Here will be described the gods of Men, Dwarves and Elves.
Humans in the Iron Kingdoms have two main patron deities. The prophet Morrow (neutral good) is the lord of goodness and light, and is worshipped by most humans. His fraternal twin sister Thamar (neutral evil) is the patron of the selfish and wicked. The two started out as ordinary humans, thousands of years ago, but they came to believe that any person could improve their lot in life almost without end. After a long, hard path, they ascended into divinity and enlightenment, sacrificing their physical bodies so that they could walk the earth in spirit, providing guidance to those who needed it. The twins' journey is recorded in the weighty Enkheiridion of Ascension, the primary religious text of the Iron Kingdoms. "By the twins!" is a common exclamation in the lands of Men.
Sadly, the siblings fought near the end of their journey, and their paths diverged. Morrow chose the path of selflessness, deciding to guide and protect Men in their journey through life, nudging them to the path of virtue and self-improvement that he discovered. Thamar chose to guide Men in a different way. She is the whisperer in shadows, always urging people to take the quick and easy path, to maximize their short-term earthly gains and pleasures regardless of the consequences.
It is said that every human at some point has to make a choice between the two paths - that Morrow and Thamar eventually visit everyone and secretly test them. "The Volition," as the trial is called, takes the form of a moral dilemma, usually early in life. Few people can pinpoint when their Volition was, for the gods are subtle and clever, never showing themselves directly. The rare individuals that can clearly see the test and the gods before them are blessed, and almost always become clerics or paladins.
Clerics of Morrow and Thamar can be of any good or evil alignment, respectively. They attempt to emulate their patron's lives, often traveling in their footsteps and attempting the same trials the twins undertook so long ago. Those that succeed become saints, and they Ascend to take their place at Morrow or Thamar's side. This is a rare and special event; only a score of people have ever Ascended to either god's side. The Ascended became powerful entities in their own right, each with their own philosophy and sphere of influence.
While the Church of Morrow has a very formal structure and rich history, the worship of Thamar is a solitary thing. Rarely will one see so much as a shrine in her name, and her clerics are secretive. However, almost all of the humans in the Iron Kingdoms are strong believers in the central teaching of both siblings - you create your own destiny, and your lot in life is not fixed at birth.
Since the Men of the Iron Kingdoms have comparatively fewer gods than other game settings, there is more leeway within the clerical domains.
The Domains of Morrow: Good, Healing, Knowledge, Protection, Strength, Travel, War
The Domains of Thamar: Death, Destruction, Evil, Luck, Magic, Trickery, War
Morrow and Thamar are the principal deities, but the Ascended men and women are worshipped alongside them as secondary patrons. Clerics choose one or two of the Ascended to be their spiritual guide, and their domains derive from this choice. Because of this, DMs are encouraged to bend the domain restrictions a bit for exceptional role-playing and character development. Some of Ascended will be detailed in future IK materials, but there will always be room for the DM to create them as desired.
The worship of Menoth (lawful neutral) is ancient, predating the Church of Morrow by millennia. Menoth is a strict, vengeful deity, credited by most humans (even those who follow the Twins) with the creation of the world and everything within it. It's unquestionable that Menoth exists, for his priests were once the powerful ruling class of the land. Alas for Menoth, the more uplifting and tolerant message of Morrow began to take hold with the people, and today the worship of Menoth is rare outside the Protectorate.
Menoth is usually depicted as a masked giant, towering over his frightened worshippers. He demands adherence to a strict code of conduct - part of which is providing constant tribute to Menoth and his priests. The notion that a man may "ascend," so central to the worship of Morrow and Thamar, is blasphemy in the church of Menoth. To Menoth, man's place is to serve his creator, and his reward is to pass quietly into oblivion.
Menoth's clerics have access to the domains of Knowledge, Law and Strength. Some evil high-level clerics who are favored by Menoth's become Scrutators, the feared church police and policy-makers. Powerful Scrutators can even gain access to the domains of Evil and Destruction. "Scrutator of Menoth" is a new prestige class that will be unveiled soon at the Iron Kingdoms web site.
Cyriss, Maiden of Gears, Mistress of Numbers, also known as the Clockwork Goddess, is a fairly recent addition to the land's pantheon. Her worship became known only a few centuries ago, at about the time Men and Dwarves began to build sophisticated machines and delve into new kinds of math and philosophy. Cyriss is a true neutral goddess, largely unconcerned with the fate of individuals. Most of her effort is spent writing and overseeing the natural laws that govern the realm of science and engineering, though she will take action directly or through her followers when something threatens the natural order of things. She appears as a humanoid, but she is not a human goddess; her worshippers are Men and Dwarves in approximately equal proportions.
