Yondalla is the matriarch of the halfling pantheon. She is said to have created the halfling race in her own image. With her charming personality and friendly demeanor she is an example to all halflings; who almost all shared her curiosity, loyalty and sense of mischief. As the goddess of protection, Yondalla fends off evil influences and intrusions into the homes and lives of halflings. Yondalla gives her people the strength of character and the determination to defend themselves. Her protection is part of the very souls of her creations, for of all the demihuman races, the halflings have most rarely succumbed to evil. As a provider, Yondalla is a goddess of fertility and growing things, of birth and youth, of nature and plants. She can make barren places and creatures fertile and increase the growing rate of plants and animals, almost as she chooses, although she uses such powers sparingly and almost never confers such benefits on other demihumans or humans for fear of giving offense to their deities.
Yondalla is sometimes considered not a true goddess but rather a divine aspect of the goddess Chauntea — Halflings think this claim absolutely absurd.
Yondalla serves as an example to all her people, espousing harmony among halflings, good relations with other races, and the strong defense when faced with the affronts of enemies. It is Yondalla's wish that all her children are safe and prosperous, treat each other well, and live interesting, full lives. Yondalla is forgiving, slow to anger, and kind, but when her charges become threatened she acts with bravery and ferocity that has gained the respect of even her most warlike godly contemporaries. Yondalla knows that her race represents a truly good creation, and does anything within the boundaries of honor to nurture and protect it.
Dallah ThaunDallah Thaun, the Lady of Mysteries, is Yondalla's dark, hidden aspect. She is the great secret of the halfling race, who do not share knowledge of Dallah Thaun with outsiders. She was physically split from Yondalla when she created (or discovered) the halfling race, but she and Yondalla are still one being. What one knows, the other knows, and those that worship Dallah Thaun are also worshipping Yondalla (and vice versa).
Dallah Thaun is Chaotic Neutal, and considered an intermediate goddess. She is represented with dark hair and eyes, and dresses all in black. Where Yondalla nurtures the survivors of a tragedy, Dallah Thaun seeks vengeance. Where Yondalla the Provider creates fertility and plenty, Dallah Thaun urges the halflings to seek wealth. Dallah Thaun, in short, does the dirty work, while Yondalla keeps her hands clean. Dallah Thaun is the goddess of secrets, lies, half-truths, flattery, manipulation, and stealth. The two halves of the goddess do not, and cannot quarrel over their respective methods, different as they may be. They are the same person, with each fulfilling her respective role.
Yondalla smiles upon her followers when they aid and help others and respect the dead. She frowns upon sacrifices and killing fellow halfings. Her sacred animal is the dove.
Worship of the Nurturing Matriarch is so ingrained into nearly every aspect of halfling society that the hin treat the idea of specific services to their goddess once a tenday with bemused dismissal. This isn't to suggest halflings have a theocratic culture, but rather that Yondalla (and by extension, her clergy) presents through her actions (as interpreted through stories taught to all halflings in their youth) the values of a halfling should embrace to live life to its fullest and to benefit the community, namely: acceptance, community, love, gaiety, curiosity, loyalty, diplomacy, tradition, and a well-developed sense of mischief. The fact that many members of the clergy double as community leaders reinforces the influence of Yondalla's credo upon halfling society. Clerics of Yondalla rarely multiclass, though some few with a militant bent decide to become paladins.
VestmentsMembers of Yondalla's clergy dress in loose-fitting green and brown robes and a saffron overcloak, keeping their heads bare. Priests typically wear their hair long, dying it golden blonde if it is not naturally that color. Yondallan priests always carry a shield, usually wooded, emblazoned with the cornucopia symbol of the goddess. The holy symbol of the faith is an animal horn of any type, except in Luiren where it is a wheat stalk crossing a silver tree, representing the meadows and the forests.
When expecting combat, Yondallan priests wear the best armor available and always carry a shield, again usually emblazoned with Yondalla's cornucopia. They favor short swords, hand axes, slings, short bows, spears, small lances, hammers, and morningstars.
HierarchyThe hierarchy of Yondalla's faith hardly exists, mainly because few halfling communities have enough clerics of Yondalla to warrant such a system. When a hierarchy is needed, novices of Yondalla are known as the Blessed Children and full priests of the Protector and Provider are known as Revered Councilors. In ascending order of rank, the titles used by Yondallan priests are Blessed Sister/Brother, Sacred Guardian, Revered Nurturer, Blessed Mother/Father, Eminent Prodigal, August Warden, Hallowed Provider, and Exalted Protector. Highranking priests have unique individual titles. Specialty priests are known as Horn Guards.
TemplesTemples of Yondalla are remarkably rare, despite the goddess's widespread veneration by halflings. The Provider and Protector is most commonly worshiped in small shrines and in the home, and her formal houses of worship are usually little more than the home of the local priest or priestess. In those few halfling communities where churches of Yondalla do exist, they are usually carved into an earthen hillside, resembling a halfling burrow more than anything else. Although smoothly blended with the surrounding environment, such temples serve as fortified redoubts, well stocked with arms and food to allow the halflings of the community to hold out indefinitely against invaders. Gardens, armories, cisterns, and granaries are nestled among chapels, residential quarters for the resident priests, and bubbling springs.
RitualsClerics of the Protector and Provider pray for spells in the morning.
Halflings set aside the fifth day of each tenday – for worship of Yondalla. Safeday, as it is known, is a day that is mostly spent in rest and play. In the morning, families gather together in the home, collectively offer up the fruits of the goddess's bounty in homage to the Provider, and then spend several hours preparing a tenday's feast from those offerings. During these activities, local members of the clergy of Yondalla go from house to house to lead each family in brief devotions, offer the goddess's blessings, and share any concerns a family may have.
