Mother of Monsters
Mother of Beasts
Mother of Demons
Mother of Perversion
Mistress of Insanity
Lamashtu (pronounced lah-MAHSH-too)1 is the mother and patroness of many misshapen and malformed creatures that crawl, slither, or flap on, above, or below the surface of Golarion.23 Her unholy symbol is a three-eyed jackal head, which may be represented in many ways, and her sacred animal is the jackal.4
Lamashtu was once a mighty demon lord who became the first such entity to achieve true godhood. In ages past, she was the lover of Pazuzu. What is known for certain is that she lured the god Curchanus into her territory and beset him with swarms of demons and other monsters until he was weak enough for her to attack. By defeating him, she ripped his godly domain over beasts from him, beginning an ancient vendetta with Curchanus' protégée, Desna. This imbued the demoness with a small amount of his divine power.5
Pazuzu was enraged by this shift in power, and as Lamashtu returned from that battle he betrayed and attacked her. He wounded her terribly, but her new-found divinity allowed her to survive; they have been dire enemies ever since. Lamashtu's vendetta against him is only equaled by Desna's own vendetta against her.5
When she learnt that demons were the result of experimentation by a Horseman of the Apocalypse, Lamashtu invaded Abaddon and killed the Horsemen Drulaema and Roshmolem. From torturing Roshmolem, Lamashtu learned the "art" of creating demons.6 Once she coupled that knowledge with the use of her own body to gestate the demons, she birthed the vavakia, a true masterpiece of the art of creating demons.7
Pictures of Lamashtu portray her as a jackal-headed woman, with a third vertical eye in the center of her forehead, heavily pregnant, with feathered wings (like a raven's), a snake's tail, and taloned feet like a vulture's). She is often depicted carrying her two deadly blades, Redlust and Chillheart: the former is of fire, the latter of ice. The blades may grow and shrink from the size of a falchion to that of a kukri. Her head may vary depending on the nature of her worshipers: gnolls preferring the jackal head, medusas a snake's, harpies a hawk's, and so on.8 She is often depicted surrounded by countless adherents, with a single individual rising above the rest.9
Lamashtu, in a stance befitting her demonic origins, considers all other gods her enemies. Despite this widespread animosity, she focuses her attentions on growing her cults and expanding their reach, as well as the birthing of new and hideous monstrosities.810
She is aware of Desna's hatred of her due to the murder of Curchanus, but treats her as beneath notice.8 She has an odd view of Shelyn, whom Lamashtu would love to capture and twist into her own monstrous vision of beauty. Needless to say, the faithful of Shelyn find this an abhorrent and terrifying concept.10
Urgathoa and Rovagug are, with Pazuzu, her greatest enemies. The Lamashtan–Pazuzu war is old and bitter: Lamashtu is the more powerful, Pazuzu the more focused on the campaign. The war is often fought by minions of the two demon lords but can escalate, causing much collateral damage, but neither side has gained a significant advantage yet over the other.8 Lamashtu believes that her status as a full deity means that she has little to fear from Pazuzu, but she would do well to remember her own murder of Curchanus when she was still a demigoddess.12 Pazuzu's name is believed to disperse Lamashtu's influence, and amulets with his name or image are worn by pregnant women and newborns to ward her corruption away.13
Before they became bitter enemies, Pazuzu and Lamashtu were lovers during the Age of Creation. One of their trysts in what would become the Lost Coast region of Varisia gave birth to a son named Uvaglor, among other spawn. Their cults rebuff this story out of a terrible shame, and have been playing out their patrons' battle in a small way.141516
Other demon lords
Lamashtu is not actively at war with other demon lords, and does not seek to conquer the Outer Rifts. She does have rivalries with some of them, and is said to have others as her lovers. The latter group includes Socothbenoth, who claims to have sired children with her.9 As a demon lord, Nocticula made her opposition to Lamashtu clear; in return, Lamashtu was well aware of Nocticula's murderous ascent to power.817
Baphomet, the first minotaur, began his fiendish life as a consort hand-crafted by Lamashtu until his foolhardy attempt to curry favour with her by stealing Asmodeus' sceptre ended up with his capture. After Baphomet escaped from Asmodeus' clutches and established himself as a demon lord in his own right, he reconciled with Lamashtu, and the two are allies and occasionally consorts, though he is no longer her servant.1018
