|Titles||Swarmfather, the Great Runner|
|Portfolio||athletics, family, freedom, philosophy|
|Domains||Community, Destruction, Liberation, Luck|
Lao!ze is an adventurer who ascended to godhood through a series of trials.
Lao!ze has an unpredictable relationship with other deities, representing only part of himself to any allies or enemies. His focus on family and togetherness makes friends of Erastil while his equal focus on freedom and individuality agrees with Calistria, even though each deity disagrees with the opposing stance. Similarly, he revels in both chaos and precision, which makes for strange allies and enemies. However he is not fickle and his alliances do not shift; he simply treats each other gods on a case-by-case basis and requests that they do the same for him. His staunchest allies are the deities who ascended to godhood with him.
Appearance and Emissaries
Lao!ze appears as a emaciated, four-armed creature with the head of a mantis and a chitinous exoskeleton. He wears worn leather armor and wields two curved blades attached to each other by a chain.
His herald is the Brotherhood, a swarm of myriad species of insects who speaks in the majestic plural. It has no single gender or mindset and sometimes disagrees with itself over the course of a conversation, expressing different or contradictory versions of Lao!ze's beliefs and commands. His servants include Uskring, an ancient spirit who dispenses wisdom through tales of the many descendants he watches, and Rilsina Alves, a former thief who watches over the wrongly-accused and guides them to safety in the wilderness.
Worshipers and Clergy
Lao!ze has no formal church organization and few recommendations. In one town the high priest may be the eldest while the church works toward bettering the community, and in another it may be determined by a vote among the faithful and followers are expected to indoctrinate or shun non-believers. Some churches focus on philosophy and question the nature of reality itself, while some express themselves with athletic competition. The differing styles of worship are rarely a point of contention between churches, though many priests transfer to locations with a style that more closely matches their personal preference.
He does expect that his clerics treat each other like family, giving respect and deference to each other as one would brothers and sisters. His services eschew temples and ostentation to gather in the home of a local leader or in an open outdoor location.