Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Pantheon Monday: Talleal the Herald of War


(the War Herald, the Burning, the Reaver, Lord of War)

Lesser God, CE
Portfolio: war, disease, fire
Aliases: Ashad
Domain Name: The Bloody Field, Acheron
Superior: Haeron
Allies: None
Foes: Halor
Symbol: A hornéd helmet
Worshiper Alignment: Any

Talleal (tahl-EE-al) is the Lord of War, brother to Halor the Tactician, and his polar opposite. They may or may not be the children of Haeron, though outside the inner circles of his clergy this has never been made clear. He is a violent, stormy deity who delights in causing chaos, unleashing torrents of blood and war, and laughing merrily amongst the battlefield. The Master of Battles and King of Slaughters rushes through the dismembered dead, laughing and shrieking with glee.

Haeron himself keeps Talleal in check, monitoring the War Herald and making certain that he does not rampage freely across Arunia. However, when war does come the Hammerer cannot keep the Reaver from descending into the world to stride the field and walk between the dead.

The War Herald is often depicted wearing a closed helm with stag’s horns, and the hornéd helm is a popular pictorial and aesthetic element representing the god himself. His voice is said to be thunder, or the call of the warhorn, and his laughter the screams of the dying. His presence is heralded by a stench of rotten blood and decaying limbs.

The Church
Clergy: Fighters, specialty priests
Clergy’s Alignment: CE
Turn Undead: No
Command Undead: Yes

Talleal’s clergy are few and far between, and they find their place in the temple of Haeron throughout most of the north. Very few lands allow the Talleates to roam free and construct their own temples. The great temples of Haeron, in many kingdoms, maintain small side chapels, shrines, and side-temples devoted to the worship of Talleal for those few who do. The priesthood of the Talleate church relies in those lands on the good will of the Hierians.

Still, in some places (such as the warlike states of the East or the slaver-kingdom of Essad), Talleal is worshipped in temples of his own. Huge black iron and marble edifices which disgorge smoke and the stench of burnt offerings are filled day and night with prayers and chants for blood and violence.

The temple is divided into a number of semi-independent cells that operate with complete freedom. These are known as shrines, and each shrine is attended by at least seven men: a Father or Mother of War, three priests to attend him, and three acolytes training to replace their masters. These shrines are beholden to the local Hierian temples where they reside, though they often secretly act independently or against their wishes.

In lands where the temple is free, it is often organized into similar structures. Larger shrines and free temples, however, are divided into troupes and platoons as though they were mercenary units from the East. Thus, Fathers and Mothers of War serve as captains, and the body of the temple is divided into maniples, or “Hands of Talleal.”

Additionally, however, there are the unattached Talleate priests who are given free reign to spread the word of the faith. Though these free-roaming Talleates are technically operating outside the dictates of most sensible kings (and the emperor of Miles), they are hard to hunt down and remove or bind up to local shrines. Known as the Black Heralds, they are most often warriors or priests that have been blessed with the power of Talleal’s miracles, and they cause violence and death wherever they go. They are particularly fond of joining mercenary companies, so they can consecrate the deaths of foes to the God of War.

The most infamous method of consecrating the slain is the Sign of the Blazing Faith in which the Talleate opens the bowels of a still-living foe and then prays over the entrails. While priests who have no connection to the divine leave it at that, those who serve as his instruments will be rewarded with a small but visible crackling flame amongst the bloody smoking guts—an ember that sears and burns.

Those already dead may also be sent to Talleal—the Herald simply prays over the fallen for ten minutes, speaking the words and sprinkling them with the holy oils of the temple. When this rite is done, it is said that their spirits are bound up to fight in eternity in Talleal’s hellish battlefield.

Dogma: Destroy your foe, claim what is yours, and open the bellies of the faithless at every hand.

Day-to-Day Activities: Talleates minister to warriors and those seeking unholy blessings in combat. Offerings of black bulls, black cockrels, and other such animals are made at all hours in Talleate shrines. Their priests stir up troubles, seek out woes, and encourage bloodshed.

Major Centers of Worship: The Black Dome in Thurayn is the center of the Talleate cult, and it is there that his embodiment upon Arunia, the Sword of Wrath, resides. Though he technically has no influence over the religion as a whole (due, by necessity, to their subservience to the local Hierian authorities) he often promulgates writs and bulls that are secretly brought to local shrines for perusal.

Priestly Vestments: Talleates wear scarlet, black, and crimson robes and prefer black enamel armor. Hornéd helms, or even simple close-faced helms are common. Black gauntlets and black paneled belts offset the crimson and golds of the Talleate attire. Some have hinted that their clothing is strangely similar to the ancient uniform of imperial Milean soldiers.

Herald of War
(Specialty Priest)

REQUIREMENTS: Strength 9, Constitution 13
PRIME REQ: Constitution
WEAPONS: Battle axe, mace, morning star, spear, sword
MAJOR SPHERES: All, Chaos, Combat, Divination, Elemental (fire), War
MINOR SPHERES: Charm, Elemental (air), Healing, Protection, Weather
MAGICAL ITEMS: War heralds can use any magical weapon or item that warriors can. However, they cannot create items that heal or cure, nor may they utilize them.
BONUS PROFS: Warrior proficiencies count as in-class at creation, Heralds of War get an additional weapon proficiency at creation.

At 3rd level, clerics of Tallial radiate an aura of might whenever they engage in battle. Opponents must save vs. petrification when the cleric begins to fight, or they receive a -1 penalty to their attack rolls.

At 5th level, the War Herald may cast Protection from Law, 10-foot radius or Protection from Good, 10-foot radius, once per day.

At 7th level, War Heralds may engage in a ritual of bloodletting. This ritual may be performed on any downed enemy who is not dead or captured prisoner. It takes one minute to complete, and the Herald guts the victim completely, bathing in his entrails. As the ritual is enacted, the Herald regains 2d12 hit points. The ritual may only be performed once every four hours.

At 10th level, the War Herald counts their weapon as one size larger whenever they score a critical hit.

At 15th level, the War Herald in combat is a blazing beacon of rage and fire. All allies within 60’ receive a +3 bonus to their attack rolls and all enemies directly attacking the Herald receive a -5 penalty.

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