Thrice The Brinded Cat
A single yellow spire in the middle of town marks the presence of the Church of Pelor. Having the last four elderly head priests die in recent years, young Kristof Jurgensen currently finds himself with very few in his flock.
Kristof’s only acolyte is our own Braeden. The two have grown up together as friends and both fervently took up the mantle of church leaders after the passing of the last elder two years ago.
The Church of Pelor in Cauldron has not flourished under the guidance of Kristof and Braeden, but it has not suffered, either.
Kristof is work-weary and tired and has just begun turning to partaking in his temple’s rich supply of wine to help ease his troubles. First and foremost on his mind is the lack of patrons at his church. The Church of Pelor in Cauldron was, at one time, the largest church in the city. However, with the recent loss of the elders, his flock has largely diminished. And things look to get even worse as most of his 100 or so patrons are getting advanced in years.
Second, the Cauldron City Council raised taxes this year. At first, the tax was to be levied against the mercantile trade, but the strong merchant’s guild got the Council to back off. Instead, the Council turned on the churches. Kristoff was working toward paying off the normal 100 gold annual tax (of which he has 73 gold set aside in the temple coffers), but now he has one month to meet the new tax of 500 gold!
Finally, Kristoff is certain that Embril Aloustinai and the Church of Wee Jas is out to get him and get rid of the Church of Pelor from Cauldron. Long has he suspected the young Embril of plotting with the Council and other Cauldron entities to make life tough on him and his congregation, but now he thinks he has proof. Recently, the monolithic Church of Wee Jas began construction of an even taller tower. This one, Kristoff is sure, will end up blocking the rays of the sun from reaching the spire of Pelor’s temple and thus, effectively, blocking Pelor’s power from reaching the temple.
Braedon recently showed up at the Church of Pelor only to find Kristoff drunk off the church wine. He had pulled down some of the bronze-cast symbols of Pelor that normally hang reverently within the chapel and he was talking to them. One of the casts he referred to as, “Mike” and the other as “Sally”.
Quite a bit is known about the deity Pelor:
Pelor is the god of the Sun, Light, Strength, and Healing. He is known as the Shining One, and the Sun Father. He is known as the creator of much that is good. His holy symbol is a face in a sun.
A Flan deity, Pelor is worshipped throughout the Flanaess, and on other worlds as well. He rides a mighty ki-rin named Star Thought, summoning eagles and destroying evil with bolts of light. He is depicted as an older man with wild golden hair and beard, dressed in robes of shining white.
Pelor was known as Sol by the early Oeridians. The Solnor Ocean is named for him.
Among the Bakluni, Pelor is known as Al’Asran. Al’Asran is said to have granted the legendary Cup and Talisman to Al’Akbar. A number of Pelor’s followers have achieved deity or near-deity status, the most popular being Mayaheine, demigoddess of protection, justice, and valor, and Saint Bane the Scourger, patron saint of those who hunt the undead. Another saint, Saint Jalnir the Gentle, was a half-orc priest. Saint Benedor of the Ashen Hand, patron of the Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom, was a famous Pelorian paladin and remains greatly revered by the Sun Lord’s faithful.
Among the other gods, Pelor is allied most closely with Mayaheine, and very closely allied with Rao as well. Pelor’s other allies include Heironeous, Saint Cuthbert, Pholtus, Trithereon, and Zodal. Pelor’s priests have been known to help mediate disputes between St. Cuthbert’s followers and Pholtus’s. Pelor is friendly to good-aligned nonhuman deities such as Corellon Larethian, Moradin, and Garl Glittergold, and is especially friendly to those with an agricultural or solar aspect, as Yondalla has.
Pelor opposes all evil deities and his followers avoid neutral deities with teachings counter to Pelor’s. Pelor particularly loathes Tharizdun, having played a role in the Dark God’s imprisonment, and Nerull.
The Fortress of the Sun, once known as Light’s Blessing, is Pelor’s realm in Elysium. Pelor’s domain, once a vast manor surrounded by orchards, vineyards, and farmland for miles, is now (since he assumed a more martial aspect during the Greyhawk Wars) a gold-plated citadel that forms a beacon atop the largest island of Elysium’s layer of Thalasia. It’s said the sun there warms the hearts of the good and illuminates the secret acts of the evil.
