Pelor

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Pelor is the Goodly D&D god of the sun, summer, agriculture and time. He is native to the Greyhawk setting within the Great Wheel multiverse, but an alternative version of him is also part of the Nentir Vale setting of the World Axis.

Pelor of the Great Wheel[edit]

Pelor, in all of his beardy goodness.
Pelor
Icon of Pelor.
Alignment Neutral Good
Divine Rank Greater God
Pantheon Oerth
Portfolio 3E: Sun, Light, Strength, Healing
5E: Life, Light
Domains Good, Healing, Strength, Sun, Travel, Community, Glory
Home Plane Light's Blessing (Elysium)
Worshippers Humans, Commoners, Bards, Rangers, Druids,
Favoured Weapon Mace


A deity of the Flan people of Oerth, Pelor's worship has spread far from his native Flanaess. He appears as an older but regal human man with a golden hair and beard, which he allows to grow long and wild, and clad in shining white robes. He rides a mighty ki-rin steed named Star Thought, and is also associated with eagles. Pelor was known as Sol by the early Oeridians, who named the Solnor Ocean after him, whilst the Bakluni know him as Al'Asran, saying that he granted the legendary Cup and Talisman to Al'Akbar.

Publication History[edit]

Pelor first debuted in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, making his mark on the world in 1983 with the World of Greyhawk Fantasy Game Setting. He was subsequently updated to 2nd edition in the 1992 boxed set From the Ashes, followed by Greyhawk: The Adventure Begins in 1998 and a year later in Warriors of Heaven (1999).

He hit the big league with Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, where he became the default sun god of D&D in the 3.0 Player's Handbook, with Greyhawk-specific notes added in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer. Naturally, as such an important god, he would not only appear in the 3.0 Manual of the Planes and Deities & Demigods, but would make the jump into 3.5's PHB as well, followed by the 3.5 Cleric splatbook Complete Divine, which expanded his original Cleric Domain list (Good, Healing, Strength, Sun, Travel) to include Community and Glory. He also got an article fleshing out his religion in the form of "Core Beliefs: Pelor" in Dragon Magazine #346.

Finally, he appeared in the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Player's Handbook. Because of recent events on Oerth, Pelor has become a more martial deity. He now brings his wrathful light to bear against those who succor evil and darkness.

Dogma[edit]

Pelorians believe that the life-giving sun is the best cure for all of Oerth's ills. Justice and freedom are brought about through charity, modesty, and perseverance (because those are totally solar-related). Pelor's priests teach that the truly strong don't need to prove their power. Pelorians strive to perform so many good acts that evil has no room in which to exist, though they will fight if necessary. Pelor strength is a spiritual strength, opposed to physical strength like Kord. His strength is the power of will and hope, the need to face evil in the face of insurmountable odds. Pelor is wrathful against the forces of evil, corruption, and darkness, and is especially opposed to the undead. However, Pelor urges his followers to remember that excessive attention to things of evil can blind one to the truly important things: compassion and goodness.

Pelorian dogma has it that the energy and power of life originates in the sun.

Worshippers[edit]

Pelor is a popular deity, greatly beloved by the commonfolk. He is particularly revered in the Bright Lands (as Aurifar), among the Rovers of the Barrens, in Dyvers, Geoff, the Free City of Greyhawk, Nyrond, Perrenland, Sterich, Sunndi, Tenh, and Urnst (both the Duchy and the County). In his Baklunish aspect, Pelor is one of the major deities of the nation of Ekbir. He is worshiped on at least one other world, the homeworld of Mayaheine. The Prelacy of Almor was founded by a paladin of Pelor after the Battle of a Fortnight's Length, and though the nation became ruled by an ecumenical council, it remained the greatest center of Pelor's faith until Almor was destroyed during the Greyhawk Wars.

Although Pelor's church has a few heresies and schisms, the head priests of his powerful temples are in contact with one another and with the religion's overall leadership. If the secular leaders of one nation place an onerous tax on Pelor's temples, word will spread through Pelor's hierarchy. Other nations might be persuaded by their Pelorians to apply diplomatic pressure to get the tax repealed.

Clergy[edit]

Pelor's clergy heal the sick, bless crops, help the needy, and destroy evil and the undead. They are caring and nurturing, with backbones of steel. The Pelorian priesthood attracts many naive youths to his service, but training is rigorous enough to send many of them back to their farms. Pelor's elite priests are called Radiant Servants. Pelor's favored weapon is the mace (heavy or light). Vestments are typically yellow or gold.

