords. The ruler of Soqed Hezi is the sword archon Bahram, known as the Conquering and Triumphant Fire, who answers only to the tome archon Raziel.

Dogma[edit]

Al'Akbar's priests use the Cup and Talisman as metaphors for the good life, urging their flocks to be vessels of kindness and emblems of devotion. They use Al'Akbar's relationship to his pantheon as a model for their own relationships to their superiors, urging obedience and respect for the wisdom of those of higher station. Followers of Al'Akbar are expected to be both steadfast and merciful. The priests of Al'Akbar are opposed to the slave trade.

Ancient Baklunish is the language of Al'Akbar's faith.

Worshippers[edit]

Al'Akbar's faith is divided into two major sects, though smaller, more obscure sects exist among the Paynims. The Exalted Faith, based in Ekbir, is led by Caliph Xargun, while the True Faith, based in the Yatil Mountains and most popular in Ket, is headed by the Grand Mufti of the Yatils. The two sects split after the Cup and Talisman of Al'Akbar was stolen from its traditional place in Ekbir. The grand mufti was held responsible and exiled, where he started a rival faith, claiming the caliph was no longer the rightful spiritual leader.

The True Faith has a harsher, lawful neutral interpretation of Al'Akbar's dogma, emphasizing hard work, plain speech, and obedience, while the Exalted Faith is lawful good or neutral good, stressing rhetoric, diplomacy, and academic achievement.

Clergy[edit]

Clerics of the Exalted Faith are known as qadi. Clerics of the True Faith are called mullahs. Both act as judges, ministers, scholars, teachers, healers, advisers, and guardians in their respective societies. Some are intolerant of the "infidels" who belong to non-Baklunish faiths. Wandering clerics of Al'Akbar search for the lost Cup and Talisman.

Paladins[edit]

Paladins of Al'Akbar, known as Exalted Ones, work to lead by example, demonstrating by their words and deeds that faithfulness to and guardianship of the old traditions are the only correct path to revelation. They wear billowing tunics that obscure their armor and conceal their faces. Their clothing is white or tan, often with gold or purple trim. Members of the True Faith wear only white, with no decoration. Males wear turbans, while females wear only simple white gold circlets. They oppose the forces of darkness, seek to defend Baklunish traditions and people, and search for the Cup and Talisman of Al'Akbar.

Other orders[edit]

The farises are an order of Ekbiri knights in the service of Al'Akbar.

Temples[edit]

Al'Akbar is revered primarily in Ekbir, Ket, the Plains of the Paynims, Tusmit, and Zeif.

The Mosque of Al'Akbar, in the city of Ekbir, is a popular destination for pilgrims of the Exalted Faith.

Rituals[edit]

A ceremony known as the Procession of Blessing used to be performed using the Cup and Talisman of Al'Akbar, but this ended when the relics were stolen by elven raiders in 219 CY.

Ritual prayers may be made at dawn or dusk.

Artifacts[edit]

Al'Akbar is associated with the Cup and Talisman named for him.

History[edit]

Al'Akbar was the most exalted high priest in what are now the lands of the Paynims. After the Invoked Devastation, during that time of misery and suffering, he was given the Cup and Talisman by Al'Asran to help heal his people's ills and return them to the traditional Baklunish faith.

Al'Akbar founded the city of Ekbir and, for the last decade of his mortal life, ruled the nation of Ekbir as the first of its caliphs. Eventually he had a mosque to himself built and allowed his followers to call on his name in their prayers. Soon after, he ascended to the heavens to take his place among the gods.

Living Greyhawk[edit]

At the end of the non-canonical Living Greyhawk campaign in 2008, Al'Akbar appeared between battling forces of the True Faith and Exalted Faith and declared that henceforth there would only be one "Faith", not two. Clerics who did not join the single Faith of Al'Akbar subsequently lost their divine powers.[9]

References[edit]

  1. Mentzer, Frank. "Ay pronunseeAY shun gyd" Dragon #93 (TSR, 1985)
  2. Healey, Neal. "Mighty Magic Miscellany." The Strategic Review #7. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, April 1976
  3. Gygax, Gary (1978). Dungeon Master's Guide. Lake Geneva WI: TSR Inc. ISBN 978-0-935696-02-8. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  4. Hammack, Allen. Day of Al'Akbar. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1986
  5. Cook, David (1993). Book of Artifacts. Lake Geneva WI: TSR Inc. ISBN 1-56076-672-7. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  6. Brown, Anne. Greyhawk Player's Guide. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1998
  7. Holian, Gary, Erik Mona, Sean K. Reynolds, and Frederick Weining. Living Greyhawk Gazetteer. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2000
  8. Holian, Gary. "Paladins of Greyhawk." Dungeon #104. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2003
  9. Stephen Baker (2008). VTFIA8-01 Unity and Discord. Wizards of the Coast. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png

Additional reading[edit]

  • Conforti, Steven, ed. Living Greyhawk Official Listing of Deities for Use in the Campaign, version 2.0. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2005. Available online:[1]
  • Grohe, Allan T., and Erik Mona. "All Oerth's Artifacts." Dragon #299. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2002.
  • McComb, Colin, and Wolfgang Baur. Planes of Law. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1995.
  • Perkins, Christopher. Warriors of Heaven. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1999.
  • Wyatt, James, Darrin Drader, and Christopher Perkins. Book of Exalted Deeds. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2003.

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