Uthgar, the Battle Father, is the god of barbarians and physical strength. His followers consist of many human tribes collectively termed as the Uthgardt barbarians.
Uthgar's full and hearty laugh rings out whenever he hears a good joke. He enjoys sensual pleasures of the flesh, even in his divine state, and likes to hunt, eat, drink, and be merry in his feast halls with the warrior spirits he has called to serve him. Although he is a tireless and methodical tactician, his battle strategies are not terribly inspired. He is driven to win in the long run, however, especially if the Uthgardt barbarians (his people) are threatened.
Little known outside the harsh realm of the North, the church of Uthgar does not exist per se outside the collected ranks of those who venerate the various beast cult shamans. Although generally seen as savage and frightening by other inhabitants of the Savage Frontier, in truth the character of the church of Uthgar varies greatly from tribe to tribe. In recent years, Uthgar's people have worked to remove the stain on their reputation caused by the cruel actions of the now-defunct Blue Bear Tribe (whose totem was defeated and absorbed by Malar the Beastlord), and that fact has increased acceptance of Uthgar outside the barbarian tribes. Religious fervor within the tribes has increased because several infants in each tribe have been born with a beast-totem birthmark, which has been taken as a sign of great favor.
The church of Uthgar is divided among the eleven beast totem spirits that serve Uthgar as intermediaries to the Uthgardt tribes of the Savage Frontier. Uthgar is not worshiped directly, but each tribe venerates one of these servant spirits as the divine embodiment of the spirit of their tribe—the symbol of its vitality, wisdom, mystical ability, endurance, speed, and moral nature. Uthgardt shamans tend to the respective needs of their tribes, teaching tribal history and customs passed down by heroic tales and lineage chants in an oral tradition spanning centuries. They provide healing for their tribes, initiate youths into manhood after they complete their tribal quests (often missions against a tribe's ritual enemy), and provide counsel to the tribe's chieftain and elders. When the tribe faces a new situation or a quandary, shamans consult with the ancestral spirits and totem animal great spirit to find guidance. All Uthgardt shamans believe that personal strength can demonstrate purity of purpose, and so arguments are often settled by a test of strength or a battle of first blood, to surrender, or to the death-if the matter is serious enough.
Tribes and Alignment
Each tribe worships one of the beasts whose powers were taken by Uthgar. The totem cult encompasses the worship of the tribe's ancestors, including Uthgar, his sons, and long-dead chieftains and shamans.
- Black Lion (chaotic good): The Black Lions have betrayed Uthgardt traditions and settled near the sacred site of Beorunna's Well. Most folk of the Black Lion tribe have given up worship of Uthgar and now worship Helm, Ilmater, Torm, and Tyr. Ancestor Mound: Beorunna's Well. Ritual Enemy: Tundra barbarians.
- Black Raven (chaotic neutral): The most tradition-bound tribe, the Black Raven fly into battle (most often against caravans) riding giant ravens. Ancestor Mound: Raven Rock. Ritual Enemy: Griffon tribe, foreign merchants and clerics.
- Blue Bear (chaotic evil): Though they were believed to have been completely eradicated, they persevered through many years of hardship and survived the hardships of the North. Ancestor Mound: Stone Stand.
- Elk (chaotic neutral): The Elk tribe wanders the Evermoors and the land near the Dessarin river. They're little more than bandits. Many have given up worship of Uthgar in favor of Talos. Ancestor Mound: Flintrock. Ritual Enemy: A dead northern civilization.
- Gray Wolf (chaotic neutral): Members of the Gray Wolf Tribe are lycanthropes, turning into wolves under the full moon. Tribesfolk who leave and join other tribes lose the curse after they have spent a year as initiates into a different Uthgardt tribe's totem. Ancestor Mound: Raven Rock. Ritual Enemy: Orcs.
- Great Worm (chaotic good): Several years ago, adventurers slew a benevolent draconic creature that had ruled the Great Worm Tribe. The tribe has maintained its balance thanks to good leadership and the fact that the Worm still seems to be looking out for them, as proven by the magic armor made of its body that appeared outside the sleeping tents of the tribe's two leaders. Ancestor Mound: Great Worm Cavern. Ritual Enemy: Evil creatures.
- Griffon (neutral): Around 1370 DR, they were led by the charismatic chief Kralgar Bonesnapper. Under his leadership, the tribe strove toward many greater accomplishments, making them among the most powerful of the Uthgardt. Ancestor Mound: Shining White. Ritual Enemy: Northern cities.
- Red Tiger (chaotic evil): This small tribe of hunters based near Beorunna's Well prides itself on hunting only with three-clawed stone daggers called "claws" as weapons. Ancestor Mound: Beorunna's Well. Ritual Enemy: Blue Bear Tribe (now deceased).
- Sky Pony (chaotic neutral): The most active of the Uthgardt tribes, fanatically devoted to Uthgar's ally Tempus. Ancestor Mound: One Stone. Ritual Enemy: Orcs.
- Tree Ghost (neutral good): After a tumultuous few years of conflict, the Tree Ghosts have declared themselves to be the protectors of Grandfather Tree. So far they have had no argument from other High Forest dwellers who respect the tree. Ancestor Mound: Grandfather Tree. Ritual Enemy: Evil undead creatures.
