Dwarf Pantheon

Dwarf Pantheon

Name Portfolio Rank Alignment Favoured Weapon Domains
Moradin Dwarves, creation, smithing, protection, metalcraft, stonework G
Abbathor Greed I
Berronar Truesilver Safety, truth, home, healing I
Clanggedin Silverbeard Battle, war I
Deep Duerra
Dugmaren Brightmantle Scholarship, discovery, invention L
Dumathoin Exploration, mining, secrets I
Gorm Gulthyn
Haela Brightaxe
Hanseath war, carousing, alcohol L
Laduguer Magic weapons, artisans, magic, duergar I
Marthammor Duin
Muamman Duathal Expatriates, urban dwarves, travellers, exiles L
Roknar Greed, intrigue, lies, earth L
Tharmekhûl Forge, fire, warfare D
Thautam Magic, darkness I
Ulaa Earth I
Valkauna Oaths, death, birth I
Vergadain Wealth, luck I

The Morndinsamman

The Stout Folk worship a pantheon of deities collectively known as the Morndinsamman, a term that can be loosely translated as "shield brothers on high" or "the high dwarves". The composition of the pantheon varies slightly from clan to clan (and even more so from world to world), but certain powers are generally recognized by dwarves everywhere.

Although the term Morndinsamman is commonly used to refer to all acknowledged dwarven gods, formal membership in the pantheon is determined by Moradin. The good and neutral dwarven gods, including Moradin, Berronar, Clangeddin, Dugmaren, Dumathoin, Gorm, Haela, Marthammor, Sharindlar, Thard, and Vergadain, have always been members in good standing. Abbathor is still a member, as his treachery has never been proven, although most of his fellows detest him. Laduguer was banished by the All-Father long ago, and Deep Duerra was exiled immediately following her apotheosis and ascension, but both are considered members-in-exile. Diirinka and his mad brother, Diinkarazan, are the only dwarven powers who are truly no longer members of the Morndinsamman.

The dwarven gods are said to have sprung from stone and earth, beginning with Moradin. Berronar is universally held to be Moradin's wife, and many dwarven theologians hold that all the other dwarven powers are their descendants, although the exact ordering and ancestry vary from myth to myth. After Moradin and Berronar, the oldest dwarven powers are thought to be Dumathoin, Abbathor, Laduguer, Clangeddin, Sharindlar, and the twins Diinkarazan and Diirinka. The next group of dwarven gods commonly worshiped includes Thard Harr, Gorm Gulthyn, Marthammor Duin, and Dugmaren Brightmantle. Recent additions to the dwarven pantheon, said to be the grandchildren of Moradin and Berronar, have included Haela Brightaxe and Deep Duerra.

Unlike the elven pantheon, the members of the Morndinsamman are scattered across the Outer Planes. This may be symbolic and reflective of the dwarven desire for territory and living space; just as mortal dwarves are ever exploring new territory below the surface world, the deities themselves live apart as well. An oddity of the dwarven deities is that most can, if they wish, have their avatars appear huge in stature - up to 20 feet tall in the case of Moradin. Dwarven theologians believe this reflects their activist natures and inspirational roles as leaders among the dwarves.

The collective dwarven racial memory holds that their ancestors sprang fully formed from the heart of the world itself. The All-Father is said to have secretly fashioned dwarves of iron and mithral in his Soul Forge, using his huge magical hammer to beat the bodies into shape and then breathing on his creations to cool them and to give them souls.

One is struck, in a study of dwarven theology, by the relationship between procreation and metalcraft; perhaps more than one dwarven smith has looked upon a finished piece of work and felt as if she or he had breathed life into the metal and given it a soul of sorts, as Moradin did long ago. Moradin taught the first dwarves the skills of smithing and metalworking, enabling them to exploit the riches of their homes in the mountains and craft items to allow further exploration. These early dwarves also learned toolmaking and weaponcrafting from Moradin, who watches over these activities still. No dwarven deity has a sacred or totem animal, and the holy symbols used to represent them are invariably not living objects. This derives in large part from some of the teachings of Moradin, who ruled that the dwarves must hold no other race above them; having an animal as a symbol would imply that animal was better than the dwarves. Likewise, Moradin said that the dwarves should not ever worship each other, so no dwarf or part of one is ever used as a holy symbol.

Dwarven Gods in Faerûn.

The Morndinsamman are intimately involved with the lives of their worshipers, and the Stout Folk as a whole are an unusually devout race. Faced with the slow decline of dwarves across Faerûn, the dwarven powers have become increasingly active as they seek to reverse that trend. Correspondingly, dwarven religion has assumed an increasingly important role in dwarven culture and society. The dwarven pantheon is predominantly male, reflecting the population imbalance between the two genders.

