Exploring Pelor

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One thing that's irked me considerably about the deities of 4e is that the information about them in the Player's Handbook and the Dungeon Master's Guide seems to have been intentionally left vague. For someone playing a paladin or a cleric, this can be frustrating, as your religion is the most important part of your roleplaying.

The deity that I find the most confusing is the one I'm playing a paladin of at the moment, Pelor. While I'm relieved that there don't seem to be any more "OMG PELOR'Z REELY EVUL!" jokes floating around, the new Pelor seems to be made up of several disparate elements.

He's the Good god of:

  • the sun
  • summer
  • time
  • agriculture
  • the harvest


He also supports those in need and fights against any and all evil. He's worshiped by humans more than any other deity and his tenets are as following:

  • Alleviate suffering wherever you find it.
  • Bring Pelor's light into places of darkness, showing kindness, mercy, and compassion.
  • Be watchful against evil.


To be honest, I find it difficult to reconcile all these different aspects in roleplaying a single character.

What do you think? Is there a way to reconcile all these elements? What the hell was up with people claiming that Pelor was actually evil anyway? How would one roleplay a Pelorian character in a place where Pelor wasn't the dominant human religion (I'm playing a Pelorian paladin in a place where The Raven Queen is dominant)?

Thank you for your kind attention.
Well for being a Paladin of Pelor in a Raven Queen heavy areas, some ideas:

-Winter is much long lasting as such the Raven Queen dominates the majority of the year.
-During the harvest time the few worshippers of Pelor rise to dominance and lead the villages in harvesting that years crop.
-During the winter months they manage the crops and look after the distant villages that are cut off during the winter months. They become points of light/sun themselves.
-While the worshippers of the Raven Queen perform the many funerals that happen in this harsh and desolate area of the word, the worshippers of Pelor welcome in the new births.
Perhaps a better understanding of the setting will help:

In the current online campaign I'm playing in, most of the players are residents of a place called "The Vale of Thorns", a twisted landscape where aspects of both the Feywild and the Shadowfell bled into the world. The result is that the place is literally carpeted with a hedge of thorns. Because of the bizzare interminglings of Feywild and Shadowfell, fey that inhabit the area are twisted, insane, and sometimes even murderous, and the thorns themselves have an odd power that lures the unwary into their embrace to become trapped and die, and they react violently when attacked (one of our party found this out the hard way). Despite this, people have managed to eke out a civilization within clearings in the thorns called "glens". In a glen, the power of the thorns is dampened, so you don't feel the urge to walk right into them, and most glens are connected by paths called "rose-ways", where the ground is covered with blood-red petals, where the power of the thorns is also dampened. There are some trails that have been blazed by hapless travellers, but these are considered dangerous, as there's nothing to check the power of the thorns there. Even worse is to try and "travel blind" as its been called, to try and make a path through the thorns yourself. Then the thorns mess with your sense of direction, getting you hopelessly lost and then growing over the trail behind you, trapping you and driving you mad before they kill you. Even worse, smaller glens and the occasional roseway have been known to dissapear and become swallowed up by the thorns, while others are formed, seemingly at random. What worst is that the thorns literally do not allow anyone to leave the Vale. Some people from outside the Vale may find a roseway leading in, but once they're in, the roseway dissapears, trapping them in the Vale.

In addition, the Vale rests on top of a massive buried city, called "The Labyrinth" by locals. The Labyrinth has many surface access points, most of them within glens in the Vale, and through the sewers of major cities. Whereas the surface is infested with thorns, the Labyrinth is infested with undead. No attempt has been made to completely clear it out, but it's guessed that any attempt would be a fool's errand. Below the Labyrinth lie entrances to our world's equivalent of the Underdark. No one really knows what's down there, save for the fact that warforged that lived at the time the Labyrinth became infested with undead moved down there when the city was overrun. Now they live there and some have even tried to get to the surface, but every time they try they're overwhelmed by the undead.

The general atmosphere of the Vale is one of oppression and hopelessness. Out in the wild, you live or die on the cruel whims of the thorns, and in the cities that have sprung up, it's no better. Most civilization in the Vale is formed from eladrin and shadar-kai, along with stranded members of other races. The eladrin and shadar-kai have been at war since the Vale was formed, with the most recent events being the destruction of a shadar-kai city and the founding of the trade-city Firepoint on its ruins. At the beginning of the campaign, the shadar-kai have retailiated by attacking and razing the eladrin city of Lunaer. Most of the PC's are refugees from Lunaer.

