Annam All-Father is the chief giant deity and creator of the giant race.
He was an omniscient god of learning and meditation who could spend a thousand years contemplating a single subject, while at the same time being an entity who acts on impulse and instinct. He is patient, not caring about the passing of time due to his immortal nature, but simultaneously impatient for his long-reaching goals to reach their conclusion. He could also be incredibly stubborn, refusing to change his mind once it was made up even if new evidence proved his decision wrong (though there are some exceptions). As a god of creation and fertility, he was particularly lustful, having sired numerous children and keeping multiple paramours. However, the failings of his offspring and his lack of a true wife and partner caused him great sadness and depression. Additionally, all of his worshipers see him as the embodiment of the particular traits that the worshiper values. For example, he was seen as a massive glutton to hill giants, an artist by stone giants, and a reveler and warrior to frost giants.
The eons he has existed and the disunity of his children has caused him to withdraw from the daily activities of his family, abdicating much of his responsibility to Stronmaus and Hiatea. While his power is nearly unrivaled, he spends much of his time watching the events of the multiverse from afar.
Annam is worshiped by almost all giants, who see him as the greatest example of their own subspecies, personifying the traits that they value the most. To hill giants, he is an enormous glutton; to stone giants, he is the greatest of artists. To frost giants, he is a mighty warrior and reveler.
Annam's priests are extremely rare since the god's retreat, although almost all giants honor him. His priesthood is generally only found amongst the greatest and oldest of storm, stone, cloud, and fog giant tribes and kingdoms, or any kingdom or confederation composed of multiple giantish subraces. Here they tend to assume roles of leadership, with the mantle of king often being bestowed upon a singularly powerful and charismatic priest. Even amongst tribes that have no clergy of Annam, with the exception of those who follow Memnor, he is acknowledged as the chief of the pantheon and his priests are respected, if not necessarily obeyed. In areas with a large number of different giant subrace populations, the All-Father's priests may act as spiritual guides to the other clergies, as well as a moderating force on inter-racial conflict.
Leading and guiding other giants is the prime duty of Annam's clergy, wherever they are found. Many are driven to greatness and status, as well as the creation and acquisition of magical prowess and powerful magical items. They are expected to have grand but achievable goals and inspire their fellow giants to greatness. They are also seen as wise guardians of knowledge, and hold deep counsel for those in search of answers. Striking another giant except in self-defense is considered a grave offense for the clergy of the All-Father; doing so is grounds for divestiture. The taboo against striking a fellow giant is so strong that most members of the clergy undergo the divestiture process willingly. If magical compulsion is responsible for the physical blow, divestiture is still the most common result, although lengthy periods of atonement are occasionally required instead. In certain mythologies surrounding the All-Father, some of the races reputed to be giants or related to giants (firbolgs, verbeeg, trolls, ogres, etc.) are in reality the progeny of one of Annam's wives and another deity, such as Ulutiu or Vaprak. On worlds that maintain such beliefs, speaking the name of those deities during a ceremony in honor of the All-Father is an unforgivable crime, punishable with the death of the offender.
VestmentsThe All-Father's ceremonial garb consists of expensive robes of a deep shade of blue, sewn with delicate silver thread. They keep their heads bare and grow their hair long and well groomed, although hair and facial adornments are forbidden. Elder priests often grow lengthy beards as well, although this is by choice; junior priests are required to be clean-shaven. They wear intricate silver bracelets with a pattern that signifies their rank and position within the hierarchy. These bracelets are the holy symbol of the clergy; they hold their wrists together so they touch when casting spells.
When traveling or otherwise not performing their ceremonial duties, Annam's clergy wear garments typical for their tribe or community, although always of the highest quality available; however, they avoid flashy or ostentatious clothing or jewelry. When entering combat, they prefer items of magical protection (rings of protection, bracers of defense, etc.) to actual armor, even magical armor, but they are not averse to wearing such if necessary.
HierarchyNovices of Annam are known as the Blooded, while full priests are called High Wise Ones. They eschew individual titles, although each knows their place in the hierarchy. Ranking within the clergy is determined by a complex formula based on personal power, height, and bloodline. Younger priests refer to the elders simply as Lord Brother, while the elders call the younger priests Young One. Organized priesthoods of the All-Father don't exist on every world; sometimes, only individuals are called to his service. In such cases, the individuals are almost invariably part of an ancient, elder, or royal giantish lineage, becoming powerful lords or kings.
