God of Dwarvenkind, Father Stone, the Hammer of the Gods, the Soul-Forger, Lord of the Forge
Alignment: Lawful Good
Overview: Amongst the good-aligned gods exists the triumvirate of Bahamut, Pelor, and Moradin. Together, these three gods represent some of the best and brightest ideals to which mortals and gods alike should aspire. Of the three gods, Moradin is the most popular amongst dwarvenkind, and is considered father of the dwarves.
The Church of Moradin is not as large or as powerful as that of Bahamut or Pelor, but it is widespread and well respected. Whereas the churches of the other two gods are often heavily involved in local politics, the Church of Moradin usually steers clear of such earthly matters when possible. As a result, Moradin’s faith is seen as somewhat more moderate, more tolerant, and more accepting compared to the other two. As the god of artisans, smiths, and builders, Moradin is sometimes viewed as more understanding of earthly matters.
Moradin’s clerics and followers are most common amongst towns and cities. The overall church, although it no longer can maintain control over widespread individual temples, nonetheless maintains a network of communications between different branches. At one time, the “Father Church” ruled over the faithful across Stormfell, boasting one of the most organized faiths of any other religion. For good or ill, the demise of the Nerathan Empire spelled the downfall of Father Church’s domination. Since those days, individual temples have become independent and somewhat individualistic, although overall the church still retains many similarities from parish to parish.
Beyond the realm of civilization, Moradin’s church has few followers and even fewer temples. Other humanoid races, such as goblins, hobgoblins, and orcs, despise Moradin in every way possible. Amongst other “civilized” races such as elves and eladrin, Moradin clerics are relatively uncommon, but not unheard of. Moradin may be considered God of Dwarvenkind, but his faith encompasses people from many different races.
Spheres of Influence: Dwarves, creation, smithing, metalwork, stonecraft, artisans
Avatar: Moradin’s avatar rarely walks the mortal realm, primarily due to the restrictions in the Covenant. With Moradin’s strong connections to Pelor and (to a lesser extent) Bahamut, he is typically opposed to all schemes and plots originating with gods such as Bane.
When Moradin’s aspect appears, he always appears as a powerfully built dwarven warrior. He wields a two-handed warhammer, Volenfang, in one hand, and a golden shield on the other arm. He wears a suit of mithril chain and plate, with a polished helm of silver resting on his head. He sports a fabulous dwarven beard, usually of black streaked with gray.
Signs & Portents: Most of Moradin’s omens involve some form of weapon, tool (most often the hammer or the anvil), or fire. When a weapon miraculously survives a blow, or a suit of armor somehow saves its wearers life against a mortal blow, it is viewed as a sign of Moradin’s blessing. When a forge fire glows a certain shade of green, it is said to have attracted Moradin’s attention.
When Moradin reveals his displeasure, it often involves tools, weapons, or objects cracking, breaking, or shattering. A crack over the door to a building that appears suddenly is considered proof of Moradin’s anger. Likewise, if a weapon shatters unexpectedly, then the wielder has somehow dishonored the blade and Moradin is revealing the fact for all to behold.
Tenets of the Faith: Meet adversity with stoicism and tenacity. Struggle is part of living. Death is part of life. All mortal creatures must face adversity and tragedy. What you suffer is not as important as how you deal with adversity. Moradin calls upon his followers to face their fear, fight against their enemies, and never give in to despair. The only way to beat a problem is to beat the problem – sometimes repeatedly. Moradin’s way often boils down to sheer tenacity to overcome a challenge.
Demonstrate loyalty to your family, your clan, your leaders, and your people. Moradin calls upon his worshippers and clerics to worship him first, but he also demands his followers pay heed to their other obligations. Loyalty and duty are crucial elements to success, and one must remain true to one’s family, friends, and allies, even in the face of adversity. Loyalty is something that must be proven more than once, and it must be continually reaffirmed.
Strive to make a mark on the world, a lasting legacy. Mortal creatures are, by definition, mortal. All creatures must die. The only way to overcome this limitation is to create and build a legacy. A legacy can be many things, including children, a cleverly-crafted item, or even an empire. Moradin encourages all his worshippers to craft a legacy for the ages.
Holy Symbol: The forge, although sometimes a warhammer is included as part of this symbol.
Place of Worship: When possible, services dedicated to Moradin take place in a proper temple, preferably one constructed of sturdy stone. Most Moradin temples are large, imposing, and leave viewers with a sense of awe. His temples often feature impressive and elaborate stonework, usually decorated with intricate metalworking and stonecarving.
It is also considered highly appropriate to hold services to Moradin on the field of battle, either before or after the fight. Likewise, a number of blacksmith forges incorporate a shrine dedicated to Moradin, making it a place of both labor and worship – twin concepts that the Soul-Forger truly appreciates.
Canon: The Hammer and Forge. This large and weighty tome is an unusual holy work in that includes not just prayers and liturgy devoted to Moradin, but also many life lessons related to artisanship and craftsmanship. Most Moradin clerics acknowledge the original book was written in ancient dwarvish, but it has existed in a number of languages for many centuries. Although some religions belief in a continually evolving and developing holy book, The Hammer and Forge has not changed substantially in over a thousand years, other than being translated into more modern dialects of the common tongue and other languages.
