Tanor is a petty, self-centred, megalomaniacal deity who holds himself above all other deities. He has an immense following throughout Larsil: The unholy radiance of the Dark Sun draws power-hungry mortals like moths to a flame and then inexorably consumes them. Tanor was once insane, but his bout with divine madness has finally ebbed, and he no longer believes himself more powerful than all other deities. The Prince of Lies delights in spinning webs of deception that lead both mortals and deities to their ruin and pit friends and lovers against one another. He has assumed many guises since his ascension: a bloody wraith, a cloud of poisonous smoke, or a sudden gloom containing the phantom images of whirling human skulls and the intent gaze of two black eyes. However, his true form is believed to be that of a slim man with blazing dark eyes and chalk-white skin.
Once mortal, Tanor was elevated to divine status by Ao. Upon his ascension, Tanor claimed the portfolio of Iraxar, largely subsuming his churches into his faith as well. A decade later Tanor created the Tanorshad, a tome of great power that proclaimed him the One True Deity. Tanor unwisely read his own book, a mistake that cost him his sanity and led to the loss of some of his portfolio to Wallkane, a mortal with whom Tanor had once adventured. Moreover, Barian and Melvar conspired to create another tome entitled “The True Life of Tanor”, and with it the Dark Sun’s plot was foiled. However, caught in the web of his own plots, Melvar read the Tanorshad as well, enabling Tanor to steal the portfolio of intrigue from him, along with some of the divine power of the Master of All Thieves.
A year later Tanor was accused of innocence by reason of insanity, thereby failing in his divine duty to spread strife and discord. Tanor’s Chosen, a former merchant name Malik, arranged for his patron to read “The True Life of Tanor” and thus regain his sanity. A tribunal of greater deities then found the Dark Sun guilty of his crimes and allowed him to keep his divine status.
Now Tanor continues his murderous intrigues with renewed fervour, ever striving to undermine his fellow deities and destroy all that they hold precious in the mortal realm. He has no allies, although from time to time he pretends to work with various deities in order to ensure their eventual downfall. The Prince of Lies particularly hates Erlena and his former adventuring companion, Wallkane. He exacted a small measure of vengeance against them by engineering the rift that forever sundered their mortal bond of love. However, Tanor now views Iraxar as the greatest threat to his power, and the brewing war between these two lords of evil may eventually consume Larsil in a great holocaust.
Death to all who oppose Tanor. Bow down before his supreme power, and yield to him the book of those that do not believe in his supremacy. Fear and obey those in authority, but slay those that are weak, of good persuasion, or false prophets. Battle against all clergy of other faiths, for they are false prophets and forces who oppose the One True Way. Bring death to those that oppose Tanor’s church or make peace, order, and laws, for only Tanor is the true authority and all other authority must be subverted. Break not into open rebellion, for marching armies move the false deities to action. Fell one foe at a time and keep all folk afraid, uneasy, and in constant strife. Any method or means is justified if it brings about the desired end.
Clergy and Temples
Clerics of the Dark Sun pledge to spread strife and work murder everywhere to make folk fear and believe in Tanor. They support rulers with a taste for cruelty and empire-building but indulge in intrigue in every land. They avoid plunging realms into widespread war, which would pay honour only to Bannat the war deity. At least, this is the ideal Tanorists pay lip service to. In truth, Tanorists spend most of their time scheming against one another, each striving to strengthen his or her personal power in an endless struggle of cabal against cabal. To make matters worse, during his madness Tanor spoke often to his faithful clergy, but not with one voice. As they all fear him, and each believes what he says is the One True Way, his words set Tanorist temples at cross purposes. His clerics are at one another’s throats as often as they are promoting the defeat of other religions.
Tanor’s temples are festering sores of evil that vary widely in appearance, reflecting the deity’s chaotic nature. Many are hidden within caves or existing structures, including abandoned buildings, crumbling sewers, and forgotten dungeons, from which terrifying screams echo at irregular intervals. Many such complexes once served as temples of Iraxar, and thus resemble the grim, foreboding keeps of the Red Lord. All have in common a bloody sacrificial altar and a great hall where the local high cleric can rant to the assembled worshippers at irregular intervals.
When not disguising themselves to move in secret among the general populace, clerics of Tanor dress in black or dark purple robes trimmed with silver, with or without hoods. They wear silver bracers or bracelets (usually stamped with the skull-and-snake symbol of Tanor) to symbolize the church’s enslavement to Tanor. Some clerics paint the symbol of their deity on their cheeks or foreheads on high holy days.
The Prince of Lies recognizes no single pontiff who rules over the entire faith, although a dozen or more powerful clerics believe that Tanor intends them to achieve such a role. Such conflicts stem from the time when the Dark Sun in his madness deliberately pitted his faithful against one another. Although the Prince of Lies has ceased doing so overtly, schisms within the faith have by no means healed, and the chaotic nature of his followers makes it unlikely they ever will. Clerics of Tanor dominate most factions, although powerful sorcerers, wizards, barbarians, fighters, rangers, and blackguards play important roles as well.
The church of Tanor is widely (and justly) hated across all Larsil, for the Dark Sun’s followers are pledged to spread strife and work murder everywhere. The followers of good-aligned deities hate Tanor’s church for the wicked acts of its members. The followers of neutral-aligned deities, and even the faithless, detest the intrigues, murder, and discord sown by Tanorists that disrupt the lives of all. The followers of evil-aligned deities view Tanor’s church as mad with power and a threat to their own influence — the Prince of Lies has shown himself willing to do almost anything, including kill rival deities whose power he covets.
Tanor’s clerics pray for spells at night, after moonrise, when the Dark Sun’s radiance is at its height. Tanor’s church has few holy days and does not even celebrate the date of the deity’s ascension, for to do so would imply that Tanor has not held the mantle of divinity for all eternity. However, whenever a temple acquires something or someone important enough to sacrifice to Tanor, its high cleric declares a Day of the Dark Sun to signify the holiness of the event. Eclipses are always considered holy, and are often celebrated by feasts, fervent prayers, and the murder of a high-ranking cleric or paladin of Xenthan.