The Opener of Ways. CG lesser power of doors, locks, keys

Pantheon: Oerdian (Suloise)

Realm: Outlands / Wandering

Symbol: A locked door with a skeleton key under it

Known Proxies: None

Dalt, the enigmatic god of locks, keys, and doors, is a figure shrouded in mystery and contradiction, as elusive as the treasures he guards. He’s a power who embodies the duality of barriers and passageways beyond, of confinement and liberation.

This blood manifests in two primary forms: As a white-haired old man with piercing eyes, embodying security, wisdom and experience, and as a young red-haired thief, symbolising cunning, opportunity and the spirit of adventure. Both forms reflect his nature as a power of both securing and overcoming obstacles.

Dalt’s philosophy is a paradoxical dance of securing and opening, of building walls and finding ways through them. He teaches his followers to be both the mouse that sneaks and the craftsman who builds a better mousetrap. To worship Dalt is to embrace the challenge of overcoming barriers, whether they be physical locks or metaphorical obstacles.

Less well-known thought is the chant about how Dalt’s story intersects intriguingly with that of Aoskar, the former power of portals, and the enigmatic Lady of Pain. Dalt’s domain over locks and keys naturally aligns with the concept of portals, and since the demise of Aoskar it seems Dalt has taken on some aspects of his ancient rival’s portfolio. However, given Aoskar’s fate at the hands of the Lady of Pain for his overreach in Sigil, Dalt’s role becomes a careful dance. His interest in unlocking pathways and overcoming boundaries must be balanced with respect for the limits set by powers like the Lady of Pain, lest he suffers a similar fate as Aoskar. You can bet that of all the powers in the Outlands though, Dalt is the one who feels most keenly the Lady’s decree preventing powers from entering Sigil.

Wandering the Outlands, Dalt appears as a planewalker, a seeker of hidden truths and unopened gateways. He might be seen examining an ancient lock on a forgotten door or tracing his fingers over the runes of a sealed portal, always in search of the next puzzle to unravel. He’s the sort of power who will help a cutter with a particularly tricky problem, especially if they garnish him with news from Sigil—his eyes will glaze over wistfully at the mention of the City of Doors, the one place in the multiverse his keys will not unlock.

Dalt’s clergy reflects his dual nature. They are as adept at crafting secure locks and traps as they are at picking and disarming them. His temples are schools of ingenuity, where the arts of locksmithing, carpentry, and even thievery are taught for the greater good. His clerics are protectors of the valuable and liberators of the unjustly confined, wandering the lands in search of challenges worthy of their god’s complex doctrine.

Dalt in his older form

Dalt’s clerics are a mix of those who seek to keep things locked and those who seek to open those locks. Both aspects of Dalt’s church values the other, and most of his temples will contain both sorts. Dalt’s clerics work to build locks and traps, then his clerics figure out ways to defeat them. They act as instructors for locksmiths, masons, carpenters, and thieves, though they claim they will only teach those who have the greater good in mind. Dalt’s clerics believe that goods should be liberated from the selfish and protected for the deserving.  Dalt’s name is used to bless fortresses, jails, and locked boxes, as well as anything that is meant to be secure from thieves, such as dwellings. In Sigil, his name is invoked when cutters are looking to find portals, their keys, or to seal them.

Speaking of Sigil, in that burg Dalt’s name carries a special significance. He is both revered and feared for his mastery over what can be kept hidden or revealed. There are myths that Dalt, in his younger form, once attempted to unlock a secret door into Sigil, only to be thwarted by the Lady of Pain herself, a tale that serves as a warning to those who seek to unveil Sigil’s deepest secrets.

The myth of Dalt and the Lady of Pain is a tale that serves as a cautionary parable for those who dare to challenge the boundaries set by the Lady. The story goes that Dalt, in his relentless pursuit of unlocking and understanding every barrier and pathway, set his sights on Sigil, the City of Doors. Known for his cunning and mastery over locks and keys, Dalt was intrigued by the myriad of portals in Sigil. More than that, he was drawn to the ultimate enigma: the Lady of Pain herself, the mysterious ruler of Sigil, whose powers and origins were as locked away as the deepest secrets of the multiverse.

Driven by curiosity and hubris, Dalt decided to test the Lady of Pain. The nature of this test varies with each telling of the myth. In some versions, Dalt attempted to unlock a secret door that even the Lady did not know of, and enter Sigil unseen. In others, he tried to devise a skeleton key that could be used by his followers to open any portal in Sigil, thereby undermining the Lady’s authority.

The ever-watchful Lady quickly became aware of Dalt’s transgressions. Legends speak of a confrontation between them, though no tales provide details, for such an event is beyond the comprehension of mere mortals. What is known is that Dalt was soundly defeated, not through physical combat, but through the Lady’s absolute control over Sigil.

The threefold consequences for Dalt were severe. Chant goes that this is why the power was largely forgotten on his native Oerth, all images that existed of him were desecrated, and he was forever locked out of his realm, instead condemned to wander without a home. It was a punishment that left him diminished but wiser, although no less eager to unlock Sigil’s secrets. The darkest whispers claim that the Lady of Pain’s Mazes are actually the last remnants of Dalt’s lost realm.

For the followers of Dalt and the inhabitants of the planes, this myth serves as a powerful reminder of the Lady’s supremacy in Sigil and the folly of challenging her. The tale of Dalt and the Lady of Pain reminds all who traverse the planes that some doors are not meant to be unlocked.

See also:

  • Dungeon Magazine #139 [3e] p76 (mysterious destruction of portrait of Dalt)
  • Greyhawk Wiki, https://ghwiki.greyparticle.com/index.php/Dalt

Source: Jon Winter-Holt, mimir.net

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