View Single Post
Old 09-07-2016, 04:47 AM   #1
Icelander's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Moon Priests/Priestesses

I recently checked Dungeon Fantasy 7: Clerics to see if I could pilfer any interesting divine powers for holy warriors and divine servitors of a god of the moon.

What I found is that despite the plethora of moon goddesses/gods in mythology and fiction, that archetype does not seem to have made it into the book. On the other hand, it seems like a natural for a Pyramid article somewhere. Does anyone know if a moon-flavoured Dungeon Fantasy Cleric has appeared in latter supplement or a Pyramid article?

Failing that, I appeal to the forumites. What Special Powers suit a priest of a moon god?

Bonus points for worked examples, but suggestions that still leave me the work of statting them out are better than nothing. :-)

The specific god in question is a fantasy version of Na-an-na (Sumeric)/ Su'en (Akkadian). Sages of history and theology in the setting generally refer to the deity by the composite name Nanna-Sin and consider him to have died a few millenia back, with his divine duties being divided between a sister, distant cousin and even an interloper god or three.

Recent events, however, have challenged the scholarly consensus on the deceased status of Naanaru* Su'en, especially after the re-appearance of tens of thousands of people who disappeared from Shussel, the only city where there was still a temple to the god, and claim to have spent the last three years in the presence of the deity, being trained to war and great deeds by his angels and servitors.

My version of Naanaru Su'en is a god friendly to humanity, invoked by such varied persons as: cow-herders, merchants, sailors and shepherds caught in the dark, seeking guidance to the right path and protection from sharks, wolves or their human equivalents; children or others afraid of the dark; sleepless old men asking for widsom to make a decision; and anyone trying to counteract demonic influence or counteract a curse.**

Su'en is associated with change and travel, due to the phases of the moon, but perhaps oddly, seems at first glance fairly uninvolved in the mysteries of the human reproductory system, beyond a token role in being invoked to protect mother and child from evil influences during birth. The presence of several female goddesses in the same culture who have associations with the moon and women may help to explain this, especially as the primary fertility and love goddess is generally accounted his daughter.

On the other hand, Su'en may have been strongly associated with the female monthly cycle in oral mythology when he was still worshipped, but the image sages have of his worship has been mostly reconstructed through written sources, prestigious art and public works, all of which were more likely to relate to the more masculine duties of Su'en. It's entirely possible that a reconstituted church of Su'en might have priestesses with powers relating to blessing worshippers with more comfortable courses, divining the the proper date for successful and auspicious conception and aiding birth. There may also be secretive female mysteries embedded in the structure of the church. In light of the fact that sages agree that the senior figures of the church of Su'en were often women of royal or high birth, this is far from unlikely.

Su'en's iconic symbols are the crescent moon and the winged bull. While worshippers report visions of Su'en in many forms, the most iconic image is that of a vigorous old man in rich robes with a flowing long beard of lapis lazuli, bearing a crescent axe and sitting in a throne surrounded by bright silver-blue light. Sometimes, Su'en may be riding the winged bull and then he often appears in more warlike garb, wearing helm, bracers and cuirass over a padded linen kalasiris.

From what the PCs can determine, the most important considerations for Su'en in bestowing his favour upon a mortal are the altruism, compassion and resolution of that mortal. The three strictures laid on those who sought to become champions of Naanaru Su'en were to bring light into the dark places, to defend the innocent and to seek out and destroy evil.

The specific term used for 'evil' refers to supernatural evil, i.e. the influence of dark gods, demons and curses on the human realm. Naanaru Su'en may deplore the choices of callous, selfish and violent persons, but unless they give themselves over entirely to a malevolent superhuman entity which bestows dark powers on them, Su'en does not wish them destroyed or harmed, beyond what self-defence makes necessary.

As the 'Lightbringer', Su'en and his lammassu servitors stand guard over humans and their dwellings in the dark. They also succour those in need and shatter dark curses sent against the innocent. As the 'Bull of Heaven', Su'en and his shedim servitors stand against any infernal incursions into the mortal realm, hunting down demons and cultists, closing gates to the infernal realms and counteracting chthonic influences.

So, I'll need a list of nifty Special Powers for priests or holy warriors in the service of Naanaru Su'en.

*In addition to being the Sumeric name of the god known as Su'en in Akkadian, na-an-na also forms the root of an epithet in Akkadian that literally translates as 'Illuminator' or 'Lamp', but which I generally choose to translate figuratively as 'Lightbringer' or 'He Who Brings Light into the Dark Places'.
**The latter of which makes healing very much within his sphere of responsibility.
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Last edited by Icelander; 09-07-2016 at 05:03 AM.
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote