Arvoreen, the Defender or The Wary Sword, is the closest the halflings had to a war god, but he is actually the halfling pantheon's deity of defense, guardians, and watchers
Arvoreen is strict and preaches aggressive watchfulness, but only to react to aggression. He doesn't support starting conflicts unless it is done to stop evil practices. Arvoreen never attacks first and doesn't hold thieving to be dishonorable as long as it was against a foe.
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.
Devotees followed procedures of military drills, training regimens, and building traps, signal beacons, and fortifications. The followers of Arvoreen also taught blade-work to the young, especially the deity's favored weapon, the short sword.
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.
The vestments of the priesthood were silver-colored chain mail and helmet, along with dark blue tabards with his holy symbol. They also wore an amulet of a small silver buckler.
Novices of the church were called "Shieldbearers" and the ranks in order of ascent were: Shieldbearer, Warder, Guardian, Defender, Protector, Magistrate, Sheriff, Marshal (full priest), and High Marshal.
- Trueswords: Specialized priests skilled in fighting with short swords, engineering, and reading and writing.
- Keepers: Elite halfing warriors who'd fallen in battle and patrolled the Green Fields in the afterlife.
- Arvoreen's Warders: A militaristic branch of the religion with less spellcasting ability, who made up for this drawback with tenacity and skills.
The clergy prayed before dawn, before going on patrol.
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. For the next 24 hours, all such once-silvered weapons are enchanted to strike at a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls.
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.
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 appears as a handsome young muscular halfling dressed in light clothing and chain mail. His weapons of choice range from two short swords to a short sword and shield.
The Defender's enemies were evil deities such as Bane, Cyric, the Deities of Fury, and the goblinoid pantheon. His closest allies were the rest of the hin pantheon, especially Yondalla, Cyrrollalee, and Urogalan, but he disapproved of the behavior of Brandobaris.