|Olidammara, the Laughing Rogue, as depicted in Deities and Demigods (2002).|
|Title(s)||The Laughing Rogue, the Laughing God|
|Home Plane||Heroic Domains of Ysgard|
|Class(es)||Rogue 20, Bard 10, Cleric 10|
|Portfolio||Music, Revels, Wine, Rogues, Humor, Tricks|
|Domains||Chaos, Luck, Trickery|
Olidammara is the god of Music, Revels, Wine, Rogues, Humor, and Tricks. He is often called the Laughing Rogue.
Olidammara is one of the more eccentric of the gods of Oerth. The Laughing Rogue is often involved in good-natured schemes involving the other gods (less good-natured for the more evil deities), with repercussions that can make life difficult for his faithful. He has few proper priests, but is held in high regard in almost all non-evil regions of the Flanaess.
His holy symbol is a grinning mask. Other symbols of his faith include the kanteel (a stringed instrument also known as the kantele) and the number nine.
Olidammara commonly appears as a slender young man with olive skin, merry green eyes, chestnut hair, and a rakish beard. His magical mask allows him to take any form, however. His favored musical instrument, the Kanteel of the Oldest, can conjure illusions and real matter and shape the emotions of those who listen to its sounds as if they were moist clay.
Olidammara, bard of the gods, is on good terms with Aasterinian, Fharlanghn, Dalt, Garl Glittergold, Ehlonna, Hlal, Ye'Cind, and Kord. Heironeous and Hextor may find him annoying at times, but they tolerate him because of his charm and humor. He even gets along with Zagyg, despite their past run-ins; the Mad Archmage appreciates Olidammara's embrace of chaos. Olidammara sponsored the apotheosis of the demigoddess Rudd, who remains his favorite among the divinities. He also sponsored Kuroth. He is the brother of Scahrossar, but these two deities have nothing to do with one another, and their relationship is only mentioned in the most obscure of texts.
Kurell feels great jealousy toward Olidammara for his greater popularity among thieves, and seeks always to steal away his worshipers. Astilabor dislikes the Laughing Rogue. Olidammara avoids Nerull, Erythnul, Iuz, and other blatantly destructive deities, as their malevolence is jarring to him. He would have liked to be their friend, but contents himself with teasing them gently.
Olidammara's current herald is a mighty death slaad, although he seldom takes that form. Olidammara's planar allies include various slaadi and janni.
Olidammara's home plane is Ysgard. His realm, on the border with Limbo, is called the Den of Olidammara, or Olidammara's Den; it is also known as Winesong. This realm is described as a haphazard mansion full of mazes, locked doors, blind hallways, masquerade balls, and secret treasures. The mansion is made from wood, stone, and stranger structures, as if several mansions of a variety of different cultures were somehow merged together in random ways. Rogues, bards, performers from all places are invited as guests, and Olidammara himself lounges on a grand divan, unless he's disguised among his guests using his magic mask.
Olidammara teaches his followers to avoid predictability and routine, to delight in wine, to learn music, to seek out happiness, joy, entertainment, and the company of others. Olidammara advises his faithful to appreciate both the jokes they play and the jokes played on them. He also teaches that misery, temperance, and solemnity are the greatest poisons to the soul.
Olidammara's religion lacks a single holy book, but instead maintains hundreds of mutually contradictory collections of parables and songs. Any attempt to codify or reconcile these texts is anathema to Olidammara's creed, which teaches that chaos should be embraced and material things have little importance or intrinsic value.
Olidammara is worshiped by rogues, bards, beggars, thieves, and all lovers of life.
Olidammara's clerics often have a second occupation, such as vintners and entertainers in urban areas, or as minstrels, messengers, and jacks-of-all-trades in rural areas. They wear comfortable clothes, preferring browns, greens, and blacks. Some wear an actual mask as their holy symbol, while others merely wear a signet or amulet inscribed with a drawing of a mask.
Temple raiders of Olidammara are an elite cadre of thieves, their abilities supplemented by divine magic, who raid the temples of other faiths. Obviously, they don't advertise this.
Becoming a cleric of Olidammara seems simple at first glance; the initial training seems an unending series of celebrations and escapades. Initiates are actually being carefully observed by their superiors, however, who look for a rare combination of joy, mischief, and whimsy.
Small shrines to Olidammara are more common than actual temples; these can be found anywhere, in pubs, in dens of thieves, and in the form of piles of stones at roadsides, carved with his symbol. Most faithful drop a small token of their esteem by the shrine: a few coins, a bit of tasty food, or a cup of wine.
Many of Olidammara's temples are converted inns or taverns, while some are theaters or actual thieves' guilds. Larger temples are hidden, often within the city's sewer networks, because they double as hide-outs of thieves. Those who know of them can buy stolen or forbidden goods there. Olidammara's temples are often guarded by warrior/thieves who combine combat training with sneak attacks.