Firepoint is going to serve as the hub for our campaign. There aren't any shops in Firepoint. Everything is procured by "bagmen" who act as salesman, stockman, thief and even murderer as the case may be. People pay a bagman to acquire a particular item for them, and the bagman goes to any length to personally get it. More successful bagmen may take a more traditional role as a seller, having other bagmen work beneath him while he negotiates with the customers. There isn't a single leader or any real law enforcement in Firepoint. The various guilds and churches of the city hold power within their sphere of influence. The closest thing it has to police are the members of the assassin's guild. Their leader, Lady Razor, has made deals with the other guilds to enforce order within the city.

In other words, the whole place is kinda like this.

My character's a foreigner to this place, now trapped in it.
You should check out a thread called Pelor - The Burning Hate.

I'll see if I can find that link...

EDIT :

http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=846926
Pelor is basically a traditional sun god.


Sunlight is necessary for agriculture, and the flow of time and the seasons dictates when plants are sown and harvested. Measuring time is very important in agricultural society, and the pursuit of astronomical knowledge will probably be a major focus of Pelor's priests. None of these elements seem disparate, methinks.

Pelor as a light-bringer is also the traditional approach of light and darkness. Light reveals, and the use of light as a sentinel against the encroaching darkness is a classic trope, especially with the PoL setting.



(As for the evil thing, Pelor the Burning Hate is a wonderful reflavoring of the sun god image as an unforgiving, merciless antagonist, the harsh desert sun as opposed to the bright, cheery sun of the pasture.)
Well if he is a foreigner and not simply following the established Pelor-practise in the area, how he acts/what he does will depend on his personality.

Is he aggressive in trying to spread his faith?
Does he consider other faiths as wrong, blasphemous, etc.?
Does he wish to place his god's will into this place?

As such he could do things such as; trying to find ways to destroy the thorns to create not only safe environments for the people he protects, but to allow space for agriculture, to try and find ways to bring the light of the sun into the Labyrinth, perhaps he may feel that he must bring the light deep into the Labyrinth to "rescue" the Warforged.
The DM's made it quite clear that the Thorns can never be completely destroyed, and if cleared they'll grow back, unless they decide not to (like to leave a path for gullible travellers so they can ensnare and kill them).

My Peloradin is, at heart, a naive good-hearted country boy suddenly trapped in a world where if he shows any sign of weakness or gullibility, someone'll cut his throat and steal his purse.

He's very tolerant of other people and he basically wants to be a "Good Samaritan" to everyone he meets. One of the other party members (a priestess of the Raven Queen, though not a cleric), is worried about him for this exact reason. She doesn't want him to be another corpse on her conscience.
The DM's made it quite clear that the Thorns can never be completely destroyed, and if cleared they'll grow back, unless they decide not to (like to leave a path for gullible travellers so they can ensnare and kill them).

you know this, your character doesn't.

My Peloradin is, at heart, a naive good-hearted country boy suddenly trapped in a world where if he shows any sign of weakness or gullibility, someone'll cut his throat and steal his purse.

Good =/= dumb. He may be trusting, but if someone comes at him with a knife he should know what's up. And just because he's willing to trust someone doesn't mean he can't take percautions before hand in case they turn out not to be trustworthy.

He's very tolerant of other people and he basically wants to be a "Good Samaritan" to everyone he meets. One of the other party members (a priestess of the Raven Queen, though not a cleric), is worried about him for this exact reason. She doesn't want him to be another corpse on her conscience.

sounds like interesting role-play opportunity.
I know good =/= dumb. But the idea is that he's never known betrayal or even dishonesty for that matter. He grew up in a tiny community where everybody knew each other and nothing bad ever really happened.
I know good =/= dumb. But the idea is that he's never known betrayal or even dishonesty for that matter. He grew up in a tiny community where everybody knew each other and nothing bad ever really happened.

there was no bully, no tough-guy?

no town-drunk?

no would be gang?


yeah, sorry, I'm calling "********" on that.
It was a tiny, isolated farming village in the middle of a giant forest where the closest thing they had to a meeting hall was the local church, where my character grew up. Everyone had their part to ensure the planting and harvesting went smoothly, and since everyone knew everyone, if someone was causing trouble, everyone'd know and they'd give the troublemaker a piece of their mind. There were probably like four or five actual houses tops.
It was a tiny, isolated farming village in the middle of a giant forest where the closest thing they had to a meeting hall was the local church, where my character grew up. Everyone had their part to ensure the planting and harvesting went smoothly, and since everyone knew everyone, if someone was causing trouble, everyone'd know and they'd give the troublemaker a piece of their mind. There were probably like four or five actual houses tops.

and again, at the very least you'd have someone be bad. idyllic little nowheresville just isn't particularly believable, especially in a world where Evil is always afoot and is well and truly incarnate.
I'm just not sure how to do that! The main selling point of this guy is his naivety!
I'm just not sure how to do that! The main selling point of this guy is his naivety!

so have him trust people. just don't have him expose his back to someone who has a knife and looks like they plan on using it!

he doesn't have to be willfully stupid.
But we haven't met anyone like that. The only person we've met who somewhat fits that description is a member of the party who happens to be his half-sister that he never knew about!
I'm just not sure how to do that! The main selling point of this guy is his naivety!

