World of Tersa
God of the Water God of the Water
The Basins of The Basins of Shalimyr Shalimyr
Shalimyr (SHALL-uh-meer) (Raging, Magnificent, Endless, the Wave, Grandfather Shalimyr (SHALL-uh-meer) (Raging, Magnificent, Endless, the Wave, Grandfather
Ocean, Sea Father, the Great Sea, the Waters of the World) Ocean, Sea Father, the Great Sea, the Waters of the World)
of the Merfolk
When Zheenkeef hurled the elves around the world, some landed in
the sea and became the sea-elves. While most of the mortal races over
which the gods have dominion reside on land, the sea-elves rarely touch
earth. But the sea-elves are not the only mortal race to reside under
the waves; the merfolk also have souls and go before Maal upon their
deaths to be judged. They are actually humans equipped to live under
the sea – but how is this possible?
Long ago there arose a seaside kingdom of proud men who sailed
tall ships across Grandfather Ocean’s back. When he marked them,
Shalimyr the Wave loved these humans well, for they respected the
waters and wrote joyful songs praising its glory and encomiums to its
foams and waves; the sounds of these works were soothing to Raging
Shalimyr’s ear. But the attention of Shalimyr, the Waters of the World,
is fi ckle, and he forgot about these people whom he so loved.
And so it was that the seaside kingdom, unprotected and unfavored,
came to war with a powerful empire that wielded fell magic against
its foes. The men of the water cried out to Shalimyr to crush their
foes, but he did not – his attention on other matters, his affections
won by other people. So the battle raged for many years, the wavelords
conquering the ports of the mages, the mages driving them off with fi re
At last the mages who waged this war against the proud men of the
ships determined a tactic to destroy their foe utterly. Calling upon
terrible magic, they sank the entire kingdom of the seafaring men to
the bottom of the great, wide sea! It is said that Mormekar, the Grim
Wanderer (as he is called by all folk doomed to meet him), may claim
any few souls without even sparing them his attention; but in that
hour so many thousands died at once, that Mormekar was required to
walk among them himself. For many long moments, not one of them
died, though they clawed at their throats, unable to breathe.
Their terrible suffering reached Endless Shalimyr’s ears and he too
went to the site of this cataclysm. He asked Mormekar to spare them,
but the Grim Wanderer does his duty and stays his hand for few – or
none. “They cannot breathe, Shalimyr, and they must die. The choice
is not mine.” And indeed, Shalimyr understood – the choice was his
own: to let these people who loved him and revered him die as one and
be erased from the world or to save them. And Shalimyr so loved these
folk, every one of them doomed to death, that he transformed them.
He gave them the tails and gills of fi shes so that they might live on! In
wonder at this transformation, the merfolk called out their thanks as
one. And so do they still revere Endless Shalimyr to this day, who saved
them from death and made them what they are.
The Lost Conqueror
Once upon a time, there was a pirate king called Erikul who claimed
dominion over the many seas. When Erikul was a child he had gone to
the water’s edge and cut his hand, letting his blood spill into the sea. “Sea
Father,” he said, “I dedicate my blood to you. Let me ride your back to
His prayer was heeded, and by the time he was full in manhood, he was
the greatest sailor in all the lands. He served on a pirate ship and, in the
winking of an eye, was the captain of a dread fl eet. By the time the first
traces of silver were in his beard he was known as the Terror of the Seas.
One day, while sailing on the back of Shalimyr, the Great Sea, his vessel
was hailed by the kindly sea-elves who swam at its side. The pirates
welcomed the seafolk aboard. At their head was their queen, Shawaliasha,
the most beautiful woman on land or water. At once, Erikul was smitten
in love and demanded the queen’s hand.
“I have forsworn marriage,” the queen responded, “until I find a man who
is the lord of all he surveys.”
Erikul thought this awfully strange, for surely the queen of the sea-elves
had heard of Erikul, the Terror of the Seas. “But that is I, lady. I am
Erikul, the pirate king, and I am master of all the seas. There are none
who would dare oppose me or my fl eet. No one sails on the wide back of
Grandfather Ocean that I do not know of, none stand against me should
I seek to board or take their ship. While other kings rule the weak land, I
rule the seas!”
“That is well, King Erikul, but you are not lord of all you survey.”
This was terribly vexing to the pirate king, and he looked out over the bow
of his mighty ship. And then he turned back. “You are wrong, lady! I am
Lord of all I Survey! I see nothing before me that I cannot take for my
own, including you and your folk. I have been kind thus far, but should
Erikul seek to conquer your folk, he shall! I am the King of all the Seas! I
am Master of all the Oceans!”
At this, the queen smiled, for she knew that Raging Shalimyr had heard
this claim. Within moments, Shalimyr, the Waters of the World, opened
wide his horrible maw and swallowed up Erikul and all of his ships.
