|Aliases||The Father of Battle, the Giantkiller, the Goblinbane, Lord of the Twin Axes, the Rock of Battle, the Wyrmslayer|
1E: Lawful Neutral
|Divine Rank||Intermediate God
1E: Greater God
|Portfolio||2E: Battle, War, Valor, Bravery, Honor In Battle
3E: Battle, War, Valor, Bravery, Honor In Battle
5E: War, Strategy
|Domains||2E: All, Combat, Guardian, Law, Protection, Sun, War, minor Charm, Creation, Divination, Elemental (Earth), Healing, Necromantic, Travelers, Wards
3E: Dwarf, Good, Law, Strength, War
|Home Plane||Mount Clangeddin (Arcadia), Dwarfhome|
|Worshippers||Dwarf Warriors, Strategists, Soldiers and Tacticians|
|Favoured Weapon||Giantbane (Battleaxe)|
Clangeddin Silverbeard is the Dwarf God of War in Dungeons & Dragons. He is one of the oldest gods in the pantheon after Moradin himself, having appeared in the first iteration of that pantheon in the hoary pages of Dragon Magazine #58. He shares this honor with Abbathor, Berronar Truesilver, Dumathoin and Vergadain.
He's actually not the only war god in the Morndinsamman, sharing that particular godly position with both Gorm Gulthyn and Haela Brightaxe (with Hanseath and Tharmekhûl also dabbling in the position). It works out because each has their own distinctive aspect of battle they focus on, dwarves are kind of anal about compartmentalization, and, frankly, they're at war often enough they need all the help they can get.
Detailed, as mentioned above, in Dragon Magazine #58, Clangeddin is pretty simple. Described as a bald dwarf with a silver beard who lives in a mountain fortress with the souls of the finest dwarven warriors, Clangeddin is a fierce, resolute fighter who never backs down or surrenders, always managing to win a battle, even if it is by the skin of his teeth. He carries two battle axes, prefering to focus on offense over defense, and will never, ever use direct magical aid to win a fight. He has a particular enmity for giants in general, and Grolantor in particular.
Yeah, not a lot going on here.
Like most demihuman deities, AD&D 2nd edition saw Clangeddin's lore relegated to a Forgotten Realms splatbook, the simply named "Demihuman Deities". For the most part, it reiterates and expands upon that comparatively sparse lore from 1st edition.
Strict and ethical, Clangeddin brooks no treachery or deceit, and never negotiates or compromises. In his eyes, triumph must be obtained through valor and bravery, and he is swift to seek to humble any who overcome by cowardly or deceitful means. In battle, he is merry, roaring his appreciation for shrewd strategies, bravery, and feats of skill - even those directed against him. He loves to sing as he fights, both stirring battle-ballards and taunting little ditties, and can convey information to listening allies through the lyrics of his songs. Like most dwarves, he admires most those who help themselves; when his avatar appears, it is tyically only to right hopeless odds against dwarves, to balance treachery and punish the treasonous, and to aid the weak of all races against evil - especially evil being worked by giants, who are his bitterest enemies.
Clangeddin's favor manifests in the form of a flickering amber, red or white radiance around either a dwarf or a weapon; in either case, the affected being or object is temporarily imbued with a sliver of divine might, granting it special abilities for a time. Especially brave dwarves who sacrifice themselves to achieve a dwarven victory have been known to spontaneously vanish beneath a cloak of bright radiance; these individuals are said to have been taken by Clangeddin to serve his will.
An unsubtle god, Clangeddin rarely bothers with omens, and even then restricts himself to gut-level events such as earth tremors, rockfalls, or the sudden manifestation of earthblood (red liquid seeping from newly exposed veins of ore).
As with all dwarven speciality priests, those sworn to Clangeddin have an impeded ability to turn undead - they can't attempt it until 7th level, and suffer a -4 level penalty on their checks - but gain a +2 bonus to their attack & damage rolls against the undead. Such priests, known as the Alaghor ("those who demonstrate valor in battle"), can wield any weapon they choose.
Because of how often dwarves must fight to preserve themselves against their many enemies, Clangeddin's faith is widely established and respected. Sacred sites to the god are the dwarven cairns erected on the sites of past battles, both above and below-ground. When a temple is dedicated to the Father of Battle, it's usually a cavern in which his followers won a great victory - new clanholds tend to assign the cavern where the climatic battle was won to this role. Such temples are dominated by great stone statues of dwarven heroes, displays of arms and armor from Clangeddin's greatest warriors, and huge granite blocks stained blood-red that serve as altars on which weapons are offered to him.
Novitates in the Clangeddin faith are called the Unblooded; full-fledged priests are Axebrothers (or Axesisters, for the females). In ascending order, his priests are called: Axecutters, Squires, Knights of the Third Rank, Knights of the Second Rank, Knights of the First Rank, and Knight Commanders. High Old Ones have their own individual titles, but are collectively called War Princes (or War Princesses, as the case may be).
