Tyr is a deity who believes in justice through benevolent force and armed vigilance. Some say he is an aspect of the Asgardian diety of the same name.
Tyr is rather enigmatic to those outside his faith. He represents such stern justice that it is difficult to see the more subtle qualities of the god. He is a courageous father figure to his faithful and struggles continually to achieve for his followers a paradisaical state of affairs in Faerûn that he knows will never come in an imperfect world. In his more affectionate moods, he sometimes refers to his abode in Lunia as the Just House, and one senses from him at times an odd sort of longing to want to be able to deal with troubles as one could among a perfect family: with love, courage, and the knowledge that everyone will try their best and not betray their fellows because of a special bond that all share. Unfortunately, he also knows that this will never happen, and so emits an undercurrent of stern sadness for what can never be. He is terribly protective of his priesthood, and because of this, he is more likely to manifest in some form to aid them than many other powers.
His faith is popular, as everyone knows exactly what Tyr expects his faithful to do and everyone can trust Tyrrans to be honorable, honest, just, and righteous. He is most popular with the bureaucrats, judges, and merchants who make the entire system move efficient. Worshipers of Tyr see the world in clear-cut moral terms; they like to see Faerûn firmly cleansed and ordered by laws that are evenly and diligently applied. They are not very tolerant of other world views and do not find parody, mockery, or even questions about their faith amusing. Tyr survives very well in the civilized world, and most of his temples are in larger cities. He is also worshiped on the Rock of Bral, rumored to be one of the Tears of Selune.
Tyr had no specialty priests for over 10 years after the Time of Troubles. Sages theorize that he wished to favor none of his clergy members over the others. Now, all the clergy of Tyr have special powers to aid them in their enforcement of justice (all priests of Tyr are therefore specialty priests after the Feast of the Moon in 1369 DR).
Priests of Tyr serve as judge, jury, and executioner in wilderness areas where there is no law but that of the sword. When doing so, their code cleaves fairly close to "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," but does adhere to common trade custom leavened by "the mercy of ignorance." This last means that if a being is truly ignorant of the proper behavior, minor transgressions can be forgiven once with a warning, an explanation of the proper law—and a record of the warning being written down in the priest's Book of Lawgiving for later distribution to other Tyrrans so that the particular being will not be forgiven a second time.
In civilized areas, Tyrrans (inevitably called "tyrants" behind their backs by nonbelievers) become legal experts and serve as the lawyers of Faerûn by dispensing advice and "speaking for" accused persons in trials. The fees they charge go to the Church of Tyr.
Tyrrans often go about lecturing others on their shortcomings as to following laws, rules, and regulations, but they also serve to fearlessly take complaints about such formalities to the authorities who make such rules. No Tyrran will enforce a law that contradicts other laws or can be shown to be unjust. Note the concern is not that it is unfair, but unjust—defined in the Tyrran church as out of compliance with the principles and definitions adhered to by other laws in the body of legal doctrine of which it is a part. Priests of Tyr also have the duty of delivering just vengeance as punishment on the part of those who cannot do it themselves. Tyrrans undertake formal missions to do this, making promises to those to be avenged and forcing open confrontations with those the vengeance is to be visited upon, rather than working behind the scenes or employing intrigue.
Clergy are to keep complete records of their own rulings, deeds, and decisions. Through these records, a priest's errors can be corrected, his or her grasp of the laws of all lands can grow and flourish, and lawbreakers can be identified by others. No known injustice done by a Tyrran priest must go unbalanced. Priests of Tyr should also always be vigilant in their observations and anticipations, seeking to see what forces and which beings intend or will cause injustices and threaten law and order in the future. They should then act to prevent such challenges to justice in coming to pass. In short: Abide by the laws, and let no others break them. Mete out punishment where lawbreaking occurs.
VestmentsThe vestments of Tyr are blue and purple robes with a white sash. A white glove or gauntlet is worn on the left hand and a black one on the right to symbolize the loss of the god's right hand.
Particularly radical Tyrran sects advocate self-mutilation among their adherents, a practice condemned by the large majority of the faithful, who nonetheless ritualistically don gauze eye coverings and the off-colored glove on their right hands to honor the Blind Overlord.
For everyday use, most priests of Tyr wear armor or practical clothing adorned on the shoulders and back with the symbol of the hammer and scales of Tyr.
TemplesThe Church of Tyr is a highly organized, formal priesthood that maintains internal rules and a system of fortified temples. At Tyrran temples, the faithful can find lodging, fresh mounts, healing, spell aid, weapons, gear, and holy advice. If a worshiper or priest knows that she or he has stinted in service to the Just One, confession and penance are also available.
HierarchyLevel titles used by the clergy in recent years, in order of ascending rank, are: Acolyte of Laws, Solemn Brother/Sister, Lawkeeper, Sword of Tyr, Hammer of Tyr, Vigilant Watcher, Just Captain, Avenger, Master Avenger, Abbot, High Lord Abbot, High Avenger, Knight Commander, Hammer Lord, Defender of Justice, and Keeper of the Balance. Maverick titles ate few indeed, as this is a closely regulated priesthood.
RitualsThe priesthood of Tyr follows a monthly cycle of high rituals, beginning with Seeing Justice on the first day of each month, the Maiming on the thirteenth day of the month, and the Blinding on the twenty-second day of each month. These major rituals involve chanted prayers, thunderously sung hymns to the god, and conjured illusions: a gigantic war hammer that glows blinding white hanging over the heads of the congregation at Seeing Justice; at the Maiming, a gigantic right hand that bursts into view above the congregation surrounded by a nimbus of burning blood, then tumbles away into darkness and fades from view; and two eyes that burst into fountains of flaming tears until they have entirely spilled away and are gone at the Blinding. Early in the ceremony of the Blinding, symbolic blindfolds of diaphanous damask are bound over the eyes of the celebrants by clergy to remind the worshipers of Tyr's blindness.