In many versions of the myths concerning the founding of the race, the earliest dwarves must fight their way up from the world's core to the mountains above, overcoming many dangers on the way. These are usually great monsters and physical hazards that the dwarves overcome by strength, combat, and physical skill, rather than by wit or trickery. These early myths are fully consistent with the way in which dwarven theology stresses the pragmatic and practical. There is absolutely no place for the arcane or mystical in dwarven myths, legends, and beliefs. It is unknown when or where dwarves appeared in the Realms, but most dwarven legends trace the earliest settlements of the Stout Folk back tens of thousands of years to the great mountain range known as the Yehimal. It is believed that in a great exodus from the Yehimal, the Stout Folk split into two (or possibly three) major branches as they spread across Faerun, Kara-Tur, and Zakhara. Those who came to Faerûn are believed to have first settled beneath modern-day Semphar before spreading westward, eventually fragmenting into four dwarven subraces.

The first great kingdom of dwarves in Faerûn was centered in the great cavern of Bhaerynden deep beneath the Shaar. The first great schism among the Stout Folk came with the founding of Shanatar beneath the lands of Amn, Erikazar, Tethyr, Calimshan, the Land of Lions, and the Lake of Steam. Emigrants from the Deep Realm merged with the scattered enclaves of dwarves already resident in the region to form a distinct subrace of the Stout Folk known today as the shield dwarves (mountain dwarves). Shield dwarves eventually founded most of the great dwarven nations of the North, from Oghrann to Gharraghaur. (The D'tarig of Anauroch are descendants of shield dwarves and humans, though their dwarven blood is now so thin that they are essentially a short human race and have totally forgotten the dwarven cultural ties.)

From the earliest shield dwarves, Dumathoin then created the urdunnirin. After the Crown Wars and the descent of the dark elves, Bhaerynden and the surrounding territories fell to the drow, and the dwarves of southern Faerûn were driven into exile and scattered. Those dwarves who fled as far as the jungles of Chult abandoned their subterranean homes and interbred with the small enclaves of dwarves already dwelling in the jungles. Their offspring were the ancestors of the wild dwarves (jungle dwarves) who dwell on the Chultan peninsula today. After the first drow kingdom of Telantiwar tore itself apart in civil war, the great cavern of Bhaerynden collapsed to form the Great Rift. Those dwarves who resettled the caverns of the Deep Realm surrounding the Great Rift were the ancestors of the gold dwarves (hill dwarves).

The last great schism among the Stout Folk occurred when an entire clan of shield dwarves, Clan Duergar, was enslaved by illithids some time before the founding of Deep Shanatar. The gray dwarves, as the duergar came to be known, were long absent from Shanatar before their rediscovery, and they spread through much of the Underdark during the intervening period. It is speculated that the legendary derro may be the result of breeding experiments by the illithids between gray dwarves and humans, but this has never been proven. Other minor branches of the dwarven race, including the desert dwarves of Maztica, the arctic dwarves of the Great Glacier, and the albino dwarves of Chult, are simply isolated clans of shield dwarves. Legends of a race of aquatic dwarves in the Sea of Fallen Stars have been conclusively discredited by every scholar who has looked into the question.

Various schisms in the dwarven pantheon have mirrored the fragmentation of the dwarven race in Faerun. The shield dwarves and gold dwarves still worship and perceive the Morndinsamman similarly, and both generally revere, or at least acknowledge, all of the High Dwarves. But the gray dwarves venerate Laduguer and Deep Duerra to the near exclusion of the other dwarven gods. Likewise, the legendary derro speak only of Diirinka, and in a handful of cases, Diinkarazan, much as the wild dwarves revere only Thard Harr.

There are those among the dwarves who blame the gods for the present decline of the race or who feel that the old gods are simply too weak or too out-of-touch with the wider world in which the dwarves must live to aid their folk successfully in the ages to come. Many dwarves have dabbled in new beliefs, including one that advocates mastery of wizardry as the key to the race's survival, one that promotes interbreeding with humans and gnomes coupled with secretive diplomacy (so as to dominate and eventually absorb these more fecund races), and so on. Most of these new beliefs have tended to come and go as passing fads, embraced for a time by each successive generation of young dwarves.

Due to long-standing tradition, most dwarven priests of dwarven deities before the Time of Troubles had to be of the same gender as their deity. Since the Time of Troubles, this stricture is not longer the absolute that is was, and all dwarven faiths now accept priests of either gender - reluctantly. Priests of the gender opposite their deity are likely to be treated gingerly or with slight resentment by their same-gender fellows and to be called upon to prove their commitment to their vocation often. Dwarven culture is very slow to adopt new customs.

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