Druids[edit]

Pelor is served by a small number of druids, who behave in ways similar to his clerics, but with a greater emphasis on the care of plants and animals. They usually associate themselves with settlements rather than living as hermits, aiding the community with their hands, spells, and animal companions wherever they can. They are considered to have priest status within the Pelorian church, though they have a separate hierarchy. Pelor is also worshipped in the Old Faith, where he is considered the god of summer.

Paladins[edit]

Pelorian paladins, known as Crusaders, are rare, having appeared in large numbers only since the Greyhawk Wars. They are about as common as Mayaheine's paladins, though the demigoddess' church is much smaller than Pelor's. Pelor's paladins see themselves as the burning light of the sun which scours away darkness and evil and brings strength and comfort to the innocent. Though uncommon, they can be found in nearly every nation in the Flanaess, their dress varying according to the local culture. They are most common in Nyrond, the Urnst States, and the Sheldomar Valley.

Crusaders believe that laws are helpful, but that they are at best a secondary goal and must be tempered with mercy. Their slogan is Equity for the Meek with Perseverance and Strength.

When not in formal dress, Crusaders favor light-colored tunics, particularly sky blues, pale greens, or grays. Some dress in commoner's clothing, especially when serving as community healers or in disguise. On formal occasions, they wear a black cloak emblazoned with the symbol of the sun. They blend into the darkness, only the shining symbols visible to their foes.

An ancient order of Oeridian paladins predating the Great Migrations, the Lords of Sol, are now extinct, but their history is closely bound to that of the Aerdi tribes who founded the Great Kingdom. By the time of the Migrations, Hextor and Heironeous had gained greater popularity and largely subsumed the traditional roles of the Lords of Sol.

Rituals[edit]

Pelor's services involve communal prayer, the singing of hymns, and the distribution of alms. Prayers to Pelor are often affirmations in the first person, for example, "I am merciful, just as the Sun of Mercy shines on me." Weddings and rites of passage often take place at the beginning of a new season. Farmers often request a ritual known as the Blessing of the Sun-Kissed Field.

Temples[edit]

Pelor's temples are tall, with large windows; many are stained-glass cathedrals. They are arranged so that the sun shines into most of the rooms during the day, and many feature large courtyards. They tend to be airy and blindingly white. Temple trappings are typically yellow or gold. They are always kept clean. Many Pelorian temples have hospital wings.

Scriptures[edit]

The Light of Pelor is the most common Pelorian holy book, beginning with Pelor's creation of the sun and telling of how Pelor instructed the first mortals. Some turned against his teachings, thus creating evil, and this evil spirit has waxed and waned over time. Some versions portray Pelor as the sun (Liga) itself, rather than its creator, and tell of Pelor's attempts to win back those who have strayed from his light. The Light of Pelor only has minor variations in it, and all are considered canonical, despite these small discrepancies. The book is often enchanted to glow with a soft solar radiance when it's closed, and some versions are gilded.

In the Sun Father's Hand is a controversial text accepted at present by only a handful of Pelorian temples. It was written about 476 CY by a woman named Tephos. Tephos was not a priest, but she believed herself to be Pelor's chosen representative on Oerth. Somehow she performed miracles, including curing an entire village of plague, before writing about her beliefs and vanishing in front of her disciples in a flash of golden light. Tephos taught that all property should be held communally, that society should return to a more "natural" state like that assumed to exist before the spread of civilization, and that clerics were unnecessary; Pelor could intervene directly instead. Most branches of the Pelorian faith consider Tephos to be gifted but delusional.

Holy Days[edit]

Pelor's major holy days generally take place on the solstices and equinoxes of the Greyhawk Calendar:

  • Breadgiving Day: On this day, taking place on the 4th of Needfest (the Winter Solstice), Greyhawk's clerics of Pelor, Rao, and Saint Cuthbert distribute food to the poor.
  • The Feast of Edoira: The Pelorians of Greyhawk also join Raoans in this interfaith celebration, occurring on Growfest 4.
  • Midsummer's Day: This day, also known as the Holy Day of Pelor, takes place on Richfest 4, the day of the Summer Solstice.

Relics[edit]

Famed relics of Pelor include the maces called Dawnstars and the holy symbols known as the Shards of the Sun. Both are described in Complete Divine.

An artifact of Pelor's is hidden in the Caves of Deadly Shadows.

  • There are four Dawnstars. They were gifts from Pelor to four solars who rescued a paladin from the bowels of Hell.
  • The Shards of the Sun are described in Pelorian holy texts as "Pelor's gift,which I carry into darkness—a sun that never sets."
  • Ajira's Rod is a relic of a legendary paladin called Ajira. Some of his bones were placed in the hilt of his mace, becoming the relic. It glows, removes disease, and regenerates its wielder.
  • Ronnam's Icon was named for a Pelorian cleric who had been apprenticed to a smith. He created his holy symbol itself; it was flawed, a crude thing of mere bronze, but he wore it as a rebuke to those who revered only beauty. The icon has special qualities against undead, and its solar rays can turn into gold to use to feed the needy. It has been lost since 594 CY, when the cleric Devlim Handorgan disappeared on a raid in the lands of Iuz.

