An Introduction to the Forgotten Realms: Gods of Hillsfar and Elventree

The third season of the D&D Adventurers League is just starting. The D&D Expeditions games this year are set around the city-state of Hillsfar, a port city on the Moonsea. The official DDAL page has a great article about the State of Hillsfar, but I thought I’d go into a little more detail about the gods that are worshipped in the city and the nearby town of Elventree. This is particularly important if you take the Acolyte background, which will allow you access to some free spellcasting at these temples.

Lliira, Our Lady of Joy

If you’re looking for a good time drinking, laughing and relaxing after a hard day’s work, Lliira is the goddess for you. Lliira would like everyone to be happy, and she thinks entertainment, drink and good company are the way to a better world. All of which means that the House of Happiness in Hillsfar tends to be very well attended after a long day, with a lot of song and laughter coming from within. Most temples in Faerûn don’t appear to be the local festhall, but that’s what the House of Happiness is. It helps that Hillsfar has a fantastic (and extensive) brewing industry. Reports that the House of Happiness buys most of it are probably only slighly exaggerated.

As a result, it’s a little unusual for adventurers to worship Lliira. However, every so often people have to fight to keep the dream of joyfulness alive, and there are those amongst her worshippers who take that charge seriously – although they might not seem to be taking it seriously. Wearing a feather hat and being underestimated by the villain? (And bringing a little joy into other people’s lives?) Yeah, that’s a good place for a worshipper of Lliira to be.

You might find worshippers of Lliira in the Order of the Gauntlet or the Harpers, but it’s hard to imagine many of them ending up in the Zhentarim, Emerald Enclave or Lords’ Alliance. Bards are quite likely to follow Lliira, but most characters who enjoy having fun after a long day’s adventure will probably appreciate what the Lliirans have to offer. Her love of the dance means that a few rogues and monks (and those trained in acrobatics) may follow her – although the traditional (lawful) view of monks isn’t a great fit. The drunken master? Much more likely!

Lliira is Chaotic Good. About a hundred years ago, her mortal lover was slain by worshippers of Loviatar, the Lady of Pain, so some of her worshippers still seek to cause trouble for (or kill) any worshipper of that goddess they come across.

“I’m glad you’re happy.” “I’m happy you’re glad.” – two unnamed Lliiran worshippers.

Chauntea, Goddess of Agriculture

Farmers across the world worship Chauntea, whose blessings allow the crops to grow. In Hillsfar, her clerics gain a portion of the crops grown in payment for their blessings. And they brew mead, which is really well appreciated. (For those unfamiliar with the drink, mead is made by fermenting honey with water, so there is apparently also a very large number of beekeepers around Hillsfar. Or possibly a small number of keepers of giant bees… this is Faerûn, after all!)

As Chauntea is the goddess of agriculture – Lawful Good, of course – she’s very important to maintaining civilisation. You can’t maintain civilisation without a stable food source. The clerics of Chauntea generally only concern themselves with the day-to-day matters of caring for farmers and their crops, preferring to nurture rather than engage in open conflict, but they will rise when the people and the land are threatened.

Due to her links to civilisation, you may find worshippers of Chauntea in the Order of the Gauntlet or the Lord’s Alliance. It’s more unusual for them to belong to the Emerald Enclave, although I could see it happening – she’s a bit too civilised for the Emerald Enclave. The Zhentarim are too mercenary to worry about Chauntea. Harpers? Seems unlikely, but possible.

In Hillsfar, the Chaunteans also operate a large orphanage; it is possible that your character might come from that orphanage and be more inclined to worship Chauntea as a result.

Tempus, Lord of Battles

I’ve written about Tempus in my article on Gods of Neutrality. In Hillsfar, the followers of Tempus are numerous throughout the soldiers who protect the city, and amongst those who fight in the arena. It would be much better entertainment if non-humans were enslaved and forced to fight to the death there, and so there is real tension there. The Chaotic Neutral nature of Tempus means he supports individual liberty, something the slavery of the non-humans directly contradicts.

However, it’s unlikely that his followers would ever be organised enough to properly do something. I might be surprised, however.

