Eostre

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Eostre
Hare
Alignment Lawful Good
Divine Rank Intermediate Goddess
Pantheon Anglo-Saxon
Portfolio Life, Rebirth
Domains All, Animal, Guardian, Healing, Necromantic (Beneficial Only), Protection
Home Plane Prime Material
Worshippers Anglo-Saxons, Midwives, Farmers, Herders, Healers, Pregnant Women, Mothers
Favoured Weapon Unarmed (Pacifists)

Eostre, also known as Life-Mother and The Goddess of the Dawn, is the Anglo-Saxon Goddess of Life and Rebirth in Dungeons & Dragons. Like the rest of his/her pantheon, she was introduced to the D&D multiverse in the article "Hearth & Sword" in Dragon Magazine #263 for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition.

The devoted companion of Nerthus, Eostre is responsible for maintaining the life-death cycle - specifically by focusing on bringing new life into the world and nurturing it. She is the goddess of birth, and the most pacifistic of all the Anglo-Saxon deities; whilst Nerthus may accept some battles as necessary, Eostre never will, and thusly she is a bitter enemy of Hred and Thunor. To Eostre, any action that causes death outside of the natural cycle must be avoided. Even when attacked, she instead relies on the ability to paralyze foes with her touch (for up to a month, if she desires), entangle foes with defensive plantlife, or sow confusion and chaos with a sudden swarm of 10d10 hares out of nowhere.

The goddess takes the form of a beautiful, golden-haired female who smiles almost constantly, losing her grin only when saddened by the knowledge of another life being lost pointlessly is brought to her attention. She may appear as a young girl, or a matron, but her beauty remains unmarred either way. Where she steps, flowers grow and prosper, no matter how barren the ground may be. She also can appear in the form of any female creature, often manifesting as a lapwing or hare (her sacred animals) during spring or as a matronly cow within a herd during the calving season.

The entire month of April (or "Eostre-monath" to Anglo-Saxons) is sacred to Eostre, with her faithful celebrating the dawn of spring through rites cherishing the return of life after the cold, dark winter. During this time, painted eggs are exchanged as gifts, to remind the people of Eostre's presence.

Eostre's Priesthood[edit]

Eostre's priesthood is widely spread; every Anglo-Saxon village will have a devotee of the goddess, if not a full-fledged priest. The vast majority of her devotees are women, in no small part because their primary duty is serving as midwives - priests of Nerthus may perform the ceremonies that welcome newborns into the world, but the actual physical job of helping the baby be delivered is left to the priests of Eostre.

This role also applies to the village's livestock, incidentally; many a cattle farmer or sheep herder has had cause to give thanks to Eostre during the birthing season.

When not helping to deliver babies, Eostre's devotees oversee the raising and education of their community's children - as well as trying to prevent the declaration of battles or raids. Eostre's dogma is simple:

Life is sacred. Priests of Eostre exist to bring life into the world, not to remove it. Even the accidental squashing of a bug brings bangs of regret to a follower of the Life-Mother.

Like a priest of Nerthus, a priest of Eostre is a humble figure, dressing in simple white robes and carrying an emblem of a hare made from tin, pewter, or even wood as a holy symbol. Due to her staunch pacifistic views, adventuring clerics of Eostre are extrremely rare, and only likely to travel with groups either willing to seek peaceful solutions to problems, or else dedicated to battling the undead - as a perversion of life, they are the only real enemies of the faith, and clerics devoted to Eostre can affect a bonus 1d6 hit dice of undead each time they use Turn Undead.

