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Eshu (Elegua, Esu Elegba), Yoruba Trickster God

God Eshu (Elegua, Esu Elegba), Yoruba Trickster God
  • Pantheon: Yoruba Mythology
  • Deity Title: Eshu
  • Deity Symbol: A mischievous grin
  • Home Plane: The Crossroads
  • Deity Level: Greater Deity
  • Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
  • Aliases: Legba, Exu, Eleggua
  • Superior: Olodumare (Supreme Deity in Yoruba mythology)
  • Traditional Allies: Ogun, Oshun, Oya
  • Traditional Foes: Shango, Yemoja, Orunmila
  • Divine Artifact: The Talking Drum of Fate
  • Servants: The Arara
  • Servitor Creatures: Ijapa (the tortoise)
  • Sacred Animal: The Monkey
  • Manifestations: As a whirlwind, a mischievous child, a wise elder, and a cunning trickster
  • Signs of Favor: Sudden and unexpected changes in fortune, uncanny coincidences, and laughter in the wind
  • Worshipers: Tricksters, travelers, adventurers, and those seeking guidance through life’s uncertainties
  • Cleric Alignments: Chaotic Neutral, Chaotic Good, True Neutral
  • Specialty Priests: Eshu’s Jestmasters
  • Holy Days: The Festival of Pranks (celebrated on the first full moon of the year)
  • Portfolio: Trickery, unpredictability, change, adaptability, guidance through chaos
  • Domains: Trickery, Chaos, Travel, Luck, Knowledge
  • Favored Weapon: Iron Staff
  • Favored Class: Bard
  • Favored Race: Gnomes (due to their mischievous nature)
  • Duties of the Priesthood: To embrace chaos, inspire adaptability, and impart wisdom through unpredictable means; to celebrate the capricious nature of existence
  • Major Cult/Temple Sites: Crossroads altars, dense forests, and bustling marketplaces
  • Benefits: Divine guidance in times of uncertainty, the ability to invoke unpredictable blessings, and an uncanny knack for avoiding traps and hazards.

    Eshu, in his physical form, is an enigmatic and captivating figure. Standing at an average height, his lean and sinewy frame is adorned with vibrant and intricate patterns of tribal tattoos that seem to writhe and dance across his obsidian skin like serpents caught in eternal play. His eyes, as dark and deep as the abyss, shimmer with an ever-present mischievous glint, revealing the boundless wit that resides within him. A curtain of tightly coiled, ebony hair frames his angular face, often falling playfully over his expressive brows.

    Eshu’s visage is a canvas of contrasts; his lips, full and inviting, curl into a perpetual smile that hints at both warmth and cunning. His sharp, pointed nose betrays a keen sense of curiosity, always eager to explore the unknown. Adorned in a patchwork of vibrant and earthy fabrics, his attire seems to change with every twist of fate, mirroring his ever-shifting disposition.

    As a deity, Eshu is a master of duality, embodying both chaos and order, creation and destruction. He is the messenger between the realms, a cunning trickster who revels in challenging the status quo and upending conventions. Eshu’s purpose is to maintain the delicate balance of the cosmos, ensuring that chaos and order coexist harmoniously.

    Eshu’s actions are driven by a desire to teach valuable lessons, often through playful pranks and tests of character. He hopes to guide mortals towards self-discovery and enlightenment, reminding them that life’s greatest mysteries are unraveled through the journey, not the destination. In his own enigmatic way, Eshu seeks to encourage humility, adaptability, and an unwavering belief in the ever-changing dance of fate.

    AI Generated Artwork – NightCafe Creator

    Medium Celestial (Deity), Chaotic Neutral

    • Armor Class 30 (Natural Armor)
    • Hit Points 680 (32d20 + 320)
    • Speed 60 ft.

    28 (+9)30 (+10)30 (+10)28 (+9)28 (+9)30 (+10)

    Skills Arcana +18, Deception +19, Insight +18, Persuasion +20
    Senses Truesight 120 ft., Passive Perception 19
    Languages Celestial, Common, Yoruba, Abyssal
    Challenge 38 (265,000 XP)

    Divine Traits. Eshu is immune to all conditions and cannot be banished or imprisoned. He can see and hear everything within 1 mile of any of his manifestations.

