Saints of Midgard: St. Malpheon

Saints of Midgard: St. Malpheon

The Midgard Worldbook already details a score of saints dedicated to the war god Mavros, but the other deities have their share of saints as well. Saints of Midgard uncovers some of these holy personages, including information on their origins, followers, blessings and miracles, and the relics attributed to them.

Saint Malpheon

Origins. A follower of Charun, the Guardian of Souls, Malpheon was born in the Republic of Valera some 250 years ago. A gravedigger by trade who also possessed some small measure of divine power, Malpheon was known for his quiet demeanor and even temperament. Strangely, he refused to cut his hair, growing it out until it became an enormous, snarled mane.

Since Malpheon’s appearance and occupation caused many to avoid him, he was often left alone to plod along amid the tombstones and statues of the local graveyard, speaking to the crows perched on their stony faces. So it came as something of a surprise that, while Tarini was in the grips of a plague, Malpheon entered the town with his shovel slung across his back and began to aid the sick. Malpheon worked tirelessly for days, and those he could not save, he buried with swift haste. It is said that Malpheon buried over a hundred plague victims in a single night and that he fought off a dozen ghouls who came to steal the corpses—with only his shovel.

Similar stories of Malpheon began to surface over the years, most of which highlighted his dedication to his craft, the simple kindnesses he bestowed on bereaved families, and his remarkable combat prowess with his shovel. Soon, even the rulers of Valera took an interest in Malpheon, hiring him to bury important personages throughout the Republic. Still, Malpheon never grew too complacent or big for his robes, maintaining a humble attitude to life and death.

Malpheon’s end was both unexpected, tragic, and in the eyes of some, slightly comical: digging a grave during a torrential downpour, he slipped and fell into the hole, breaking his shovel and shattering his leg. The fact that a horde of giant rats subsequently devoured him is even more horrific but helped pave the way for his eventual rise to sainthood.

Followers. St. Malpheon is widely venerated as the patron saint of gravediggers, and many gravediggers wear a small bone charm around their neck for protection, claiming it to be a part of Malpheon’s body. He is also revered by embalmers, morticians, and some plague doctors and barbers. Many of his followers are vegetarian (for Malpheon was a dedicated vegetarian) or refuse to cut their hair in honor of the saint. At the same time, most are enemies of rats, rat-like creatures, and undead that disturb the burial sites of others without permission.

Blessings and Miracles. A common gift associated with Malpheon is the cawing of a crow or the appearance of a shovel to warn a person of impending danger. Other blessings might come in the form of either a cantrip or 1st-level clerical spell being bestowed on a needy follower or an undead spirit, such as a ghost, manifesting to help someone in need.

The stories surrounding Malpheon are plentiful and strange, and some might even be considered miracles by the faithful. For example, tales of Malpheon convincing a legion of rebellious wraiths to return to their tombs or burying an entire castle with only his shovel are hard to believe but are widely popularized by his faithful.

Holy Relics

The relics of the saints are items of renown and power, vitally important to those of the same faith and zealously sought after and guarded.

GRAVEDIGGER’S CHARM

Wondrous item, uncommon (requires attunement)

These simple copper charms are said to hold the bones of St. Malpheon of the Casket but are either empty or hold the bones of lesser priests, petty criminals, or even animals. Regardless, the charms are highly sought after by anyone traveling through the Greater Duchy of Morgau or the Ghoul Imperium.

While attuned to and wearing one of these charms, you have advantage on saving throws against diseases and are immune to the paralysis and stench abilities of ghouls and ghasts.

CHARM OF SAINT MALPHEON

Wondrous item, legendary (requires attunement)

Only six of these charms are known to exist, and most have been lost since their creation. Each of the amulets resembles a normal gravedigger’s charm but contains an actual piece of bone from Malpheon’s body.

As well as having the standard abilities of a gravedigger’s charm, a charm of Saint Malpheon has the following additional abilities:

⦁             While wearing the charm, you gain darkvision to a range of 90 feet.

⦁             You can cause a wave of ghostly energy to emerge from the charm once per day, targeting all creatures within a 20-foot radius. A creature struck by the wave must make a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw, taking 4d6 necrotic damage on a failure or half the damage on a success.

⦁             Finally, you can cast doom of the pit (see Deep Magic) once per day. The hole created by the spell takes the form of an open grave.

The charm recharges once you finish a long rest.

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