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Wee Jas

Goddess of Law, Magic, and the Grave

To properly understand the Ruby Sorceress one must remember that she is a being of law above all else. Notions of good and evil, right and wrong, or even justice and injustice, are utterly foreign to her. In her mind any action which obeys the laws of the land is inherently moral. Which, if one thinks about it, is absolutely terrifying.
— Lady Sabil Gare, "Divinity Debunked"
 
Wee Jas is the Goddess of Law, Magic and the Grave, and is known to be one of the most powerful gods active on Calcerun. The unusually-broad scope of her portfolio has led to her being venerated across the world, with worshippers from many different walks of life. Wee Jas is ultimately a creature of law and cares little for notions of good or evil. Consequently her adherents include those who would usually be called 'evil' as well as those called 'good'.
Wee Jas added the grave to her portfolio 47 years ago following the death of her sister, Selah, at the hands of Vecna. Her followers are still adjusting to this change and coming to terms with her altered focus. Wee Jas has a somewhat different interpretation of the responsibilities associated with the grave domain than her sister did. Many of Selah's worshippers have converted to follow Wee Jas instead, and are endeavouring to come to terms with their new patron's slightly different viewpoints on various aspects of the grave.

Teachings

Wee Jas' primary instruction to her followers is a simple and unambiguous one: uphold rules and laws. By this she means both the laws of the realm her followers find themselves in, and also the metaphysical laws governing magic and the nature of reality. She is not concerned with malleable sets of rules such as the rules of polite society. As one of the older active gods in the world Wee Jas has an enormous amount of experience with and knowledge of laws, their reasons for existing, and the consequences of breaking them. This ancient legacy is part of the reason she is so strict and uncompromising; she has been doing this a very long time, the laws have proven themselves time and time again, and no one - god or mortal - understands them better than she.

The Red Codex, Wee Jas' primary sacred text

Wee Jas' views on laws can simplistically be summed up as follows: "follow the law of the realm you are in, unless it would conflict with Wee Jas' laws on magic and the grave". (There is some doctrinal divide over whether or not the first clause could be substituted with "follow the law of the realm you are sworn to".) For example, Wee Jas would still forbid the practice of destabilising the fabric of reality or forcibly raising sentient undead even if the culprit's actions were entirely legal according to the laws of their realm. After long experience with the nature of mortals Wee Jas tends to be vague on precisely what the laws of magic and reality are, knowing that to put a barrier in front of mortals is taunting them to push against it. Instead she prefers to intervene when an individual is getting too close to the forbidden, sending a messenger to warn them off their course. If the warning is not heeded she will begin to take more forceful steps.
As a creature of law Wee Jas is largely unconcerned with questions of conventional morality - if something can be done within the confines of the law, she will allow it. If, for example, a particular ritual required the use of a human heart, it would be completely acceptable to Wee Jas - so long as the heart was acquired through legal means, of course, rather than the caster murdering someone for it. She is often considered practical rather than benign, and amoral rather than compassionate. She does not wish any particular harm towards innocents, but she takes the stance that those who are exploited or powerless allowed themselves to be put in that situation. If some people use the rule of law to benefit themselves at the expense of others, so be it. The rules exist for everyone and anyone to use - if you choose to do nothing about your situation it is no one's fault but your own.
Wee Jas teaches that magic is the key to all things. Through the study of magic comes understanding, personal power, security, order and control over fate. She is a strong proponent of the study and teaching of magic, so long as it is done within the confines of the laws. A common misconception is that she disapproves of magical experimentation, but in fact she encourages it so long as it is done cautiously.

