The Maiden of Pain, The Willing Whip<br>

<b>Symbol:</b> A nine-stranded whip, with barbed strands<br>
<b>Home Plane</b>: Mungoth/Ondrland<br>
<b>Alignment</b>: LE<br>
<b>Portfolio</b>: Pain, hurt, agony, torment, suffering, torture<br>
<b>Domains</b>: Evil Law Strength <br>
<b>Worshipers</b>: Beguilers, torturers, evil warriors, the depraved<br>
<b>Aliases</b>: N/A <br>
<b>Cleric Alignments:</b> LN, NE, LE<br>
<b>Favored Weapon:</b> Scourge – "Painbringer"<br>

Loviatar (Loh-VEE-a-tar), one of the Dark Gods, appears in her religion's art as a pale maiden dressed in white, pleated armor and carrying a bone-white wand, a whip, or a scourge that she uses as a weapon against her foes. She is venerated by torturers, sadists, and other twisted and evil people and creatures, including some nonhumans who love to bully other nonhumans. While he lived, Loviatar served Bhaal along with Talona, though the two goddesses are heated rivals. Loviatar loves to torment and tease Talona and has more than once expressed the opinion that by all rights Talona ought to and eventually will serve her.

Loviatar is aggressive, domineering, and fearless. She has a cold and calculatingly cruel nature and is also almost unreachable emotionally-toward love, fear, or even hatred. It would have to be a miracle for any deity or moral to make a dent in her icebound heart. She has an instinct for inflicting both physical and psychological pain, and she always seems to know what to say and the way to say it to inflict the most hurt and raise the biggest self-doubts in someone, mortal or deity. And unlike most simple bullies, she does not fear pain or hurt herself and laughs at attempts to physically damage or verbally humiliate her. The only possible weakness one might use against her is her very calculating nature, which relies on her assumption of the innate selfishness of human nature-beings acting in a self-sacrificing or heroic manner can sometimes snarl her carefully knit plans. <br>

Loviatar teaches that the world is filled with pain and torment, and the best that one can do is suffer those blows that cannot be avoided and deal as much pain back to those who offend. They (chillingly) believe that true pleasure is only won through pain. In the Loviatan faith, the strong are those who taste pain and strive on.

Novices in the Loviatan faith are charged as follows: "Kindnesses are the best companions to hurts, and incrase the intensity of suffering. Let mercy of sudden abstinence from causing pain and of providing unlooked-for lealing come over you seldom, but at whim, so as to make folk hope and increase the Mystery of Loviatar's Mercy. Unswerving cruelty will turn all folk against you. Act alluring, and give pain and torment to those who enjoy it as well as to those who deserve it most or would be most hurt by it. The lash, fire, and cold are the three pains that never fail the devout. Spread my teachings whenever punishment is meted out. Pain tests all, but gives strength of spirit to the hardy and the true. There is no true punishment if the punisher knows no discipline. Wherever a whip is, there am I. Fear me-and yet long for me."

Loviatar manifests either as a flying black whip that moves as her avatar does and has the same properties as the whips her avatar can create or as a floating, disembodied human female head that laughs maniacally as it flies about, platinum blond tresses streaming behind it. In either form, Loviatar can use her kiss ability, speak, write (with the top of the whip or as an animated lock of hair, in either case leaving behind letters written in black blood), or cast illusions.<br>

Loviatar also acts through the appearance or presence of baatezu (exiles), imps, and tieflings (mages and warriors who are all cruel, veteral adventurers, and skilled torturers). More commonly she sends inquisitors, nightmares, hell hounds, black rats, black poisonous spiders, wolf spiders, jet, ivory, snowflake ivory, snowflake obsidian, webstone, black violets, and black and red poppies to show her favor and as a sign to inspire her faithful.<br>

<b>The Church of Loviatar:</b>
Worship of Loviatar tends to be strongest in large, decadent cities such as Athkatla, Calimport, Mulmaster, Saerloon, Selgaunt, Telflamm, Waterdeep, and Westgate. Newcomers are often recruited from the ranks of the bored and wealthy or the desperately hungry beggars through large revels where much drugged wine is drunk and dancing and more intimate pursuits go on for several days and nights.

