Nicholas the Infinite

Saint of Hope, Celebration, Wonder, and Winter

No one's immune to it. Everyone's susceptible to it. All-encompassing. Totally enveloping. Infinite.   Its touch brightens the soul, from the lowliest Goblin to the highest Numenshara. Brings cheer and glee where once was dour darkness.   It's Hope. It's Saint Nicholas. And it's...well, words can't do either justice.   Think on that a bit. You'll understand it, and him, in time.
— A nameless priest of Saint Nicholas, to a skeptic
  Titles: Saint Nicholas the Infinite, Big Nick Brightwell, The Lord Festivus, The Holiday Knight, Father of the Forgotten, Ol' Whitebrow, The First-Father, The Evermartyr, The Gnomelord   Favored Weapon: Handaxe   Alignment: Earth   Elemental Lord: Okmog, The Calcareous King   Obedience: Spend an hour celebrating, participating in a festival, or holding similar activities while encouraging those around you to do the same. Do so while decorating a small space to be more cheerful or bright.   Effect: By holding a sack or bag in your hand and focusing on it for one full round, you can turn it into a Handy Haversack. Once created, it remains active even after leaving your grip - though you can only have one created at a time. At 5HD, it gains the storage capacity of a Type I bag of holding, which increases to Type II at 10HD, Type III at 15HD, and Type IV at 20HD. You can return it to a normal bag by focusing on it as a standard action - though when you make it again, the items that were in the bag appear in the new one created with no issues. Additionally, by sticking your hand in this bag and focusing on an adjacent creature(Or yourself) for one full round, you can produce a mundane item of extremely high quality according to that creature's desires - typically some kind of toy or other item they desire(Consciously or not). Items made this way can have a variable value, but should not be worth much in GP. This effect only works once on a given creature per 24 hours, and may dispense worthless hunks of coal, glitter, or other useless material to creatures that hold no joy or hope in their hearts, those who enact cruelties on others, or those who are otherwise considered 'naughty'(GM Discretion). This effect only works for the creator of the bag.

Divine Domains

Community, Artifice, Earth, Protection, Water(Ice Subdomain Only), Chaos(Revelry and Whimsy Subdomains only)

Artifacts

Most notable of the artifacts of Saint Nicholas is his crimson cap with a snow-white bulb at its tip(Or in some depictions, a steel helm), similar to the redcaps that stalk the Feywilds - said to embody all the wondrous magic that flows through his body, the unbridaled power of winter, and all the wondrous, happy energy that fills his joyous form.   Second of Saint Nicholas's artifacts is his legendary axe Festivius, whose every swipe is said to boom with the hope and joy of all who believe in him, all who celebrate holidays or festivals, and all who hold hope in their hearts. Symbol of his awesome might, Festivius is said to be anathema to The Bagbeasts and their master the wretched Krampus.

Holy Books & Codes

The Celebration Compendia

Divine Symbols & Sigils

A broad-shouldered figure crouching with a bag thrown over one shoulder, one hand gripping the bag and the other bringing a finger to its lips.   These symbols, in addition to being worn by the faithful, are often drawn or painted onto various surfaces not only to mark the locations of the faithful, but to give their patron Nicholas a means which to enter the surrounding area, as each is said to let Nicholas invoke the wondrous magic of winter to speak, see, and act through the tiny symbols as they animate and move around of their own accord.

Tenets of Faith

Protect hope and foster true belief. So long as a single soul believes, hope stands strong - never let the light of hope die no matter the circumstances, and lead by example with belief in the unbelievable.
 
Stand in defense of hearth and home. Fight for any flame in danger of going out, and drive back the ever-encroaching dark and its damnable denizens. Ensure those that fall to them are not forgotten.
 
Live the infinite celebration. Protect the sacred holidays and festivals of the world, and live your life in glorious celebration that others might follow suit.
 
Embrace your inner child. Bask in the wonder of the world, revel in its mysteries, and teach others to do the same.
 
Treasure winter's chill. Spread the joy of winter across the land, and serve as guides through its embrace.

