Greyhawk 636 CY: The Rise of Asmodeus
|Title(s)||The Archpaladin, the Invincible, the Valorous Knight|
|Home plane||Seven Mounting Heavens of Celestia|
|Portfolio||Chivalry, Justice, Honor, War, Daring, Valor|
|Domains||Glory, Good, Inquisition, Law, War|
Heironeous is the Oeridian god of Chivalry, Justice, Honor, War, Daring, and Valor. His holy symbol is a silver lightning bolt, often clutched in a fist.
Heironeous appears as a tall human man in a full robe of chainmail so fine that it moves with him like cloth. He has auburn hair and skin the color of copper, and is impervious to all but the mightiest weapons due to a secret solution known as meersalm. His signature weapon is a great magical battleaxe, though he has recently taken to the longsword.
The half-brother and sworn enemy of Hextor, Heironeous is the son of Stern Alia, the goddess of Oeridan Culture, Motherhood, and Law. Another brother, Stratis, is mentioned in literature for the Chainmail miniatures game in Dragon Magazine #285, but he is deceased. Heironeous sponsored the apotheosis of the paladin Murlynd, and remains on very good terms with him.
In general, Heironeous considers all other gods who stand against evil to be allies, while those deities who promote suffering and evil he regards as foes. Specifically, however, he is a staunch ally of Al’Akbar, Allitur, Bahamut, Daern, Delleb, Fortubo, Johydee, Mayaheine, Murlynd, Pelor, Pholtus, Rao, Saint Cuthbert, Zilchus, and Zodal. His strong adherence to Law sometimes brings Heironeous into conflict with Trithereon. He finds Olidammara annoying at times, but tolerates him because of his charm and humor. Heironeous considers himself the enemy of Beltar, Bralm, Damaran, Erythnul, Hextor, Iuz, Kyuss, and Kurell, Llerg, Meyanok, Pyremius, Ralishaz, Raxivort, Syrul, Tezcatlipoca, Tharizdun, Tiamat, Tlaloc, Vara, Vecna, and Wastri.
Heironeous’s realm, known as the Fields of Glory, is located in Venya, the third of the Seven Heavens.
Heironeous sees the world as a deadly place, filled with perpetual challenges and trials for those who battle for justice and defend the weak and innocent. His followers should always act with honor and chivalry, and to uphold justice. Danger is to be faced head-on, with calm and resolve. Those who defeat evil are rewarded with Glory, while those who uphold the tenets of the Arch-paladin are rewarded with Virtue. The Arch-paladin’s teachings have been codified in a chivalric code known as the Heironean Code.
The Heironean Code
The Heironean Code consists of three sets of duties:
- Duty to the People. This duty stresses courage, justice, mercy, valor, protection of the weak, and faithfulness to church superiors of officer of righteous law.
- Duty to the Arch-paladin. This duty stresses obedience to Heironeous himself, devotion to the church, generosity, championing good against evil, putting the needs of the church and the faith above those of mortals.
- Duty to a Lady. This duty pertains to the concept of courtly love, devotion to one’s beloved, and respect toward all women in general.
A number of holy texts are venerated by the faith of Heironeous. The best-known work is likely The Book of the Code, a four-chapter work outlining the Heironean Code and providing examples of how one is expected to follow it. Another well-known work is the Book of Penitence (also known as the Just Book), which describes the achievements of Ferrante, a legendary paladin who is now venerated as a saint by some Heironean sects.
The faith of Heironeous is a very militaristic one, launching crusades against evil and championing causes. As one would expect, many soldiers, city watchmen, mercenaries, and others who make their living by the sword find themselves honoring the Archpaladin.
Priests of Heironeous often travel the world on orders from their superiors to seek out and destroy evil. Older priests often work as strategists, military instructors, or judges. Several of the faith’s most powerful clerics, seeking to gain the benefits of meersalm, have had themselves embalmed alive with the substance, though some have not survived the ritual. Their favored weapons are the longsword and battleaxe.