A lich of the more mentally-stable kind that might be inclined to follow Wee Jas

Since the death of Selah, Wee Jas has acted as guardian of the grave. Selah's stance on the matter was to forbid the creation of undead in any form, but Wee Jas has a more nuanced view. She has no objection to the creation and use of undead, so long as three primary rules are followed. Firstly, of course, any body (or parts thereof) used should be procured in a legal manner. Secondly, only unintelligent forms of undead should be created, unless a person has given permission in life to be returned as an intelligent undead creature. Finally, any reanimated corpses used should be cared for and treated with respect, and appropriately disposed of at the end of their use, in accordance with the customs and laws that the donor followed in life.
Similarly Wee Jas does not forbid the 'unnatural' extension of life as her sister did. Magic is the key to many things, and an extended lifespan is one of them. She is secure in the knowledge that the grave claims everyone and everything, eventually. As a result even creatures such as liches are accepted by her, so long as they conduct themselves in a lawful manner. Some of her churches are very keen to get liches to join their congregations for the ancient knowledge and magical secrets the undead mages possess. Progress has been mixed, but some liches and similar undead have converted to the worship of Wee Jas.

With law, magic and the grave being such huge and important parts of her portfolio, people often overlook that she is also goddess of vanity. This is not, however, the conventional meaning of vanity as it relates to beauty (though Wee Jas is indeed beautiful). Rather it is is the vanity of meritocracy - to put it bluntly, you deserve to think highly of yourself if you've earned it.

Worshippers

Main article: The Jasidan Church
With her broad portfolio and her indifference to notions of good and evil Wee Jas has worshippers (called Jasidin or Jasites) from an unusually wide range of backgrounds. She is often said to be the only deity who can count both righteous paladins and malevolent necromancers among her worshippers. The Jasidan Church is a global organisation which is both well-organised and tightly-run, as one would expect from the church of a goddess of law. Bound by millennia of tradition the Jasidan Church is slow to change, and cautious before taking drastic or unusual actions. It has never been the most popular church in the world, but its numbers have remained relatively consistent throughout at least the past five hundred years. With Wee Jas' new dominion over the grave the church has seen its most significant increase in followers in a millennium, as large numbers of Selah's old worshippers convert to follow her sister.

Appearance

When Wee Jas appears on the mortal plane she always takes the form of a stunningly-beautiful humanoid female. She seems to prefer the human form most of the time, but has been known to adapt her appearance to her audience by appearing as one of their race. One consistent point of her appearance is that she is always a good foot taller than someone of her apparent race should be. Wee Jas has deep red hair usually worn in an elaborate and physically-implausible style. Her irises are jet black - they used to be a brilliant ruby-red, but it is said that after the death of her sister she cried so much that all the colour ran from her eyes. The tears, which take the form of rubies with unusual powers, are highly prized.
She always wears an elegant gown of red or black, usually similar to but distinct from the prevalent style in the region. Since Selah's death she has begun adorning her dress and her jewellery with skull motifs, presumably to represent her new commitments and responsibilities.

Wee Jas

by Matt Cavotta

Wee Jas

The ruby dagger sometimes carried by Wee Jas

Wee Jas is usually described by those lucky - or unlucky - enough to see her as having a stern and uncompromising expression which somehow seems to only enhance her beauty. Unlike some deities Wee Jas rarely deigns to carry any weapons or implements, seeming to view such crutches as beneath her, but on some occasions she has been known to carry a ruby dagger at her side.

History & Relationships

An old god, Wee Jas arrived on Calcerun following the Naian Cataclysm. As with the other gods who arrived at that time it is unclear where precisely she came from, though it is suspected that she and her fellows made their home among the outer planes until the Cataclysm drew them to Calcerun like a beacon.

Wee Jas had one familial relation among the pantheon, that being her sister, Selah, Goddess of Memory and the Grave. The two sisters were close, in their own restrained and undemonstrative way. Their two portfolios worked well together, with Wee Jas' focus on abiding by rules and laws a strong complement to Selah's emphasis on traditions and learning from the past. The two sisters, and their churches, often worked closely together, and woe-betide those unfortunate souls who engaged in an activity such as illegal necromancy and managed to draw the ire of both uncompromising goddesses. Selah's death at the hands of Vecna was devastating for Wee Jas. The loss of her sister is said to have caused her to cry red tears for weeks on end until all the colour drained from her eyes, leaving them black and grim. After her sister's death Wee Jas took over the grave portion of Selah's portfolio, recognising it as too important to the stability of the world to leave unattended.

