Pelor is the most commonly worshipped god amongst the peoples of The Islands, particularly those of human origins. Whilst Moradin is worshipped with great strength within the dwarven community, and Corellon revered by the elves, there are still great numbers of those races that still include Pelor as part of their daily lives and as such there is usually at least one shrine to his name in nearly every settlement across The Islands. His clerics are well respected and honoured and often find themselves the focus of great hospitality when they wander far from the major cities.
Pelor is commonly thought to be the near embodiment of goodness in the world. As the sun god, and that of agriculture as well as the seasonal god of summer he is thought to be the author of life. He is a healing force and the enemy of evil spirits through his gifts. He is also a god of strength, for he advocates that the weak must be protected by those capable. His domains comprise the protection of the common man: ensuring good harvests, the rising of the sun and opposing drought and blight and the infestation of vermin in the fields.
He is known primarily as “The Radiant Lord”, although has other terms used often, such as “The Shining One” or “The Golden Light”. A name sometimes used early in the Annals is that of “Keeper of the Flame”, but it is less used in common practice. His symbol is that of a shining sun, blazing out of a clear sky and is used to decorate his temples, as well as priests' vestments and implements.
In the time of the Great Retreat it is said that Pelor played a pivotal role. Although much lore is lost from that time it is said he lit a great beacon on the Old Continent from which the gathered troops of the remaining Free People drew their strength to protect those that retreated over the Great Sea. Some say a divine light also led the people to The Islands and the safety of those shores. This may be true, but it is also just as likely that this was a reference to the constellation of The Light of Pelor, a shining beacon of the north star, high in the sky, that would have helped those sailors navigate until they found land.
He is said to dwell within the Astral Sea in Hestavar, the Bright City. The cosmopolitan heaven of Hestavar is the most beautiful, richest, and civilized city on the plane, and this light-drenched oasis can feel familiar and downright cozy in contrast to the weird void of the Astral Sea that surrounds it. Its grand architecture and gem-paved streets shine brightly upon the stone settings of its lagoon's islands and earthmotes. Its gardens and parks are both lush and manicured, retaining their verdant beauty. Within these gardens stands the golden palace of “Aurosion” and it is here Pelor lives with Erathis, goddess of civilization, inventions and law, who it is implied he is in a relationship with. The two are known as “the King and Queen of Light”.
The palace of “Aurosion” is also known as “The Fortress of the Sun”, or even “Light's Blessing” is a beacon of light and civilisation in the centre of Hestavar, It is said that the sun there warms the hearts of the good and illuminates the secret acts of evil.
Though it is only implied with the moniker of “the King and Queen of Light”, Pelor and Erathis may or may not have a relationship between them. Through scripture and believed action it is thought he approves of Erathis' mission, and she is always depicted on his left hand side, an artistic interpretation of being his wife.
His antithesis is The Raven Queen, goddess of death, fate and doom, and the seasonal goddess of winter.
Along with Erathis, the god Ioun dwells in Hestavar, in the halls of Kerith-Ald, where the greatest academic minds of the planes ponder the mysteries of the universe. Pelor and Ioun's relationship is a constructive one, with Ioun pledged to direct Pelor's scribes on the ways and arts of recording the annals of history.
Tenets of the Faith
Alleviate suffering wherever you find it. As a god, Pelor has no need for or interest in wealth, power, or offerings from mortals. The only sincere and proper way to serve Pelor is to provide aid and comfort to mortals. He calls upon his clerics to feed the starving, bring water to those dying of thirst, cure the sick, and heal the wounded. As opposed to evil and corruption as Pelor may be, he places the needs of the innocent first and foremost. Alleviating suffering must come first; there will always be time to smite evil later.
Bring Pelor's light into places of darkness, showing kindness, mercy, and compassion. Clerics of Pelor often pass where others refuse to enter. They are called by their faith to bring Pelor's radiant light everywhere. They illuminate the darkness with his light, giving hope to the good and bringing fear to the wicked. Bringing Pelor's light thus serves two purposes.
Be watchful against evil. Pelor calls upon his clerics to be vigilant and watchful against the spread of evil, deceit and lies, seeking it out and opposing it wherever it arises. Although Pelor's faith is not as zealous in the pursuit and destruction of evil compared to that of Bahamut (for example), the Radiant Lord nonetheless demands his servants share the burden of the eternal conflict. At times, direct confrontation becomes necessary. Often, however, opposing evil has more to do with healing and aiding the needy and the helpless, and correcting the lies and misinformation that has been spread, than it has to do with warfare or violence. The best way to resist evil is to prevent it, usually by removing the conditions that permit evil to spread unchecked. Discontent, loss, fear, and anger serve as the breeding ground for corruption and evil.
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 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 is closed, and some versions are gilded.
The Golden Light of Pelor is one of the most popular and well-read religious texts available. Unlike the works of many other religions, The Golden Light features exquisite prose intermingled with important lessons and parables related to Pelor's teachings. The book has proven remarkably popular even outside of Pelor's church, and it is often paraphrased or retold by bards in countless taverns and playhouses across The Islands. The stories contained within the book are almost lyrical in their beauty.
