Sin Eater

Sin Eater
Cleanser; Pure One; Vast Maw

Symbol: A gaping maw ringed with teeth with flames inside
Home Plane: Abyss
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Cleric Alignments: Chaotic Neutral, Chaotic Evil, Neutral Evil
Portfolio: Guilt, redemption, purging of weakness, destruction
Worshipers: Barbarians, raiders, sappers, goblins, orcs, sin eaters
Domains: Chaos (Entropy), Destruction (Catastrophe, Rage), Fire (Arson, Ash, Smoke), Madness, Renewal
Favored Weapon: Maul

Physical Description:
Sin Eater is a vast creature, a dragoness of immense size and impossible power, her skin looking like partially-cooled magma run through with veins of living lava just beneath the surface. Her maw is especially large, with a significant underbite, and Sin Eater can expand her jaws sufficiently to swallow anything whole, given enough time. Past her jaws can be seen an unending gulf of living fire, with occasional glimpses of souls in the throes of eternal suffering. She is also known to take an even more horrific form, that of a scaled creature that is mostly gigantic, all-consuming maw, able to engulf even the most ghastly of sins or sinners with a single gulp that sends them hurtling into the fires of purification and judgement within her body. Least commonly of all, but most depicted among human nations, Sin Eater takes on a final form, that of an amazonian-built woman, thick and sturdy of frame and limb, with many arms (often depicted clutching the souls of the damned or a host of deadly weapons), black skin shot through with veins of molten lava, blazing eyes, and an open mouth like the doors to a furnace.

Description of Nature, Personality, and Dogma:
Destruction and redemption are closely related, more closely so than most people like to think about. All creatures that are developing and growing are in a state of continual destruction and renewal, and the same can be said of communities and cultures and entire civilizations. Sin Eater is the embodiment of the forces of change that keep individuals, communities, and civilizations strong through the purging of weakness, or else ruthlessly destroy them if they should reject change and instead become stagnant and weak. Sin Eater herself has little tolerance for self-righteousness, self-pity, or weakness in any form, and can be horrifically vicious when presented with such mortal failures. Sin Eater can be inclined towards patience at times towards those who are actively trying to overcome their weaknesses, though this is hardly a guarantee, as Sin Eater has a notoriously short store of patience to share. The ultimate goal of Sin Eater is to gradually unmake everything, and then to remake it in a perfected form, without the weakness inherent to the mortal condition.

Followers of Sin Eater tend to fall into two major camps. The first and most common of these is the path of violent cleansing. These vicious crusaders are an overwhelming force, driven as much by their love of carnage as by their drive to purge weakness from those unable to stop them. Raiders of all sorts subscribe to this standard, and take it as full license to engage in all the pillaging of the weak that they want. The other philosophy of Sin Eater is less violent and more introspective, where those who take part in it focus on themselves rather than on others, seeking to purge weakness from their own lives by any means necessary.

Clergy, Places of Worship, Important Rituals, and Servitor Races:
Clerics of Sin Eater are chosen for their ability to sense the weaknesses in others, as well as their tendency to exploit these weaknesses, forcing those who have this weakness to either overcome the weakness, or else be destroyed. To become a true cleric of Sin Eater, an acolyte must meet Sin Eater in a dream quest, and then be devoured by the goddess. Those who fail are found dead from shock, while those who succeed have gained deep insights into their own weaknesses. Sin Eater's most devoted worshipers are themselves called "sin eaters," a sort of cleric that specializes in hearing the confessions of others' guilty thoughts and actions, and then providing instruction on how the sinner can be purged of weakness. These sin eaters can be followers of any deity, but all give at least some reference to Sin Eater, and many are often less concerned with issues of the right and wrong of the actions needed to overcome weakness, and more with what will overcome the weaknesses of those who come to them in the most direct manner possible. These clerics are easily identified by their long red robes, and by their concealed faces through the use of hoods covered by broad-brimmed hats.

While Sin Eater does not have any temples, per se, active volcanoes are considered sacred to Sin Eater, and it is considered appropriate to throw sacrifices to Sin Eater (see below) into the caldera of these volcanoes, or into pools of lava contained around and in their slopes.

Aside from regular acts of confession and sin cleansing, the ritual of the Scapegoat is the most important single act that a community can make to pay homage to Sin Eater, and most communities across Therafim have some variation on this ritual. The Scapegoat is an animal, usually a goat, though another animal may be substituted depending on local availability and culture, on which a community places all its sins, every member of the community taking time to come forward, place their hands on the horns or head of the Scapegoat, and whisper their sins in its ears. At the end of the ceremony, the animal is either driven from the community, or else is killed and then burned outside the farthest boundaries of the community, depending on the temperament of the community in question.

Ghargatulas are Sin Eater's more common servitors on the Outer Planes. Dalmosh (see Monster Manual 5) is Sin Eater's creation, and will serve Sin Eater if called upon.

