Keeper of Knowledge, Guardian of Truth, God of Scholars, the Sagacious God
Overview: Ioun is the twin brother to Erathis, Goddess of Civilization. He represents another side of civilization, that of learning, knowledge, and understanding. Whereas his sister encourages expansion and growth through building and creating, Ioun encourages mortals to learn, plan, and understand that which they build.
Ioun’s church is relatively widespread in civilized lands, but has never held much power or political influence. Most Ioun clerics avoid politics whenever possible, content to instead seek out books, preserve knowledge, and share their love of learning. The church of Ioun usually maintains a temple or shrine in larger towns and cities, often as part of a larger museum, library, or academic institution.
Not surprisingly, Ioun has proven a favorite patron god amongst wizards, teachers, alchemists, and sages. Although Corellon is considered the God of Arcane Magic, Ioun stands for learning about magic and understanding the art.
Few temples dedicated to Ioun exist in small towns or villages, and they are practically nonexistent in wilderness areas. In centuries past, the church operated far more temples, and Ioun’s priests served as librarians, sages, and teachers in almost every nation.
Unfortunately, the collapse of the Empire of Nerath has had a detrimental effect on Ioun’s faithful. As civilization has retreated and the light of knowledge faded from the land, fewer people have reason to revere the God of Scholars. Thousands of great libraries and halls of learning have fallen into ruin or disrepair, often destroyed by savages or abandoned due to lack of funds. In these cruel, dark times, more people are concerned with survival and their next meal than learning how to read or write.
Spheres of Influence: Knowledge, skill, prophecy, tactics, study of magic, libraries, books, sages, alchemy
Avatar: Ioun does not seem to possess or make use of an avatar. Any interaction he wishes to undertake with the mortal realm occurs through his clerics, servants, followers, and intermediaries.
Signs & Portents: Ioun speaks through omens, portents, and signs, but these are typically subtle, brief, and easily overlooked. A specific book or scroll may drop from the shelves into a person’s hand at just the right moment. A book may open to precisely the desired page or passage. A candle or other light source appearing in what would otherwise be a dark place is considered one of Ioun’s most common signs.
According to the beliefs of Ioun’s church, the god sometimes reveals the future to a select few priests and other worthies. He speaks in dreams and waking visions, and sometimes shows images in water or mirrors to warn of impending disasters or coming obstacles.
Although Ioun rarely demonstrates his displeasure, he sometimes makes his feelings known in minor ways. A narrow-minded scholar may fall blind for a day or a week. An individual who burns books or otherwise destroys knowledge might catch on fire instead.
Tenets of the Faith: Seek the perfection of your mind by bringing reason, perception, and emotion into balance with one another. To a cleric of Ioun, there is no greater gift than his mind. All of his clerics are expected to spend their time and efforts dedicated to learning as well as sharing knowledge. The faith seeks to help people to avoid extremes of emotion, with emphasis on planning and preparing rather than reacting to a situation. Most clerics of Ioun know a number of languages and are considered well versed, if not experts, in several areas of knowledge.
Accumulate, preserve, and distribute knowledge in all forms. Books, scrolls, and even oral stories are sacred to Ioun and his followers. Although this has always been an important tenet of the faith, it has become especially vital since Nerath’s downfall. Countless books have been lost, destroyed, or forgotten. Entire libraries lie buried or ruined. Clerics of Ioun are required to do what they can to recover knowledge, protect it from harm, and distribute their teachings. This concept points towards a fundamental belief of Ioun – the more you share knowledge, the harder it becomes to destroy or corrupt.
Be watchful at all times for the followers of Vecna. Oppose their schemes, unmask their secrets, and blind them with the light of truth and reason. Ioun and Vecna are ancient rivals. Although neither god espouses great passion or intense emotion, these two deities truly hate each other. Their bitter rivalry extends throughout the mortal religions of both gods. Whenever priests of Ioun encounter followers of Vecna, the outcome inevitably escalates to violence. Vecna’s faith represents an anathema to the god of knowledge; the two deities stand for widely divergent views towards knowledge and information.
Holy Symbol: The staff of the vigilant eye
Place of Worship: Most Ioun temples are fairly small, unobtrusive, and simple. These temples emphasize learning and knowledge over pomp and circumstance, with limited importance placed on liturgy. Libraries, schools, and other hallowed halls of learning are considered just as sacred as any temple devoted to Ioun.
Canon: The Sagacious Libram. This holy book describes how to gather information, preserve knowledge, and encourage learning. The Libram is unusual in that its meaning and content seem to hold different meaning to each individual reader. The language of The Libram is such that it seems to contain countless hints, legends, and even rumors. Clerics of the faith believe the words within the book are not only divinely inspired, but magical as well. These words offer up secrets and valuable clues to Ioun’s followers, but only those devoted and vigilant to seek them out.
Cleric’s Alignment: Any except chaotic evil
Duties of the Priesthood: Most clerics of Ioun are cloistered individuals. They pursue a set of specific duties related to learning or knowledge, each according to his gifts and preferences. There are brother librarians, healers, teachers, explorers, writers, and scribes.
Some priests of Ioun work for one of several small but active sects dedicated to locating, retrieving, and preserving books, scrolls, and similar works. One such sect, the Order of the Scroll, sends clerics into dangerous areas and places to recover lost knowledge. The Order of the Scroll has been known to raid dragon lairs, sneak into undead haunted tombs, and break into libraries of corrupt nobles in order to reclaim sacred books.
There are rumors and stories about a secretive Ioun sect known as the Followers of the Forbidden Tome. According to legends, the Followers actually seek out and destroy knowledge deemed to dangerous, cursed, or destructive for mortal minds. This often includes books and scrolls penned by Blight Mages or cultists devoted to the primordials. Most Ioun priests deny the existence of this sect, however, declaring that all knowledge is sacred; good or evil comes from how such knowledge is used, not the information itself.
Limitations & Sacrifices: Ioun clerics are expected to donate as much of their wealth and possessions as possible to the church. Their donations and tithes assist the church in protecting, copying, and distributing knowledge in many forms.
When a cleric of Ioun travels, he is expected to do whatever feasible to reclaim a book, scroll, or other work he encounters. Such works are sent to the nearest Ioun temple for cataloging and protection.
At times, an Ioun cleric must forego all other duties and expectations to save some vital scrap of information. Others, especially the cleric’s allies and friends, may not understand this apparent obsession, and they may not always appreciate how important it becomes to the cleric, usually at the least opportune times.
Role-playing a cleric of Ioun affords you with a somewhat unusual opportunity. With Ioun’s strong focus on knowledge and learning, your cleric shares much in common with wizards, including an appreciation for and preservation of arcane magic.
The Good. An Ioun cleric inevitably ends up being drawn to lost, forgotten, or even forbidden knowledge. If you enjoy delving into campaign history, musty tomes, yellowed scrolls, and dusty libraries, this is the deity for you. A cleric of Ioun may encourage the DM to provide more bits of campaign background and stories for your character to locate and share.
The Bad. Although Ioun clerics can heal and defend themselves (and their allies) like clerics of any faith, they are not the ass-kicking, undead crusaders of the world. An Ioun cleric is, by definition, somewhat less warlike compared to clerics of Bahamut or Pelor, for example. Your cleric need not be a dull, pedantic scholar with asthma, but he also won’t be a radiant crusader on a holy quest to crush evil.
Keep in Mind. You should consider learning new languages, picking up new skills or improving your skills through the Skill Training feat or the Skill Focus feat. You might also consider taking a multiclass wizard feat such as Arcane Initiate.