Keepers of the Realm
Ilmater (pronounced "Ihl-MAY-ter" or "ill-may-ter") was an intermediate deity of the Faerûnian pantheon whose portfolio included endurance, martyrdom, perseverance, and suffering. He was the god of those who suffered, the oppressed, and the persecuted, who offered them relief and support, encouraged them to endure, and who encouraged others to help them, to take their burdens or take their places. He was called the Crying God, the Broken God, the Lord on the Rack, and the One Who Endures. To the Iulutiun people of the Great Glacier, he was known as Ayuruk, and to the Angulutiun people he was Itishikopak.
Ilmater was an older god and an obscure deity in the 3rd century before Dalereckoning, but he came to prominence during Tyr's Procession of Justice in the Vilhon Reach. In –247 DR, Tyr had led a force of archons out of a gate to pacify the remnants of the fallen empire of Jhaamdath, which had fallen into anarchy, lawlessness, and banditry. Tyr's deeds and sacrifices caught the attention of Ilmater, who allied himself with the Just God in the Year of the Rack, –243 DR. The Procession came to an end in –238 DR but Tyr remained on Abeir-Toril and the two deities continued to work together.
Many years after the Procession, Torm joined them as Tyr's war leader. Together, Ilmater, Torm, and Tyr formed the Triad, a long-lasting alliance of good and lawful deities.
An ancient and unsupported legend told that the human Khala of Imaskar had devoted themselves to the god Bane the Black Lord and perpetrated numerous atrocities. For their deeds, the gods of law inflicted curses upon them. Among them, Ilmater accused the Khala of tormenting their victims and tearing heart and soul from them. Thus he cursed them with an unnatural hunger, to devour the hearts of their prey so they might live. Out of all the gods' curses was born the peryton, a vicious, stag-headed, eagle-bodied beast. The female peryton needed to devour the heart of a humanoid to become fertile—some considered it ironic that Ilmater's curse drove the peryton to further murder and savagery.
According to legend, an avatar of Ilmater once died somewhere south of the Inner Sea some time before the 4th century DR. The only remnant of this avatar was the Iron Helm of Heroes, which became a minor relic of Ilmatari faith.
The Triad was broken in the Year of Three Streams Blooded, 1384 DR, when Tyr was manipulated into slaying Helm, god of guardians. Ilmater chose to leave the House of the Triad and, at the invitation of Sune, goddess of beauty, he relocated his divine realm to the plane of Brightwater. By 1479 DR, however, Ilmater had returned to Torm's side and reestablished his realm in Celestia.
During the Second Sundering of the late 15th century DR, a Chosen of Ilmater began a passive slave revolt in Calimshan against their genie masters. During this time, he disappeared mysteriously. Though the overlords were cast down, it was only by bloody means. Many humans still longed for the return of Ilmater's Chosen so he could complete the country's transition to a better non-violent society.
Description and Personality
In avatar form, Ilmater appeared as a short man with a burly build and wearing only a breechcloth, with a plain but kind and comforting face, balding head, and a hairy body. But this body bore the marks of mutilation and torture on the rack, covered with open cuts, closed scars, burns, and a range of other wounds. Ilmater's joints were broken, his limbs were ravaged, and his hands were smashed yet still functional. Moving caused him a great deal of pain as he dragged himself around. No matter how much his avatar healed, it still showed these terrible wounds.
Ilmater was the incarnation of compassion, and the eternal foe of suffering. He sought to offer aid and relief and words of comfort to those in pain, who were oppressed, or otherwise in great need. He encouraged them to endure their pain, suffering, and abuse, for good things came to those who waited. He encouraged his faithful to halt and relieve the suffering of others, and to take it on themselves if they must. Ilmater was himself a willing sufferer, taking one's place to bear their burden, seeking to endure any pain if it would lessen the pain of another.
He was quiet with a kind and gentle nature, generous, and good-spirited and even-tempered. Ilmater did not anger quickly, but when he did, he was fearsome in his wrath. He was greatly angered by extreme cruelty and atrocities, and at those who inflicted such suffering. He was particularly enraged by those who harmed or abused children and other young creatures. At such times, he set aside his doctrine of endurance and non-violence, and unleashed his full force to put an end to cruelty. Although his ravaged appearance or his righteous rage could scare children, Ilmater took great cares to reassure them and protect them. He treasured all children and young creatures in general.
