(Written by S.A.Brooks; Completed by S.J.Wells, Sept 2006; Updated 25 Sept 2006)
Sif is a Lesser Goddess and a loyal member of the Cantabrian pantheon, acknowledging the lordship of Ukko. She is sister to Ukko, Hephaestus, Ilmatar, Hel, Hiisi, Loviatar and Bragi. Bragi, God of Poetry and Song, is her husband and together they are parents of Freya, Goddess of Love and Fertility. Sif was the widow of a now unknown god, killed in battle when another world ended, but the songs and verses of Bragi brought her comfort and peace. Her beautiful golden hair was a gift from the Dwarves in similarly ancient times.
Sif has maintained her position as the most skilled warrior in the pantheon. She is the goddess of Heroes, mercenaries and soldiers and can be found on all sides in any inter-human conflict. She embodies honour and courage and disdains pointless slaughter. Yet the road to Hel's domain is well populated by her honourable warriors.
The worshippers of this religion can look forward to a special area of the gods plane reserved for them to practice and prepare for the Final Days, or at least the next full-scale War of the Gods. By doing this they also defend the realm of the gods from intruders. Sif worshippers are never Resurrected but they may be Raised.
The religion cares little what happens to the corpses of their dead, save that they are treated with local respect and not turned into undead. Members usually sing a song of victory over any grave, commemorate the dead with a feast, then move on. It is not uncommon that the broken sword of the member is left stuck into the grave or funeral area.
Sif is one of the most single-minded of deities. Her worship is most commonly associated with Death and Mastery. In recognition of this her symbol, the Upraised Sword, has become a universal symbol for Death (or mastery over death) and is usually represented by a runic cross. The animal associated with Sif is the Blue Jay, though the reason why this humble creature should be so honoured is lost in antiquity.
As the goddess of Heroes, warriors and soldiers Sif has a permanent place in the godly ranks of the pantheon. Priests act as trainers and chaplains for many mercenary and national military units, and their Paladins are the first asked to lead perilous quests, unless subtlety is called for. Temples are also used as hiring halls and training areas for the locality.
The social position of Sif worshippers varies. It is normally well respected though often tends towards neutrality in any conflict between human forces. The more violent the region the more respected the officers of Sif.
Sif favours honourable combat between skilled warriors. The creation of skeletons, zombies and vampires is anathema to Sif. Her philosophy does not believe in maintaining a body which has been separated from it's spirit and because of this undead are greatly despised and are dispatched quickly. Poison is frowned upon and assassination is deemed a cowardly act.
The various temples of Sif are roughly autonomous, with the membership going from one to another as the ways of war take them. Each controls the Chapel itself and a district around it. If more than one temple has to decide a matter, a council is formed with the senior high priest presiding and each Cleric and Paladin getting one vote.
There is no rigid internal temple organization other than the rank of authority.
Ideally, the highest-ranking (most senior) Priest or Paladin at each temple, called
the Captain, commands about ten lesser Priests or Paladins, called Centurions. Each of these has in turn about ten Initiates, called Sergeants, or Lay Members to command. In practice, this structure is rarely as clean as it should be and vacancies frequently arise.
Strict discipline is taught within the ranks of Initiates, Clerics and Paladins.
If any would-be hero wishes to undertake a quest he may ask for volunteers, who would then be expected to obey their leader as if they were soldiers under his command.
Initiates are known as Sword Brothers (or Sisters), Priests as Sword Priests and Paladins as Sword Lords (or simply as Swords).
There is no particular place of holy worship/power. Certain holy magical swords are known to exist and function as mobile altars.
The days of the full moon each month are Holy to Sif, with the annual High Holy Day being at the first Full Moon of the year (January). Then her followers gather in the temple halls, and her silver-and-white-clad Priests make sacrifice of captured enemy weapons to bring blessings upon the faithful.
Sif welcomes all races as long as they are warriors and will swear to keep discipline and uphold the Sif code of fair play and honour. Few creatures aligned with chaos can uphold and maintain the discipline so few of that ilk (i.e. elves) will join. Fewer still of evil nature have sufficient respect for fair play or can resist striking a fallen foe.
