". . . [A] colossal shadow [appeared] that was not wrought by anything in the room. It filled the portals from side to side, it towered above the lintel – and then, swiftly, it became more than a shadow: it was a bulk of darkness, black and opaque, that somehow blinded the eyes with a strange dazzlement. It seemed to suck the flame from the red urns and fill the chamber with a chill of utter death and voidness. Its form was that of a worm-shapen column, huge as a dragon, its further coils still issuing from the gloom of the corridor; but it changed from moment to moment, swirling and spinning as if alive with the vortical energies of dark aeons. Briefly it took the semblance of some demoniac giant with eyeless head and limbless body; and then, leaping and spreading like smoky fire, it swept into the chamber."
- – Clark Ashton Smith, The Charnel God
Mordiggian, also known as The Charnel God, is a Great Old One associated with ghouls, necromancers and death created by Clark Ashton Smith for his Zothique stories, where he debuted in the story "The Charnel God" as the primary god of the city-state of Zul-Bha-Sair, attended to by a mortuary-cult of ghouls dressed in long, hooded robes of purple paired with silver skull masks. Although capable of ferocious acts of wrath when roused to anger, he is generally a peaceful, amiable god who genuinely respects his faithful worshippers and who merely asks to be fed with the bodies of the dead. This makes him a true minority amongst the deities of the Cthulhu Mythos.
He has appeared in Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu Malleus Monstrorum. Creature, Gods, and Forbidden Knowledge, and in Pathfinder.
|Divine Rank||Great Old One|
|Portfolio||Darkness, Ghouls, Voices of the Dead|
|Domains||Chaos, Darkness, Death, Evil
Subdomains: Entropy, Loss, Night, Undead
|Worshippers||Ghouls, Undertakers, Necromancers, Anatomists|
Mordiggian appears in Pathfinder as a Great Old One, making him a god worshipped by NPCs, or even the PCs if you're running that sort of campaign. Both of his appearances so far have been in "Strange Aeons"; the H.P. Lovecraft-themed adventure path. Stats for Mordiggian appeared in the second adventure module, "The Thrushmoor Terror", whilst a profile of him as a deity appeared in the first adventure module, "In Search of Sanity", as part of the article "Elder Mythos", a revamp of the article "Cults of the Dark Tapestry", which had appeared in the earlier module "Wake of the Watcher", part 4 of the horror-themed path "Carrion Crown".
His writeup from that article reads as follows:
In ancient times, Mordiggian was the god of ghouls, yet as these undead spread throughout the countless worlds, many of them lost their way and fell into decadence. These ghouls have forgotten the Charnel God, and only pockets of those from Leng who have not degenerated maintain the ancient rites today.
Mordiggian’s primary worshipers in the modern era are humans who venerate him as a death god, yet to the untrained eye, these men and women are little more than ghouls themselves. Using vile rituals and surgical practices, they transform their limbs and visages into ghoulish countenances. In cities where such grotesqueries would cause incident, his worshipers wear heavy cloaks and silver masks to hide their shapes. Mordiggian’s temples are grand mausoleum-cathedrals placed in positions of prominence in their cities. Cities that host such temples have no graveyards of their own, for the priests of Mordiggian collect the bodies of the dead and place them, free of charge, into their sacred vaults for “disposal.” As such, undead and corpse-borne disease are rare contagions in cities under Mordiggian’s care, yet sometimes his priests are too eager in gathering the “dead,” and have been known to take away those in comas or deathlike trances from which they could have recovered.
Mordiggian is a living cloud of darkness, capable of congealing and coalescing all or portions of his form within the inky depths to serve his needs, whether he’s manifesting a long, grasping limb to pluck a ripened morsel from a coffin-platter, or visiting his wrath upon those who dare to tread upon halls where only the dead may walk. The Charnel God’s favored form is that of an immense worm with a set of grasping tentacles arrayed around a central maw; this fanged maw appears often in the god’s symbology.