Ilmater was the most forgiving of beings; it was thought he could even forgive Loviatar, Maiden of Pain, if she repented of her cruel deeds. Though he knew full well the atrocious and horrific acts that wicked creatures could do, he remained forever hopeful that evil beings could one day be turned to good, or destroyed, and so he stayed firm in his goals.
He had a good if rather rustic sense of humor, and liked to hear funny stories.
When manifested as an avatar, Ilmater could cast a wide variety of magic spells, and was strongest with healing magic and beneficial necromancy. Only rarely did he cast a spell that injured another, unless he did so in anger and retribution for a cruel or sadistic deed performed by the target, or to protect another from harm.
He fought unarmed, opened handed or with his fists, and was a supreme martial artist. However, he usually chose not to defend himself, instead simply taking and absorbing the damage, and his avatar was extremely hard to destroy. As with his spells, Ilmater only attacked in retribution or protection, or to deflect missiles or destroy items. He also used nonlethal methods to disable his powerful foes. His unarmed strike counted as a keen lawful vorpal weapon.
Alternatively, he could possess any good and innocent creature that was being tortured, provided that the torture contravened local laws. This creature glowed white, all pain was relieved, and any wounds were regenerated immediately. Torture or restraining devices were immediately destroyed, releasing the sufferer, alert and healthy. In the case of extreme torture or associated murder, Ilmater granted the possessed being the ability to cast destructive spells, such as flame strike, lightning bolt or chain lightning, meteor swarm, sink, or imprisonment for a short time in retribution.
When not appearing via his avatar or through possession, Ilmater manifested as an unseen presence that made a howling or whimpering sound yet felt watchful. In this form, he could speak, move objects around by telekinesis, or cast spells.
To act in his place, Ilmater could send devas, einheriar spirits of slain martyrs, hollyphants, incarnates of courage, planetars, solars, and some beings that remained unidentified. To indicate or suggest his presence or awareness, to show his favor, and to give his faithful encouragement, Ilmater could create daisies and white roses, or send white donkeys, white doves, field mice, or sparrows. A minor manifestation to show favor was in the colors gray and red.
Finally, Ilmater could sense any kind of suffering the moment it took place, anywhere in the world. He also knew whenever a person sacrificed themselves for another being. He could also instantly create any magical item that could heal or reduce suffering, or was good or lawful in nature.
The ranks of Ilmater's closest allies included Tyr the Maimed God, god of justice, (who was his superior prior to the Spellplague) and Torm the True, god of loyalty and duty. Collectively, these deities formed the Triad, an alliance of lawful good deities that were stronger as a united force than individually. In fact, Ilmater could often be found traveling with Tyr, assisting him and teaching him to live without his sight and to rely upon his feelings instead. Ilmater showed Tyr that true justice required a judge to know how much punishment was sufficient, whether it was too harsh or whether mercy was better. Ilmater also had an excellent relationship with Torm.
Another of Ilmater's allies was Lathander the Morninglord, god of renewal and vitality. He was also allied with Ibrandul, the Lord of the Dry Depths, the freedom-loving god of caves and darkness.
Ilmater stood against those gods and goddesses who enjoyed causing destruction and spreading pain and suffering for others. In particular, considering their contrasting portfolios, the Crying God and his followers were a bane to Loviatar, the Maiden of Pain, and her worshipers. Loviatar in turn hated Ilmater with a passion, as he protected her victims from her torments.Ilmater also opposed Talona, Mistress of Disease. Among his other foes were Bane, Bhaal, Garagos, Malar, Myrkul, Shar, and Talos.
Those who were oppressed, sick, lame, or poor were likely to be worshipers of Ilmater, and people who had been injured or were otherwise suffering would often call upon him for aid. His faith was popular among the poor in big cities, and with serfs and slaves, as well as merchants, thieves, and a few guards. Although people of any alignment could worship Ilmater, he was largely followed by folk of a lawful and good bent, especially among his own clergy.
Ilmater's clergy numbered clerics, paladins, and monks. They were organized into the Church of Ilmater, with many affiliated knightly and monastic orders.
Across Faerûn, the hardy people of the harsh and war-torn land of Damara particularly venerated Ilmater, as well as his champion, St. Sollars. In Calimshan, Ilmater was one of the most frequently worshiped gods, especially among the lower classes and slaves.
Attending clerics during a battle were recognized by the coarse furred shirts they wore. It was considered a great wrong to harm these priests as they helped ease suffering. Even orcs and goblins held them in esteem for ministering to their fallen people and not just humans.
