Woden

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Woden
Blank Runestone, Crow or Raven
Alignment True Neutral
Divine Rank Lesser God
Pantheon Anglo-Saxon
Portfolio Magic, Knowledge, Guardianship of the Dead
Domains All, Animal, Charm, Creation, Divination, Elemental (Air, Earth), Summoning, Travelers
Home Plane Material Plane
Worshippers Anglo-Saxons, Sages, Lorekeepers, Wizards, Runemasters, Runecasters
Favoured Weapon Staff, Dagger or Shortsword

Woden, also known as The Master of Magic, is the Anglo-Saxon God of Magical Wisdom, Learning, Knowledge, and the Dead in Dungeons & Dragons. Like the rest of his pantheon, he was introduced to the D&D multiverse in the article "Hearth & Sword" in Dragon Magazine #263 for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition.

Appearing as a tall, rugged man dressed in weather-beaten clothing of leather and coarse fabric, with his head adorned by a tall, battered, wide-brimmed conical black hat adorned with raven's feathers - more of which decorate the shoulders and upper back of his long, threadbare cloak, Woden is a scraggly-looking god. His straight hair is raven-black and he is perpetually unshaven, though never properly bearded. His right eye is gone, with the scars of some kind of bird attack making it obvious where it went. He may also be seen in the guise of a large, one-eyed crow or raven.

Magic is Woden's only true love; though he creatued the futhark, the runic alphabet of the Anglo-Saxons, and he guards the spirits of the dead, it is the pursuit of wisdom, lore and magic that occupies his every concern. As a result, he will do anything to sate his thirst for knowledge, and this includes screwing over mortals. As a result, whilst he has gotten in trouble with the other gods on various occasions, Mannus has a particular dislike of Woden.

This attitude obviously informs his dogma: Knowledge is all-important, and any form of suffering is worth enduring to gain it. Magic is a sacred art form not to be wantonly abused.

The Priesthood[edit]

Uniquely amongst the Anglo-Saxon priests, the priests of Woden - a term that encompasses not only clerics and specialty priests, but also wizards (especially those with rune-based kits) - are loners who rarely involve themselves in their communities. Indeed, it's not unusual for a community to be entirely unaware that it has a local priest of Woden, as their constant studies and lore-gathering exercises tends to cast them more in the light of being a local mysterious hermit. It doesn't help that priests of Woden believe the proper relationship between themselves and the locals is to be paid for their knowledge rather than just giving it up freely.

As one might expect, priests of Woden have few activities outside of gathering lore. They concern themselves with religious rites only when performing prayers in his honor on the nights of the full moon - a sacred time, especially during the winter months due to Woden's unusually close relationship with Hred - or when he is invoked during burial rituals to guard the souls of the dead.

Priests use crow and raven feathers, as well as brimmed, conical hats, as their vestments of choice.

The specialty priest of Woden has the following special traits:

Requires Intelligence 12+ and Wisdom 9+
Must be Any Neutral and Non-Lawful Alignment
Permitted Weapons: Staff, Dagger, Shortsword
Permitted Armor: Leather and Studded Leather
Major Spheres: All, Animal, Charm, Creation, Divination, Elemental (Air, Earth), Summoning, Travelers
Minor Spheres: Combat, Elemental (Fire, Water)
Magical Items: Any permitted to Cleric and Wizard
Required Proficiency: Spellcraft
Bonus Proficiency: Read/Write Futhark
Special Abilities:
  • If the campaign employs the Runemaster kit, Woden's priests can utilize rune magic, including the ability to cast the scribe runes spell.
  • From 5th level, the priest can shapeshift into a crow/raven once per day.
  • At 8th level, the priest loses their right eye; this cannot be undone, not even by spells such as Regenerate, but they can now cast Infravision 3/day, Detect Magic 3/day, and Detect Invisibility 3/day.
  • At 12th level, the priest gains the permanent power of True Seeing.
  • From 15th level, the priest can create enchanted staffs by scribing runes into a staff. They may add one rune per five experience levels attained, and the effects are permanent. Each rune can perform its functions at any time, one function per round, as long as the staff is being held. Possible runic functions include: any spell effect up to 4th level, +1 attack bonus, +1 damage bonus, -1 AC bonus, or a +1 saving throw bonus toward any one category of saving throws. Multiple runes of the same type stack.

Cross-Pantheon Connections[edit]

Woden has an uncertain relationship with the Briton and Celtic deity Cernunnos, the leader of the Wild Hunt. "Hearth and Sheath" insists that the two are separate deities.

Additionally, Woden can be thought of as a kind of "prototype" for the more famous Nordic god Odin, who evolved within the northern European Germanic faith from its Anglo-Saxon roots.

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