Pelor is the great Sun God, a source of life, healing, warmth, well-being and strength. Pelor is an excessively powerful deity, entirely devoted to the cause of Good, and who is indifferent to the quarrels between Law and Chaos, as long as Good prevails.
Pelor represents, above all, the beneficent energy of the sun, bringing warmth and comfort, nourishing plants, and banishing darkness. Even if closely associated with it, Pelor is NOT the personification of the sun itself. He is the one who controls its course in the sky and the energy it radiates, protecting the light from the forces that want to impose darkness. As such, Pelor is known to roam the surface of Oerth and feared by all those who hide underground.
Pelor's dogma is far reaching and his message is broad. He is not a crusader, not a deity of nature, or a god of magic. Because of this he is often worshiped alongside deities with a similar portfolio, but rarely an evil-aligned one.
As god of the sun, Pelor is also a god of light but he competes in this area with Pholtus and other deities, especially when this light is not of solar origin.
Pelor is also a god of strength, not in the purely physical sense of the term (as in the clergy of Kord) but also and above all in the spiritual sense: strength of life, strength of will and hope, strength of face adversity and stand against Evil.
Worship of Pelor is large on Oerth and Pelor is known throughout Flanaess, sometimes under different names. Pelor was known as Sol by the early Oeridians, who named the Solnor Ocean after him, whilst the Bakluni know him as Al'Asran, saying that he granted the legendary Cup and Talisman to Al'Akbar. Among the Flan nomads of the Bright Desert, Pelor is known as Aurifar.
Many of Pelor's worshipers are humans and he is a popular deity, greatly beloved by the common folk. The most loyal of Pelor's followers are the good people who want to ease suffering and bring warmth and light to the desperate. The common people praise the benevolence and mercy of Pelor. Needy, homeless, sick and infirm know that they can always count on the priests of Pelor to feed, house and care for them. Its faith is very popular in agricultural communities which essentially worship Pelor's solar aspect.
All those willing to embrace Pelor's message are welcome. He has emissaries that look for "Good-but-unaligned" souls to convert at the last minute to his side rather than having them become lost as ghosts or mortared into Sigil.
Among Pelor's portfolio is that of a healing deity, and members of his clergy devote a large part of their time and energy to feeding the hungry and caring for the sick, especially among the poorest. His clergy is therefore extremely popular with those who were not favored by life.
Pelor's clergy heal the sick, bless crops, help the needy, and destroy evil and the undead. They are caring and nurturing, with backbones of steel. The Pelorian priesthood attracts many naive youths to his service, but training is rigorous enough to send many of them back to their farms. Pelor's elite priests are called Radiant Servants.
Unlike most members of the Pantheon who are not counted among the Nature deities, Pelor is served by a small number of druids, who behave in ways similar to his clerics, but with a greater emphasis on the care of plants and animals. They usually associate themselves with settlements rather than living as hermits, aiding the community with their hands, spells, and animal companions wherever they can. They are considered to have priest status within the Pelorian church, though they have a separate hierarchy.
In summary, clerics are generally peaceful, friendly, and have an iron will. They are mainly healers and protectors, but they do not hesitate to take up arms when necessary. They use their powers to care for, feed and help those in need, and they develop all the talents necessary to protect their flock. They are free to venture into distant lands, using their powers to heal their allies and help them fight Evil and Darkness. Clerics don't preach, but lead by example—the kindness they show and the inner strength they exude lead people to convert to their faith.
PaladinsPelorian paladins, known as Crusaders, are rare, having appeared in large numbers only since The War of the Ruby Skies. Pelor's paladins see themselves as the burning light of the sun which scours away darkness and evil and brings strength and comfort to the innocent.
Crusaders believe that laws are helpful, but that they are at best a secondary goal and must be tempered with mercy. Their slogan is Equity for the Meek with Perseverance and Strength.
When not in formal dress, Crusaders favor light-colored tunics, particularly sky blues, pale greens, or grays. Some dress in commoner's clothing, especially when serving as community healers or in disguise. On formal occasions, they wear a black cloak emblazoned with the symbol of the sun. They blend into the darkness, only the shining symbols visible to their foes.