The Golden Light of Pelor has undergone numerous revisions and adaptations. At present, there are two primary versions and several lesser-known variants. The main version is sometimes referred to as the “Rooks'” version. It has been translated into both elvish and dwarvish and has undergone many minor revisions and alterations across the years, usually with the intent of keeping the work updated for modern audiences. The majority of Pelor's worshippers are most familiar with the Rooks' version, and this is the text most commonly taught.
The other version, the Orthodox version, has not undergone any major changes (at least according to its adherents) since the book's original writing, other than translation into elvish. There exists within Pelor's church a strong and vocal orthodox faction that views their version of The Golden Light the “authentic” version and the only proper one to use.
Pelor is a popular deity, greatly beloved by the commonfolk. He is particularly revered amongst the farmers of The Islands for his influence over agriculture and the summer season, but his reach extends to all of the Free Peoples. Although Pelor's church has a few heresies and schisms, the head priests of his powerful temples across The Islands are in contact with one another and with the religion's overall leadership in Deepingwald. If the secular leaders of one city place an onerous tax on Pelor's temples, word will quickly spread through Pelor's hierarchy. Other cities 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 keep a watchful eye on the spread of lies and misinformation. They are caring and nurturing, with backbones of steel. His clerics travel widely from place to place, educating people, helping the needy, and protecting the defenseless. No other faith enjoys the broad popularity and appreciation as Pelor's. Even given the oftentimes-patriarchal nature of the Church, Pelor's clerics are viewed favorably by people from all walks of life.
The Pelorian priesthood attracts many naive youths to his service, but training is rigorous enough to send many of them back to their farms. All clergy undergo rigorous martial training to ensure their bodies are fit and healthy, but a large portion of their induction is in the skill of writing and recording information. Martial training is often conducted with a round-headed mace, Pelor's favoured weapon, with the orb as the sun, and the spikes as the rays of the Radiant One. Scriptures are copied verbatim in banks of desks with inkwells and only those that are able to master both the art of calligraphy and of illumination are allowed to stay and continue their studies.
Those that are deemed fit to progress to the priesthood are granted vestments of yellow or gold and may then progress up the ranks over time. Pelor's elite priests are called “Radiant Servants”, though the path to such heights is long and arduous and those that rise to this level are usually well into their aging years and a position must be available. The Year of Unfettered Secrets (880) was the last time a Radiant Servant was anointed in the flame of the temple of Pelor's Light as Tremak of Deepingwald was elevated to the upper ranks of Pelor's devotion.
Duties of the Priesthood: Clerics of Pelor, whether they serve in a specific temple, travel from community to community, or cloister themselves away in a monastery, live under the same overall expectations.
The first and most important duty relates to relations with other people. Clerics of Pelor demonstrate their devotion to the Sun God through their treatment of other people. Thus, clerics of Pelor donate to charities, volunteer for good causes, advise the forlorn, guide the lost, and educate the young. Because Pelor is a god and needs nothing from mortals, the best way to serve him is to help those who need it most — other goodly creatures.
Pelor's clerics also strive to fight evil and protect the innocent from evil's corrupting influences of deceit and lies. Many people lack the strength or the will to protect themselves from deception, dishonesty or treachery. Clerics of Pelor have the training, education, spiritual guidance, and power to defend people and combat this evil. In this way, his clerics often see themselves as the vanguard against the dark forces of the world. They serve on the front lines of the eternal battle between good and evil. Pelor's clerics fight to defend others and preserve the moral compass of their fellow creatures.
Although Pelor and Bahamut share similar attitudes towards evil, these two gods and their mortal churches pursue these attitudes somewhat differently. Whereas Bahamut's clerics are aggressive in attacking evil, the followers of Pelor are urged to give consideration first to the weak and the defenseless. A number of Bahamut's tenets promote this same attitude, but in current times his followers have become increasingly zealous about destroying evil, with less concern for the collateral damage their war inflicts. Pelor's clerics often end up cleaning up the mess left by their Bahamut brothers.
Limitations and Sacrifices: All clerics of Pelor are expected to tithe their income to the church. In addition, priests of Pelor are strongly encouraged to pursue a life of sparse need and avoid a focus on earthly possessions or property. When an individual first enters one of Pelor's seminaries, he surrenders his family name and takes on a name assigned by the church. As part of that act, the would-be priest turns over his land and property to the church's coffers, including any inheritances.
Although Pelor's priests are permitted to marry, such an event is rare and sometimes considered inappropriate, especially amongst the orthodox faction, where taking a spouse is considered a sin.
It is forbidden for a priest of Pelor to willingly surrender control of his wits, especially through ingestion of alcohol or narcotics of any sort. When presented with alcohol, a Pelor cleric is expected to stick with watered wine or beer, and avoid hard liquor. Any similar habits, including pipeweed or cigars, are discouraged by the church as destructive to the body, and therefore inimical to the soul's health.
