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Zyxl, history

by Jeff Daly

Prior to being enslaved by the Alphatians, the Hinterland tribes kept dogs. As slaves, they were not allowed to keep dogs. But then the first emperor of Thyatis tamed and kept a dog, which he named Zyxl. This dog was "heroic of proportion" as one scholar of the time wrote, "and he was noble of bearing. He had an odd habit of breaking away from his handlers to roam at will. When out and about the city, Zyxl seemed to seek out trouble, that he may right whatever the wrong. One instance of this was a certain lad named "Timotheus". Timotheus had fallen down one of the cisterns which the emperor had caused to be dug. Zyxl could hear the child's cries, though the cistern was well outside the range of human hearing. Fortunately, the emperor's dog led his handlers to the cistern, and Timotheus was saved."

This is pretty much all the Thyatians knew of Zyxl, other than the odd manner of his disappearance upon the emperor's death. That morning, the dogs were to be put down, as their grief over their master's passing caused them to go feral. Zyxl however, was not found in the kennel, nor was he ever seen again.

Dogs know differently. To them, Zyxl was the "Reforger of the Link", the "Prince of a Thousand Fleas" and "He Who Points". It has been speculated that dogs do not have an immortal patron because they already worship Man. While this is true, some unnamed immortal took notice of Zyxl, and the deference to him that other dogs seemed to give, no matter if they knew him or not. It is unknown whether this immortal sponsored Zyxl as a joke, or truly to honour this wonderful canine. All that is known, and even this only by a very few, is that Zyxl achieved immortality.

One could say that, "Instead of being a dog who worships Man, Zyxl is a god who worships his believer". He searched the mundane worlds till he found a temple with a statue of a fat, grinning man. He was so enchanted by this temple, with its worshippers showing their faith by sitting at tables and booths and ordering meals from men in white, that he took on the image of the fat grinning man as his mortal form.

A thousand years after his ascendancy, he is known as "Patron of Adventurers Down on Their Luck" and he typically only has one worshipper at a time. This is generally the fellow who picks up his idol and carries it about for a few days. The idol looks like a buddha carved from ivory.

The following tells of his powers...

And lo, I asked, "Mighty Zyxl, that we may know what we hold in our arsenal, prithee, what powers may thou bestow?"

"Oh, great big wonderful things. Trust me."

"I do trust thee oh mighty Zyxl. But prithee, can thou, say, engulf mine enemies in fiery death?"

"Oh heaven's no! That would be more of a fire patron...I wouldn't want to offend anyone after all."

"Certainly, my lord. What of protection? Can thou shield me from mine enemies' blows?"

"Oooo! Now that I wait, on second thought, I don't believe I can do that either."

"Can thou turn me invisible?"

"Ah, no."

"Give me flight?"

"Nuh uh."

"Make me stronger?"

"Well, I could, if you ate well and exercised every day."

"Meaning no?"



Zyxl makes a great vehicle for dispensing information at the DM's discretion. He seems like a nifty artifact sort of thing, but is essentially powerless except for what the DM feels is needed at the time. The holder of the idol simply puts it under his pillow and dreams himself into the presence of Zyxl, who always appears as a fat grinning man, but in different poses and scenes. One time he might be in a tub, another he might be tending a flower garden, and still another he might be reading a book. Go easy on the dog references as he has attained a higher state. He won't greet his high priest, in other words, with a lick and a sniff.