(Luck Snake, Good Daemon, Beloved of Tyche, Kind Spirit)
Demipower of Arborea, N
Agathos Daimon is said by some to have been an aspect of the World Serpent deity venerated in the most ancient of times by the sauroids, one of the five creator races. Little is known of those times, but when the sauroids were replaced by the debased yet cunning yuan-ti, the principal aspect of the World Serpent which they worshipped was called Merrshaulk, that same that is called Sseth these days. But other aspects of the World Serpent also remained, and Agathos Daimon was the name amongst the fledgling human cultures of those days of the aspect of the Serpent associated with fair and even-handed fortune. In those days he was worshipped as a champion against the tyrranical rule of the yuan-ti devotees of Merrshaulk, and he waxed great. In after times, with the rising of the empire of Netheril, Daimon became explicitly a male power, and was associated with the newer human luck-goddess Tyche. Despite the fact that Tyche (called Agathe Tyche in many parts) was frequently described as flirtatious, she was just as often described as having a devoted consort in Daimon. Daimon was sometimes invoked as a model of steadfast love and loyalty, and as such became an emblem for a happy family home, and many families of many tribes and cities did homage to him in this aspect.
Eventually, about the time of the fall of Netheril (which befell in the Year of Sundered Webs, -339 DR), the Dawn Cataclysm struck, and Daimon's waxing was come to an end, and his waning begun. According to legends of that troubled time, Agathe Tyche was at that stage engaged upon an affaire de couer with Lathander Morninglord, much to the distress of the steadfast Daimon. But Tyche decided to take some time to consider her romances, and travelled the Realms. There she was infected with a taint of Moander Darkbringer, and had to be sundered by her friend Selûne into two parts: the arch-enemies Tymora and Beshaba. Daimon was distraught by this, for although he respected Selune greatly and admired her fair-mindedness and good judgement, he was apalled at the vanishing of his love. He built himself a lodge on the slopes of Mount Olympus, which is called on Toril Balamon, the Mountain of Power, and there took to contemplating his miserable state. With the destruction of Netheril and the passing of much of its wisdom from Toril his worship was all but forgotten, and he remained at the Waiting Lodge, planning revenge on Moander, whom he principally blamed for the destruction of his beloved, and also to a lesser extent against Lathander, whom he blamed in part for the tragedy as well.With the defeat of Moander by Selûne and her young protege Finder Wyvernspur, Daimon bestirred himself to his greatest task, and now seeks to reunite Beshaba and Tymora.
Daimon fears Beshaba and disdains Tymora, knowing that neither is the Tyche whom he loved. He admires Selûne, and if his attempt to rebuild his cult is successful, he may come to consider her his superior. His attitude to Finder Wyvernspur is somewhat ambivalent, for although the two share their loathing of Moander and goodwill toward Selûne, Daimon somewhat begrudges Finder his defeat of the Darkbringer. Moreover, Daimon feels his great antiquity ought to set him above the newly-apotheosised Finder, but it does not. Shaundakul, however, being also a god of the vanished past, with a likewise intent to regrow, has Daimon's respect more in this way. Shekinester has been an ally of Daimon since time immemorial, and Azuth and Hoar have always had Daimon's trust for their own fairness, and Azuth for his heroic role in the fate of Agathe Tyche. Daimon hates Iyachtu Xvim, the New Darkness, for his total unfairness, and Sseth for his corruption of the noble sauroid people. Although Daimon is neutral of alignment, he tends slightly towards a lawful and good mindset at times, and he has few if any evil worshippers, though this is due as much to the work of Sseth as any intentional moral stance.
In religious art, Daimon has, at various times in the past, been depicted as a snake, a handsome young man, a pair of lime-green eyes, and a pseudodragon. At present, a coiled snake with vaguely humanised facial features is the preferred depiction, although the fully-humanoid Daimon is not frowned upon. Wherever an effigy of Daimon is found, since the Dawn Cataclysm, the motto 'Out of rot, division; so, out of preservation, reunion' is also found. Earlier statues instead bore the motto 'Lest one snake be lord of the nest' - an allusion to Sseth.
Agathos Daimon’s Avatar (Fighter 20, Cleric 25, Mage 10)
Agathos Daimon's avatar, called the Fair Snake, has seldom been seen in the Realms since the downfall of the great yuan-ti empire. When it was seen, it was reported to resemble a man with scaly skin and a snake's tail instead of legs, and a fully human head with short, curly brown hair and green eyes. During the Time of Troubles, Daimon was to be found on the edges of Anauroch, in the form of a dark-haired teenage boy called Forserpen. This avatar, however, is not elsewhere detailed.
