Contest of Wills
The Broken God
Ilmater (pronounced ill-MAY-ter), also known as the Crying God, the Broken God, the Lord on the Rack and The One Who Endures, and, in the Great Glacier, Ayuruk, is an intermediate deity whose portfolio includes endurance, martyrdom, perseverance and suffering. He seeks to offer words of comfort and calming to those in pain, oppressed, or in great need; he does so by seeking to endure any pain if it will lessen the pain of another.
Ilmater is pictured as a man with a mutilated, tortured body and wearing only a breechcloth. When manifesting himself via an avatar, Ilmater’s limbs are broken and moving causes him a great deal of pain. He is covered in marks, cuts and scars, with a burly build, a kind face, balding head and a hairy body.
When not appearing via his avatar, Ilmater sometimes manifests himself as a presence that makes a howling or whimpering sound and can move objects around or cast spells. Alternatively he can possess any creature who is being tortured, provided that the torture contravenes local laws. This creature glows white and any wounds are regenerated immediately. Torture or restraining devices are immediately destroyed, and in the case of extreme torture, Ilmater grants the creature the ability to cast spells like lightning bolt and meteor swarm for a short time in retribution.
Ilmater can create daisies, devas, donkeys, doves, einheriar, field mice, hollyphants, planetars, solars, sparrows and white roses to indicate or suggest his presence or awareness.
Ilmater does not get angry easily, but when he does, he is fearsome. He is angered by cruelty and those who inflict suffering, particularly upon children and young creatures in general. He is quiet with a good sense of humour and likes to hear stories containing humour.
Those who are oppressed, sick or poor are likely to be worshipers of Ilmater and those who have a dislike of weakness (tyrants, for example) do not understand why anybody would turn to him. A typical follower of Ilmater is generous and sharing, advocating spiritualism over materialism. Worshipers believe that all injustices should be rectified and that a death with meaning is not shameful. Cynicism and dark humour is common. They do not believe in impeding desires of others, even when those desires conflict with their own duty to provide alleviation and healing.
The clergy of Ilmater are known collectively as the Ilmatari. During a war, the Ilmatari will gather supplies in order to treat the dying and wounded. Ilmatari also shelter the homeless and offer moral support to those who need it. They will tour the wealthy areas of towns and cities seeking donations to help cover the costs of the church. The Ilmatari wear grey tunics, trousers, a tabard, or robes, and, unless a novice, wear a skullcap, which is red for senior clergy and otherwise grey. The symbol of Ilmater is worn around the neck or as a pin badge, or can be a simple length of cord wrapped around the cleric’s wrist in prayer. Some older clergy have a teardrop tattooed beside one eye.
Monks and clerics in the Ilmatari faith are known as the Adorned. Clerics of Ilmater pray for their divine magic once per day, in the morning, but must ritualistically pray a further six times per day or more. The cleric receives no holidays and celebrates no regular festivities, but may request a Plea of Rest – a tenday during which time he or she is free from the rules laid out by Ilmater’s faith. Clerics of Ilmater are duty-bound to convince the dying to pray to Ilmater, and it is likely that they are able to brew their own potions. New initiates are often overcome by the suffering they witness as part of their work, and many develop a cynical attitude towards life, but most persevere nonetheless, even when faced with a hopeless cause. Specialty priests of Ilmater are known as Painbearers.
Many of Ilmater’s clerics are known as Healers. These specialist priests are focused completely on healing and lessening suffering in the world. They take a very negative view of any Ilmateri who suffer needlessly, such as a self flagulator, believing that these people are unwittingly doing the work of Loviatar by increasing suffering in the world and to Ilmater himself who shares all pain with mortals. The healers are often charged with founding Sanctuaries and hospitals in the poorest cities in the realms. The healers follow strict vows and usually swear pacifism, chastity and poverty so as to blend in better with the down-trodden and poor whom they mean to help. this gentle and humble appearance often grants them acceptence into slums and wins them love from commoners who view them as selfless healers who take nothing in return for their kindness.
Followers of the Ilmater are often perceived as martyrs and intentional sufferers, to the point of ridicule by some. However, they are known as some of the best healers in the realms often being found in some of the worst possible conditions, helping the oppressed, the diseased and the poor. In adventuring groups, they are often the ones who will take all risks to save a person in danger, putting the needs of others above their own, to the exclusion of their personal risk.
The reputation of Ilmater was damaged shortly after the Time of Troubles when a cult professing to be Ilmatari began inflicting suffering (on others and themselves), kidnapping and rioting. The Ilmatari suspect that these cultists were under the influence of Beshaba, Cyric or Loviatar. The cult was mostly eliminated.
An individual expressing an interest in joining the clergy of Ilmater is taken on a walk with a priest who explores that individual’s views on life. Then they dine, and the individual is given wine that induces a slight trance so that he or she can be explored with magic in order to determine if any deception has occurred, or whether this person is genuinely suitable for the faith.
Many clerics, especially healers will consider taking one or all of the three vows of Ilmater. Purity, Poverty and Peace.