Novices of Heironeous are known as the Blessed. Full priests are called the Glorious or, collectively, the Valorous Host. Other titles used by Heironian priests are Hero of the Third Rank, Hero of the Second Rank, Hero of the First Rank, Champion of Glory, Knight Gallant, Knight Courageous, Knight Valiant, and Knight Champion. Senior priests are called Paragons, while those who command armies are known as Paragon-Generals. These titles are separate from duty-titles such as postulant, novitiate, professed priest, cloistered cleric, affirmed priest, and templar. They are also separate from ranks within the temple hierarchy such as hierodeacon and abbot. In everyday use, senior priests are called Father or Mother, while lesser priests are known as Brother or Sister. There is also an elite order of priests known as the gloryaxes.
Priestly vestments include chain mail and blue robes with silver trim.
Large numbers of paladins in the Flanaess follow Heironeous, as he himself is one. Because of this, and his utter dedication to Law and Good, paladins of Heironeous can be among the most devout, albeit overbearing, people on the Material Plane. The ancient Oeridian hero Arnd of Tdon is credited with establishing the first order of paladins among the Oeridian tribes before the Great Migrations. The hero-deity Murlynd was also paladin of Heironeous, and his order of White Paladins is actually part of Heironeous’s ecclesiastical hierarchy. Saint Handraleo the Swift, another paladin, is honored by a group of Heironeans called the Order of the True Strike.
Prominent paladins of Heironeous include Artur Jakartai, Belvor IV, and Karistyne.
The church of Heironeous is supported by numerous religious-military orders, some of which can trace their origins back to the church armies of the Great Kingdom (though none swear allegiance to the Malachite Throne or its successors today). Prominent examples include the Order of the Shining Sword, the Brotherhood of the Lance Unbroken, and the Copper Crusaders.
The Holy Order of the Supernal Topaz Defenders, or the Topaz Order for short, is an organization of Heironean clerics, paladins, fighters, fighter/clerics, and monks dedicated to purging the world of evil, aberrant races such illithids, beholders, grell, aboleths, and neogi. Their emblem is a brilliant yellow topaz on a field of cobalt blue.
Although this is uncommon, there are also orders of Heironean fighting-monks. The most famous is the Order of the Glory Everlasting, led by a former nobleman named Luther. The Order of the Glory Everlasting is dedicated to the preservation of Oeridian culture and the destruction of an order of Hextorian monks called the Brotherhood of the Gray Hand.
The most famous group of Heironean knights, however, are the Knights of Holy Shielding.
Temples, chapels, and shrines to Heironeous can be found throughout the Flanaess. His church is the favored state religion of Nyrond and the Shield Lands, and his faith is also strong in Bissel, Furyondy, Gran March, the Free City of Irongate, Keoland, Sterich, and the County of Urnst. Notable houses of worship include the Sanctum of Heironeous in Greyhawk City, as well as a chapel at Diamond Lake. The Kingdom of Thalland was once a major center of Heironeous’ faith.
There are several temples to Heironeous in Chendl, but the most prominent one is called the Spire of Glory, whose high priest is Glorylord Gaeraeth Heldenster.
The Shield Reclaimed is a great cathedral in Critwall. It has only just begun to be rebuilt after being destroyed by the forces of Iuz during the Greyhawk Wars. Its high priest is Abbot Roderick Docamald.
Heironeous’ temples are decorated with blue and silver trappings, and often scenes of Heironeous triumphant in stained glass.
Heironean services and holy texts are all in the Old Oeridian language. Services to Heironeous include triumphant battle hymns, offerings to copper statues of the god, and the sharing of hearty, strengthening foods such as meat, full-bodied red wine (in moderation), and spiced, stewed, kara-fruit.
The Tests of Valor
Before advancing in rank, priests of Heironeous must clearly demonstrate their bravery, honor, and sense of justice. The exact nature of these tests varies, but they are revealed through prayer and divinely-inspired visions. They can range from tests of fortitude that can be completed within the temple to crusades against the forces of evil.