Myths & Legends[edit]

Parable of the Hungry Man: This myth tells of a man who was driven to crime out of a combination of desperate poverty and foolish pride. His community forgave him and fed and clothed him when his perfidy was discovered.

Punishment of the Undead: This myth tells of the origin of vampires, said to have been cursed by Pelor after turning from his light to the pursuit of evil magic. The myth suggests that Pelor would forgive them, if only they would ask.

Gift of Eternal Light: This is an epic saga of an ancient kingdom threatened upon by mortal, demonic, and undead evil. Though sorely tested by their foes, the people of the kingdom had their morale restored each morning at the sight of the rising sun. In a climactic battle, the sun's rays helped defeat the demons and undead, and the Pelorians were victorious. This myth claims the sun's rays are the spirits of the righteous, a claim that no other Pelorian text makes.

Relationships[edit]

A number of Pelor's followers have achieved deity or near-deity status, the most popular being Mayaheine, demigoddess of Protection, Justice, and Valor, and Saint Bane the Scourger, patron saint of those who hunt the undead. Another saint, Saint Jalnir the Gentle, was a half-orc priest. Saint Benedor of the Ashen Hand, patron of the Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom, was a famous Pelorian paladin, and he remains greatly revered by the Sun Lord's faithful. Saint Pentival was a foe of Acererak.

Among the other gods, Pelor is allied most closely with Mayaheine, and very closely allied with Rao as well. Pelor's other allies include Heironeous, Saint Cuthbert, Pholtus, Trithereon, and Zodal. Pelor's priests have been known to help mediate disputes between St. Cuthbert's followers and Pholtus's. Pelor is friendly to good-aligned nonhuman deities such as Corellon Larethian, Moradin, and Garl Glittergold, and is especially friendly to those with an agricultural or solar aspect, as Yondalla has.

Pelor opposes all evil deities, and his followers avoid neutral deities with teachings counter to Pelor's. Pelor particularly loathes Tharizdun, having played a role in the Dark God's imprisonment, and Nerull.

Pelor of the World Axis[edit]

Pelor
Pelor Icon 4e.jpg
Alignment Good
Divine Rank God
Pantheon Dawn War
Portfolio Sun, Summer, Agriculture, Harvest, Hope, Redemption, Mercy, Forgiveness, Time, Healing
Domains Hope, Life, Sun
Home Plane Hestavar (Astral Sea)
Worshippers Commoners, Farmers, Paladins, Rangers, Humans, Healers
Favoured Weapon Morningstar

One of the few deities to have survived the turmoil of the Dawn War, Pelor's compassion and concern for mortals make him an extremely popular deity, especially amongst humans, who lack a dedicated patron god - this means his shrines can usually be found pretty much everywhere. He showed up in the Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Player's Handbook, acquired Cleric Domains in Divine Power, was covered to different extents in 4e's Manual of the Planes and Secrets of the Astral Sea splatbooks, and had two dedicated articles in Dragon Magazine; an expose on his Dominion of Hestavar in #371, and a Channel Divinity in #386.

The Faithful[edit]

Many of Pelor's worshippers are humans, and most of them are the common folk that work the lands. He is not picky though, and all those willing to embrace his message are welcome. Pelor is a bit of a go-between god in this regard, not a crusader, not a deity of nature, or a god of magic. Because of this he is often worshipped alongside deities with a similar portfolio, but rarely an evil-aligned one. He also has emissaries that look for Good-but-unaligned souls to convert at the last minute to his side rather than having them become lost as ghosts or mortared into Sigil.

Dragon Magazine #386 features a Channel Divinity article that examines an unusual sect of Pelorites called "The Students of Aurtus"; these unusual Pelorites focus on Pelor's usually-ignored aspect as a God of Time, with a particular focus on studying history in order to learn from their mistakes so civilization won't repeat them.

Dwelling[edit]

Like almost every god of the World Axis, Pelor inhabits a dominion within the Astral Sea; specifically, Pelor hangs out in Hestavar, the Bright City, a metropolis made of precious stones and metals built on islands of earth hovering above a bright lagoon. He shares this domain with the Unaligned Goddesses Ioun, Goddess of Knowledge, and Erathis, Goddess of Civilization. He dwells in a golden palace called Aurosion. Weirdly, he and Erathis are frequently worshipped together, even being known as "the King and Queen of Light". This has caused some fans to speculate that the two may be lovers, or at least getting it on; speculation as to whether Ioun is getting in on that (or at least off to it) likewise runs rampant. He definitely is known to support Erathis' "Game of Making", her great plan to try and repair the broken Lattice of Heaven, but he also keeps it at arm's length, suspecting the rather dark extremes that she is willing to go to in order to pull it off successfully.