Priests of Loviatar are few in number, but widespread in power. Opponents tend to avoid them, since murder is the least that they will do in revenge again insults to their goddess. Women-both humans and half-elves-dominate the ranks of the priesthood both numerically and in rank and have alsways done so. Loviatar's tightly organized priesthood is composed primarily of clerics. Her specialty priests, called pains, operate as a separate arm of the faith, moving from place to place and ensuring that the goddess's will is carried out; they serve as the envoys and secret agents/inquisitors of the church. The clerics hold the pains in great regard, since they are often the tools of Loviatar's punishment. If an organized temple or shrine of Loviatar is present in a city, clerics make up the bulk of the organization, but one to three pains are also able to be called upon by the clerics. Mystics often are attached to small groups of pains, and monks, while living only with other monks in monasteries and abbeys, usually owe fealty also to the temple to which their abbey is hierarchically attached.

Priests of Loviatar are known as Loviatans (pronounced "Low-VEE-a-tans" and in old texts are sometimes referred to as Lovites (LOH-vites). They tend to be cruel and sadistic. They enjoy bestowing pain upon others (and receiving it) within a hierarchy of strict rules and discipline. Junior clergy members are often ordered to do tasks in a needlessly difficult or painful way to reinforce this iron discipline. Those who stay faithful usually develop truly awesome self-control, and in battle can carry on thinking and acting calmly even when dying from wounds or lacking limbs. They become very used to pain and are usually much scarred from self-inflicted injuries and hurts dealt by their superiors. To increase the agonies they receive and inflict, handfuls of salt are often rubbed in open wounds.

Loviatans always pray for battle spells before going out in public and are admonished to be alert. Although they boldly walk dark streets alone, their reputations sometimes land them in trouble with drunken sailors or dock workers or into ambushes from adherents of goodly faiths. Such attackers rapidly discover that most devotees of the Maiden of Pain are vicious in a fight. Since they do not fear pain or disfiguring wounds, they strike boldly where a more prudent combatant might withdraw. Some priestesses even go into taverns when bored or restless and deliberately start fights, though Loviatans rarely resort to such public methods of spreading mayhem in civilized areas for fear that they will be thwarted, slain, and the faith outlawed or adherants harassed in the future.

Novices or postulants to the Faith of Pain are known as Kneeling Ones. Confirmed priests used the titles (in ascending order): Taystren, Adept (in Pain), Sister/Brother (in Torment), Supremar, Caressor (of Terrors), Whiplass/Whiplar, Paingiver, Whipmistress/Whipmaster, High Whipmistress/Whipmaster, Branded (of the God), and Truescar. Words in parentheses in the precending list represent parts of the formal title seldom used except in rituals, disciplinary hearings, or documents. The last two titles are applied to all Loviatan clergy members who have served as the head of a temple, abbey, or monastery of the goddess or who have personally distinguished themselves in their service and taken up a life of wandering to further Loviatar's will and influence, often sponsoring or leading bands of "dark adventurers" to spread torment.

The church of Loviatar is currently relatively independent, though its members id other evil churches when it suits them. They particularly hate the church of Ilmater, which teaches that strength comes out of suffering, and the church of Eldath, which teaches of peace, the banishment of fear, and living in harmony with nature, since the specialty priests of these deities are resistant to Loviatar's pain-inflicting abilities.

Most Loviatan temples feature extensive dungeons beneath their above-ground facilities. The surface temples are usually built of stone or thick wood and resemble nothing so much as a combination monastic cell complex and prison. Even the windows of priest's rooms often sport bars.

<b>Day-to-Day Activities:</b>
As one of the Dark Gods, Loviatar likes to be feared, and her clergy members are ordered to whisper of her ever-present power in the darkness after they have inflicted pain. Their Prime Charge is to tirelessly cause suffering, both widespread and personal. This work may be as brutal as flogging an encountered band of orcs until they flee or as subtle as breaking hearts among young nobles by pretending to fall in love with the gallants (while disguising one's Loviatan faith), working to break up existing amours and friendships, and engaging in scandalous dalliances before coldly spurning the victims and departing. The activities of prudent worshipers of Loviatar should never be so high-profile that local authorities set out to imprison or thwart them upon first sight, but such activites should be energetic and numerous. Being a good actor-and of striking beauty, or experienced in using spells to appear so-are very useful traits for a Loviatan, but the most successful Loviatans are those who understand the ways and natures of folk and so know just how to cause them the most pain and to manipulate them toward that end.<br>

<b>Holy Days/Important Ceremonies:</b>
The most basic ritual performed by Loviatans is a kneeling prayer at morning and at evening performed after striking oneself once with a whip. Other rituals of the faith center on consecrating wine, whips, holy symbols, and other items-both practical, such as potions of healing, and horrific, such as tortune implements-used by the devout and on celebrating advancement in priestly rank.

