Tales of the Bloodstone Lands
The Father of Battle, Lord of the Twin Axes, the Giantkiller, the Goblinbane, the Wyrmslayer, the Rock of Battle
Symbol: Giantbane and Goblinbane (twin battleaxes) crossed.
Home Plane: Dwarfhome, Mount Clangeddin
(Alignment:* Lawful Good
Portfolio: Battle, war, valor, bravery, honor in battle
Worshipers: Barbarians, dwarven defenders, dwarves, fighters, monks, paladins soldiers, strategists, tacticians, warlords
Cleric Alignments: LG, LN, NG
Favored Weapon: “Giantbane” and “Goblinbane” (twin battleaxes)
ALLIES: Arvoreen, Cyrrollalee, Helm, the Gnome Pantheon (except Urdlen), the Dwarven Pantheon (except Abbathor, Deep Duerra, Laduguer), Tempus, Torm, Tyr, The Red Knight
FOES: Abbathor, Deep Duerra, Garagos, Laduguer, Surtyr, Thrym, Urdlen, Vaprak, the goblinkin and evil giant pantheons
Clangeddin Silverbeard (CLAN-gehd-din SIHL-vur-beerd) is the Father of Battle and primary dwarven war god. All dwarves who must fight, especially dwarves who are warriors by profession, worship Clangeddin, their patron and exultant leader in war. The Father of Battle is the deity of choice among lawful neutral dwarven warriors.
Clangeddin watches over the battle-skills and performances of dwarves from his mountain fortress in Dwarfhome. He encourages valor in battle, weapon-mastery and training, and wisdom in war, and most often manifests his powers to further these aims. Clangeddin is concerned with war as a way of life and is very different from Moradin in this respect. The aptly named Father of Battle especially hates giants and has taught the dwarves – and the gnomes, through their gods – special ways of fighting giant-type creatures.
Clangeddin maintains good relations with the other members of the Morndinsamman, with the notable exceptions of Abbathor and the duergar deities. He works closely with Moradin, Gorm, and Marthammor, and regards Haela as both a daughter and a protege. The Father of Battle works closely with the gods of the Gnome Pantheon, particularly Gaerdal Ironhand, and he has forged strong alliances with Arvoreen, The Red Knight, Torm, and Tyr. The most hated enemies of the Father of Battle are Grolantor and his hill giant followers, followed closely by Karontor, Memnor, Kostchtchie, Vaprak, Surtyr, and Thrym, plus the various evil giant races that revere them. Since the Time of Troubles, Clangeddin has nursed a grudge against Labelas Enoreth, elven god of time and longevity, for destroying his avatar form in a battle that raged across the isle of Ruathym.
Clangeddin is a resolute warrior who never backs down from danger and who refuses to surrender even when all seems lost. He is a strict and ethical deity who brooks no treachery or deceit and who never negotiates or compromises. Triumph must be obtained through valor and bravery, and Clangeddin is swift to humble and humiliate any who overcome by cowardly or deceitful means. The Father of Battle is known for often snatching victory from the narrowest of margins in battle. Clangeddin uses his magic only to influence events indirectly, never in battle.
He only resorts to influencing a battle when the very existence of his avatar in the Realms is threatened. He always prefers force of arms to spells. Clangeddin is merry in battle, roaring appreciation of shrewd strategies, bravery, and feats of skill even when such are directed against him. He often sings (both stirring battle-ballads and taunting little ditties to unnerve enemies) in the midst of a fight, and dwarves have learned to listen for hints, cues, and warnings in his lyrics. He is a master at turning the tables on enemy armies by anticipating their movements on the battlefield and singing directions to dwarves fighting with him. Like most dwarves, Clangeddin admires most those who help themselves. He typically appears at a battle only to right hopeless odds against dwarves, to balance treachery and punish the treasonous, and to aid the weak of all races against evil, especially the acts of giants.
The Father of Battle, one of the senior members of the Morndinsamman, and his followers are widely revered throughout dwarven culture for their dedication and martial skill. More pacifistic members of dwarven society may wish Clangeddin’s priests were less belligerent, but none question their crucial role in the continued survival of the dwarven race. Among other races, Clangeddin and his followers are often perceived as little more than bloodthirsty berserkers, but those who fight alongside the Father of Battle’s followers quickly learn of their principled approach to warfare and the lengths to which they will go to defend their fellow dwarves and allies.
