- The Defender, the Wary Sword
|Power Level:||Intermediate deity|
|Symbol:||Two crossed short swords|
|Portfolio:||Defense, war, vigilance, halfling warriors, duty|
|Worshipers:||Halflings, fighters, paladins, rangers, soldiers, warriors.|
|Domains:||Good, Law, Protection, War|
|Arelith worshippers' alignments:||LG, LN, NG|
Please note the below is from 2.0 lore. It will be updated to more relevant 3.0/3.5 at a later date.
Arvoreen (ARE-voh-reen) the Defender, fiery guardian of the home, is the nearest thing to a halfling war god. He is a god of stern defense and aggressive watchfulness, who is always preparing for incursions into halfling lands and making ready to repulse hostile creatures at the first sign of trouble. Arvoreen is venerated primarily by halfling fighters, but also by fighter/thieves who prefer the former set of skills over the latter.
Arvoreen is anxiously protective of the halfling race, and he is always alert to impending dangers. The Defender, although quite powerful, is not a particularly aggressive deity. He only engages in combat if he is attacked, though he does seek out his enemies and actively confront them to get them to desist from their evil practices. He does not go very far out of his way to avoid combat if it occurs, however, and fights to the finish. Although he stops short of advocating war, Arvoreen is not shy about pointing out folks who are acting suspiciously - after all, they just might be evil in disguise. He is more serious and less carefree and joyful than the typical halfling (or halfling deity) and serves as a reminder that the safety they currently enjoy was hard won and can be easily lost.
Arvoreen sends avatars to defend and patrol halfling communities very readily, and may reward warriors who have defended halfling communities with a minor magical item even if of another race.
Arvoreen has cultivated strong relations with most of the good and neutral deities, particularly of the dwarven, elven, gnome, and human pantheons. Of the halfling gods, he is most closely aligned with Yondalla, Cyrrollalee, and Urogalan, although he has strong ties with the entire halfling pantheon. The Defender has little patience or understanding of the principles or priorities of unreliable rogues such as Brandobaris and Tymora, but he does value their contributions in defending his charges from external threats. As a large fraction of halflings live in and among human communities, Arvoreen finds that most of the divine threats to his charges are a result of the plots of the evil deities of the halflings' human neighbors. He is especially angered by the gods of fury and the whole goblinkin pantheon.
Arvoreen appears as a handsome young halfling warrior, muscular of build and generally dressed in lightweight clothes and fine chain mail. He commonly carries twin short swords or, more rarely, a short sword and gleaming shield.
Arvoreen manifests as a nimbus of silver fire that envelops a being, weapon, or object. This radiance typically gives any or all of the following aids to affected beings: haste, ironguard, or enlarge. If the object enveloped is a pool of water, Arvoreen manifests as a magic mirror effect. Any devout worshiper who stares into the pool can scry the most pressing threat to the local halfling community. Otherwise, Arvoreen manifests as a glyph of warding or a symbol of hopelessness placed upon an item or portal to be warded.
He demonstrates his favor through the discovery of amaratha; rustine; trios of stones suitable to be used as sling bullets; figurines depicting halfling warriors formed from icesteel; and crossed sticks (which are seen as representing his symbol). The Defender indicates his displeasure through thunderclaps suggestive of two shields smashing together. His omens to his priests arc usually direct warnings of impending danger and the need for battle readiness.
Arvoreen is served by Keepers, elite halfling warriors who died in battle and now defend and patrol the halfling burrows of Green Fields in the Outer Planes. In some situations, the Defender dispatches a small group of Keepers to the Realms to protect an embattled halfling community. Arvoreen is also served by aasimon; archons; bloodhounds; brownies; dobies; einheriar; guardian nagas; hybsils; incarnates of courage, faith, and justice; lammasu; maruts; noctrals; owls; pers; silver dragons; silver falcons; sunflies; and war dogs.
Arvoreen is not exactly a popular power among most halflings and his priests are often perceived as overly serious and "grumpy as dwarves" by the Small Folk. However, the Defender and his clergy are respected and revered for their teachings and their role in protecting the halfling way of life.
Temples of Arvoreen are usually small fortified redoubts built partially above and partially below ground in strategic locations in regions inhabited by large numbers of halflings. The Defender's houses of worship serve their communities as armories, training grounds for the local militia, and as sanctuaries of last resort if the region they guard is ever overrun. Although the defensive fortifications of such temples vary widely so as to best suit their location, most are characterized by a maze of narrow, low hallways large enough only for a halfling or gnome to fight comfortably, cellars filled with weapons, supplies, and other stores, and large numbers of subterranean tunnels exiting far from the central structure through which halfling guerrilla fighters can launch lightning raids behind the lines of any besieger.
