Gorm Gulthyn (pronounced: /ˈgɔːrm gʊllθɪnGORM gull-thin[2]) was a lesser dwarven deity of vigilance and defense, patron of those dwarves that protected their home and kin from external attack. Guardian of all dwarvenkind throughout Faerun, Gorm watched over battlefields, established traps in tunnels, and tirelessly teleported across the Realms to protect the Stout Folk from their foes, prepared to fight until the fire in his eyes was fully extinguished.[2][3]

Paying Gorm's greatest price.
— The Gormite term for sacrificing one's life to protect their charge.[2]

Description[edit | edit source]

Gorm appeared as a 6 ft (1.8 m) or 11 ft (3.4 m) tall dwarf clad in golden-brown, full plate armor decorated with red runes that constantly changed and crawled across the suit. The Sentinel spoke with a stern, booming voice,[3] and divine flames constantly licked the eyeholes of his mask.[2]

Personality[edit | edit source]

By those of a chaotic bent, Gorm was often written off as the classic dour dwarf, with even most dwarves themselves perceiving the Sentinel as surly and humorless.[8] He had little patience for those he distrusted, little interest or tolerance for distracting foolishness, little use for sentimentality that could disrupt the dispassionate performance of his duty, and generally little to say. Ever-consumed by his demanding role as the dwarves' defender, he was on constant alert for threats to the Stout folk to thwart, even coming to the defense of the duergar if their own evil was dwarfed by that of the enemy force.[3]

Powers[edit | edit source]

Gorm could fire thin, twin beams of intense heat from his eyes, each searingly hot enough to burn holes through steel in a minute and even in most stone after about two minutes. He required two minutes to recharge after firing his ruby-red lasers and the blast shots themselves lasted only briefly, but could hit two targets at once from up to 90 ft (27 m) away. A second beam striking the same object or area would cause a metal object to melt, and if the target was clad in armor, not only would they be scorched by the rays themselves, but by the heated metal they were wearing, Gorm himself was immune to all heat and fire, magical or otherwise, and his touch by itself could also heat metal.[3][8][9]

Gorm's touch could also dissipate the effects of fatigue caused by exertion or lack of sleep to restore someone to full alertness. Gorm could never be surprised, could detect the presence of creatures, living or undead, within 300 ft (91 m) of himself with pinpoint accuracy, and couldn't have his mind mentally tampered with, whether by spells, psionics, or illusions. Only significantly enchanted weapons could strike Gorm, and he was constantly under the effects of protection from normal missiles, a ward that couldn't be dispelled, temporarily negated, or interfered with by his own magical powers.[3][8][9]

Like some of the other dwarven gods, the death of Gorm's avatar would create a ghost-like anima able to use magic, become invisible at will, and which couldn't be turned, though was far less sturdy than its previous incarnation.[3]

Manifestation[edit | edit source]

Gorm couldn't manifest an avatar in the same area twice in a 24 hour period, but battles lasting more than one day could see him manifest multiple times. He could manifest himself by granting a dwarf a protection from good and evil aura, as well as immunity to a certain kind of spell or attack (such as fire). He could also enchant a weapon, making it more powerful until the end of the current battle or the end of the next.[3][8]

Other manifestations of Gorm included a glowing hand with two burning eyes in the palm that possessed Gorm's full strength. He was also known to manifest as a disembodied metal gauntlet that would strike any metal shield or breastplate nearby to warn of intruders or impending attack, causing a terrific, rolling, gong-like noise to ring throughout the air and the object to sport two burning eyes for the next ten minutes, leaving two eyeholes burnt into the metal when it finally faded.[8]

Gorm demonstrated his favor through the discovery of alestones, amaratha, azurites, fire agates, fire opals, flamedance, jacinths, rubies, and scapras. He conveyed displeasure through the appearance of shattered shields, upside-down helms, and fleeting footprints that quickly faded if followed.[8]

Possessions[edit | edit source]

Gorm's personal weapon was Axegard, his heavily enchanted, two-handed battleaxe that gave its wielder the power of a robe of eyes.[3]

The runes inscribed on Gorm's armor acted as a ring of spell turning, allowing him to, by silent act of will, reflect the effects of any spells, spell-like abilities, and magic items back at whoever sent them. He could only activate this effect once every ten minutes, but the power worked instantaneously, regardless of any physical restraints or strikes used against him, and could reflect any number of effects used simultaneously.[3][8][9]

Realm[edit | edit source]

Gorm's nominal home was Watchkeep, a tower he and his avatars only returned to when they needed access to his amassed armory or his magical Seat of Healing, which could restore all injury done to him or anyone else he allowed to sit on it and could regenerate extensive physical damage in somewhere under an hour.[9]