Special Att/Def: The Fair Snake wields the Daemon Sword, a magical long sword which, while granting no bonuses to hit or damage opponents, confers on each person struck the curse that for each wound they receive from the blade, they should fail their next saving throw. Subsequent blows mean that more consecutive saving throws are failed. However, Daimon is not warlike, and only fights without quarter against yuan-ti and against the devotees and creations of Moander. Any such creature struck by the Daemon Sword loses an additional 2d10 hit points. Other than this, Daimon's avatar is not noted as having any special powers. This data may be obsolete: remember that it is many centuries since the Luck Snake voluntarily manifested an avatar.
Agathos Daimon sometimes manifests as a distracting hissing sound, when a person (of any alignment) is not given a fair chance, or as sad, haunting music, when the faiths of Behsaba and Tymora come into conflict. Daimon also manifests his interest in a situation through mundane snakes, lillendi, nagas, gem dragons, ghostly snakes and through nature spirits. His pleasure is marked by the discovery of emeralds cut to resemble snakes' heads, of snakes'-head fritillaries, and of small ebony statues of snakes. Daimon's anger is shown by the discovery of shattered bone dice, wilted vegetation, and of mysterious disruption in a family home, as when a favourite toy is lost for a time, or an item of furniture overtoppled, or a family member is unexpectedly and inconveniently late.
All priests of Agathos Daimon get a +1 bonus to a single saving-throw category of their choice. The category to which this bonus applies may be altered whenever the priest gains a level.
In ancient times, the clergy of Agathos Daimon were a comparatively common sight, working closely with the church of Agathe Tyche to promote fairness and community values. There may have been non-human druids dedicated to Daimon in antiquity: if so, no trace of this order has survived. Nowadays the followers of Daimon are divided into itinerant and sedentary orders. The itinerant clergy, known as Wood Snakes, travel from town to town trying to quell inter-faith conflict, especially between the followers of Beshaba and Tymora. The sedentary clergy, called House Snakes, tend to operate between networks of small shrines within large cities such as Waterdeep or Calimport, preaching fairness and good family life. Both orders draw members from all the classes permitted to be clergy of Agathos Daimon. Unlike the clergy of Tymora and Shaundakul, Daimon's followers seldom act on a whim, preferring to 'see which way the dice fall', as they put it, before deciding their own actions. As such, no priest of Daimon may ever join the planar sect known as the Ciphers.
The Wood Snakes have no official hierarchy, except that the most important such priest in any arbitrary region (usually a defined wilderness area such as the High Moor) is known as Old Master (or Mistress) Serpent. The House Snakes are more organised, having inherited the ranks and duties of the pre-cataclysmic orders. Novice House Snakes are called Keen Referees, and the higher ranks, in ascending order of importance, are Unbiased Arbitrator, Fair Adjudicator, Even-Handed Magistrate, Loyal Justice, Impartial Arbiter and Equitable Reckoner. The highest-ranking such priest in a kingdom or state is called the Most Objective Tribune. It must be noted, however, that all these titles are strictly unofficial in the present-day Realms, and no real legal authority derives from them, although the House Snakes might like it if it did.
Shrines to Daimon take the form of niches or altars bearing statues of the god in his various forms and aspects. In the wild, he is shown with a spear, which he holds across his body as a defence, implicitly showing his vigilance against the yuan-ti. In homes, he is shown with a food-bowl or a candle, and in civic locales, especially courtrooms, he is shown seated or coiled on a judge's seat.
Dogma: The teachings of the church of Agathos Daimon have three main tenets. The first is fairness. Initiates are told 'Be impartial, even-handed and open-minded. Take noting at face value, but do not undermine the credentials of others without good cause. Seek neither to pursue a thing merely because it is new, nor to retain a thing merely because it is old. Conversely, always be wary of obsessive clinging to the past, and of fanatical rejection of that same past. Learn the lessons of a watchful past, and build for a secure future for your community.' It may be noted that not all clergy take the part of this doctrine about wariness against excessive conservatism too deeply to heart. They confuse the antiquity of their god with the mere obsolescence of some of their older practices. The second point of the faith is community. 'Families and communities are the media by which justice is conferred and vigilance observed. Preservation of sound but flexible structure in the home and in the broader arena of life is a worthy and holy practice.' It is worth noting that Daimon does not proscribe or prescribe any one concept of home life, but instead encourages an underlying strain of security and wholseomeness. In particular, single people need not feel opressed by the family-oriented nature of Daimon's doctrine, as he is a guardian of families, not a compulsory dating agency of some kind. The third facet of the faith is vigilance. 'Corruption is everwhere. In ancient times a noble race were brought low by the machinations of a harsh and venomous serpent, and in latter times the admir'd Tyche sundered by the Darkbringer, corruption incarnate. Remain at all times alert, lest the stability and justice which you work for be perverted to your hindrance.' Yuan-ti are driven off with force wherever they are met, and the minions of Moander ruthlessly destroyed.