Pelorians believe that the life-giving sun is the best cure for all of Oerth’s ills. Justice and freedom are brought about through charity, modesty, preseverance, and self-sacrifice. Pelor’s priests teach that the truly strong don’t need to prove their power. Pelorians strive to perform so many good acts that evil has no room in which to exist, though they will fight if necessary. Pelor is wrathful against the forces of evil, and is especially opposed to the undead. However, Pelor urges his followers to remember that excessive attention to things of evil can blind one to the truly important things: compassion and goodness. These are what must be emphasized above all.
Pelorian dogma has it that the energy and power of life originates in the sun.
- In the Sun Father’s Hand is a controversial text accepted at present by only a handful of Pelorian temples. It was written about 476 CY by a woman named Tephos. Tephos was not a priest, but she believed herself to be Pelor’s chosen representative on Oerth. Somehow she performed miracles, including curing an entire village of plague, before writing about her beliefs and vanishing in front of her disciples in a flash of golden light. Tephos taught that all property should be held communally, that society should return to a more “natural” state like that assumed to exist before the spread of civilization, and that clerics were unnecessary; Pelor could intervene directly instead. Most branches of the Pelorian faith consider Tephos to be gifted but delusional.
- The Light of Pelor is the most common Pelorian holy book, beginning with Pelor’s creation of the sun and telling of how Pelor instructed the first mortals. Some turned against his teachings, thus creating evil, and this evil spirit has waxed and waned over time. Some versions portray Pelor as the sun (Liga) itself, rather than its creator, and tell of Pelor’s attempts to win back those who have strayed from his light. The Light of Pelor only has minor variations in it, and all are considered canonical, despite these small discrepancies. The book is often enchanted to glow with a soft solar radiance when it’s closed, and some versions are gilded.
Pelor is a popular deity, much-beloved by the commonfolk. He is particularly revered in the Bright Lands (as Aurifar), among the Rovers of the Barrens, in Dyvers, Geoff, the Free City of Greyhawk, Nyrond, Perrenland, Sterich, Sunndi, Tenh, and Urnst (both the Duchy and the County). In his Baklunish aspect, Pelor is one of the major deities of the nation of Ekbir. He is worshiped on at least one other world, the homeworld of Mayaheine. The Prelacy of Almor was founded by a paladin of Pelor after the Battle of a Fortnight’s Length, and though the nation became ruled by an ecumenical council, it remained the greatest center of Pelor’s faith until Almor was destroyed during the Greyhawk Wars.
Although Pelor’s church has a few heresies and schisms, the head priests of his powerful temples are in contact with one another and with the religion’s overall leadership. If the secular leaders of one nation place an onerous tax on Pelor’s temples, word will spread through Pelor’s hierarchy. Other nations might be persuaded by their Pelorians to apply diplomatic pressure to get the tax repealed.
Pelor’s clergy heal the sick, bless crops, help the needy, and destroy evil and the undead. They are caring and nurturing, with backbones of steel. The Pelorian priesthood attracts many naive youths to his service, but training is rigorous enough to send many of them back to their farms. Pelor’s elite priests are called Radiant Servants. Pelor’s favored weapon is the mace (heavy or light). Vestments are typically yellow or gold.
Pelor is served by a small number of druids, who behave in ways similar to his clerics, but with a greater emphasis on the care of plants and animals. They usually associate themselves with settlements rather than living as hermits, aiding the community with their hands, spells, and animal companions wherever they can. They are considered to have priest status within the Pelorian church, though they have a separate hierarchy. Pelor is also worshipped in the Old Faith, where he is considered the god of summer.
Pelorian paladins, known as Crusaders, are rare, having appeared in large numbers only since the Greyhawk Wars. They are about as common as Mayaheine’s paladins, though the demigoddess’s church is much smaller than Pelor’s. Pelor’s paladins see themselves as the burning light of the sun which scours away darkness and evil and brings strength and comfort to the innocent. Though uncommon, they can be found in nearly every nation in the Flanaess, their dress varying according to the local culture. They are most common in Nyrond, the Urnst States, and the Sheldomar Valley.
