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The Caregiver, The Provider, Our Lady of Mercy

There have been many self-proclaimed benefactors throughout history - people who have given large gifts to other people in need. However, often their motivation was not genuine altruism, but merely to hear others praise their generosity, or worse, keep those they "helped" in a debt, if not of money, then one of favors owed.

This is not as it should be, as the priests of Dahla says. People should do good deeds not because they expect anything in return, but because it is the right thing to do. And the followers of Dahla try to live by this by helping others in need without taking credit for it personally. Often, the one being aided doesn't even know who has helped him. Usually, he will get a message that he is being helped "in Dahla's name", with the implication that once he has gotten out of his current predicament and able to help others, he should do so in the same manner - also in Dahla's name, so that the original deed can spread around the world. It has also become standard practice to list anonymous donations to a charitable cause as "in Dahla's name" when a list of donors is compiled.

Priests of Dahla often lead a double life - they have a "day job" in which they earn money, but when they work as priests (like when they give to the needy), they wear concealing robes with veils in front of their face. These robes have the same designs for all priests of Dahla so that it is hard to identify the particular person between the cloth. Often some minor illusions are added to conceal the voice and stature of the priest. When a particular priest is "exposed" - i.e., his identity becomes widely known in any given locale - he will often move away to another place where no one knows of him. Thus, most people try not too hard to find out just who hides behind the veils, and various superstitions have sprung up detailing the bad luck that is sure to haunt someone who will take a peek behind the veils.

These are the central commandments of Dahla's faith:

  • Do good deeds, and don't talk about them.
  • The right gift to the right person at the right time will yield a bounty far greater than miserly hoarding coins ever will.
  • Don't ask for repayment for the gifts you give, but instead ask them to aid the needy just as you have aided them.

Dahla's symbol is an open palm, spread downwards.

See Also

Adventure Ideas

Designer's Notes & Resources

All in all, Urbis as a setting is primarily about human motivations and beliefs instead of cosmic clashes between Good and Evil. As a result, a "Deity of Goodness" as a rallying point for all that is wholesome (and a counterpoint in the form of a "Deity of Evil" standing for all that is corrupt and base) wouldn't have fitted in too well - human behavior is just too complex to be divided into such abstract concepts (D&D alignment nonwithstanding).

Still, I wanted to have some religion that's genuinely nice and easy to sympathize with, and the cult of Dahla comes fairly close. Making it a mystery cult makes for a nice inversion of the usual "Shiny Champions of Light" stereotype, and it fully supports sneaky character concepts you wouldn't otherwise expect on the side of "Good".


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Urbis - A World of Cities © Jürgen Hubert. All material on this site excepting forum posts is owned by him.