Like all Anglo-Saxon deities, Eostre is served by specialty priests sworn either to her specifically or to the Anglo-Saxon pantheon as a whole. To become a Priest of Eostre in AD&D 2e has the following effects:

Requirements: Intelligence 10, Wisdom 12, Charisma 12
Alignment: Any Good, Lawful Good preferred.
Major Spheres: All, Animal, Guardian, Healing, Necromantic (Beneficial Only), Protection
Minor Spheres: Charm, Creation, Divination, Elemental (Water)
Required Proficiencies: Herbalism
Restriction: Total Pacificism. Priests of Eostre cannot take proficiency in or carry weapons, cannot cast spells that inflict damage or cause death/disease, and cannot use magical items that exist only to cause damage. Magical items with both helpful and harmful abilities may be used, but the priest cannot use their harmful powers.
Bonus Proficiency: Healing
Special Powers:
  • At 1st level, choose 1 type of creature, such as human, cow, sheep, horse, etc. The priest of Eostre is able to midwife that type of creature; this is a Healing proficiency check, but on a result of a 20, there has been a complication, which means there is a 20% chance the baby will die. The priest gains the ability to midwife a new type of creature at every 2nd level thereafter (3rd, 5th, 7th, etc).
  • From 3rd level, the priest of Eostre can cast Hold Person 1/day per 3 levels attained.
  • From 5th level, the priest of Eostre can communicate with hares, as per Speak With Animals, and may even employ them to perform simple tasks, such as collecting healing herbs or carrying messages to other priests of Eostre.
  • From 8th level, the chance of a newborn dying due to a midwifery complication is reduced to 5%.
The Historical Deities of Dungeons and Dragons
Leader(s) Others
Anglo-Saxon: Nerthus Eostre - Hred - Ing - Mannus - Thunor - Tir - Woden
Aztec: Tezcatlipoca Chalchihuitlicue - Cihuacoatl - Huitzilopochtli
Quetzalcoatl - Tlaloc - Tonatiuh - Xipetotec
Babylonian: Anu Anshar - Druaga - Girru - Ishtar - Marduk - Nergal - Ramman
Celtic: The Daghda Arawn - Belenus - Brigantia - Diancecht - Dunatis - Goibhniu - Lugh
Manannan mac Lir - Math Mathonwy - Morrigan - Nuada - Oghma - Silvanus
Chinese: Shang-ti Chih-Nii - Chung Kuel - Fu Hsing - K'ung Fu-tzu - Kuan Yin - Kuan-ti - Lao Tzu
Lei Kung - Liu - Lu Hsing - Shou Hsing - Sung Chiang - Yen-Wang-Yeh
Egyptian: Re-Horakhty Anubis - Anhur - Apshai - Apep - Bast - Bes - Geb - Hathor - Imhotep - Isis
Nephthys - Nut - Osiris - Ptah - Seker - Set - Shu - Sobek - Tefnut - Thoth
Finnish: Ukko Ahto - Hiisi - Ilmatar - Loviatar - Mielikki - Surma - Tuonetar - Tuoni - Untamo
Greek: Zeus Aphrodite - Apollo - Ares - Artemis - Athena - Cronus - Demeter - Dionysus
The Furies - Gaea - Hades - Hecate - Hepahestus - Hera - Hercules
Hermes - Hestia - Nike - Pan - Poseidon - Rhea - Tyche - Uranus
Indian: Brahman Agni - Brihaspati - Kali - Indra - Karttikeya - Lakshmi - Mitra - Puchan - Ratri
Rudra - Savitri - Siva - Soma - Tvashtri - Ushas - Varuna - Vayu - Vishnu - Yama
Japanese: Izanagi & Izanami Amaterasu - Ama-Tsu-Mara - Amatsu-Mikaboshi - Hachiman - Ho Masubi
Inari - Kishijoten - Kura Okami - Nai No Kami - O-Kuni-Nushi - O-Wata-Tsu-Mi
Raiden - Shichifukujin - Shina-Tsu-Hiko - Susanoo - Tsuki-Yomi
Norse: Odin Aegir - Balder - Bragi - Forseti - Frey - Freya - Frigga - Heimdall
Hel - Hermod - Idun - Loki - Magni - Modi - Njord - Odur - Sif - Skadi
Surtr - Thor - Thrym - Tyr - Uller - Vidar
Sumerian: Enlil Inanna - Ki - Nanna-Sin - Nin-Hursag - Utu