Gorm Gulthyn is the guardian and protector of dwarvenkind throughout the Realms as well as the god of all Stout Folk who serve as guardians. Those dwarves who require protection or armed aid pay tribute in appeasement to the Lord of the Bronze Mask.
Most dwarven enclaves stand in the path of aggressive Underdark enemies as they are built below the surface. The protectors of these realms venerated Gorm Gulthyn, the patron of watchfulness and defense. Gorm appeared as a humorless masked warrior with the goal of ensuring the safety of dwarven clanholds. He manifested on the Prime far more often than his companions in the Morndinsamman to defend the dwarven realms. These manifestations kept vigils on battlements, established traps and deadfalls in neighboring passages, and instructed his clerics on plans for a steady and reliable defense. Those who had seen him fight to defend dwarven communities related his stunning battle prowess, but they also commented that his combat maneuvers increasingly showed a growing desperation, as if he believed each battle might be his last.
Gorm is well regarded by the children of Moradin for his unswerving dedication to the defense of the Stout Folk. While most dwarves regard Fire Eyes as stem and humorless, few discount his role in ensuring the continued survival of those dwarven strongholds that have not fallen. Among the other gnome, halfling, and human races, Gorm is well regarded by those of similar disposition who tend to follow deities such as Arvoreen, Gaerdal Ironhand, and Helm, but he is written off as the archetypal dour dwarf by most elves and others of a more chaotic bent.
Clerics of Fire Eyes, known as barakor ("those who shield") organize the defense of dwarven communities, act as bodyguards, and instruct local dwarves about the value of alertness and vigilance. Upon entering the church, each barakor is assigned a charge to protect. More powerful clerics often choose to defend important clan personages, but the assignments of novitiates seem to be determined at random, and include children and elderly or infirm members of the clan. All are willing to sacrifice themselves ("paying Gorm's greatest price," in the vernacular of the church) to protect their charge.
The Vigilant Host guards most clanhold entries, the Gates on the borders of The Deep Realm, as well as all temples of Gorm. Priests of Gorm serve as protectors and bodyguards for all dwarves, especially the young and childrearing parents of both sexes. They instruct dwarven warriors fulfilling such roles in the arts of alertness, blindfighting, and weapons-skills (in other words, in campaigns using proficiencies, the priests of Gorm can tutor dwarves in all proficiencies useful to guardians). The foremost aim of any lesser priest of Gorm is to protect the dwarves assigned to him. Veteran priests of higher rank may choose whom they protect. If this involves sacrificing one's life, so be it; that is "Gorm's greatest price," as every priest of Gorm knows.
VestmentsThe clergy of Gorm favor red and black cloaks and helms, worn over armor of the finest metal and type available. The holy symbol of the faith is a miniature bronze shield that is usually worn around the neck on a burnished steel chain as a medallion.
When adventuring or on guard duty, Gorm's priests always wear and wield the best armor and weapons available. Members of Gorm's clergy never remove all their armor or lay aside all their weapons unless sorely wounded or in need of care. Members of the Vigilant Host often mark their status with red and black armbands on the left and right arms, respectively.
HierarchyThe clergy of Gorm are collectively known as Guardians or Guardian-Priests. Novices of Gorm are known as the Watchful Guards. Full priests of Fire Eyes are known as the Vigilant Host. In ascending order of rank, the titles used by Gormite priests are Lockout of the First Rank, Scout of the Second Rank, Sentry of the Third Rank, Sentinel of the Fourth Rank, Defender of the Fifth Rank, and Guardian of the Sixth Rank. High Old Ones have unique titles but are collectively known as Lord/Lady Protectors.
TemplesTemples of Gorm are always plain, unadorned stone caverns or rooms quarried from solid rock. The altar is a stone bench in front of a closed, locked door of massive construction, representing a location that a dwarf might have to guard. Instead of a stone bench, a temple might use an old tomb casket; if occupied, it must be by a fallen, not undead, priest of Gorm. Such chambers are often adorned with visored helms, or if particularly blessed, a shield or breastplate with twin eye holes burned through, as discussed above under Other Manifestations. The Sentinel's chapels are typically adjacent to an armory, a training hall, and barracks, and most such houses of worship are located amidst fortifications that guard entrances to the halls of the Stout Folk.
RitualsBarakor pray for spells in the morning, usually before taking a tour of the community to ensure that the night passed with little incident.
Every festival is sacred to the priesthood of Gorm. On such holy days, guardians of Gorm gather for a salute, a ritual involving the rhythmic grounding of weapons and a responsively chanted prayer. Offerings to Gorm are of weapons used (even broken) in the service of guardianship anointed with tears, sweat, and drops of blood of the dwarf making the offering. Rituals involve silent vigils, muttered prayers, and answering visions from the god. At the height of a salute, if the ritual is performed in the chancel of one of Gorm's temples, the door behind the altar sometimes opens by the power of the god and through it may come instructive phantom images or gifts (scrolls, potions, weapons, pieces of armor, or even maps). These small aids are meant to help his faithful fulfill their duties.
OrdersNumerous knightly orders large and small have been founded in Gorm's name and affiliated with his church over the centuries. Numbered among the legendary Gormite orders of times past and present are the Twin-Bladed Axes of Fire, the Silent Sentinels, the Guardian-Knights of Gorm, the Vigilant Halberdiers, the Company of the Scarlet Moon, the Fellowship of the Stern Gauntlet, and the Order of the Smoking Shield.
One of the oldest and most revered knightly orders of Gorm, the Sacred Shields of Berronar's Blessed, may be found in nearly every clanhold and kingdom guarding nurseries full of dwarven children and their parents. Knights of the Sacred Shield are also charged with recovering kidnapped dwarven youths who are to be sold as slaves on the surface or in the Underdark. At least two dwarven clans owe their continued free existence to the rescue of an entire generation of dwarven youth from the clutches of the Spider Queen's priests by the Knights of the Sacred Shield.
Never waver in your duty to Gorm’s sacred charges. Defend, protect, and keep safe the children of the Morndinsamman from the hostile forces of the outside world. Be always vigilant and ever alert so that you are never surprised. If need be, be prepared to pay the greatest price so that the clan and the community survive, and your name will be remembered for generations.
Gorm appears as a dwarf clad in full plate armor of golden-brown hue, chased and decorated with red, crawling, everchanging runes.
Gorm Gulthyn is dying. Somehow, as he gave his essence to avatars battling for the preservation of dwarven kingdoms over the many centuries, his very existence became tied to the fate of those kingdoms. With each fall of a clan hold, something inside Gorm Gulthyn died; the divine fire licking the eyeholes of his mask grew dimmer by almost imperceptible increments. Proud nonetheless, Gorm has confided his condition only in Clangeddin, Marthammor, and Moradin, whom he considers his closest friends. All hope that the Thunder Blessing and the resurgence of ancient dwarven bloodlines will return to the Sentinel, but no reverse has yet been observed. With each manifestation, Gorm throws himself more carelessly into his defensive actions, perhaps seeking an end to his condition on the tip of an enemy sword.