When the Safeday feast is prepared, each family, sometimes joined by a local priest, joins together in eating, laughing, and the telling of tales. In the late afternoon, the Small Folk emerge from their homes and assemble in the central square. The highest-ranking priest of Yondalla (or in the absence of a priest, a pious lay representative) then leads the assembled Small Folk on a walk around the central community, symbolically joining Yondalla in her defense of the settlement. Such tours are hardly armed patrols; they usually involve contests to see who can pick the most perfect apple or the like and other gentle reminders of how bountiful are the goddess's gifts. When the promenade returns to the central square, the community-wide dinner feast begins. Extra food prepared during the morning hours is heated and served, while the community elders relate traditional tales of halfling folklore. Such festivities can last far into the night as the community reforges their communal bonds. Unlike the religious ceremonies of other races and powers, allies and even strangers are often invited to contribute and partake in the feasting and merriment, although those unknown to the community are discretely observed just in case.
OrdersYondalla has a special order of priests called The Wayward Wardens. It is made of priests stricken with wanderlust who wish to see the world. They never settle long in one place for long periods of time. They come to the aid of halfling communities needing protection.
Those who seek to live in accordance with the way of the Provider will be blessed with a cornucopia of riches. Seek peace and comfort, for a life lived with both is true wealth. Although violence should never be welcomed, the Protector's aegis will extend to those willing to fiercely defend their home and community. Lead through example, and know the activities of those you lead so that you can help shoulder their burdens when need be. Treasure your family, for your parents gave you life and your children are your future. Care for the aged and the weak, for you never know when you may be one of the strong laid low.
Yondalla is represented as a strong female halfling with red-golden hair, looking determined and proud. She dresses in green, yellow, and brown, and carries a shield. Yondalla has two aspects that the halflings speak of in front of others: the Provider and the Protector.
As the Provider, she is a goddess of fertility and growing things, of birth and youth. She can make barren things fertile and increase the growing rate of plants and animals to any speed she chooses. She can equally easily make fertile things barren, if she chooses. She can age, wither, and slay as easily as she can create, though it takes much to drive her to do this.
As Protector, Yondalla wards off evil influences and intrusions and gives halflings the strength and determination to defend themselves. In this aspect, Yondalla most often uses her illusionist abilities to protect her worshippers.
Yondalla's allies include Bahamut, Berronar Truesilver, Corellon Larethian,Garl Glittergold, and Moradin. She loves and admires her fellow halfling deities, sometimes known as "Yondalla's Children". They include Arvoreen, Brandobaris, Cyrrollalee, Sheela Peryroyl, and Urogalan.
She scorns certain evil deities, such as Bane, Cyric, Talona, Talos, and the Deities of Fury. Her foes include the goblin pantheons and Urdlen.
In the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, Yondalla is also allied with Chauntea, Helm, Torm, and Tyr. Her foes are Cyric, Talos and Malar.
CreationStories of the origin of the halfling race vary greatly. In some myths, she gives birth to the halflings directly. Other myths have her assembling the halflings from disparate natural elements or from features she admired in other races. In one version, she took elements from the fey (who were too frivolous on their own), the dwarves (who were too serious), the elves (who were too patient for her tastes), the humans, and even the orcs (who were too brutal). She started with a pixie or a brownie, some say, and gave him elven agility, dwarven devotion to family and clan, orcish boldness, and human adaptability.
More rarely, she discovers the first halfling, who is called Littleman.
The Story of LittlemanIn the beginning of time, Yondalla was given little respect among the gods of creation, for she had no race to call her own. She was banished from the divine councils for a time after she made the mistake of asking the assembled deities, probably sarcastically, which of them was the greatest. This question provoked such strife that they cast her out. Yondalla left the Seven Heavens and wandered the worlds of the Material Plane. After "a day and a year and a year and a day," she came across Littleman fishing at a riverbank. Littleman was clever, brave, kind-hearted, mischievous, and not too big. He was perfect for Yondalla's needs. Some say he was a lonely, saddened sylvan creature (a brownie, according to some versions) who Yondalla transformed into the first halfling. Other versions of the myth have it that Littleman was a halfling already, and Yondalla merely adopted the race. Yondalla offered to give him and his people protection from their enemies and bring them fertility and plenty. Littleman agreed, and so the covenant between Yondalla and her people was sealed. Littleman became a cultural hero who taught the other halflings (either preexistent or created by Yondalla) useful skills and all the benefits of what is now halfling culture.
The Green FieldsYondalla used a combination of flattery, guile, and diplomacy to gain for the halflings the fertile fields and meadows where they prefer to settle. She complimented Moradin on how well he worked metals and stones, distracting him with tales of precious metal. She haggled with Corellon Larethian over the lush, green spaces, finally agreeing that Corellon's kind would take the forests and she would take the grasslands. By praising the diversity and flexibility of the human gods, she convinced them to claim no particular terrain type for their own. As for the orcs, well, the tale of Gruumsh recounts how he reacted.
In another version of the story (in Races of the Wild), the other gods discover that Yondalla has stolen elements from their races to create the halflings, and demand that she be punished. She uses her flattery and guile to mollify them, and in the end they agree to allow Yondalla and her halflings to live. However, the halflings will have no nations of their own, and Yondalla must expunge her larcenous streak from her being. She does so, creating Dallah Thaun and hiding her away, leaving only unblemished, faultless, Lawful Good Yondalla for her prosecutors to see.