Greyhawk: Return to the Classic
The dwarven pantheon collectively referred to as the Morndinsamman, which translates as either “shild brothers on high” or “high dwarves.” The pantheon is led by Moradin, the creator of the dwarves. It is a complex system of moral, social, political, philosophical, and religious thought that has had tremendous influence on the culture and history of both the Dwarves and the Flaness at large. In the Dwarven religion, dwarves are teachable, improvable and perfectible through personal and communal endeavour especially including self-cultivation and self-creation. A main focus of the religion is the cultivation of virtue and the development of moral perfection, the continued crafting of Moradin’s greatest achevement.
Moradin appears as a stern male dwarf twenty feet in height. He has powerful musculature, particularly in his upper body. His beard is long and flowing, reaching to his knees; it is depicted as either snow-white or coal-black. Moradin dresses plainly, wearing furs and the leather leggings and aprons of a humble smith. On his forearms are his only concession to vanity, a pair of pure gold bracers. In battle he wears dwarven plate and carries a large shield. His large, glowing war hammer is named Soulhammer. A pure white radiance of divine power radiates from the Dwarffather, though he can suppress this at will.
Moradin is the head of the dwarven pantheon. He is married to Berronar Truesilver. He counts Gruumsh and Maglubiyet among his fiercest foes, and he loathes the other gods of the orc, goblinoid, kobold, and evil giant pantheons as well. Beltar seeks revenge against Moradin for helping to supplant her authority over mines. Moradin is friendly with Bahamut, Fortubo (for whom he created the hammer Golbi), Pelor, Cyrrollalee, Garl Glittergold, Flandal Steelskin, and Kossuth, and enjoys a strategic alliance with Yondalla and Corellon Larethian.
In some dwarven realms, Moradin is said to be the father of Dumathoin, Abbathor, Laduguer, Clangeddin, Diinkarazan, Diirinka, Vergadain, Muamman Duathal, and Dugmaren Brightmantle, but the exact relationships and order of birth vary from culture to culture.
An alternate dwarven pantheon in Races of Stone consists of Moradin, Hanseath, Laduguer, Mya, Roknar, Tharmekhûl, Thautam, and Valkauna. Followers of Roknar claim he is Moradin’s brother, while Moradin’s priesthood say that Roknar is an ancient, unrelated evil that came into being shortly after Moradin created the dwarves. Tharmekhûl is Moradin’s assistant who tends his Eternal Forge. Thautam acts as Moradin’s kindly uncle. Mya is Moradin’s wife, as Berronar is not part of this pantheon.
Moradin’s realm is Erackinor, on the plane of Mount Celestia, which he shares with his wife Berronar. Erackinor appears as a vast mountain on Solania, the fourth layer of the plane (also known as the Electrum or Crystal Heaven). Within the mountain is the Soul Forge, where Moradin tempers the spirits of his people and their weapons. Dwarven theologians believe this Soul Forge provides heat for the entire layer of the plane, and that the smoke from it forms the mists that hang in the vales. The dwarven spirits that dwell in this realm spend their time building, forging, testing, and bettering the dwarven race. The towns of Istor’s Forge, Stonefall, the Rift, and Berronar’s Side are the largest settlements in the realm, all buried underground and comprising tunnels, shorings, living quarters, armories, and fine art.
Istor’s Forge is a lesser town built in a circle around a pool of pure light lava used for smelting and smithwork. The ruler of the town is Istor, a revered smith and consummate orator. He usually works in solitude, appearing only to deliver his motivational speeches.
The Stonefall is a narrow, V-shaped valley that blocks off most of the light of the plane and covered in thick, gritty dust from all the quarrymen, masons, sculptors, and miners who dweel there. Every surface is carved with stories, from the creation of the dwarf fathers, to the rise of all the kingdoms of dwarves who ever were, to the creation of the masterworks of the dwarven race. Also present are many statues and bas-reliefs of gargoyles, saints, and clan symbols.
The Rift is built around a long, narrow crevasse that is also the city’s main road and town square. It is more open and outward-looking than the other settlements in Erackinor, and anyone who has proven worthy to enter Solania is welcome to visit the Rift and purchase goods from its shops. Much of the trade is with the archons, the angelic rulers of the plane, and so common goods include lanterns, seals, scrolls, and other things celestial beings need.