All four seasonal festivals are celebrated by Loviatans with the Rite of Pain and Purity: a circle dance of chanting, singing clergy members performed upon barbed wire, thorns, or broken glass or crystal, where the priests allowed themselves to be urged to greater efforts by the whips of high-level priests and are accompanied by the drumming of lay worshipers. A red radiance rises gradually and forms a flickering cloud above the ring. If Loviatar has important missions to speak of, is especially pleased with this group of followers, or wants to enact her displeasure, she manifests in the heart of the cloud. If Loviatar does not manifest, the ritual ends after half an hour, and the priests heal themselves.

Every twelfth night (unless such a night coincides with a Rite of Pain and Purity, which preempts it) the clergy members celebrate smaller Candle Rite wherein they sing, chant, and pray as they dance around lit candles, passing some parts of their bodies through or over their flames repeatedly until the rite ends with the highest-ranking priestess extinguishing her candle with consecrated wine.

<b>Major Centers of Worship:</b>
Aside from in the nation of Dambrath, where the worship of Loviatar is the state religion and the queen of Dambrath, Yenandra, is its high priestess, the Black Spires of the Maiden temple in the Vale of Wailing Women west of Ishla in Amn is the largest, wealthiest, and most energetic center of worship to Loviatar, sending out agents all over Faerun and speaking with "the close love of the goddess." The House of Spires has risen to such prominence only in the last decade and so very rapidly because of one priestess: Queen of Torment Chalathra Nyndra, a dark-eyed, raven-haired, gaunt woman of truly vicious tastes and a legendary hunger to feel pain. It should be noted that Chalathra has found and modified an old draconic spell that acts to heal through immersion in a pool of a secret, enchanted mixture of tree saps and plant oils-and that creatures in cantact with this substance automatically make all System Shock and Resurrection Survival rolls if faced with situations requiring them while largely immersed. Loviatans will hunt down-to the ends of Faerun and beyond-and slay anyone stealing any samples of this "Milk of the Maiden."<br>

<b>Affiliated Orders:</b>
The Loviatan church has no affiliated knightly orders. Monks of the faith all belong to the Disciples of the White Rod, named in honor of the token granted to their founder by Loviatar and held in the home abbey near Calimport as a relic. Mystics follow an eccentric philosophy/order that they call the Way of Transcendence. When asked what their order's tenets are, they just smile knowingly<br>

<b>Priestly Vestments:</b>
Loviatans of both genders wear high black boots, black choker gorgets, and long black gloves that reach up to their shoulders. They also wear daring-looking leather body harnesses over or under side-slit ritual robes of icy white or black lined with scarlet silk (so that movements cause red flashes).

Loviatans are usually armed with saw-edged daggers and whips. A typical priest of low rank has a dagger at her belt, another in one boot, and a barbed whip with a 6-foot reach that lashes for 1d6+1 points of damage. A priestess of "full" (medium) rank adds to this gear a barbed cat-o'-nine-tails with a 4-foot reach that flails for 2d4 points of damage, and perhaps a black metal mace with skin-contact sleep venom in its holly handle, so that its first strike releases the venom, causing the next six blows to force saving throws vs. poison on a victim. (Failure of this saving throw means falling asleep for 1d8+3 turns commencing in 1d4+1 rounds, and slapping or downsing the sleeper in cold water does not awaken him or her.)

High-ranking priestesses are usually also equipped with several iron bands of Bilarro spheres at their belts, and afew also carry a wand of frost, fire, and fear. This rechargable magical weapon is a cat-o'-nine-tails with a 4-foot reach made of electrum tentacles attached to a steel shaft.

<b>Adventuring Garb:</b>
Priests and priestesses of Loviatar wear a pleated armor that resembles scale mail. However, the ceremonial garb is lightweight and designed for fashion rather than protection. It is constructed to emphasize the figure of the wearer rather than to provide true protection. Loviatar grants boons, in the form of white wands, to those who have caused widespread suffering. She usually grants these boons to members of her priesthood who have served her outstandingly. However, she has been known to grant white wants to individuals outside her faith who have, willingly or not, caused widespread suffering. She prefers to grant them to those who have unwillingly or unknowingly done so, in particular good and lawful types who will be tormented just knowing that they have advanced her cause. (Loviatar delights in tormenting good or lawful beings with these "gifts"; in such cases, the wand emits her cold laughter whenever it operates.) Loviatar's white wands appear mysteriously, but their origin and purpose are mentally communicated to the beings they are intended for upon first contact. (If any other creature but the one it is intended for touches a white wand, it melts away like ice in the hot sun.)<br>

Last updated byDispater