Holidays

In truth, nearly all holidays on Zheng-Kitar are in some small way an homage to Saint Nicholas the infinite - as the patron saint of Festivals and Celebrations he is worshipped at all other holidays, but holds his main holiday during the last week of the year, beginning with Festivus Optimia and ending with All's End Eve to mark the beginning of a new year.   The exact meaning of these two holidays can range wildly across the faithful and thier gatherings from celebrations of the harvest to simple gatherings of friend and family to give thanks for another successful year of life, to other celebrations of simple joy and revelry to party in the name of their saint.

Divine Goals & Aspirations

To destroy the Krampus and reclaim the stolen shard of his divinity so he can enter the court of his deity Okmog, The Calcareous King.   To defeat The Bagbeasts and seal them away forever.

Followers & Priesthood

Saint Nicholas's followers are predominantly Gnomes - as the creator and father of their species, they naturally gravitate towards his faith and thus make up a large part of his followers and priesthood. However, any and all are welcome into the church of Big Nick Brightwell - his church welcomes those from any ethnicity and any species, and is one of the few Saints on Zheng-Kitar whose church has truly become universal across the lands of Zheng-Kitar such that his very name has become a household name, known to adults and children the world over. His very name and priesthood are synonymous with celebration, festivity, and hope itself - welcomed by almost every land and people irregardless of nature, upbringing, or even social or wealth class.   His followers tend to dress brightly, coloring their clothes or armor with furs, winter iconography such as snowflakes, and the bright colors of red(symbolizing the sacrifice of Saint Nicholas), white(symbolizing the purity and sanctity of winter), and green(symbolizing the hope for a brighter tomorrow) to show their faith for their patron deity. They often dress appropriately to the area in which they live or the stations that they hold, but embellish such outfits and even their belongings and the space in which they live to be more festive, cheerful, colorful, and bright so that such items or places might evoke a feeling of wonder or awe to those who see them. Their appearances can thus vary wildly with the only commonality between various followers of Saint Nicholas being their color palette, the large bags they carry, and the iconography or symbology they wear on their persons as many decorate themselves in wildly outlandish fashions to carrying around entire kegs of wine and festival supplies to entire outlandish magical light structures entwined around their persons, turning their own bodies into shining, blinking beacons of red and green light to show their devotion to their deity. In told, they can easily come off as party-loving buffoons from their appearances, strange gear, and excessively joyous natures and lifestyles - though many invariably find there are always methods to their madness, and reasons behind their strange actions or accoutrements.   The faithful tend to gather in organized places only during the wintertime(Where they tend to gather in large halls, longhouses, or anywhere else they are allowed to publically occupy and set up shop to carry out food drives, protective duties, or more) - during the rest of the year followers of Saint Nicholas tend to operate on their own however they see fit, gathering on any holidays, festivals, or celebrations to meet others of the faithful before separating once more to spread joy, celebration, and hope to the furthest reaches of the world. They are often very independent people, and often traverse the world's most dangerous, depressing, or otherwise hopeless locales to aid those in need, bring hope to the hopeless, and bring celebration and joy to those who have seldom experienced either. To a minor degree, they tend to be somewhat secretive - rumors abound of secret "lodges" and "initiation rituals" used to induct others into the faith, and countless secret purposes and practices that pervade the faith...though no proof of such things has ever been found, and might be little more than rumors spread by those who detest the spirit of cheer and joy that his followers bring wherever they go.  