Selah

Selah, Wee Jas' sister

Vecna's murder of Selah to fuel his own apotheosis earned him a position of eternal hatred in Wee Jas' heart. She has made it known that she would like nothing better than to obliterate the newly-ascended God of Undead and Secrets. Unfortunately, while she undoubtedly has enough raw power to best Vecna with ease, she first has to find him. Vecna is well aware that she wants his divine head and has been in hiding ever since his ascension, using the secrets aspect of his portfolio to keep any other gods from finding him. While it is likely Wee Jas could find him with sufficient effort, she is unwilling to devote the time it would require at the expense of her responsibilities overseeing her own portfolio. As much as her heart cries out for vengeance she will not allow emotion to trump her rules and obligations.
Given her reputation as stern and humourless, one might not expect Wee Jas to feel love. And it is true that when she first arrived on Calcerun she was aloof and cold in her heart. But, unexpectedly, she began to fall for Norebo, God of Luck and Gambling. A more unlikely match it is hard to image, but Norebo's devilish charm and contagious laugh managed to melt her cold heart and ignite a fiery passion within her. She was determined to win him forever to her side, and he permitted her to seduce him - but then fled at dawn. Wee Jas was furious and gave chase in a pursuit that, it is said, lasted 777 days and passed through all corners of existence. The tale goes that when she finally caught him and saw his smile she could no longer remember why she was angry with him, and so they reconciled - and then he fled again. And so began a pattern that has lasted until the present day. Wee Jas tries to bind her lover with law and custom, and he shows her that they can love each other together or apart with no need for formal ties. Although their romance is on-again, off-again by its very nature, as far as anyone can tell their love is true and unwavering.

Istus, Wee Jas' daughter with Norebo

Wee Jas has had one child with Norebo, a daughter who became Istus, Goddess of Fate and Destiny. Istus' portfolio represents a blending of her father's powers over chance with her mother's enforcement of rules and order. In her personality Istus takes mostly after her mother, and she and Wee Jas were known to be close together. In many ways Wee Jas became Istus' role-model in terms of how a god should behave and conduct themselves. Since Selah's death Wee Jas has withdrawn from her daughter, possibly through fear of losing another loved one.
Given their conflicting portfolios it is inevitable that Wee Jas would come into conflict with Nerull, God of Death. The two divinities disagree strongly on how death should be regarded and dealt with, and also on the use of undead. This has led to many conflicts between the two gods, and between their respective followers. That being said, their disagreement is more a professional one than a personal one, and Wee Jas bears Nerull no ill-will despite their many clashes. Similarly she has a healthy respect for Boccob, God of Magic and Knowledge, despite their occasional disagreements on various aspects of magic, and the respect is mutual.

In general Wee Jas gets along well with other lawful gods, particularly Heironeous, God of Chivalry and Valor, and his brother Hextor, God of War and Tyranny. This remains true regardless of the other morality of the gods in question - Heironeous is called good and Hextor evil, but to Wee Jas that fact is irrelevant. She generally does not get along with chaotic gods or those who support breaking the law.
Wee Jas is particularly displeased with the Raven Queen's rise to prominence following Selah's death. The rapid success of the Raven Queen in swaying large segments of the world's population has infuriated Wee Jas, who cannot understand why the Raven Queen's offers are so enticing compared to Wee Jas' own teachings that death is a thing to be accepted with grace. The Raven Queen's flouting of the normal rules of death, and her intrusion into a matter usually the domain of only the gods, has made her Wee Jas' enemy, and only time will tell what the Ruby Sorceress intends to do about it.

Home & Servants

Wee Jas makes her home on the plane of Acheron, in the layer called Acanthus. On the sheet of black ice that makes up the boundary of the layer one can find the Cabal Macabre, a great crystalline castle that is Wee Jas' sanctum. The castle can be found by following the pale gleam it emits, the only source of light on the pitch-black layer. A quarter-mile hemisphere around the castle is the only place in Acanthus not engulfed by the deadly bladestorm. It is said that if one dared to assault Wee Jas' home the bladestorm of the entire layer would converge on the attacker and slice them to ribbons. Supposedly the field of black ice around the castle holds memories of all the laws of existence, but trying to understand them would drive a mortal mad.

