Tales of the Bloodstone Lands
God of the Common Man, The Unbroken God, The Suffering God, The Martyred God
Symbol: Pair of white hands bound at the wrist with a red cord, sometimes represented as an X with the red bindings in the center
Home Plane: House of the Triad
Alignment: Lawful Good
Portfolio: Endurance, suffering, martyrdom, perseverance
Worshipers: Commoners, the oppressed, the poor, monks, paladins, serfs, slaves
Cleric Alignments: LG, LN, NG
Favored Weapon: An open hand (unarmed strike)
Aliases: Ayuruk (among the peoples of the Great Glacier)
Ilmater is the god of the common folk, peasants, serfs, merchants and professionals. He is not a great warrior as is his ally Torm, nor is he a god of law or order, as his Lord Tyr. He is a god who represents those who work and live in a just society. He espouse fairness and endurance and opposes tyranny, injustice and hardship. Although he is slow to anger, the wrath of the Unbroken Deity is terrible in face of extreme cruelty or atrocities. He takes great care to reassure and protect children and young creatures, and takes exceptional offense at those who would harm them.
Ilmater earned the title, Martyred God as a result of being destroyed by rivals, once by Bane and once by Tempus. He wears only a breechcloth and carries no weapons, and his kind face is warm and comforting. When he appears, he sometimes takes the form of a man whose body has been badly mutilated by punishment on the rack, crisscrossed with marks of torture, and having broken and ravaged joints. The Unbroken God was reborn due to the faith of his flock and followers.
Misunderstood by most, pitied and even scorned by a vocal minority, the church of Ilmater yet has one of the largest and most faithful followings in Faerün. In a cruel world, the suffering, the sick, and the poor have come to rely only the Unbroken God’s followers to provide succor to all. The church of Ilmater is widely loved by common folk in settled lands everywhere, and its clergy can count on generous support in their lifelong mission.
The church trains peasants in unarmed combat, and the use of common tools, such as pitchforks, scythes, sickles, knives and hammers, as weapons. Many rebellions against cruel tyrants have been led by a cleric or paladin of Ilmater, and many clerics and paladins bear the scars and marks of torture for their service. Unfortunately, the teachings of the church result in a large number of martyrs, many of whom are sainted after their deaths. Among the powerful, the church of the Suffering God is seen as weak and foolhardy — cruel tyrants and powerful villains alike dangerously underestimate its members.
Clerics of Ilmater pray for spells in the morning. They have no annual holy days, but occasionally a cleric calls for a Plea of Rest. This allows him or her a tenday of respite from Ilmater’s dictates, to prevent emotional exhaustion or allow the cleric to do something Ilmater would normally frown upon. This custom is an established tradition that some leaders of the faith still rely upon, sending their best fighting clergy out to do things that the church cannot do otherwise (renouncing a tyrant rather than confronting him openly, for example)
As the veneration of Ilmater grows, even in death, his healing power becomes greater. Many clerics learn and teach potion-making, so that they can help those beyond their immediate reach. One group of Ilmateri monks, the Unbroken Ones acts as defenders of faithful and the church’s temples, as well as agents of punishment for those who cruelly harm others.
Ilmater offers succor and calming words to those who are in pain, oppressed, or in great need. He is the willing sufferer, the one who takes the place of another to heft the other’s burden, to take the other’s pain. He is the god of the oppressed and unjustly treated.
Ilmater is quiet, kind, good-spirited, and slow to anger. He appreciates a humorous story and has a rather rustic humor himself. When his avatar appears, he takes assaults upon his person passively and rarely lifts a hand against another. He is not totally nonviolent, though, as many often assume by his doctrine of endurance.
When facing cruelties and atrocities his rage can boil up, and then he is a figure of frighteningly righteous wrath. His appearance can frighten the young, but he takes great care to reassure them as he treasures children and all young creatures, taking exceptional offense at those who would abuse or harm them.
Ilmater is allied to and serves Tyr, aiding the blinded god in his travels and teaching him to live without his sight but to rely more upon his feelings. He is also on very good terms with Torm, who also serves Tyr, and the three deities are known collectively as the Triad.
Ilmater’s symbol in the early days was the blood-stained rack, but since the Godswar the use of a pair white hands bound with blood-red cord has come into almost exclusive use. This newer symbol has increased Ilmater’s popularity in the world at large.
Ilmater’s avatar traveled the Bloodstone Lands during the Time of Troubles, one year after Zhengyi the Witch-King took command and one year before Gareth Dragonsbane defeated the bandit army of Vaasa at Bloodstone Pass, which eventually precipitated the Bloodstone Wars and Gareth’s rise to become King of Damara. Some whisper that Gareth and Baron Tranth may both have received visitations from Ilmater’s avatar, and that the Bloodstone Wars may have been arranged by the Unbroken God.