Vestments Ceremonial vestments are typically yellow or gold. Pelor's favored weapon is the mace (heavy or light). Many priests in agricultural communities dress in simple robes, sandals and wear the sacred symbol of Pelor on them in all circumstances, usually as a pendant. It represents the sun with its rays and sometimes a human face inscribed inside. Sometimes it is reduced to the simple representation of the solar disk.
HierarchyThe church of Pelor has a very exact listing of rank and title for those who belong to the church: Acolyte, Priest, Deacons, Vicar, Bishop, Archbishop, Primate, Cardinal, Patriarch and High Sun Keeper. Pelor's elite priests are called Radiant Servants.
Although Pelor's church has a few heresies and schisms, the head priests of his powerful temples are in contact with one another and with the religion's overall leadership. If the secular leaders of one nation place an onerous tax on Pelor's temples, word will spread through Pelor's hierarchy. Other nations might be persuaded by their Pelorians to apply diplomatic pressure to get the tax repealed.
Acolyte: A new initiate into the church, one who has declared their intention to become a priest of Pelor. Until one is fourteen they cannont become an acolyte or enter any formal priestly training; once they start down the path it will take them a minimum of six years and in many cases eight to ten years, to complete their training.
Priest: After one is finished with their training as an Acolyte they become a Priest. Priests fill a multitude of rolls: they may serve in a church under a Deacon or Bishop, they might be assigned to monastic orders do to special skills, or they may be given permission to become a wandering shepherd walking the plain guided by Pelor's will. Whatever a Priest does in servos to the Shinning One they are the most commonly interacted with member of the church.
Deacons: A Deacon is a priest that has been granted a diocese, perish, church, or a grove that is his to tend and maintain. He reports directly to his Bishop and is responsible for the spiritual health and to a certain extent the physical health as well, of those who are in his charge. One cannot become a Deacon until the age of twenty-six; special dispensation can be made by the Bishop of up to one year but no more. Any further exception of this time constraint must come directly from the High Sun-Keeper.
Vicar: Vicar is a priest or deacon who has been selected be become the personal aid of a Bishop, Archbishop, or Cardinal. This position tends to be a stepping stool to higher positions in the church. A Vicar is given access to greater church information and resources and considered to be the mouth peace of the ecclesiarch that they represent. In the earliest days of the church vicars would serve as messengers from one part of the resistance to the other, and would be the only people aware of where any two parts of the resistance where at one time. This tradition of the highest confidences being placed on them lives true to this day, while they are no longer used for espionage it is a still a position of great honor to be the moth for their superior.
Bishop: A Bishop might be considered equivalent of a feudal lord or major in an army, the deacons and priest in their area report to them and must abide by their ruling. They are responsible for teaching the faith and ruling the church. The Bishop or Eparch are seen as the center of unity for his diocese, and, as a member of the College of Bishops, shares in responsibility for governance of the whole Church. They report to the Cardinal who appointed them, however Bishops serve more as deputies to the Cardinal rather then a direct subordinate.
Archbishops: The title of archbishop is held not only by bishops who head metropolitan sees, but also by those who head archdioceses that are not metropolitan sees, those of deep spiritual significance to the church. In addition, it is held by certain other bishops, referred to as "Titular Archbishops" who have been given no longer extant archdioceses as their titular sees – many of these serve in administrative or diplomatic posts, for instance as Sol Solis Costidos Nuncios, who serve as diplomats for the church, or secretaries of Curial Congregations, who serves as assistants to Cardnals. The bishop of a non-archiepiscopal see may be given the personal title of archbishop without also elevating his see (such a bishop is known as an archbishop ad personam).
Primates: The title of Primate has in some countries been granted to the bishop of a particular see (the seat of a bishop's office, power, or authority). It might involve authority over all the other sees in the country or region, or simply involve no more than a "prerogative of honor". Primates are usually designated to an archbishop or bishop who serves with the first diocese created within the country, or an archbishop/bishop who serves with the oldest diocese within the country. Primates who serve in hostile countries such as the Empire of Iuz, or the Shield Lands still hold authority over all other sees in those countries as there will be no Cardinal assigned to those lands.
