Saint Cuthbert of the Cudgel is the combative deity of Wisdom, Dedication, and Zeal. Rumored to have once been a mortal man, Saint Cuthbert hates evil, but is more concerned with law and order, with converting the uninformed, and preventing backsliding among the faithful.
Worshipers of Saint Cuthbert, known as Cuthbertines, are most prevalent in the central Flanaess. In Sigil and the Outer Planes of the Great Wheel, Saint Cuthbert is the most favored god of the Harmonium faction, who appreciate the god's uncompromising nature. The current leader of the faction, Faith, is a cleric of Saint Cuthbert.
In general, Cuthbert's faith is concentrated amongst rural populations, and combined with the church's reputation for both aggressive conversion-seeking and self-righteousness, there tends to be a bit of a backlash against the faith by city-dwellers. Cuthbertines have a stereotype as preachy, self-righteous, and proudly ignorant in the urban parts of the world, which can be quite a surprise to many Cuthbertines venturing out of their hamlets for the first time, and which reinforces their isolationism.
Clerics of the Cudgel are stern folk who speak their minds plainly. They do not suffer fools and disapprove of those who backslide in faith. They train in the arts of war and keep themselves physically fit. Many serve as constables, detectives, judges, and bounty hunters.
St. Cuthbert teaches new clerics by using specially recruited mentors that have drill-sergeant attitudes and stern demeanors. Day and night his acolytes pray, train, and fight, until they can recite entire books of St. Cuthbert's scripture from memory.
Saint Cuthbert's priesthood is divided into three major factions/orders: the Chapeaux, the Stars and the Billets.
The Chapeaux, whose symbol is a crumpled hat, seek to convert people into their faith. They are equally divided between lawful good and lawful neutral characters. Paladins of Saint Cuthbert, known as Votaries or Communicants, have an honorary position in the Order of the Chapeaux. Their role is not just to convert others, but to actually fight enemies of the faith.
The Stars, whose symbol is a starburst, seek to enforce doctrinal purity among those already dedicated to the saint. Most are lawful neutral, and they do not shy from using mind-reading magic in order to ensure that even the private thoughts of their flock are pure.
The Billets are the most numerous of Saint Cuthbert's clergy. Most are lawful good, and they seek to minister to and protect the faithful. These are well-beloved by the common folk. Their symbol is a wooden club. The Chapeaux often come into conflict with the Billets, because the former order wants to seek new converts while the latter wants to care for the worshipers they already have.
VestmentsSt. Cuthbert's clerics typically wear a reddish brown robe with a white or yellow trim. Paladins typically wear chain or full plate armor, under a white tabard with St. Cuthbert's symbol on the front. They don a long red cloak and usually wield a mace or cudgel.
TemplesSt. Cuthbert's churches can be large cathedrals, but most commonly are wayside shrines and small, crude chapels. For his temples, architects favor large, imposing structures. Their entrances or facades invariably feature engraved quotations such as "Chaos and evil prevail where good folk do nothing" or "Obstinacy brings lumps to the heads of the unfaithful." The clergy there offer healing and protective magic, but they're careful to make sure that those they help are worthy of St. Cuthbert's favor.
RitualsSt. Cuthbert's religious teachings are passed on in the form of commandments, all of which begin "Thou shalt" or "Thou shalt not." In general, clerics of St. Cuthbert are more likely than most to pepper their speech with "thee," "thine," and other archaic pronouns.
All of St. Cuthbert's ceremonies include a brief but fiery sermon from a member of the clergy, who exhorts the listeners to turn from their chaotic ways and adhere more closely to the laws of St. Cuthbert.
Cuthbertines celebrate the following holy days:
Saint Cuthbert's Day: Celebrated on the 4th day of Growfest, Saint Cuthbert's Day is the largest festival celebrated by Saint Cuthbert's church. It involves locals and pilgrims gathering at a city's gate at dawn and parading and singing along a major road until they reach the local shrine or temple. Children swipe at everyone within reach with switches in a custom known as "the cleansing." At their destination, a cleric brings out a replica of the Mace of Cuthbert and there is a great feast from noon until dusk, and then a bonfire from sundown until midnight that the faithful believe can remove curses and misfortune.
Breadgiving Day: This is a new event that began only after the Greyhawk Wars, originally as a charitable event for refugees. Subsequently it has become a day dedicated to feeding the hungry in general. Cuthbertines take the opportunity to preach and gain converts, and provide security for the event. The faiths of Pelor and Rao also participate.