And so did the queen of the Sea-Elves rid the world of the Terror of the
Seas. For no man is King of the Ocean; only Endless Shalimyr may claim
domain over the waters. Any man who forgets this is doomed to die as
surely as Erikul, who is now bones at the bottom of the sea.
Shalimyr is the god of the waters of the world: ocean, rivers, lakes,
streams, and rain. He is the god of sailing, fishing, and all other
mortal endeavors that rely on the water. To those living on coastlands,
Shalimyr is the lord of sea storms (though to inlanders, Urian is
usually considered father of storms). He is the patron of fathers, for
he was the father of Eliwyn, the tree from which the gods and mortal
races arose; but he is also the patron of grandfathers, for from Eliwyn
came the races of the world.
In the animal kingdom, Shalimyr is often associated with the
frightening beasts of the sea, such as the great kraken, but most
commonly he is connected with fish. His favorites, it is said, are the
whales, the sharks, and the dolphins, and certainly Shalimyr’s several
faces can be seen in these animals: the indifferent whales, the violent
and dangerous sharks, the loving and helpful dolphins.
Shalimyr is worshipped most ardently by the aquatic mortal races: the
sea-elves and merfolk. These two races revere Shalimyr over all other
gods. On land, he is worshipped by those who live by and with the
water – primarily elves and humans.
Shalimyr is chaotic neutral.
In icons, Shalimyr is shown as a great
blue-skinned figure with hair and beard
made of white seafoam. He wields his
mighty falchion, Seacrest, and wears
his armor of seashells. In his eyes
are the wild waves of the sea.
When representing Shalimyr
through symbols, most rely on a
single cresting blue wave capped
with foam. Those wearing a holy
symbol of Shalimyr often have
a wave made of painted shell,
though more elaborate versions
are pieced together with lapis
lazuli and alabaster. When in a
hurry and such symbols cannot
be forged, or when the area on
which the symbol will appear is
so small that such detail is not
possible, a more basic form is
made – a simple triangle inside
a circle, meant to show that at the center of all things is “the Wave,” as
Shalimyr is called from time to time.
While Shalimyr is not as wild as Zheenkeef, he has as great a love for
dramatic shifts and changes in the world. Shalimyr believes that the world
should be in constant flux, changing always – or risk stagnation, as his
pools grow stagnant with stillness.
This is not to say that Shalimyr has no appreciation for the calm and the
quiet. Indeed, he is as fond sometimes of silence and gentleness as he is
of raging storms and tossing waves. There is a joy in both, but unlike
his brother Urian, Shalimyr does not believe there is good in both. Nor
does he care. Shalimyr loves to watch things break as much as he loves
to watch them grow. He has as much appreciation for cruelty as he does
for love, and believes they are equally valid. This has been noted by his
worshippers; the loving Shalimyr is called by them Grandfather Ocean,
whereas the cruel and stormy Shalimyr is called Sea Father. All children of
the world love the Grandfather and fear the Father, and Shalimyr seems to
enjoy being both loved and feared. What he does not care for is what he
sees as the arrogant illusion of permanence.
Shalimyr hates those who are proud and believe that they have built
something that will never fall or fail, for they fail to realize that eventually
everything collapses – even the world will collapse someday when the
Nameless One’s name is spoken again. Nothing lasts, no matter how strong
or good, and to believe that something will last is pure hubris. Because of
this hatred, Shalimyr, more than any other god, levels the proud. Like the
fairy tale of the Pirate King above, there are countless tales of men, women,
or nations that believed they had achieved perfection only to have everything
they were so proud of leveled by waters.
But while he loathes pride in others (including the other gods), Shalimyr
is himself quite proud. He works his way into every crevice, slips into
every available space, all to make sure that he can see everything, destroy
or nourish anything. While he is unlikely to actually try to destroy the
world, he loves the power of knowing that drop by drop, he can
undermine the foundation of any building, topple any
kingdom. After all, water is everywhere – it is in
the air, it is in the dirt, it is the blood of people.
Thereby, Shalimyr is everywhere, and all the
people of the world live by his permission
and through his grace. Or so he
All this being said, Shalimyr is
also capable of incredible acts
of generosity. Since the earliest
days, Shalimyr has allowed the
mortal races to sail on his back.
Sometimes he rages at ships with
his terrible rains, and sometimes he
destroys a ship or two, but usually
he is quite kind to sailors. The
merfolk would have all died but
for Shalimyr’s grace. Whenever
a town is thirsty and finds a new
well, it is Shalimyr’s grace made
manifest. While it is true that he is
capricious and quite often a force
for destruction, he is no more
purely destructive than he is purely
nurturing. He is capable of gifts to
the mortal races every bit as magnificent as his punishments.
Among the gods, Shalimyr is usually aloof, except where Zheenkeef is
concerned. What was once protectiveness eventually became obsession,
and Shalimyr the Wave is hopelessly besotted with the Mother of
Madness. It is said that he and she couple often and feverishly, all without
the knowledge of her husband Tinel, the god of knowledge.