As you might expect, given Clangeddin is a war god, on a day-to-day basis, his priests mostly focus on training to be the best damn warriors can be. Which doesn't just mean honing their personal combat skills! No, the Axebrothers also focus on acquiring resources, mastering tactics, and seeking out new tactics, traps and weapons. The survival of the dwarf race is their number one priority, and they seek to one their expertise and share it for the good of dwarfkind.
The anniversaries of important battles serve as holy days to Clangeddin's faithful, with rites consisting of the Axebrothers chanting, praying, and breaking weapons that were anointed in their blood - a rite which is actually repeated in battle. Clangeddin often manifests as a glowing radiance which consumes these weapons and may grant the faithful a temporary protective aura should it occur during a battle. Weapons not taken by Clangeddin are either left broken (and must be melted down to be reused as other things) or are made whole again.
The longest form of rite to Clangeddin is performed either on the evening before a great battle or at the burial of a great dwarven warrior. When this occurs, the faithful march in procession to the battlefield or gravesite as Clangeddin's priests lead the participants in a mournful, dirge-like wordless rising-and-falling chant. The sound rises slowly into an exultant roaring and ends in a single, high, clear singing note - an odd and eerie contrast to the rough-voiced bloodsong that preceded it. For this procession, the faithful wear their most battered armor (freshly used, if possible), led and followed by chainmail-armored priests, with the lesser priests tapping out a slow, steady drumbeat that the higher-ranked may echo by crashing weapons against shields. At the goal destination, these priests cast down their shields, hold their weapons high, and begin to whisper Clangeddin's name. They then close their eyes and, still whispering, concentrate on their god before they begin to move toward wherever they feel the god's presence is strongest. One all of the priests have collided at the same spot, they make the weapon sacrifice, speak the names of the valiant fallen that they wish for Clangeddin to remember and hold in esteem, then kneel to await a sign.i And an answer is often given - anything from a roll of thunder to a shield speaking a blessing, command or answer. If the ritual was a burial, it is concluded with the internment and a solemn march away. If, instead, it was a preparation for a battle, it is concluded with a war chant and a "wild run", in which the participants wave weapons, whoop and emit war-cries.
Clangeddin's priests wear silver chainmail, war helms, and tabards depicting his holy symbol - two battle axes crossed. The typical holy symbol for a priest of Clangeddin is two miniature steel battle axes welded together in a cross, which is typically suspended on a chain around the neck. It is permissible for a priest of Clangeddin to remove their helm, but many don't bother. In battle, they prefer dual-wielding over shields and replace their ceremonial chain with more effective armor, like plate, if it's available. They favor weapons that can cleave, crush or bludgeon, and vastly prefer throwing weapons to missile weapons.
Clangeddin's dogma is simple: War is the finest hour of dwarvenkind. Seize the opportunity to defend the Stout Folk and ensure their victory wherever conflict does erupt. Revel in the challenge of a good fight, and never waver in the face of adversity, no matter how ominous. When not fighting, prepare for the next conflict physically, tactically, and by acquiring resources. Attack hill giants whenever possible and other evil giants when necessary. Death on the field of battle is never welcomed and lives should never be thrown away foolishly. However, if necessary for victory, the highest service that followers of the Father of Battle can perform is to sacrifice themselves for the cause on the field of battle by protecting as many other dwarves as possible.
In third edition, Clangeddin once again returned as part of the Forgotten Realms line, in "Faiths and Pantheons".
The only real change of note is a slightly modified depiction of his dogma, and even then it still preserves the essential details:
The finest hours of dwarvenkind come in the thrusts and feints of war. Seize the opportunity to defend your kin and ensure their victory wherever conflicts erupt. Revel in the challenge of a good fight, and never waver in the face of adversity, no matter how ominous. Lives should never be thrown away foolishly, but the greatest honor is to sacrifice oneself for the cause on the field of battle in service to a righteous cause. When not fighting, prepare for the next conflict physically, tactically, and by acquiring resources. Attack hill giants whenever possible and other evil giants whenever necessary.
Like most of the vast and sprawling array of racial deities, Clangeddin was considered to be too narrow in focus as to warrant any major space in 4th edition. Like almost every other member of the Morndinsamman, he was downgraded to the rank of Exarch, becoming inferior to Moradin in rank and his worship being considered restricted to dwarves exclusively.
Clangeddin made his return in 5th edition with the "Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide", which covers only the barest details needed to run a cleric - his name, his portfolio, his associated Cleric Domain, and his holy symbol.
He would receive some expanding in subsequent splatbook, "Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes", but even there's it's just a basic summary of his status as the primary war god of the dwarven pantheon.