The people of the Flanaess are no strangers to the beetles, bees, wasps and other insect pests that compete for food and living space with their humanoid neighbors. The ancient Suel even invoked the worship of a strange, aloof goddess in their attempts to keep the vermin at bay. That goddess, Bralm, is still worshipped today in small groves and shrines all across the Flanaess, and is translated here into 3rd edition D&D stats.
Gods of the Suel 10: Bralm Revisited
(Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.)
I am humbled and pleased to have recieved your inquiry of late. It was a bit unexpected that a lay devotee such as myself be consulted in your research on the worship of the Hive Queen. My years of devotion and contact with the druids and clerics who are drawn to my estate have given me a somewhat unique insight into the wonders of our religion, however, so I shall do my best to respond to your query. If further contact is needed after this dispatch, I am humbly at your service.
Dancingleaf, Westgate Barony
What follows is revamped and expanded information on the Suel Goddess Bralm, translated into 3e D&D stats.
The Hive Queen, The Flying Queen, The Toiling Lady, The Hive Mother (among non-Suel worshippers only)
I have altered the standard honorific given in the LGG for Bralm simply because I think Hive Queen sounds better than the "Hive Goddess". Also, it bears noting that Suloise worshippers with a background in the pantheon of their people would never use the Hive Mother honorific, since it is considered blasphemy to refer to any being as mother except Wee Jas (and one's own biological female parent, of course)
LN lesser godess of Industriousness, Community, Insects (especially flying varieties) and Formians
I've also dropped the standard true nuetral alignment for the goddess. The only reason I can see for it existing was to tie her to druids in previous editions of the D&D games. Her domains and dogma, especially as presented in the LGG strongly suggest a lawful nuetral alignment instead, so that is what I used.
Bralm is an ancient goddess, worshipped by the Suloise people since before the era of their ancient empire, and even before their current gods and cultural trends came about. In the long forgotten days when primitive Suloise tribes wandered the fertile basin now known as the Sea of Dust, they worshipped a wide variety of animal and nature powers, not yet having found the need for more esoteric gods. The Suel basin, like any place on Oerth, was the home of countless varieties of insects, some useful and some nuisances. In order to reap the most benefits from things like honeybees and grass beetles (a large meaty insect found throughout the ancient Suel basin and the modern Flanaess which people of Suel descent like to round up and eat fried in oil with a dash of paprika or cinnamon when those expensive spices are available, or garlic when they're not), and to avoid the plagues of fire ants, scarab beetles and locusts, the primitive Suloise found it logical to invoke the goddess who surely created and tended to these tiny creatures, as the people's own god, Lendor, had done for them since the dawn of time.
It was in this way that the little known demi-power of the beastlands, Bralm, came to be worshipped on Oerth. Bralm is accepted by her peers in the Suloise pantheon, but tends to avoid contact with them, more concerned with seeing to the welfare of her children (insects, not her worshippers, although she is one of the more approachable deities as far as the Suel pantheon goes.) Also, the chaotic, passionate whims of the pantheon, and even the arrogance and dominating atitudes of the lawful deities are foreign to Bralm, who toils away endlessly promoting the well being of her creatures, and to a lesser extent her followers with no thought to being revered or flattered for her work. She tends to side with Wee Jas in matters of law and order within the pantheon, and by extension among the Suel people, and has the closest relationship one would call friendship in the pantheon with Madarua (see my Forgotten Gods of the Suloise IV article for details on Madarua in the Suel pantheon), who she respects and relates to for that goddess' birth and motherhood aspects.
Bralms realm is a bit of an oddity for the outlands, as it is inhabited by countless formians, who tend to the insect life and otherwise do their goddess' bidding. Bralm is quite fond of these creatures, and sometimes sends them to Oerth to aid or deliver messages to her worshippers. Thri-kreen may sometimes be found among her faithful as well, if you use them, I don't.
There is harmony in order. Seek to bring order and community to those around you by teaching everyone to focus his or her talents and use them in tandem with everyone else. Alone there is chaos and loneliness, but in a structured community there is peace and well being for all. Always respect your superiors, and in maturity provide for your parents as they once provided for you. Learn also to live in harmony with those of six legs, for they are the children of the Hive Queen, and are a model for us to pattern our lives after.
Bralm's followers are usually found in smaller, rural areas, where their insect infested shrines and chapels are more apt to be tolerated. In most communities, the clergy is welcomed warmly, since for a proper tribute to the goddess, they can find the bugs plaguing one's home or barn a "better place to live". Beyond these services the clergy really have no special role in their community, except for serving as midwives in places where Beory or Madarua are not represented. It is not unknown for Druids to venerate Bralm, but those who do are usually not part of the Flanaess wide heirarchy, since the adherants of the Old Faith place little trust in the powers of the Suloise pantheon, even one as disconnected and "earthy" as Bralm.
Domains: Animal, Law, Strength, Beastmaster, Community
Special: All insectoid vermin, including giant and monstrous varieties, are considered normal animals in relation to the spells, domain powers, and any prestige class based special abilities of Bralman clerics and druids. To balance this, it is suggested that non-insectoid animals recieve a +4/+20% circumstance bonus to any saving throws or spell resistance checks made against a Bralman spellcaster to reflect the cleric or druids lack of affinity with those creatures.
Weapon: Whip Dagger
Special: Bralman clerics (and druids, at their option) are forbidden from using weapons other than those of type P (peircing). In return for this restriction, they recieve the assassin and deepwood sniper classes' Poison Use ability, which prevents them from ever accidentally poisoning themselves when using envenomed weapons. The use of this special ability by a Bralman character does not apply when using contact or ingested varieties of poisons, only those which may be delivered through injection via a weapon.
Garb: Bralman faithful have no standard ceremonial garb. It is customary for the ranking cleric in a shrine or temple to adopt a modest "dress code" to be followed, but these standards vary widely from place to place.For example, the small congregation found in Westkeep, where roaches, beetles and mosquitos are the primary local insect population, the clerics don well worn leather breeches and drab white tunics, which they are forbidden from ever washing. In the town of Dancingleaf in the Barony of Westgate on the other hand, the clerics and druids wear bright yellow cotton gowns trimmed and embroidered with black accents, to honor the bees of the extensive hives found on the outskirts of town.
One last note: Followers of Bralm are notorious for their avoidance of fire. Respectful of the innate fear and hatred of fire of their Goddess and their insectoid kin, they never allow flame to be brought into their sacred areas, and some even go so far as to avoid sleeping within the warmth provided by campires and refusing to eat cooked food. The extent of a cleric's pyrophobia should be left to the player to role play, but should be kept in mind in the course of a campaign. A Bralman faithful who ignores the edict forbidding use of fire faces the anger of Bralm herself, usually manifested in the form of a swarm of stinging or biting insects granted a divine immunity to flame. This fear of fire is well known to any would be enemy versed in the basics of Bralman religion (Knowledge: Religion skill check, DC 10), but legends like that of the doomed town of Lampstead, in the Hool marshlands near Westkeep, where a mayor who tired of the endless battles against the cockroaches of the swamp used large amounts of oil and torches to cleanse the town of the pests was beset by an army of Dire Monstrous Beetles whose immunity to flame led them to overrun and destroy the town, usually keep all but the most foolhardy villain from taking advantage of the Bralman faithful's aversion to flame.