Berronar is matriarch of the dwarven pantheon, and is the dwarven goddess of Safety, Truth, Home, and Healing. She is the bride of Moradin and dwells with him at the Soul Forge beneath the mountains in Solania (fourth of the Seven Heavens, called Khynnduum in the oldest dwarven writings). The Revered Mother is the defender and protector of the home. She is the patron of marriage and love, and her name is often invoked in small home rituals for protection against thieves and duplicity. Berronar is also the goddess of healing.
The Revered Mother is a kind and caring goddess with a strong motherly love for all dwarves and their allies who value compassion, fidelity, simplicity, tradition, the home, and family. Berronar has a ready, hearty laugh and a merry disposition, but she never wavers in the face of adversity or despairs in times of great loss. She can be strict or even fierce, if the situation so warrants, but the indomitable Mother Goddess of the dwarves is ever forgiving of her children, be they mortal or divine.
Lawful good dwarves who value their families, clans, and the common strength and security of dwarven society revere Berronar for her caring and loving service to the entire race. All dwarves of any alignment who seek a safe refuge or who want their loved ones or relatives kept safe offer her appeasement as well.
Berronar's clerics are the guardians and protectors of dwarven clans. They maintain records of lore, traditions, and family histories. They strive to further the good health and good character of all dwarves by acting as teachers and healers. As the moral compass of the dwarves, they can be very conservative, not tolerating foolhardiness among young dwarves or controversial or radical ideas. The number of twins from the Thunder Blessing has certainly taxed their patience.
Among the many mundane secular services, clerics of Berronar have a reputation for planning and officiating weddings that makes them sought out by even nondwarves wishing for a perfect bonding ceremony.
Priests tend to be female, but there are some males in the clergy (particularly in roles of teachers and protectors). Clerics rarely multiclass, but those who do typically become fighters. The clergy also consists of a group of all female paladins called Berronar's Valkyries.
Vestments The ceremonial garb of members of Berronar's clergy includes white robes under a silver cloth tabard. The Revered Mother's priests remain bareheaded. The holy symbol of the faith is twin, interlocking, large silver rings worn on a steel or silver chain hung around the neck. Many Revered Sisters/Brothers add twin silver rings to their vestments, one on each ring finger.
When adventuring and in combat situations, clerics favor silver chain mail with silvered helms. Many priests of the Mother Goddess are reluctant to shed blood or spread violence and thus restrict themselves to blunt, bludgeoning weapons such as maces, flails, and war hammers.
TemplesTemples of the Revered Mother may be found both above and below the surface. A temple to Berronar above ground consists of a circle of stones, usually in a wooded area, in which small fires are kindled in a random pattern. Gems and metal sculptures are set up among them on metal poles to sparkle and reflect back the firelight during worship. Actual sparkler fireworks are used on the two main holy days to mark the ending of each unison prayer.
An underground temple to Berronar is a cavern in which the priests have carefully arranged mosses, lichens, fungi, and the like brought by the hands of faithful. They keep these watered and nourished to form a lush carpet all over the floor; this covering also climbs the walls as high as possible. Luminescent fungi are favored, to give the cavern as much natural light as possible. Magical items with the power to create dancing fights are highly valued, and non-dwarven wielders of such items are sometimes even hired to illuminate such a temple by this means. Such "lighters" must come to the temple naked and blindfolded, but they are treated with the utmost care and courtesy. When the ceremony is over, they are taken safely back to the surface under guard, in such a way as to maintain their dignity but keep the location of and route to the temple hidden from them.
HierarchyPriests are collectively known as Faernor, a dwarvish word that can be loosely translated as "those of the home." The church itself is very structured, with every cleric knowing his or her place, and each clan's church uses an identical setup, so members visiting from other clans know exactly where they fit in. In a sense, her church is like a house run by a strict but loving mother.
Novices of Berronar are known as the Daughters/Sons of Berronar. Full priests of the Revered Mother are known as Revered Sisters/Brothers. In ascending order of rank, the titles used by Berronan priests are Hearth-mistress/Headmaster, Homesteader, Lorekeeper, Faithkeeper, Fidelite, and Sacred Heart. High Old Ones have unique individual titles but are collectively known as the Keepers of the Truesilver.
