(Written by S.A.Brooks; Formatted by S.J.Wells, Sept 2006; Updated 21 Sept 2006)
Ukko is a Greater God and is recognized as King of the Gods. His brothers and sisters number Hephaestus, Ilmatar, Hiisi, Loviatar, Hel, Sif and Bragi. Ukko was born first of his siblings and claimed his right to be first among them. Married to Ilmatar they have twin daughters, Mielikki and Demeter. Throughout this time Ukko has in fact been faithful to Ilmatar and this has formed the basis of power amongst the gods. It has meant that any pretenders have been unable to overcome them. Ukko provides life to all creatures, as the air that all creatures’ breathe is provided by Ukko. Thus it is recognized that Ukko is life giver to all.
Ukko gives life to all and therefore commands the obeisance of many lay members. His closer circle of worshippers is however fewer but influential. In a hierarchical world of the feudal system, the nobles recognize Ukko as the natural leader and follow his path as one for leaders to follow. In the main his worshippers are therefore leaders, both in terms of the nobility and sometimes in other spheres as well. In having the majority of nobles as his worshippers one tends to find family shrines within the homes of most nobles and as they are the richest in the land, the actual temples are very well supported. Though often fairly empty until high holy days when nearly the whole populace attends. Some Mage’s follow Ukko, especially those element lists who favour the element of air. Some warriors who seek to lead and show potential are allowed into the ranks of the temple and often senior initiates are knighted so closely is the temple hierarchy interlinked with the feudal hierarchy. As Lord of the air Ukko is believed to bring forth the spring rains and thus his importance to the lower echelons of feudal society is increased significantly during the planting season.
Ukko recognizes the valuable job that Hel does to judge the recently dead. However he sometimes fears that she judges some of his worshippers harshly. As some nobles prefer to follow other Gods or Goddesses as well he will sometimes intervene to ensure that the soul reaches his lands. The halls of Ukko hold feasts and tourneys for the nobles who inhabit the realms. In the skies above air maidens and air warriors soar waiting for calls from Ukko to undertake mission to the mundane world.
All priests and priestess of Ukko wear Sky blue clothing, the paler the colour the more senior the rank. The holy symbol is portrayed as a flaming sword similar to the one Ukko himself wields in battle. It is seen as the symbol of strength and power with which Ukko is able to rule. The eagle is seen as the bird with Ukko has greatest affinity. The king of the birds, the eagle controls the skies of natural creatures. Often eagles will find an eerie in the spires of the temples that are built by worshippers. These will sometimes form a bond with select worshippers to become companions with them, sometimes for a short time and sometimes for the remainder of their life.
With the leadership shown by Ukko, the nobility often use Ukko as their God of choice. The main population often turns to him as the final deity, lord of all. The peasantry and even priests and priestesses of Demeter and Mielikki will worship him during the planting season especially before the first rains arrive. The hierarchy of the religion tends to be overbalanced by the nobility, though some aspiring warrior will join and the paladins are filled with promising youngsters from all walks of life. Most worshippers are either good and/or Lawful in outlook.
The worship of Ukko is intrinsically linked to the nobility and because of this it is likely tat the prestige and power of Ukko will be maintained within the country. Ukko priests expect to be senior in all normal dealings with other religions and this can sometimes lead to conflict.
There are temples in all the main cities of Cantabria with the largest being centred in Canton, seat of the royals. None of these temples are exceptionally huge as the following of initiates is often smaller than other religions. However the open spaces around it allow sufficient space for the larger celebrations for the general populace. Many barons have shrines within their household and often a priest will be assigned to a Duchy / County who will then spend time wandering round the various barons.
Within the temples a strict hierarchy is established with the high priest virtual king in everything he does. Often called upon as adviser to the king.
High mountains and specific peaks form the holy places of power for Ukko. The temples within the country form another and any coronation centre is also a place of power. The are several holy weapons in existence (flaming swords) and most of these can be sanctified and made into a altar.
