Rise of the Runelords
Mother of Monsters
Lamashtu (pronounced lah-MAHSH-too) is the mother and patroness of many misshapen and malformed creatures that crawl, slither, or flap on, above, or below the surface of Golarion.
Lamashtu was once a mighty demon lord, in ages past she was allied with Pazuzu, in what manner is often disputed by scholars of demon lore, some say they were lovers, others say siblings, or simply convenient allies. In this time she lured the god Curchanus into her territory, beset him with swarms of demons and monsters until he was weak enough for her to attack him, in doing so she ripped his beast domain from him, beginning an ancient vendetta with Curchanus’s protege Desna.
Pazuzu was enraged by this shift in power, and as she returned from that battle he betrayed and attacked her. He wounded her terribly, but her newfound divinity allowed her to survive, and they have been mortal enemies since, Lamashtu’s vendetta against him is only equalled by Desna’s own vendetta against her.
It is claimed by many monstrous humanoid races that she was their first progenitor and creator.
Lamashtu, in a stance befitting her demonic origins, considers all other gods enemies. She is aware of Desna’s hatred of her, but treats it as beneath her notice. 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. 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.
Lamashtu is not actively at war with other demon lords, with the sole exception of Pazuzu. She does have rivalries with some and is said to have others as her lovers (such as Baphomet).
Appearance and Emmisaries
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, a snake’s tail, and taloned feet. She is often depicted carrying her two deadly blades, Redlust and Chillheart. Her head may vary depending on the nature of her worshipers, gnolls preferring the jackal head, medusae a snake’s, harpies a hawk’s, and so on.
Church of Lamashtu
Lamashtu’s church is scattered and lacks an overall hierarchy, yet it is rare for two priests to come into direct conflict, as they recognize each other’s shared devotion and the hostility visited by those outside the religion. Many thaumaturges pay obeisances to Lamashtu as she is a demon lord as well as a goddess.
Worshipers and Clergy
Her followers seek out deformity in themselves and in others. She is typically worshiped by races such as gnolls (who claim they were created when Lamashtu took a hyena as her consort), goblins, and medusa.
The usual clothing of her human followers is that of 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.
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. They may also find themselves infertile or unable to achieve sexual satisfaction.
Temples and Shrines
Lamashtu is not usually worshiped in a man-made 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; many are stained with blood and littered with the remains of failed births and the victims of the successful ones.
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.