You Say the Underdark is Going Crazy? Diinkarazan Started That.
|Buppido, who thinks he is the reincarnation of Diinkarazan in Out of the Abyss|
For the last couple of years I've been looking occasionally at the boxed set The Night Below (TSR 1125). The adventure fascinates me as it's a massive undertaking designed in such a way that it test both the players' ability to improvise and plan effectively, as well as, the Dungeon Master's. That's been a rare commodity in the modules that I've examined over the years and so the Night Below has captured my imagination. Still, I've never made a concerted effort to really plow through the adventure from beginning to end so that I'm prepared to actually run it.
I'm changing that.
Anyway, there's a character that has kind of gotten my attention lately, Darlakanand (a Derro with a terrible name) who is driven by the mad Power, Diinkarazan (again, a terrible name). Diinkarazan is one of the many Second Edition divine powers that you run across every so often when exploring a module from that era that will send you off through other books trying to figure out who the hell they're talking about.
The first time that I noticed Diinkarazan was when I ran across the Isle of Derangement:
". . . This small island has, in the center of its one cove, a single 6-foot-high standing stone with a Derro handprint indelibly etched into its surface. This stone was once touched by the mad Demo demi-deity Diinkarazan, and it causes insanity in anyone approaching within 30 feet (saving throw vs. spell to resist). However, from time to time creatures swim too close to shore and are affected; as a result,a community of wholly deranged kuo-toa lives here. They have become the dominant group by killing anything else that arrives . . ." (Sargent NB, 35)
There's something about the idea of a divine presence coming in contact with a location and leaving a part of its will behind to forever affect the world afterwards that just strikes a perfect tone for me. I mean, Diinkarazan has manifested real evidence of his presence in a world where few even acknowledge his existence and in so doing has indelibly changed a whole section of the Underdark. Sure it's not as sexy as a bunch of Demon Lords running amok in the Underdark as is happening with this year's Rage of Demons story BUT wouldn't it be wild if the ultimate secret of that storyline was that the players had come into contact with the Isle of Derangement from Night Below and were living out the Rage of Demons story in their minds?
Diinkarazan is an interesting character who is really only developed in three places that I know of: the Night Below (TSR 1125), Monster Mythology (DMGR4, TSR 2128), and On Hallowed Ground (TSR 2623). In the Night Below Diinkarazan is a passing presence mentioned but not really defined. Monster Mythology Diinkarazan is granted a whole paragraph where we learn about his relationship with the Derro's primary god, Diirinka. Here it is revealed that Diinkarazan is shunned in Derro lore because the shamans who revere his twin brother, Diirinka, are doing their best to make sure that Diinkarazan is never powerful enough to seek his revenge on his brother for betraying him. The betrayal happened like this:
". . . The two young gods, probably children of one or other of the lesser dwarven gods (this is most unclear), sought to expand their dominion and wished to create their own race of dwarves. They wanted their creation to be distinctive, typified by qualities hill and mountain dwarves lack - speed, dexterity, and magical prowess. Drawn to deeper places than to other dwarves, they explored the Underdark and found a vast cavern glittering with the elemental force of raw magic. They began to gather up strange, alien magical artifacts scattered about a central green crystal sphere floating just above the ground, and as they did so a vast spectral brain floated up from the sphere and surveyed them coldly. Ilsensine, the god of illithids, did not take well to his secrets being stolen by a pair of diminutive dwarves. Diirinka backstabbed his own brother and left him to be consumed by the spectral horror, fleeing for his life. He left his brother to be cursed most horribly by the furious illithid, and banished to the Abyss where he still dwells . . ." (Sargent MM, 59 - 60)
It should come as no surprise to longtime D&D enthusiasts that both the Isle of Derangement and the god Diinkarazan come from the man who moved the needle of D&D away from what had become a tired and banal system and into a whole new realm of possibility: Carl Sargent. Sargent's work has always been the sort of thing that inspires my imagination in ways that few others before him have been capable of doing and almost no one has done since. Just look at that description for the relationship between Diirinka and Diinkarazan! Betrayal, family, power, horror! It's all there and yet so little is defined. It's tantalizing and in the equivalent of two paragraphs Sargent has created a demi-god that I want to make a part of my campaigns. He's everything I like about the Gods of Chaos from Warhammer without the baggage.
I have yet to read On Hallowed Ground yet, but I've ordered it. If anyone would like to fill us in on Diinkarazan's role in that supplement while I wait on UPS to show up I'd love to hear about what he's doing there.
Sargent, Carl. Monster Mythology. USA. TSR, Inc. 1992. Print. pg. 59 - 60
Sargent, Carl. Night Below, Book II, The Perils of the Underdark. USA. TSR, Inc. 1995. Print. pg. 35
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