Disparage No Foe and Respect All” is carved above the doors to his temple. His followers may be found amongst the Zhentarim and the Lords’ Alliance, for the most part.

Mielikki, the Forest Queen

Mielikki does not have a great presence within Hillsfar, but the nearby town of Elventree is a different matter, as it contains a temple to the nature goddess. Mielikki and Chauntea tend not to have too much to do with each other, though as they’re both Good goddesses, they are kindly towards people. I’ve written more on Mielikki in my Gods of Good article.

In Elventree, her servants are very concerned with the discrimination against non-humans found in Hillsfar. Many of her followers in this region are aligned with the Harpers, and are likely covertly working in and around Hillsfar to better the plight of non-humans trapped within the city, whilst also dealing with threats found in the nearby wilderness – her followers who are members of the Emerald Enclave would be tending towards those activities.

Her temple in Elventree is known as the Hall of the Unicorn.

Mystra, Goddess of Magic

Another of the extremely important goddesses of Faerûn, with more written about her here, Mystra seeks to promote magic. The hatred of non-humans – especially elves – is troubling, but different followers of Mystra would approach it in different ways. At least, Hillsfar isn’t Mulmaster with its actual persecution and execution of magic-users!

The Cairn of Mysteries, its high priest known as the Sentinel, is the place to worship Mystra in Elventree; it’s a shrine rather than a temple, but although the description of the Acolyte feature in the Harried in Hillsfar adventure doesn’t indicate devotees of Mystra can get free spell-casting, it seems likely from the State of Hillsfar description.

Selûne, Our Lady of Silver

In Faerûn, worshipping the moon takes on special significance in a world where lycanthropes and other creatures that are affected by the moon’s phases exist. Selûne is also worshipped by female spell-casters, navigators, sailors and an order of monks. The legends of the goddess say that she and the dark goddess Shar created the world, and have ceaselessly struggled over it since then. More women than men worship Selûne, and she is beloved by female magic-users; it’s said that she was once the goddess of light and magic, and her fight with Shar gave rise to Mystryl, the first goddess of Magic (who bequeathed her power to her successor, Mystra).

Selûne is Chaotic Good.

Elventree has a small shrine to Selûne, the Silver Shadow Cave, and spell-casting services can be acquired there.

Selûne’s worshippers oppose evil forces, especially evil lycanthropes and worshippers of Malar. Worshippers of Selûne are most likely to be members of the Harpers, although the Order of the Gauntlet or Emerald Enclave are also possible. A few might be members of the Lord’s Alliance.

Eilistraee, the Dark Maiden

In ages past, the elves were wracked with conflict. In the end, those that followed evil were banished to the dark places beneath the world, where they were claimed by the demoness Lolth, and forever lost to darkness. Thus were the drow born. However, there are those amongst the elven gods that believe the drow can be redeemed. Eilistraee is chief amongst those. She loves beauty and peace, but is angered that so many drow remain lost to evil.

(That account of the beginning of the drow isn’t strictly accurate in terms of Realms lore, it’s just shorter than the true story. Lolth isn’t “just” a demoness in the Realms…)

Eilistraee is the patron of those drow who have broken free and now attempt to live on the surface or otherwise try to redeem their brethren. She’s not particularly well known to surface-dwellers (and most elves would rubbish the idea of the drow ever being redeemed), but the Harpers are aware of her and her followers, and try to aid them where they can. A shrine to Eilistraee lies near Elventree, the Dancing Stone, and it is normally attended by a priestess of Eilistraee.

Eilistraee is Chaotic Good.

Other Shrines in Hillsfar and Elventree

Unstaffed shrines to Umberlee (the Bitch Queen, goddess of oceans), Malar (the Beast Lord, god of bloodlust) and Torm (the True, god of duty) can be found in Hillsfar.

Small (likely unstaffed) shrines to Chauntea, Silvanus (neutral god of the Forests), Eldath (guardian of groves), Corellon Larethian (chief god of the elves) and Rillifane Rallthal (elven god of the woodlands) can be found in Elventree.

Members of other religions will pass through the area, possibly even including your characters! However, those are the chief deities worshipped in Hillsfar and Elventree.

5 comments

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