Shalimyr has many children from his copious couplings with mortals
over the years, and they serve as his attendants. Chief among them
are his four daughters, Ocean, River, Lake, and Stream, each of whom
oversees some part of his vast waters for him. It is said that Shalimyr
lives in a mighty palace made of pearl and alabaster that is drawn
through the waters by 12 colossal whales, each large enough to swallow
a small fleet of ships. These 12 whales are named after the sounds that
waves make when they hit the various types of land
The Church The Church
The churches of Shalimyr, found in most seaside towns and cities, are
called basins of Shalimyr, for they collect the outpourings of his worship.
His worshippers, the Shalimyn (SHALL-uh-min), congregate before
any great sea journey to bless the sailors and their vessel and pray to
Grandfather Ocean for their safe passage. For particularly important
journeys they make elaborate sacrifi ces in the water, cutting open chickens,
lambs, even bulls, and letting the blood and water commingle. This is to
symbolize that all things owe their life to the water.
For common sailing expeditions, such as the daily voyage of fishing
vessels, most sailors meet at the beach before dawn, where a mariner
of Shalimyr joins them and prays for their journey. Sacrifices are
uncommon in such settings.
The basins are a place to collect worship, and their clergy and other
holy orders are there to aid others in their worship. But just as
Shalimyr hates pride outside his faithful, he hates it within; the holy
orders must not, and do not, represent themselves as necessary for a
connection between the individual and Shalimyr. They are wise and
the basins are there for guidance, but a faithful Shalimyn does not
require a basin, a member of the clergy, or anyone or anything else to
connect with Shalimyr – his is a highly individualized faith.
While the basins are usually places of religious devotion and pious
prayer, they are also home to wild and raging festivals accompanied by
hard drink and sometimes even more carnal activities. The Shalimyn
are both peaceful and wild, just like the waters.
While the worship of Shalimyr is likely quite different among the races
that live under the waves, we focus here on the basins of the land-bound
mortal races. There are three holy orders of the basins, all of which are tied
to the waters. The central order, as with most churches of the pantheon, is
the clergy, called mariners and divided into two levels of status, shorehands
(SHORE-undz) and shipwrights. There are also the ascetics (holy
warriors), who have three levels – neonates, ascetics, and waternamed – and
the sail masters, who have two levels, sail masters and sail lords.
The only order that regularly resides at the basins is the mariners, with
the Shalimyn shipwrights of each basin determining its direction and
interactions with secular affairs. There is no central authority of the
Shalimyn faith; that position is taken by Shalimyr himself. Indeed, the
mariners are considered guides and teachers more than authority figures
– every member of the faith is said to have a personal tie to Shalimyr
that does not require clergy to act as intermediaries.
The average basin will have six or seven shorehands in residence at
any one time, and at least one shipwright. Ascetics and sail masters
are almost never in residence at a basin, but in major port cities
there might be one or two members of each order convalescing or
temporarily living at the local basin.
“There is somewhere the greatest wall ever built, and the men that builded
them the wall do stare at it with pride. But o’er that wall, there hangs a
bough, its leaves laden with the water. And every day the bough do drip
down on the wall its precious drops. A thousand men may live a thousand
lives, and look upon that wall, but one day the water will prevail. Drop
by drop, the mortar will be undone. Bit by bit, the wall will crumble and
fall, and those proud men will be proud no longer of their mighty wall,
broken into dust. I obey the water.”
– Shalimyn Shipwright Kellyne Seafarer’s “A Daughter of the Sea Father”
The Shalimyn faith preaches profound humility. We live and die from
the water; without the water we are nothing, and to the water we must
always show our gratitude. On the surface, this makes the Shalimyn
seem like a downtrodden, dour lot, but it is not so. The Shalimyn
are humble before the waters, but they are fierce to their enemies and
unafraid to die, ready to enjoy hard drink and the joys the body has to
offer. They believe that they live only by Shalimyr’s grace, that every
day they may be swallowed by the waters – even should they stand
in the midst of a scorching desert – and this belief and recognition of
impending death makes them fearless (at least in theory).
However, when not in wild festivals or raging against enemies, which
is most of the time, a Shalimyn’s faith is mostly based on personal
sacrifice. The Shalimyn are constantly shedding things that are
important to them, constantly in mourning for losses tempered with
gratitude for the gifts of the sea. The more sacrificing a person, the
more holy she is thought to be.
The Shalimyn faith is based on three primary principles, referred to by
the Shalimyn as the “Three Blessings”:
If every drop of water believed itself more important than the drop
ahead and behind, the river would not flow. If the river thought itself
greater than the ocean, the seas would grow thirsty and dry. Every
individual must accept that his fate is not in his own hands, and must
flow where the river takes him. The practical effect of the doctrine of
humility, though, is not a sea of Shalimyn faithful waiting for orders
from elders (as one might imagine from a lawful church with a similar
doctrine). This is because all mortals must be humble. No mortal can
determine another’s path, so every man and woman must listen for the
call of Grandfather Ocean, the inevitable pull of fate, the flow of the
river pulling them this way or that. This “pull” would be described by a
modern person as the unconscious or subconscious – the raw emotional
voice that is buried away by most, but heeded carefully by the Shalimyn.
