Yondalla

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Yondalla
Game background
Title(s) The Protector and Provider, the Nurturing Matriarch, the Blessed One
Home plane Seven Mounting Heavens of Celestia
Power level Greater
Alignment Lawful Good
Portfolio Protection, fertility
Domains Family, Good, Halfling, Law, Protection
Design details

In the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game, Yondalla is the chief halfling goddess and a member of the game's 3rd edition "core pantheon". Her symbol is a shield with a cornucopia motif.

Yondalla is the goddess of Protection, Fertility, the Halfling Race, Children, Security, Leadership, Diplomacy, Wisdom, the Cycle of Life, Creation, Family and Familial Love, Tradition, Community, Harmony, and Prosperity. Yondalla is also known as the Protector and the Provider, the Nurturing Matriarch, and the Blessed One.

In many campaign settings, the halfling pantheon of gods consists of the leader Yondalla, as well as Arvoreen, Brandobaris, Cyrrollalee, Sheela Peryroyl, and Urogalan.

Publication history[edit]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977-1988)[edit]

Yondalla was created by James M. Ward for the Deities and Demigods Cyclopedia (1980).[1]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)[edit]

Yondalla was detailed in the book Monster Mythology (1992), including details about her priesthood.[2]

Her role in the cosmology of the Planescape campaign setting was described in On Hallowed Ground (1996).[3]

Yondalla's role among her followers was expanded in The Complete Book of Gnomes & Halflings (1993).[4]

Yondalla received a very detailed description for her role in the Forgotten Realms in Demihuman Deities (1998).[5]

Yondalla is described as one of the good deities that celestials can serve in the supplement Warriors of Heaven (1999).[6]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000-2002)[edit]

Yondalla appears as one of the deities described in the Players Handbook for this edition (2000).[7]

Yondalla is detailed in Deities and Demigods (2002),[8] and her role in the Forgotten Realms is revisited in Faiths and Pantheons (2002).[9]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003-2007)[edit]

Yondalla appears in the revised Players Handbook for this edition (2003).[10] Her priesthood is detailed for this edition in Complete Divine (2004).[11] She again appears in Races of the Wild (2005).[12]

Description[edit]

Yondalla is represented as a strong female halfling with red-golden hair, looking determined and proud. She dresses in green, yellow, and brown, and carries a shield. Yondalla has two aspects that the halflings speak of in front of others: the Provider and the Protector. As the Provider, she is a goddess of fertility and growing things, of birth and youth. She can make barren things fertile and increase the growing rate of plants and animals to any speed she chooses. She can equally easily make fertile things barren, if she chooses. She can age, wither, and slay as easily as she can create, though it takes much to drive her to do this.

As Protector, Yondalla wards off evil influences and intrusions and gives halflings the strength and determination to defend themselves. In this aspect, Yondalla most often uses her illusionist abilities to protect her worshippers.

Dallah Thaun[edit]

Dallah Thaun, the Lady of Mysteries, is Yondalla's dark, hidden aspect.[citation needed] She is the great secret of the halfling race, who do not share knowledge of Dallah Thaun with outsiders. She was physically split from Yondalla when she created (or discovered) the halfling race, but she and Yondalla are still one being. What one knows, the other knows, and those that worship Dallah Thaun are also worshipping Yondalla (and vice versa).

Dallah Thaun is Chaotic Neutral, and considered an intermediate goddess. She is represented with dark hair and eyes, and dresses all in black. Where Yondalla nurtures the survivors of a tragedy, Dallah Thaun seeks vengeance. Where Yondalla the Provider creates fertility and plenty, Dallah Thaun urges the halflings to seek wealth. Dallah Thaun, in short, does the dirty work, while Yondalla keeps her hands clean. Dallah Thaun is the goddess of secrets, lies, half-truths, flattery, manipulation, and stealth. The two halves of the goddess do not, and cannot quarrel over their respective methods, different as they may be. They are the same person, with each fulfilling her respective role.

Relationships[edit]

Yondalla's allies include Bahamut, Berronar Truesilver, Corellon Larethian, Garl Glittergold, Pelor, and Moradin. Yondalla is the leader of the halfling pantheon of gods, often collectively known as Yondalla's Children. They include Arvoreen, Brandobaris, Cyrrollalee, Sheela Peryroyl, and Urogalan.

Her foes include the goblin pantheons and Urdlen.

In the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, Yondalla is also allied with Chauntea, Helm, Torm, and Tyr. Her foes are Cyric, Talos and Malar.

Realm[edit]

Yondalla lives in the halfling realm of the Green Fields on the plane of Mount Celestia.

Worshippers[edit]

Yondalla smiles upon her followers when they aid and help others and respect the dead. She frowns upon sacrifices and killing fellow halfings. Her sacred animal is the dove.

Clergy[edit]

Yondalla's clerics wear yellow-green saffron cloaks.