Easy to do. Play it like Adam from Blast from the Past.


As for Pelor Himself, he usually comes off (IMO) as the DnD-version of the Christian view of the Almighty. His follower's are fairly common, some absolutely love Him, some just pay Him lip-service in hopes that He'll bless their crops. He is the Lord of Beginnings, of Rebirths, of treating Life as a valuable Gift. He is a bit aloof most of the time, but that is because He is also the Father of Eternity. He sees all things as they may happen, though He does His best to let people choose out of those possibilities for themselves. Unfortunately, this means many can feel betrayed or angry when either their own decisions backfire upon them and He has done nothing to prevent it, or when He must make a few suffer in the short term to save the many in the end.

As for His Tenets, those are very much the basics of Christian Values: a mixture of the Golden Rule (which, judging by the name, sounds like it would actually be one of Pelor's main teachings :D) and the Ten Commandments.

Anyway, those are just my opinions and views on the Lord of Horizons, but I definitely enjoy playing characters that worship Him.
Resident Logic Cannon
Who's Adam and what's Blast from the Past?
Who's Adam and what's Blast from the Past?

SIGH. I should've known better. :P

Lemme look something up on Youtube real quick...

EDIT: Here's just a quick look at the general idea. You can probably actually watch it on Youtube if you have the time. It IS a great movie.
Resident Logic Cannon
I see. Perhaps not that naive. Someone just told him, point blank:

"People get killed here. All the time. If you're weak or gullible, someone will cut your throat and take your purse."

So he knows what's out there now. But I'm not quite sure how to have him deal with that.
I see. Perhaps not that naive. Someone just told him, point blank:

"People get killed here. All the time. If you're weak or gullible, someone will cut your throat and take your purse."

So he knows what's out there now. But I'm not quite sure how to have him deal with that.

I'd go with overly cautious about the obvious stuff, like maybe clutch his important items (or his money pouch) close to his chest, but be unaware of the more likely avenues (like a child being a cutpurse)
But what if he just does the prudent thing and wears his purse under his shirt? He's got a WIS of 13. He'd probably know a money belt is a good investment.
I would say have him be initially skittish and worried about other people and new locations, etc. So when he first meets someone he mumbles, eyes cast down, etc.

But if that person tries to befriend him the character very quickly opens up and becomes trusting, etc. This way you can have a sense of being naive, ie; don't trust those even close to you while still showing he understands his throat could be slit, just he can't fathom it coming from someone near to him.
I think that's a good idea. In addition, he doesn't really feel any rapport with anyone else in the group, except maybe the group's leader (the rogue/warlock priestess). The party's rogue is openly hostile to him (which is gonna be awkward later because I've met with her player and we've agreed that they're half-siblings!). The wizard went ballistic on him once when he confessed he hadn't packed any spare rations and tried to beat him over the head with her flail (yes, she uses a flail). The warforged fighter doesn't really have much in the way of emotions at all, so its hard to form a connection with him.
Pelor has Christian Aspects certainly, but usually, towards the modern, pentecostal sects. Mormonism might be a good example too, based on the traditionally strong community involvement.

If you want to go way back though, the best comparison is towards the Egyptian sun god Ra. Pelor gives life, to serf and lord alike, and the best way to honor him is be satisfied with yours, and live it. I think it's reasonable to assume that he isn't calvinist, and your life is your own chance to prove your devotion to good and your fellow man.

I think Pelor has been dominant among humanity for a long time, so one way to get into that is to act like even the humans who worship the raven queen are souls in his service, and their 'new' religion is something that can be 'cured' by properly instilling hope. While most paladins do this a little, you could be utterly convinced that any sizeable group of humans that doesn't worship Pelor is wrong- not Evil, certainly, but in need of your help.
That makes sense, but our DM has stated that the religions that are present have all been around for pretty much the same length of time.
Which might be true- In Greyhawk, The druidic deities have been around longer than anyone else, but Pelor still declares his legitimacy.

It may be that Pelor enjoyed a meteoric rise to popularity in his home region- so he was among the first to have thousands honoring him. Humans also breed faster than most other races, compounding the effect.

And it might be that many of those cultures worshipped the sun, before it had a proper divine sponsor. Pelor's faithful might trace their stewardship of humanity to before their god existed!
Part of the problem is our DM really hasn't given much consideration to religion in her game. She's spent so much time creating the Vale, and the adventure that we're in right now, that she hasn't had time to develop what the religious situation is like in the place beyond what gods are popular in one particular city, which we aren't even in. Heck, we're on our way to a chapel and she hasn't said which god it is.

