|The Daedra Lords|
|Ba'al (Prince of Daedra)|
|Suspira (Lust, Desire, Hedonism)|
|Revonos (Rage, Murder, Treachery)|
|Agemnos (Avarice, Ambition, Wealth)|
|Lilith (Nature, Lycanthropy, Undeath)|
|Klepnos (Madness, Trickery, Knowledge)|
|Tallakath (Sickness, Pestilence, Death & Dying)|
|Oblineth (Ice, Winter, The Void)|
|Nocturna (Dreams, Omens, Crossing Over)|
Klepnos (KLÉP-nōs) is perhaps the most misunderstood of the daedra lords. He is infamous among mortals as a master of madness and illusion, a deranged and childish being whose actions serve only to increase disorder and chaos in the world. He is depicted as foolish, irrational, and completely without empathy for mortal beings, and anyone who would worship him is a deceiver, a trickster, and an agent of chaos, just as he is.
In reality, however, this "conventional wisdom" is largely the result of an extended propaganda campaign by Klepnos's elder brother, Samekkh; the truth is far more complicated. Klepnos is a trickster, to be sure, but there is a method to his madness, and he is as much a deity of knowledge as Samekkh is. While his behavior is often disruptive and unsettling, it is all in service to a plan that only he fully understands … a plan that might very well involve saving the world from destruction.
Appearance & Personality
A true master of transformation, Klepnos can appear as anyone and anything — though whatever the form, his actions will generally appear mischievous, foolish, or utterly insane to mortal eyes. His truest form is a young, thin man of medium height with tousled blond-brown hair and a closely-trimmed goatee. He has a fondness for the color green, and his eyes and clothing usually reflect this.
Klepnos perceives the world in a way that very few can, with past, present, and possible futures interweaving themselves before his eyes. When he is engaged in conversation, he can see the different paths that the words might take, and the likely responses to each path; when he sees a person, he sees them not just as they are but in several variations of who they might become. Because of this, he often seems distractible, prone to abrupt mood swings and shifts in topic. His "reference frame" for future events shifts backward and forward in time — sometimes spontaneously, sometimes under conscious effort — and the further ahead he is perceiving events the more erratic and unpredictable his behavior becomes. He is aware of the difficulty this presents in interacting with others, and when it is absolutely necessary for him to remain coherent he will withdraw his perceptions back to the present moment. From Klepnos's perspective, however, coherency is overrated.
Klepnos believes that his preternatural insight is something that ought to be shared with the mortal races, but he has found few supporters for this idea among the rest of the Pantheon. Samekkh, whose own gift for prophecy is kept under rigid, disciplined control, believes that Klepnos has let his mind travel so far afield in the timestream that he has been driven utterly mad. Samekkh sees history as a series of orderly steps from the past into one "proper" future, and believes that the other possibilities that Klepnos sees are perilous detours that could destroy the world if any of them were allowed to occur. To Samekkh, history is determinate, and the proper role of the gods is to make sure that it comes to pass as it is supposed to. Klepnos, by contrast, sees a universe of unlimited possibilities, and believes that the timeline is eternally branching outwards as it travels forward, creating a myriad of alternate histories which are all true, real, and valid; it is the gift of free will that sentient beings are able to choose their path. The proper role of sentient minds is to open themselves up to perceive all possibilities, so that they can choose what seems best to them without being constrained by the limits of what Samekkh tells them is the "right" way.
The mortal beings of MK, of course, are unaware of this debate; Samekkh will not repeat his brother's rantings, and Klepnos believes that the only way to teach someone his way of perceiving the universe is to show them. To this end he plays the trickster, leading mortals into "learning experiences" that he hopes will open them up to his brand of insight. Sometimes he is successful, and the subjects of his attentions become mad — or at least seem to be mad, by mortal standards. At other times they suffer through the experience with their apparent sanity intact, never imagining that Klepnos might have been trying to show them something important. Klepnos particularly enjoys focusing his efforts on servants of Samekkh; such individuals are often highly intelligent, and their intellect can help strengthen their effectiveness as agents for Klepnos if he can turn them to his way of thinking. As an added bonus, any disciple of Samekkh that he can convert is one fewer agent that the Lord of Light can use to impose his vision of the future on everyone else.
Few other members of the Pantheon will tolerate Klepnos's company. Prince Ba'al keeps him around as a court jester, since he finds Klepnos's pranks on the other deities amusing; he knows that occasionally Klepnos displays flashes of brilliant and useful insight, but he doesn't really take Klepnos's ideas about space-time seriously. Klepnos idolizes Velena and Artela as pinnacles of divine beauty, but they find his behavior off-putting and will not let him get close enough for his lust to develop into any more serious form of affection. The only member of the Pantheon who genuinely likes being around Klepnos is Suspira, who enjoys his penchant for mischief and is more than willing to satisfy his libido. Suspira is undoubtedly a bad influence on him, as her own appetites run toward the perverse and malicious as well as the chaotic, and her sexual leverage has often moved him to participate in activities that he probably wouldn't have done if left to his own devices.
