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On a remote island, adventurers seek fortune and glory by delving beneath an ancient pyramid that stands amidst an impenetrable jungle. Before the heroes can even approach their goal, they must first navigate through the underbrush, avoiding a tribe of angry natives who worship a large volcano in the center of the island. Although their foes are lightly armored and carry only primitive weapons, the high priests amongst them can call upon the power of their deity, throwing lava at their foes. In the shadow of the volcano god, no amount of armor can protect the non-believers.

What is a Volcano God?
A volcano god is a powerful spirit of the earth, tied to one of the most powerful natural structures. Whether dormant or active, a volcano is an awe-inspiring sight, drawing worship, admiration or fear from those who live within its shadow.

Most volcano gods are undeniably powerful, yet bound to the area around their volcano. Even though they are deific personifications of a natural force, their sphere of influence does not extend much further than their shadows, often only from within view of the volcano itself.

Who Worships the Volcano God?
Volcanoes can be found all over the world from tropical islands to cold arctic terrains, and even deep underwater. Although it may be easy to assume that most worshippers are primitive humanoids, that is not entirely the case. Even though they are incredibly dangerous when active, volcanoes can also be responsible for hot springs, and their eruptions can create new land.

Certainly primitive humanoids worship volcano gods out of fear. In cold regions, healers are more likely to worship volcanic deities due to their association with hot springs and the medicinal properties they provide. More advanced cultures who often find themselves in the presence of a dormant rather than active volcano may worship it as a solitary, yet always present aspect in their lives.

Demihumans may also worship volcano gods. Dwarves are by far the most common worshippers due to their attachment to the earth. Gnomes may also worship them, but generally in smaller numbers as the destructive capabilities of a volcano do not often appeal to them. Deep within the ocean, aquatic elves, tritons and sahuagin may all follow the teachings of an underwater volcanic god.

Despite their seeming link to the Material Plane, volcano gods may also be worshipped or even directly served by extraplanar entities. Creatures of the Elemental Plane of Fire and the Paraelemental Plane of Magma are the most common followers, especially azers, salamanders and elementals. Djinn may also place themselves in service of such a deity, but they are somewhat rare. Deities with strong connections to good or evil may also attract fiendish or celestial followers. Eladrin and demons, especially those with connections to the power of fire are more common.

Static versus Mobile
While it is true that most volcano gods are bound to their volcanoes, some rare ones have been able to break from the mold and become worshipped less for the impressiveness of their terrestrial forms, but more for the ideas that they exult.

One excellent example of a mobile volcano god is Hephaestus from the Greek pantheon. Although he is a volcano god, he is also a god of invention, fire and metalcraft, worshipped for his skill with a blacksmith's hammer as much as he is for his raw elemental power.

The general rule of thumb should be that younger deities should be static, later gaining mobility as they expand their sphere of influence. This is also true of older deities who are tied to dormant volcanoes. As the magma within them begins to cool, so do their tempers. The fiery passions of a fire deity give way to the slow, methodic nature of the earth, all the better to attract more diverse followers.

The Nature of Volcano Gods
Younger volcano deities tend to be passionate, and explosive, leaning heavily towards chaos. As they age, and become sedentary, they become far more deliberate, favoring law. In terms of good and evil, they are predominantly neutral, choosing to destroy and protect in equal parts. There are however, some characteristics that volcanic deities of a particular alignment may share.

Chaos is the most common alignment for volcano gods. Active and explosive, they protect and destroy in equal parts. They are as fearsome to their enemies as to their worshippers, and many demand sacrifices be made to them to placate them.

Lawful volcano gods are more concerned with expanding upon their domains than striking down their enemies. This alignment is favored by older deities, as it appeals to the slow, earth-like nature of dormant volcanoes. Not only do they seek to continuously increase their followers, but island and ocean based deities send lava flows into the ocean to create new landmasses.

Good-aligned volcano gods treat lava as a tool more than a weapon. An underground fissure could be the heat-source for a rejuvenating hot spring. A contained flow could be harnessed to provide the intense heat required of a forge. It is through creation that they work, rather than destruction. Even plant-life can benefit from a volcano god's touch, as a lava flow can quickly destroy large areas of brush and dead-wood, leaving nutrient-rich deposits in its wake.

For evil-aligned volcano deities, lava is a weapon that causes fear as well as destruction. They may send lava flows, earth quakes and clouds of ash to devastate nearby communities that fail to provide them with the proper respect or sacrifices. These gods tend to require sacrifices be made of blood, often innocents that are dropped into the crater at the top of their volcano.

All volcano gods may require sacrifices as part of the rites associated with them, although this is more common with chaotic and evil deities. Common sacrifices include a portion of a recent harvest, livestock, wooden carvings, jewelry or other pieces of art or in some case of a non-good deity, the sacrifice of an intelligent creature. These sacrifices are done as much to appease the deity's wrath as they are to court their favor, and as the deity ages, becomes mobile and gains more followers, generally ceases to be as important as before.