Clangeddin’s most sacred shrines are dwarven cairns erected on the fields of past battles, whether they be on the surface or in the tunnels of the Underdark. Sometimes a cavern in which the followers of Clangeddin won a great victory is dedicated as a great temple to the Father of Battle. (Many times when a new clanhold or kingdom is being carved out of hostile territory, a temple of Clangeddin is dedicated in the cavern where the climactic battle was won, thus firmly establishing the dwarven presence.) Such temples are dominated by great stone statues of dwarven heroes past, armor and weapons worn by Clangeddin’s greatest warriors, and huge granite blocks stained blood-red that serve as altars on which weapons are offered up to the god.
Novices of Clangeddin, like novices of Haela, are known as the Unblooded. Full priests of the Father of Battle are known as Axebrothers/Axesisters. In ascending order of rank, the titles used by Clangeddite priests are Axecutter, Squire, Knight of the Third Rank, Knight of the Second Rank, Knight of the First Rank, and Knight Commander – but these are often superseded by titles that go with a position. High Old Ones have unique individual titles but are collectively known as War Princes/Princesses. Specialty priests are known as alaghor, a dwarvish word that can be loosely translated as those who demonstrate valor in battle.
War is the finest hour of dwarvenkind. Seize the opportunity to defend the Stout Folk and ensure their victory wherever conflict does erupt. Revel in the challenge of a good fight, and never waver in the face of adversity, no matter how ominous. When not fighting, prepare for the next conflict physically, tactically, and by acquiring resources. Attack hill giants whenever possible and other evil giants when necessary. Death on the field of battle is never welcomed and lives should never be thrown away foolishly. However, if necessary for victory, the highest service that followers of the Father of Battle can perform is to sacrifice themselves for the cause on the field of battle by protecting as many other dwarves as possible.
The members of Clangeddin’s clergy form an elite warrior caste in many clans, maintaining their positions by training hard physically every day. They are always preparing for war, physically, tactically, and by acquiring resources. To ensure dwarven victory in every open fray, priests of Clangeddin try to further the weapon training, tactical training, and battle skills of every living dwarf. Weaponcrafting and training are required for all worshipers of the god, and priests of the god pass on their battle knowledge at an almost frantic rate to all dwarves who will lend an ear. Priests of Clangeddin seek to make the dwarves ever stronger on the battlefield and are always alert for new tactics, traps, and weapons. For instance, they take great interest in the items devised by the Lantanna and other worshipers of the human god Gond.
Holy Days/Important Ceremonies
Clangeddin’s faithful honor the anniversaries of past battles, whether they were won or lost, as holy days. Individual temples mark particular days more than others, as the entire year-long calendar is overfilled with anniversaries of past battles. Conflicts whose importance and heroes have faded into the mists of time are commemorated every decade, century, or millennium, as appropriate.
On holy days or during battle, always on a known (past, present, or immediately pending) battlefield, priests of Clangeddin chant, pray, and break weapons that they have anointed with their own blood. The god often manifests as a glowing radiance to consume the weapons, and this radiance may extend to worshipers as a temporary protective aura in battle. Offered weapons not consumed by the god are either twisted and shattered (where-upon they must be melted down and used for other things) or left untouched (whereupon they may be used again, with the god’s approval).
The Father of Battle is often worshiped by frantic prayers in the midst of the fray. At such times, the god preferentially answers those who fight on fearlessly. When time permits, however, either on the evening before an anticipated battle or at the burial of a great dwarven warrior, the rituals of worship include a procession of the faithful onto the battlefield or gravesite.
Clangeddin’s priests lead the participants in a mournful dirge, a wordless rising and falling chant. The sound rises slowly into an exultant roaring and ends in a single, high, clear singing note – an odd, eerie contrast to the rough-voiced bloodsong that has preceded it. The slow-marching procession is always accompanied by slow, steady drumbeats (from drums carried by lesser priests) and consists of dwarves wearing their most battered armor (freshly used, if possible). These faithful are led and followed by chainmail armored priests, who may echo the drumbeat by crashing weapons against shields. When the procession reaches its goal, the priests cast down their shields, hold their weapons high, and begin to whisper the god’s name. They then close their eyes and continue whispering, concentrating on whatever image each one has of Clangeddin. (This is always the appearance of the avatar or manifestation if the dwarf has witnessed the direct acts of the god.) The priests then begin to move toward wherever they feel the god’s presence is strongest and so blindly draw together until they collide. At that spot, they make the weapon sacrifice, speak the names of the valiant fallen that they wish the god to remember and hold in esteem, then kneel to await a sign. And an answer is often given – anything from a roll of thunder to a shield speaking a blessing, command, or answer. If the ritual was a burial, it is concluded with the interment and a solemn march away. If, instead, it was a preparation for a battle, it is concluded with a war chant and a “wild run,” in which the participants wave weapons and emit whoops and war-cries.
