Moradin is the creator god of the dwarven race, said to have created the first dwarves, forging them from earthly materials, metals and gems, in the fires that lie at the “heart of the earth”, and breathing life into the cooling forms before tutoring them in dwarven ways. All dwarves appease Moradin, even if they do not wholeheartedly support him.
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.
His titles include “Soul Forger”, the “Hammer of the Gods”, and the “Lord of the Forge”. His name is invoked by dwarves involved in smithwork or craftsmanship of any sort, and they give him homage by doing their best work and seeking to emulate his stonework and craftsmanship. Moradin is said to inspire dwarven inventions and seeks constantly to improve the race — increasing dwarven good nature, intelligence, and ability to exist in harmony with other living things. At the same time, he battles the pride and isolationist tendencies that occur naturally in his elite creations. His symbol is that of a runed smith's hammer and tongs, though this symbol is used infrequently as decoration.
Moradin is a stern and uncompromising defender of the dwarven people and the principles of law and good. He is a harsh but fair authority, judging dwarves on their achievements and the success of their endeavours, not just on their good hearts. The Soul Forger is strength and force of will embodied; the constellation of Moradin's Forge seen as a virtual extension of his incarnate being.
Moradin is said to have made the home of his forge on Solania, one of the seven peaks of Celestia, the Radiant Throne, where he feeds the flames of his forge from the fires at the heart of the earth. Celestia is said to be one of the dominions in the Astral Sea, consisting of alpine meadows, thickly forested valleys, and towering mountain ramparts of stone, snow, and ice, culminating in a range of seven mountains that run for about forty leagues and reach heights of over three leagues, surrounded by a narrow sea.
Three of the gods, Moradin, Bahamut, and Kord make their home on the peaks, that in ascending order are Venya (the haunt of Kord), Solania (where Moradin keeps his forge), Mertion (Bahamut's dwelling), Jusor, Fulghen, Perantia and Chronias. The exalted of the three gods engage eternally in a series of war exercises, the “Game of Mountains”.
In tunnels that pierce deep into the mountainside are Moradin's halls where “Torzak-Belgirn”, the metallic forge city lies. Within its halls stands the soul-forge of Moradin, the mighty foundry where the dwarf-father undertakes his greatest works.
Within Celestia, each god claims one of the realms' infinitely large mountains as his seat of power, and the three occasionally hold court with one another from mountaintop-to-mountaintop. They engage in a competition of sorts known as the Game of Mountains, though only they know the full details of the game.
The game is said to be a tradition between Moradin, Bahamut, and Kord, forming a friendly competition played for ceremonial control of the four great unclaimed mountains of Celestia. The winner determines the weather on the four lowest peaks in the season to come, which in turn tends to determine the weather across Celestia as a whole. Victory is considered good luck for the winning god's followers in the world.
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, challenge 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.
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 several languages since the Free Peoples populated The Islands. Although some religions believe in a continually evolving and developing holy book, The Hammer and Forge has not changed substantially in all the time since the founding of the first mines in the Metalspine Mountains, other than being translated into the common tongue and other languages.
The so-called “travelling 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 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.
Moradin's clerics and followers are most common throughout the mountains and amongst the towns and cities of The Islands. The overall church, although it no longer maintains a central control over widespread individual temples, nonetheless maintains a network of communications between different branches. Moradin may be considered God of Dwarvenkind, but his faith encompasses people from many different races.
Moradin and his mortal servants are very highly regarded in dwarven society, and his priests often serve as leaders in dwarven communities. Dwarven daily life is consumed with mining, smithcraft, engineering, and creative endeavours, and the Soul Forger's assistance is frequently acknowledged by most dwarven artisans. The only criticism of the Soul Forger's clergy, as expressed by younger dwarves across The Islands, is that Moradin's Forgesmiths are too set in their traditional ways and too slow to adapt to the changing world around them. Among the other human and demi-human races, Moradin's priests are perceived as prototypical dwarves and as the mortal manifestations of their god, and how this is interpreted depends on the viewer's general perception of and regard for dwarves.
The Soul Forger is the father and creator of the dwarven race and by seeking to emulate both his principles and his workmanship in smithcraft, stoneworking, and other tasks, the children of Moradin honour the Lord of the Forge. Wisdom is derived from life tempered with experience, and his clerics are encouraged to travel across The Islands to gain that valuable experience. Once a cleric has gathered enough life experience they are then supported in innovating, creating new processes and raising their skills, and testing and working them until they are refined and pure.
Novices of Moradin are known as the Unworked. Full priests of the Soul Forger are known as Forgesmiths and as the Tempered. In ascending order of rank, the titles used by Moradite priests are Adept of the Anvil, Hammer of War, Artisan of the Forge, Craftsman of Runes, Artificer of Discoveries, and Smith of Souls. High Old Ones have unique individual titles but are collectively known as the High Forgesmiths. Speciality priests are known as sonnlinor, a dwarvish word that can be loosely translated as those who work stone.
