The giant pantheon (or Ordning when used with an initial capital) was the group of deities worshiped by giants and giant-kin. While some referred to these deities as titans, they were not descendants of Lanaxis, progenitor of the titan race, and were primarily the divine children of Annam born by his consort(s), mostly before his marriage to Othea. They primarily dwelt in Jotunheim prior to the Spellplague, with some maintaining realms in the Elemental Chaos afterwards.
All priests, regardless of which god they were dedicated to, were trained together by the stormazîn. Due to the widely varying nature of belief among giants, the training of priests was a general education of the general customs pertaining to all members of the Ordning rather than indoctrination into the specifics of any one deity. Shamans served as lesser clergymen below true priests. Shamans were generally chosen and trained by the priests they served. Every two years, new clergymen are officially anointed by the stormazîn in a ceremony dedicated to Annam.
Giant priests were rarely the head of their tribes, but an ancient custom allowed them to overrule their tribe's leader if they entered into a parley with the priest of another tribe and both agreed that the actions of the leader(s) would run counter to the will of Annam. While this theoretically was based on mystical rites and divine communication, in reality it was often simply a mundane negotiation of power between the priests involved to guarantee an outcome favorable to both. This practice became rarer as giant numbers dwindled due to less contact between tribes. Tribes also could not afford to have such obvious disputes between their religious and temporal leaders, as it generally led to a division within the tribe that could lead to it breaking up.
The stormazîn was the Great Priest of Annam and represented the peak of the religious hierarchy. The stormazîn was always a male priest of great power and held the title for life. They were required to tend Annam's grand temple in the Ice Spires but also regularly traveled to attend various ceremonies and to sort out disputes between clergy members. The position was highly respected in giant society, but they held no official sway over non-religious matters despite their opinion being valued on the rare occasion they gave it.
Giants held no common view of their gods. Religious beliefs differed between giants of different races and tribes, even if they worshiped the same god, to the point that internecine squabbles could be equally as violent as those between worshipers of different gods. Festivals and practices of each tribe were based in general beliefs held by all giants, but the details were unique to the priest presiding over it. It was rare for a tribe to have more than two priests at a time.
While the specifics of worship and religious views vary, all giants recognize Annam All-Father, the father of the giant races, as the supreme deity. Giants acknowledged and revered the entire pantheon, but most tribes restricted their actual worship to one or two patron gods. The worship of any legitimate giant deity was acceptable in the temple of another giant deity.
Another foundational tenet of giant religious creed was that the taller the giant, the closer they were to the throne of Annam, and therefore ranked higher in the ordning. This was in part why Hartkiller's was not widely accepted by the giants as an acceptable giant king, but was by no means a strict factor in ranking, since a cloud giant known as Xephras who was of notably small stature served as stormazîn in 1366 DR. [note 1]
Giants believed that if they died in battle, the servants of Annam known as Muspel and Muznir would carry their spirits to Jotunheim to fight for the Ordning and pursue whatever they considered to be the highest virtue for eternity. Giant priests also believed that shortly before the death of particularly pious clergymen that priest would be invited to dine with the Ordning in Gudheim, the home of Annam All-Father himself.
The primary gods of the Ordning were:
- Annam All-Father, greater god of magic, fertility, learning, and philosophy and the chief deity of the giant pantheon, hailed as the creator of the giant races.
- Othea, a lesser demigoddess who was the wife of Annam All-Father and mother to the races of giants and giant-kin.
- Stronmaus, greater god of sun, sky, weather, seas, and joy. He was the patron of the storm giants and the cloud giants.
- Hiatea, greater goddess of nature, agriculture, hunting, and childbirth. She was primarily worshiped by fire and stone giants, as well as female giants of all races.
- Grolantor, intermediate god of combat and hunting. He was primarily worshiped by hill giants, but he also had a following among frost giants, ettins, and ogres.
- Memnor, intermediate god of pride and control. His followers were exclusively evil cloud giants.
- Skoraeus Stonebones, intermediate god of stone and mountains. He had little interest in any giants but the stone giants.
- Iallanis, lesser goddess of love, mercy, forgiveness, and beauty. She was a well-loved goddess and worshiped by good giants and giant-kin of many races.
- Karontor, the lesser god of deformity, hatred, and beasts. He was the patron of formorians and also had many verbeeg followers.
- Surtr, lesser god of fire. He was the patron of the fire giants.
- Thrym, lesser god of ice and cold. He was the patron of frost giants.
- Diancastra, demigoddess of trickery, thievery, mischief, and to some extent fertility. She had no true priesthood but a substantial following.
A few other powers were known as interloper gods of the giant pantheon:
- Vaprak, lesser god of greed and combat who drew the worship of many ogres.
- Baphomet, a tanar'ri demon lord who some ogres worshiped to gain the power to take revenge on the true giants for their betrayal of Othea. A few giants followed him as well.
- Kostchtchie, a tanar'ri with dominion over strength and violence worshiped by a growing number of frost giants.
- ↑ The year is deduced from the "Presenting . . . Seven Millennia of Realms Fiction" article from Wizards of the Coast and the fact that Giantcraft describes its setting as taking place immediately before the events of the The Twilight Giants trilogy.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 41–42. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 67. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 7. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 44. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 160. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
- ↑ Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 45. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 26. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Carl Sargent (May 1992). Monster Mythology. (TSR, Inc), p. 80. ISBN 1-5607-6362-0.
- ↑ Wizards RPG Team (2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 19. ISBN 978-0786966011.
- ↑ Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 57. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Carl Sargent (May 1992). Monster Mythology. (TSR, Inc), p. 82. ISBN 1-5607-6362-0.
- ↑ Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 56. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ Carl Sargent (May 1992). Monster Mythology. (TSR, Inc), p. 81. ISBN 1-5607-6362-0.
- ↑ Eric L. Boyd (September 1995). “Forgotten Deities: Grond Peaksmasher”. In Duane Maxwell ed. Polyhedron #111 (TSR, Inc.), p. 4.