Archives of Nethys

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Deities | Systems & Settlements


The Grim Harvestman

Source Galactic Magic pg. 123
NE god of accidental death, disasters, tragedy
Centers of Worship Absalom Station, Apostae, the Diaspora, Eox
Symbol A pick made of bones, with a skull engraved on the head

Zyphus is an ancient god of fatal accidents due to mischance and those engineered to resemble ill luck. Every accident that ends a mortal life empowers Zyphus, and mass accidental deaths give him satisfaction beyond measure. His greatest foes are Desna, as he wishes for no luck in the universe other than bad luck, and Pharasma, as he labors to cut short the measured fate of mortal lives. Zyphus and Urgathoa have been allies for eons, though Zyphus has little interest in undeath. His purview is senseless death, and he cares little for what might become of the victim’s bodies.
Depictions of Zyphus often include macabre themes, such as a gaunt humanoid or a golem made of dead, bleached coral. He carries a massive osseous pick, with which he can rust metal, buckle support structures, or inflict fatal lesions with merely a touch. His followers, called Zyphens, conceal themselves among ordinary members of society and meticulously plan deadly incident : they sabotage transport vessels, rig lifesupport systems to fail, or plant explosives near power cores. Zyphens don’t view themselves as the murderers, but as liberators showing people that sudden death must be expected and feared.
The most experienced Zyphens, called Harvestmasters, create—or discover through improbable chance—picks with powers comparable to their god’s, echoing with a destructive resonance. Harvestmasters use these powerful weapons and their own experience to engineer civilization-shattering apocalypses. They trigger nuclear catastrophes, crash space stations onto populated planets, steer colony ships into stars, or destabilize magical rituals to instigate tragically devastating side effects.
Harvestmasters sometimes lead sprawling, secretive cults, but Zyphens are just as likely to work alone; they almost never cultivate frequent or formal intra-faith connections; a typical worshipper instead limits more correspondence to coded messages left for one another in infosphere forums using ciphers recognized only by the devout. These missives sometimes boast of impending sabotage, and thus cybersecurity forces work hard to intercept and decode them. More often, these communications simply contain recipes for explosives, schematics of well-used transport vessels, or formulas for traceless poisons. After all, adherents planning a major disaster benefit from not warning anyone, even other members of the faith, so as not to limiting the scope of the devastation by even a few souls is anathema to their god. Every mortal soul lost is savored— even those of other Zyphens.