Novices of Arvoreen are known as Shieldbearers. Full priests of the Defender are known as Arvoreen's Marshals. In ascending order of rank, the titles used by Arvoreenan priests are:
- High Marshal.
High-ranking priests have unique individual titles. Specialty priests are known as trueswords. The clergy of Arvoreen includes lightfeet (55%), stouts (30%), and tallfellows (15%). Males (54%) slightly outnumber females (46%). Arvoreen's clergy includes specialty priests (34%), clerics (26%), fighter/specialty priests (22%), and fighter/clerics (18%).
Keep the community's burrows secure, and always be prepared for threats and attacks. Prepare an active defense, drill continuously, and leave nothing to chance. Put down danger before it even rears its head. Seek out allies, no matter how unorthodox. Those who give aid against a mutual foe are friends to be rewarded and trusted. Stealing from other halflings and allies is never acceptable, but thieving is not necessarily dishonorable, as long as it is employed against enemies to better the odds in combat later.
Arvoreen's priests are the protectors and defenders of halfling communities. They spend their days constructing defensive barriers, signaling systems, beacons, and traps, and reviewing defenses already in place. Priests of the Defender regularly patrol their communities, always investigating the slightest hint of a threat. Many priests organize the local militia, procure weapons for volunteers, and train every able-bodied halfling in the use of weapons and other defense strategies or at least in how to best seek safety. Many of Arvoreen's Marshals regularly adventure to gain magical weapons and defensive items of all kinds.
Holy Days/Important Ceremonies
If time permits, Arvoreen's priests and lay followers come together prior to every battle (either in a temple or at a makeshift altar in the field) to ask for the blessings of the Defender. After a brief, inspirational sermon and a period of private prayer, the Battle Hymn of the Keepers is sung in unison and silvered weapons—at most one per worshiper—are sacrificed to the god by placing them on the altar. If Arvoreen is pleased with the diligence of his followers' preparations, the Defender receives the silver plating from the sacrificed arms, leaving behind the actual weapons.
The Ceremony of Remembrance is celebrated annually on the Feast of the Moon. During this holy day, Arvoreen's followers gather in his temples and on battlefields where their comrades have fallen to remember the names of those who gave their lives in defense of the community. Close friends and relatives often report a brief, wordless encounter with the spirit of a fallen loved one during Ceremonies of Remembrance, but no evidence of such, aside from the statements of individuals who report such spiritual visitations, has ever been found.
Major Centers of Worship
The halfling realm of Meiritin was established north of the Tejarn Hills along the eastern shore the great lake in the Year of the Raised Banner (227 DR) by Small Folk who had been forcibly removed from their vineyard homes in the Purple Hills of Tethyr. The Citadel of the Banner Raised Anew squats across the river Hyrzashyr from the fishing village of Zinner atop ruins sacred to Arvoreen dating back to the establishment of Meiritin. Beginning with a small core of young priests and devoted worshipers, the High Marshal of the Banner Raised Anew attracted halfling parishioners from the surrounding farms of the region by supplementing the Amnian patrols from the Hillforts and by culling the monster populations in the western Tejarn Hills. With the increased tithes, the High Marshal could afford to grow the citadel into a large—by halfling standards—temple and to increase the size of the temple militia and the number of patrols it could mount.
During the chaos of Tethyr's Interregnum, a group of halflings and few gnomes active in the Purple Hills under the leadership of Estemal Talltankard were largely responsible for keeping the anarchy consuming the rest of the country at bay. Estemal's band, known as Arvoreen's Marchers, are now recognized by the crown of Tethyr as a knightly order and are responsible for patrolling the Purple Marches, particularly County Vintor. Members of the March include warriors, priests of Arvoreen, and rogues (the latter operating as spies and couriers). Their chapter house, Keeperstone, is located a mile or two north of the halfling community of Barrowsmorn in a forsaken manor destroyed during the Ten Black Days and later rebuilt by halflings and gnomes under Estemal.
The clerical raiment of Arvoreen's Marshals includes silvered helms and suits of chain mail, dark blue tabards with the god's symbol displayed prominently in silver, and twin short swords. The holy symbol of the faith is a miniature silver buckler that is typically worn on a medallion hung around the neck.
Priests of Arvoreen wear the most appropriate armor available, whether it be leather or studded leather in situations requiring stealth or chain mail or plate armor when straight melee combat is expected. In times of peace when simply patrolling, the most common armor worn by members of Arvoreen's clergy is chain mail. Although they are trained in the use of a wide variety of weapons appropriate for their diminutive statures, most priests of Arvoreen prefer short swords, short bows, and slings.
- On Arelith, the restriction for D&D clerics also applies to blackguard, paladins, rangers, and divine champions