The goblin hero-gods used to be servants of Asmodeus until Lamashtu stole them from Hell and adopted them as her own children. When she brought them to the Outer Rifts, she carved out their new realm of Basalfeyst by drawing a corner of Hell across the Maelstrom. The four hero-gods are now free to act but remain loyal to Lamashtu.19202122
Lamashtu bears a grudge against Szuriel for turning back her invasion of Abaddon, and wishes to use Szuriel's body to birth hideous offspring.24 Szuriel herself is grateful that Lamashtu's murder of Roshmolem set in motion her own rise to power as Horseman of War.25
Lamashtu's favor manifests as violent dreams, the appearance of sudden deformities, or unexplained pregnancies that often result in the painful (and sometimes fatal) birth of a deformed child. Worshipers who displease her may give birth to a "perfect" child, such as a human or halfling, nightmares, or welts. They may also find themselves infertile or unable to achieve sexual satisfaction.269
Lamashtu and her deranged faithful hold creatures of deformity, monstrosity, and virility in high regard. Thaumaturges and clerics in her service often call shemhazian demons and other creatures of the Outer Rifts into their service.27 Her divine servitor race are the swaithe demons, foul creatures that incite animals to attack civilized society.28
- This hideous yet powerful and cunning yeth hound has one green eye and one red. He relishes the promise of carnage and a good hunt.27
- These slavering, monstrous hyena-demons resemble corrupted hound archons with gangly limbs and deformed hyena heads. They love maiming and killing in Lamashtu's name.27
- The Yethazmari
- Appearing as an enormous jackal, standing 14 foot tall at the shoulder with smoking eye sockets, black leathery wings and a snake for a tail, the herald of Lamashtu brings terror and bloodshed. In its wake, the spawn of horrific and brutal trysts rise up to cause madness anew.278
- Seven Witches
- The Seven Witches serve Lamashtu in the Outer Rifts. They are her favourite daughters: powerful demonic sorceresses.8
Church of Lamashtu
Lamashtu's church is scattered and lacks an overall hierarchy, yet it is rare for two priest's to come into direct conflict, as they recognize each other's shared devotion and the hostility visited by those outside the religion. Many demoniacs pay obeisances to Lamashtu as she is a demon lord as well as a goddess.30 Her followers can most frequently be found in the Hold of Belkzen, Irrisen, Katapesh, the Mwangi Expanse, Nex, Osirion, the River Kingdoms, Varisia, and the Worldwound,931 and among Ulfen32 and half-orcs throughout the Inner Sea region.33
Lamashtu is also worshiped on the continent of Tian Xia were she is known as Grandmother Nightmare. Although her devotees can be found in most major cities there, she is most commonly (and openly) venerated in the wilder parts of the Darklands, Goka, Nagajor, Shaguang, the Valashmai Jungle, the Wall of Heaven mountains, and Wanshou.4
Lamashtu's followers seek out deformity in themselves and in others, and perform scarring and mutilation on themselves and others. They detest traditional forms of beauty and seek to destroy or kill it whenever possible. Some intentionally make themselves more beast-like, with her non-human followers do the opposite to better blend in with the more civilized races.9 She is typically worshiped by races such as gnolls (who claim they were created when Lamashtu took a hyena as her consort),8 goblins, and medusae.26 Lamashtu is considered the creator goddess of many monster races who worship her accordingly, including lamias and morlocks.8
Some sects, including the one in the city of Katapesh, have developed the means to supernaturally impregnate humanoids, both men and women, with children of Lamashtu. Such births cause severe damage to the host. The monstrous babies may require care in a specialized nursery. This includes submergence in a mixture of blood, afterbirth, and the waters of Lamashtu.34
Her human priests generally wear a jackal mask (of leather or metal), a pair of swords or knives made to resemble Lamashtu's personal weapons, and a cloak of black feathers. Monstrous races wear much the same but typically forgo the mask.26
Temples & shrines
Lamashtu is not usually worshiped in a constructed building, but rather a ring of stones, pillars, trees, wooden blocks, a pit in the ground, or a flat rock. Entrances into underground places of worship represent the entrance to the goddess' underworld domain. They typically are found on the outskirts of civilization, or in the true wilderness, and many are stained with blood and littered with the remains of failed births, and the victims of the successful ones.358
Lamashtu's cults rarely place much interest or emphasis on texts, preferring to rely on divine revelation and madness. Nonetheless, the more coherent of her followers have jotted down some horrendous writings over the eons.