Berronar’s Side is a fortified city half-exposed to the surface and half-buried in the mountain. A portal within leads to the Outlands and a road that goes to Dwarven Mountain, the realm of the gods Vergadain, Dumathoin, and Dugmaren Brightmantle. Another portal leads to Clangeddin’s realm in Arcadia. In the center of the city is a temple to Berronar, where the wise mystic Naugret the Elder tends to the hearth. When she speaks, the other petitioners of the town are quick to obey, as her prophecies have never failed.
The Soul Forge (called the Eternal Forge in The Complete Book of Dwarves and Races of Stone) is the birthplace of the dwarven race, where their seven fathers were forged, and where Moradin breathes life into every dwarf. It is a towering block of mithral, perceived as 40 feet tall by mortals, next to a pool of molten soulfire for softening and a wall of pure ice for tempering. The air is hot but never smoky. Moradin himself is almost always at the forge, overseeing dwarven spirits being forged (or reforged) and sent to the Prime Material Plane for birth or rebirth. Careless visitors risk being picked up, hammered into dwarven shape, and reincarnated against their will. The Forge also acts as a portal to any plane where dwarves live, and to the realms of all other dwarven gods. Nosy dwarves who appear to have so much time on their hands that they resort to pestering a busy creator god are often sent through a portal to some place where Moradin hopes they’ll make themselves useful. When Moradin is elsewhere, those who earn the right to do so by completing difficult tasks assigned by Moradin’s proxies may use the Forge to enhance any weapon.
Dwarves believe that Moradin is the father and creator of the dwarven race and, in many myths, creator of the entire universe. They teach that ceaseless toil and labor are the only fit occupations for a worthy soul. Fire tempers spirits, and wisdom comes from hard work. One must strive to forge strength within. Truth is buried deeper than ore in a mountain, and most of it is slag. Dwarves are expected to honor their god by improving their skills and fou nding new dwarven lands. They are told to honor the leaders of their clan just as they honor Moradin. They are taught the importance of following tradition and traditional ways.
Living ones life “purely” is core in the Dwarven religion. A simple way to appreciate Dwarven thought is to consider it as being based on varying levels of honesty, and a simple way to understand Dwarven thought is to examine the world by using the logic of ones proper place. In practice, the elements of Dwarven philosophy accumulated over time. There is classical Wuchang (五常) consisting of five elements: Ren (Universal Self), Yi (Righteousness), Li (Ritual), Zhi (Knowledge), Xin (Integrity), and there is also classical Sizi (四字) with four elements: Zhong (Loyalty), Xiao (Filial piety), Jie (Continency), Yi (Righteousness). There are still many other elements, such as Cheng (誠, honesty), Shu (恕, kindness and forgiveness), Lian (廉, honesty and cleanness), Chi (恥, shame, judge and sense of right and wrong), Yong (勇, bravery), Wen (溫, kind and gentle), Liang (良, good, kindhearted), Gong (恭, respectful, reverent), Jian(儉, frugal), Rang (讓, modestly, self-effacing). Among all elements, Ren (Universal Self) and Yi (Righteousness) are fundamental. Sometimes morality is interpreted as the phantom of Infinite Self and Righteousness.
Worshippers of Moradin believe in reincarnation, knowing that after proving themselves worthy that their souls are reforged in Moradin’s forge and sent back into the world of the living.
The Scrolls of Narvil tell a heretical story of how, after forging the world, the gods, and the dwarves, the Creator became weary and slept. Some of the lesser gods, jealous of his skill, bound him as he rested, then heated up the Great Forge of the Creator to make races in their own likenesses: humans, for example, and elves. Then they begun arguing over what part of the world would be given to which race; their clamor awoke the Creator, but the lesser gods laughed at him and refused to set him free. However, the lesser gods did not know how to control the Great Forge, and great gobules of molten stone fell from the Forge toward the Oerth; the Creator breathed on them from his place of bondage, giving life to the fragments and thus creating the first dragons (CBoD, 9).
