Dumathoin is the patron of mountain dwarves, and the dwarf deity of mining and underground exploration. He is also the protector of the dwarven dead.
Dumathoin hides the secrets of the earth until deserving and diligent dwarves are ready to be guided to them. He lays veins of iron, copper, gold, silver, and mithral where he feels they will best benefit his followers. He watches over the safety and security of miners of all races and has a special role as the protector of shield dwarves and the creator of the urdunnirin.
All dwarves who live in (or venture into) subterranean areas or mountains, or those who work directly with the riches of the earth, worship the Silent Keeper. All dwarven miners and many nondwarven ones at least appease him, even if they do not fully support him. Miners in the North and dwarves throughout the Realms often carry a small diamond, agate, or other gemstone (of about 10 gp value) with them to attract his favor.
Priests of Dumathoin always seek to uncover the buried wealth of the earth without marring the beauty of the ways beneath the surface or being overly greedy. They often supervise mining operations and maintain underground safety and security. They work to clean up the rubble of mining, to grow and put in place luminous fungi and edible deep-mosses, and to direct water through the earth to best serve the underlife that includes, of course, dwarves. Priests of this faith are always hunting for new veins of ore, new sources and species of useful fungi, and new delves or underways never explored before. They try to identify encountered dangers and determine strategies to deal with these menaces of the deep places appropriately. They also bargain with other (non-hostile) underground races to avoid over-exploitation of resources.
A priest of Dumathoin is always learning the tiniest details of conditions and life underground. Most priests are therefore invaluable in leading companions through the underways in darkness. They can find water, veins of ore, and cracks or fissures that provide ways out, or can be mined to yield a way from one cavern to another.
Dumathoin is the dwarves' protector in death and are the primary morticians and tomb protectors of dwarven society. In fact, priests of Dumathoin do their god justice as Keeper of Secrets, for it is incredibly difficult to find dwarven tombs at all, let alone plumb their mysteries.
Dumathoin's clergy favor leather garments, whether they be armor or mining gear. They keep their heads bare and wear earth-brown cloaks and over-robes. Like all dwarves, they grow their hair and beards long, but none of the Silent Keeper's generally hirsute priests braid or trim their hair. The holy symbol of the faith is a miniature silver pick.
In times of likely strife, Dumathoin's priests garb themselves in the most effective armor and weapons available. The Silent Keeper's clergy members typically favor picks, hammers, and other mining tools in combat, but they are usually proficient in the use of a wide range of weapons.
Novices of Dumathoin are known as the Uncut
. Upon taking the Silent Vow, they become full priests and are known as Keepers of the Shield
. In ascending order of rank, the titles used by the Keepers of the Shield are Agate
, and Diamond
. The highest ranking priests of Dumathoin are collectively known as Beljurils
, but most have unique individual titles as well. Specialty priests are known as delvesonns
, a dwarvish word that can be loosely translated at "Dumathoin's hidden gifts."
While shrines and temples of Dumathoin are typically found in the holds of the shield dwarves, they are extremely rare among the other dwarven subraces, except for the gold dwarves—in whose realms they are merely uncommon. Dumathoin's clergy builds underground temples in the deepest caverns, always near an impressive vein of precious metal or a bed of natural gems. Such bounty remains a part of the temple and free from harvest as a testament to the local clan leader's reverence for the Silent Keeper. At the heart of such temples are simple altars consisting of natural boulders or large stone blocks. Statues of the Silent Keeper, depicting him in his many aspects, line the walls.
Dumathoin's clerics pray for spells in the morning. Nights of new moons and the days to either side of each such a night are considered holy days. They are known collectively as the Deepstone Triad
, for the moon is considered to be hidden deep beneath the surface during this time. Also, special holy days known as Splendarrsonn
can be decreed by a High Old One of the faith, usually when dwarves discover a major new lode, lost subterranean treasure cache or delve, or something of the sort.
Gems and jewelry are sacrificed to Dumathoin at each celebration of the Deepstone Triad
and on all other holy days. Such precious stones are offered up on altars dedicated to the god. Gems sacrificed to the Keeper are pulverized and mixed with certain herbs and fungal secretions to derive a paste that serves to make rock porous, help plant material adhere to it, and provide nourishment for plants in contact with it. With buckets of this acrid, purple-and-green fibrousa paste, priests of Dumathoin creep about the underways painting and planting fungi and other plant life to improve the underground environment. These improvements include not only beautification of the underground ways, but also concealment of stone dwarven doors, redirection of watercourses to turn water-wheels or fill reservoirs, and so on.