In addition to the high rituals, Tyrrans celebrate daily rituals of prayer to the god, which take the form of a sung invocation, a series of responsive prayers led by a senior cleric, a short sermon of instruction or reading of wisdom from the Sacred Judgments of Tyr, and a rousing closing anthem.
In temples and abbeys dedicated to the god, such rituals are celebrated every two hours around the clock, with the most important offices taking place at dawn, highsun (noon), the equivalent of six o’clock, and the equivalent of nine o’clock. The dawn ritual, The Awakening, is a gentle, uplifting renewal of faith. The noonday ritual, the Hammer at Highsun, is a stirring, exultant expression of the church's vigilance and martial might. The evenfeast ritual, High Justice, is a stern, proud celebration of Tyr's commandments and the church's purpose. The evening ritual, the Remembrance of the Just Fallen, is a haunting, softly chanted reverence for those who have laid down their lives for justice, both inside and outside the faith—a ritual of quiet dignity and respect that always leaves many witnesses, even those who do not follow Tyr, in tears.
OrdersThe church of Tyr has many affiliated knightly orders. Individual temples often have special orders or companies attached to them or supported by them, such as the Just Knights of the House of Tyr's Hand in Milvarune. Two church-sponsored orders of paladins are the Knights of Holy Judgment and the Knights of the Merciful Sword. The first order tends to attract those who emphasize the "lawful" in their alignment, and the second the "good."
Knights from either order may join an elite order of paladins known as the Hammers of Grimjaws. To join the Hammers, a paladin must be nominated by a member of the Hammers, and his or her nomination must be seconded by a senior priest of Tyr. If both these requirements are met, she or he must stand vigil in the holy sanctuary of a temple of Tyr all night. If the paladin is judged worthy by Tyr, Tyr sends the paladin a vision of his war hammer. If no vision appears, the paladin is deemed yet too inexperienced, but not a failure, and may be nominated again after some time has passed. If Tyr sends a vision of his sword, the paladin has knowingly or unknowingly failed Tyr in some way and must immediately complete a quest to atone. If the quest is completed, Tyr is pleased and forgives, and the knight is admitted into the Hammers. There is no quitting a quest under these conditions; either the paladin succeeds or dies trying.
Reveal the truth, punish the guilty, right the wrong, and always be true and just in your actions. Uphold the law wherever you go and punish those who do wrong under the law. Keep a record of your own rulings, deeds, and decisions, for through this your errors can be corrected, your grasp on the laws of all lands will flourish, and your ability to identify lawbreakers will expand. Be vigilant in your observations and anticipations so you may detect those who plan injustices before their actions threaten law and order. Deliver vengeance to the guilty for those who cannot do it themselves.
Tyr appears as a noble warrior missing his right hand, lost to Kezef the Chaos Hound in proving his resilience and strength of spirit. In recent years, he has been shown blinded as well, a fatality of the wrath of Ao during the Time of Troubles.
Torm and Ilmater serve Tyr, and the three deities are sometimes called the Triad.
Tyr's relatively short time on Toril has gained him a host of enemies. He fiercely opposes deities dedicated to tyranny, evil, or lawlessness, and bears particular enmity toward, Bane, Cyric, Mask, Talona, and Talos.
HistoryTyr came to Toril in -247 DR in an event known as the Procession of Justice. Bursting from a gate near modern-day Alaghon in Turmish, he led a force of 200 archons across the Vilhon Reach in an effort to pacify the remnants of ancient Jhaamdath, which had fallen to lawlessness and brigandage following that empire's destruction at the hands of its elven enemies. In the ensuring battle, Tyr's host slew Valigan Thirdborn, a lesser deity of anarchy whose rise in -269 DR directly coincided with the ascendance of the bloodthirsty Exarch Thelasan IV, who spurred the Emperor into greater conflict with the elves.
MythologyThe Blindness of Tyr
Tyr's blindness dates to the Time of Troubles, when Ao himself scoured his eyes for failing to witness the theft of the Tablets of Fate and for allowing discord among the gods of Toril. Worshipers have allegorized Tyr's wounds as emblematic of the blindness of justice and the price the truly just must endure on the path of righteousness and stern defense of the law.
Centuries ago, an alliance of Faerûnian gods chased Kezef the Chaos Hound (a powerful primordial and one of the Seven Lost Gods) across the Barrens of Doom and Despair to stop him from festering the souls of the Faithful, and when he was finally surrounded, the gods bet Kezef he could not break a leash forged by Gond the Wonderbringer. Kezef allowed Gond to place a short length of sturdy chain around his neck in exchange for Tyr placing his right hand in the Chaos Hound's slavering jaws. Gond anchored the chain miles deep in the floor of the Barrens' caves, and Mystra wrapped the beast in an unbreakable, glowing curtain of magical energy that automatically repaired itself. From these two traps, Kezef could not escape, and no one could reach him. When Kezef discovered he was truly fettered, he bit off Tyr's hand and feasted on its divine essence for centuries as he strove to free himself. After imprisoning him, the gods forbade traffic by deity or mortal with the beast.
Kezef was eventually freed by Cyric's machinations, to once again hunt the souls of mortals and gods alike.