- The Skull of Mashaag
- The yellowed skull of a yaenit who died in the service of Lamashtu, this object has the ability to speak the goddess' will in several languages. Every few years, her worshipers meet to hear its teachings, and heroes from each tribe undergo a series of contests to determine which group is to keep it next.27
- The Four Hides of Lawm
- This is a collection of three leather straps, each made from the skin of a humanoid. The fourth was lost long ago and is said to contain monstrous rites of power and fertility in Lamashtu's name.27
The cults of Lamashtu celebrate no known regular holidays; though births, deformities, and demonic visitations are often the cause of hedonistic and debauched celebrations among them. Strangely, the autumnal month of Lamashan is named after the Mother of Monsters.36
Gods are often associated with certain animals, either because they possess a quality favored by the god, or because the god's faithful feel a special kinship to them. Lamashtu's favored animals include jackals, hyenas, wolves, and deformed or hybrid animals.37
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
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- “Gods of Golarion” in Gods and Magic, 24. Paizo Inc., .
- “Lamashtu” in Sins of the Saviors, 66. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Life in the Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Gazetteer, 61. Paizo Inc., .
- “Lamashtu” in Sins of the Saviors, 69. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Appendix: Excerpts” in Book of the Damned, 282. Paizo Inc., .
- “The Demonic Horde” in Lords of Chaos, Book of the Damned Volume 2, 61. Paizo Inc., .
- “Lords of the Abyss” in Lords of Chaos, Book of the Damned Volume 2, 6. Paizo Inc., .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 223. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Lamashtu” in Sins of the Saviors, 69–70. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Aroden, the Last Azlanti” in A Song of Silver, 73. Paizo Inc., .
- “Chapter 1: Fiendish Divinities” in Book of the Damned, 87. Paizo Inc., .
- Inner Sea Gods, 98. Paizo Inc., .
- Pathfinder 6, 23. Dynamite Entertainment, .
- “The Sandpoint Hinterlands” in Sandpoint, Light of the Lost Coast, 88. Paizo Inc., .
- Demons Revisited, 63. Paizo Inc., .
- The publication of the Return of the Runelords Pathfinder Adventure Path canonized the redemption of the demon lord Nocticula and her ascension into a chaotic neutral deity of artists, exiles, and night. Not all ramifications of this change are reflected in PathfinderWiki, and might remain unresolved until a canon work addresses them.
- “Baphomet” in Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth, 71. Paizo Inc., .
- “Lords of the Abyss” in Lords of Chaos, Book of the Damned Volume 2, 7. Paizo Inc., .
- “Chapter 3: The Great Beyond” in Planar Adventures, 204. Paizo Inc., .
- “Hadregash, Greatest Supreme Chieftain Boss” in Assault on Longshadow, 73. Paizo Inc., .
- “Chapter 2: Fiendish Realms” in Book of the Damned, 158. Paizo Inc., .
- Kobold Quarterly 22, 10. Kobold Press, .
- “Szuriel” in Rasputin Must Die!, 74. Paizo Inc., .
- “Chapter 1: Fiendish Divinities” in Book of the Damned, 97. Paizo Inc., .
- “Chapter 3: Religion” in Campaign Setting, 165. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Lamashtu” in Sins of the Saviors, 73. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- Inner Sea Gods, 297. Paizo Inc., .
- “Kurnugian Jackal” in Troubles in Otari, 61. Paizo Inc., .
- “Lamashtu” in Sins of the Saviors, 67–69. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 126. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 21. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 29. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Part Three: The Slaver's Compound” in Broken Chains, 23–24. Paizo Inc., .
- “Lamashtu” in Sins of the Saviors, 67. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 248. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- Animal Archive, inside back cover. Paizo Inc., 2013 .
Additional works published by Paizo Inc. in which Lamashtu appears:
- Lamashtu (real-world demon) on Wikipedia