Lay members are expected to tithe one-tenth of their current wealth every
High Holy Day (many use this as an excuse to go on a spree just before the holy day) and give up a point of power when they worship. Every Lay Member must meet certain minimal requirements. they must uphold the code of Sif. This includes the following:
1. Always fight other Sif worshippers fairly.
2. Honour the fallen.
3. Maintain strict truth and confidence with one another.
Combat between members may continue only to the first fallen and not to the death, and the loser must surrender a prize to the victor. This prize absolves each of any further obligations to one another save in the course of normal temple activities. The definition of the prize should be defined for both sides at the beginning of the combat. It should be noted that the more generous the prize given the more prestige is offered.
Lay members of the cult can occasionally call on the temple for room and board but this is not always the case. Sif temples may also act as hiring halls for mercenaries and adventuring bands. Lay members can obtain first aid skills training from Ilmatar and weaponsmithing and armouring from Hephaestus. Cult members can obtain training in First Aid, Weaponsmithing and Armouring skills, either from other members of the temple or from Priests of Ilmatar and Hephaestus respectively.
All lay members receive a base 1% D.I. call, non-increasable except through questing for their religion.
Lay members who have shown true dedication to the ideals and religion of Sif may be invited to become initiates of the religion. A candidate for initiation must take the step with the full realization that a later refutation of his pledge will involve reprisals from the cult spirits. A prospective initiate must have a sponsor who is already an initiate and a battle comrade of the candidate. He must also pass a test devised by the examining Priests [abstracted for game purposes to a roll of ((CHA + Sword proficiencies)/2) % on D100].
Once accepted into the inner circle of Sif, the initiate must take up a Gift and accept a Geas. Up to 3 Gifts may be taken at this time, but the concommitant number of Geases must also be taken. A priest will explain that both Gifts and Geases will help the recipient become a better follower of Sif. The Sif initiate (often called Sword Brother/Sister) must also sacrifice 2 points of power every holy day and he/she must enforce the religious likes and dislikes more stringently than a lay member. They are often in demand as protection and bodyguards. An initiate must donate two-tenths of his/her wealth every High Holy Day. They must also forswear any training with blunt weapons.
SIF'S GIFTS & GEASES
Initiates, Priests and Paladins of Sif may choose from the following Gifts:
+3 extra proficiencies with Sword
+3 extra proficiencies with Shield
+3 extra proficiencies with First aid/Weaponsmithing/Armouring
+1 on any characteristic
+1 magic bonus to a specific cult weapon
+1 magic bonus to a specific suit of armour
+10% Magic Resistance
+25% Sense Assassin skill
Ability to Turn Undead as a Cleric
For each Gift chosen, one random* Geas is also given:
|01||Favoured - no geas|
|02-04||Mistrust all dwarves|
|05-07||Mistrust all elves|
|08-10||Mistrust all orcs and goblins|
|11-13||Mistrust all except friendly cultists (Sif, Bragi, Ukko, Ilmatar, Hephaestus, Dwarven)|
|14-16||Mistrust ALL except Sif-cultists|
|17-18||Never eat from a dish|
|19-21||Remain silent in New Moon weeks (inc. spell-casting)|
|22-23||Do not speak one day per week|
|24-26||Eat no meat on Full Moon days|
|27-29||Eat no meat in Full Moon week|
|30-32||Eat no cooked vegetables|
|33-36||Eat no vegetables|
|37-40||Ride no animals on Full Moon days|
|41-43||Ride no animals in Full Moon weeks|
|44-46||Ride no animals|
|47-50||Drink no alcohol|
|51-57||Never participate in an ambush|
|58-60||Never lie to friendly cultists (Sif, Bragi, Ukko, Ilmatar, Hephaestus, Dwarven)|
|62-65||Double Power sacrifice on Holy Days|
|66-67||Triple Power sacrifice on Holy Days|
|68-71||Use no non-cult weapon (i.e. Sword/Dagger/Shield only)|
|72-75||Cannot use Large Shield|
|76-79||Cannot use Large or Medium Shield|
|80-81||Cannot use any Shield|
|82-85||Never wear any helm|
|86-89||Never wear any armour on one random location|
|90-93||Never wear better than Chainmail armour|
|94-95||Never wear better than Ringmail armour|
(* First two Geases gained by clerics of Sif are: "Use no non-cult weapon" and "Never wear better than Chainmail armour").