Watchkeep was said to be in Bytopia, in the blizzard-whipped mountains of Shurrock,[9] and at others times to be built on a distant foothill in Dwarfhome. In Dwarfhome, Gorm was said to keep constant watch over all the rest of the plane from the top of the tower, immediately knowing if a portal opened. Many dwarven defenders hoped for the privileges to stand guard there after death, believing that those who died fighting superior forces in the line of duty would be granted the right.[4]

Activities[edit | edit source]

Gorm had a preference for direct action, and so conserved his power for personal combat, seldom manifesting in other ways except to bestow individual dwarfs with temporary fighting powers.[8] However, even though Gorm could have two avatars acting simultaneously, there were always so many battles required his attention that he could rarely send them to a single location for more than around ten minutes.[3] As such, Gorm manifested on the Prime Material Plane far more often than his companions in the Morndinsamman, always shifting from place to place to help protect dwarven realms from armed invasion or dangerous monsters.[3][2]

Only when dwarves were already in an engagement and in need of his aid did Gorm appear, holding nothing back in a frenzied attempt to do as much harm to the enemy as possible before vanishing to deal with some other conflict.[3] Those who saw him fight to defend dwarven communities relayed his stunning battle prowess and evident millennia of diligent training, but also commented that his combat maneuvers showed an increasing desperation, as if he believed each battle might be his last.[2]

When forced to leave a battle while the dwarves still faced grace danger, Gorm would later manifest as a glowing hand and proceed to assist the dwarves in battle, the hand doing things such as breaking ropes, pushing away siege ladders and punching opponents.[8] He also took preemptive measures like keeping vigils on battlefronts and creating deadfalls in passages neighboring enclaves.[2] On occasion, he roused dwarves from sleep or alerted them of issues in disembodied gauntlet form.[8]

Relationships[edit | edit source]

Gorm (far left), Clangeddin, Marthammor, and Haela after besting their foes.

Gorm was often considered one of the younger members of the Morndinsamman, though older than those such as Haela Brightaxe. He had always been a member in good standing[11] and had excellent relations with the nonchaotic and nonevil dwarven deities,[3] considering his superior Moradin, as well as Clangeddin Silverbeard and Marthammor Duin, his closest friends.[3][2] When a spellcaster duplicated the symbol Marthammor used to warn dwarves of imminent, unstoppable disaster, and had a trap planned for the Wanderer, Gorm was one of the friends he brought with him to confront the individual.[12] Berronar Truesilver worked closely with Gorm, Clangeddin, and Moradin to ensure the safety of dwarven settlements.[13]

Gorm had established positive relations with gods of other pantheons that held similar worldviews, including Helm of the Faerunian pantheon, Arvoreen of the halflings, and Gaerdal Ironhand of the gnomes. Also among his allies were Cyrrollalee, also of the halfling pantheon, and Garl Glittergold, leader of the gnome pantheon.[3]

Conversely, Gorm was suspicious of entities like Mask, Brandobaris, and Baervan Wildwanderer. He remained eternally vigilant of Abbathor, though for all the Trove Lord's suspected treachery, Gorm was never able to prove it. He also counted among his foes the duergar gods Laduguer and Deep Duerra, the hateful gnome god Urdlen, and the various deities of traditionally dwarvish foes, including orcs, goblins, kobolds, and evil giants. Despite his regular contests with such beings, the Sentinel's greatest hatred was reserved for the orcish deity Shargaas, for the Night Lord was the only being to have ever successfully stolen something Gorm was actively guarding.[3]

Worshipers[edit | edit source]

Barrowin Undurr, gold dwarf cleric of Gorm

Gorm was well regarded by the dwarves for his unwavering commitment to their defense; though most saw him as stern, they could not ignore his role in the survival of their remaining strongholds.[8] All dwarves who served as guardians in some way worshiped him, and those that required protection or armed assistance paid tribute to him as appeasement. Lawful good and lawful neutral dwarves in particularly turned to his faith, though Gorm accepted worshipers of all alignments except chaotic or evil ones, with chaotic good being an exception.[3][9][14]

Gorm's clerics, especially his specialty priests, were known as barakor, a dwarvish word loosely translated to mean "those who shield".[2][8] The vast majority of his clergy (95%) was male, and before the Time of Troubles they were entirely so. Novice members were known as the Watchful Guards, while full members were known as the Vigilant Host. In ascending order of rank, priests were known by the titles of Lookout of the First Rank, Scout of the Second Rank, Sentry of the Third Rank, Sentinel of the Fourth Rank, Defender of the Fifth Rank, and Guardian of the Sixth Rank, with high old ones of the church having individual titles and being collectively known as Lord and Lady Protectors.[8]