This makes for a church of people who, through their humility, are
prepared to obey their every animal instinct; and perhaps among
the truly righteous Shalimyn, these instincts arethe call of Shalimyr.
Regardless, it makes for a highly chaotic faith.
We come from the water empty-handed. We must return to the water
empty-handed. All things are granted us by Shalimyr, and the belief
that anything we have in hand is our property is absurd; it all belongs
to Shalimyr. Because of this, Shalimyn obsessively tithe, anywhere
from 10% to 80% of everything they own. There are wealthy
Shalimyn sea-traders who give away all their wealth when they are old
(often to their own children or grandchildren), so this proscription on
wealth does not mean that the Shalimyn are all paupers. However, it
is ingrained into the Shalimyn in their earliest lessons that they must
be prepared to sacrifice everything for the Sea Father, even their lives,
for everything they own belongs to him. Nearly all Shalimyn rites
involve a sacrifi ce of some kind, usually mingling the blood of an
animal with the water.
Every day that we awake with our homes still intact, with our vessels
still held together, with our sails still whole, it is because the Sea
Father has let us awake so. Every man, woman, and child must thank
Shalimyr for his gifts at least three times daily: in morning prayer,
in mid-day meal prayer, and in evening prayer. Prayers must not be
missed. The prayers involve pouring water on the palms, touching
water to the lips and eyelids, and reciting the Beatitudes to the Sea
Father. If the prayers are missed, the penitent Shalimyn must make
painful sacrifices to Raging Shalimyr – one of his finest livestock
killed, his best sword given to a pauper, etc. Gratitude is also shown
with regular periods of fasting, during which the Shalimyn eat nothing
and drink only water for a week at a time.
The Three Blessings are so important to the Shalimyn because
they know that Shalimyr is a vengeful and angry god. He nurtures
those who show him the proper respect, and destroys the arrogant
utterly. The Shalimyn themselves are only too happy to cheer on this
destruction. The bar brawls begun by Shalimyn are legendary, and
easily set off, for they take it as a religious duty to deflate the egos of
pompous men. Should a man brag in a seadog bar about his brave
and mighty exploits, he can expect a mug against his head soon after.
The Shalimyn faith is likely the only “good” faith (though it is really
only nominally good) where one is doing his religious duty by coldcocking someone in a bar. But the Shalimyn truly believe that they are
helping such people – for if they find such men arrogant, imagine what
Raging Shalimyr will do to them! In fact, the truly devout Shalimyn can
be heard to mutter “this is for your own good, in Shalimyr’s name” as
they hit an unsuspecting pompous fool in the head with a chair.
Of course, not all Shalimyn indulge in this sort of behavior, as the faith
runs a wide gamut – from chaotic good worshippers to chaotic evil.
Yet nearly all Shalimyn find the imposition of elaborate codes of law
ridiculous and laughable. Authority, like Shalimyr’s, must come from
personal respect and devotion. This is how the Captain of a ship might
have an incredibly loyal crew, all of whom would gladly die on his word,
and not be thought arrogant – because each member of the crew knows
the Captain and respects him. However, try telling one of the Shalimyn,
“You must obey me because those are the rules,” and it won’t get you
far. Add to this the fact that the Shalimyn are prepared to lose their lives
should Shalimyr call, and you have a potential powder keg for every
dock warden in every port in the world.
It warrants saying, though, that like every other religion of the gods of
the tree, not every Shalimyn is absolutely devout with an impassioned
willingness to die on a moment’s notice. There are many more
“rational” followers of Shalimyr the Endless. But the Three Blessings
make for a highly chaotic, highly volatile religion.
The Beatitudes are the Shalimyn prayers repeated three times daily:
“Blessed art thou, Grandfather Ocean,
From whom all blessings fl ow.”
“I praise thee, Grandfather Ocean,
For all thou givest daily.”
“I thank thee, Sea Father,
For sparing me this day.”
The Beatitudes are said as the Shalimyn perform the actions of prayer,
pouring water on the palms and touching the lips and eyelids. They
are often followed with less formalized prayers.
The main holy days of Shalimyr revolve around
the fishing seasons, and this depends highly on
climatic conditions. The night before fishermen
sail out again after winter is called Return Night,
and it is a festival of absolute abandon. The
Shalimyn drink and eat to excess, dance and
sing, all to show their gratitude to the Sea Father. Often a great bull is
sacrificed in thanks, and all of the Shalimyn feast upon its uncooked
meat after its blood has mingled with the waters.