- Thunderbeast (chaotic neutral): The most civilized of the tribes, living (though not farming) near the High Forest The clan's totem beast is a giant dinosaur. Ancestor Mound: Morgur's Mound. Ritual Enemy: Wolves.
His clerics often multi-class as barbarians, druids or rangers.
Uthgar has neither temples nor shrines, and his clerics can perform necessary ceremonies in any location, though their tribes' ancestral mounds are their most holy sites (each tribe and its beast totem are tied to a particular ancestral mound).
These huge earthwork mounds, often shaped like the totem beasts of the tribes that gather at them, are sacred burial grounds where only the greatest shamans and chiefs are interred. Most tribes believe their tribal founders are buried in the ancestor mound. Although there are many lesser burial mounds and shrines revered by smaller clans within the tribes, it is to the large mounds devoted to their most ancient and holy ancestors that the Uthgardt tribes return each fall to spend their winters near the protection of their ancestors. The ancestor mounds are all roughly similar. Two mound rings called cairn rings surround a large central altar mound. The ancestor mounds of large tribes may also be surrounded by smaller, nondescript burial mounds. Usually all mounds are formed of turf-covered earth. The Uthgardt correctly believe that the spirits of dead ancestors protect the graves from harm.
Clerics of Uthgar pray at dawn or sunset. They are almost exclusively male, and each worships the beast totem spirit of his tribe. The spring equinox and both solstices are holy days, and all tribes converge upon their ancestral mound (or Beorunna's Well, the holiest of the ancestral mounds) during the autumn equinox to perform ceremonies, make agreements, and commune with ancestral spirits.
During the Runemeet
, Uthgardt youths desiring to be adults (and warriors of all ages) participate in the ritual of the Runehunt
, in which those involved seek victory over the tribe's ritual enemies—usually orcs. When youths complete a Runehunt
successfully, Uthgar's clerics hold a ceremony, known as the Telhut
, to initiate them into manhood. Uthgardt clerics of Chauntea initiate Uthgardt girls into womanhood at this time as well.
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The dogma of the Uthgardt religion varies slightly from tribe to tribe as each beast cult emphasizes different "barbarian" virtues. In general, shamans are charged as follows when they are initiated into the Uthgardt faith: Strength is everything. Civilization is weakness. Men should fight, hunt, and raid from the weak to provide for their wives and families. Family is sacred, and its bonds are not cast aside lightly. Arcane magic is effete, self-indulgent, and ultimately leads to weakness. Reliance upon arcane magic is an evil and false path that leads to death and ruin. Revere Uthgar, your ancestors, and your tribe's spirit. Study the beast so that you know its virtues and its weaknesses; claim its virtues as your own and weed its weaknesses from your spirit. The beast holds wisdom and raw power that you can make your own. Make the others of your tribe fear and respect your power and knowledge so they heed the wise words of your ancestors speak through you to them.
Uthgar has many faces, in his guises as the various beast totems, but in his hall he is always depicted as a tall, burely, bearded, blond-haired warrior with eyes of piercing blue dressed only in a battle harness, leather breechcloth, and furred boots.
The Battle Father has few friends and has remained relatively uninvolved in divine politics.
According to some legends Uthgar is the son of Beorunna (a Netherese warrior hero whose followers became the barbarian tribes of the North), while others claim he is the divine offspring of mighty Tempus (mainly because Tempus elevated him to demigodhood).
HistoryBorn Uthgar Gardolfsson, the son of Gardolf Beorunna, Thane of Ruathym. Uthgar grew up to become a fierce warrior and great tactician like his father, though had less moral compunctions than him when it came to personal combat.
He yearned for true battle rather than just sparring and as soon as he came of age, Uthgar rallied enough followers to fill a fleet of ships, becoming a Thane like his father. He set sail as soon as possible and sacked Bjorn's Hold, returning with furs and fish aplenty, but no treasure that his people could covet. Uthgar set off again with his fleet to the mainland (which the Ruathens at the time called the Great Island) and slaughtered the rulers of Illusk's magocratic government in 95 DR. Expecting to be lauded as a hero for destroying the heathen spellcasters, he was surprised when he was accused of being a barbarian and driven further inland by it's citizens who burned his ships. Uthgar and his followers survived the myriad dangers of the surrounding lands however and raided every town he encountered. Many of the survivors of these raids were impressed by Uthgar's martial and tactical prowess, joining his forces, sometimes entire villages swore fealty to him. However, Uthgar felt like it was his duty to protect the villages under his control and when an orc horde swept down from the Spine of the World, he and his followers faced it in battle.
Uthgar entered into combat with Gurt, Lord of the Pale Giants during the attack and sustained mortal wounds in an epic battle. When he succumbed to them on the site that would become Morgur's Mound, his followers declared themselves the Uthgardt in his honour, separating themselves into tribes named after spirits that he was said to have tamed. Tempus rewarded him by elevating him to demigodhood. After the Spellplague, Uthgar became an exarch of Tempus.
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