    Magic Resistance. Eshu has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

    Innate Spellcasting. Eshu’s spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 28, +20 to hit with spell attacks). He can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:

    • At-will: Alter Self, Disguise Self, Detect Magic, Invisibility, Pass without Trace, Polymorph
    • 3/day each: Charm Person, Dimension Door, Dominate Person, Geas, Plane Shift


    Multiattack. He can make three attacks: one with his Staff of Trickery, one with his Shortsword, and one with his Trickster’s Tail.

    • Staff of Trickery. Melee Weapon Attack: +19 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 18 (2d8 + 9) bludgeoning damage plus 21 (6d6) psychic damage. The target must succeed on a DC 28 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened for 1 minute.
    • Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +19 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (2d6 + 9) piercing damage plus 16 (4d8) poison damage.
    • Trickster’s Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +19 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 21 (2d10 + 9) slashing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 28 Dexterity saving throw or be grappled (escape DC 28). While grappled in this way, the target is restrained.

    Divine Mischief (Recharge 5-6). Eshu targets one creature he can see within 60 feet of him. The target must succeed on a DC 28 Wisdom saving throw or be polymorphed into a harmless creature of Eshu’s choice for 1 minute. The creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

    Legendary Actions

    Eshu can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. Eshu regains spent legendary actions at the start of his turn.

    • Move. He moves up to his speed without provoking opportunity attacks.
    • Divine Trickery (Costs 2 Actions). He casts Mirror Image.
    • Mischief Strike (Costs 2 Actions). He makes one Trickster’s Tail attack.

    Lair Actions

    On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), Eshu can take a lair action to cause one of the following effects:

    • Eshu creates an illusory maze of mirrors in a 60-foot radius. All creatures in the area must succeed on a DC 28 Intelligence saving throw or be confused for 1 minute. The creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

    Regional Effects

    The region containing Eshu’s presence is warped by his chaotic influence, creating one or more of the following effects:

    • Local animals exhibit strange and erratic behavior.
    • Mirrors and reflective surfaces often reveal glimpses of alternate realities or future events.
    • Spells that manipulate time or probability are more potent in this area.

    Equipment. Eshu carries a Staff of Trickery, a Shortsowrd, and the Trickster’s Tail.

    Staff of Trickery. This staff can be used as a melee weapon, and it functions as a Rod of Absorption. It has 20 charges. While holding the staff, Eshu can expend charges to cast spells as if using a 9th-level spell slot.

    Trickster’s Tail. This whip-like appendage is part of Eshu’s form. It can be used as a melee weapon as described in the actions.

    Shortsword. This finely crafted shortsword is laced with poison, as described in the actions.

    Immunities. Eshu is immune to all forms of damage from attacks that deal less than 100 points of damage.

    Actions in Combat. Eshu enjoys toying with his opponents, using his innate spellcasting to create confusion and chaos before engaging in combat. He relies on his high Dexterity and Constitution to avoid damage and can polymorph foes to less threatening forms.

    Roleplaying Tips. He is a mischievous and unpredictable deity. He revels in chaos and trickery, often playing pranks on other deities and mortals alike. His motivations are largely inscrutable, and he is known to change allegiances and objectives on a whim. Worshipers seek his favor to gain his guidance in matters of deception and trickery, but they must always be cautious not to become the victims of his unpredictable sense of humor.

    Lore. Eshu is a complex deity in Yoruba mythology, often depicted as a trickster figure who brings both blessings and chaos to the world. He is known for his cunning and unpredictable nature, often appearing in various forms to test and challenge mortals. Eshu’s influence is felt in various aspects of life, from fate and destiny to marketplaces and crossroads.

    Currently in the World

    In the heart of the Yoruba mythology, amidst the vibrant tapestry of West Africa’s spiritual landscape, Eshu strides like a capricious whirlwind. As old as time itself, he has always been, and always will be, an enigmatic force of nature. Eshu, the ever-cunning trickster, orchestrates the intricate dance of destiny with every sly smile and playful twist of fate.