Being a cleric of Pelor carries with it considerable responsibility, especially in the public eye. Most people hold the Church of Pelor to a higher standard than the servants of almost any other faith. Clerics of Pelor are often considered the best and the noblest of clergy, at least one par (and sometimes above) those of Bahamut. This expectation lays a heavy burden on every priest's shoulders, calling him to constantly demonstrate his devotion to Pelor, his willingness to sacrifice, and his dedication to serving his fellow man.
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, crops and the local wildlife of The Islands. 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.
With a growing populace spread over a small area, the druids serving Pelor across The Islands are often devoted to improving the yield of crops and generating new ways to grow food. As harvest time arrives both their blessings and their hard working ethic is welcomed amongst the farming communities.
Pelorian paladins, known as Crusaders, are very rare, and a more of a relic from the time of the Great Retreat. Only a handful are known across the Islands, serving as protectors in the main temples across Deepingwald, Capel-Treath, and Port Serena. Their purpose — of being the burning light of the sun which scours away darkness and evil and brings strength and comfort to the innocent — is somewhat tempered in the relative safety of The Islands, but it is still the underlying tenet to which they serve.
Crusaders wear formal dress within the temples and when they are on duty. This dress consists of ornate, but serviceable, plate mail buffed to reflect the sun's rays topped with a golden-coloured helm. A kite shield, with the symbol of the sun, is held in one hand and a mace in the other. Some of these maces are said to be Dawnstars, a fabled weapon. Formal dress is complete with a black cloak emblazoned with the symbol of the sun. When not in formal dress, Crusaders favor light-colored tunics, particularly sky blues, pale greens, or yellows.
Many of Pelor's worshippers are humans, and most of them are the common folk that work the lands. He is not picky though, and accepts all those willing to embrace his message.
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.
Places of Worship
Pelor's temples are tall, with large windows; many use as much stained-glass as possible. 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.
Almost every civilized community has a church or at least a shrine devoted to Pelor. The larger temples, although considered the best place to conduct religious ceremonies, are usually limited to the larger towns and cities. People in small towns and villages usually congregate at their local church. It is also said that Pelor appreciates worship conducted at dawn, especially amidst a field or orchard.
Pelor's Church features the largest and most inspiring temples in the world. In the Harbour Quarter of the Old City of Deepingwald stands the largest, Pelor's Light, an enormous cathedral over three chains in height, likely challenging the height of the “King's Feet” statue, higher up the cliff, when it was first built. It features innovative designs, beautiful stained glass windows, and a number of distinctive embellishments that have been added over the years. It was likely one of the first buildings constructed in the Old City, although it has been extended multiple times, and is an excellent example of the building style in those days, still true to its origins.
Pelor's major holy days generally take place on some of the solstices and equinoxes of the Calendar of Harptos, although other seasonal holidays have some connection to Pelor's faith.
Pelor's Radiance (Kythorn 20): is celebrated on the summer solstice, when the sun reaches its highest position in the sky and is the day with the longest period of daylight, Pelor's majesty shown at its greatest. Bells toll at both sunrise and sunset and during the entire day temples and churches are open for the commonfolk to receive the blessings of Pelor's clergy for the summer ahead, with spreads of food and watered wine for all who attend.
Midsummer Morning (between Flamerule and Eleasis): starts just before the sun rises on Midsummer and the congregation gather to watch the sun rise and make their affirmations to Pelor's church. Gifts of water, imbued with the Light of Pelor, are presented in glass vials for the commonfolk. The light within the water glows softly for over a day and a night and is often said to ease the pains in the morning after the enjoyment of the Midsummer festivals and feasts.
Breadgiving Day (between Eleint and Marpenoth): takes place on Highharvesttide and is a celebration of another successful harvest across The Islands. The clergy distribute food to the poor, usually in the form of freshly baked loaves of bread made from the first crop of the season.
Famed relics of Pelor include the maces called Dawnstars and the holy symbols known as the Shards of the Sun.
Legend has it that there are four Dawnstars, said to be gifts from Pelor to four solars who rescued a paladin from the bowels of the Nine Hells. Many continue the story and believe the Dawnstars are now in the hands of the Crusaders, and maybe even some of the Crusaders are those original solars.
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” and are said to be a holy symbol of Pelor, constantly glowing with a warm light and giving the owner the powers of the sun at his command. It is thought that these shards were actual pieces of the sun, taken by Pelor and given to his most dedicated and trusted servants.
Myths and Legends
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.
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.
Pelor's Beacon. This is a myth that claims during the time of the Great Retreat that a beacon of light led the way for those fleeing the Old Continent across the Great Sea to The Islands and to where Deepingwald now stands.
Signs and Portents
The sudden appearance of the sun in the midst of a storm is said to be one of Pelor's good omens. Universally, the arrival of light on a dreary, dim, or dark scene is evidence that Pelor is with his servants wherever they go, even in the darkest of caves or blackest of mountain tunnels.
It is also said in times of argument, if the sun appears from behind the clouds and shines upon one of those involved, it is likely that he or she is the one that has the right in the argument.