Tales of the Bloodstone Lands
The Golden Daughter, Goddess of Brewing, Mother Fingril
Symbol: Overfilled Golden Tankard
Home Plane: Dwarfhome
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Portfolio: Beer, brewing, companionship, festhalls
Worshipers: Dwarves, brewers, taverners, innkeepers
Cleric Alignments: NG, CG, CN
Favored Weapon: Tiera (Mace)
Fingril has a private face and a public face; few non-dwarves ever learn anything of her private side. The public face of Fingril is a golden-glowing, oversized plain tankard with a simple handle, unadorned and lidless. It is said to be fashioned all of never-rusting, never-staining steel that floats upright in midair except when pouring out beer or a golden mist, “the favor of the goddess.” This tankard foams with beer as it refills itself, and its metal flows into a broad smile, until something is said or done—such as bloodshed—to displease Fingril.
Her private aspect is that of a jovial, buxom, chubby dwarf woman clad in flowing robes that constantly shift color: one moment nut-brown, the next gold. Her garments are simple as a tavern maid’s: the goddess appears barefoot, her clothes unbelted and low-cut. Fingril always smiles. When displeased, her smile is slight and she shakes her head, and when pleased, she beams and extends her arms as if to sweep the observer to her bosom.
The holy symbol of Fingril resembles a roughly drawn golden “Y” to the uninitiated. Priests insist the unity of two streams of beer flowing together to fall as one reminds the faithful of the goddess’s bosom felt by every dwarf wrapped in her embrace. This holy symbol is known as the “baerra” (or munificence).
As the matron goddess of beer, Fingril represents morale and pleasing self and family in small, daily things by kindnesses and shared fellowship, dining and drinking (including hospitality to guests). She is also “the Inner Way,” the cleaving to inward desires and the demands of flesh and kinship, expressing one’s emotions and questioning or testing the laws and authority and clan rules other dwarven deities uphold. Priests of the goddess, quoting a now-forgotten predecessor, claim “Fingril is not the vote; she is what you bring to the vote. She is not vengeance; she is the fire behind vengeance. She is not clan loyalty; she is the way by which a loyal dwarf can yet see the needs and wants of a foe and understand the thinking of non-dwarves.”
The priests of Fingril are collectively “the Vaer” and consist of drin (sing. drina), novices who normally never lead rituals or conduct holy business except as assistants to a full priest; vaerren, full priests (sing. vaera); and kalath, elder priests (sing. kala). The kalath have “felt the touch of the goddess,” meaning she has spoken to them directly in their minds or as a voice emanating from a tankard or altar. Indeed, they are kalath because they dared to respond, and she has in turn answered them.
Within the Vaer, male and female dwarves are equal: either gender may lead rituals or hold any rank or holy office. However, the devout claim that only dwarves may be true members of the Vaer although they do respect and work with “Holy Ones”—those rare few non-dwarves who have “spoken with Fingril and known her favor.”
Holy offices among the Vaer are filled by the guidance of Fingril. Her approval must be evident, through visions received by laity, and not just by members of the Vaer, and by the will of the local kalath. Such offices include:
- the holy tutor to novices
- Dharlac (a leader of rituals, tankard confessor and morale booster to the laity; in some cantons, a revelmaster who throws drinking-parties at the homes of the bereaved and depressed and lonely; spreader of good cheer, rumors, and heartening songs in times of war)
- Orlurr (chanter, who leads the actual singing or chanting during rituals; this and vardur are the only offices often held by drin thanks to their singing skills or strength and fighting skills)
- Vardur (temple guard, armed “hand of the goddess” for arresting lay dwarves and bringing them before priests for crimes against the faith; Hammerfell is known for having varden who wear enchanted armor and wield magical weapons; tales tell of a flying empty helm that the Vaer of that canton can send forth to spy for them, when it does not guard the altar of Fingril)
- Uldaerac (“Old Holy,” or leader of the local temple; the equivalent of a high priest or priestess in many human faiths)
A dwarf is not a true dwarf unless that dwarf feels needed. A dwarf is not a true dwarf unless that dwarf faces his fears, wants, and delights. The ales of Fingril help worshippers set aside the armors of civility, reserve, and secrecy for a time, to let a dwarf see more clearly.
Through the call to the matron goddess and her responses in visions of dream and of altar, Fingril guides dwarves to survive, to grow stronger, to do what is needful to become greater, to balance their inner calling against the outer hardness every dwarf must build.
While ordinary ale is a road to truth, the holy ale of Fingril is the road to the Truth.