Moradin charges his followers with defending dwarven civilization and its ancient traditions. To them falls the task of removing the dwarven kingdoms of orcs and wiping out the followers of Gruumsh. He is upset if they flee from their foes or kill their fellow dwarves.
Dwarven sorcerers are considered blessed by Moradin; their abilities are thus divinely granted. (RoS, 9)
Moradin’s clerics wear earthy colors, with chain mail and silvered helms. Ceremonial vestmens include shining, flowing robes of woven electrum wire, silvered helms, and earth-brown leather boots. His clerics are usually drawn from family lines, like most dwarven occupations. Many clerics of Moradin thus had parents and grandparents who were also clerics of Moradin and helped train them.
Novice clerics of Moradin are known as the Unworked. Full priests are known as Forgesmiths or the Tempered. In ascending order of rank, other titles used by priests of Moradin include: Adept of the Anvil, Hammer of War, Artisan of the Forge, Craftsman of Runes, Artificer of Discovery, and Smith of Souls. The High Old Ones of the faith have unique titles but are collectively known as High Forgesmiths.
Priests of Moradin seek to increase the status of dwarves in the Flanaess. They preside over a wide range of formal ceremonies and maintain geneologies and historical archives in cooperation with the clerics of Berronar.
Their favored weapon is the war hammer.
Hammers of Moradin
The Hammers of Moradin are an elite military order dominated by crusaders and fighting clerics with chapters in nearly every dwarven stronghold and members drawn from every dwarven clan. The Hammers serve both as commanders of dwarven armies and as an elite strike force skilled in dealing with anything from large groups of orcs to great wyrms to malevolent fiends from the Lower Planes.
The order is dedicated to the defense of existing dwarven holdings and the carving out of new dwarven territories. Individual chapters have a great deal of local autonomy but, in times of great crisis, a Grand Council (the reigning monarchs and senior Hammers of the affected region) assemble to plot strategy and divine Moradin’s will.
Another elite military order of Moradin is the Order of the Anvil of Light. which has been led by Barock Stormbeard of the Stormbeard clan for ages. The group’s latest information deals with a deity trying to return to the Material Plane.
On the monthly holy days, common and precious metals are sacrificed to Moradin by melting them down at the forge and reforming them into objects usable by the clergy. While making such offerings, participants kneel, chant, and reach bare-handed into the flames of the forge to handle the glowing metal directly. Moradin prevents harm to the truly faithful (Demihuman Deities, 80).
During such ceremonies, the priests enter the temple, bow to the forge, and (in times of peace) surrender their weapons to the temple guards after striking the anvil by the entry with their hammers once. Priests of other gods are not permitted to advance to the forge except with the express permission of a High Forgesmith or an avatar of Moradin himself. The service then consists of humble prayer and open discussion on current dwarven issues. This discussion is considered to be between equals, though the ranking priest of Moradin has the authority to open or close any given topic. The service ends with a rising chant until the smith’s hammer rises from the anvil of its own acccord; it may, or may not, then move about or glow to denote the god’s will, but it always rings on the anvil thunderously to signify the end of the ceremony (Demihuman Deities, 80).
Moradin’s prayers refer to metals and smithing: a common prayer to Moradin states “You burn the dross from me, but the iron remains.” Geneology is important to Moradin’s rites, with funeral prayers reciting the ancestry of the deceased for hundreds of generations (CD, 115).
Moradin’s holy days fall monthly; in some cultures this is when Luna is full, while in others it is when Luna is a crescent. IN addition, and High Forgesmith may call a holy day at any time, often doing so in celebration of some local event (Demihuman Deities, 80).
Temples to Moradin are always underground and carved from solid rock, but never set in unworked natural caverns. Hammers and anvils, the symbols of Moradin, are the dominant themes, as are statues of Moradin All-Father and the other gods of the dwarven pantheon (Demihuman Deities, 80).
At the center of every temple to Moradin is a vast forge (CD, 115). This forge is more than just a workplace but also a telinom, a sacred area. Dwarven forges rely not only on hammers and muscle but also on power derived from water and wind, thus fusing all four of the classical elements (DR#245). If the flame in the forge (which is protected by a permanent wall of fire effect) ever goes out, the temple must be abandoned or torn down stone by stone. Usually a new temple is built on another site, but occasionally the previous temple is rebuilt and reconsecrated (Demihuman Deities, 80).