The first week of winter, when the fishermen must dry-dock their ships,
is a somber time, and none of the Shalimyn eat for the week, surviving
on only water. All Shalimyn must fast during this week, praying in
all three daily prayers for a short winter, even if they aren’t anywhere
near a fishing community at the time. It is considered an absolutely
unforgivable sin for one of the Shalimyn to eat anything during the first
week of winter; there are tales of men who grew sick during the week
and were force-fed by their friends, who went on to cut out their own
tongues in abject shame, or similarly maul themselves. While most
aren’t that filled with zeal, it is not a matter taken lightly.
Martyrdom is important to the Shalimyn, for it is their belief that if they
die heeding Shalimyr’s call they are taken into his bosom forever after
and are broken free from the cycle. They do not believe that their spirits
are carried to Shalimyr’s side to live as his assistants – that would be a
haughty, self-aggrandizing belief. Instead they believe that they are made
into water, made into a small part of Shalimyr the Endless, and it is the
greatest boon any mortal may receive, for they are made part of a god.
Whether this is true or not, it does help to explain the fervor with
which many Shalimyn fight, prepared to lay down their lives without
hesitation. Should they die performing the will of Shalimyr, the
reward is magnificent.
Saints are a very different matter. Saints are folk so holy that they
would certainly become part of the water when they die, but are so
profoundly good of spirit, humble, and sacrificing, that they reject the
opportunity to live eternally as part of Shalimyr. Instead, they live
on as his servants, aiding mortals lost at sea, heeding their prayers to
Shalimyr, and performing great acts of compassion for the Shalimyn.
This amazing sacrifice earns the name “saint.” Quite often saints
come from the holy order of the ascetics, and rather than continuing
to go by their waternames, they are addressed once more by their birth
The Saints of Shalimyr are actually seen in the Prime Material Plane
fairly regularly. After their death, extremely devout Shalimyn are
called upon by their Lord and become Celestials – more specifically,
they are called Ghaeles (an old spelling of the word “gale,” because
they fly to the aid of the Shalimyn as swiftly as gales blow across the
sea) in Celestial nomenclature. Ghaele servants of Shalimyr introduce
themselves as “Saint” with their birth name from their mortal life,
even though they have more beautiful names in the heavens.
Shalimyr’s View of the Church
Shalimyr is more involved with the daily lives of his worshippers than
any other god. He is so involved that it is likely he regularly oversteps
the boundaries of the Compact. But none of the gods complain,
because just as often as Shalimyr sends one of the saints to aid one
of his worshippers, he is himself sinking a ship filled with them, or
wiping out a town of Shalimyn who have grown fat and arrogant.
Worshipping Shalimyr is a hard life. It involves constant wrestling with
one’s faith and, fairly often, with one’s god. It means tests of one’s
humility, the constant threat of death, messages from the sea,
aid and doom from a god’s hand. It is a very dramatic
religion, as Shalimyr is a very dramatic god, and its
practitioners are rarely weak-hearted.
Shalimyr feels as though his worshippers
are the only mortals who truly
understand him. While all people
who worship the gods of the tree
and travel on the sea or river
pay homage to Shalimyr, they
do not live a life of constant
servitude to him as he believes
is warranted. Among the
gods, Shalimyr is constantly
murmuring that he will destroy
them all some day, but none
of the other gods take him
seriously – likely because he is
not serious. However, some
scholars believe the day will
come that Shalimyr floods
the world, destroying all but
his worshippers. Most view
these scholars as only slightly
less batty than the Shalimyn
Regardless, because they have
developed a system of showing
him such elaborate respect,
Shalimyr is quite involved with
the Shalimyn, is fond of them, and is
saddened a bit when he must wipe
out entire ships of them because
they have made him angry.
In a contest among the gods, long and long ago, Shalimyr challenged
Master Korak to make him a blade out of water. This was a task
that drove the King of the Crucible to utter distraction – until one
day he hit upon the secret: Water holds reflections. And so he made
a magnificent blade of the most shining metals and gems, and then
caught its reflection in a pool. He bade Shalimyr to take the reflection
from the water – and because the water was a part of him, and thereby
the reflection, Shalimyr the Wave was able to do so. Holding aloft
his great curved Falchion, Seacrest, the god of the ocean looked in
gratitude on Master Korak and offered to repay him with a boon.
Master Korak thought on this a time and could not think of what he
would ask of Shalimyr the Endless. He did not ask for anything for
many an age, until one day Shalimyr was prepared to flood the many
mountain tunnels forged by the hands of dwarves. The Sea Father
was infuriated that these stout folk hated the water and did not sail
upon it if they had the option. And so Master Korak asked for this
boon: that the dwarven people be forgiven forever by Shalimyr for
their arrogance. It has allowed the dwarves, more than any other race,
to build lasting monuments of stone and great cities uncollapsed by
erosion and time; for Shalimyr is as good as his word and forgives
them the arrogance to believe that anything they build will last.
What happened to the original blade, from which the reflection was
caught, none can say.