Moradin charges his followers with the task of protecting the lands and removing the blight of infestations of vermin that still exist across The Islands, such as giant rats and the denizens of the deepest caves. To this end, the “Border March” was established — a military scheme dedicated to preserving the knowledge of battle and warfare through education, physical exercise and constructed war games.
All clerics of Moradin have a high standard to which they must strive. The Church of Moradin is highly respected throughout The Islands, and most races view Moradin's clerics favourably. 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.
Ceremonial vestments for priests of Moradin include flowing, shining robes of woven wire of electrum treated with blueshine. Other ceremonial garb includes silvered helms, silver-plated warhammers, and earth-brown leather boots. When participating in military exercises with the Border March, Moradin's clergy members favour chain mail or dwarven plate mail, a helm, and a medium or large shield. Priests of the Soul Forger are skilled in the use of the warhammer, but many favour other weapons as well, such as battles axes, broad swords, and hand axes.
Duties of the Priesthood: The church of Moradin observes a fairly rigid and strict hierarchy, with one of the more organised and formalised faiths, despite the loose links between each church and temple. 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.
Priests of Moradin strive to restore the dwarven races to strong numbers and a position of influence in The Islands, by increasing the status of dwarves within the wider human-dominated society prevalent across the lands. They preside over a wide range of formal ceremonies (consecrations of forges, temples, and other buildings, etc.) and the education of the young, especially in the teaching of craft. Many of Moradin's clerics have parents and grandparents who were also clerics of the Soul-Forger, so many clerics train for their calling from childhood with a father or mother as a teacher.
Limitations and 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.
Druids are very rare within Moradin's church, with less than a handful known across The Islands. They follow many of the practices and tenets prescribed in the rest of the church, but do spend much of their time investigating the flora and fauna of the mountains and using their skill and craftsmanship to construct natural solutions to help mining efforts work in synergy with the local ecology, as well as research and innovate with the local flora to create salves and potions to help the ill, weak or needy. Many of these live in the mountains and subterranean caverns, often to a degree of isolationism as hermits. The last well-known druid associated with the dwarves and Moradin was Yrsa, often known as the “Old Lady of the Mountain”, who in her venerable years passed away in The Year of the Thistle (885).
“The Hammers of Moradin” are an elite military order dominated by paladins that serve as commanders of the Border March and set out the military exercises required to keep the populace of The Islands skilled and learned in military combat. The order is dedicated to the defence of both dwarven and other races across The Islands and the Border March comprises volunteers from all across the lands.
Moradin draws many worshippers to him, of every race and creed. Most of them are common folk that work in some area of skill or trade that involves craftsmanship, who often call upon him to bless their works or aid them in times when they are creating some piece of worth.
Priests entering a temple of Moradin bow to the forge and surrender any weapons. Priests of Moradin strike the anvil standing by the entry once with their hammers before surrendering them to faithful dwarven warriors. At least seven warriors are usual at any shrine, but four will always be there. Priests of another faith, without permission of a High Old One, cannot advance beyond the wall of fire, a knee-high, permanent magical effect surrounding the central forge. Priests of Moradin engage in humble, verbal prayer and open, earnest discussion of current dwarven problems and issues, more so than any other priesthood. Such discussion is considered to be between equals (even if non-dwarves participate), save that the ranking priest of Moradin has the sole authority to open and close discussion on a particular topic.
Worship usually ends with a rising, quickening chant in unison of: “The dwarves shall prevail, the dwarves shall endure, the dwarves shall grow!” This is repeated, ever more loudly, until the plain, massive, battered smith's hammer on the largest anvil of the forge rises from the anvil of its own volition (moved by the power of the listening god). It may (or may not) move about or glow to denote the god's will, marked pleasure, or agreement. It descends gently to the anvil, though it comes to rest with a thunderous ring as if brought down with all the strength of a powerful dwarf.
Moradin's prayers are replete with references to metals and smithing and melted metals are sacrificed to him monthly in many temples. One of the most common prayers for intercession begins, “You burn the dross from me, but the iron remains.” Genealogy and heritage are important aspects of Moradin's rites. A funeral for a Moradin worshipper is a grand, solemn spectacle, with chants that describe the lineage of the deceased stretching back all of the way to the Great Retreat.
Rituals are performed while making offerings, which involve chanting, kneeling, and reaching barehanded into the flames of the forge (Moradin prevents harm to the truly faithful) to handle red- and white-hot objects directly.
