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Gaerdal Ironhand
Cleric Alignments: LG, LN, NG

Gaerdal Ironhand The Stern, Shield of the Golden Hills
Lesser Gnome Deity
Symbol: Iron Band
Home Plane: The Golden Hills
Alignment : Lawful good
Portfolio: Vigilance, combat, martial defense
Worshipers: Administrators, fighters, judges, monks, paladins, soldiers, warriors
Cleric Alignments: LG, LN, NG
Domains: Gnome, Good, Law, Protection, War
Favored Weapon: "Hammersong" (warhammer)

aerdal Ironhand (gair-dahl eye-urn-hand) is the most dwarflike deity of the gnome pantheon, rarely smiling and fiercely intense, and the only gnome deity who could be considered stern. Gaerdal takes his duties as protector of gnome burrows very seriously, at the cost of sacrificing a playful spirit. The Shield of the Golden Hills has no use for tricks, jokes, or deceits, and he remains unsmiling at gnome tales and pranks. The other gnome deities say he chuckles in private, but this is deeply uncertain. Gaerdal often assists gnomes in preparation for battle.

The church of Gaerdal is organized in a strict military hierarchy. Gaerdal's clerics are as close to being a warrior caste as one could find among gnomes, and their numbers are fairly small. They are rather moralizing, much less given to levity than most gnomes, and may often be administrators, judges, and the like. Their role as protectors is of major importance to both their religious teachings and the safety of the communities in which they dwell. Although temples of the Shield of the Golden Hills are rare, Gaerdal's clerics usually erect small statues of Gaerdal at the major entrances to gnome settlements to remind other gnomes of their daily duties. The closest most members of Gaerdal's clergy get to actively seeking enjoyment is their perennial and self-assumed task of making life difficult for the followers of Baravar and, to a lesser extent, Baervan and Garl.

Clerics of Gaerdal pray for their spells at dawn, marking the beginning of a new day. The followers of Gaerdal refer to tendays as Tenhammers, a name referring to the marking of the passage of each day by striking a great hammer against a metal shield, for such is the typical length of service for guard duty for members of this faith. The tenth day of every ten Tenhammers is a holy day of the faith, known to gnomes everywhere as the Great Clang. On such days the cult of Gaerdal assembles to pay homage to the god through battle hymns and rhythmic chants. Most clerics multiclass as divine champions or fighters.

History/Relationships: Gaerdal has generally good relations with the rest of the gnome pantheon, with the notable exception of Urdlen, but his stern nature keeps him somewhat aloof from the mischievous antics of the other gods of the Forgotten Folk. In particular, he is somewhat hostile to Baravar, disliking deceitfulness, and to a lesser extent Baervan, disliking foolish pranks and other jests, and may work to thwart their plans if he learns of them. In times of danger for the Forgotten Folk, however, Gaerdal works smoothly and easily with all the nonevil gnome gods. Among other pantheons, Gaerdal is closest in temperament with Helm, Torm, Gorm Gulthyn, and Clangeddin Silverbeard. The Shield of the Golden Hills is ever vigilant against Urdlen's insidious attacks, and he regularly battles with the gods of the kobold and goblin pantheons.

Dogma: The best defense is unswerving vigilance. Serve Gaerdal with absolute dedication and devotion. Defend and protect gnome communities against all invaders both obvious and hidden. Never cease to hone the skills of war, and take the opportunity of relative peace to pass such talents on to gnomes at large.