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Tales Of Moonsea - The Herald of Chaos
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Uthgar
Cleric Alignments: Varies with beast totem

Uthgar: Father of the Uthgardt, Battle Father (demigod)

Symbol: That of the individual beast totem spirit
Home Plane: Warrior's Rest
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Portfolio: Uthgardt barbarian tribes, physical strength
Worshipers: The Uthgardt tribes, barbarians
Cleric Alignments: Varies with beast totem (See below)
Domains: Animal, Chaos, Retribution, Strength, War

Favored Weapon: Appropriate beast totem spirit (battleaxe)

ather of the Uthgardt barbarians of the Savage Frontier, Uthgar (uhth-gar) is a proud, fierce, and independent warrior. According to some legends he 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. The Battle Father has few friends and has remained relatively uninvolved in divine politics. 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. Uthgar has many faces, in his guises as the various beast totems, but in his hall he is always depicted as a tall, burly bearded, blond-haired warrior with eyes of piercing blue dressed only in a battle harness, leather breechcloth, and furred boots.

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. These two factors have caused Uthgar to rise to the level of a lesser deity.

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 one of 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. Rather than follow the one step rule, clerics of Uthgar (and those who take him as a patron deity) must abide by the somewhat broader alignment guidelines of the beast totems who mediate between Uthgar and his people. Any alignment that fits the guideline for a beast totem is suitable for a cleric of Uthgar of that totem. The names and alignment guidelines of the totems are: Black Lion (CG), Black Raven (CE), Blue Bear (CE), Elk (CN), Gray Wolf (CN), Great Worm (CG), Griffon (N), Red Tiger (CN), Sky Pony (CN), Tree Ghost (NG) and Thunderbeast (CN). Uthgar's clerics often multiclass as barbarians, druids, or rangers.

HISTORY/RELATIONSHIPS: Uthgar was once a mortal Northlander from Ruathym named Uther Gardolfsson, brother to Morgred (the "Morgur" of Morgur's Mound), who gained fame by invading the fabled realm of Illusk before moving into the northern interior. There, his followers united with Netherese refuges who had reverted to a primitive way of life to form a dynasty of barbarians, the Uthgardt. As he lay dying of wounds received in battle with Gurt, Lord of the Frost Giants, Uthgar was raised up as a demipower by Tempus, who admired his fighting spirit. Uthgar counts only the Lord of Battles as an ally. The Father of the Uthgardt dislikes Helm, Ilmater, Torm, and Tyr, for they have stolen away the devotion of all but one cleric of the Black Lion tribe. He holds Malar responsible for the destruction of the Blue Bear tribe (a fragment of which survives as the new Tree Ghost tribe), and he hates Auril for turning the Elk tribe away from his worship. Other than enmities stemming from encroachment upon his followers, Uthgar holds himself aloof, unconcerned with divine politics and struggles.

DOGMA: 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.

CLERGY AND TEMPLES: 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. At Runemeet, shamans officiate over the tribal rites of passage. 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.