Monday, February 25, 2013

Pantheon Monday: Haeron, the Lawgiver

I posted Haeron long ago, when I was first starting this blog. Now that I know there's such a thing as panethon monday, I've made a few salient changes and I'm posting it anew. The old post has been removed to prevent redundancy in the archives.

(The Lawgiver, the Smith, the Hammerer)

Greater God, LG
Portfolio: Laws and justice, metalworking, smiths
Aliases: Calëron
Domain Name: Valingas, the Golden Halls
Superior: None
Allies:  Avauna, Eiri, Eleia, Quill
Foes: Dinismayl, Tharos, Rhamna, Hasht, Glyrea
Symbol: A golden smith’s hammer
Worshipper Alignment: LG, NG, LN, LE

Haeron (HIGH-ron) the Hammerer is the central god of the mannish pantheon. He is a just and wise deity, who oversees justice and maintains peace amongst the other gods. While he is not averse to bloodshed, he is merciful and generally seeks the most peaceful path ahead. He absolutely despises the dangerous and troublemaking gods of the pantheon; he must constantly strive to keep them in line and prevent them from upsetting the order he has established.

According to the Prophet Aeldus, Haeron was responsible for crafting the “golden bonds of law,” which govern the way men interact with one another the world over. Haeron is the fountain of law and justice, from which all virtue flows, or so his priesthood touts. Yet, this is not Haeron’s only sphere of influence; he is the god of smiths and metalworkers as well, and his golden hammer can be found hung in forges and temples alike.

He doesn’t rule the pantheon with an iron fist; indeed, it can be said that he does not really rule the pantheon at all. He oversees it, takes care of the conflicts between the deities with his overpowering might, but mostly threatens rather than acts. He himself is the pillar of the concordance between the gods. He has set forth the laws by which the gods must abide, and those who fail to hew to them will face his wrath. He has set forth the laws by which the gods must abide, and those who fail to hew to them will face his wrath; he is not implacable in his anger, however, and will temper it with good sense. If the gods interfere in minor ways in the mortal world, he may issue stern and demanding warnings or send his most fearsome servant, the Herald of War, to remind the offending deity of their place.

Yet Haeron was gone to war in the past, and likely will do so again in the future. The evil gods within the mannish pantheon are constantly jockeying for position over one another and to attempt to unseat the Hammerer. He has done battle with Dinismayl and Vodei; in the Fifth Age he manifested an avatar to protect the city of Miles from a Wyrm under the Winter Queen’s thrall.

While he commands a number of gods that report directly to him (Halor, Tallial, and Vaela being the three most directly under his governance), Haeron has many allies he can rely on. Chief amongst these are his brother, Eiri, and the Sun-goddess, Avauna. His elder brother, Aros, has always been a thorn in his side, good-natured though he may be.

Haeron is the youngest of the four gods known as the Quartos, which are Eiri, Aros, Vodei, and himself. They were born from the world-tree and served Avauna in the earliest ages of the world.
The chief of gods often appears as an old man with a long white beard and a broad chest, wearing a simple white linen toga and carrying a long-hafted smith’s hammer in his right hand. This image of him was first seen by Aeldus the Prophet, who was visited by the god during the early First Empire and brought his worship to Miles.

The Church
Clergy: Speciality priests, paladins, monks, crusaders
Clergy’s Alignment: LG, LN
Turn Undead: Yes
Command Undead: No

The temple of Haeron is widespread and powerful. They have a strictly hierarchical organization that radiates outwards from the Temple of the Lawkeeper in Miles. They often find themselves integrated into local society as judges and adjudicators due to their devotion to law. However, Hierean priests will not submit to local rule which they find objectionable. For example, there are few Hierean priests in Essad, the Free Cities, or other places where enslavement is commonly practiced.

Hieriean temples are often elaborate affairs, large buildings of marble with domes or high raised tympanum roofs. Unlike many temples in the North, they maintain spaces of public worship within. Members of the inner cult may walk further into the temple than simple lay worshipers, but there is still a very elaborately decorated public worship hall provided. This is partly because of the relationship many Hieriean temples have with the  local authorities.