Rituals to Olidammara include the simple Ceremony of the Cork, performed whenever a wine bottle is opened. A more elaborate ceremony is the New Moon Follies, a three-act comedy performed by and for Olidammara's worshipers. Most services feature alcohol, feasts, song, and laughter.
Missions that involve stealing from the rich and embarrassing the mighty are the headiest of wines for this faith.
Prayers to Olidammara are sung rather than spoken, and they almost always rhyme. Worshipers are expected to keep improvising new ones, so there are few established liturgies in the faith.
The entire week of Brewfest is considered a holy time by Olidammara's faithful. Other holidays include:
- The Great Escape. This is a reenactment of Olidammara's capture by and escape from the archmage Zagig, and is celebrated on a Godsday when the weather is pleasant.
- The Feast of the Doubling Dare. Celebrated just after the new year, this holiday includes a contest in which the participants challenge each other to perform ever-wilder pranks and deeds.
- Taste of a Hundred Years. This is an annual wine-tasting event where a cask is opened that was vinted exactly a century before.
- Pipes of amorous revelry. This set of pipes, created by a secret order of bard/priests dedicated to Olidammara, are also known as the pipes of frenzied revelry. When played, they create a confusion effect, but instead of inspiring the target to attack, they inspire mild amorous advances instead.
- Rapier of desperate measures. This sword, which Olidammara awards whenever the mood strikes him, seems ordinary and only mildly magical, but an inscription near the base of the blade reads "Don't be careful." When the wielder is gravely wounded, the magic of the sword doubles in potency, and it grows stronger as the wielder's wounds grow graver.
- Rapier of unerring direction. This rapier was a gift from Olidammara to Fharlanghn, and has since become a relic of Fharlanghn's faith.
Myths and Legends
Andromalius, once Olidammara's herald, repented of mischief and roguery on his deathbed, hoping in this way to cheat his god of his soul. This, Andromalius believed, would be the greatest theft of his long career.
The Laughing Rogue was at first upset with his servant at this apparent betrayal, but soon he laughed, realizing the irony of a thief who seeks to steal by forsaking thievery. Yet he couldn't accept Andromalius' spirit, for that would ruin the joke; nor did he wish for another god to have such a clever soul. Finally, the god decided to "steal" Andromalius from the cosmos altogether, casting him into a void between existence and non-existence. Whether Andromalius appreciated this "joke" was never clear.
The Grand Illusion
This myth tells of how Olidammara, in the guise of a beggar and wielding the Kanteel of the Oldest, inspired a rebellion against a tyrannical lich-king thousands of years ago.
Olidammara and the Grand Talisman
This myth tells of how Olidammara, traveling in the company of Fharlanghn, charmed the truename from the Nameless Demon and forced him to give up the amulet that contained his soul.
Zagig and the Carapace
This myth, of very recent vintage, tells of Olidammara's attempt to loot Castle Greyhawk of its treasure in the last days of Zagig Yragerne's residence. To his surprise, his protégé Rudd was imprisoned there in Zagig's Godtrap. He tried to rescue her, but Zagig turned the tables on him and imprisoned him in the form of a small, carapaced animal. Olidammara escaped, later stealing some of the Mad Archmage's treasure anyway. He retains the ability to form a shell to protect himself, leaving the shell behind as he teleports merrily away.
Olidammara is an exceedingly old deity. His worship is thought to have originated among nomads and travelers of no particular race, but it soon spread to settled communities and cities. He was known to the ancient Flan, who revered him in the shrine in the Tilvanot peninsula known today as the Burned Circle. He was known to the Oeridians as well, and is sometimes counted among the Oeridian pantheon.
- Conforti, Steven, ed. Living Greyhawk Official Listing of Deities for Use in the Campaign, version 2.0. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2005. Available online:
- Grubb, Jeff, David Noonan, and Bruce Cordell. Manual of the Planes. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2001.
- Gygax, Gary. "The Deities and Demigods of the World of Greyhawk." Dragon #70. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1983.
- -----. World of Greyhawk Fantasy Game Setting. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1983.
- Holian, Gary, Erik Mona, Sean K. Reynolds, and Frederick Weining. Living Greyhawk Gazetteer. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2000.
- McComb, Colin. On Hallowed Ground. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1996.
- Noonan, David. Complete Divine. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2004.
- Redman, Rich, Skip Williams, and James Wyatt. Deities and Demigods. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2002.
- Reynolds, Sean K. "Core Beliefs: Olidammara." Dragon #342. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2006.
- -----. The Scarlet Brotherhood. Renton, WA: TSR, 1999.
- Sernett, Matthew, Dave Noonan, Ari Marmell, and Robert J. Schwalb. Tome of Magic. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2006.