Holy Orders Holy Orders
The mariners are spiritual
leaders to the often
wayward, generally chaotic
Shalimyn. In a faith where
one’s gut instincts can be
either benign or malignant,
and most of the faithful
heed them regardless,
guidance is necessary to
avoid all-out pandemonium.
The Shalimyn clergy are
seen as the undisputed
(and only) authority figures
in the Shalimyn basins.
They perform religious
ceremonies, help the faithful
to interpret Shalimyr’s will,
call on Shalimyr’s blessings
for outgoing and incoming
vessels, and even occasionally
ride important vessels to keep
them safe from Shalimyr’s rage.
All that said, they are not necessary to the faith, and are not seen as
conduits between the faithful and Shalimyr; they are only spiritual
guides and resources for the faithful (if well-respected ones).
The mariners collect the tithes of the faithful, see to the upkeep
of the basins, build new basins when called for, and act as the
spokespersons of the faith in all secular matters. This leads to an
order with a great deal of available wealth, making it more powerful
secularly than it is spiritually; sometimes the mariners of a particular
basin are completely corrupted by their power and wealth. But
should they grow too bold and arrogant, it is certain that Shalimyr
will destroy them spectacularly, so this corruption rarely goes beyond
petty evils: keeping down or killing political rivals, using the
church’s money to promote political programs outside the scope of
the Shalimyn faith, or minor abuses of personal authority. Shalimyr
seems to have no problem with this sort of behavior – but mariners
who take church money to build themselves enormous mansions are
soon found drowned in small puddles.
The clergy of Shalimyr only have two titles, meant to separate the
young and hot-blooded Shalimyn clerics from the old and wise ones.
The assumption is that if a cleric lives long enough to become an elder
in the clergy, it is because Shalimyr loves him.
The young Shalimyn clerics are almost in a caste lower than the rest of
the Shalimyn – even the meanest, drunken sailor. This is because they
must forswear sailing or riding on the open sea, which is beloved of all
Shalimyn. This sacrifice is thought to be the highest one can make,
short of losing one’s life, and is done as a sign of love for Shalimyr and
devotion to the Shalimyn.
level, a Shalimyn cleric is called a shorehand, because he has
forsworn sailing and remains on the shore. A shorehand is addressed
as “brother” or “sister” and is introduced by full title. As mentioned
above, the shorehands are servants to the rest of the Shalimyn. They
are present at births, weddings, and funerals. They stand on the
shores and bless ships at launching, and greet them at their return. A
shorehand makes regular and elaborate shows of his lack of pride, and
is constantly giving away his possessions, keeping just enough to eat
and live. Becoming a shorehand takes a very short time, usually six
months: one must be devoted to Shalimyr, have a great love of the
sea, swear not to ride on the waters while a shorehand, and learn the
various prayers and rites of the Shalimyn. Shorehands are allowed to
leave their community if they feel that Shalimyr is calling them to do
so. Many shorehands wander the world, away from the sea, on great
adventures that they feel Shalimyr has called them to perform.
At 9th level, a shorehand goes on a great journey by sea to the “heart
of the ocean.” What is referred to as the heart of the ocean changes
from culture to culture, but it’s usually out in the middle of the nearest
sea. Once there, the Shorehand leaps into the water. He either
emerges moments later, or never surfaces. Should he emerge, the now
ceremonially cleansed Shorehand is hailed as a shipwright, the wisest
of the Shalimyn. To avoid confusion with actual shipwrights, these
holy men and women are always referred to as Shalimyn shipwrights.
They are addressed as “father” or “mother” and introduced by full title.
A Shalimyn shipwright maintains the inner humility of the shorehand,
or at least is supposed to, but is treated with reverence by the Shalimyn
– after all, if any have a right to be treated nobly, it is these, the
representatives of Shalimyr on earth. Common Shalimyn do not
speak directly to the shipwrights, and must ask them questions or
address them through a shorehand; this is done to show the humility
of the speaker, though it certainly elevates the self-importance of the
listener. The Shalimyn shipwrights run the basins, and there is always
at least one shipwright present at a basin. Unlike the shorehands, they
may sail on the water whenever the need or desire arises.
The great Shalimyn shipwright Faroan T’urketh was once asked
why the shipwrights are treated with such reverence in a faith that so
abhors pride. He explained, “After a lifetime, I have become so used
to the ways of humility in the face of Grandfather Ocean, blessed be
his name, that they have become second nature. I do not think of the
meaning and purpose of humility any longer; I have become so easily
humble that there is almost a pride in it. The shipwrights are treated
so well, like kings, so that they may be reminded of the meaning of
pride and the need for its purgation. Humility should never be easy.”
Table 4-7: Mariners of Shalimyr Titles Table 4-7: Mariners of Shalimyr Titles
Cleric Level Title Requirement
1 Shorehand 6 Months Training
9 Shipwright Journey to the Heart
of the Ocean
Mariners of Shalimyr may choose two of the following domains:
Chaos, Water, and Destruction.
