Ereshkigal
Mistress of Ghosts, Queen of the Underworld, The Pale Empress
Worshippers: Cultists, exiled drow, the elderly
Alignment: Neutral
Domains: Death, Earth, Neutrality, Time
Subdomains: Balance, Caves, Past, Psychopomp
Favored Weapon: battleaxe
Favored Animal: burrowing owl
Favored Instrument: lyre

Legend
The eternal being that is Ereshkigal is a manifestation of the end of the “last” Material Plane universe that suffered entropy-death untold aeons ago- making Her inconceivably old. Ereshkigal does not care at all about the petty conflicts of good, evil, law and chaos, seeking Balance in all things. True or not, Ereshkigal is charged with ensuring that the souls of the mortal dead reach their proper destination, and, served by the pantheon of Ushers and the myriads of psychopomp outsiders, sets out to do the task with grim determination. Ereshkigal’s designation as an earth goddess is in keeping with most culture’s tradition of interment or entombment, and graves and tombs dedicated to Ereshkigal are considered inviolate; grave robbers are second only to undead in invoking The Pale Empress’s ire. Administering death and the afterlife on Porphyra is a difficult task; Death deities among the New Gods are, by and large, rather foul and inimical, and Elementalism rejects the concept of the afterlife entirely. The Queen of the Underworld plays a tense game with Porphyra’s souls.

Church
The church of Ereshkigal is often characterized as a cult, as they serve inwardly, rather than outwardly; one must be a practicing member to engage their services. They often dwell apart from civilized society, in catacombs or subterranean ruins- a splinter group of Strivog drow are well-known to dwell in a dormant volcano in the Mountains of Wrath. Entrance into a cult of Ereshkigal is common for elderly citizens of pious and neutral nature who have lost their partner and loved ones, donning the feathered mask and taking up the (largely ceremonial) long-handled axe. Compelled by duty to their old lives and to Ereshkigal, emissaries of the Mistress of Ghosts enter communities on a regular basis, making proclamations on behalf of neutrality and piety for the dead, occasionally engaging in missions of importance to their pale mistress. A great temple to Ereshkigal does exist, in the The Empire of the Dead, in a desolate crater on the nameless peninsula southeast of the city of Zhule; it is neutral ground for clandestine meetings of all types.

Spell Preparation Ritual
Adherents of Ereshkigal engage in droning chants while drawing in the dust with the butt of their ceremonial weapon, forgotten runes in a lost script. They must adhere to several taboos regarding magic; they may not cast the spell remove disease, and may not summon creatures of the chaotic, evil, good or lawful type, though they may always substitute aeons or psychopomps of the equivalent CR value.

Religion Traits
Regardless of traits taken, clerics of Ereshkigal gain a +2 morale bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate when interacting with followers of any of the other Ushers.

Acolyte of Nergal (Ereshkigal): “Defend me from your virulent mercy…”. With your knowledge of Ereshkigal’s consort Nergal, Lord of Disease, you add +1 to the DC of saves vs. your casting of contagion, and gain +1 on saves vs. disease.

Cthonic Courtier (Ereshkigal): In the quiet of the cave, in the heart of the underworld, your senses come alive… You gain +1 trait bonus to Perception and initiative when underground.


See Also