Scales of War
Deity of Strength and Sports
Kord, deity of strength, appears as a hugely muscular man with long red hair and beard, wearing white dragonhide gauntlets, blue boots, and fighting girdle of red leather. A hedonistic being, he is known for tackling physical challenges of all sorts just for the fun of it. He is also reputed to have dallied with beautiful humans, elves, or even giants, and tales are told of the great heroes that are born of such liaisons. He fights with his intelligent dragon-slaying greatsword Kelmar, and when wounded he often enters an intense blood rage.
Kord’s clerics are expected to be leaders. They value strength but not domination. They train people to become stronger, organize athletic tournaments, and participate in challenging physical activities.
Doubting their fitness is a grave insult, and they go to great lengths to prove their physical abilities (although they realize the difference between difficult and suicidal challenges). They favor attire in red and white.
Kord’s temples tend to be spacious and airy. They always include at least one gymnasium and usually extensive baths. They invariably have adjoining fields for athletic competitions.
Kord’s clergy don vestments of bright red, white, and blue, although they may not duplicate the exact pattern that Kord wears on his girdle, gauntlets, and boots. They may not wear dragon-hide armor unless they are literal descendants of Kord himself.
Kord’s clergy are chaotic neutral about half the time, chaotic good about a third of the time, and chaotic evil one sixth of the time. They are expected to be leaders, and they help train those under their charge to become stronger. They organize athletic competitions and eagerly participate in challenging athletic activities. Doubting the physical fitness of a priest of Kord is considered a grave insult to them, and they will go to great lengths to prove themselves. Their favored weapons are the greatsword and the bastard sword.
Kord’s clerics may be chosen after winning some athletic competition or, conversely, occasionally they are particularly sickly and weak people who a cleric of Kord notices craves strength enough to be worth training. All initiates must undergo extensive strength training, including calisthenics and other hard physical exercise.
Temples to Kord are most common in the barbarian lands, the Endless Plains and the Golden Plains, other temples to the Brawler can be found in most major cities or where sports are popular. One of the most prominent temples, known as the Hall of the Mighty, was founded by a young cleric from the barbarian tribe of Vika named Ghur Strongsoul; the same cleric who eventually became the High Priest of Kord. Incredibly devoted to Kord and his ideals, Ghur spent a majority of his life spreading the oratory which brought many men and women to worship Kord.
Temples to Kord often resemble arenas filled with practice spaces and galleries where combat can be observed. They may also include baths, gymnasiums, trophy halls, and statues of Kord.
Kord’s rites are kept brief, usually lasting no more than a few minutes. They are joyous, dancing ceremonies held at the end of a battle or some lengthy feat of strength. Services often feature members of the church proudly reciting their physical accomplishments and glorious victories. Songs of praise to Kord honor the deity by listing battles fought in his name.
Prayers to Kord generally involve rhythmic clapping and chanting, the louder the better. Many of the syllables in these chants exist solely to maintain rhythm and rhyme, rather than to add meaning. Examples include “Ah re, ah ree, Kord the Mighty…”
Oaths and epithets related to Kord include “May fate see your blade shatter!” “By Kord’s sword!” and “By the blue boots of Kord!”
Myths and Legends
When the world was still young, beings from the Far Realm attempted to assert dominance over all reality. They sent minions to destroy the newly sentient, pre-human life that then lived on the surface of the world. Four gods rose to oppose this: Pelor, Melora, Nerull, and Kord. Pelor and Nerull had yet to form allegiances to Good or Evil in those days; they were most interested in maintaining the balance between Law and Chaos. Kord was just along for the sake of having something to fight. The four gods each sacrificed a part of their power to create an anchor that would sever the ties of the invaders to their unguessable masters, and so were able to defeat them.
- Blood Rages
Kord has a tendency to go into berserk rages in the heat of battle from which he cannot be roused by anyone. In such a fugue, he will attack friend or foe alike.
Many tales are told of Kord’s dalliances with humans, elves, and even giants, and the sons and daughters born from such unions. When his children reach the age of 17, if Kord finds them worthy, he appears before them and gives them some great task involving fighting. Some few, if they pass their father’s tests, may be considered “demigods” in his eyes and gain special powers. If his children do not enter their father’s clergy, do not become fighters, or are otherwise considered to be cowards in their father’s eyes, Kord may show up in person to kill them.
The first layer of Ysgard, also known as Ysgard or Gladsheim, takes the form of rivers of earth (or “earthbergs”) stretching across the sky. On the larger earthbergs are oceans and continents. The underside of the earthbergs burns with fire and molten rock. The layer of Ysgard is the location of a number of godly realms, including the place where Kord’s petitioners dwell: the Hall of the Valiant, a grand hall made of stout wood where there’s always a feast – or a wrestling match.
Kord loves physical challenges and contests, and he promotes non-lethal sports as a method for resolving disputes among his followers. His teachings say that the strong and fit should lead the weaker, and that bravery is the greatest quality anyone can have, ruler and citizen alike. Everyone should scorn cowardice, says Kord.