Yutow

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Yutow
A silver circle split by a vertical diamond
Alignment Lawful Neutral
Divine Rank Unknown
Pantheon Ravenloft
Portfolio Law, Obedience, Fate, Order, Nature, Fertility, Protection, the Moon, Cats
Domains Animal, Law, Plant, Protection, The Moon
Home Plane Demiplane of Dread
Worshippers Valachani
Favoured Weapon Sickle

Yutow the Peacebringer is a minor deity from the Dungeons & Dragons setting of Ravenloft. He is the patron god of the land of Valachan, and has no influence anywhere outside of that domain.

This is, not unsurprisingly, probably tied into how confusing and illogical his theology is - only the Valachani, who take a perverse cultural pride in shunning book-learning and being as uneducated as possible, are able to take the tenets of Yutow's faith and swallow them without struggling with the contradictions. Given the resemblance to the Home Faith of Ezra and The Lawgiver in terms of its influence of society - namely, teaching the peasants to sit down, shut up, and don't complain about their "divinely mandated" lot in life - and its veneration of panthers, it might even be a fictitious religion created by the efforts of Baron von Kharkov, the Darklord of Valachan.

Theology[edit]

Yutow was originally a demigod or archfey who was guardian of the original tribal people of Valachan's forests and the animals of the forest, served by legions of fey servitors. When a race called the Vaasi began invading his forest and putting the natives to the slaughter, Yutow was desperate to help his people, but could not think of a way to do so. It was the wisest of the animals, the panther, who told him how he could stop the battles, and Yutow gave up his life to merge Vaasi and natives together into a single new people, with the strengths of both. Now dead, he departed the forest to dream upon the moon, using clerics, fey, and animal spirits to watch over his children and guide them. Of these spirits, the panther spirits are the most favored, and mortals who bear their bloodline are to be respected (which neatly allows Kharkov to disguise his loyal werepanther secret police as something holy).

Yutow's religion is monotheistic - or at least at that weird midpoint between monotheism and henotheism that you see in Catholic Christanity. Yutow is considered the only god, and the ultimate source of all magical power, as only he has authority over life and death. However, he has many fey and animal spirit servitors, and these are also worthy of respect. Other deities are either misinterpretations of Yutow caused by the "unhealthily" sedentary and educated lifestyle of non-Valachani, or else are spirit trickery. Needless to say, Yutow's faith rather irks worshippers of Ezra and The Lawgiver, whose religions likewise claim that their god of choice is the only true god and other gods are falsehoods.

One of the more blatant absurdities of Yutow's theology is that the Valachani fear and loathe wizards and other arcanists, deriding their powers as "unnatural"... whilst at the same time claiming that they receive these powers from the fey and nature spirits who serve Yutow!

Church[edit]

The anti-intellectual Valachani don't exactly mix well with the general needs of an organized religion. Yutow's clerics, called Moarnekone, are regarded simultaneously with respect for their office as speakers to Yutow and intercessors with the spirits, but also with contempt for giving up the "honorable" pursuits of fishing, hunting, farming and trapping in order to do something as "unnatural" as study and pray. Generally speaking, there is only a single church consisting of a full-fledged moarnekone and a studying acolyte to a given village, with the cleric relying on a weekly tithe of food and goods from his community to survive. In return, these clerics serve as the ultimate form of social organization within their village; they arbitrate disputes, ensure taxes are paid, care for those unable to support themselves, and generally work to appease both the nebulous spirits and the all-too-real Black Leopards, Baron Kharkov's thuggish police force.

This matches well with the general belief of Yutow's faithful that he is always watching them, both protecting them and keeping alert for signs of immorality, which leads to him occasionally testing their faith.

Whilst an individual moarnekone's authority ends at the borders of their village, the faith is social, and the moarnekone travel frequently to their neighbors, meeting with peers, discussing matters of faith, and serving as diplomats when Valachani villages are suffering disputes. Once each year, under the full moon, all of the moarnekone in Valachan undertake a sacred pilgrimage to a holy site near Castle Pantara, where they undertake a ritual believed to evoke Yutow's blessings for Valachan as a whole.

It's a well-known fact that the moarnekone tend to disappear, either mysteriously or just by being torn apart by panthers. The faithful of Yutow believe that moarnekone who grow too strong in their faith are summoned in body or spirit by Yutow to attend him on the moon. More educated outsiders just look at the obvious tells on Baron Kharkov and his Black Leopards and keep their skepticism to themselves.

Each Yutow church is missing its roof over the nave, allowing each night's moonlight to fall upon the icon of Yutow stored there. Such icons depict Yutow as a green-skinned man with yellow eyes who has been horribly beaten; his face is creased in pain, his body covered in bruises and open wounds, and his broken legs trail uselessly behind him, forcing him to support himself upright on one hand whilst the other hand is uplifted in a gesture of protection. At the base of the icon is covered the holy words: "That which is dead cannot suffer still".

A moarnekone, regardless of alignment, always has the power to Turn Undead. They pray for their spells when the moon reaches its zenith, and hold their services at moonrise. Multiclassed moarnekones typically take levels in Druid.

Dogma[edit]

The state of all things is mandated from above and is not to be questioned. As Yutow himself suffered to protect his charges so must his worshippers uncomplainingly undergo trails in this life to prove themselves worthy of his devotion. Those who do will be given immortality as a natural spirit; those who do not are reincarnated to suffer again until they learn their lesson. Those who live as rebels or lawbreakers will be annihilated, their spirits dispersed into the Mists. Those who worship Yutow will be protected from nature's fury and granted good harvests and plentiful game. Those who do not will face nature in all its untamed splendor, red in tooth and claw. Unnatural things - arcane magic, corporeal undead and so forth - are the worst forms of blasphemy.

The Deities & Religions of Ravenloft
Lawful Neutral Chaotic
Good Ezra (Pure Hearts)
The Overseer - Ra
Andral - Belenus - Osiris The Morninglord
Tvashtri
Neutral Divinity of Mankind
Ezra (Home Faith) - Yutow
Ezra (Erudites) - Hala
The Ancestral Choir
Mytteri
Evil Ezra (Zealots)
The Lawgiver - Set
Zhakata
The Eternal Order Cat Lord - Erlin - Kali
The Spider Queen
The Wolf God