The dwarves have a proud religious heritage stretching back countless centuries, and of all the races they worship the greatest number of gods. Though the major deities of the pantheon are the only ones widely worshiped, dwarves believe that nearly every dwarfish object has a patron god, and dwarves who deal with those objects offer prayers to the numerous minor gods ruling over them. A few of the more “specific” gods are somewhat widely venerated because they have become the patrons of various guilds or classes.
As a result of the splitting of the dwarvish race into the Gruffin and Selja clans, most gods have slightly different pronunciations of their names; the Gruffin pronunciation will be given first, followed by the Selja pronunciation. For the most part these gods maintain the same dominions. The notable exception to this rule is that of Ankinswaller and Lakskuwaller—the Gruffin venerate Lakskuwaller and revile Ankinswaller, while the Selja do the opposite.
The Greater Gods
Ankinswaller is the chief dwarf god amongst the Selja; likewise, Lakskuwaller is the dwarvish patron-father to the Gruffin. The schism between the two clans occurred over religious debate regarding which was responsible for the creation of the dwarvish race. What the Gruffin and Selja know to be true is that Ankinswaller is Lakskuwaller’s father. The Selja maintain that Ankinswaller forged the dwarves out of the finest tin and pewter and set them upon his Shelf of Majesty, where they would be forever in his presence and battle with one another on a vast battlefields for his enjoyment. However, Lakskuwaller took those figurines and removed them from the Shelf, breathing life into them, giving them free will and allowing them access to his father’s ale stocks. The Selja feel Lakskuwaller is responsible for the dwarves’ fall from grace, while the Gruffin argue Ankinswaller was incredibly greedy for keeping the dwarves on their Shelf and far away from ale.
Lakskuwaller and Ankinswaller are venerated by their respective clans as chief god, alemaster, master of mining and smithing, and overall protector of the dwarvish race. The other is reviled as a mockery of dwarvishness, either through his disrespect of his elder or his unwillingness to share hearty booze. Clerics of the favored god are the ancestral hearth guard of the dwarves and serve as personal bodyguards to dwarf kings, wielding their god-given powers hand-in-hand with martial prowess. Clerics of the other reluctantly give praise for what positive thing the disfavored god did do: either the initial forging of the dwarves or their animation.
Slevlea/Sleflea is the dwarvish goddess of the hearth, marriage, and protector of children. She is the daughter of Ankinswaller and represented as a comely dwarf lass clad in vestments of finest gold given to her as a gift by Gabahut. Clerics of Slevlea are female without exception and dress identically to her during official ceremonies. They are almost never seen outside dwarvish strongholds, for it is their proud duty to maintain these places. Their touch enheartens the weariest of dwarves and it is to Slevlea’s Bosom all dwarves travel after death, where they drink and swap tales of valor with their ancestors at the Ale Fields.
Haslo is the dwarvish god of warfare, and one of the most telling differences between the Gruffin and Selja is revealed through how they prosecute war. Gruffin believe in striking first in any engagement, attacking when the enemy is caught off-guard and usually without preamble; Selja, however, steadfastly weather an initial attack by adversaries before countering when the opponent’s guard is down. Both Gruffin and Selja, however, agree that Haslo’s wrath is unchecked, and that when the dwarves march to war they do so with the intent of total victory. Clerics of Haslo serve as high military advisers to dwarvish kings, for their skill at war will have been made evident over their many decades of service and numerous successes on the battlefield.
Chobbka is the patron of beards, and is always depicted as swathed in a vast beard that puts any mortal dwarf’s to shame, for it covers his entire body and then some. Chobbka is Haslo’s closest companion and his clerics oversee the initiation of young dwarves into adult society, which always occurs when one’s beard reaches a predetermined length. Chobbka also was given the unenviable task of shearing the beards of those dwarves who have brought shame upon themselves and their clans. Clerics of Chobbka never trim or maintain their beards in any way, allowing them to grow rampant and unchecked so they can more closely resemble their god.
The Lesser Gods
Gabahut or Jabahut is the dwarvish god of trade and wealth; among less scrupulous dwarvish merchants, he also reigns over graft and gaining wealth indirectly through the actions of others. Gabahut is portrayed as lounging upon a vast treasure horde not dissimilar to a dragon, to cast him in a slightly negative light. Most clerics of Gabahut emphasize toiling for one’s keep and keeping freeloading to a minimum. Some, however, actively court the notion that a proper dwarf can (and should) become rich by extorting and exploiting others. Gabahut was once the consort to Slevlea but according to a dwarvish parable she rejected him after he grew slothful in his wealth; he toiled thereafter to gain her heart back but never achieved it. The parable nearly always ends with a priest of Gabahut saying, “Hard work should not be done for a reward; hard work is its own reward.”
The god of spies, proper deceit in battle, ambushes, and unofficial patron to dwarvish thieves, Akabar is Haslo’s second-in-command and serves as his strategic advisor. His face is a mystery, for none, not even Haslo or Lakskewaller/Ankinswaller, have seen it. He also serves as an inspiration to the cunning dwarvish trapmakers and mechanics who protect the dwarfhalls with deadly surprises for invaders and create complicated tools to assist the dwarves in all their arts. It is argued among most dwarvish theologians that Akabar is actually a gnomish god (likely The Gearkeeper); as a result, worship of Akabar is done in secret, away from the disapproving stares of other clerics.
Pelptin/Palapin is not worshiped so much as appeased; as dwarvish god of misfortune, sorrow, and death he is given offerings to stave off his malicious touch. Portrayed as a dwarf wearing a voluminous black cloak, it is through Palapin’s will that a dwarf’s axe breaks in the heat of battle. Official clerics of Pelptin are unheard of in proper dwarvish society; however, among bandits and other outcasts, individuals willingly turn to his worship in order to bring the god’s ire down upon those who stand in their way.
Bobafet or Bobavet is the dwarf god of vengeance; any wrongs done to a dwarf are inevitably repaid through his intervention. Bobafet allies with whichever god requires his services at the moment; he is not above working even with Pelptin. Followers of Bobafet are known as Avengers in dwarf society and are easily recognized by the distinctive armor they wear, identical to that in which Bobafet himself is clad. Avengers go to any lengths to mete out punishment and are fearless of death when they finally do encounter their quarry.
Religions of Vanil
Vanilli: | Creator | Preserver | Destroyer | The Three | The Three Sisters | Tumish Pantheon |
Dwarvish | Gnomish | Elvish |