The Vaer of Fingril nurture the needs of a dwarf that other deities do not. And like a stool with one leg missing, a dwarf un-nurtured by Fingril cannot stand, nor support another dwarf.
The Vaer’s primary duties to the laity all help in the furtherance of morale. This is sometimes misunderstood; Fingril does not expect her clergy to force dwarves to be “hap-hap-happy” (as one human once put it) all the time, or drunk, or engaged in loud and frivolous revelry or flirtation. Often, quiet talks and a helping hand in the tasks of the day, or just a smile and shoulder-clasp to make a dwarf feel recognized, appreciated and welcome as a member of the community do far more to boost morale than dispensing ale and carousing. Vaer often advise lay dwarves on all matters large and small, and are known for two things: absolute secrecy and far more informality than any other dwarven clergy. Their secrecy is complete; one can confess murder and worse crimes to a Vaer, and unless the crime is against the temple itself, the priest will say nothing at all about what was confessed to anyone else, except to the goddess or—only with the permission of the confessing dwarf—to seek advice from a more senior priest. As a result, one speaks to a Vaer of Fingril as a kindly friend or wiser older colleague, never as a supplicant to a superior.
The clergy of Fingril see it as their collective duty to advise the dwarves of a community, calming and soothing when necessary but also warning or balancing against other influences —even the clergies of other gods— when needed.
Holy Days/Important Ceremonies
In most dwarven settlements and cantons, similar rituals are performed at the end of every mining shift and may be combined with hot baths for weary miners. For non-miners or in dwarf gatherings or communities not dominated by mining, these rituals are customarily performed in mid-morning (a shortened, “gentle” ritual), at the middle of the working day (also a shortened ritual, but often emphasizing guidance or an exhortation), and at the end of the working day or late evening (a full ritual, often turning into a feast or long drinking-bout).
Travelling priests perform prayer rituals to the matron goddess on the eve of every canton vote, during preparation for war, at the outset of a migration or merchant expedition or journey and when creating a magical item, building a large mechanism or starting diplomacy with lowlanders.
The Vaer hold their own rituals to recognize and confirm new members, to mark the deaths of priests, and to signal the passage of specific clergy from one rank or office to another. The annual great ritual of Moonfall marks the end of the alpine growing season. In recent years, Moonfall has grown in most cantons into a two- or three-day-long debauch of drinking, frolicking, and games for both the young and the old.
Major Centers of Worship
The worship of Fingril is very different from the worship of other dwarven gods; it is a rather small group with only small shrines and no large priesthood.
It is a motherly cult, with more female than male priests and with a certain streak of kindness and mercy. Yet to malign Fingril in front of even the most hard-bitten dwarven pikeman is to invite disaster; some humans call her “Dwarf-Mother”, for the dwarves defend her as fiercely as a mother bear defends her cubs. All dwarves think of Fingril as the keeper of the warm and welcoming hearth, and they will fight and die to protect her.
There are no warrior or paladin orders of Fingril, though every dwarf would jump to defend her order.
Vaer wear loose tabards or surcoats over their robes when leading high rituals. The tabard has a large oval hole for the wearer’s head, hanging from the shoulders unbelted with a plain back panel, and it displays the holy symbol of Fingril on the front panel in brown dye for drin, in a band of stitched red fabric for vaerren, and in a band of cloth-of-gold for kalath.
Adventuring Garb: Nothing in the daily garb of the Vaer distinguishes a drina from a vaera or a kala; all tend to wear plain brown robes and always carry two tankards. One is a miniature pendant “taster” on a neck chain, while the other is an everyday tankard on a chain or knotted cord at their belts.
Every vaera and kala of Fingril will try to procure or make a personal tankard to use for prayer to the goddess. In this, they offer her their tears and the beer they have brewed for lone prayers of confession and requests for guidance.
Most clergy of Fingril maintain an altar to the goddess: a table or a flat slab of rock shrouded in the tunics of dead Vaer and set with “the Kiss,” a massive tankard at least 2 ft. tall, and smaller tankards. By custom, these smaller tankards number one for each Vaer taking part in a ritual at the altar plus one additional tankard that represents the laity.
Necessary accoutrements for most rituals include a tapped keg of ale; the teira, a hollow mace pierced with holes for the sprinkling of beer; a deep-toned hollow wooden “churn” chime (so-named for its resemblance to a butter-churn, it hangs via a chain from the ceiling or a movable stand). Most nighttime rituals also involve any number of beer-dipped candles, which foam as they burn.
Back to Dwarven Pantheon
Back to Gods of the Realms
Back to Main Page