In many lands, while custom is dictated by the nobility, breaches of custom are judged by the clerics of Haeron. This is done by bringing the offender to the largest nearby temple and presenting them before the head of the temple there, who is often called a Hierus. The Hierus (or the Metropolitan, Hierophant, or Divine) sits in a tall throne just before the anvil-shaped altar called a menraius. The menraii are massive seats with a long set of stairs before them upon which the priest must ascend. Once seated in a menraius the judgements of guilt and innocence are thought to descend from on high.

The ordering of the temples of Haeron is done according to the ancient central manuscript known as the Scroll of Law, which is a collection of dictates, stories, tracts, and oracular readings. The particular section concerned with temple organization is known as the Orijenula and was written by the first High Lawkeeper, Orijenus. 

The lowest rank amongst the temples is that of novice. Ascending through the true orders (novices have yet to pass the test of priesthood) are the Peacewards who may be pastoral or remain at a single temple, the Dictate who help administer temple grounds, the Speakers who may give blessings and conduct ceremonies, and the temple’s High Priest who alone may pronounce judgements. Every region also has a Hierophant (in the case of a district without any great cities) or a Metropolitan. These are each organized into twelve great districts known as the Divinities, and each is ruled by a Hierophant known as a Divine.

The Twelve Divines sit beneath the High Lawkeeper at Miles and upon his death they are bound to choose a member of the order that is not one of their number to replace the deceased Lawkeeper.

Dogma: The philosophy of Haeron is an ancient one that has evolved over the centuries and been added to in copious commentaries by famous sages. At its heart, however, the dogma states that Haeron alone made the bonds of law (called the “golden bonds”) and that law itself, while it is generally little more than a collection of customary punishments in the North in the modern age, still represents the very bedrock upon which relationships can exist. In essence, Haeron provides the structure and fabric of any modern society.

However, the golden bonds are not simply chains to keep things the way they are. Stultification and putrefaction is not the goal of the Law. To this end Haeron tolerates a great many other gods who have viewpoints quite opposed to his own. Indeed, many Hierean clerics would rather see the spirit of the law fulfilled than its letter though they may feel beholden to it.

The clerics of Haeron will not strive openly against a kingdom in which they have temples; they may attempt to change it from the inside by supporting more liberal elements within the kingdom. However, if the cult maintains no temples within a land that espouses views it despises it may dispatch clerics to fight against the men of that land.

Much of the Hierien doctrine comes from the Scrolls of Law, which are a collection of rules, predictions, and prayers that represent the collected wisdom of the clergy. The section detailing the organization of the priesthood, the Orijenula (named after the first Lawkeeper and compiler, Orijen) is the most commonly referenced, for it encapsulates the structure of the church and the behavior of its priests.

Day-to-Day Activities: Most clerics of Haeron remain attached to a temple rather than traveling about. There they pray and attend to the needs of the faithful, both members of the inner cult and those who are simply lay-worshipers. Lesser Hiereans may never have the opportunity to judge a case, but those who are masters of temples may do so several times a year or more. While they do not pass judgement on punishment, they do determine guilt or innocence in several kingdoms that recognize them.
In the morning, the Peacewards wake with the dawn to begin a long series of prayers to the Hammerer. After these are completed, they tend to the altars of their temple and service the needs of locals who must make sacrifices or who desire to pray. 

Some of the clerics may attend to lords and nobles during the day, serving as wage-paid clerks or scribes, though this is hardly their primary task. Still, they often charge less than professional scribes and their work is good, if done in a stead and restrained style.

Every temple also maintains a sacred archive or vault in which the records of every trial, decision, and judgement of the local lords are stored. Many clerics are required to help keep these and to collate and copy the records into new bindings for transport on the Clerk’s Feast.

Holy Days/Important Ceremonies: The Clerk’s Feast is the most important holy day for the clergy of Haeron. It occurs on the 18th of Festing every year and, on that day, the clerics of Haeron send their bound copies of rulings to the temple of the High Lawkeeper in Miles. Additionally, every five years sitting clerics must travel to the office of their Divine (known as the Pilgrimage of Faith) and sit before the Council of Elect where they are questioned to make sure they are capable of maintaining their office.