Purity is a vow of chastity which is taken to uphold what the Healer’s call “Unbiased Love.” In refusing to love one above others, healers of Ilmater keep their mind’s clear so that they can be ready to do good where it is most needed, rather than putting a loved one above the needs of strangers.
Poverty is a vow that prevents healers from keeping coin or wealth. Excess and luxury are sworn off to better let these faithful understand those they mean to help. This vow also keeps Ilmateri(who are often pacifists) safe from criminals who might harm them for the coin in their pockets. Lastly, because the Healers can only get the supplies they use to help others by donation, in order for them to help others, it requires others to show them kindness by donating first. In this way kindness is spread.
Peace is the vow of non violence that many healers take. Every blow is a blow against Ilmater, as he shares suffering with all mortals. This vow is taken by those who wish to devote all of their training to healing craft without wasting time on martial training. This is the vow that has made Healers of Ilmater among the best healers in the realms, both mundane and divine. Healers of the Sanctuaries often depend on Monks or Paladins of Ilmater, or other members of the Triad to protect them in times of danger.
The faith of Ilmater has more saints than most other faiths. Notable saints include St. Sollars the Twice-Martyred, represented by a yellow rose, and worshiped from the Monastery of the Yellow Rose high in the Earthspur Mountains, and St. Dionysius.
- The Companions of the Noble Heart are unique among Ilmater’s knightly orders due to their offensive nature. These Paladins are considered fringe by the rest of the faith, however they fulfill a duty to hunt down and bring justice to the cruel. These are the most aggressive hunters of Loviatar’s torturers.
- The Holy Warriors of Suffering are an order of paladins sponsored by the church of Ilmater to protect travelers and pilgrims in Ilmater’s holy land of Damara, as well as other places where the Triad Knights have no presence.
- The Order of the Golden Cup is often charged with the protection of Ilmater’s Healers when their missions would take them to the most hostile of places. Serving as faithful guardians, these questing knights swear to many of the same vows as the Healers, though with some differences. They carry enough gold to keep arms and armor, as well as other relevant equipment. They will provide food and supplies if needs be, but beyond this do not keep gold or wealth. The Knights of the Golden Cup use violence only when absolutely necessary to protect their charge, whose zeal for helping often lands them into danger. They will not turn a blind eye to the suffering of others however, but will show restraint, understanding that the Healer’s cause is vital.
- The Order of the Lambent Rose.
Most Ilmatari monastic orders have a symbolic flower that has a particular importance to them.
- The Broken Ones is a monastic order whose monks are responsible for the defense of Ilmater’s temples and shrines and seek to punish those who inflict cruelty.
- The Disciples of St. Morgan the Taciturn.
- The Disciples of St. Sollars the Twice-Martyred is monastic order noted for the Monastery of the Yellow Rose, located in the Earthspur Mountains near to the Glacier of the White Worm.
- The Followers of the Unhindered Path.
- The Order of St. Uzurr is a monastic order that was devoted to Ilmater and followed St. Uzurr. They were based at the Cloister of St. Uzurr in the city of Uzurr in Lapaliiya.
- The Sisters of St. Jasper of the Rocks.
- The Weeping Friars are the most fanatical in following in the idea of “bleeding” for others.
- The House Melder Rythtin of the Healing Hand is the largest hospital in Faerûn, located in Calimport.
Temples and shrines to Ilmater are often manor houses on travelled routes, named after Ilmatari saints. It is common for these houses to contain an area for treating the sick and injured. There is no single leader of a particular temple; instead, a collection of senior clergy meets on occasion to make decisions. A temple to Ilmater often has an abbey or monestary affiliated with it or contained within it.
Temples found within large cities are often known as Sanctuaries. Healers of Ilmater are often dispatched to such places to found a Santuary in the slums. These temples are usually run-down and poor buildings, funded on material donation only, such as food, clothing, labor, and medical supplies. They accept no gold or valuables so as to discourage crime, as their healers are usually unarmed pacifists. Such temples will have a soup kitchen, infirmary and chapel for worship. Temple grounds are often granted to healers by the city as an inexpensive method of fighting sickness and plague and improving the general health (and therefore production) of the poorest commoners who cannot afford other temples. Even theif guilds and other criminal organizations tend to leave the Ilmateri in peace, or even protect such temples from lone crimnals and zealots as many of their own members find healing with no questions asked inside Ilmater’s Sanctuaries.
Considering their contrasting portfolios, the Crying God and his followers are a bane to Loviatar and her worshippers. At any opportunity, the followers of Loviatar will seek to torment Ilmater’s people, finding the greatest pleasure in forcing a restrained Ilmatian to watch someone else be tortured to a slow and painful death. Among his other foes are Bane, Garagos, Malar, Shar, Talona and Talos.
The ranks of Ilmater’s allies include Tyr (who is his superior), Torm and Lathander. In fact, Ilmater can often be found traveling with Tyr, teaching him to live without his sight and to rely upon feelings instead. Along with Torm and Tyr, Ilmater forms the Triad.
Creed of the Triad: Tyr is the sword of justice whose wrath punishes the wicked, Torm is the shield of faith who protects the weak, and Ilmater is the beating heart who tempers each with mercy and compassion.