Relationships[edit]

Outside of Erathis and Ioun, Pelor probably gets on best with Bahamut, Avandra and Moradin, since these are the other major Goodly gods of the Dawn War pantheon. The Unaligned gods - Corellon, Sehanine, Melora and Kord - he has a more "take it or leave it" sort of relationship with; their different portfolios mean that they don't usually butt heads. His relationship with the Evil deities is generally negative; he is known to have despised Nerull. His relationship with the Raven Queen is complicated; he is believed to have helped empower her to usurp Nerull's place, but as the goddess of death and winter, she is also his strict rival.

Dirty Little Secret[edit]

Despite his benevolent nature, Pelor has a skeleton in his closet. In the ancient days, he was one of three gods - the others being Ioun and probably the then-not evil Tharizdun - who sought to peak behind the Living Gate, a sapient fortification that guarded a mysterious rift in the Astral Sea. Unfortunately, it turned out that the Living Gate was guarding a huge breach into the Far Realm, and when they subverted it, they let the aberration hordes pour forth. By the time they managed to get things under control, they'd accidentally killed the Living Gate and blown it into smithereens, which is generally accepted as being where Shardminds came from. He has done everything in his power to hide this fact from the multiverse - and especially the fact he's sitting on a pretty major cache of Living Gate fragments, which are hidden in Aurosion. Publicly, he throws his support behind the Thought Builders faction of Shardminds - that is, the crystal-guys seeking to create a new replacement Living Gate.

Pelor, the Burning Hate[edit]

There is another theory going around about the popularity of Pelor amongst humans. A long time ago there was a deity named Zarus. He was supposedly the god of Humanity, in the same way that Moradin is the god of the Dwarves. Zarus differed from the other gods-of-PC-races in that he wasn't Good, or even Neutral. He was a Lawful Evil deity who taught that humans were superior to all other species that lived on the world, and only by subjugation to humanity should they be allowed a continued existence.

Why Zarus disappeared is lost in time. What is not lost though is that in 3.5e, there were a number of cases of Pelor's followers using evil-aligned divine power (which should be impossible, since divine power from a good deity cannot generate power for evil spells), and many of Pelor's artifacts employ large-scale destruction, instead of the expected helping of the weak.

This is pure speculation though, and there is no conclusive evidence. But still, one should be careful when dealing with the guardian of time.

The deities of 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons
Lawful Neutral Chaotic
Good Bahamut
Haramathur - Moradin
Amoth - Lakal
Nusemnee - Pelor
Avandra - Corellon
Sehanine
Neutral Erathis - Raven Queen
Sagawehn
Aurom - Io - Ioun
Melora
Gorellik
Kord - Laeris
Evil Asmodeus
Bane - Tiamat
Nerull - Torog - Vecna Gruumsh - Khala - Lolth
Tharizdun - Zehir
The human deities of Greyhawk
Lawful Neutral Chaotic
Good Al'Akbar - Allitur - Delleb - Fortubo
Heironeous - Jascar - Kundo
Mayaheine - Merikka - Murlynd
Pholtus - Rao - Ulaa
Atroa - Azor'alq - Berei - Ehlonna - Heward
Johydee - Keoghtom - Lydia - Myhriss
Nola - Pelor - Urbanus - Uvot - Valarian - Zodal
Dalt - Kord - Lirr - Phaulkon
Phyton - Sotillion - Trithereon
Vogan - Wenta
Neutral Cyndor - Daern - Katay - Lendor
Osprem - Saint Cuthbert - Stern Alia
Tsolorandril - Vathris - Wee Jas - Zilchus
Beory - Boccob - Bleredd - Bralm - Breeka
Celestian - Daoud - Geshtai - Fharlaghn - Istus
Joramy - Kelanen - Mouqol - Nazarn - Obad-Hai
Velnius - Xan Yae - Xanag - Xerbo - Zuoken
Berna - Kurell - Kuroth - Llerg
Norebo - Olidammara - Procan
Ralishaz - Rudd - Telchur
Vatun - Zagyg
Evil Asmodeus - Earth Dragon
Hextor - Scahrossar - Zarus
Damaran - Incabulos - Kyuss - Meyanok - Nerull
Pyremius - Syrul - Tharizdun - Vara - Vecna
Beltar - Erythnul - Iuz - Karaan