Monday, June 3, 2013

Pantheon Monday: Noronia, the Daystar

(the Daystar)

Greater God, NG
Portfolio: the sun, day, summer, growth, change, life
Aliases: Avauna
Domain Name:
Superior: None
Allies: Lumiä, Aloran, Eminea, Tulä
Foes: Hasht
Symbol: A sunburst
Worshiper Alignment: Any good

Noronia (Nor-OWN-ya) is the elvish goddess of the sun, who radiates warmth and goodness. While the elves have a cultural love affair with the moon and silver metals, Noronia represents the day to that poetic elvish night. She is the unbridled power and passion of the dawn and the day, and her color is gold. Noronia is allied with all the elvish gods of growth and change, and she stands alongside Anunia in prowess. Her light banishes the darkness and for this reason she is also associated with the life itself.

Noronia appears as a slender elvish maiden, when she chooses to appear, from whom rays of ineffable honey-colored light pass as though her body were but a veil cast in front of the sun itself. She is the creator of the Lantern which lights the day, and it is her light that is borrowed to give the glow to the moon. Noronia is a tender goddess, rivaling Anunia’s furies in her peaceful and tranquil moods. She is often said to walk amongst the elvish people in disguise to ensure that they are safe from harm. There are many legends that she herself fought, in disguise, alongside Anunia in the Elf-Dragon Wars to protect her people.

Noronian temples tend to be elaborate and make heavy use of gold and light in their construction. They are mirrors of Anuniaian temple structures; where the Anuniaites build their temples of airy archways decorated in silver, Noronian temples are often just as open to the elements but built using sturdier architectural techniques and a profusion of gold and gemstones.

Elves believe that the lantern of the sun itself is carried in her train by a lamp-bearer named Valos who walks with her across the sky. As important as her escort of the sun through the day is its journey into the underworld at night; then, the sun passes beyond the western seas and through the Wall of Night, where Noronia does fearful battle against the minions of Nyxos before passing into the realm of the dead. There, the weary sun-bearer rests and the lamp pales for many hours before it rises once again in the east.

The Church
Clergy: Specialty Priests, fighters, crusaders (Sunblades)
Clergy’s Alignment: Any good
Turn Undead: Yes
Command Undead: No

The Temple of Noronia can be found operating within every single extant elvish kingdom and most of the free city-states scattered across the north. Worship of Noronia dates back to Imdré Who Strode and his father Tursas the Ancient. While the elves ever held Anunia in chief regard, there were also Sunkeepers in that distant age who drove fear into the hearts of those that stood against the elvish hosts; it is often believed that this is why orcs to this day despise the sun and call it “avbak,” the Bright-Enemy.

Worshipers of Noronia are generally elves of great force of character. Reformers and luminaries alike worship her; craftsmen sometimes do as well, particularly those who make the elvish crafts of war though there are always a certain number of smiths who worship Calëron. Advisors, planners, and generals sometimes worship Noronia, but they are more likely to be of lawful alignment.

The temple itself provides places of peace and tranquility, but her clerics often devote themselves to righting some specific wrong and doggedly pursuing that goal. While the elvish goddess Tulä encompasses the aspects of healing that one might find associated with a goddess of growth, Noronia does ensure that all her clerics are trained in the physical arts of healing.

The structure of the Noronian temple is quite well organized, and survives as the last true remnant of the old elvish order where all the princelings scattered throughout the north looked to Tailimisiä for guidance. The hierophant of the temple, currently also the hierophant-king of Tailimisiä, has supreme authority over all of its aspects.

Directly below the hierophant stand the Lights which are seven elder high priests whose rulings on canon (in particular the Book of Gold, the central Noronian holy-text) are key to the operation of the temple. The Council of Lights convenes on many matters, particularly those the hierophant does not have time to deal with, and its edicts form the basis of a social order that lies in parallel to the lay hierarchies.

Below the Council of Lights are the individual high priests of the cult, the Sunsingers. These elvish men and women are the chief authority of individual temple-complexes. In every elvish kingdom a premier Sunsinger (called the Anthís or the first-star) is chosen to be the representative of that kingdom to the Council of Lights and to rule over them as a minor hierophant.

Dogma: The priests of Noronia espouse the protection and care of living things. They also value the preservation of knowledge and are strongly opposed to the establishment of evil regimes and the schemes of evil men. Noroniaians are not known for being particularly subtle. Like most elves, Noroniaians develop strong personal passions for certain causes and will dedicate themselves to the resolution of various “ills” or “evils.”

For this reason, Noroniaians are sometimes called “crusaders” by mannish races, for they are not averse to leading mercenaries or armies into battle if they believe their cause is right. However, most Noroniaians pray vigorously for guidance for fear they have struck down an unrighteous path.

Day-to-Day Activities: Sunkeepers duties include doing good works and distributing charities as well as making certain that elvish kingdoms themselves do not stray into dangerous moral ground, swaying the opinions of princes and potentates. Thus, the temple is often engaged in politics and direct influence of the nobility and those of high station. Of course, some elves resent this intrusion and see sunkeepers as meddlers of a high order.

There are also those sunkeepers who range outside the elvish nations, searching for evils to conquer and ills to overcome. These crusader-priests are often adventurers and many plant the seeds for Noronian temples to be built in far-flung lands in order to support their charities and good works.

Holy Days/Important Ceremonies: The Lamp Festival (which takes place on the first of Furrow, the last month of summer) is dedicated to Noronia and her place as the guide and creator of the sun, particularly. Additionally, Noronian priests, much as their human counterparts, must stop to pray at morning, noon, and dusk each day in what are known as the “sun prayers.”