Planting season provides one such day which is well attended. The second most important day is new year.
There are no requirements to join as a lay member other than to worship on holy days and sacrifice a point of power. Both humans and non-humans are accepted.
All that is required of lay members is to regularly attend meetings and to sacrifice a point of power.
There are no obvious benefits to joining as a lay member other than future anonymity. No special skills are taught to lay members.
All lay members receive a base 1% chance of divine intervention.
All lay members who have shown true dedication to the religion may be invited to become initiates of the religion. A candidate for initiation must take this step with the full realization that if the initiate later refutes his/her pledge then they may suffer the consequences of the spirit of reprisal. A prospective candidate must have a sponsor who is already at least an initiate within the religion. He/she must also pass a test that is vs. Wisdom (D20 under Wisdom to pass). The candidate needs to be of noble blood to be accepted although there are some circumstances for extremely good warriors to be accepted. Often this is accomplished at the same time the individuals are ennobled themselves. The one exception to this is Priests/Priestesses of Mielikki and Demeter who are sometimes accepted as initiates, normally so that these clerics can hold services to Ukko in regions where Ukko priests are rarely found.
Initiates must sacrifice two power points during each holy festival and will donate 10% of their wealth. Initiates are expected to enforce the regulations of the religion in full, upholding the feudal system of the land and the rights of nobility. Where a priest is not available for the high festival of First Rain, an initiate is expected to lead the worship. Within the temple grounds initiates are expected to uphold the religious hierarchy, but outside they should respect the noble seniority.
As the hierarchy is very rich initiates will sometimes be re-equipped at the expense of the hierarchy. Initiates are also favoured by Ilmater religion and healing is often given free of charge in the right circumstances, with repayment normally covered through reciprocal services.
Initiates are offered weapons training in Long sword, Spear and Crossbow. For a similar amount of time in service to the temple/chapel with a minimum service period of a month. Falconry is also taught although eagles are not used some of the larger birds of prey are. Some classes are also held in some of the “noble” arts, such as heraldry, etiquette and riding, these however are normally chargeable at standard rates.
The base chance of success for an initiate to call upon Ukko is 1% per level, however when faced by enemies such as worshippers of Hiisi or demons, that chance can double and Air Maidens are often sent to aid the individual.
Paladins of Ukko are called air warriors, they are well respected within the hierarchy and act as elite warriors within the nobility. Some Air warriors are introduced as promising youngsters from all walks of life, while others are the lesser sons/daughters of the nobility. Very rarely are initiates granted the accolade of paladinhood. This tends to be granted and wished for by those initiates who were not born into the nobility.
Those individuals who seek to become Paladins will be trained as Cleric/Fighters. They must have a wisdom of greater than 12, Strength and Charisma greater than 9 and a Constitution of greater than 6. Initiates who are seeking to attain Paladin status must represent the ideals and skill of a noble warrior
Paladins must always follow the tenets of nobility. They are restricted in the use of certain weapons
Paladins are blessed by Ukko and most receive the benefit of a 10% chance of divine intervention modified by recent successes in the service of Ukko. This aid will normally take the form of an air maiden to aid with advice or skill at arms. On rare occasions Ukko might offer alternate aid. In fact even if the assistance required is trivial an air maiden will be sent to rectify the difficulty that the Paladin has gotten him/herself into. This means that when the Air maiden’s help is barely required, some ridicule may follow or a reduced chance of any further divine intervention. In fact the Air Maiden will only help as required to tip the balance in favour of the Paladin which means that the Paladin often finds a hard battle still on his ir her hands. This negates the problem of escalation as the deity is not seen as someone who interferes excessively in mundane matters.
Priest of Ukko are often referred to as Nobles. This can sometimes lead to confusion but often allows priests to use their secular titles within the hierarchy. For instance Baron Tornad would be addressed as the Noble Baron Tornad. Like Paladins most priests come from wealthy or noble families, few others are accepted except as children (q.v.). It is the priesthood who wield the power within this religion and control the purse strings of possibly the richest religion in the land. It is not clear where the money from tithes go, but much is possibly spent on the subsistence of the priests within the religion.