The church of Heironeous celebrates only a few major holy days, which usually mark the anniversaries of great battles, significant triumphs over evil, and visitations by the Archpaladin.
- Communion is observed on the 10th of Sunsebb. It is a day of quiet introspection.
- The Day of Just Rebellion. This holy day, held late in Coldeven, commemorates the battles fought to free Almor from the oppressive rule of the Great Kingdom.
- The Feast of Edoira. An interfaith celebration exclusive to the Domain of Greyhawk, Heironeans occasionally join Pelorians and Raoans in observing this holy day, which occurs on the 4th of Growfest.
- Fortnight’s Feast. This two-week event lasts from late Wealsun to early Reaping, and celebrates the victories of the Heironean armies of the Kingdom of Aerdy over Nyrondal cavalry during the Battle of a Fortnight’s Length.
- Justday, held on the 20th of Coldeven, is a time when each worshipper of Heironeous is expected to right some injustice. This can range from apologizing for minor misdeeds to attempting to liberate the Wild Coast from the Empire of Turrosh Mak.
- Newmass, celebrated on the first day of Fireseek, is when Heironeans celebrate the new year. They spend it reflecting on the past year and giving one another gifts.
- St. Ferrante’s Day is observed on the last day of Patchwall. The likeness of Ferrante is paraded about, candy is thrown at children, and much food is consumed.
- Valormight. Held on one of the last days in Ready’reat, this holy day predates the founding of the Great Kingdom. Valormight commemorates a ten-month war in which Heironean forces are said to have been outnumbered six to one by Hextorians, yet still managed to confine the Hextorians to the lands east of the Flanmi River.
Myths and legends
Heironeous and his half-brother Hextor were both born to Stern Alia, called the Shield Mother, goddess of Oeridian Culture, Motherhood, and Law. Alia had many lovers, and was often out visiting them even after the births of her sons. When Heironeous was born, his skin was anointed with a special salve called meersalm that made him virtually invulnerable. Hextor was not given this salve, and as a result he was always weaker in battle than his brother.
Even so, at first the brothers were not enemies, though their differing temperaments gradually became clear. When Savnok, a servant of the brothers, stole the armor of Stern Alia and used its power to set up a dictatorship in the mortal world, Hextor’s instinct was to hide Savnok’s body (after he had killed him with one of his mother’s arrows), put the weapons and armor back, and pretend nothing had happened. Heironeous’ instincts were to tell the truth to his mother and face the consequences, but his desire to protect his weaker brother caused him to uncomfortably acquiesce to the scheme.
As they grew older, their opposite natures made them rivals. Frustrated at his relative weakness, Hextor made a bargain with the Lords of Evil, gaining two new pairs of arms grafted on to his torso. From then on, he and Heironeous were equals in combat.
Initially, their rivalry was viewed as healthy for the Oeridian culture. The followers of the respective gods would struggle to outdo one another, to prove that their respective philosophies were superior. This would drive the culture as a whole to greater and greater heights. Since the Turmoil Between Crowns (437-446 CY), a civil war in the Great Kingdom of Aerdy, the faith of Heironeous has been marginalized there, powerful champions of Heironeous have defected to Nyrond and other neighboring states, and the two brothers have become patrons of different nations locked in hatred for one another.
The Chalice of Heironeous
What is probably the nadir of their rivalry is told in a secret myth known only to the highest echelons of the Order of the Chalice, a branch of the knights of Heironeous. Most believe the Chalice to be a powerful relic of Heironeous’s faith somehow lost to Dispater. The masters of the order, the Lightning Councilors, know that the Chalice of Heironeous is actually the daughter of Heironeous, a young goddess-angel kidnapped by Hextor and given over to Dispater in order to shirk responsibility for his deed. The Order of the Chalice was founded a thousand years ago in order to find a way to rescue the Chalice and reunite her with her father.