History and Relations:
Tiamat's only child, born of her spilled blood when she and Bahamut finally parted to their present homes on opposite ends of the Planes, and then shaped into a new deity by Tiamat's creative powers, Sin Eater is understandably a powerful creature, and often seen as the opposite number of Talus, Bahamut's son. She is actually born of the pure love that still burns in Tiamat's heart for Bahamut and for her children, and this divine selflessness first had Sin Eater formed as a being of purity and endless goodness (called the Pure One) who desired to take all the sins of the multiverse into herself, so as to cleanse all creatures everywhere of their imperfections. This, however, proved to be too much even for a god, and soon Sin Eater's essence was corrupted, along with her appearance, into her present state.

One of the gods of judging the souls of mortals, Sin Eater is the one to whom the gods turn over the souls of mortals after they have been judged by Talus, Lydia, and Hawl. Grimrose brings souls in, Nimbus comforts and pleads for souls during the process of judgement, and finally Sin Eater deals with those souls after all is said and done. If a soul accepts the judgements of the gods, as most do, since they are a part of the process, and it is impossible to lie either to others or oneself in this divine court, then Sin Eater transports the soul to their eternal reward, either pointing them towards the good- and neutral-aligned planes, where Nimbus is often waiting to serve as an additional guide as needed, or devouring them and then defecating them out into the lower planes, ensuring that evil souls go where they belong. Most importantly, however, is when Sin Eater takes those souls that disagree with the judgement of the gods, usually due to extenuating circumstances, or those many souls that simply have not developed enough to be able to move on, and are thus in need of reincarnation so that they can have another opportunity to earn a place in the Outer Planes, for good or ill. Those souls on which a proper judgement cannot be made for whatever reason are handed over to Sin Eater, who devours them and keeps them contained inside Sin Eater's cavernous inner self until they are able to work out their own desired judgement in some fashion. Sin Eater's insides are a strange place, a plane to themselves, where those devoured are forced to face themselves and overcome their own weaknesses and imperfections and determine what they deserve as an eternal reward, or else be consumed by the searing fires of Sin Eater's inner self if they are found utterly unworthy of existence. Souls that are not ready to move to the Outer Planes are also devoured by Sin Eater, but instead of being kept inside Sin Eater's body, they are reborn from Sin Eater's womb into a reincarnated shape on the mortal realm.

As Tiamat's child, without the aid of Bahamut, Sin Eater is happy to do Tiamat's wishes, so long as they do not interfere with Sin Eater's normal duties. Sin Eater is not terribly fond of Talus because of Talus' role in wounding Tiamat after his birth, but Sin Eater's outright hatred for Talus has waned with the passing of time and their continued work together in fulfilling their divine function, and Sin Eater can now work with the god of justice, albeit sullenly at times. The relationship between Talus and Sin Eater is especially awkward after Lydia got them both intoxicated and got them to sleep together, and neither is at all sure what to make of such a union, so they do not bring it up. Lugscar regards Sin Eater as an equal, but is also not aware that Sin Eater is female, and the two often have goals that coincide, and regularly share the same worshipers. Fenrath is also fond of Sin Eater, and the two have occasionally been lovers and similarly share worshipers on a regular basis. On the other hand, Sin Eater despises Swarm, seeing the tyrant god's methods as a pathway to stagnation and slow annihilation, and also is exceptionally jealous of and hateful towards Wysha, who teases Sin Eater about her appearance mercilessly. Sin Eater and Grimrose are on pleasant terms, and in fact Grimrose is perhaps the only being in existence that can make the perpetually dour Sin Eater laugh. Nimbus and Sin Eater have an odd relationship, as Nimbus seems to take her greatest strength from nurturing the weak, and this confuses Sin Eater to no end. Finally, Sin Eater is the only deity that truly seems to understand Chaos, and is perhaps the only one that might be able to, in time, redeem Chaos from the taint of ultimate destruction.

Favored Offerings and Justifications for Direct Intervention:
Those who worship Sin Eater regularly offer her animal sacrifices, into which the offerer ritually places his or her sins and weaknesses, before burning the animal alive. Larger and more expensive sacrifices represent larger weaknesses that are destroyed. Sin Eater only accepts neutrally-aligned animal sacrifices, however: intelligent beings have their own sins already, and so sin cannot be transferred to them, while she regards animals as blank slates, incapable of sin, but capable of acting as vessels in which to carry those sins to her. Good-aligned people generally do not go so far in their worship rites, and neither do those who revere nature, though they do often go through with the ritual of the Scapegoat, as well as through rituals of confession of sins.

Normally Sin Eater is uninterested in helping mortals, as she sees their struggles as part of the process that shapes them for their eventual judgement, and divine intervention would simply confuse the issue. Very rarely, Sin Eater can be persuaded to intervene directly for mortals. This occurs in the case of beings who would, if they died, eventually end up devoured by Sin Eater and kept inside of her, on account of their uncertain, undecided end fate. In these cases, Sin Eater can be persuaded to take just barely sufficient action to either keep these beings alive, or, alternatively, allow them to die, but then have them reincarnated (as the spell) soon after so as to save time and indigestion.