Spell Preparation Time
A mariner must be by a body of water to prepare his spells – as small as
a creek or as large as an ocean. He may prepare his spells at any time of
day, but must meditate by water. Deserts don’t often see mariners.
Nearly all of the mariners of Shalimyr are chaotic, but their worldviews
(apart from chaos) vary radically. The most common alignment for
Shalimyn mariners is chaotic neutral. These mariners believe that the
world is in constant flux – that anything built today may be around
tomorrow or may be torn down by the waters. They therefore put no
stock in plans for the distant future and believe that instead one must
strive to live only by the edicts of Shalimyr. One must be humble and
obey his will – wherever it may lead you. While they usually counsel
against casually throwing away one’s life, these mariners are not
known for their cautious outlook, and they certainly have no care for
a “community” outside the Shalimyn. Instead, they live only to serve
Shalimyr and the Shalimyn faithful, and will do whatever their hearts
tell them is right to perform that service.
Chaotic good mariners extend their concern to those outside of the faith.
They believe that the virtues of humility and sacrifice are exemplars for
all people, and so they try to live by those virtues. They preach against
arrogance – of those who claim to have the answers to all of the great
questions, of those who say they know “the way.” They are rabble-rousers
and troublemakers, but their entire purpose is to improve the lot of all
people through the abiding beauty of Shalimyr. Often these mariners are
adventurers, as the basin shipwrights find them too interested in affairs
outside of the Shalimyn. Such interest is often condemned as pride, and
the mariners must leave their community. There are, however, basins
dominated by chaotic good mariners (though rare), and these places are
havens to all Shalimyn of a like mind.
Unlike nearly all other churches of the gods of the tree, where evil
worshippers have separate cults reviled by the main church, chaotic evil
Mariners have a place in the basins as long as their evil ways are not
expressed against their fellow Shalimyn. A sort of “activist” offshoot of the
basins, chaotic evil mariners believe it is Shalimyn’s will that the arrogant
and proud be rooted out by mortals. It saddens Shalimyr, their reasoning
goes, whenever he has to destroy mortals with his waters, because it
shows that his followers are too weak and cowardly to do it themselves.
So chaotic evil mariners take the duty to heart by wreaking havoc: for
instance, by breaking into the homes of pompous nobles, brutally killing
them (and their families), and burning their houses down. While the
basins routinely deny any knowledge of such activities, there are many
basins that support these works as necessary evils.
Ascetics of Shalimyr
The ascetics of Shalimyr are a peculiar
bunch. Generally entirely uninvolved
with the basins, they are understood by
the Shalimyn to be holy people whose
terrible sacrifices must take them away
from the faithful.
Just as the shorehands of Shalimyr
may not ride the waters as a
sacrifice to show their humility
and faith, the ascetics give
up the comfort of home and
community and wander the wide
world doing what they can for
everyone but themselves. The
idea is that by living a life of
perpetual goodness, aiding others
whenever and wherever they can,
they show humility by becoming
servants to the mortal races. By
living lives of perpetual selfdenial, they show their sacrifice to
They are therefore one of the more common
“adventuring” holy orders of all the churches.
Since their faith requires them to be away
from the basins, traveling by land and sea
to aid others, they are often found in towns
where trouble is near, or at the depths of
They do not keep any wealth but that
necessary for their survival. They do not hold any property beyond
what they can carry. They do not accept accolades or rewards for their
services. They seek to be the most humble persons they can be, all the
while perfecting their skill in martial matters so they may better fight
for the good of the mortal races they serve.
As an ascetic grows older and more experienced, she sheds all of
the trappings of glory. Later, she sheds the markings of holiness,
because in them is a kind of braggadocio. Eventually, she sheds even
the trappings of “self,” as there is a kind of arrogance in asserting a
personal identity when one is really nothing but a servant of Shalimyr.
At 1st level, the ascetic begins this gradual shedding of identity.
Becoming a part of the ascetic order after a year of training by an elder
member of the order, the holy warrior burns all the trappings of her
previous life. She cuts her hair and gives away those things that are
not fit to be burned. She takes up the blue tabard of the ascetic order
(marked with the wave) and receives the title of “neonate,” having
been reborn into her new order. She is thereafter addressed as “child,”
and is not introduced by order or title but as “a child of the basins of
Shalimyr.” While most holy warriors are considered knights errant,
or heroes, the neonate lives a life of servitude. She wanders the world,
offering her sword freely, begging for meals.
At 5th level, the neonate has learned proper humility and is ready to be
an ascetic in full. She ceases to have any title whatsoever, and gives her
tabard away – usually this is done through training someone to become
a neonate and presenting him with the tabard at the completion of his
training. If the neonate has been carrying a refined
or well-crafted holy symbol, it too is given away
and replaced with a symbol a peasant might
wear. Anything that might make it clear to a
casual observer that the ascetic is actually
a member of a holy order is given away.