Most members of the clergy were either mountain dwarves (48%) or hill dwarves (52%).[8] Though nearly every subrace was called to be a barakor, and while there were no formal barriers to entry for jungle dwarves and gray dwarves, none had joined his ranks in more recent history.[8][15] The clergy of Fire Eyes was dominated by specialty priests, though crusaders and clerics made up a larger percentage collectively and clerics frequently trained as fighters or dwarven defenders, the latter of which in the clergy of Gorm offered the highest possible honor.[8][2]

Becoming a formal member of Gorm's clergy required a stricter code of honor than simply being a worshiper (true or chaotic neutrality not being allowed) and becoming a barakor required physical prowess and vitality, wisdom, and a lawful disposition. Barakors had the benefit of being immune to magic meant to put them to sleep, and often needed less sleep than normal. They got access to spells that let them better protect, or keep a closer eye out, notably the ability to case a know alignment spell that overrode all magical misdirection and concealment. Even regular priests however were especially wary, able to interpret noises, half-seen movements and other symptoms of movement with startling accuracy. Provided they had time to study their surroundings, they could recognize the exact distance and direction of features around them.[3][8][15]

Many knightly orders of multiple sizes had been founded in Gorm's name and been affiliated with his clergy over the centuries. Among the more legendary orders were the Twin-Blade Axes of Fire, the Silent Sentinels, the Guardian-Knights of Gorm, the Vigilant Halberdiers, the Company of the Scarlet Moon, the Fellowship of the Stern Gauntlet, and the Order of the Smoking Shield. One of the oldest and most revered were the Sacred Shields of Berronar's Blessed, which could be found in nearly any clanhold or kingdom guardian nurseries of dwarven children and parents. The Knights of the Sacred Shield were also charged with recovering kidnapped youths, with at least two dwarven clans owing their continued existence to the rescue of an entire generation from the clutches of Lolth's priests.[15]

Dogma[edit | edit source]

Gorm's devoted were sworn to protect the Stout Folk from the hostile forces beyond their holds, and were never to waver in their duty to these sacred charges.[8][2] Upon entering the church, each member was assigned a charge to protect and act as the bodyguard for; higher ranked and more powerful veteran priests could choose their charges, often picking important clan members, but novice initiates were often given assignments at random. Such charges might be children, a childrearing parent of either sex, the elderly, or the otherwise infirm, and the foremost aim of any lesser priest was protecting their assigned charge. As every priest knew, they had to be willing to pay "Gorm's greatest price" to ensure the lives of their charge, clan, and community, taking solace in the knowledge their name would be remembered for generations.[8][2][16]

Guardian-priests had to be ever-alert and unceasingly vigilant so as to never be surprised. They also had to inform other dwarven warriors about the value of these traits, organizing the community's defense in the steady, reliable way Gorm had taught.[8][2] Guardian-priests tutored warriors in how to use certain weapons, or how to fight while blind.[8]

Rituals[edit | edit source]

Gorm's symbol

Barakor prayed for spells in the morning, usually followed by a tour of their community to ensure that no incidents happened at night.[2]

Gorm's priests celebrated each festival in the Calendar of Harptos as a sacred event, and on such holy days they gathered to perform (as outsiders saw them) tedious procedures, containing formal salutes, didactic, chanted prayers, and a ritual involving the rhythmic grounding of weapons.[2][8] Other rituals involved silent vigils, muttered prayers and answering Gorm's visions. Offering were made to Gorm in the form of used weapons to guard, even if broken, anointed with tears, sweat, and drops of blood form the worshiper.[8]

At the height of the salute, if performed at the chancel of one of his temples, Gorm's power might open the door kept behind the altar and through it bestow scrolls, potions, weapons, armor, maps, or instructive phantom images to help his followers fulfill their duties. A worshiper wearing, carrying or using a gift of the god typically had a great boost in morale.[8]

Clothing[edit | edit source]

Gorm's clergy typically wore red and black cloaks and helms, often marking their status with red and black armbands on their left and right arms respectively. Regardless of whether they were expecting to do some strenuous activity or simple ceremonies, they always wore the finest armor (in both metal and type) they could find under their clothes. Just as they never left all their weapons aside, they never removed all their armor unless in need of care of some kind. Their holy symbol was a miniature bronze shield attached to a burnished steel chain, typically worn around the neck as a medallion.[16][15]

Temples[edit | edit source]

Temples dedicated to Gorm were typically constructions of plain stone, always undecorated caverns or rooms quarried from solid rock. The altar was a stone bench in front of a massive door, closed and locked, that represented a location a dwarf might have to protect, though instead the central altar might be an old tomb casket that if occupied, contained the remains of a dead (not undead) priest of the Golden Guardian.[8][2] These chambers were often adorned with visored helms, though shields or armor that Gorm had burned eyeholes into were considered treasures to be displayed as trophies and temples were considered especially blessed to have one for display.[8]

