Cult of Mordiggian
Name(s): The Cult of Mordiggian
First Appearance: Clark Ashton Smith, "The Charnel God"
History and Scope
The Cult of Mordiggian is mostly exclusively followed by Ghouls, and Ghouls alone are initiated into the secrets by the cult's priests, though members of other races may adopt the worship of Mordiggian on their own, or serve as servants and hangers-on to the cult. The center of the Cult of Mordiggian is found in the Dreamlands, and its priests rarely emerge far into the Waking World.
The Cult of Mordiggian is ancient, dating back (according to the Ghouls) to the "Beginning of Days" when the Ghouls were said to have learned the secrets of Black Magic and were thus cast out of Midian, "Ghoul Heaven".
Although Mordiggian itself dwells within the Dreamlands, it is assumed that this Great Old One may also enter the waking world, using the same grave-tunnels and tombs as its Ghoul followers. Proof of this is demonstrated by Mordiggian's worship in the city of Zul-Bha-Sair on the continent of Zothique in the distant future, where he is the only god since "from years that are lost to man's memory", and all who die in the city are offered to him as provender.
Identification, Psychology and Behavior
Mordiggian's cult consists exclusively of Ghouls, though other races may offer up their dead to the Charnel God, usually only as appeasement rather than actual worship. The Ghoul priests of Mordiggian cover themselves in long hooded robes of funeral-purple and silver skull-like masks. A tome known as the Ghoul's Manuscript deals with Mordiggian and his cult, and Mordiggian is also more or less vaguely described in Cultes des Goules.
Tomes, Artifacts, Sites
- tome: Ghoul's Manuscript
- costume: long hooded robes of funeral-purple, and silver skull-like masks
- location: Dreamlands, where the cult's leaders and center of the cult's activities can be found
- location: Midian, a sort of paradise promised as a reward to cultists for their service and sacrifice; also the name of a Dreamlands city where the cult's temple and leaders might be found
- location: the cult operates openly in the city of Zul-Bha-Sair on the continent of Zothique in far-future Earth, where Mordiggian is the city's only god
Allies, Creatures and Deities
- race: humans may be found in the company of Ghoul cultists in the roles of slaves (especially as interpreters or as a human "face" for the cult in its dealings with the outside world), or more frequently as sacrifices and livestock
- race: Human Cultists (presumably those with Ghoulish ancestry or tendencies) may sometimes assist the Cult of Mordiggian, and may sometimes individually adopt the worship of Mordiggian on their own
- race: Witches, warlocks, wizards, sorcerers, and others may occasionally work and bargain with Ghoul cultists toward mutually beneficial goals
- race: Crawling Ones, Liches, Vampires, Werewolves, and other such creatures may occasionally serve, support, or ally with Ghoul cultists on an individual basis for any of a variety of reasons of their own
Heresies and Controversies
- Ghoul cultists operating under the worship of "Ishtar, Mother of the Veil of Darkness" have been associated with the cult of Mordiggian, and Ishtar in this sense may refer to a female counterpart or avatar of Mordiggian. (Blood Feast (1963 film))
- Clark Ashton Smith, "The Charnel God"