Tabletop Review: The Virtuous and the Vile: Morithal, Lord of Unceasing Hunger (Pathfinder)

The Virtuous and the Vile: Morithal, Lord of Unceasing Hunger
Publisher: Clockwork Gnome Publishing
Pages: 22
Cost: $3.00 (Deluxe Version) /$1.50 (Regular Version)
Release Date: 03/05/2012 (Deluxe)/03/02/2012 (regular)
Get it Here: DrivethruRPG.com

I have to admit, I picked up this particular product simply because of the awesome name. Luckily it turns out that this third party Pathfinder supplement is as exceptional as the title behind it. The deluxe version of this product comes with a full color PDF, a bare bones text only PDF and Hero Lab software for those of you with that program. There is a regular version for half the cost that lacks both the art free PDF and the Hero Lab software which you can get here. Honestly it might be worth going that route, especially if you don’t have Hero Lab. That way you get the essential core piece and at only half the cost. I personally wouldn’t use the art free PDF, but I think it was a lovely idea to include that for those that just want a quick reference piece.

I was shocked by how much material Clockwork Gnome Publishing managed to cram into twenty two pages (only 17 of which are actual content). All of it revolves around Morithal, a Chaotic Evil like being beyond what player characters consider a deity. Morithal is meant to be similar to an Outer God or Great Old One from the Cthulhu Mythos. As a long time Call of Cthulhu fan I always love it when Pathfinder or D&D crosses over to this type of material. In my D&D Next playtesting sessions that I am running for Wizards of the Coast right now, the adventure I have my two groups playing through involves a cult of Azathoth. I only wish I had Morithal’s information sooner as I would have loved to used him instead as he’s that fascinating.

Chapter One gives you the origin of Morithal, which is surprisingly similar to that of Galactus from Marvel Comics. Both are survivors of the previous universe and both are cursed with an unending hunger that causes them to consume worlds. That’s not to say that Morithal is a Galen/Galactus clone. They’re very different in a lot of ways. Morithal is Chaotic Evil while Galactus would be True Neutral or Lawful Neutral depending on the writer. Galactus takes the form of a giant humanoid. Morithal can do this, but it tends to take the form of a giant maggot. Both also have worshippers but where Galactus’ worshippers are doing it for a self-serving reason (we’ll make sacrifices so you don’t eat our world), Morithal’s worshippers are nihilistic and more than willing to let their world (and its gods) be consumed by the glory of the Lord of Unceasing Hunger.

One of the other things I found interesting about Chapter One was the idea that the Underworld, a series of Morithal made tunnels throughout the inner workings of a planet are interconnected to those of other planets (and possibly dimensions) by extradimensional gates. This would theoretically include the Underdark and possibly even the Shadowfell if you’re a Dungeons and Dragons player.

Chapter Two talks about “secrets” of Morithal such as his origin, mythos about him, his ultimate goal and something called Morthacite, which are crystals that form on Morithals body and eventually fall off. Morthacite has strange powers such as spontaneously creating oozes, puddings and slimes, but is also directly responsible for the creation and corruption (although not necessarily in that order) of the Deugar aka Dark Dwarves. Chapter Two also covers holy writings and three of his powerful servants. These include Hollow Laughing, a spirit of pure famine and hunger than can take a more humanoid form of an especially perverse ghoul. They also include Gothgor the Putrid, a massive purple worm that is also extremely intelligent and Paranvoi the All-Consuming, a black pudding that is literally the size of an entire planet. I really loved all these divine servants of Morithal. They were highly unique and a lot of fun. I can easily see basing a full campaign around a single one of them – they’re that well done. You also get a great deal of information about Morithal’s cult in this chapter to close things out.

Chapter Three gives you information on creating a cleric of Morithal, including the new domain of Famine and the powers that go along with it. The two domain powers of “Touch of Overwhelming Hunger” and “Famine Bringer” aren’t very powerful compared to those in other domains (the DC is way too low for “Famine Bringer), but they have some interesting uses if you are a clever DM. You also get two new spells for Pathfinder here. The first is “Contaminate Food and Drink” which is a very powerful Level 1 spell. I can honestly see this in the hands of a vampire as a way to counter holy water, Eucharist wafers and the like. You could also team it up with an illusion and trick people into eating food ridden with disease or plague. The other spell is “Infest Corpse” which either a Level 3, 4 or 5 spell (depending on class) and it turns a corpse into a rot grub trap. Kind of neat, although best used as a NPC spell. The chapter then ends with the stats for a “Fragment of Paranvoi” and a “Walking Hunger.” Both of these creatures are must-haves for any campaign that uses Morithal and even on their own, they make from striking (and disgusting) antagonists.

All in all, I was very impressed by The Virtuous and the Vile: Morithal, Lord of Unceasing Hunger , and I really hope that this is the first of many Virtuous and Vile pieces that Clockwork Gnome puts out. It’s exceptionally well done, easy to follow and is a very imaginative addition to any Pathfinder campaign. Whether you are interested in the full deluxe version or the regular version, Pathfinder players who like a bit of Cthulhu-esque flair would do well to pick this up.

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