RitualsPriests of Berronar worship the Mother Goddess by kneeling, closing their eyes, picturing the Revered Mother, and whispering prayers that begin and end with her name. They typically do this when asking for her guidance or when they are about to heal in her name. Her guidance is often given via an inner feeling or decision.
Annual offerings of silver are made to Berronar in the form of coins, jewelry, drinking vessels, or trade-bars (a dwarven invention). White flowers sometimes adorn the offerings in token of dwarven love and affection for the Mother Goddess. Midwinter day and Midsummer night are celebrated by Berronar's faithful as holy days of the Revered Mother, although monthly observances are common in the larger temples.
More elaborate rituals to Berronar take place above ground on Midsummer Night and underground the rest of the time. Rituals honoring Berronar typically begin with a chanted prayer and continue with an address from the Keepers of the Truesilver. This ends in a responsive prayer led by a High Old One or chosen priest. Next comes a report of the good works and successes of the priesthood and an identification of failures and problems still to be overcome. Another responsive prayer follows, then a rising, spirit-lifting unison prayer. If a very sick dwarf or dwarves are present, unison healing then takes place. The entire assembled clergy lays hands on the afflicted ones and calls on Berronar. Healing does not always occur, although the deadening of pain (for 1d4+l days) always does - the assembled priests take the pain upon themselves. If healing does take place, it is a manifestation of the goddess, not a cast spell. Berronar's Touch, as this is known, has in the past cured blindness, insanity, lycanthropy, poisonings, life energy loss, bodily transformations due to parasitic or symbiotic plant life, tissue corrosion, and the like, in addition to more simple wounds and diseases.
As betrothal and married life are the province of Berronar, lawful good dwarves follow her custom of exchanging rings with those for whom they feel deep, mutual trust and love, a ceremony that is never entered into lightly. The rings are often silver, matching the Revered Mother's symbol, and are treated by dwarven smiths to be everbright (never to tarnish), then blessed by priests of Berronar. If one of the parties participates with deceit in his or her heart, Berronar's power makes one of the rings crumble during the blessing (or both rings, if both are false).
OrdersBerronar's Valkyries are crusaders and fighter/clerics who operate as small bands of elite dwarven female warriors. The role of the order is to ensure that dwarven warriors (who are predominantly male) return to their hold and clan alive after going to war. As such, the Valkyries accompany dwarven armies to battle, but instead of immediately joining in the fray, they choose a high vantage point from which to observe. If and when small pockets of dwarven warriors are in danger of being overrun, or when a dwarf is too badly wounded to withdraw, the Valkyries charge to the rescue.
The Order of the Silver Knightingale is a loosely structured order composed primarily of physicians, medics, clerics, and specialty priests skilled in the art of healing. Silver Knightingales, most of whom are female, accompany dwarven warriors into battle but do not fight except to defend themselves. Their role is to minister to the dead and dying and minimize the number of dwarven casualties using their healing skills. In peacetime, members of the order disperse to their individual clans and holds where they continue their roles as healers.
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The children of Moradin are shaped on the Soul Forge and ever warmed by the embrace of the Revered Mother. Tend the hearth and home, drawing strength and safety from truth, tradition, and the rule of law. Join with friends, kin, and clan in common purpose. Do not succumb to the misery of greed or the evils of strife, but always bring hope, health, and cheer to those in need. Once an oath is made, Berronar watches over its keeping - to break it is to grieve her sorely. Children must be cherished and guarded well from harm, for they are the future of all dwarvenkind.
Berronar appears as a powerful female dwarf. She sometimes appears with a beard braided into four rows, and other times without a beard and her long hair intricated braided in several rows. She often wears chain mail.
If a braid of Berronar's hair is cut off, it regrows in a single day. At the end of that day, the lock that was cut off turns to gold (worth 10,000-40,000 gold pieces).
Berronar was too focused on the dwarven pantheon to give much attention to outsiders, but she was on friendly terms with the lead goddesses of friendly races such as the elves, gnomes, and halflings. She worked closely together with Sharindlar to promote love among the dwarves. The Mother of Safety generally ensured that a relation formed became a healthy and loving marriage, while Sharindlar oversaw the earlier courtship. As an ideal wife to Moradin, she was one of the few he trusted completely. Clangeddin Silverbeard and Gorm Gulthyn were friends, but she was reserved towards Marthammor Duin, Dugmaren Brightmantle, and Deep Duerra. She hated the orc, goblinoid, and giant deities nearly as much as her husband did.
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