Thursday, October 25, 2012

A First Deity: Lentarula, Goddess of the Isles

 Okay, so I've decided to push on through a bad cold and write up a first deity for my campaign world.  I'm starting small, with one of the independent, lesser ones, kind of as an intellectual warm-up exercise.  For now I'm approaching this as a Pathfinder/3.x style description, 


Titles: Goddess of the Isles, Lady of the Smoking Mountain
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Domains: Fire, Protection, Rune
Subdomains: Ash, Defense, Wards
Favored Weapon: shield

Lentarula reigns over an active volcanic island surrounded by a dozen or smaller islands located in the far southeast oceans.  During the War of Angels and Demons she belonged to a faction of Angels which was annihilated in a major battle in the south late in the war.  She and a few other surviving angels barely escaped the combat, fleeing with their mortal followers.  The demons harried their retreat, destroying all but Lentarula and a few hundred mortals.  Eventually they evaded their pursuers, found an isolated volcanic island, and settled.

Today the population of the isles is nearly 10,000, divided fairly evenly between humans, elves, half-elves, and fire drakkar (dragonborn).  The main town, named Port Lentar after the goddess, is on the large volcanic island of Wulu Nalur.  The community is ruled by a council of three called the  with one member each from the human, elvish, and drakkar.  The council members are often priests or priestesses of Lentarula.  The largest structure in Port Lentaru is the Temple of Fire, dedicated to Lentarula.  Originally the goddess was known for her knowledge, particularly of runic magic and the protective strength of her faith.  After settling on the island she gained elemental powers of fire, partly from the effects of the upwelling of elemental fire mana flowing up from the volcano and partly from the particular prayers of her fire drakkar followers.

The goddess stresses the protection of all life and also knowledge as revealed and applied via ancient arcane runes.  All her clerics learn the language of the goddess, Celestial, and all holy books, prayers, and rituals are conducted in it.  Her followers originally took silver as a color to be her sign, and frequently use the shape of a shield.  Since coming to the island some have begun using red, particularly the drakkar.  Some of the original followers oppose the use of red and insist that only the traditional silver be used.  Clerical vestments are typically white or light gray robes with short, wide sleeves.  Whenever possible they have silver embroidery and silver decorations, particularly shields on the back, chest and each shoulder.  Again, some use red as well but usually added at the cuffs, collar, and hems.

Although the goddess does not mandate any holy symbol, various shield shapes have been used as convenient reminders that she protects all under her care.  Devout followers sometimes draw a circle in the air representing a shield when they wish to ward off some real or potential evil.  Unlike some deities the clerics of the goddess do not favor use of a particular weapon but do equip themselves with a shield whenever possible.

In keeping with the Lady's focus on protection and arcane learning, temples to her are strongly built to serve as refuge or even fortress in time of peril.  The teaching of the ways of the goddess always include inspirational stories of her part in the War of Angels and Demons and how she brought her followers to safety.  Everyone is constantly reminded to be on guard lest the ancient enemies find them and return for a final assault.  The usually have a library and try to have books with knowledge of arcane defensive magic so that wizards of good character may increase their skills.

The church has two major festivals.  The first, called Founding Festival, is to commemorate the original arrival of the goddess and remaining followers to the island.  This is held in the fall, eight days after the autumnal equinox.  In more recent times the traditional fall harvest celebrations have start at the equinox and climax alongside the Founding Festival.  The second most important is usually held two weeks after the summer solstice.  It is called Ending of Light.  This is a somber remembrance of the fallen Angel companions of Lentarula.  Temples of Lentarula typically include icons or small statues of the Bright Companions.  These are usually brought out and taken through the community in a procession rather like that of a funeral.  The faithful wear funeral garb on that day and fasting is observed from dawn to dusk.

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