Wayward Wardens[edit]

Yondalla has a special order of priests called "The Wayward Wardens".[citation needed] It is made of priests stricken with wanderlust who wish to see the world. They never settle long in one place for long periods of time. They come to the aid of halfling communities needing protection.

The Wayward Wardens are a loosely organized fellowship of Yondallan priests. Wayward Wardens serve the Provider and Protector by coming to the defense of besieged or threatened halfling communities in need of additional protectors.

Temples and rituals[edit]

Yondalla is worshipped in the homes of halflings. Weekly food offerings are sacrificed to her.

Holidays[edit]

Halflings set aside one day a week for worship of Yondalla (this day is called "Safeday"), a day which is mostly spent in rest, playing, and eating.

Myths and legends[edit]

Creation[edit]

Stories of the origin of the halfling race vary greatly. In some myths, she gives birth to the halflings directly. Other myths have her assembling the halflings from disparate natural elements or from features she admired in other races. In one version, she took elements from the fey (who were too frivolous on their own), the dwarves (who were too serious), the elves (who were too patient for her tastes), the humans (who were too tall), and even the orcs (who were too brutal). She started with a pixie or a brownie, some say, and gave him elven agility, dwarven devotion to family and clan, orcish boldness, and human adaptability.[13]

More rarely, she discovers the first halfling, who is called Littleman.

The Story of Littleman[edit]

In the beginning of time, Yondalla was given little respect among the gods of creation, for she had no race to call her own. She was banished from the divine councils for a time after she made the mistake of asking the assembled deities, probably sarcastically, which of them was the greatest. This question provoked such strife that they cast her out. Yondalla left the Seven Heavens and wandered the worlds of the Material Plane. After "a day and a year and a year and a day," she came across Littleman fishing at a riverbank. Littleman was clever, brave, kind-hearted, mischievous, and not too big. He was perfect for Yondalla's needs. Some say he was a lonely, saddened sylvan creature (a brownie, according to some versions) who Yondalla transformed into the first halfling. Other versions of the myth have it that Littleman was a halfling already, and Yondalla merely adopted the race. Yondalla offered to give him and his people protection from their enemies and bring them fertility and plenty. Littleman agreed, and so the covenant between Yondalla and her people was sealed. Littleman became a cultural hero who taught the other halflings (either preexistent or created by Yondalla) useful skills and all the benefits of what is now halfling culture.

The Green Fields[edit]

Yondalla used a combination of flattery, guile, and diplomacy to gain for the halflings the fertile fields and meadows where they prefer to settle. She complimented Moradin on how well he worked metals and stones, distracting him with tales of precious metal. She haggled with Corellon Larethian over the lush, green spaces, finally agreeing that Corellon's kind would take the forests and she would take the grasslands. By praising the diversity and flexibility of the human gods, she convinced them to claim no particular terrain type for their own. She also defends halflingkind against Gruumsh.

In another version of the story (in Races of the Wild), the other gods discover that Yondalla has stolen elements from their races to create the halflings, and demand that she be punished. She uses her flattery and guile to mollify them, and in the end they agree to allow Yondalla and her halflings to live. However, the halflings will have no nations of their own, and Yondalla must expunge her larcenous streak from her being. She does so, creating Dallah Thaun and hiding her away, leaving only unblemished, faultless, Lawful Good Yondalla for her prosecutors to see.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ward, James and Robert Kuntz. Deities and Demigods (TSR, 1980)
  2. ^ Sargent, Carl. Monster Mythology (TSR, 1992)
  3. ^ McComb, Colin. On Hallowed Ground (TSR, 1996)
  4. ^ Niles, Douglas. The Complete Book of Gnomes and Halflings. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1993
  5. ^ Boyd, Eric L. Demihuman Deities (TSR, 1998)
  6. ^ Perkins, Christopher. Warriors of Heaven (TSR, 1999)
  7. ^ Tweet, Jonathan, Cook, Monte, Williams, Skip. Player's Handbook (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  8. ^ Redman, Rich, Skip Williams, and James Wyatt. Deities and Demigods (Wizards of the Coast, 2002)
  9. ^ Boyd, Eric L, and Erik Mona. Faiths and Pantheons (Wizards of the Coast, 2002).
  10. ^ Tweet, Jonathan, Cook, Monte, Williams, Skip. Player's Handbook (Wizards of the Coast, 2003)
  11. ^ Noonan, David. Complete Divine (Wizards of the Coast, 2004)
  12. ^ Williams, Skip. Races of the Wild (Wizards of the Coast, 2005)
  13. ^ design Skip Williams ; additional design Richard Baker... [et al.] ; development team Andy Collins ... [et al.] (2005). Races of the Wild (1. printing. ed.). Renton, Wash.: Wizards of the Coast. pp. 54–55. ISBN 0-7869-3438-7. 

Additional reading[edit]

  • Williams, Skip. Races of the Wild. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2005.
  • Dragon magazine #283 - "Do-It-Yourself Deities"
  • Living Greyhawk Journal no. 3 - "Gods of Oerth"
  • Dragon magazine #171 - "Defenders of the Hearth"