Initiates get first call on Sergeant positions within the temple and lead other members in devotions to the goddess. A Sif temple will always arrange for the healing for initiates and will offer room and board if possible. They will usually ransom an initiate or attempt to rescue him as determined by the local priest. A cult member can never be brought back to life with Resurrection. When such time has passed, they are considered to have been called by the goddess and will be residing in the hall of warriors. It would be sacreligious to reverse the situation. If they are Resurrected in any way beyond this time limit they will single-mindedly try to kill their summoner, and after slaying the wrong-doer the spirit will again depart. Finally Sif initiates may never be animated or turned into undead. Initiates of Sif can receive training in any sword skill for free - provided they spend equal time in service to the temple (the usual deal involves guarding the temple/chapel for half of each day spent in training, so free training simply takes twice as long).
Initiate D.I. is like Lay Member D.I. except that the base is 1% per level.
The Sif Paladin (commonly known as a Sword of Sif) is the culmination of this fighter-oriented religion. A Sword may be a Cleric-Fighter or a promoted Initiate. Sif Paladins are sought out as leaders of doomed ventures and defenders of indefensible positions (they tend to win). To have a Sword of Sif as one's teacher guarantees excellent weapons use, for such skills are the teacher's life. Such Paladins are rarely known for subtlety, for their way is that of straightforward confrontation and war. Their style is not that of a general but of a hero.
A prospective Paladin must have been an initiate in the cult for at least 2 years. An initiate must have a sword at 8 proficiencies or more and any other weapon (excluding shield) to at least the same level, and persuade the examining council of the cult and the Goddess of their worthiness [abstracted for game purposes to a roll of (WIS+CHA)x5]/2 on D100].
There are very few restrictions on a Sif Sword not already detailed. He must personify honour and fair combat in his every deed, upholding the meek and protecting the oppressed. He must never turn his back on a fair fight in a good cause and never break a sworn vow. Any Sword betraying these restrictions will never be able to pick up a sword again without it shattering in their hand.
As the personification of Sif in the world, the Sword gains many benefits. Subject to availability the new Paladin may also receive a magic sword and chainmail. A Sword of Sif must also take unto himself at least one more Gift and its attending Geas(es) (up to three more Gifts may be taken).
The standard D.I. benefits (1% chance per level, Cleric + other).
Within the religion of Sif the Priest is subservient to the Sword of Sif. Yet Priests play an important part in the religion and are indispensible for bringing the power of their Lady onto the battlefield. If the Sword of Sif is the blade, the Priest of Sif is it's hilt. In this religion more than most others, there is a melding of the two categories. This is reflected in the combat-oriented quality of the clerical spells available.
In order to be a cleric of the Sif religion a character must have the minimum requirements of STR & WIS 9+, CON & CHA 6+. The weapons taught are swords and daggers. The major alignment is Lawful Good but all will be considered.
Sif priests are limited in weapons to swords and daggers (and shield) and can only wear chainmail. They must serve time as chaplains to regiments and at the temple. However, they can continue to train in skills hallowed to their Goddess as a form of worship.