- The Anvil of Songs
- The Axe of Ancestral Virtue contains the personality of one of Moradin’s high priests from ages past. This personality has been copied along with the weapon several times. It refuses to divulge its original name.
- Axe of the Dwarvish Lords
- The Brutal Pick
- The Earthheart Forge
- The Shaping Hammer
- The Shield of the Resolute is said to be forged from tiny pieces of hundreds of different shields taken from battlefields where dwarves fell defending their homelands.
Myths and legends
The Forging of the World
In the beginning, only the Eternal Forge existed, in the Home of the Maker, in the Caverns of the Everlasting Flame. The Maker places stone and fire in his Eternal Forge, and forged the world with his hammer and tongs. He created the mountains, hills, hollows, and valleys. Then he quenched the glowing-hot planet in the Trough of Life; the steam rose and formed into the first clouds. The waters of the Trough flowed into some of the valleys and formed seas. The Maker set the world on a pinnacle of pure mithral, and there it remains (CBoD, 7).
The Forging of the Gods
The Maker returned to the Eternal Forge and combined water from the Trough of Life with stone from the world he had just made, adding molten iron to strengthen it. He shaped this new alloy on the Anvil of Spirit, and from this alloy he created the other gods to assist him. He quenched their glowing-hot forms in the Trough of Life, then he opened their eyes and blew on them. The gods came to life. The Maker taught the Gods of Crafts how to make things that would please him, and taught the God of Fire to burn and fan the flames of life. He taught the Gods of the Elements, and revealed to them all the place that gods would have in the world he had made.
The Forging of the Dwarves
The Maker returned to the Eternal Forge and created the dwarves from rock and iron (CBoD, 7). He quenched their glowing-hot forms in the Trough of Life, and so they were awakened. Deities and Demigods (2002) has the dwarves created from metal and gems. In Player’s Secrets of Baruk-Azhik, the first eight dwarves are created from a greenish-silver metal called moraskorr and given gemstones as hearts. Carl Sargent, in Monster Mythology, writes that the Dwarf-Fathers were forged from iron and mithral hewn from the heart of the world. Dragon #245 states that dwarves were created from equal parts earth, air, fire, and water, and that the first dwarves were seven in number. Moradin left his seven children with two tools, the Anvil of Songs and the Shaping Hammer, with which they created the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords.
Each of the gods took one of the dwarves and revealed to them the secrets the Maker had taught them. The first king of the dwarves, called Frar in the The Complete Book of Dwarves and Silvervein Moradinson in Book of Artifacts, was given the gift of wisdom and told of the mithral pinnacle upon which the world rested. The dwarves ruled the world alone for a thousand years, spreading across the valleys and mountains of the world.
The Creation of the Other Races
The god of Evil, who goes unnamed in The Complete Book of Dwarves (as does the Maker), envied the Maker and his creations. In cold and cheerless caverns, the god of Evil created goblins, hobgoblins, evil giants, and other monsters. Lacking the pure water of the Trough of Life, the clay he made was tainted with his own impurities, and so his creations were as well. The god of Evil then sowed discontent among the other gods created by the Maker, and a few were persuaded by his twisted words and created races of their own. Thus it was that elves, gnomes, humans and other non-evil intelligent creatures came into being. Though less tainted than the creations of the god of Evil, they lacked the iron that had been forged into every dwarf’s soul.
The dragons, who had apparently been sleeping beneath the world since before it was made, were awakened by the diggings of the lesser races. In a panic, the lesser races appeased their fury by telling them of dwarven gold. The dwarves had to flee the caverns of the First Dwarves, creating new homes closer to the surface.
In Races of Stone, the other races were created first and the dwarves were created last. Moradin made each of the races on his forge, but each time he decreed them imperfect, sent them into the world to live as best they could, and begun again. Finally his wife Mya, goddess of wisdom, told him to look within his heart to find the design of the best race. Moradin saw the truth in her words and created a race that resembled himself. These were the dwarves, the perfect race.