TemplesTemples dedicated to the All-Father are found on many worlds, but are more often than not now in ruin. Annam's withdrawal from the day to day activities of the Jotunbrud has resulted in a substantial decline in his clergy throughout the multiverse. In all cases, they follow similar plans, however, and are usually long colonnaded buildings with ceilings high enough for the All-Father's avatar to stand in unhindered. Giants speak of these temples as being the direct inspiration for the design of the favored temples of the Olympian gods, although this is of course disputed by that group of deities. The temples are frequently built on flattened mountain peaks allowing a view of the surrounding land. Shrines can be found amongst most giant tribes, although they tend to take on characteristics of the individual subraces.
RitualsThe Grand Feast of the All-Father: Held on the first day of the first month of each year. This ceremony is observed by most giant tribes, regardless of the presence of Annam's priesthood; it celebrates the eventual return of Annam to Gudheim, and the coming or returning glory of giantish dominance. Each breed celebrates slightly differently, based on their individual views of the All-Father, although the eating of vast quantities of food is common. Tribes that normally compete violently at other times of the year often put aside their differences during this ceremony, sending ambassadors to attend each other's celebrations as a sign of unity. Local clergy of Annam typically honors a favored tribe or chieftain by attending their feast. This is considered a great honor for the members for the tribe, and trying to manipulate or bribing the clergy into attending is considered an insult to Annam himself.
Ceremony of Investiture: In especially tight-knit giantish communities, such as in Hartsvale on Toril, the high priest of Annam holds a special ceremony every two years to invest new priests of the various faiths of the Ordning. The priest typically travels to a dedicated temple within a tribe to perform the ceremony, and it is considered a great honor for the tribe whose temple is selected.
Prayer Vigil: Once per month, the high priest of Annam holds a special prayer vigil, honoring the All-Father and asking for his guidance. The clergy encourages troubled members of the Jotunbrud to attend these vigils in hopes of finding the answers they seek and to discuss their problems with the clergy.
OrdersThe Great Creator's clergy does not maintain any military orders, although there are a small number of monastic orders dedicated to pondering his philosophies and prophecies. Such orders always reside in the most isolated of places, even by giantish standards.
Worshippers of Annam believe the giants are destined to rule the world. They are taught to honor the Ordning, the hierarchy of giantish society. They are advised not to raise their hands against their fellow giants, and taught not to fear the passage of time, which favors the giants over shorter-lived peoples. They are not to underestimate other races, but neither are they to allow them to impede their goals.
Annam's manifestations are extremely rare, as he takes little interest in the activities of mortals on the Prime Material Plane, outside of world-shaking events. In extremely rare cases he appears as an enormous giant of staggering size (standing at least 100 feet tall, if not taller) with long white hair and an equally long beard. His eyes are dark blue, but a close look will reveal small twinkling lights, like stars in the night sky. He wears a long flowing robe of midnight blue, belted with a cord of gold and silver strands. In some myths, Annam is said to ride the ki-rin deity Koriel.
Annam may also send a precognitive vision to a giant in an important position in the local Jotunbrud society, such as those he sends to his priests. If moved to great emotion by an act of incredible bravery or treachery, he may manifest as heal, regenerate, restoration, earthquake, or weather summoning.
In the All-Father's rarest manifestation, he brings a follower(s) to him directly, pulling them into a pocket dimension that can only be described as "the whirling emptiness between stars, filled with wind that shined like light and radiance that boomed like thunder." No mortal brought to this place can possibly describe it fully. In this place, Annam speaks directly to those he brought there, usually to correct some significant path a follower is on, or to issue a special pronouncement or judgment.
Annam had mixed relationships with his children, favoring Stronmaus, Hiatea, and Iallanis and despairing over Grolantor, Karontor, Memnor, and the ever-competing Surtr and Thrym, although Surtr did have his father's favor due to his skillful crafting of weapons and arms. His relationship with Skoraeus Stonebones was less well known due to his son's reclusive nature. Diancastra is also favored child, as he found her wit amused him and lifted his depressions as little else did. Due to his isolation and high opinion of himself, he did not interact with other gods often.
Annam is said to have been born from the primal forces of Chaos and Law. He is believed (by giants) to have created all the worlds of the Prime Material Plane. In some legends, he works with human and demihuman deities to create worlds in cooperation, but in most myths he creates alone. The storm giants think of Annam as a sleeping god, and believe reality sprang from his dreams.