ScripturesSaint Cuthbert and Common Sense: This short book, normally no more than thirty pages long, uses simple language to explain the tenets of Saint Cuthbert's faith. Some personal interpretation is permitted, but the essentials (obey the law, be good, and use common sense) remain the same. Those who fail at living up to the Saint's virtues are advised to turn to their communities for advice and support, and to prey to Saint Cuthbert to clear up their confusion. Copies of Saint Cuthbert and Common Sense are normally written by hand in easy-to-read letters, sometimes with simple drawings. Gilded illuminations and elaborate calligraphy are not in harmony with the Cuthbertine aesthetic.
Tales of the Vulgar Fool: This book is considered foul heresy in the eyes of Cuthbertines, particularly the Order of the Stars, who try to suppress it whenever it is encountered. It takes the traditional Cuthbertine parables of the Wise Fool and twists them so that instead of overcoming his problems with common sense, he indulges in thievery and lechery. Non-Cuthbertines see these stories as humorous parodies of uptight Cuthbertine homilies, but the church does not approve. A small minority of the faithful take the Tales of the Vulgar Fool to heart and incorporate their "advice" into their lives, and this is the sort of thing the Order of the Stars tries to stamp out.
The Saint Among Us: This is a story of Saint Cuthbert's origins as a mortal shepherd who long ago lived a simple, blameless, charitable life. He was rewarded by the gods by being brought to Oerth where he walked the world as a holy man teaching evil the error of its ways. Eventually he became a god; the tale attempts to guide others by example. The book is mostly a parable, seeking to serve as a guide by example to Cuthbertines.
OrdersL'Ordre de la Croix-Rose Veritas, or the Order of the Rosy Cross of Truth, was founded in 587 CY, after the Greyhawk Wars. It was founded by Ormus, a former priest of Rao, recently converted to Saint Cuthbert's faith. When Ormus discovered an evil warlord had been corrupted by a devil in disguise, he founded the new order in order to track down other devils living among mortals in disguise. The order has three branches: La Croix-Vert, La Croix-Blanc, and La Croix-Bleu.
The Society of the Sanctified Mind focuses on ridding the world of evil psionicists. It was founded circa 561 CY by a cleric of Saint Cuthbert named Sir Jeremy Costineux, after his home village was enslaved by illithids. This society is a knightly order rather than a strictly religious one, and people of a wide variety of character classes belong to it.
The words of St. Cuthbert are wise, practical, and sensible. Among his followers, the Word of the Cudgel is law, and his followers take pains to spread the word so that may all may benefit from St. Cuthbert’s wisdom. Weakness in faith and acting against the Saint’s teachings are intolerable, especially in believers. St. Cuthbert exhorts his followers to make increasing efforts to bring unbelievers into the fold. Honesty, truthfulness, practicality, and reasonability are the highest virtues, says St. Cuthbert.
St. Cuthbert takes many forms (including that of a common yokel or white-haired mustached man in plated mail) but in each one he is usually shown with a bronzewood cudgel.
In general, Saint Cuthbert respects any Lawful Good god, although he and his followers tend to believe other such gods aren't as smart or as capable as Saint Cuthbert himself. His church is on its best terms with Rao, Delleb, Heironeous, Pelor and Lendys.
He is staunchly critical of Neutral Good deities, whom he regards as "not trying hard enough" and of most Lawful Neutral deities, who he thinks tend to forget about using their common sense. He despises the Chaotic Good gods, although he does consider them marginally better than the Chaotic Neutral ones, who are the closest things he has to enemies amongst the non-evil gods. He's also contemptuous of True Neutral deities, whom he sees as wishy-washy and unwilling to take a stand.
His fiercest non-hostile rivalry is with Pholtus, as the two gods share so many of the same faults that they can't stand each other.
Naturally, Saint Cuthbert is most opposed to the gods of evil. Whilst the Chaotic Evil gods are obvious enemies of him, he has just as much enmity, if not more, for the Lawful Evil ones, whom he sees as perverting the fundamental nature of law and order. Whilst he battles all evil gods, his most prominent enemies are Vecna and Iuz.
MythologyParables of the Wise Fool
The dogmatically correct stories that the Tales of the Vulgar Fool work of heresy is a parody of, these stories involve agriculture, animal husbandry, crafts, fending off beasts, fighting, and other common activities. The protagonist, the Wise Fool, is normally portrayed much as Saint Cuthbert is, as a young or middle-aged man with a crumpled hat, who shows up well-meaning but self-important antagonists with simple common sense. Many of the most common sayings used in the Cuthbertine faith are attributed to the Wise Fool. These books are often illustrated, and simple paintings of the Wise Fool are common on rural chapels and the like.
The Boy Who Cried Orc
This story, possibly brought by Saint Cuthbert himself from another world, tells of a shepherd boy who tells lies about an orc attack and is consequently not believed when an orc actually attacks.