There is a public festival known as Haeron’s Feast which occurs on the 20th of Festing, two days after the Clerk’s Feast. On this day, all locals are invited into the temples and given food and drink before the anvil-shaped altar where they are encouraged to give thanks before the Hammerer and to atone for whatever wrongdoings they may have done that have gone unpunished throughout the year.

Major Centers of Worship: The Temple of the High Lawkeeper at Miles is the center of Hieriean worship the world over. The Twelve Divines all report to the High Lawkeeper and the massive complex is the heart of the religion, storing hundreds of thousands of scrolls and serving as a staging ground for advocates, clerics, and business from all over the empire.

Other major landmarks include Haeron’s Stone, which stands some thirty or forty miles from the capital and is where Aeldus the Prophet first heard the voice of the Hammerer. There are other shrines and great sites, but they are generally far afield.

Recently, the emperor himself has declared a new ground consecrated: the site of the Battle of Byrnam Wood where the Sign of the Hammer blazed across the heavens to mark Tamerin Elsoín as the rightful ruler of Miles.

Affiliated Orders: Temples of Haeron are closely associated with the worship of his direct subjects in the pantheon: Vaela, Halor, and Tallial. For this reason, the Order of the Sword Militant is often associated with Haeron. The Sacred Heralds of Vaela operate from a base in the Lawkeeper’s Temple of Miles. Within the Empire, any offerings made to Tallial are made by War Heralds that keep shrines within Hieriean temples.

Priestly Vestments: Ordained Peacewards of Haeron are given strict dictates on what their clothing should entail, as set forth by the Orijenular Laws of the Scrolls.The sacral servants of Haeron must wear white robes belted with gold and trimmed with a thick blue filigree. The rank of the priest is revealed by an increasing amount of gold thread used in the filigree and the width of the blue bands.
High priests wear brass or golden circlets to denote that they are the masters of a specific temple and have the chief right to sit in the seat of judgement. All clerics wear golden amulets in the shape of the hammer.

Adventuring Garb: The Orijenula states that “priests, when in need, may choose to wear whatever suits them,” but goes on to express strict guidelines on arms and armor. They are never to be ostentatious or gaudy, for war is a grim and ugly business. They are “permitted to bear the hammer worked upon them in brass or silver, but not in gold. Never should their weapons be sources of pride.” This last rule has been circumvented by the use of staffs and gavels that double as holy symbols and walking sticks yet may also be considered weapons: in this way, many priests throughout the years have laid claim to gaudy golden weapons encrusted with jewels.

Peaceward of Haeron
(Specialty Priest)

REQUIREMENTS: Wisdom 15, Intelligence 11
WEAPONS: All bludgeoning weapons.
MAJOR SPHERES: All, Creation, Combat, Elemental (fire, air), Charm, Law
MINOR SPHERES: Healing, Protection, Wards, Weather, Guardian
MAGICAL ITEMS: The same as priests.
REQ. PROFS: Religion
BONUS PROFS: Law (local region), Reading/Writing (cleric’s choice)

Peacewards may cast command (as per the 1st level priest spell) once per day in addition to any other spells prayed for. The Peaceward may issue a command composed of one word at level one. For every three levels the character has attained, they may add an additional word to their command.

At 3rd level, a Peaceward may cast the spell spiritual hammer (as per the 2nd level priest spell) once per day. Any castings of spiritual hammer, prayed for or otherwise, require no material components.

At 5th level, a Peaceward’s bless (as per the 1st level priest spell) allows any lawful creature it affects to strike creatures that are immune to magical weapons of less than +1.

At 7th level, clerics of Haeron may increase their strength to 18/00 once per day for three rounds. This ability lasts for an additional round for every three levels the Peaceward obtains. If the Peaceward already has a strength of 18/00 or higher, they simply receive a +1 bonus to hit and damage.

At 10th level, Peacewards can use true seeing (as per the 5th level cleric spell) at will. 

At 15th level, Peacewards may cast Heal (as per the 6th level cleric spell) three times per day.

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