Cardinal: A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official of the Church of Pelor. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new High Sunkeeper. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and making themselves available individually or collectively to the High Sunkeeper if they request their counsel. Most cardinals have additional duties, such as leading a diocese or archdiocese or running a department of the Curia of Pale. A cardinal's other main function is electing the High Sunkeeper whenever, by death or resignation, the seat becomes vacant.
The right of electing the High Sunkeeper is reserved to the principal clergy of Pale and the bishops of the nine suburbicarian sees, the nine sees inside the country of Pale. During the sede vacante, the period between a High Sunkeeper's death and the election of their successor, the day-to-day governance of the Church as whole enters a vacuum period as the College is only empowered to elect the High Sunkeeper during this time. The right to enter the conclave of cardinals who elect the High Sunkeeper is now limited to those cardinals who are part of the college and those Patriarchs of other faiths. On exceedingly rare cases a guest of a Patriarch may be granted the right to enter but only under a unanimous vote. The election of a High Sunkeeper has never taken longer then the two days allotted before the Light of Pelor would become extinguished. The exact proceedings of the College are a closely guarded secrete of the church but it is known that the election of a High Sunkeeper must be unanimous.
Patriarch: This title exists to grant recognition of the heads of other faiths, and grant them standing inside the Church of Pelor. While they cannot not give orders to priests of Pelor, and so too do not follow the orders of the High Sunkeeper, the church created the title as a symbol of respect to the heads of the other gods of Pantheon. It was felt by the church that, as Pelor is the head of the Pantheon, those who head the faiths of the other gods must be shown their proper respect by the clergy of the Sun Lord. This also serves to clear up any confusion as to the proper display of etiquette when a Cardinal meets with a head of faith to another god.
High Sun Keeper: The High Sun Keeper of Pelor is referred to as the Vicar of Pelor and the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church of the Sun Lord. The honorary title prefixed to the Sun-Keeper's name is "(His or Her) Holiness." They may sometimes also use the less formal title of "Servant of the Servants of the Lord of the Sun." The High Sun-keeper is the only Cleric in the Flanaess that can cast commune and receive direct commands from Pelor himself. Thus the church has organized itself in a manner that gives that individual the most influence. The charge forces on them an awareness that they, even more than other bishops, are "tied," bound, by an obligation of strictest fidelity to the teaching transmitted down the centuries in increasingly developed form within the Church. The Sun-keeper have also, since 399CY, served as the sovereign of Pale.
TemplesPelor's larger temples are tall, with large windows; many are stained-glass cathedrals. They are arranged so that the sun shines into most of the rooms during the day, and many feature open and sunny courtyards. They tend to be airy, blindingly white, and immaculately clean. Temple trappings are typically yellow or gold. Many Pelorian temples have hospital wings.
Small chapels are often rudimentary buildings whose only admirable aspect is a stained glass window decorating the south wall, behind the altar, representing Pelor in all his glory. The exterior and interior walls are painted light yellow if possible.
Pelor has many shrines across the country, but they are very simple and generally consist of an obelisk covered with religious inscriptions. Sometimes, these shrines are reduced to a simple pillar in a consecrated place of nature.
RitualsPelor's services involve communal prayer, the singing of hymns, and the distribution of alms. Prayers to Pelor are often affirmations in the first person, for example, "I am merciful, just as the Sun of Mercy shines on me." Weddings and rites of passage often take place at the beginning of a new season. Farmers often request a ritual known as the Blessing of the Sun-Kissed Field.
Clerics of Pelor systematically start their day with a prayer, at dawn, facing the rising sun. If the sun is not visible, they intuitively sense when and in what direction they should turn to pray. Without this prayer, clerics cannot remember their spells, so they take every precaution to be awakened before dawn. In the temples, the priests are awakened by a gong, sounded by the Watchman at the first light on the horizon. The Watchman is a priest who stays awake all night, wandering the temple praying and swinging his lantern. He watches for dawn and strikes the gong to awaken the brotherhood. The Watchman changes at the end of each Luna cycle (28 days).
At noon the elevation ceremony takes place, which lasts one hour. Once a week, on the day of the Sun, it is replaced by a two-hour public mass called the High Mass of Elevation. At sunset takes place a last prayer.
