Priests of Pelor for D&D 3rd edition: Part 1
Date: Mon, October 20, 2003
Topic: Gods & Followers
robbastard writes "Everyone's heard of Pelor, right? How much do you really know though? Come take a detailed look at the life of Pelor's faithful in the 3rd edition D&D game."
Priests of Pelor
By: Rob Vest
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
Aliases: Sol (in the former Great Kingdom); the Shining One, the Sun Father, the Invincible Sun
Sun, Strength, Light, Healing.
Worshippers: Farmers, commoners, healers
Pelor is the sun god of the Flan people, and one
of the most popular deities in the Flanaess. Pelor's worship was
adopted by the Oeridian peoples in their migrations across the Flanaess,
and he was considered to be the same as their sun god, Sol. In fact,
one can see the influence of the cult of Sol in the heraldry of the former
nations of the Great Kingdom of Aerdy (such as Nyrond, Almor, Ahlissa,
North Kingdom, Ratik, Sunndi, and the Great Kingdom proper), many of whom
still utilize the Oeridian sun disk in their national devices. Though
most of these nations today have reverted to the use of the sun god's Flan
name, Pelor is still referred to as Sol by many people in Ahlissa, the North
Kingdom, Rel Astra, and the Sea Barons.
The most ancient depictions of Pelor in the Flanaess,
found in ancient sites in Tenh, portray him as a bronze-skinned, lion-headed
man, wearing little more than a loincloth. Later depictions, found
throughout the Sheldomar valley, portray the sun god crossing the sky
in a burning chariot of fire drawn by equally fiery horses. Pelor is sometimes
portrayed alone in these images, while other times a charioteer guides
the chariot while Pelor destroys evil with bolts of sunlight. The
image of the sun god in his chariot was (and still is) quite popular in
the Sheldomar valley, as well as Oeridian lands. This image is popular
even among adherants of the Old Faith, which sees Pelor as an anthropomorphic
manifestation of the Sun itself. In fact, eyewitness accounts of
powerful druids summoning flaming chariots drawn by fiery horses are not
uncommon, leading some sages to speculate the forms taken by divine magic
are influenced by culture as much as by the Divine Powers themselves. Other
depictions of Pelor portray him riding across the sky on the back of a mighty
ki-rin, a creature whose name in the language of the Rover tribes translates
as "Star Thought." In earlier times (other than his archaic lion-headed
aspect) Pelor appeared as a dynamic, bare-chested man in the prime of life.
However, the sun god of today is shown as an older man in white, with wild hair and a beard of
shining gold. One thing that all depictions of Pelor have in common,
however, are his eyes, golden orbs that glow
Some of the earliest creation myths of the Flanaess
regard the Sun as one of the first gods to emerge from Darkness, along
with his brother, Death, and their sister, the Oerth. Together,
the Sun and the Oerth had many children, among them the Moons (Luna and
Celene), Light, and the Sea. But Death grew jealous of his brother,
and coveted the Oerth for himself. So Death bribed the Moons to hide
him from his brother's glare while he fathered his own wicked children upon
the Oerth. For this reason are Death and the life-giving Sun ever
at war with one another.
A number of Pelor's servants have went on to acheive
divinity or near-divinity. Best known are Mayaheine, demigoddess of
protection, justice, and valor; Johydee, Oeridian hero-goddess of deception,
espionage, and protection; and Saint Bane the Scourger, patron saint of those
who hunt undead.
There are two basic tenants of the faith
of Pelor: "Aid Those in Need" and "Vanquish Evil." The two tenants are
meant to compliment each other, and a priest should never, for example,
sacrifice compassion in his urge to see evil brought to heel.
"Aid Those in Need": Nurturers and protectors, the
priesthood of Pelor is heavily involved in charity work and caring for
the needy, the sick, the injured, the suffering, and the unfortunate.
Priests of Pelor will the community by building orphanages, acting as
midwives, providing education, officating at funerals and weddings, orany
number of charitable works. They are also expected to lend their
strength to the weak, and to aid in the defense of their flocks. They
view kindness, mercy, and compassion as virtues which all must aspire to.
"Vanquish Evil": The priest is expected to be ever
vigilant against the forces of evil, especially undead. Pelor considers
undead to be abombinations, and his priests are expected to do their
utmost to bring about the destruction of undead creatures. After
destroying undead, priests of Pelor will often say the last rites over
the remains in order to lay the creature's soul to rest.