Understanding the mind of Cyriss and revealing the true nature of the multiverse is a process of divine revelation to her worshippers. For this reason engineers and scholars often pay Cyriss their respects, but true fanatics and clerics are hard to find with the culture of Men and Dwarves so dominated by their traditional religions. However, with the spread of science and mechanika across the land, Cyriss may soon begin to increase the size of her flock.
Many of the most devout followers of Cyriss believe that machines are holy, and those who build and tend them are society's superior caste. Some even believe that in mathematics there may be found some superior method for managing the world's affairs - a place for everyone, and everyone in their place, with some kind of divine calculating machine overseeing everything with cold precision. Cyriss' evil worshippers are taking steps to build such a machine, but luckily they are few in number and thought to be far from their goal.
The domains available to her clerics (which are extremely rare) are Knowledge, Protection and Travel. Cyriss is somewhat unique in that she is worshipped in roughly equal proportions by all races with any kind of scientific or engineering skills.
The Dwarves do not have a single patron deity. Instead, they worship a group of divine forefathers, the thirteen exemplars that spawned their race. These divine Great Fathers founded the original Thirteen Families millennia ago, and their blood is said to provide all Dwarves with their legendary fortitude. The Great Fathers' most direct descendants are called the Stone Lords, and these powerful and respected individuals sit at the head of the Dwarven Moot today as they have since the first days. Being strong with the Great Fathers' blood, the Stone Lords (who are all high-level paladins) are unusually hardy and live a very long time, often surpassing two hundred winters.
Each DwarvenFather is, practically speaking, a demigod, though Dwarven folk only worship them as a lawful neutral unit. An individual Great Father is never singled out as a cleric's sole patron, for this is considered disrespectful and ignorant. The Fathers as a group gave life to Dwarvenkind, and as a group they will always be worshipped. Nonetheless, each Father has his own personality, holidays, parables and sphere of influence, and it is common to say a prayer or a curse in a particular Father's name as the situation warrants it.
Dwarven clerics who worship the Fathers have access to the domains of Good, Healing, Law and War.
The Elves, once the world's dominant race, builders of the first civilization, are now concealing a terrible secret. Deep within the Elven homeland of Ios, a score of jeweled cities lie in ruins and decay. Only the ancient capital, Shyrr, still remains as anything other than a crumbling shell. Under the last Elven city, in their most holy shrine, rests the weary form of the goddess who gave them life... and she is dying. Scyrah, the protean spirit of the Elvenkind, beloved race-mother and last of the Elven patrons, has no more than a century to live. Elven holy men know this with certainty, for they have seen it happen before... all of their gods, around whom they built their magnificent cities, have withered and died over the last half-millennium.
The cause of the gods' death is mysterious, but the effects have been profound. The formerly proud and powerful race has withdrawn into itself. The lands of Ios, once legendary for their beauty, now are shadowed and dying. The Elves have become a race of orphans, adrift in fear and self-doubt. Their numbers are dwindling, and when the last goddess Scyrah finally passes on, no more Elf-children will be born at all. It is twilight for the Elves, and there is no relief in sight.
Scyrah's clerics have a gut-churning dilemma before them. Each time they channel their patron's power, they take a bit of her strength and hasten her demise - and the demise of their entire race. At the same time, it is their duty as holy men to help those in need, and they know that Elven society must be strong and faithful if Scyrah is to have any chance of survival. They agonize over each spell cast, trying to evaluate where the greater good lies.
Scyrah is a chaotic neutral deity. Elvenkind have strong ties to the natural world, and Scyrah's clerics can choose from the domains of Air, Animal, Earth, Fire, Plant and Water.
Most of our folk are content to cower in Shyrr, waiting for the end... the fools will stay there praying in vain until Scyrah is dead, and our race with her. Those of you who are not content to pass quietly into oblivion, come with me now and take action.
- Deyral of Iryss
|Introduction to the Iron Kingdoms||Beyond the Iron Kingdoms|
|Nations of the Iron Kingdoms||Deities of the Iron Kingdoms|
|Map of the Iron Kingdoms||Steamjack Preview|
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