Ethics

Followers of Saint Nicholas follow a rigorous code of ethics, holding themselves to it with all the ardent fervor of zealots - they staunchly and deeply believe in the ideals of joy, celebration, and hope and will do anything to see those ideals upheld and spread across the land. They consider each holiday, festival, or celebration sacrosanct and see it as only proper for each and every one to give those who celebrate them a chance to let loose and do as they see fit for but a single day - allowing peasants to act like kings, the poor to be rich, and for all sorts of impossible merriment to happen on these days before those involved go back to their often dreary and dismal lives. Followers of Nicholas despise these holidays, celebrations, or festivals beings infringed upon and will often go to extremes to punish those who purposefully ruin, despoil, or otherwise destroy such joy-filled days or periods of time. Likewise, they often bring such holidays, celebrations, and festivals to lands both near and far - starting up joyous celebrations whenever they pass through a town or village to spread happiness and hope wherever they go. They believe very deeply in small acts of kindness - that very small things done seflessly unto others can change someone's day or even life for the better in drastic ways, and live their lives accordingly.   To this end, they also see it as their personal mission to protect the hope and belief of Zheng-Kitar and its citizens - not just in Saint Nicholas himself, but in all things: hope for a better life, for a spouse, for a promotion in one's job, or more - and to this end they ardently believe in teaching others to believe. This mission is often difficult for others to understand, and indeed is sometimes hard for followers of Saint Nicholas to explain themselves - but at its core, they believe in teaching others to embrace their inner child, to never lose that spark of joyous, rapturous wonder at the world, and to embrace belief in the unbelievable even if it seems ridiculous or impossible. "Why not believe that life might be better tomorrow?" a follower of Saint Nicholas might say; "What have ye to lose? Belief is a powerful thing - believe hard enough, and it just might come true.", giving a touch to the nose and a knowing wink before leaving for parts unknown.   Additionally, followers of Saint Nicholas are far more active and organized in the winter months - serving as guides for caravans and travelers through the harsh chill of winter, guiding others through snowstorms and blizzards, and setting up large bases of operations from which to give back to their local community in one way or another. To them, winter is a holy period of time that symbolizes the only time of the year where their patron Saint Nicholas breaks free from his eternal struggle against The Bagbeasts and their master The Krampus, roaming the world to spread the numbing chill of winter to force the residents of Zheng-Kitar inside to be with their families and friends that they may stay safe from The Bagbeasts during this most chilly of months.   Finally, the followers of Saint Nicholas are perhaps the most ardent enemies of The Bagbeasts in all the world - as their patron fights the legendary Krampus, so too do they zealously take to the roads and forgotten corners of Zheng-Kitar to protect others from The Bagbeasts and hunt down those captured by them and reclaim their bodies and souls - often offering up both upon an altar to Nicholas himself to let the victim be reborn as a Gnome and live once more.  

History

The history of Saint Nicholas the infinite is somewhat unique, in that almost no details of his personal life before he ascended to divinity remain in circulation or on the pages of ancient tomes - instead, only myths and legends of him post-sainthood remain; giving him a very real feeling of a being who stepped straight out of the halls of myth as a legend come to life. What little remains of him speaks of him as a valiant warrior, loving father and grandfather, and man of unsurpassed joy and cheer who not only holds the miraculous power of sainthood in his chest but all the joyous, wondrous magic of winter and all the mysterious, mischevious power that entails - the living embodiment of winter and the holidays themselves that even the legendary courts of The Fey speak of as an honored elder, who stepped forth from legend and myth to protect the land of Zheng-Kitar from his most ancient and deadly enemy: The Bagbeasts, and their master The Krampus, scariest and most deadly of all The Bagbeasts.   He is said to have been locked in battle with The Krampus and The Bagbeasts ever since he ascended to Sainthood in ages past - so powerful and mighty that, even after The Krampus is said to have broken into his icy citadel and stolen half of his divinity during his ascension into the elemental plane of Earth, into the court of Okmog, The Calcareous King as reward for his achievements in life. Despite this theft and his reduced divinity, he remains one of the strongest and most powerful Saints in Zheng-Kitaran history, locked in an eternal battle against his now supernaturally empowered rival to reclaim his stolen divinity so that he might finally leave the lands of Zheng-Kitar behind to enter the Elemental Plane of Earth to serve at the side of the god that rose him into Sainthood in the first place.   If these myths and legends are to be believed, he is likely many thousands of years old - possibly older than even The Six Great Ancestors and the Advent of the Spirit Kings themselves. More worrying to many scholars of the Elemental Saints, though, are the consistent stories of his miraculous power and seemingly infinite might which is notoriously poorly described even by the standards of many Elemental Saints, as he is consistently ascribed fantastical and whimsical traits that no mortal being could possibly have, even in Sainthood - carrying some sort of strange, magical power inside of him that his followers claim is born of hope that seemingly gives him impossible powers and a worryingly massive amount of power. For, many question, what would the legendary Nicholas the Infinite become should he reclaim his divinity, and become whole again? What would he truly become, if his current state is barely half of his true potential? To his faithful, this is a wondrous prospect they often call Winter's Release, but to many Elemental Saint Scholars it is a worrying prospect even considering such a thing would likely see his ascent into the court of Okmog, The Calcareous King.
Divine Classification
Elemental Saint
Alignment
Children
Home
Unknown. Said to inhabit the furthest northern reaches of Zheng-Kitar, in the heart of his icy citadel where he eternally battles his archenemy the Krampus and their minions The Bagbeasts to reclaim his full divinity, that he may enter the proper elemental halls of his patron deity.
 
