|Aliases||The Exile, the Gray Protector, the Harsh, Master of Crafts, the Slave Driver, the Taskmaster|
|Divine Rank||Intermediate God|
|Portfolio||Magic weapon creation, artisans, magic, duergar|
|Domains||3E: Evil, Law, Magic, Protection
5E: Arcana, Death, Forge
|Home Plane||Great Wheel: Hammergrim (Acheron)
World Tree: Forgegloom (Hammergrim)
|Worshippers||Duergar, Evil Dwarves|
|Favoured Weapon||Grimhammer (Warhammer)|
Laduguer is an evil member of the Dwarf pantheon in Dungeons & Dragons, cast out of the Morndinsamman for his behavior. Laduguer is a bitter, resentful, cheerless deity, a cosmic slave-master and tyrant who despises beauty as "useless frippery" and demands unceasing toil from those under his command. Xenophobic in the extreme, he charges his duergar followers to enslave, exploit and ultimately exterminate all other races.
Laduguer's creation myth claims that he birthed himself out of the chill nothingness of the time before time out of sheer will and the desire to create, forging a cold, dark world of eternal twilight and populating it with his duergar faithful, who labored alongside him to produce wondrous art. However, one arrogant duergar known only as the Lone Craftsman sought to surpass his creator, with his efforts giving rise to all of the other races of the world; though Laduguer struck down the Lone Craftsman by turning him into the first derro, the damage was done. In what is called "The Time of Perversion", the other races elevated their own gods, who "defiled" the world with such foolishness as bright sunlight, green things and song.
Laduguer has no true allies; Deep Duerra aids him, but wants to overthrow him, whilst Dugmaren Brightmantle and Sharindlar are on speaking terms with him, but that's it. He is served by various baatezu, most notably bearded devils (hence the existence of durzagons), barbed devils, and pit fiends. His Herald is Garludor, a 20th level duergar (Rogue/Assassin) who alternates between hunting down Laduguer's enemies and stalking the forges of Hammergrim, where he slays negligent and unskilled workers.
In 5th edition Laduguer gained a new origin and nature. He is an ascended hero-god, a former mortal dwarf of the duergar clan who made a pact with Asmodeus, vowing that his people would forever afterwards battle the demon-aligned drow in exchange for the power to defeat and escape from their illithid tormentors. Asmodeus fulfilled his half of the bargain and Laduguer led the duergar back towards the surface... but there would be no welcome: the reason that other dwarves had never come to rescue the duergar was because the priesthood of Moradin had abandoned them, writing them off as traitors and heretics. Laduguer tried to explain that his people had been pulled away from their normal clan life by the mental powers of the illithids, but to no avail. Infuriated by their arrogance, Laduguer spat a curse on them and on Moradin before leading his people back into the Underdark, thus beginning the great war between the dwarves and ascending to godhood, but not before decreeing the Three Rules of Conduct, the foundation of his faith and by extension of duergar culture:
- Our Pockets Are Never Full.
- Our Fight Is Never Done.
- Our Resolve Is Never Shaken.
Priests of Laduguer are called Thuldors, and are distinguished by a brand of Laduguer's holy symbol on their forehead and by the practice of wearing unpolished iron breastplates emblazoned with the same broken crossbow bolt symbol. Only the strongest of duergar are selected to be thuldors, as the training is literally torturous; hours of repetitive prayer, interspersed with hard physical labor, branding, torture and other acts that require feats of superhuman endurance, culminating in being tied between two crushing stone blocks and left in solitude for a week. Many don't survive the training.
Holy Quests of Laduguer often revolve around awakening - and hopefully controlling - some long-buried evil of some kind.
Prayers to Laduguer are simple one-or-two-sentence affairs, but they're repeated dozens of times, with exactly the same rhythm and intonation each time. They're intended to be used to guide his followers at their work; as God of Toil, Laduguer has few rites, because time spent in ceremonies is time spent away from work. Temples to the Gray Protector are structural marvels, but completely lacking any form of ornamentation, and often with attached torture chambers, prison cells and battle arenas.
His dogma, according to "Faiths & Pantheons" for Forgotten Realms in 3rd edition, reads as follows: "The Children of Laduguer have rejected the feckless and feeble gods of their forefathers and withdrawn from their lazy once-kin so as to not be tainted by their weaknesses. Strict obedience to superiors, dedication to one's craft and endless toil are necessary to achieve wealth, security and power. Nothing is ever easy, nor should it be. Suffer pain stoically and remain aloof, for to show or even feel emotion is to demonstrate weakness. Those who are weak are undeserving and will suffer an appropriate fate. Adversity is Laduguer's forge, and the harsh trials through which the duergar must pass are his hammer blows - endure all and become stronger than adamantine."