    Eshu’s journey through the eons is a kaleidoscope of mischief and wisdom. From the earliest days when the world was young, he watched as the gods shaped the cosmos. He reveled in the chaos of creation, savoring every moment as the universe unfurled before his eyes. Eshu’s laughter echoed through the cosmos as the celestial bodies took their places in the vast cosmic ballet.

    As civilizations rose and fell, he remained a silent observer, weaving his influence into the lives of mortals. He whispered riddles into the ears of kings, challenging their wisdom and tempering their pride. He danced through the hearts of lovers, sparking both passion and heartbreak in equal measure. Eshu was the eternal wanderer, leaving his mark on every corner of the world.

    Throughout history, Eshu’s motivations remained as elusive as his ever-changing appearance. He was a guardian of balance, ensuring that neither order nor chaos gained the upper hand. When empires crumbled under the weight of their own decadence, Eshu reveled in their downfall, teaching the world the dangers of hubris. Yet, he also guided humble heroes on their quests, imparting the wisdom of adaptability and resilience.

    As the world hurtled towards the 15th century, Eshu’s presence remained constant, though his methods evolved with the changing times. He watched with a knowing smile as explorers from distant lands set sail, forever altering the course of history. Eshu reveled in the clash of cultures and the exchange of ideas, recognizing that the world was entering a new era of transformation.

    Eshu’s goals, if one could truly decipher them, were as multifaceted as the facets of a diamond. He sought to remind mortals that life’s journey was just as important as its destination, that wisdom was born from both triumph and tribulation. Through his capricious actions, he hoped to awaken a sense of humility and adaptability, for he knew that these qualities would be essential in the ever-changing world that lay ahead.

    And so, Eshu, the eternal trickster, continued to dance through time, his laughter echoing through the ages. Whether he was a harbinger of chaos or a guide to enlightenment, one thing remained certain: the world would forever be entwined with his mischievous spirit, and his legacy would endure as long as the cosmos itself.

    In Myth

    Eshu, also known as Esu or Elegba, is a complex and enigmatic figure in Yoruba mythology, which originates from the Yoruba people of West Africa, particularly in Nigeria and Benin. He is one of the Orishas, the deities of the Yoruba pantheon, and plays a crucial role in the cosmology and daily life of the Yoruba people.

    Eshu is often regarded as the messenger between the human world and the world of the Orishas, as well as the guardian of the crossroads. In Yoruba belief, the crossroads represent a point of decision, transition, and transformation, and Eshu is the one who oversees these critical moments in people’s lives.

    Key aspects of Eshu in traditional myth include:

    1. Trickster Deity: Eshu is a quintessential trickster figure. He possesses a mischievous and unpredictable nature, often playing pranks and jokes on both humans and other Orishas. These tricks can range from harmless pranks to more significant and disruptive actions.
    2. Messenger of the Gods: Eshu serves as a vital intermediary between the human world and the divine realm. He carries messages, offerings, and sacrifices from mortals to the Orishas and conveys the divine guidance and responses back to the people. As the communicator, he ensures that the rituals and offerings reach their intended recipients.
    3. Guardian of Crossroads: Eshu is closely associated with crossroads, which are considered sacred spaces in Yoruba culture. At these crossroads, people leave offerings and perform rituals to seek Eshu’s assistance, guidance, and blessings. He is believed to control the paths people take in life, both physically and spiritually.
    4. Dual Nature: Eshu embodies duality and contradictions. He can be both a benevolent and malevolent force, depending on how he is approached and appeased. While he may cause chaos and confusion, he can also provide protection and aid when properly respected and honored.
    5. Symbolism: Eshu is often depicted as a small, childlike figure, which is a testament to his playful and unpredictable nature. He may carry a staff or walking stick, which symbolizes his role as the guardian of crossroads.
    6. Offerings and Rituals: Devotees of Eshu offer various gifts, including palm oil, kola nuts, alcoholic beverages, and small toys. These offerings are made to appease him and seek his favor. Rituals involving chanting, drumming, and dancing are also common in Eshu worship.

    Eshu’s presence in Yoruba mythology serves as a reminder of the complexity of human existence, the need for adaptability in the face of change, and the importance of acknowledging the dualities present in life. He embodies the idea that every choice, whether at a crossroads or in daily life, has consequences, and one must navigate these decisions with care and respect for the unpredictable nature of the world.

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