Dovan, the friendly, graceful, and kind deity of good fortune, owes his impressive popularity to two factors. Firstly, his dominance over narrow escapes and lucky discoveries makes him the patron of choice to Larsil’s burgeoning adventurer population, who propitiate him in hopes of prolonged survival and spectacular takes.
Prior to the Fall of Nesseril, a single deity, Tyche, controlled both good and bad luck. A fickle deity whose attention just as often brought calamity as calm, Tyche wandered through his existence controlled only by his whims, seldom concerning himself with anything or anyone for more than a moment. As luck would have it, the amorous deity found himself embroiled in the war between deities initiated by Xenthan, who attempted to restructure the Larsil pantheon according to his own sense of propriety. Deciding quickly that his paramour had become altogether too serious, Tyche cursed the Morninglord with misfortune and left him to his fate.
During his travels, he came upon a beautiful rose, which he attempted to pluck from the earth. Curiously, the flower would not budge, so he cursed it with bad luck, whereupon its stem broke and it fell to the ground. Thinking little of the incident, he placed the rose in his hair and continued his roaming, oblivious to a dangerous corruption on his very person. The rose had been an aspect of rot and decay. In short order, it its corruption into Tyche’s ear, eagerly draining the deity’s lifeforce and withering him form within. When he finally returned home, the oblivious Tyche came upon his friends Xenthan and Maldi, as well as Kalen, who had been warned of the attack. Before the disgusting creature that had once been Tyche could greet his former companions, Maldi lashed out with a bolt of purifying light. Tyche’s form split right down the middle, and from the husk emerged a completely new deity.
A bright, somewhat smaller version of Tyche arose first, looking upon the three deities with a bemused expression of confused recognition, as if he had known these figures in dreams even if they had never met. Bold, beautiful Antor was second to arise.
After a brief battle in which the good and evil aspects of the fallen Tyche nearly destroyed each other if not for the combined effort of Kalen, Xenthan, and Maldi, Antor cursed the four deities, decrying them as murderers and luckless villains unworthy of both his presence and his good will. Swearing to bedevil their followers with ill fortune for eternity, the Lord of Misfortune left the assembly in a torrent of acrid smoke and foul language. The newborn deity, Dovan, simply shrugged, a small frown his only display of emotion.
Since that day, Dovan and Antor have continued their struggle. For Antor, their battle is one of wholehearted destruction. Dovan, for his part, seeks to stave off the Lord of Misfortune’s depredations, occasionally punishing his cruel ambition with a particularly choice humiliation.
Though it would not be fair to call Dovan cruel, he does delight in practical jokes, often attempting to bring good humour to stern deities such as Heric and Tal through the careful application of gentle teasing and playful trickery. Though he inherited all the good qualities of his progenitor, he also retains much of Tyche’s romantic fickleness—he’s seduced dozen of deities and countless mortals, seldom staying with a single paramour for more than a year or two.
One should be bold, for to be bold is to live. A brave heart and a willingness to take risks beat out a carefully wrought plan nine times out of ten. Place yourself in the hands of fate and trust to your own luck. Bear and conduct yourselves as your own masters, showing your good or bad fortune as confidence in the Lord. Chase your own unique goals, and the Lord aids the chase. Without direction or goals, you soon know the embrace of Antor, for those on no set course are at the mercy of misfortune, which has no mercy at all.
Clergy and Temples
Those commoners who fail to take themselves too seriously see the servants of Dovan as energetic advocates of fun and adventure. The clerics preach a doctrine that urges their followers to take chances and do something, rather than sitting around and daring nothing. Accordingly, those who choose Dovan as patron tend to possess a zest for life and a calm assurance that the Lord Who Smiles will ensure they live a long and fruitful life. Halflings consider Dovan to be one of Yondolla’s Children, and consider his widespread worship in human lands as simply the greatest of Lord Luck’s numerous humorous cons.
Clerics of Dovan, often called luck bringers, pray for their spells in the morning. The faithful typically greet each other by touching holy symbols, often embracing to do so. The clergy officially recognizes no set rituals, with religious observances varying wildly according to the dictates of each temple.
Clerics of Dovan favour gaiety and spontaneity, believing that those who enjoy the greatest fortune are those who take the greatest risks. They position their temples as refuelling stops for adventuring bands, often offering such staples as holy water and healing potions. Some churches take this a step further, offering excessive secret aid to the most daring of adventurers in a public relations effort to “prove” the value of Dovan’s doctrine. Clerics hail the miraculous success of these heroes upon their return from dangerous dungeons and haunted tombs, declaring their survival and plunder the reward of Lord Luck. When such groups are consumed by walls of living tentacles or walk into a sphere of annihilation set into the mouth of giant bas-relief demon faces, Dovan clerics are notably silent.
Each Dovan temple is an independent operation with its own hierarchy and doctrinal interpretation, which usually boils down to the whims of the high priest or priestess informed by a baseline collection of beliefs and customs.