Stronmaus is the giant deity of the Sun, Sky, Weather, Seas, and Joy.
Stronmaus is the patron of storm giants and non-evil cloud giants, but he is worshiped as a sky and weather deity by giants of all races. To hill giants he is a mighty fisherman, to frost giants he is a bold sailor and explorer, and to the cloud giants he is a thundering god of storms.
Stronmaus's clergy is highly respected amongst most of Jotunbrud society, especially those who live under open skies or near water. In particular, they play an especially important part of the societies of good cloud, fog, and storm giants, and to a lesser extent the firbolg and voadkyn. Priests of the Smiling God do not generally move into positions of political leadership, preferring to guide their people through advice and education; this is particularly true in storm giant bands, where the priests often live apart from their people in a particularly austere lifestyle. While not often worshipped outright amongst giants of an evil bent, he is sometimes called upon when good weather is needed for travel or rain is needed for agriculture.
Stronmaus's cloud giant clerics are skilled in the arts and music. They are proud and organized, and believe in ridding the skies of evil creatures. They are visionaries, mystics, and meditators who treat each other as equals.
VestmentsHigh ranking clergy dress in fine garments of high-quality white cloth, edged with colors that denote their rank; silver and gold being the highest. Typical dress style consists of the chiton (ankle length for females, knee or ankle length for males), but other types of robes are common depending on local clothing styles. Their hair is grown long so it can blow free in the wind; while they do not wear head coverings of any sort, hair adornments such as combs, pins, circlets, and the like are popular. Silver jewelry is extremely popular and encouraged amongst the clergy, and often individual temple priesthoods will use jewelry amount as an additional mark of rank. In such priesthoods, it is considered a mark of extreme arrogance for a junior priest to dress better than a superior, with punishments lengthy and embarrassing, but not overly harsh. The holy symbol of hierarchical priests is a silver pendant in the shape of a cloud, a gold pendant in the shape of a forked lightning bolt, or a pendant that combines the two.
Ascetic storm giant priests have no formal raiment, and in fact their clothing is typically ragged and tattered from long exposure to the elements. Their holy symbols may be the same as the hierarchical priests, but more often are a pendant consisting of a flat stone disk carved with the runes for water and sky, superimposed on each other.
Hierarchical clergy members typically wear plate or banded armor made of bronze or silvered steel when adventuring. Weapon usage varies by individual preference, although two-handed swords and morning stars are favored. Ascetic storm giants rarely wear armor or wield weapons, preferring to strike with their bare hands, a makeshift club, or a staff.
HierarchyWhile the largest communities of storm giants tend to be organized with a structured hierarchy, the priests of smaller groups almost completely eschew hierarchical organization, preferring an individualistic, ascetic existence where all members are equals, regardless of personal power. These specialty priests are known as Askesians. As opposed to other priests of Stronmaus, Askesians often forgo any wealth and possessions.
TemplesTemples and shrines dedicated to Stronmaus can be found in nearly every tribe and nation of storm and good cloud giants, as well as many firbolg and voadkyn communities. Temple structure varies little from community to community; typically, they are long, marble-built, rectangular colonnaded buildings, topped with low-sloped roofs. Columns have capitals carved in a manner that recalls waves or clouds, although columns resting on a base of stylized waves and capitals of carved clouds are not uncommon. The central chamber of the temple is open to the sky, and taking up much of the floor space is a long pool of crystal clear water. Temples are completely free of cultic images and altars; the clergy holds that the whole sky and all clean water is to be seen as a representation of the Storm Lord, so no material statue or altar is needed to worship him. This is not to say temples are plain or unadorned; to the contrary, they are often painted with shades of blue, green, yellow, and white. Geometric patterns and carvings of giants celebrating life’s enjoyable aspects are common as well. Shrines tend to be small, circular, marble-paved pools surrounded by simple free-standing columns. Natural mountain springs and bowl shaped hollows with no tree cover or rocky overhangs also serve as shrines, particularly for storm giant tribes.
RitualsCloud giants who worship Stronmaus scatter handfuls of incense and spices to the winds every morning as soon as they wake. Priests of Stronmaus, regardless of their breed, always stop to pray during or immediately after a rainstorm or thunderstorm. They are forbidden to build fires, though they may warm themselves by fires built by others.
To be accepted into the priesthood, a cleric must sit atop a cold, deserted peak for 100 days without food, and remain solitary, only moving to deal with evil creatures of the sky or sea.
Twice per year, on the summer and winter solstices, hierarchical priests initiate an Omjag, or "Sky Hunt." These sacred hunts target a specific evil aerial creature, such as a chimera, a wyvern, or a chromatic dragon. For the week following, the priests hunt the creature, ritually slay it, and offer it to Stronmaus. Often initiate priests will be granted the killing blow, elevating them to a full member of the clergy. Unsuccessful hunts, or those where priests are slain, are viewed as bad omens for the coming season.
Ascetic storm giant priests perform yearly ceremonies designed to push the clergy to their physical limits. Such ceremonies often involve a survival walk, great quest, or difficult hunt, and more often than not, place the priests in mortal danger. The clergy do not name these ceremonies, nor are they held at the same time each year; in fact, they will often vary the season they are held in from year to year. These tests of physical endurance may last anywhere from one week to an entire month, and priests may pursue them individually or as a group, depending on the goal.
Orders The Guardians of the Winds and the Waves is a loosely organized group of storm and cloud giant rangers and priests who see it as their duty to protect the lesser creatures of goodness and neutrality in coastal lands and waters from evil creatures. They usually operate individually, but sometimes gather in small groups if the threat is greater than one can handle alone. When possible, they attempt to destroy the threats they discover without making their presence known to those they're protecting, as they believe doing the good deeds without the possibility of a reward is the height of honor.
Stronmaus's faith stresses the cleansing and redeeming effects of rain, and the joys of freedom. Cloud giants stress the epicurean merriment of the deity, while storm giants are a fatalistic, though passionate, folk who believe life is a test of will and that most actions are futile in the face of the great elemental forces.
Stronmaus' avatar appears as an enormous (up to 80' tall) giant with blue eyes and flowing auburn-red, wavy hair, wearing a simple gold-edged white robe. He is far more youthful and carefree than his father Annam. He is normally depicted smiling and reveling. He cannot help but smile, for the energy of life flows through him so strongly that it is hard not for him to express his continual exuberance. He revels in the storms he calls up and in the thunder that booms from his magical hammer.
Stronmaus has inherited some of his father's fickle lusts, and may send avatars simply to woo and seduce beautiful female giants.
Stronmaus is the eldest son of Annam and thus the default leader of the giantish pantheon since Annam's withdrawal, though he does not covet his father's power. He will happily defer to Annam the moment the creator god returns. Stronmaus' closest relationship is with his sister Hiatea; the two are commonly seen as a pair, the oldest and most powerful of Annam's children. His other siblings and half-siblings include Diancastra, Grolantor, Iallanis, Karontor, Skoraeus Stonebones, Surtr, and Thrym. Memnor and Vaprak are also sometimes named as his relatives.
Stronmaus often flies the skies of the Beastlands with Aerdrie Faenya and Remnis as companions. He is well-disposed toward the gods of the asathalfinare, who include Syranita, Surminare, and Trishina, and may send avatars to help them in times of need. He is also an ally of his fellow god of lightning Muamman Duathal. Stronmaus despises Memnor above all others, and will send avatars to restrict the evil cloud giant god's activities.