The Champion of Ilmater: St. Sollars
Saint Sollars, called the Twice Martyred, was a saint of the faith of Ilmater the Crying God. He was the patron saint of Bloodstone Pass.
Within the church of Ilmater, St. Sollars was venerated by the Disciples of St. Sollars the Twice-Martyred and at the Monastery of the Yellow Rose in the Earthspur Mountains and the Abbey of St. Sollars located in Bloodstone Village in Damara. He was viewed as a patriarch of the faith. It was the only faith to have a saint known as "the Twice-Martyred" and many Ilmatari hoped to follow his path.
The people of Damara particularly venerated Ilmater and St. Sollars. Many Damarans, even those who followed other gods, felt a special closeness to St. Sollars, knowing the virtues of endurance in the face of hardship. The yellow rose of St. Sollars was a common sight in the realm.
His symbol was a yellow rose, which was adopted by the Monks of the Yellow Rose, and a lone, five-pointed star. The Abbey of St. Sollars employed both symbols, where literature related to the saint displayed the lone star.
The Book of St. Sollars was a religious tome consisting of numbered verses. A copy rested on the altar of the Abbey of St. Sollars.
As his title suggested, St. Sollars the Twice-Martyred died in martyrdom, returned to life, and died as a martyr once more, a heroic feat for which he was sainted.
St. Sollars was long dead by the 14th century DR. The Disciples of St. Sollars the Twice-Martyred had crossed over the Great Glacier, over the lands that would later be known as Damara and Vaasa, whilst both realms still lay beneath the ice. In the Year of the Yellow Rose, 1242 DR, they founded the Monastery of the Yellow Rose, also known as the Citadel of the White Worm.
In the Year of the Serpent, 1359 DR, an adventuring party comprising Sir Gareth Dragonsbane, Olwen Forest-Friend, Friar Dugald, Riordan Parnell, Celedon Kierney, and Emelyn the Gray was faced with the perilous quest of pursuing the Witch-King Zhengyi through a gate into the Abyss, in order to end his threat to Damara forever. As they hesitated at this nightmarish and deadly expedition, St. Sollars appeared behind them to offer encouragement, refresh their divinely granted magic, and explained what they needed to do. He informed them that Bahamut wanted to prevent Orcus—Zhengyi's patron—from getting to the Material Plane. St. Sollars then tasked them with traveling through the Abyss to the realm of Orcus, where they were to steal his famed wand and deliver it to him in the Celestial planes.
Traveling through dozens of Abyssal layers, they finally made their way to Orcus's realm on the 333rd layer, where they snuck into the demon lord's castle and successfully stole the Wand of Orcus. They then fled to the Astral Plane, where they were rescued from pursuing demons by Terxyx, a tome archon, and a troop of sword archons, who served St. Sollars and would escort them to meet him. They travelled to Mercuria in the Seven Heavens, to St. Sollars's realm at Castle Al-Amo. To destroy the wand, St. Sollars directed them to Bahamut, who in turn predicted that the Wand of Orcus needed to be bathed in the blood of a slain avatar Tiamat, the Dragon Queen. After the slaying the avatar and destroying the Wand, and a last meeting with Bahamut, St. Sollars healed the heroes, rewarded them with wishes, and let them rest in the Seven Heavens for a day before sending them on their way.
When meeting with Gareth Dragonsbane and party, St. Sollars appeared as a man, short and stocky of build, with huge white angel's wings. He had a very distinctive accent. He wore a white robe, smoked a cheap cigar, and conjured beer for the group. When he vanished, he took the beer, and left only the smell of cheap cigar smoke.
St. Sollars resided in the plane of Seven Heavens, on the layer of Mercuria, where he had a golden castle called Castle Al-Amo, the Fortress of Love. He described it as "his spread".
As a saint, Sollars served the god Ilmater, the One Who Endures.
St. Sollars also revered the god Bahamut, the Platinum Dragon, whom he called "the big boss".
St. Sollars was served by Terxyx, a tome archon, who in turn led a squad of at least twenty sword archons.
St. Sollars opposed the demon lord Orcus, Prince of the Undead, who he said was a "bad hombre" and "the meanest dude this side o' the Pecos".
Ilmater's holy symbol was originally a blood-stained rack, such as used to torture a victim by stretching. This remained in use until the mid–14th century DR. However, by 1356 DR, a new symbol entered common usage: a pair of white hands crossed and bound at the wrist with a blood-red cord. After the Godswar of 1358 DR, this was used nearly exclusively. This newer and less gruesome symbol increased his popularity across Faerûn.