The Cabal Macabre itself is maintained by magical servant constructs, and defended by ancient golems crafted by Wee Jas herself. When it comes to actually hunting down those who have wronged her in some way the goddess needs more intelligent servants. For this she primarily uses Inevitables, specifically the Kolyarut and Marut varieties. The Kolyarut are sent after those who have broken the laws Wee Jas considers most important, usually those to do with magic or the fabric of reality. The Marut are a more recent addition and are sent after those who break Wee Jas' rules on the creation and use of undead.
Wee Jas has good relations with the Formians, and on occasion requests use of their forces to further their mutual goals. More recently she has also begun enlisting certain intelligent undead, such as liches, into her ranks. These undead are sometimes devoted followers who work for her voluntarily, or sometimes conscripts who have been forced to serve her in penance for some crime against her and her laws.

A Kolyarut

A Kolyarut-type Inevitable

Hand

Wee Jas has historically called a Hand very infrequently. Her expectations of a Hand are exceedingly demanding, and it is a rare individual indeed who can satisfy her. Her past Hands are known for being particularly competent even by the high standards of Hands in general, and have been responsible for, among other things, the Rain of Colourless Fire.
Wee Jas has not called a Hand since the death of Selah. It is thought that she has yet to find an individual who can not only live up to her exacting standards but also balance her unusually-broad portfolio.

Wee Jas' Holy Symbol

Classification Greater Goddess of Law, Magic, and the Grave
Titles The Ruby Sorceress, Death's Guardian, The Grim Lady, The Lady of Book and Bone
Alignment Lawful Neutral
Portfolio Law, magic, death, vanity
Domains Arcana, Grave, Order
Symbol A red skull surrounded by flames
Active Hand None

Aligned Organization
The Pantheon
Family
Istus (daughter)
Norebo (husband)
Selah (sister) (deceased)
  Allies
Bahamut
Erathis
Heironeous
Hextor
  Rivals
Boccob
Nerull
The Raven Queen
  Enemies
Vecna
Associated Artifacts
The Ruby Blade - Wee Jas' dagger, said to be able to absorb any spell it touches and use the energy in whatever fashion its wielder desires.
Tears of Wee Jas - rubies said to be the tears Wee Jas shed upon learning of her sister's death. They have assorted unusual magical powers, but each has only a limited amount of energy.
 
Holy Books
The Red Codex - the primary sacred text of the Jasidan religion, containing the teachings of Wee Jas concerning law and magic.
The Grey Addendum - written in the past decade to accommodate Wee Jas' assumption of the grave aspect of her portfolio.
The Abominable Devastation - a work considered heretical by most Jasidan churches, this book makes scandalous claims concerning Wee Jas' role in the Rain of Colourless Fire.

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Cover image: by Billelis

Comments

Author's Notes

Wee Jas was created by Wizards of the Coast for the Greyhawk campaign setting. I adapted her to fit better into my setting, Calcerun. WotC sources I used for inspiration include, but are not limited to: On Hallowed Ground, Dragon Magazine #350, Complete Divine, and Deities & Demigods.


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29 Apr, 2018 20:30

Very nice layout and use of imagery! Well done!

14 May, 2018 10:33

I particularly like the fact that her portfolio grew because of the death of another god and that it changes the way mortals have to think about death. The rule of law or law of the land are a bit confusing to me and I am still not sure if they are both the same. You could gain a lot more understanding from your readers by clarifying this a bit. Great work nonetheless :)

14 May, 2018 16:15

Thanks very much for the feedback! I've tried to clarify a bit in the article, but to save you having to re-read: Follow the laws of the country you're in, save where those laws conflict with Wee Jas' laws (which are few and pretty straightforward - basically don't raise sentient undead against their will and don't muck with the fabric of reality. A few others regarding the more esoteric uses of magic, but they aren't widely advertised in case it made people go "ooh, wait, that's a thing that's possible?? I'm gonna try!")

14 May, 2018 16:37

Oooooh I get it now, I was confused with law of the land like it was a specific name for the law of physics in your setting, like do not use magic to break the laws of physics (silly me)