Those individuals of noble birth who have a Charisma and Wisdom greater than or equal to 9 are eligible to join this priesthood. For a large sum of money bestowed upon the church a rich individual might gain access for a young child to be trained as a priest is the other most used method of entry. However the child who is purchased into the priesthood must be no older than 6. Often their training is spent for the first 2 years in the temple of Ilmatar. A noble child who wishes to join must do so of their own free will and should have been a squire for at least 4 years. It is unlikely that anyone over the age of 16 will be accepted by this route. In both cases the temperament of the child is accessed and most failures are found out in the first 3 months. The last method by which an individual might join the priesthood is through an annual competition. The competition is open to all and is normally held in a single location, often the capital city. The children who seek to attain this privilege must be 12 years old but can be from any walk of life. The competition is held annually during the spring festival and is comprised of several rounds. The first round is Air, this test seeks to find how attuned to the air and how much stamina an individual possesses, it takes the form of a swim across a wide expanse that must be accomplished underwater. The second test gauges nobility and etiquette, this test varies year on year. In the past is has been to identify from Heraldic devices the order of seniority, manners during a feast, a test of leadership, the third test is known as the test of the coin. Each individual left is given a silver coin to spend how they wish for the good of the nation and explain their deed. After the fourth test, there are normally only five or fewer individuals left to continue. The final test, known as the eagle dare is performed in the central courtyard, each competitor is given a small titbit of meat and then left. The temple eagles will then descend upon them, one per person and seek to take each morsel. At the end of a few minutes, each individual must have either had their morsels eaten or be cut by the eagle. Upon completion, those individuals who have no marks are awarded into the priesthood. During their first 2 years they will be training at Ilmatar, Mielikki and Demeter.
5th Predict Weather, 7th Eagle Companion, 9th Speak with Avians
Cure Light Wounds
Protection from Evil
Purify Food and Water
Speak with Avians
Wall of Fog
Gust of Wind
Silence 15’ Radius
Create Food and Water
Cure Serious Wounds
Glyph of Warding
Avian Summoning I
Control Temp 10’ Rad.
Prot from Evil 10’ Rad.
Protection from Lightning
Repel Flying insects
Avian Summoning II
Conjure Air Elemental
Cure critical Wounds
Avian Summoning III
Find the Path
Summon Air Maiden
Word of recall
Level 1 “Bird Friendship”
As animal friendship spell except that this will only target birds.
Level 1 Locate Avians
As “Locate Animals” spell except that this will only target birds.
Level 1 Speak with Avians
As “Speak with Animals” spell except that this will only target birds.
Level 2 Charm Avians
As “charm person” spell except that this spell will only target birds.
Level 3 Hold Avian
As hold person spell, any prime material flying creature smaller than a giant eagle will be affected, the flyer will be forced to glide with limited maneuverability and land on the ground where they will be stuck fast by their feet.
Level 4 Avian Summoning 1
As “Animal Summoning 1”, but only flying creatures respond.
Level 4 Avian Growth
As “Animal Growth”, but only flying creatures respond.
Level 5 Avian Summoning 2
As “Animal Summoning 2”, but only flying creatures respond.
Level 6 Avian Summoning 3
As “Animal Summoning 3”, but only flying creatures respond.
Level 6 Summon Air Maiden
Sarco was the founder of Cantabria, the hierarchy believe that he was a paladin of Ukko, and in fact all four nation kings were original Paladins. As such there is a small band of worshippers who also pray to the spirit of Sarco. Some members of the royal family have been known to do this but the centre of the cult is actually in Sarcophraz. This is the resting place of Sarco and the base of his power. It is Sarco who gifted Ukko with the variation to Spiritual Longsword. Followers of the Sarco sect when they cast this spell actually receive two weapons, a longsword and a dagger. Sarco fought with a crystal sword and dagger, there is a statue in the town centre depicting him thus.