A new priest must take one Gift of his choice and its attendant Geases. Note that a priest will have previously been an Initiate, and therefore will already have chosen at least one (and up to three) other Gifts and received appropriate Geases (the above weapons and armour restrictions are two of the Geases). Sif Priests can be trained in the skill of Treat Poison (similar to Treat Disease, but effective against poisoning instead). A Sif Sword Priest always has a place in any council of war and has a claim second only to a Sword in taking the tactical command. Sif worshippers will always see that a Priest is fed on the march. Sif may gift her priests with the following:
|1st||(Gifts/Geases as already detailed)|
|5th||Priest gains a Blue Jay Companion with an empathic bond.|
|7th||Bless ability to all 1st level fighters as spell|
|9th||Immune to magical control|
This is as per the standard DI calculation for priests (2% per level)
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4||Level 5||Level 6||Level 7|
|Bless||Augury||Continual Light||Detect Lie||Commune||Blade Barrier|
|Command||Detect Charm||Create Food||Divination||Dispel Evil||Find the Path|
|Cure Light Ws||Find Traps||Cure Blindness||Exorcise||Flame Strike||Heal|
|Detect Evil||Know Alignment||Cure Disease||Neutralize Poison||Plane Shift||Word of Recall|
|Detect Magic||Silence 15ft.r.||Dispel Magic||Prot.f.Evil 10ft.r||Quest||Heroes Feast|
|Light||Slow Poison||Glyph of Warding||Tongues||True Seeing||Sword Tell|
|Prot.f.Evil||Bladesong||Prayer||Cure Critical Ws||Easy March|
|Remove Fear||Fireblade||Remove Curse||Leadership||Sever Spirit|
|Bladeskill||Spirit. Longsword||Cure Serious Ws|
Bladeskill (Level 1, Sif Special)
Components: VSM; Casting: 3 segments; Range: Touch; Area: 1 person; Duration: 1 turn + 1 turn/level; Save: None.
Under the Cantabrian combat system this adds one proficiency per level of the Priest to the targets Sword skill level. For those using straight AD&D a rough equivalent would be to make it a specialization or an extra +1 to hit for every two levels of the Priest.
Morale (Priest Level 1, Tome of Magic)
Components: VSM; Casting: Special; Range: Special; Area: Unit of up to 200 individuals; Duration: Special; Save: None.
This spell can be used in two distinct ways. The first is appropriate for battlefield use. The Priest can cast this spell on any unit within 240 yards in an uninterrupted line of sight. The casting time for this use is one turn and the material component is a gem of at least 20gp (Cantabrian) [AD&D: 100gp] value which is consumed during the casting. At the conclusion of this use of the spell, the target unit's morale is modified by +/-1, as the caster desires. This modifications remains in effect for d4+2 turns.
The second and more powerful use of the spell requires lengthy preparations. casting must take place inside or within 100 yards of a place of worship dedicated to the casting priest's deity. Both the priest and the unit to be affected must be present. The casting time for this use is 5 turns. The material component is the priest's holy symbol. At the conclusion of this use of the spell, the unit's morale is raised by 3 (maximum of 19). This morale increase lasts until the next sunset. Only priests of 10th level or higher can cast this version of the spell.
Bladesong (Level 2, Sif Special)
Components: VS; Casting: 1 Turn; Range: 0; Area: 3" radius; Duration: Time of chanting; Save: None.
This spell is the equivalent of the standard spell CHANT, found in the Players Handbook. The Sif priest must, however continue to fight while the spell is in effect. As soon as the priest ceases combat the spell duration finishes.
Fireblade (Level 2, RQ/Sif Special)
Components: VSM; Casting: 8 Segments; Range: 80 yards; Area: One edged weapon; Duration: Special; Save: None.
Cast on the metal part of an edged weapon, this spell causes the weapon to flame, doing 3d6 damage when it hits an opponent. This damage is not over and above the normal weapon damage, it is the only damage that is done with such a weapon. Armour will protect against damage from a Fireblade. The caster must concentrate to maintain the spell but can fight while doing so: if they take damage or attempt to cast another spell the Fireblade ceases. The weapon is not destroyed. Magic Resistance does not apply to this damage. This spell is incompatible with other weapon affecting spells but compatible with the effects of ability-enhancing spells such as Bladeskill or Bladesong. The material component is a rune, usually carved upon a holy symbol or weapon, upon which the caster must focus while invoking the spell.