Gorm's houses of worship were protected, predictably, by his Guardian-priests,[16] and most of his temples contained a small armory and were well-fortified against attack.[2] Regardless, chapels were typically adjacent to an armory, training hall, and barracks, and most were located among fortifications guarding against entry into dwarven halls.[8]

History[edit | edit source]

By the late 14th century DR, Gorm Gulthyn was dying. Over the centuries, as he kept using his essence to create avatars to defend dwarven kingdoms, his very existence had somehow become tied to their fates. Something inside him died with each clanhold to fall, the fire in his mask's eyeholes fading out by nearly imperceptible increments with each loss. With each new manifestation, the Golden Guardian became ironically more reckless in his defense, perhaps planning to end his degenerative condition at the hands of a foe. He had confided his condition only with his closest friends, and all hoped for the Thunder Blessing and the resurgence of ancient dwarven bloodlines to restore his strength.[2]

Gorm, along with Haela Brightaxe, died in the Morndinsamman's battle with the duergar deities Laduguer and Deep Duerra in 1383 DR, his divinity finally spent.[5] However, it was possible that he still had influence outside of Realmspace.[7] After the Second Sundering, he was once again present and revered by the dwarves, but the exact circumstances of his return were unknown.[1]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The word "gorm" in dialectal English means "attentive" or "alert".

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Video Games
Referenced only
Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 22, 104. ISBN 978-0786965809.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 118–119. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 3.24 3.25 Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 64. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 151. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 159. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  6. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 63. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Rob Heinsoo, Richard Baker, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (July 2009). Divine Power. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 138. ISBN 978-0-7869-4982-3.
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 8.14 8.15 8.16 8.17 8.18 8.19 8.20 8.21 8.22 8.23 8.24 8.25 8.26 8.27 8.28 Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 65. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 Ed Greenwood (October 1990). Dwarves Deep. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 23–24. ISBN 0-88038-880-3.
  10. Sean K. Reynolds (2002-05-04). Deity Do's and Don'ts (Zipped PDF). Wizards of the Coast. p. 12. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2018-09-08.
  11. Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 41. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  12. Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 75. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  13. Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 46. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  14. Ed Greenwood (October 1990). Dwarves Deep. (TSR, Inc.), p. 27. ISBN 0-88038-880-3.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 66. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Ed Greenwood (October 1990). Dwarves Deep. (TSR, Inc.), p. 33. ISBN 0-88038-880-3.

Connections[edit | edit source]


Deities of the Post–Second Sundering Era
Ao the Overgod
Faerûnian Pantheon
Akadi | Amaunator | Asmodeus | Auril | Azuth | Bane | Beshaba | Bhaal | Chauntea | Cyric | Deneir | Eldath | Gond | Grumbar | Gwaeron | Helm | Hoar | Ilmater | Istishia | Jergal | Kelemvor | Kossuth | Lathander | Leira | Lliira | Loviatar | Malar | Mask | Mielikki | Milil | Myrkul | Mystra | Oghma | Red Knight | Savras | Selûne | Shar | Silvanus | Sune | Talona | Talos | Tempus | Torm | Tymora | Tyr | Umberlee | Valkur | Waukeen
The Morndinsamman
Abbathor | Berronar Truesilver | Clangeddin Silverbeard | Deep Duerra | Dugmaren Brightmantle | Dumathoin | Gorm Gulthyn | Haela Brightaxe | Laduguer | Marthammor Duin | Moradin | Sharindlar | Vergadain
The Seldarine
Aerdrie Faenya | Angharradh | Corellon | Deep Sashelas | Erevan | Fenmarel Mestarine | Hanali Celanil | Labelas Enoreth | Rillifane Rallathil | Sehanine Moonbow | Shevarash | Solonor Thelandira
The Dark Seldarine
Eilistraee | Kiaransalee | Lolth | Selvetarm | Vhaeraun
Yondalla's Children
Arvoreen | Brandobaris | Cyrrollalee | Sheela Peryroyl | Urogalan | Yondalla
Lords of the Golden Hills
Baervan Wildwanderer | Baravar Cloakshadow | Callarduran Smoothhands | Flandal Steelskin | Gaerdal Ironhand | Garl Glittergold | Nebelun | Segojan Earthcaller | Urdlen
Orc Pantheon
Bahgtru | Gruumsh | Ilneval | Luthic | Shargaas | Yurtrus
Mulhorandi pantheon
Anhur | Bast | Geb | Hathor | Horus | Isis | Nephthys | Osiris | Re | Sebek | Set | Thoth
Other gods of Faerûn
Bahamut | Enlil | Finder Wyvernspur | Ghaunadaur | Gilgeam | Lurue | Moander | Nobanion | Raven Queen | Tiamat



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