Day-to-Day Activities: The faithful of Daimon are most concerned with promoting the practical aspects of the dogma described above. To promote family and community integrity, Daimon's clergy perform a number of roles, including those of midwives, marriage guidance counsellors, family planning advisors, volunteer policeman and justices of the peace. Related to the latter two roles are the activities of the faithful in the pursuit of justice. It is also a key activity of Daimon's followers in this respect to take up with government the issue of any law which seems unjust or contrary to community interests. In wilderness and frontier areas, especially near the Vilhon Reach and the High Moor, the hunting and excision of yuan-ti is considered crucial as well. In other areas, notably near Yulash, the followers of Moander (and now of Lolth) are singled out instead for this pursuit. There are no regular day-to-day services of this faith, although blessings are given at irregular intervals, usually tied to civic or agricultural events.
Holy Days/Important Ceremonies: The first day of autumn, determined locally by signs like the changing colours of leaves, is kept by the followers of Agathos Daimon as a memorial of the sundering of Tyche. Prayers are said at dawn and at dusk on that day for the restoration of the fair goddess. It was previously the custom at dawn on that day also to face west, and to spend a moment silently cursing Lathander. Since the Time of Troubles, some have instead taken to facing east and saying a prayer of thanks for the redemption of Finder Wyvernspur and the death of Moander instead. These worshippers call Finder 'The New Dawn' and consider him to be the true god of rebirth, and therefore of hope for Tyche. The month of Alturiak is kept as a month-long festival of community, marked by bonfires and feasts, all of a strictly non-denominational and inclusive nature, to celebrate the hibernation of the Ssethssar for the winter. The first and last days of the month are spent by the followers of Daimon in silent prayer for the victims of yuan-ti sacrifices to Sseth.
Major Centres of Worship: In the days of Netheril, Daimon was worshipped alongside Agathe Tyche at Shade and at Imbrue. Those temples are long since gone and forgotten. Also gone, but not forgotten, was the temple known as the Halls of Homewarding in Myth Drannor. The Halls stood on Eldansyr's Ride, the road which ran past Shaundakul's Throne and the Temple of Labelas Enoreth, about halfway between the two temples on the eastern side. At the fall of Myth Drannor, the Most Objective Tribune of the Good Demon, Marcion Marciar, killed himself by mystically transforming his body into a mass of poisonous snakes, which slew many orcs, orogs and worgs in the temple and in the street outside. Today the building is overgrown with ivy, but the front arch, adorned with a design representing many serpents still stands. The crypt beneath has not often been entered for many years, and the last to enter, the elven adventurer Belrain Feadiel, reported seeing several canoloths in temporal stasis. He thought it prudent not to disturb them, and they very likely stand guard still. Ascalhorn also had a temple to Daimon for a time, but it was rededicated by the tanar'ri to Sseth, whom one of the mariliths summoned there worshipped. It was destroyed in the Year of the Gauntlet along with much of the rest of Hellgate Keep, as the city had become known. There are no major temples to Daimon in the modern Realms, although perhaps the establishment of such a site might make a worthy and lengthy quest for some public-spirited heroes. Waterdeep, Calimport and Suzail each have several wayside shrines to Daimon.
Affiliated Orders: Until Ascalhorn fell to the tanar'ri, Daimon was served by an order of crusaders called the Emerald Shiriffs, who meted out justice that was decided in those days when the clergy of Daimon were justices in law as well as in name. They were originally based at a now-lost monastery somewhere in Netheril. The name and location of this base have not come down to modern sages, and when Netheril was destroyed, the order became fragmented. The last outpost was that at Ascalhorn, but when the wizards began summoning baatezu, a flamen of Asmodeus burnt their sanctuary to the ground. They operated out of the temple there for several decades, not rebuilding their own sanctuary as the mage-lord Athelran had seized the land. Eventually, the last Emerald Shiriff, Isobel la Dame Verte, was hewn down by a vrock in the sanctuary of the temple, which later became a Ssethite shrine.
Priestly Vestments: During ceremonies and judgements, the followers of Daimon wear brilliant green robes with a white sash. This style of dress is observed without fail on all official occasions, except for the winter feasts, where it is considered poor taste to flaunt one's religion. All priests of Daimon observe the restriction never to wear pink, as the holy colour of Lathander is considered ill-omened by them, and more so by their congregations.
Adventuring Garb: Priests of Agathos Daimon usually wear green-stained leather armour while adventuring. The prohibition against pink still holds, but other than that, practicality is prized over precision when engaged upon a dangerous task. The preferred weapon in the wilderness is the spear, unless Moanderian fiends are expected, in which case combustible materials are carried in the hope of drying or burning the repugnant creatues.
Speciality Priests (Just Pilgrims)