Areas of Concern
Hope, Festivals, Celebrations, Wonder, Winter, Protection
 
Holy Animal
Reindeer, Gnomes
 
Holy Colors
Red, Green, White
 
Holy Number
25
 
Demonym
Nicholani

Father of Gnomes

As the eternal rival of The Bagbeasts and their diabolical master The Krampus, Saint Nicholas the Infinite has long fought this most insidious enemy all across Zheng-Kitar and beyond with the fervor only an Elemental Saint who earned the epithet The Infinite could possess - yet, even after his ascent to Sainthood and the centuries of his battle wore on and he reclaimed more and more souls from The Bagbeasts and their master, he knew he had to do something with those very souls he now held in his possession.   They were too far gone after being recovered to be restored to their old lives - The Bagbeasts's nature of draining their victims of vitality and essence ensured that - but in his infinite mercy, he pleaded to Okmog, The Calcareous King and The Spirit Kings to take mercy on this wretched victims and give them a second chance, that they might live the lives that were robbed from them. So it came to be that his prayers were heeded, to his joy - and, filled with the power of his patron Okmog and the Spirit Kings in his radiant palms, he forged new bodies for those wretched souls who died in the clutches of The Bagbeasts and their Master, The Krampus - beings that would in time go on to be called Gnomes.   Born from the souls of those who died in the sacks of The Bagbeasts, the very first Gnomes came into existence in the bowels of Saint Nicholas's workshop and soon became a loyal race of servitors towards his cause and goals - though in time, as their numbers grew many Gnomes were rewarded with freedom and sent out into the world to start their lives, giving birth to a wholly new race on the face of Zheng-Kitar who embodied the ideals of Saint Nicholas himself...though in time, the creeping stain upon their souls meant they would eventually undergo The Bleaching and, over time, slowly lose all vitality, spirit, color, and eventually life if they are unable to suitably stimulate themselves with new experiences both vivid and wondrous(Similar to The Earthslumber experienced by High Elves).   Now, gnomes have spread all across Zheng-Kitar as a race all their own - each of them tracing their lineage back an ancestor kidnapped by the damnable Bagbeasts...or they themselves awakening in a clearing or upon an altar of Nicholas himself, saved from the clutches of those very same monsters. Not all gnomes remember the saint from which they sprung - though many do and hold his teachings close to their hearts - but regardless, they have lived on ever since their creation as the reincarnated souls of those kidnapped by The Bagbeasts, given a second chance at life.
 

Example Divine Oaths

 
Oath of the Stalwart Ally: Always offer supportive words to those you meet who are struggling to get through a hard time, or overcome some enemy or obstacle. Teach and help others to give them the strength to endure great adversity, even if you must first overcome their issues yourself to help them.
 
Oath of the Celebrator: Always endeavor to spread cheer and festivity wherever you go. Protect the sancitity of any festivals or celebrations you come across, and help all involved to be free of their inhibitions and norms for a single celebration. Always strive to lighten the mood of dour or depressing places or locations, and teach others to hold true belief in Nicholas and the magic of festivity in their hearts.
 

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