Meriadar

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Meriadar
Game background
Home plane Peaceable Kingdoms of Arcadia
Power level Intermediate
Alignment Lawful Neutral
Portfolio Patience, meditation, tolerance, arts and crafts
Domains Law, Protection, Trickery
Design details

In many campaign settings for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, Meriadar is a deity of patience, tolerance, meditation, and arts and crafts. His symbol is an artistically decorated bowl, which is used for sacramental feasting and sharing food with others.

Publication history[edit]

Meriadar was first detailed in the book Monster Mythology (1992), including details about his priesthood.[1] His role in the cosmology of the Planescape campaign setting was described in On Hallowed Ground (1996).[2]

Description[edit]

Meriadar is a patchwork creature like his chosen race. He is portrayed with an elf's ears, a dwarf's nose, a human chin, an orc's jaw, and a gnome's eyes. Other details of his appearance—height, build, skin tone, and so on—change from moment to moment. He can also appear as a tall figure of any humanoid race. He wears simple brown robes.

Meriadar frequently sends omens in the form of automatic speech and speaking in tongues during philosophical debates, sudden artistic inspiration, automatic drawing and sculpting, strange scents, and smoky, vaporous images emerging from bubbles in bowls of soup.[citation needed]

Relationships[edit]

Meriadar is opposed by many evil humanoid gods, as he seeks to convert their followers to his more gentle philosophy. He is not able to accept help from the good-aligned gods of humans and demihumans, for any sign that he was allied with the gods of the hereditary enemies of his chosen races would hurt his efforts in converting them.

Meriadar, being poorly disposed toward chaos, has a particular antipathy for the gods of the bugbear pantheon.

Meriadar's greatest enemy is Stalker. Stalker, a demigod of death, despises goblin-kin and similar humanoids for driving him from his domain during the time of creation. Meriadar seeks to instill these creatures with a respect for life, and as such has Stalker's eternal enmity.

Realm[edit]

Meriadar lives in Arcadia in his realm, The Hand of Peace, located on the layer of Buxenus. The Hand of Peace is hidden from those who have not learned to look beyond the appearance of things. Meriadar is also the protector of the hidden Arcadian town known as Ghetto, a refuge of sorts from the often intolerant Arcadian militias.

Meriadar formally lived on the layer of Nemausus before it shifted from Arcadia to Mechanus. His old realm is still there, but abandoned by all of its former inhabitants save one: an orcish woman called Feryli Krenurum who still serves Meriadar's interests in the fallen planar layer.

Dogma[edit]

Meriadar teaches patience and respect to all creatures. He expects open-mindedness and compassion, and expects his followers to attempt to meet and befriend other races. He encourages the mongrelfolk to blend in with other races when they can, remembering that they represent the logical conclusion of a mixed society.

Meriadar teaches that arts and crafts are an important avenue for exploring peacefulness. Those who respect one another's creativity and skill are unlikely to act violently toward one another, he reasons.

Meriadar is mostly pacifistic, though he will send avatars to defend mongrelfolk communities that are in danger of being wiped out completely. He will generally not act to prevent more ordinary suffering, as he believes that suffering can be a road that leads to greater spiritual enlightenment.

Another tenet of Meriadar's dogma is the concept of the "eternal now." This is a complex and subtle philosophical idea that parallels the act of drawing sustenance in a spiritual sense. Hunger, the most basic drive, is also the most immediate one, and is therefore akin to the awareness of the present, which is unchanged by past or future.

Worshippers[edit]

Meridar's chief worshippers are mongrelfolk and non-evil humanoids of any type. He seeks to redeem evil humanoids such as orcs and goblinoids, or provide a place of refuge for those of them not drawn toward evil. He particularly prizes bugbear followers, being glad to keep them away from their own chaotic gods. On the plane of Arcadia he is served by a female bugbear who wanders near the realm of Clangeddin, preaching peace to the dwarves there.

Clergy[edit]

Priests of Meriadar teach mongrelfolk the ways of the races they live among, help establish and maintain hidden communities, and see to the welfare of the misshapen ones who cannot pass as other races. Non-mongrelfolk priests of Meriadar are very rare, but they can belong to any humanoid race, including humans and demihumans.

Meriadar's clerics preach peace, though like their god they are not entirely pacifistic. They will defend their communities if they are attacked. They are active in mongrelfolk politics, getting close to chiefs and other community leaders to help determine policy. As the priests of a lawful faith, they support hierarchies, laws, and established leaders who are not grossly unjust. They preach the need for tolerance of goblinoids and other races. They believe all living things have their place. They work to bring about a more ordered society and a more ordered world.

Rituals[edit]

The ritual sharing of food is an important rite in Meriadar's faith. Decorated bowls are passed from person to person, symbolizing the sharing of life itself. The belief is that those who share life are unlikely to share death through violence.

The Hidden God[edit]

"The Ecology of the Mongrelman" in Dragon #242 has a very different take on the god of the mongrelfolk. In that article, the mongrelfolk worship a deity they call the Hidden God, who they believe is testing their patience by granting no spells, sending no omens, and displaying no evidence that he even exists. The mongrelfolk pray that their god will one day return and restore their days of glory. Each community generally has a single priest of the Hidden God (in slave societies, these priests keep themselves nearly as hidden as their deity is said to be). Unfortunately, the tragic truth is that the Hidden God does not exist at all. Rather, he is a distorted memory of the long-dead wizard who originally created the mongrelfolk race.

The worship of the Hidden God is connected to the ritual of "feasting," which is the consumption of the flesh of dead humanoids. As a result of this ritual, future generations of mongrelfolk take on some of the characteristics of all those species their ancestors have consumed. Many mongrelfolk believe that once they have consumed enough different species, the Hidden God will restore their fabled ability to shapechange, while others believe he will restore this ability regardless, but they will only be able to take the forms of those beings their ancestors have consumed.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sargent, Carl. Monster Mythology (TSR, 1992)
  2. ^ McComb, Colin. On Hallowed Ground (TSR, 1996)
  3. ^ Richards, Johnathan M. "The Ecology of the Mongrelman." Dragon #242. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1997

Additional reading[edit]

  • McComb, Colin, and Wolfgang Baur. Planes of Law. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1995.