Spiritual Longword (Cleric Level 2, Sif Special)
Components: VSM; Casting: 5 Segments + Special; Range: 3"; Area: One Longsword; Duration: 1 Minute/level; Save: None.
This is basically the same spell as Spiritual Hammer except the weapon is a Longsword. Within my campaign this spell has been modified with the following changes. Casting Time: 5 segments + spend the rest of round giving orders. The weapon will carry out its orders until re-ordered which takes a round to do. No concentration is required upon the part of the caster who is free to continue with other things. If the spiritual weapon rolls a "1" on it's to hit roll it disappears prematurely.
Truesword (Level 2, RQ/Sif Special)
Components: V; Casting: 1 Segment; Range: Handheld; Area: One Sword; Duration: 15 minutes; Save: None.
Doubles the damage done by any sword in the hand of the wielder, up to the maximum damage the sword can do. A normal longsword (d8) will do no more than 8 points of damage, a greatsword (3d6) will do up to 18 points, etc. This also does not increase damage due to damage bonuses or spells, although such bonuses still apply. It has no effect on a Fireblade.
Shatter Sword (Level 3, Sif Special)
Components: VSM; Casting: 2 segments; Range: 6"; Area: One Sword; Duration: Permanent; Save: Neg.
This spell is the same as the standard 2nd level Wizard spell, Shatter, except that only a sword (or similar item such as a dagger or knife) is affected. However, there is no weight limit and even magical swords can be targeted (although their bonus applies to the saving throw versus Crushing Blow). Note that their code of honour prevents followers of Sif from using this spell to give unfair advantage in combat, except against enemies undeserving of such consideration such as assassins or undead.
Leadership (Priest Level 4, Tome of Magic)
Components: VSM; Casting: Special; Range: Special; Area: One creature; Duration: Special; Save: None.
This spell can be cast in one of two variations. The first, appropriate for battlefield use, has a range of 240 yards, duration of d4+6 turns, and a casting time of 1 turn. The priest can cast the spell on any single individual (a commander or hero) within his line of sight. While under the influence of this spell, the subject's command radius is increased by 50% (round fractions up). The reverse of this variation, Doubt, requires the target to make a saving throw versus spell. If failed, Doubt halves the command radius (round fractions down) of the targeted individual for d3+4 turns. The material component for this variation is a pinch of steel dust.
The second variation must take place in or within 100ft of a place of worship officially dedicated to the casting priest's deity. Both the priest and the individual to be affected must be present. The casting time is 5 turns and involves an intricate ritual and many prayers. At the conclusion of the spell, the subject's command radius is doubled. This effect lasts 2d12 hours.
The priest can cast either aspect on himself (but not both at once). No individual can be the subject of more than one casting of this spell at any one time, whether different aspects or cast by different priests. If more than one spell is attempted on the individual, only the most recent casting takes effect. The material component for the second variation is the priest's holy symbol.
Easy March (Priest Level 5, Tome of Magic)
Components: VSM; Casting: 1 Turn; Range: 50 feet; Area: One Creature/level; Duration: 1 Day/level; Save: None.
This spell enables a number of creatures equal to the caster's level to force march for a number of days equal to the caster's level. Creatures affected by Easy March can travel 2.5 times their normal movement rate without any risk of fatigue; thus, they are not required to make a Constitution check at the end of the day.
All creatures affected by this spell suffer a -1 penalty to their attack rolls for the duration of the spell; this modifier is not cumulative (that is, a party experiencing its second day of Easy March suffers only a -1 penalty). The modifier cannot be negated by resting.
Easy March has no effect on modifiers to movement due to terrain, fatigue, weather, or other normal factors. (Refer to Chapter 14 of the Player's Handbook [AD&D 2nd Ed.] for more about force marching). The material component is a piece of shoe leather.
Sever Spirit (Level 5, Sif Special)
Components: VS; Casting: 1 Round; Range: 3"; Area: One creature; Duration: Permanent; Save: Special.