This is part of why this is as much a question of how to play my character as it is about Pelor in general. Because of the vague status of the gods in the PHB I have no idea how the church might be structured or behave. We don't have "Core Beliefs" articles like in the Dragon Magazine of old.
My solution would be to help fill the religion out, during gameplay.
Talk about your experiences in the seminary, or what happened when you were living among Avandrian Halflings. Tell the party what your missionaries have learned about a region (doesn't have to be true, but you think it is).

If you use your religion to benefit, by suggesting that you ought to have free stuff or bonuses,
she's going to come down on this hard.

On the other hand, if you portray yourself as a legitimate member of a dynamic organization, most DMs will give you some leeway, and may even become inspired to include some of those elements. By giving her something to expand on, you're encouraging small scale worldbuilding.

Just don't overdo it; Pelor's place in the world is (probably) not the central theme in the campaign.
Keep your expansion efforts limited, and relevant.
Been speaking with my DM again. She said the general status of Pelorians in the Vale is as follows:

A constant struggle in the face of indifference. Think aid workers in Africa.

Which, I admit, isn't hugely imformative...
Hi Alyss!

Everyone, this is my DM!
Hey. Just thought I'd drop in to help Zousha work.
Hmmm, that's definitely workable. Of course, it sucks to be them, as Africa's a dangerous place, especially for "exotic" Christian Relief Volunteers, but that just means that it's challenging, and that your Paladin must be made of very stern stuff, Zousha.

Good Luck, by the way. ;)
Resident Logic Cannon
That's just it. He's not made of stern stuff yet. He's still very green.
That's just it. He's not made of stern stuff yet. He's still very green.

Then emphasize this, perhaps in the beginning before he understood what people were like in this area he was very outgoing, would quite readily talk about his faith, showcase whatever holy books or holy symbols he has, etc.

When he begins to feel ostracized, disliked, or whatever. He begins to hide his holy symbol underneath his jacket, where he once openly spoke he now only mumbles about his faith, etc. He still follows his faith but he knows it isn't a good idea to be too open, forthcoming about it.

Over time he can evolve to be more open more made of sterner stuff, etc.
My DM's assured me that that attitude is only truly prevalent in Firepoint itself. Apparently the village we're currently saving from a goblin invasion is much nicer. We're on our way to rescue the townsfolk in the chapel.
My DM's assured me that that attitude is only truly prevalent in Firepoint itself. Apparently the village we're currently saving from a goblin invasion is much nicer. We're on our way to rescue the townsfolk in the chapel.

Ask the DM if you can have the church as a reward if its actual blessings have waned.

Now, as to the OP dont spread yourself too thin, be knowledged in many, wise in few. Many priests, while all preists, each often have a focus in their beleifs, and in turn their sermons. One preist might only follow the story of jesus, birth to death, and only compare peoples lives to jeasus's life. Another preist right down the block might focus only on the ten commandments. AND another preist across town will speak of all the smaller peope in the bible, the cripled man who could not walk, the inkeeper, the roman solider. At the core they are all preists of the same faith.

Chose a few aspects of the faith and focus on those, as youy said earlier

""He's the Good god of:

the sun
summer
time
agriculture
the harvest

He also supports those in need and fights against any and all evil. His tenets are as following:

Alleviate suffering wherever you find it.
Bring Pelor's light into places of darkness, showing kindness, mercy, and compassion.
Be watchful against evil. ""

even look at the paragon paths you plan to go into for guidance. An astral weapon is unlikely to be part of "agriculture" and "alleviating suffering" mentality unless its killing the source of the suffering by planting a holy dagger in its skull.

Foy you, I suggest you take up the sun and bringing pelors light into darkness, taking Hospitaliter when you get there to reflect his optimistic attitude.

Think about it this way: "Everyone is born with a seed of good in their heart, its my job to provide the sun for the seed to grow."

side note to Alyss, can I get this setting from you? It sounds awesome for a game!
Sure, here's a link. It's still a work in progress (one I will probably never get round to finishing, but hey), but I'm sure you can work with it.
Foy you, I suggest you take up the sun and bringing pelors light into darkness, taking Hospitaliter when you get there to reflect his optimistic attitude.

I'm multiclassing into Warlord and taking Knight Commander. Part of what I originally had in mind when I created him was the ultimate intent of creating his very own holy order of knights.
I'm multiclassing into Warlord and taking Knight Commander. Part of what I originally had in mind when I created him was the ultimate intent of creating his very own holy order of knights.

sounds cool.


but try to keep the shiny on him. neverdull frequently. don't lose the paladin feel just because he becomes less gullible.
So I suppose the question is, "How do I apply a coat of jade to him without him becoming a pessimist?"
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