Black nine-tailed whip
|Divine Rank||2E/3E: Lesser Goddess
4E: Intermediate Goddess
|Portfolio||Pain, hurt, agony, suffering, torment, torture|
|Domains||3E: Evil, Law, Lust, Retribution, Strength, Suffering, Pain, Wrath
4E: Torment, Vengeance
|Home Plane||Great Wheel: Ondtland (Gehenna)
World Tree/World Axis: Banehold
|Worshippers||Beguilers, torturers, evil warriors, and the depraved|
|Favoured Weapon||Painbringer (Scourge)|
Loviatar, aka The Maiden of Pain (not to be confused with the Lady of Pain), The Willing Whip and The Scourge Mistress, is the malevolent Goddess of Agony in the Forgotten Realms setting of Dungeons & Dragons. Having been around since the days of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, she is based on the Finnish goddess Loviatar, the blind Goddess of Disease and daughter of the God of Death. In fact, old-school lore actually describes her as being the Finnish goddess, who broke away from her apathetic pantheon and sought vitality by finding new worshippers, succeeding by breaking into the Crystal Sphere of Toril.
Ed Greenwood created Loviatar in his home games of Dungeons & Dragons, confessing that she was inspired by the Finnish goddess of the same name, who was depicted in the original Deities & Demigods Cyclopedia. He even went so far as to make her explicitly the Finnish Loviatar seeking a renewed worshipper base elsewhere, although this aspect of her lore dropped off around the time of 3rd edition.
She first made her debut in the days of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition, as one of the deities featured in Ed Greenwood's article "Down-to-earth Divinity" in Dragon #54 (October 1981). Loviatar is introduced as the Maiden of Pain and Torture, goddess of pain, hurt, and patron of torturers, a lawful evil demigoddess from the plane of Gehenna. Loviatar is described as one of "The Dark Gods" of evil alignment: "Loviatar, Talona, and Malar serve Bane through Bhaal (although Loviatar and Talona are rivals)." Loviatar is commonly worshipped by lawful evil magic-users, assassins, monks, and clerics, and characters employed as torturers.
Loviatar later officially appeared as one of the major deities for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set's "Cyclopedia of the Realms" booklet (1987), where she is described as a pale maiden in white armour who wields a wand-shaped dagger of ice, and is stated to be the same Loviatar as the one in Finnish legend.
When 2nd edition rolled along, Loviatar was fully cemented into place; she was there from the original hardback Forgotten Realms Adventures (1990), followed by the revised Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (1993) (where she appeared in the "Running the Realms" booklet), and in 1996's Faiths and Avatars. The 1996 and 1997 Faerun cleric-centered splatbooks "Warriors & Priests of the Realms" and "Prayers from the Faithful" further established her cult, whilst her interactions with the nonhuman deities of Faerun was covered in 1998's Demihuman Deities. 1996 was such a good year for her that she even made it into Planescape, thanks to the splatbook "On Hallowed Ground".
When Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition rolled on, Loviatar remained solidly in place, debuting in the 3e FR Campaign Setting (2001) and receiving an expansion in Faiths & Pantheons the next year.
In Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, like most of the more "generic" deities, Loviatar slipped in prestige. She wasn't demoted to Exarch status, instead being named a "God" level entity, but her only mentions are in the big table of Toril's deities in the 4e FR Campaign Setting and the fact she got her associated Cleric Domains mentioned in the Dragon Magazine article applying that mechanic from Divine Power to the gods of the Forgotten Realms and Eberron.
Bringing pain and suffering was the aim of all Loviatans, either through physical torture or sometimes more subtly and psychologically. Beauty, intelligence and acting were useful attributes of a Loviatan, but the ability to fully understand someone was the best skill a Loviatan could acquire, as knowing someone fully could help a Loviatan inflict maximum pain, one way or another. Loviatar's followers were encouraged to wipe Ilmater's followers from the face of the Realms.
Loviatans often engaged in self-flagellation, often in the morning when praying for spells. They celebrated each season with the Rite of Pain and Purity, a ritual that involved followers dancing on glass, thorns or barbed-wire while being whipped by higher-level Loviatans. A smaller ritual occurring every twelve days involved followers passing their bodies through the flames of candles.
During warfare, priestesses of Loviatar scourged their naked shoulders or tore their cheeks with their nails to evoke magic.
Priests of Loviatar are called, simply, "Pains".
Loviatians are known to run BDSM clubs in order to try and gain greater funding and inroads amongst the ranks of the sexually perverse.
Loviatar's worship is the state religion of Dambrath.
Once a follower of Bhaal, Loviatar was affiliated with Malar and Talona and had fallen under the sway of Shar, though the return of Bane changed this, as she once again served as his consort. Loviatar's portfolio conflicted most with that of Ilmater, because Loviatar despised those who helped others. She also hated Eldath and Lliira for offering rewards without any suffering to achieve them.
The world is filled with pain and torment, and the best that one can do is to suffer those blows that cannot be avoided and deal as much pain back to those who offend. Kindnesses are the best companions to hurts, and increase the intensity of suffering. Let mercy of sudden abstinence from causing pain and of providing unlooked-for healing 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 Loviatar's teachings whenever punishment is meted out. Pain tests all, but gives strength of spirit and true pleasure to the hardy and the true. There is no true punishment if the punisher knows no discipline. Wherever a whip is, there is Loviatar. Fear her — and yet long for her.
|The deities of 5th edition Forgotten Realms|
|Good|| Ilmater - Nobanion
Torm - Tyr
| Chauntea - Deneir - Eldath - Enlil
Gwaeron Windstrom - Lathander
Mielikki - Milil - Mystra - Shiallia
| Lliira - Lurue - Selûne - Sharess |
Sune - Tymora - Valkur
|Neutral|| Azuth - Helm - Hoar
Jergal - Kelemvor
Red Knight - Savras
Siamorphe - Ulutiu
| Akadi - Ao - Auppenser - Gond
Grumbar - Istishia - Karsus
Kossuth - Oghma - Silvanus
Tempus - Ubtao - Waukeen
| Finder Wyvernspur - Ibrandul - Leira |
Mask - Shaundakul - Uthgar
|Evil|| Asmodeus - Bane
Gargauth - Gilgeam
| Auril - Bhaal - Myrkul
Shar - Velsharoon
| Beshaba - Cyric - Garagos |
Malar - Moander - Talona
Talos - Umberlee