Places of Worship
Temples of Moradin are usually located underground and carved out of solid rock, though never set in natural caverns. Some are built on the surface, notably at Deepingwald and Port Serena, and are constructed of sturdy stone. Moradin's temples usually resemble vast smithies dominated by one or more grand halls of hardworking dwarven craftsmen. Hammers and anvils, the signs of the god, are the dominant decorative themes, as are statues of the Lord of the Forge. The centre of the Soul Forger's shrine or temple is a great ever-burning hearth and a forge of the finest quality, surrounded by the wall of fire. Should the hearth be extinguished (something the Soul Forger's priests will go to any length to prevent), the temple is abandoned or torn down stone by stone. Usually, the temple is entirely rebuilt and reconsecrated, but occasionally another temple is built on a new site entirely.
His temples often feature impressive and elaborate stonework, usually decorated with intricate metalworking and stone-carving, and although not large or imposing, leave viewers with a sense of awe. At the other end of the scale are the shrines dedicated to Moradin in nearly every blacksmith's forge across The Islands, making them a place of both labour and worship — twin concepts that the Lord of the Forge truly appreciates.
Within the halls and chambers of kel-Morndin lies the temple of the “Hall of Silver” where the priests of Moradin craft items at the “Forge of Life” all day and all night. Steam and smoke mix in the air before being drawn up ingenious chimneys and the priests chant their liturgies as they work at their craft. Many a wonder has been crafted here in Moradin's name, led by the High Forgesmith Ufur Snowbane who has been in the position since the Year of the Trail (903).
Those who worship the Soul Forger gather monthly around the forge to celebrate the Lord of the Forge and to make offerings at the time of the crescent moon. Such offerings are of common or precious metals — especially those already worked by dwarven hands into items of beauty or practical use, such as tools or ornamented hardware — . Sacrifices of common or precious metals are melted down at the forge and reformed into shapes usable by the clergy.
Spark of the Anvil (Last Crescent Moon of the Year): the last of the monthly gatherings of the year, this holy day is celebrated in the forges and temples across the lands as a time to meditate on the meaning of family and how they may be better mothers, fathers, siblings, and children and how the strength of family can add to the strength of work that can be crafted. Worship consists of dancing in slow, stately shifting around the flame of the forge, wearing and displaying as much gold and other wealth as the dwarves possess. Each dwarf throws at least one precious piece into the flame, where it is consumed utterly. The dance ends when the flames leap upward, a sign of acceptance. Lights are then lit and those gathered discuss business.
The Shining Forge (between Hammer and Alturiak): takes place on Midwinter when the central star of the anvil's face in the constellation of Moradin's Forge is at its brightest. At this time many of the dwarves believe they can forge their best pieces and all across The Islands bellows are pumped and coals rise to high temperatures as apprentices make their final pieces and mastersmiths create their best jewellery, arms, and armour.
Many of the relics said to exist within Moradin's clergy are based upon forge tools, or weapons and armour. As a whole, they are relics of legend, and there is no evidence that any of these items exist, or indeed have ever existed.
The Axe of Ancestral Virtue is said to be an ornate great axe, imbued with the personality of one of Moradin's high priests volunteered to be bound with the weapon. The priest, who refuses to reveal his old name, is a fierce warrior who urges his owner to attack the ancient enemies of the dwarves (goblinoids and giants of fables) at every available opportunity. He takes great delight in illuminating targets, curing his owner of wounds, and granting godspeed. He judges wielders on how well they adhere to traditional dwarven culture, and rebels mightily against non-dwarves who so much as pick him up. Of course, simply the idea of a personality embedded within a weapon is enough for most scholars to agree that this relic is simply a myth.
Within the depths of kel-Morndin it is said there may be a matching pair of the Shield of the Resolute used by guardians of a forgotten shrine to Moradin. These heavy shields are made from hundreds of strips of mithral, each a different size, riveted together. It is said that shields of the resolute are assembled from pieces of shields from hundreds of dwarves who fell in battle defending the Old Continent, and were brought across the Great Sea during the time of the Great Retreat.
One of the fabled tools of the forge is that of the Gauntlet of Moradin, a forging glove made of the finest links of metal. Within the centre of the palm of the gauntlet is a brilliant gem, that can devour the heat from flame, store it, and then channel it back outward in a concentration of force at the wearer's will. Such a gauntlet would enable a smith to create artefacts of significant beauty and power.
Myths and Legends
The Anvil's Beat. This is a long-running myth within the dwarven community surrounding the constellation of Moradin's Forge in the eastern heavens. Upon the Holy Day of The Shining Forge, once every several hundred years, the stars of the Forge blaze with glory, and it is during this time that the dwarves can create great artefacts of power.
Signs and Portents
The Soul Forger demonstrates his favour through the revelation of rare metals, by the appearance of his symbol on an anvil after a hammer blow or on an item after it is removed from the forge, or by a nimbus of fire that envelops (without burning) an item of great workmanship immediately after it is completed. The Soul Forger indicates his displeasure by the sudden breaking of an item in its grafting (usually a weapon), by suddenly extinguishing a forge fire, or by causing an anvil to shatter into hundreds of pieces when struck.