Crusaders believe that laws are helpful, but that they are at best a secondary goal and must be tempered with mercy. Their slogan is Equity for the Meek with Perseverance and Strength.
When not in formal dress, Crusaders favor light-colored tunics, particularly sky blues, pale greens, or grays. Some dress in commoner’s clothing, especially when serving as community healers or in disguise. On formal occasions, they wear a black cloak emblazoned with the symbol of the sun. They blend into the darkness, only the shining symbols visible to their foes.
An ancient order of Oeridian paladins predating the Great Migrations, the Lords of Sol, are now extinct, but their history is closely bound to that of the Aerdi tribes who founded the Great Kingdom. By the time of the Migrations, Hextor and Heironeous had gained greater popularity and largely subsumed the traditional roles of the Lords of Sol.
Pelor’s services involve communal prayer, the singing of hymns, and the distribution of alms. Prayers to Pelor are often affirmations in the first person, for example, “I am merciful, just as the Sun of Mercy shines on me.” Weddings and rites of passage often take place at the beginning of a new season. Farmers often request a ritual known as the Blessing of the Sun-Kissed Field.
Pelor’s temples are tall, with large windows; many are stained-glass cathedrals. They are arranged so that the sun shines into most of the rooms during the day, and many feature large courtyards. They tend to be airy and blindingly white. Temple trappings are typically yellow or gold. They are always kept clean. Many Pelorian temples have hospital wings.
Pelor’s major holy days generally take place on the solstices and equinoxes of the Greyhawk Calendar.
- Breadgiving Day. On this day, taking place on the 4th of Needfest (the Winter Solstice), Greyhawk’s clerics of Pelor, Rao, and Saint Cuthbert distribute food to the poor.
- The Feast of Edoira. The Pelorians of Greyhawk also join Raoans in this interfaith celebration, occuring on Growfest 4.
- Midsummer’s Day. This day, also known as the Holy Day of Pelor, takes place on Richfest 4, the day of the Summer Solstice.
Famed relics of Pelor include the maces called Dawnstars and the holy symbols known as the Shards of the Sun. Both are described in Complete Divine.
An artifact of Pelor’s is hidden in the Caves of Deadly Shadows.
- There are four Dawnstars. They were gifts from Pelor to four solars who rescued a paladin from the bowels of Hell.
- The Shards of the Sun are described in Pelorian holy texts as “Pelor’s gift,which I carry into darkness—a sun that never sets.”
- Ajira’s Rod is a relic of a legendary paladin called Ajira. Some of his bones were placed in the hilt of his mace, becoming the relic. It glows, removes disease, and regenerates its wielder.
- ‘Ronnam’s Icon was named for a Pelorian cleric who had been apprenticed to a smith. He created his holy symbol itself; it was flawed, a crude thing of mere bronze, but he wore it as a rebuke to those who revered only beauty. The icon has special qualities against undead, and its solar rays can turn into gold to use to feed the needy. It has been lost since 594 CY, when the cleric Devlim Handorgan disappeared on a raid in the lands of Iuz.
- Parable of the Hungry Man. This myth tells of a man who was driven to crime out of a combination of desperate poverty and foolish pride. His community forgave him and fed and clothed him when his perfidy was discovered.
- Punishment of the Undead. This myth tells of the origin of vampires, said to have been cursed by Pelor after turning from his light to the pursuit of evil magic. The myth suggests that Pelor would forgive them, if only they would ask.
- Gift of Eternal Light. This is an epic saga of an ancient kingdom threatened upon by mortal, demonic, and undead evil. Though sorely tested by their foes, the people of the kingdom had their morale restored each morning at the sight of the rising sun. In a climactic battle, the sun’s rays helped defeat the demons and undead, and the Pelorians were victorious. An interesting detail is that this myth claims the sun’s rays are the spirits of the righteous, a claim that no other Pelorian texts makes.