Slum

Slum
The Rat King; Lord of the Gutters; Sewer Crawler

Symbol: Twelve rats with their tails knotted together
Home Plane: Carceri
Alignment: Neutral
Cleric Alignments: LN, N, CN, NE
Portfolio: Thievery, slums, cities, greed, mobs, vermin (especially rats)
Worshipers: Slum-dwellers; city folk; urchins and orphans; thieves; rogues; ratkin; wererats
Domains: Animal (Fur), Chaos, Liberation (Revolution), Trickery (Thievery)
Favored Weapon: Dagger or Bite

Physical Description:
Heavily wrapped in bandages and concealing clothes, Slum's features are obscured from sight, though tufts of red hair can be seen sticking through the bandages of his head in places. He is a tall man when he stands up straight, and very slender, but has a habit of crouching, making him normally appear quite short. The Rat King has glittering red eyes, like those of a rat, and also a long, prehensile rat's tail, and all ratkind obey him instinctively.

Description of Nature, Personality, and Dogma:
Learn from the rats and grow strong. Rats are cunning, clever, stealthy, and survive best by staying out of sight, but when cornered they fight with a visciousness that can put fear into the bravest of opponents. Rats work together when it suits them, but each rat can survive perfectly well as an individual. For a rat, life is composed of the essentials of life: shelter, nourishment, sociality, pleasure, play, rest. When not focusing on these, it helps to stay active and fit, mentally as well as physically, so that when something happens, you will be ready for it.

Slum himself is a ruthless pragmatist. He was a genius of crime while mortal, and is even more brilliant after his ascension to divinity. For Slum, there is honor among thieves. You might betray your best friend, but you never betray your business partners and fellow associates during a caper or a con, and you stay bought as long as the one buying you can keep paying for your services. Once you've finished your business, though, all bets are off, and offing a snitch is a common duty for Slum's worshipers. Making money, however you can get it, should be one of the principal occupations of any serious student of life, to Slum's point of view, not just for what the money can do, but also for the sake of the money itself.

Despite all his ruthlessness, however, there are a few lines beyond which Slum does not cross, and does not like his worshipers to cross either. Children are to be protected and mentored by their elders when possible, to give them the best shot at a good life. While selling narcotics is fine for Slum's worshipers, they never touch the stuff themselves because of how it weakens the body and the mind. Social ties are important important, and you don't sell out your friends, comrades, or blood. Killing for pleasure is also anathema to Slum and his worshipers, since this weakens communities by spreading fear and distrust, and Slum worshipers will often go hunting serial killers that try to hide in their parts of the city.

Clergy, Places of Worship, Important Rituals, and Servitor Races:
The majority of Slum's clergy are cross-class rogues as well as clerics, though he has a few pure clerics who devote most of their energies to providing support to children of the street and thieves on the run. Some rare few of Slum's clerics are actually beaurucrats and politicians, the highest level of thieves around. Ironically enough, thanks to Slum's influence, these clerics are often more respectable than other politicians because of their strong and very real ties to the common folk on the streets.

Slum's rituals are fairly simple, as befits a god of the people of cities. Regular minor offerings of food to those less fortunate and regular, equally minor, acts of theft or other sabotage against those more fortunate are common sacraments of this urban deity, to encorage a more even distribution.

Once a year, on the coldest, darkest day of the year, is Boxing Day, where friends and loved ones box up gifts and give them to each other. Originally these had to be stolen gifts, something essential to survival through the harsh winter, and to true worshipers of Slum they still are, but the general populace has watered the tradition down significantly.

Wererats and cranium rats are significant servitors of Slum, as are fiendish dire rats.

History and Relations:
Tales tell that Slum was once an orphaned child of the streets, just another common gutter urchin with neither name nor family, and only his wits and his friends to help him get by. But unlike so many others, Slum thrived under the hardship of this lifestyle, and soon became one of the most powerful master thieves of his day. Early in his life, the Rat King was bitten by a wererat, but rather than succumbing to the evil of his transformation, he gained control of it, and made it work for him. Soon he achieved mastery over all ratkind in his city, and soon in other cities as well as his fame and abilities spread, along with his fortunes. When and where Slum became a deity is unknown. It is said that, one day, the law had finally gotten wind of Slum's whereabouts through betrayal by Slum's best friend, and were closing in on the cunning Rat King. They never caught hum. They never even found a body. The next day, street urchins were laying out small shrines in his memory, praying for the luck and the bread to get through another day. And their prayers were answered.

Though Slum has his headquarters in Carceri, he is one of the few entities there that is not restricted by the plane's normal rules. He regards it as a game to defy the many wardens of that prison plane and travel with impunity to other planes, a way of keeping his skills sharp. Because of his scofflaw stance, Slum does not get along with worshipers of lawful deities at all, and his rugged nature and love of rats disenchant him from cat-loving gods. Pit is considered a friend by Slum, as the two apparently knew each other when they were still mortals (and, it is rumored, may have been brothers), and he discourages his followers from robbing poor pilgrims and travelers (though rich ones are still fair game) or halflings, as a special favor to the Duke of Sparrows. The Masks of the Market regard Slum as their personal enemy, and have an ongoing vendetta against him and his worshipers, though the feeling is not mutual: the Rat King just thinks it's fun to taunt the Masks.

Favored Offerings and Justifications for Direct Intervention:
By and large, Slum can't be bothered to help every little guttersnipe and alley roustabout that invokes his name. His primary service to his followers are the gifts of cunning and skill and determination. If someone does not make use of these generous gifts, then Slum will leave the poor sod to his deserved fate.

There are a few exceptions, however. If a plan is truly audacious enough, a scheme or heist or caper bold and brilliant and even outright insane, then Slum's attention may be drawn to assist the clever fools who undertake such a daring enterprise. His assistance in these cases tends to be subtle but noticable: guard schedules will be more predictable, watchmen will drink more heavily, the skills of the thieves themselves will function at their peak, and timing will come off perfectly. In a close battle of wits between thieves and the law, this can mean the difference between victory and the gallows. Additionally, Slum can be quite generous to street urchins, and often provides them with an extra boost of luck in exchange for their quiet devotion as they mature.

For offerings, Slum demands a cut of the take in any successful endeavor, great or small. This amounts to ten percent of the winnings. This can be paid to the god indirectly by turning it into an investment, for example in the form of bribes to officials or drinking money to make friends with other, less-fortunate lowlifes that share the slums. Otherwise it can be paid directly by using the money for feeding the rats. It is a common practice for lesser thieves, those who steal a morsel of bread or meat for their repast, to tear off roughly a tenth of their food and lay it aside for the rats or else to share with the children who live in the slums, at the whim and temperament of the thief, in hopes of gaining the favor of the Rat King.