Great Black One; Lord of the Medical Tantras
Symbol: A black square with blue circles at each corner
Home Plane: Elysium
Alignment: Neutral Good
Cleric Alignments: Lawful Good, Neutral Good, Neutral
Portfolio: Biological sciences, medical arts
Worshipers: Doctors, explorers, scientists
Domains: Healing, Knowledge, Renewal, Travel (Exploration)
Favored Weapon: Mancatcher or knife (cleric chooses one)
A tall, heavily-armored male figure with blue-black skin, and upsweeping blue-white hair.
Description of Nature, Personality, and Dogma:
As one of the greatest explorers ever to walk Therafim, as well as the greatest mundane healer ever, Shanglon Mahakala has a deep fascination with all things living, and with the processes that allow and maintain life. As a god, his seemingly boundless enthusiasm for the biological sciences and the healing arts has only become even more pronounced, and the Great Black One is consumed with a passion for exploration and for figuring out how living things work, and how best to improve what life exists. This is what he does for fun, and he expects his followers to share a similar passion.
All of Shanglon Mahakala's followers must take vows of service, being willing to provide healing and aid to whomever might ask for it. While Shanglon Mahakala's followers are not required to be pacifists (though a good many are), should their defeated enemies request healing after a fight, a true follower of Shanglon Mahakala is under oath to provide that service, even if it means endangering life and limb to do so.
Clergy, Places of Worship, Important Rituals, and Servitor Races:
All of the clerics of Shanglon Mahakala are doctors, and are expected to remain so for all their lives. It is through the rigors of learning how to heal with the biological sciences that Shanglon Mahakala identifies those who best fit his ideals, and they soon discover their chosen state when they suddenly manifest healing abilities at an important moment. Naturally, Shanglon Mahakala's most important religious sites are located inside hospitals, with a chapel set aside in those places that can afford the space, or a shrine in smaller places of healing. The act of healing itself is the most important ritual that a follower of Shanglon Mahakala can perform, though the exploration of the world and working to add to the body of scientific knowledge about its seemingly infinite variety of life is a very close second.
History and Relations:
While he was still mortal, Shanglong Mahakala was one of the most renowned doctors of his day, as well as an enthusiastic explorer and chronicler of the world and its many living organisms, writing some of the largest and most detailed works on biology that can be found in any library. It is his penchant for travel and exploration that causes him to manifest wearing armor, as this is necessary attire for any serious explorer in the dangerous wilds of Therafim. Though he was never known to use magic, his ability to heal the sick and injured was easily the equal to those of spellcasting clerics. He was even said to have been able to raise the dead without the intervention of the gods. It was this last ability that caused the gods to act in concert, removing Shanglon Mahakala from the mortal realm and bestowing upon him divinity, so that he could better see the purpose of death, as well as to give mortals a chance to follow in his healing paths.
Both Nimbus and Ink consider Shanglon Mahakala to be a good friend, and it was their intervention that allowed him to become a deity, as opposed to allowing Grimrose to have his way with the Lord of the Medical Tantras instead. Grimrose, as the god of death, was less than happy with Shanglon Mahakala while he was still mortal, and does his best to keep the healing god stifled whenever possible. Grimrose also regards himself as the personal opponent of all doctors because of Shanglon Mahakala's influence, though he does not do so maliciously - Grimrose regards such opposition as a sort of game, and is a fairly good sport about losing as well as winning, most of the time. It is said that Shanglon Mahakala knew Yamaja while she was still mortal, and though the truth of this is unknown, it is known that they are on very good terms.
Shanglon Mahakala does not have any servitor races, at least none that he acknowledges, as he prefers to do things himself. He does have a number of followers among the extraplanars, beings with healing ability who wish to emulate him, but though they might provide their aid to Shanglon Mahakala where they can, it is as his friends and companions rather than as actual servitors.
Favored Offerings and Justifications for Direct Intervention:
Shanglon Mahakala is deeply fascinated with all things related to exploring and understanding the living world. As such, the best sorts of offerings that one can offer to the Great Black One are specimens of various organisms, as well-preserved as possible. Temples of Shanglon Mahakala soon start to look like natural history museums (in fact, many of them are natural history museums) after enough of these favored offerings have been presented to them.
Generally, Shanglon Mahakala prefers to let mortals explore and experiment for themselves, without interference. He can be motivated to aid healers who lack magic for whatever reason, guiding their hands and increasing their natural skills to be equal to the needs of their patients. However, he generally only does this when there is great need, and the normal, mortal skills of a healer are not equal to a task on their own. Additionally, and much more commonly, Shanglon Mahakala has been known to aid healers and researchers who have gone without sleep for extended periods, relieving their discomfort and allowing them to remain awake and alert, without penalties to their abilities, sufficiently long to accomplish whatever important goal lies before them, though not much longer than that.