The so-called “traveling version” of The Hammer and Forge is a heavy book in its own right, smaller and lighter than the full-size version typically found in temples, but nonetheless imposing and bulky. Most Moradin clerics happily declare their god’s book is like carrying a shield. As a result, it is sometimes referred to as “Moradin’s Shield,” especially by Moradin-worshipping battle clerics.
Cleric’s Alignment: Lawful good or good
Duties of the Priesthood: There are several different organizations within the Church of Moradin. The three most prominent are the Followers of the Forge, the Knights of the Hammer, and the Guardians of Iron.
The Followers primarily serve in permanent temples. They conduct worship ceremonies, aid their parishioners, and teach acolytes. These clerics rarely travel except under unusual circumstances.
The Knights serve as the church’s militant arm. They often serve with armed forces, although many of this order join with adventuring companies long-term. The Knights conduct missions in the field for their god and the church, often undertaking the hardest and most dangerous assignments. When something threatens a Moradin temple, the priests call upon the Hammers.
Finally, the Guardians serve as guards, protectors, and defenders. They protect temples, clerics, important individuals, and sacred sites. Often, Guardians remain assigned to one locale or one individual. At other times, however, the Guardians must travel to fulfill their duties.
There are numerous legends about a secret fourth group, the Blacksteel Harbingers, responsible for undertaking unusual missions involving magic and the supernatural. These clerics are supposedly tasked with locating evil relics, destroying forbidden knowledge, and eliminating dangerous enemies of the faith. Although many of these clerics are dwarven, a substantial number are drawn from other races, all summoned to serve the Stone-Father.
If the stories are to be believed, the Harbingers are apprenticed at a young age, during which time they are imbued with the spiritual essence of Moradin. Although this ritual makes them extraordinarily resistant to magic and injury, it also distances them from other mortal creatures; for the Harbingers, there will never be the opportunity for a normal life, family, retirement, or personal ambition.
All clerics of Moradin have a high standard to which they must strive. The Church of Moradin is highly respected throughout the civilized lands, and most civilized races view Moradin’s clerics favorably. It is vital for Moradin’s clerics to uphold their god’s standards and never bring shame to the church’s image. Because of the stringent selection process, there have been times where Moradin clerics have fallen into short supply; the church has always refused to alter or weaken its entrance standards, even if it means leaving a temple without a priest. Few other faiths are as demanding in their selection of potential priests.
Limitations & Sacrifices: Clerics of Moradin are expected to tithe everything they earn back to the church. Furthermore, his priests are expected to donate whenever possible to charitable groups and functions. Although Moradin’s clerics appreciate material possessions and the value of wealth, they are taught the importance of remaining above such considerations. Gold and gems are things of beauty, and can serve as tools of commerce, but they should never be given too much importance, or allowed to influence a cleric’s good judgment and common sense.
The church of Moradin observes a fairly rigid and strict hierarchy, with one of the more organized and formalized faiths on Stormfell. Individual clerics, especially those of lower rank, are expected to obey the orders of their superiors and, whenever necessary, answer the demands of those superiors.
A cleric of Moradin is prohibited from lying. In the eyes of Moradin, a lie is one of the worst sins. If the truth proves dangerous or harmful, the cleric’s best response is to remain silent or change the subject. A typical response might be “I choose not to answer your question,” which sometimes means the dwarf does not want to lie, but can also reflect his desire not to commit to an answer just yet.
Clerics of Moradin are commanded to oppose evil in all its forms whenever possible. This is a broad command, but it requires the cleric to devote his life and wealth to the cause, regardless of personal desires.
Role-playing a cleric of Moradin is about as “dwarven” as a cleric can get. Although in Stormfell Moradin is revered by many races, he is especially close to dwarvenkind and viewed as the father of that race. If you want to play a ”dwarf’s dwarf,” it would be difficult to find a more appropriate deity than Moradin.
The Good. Few character classes and races fit together as comfortably as dwarf and cleric, especially when you throw Moradin into the mix. As much of a stereotype as it may be, the image is enduring and endearing, and can be a lot of fun to play. If you want to jump in and be the ultimate dwarf, you have a lot to work with, and it won’t take much for you to get your character concept across. Dwarven clerics (along with fighters) are among the most entertaining classes to play, not to mention the fun for other players of having a dwarven cleric in the party.
The Bad. Dwarves are often among the easiest races in D&D to play. Just think beards, stone, gold, axes, and bad Scottish accents. Unfortunately, it can be rather difficult to break this stereotype, especially as a cleric of Moradin. If you want to play against type, be careful not to make your character outrageous or bizarre just to be different from other dwarves. If your cleric of Moradin is not a dwarf, you will need to carve your own niche without being seen as “dwarf lite.”
Keep in Mind. As background, you can assume your character has in-depth knowledge about some aspect of dwarven craft, such as stonework, metalwork, or the like. In your character’s off hours, he might put these skills to work for profit or merely for his own pleasure.