The followers of Ilmater are often perceived as being intentional sufferers, but in reality they concentrate a lot of effort on providing proper treatment and healing to those who have been hurt. They put others ahead of themselves, are sharing, and emphasize the spiritual nature of life over the gross material body.
Ilmater’s priests tend to be the most sensitive and caring of humans. When new to the faith, since they see much suffering, they often weep. Over time, this constant tugging at their heartstrings wears at them, and they then tend toward a cynical view of life in Faerun. They are distinguished from other cynics, however, by their inability to ignore or pass by others in need. Even when a cause is hopeless, they must help. Ilmatari are taught to be firm in their principles and fearless, with the result that they earn enormous respect with the general populace, but are often slain by brigands or those who hold different principles than they do. The church of Ilmater is different from many Faerunian faiths in that it has many saints, among them St. Dionysius and St. Sollars the Twice-Martyred (whose symbol is a yellow rose).
Few priests of Ilmater are soldiers, and fewer still are merchants, but they do outstrip all other priesthoods in the size, number, and level of treatment in the many infirmaries and leper sanctuaries they maintain. From their inception into the priesthood, Ilmatari are trained in the recognition and treatment of all known diseases, injuries, and conditions; senior priests have had prepared detailed programmed illusions to show beings in various stages of harm. An Ilmatari priest who has been shown these could, for instance, recognize a human infested with rot grubs at a glance.
The process of joining the clergy of Ilmater is simple: A novice enjoys a gentle walk and talk with a senior priest, during which they talk and explore the novice’s views of life. They then dine and the novice is (knowingly) given a wine that puts him or her into a gentle trance where various clergy and wizards friendly to the faith can easily employ mind-scrying spells to thoroughly explore the novice’s true feelings, loyalties, and aims. If no dedication to evil or precluding religious or secular loyalties are found, the novice is accepted and adorned with the simple robes of Ilmater. (This cautious practice was instituted because many folk in the past have posed as willing entrants into the Ilmatari just to learn the medicines and physic lore and then stolen away with as many medical supplies as they could.)
All the Adorned are priests, but no titles are commonly used in the clergy except Brother and Sister. For senior clergy, Revered is added to this, and for the heads of temples, abbeys, and monasteries dedicated to the Crying God, Father and Mother is used. So, for example, the head of the Towers of Willful Suffering, the abbey to Ilmater in Eshpurta, is known as Revered Mother of the House Heldatha Dhussta.
The Adorned include clerics, specialty priests, and monks. Though the monastic orders usually dwell separate from the rest of the church in monasteries and abbeys, some monks also abide in Ilmatari temples to teach other Ilmatari about fields of knowledge they have specialized in or to provide their special form of hand-to-hand protection to the institution to which they are assigned.
The hierarchy of the Adorned usually centers around the leader of large temple, abbey, or monastery to who the Ilmatari in the region report. Ilmatari are loosely ranked under this Revered Mother or Father, and abbeys and monasteries are usually tied to specific temples, often adding a second informal tier to the hierarchy.
Ilmater’s priests are found where they are needed, which is usually in the worst possible conditions, ministering to the needs of the oppressed, the deceased, and the poor. Those outside the faith often view this as a strategic positioning of churches in areas which guarantee the persecution of Ilmatari (such as Mulmaster and Zhentil Keep). Priests of Ilmater may also be found among adventuring companies, and—in addition to paladins—are often the ones to go off rescuing this clan of kidnapped halflings or recovering that purloined family heirloom. It is not that they are foolish, but rather that they care for all things to the exclusion of their personal risk.
Shortly after the Time of Troubles, the reputation of the organized church was plagued by the actions of a neutral cult of Ilmater that believed in passing suffering around to others, especially nonbelievers. They were noted for self-flagellation, kidnappings, and inciting riots. Ilmater was not granting these cultists their powers or spells, and the Ilmatari church suspects that Cyric, Loviatar, or Beshaba was behind these deluded people. Fortunately, the cult has largely been eliminated due to a hostile response to its actions on the part of nobles and those in authority.
The Ilmatari are taught to help all who hurt, no matter who they are, and that the truly holy take on the suffering of others. Ilmater tells them that if they suffer in his name, he will be there to support them. They should stick to their cause if it is right, whatever the pain and peril. They are to stand up to all tyrants, resisting in ways both great and small, and to allow no injustice to go by unchallenged. They believe that there is no shame in a meaningful death. Some followers of Ilmater take a negative or darkly humorous view of the world, and the church accepts them as well. “Today is the first day in what’s left of your life” fits very snugly into Ilmater’s dogma, but most Ilmatari would add, “So live it well.”