The hill tribes of barbarians (and some Kellid tribes) engage in a bizarre ritual honoring Pelor called the Sun Dance. The Sun Dance takes place during the week of Midsummer (the summer solstice), and lasts from four to seven days, from sundown to sundown. Celebrating the renewal of life that the Sun brings, the participants dance around a central pole (the "sun-pole"). The participants would offer up their flesh as a sacrifice, skewering their flesh with pieces of bone or wood, which were then attached to the top of the sun-pole by long hide ropes. The dancers would then dance about the pole, staring straight into the sun, leaning away from the pole until their flesh gave way. During this time, the participants would often experience visions. After the dancers all tore free, or after four days, the Sun Dance ended. The exhausted dancers were laid down on beds of sage and would recite their visions to the priest. These visions could hold new songs, new rituals, or even prophecies of the future. The overall feeling for everyone present was one of renewal and balance and the relationships between people and nature were once again reaffirmed. The self-inflicted torture of the sun dance represents death, the struggle with the Nerull that all must go through. The "breaking away" represents Pelor's victory over Nerull through rebirth and renewal brought on by the ever-rising sun.
Holy DaysPelor's major holy days generally take place on the solstices and equinoxes of the calendar:
Breadgiving Day: On this day, taking place on the 4th of Needfest (the Winter Solstice), clerics of Pelor, Rao, and Saint Cuthbert distribute food to the poor.
The Feast of Edoira: The Pelorians also join Raoans in this interfaith celebration, occurring on Growfest 4.
The Feast of Saint-Bane: Saint-Bane, is the patron saint of hunters of the living dead. The priests of Pelor take advantage of this day to go to the places haunted by udead and try to destroy them.
The Feast of Hope: Throughout this day, the priests of Pelor listen to the grievances of the common people and start work on ways to remedy their problems. On this occasion, many priests set out to go and fight Evil.
Midsummer's Day: This day, also known as the Holy Day of Pelor, takes place on Richfest 4, the day of the Summer Solstice (the longest day of the year). While the morning is devoted to prayers, the afternoon begins with a large feast open to all, continues with a procession in ceremonial dress in the streets of the city, and ends with a ceremony during which the priests induct new members into their worship and bless the crowd.
ScripturesThe Light of Pelor: The most common Pelorian holy book, beginning with Pelor's creation of the sun and telling of how Pelor instructed the first mortals. Some turned against his teachings, thus creating evil, and this evil spirit has waxed and waned over time. Some versions portray Pelor as the sun (Liga) itself, rather than its creator, and tell of Pelor's attempts to win back those who have strayed from his light. The Light of Pelor only has minor variations in it, and all are considered canonical, despite these small discrepancies. The book is often enchanted to glow with a soft solar radiance when it's closed, and some versions are gilded.
In the Sun Father's Hand: A controversial text accepted at present by only a handful of Pelorian temples. It was written about 476 CY by a woman named Tephos. Tephos was not a priest, but she believed herself to be Pelor's chosen representative on Oerth. Somehow she performed miracles, including curing an entire village of plague, before writing about her beliefs and vanishing in front of her disciples in a flash of golden light. Tephos taught that all property should be held communally, that society should return to a more "natural" state like that assumed to exist before the spread of civilization, and that clerics were unnecessary; Pelor could intervene directly instead. Most branches of the Pelorian faith consider Tephos to be gifted but delusional.
OrdersSons of the Sun: A monastic order of priests who have taken a vow of poverty. They are begging monks who live among the people and help them. The prayers of the Sons of the Sun are addressed directly to the great god Pelor without going through the whole chain of mediators and intermediaries of the Exalted Faith. This is the official order dedicated to Pelor in the Caliphate of Ekbir.
The Circle of Light: This order consists of druids that revere Pelor's primary nature of the Sun God — nourishing the plants with his beneficent rays of light. These druids are often close to a community of peasants, supporting their culture and protecting them from the creatures of the night. These druids pray to Pelor in the middle of fields, in well-lit clearings or at the top of a hill.
