Forgotten gods of D&D: Astilabor, the Hoardmistress

We’re back with D&D Forgotten with a series of articles displaying some of the old draconic gods that we hope show up in the upcoming book (due in September), Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons. We already know we’re getting the Gem Dragons in that book. We also know that they are offering this draconic content for play in ‘every D&D world’ which is going to happen whether they display it that way or not, but it’s good to know they have the D&D Multiverse in mind.

Everyone is familiar with the two most powerful members of the Draconic Pantheon, Tiamet and Bahamut. Tiamet is the god of the evil chromatic dragons with his brother, Bahamut being the god of the good metallic dragons although it is unclear how deep into the good and bad of things the new Wotc will go. To newcomers, it would seem these are the only dragon gods and they may well be the only ones that everyone would know. But, although these two are at the head of the pantheon, there is a pantheon; meaning there are numerous dragon gods and many of them are unique and intriguing and definitely worth a look for your D&D game.

ASTILABOR, THE HOARDMISTRESS

One of them that got my attention immediately was Astilabor. Unlike the polarizing alignments of the warring dragon gods mentioned above, she is a neutral deity and can work with any cleric or follower with any of the neutral alignments. To me, she is a god at the heart of what it is to be a dragon. Astilabor is the goddess of acquisitions and wealth. More precisely, she is the goddess of what all dragons hold dear; THE HOARD.

What is more important to many dragons than their acquired wealth? It’s what draws adventurers to slay them although, I’m sure, they’ll tell you it’s about saving the surrounding countryside. There are no better collection of coin or magic items than in the lair of the dragon. And, although many a dragon is motivated by the sheer greed of it all, that is not what the Hoardmistress is about.

Being neutral, she abhors the evil of greed and does not approve of Tiamet’s ‘naked display of it’. No, it is a fine balance she represents. It is her essence that beats within the heart of every dragon driving them with the incessant need to collect and protect a hoard. She disapproves also of theft, but is known to allow such in the pursuit of acquiring a more powerful personal hoard.

To her, the accumulation of wealth is a sacred endeavor and its protection even more so. She is acknowledged by most dragons but worshiped by few. Many will invoke her name when setting off to add to their hoard or for blessings to protect it. And it was believed that she both valued and respected the greatest of the hoards collected. Therefore, her worshipers and, especially, clerics would be honored by the more opulence they displayed. And their temples would be monuments to a life well rewarded by the greatest treasures available although they would be few and far between. They would be a grand take for any rogue or party, but the resistance would far outweigh any prize gained.

Her holy symbol is oddly enough a 12 sided or faceted gem

I was unable to find one picture of this dragon god as she is quite obscure, but she is described as a monstrous dragon showing attributes of all the chromatic and metallic shades of dragonkind. This is an amazing depiction of her neutrality as she touches upon the heart of what it is to be a dragon. All dragons live to acquire wealth and, this attribute, both radiates from Astilabor and gains her undying approval.

CAMPAIGN PITCH: WAR OF THE BANKS

A few months ago, I pitched a campaign world that I’ve come to call Ey’Meri. It is a world much like Faerun but instead of gaining the passing Dragon Rage comet, they were hit by it. Check out a few more details here.

It was in researching for this odd campaign setting that I came upon Astilabor. You see, of the five Kingdoms or ‘Banks’, one was a confederacy of Dragonborn who had taken to the worship of Astilabor as a nation and quite zealously. The Legacy as I called them are descendants and inheritors, in a way, of the mighty dragons that came before. These draconic overlords ruled this world with power and an ironfist. The crashing of the ‘Rage Star’ drove all dragons mad and created a scar across the planet the survivors call the Hoardlands. What is left is a struggle for what hoards are left in the dead zone where the mad dragons wait.

More later.

What’s important here is The Legacy. This tight brother hood of dragonborn represent the many facets of both chromatic dragons and metallic dragons. They are united for the sole purpose of taking back what they forefathers left behind; each and every hoard of Ey’Meri. The worship of the Hoardmistress is central to their union and keeps them balanced and focused on what matters; the gold, glory and magic.

They are masters of magic weapons also. Next to the dwarves of this world, The Legacy run the mightiest forges and, in turn, forge some of the grandest items and weapons known to Ey’Meri. They pride themselves on arming their warriors with the best and they consider this to be the advantage that will allow them to arise above all of the others and rule this world much like Dragonkind did before the coming of the ‘Rage Star’.

The ranks among The Legacy hinge on the acquirement of the greatest hoards and the most powerful weapons. Many of their armors will be adorned with costly gems and may even be laced with gold, platinum or silver. They make secret crusades through the underdark of the Hoardlands (some of the most violent territory on this world) since their treaty with the ‘Banks’ prevent them from sending any more than small parties into the dead zone.

There’s more to come, of course, but Astilabor gives this world a nice flavor and The Legacy as well has a grand potential.

FOLLOWERS OF ASTILABOR IN YOUR D&D WORLD

Creating a cleric of the Hoardmistress in your campaign is both easy and flavorful. Dragonborn make the most sense, but any race can honor her. The domains of Dragon, Protection and Wealth are her most used. However, in 5e, only the Protection Domain has been offered and that in Unearthed Arcana.

A Wealth Domain has been homebrewed several times over, but none of them really do it for me or match the quality of UA or the ones in Wotc’s books. I think the things that stand out are the ability to assess the value of things or pinpoint the most valuable things in a room. The spell identify shows up several times.

Some old 3.5 homebrews give the Appraisal skill proficiency. 5E simplifies it to a simple Intelligence check although I’ve seen some split according to what you’re assessing. You could possibly give bonuses or advantage when trying to assess the value of something.

Many of the spells suggested for a Wealth Domain overlap with the Protection Domain with glyphs and wards to guard your wealth from others and even from scrying.

The old spell Leomund’s Secret Chest would be a good ability to give someone with the Wealth Domain, hiding their treasure on the Ethereal Plane where you can access it at will. But you can always just get a Bag of Holding although that can be stolen…so.

Of course, you could always play any class and still honor the Hoardmistress. A warlock with Astilabor as a patron would be interesting as she excitedly follows your adventures and your acquirement of wealth and power. See the above discussion about Cleric Domains for ideas. A Dragonborn Paladin with an Oath to the Hoard would be interesting and I’ll probably develop this for the above campaign world: War of the Banks.

This is just a handful of dragon gods that, I believe, have been tossed and forgotten. I really hope Fizban’s Treasure of Dragons will touch upon some of these and maybe grace us with some new domains like Wealth and the sort. Until then, here’s hoping you have a good game and safely level up and avoid those pesky TPKs!

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