Novices in the faith are charged to: “Persevere in the face of pain. Heal the sick, the wounded, and the diseased. Comfort the dying, the griefstricken, and the heartsick. Take on the burdens and the pain of others. Champion the causes of the oppressed and unjustly treated, and give shelter and kind counsel to the lonely, the lost, and the mined. Pursue the service of Ilmater, and he will provide—leave gross riches and the acquisition of all but medicines to others. Take up the tasks no others dare.”
Ilmatari share what they have with those in need and always take time to counsel those who are upset and give healing and tender care to the injured. They speak for the oppressed, guide the lost, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and gather herbs and make medicines at all times for disasters to come. When war is expected and time permits, priests of Ilmater gather in strength with litters, shovels, tents, splints, bandages by the cartload, and wagons of medicines and healing potions to tend those who will soon suffer.
Priests of Ilmater see life as sacred and suffering as holy, but they do not stand in the way of others’ desires or condemn them for their chosen path. For instance, Ilmatari would not stop a sorely injured warrior from rising up half-healed to plunge into battle again, openly seeking death while fighting the foe. Instead, they would freely assist the warrior by healing him enough to be mobile so that he could follow his own doom wish in the most honorable manner available to him.
Ilmatari bury the dead, treat the diseased, and give food, drink, and firewood to the poor. They also tour the wealthier cities and settlements of Faerun soliciting moneys to support the church. Increasingly, since so many folk personally received the benefit of their kindnesses during the Time of Troubles, people of all faiths give generously to the church of the Crying God. As the merchant Ashaerond of Westgate put it: “If I pay for one extra potion today, it may be the last one tomorrow—but the one needed then to heal me.”
Holy Days/Important Ceremonies
There are no calendar-related special holy days or any other festivals observed by the Ilmatari. Instead, the daily rituals of prayer to Ilmater at least six times per day govern each and every day of service.
A special Plea must be made to Ilmater to receive divine dispensation for a Rest, which is a tenday vacation from serving Ilmater’s dictates. Usually Ilmatari request this when they are emotionally exhausted, but some adventurer- priests use Rests to perform things Ilmater would otherwise frown upon. This custom is an established tradition that some leaders of the faith rely upon, sending their best fighting clergy out to do things that the church cannot otherwise accomplish (covertly removing a tyrant rather than confronting him openly, for example).
The most important ritual of the Church of Ilmater is the Turning: It is the duty of every priest of Ilmater to try to get dying persons to turn to Ilmater for comfort, receiving the blessing of the Broken God before they expire. As the veneration of Ilmater grows, even in death, his healing power becomes greater.
Major Centers of Worship
The largest center of Ilmatari worship is the House of the Unbroken God in Keltar in Calimshan. The House of the Broken God is a huge monastery in the center of the town that is connected, via a series of walled gardens, to a temple farm on a hill northwest of Keltar, a walled leper house beyond that, and a sanitarium beyond that. Here Revered Father of the House Melder Rythtin of the Healing Hand, who is famous for his diagnoses and miraculous treatments of the afflicted, presides over the largest hospital and facility for brewing, concocting, and compounding medicines in Faerun. Those unfriendly to Calimshan have commented that such a facility is located where it is because the cruelty of the Calishites makes it most needed in their realm—but they are too greedy and disgusted by the sick, the malformed, and the injured to allow such a place in their proud capital city.
Ilmater’s church has several affiliated knightly orders of paladins and warriors, including the Companions of the Noble Heart, the Holy Warriors of Suffering, the Order of the Golden Cup, and the Order of the Lambent Rose. Monastic orders are also numerous, and include the Disciples of St. Sollars the Twice-Martyred, whose most famous facility, the Monastery of the Yellow Rose, is located in Damara, high up in the Earthspurs near the Glacier of the White Worm. (Monks of this monastery specialize in genealogical studies.) Other llmatari monastic orders include the Followers of the Unhindered Path, the Disciples of St. Morgan the Taciturn, and the Sisters of St. Jasper of the Rocks. Most llmatari monasteries traditionally are named after flowers which symbolize something of significance to the order, though this is not mandated.
For ceremonial functions, llmatari wear a solid gray tunic, tabard, and trousers, or gray robes. They wear skullcaps in gray (most clergy members) or red (senior priests). Novices who have not yet been adorned wear no skullcaps. The symbol of Ilmater is worn as a pin over the heart or on a chain around the neck and serves as a holy symbol. Some of the older members of the faith have a gray teardrop tattooed to one side of their right or left eye.
Adventuring Garb: In the field or on quests, llmatari priests dress appropriately for the mission and the weather, but usually wear gray tabards decorated with Ilmater’s symbol stitched on the chest near the left shoulder over any other clothing or armor they wear. They are never without their holy symbols and a satchel of medicines, bandages, salves, splints, and slings.
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