Priests of Pelor favor yellow garb of varying
shades, though many accentuate their yellow garb with accessories of gold,
orange, white, and red. For official services, priests dress in
yellow robes, those of 7th level and above trimmed in gold. Many
wear their hair long and loose in imitation of the rays of the sun, but
it is often tied back or otherwise secured in situations where it could
be dangerous or a nuissance. Males priests, especially the older
ones, often wear long beards.
Services to Pelor are held in tall, airy, bright temples with open courtyards
and lots of windows and/or skylights. On
sunny days, services are often held outdoors. Typical services consist of hymns, sermons, and prayers.
The Rover tribes used to engage in a bizarre ritual honoring Pelor
called the Sun Dance, which is rarely practiced anymore due to the unwanted
attention it draws from Iuz, who has forbidden the practice. The
Sun Dance took place during the week of Richfest (the summer solstice),
and lasted from four to seven days, from sundown to sundown. Celebrating
the renewal of life that the Sun brings, the participants would dance around
a central pole (the "sun-pole"-suggested by some to represent the penis
of Pelor). The participants would offer up their flesh as a sacrifice,
skewering their flesh with pieces of bone or wood, which were then attached
to the top of the sun-pole by long hide ropes. The dancers would then
dance about the pole, staring straight into the sun, leaning away from the
pole until their flesh gave way. During this time, the participants
would often experience visions. After the dancers all tore free, or
after four days, the Sun Dance ended. The exhausted dancers were laid
down on beds of sage and would recite their visions to the priest. These
visions could hold new songs, new rituals, or even prophecies of the future.
The overall feeling for everyone present was one of renewal and balance and
the relationships between people and nature were once again reaffirmed. The self-inflicted torture of the sun dance represented
death, the struggle with the Reaper that all must go through. The "breaking
away" represented Pelor's victory over Nerull through rebirth and renewal
brought on by the ever-rising sun.
Priests of Pelor make good adventuring companions,
due to their healing spells, relatively good combat prowess, and ability
to turn undead. A priest of Pelor prefers his adventuring companions
to be of good or neutral alignments. The priest of Pelor may occasionally
adventure with evil characters, so long as their overall goal serves
the greater good. Even so, a priest of Pelor will never engage in
evil acts. Factors such as alignment, race, culture, religion, etc
being equal, relations with other character classes are generally as follows:
Adepts: Some adepts revere Pelor, while others tend to take
the "druidic" view of the sun god. Pelorites often see adepts as
practitioners of "primitive" rituals and magic, but generally relations
between the two are only hostile if the adept is evil or engages in rites
the priesthood finds distasteful.
Aristocrats: As a deity of the common man, and a patron of
the poor and disenfranchised, Pelor is not very popular with the upper
classes. However, many aristocrats will donate money to the church
and aid in its various charity projects, as doing so bestows prestige in
their social circles.
Barbarians: As a god of strength and the sun, Pelor is a deity
most barbarians can easily identify with, even if his faith is unknown
in their tribe.
Bards: Though not a faith that many bards are attracted to
(most opting for deities like Olidammara, Fharlanghn, Lirr, or Lydia),
neither is Pelor disliked by bards.
Commoners: Pelor is one of the most popular deities among
commoners, especially the poor, who benefit greatly from the church's
Druids: The Old Faith sees Pelor, like many other gods, as
an anthropomorphic manifestation of a natural force, which does not sit
well with the priesthood of Pelor. Additionally, few Pelorite priests
would be able to overlook the druidic practice of human sacrifice. However,
as long as theological discussions and ritual bloodletting are avoided,
druids and priests of Pelor can work together quite effectively.
Experts: Experts may or may not honor Pelor, depending on their
profession. A locksmith would have little use for the church, but
a gardener would likely make at least occasional offerings to the sun god.
Fighters and Warriors: Though more inclined to follow one of
the more martial deities, a number of fighters revere Pelor and value
his priests for their healing ability and power over undead.
Monks: A small number of good monastic orders are sponsered
by the Church of Pelor, and other good monks respect the church for its
charity work. Neutral orders tend to be indifferent, and evil monastic
orders (such as the Scarlet Brotherhood), have little use for the sun god.
Paladin: A number of paladins honor Pelor (though not as many
as during the height of the Great Kingdom), and those not serving Pelor
often find common ground with his priests.
Ranger: Though some rangers honor Pelor, others tend to view
the sun god in a way similar to fighters or druids.
Rogue: Few rogues honor Pelor, and most view the Pelorite
faith indifferently. The church, however, tends to view rogues with
more suspicion than other classes.
Sorcerers and Wizards: Though not a deity often followed
by sorcerers and wizards, they usually regard Pelor's priests as valuable
allies due to their combat skills and healing abilities, and the priests
likewise value the powerful offensive magic of these professions.