Spheres of Influence
All volcano deities generally share the same basic alignment traits, with some variations due to their differing alignments and affinities.

Volcano gods typically possess the Earth or Fire domain, and occasionally both. This represents the raw, elemental nature of the volcano. Chaotic-aligned deities are more likely to possess Fire, and lawful ones are more likely to possess Earth, given the difference in natures between the two. Many volcano deities may also possess the Volcano domain (see below), which is a more direct representation of their nature.

Alignment-based domains (Chaos, Evil, Good and Lawful) are very common among these deities, especially in locations where they may be the chief god for the inhabitants.

Among chaotic and evil deities, both Death and Destruction are fairly common domains, as both can be found in equal measures during a volcanic eruption. Likewise, lawful and good-aligned volcano deities often provide the Plant and Protection domains, as their flows foster new land and speed along the natural cycle of decay and growth.

Other domains that are common among volcano gods are Darkness (Player's Guide to Faerûn), Fury (Fiendish Codex I), Healing and Metal (Player's Guide to Faerûn).

Volcano Domain
    Deities: Chantico, Hephaestus, Surtur.
    Granted Powers: You gain resistance to fire 5.

Volcano Domain Spells

1 - Wall of Smoke1: Wall of black smoke obscures vision and nauseates those who pass through.
2 - Lava Missile2: 1d4 fire damage; +1 missile per 2 levels above 2nd.
3 - Stone Shape: Sculpts stone into any shape.
4 - Spike Stones: Creatures in area take 1d8 damage, may be slowed.
5 - Lava Splash2: Wave of lava deals 1d4 points of fire damage to all within area (max 15d4).
6 - Cloudkill: Kills 3 HD or less; 4-6 HD save or die, 6+ HD take Con damage.
7 - Earthquake: Intense tremor shakes 5-ft./level radius.
8 - Incendiary Cloud: Cloud deals 4d6 fire damage/round.
9 - Transmute Rock to Lava1: Transforms one 10-ft. cube with subsequent fire damage and effects.
1 See the Spell Compendium for more information.
2 See Serpent Kingdoms for more information.

Sample Volcano Deity

She Who Dwells in the House
Lesser Deity (Chaotic Neutral)

The jealous Chantico is the guardian of homes and hearths, jewelry and of fires. Although she bucks the authority of others, she is very defensive of what is hers and tolerates no thieves. She appears as a dark-skinned beautiful woman bedecked in precious metals and stones and wearing a crown of poisonous cactus spines. This intimidating crown also serves as her holy symbol.
    Chantico can also take the form of a red serpent, but may also appear as a dog; a form she was turned into previously as punishment for consuming a taboo food (a paprika) during a fast.
    Chantico is worshipped by jewelers, metalsmiths, homemakers and soldiers for both her gifts and the wrath she bestows on those that would threaten them. She treats thieves and despoilers as bitter enemies and displays her displeasure in the forms of eruptions and flame.
    Chantico is giving to her worshippers, but she is temperamental and has been known to lose patience with followers on a whim. Those who plead to her for forgiveness, even without reason, rarely find the goddess displeasure.
    Portfolio: Gems, jewelry, hearths, home, wealth.
    Domains: Chaos Protection, Volcano, Wealth*.
    Cleric Training: Prospective clerics of Chantico must first spend a period of time in physical servitude to the goddess before they are initiated in the rites of the priesthood. Often this service takes the form of care and upkeep of a local temple: keeping building clean and well-maintained, as well as making sure the hearth-fire within never dies. Many initiates take the opportunity to learn about gem cutting and jewelry making from more experienced clerics during this time.
    Quests: Clerics of Chantico travel the lands following rumors of mineral wealth waiting to be excavated from the ground. Some of the more martially-inclined work to break up thieves' guilds or supplement local armies as mercenaries.
    Prayers: Prayers to Chantico are a combination of fawning over the goddess's presence, pleading with her for mercy from her wrath and cautious requests for gemstones. They are toadying, but that suits Chantico's sometimes mercurial personality.
    Temples: Temples to Chantico can be found in most large communities, and always feature a large hearth that is kept constantly alit. These temples often act as temporary lodging for weary travelers - at a cost.
    Rites: Fire-lighting ceremonies are performed by the clergy at sunset, as several small fires and hearths are lit from the fires of the temple's eternal flames. These ceremonies are quiet and solemn, but an important affirmation of the comforts of home.
    Herald and Allies: Chantico usually sends a fire weird (Monster Manual II) as her herald. Her planar allies are Medium, Large and Huge fire elementals, magma paraelementals (Manual of the Planes) and thoqqua.
    Favored Weapon: Dagger.
* The Wealth domain can be found in Draconomicon.

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