Nhimbaloth

From PathfinderWiki
Nhimbaloth
(Deity)
Titles The Empty Death
Realm Voidbracken
Alignment Chaotic evil
Areas of Concern Despair
Ghosts
Swamps
Edicts Create undead (particularly incorporeal undead), feast upon carnivores that have recently feasted upon others
Anathema None
Cleric Alignments (1E)
Domains (1E) Chaos, Death, Evil, Plant, Void
Subdomains (1E) Dark Tapestry, Decay, Entropy, Fear, Isolation, Undead
Cleric Alignments (2E)
Domains (2E) Decay, nature, undeath, void
Alternative: abominations, delirium
Favored Weapon Flail
Symbol Dripping skull with jaw stuffed with wet moss

Source: In Search of Sanity, pg(s). 69 (1E)
Eyes of Empty Death, pg(s). 65 (2E)

Nhimbaloth[1] is the Outer Goddess of despair, ghosts, and swamps. She hunts those who would prey upon souls on the way to the afterlife, digesting predator and prey as one. Souls consumed by Nhimbaloth are gone for good: no afterlife, nothing but the agony of death and oblivion.[2]

Appearance

Nhimbaloth has no form, but her passage leaves behind telltale marks. In areas she has previously visited, usually swamps and desolate shores, faceless undead haunt, and wildlife, both plants and animals, becomes strangely antagonistic.[2]

Under the perfect conditions (the position of the stars, the number of souls consumed, the time of year, and the presence of her followers), Nhimbaloth can manifest a perceivable shape: a twisting mass of glistening blue fluid, with yellow four-pointed eyes and translucent tentacles extending in all directions. Each tentacle splits into seven smaller ones at its tip, which leave on soil touched a ring of seven perfectly spaced divots, said to be her fingerprints, where vegetation refuses to grow, stone grows chalky, and flesh festers. The manifestation rarely lasts long before Nhimbaloth returns to her domain, leaving behind a dead, undead-filled swamp.[2][3]

Nhimbaloth has also been depicted as a ghostly human woman with a single yellow four-pointed eye instead of a face, and seven-fingered tendrils wrapping around her body. Though likely to be the product of an imaginative artist, this image has been adopted by Nhimbaloth's cults.[3][4]

Nhimbaloth is said by many to be the source of all will-o'-wisps. Her cultists claim that her true form is but a presence felt by those threatened by a pointless and futile death.[5]

Home

Nhimbaloth supposedly dwells on a dead planet whose name has been lost; her cultists call it Voidbracken. In ages past, Nhimbaloth lost her body after a battle with another power (suggested to be Pharasma). Her followers see this as an evolution, since she could now freely move along the River of Souls, untethered by a body. Still driven by Nhimbaloth's will, Voidbracken wanders the Dark Tapestry; when it approaches an inhabited planet, the souls of the living are torn from their bodies. After she claims enough lives, Nhimbaloth's death will be undone, allowing her to once more exist as a physical being.[4]

Cults

Nhimbaloth's followers consider the fear felt by someone near death to be her breath.[2] According to them, will-o'-wisps are the eyes through which she sees from an eldritch realm beyond the very concept of death.[5] Flickerwisps are compared to Nhimbaloth's gentle caress, and the confusion induced by them as opening the mind to her presence, leading many cultists to keep flickerwisps to achieve religious ecstasies.[6] Voidgluttons are considered to be incarnations of Nhimbaloth's hunger, and many cultists offer themselves to them for religious insights, usually dying prematurely in the process.[7]

Relationships

Nhimbaloth is opposed by Gozreh, due to her taint of swamplands, and by Desna, who worries that her followers might stumble into Nhimbaloth's clutches in the wilds. Her occasional corruption of the First World and fey has also made her an enemy of the Eldest.[8]

Pharasma views Nhimbaloth as an affront to the cycle of life and death, since Nhimbaloth's victims tend to become ghosts, and when consumed, they are gone for good instead of being released to the Boneyard. According to some ancient texts, the two once fought a titanic battle on Voidbracken that left no victor.[8] Nhimbaloth learnt to hide her predations so Pharasma can no longer sense her, and The Whispering Reeds speaks of a scar that Pharasma has borne to this day as a result of her failure, one in the shape of seven divots where Nhimbaloth fed upon her essence. Whatever the truth of this story, Pharasma's cultists hate, fear, and respect Nhimbaloth's. Only the most devout and powerful Pharasmins are given leave to hunt Nhimbaloth's followers, and they try hard to leave laymen uninformed about Nhimbaloth, justifying that they are striking blows against her by defeating or preventing the formation of the ghosts upon whom Nhimbaloth feeds.[9]

On Golarion

Nhimbaloth holds some influence over a section of the Mushfens in southern Varisia. In this blasted swamp, the very laws of nature start to break down and powerful will-o'-wisp oracles magically sap the sanity of lost travellers and feed on their despair.[10]

References

Paizo published a major article about Nhimbaloth in Eyes of Empty Death.

  1. Original Source: James Jacobs, "The Elder Mythos"; James Jacobs. (2016). The Elder Mythos. In Search of Sanity, p. 69. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-882-3
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 James Jacobs. (2016). The Elder Mythos. In Search of Sanity, p. 69. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-882-3
  3. 3.0 3.1 Stephen Radney-MacFarland et al. (2021). Eyes of Empty Death, p. 61. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-316-4
  4. 4.0 4.1 Stephen Radney-MacFarland et al. (2021). Eyes of Empty Death, p. 62. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-316-4
  5. 5.0 5.1 Logan Bonner, Jason Bulmahn, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Mark Seifter, et al. (2019). Bestiary (Second Edition), p. 333. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-170-2
  6. James Jacobs et al. (2021). Ruins of Gauntlight, p. 83. Paizo Inc.
  7. James Jacobs et al. (2021). Ruins of Gauntlight, p. 87. Paizo Inc.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Stephen Radney-MacFarland et al. (2021). Eyes of Empty Death, p. 64. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-316-4
  9. Stephen Radney-MacFarland et al. (2021). Eyes of Empty Death, p. 65. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-316-4
  10. James Jacobs. (2017). Continuing the Campaign. Black Stars Beckon, p. 69. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-919-6