This spell is the same as the standard 5th level spell Slay Living (i.e. reversed Raise Dead) but also works on unliving and/or animated creatures, such as vampires and skeletons/zombies.
Heroes Feast (Priest Level 6, Unearthed Arcana)
Components: VSM; Casting: 1 Turn; Range: 1"; Area: One individual per level of the caster; Duration: 1 hour; Save: None.
This special dweomer enables the cleric to bring forth a great feast which will serve as many creatures as the cleric has levels of experience. The spell creates a magnificent table, chairs, service and all the necessary food and drink. Those partaking of the feast are cured of all diseases, are immune to poison for 12 hours, and healed of 5-8 points of damage after imbibing the nectar-like beverage which is part of the feats. The ambrosia-like food that is consumed is equal to a Bless spell that lasts for 12 hours. Also, during this period, the persons who consumed the feast are immune to Fear, Hopelessness and Panic. The feast takes one full hour to consume, and the beneficial effects do not set in until this hour is over. If the feast is interrupted for any reason, the spell is ruined and all effects of the dweomer are negated. The material components of the spell are the claric's holy/unholy symbol and specially fermented honey taken from the cells of bee larvae destined for royal status.
Sword Tell (Cleric Level 6, Sif Special)
Components: VS; Casting: 1 Turn; Range: Touch; Area: One Sword; Duration: 1 Turn; Save: None.
This spell is the same as the standard 6th level spell Stone Tell except that it is a sword (or similar item such as a dagger or knife) that will speak, and the information revealed can include details of the sword's history, manufacture, wielders and opponents.
The spirit of reprisal is a direct extension of Sif herself. It is the sprit's duty to take revenge on any transgressors within the cult who will not live up to the codes of the cult. This is the agency responsible for shattering the swords of those who break the code of Sif. For those who merely become apostate, his function is to rob them of their Gifts, while increasing the magnitude of their Geases.
Every regiment with an established base and no overriding cult affiliations has a Sif shrine. A feature of this will be the guardian spirit who will guard the trophies of the regiment forever, unless a proper representative of Sif or the regiment comes to claim them. It is not bound by any geographical location and will follow looters and desecrators to the ends of the earth.
Ilmatar the goddess of healers is very well respected as members of Sif will often turn to her for the more exotic healing spells (e.g. Regeneration, Restoration, Raise Dead). Hephaestus as the maker of swords, other weapons and armour is often represented in a Sif-aligned regiment. Ukko, as the nobles' and generals' god, is respected as superior to Sif and recognized as having strategic command. The Dwarven gods are respected, particularly Clangeddin, in gratitude for the golden hair gifted to the goddess in ancient time. Forseti is treated neutrally because, although his truthfulness is greatly admired, his willingness to undertake assassinations goes beyond the pale. Bragi, as Sif's husband, is of course treated as a most trusted ally. His bard-like priests are always welcome in any Temple, Weapon Hall or camp, to give Sif's Warriors some respite from the rigours of battle.
The most obvious two are Surma and Loviatar for equally obvious reasons.
Marks of the Initiate and Sword levels of Sif worshippers are the well-polished swords they bear. Once initiated, a worshippers sword always shines. Rich members may have an ornamental sword for display as well as a working sword. Given the choice any member will keep the working sword and sell the ornamental blade if requiring cash.
Poorer members will only have the basic sword. Worshippers commonly tie up most of their portable wealth in the ornamentation of their "show" sword, often with easily-pried-off gems in the hilt for use as ready cash.
The nature of the code of Sif is such that arguments, discussions or any sort of disagreements are settled by a (hopefully) non-fatal duel. The rules for this are simple and few:
1) The duel applies only between Sif worshippers, thus all involved parties would know that honour and trust will be foremost.
2) The combats are fought to the first blood, not to the death, after one participant is wounded the duel is over.
3) Any non-offensive magic is allowed.
4) The loser must pay some pre-determined reward to the winner, as agreed beforehand.