Affiliated Orders: The Sunblade Knights serve the Anthísi of each elvish kingdom and the hierophant-king of Tailimisia directly. They are an order of holy warriors, drawn from all ranks of society, who vow to bear the lamp into dark places, to destroy the foes of Noronia, and to do battle with evil wherever it may reside. They are particularly opposed to the operations of the Temple of the Shadow Three as well as to all forms of undead. Each elven kingdom holds a number of Sunblade Knights, usually staffing the biggest temples of that land.

Another affiliated order exists in the kingdom of Silversong—the alchemists, scholars, and sages of the Tower of the Sun in its chief city of Tyrma. These monastic priests rarely leave their tower save to collect manuscripts or study ruins of earlier periods. They are complemented by the presence of the Eminian order, the Keepers of the Moon Tower, just across the great plaza.

Priestly Vestments: Sunkeepers traditionally wear long ankle-length tunics or robes of heavy beige shalm cloth laced with golden filigree. The more advanced their station, the more complex the golden giltwork around the fringing becomes. A cope of cloth-of-gold is often given to elder and high-ranking priests, while novices may wear a belt of pure-white cloth to contrast the cream-and-blue of their robes. 

Adventuring Garb: Adventuring priests of the Sunkeeper usually stud their armor with gold and wear representations of the Sacred Lamp. A golden brocade belt is often accompanied by a cloak of dyed-yellow cloth and large sunburst broaches.

Sunkeeper of Noronia
(Specialty Priest)

WEAPONS: Mace, club, darts, sling
MAJOR SPHERES: Animal, Sun, Necromantic, Divination, Plant, Elemental (fire)
MINOR SPHERES: Elemental (air), Healing, Protection, Guardian,
MAGICAL ITEMS: Sunkeepers may use any magical item normally available to clerics.
REQ. PROFS: Religion
BONUS PROFS: Healing, Weather Sense
Sunkeepers of Noronia are immune to damage and effects of heat-based magic (eg, heat metal), receive a +2 bonus to any saving throws made against magical fire, and take 1 less point of damage on every die of magical flame (minimum of 1 point per die). This protection does not in any way afford them resistance to any form of natural heat or flame.

The Sunkeeper always rolls two sets of dice when using healing magic. The Sunkeeper may take the higher or lower set at his choice

At 3rd level, Sunkeepers are able to invoke the warmth of Noronia the Daystar; they can do this once per day for every three levels of experience they have attained. This allows them to lay on hands as a paladin of equivalent level as long as they are standing in direct sunlight (the sunlight of the Wrath does not count for this).

At 5th level, the Sunkeeper may cast resist elements at will.

At 7th level, the Sunkeeper always heals maximum HP with any healing spell as long as he stands in direct sunlight (the sunlight of the Wrath does not count for this).

At 10th level, Sunkeepers may invoke the wrath of Noronia once per day. They may perform this ability once a day for every five levels of experience they have attained. When invoked, the Sunkeeper glows with otherwordly might, their very body radiating pure sunlight. The invocation lasts for 1d4 rounds + 1 round/level. During this time, the cleric radiates an aura of fear that affects all evil characters within 60’ and an aura of blessing which affects all good characters within 30’. The cleric may resume fighting the round after the invocation has been called upon. All undead within 60’ take 1d8 points of damage for every round they remain within that range of the caster. 

At 15th level, the Sunkeeper becomes immune to all diseases (magical and non-magical) and can, with 1d10 days of treatment (and supplies, bed rest for the diseased, etc), cure any disease in another.
The Sunblade
(Crusader kit)
REQUIREMENTS: Strength 13, Wisdom 9, Charsima 12
PRIME REQ: Strength, Wisdom
MAJOR SPHERES: Sun, Necromantic, Divination, Elemental (fire)
MINOR SPHERES: Elemental (air), Healing, Protection, Guardian

While not all Sunblades have this class, many of them do. This kit modifies the Crusader class from Faiths & Avatars, and the following changes should be applied:

Sunblades may turn undead but not lighten load. In addition, at level five they may will their weapon to glow as though a light spell had been cast upon it. They may use any weapons, though they prefer blades and bladed polearms.

Though they cannot use holy swords, a special type of magical weapon does exist which the sunblades can make use of—the rare and rarely seen Sword of Dawn.

Sword of Dawn, +4
These swords are created by a secret process known only to the Sunblades. It is rumored that dragon’s blood is required to temper the crystalline edge and instill the magics that cause the blades to function, rendering their number extremely limited. No more than eight or nine hundred are said to exist throughout Arunia, though this number may be high.

The Swords of Dawn are crystalline blades with hilts of worked steel plated in gold. Used by anyone but a member of the Noronian clergy they operate as weighty arming swords +2. When they are wielded by one of Noronia’s faithful, the blade fills with a honey-colored light that provides illumination out to 60 feet. The blade then wakens to its true potential, becoming a +4 blade of such exquisite sharpness that it is said to be able to slice through a hair on the wind.

Additionally, the Swords of Dawn can be commanded by the clergy of Noronia to project a Circle of Protection Against Evil (15’ radius) for 1 hour each day with the proper command words. The light of the Swords banishes magical darkness, renders illusions pale flickering images, and grants the wielder a +4 saving throw bonus against all fire, magical or non-magical.

Undead struck by the Swords of Dawn take double damage if the weapon is wielded by a priest.

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