Among the various burial practices used by priests of Dumathoin, there are only three set precepts that must be met. First, the body must be washed, and three or more stone burial tokens—the corpse's personal mark, the clan's mark, and Dumathoin's mark—must be braided into the deceased's beard. Second, the corpse is clothed in his or her own armor or a light suit of burial armor. (no matter what trade a dwarf plied in life, none enters the afterlife unarmored and unreadied). Finally, the priest presiding over the burial must create a song honoring the dead dwarf's life and deeds; the song is carved into the lid of the coffin or sarcophagus (or when in a large clan tomb with numerous niches for fallen dwarves, onto the back of a mausoleum seal, a plaque, or a marker covering the recess where the deceased is buried).
The song is never sung out loud in honor of the ever-silent Dumathoin. If someone finds it and speaks or sings it aloud, it is believed that a curse will settle on the one who committed the sacrilege (some suggest that the corpse itself might reanimate and smite the offender).
Burial practices may change slightly to suit particular clans, but a number of alterations in typical burial practices occur upon the passing of a dwarf deserving of special status. In general, there are simply more ceremonies, and more attention is paid to the construction of the tomb. The following are some specific variations that might be found in the burials of important dwarves:
- The burial of a priest is a more convoluted and lengthy process, incorporating aspects of Dumathoin's worship and that of the god whom the priest served. Priests therefore tend to be buried within well-guarded tombs, and their sarcophagi are surrounded by (if not buried under) tokens and offerings from the priest's friends and faithful. Priests of Clangeddin or Moradin are often interred with the remains of their greatest conquered adversary, ensuring a grand afterlife of battle against dwarffoes. Unlike many other dwarven tombs, priests' spells are used heavily in the interment of a priest to protect the remains and offerings (and, some hint, to prevent the gods from calling on their servants after their time has passed).
- Clan allies of any race can be interred within dwarven tombs, but only if they fell in battle defending the allied clan, the tomb, or a place sacred to Dumathoin.
- While others are buried with standard ceremony and accouterments, wizards are always clad in robes made of woven silver and sealed in solid silver sarcophagi (or a burial creche lined with silver); this is due to a superstition born of an old dwarven myth that Dumathoin paid Mystra his weight in silver to garner his faithful protection from the magics that disturb the sleep of the dead. While there is believed to be little truth in this legend, the custom still prevails.
- Clan outcasts (assuming a priest of Dumathoin willing to officiate over their burials can even be found) are buried without a clan mark in their beards, and their coffins or burial place markers often depict the broken or marred symbols of their former clans.
The Knights of the Mithral Shield
, based in Citadel Adbar, is an order of 300 Dumathan crusaders and multi-classed fighters. These elite dwarven warrior priests serve as the honor guard of King Harbromm of Adbarrim and, as of the fall of the orc-held Citadel of Many Arrows, King Emerus Warcrown of Felbarr. Each Dumathan knight is sworn to serve the Mithral Shield
as protector of the shield dwarves, whom Dumathoin is forever pledged to protect.
Walk the deep and silent ways of Dumatoin. Seek out the hidden gifts of the Keeper of Secrets under the Mountain. That which is hidden is precious, and that which is precious shall stay hidden. Seek to enhance the natural beauty of Dumathoin's gifts and go with, not against, the contours of the deeps. Beauty is the discovery and the crafting, not the holding. Keep the places of our dead inviolate and well tended; the noble ancestors of our race will neither be robbed nor moved through the actions of thieves and defilers. Abide not undead creatures, especially those that take the form of dwarves, thus mocking the creation of Moradin.
Dumathoin is described as a gigantic male dwarf with a barrel chest. His hair and beard are sculpted gray stone, and his skin is earth-brown in color. His eyes are silvery flame. He carries a two-handed mattock made from solidified magma. Dumathoin never speaks and instead communicates with gestures and the occasional grunt or sigh.
Dumathoin is a rival of his brother Abbathor, who hoped to become patron of the mountain dwarves before Dumathoin was given that position by Moradin. Abbathor is also infuriated that Dumathoin hides precious metals and gems where he cannot find them.
The Silent Keeper is allied with Calladuran Smoothhands, Cyrrollalee, Grumbar, Flandal Steelskin, Segojan Earthcaller, Sehanine Moonbow, Skoraeus Stonebones, Urogalan, and every dwarf god except for Abbathor and Laduguer. He is friendly with other nondwarven gods of mines and smiths. He names among his foes Abbathor, Kiaransali, Laduguer, Urdlen, and the gods of the goblins, kobolds, orcs, and evil giants. His relationship with the illithid god Ilsensine, whose divine realm his realm overlaps, is nonhostile, though the exact relationship between the two gods is a mystery. Their respective worshippers are hostile to one another, however.
The naga deity Parrafaire serves Dumathoin (among other deities), aiding him in protecting his secrets with tricks, traps, and puzzles.