Tooth & Claw: A Pathfinder Campaign of Fire & Fury
Battle and its tools are the only good things in life.
OUR LORD IN IRON
God of strength, battle, and weapons
Domains Chaos, Destruction, Glory,
Favored Weapon Greatsword
Gorum’s clerics say that the Lord in Iron was forged in the first great battle between orcs and men. When the dust from the conf lict finally settled, all that was left was one suit of iron armor. From that day forward, dying warriors and victorious knights sometimes swear that they see Gorum delivering their deathblow or charging alongside them. Warriors from across Avistan and beyond call out to Gorum to strengthen their blades and aid them in upcoming battles. This sometimes leads to both sides of a conf lict carrying the standard of Gorum, but the Lord in Iron favors the battle itself more than either side. The Lord in Iron commonly appears as a suit of terrible, spiked, platemail armor, with no f lesh visible aside from a pair of fiery red eyes.
Gorum is a headstrong and impatient deity, prone to impulsive and emotional outbursts. His first reaction to an unexpected situation is typically violence, and when he spies something he likes, he takes it. He sees no value in diplomacy or negotiation. His idea of art is blood spattered on a shield. To him, music is the ringing of metal on metal, the crack of breaking bone, and the screams of injured foes. Poetry is the recitation of challenges and the retelling of battles, victorious or otherwise. He laughs at pacifists, especially at the fear on their faces as he chops them apart. He cares nothing for anything but war, and only valorous war—using poison, disease, or other cowardly methods to kill is the path of the weakling.
Gorum shows his favor in iron weapons or armor that shed blood and filth when touched; certain legendary warriors are known for leaving a trail of blood and gore behind them even when not in battle, so great is Gorum’s love for their skill and carnage. His anger most often manifests in sudden patches of rust that appear often enough to completely ruin an item, and he has been known to punish a cowardly warrior by causing his armor to fall apart into a pile of rusty scraps just as a dozen enemies converge on him.
His faith is strongest among warrior cultures and “barbaric” folk, as he has little use for anyone unwilling or unable to take up arms for battle. Rumors persist of a chain of volcanic islands ruled by extremist priests of Gorum (though “extremist” must be a relative term, considering the zealousness of his “normal” priests). Mercenaries who fight for the love of combat, common soldiers facing a blooding, and blacksmiths beating plowshares into swords all whisper Gorum’s name.
Gorum’s avatar is a towering armored figure with blazing red eyes who inspires rage in all that see him. His avatar is always taller than the largest humanoid or giant in the vicinity, a subtle way for Gorum to establish himself as the most powerful being present. His herald is the First Blade, a swarm of weapons and shields gathered into a man-like form the size and shape of an iron golem which continually sheds pieces of itself. All of his named divine servants are clad in spiked armor or are made of metal; popular choices for summoning are Bloody Hands (a red-skinned, hezrou-like creature), Saint Fang (who resembles a spiky silver dragon but is colored like iron), and Temperbrand (a raging fire elemental who looks like molten metal).
Traditionally, Gorum has little interest in the affairs of other gods. If they oppose him directly, he’ll fight them— otherwise, their affairs and politics are a waste of time. This means he has battled with most other deities, demon lords, and other beings of power as their interests happen to conflict with his. Currently, most gods plan against the chance that Gorum might cross their path again, and the smarter ones find ways to get him on their side of a fight. Though Torag is the tactical side of war, and Sarenrae the necessity of war as a last resort, Gorum is the excitement, battle-lust, and brutality of war.
Priests, Temples, and the Church
Nearly all of Gorum’s priests are clerics. A rare few battle-druids are part of the clergy, lending a unique animalistic perspective and unusual spells to the church’s battle-repertoire. War-bards and rangers serve the church in essential roles but are not considered part of the clergy. Even the poorest priest tries to acquire metal armor as soon as possible, taking it still warm from the corpse of his enemy if necessary. Once they have metal armor and weapons, they forever disdain any other kind, preferring to fight naked and barehanded rather than use anything other than metal. They adorn their weapons and armor with spikes like those their god favors (some take spikes from fallen enemies as trophies for their own gear).
Priests of Gorum in aggressive warrior cultures earn fame and riches by raiding other tribes or lands. Exiles and those from more “civilized” lands employ themselves as mercenaries, bodyguards, or through criminal efforts such as brigandry that allow them to crack skulls on a regular basis. Priests try to have at least one battle per day, even if it is only a duel.
Like the god himself, Gorum’s followers tend to be impulsive, violent, and prone to grabbing whatever they feel like owning; as a result, there are far more evil followers of Gorum than good. Like Gorum, his followers don’t care about the problems and schemes of other deities, but they fight whoever gets in their way. Fights between the faithful are common, though usually not to the death, and are done to establish dominance, claims over treasure, lovers, or just for entertainment.
His temples are more akin to fortresses than places of worship, built with thick walls, iron gates, and spikes on the parapets, even in the center of an otherwise peaceful city. The priests keep them stockpiled with armor and weapons, typically harvested from dead enemies and kept clean and battle-ready by acolytes. Shrines are usually a pile of rocks capped with a helm, or a sword jammed into a crevice in a boulder.
The church values strength over age or knowledge, and the senior priest in any tribe or temple typically reaches that position by defeating many enemies and beating down all rivals. When several leaders come together, there is usually some gruff posturing and boasting, during which the weaker ones defer to the stronger, with the strongest dueling or brawling to determine who is leader of the entire group. Formal raiment is a priest’s spiked armor, but a few keep a separate set adorned with additional spikes and decorations, sometimes so heavy it is difficult for the priest to walk.
Holy rites include large drums, bashing weapons against shields, shouting, and howling. Gorum has no sacred text, but a collection of seven heroic poems called the Gorumskagat explains the church’s creed. Tribal bards quickly learn to recite these poems perfectly, for a priest beats them every time they make a mistake.
Clerics and druids may prepare rage as a 3rd-level spell and iron body as an 8th-level spell. Clerics may prepare heat metal as a 3rd-level spell. Druids are forbidden from using the rusting grasp spell. Druids can wear metal armor, though they cannot cast spells while wearing it, nor does it meld with them when they use wild shape; druids interested in metal armor acquire a set for a specific beastform and have allies or slaves put it on them when it is time to fight.