Major Centers of Worship
Alagh Rorncaurak, the Battlecavern of Unquenched Valor, is a vast natural chasm deep beneath the Earthfast Mountains that tower over neighboring Impiltur. Located in what was once the heart of the dwarven city of Earthfast, Clangeddin’s great natural cathedral is now located on the western periphery of the embattled dwarf-held caverns.
It is the subject of frequent assaults by orcish armies intent on overrunning the dwarven kingdom. Cindarm mac Faern, grandnephew of Torg mac Cei, the late Ironlord of Earthfast, leads the elite (but badly outnumbered) Clangeddites against wave after wave of orcish assaults. Only the recent arrival of dwarven mercenaries of Clan Hammerhand has given the temple’s defenders enough breathing room to fortify their defenses. While the temple’s central sanctuary and the entrance to the remaining dwarf-held districts of Earthfast are still inviolate, the temple’s shattered western barracks are the site of countless skirmishes between wandering orcish patrols and dwarven defenders.
Scores of military orders and countless dwarven brotherhoods have been dedicated to the Father of Battle, beginning with the earliest, long-forgotten kingdoms of the dwarves. The followers of Clangeddin in each clanhold or kingdom tend to organize themselves into one or more fighting companies, and each band has its own name and famous exploits. Legendary companies of past millennia include the Knights of the Ninth Axe, the Valorous Harts of High Shanatar, the Order of the Crescent Moon (jointly dedicated to Clangeddin and Selune), the Fellowship of the Bleeding Axe, the Sailors of the Mountainous Waves (the Madbeard marines of fabled Haunghdannar), the Shining Blades of Iltkazar, the Glory of Gauntlegrym, and the Company of the Last Kuldjargh.
Because magic seems to go awry in their hands, and they can never control real power of the Art like human wizards, dwarves have always been fascinated by magic and the capturing of magical powers within an item that a dwarf has created and can wield. Down through the ages, there have been over a thousand thousand dwarven smiths of skill in working with magic. They have always been among the wealthiest, most powerful, and most respected dwarves. Some have gone further than that, looking beyond dwarven skill to the inspiration that guided them and seeing in it a divine presence – a presence that, they believe, lives in the magical items themselves.
Centuries ago, the Father of Battle embraced some of these cults of Axe Dwarves – for they most commonly worship sentient axes – in a bid to fold sentient magic weapons into his portfolio and to join such battle-loving dwarves with the more orthodox branches of his faith. While Clangeddin has exhibited little patience or tolerance for dwarves who revere weapons controlled by malevolent or insane spirits, he has been willing to grant spellcasting powers to those few cults that adhere to the principles, if not the ritual practices, of his faith. Despite the efforts of the Father of Battle, however, the majority of such cults stray far from the principles of Clangeddin’s faith and are supported by other divine powers. Such cults have gone to war to extend the rule of these sacred items over other dwarves, and even over small communities of humans, halflings, and gnomes.
The most fearsome relic around which a dwarven axe cult is based is the Living Axe, an animated, bronzed, adamantite, double-bladed battle axe of great size that is said to be neutral evil in alignment and delights in killing, periodically flying amok among orcs or whatever creatures it chances upon (including dwarves who worship it). The Living Axe is said to be very old, and most believe it was once wielded by an avatar of the Father of Battle before the collapse of the great cavern of Bhaerynden (now the Great Rift). While its precise powers are unknown, the War Princes/Princesses of Clangeddin suspect that the intelligence within the Living Axe has been driven insane by the twisted dreams of Diinkarazan, the mad derro demipower, and that the Mad God may be the power behind many of the most depraved dwarven axe cults.
Clangeddin’s priests wear silver chain mail armor, war helms, and tabards depicting the symbol of the Father of Battle as their ceremonial garb. Priests of Clangeddin seldom take off their helms, although there is no prohibition against doing so. The holy symbol of the faith is a pair of miniature steel battle axes welded together in a cross; this is typically suspended on a chain and worn around the neck.
Adventuring Garb: In combat situations, priests of the Father of Battle favor the most effective armor available, often replacing their ceremonial silver chain mail with suits of dwarven plate mail. They never like to fight with shields, but they will do so to protect other dwarves. While Clangeddin’s priests employ a wide range of weaponry, they prefer weapons that cleave, crush, or bludgeon, such as axes, maces, and flails.
They rarely employ missile weapons (other than throwing axes or the occasional heavy crossbow) or swords. The magical weapon of choice among the members of Clangeddin’s clergy is magical axe.
Whether they are supported by Clangeddin or not, Axe Dwarven priests are always armed with multiple throwing axes and a variety of other weapons, and they wear high, spired, and spiked helms of fantastic design. Devout Axe Dwarves also seek to create more magical weapons.
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