On the other hand, Klepnos's perspective on reality is so odd that it's hard to say whether Suspira is using him or he is using Suspira. It was she who coaxed him into assisting with the transformation spells that were the foundation for the Battle of Three Gates, thinking that his magic would be the key to Nasoj's victory — but, instead of winning, Nasoj set into motion a chain of events that caused the Keepers to rise above adversity and become great heroes. Did Klepnos assist in bringing about the Curse because he knew that it would lead, eventually, to the fulfillment of prophecy and the salvation of the world? Possibly, but if so, he's not telling.
Boons: Just about any illusion or transformation imaginable, but the effects are only temporary if they contradict the Curse of Metamor. Klepnos is also rather whimsical, and might be persuaded to perform just about any magical feat you could convince him that he could have fun doing, such as a practical joke or poetic-justice-type revenge on an enemy or rival (though Klepnos is not above turning these pranks back on the supplicant if the target is undeserving of such abuse). Klepnos is also rumored to possess several powerful magical artifacts, but these are intimately connected to his unique perspective on reality; those who use them extensively soon find that their own grasp of reality is slipping into a reflection of his. This experience is highly addictive, and usually results in the person going insane (at least according to any traditional understanding of sanity).
The irrational insight that Klepnos has into future events is available only to his disciples, not to one-time supplicants; once one has learned to see things the way Klepnos does, there is no going back.
Cost: Klepnos is fond of the traditional "three small favors or one large quest" method of repayment. The tasks he gives his supplicants often seem random or incomprehensible, though it's likely that Klepnos has some greater purpose he is trying to accomplish in even the most irrational of these assignments.
Centuries ago, before the Lothanasi had achieved dominance over religion in Galendor, Klepnos was often worshiped as a trickster god and a god of magic. While he was known to be whimsical, capricious, and chaotic, he was not widely shunned among the religious the way that he is today. Gamblers, bards and rogues of all sorts often raised a glass in his honor, and anyone who was attempting some clever deception might whisper a brief prayer to him in supplication. While it was considered dangerous to be on his bad side, Klepnos was not greatly feared like some of the other daedra lords, and many saw the Laughing Lord as a mostly-benevolent prankster rather than a terrifying madman.
The Lothanasi's successful religious revolution changed these perceptions for most people, as the removal of the daedra lords from the officially recognized pantheon gave Samekkh's propaganda a chance to take root in the minds of the populace. While the Lothanasi victory was a positive thing, on the whole, in the case of Klepnos it did lead a distorted understanding of his purpose and place in the divine hierarchy. and since that time he and his few remaining disciples have been working to correct these misunderstandings.
Disciples of Klepnos usually work alone or in small groups of no more than four or five. They are usually wanderers, traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles in pursuit of the missions that Klepnos gives them. Any true disciple of Klepnos learns to perceive time as he does, though not with the same degree of control, and as often as not they are following courses of action suggested to them by their visions rather than explicit instructions from their god. The missions they undertake are usually disruptive to the established social order but rarely deadly, though some servants of Klepnos have been known to assassinate political and religious leaders. They are particularly fond of mocking and embarrassing the disciples of Samekkh and defacing his holy sites, though it is almost unheard of for them to actually kill the servants of the Lord of Light.
Encounters with disciples of Klepnos are unpredictable. Such a person might seem completely coherent and rational, or he might seem like a raving lunatic. Their moods can change swiftly, and might prove to be an ally at one encounter and an enemy at the next. As with all daedra-worship1, the worship of Klepnos is outlawed in Lothanasi-dominated lands, and those found guilty of being his disciples are executed by crucifixion. These extreme measures are not really justified by the actions of most of Klepnos's servants, but the zero-tolerance policy has been widely supported by most governments because they fear the disruptive effect that Klepnos's agents can have on the established social order.
Known Disciples: N/A
Offspring & Servants
Klepnos's offspring are a mystery. He almost certainly has many of them, most of them have blended invisibly into human society. The only member of the Pantheon who will have sex with him is Suspira,2 and all of her children (regardless of their fathers) become succubae and incubi; while those sired by Klepnos are probably a little less malevolent and a little more playful than the average sex demon, Suspira's children are all so impulsive and unrestrained in their behavior that it's impossible to infer anything certain about the identities of their fathers from their actions in any given situation.
Klepnos occasionally makes use of imps, some of whom disguise themselves as Klepnos himself when delivering messages to mortals, but for the most part he prefers to work through human agents.
Aura: None, though Lothanasi learn to recognize the telltale prickling on the back of one's neck.
Holy Symbol: An eye with a spiral in place of the pupil.
Symbolic Creature: Chameleon.
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral (with some evil tendencies)
Domains: Illusion, Mentalism, Oracle, Transformation, Trickery
Weapon of the Deity: Shocking Rapier