Within the druidic organization of Oerth, they almost all belong to the circle of fire, only a small number being attached to the circle of air. However, they are suspected of having secretly created a new druidic circle, the circle of light, in order to oppose the circle of shadow already in place. They maintain excellent relations with the druids of Beory and Ehlonna. On the other hand, the Obad-Hai druids are much more reserved towards them, strongly doubting their ability to respect the balance between Good and Evil, and to remain neutral in such conflicts.
Brothers and Sisters of Mercy: This rather old order, made up of priests of Pelor and Zodal, manages hospices and orphanages in the cities of the central part of Flannesse.
The Order of Healers: This order is very famous in the central part of Flanaess. It is made up of priests of Pelor and healers who roam the cities and the countryside providing care. The members of this order particularly distinguished themselves during the last wars by treating wounded on the battlefields.
The Knights of the Almighty Light: This fairly recent organization was founded in response to Iuz, who had created a large number of the living dead to serve in his army. It is made up of priests, soldiers and thieves. It has two missions: to destroy Evil and undead wherever they are and to ensure the protection of the Order of Healers in less hospitable regions. Knights are fanatics who never compromise with those who work with the living dead or who do evil acts on innocent victims.
The Pelorians: This is the armed arm of Pelor on Oerth, consisting primarily of paladins. Pelorians embrace the duality of faith in Pelor—while the sun brings warmth and life to all natural things, it hurts the undead and other unnatural creatures. The weak and the sick, who are in great need of mercy and comfort, are particularly vulnerable and need defenders against the evils of this world.
The Pelorians see themselves as the fiery rays of the sun which eradicate corruption wherever it suppresses and which defend the weak against those who want to destroy it. It is through their combatant existence that the noblest aspects of the world can be preserved. With these thoughts in mind, they roam the world with a protective glance, tracking down evil dark creatures and especially the undead to eradicate them.
Life is born from the sun. Its light offers strength to the weak and cares for the wounded, while annihilating darkness and Evil. Do not be afraid to challenge the forces of corruption, but remember that if the brightness of the sun can blind the eyes, the relentless fight waged against evil forces sometimes blinds the heart to essential virtues: kindness, mercy and compassion.
He appears as an older but regal human man with golden hair and a beard, which he allows to grow long and wild, and clad in shining white robes. He rides a mighty ki-rin steed named Star Thought, and is also associated with eagles.
Among the other gods, Pelor is allied most closely with Iomedae. Pelor's other allies include Heironeous and Chauntea. Pelor is friendly to good-aligned nonhuman deities such as Corellon Larethian, Moradin, and Garl Glittergold, and is especially friendly to those with an agricultural or solar aspect, as Yondalla has.
Pelor opposes all evil deities and his followers avoid neutral deities with teachings counter to Pelor's. Pelor particularly loathes Vecna, Lolth, and Morgion.
MythologyIn the Old Tales, Pelor is one of the gods that fought against the Primordials during the First War. He acted as one of the leaders, who rallied the gods and led them to victory. In fact, it was he who struck down the Queen of the Primordials, ending the War. After the defeat of the Titans, he was chosen by the others to lead the Pantheon. It was Pelor who hung the sun in the sky and he had a heavy hand in the shaping of the world. Pelor loved the Spring brought by his sister-in-law, the Autumn brought by Yondalla and the Winter brought by Nerull. He desired the verdant beauty of the world last longer, so Pelor created the Summer.
ParablesParable of the Hungry Man: This myth tells of a man who was driven to crime out of a combination of desperate poverty and foolish pride. His community forgave him and fed and clothed him when his perfidy was discovered.
Gift of Eternal Light: This is an epic saga of an ancient kingdom threatened upon by mortal, demonic, and undead evil. Though sorely tested by their foes, the people of the kingdom had their morale restored each morning at the sight of the rising sun. In a climactic battle, the sun's rays helped defeat the demons and undead, and the Pelorians were victorious. An interesting detail is that this myth claims the sun's rays are the spirits of the righteous, a claim that no other Pelorian texts makes.
Punishment of the Undead: This myth tells of the origin of vampires, said to have been cursed by Pelor after turning from his light to the pursuit of evil magic. The myth suggests that Pelor would forgive them, if only they would ask.
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