The only things the neonate keeps are
her arms, armor, and other tools she
may have gained in her journeys that
help her serve people. Once this is
done, she is properly an ascetic. She
has no title, only her name, and
she continues her wanderings. She
has no honorifics in address, but if
introduced is called an “ascetic of the
basins of Shalimyr.”
At 12th level, the ascetic has shown she
is fully devoted to Shalimyr and to a
path of service and humility. And so she
sacrifices all that is left of her – her name.
She ceases to be called by the name she
has been known by her entire life and
takes instead the name of a part of water,
or a water sound. Lake, Stream, Rush,
Falls – all are appropriate water names.
Such ascetics are called “waternames,”
and they continue to walk the earth,
fighting for the good of all people
and awaiting their death, when they
might become part of the waters.
They are introduced in the same
manner as ascetics.
Table 4-8: Table 4-8:
Ascetics of Shalimyr Titles Ascetics of Shalimyr Titles
Warrior Level Title Requirement
1 Neonate One Year Training
5 Ascetic None
12 Watername Shedding of Birth Name
Additional Class Skills
The ascetic’s additional class skills (and the key ability for each skill)
are Use Rope (Dex) and Swim (Str). See Chapter 4: Skills in the PH
for skill descriptions.
An ascetic may choose two of the following domains: Champion,
Water, and Body
Gift of Shalimyr
Beginning at 3rd level, the ascetic can purify the mind and heart by
calming emotions, as per the spell calm emotions, once per week, with
a caster level equal to her class level. She can use this ability more
often as she advances in levels (twice per week at 6th level, three times
per week at 9th level). Calm emotionsis a spell-like ability for ascetics.
Beginning at 12th level, the ascetic can purify the body and
neutralize poison, as per the spell, once per week, with a caster level
equal to her class level. She can use this ability more often as she
advances in levels (twice per week at 15th level, three times per week
at 18th level). Neutralize poison is a spell-like ability for ascetics.
1st level – bless, bless water, bless weapon, create water, cure light wounds,
detect poison, detect undead, divine favor, endure elements, magic
weapon, protection from evil, remove fear, resistance, virtue
2nd level –endurance, remove paralysis, resist elements, shield other, delay
3rd level – cure moderate wounds, greater magic weapon, heal animal
companion, remove blindness/deafness, remove curse, remove disease, water breathing, water walk
4th level – control water, cure serious wounds, freedom of movement, holy
sword, neutralize poison, restoration
At 5th level, the ascetic calls an animal companion, usually a celestial sea
bird. Often a great white albatross or gull, the bird becomes the ascetic’s
closest companion sent from Shalimyr himself. The animal companion
receives all the bonuses of a special mount, though it is not large enough
to be ridden. The ascetic is able to speak with the bird just as a master
and his familiar with the “speak with master” ability (see PH, page 51).
When she is 5th level, an ascetic also makes the transition from being a
neonate and is recognized by Shalimyn and others as a wandering holy
warrior – even though she has made every effort to purge herself of all
overt signs of this. It is considered an exceptionally bad idea for one who
sails on Shalimyr’s back to refuse passage to such a person (including her
companions). If it is within a ship captain’s power to do so, he will take
an ascetic on his ship wherever he may be going. In fact, devout Shalimyn
captains will even divert from their set course for an ascetic if asked to do so.
Ascetics must never hoard wealth or property. They must never seek a
home or status in a home. They may never own a ship or other means
of transport. Ascetics must be prepared to die empty-handed and alone.
Ascetics have no fear of death and generally do not wish to be raised from
the dead should they die before what others might consider their time.
Any ascetic who comes to wish for a family or a home or any kind of
comfort or possession must leave the order in order to have it, and loses
all of her special abilities unless she atones and sheds all of her possessions
Ascetics are fairly picky about the company they keep. They are
constantly wandering and cannot abide the proud. They will not
associate with those who seek glory, fame, or status – particularly if
their desire for these things is reflected in the actions of the group
and the perception of outsiders of the group. Ascetics have no
problem with those who seek wealth and keep personal property;
they do not expect all people to live under the same onus of sacrifice
as they do. They will speak to their friends about the perils of desire
for property, but will not condemn them for it. An ascetic can even
abide greed as long as it is tempered with sacrifice. Ascetics most
often travel with wizards, monks, druids, rangers, and rogues – those
who keep a low profile for one reason or another. They are rarely
found with holy warriors or clergy from other churches. Ascetics
almost never travel together.
Ascetics must be chaotic good.
and Other Orders
The sail masters are the third and most evangelical of the Shalimyn
holy orders. They are known far and wide for their great skill as
sailors and their uncanny abilities with ship-to-ship combat. The
order was founded by an ascetic, known as Saint Isyl, who was
visited in dream by a series of visions from Shalimyr. St. Isyl
prophesied, through those dreams, an ultimate day of reckoning for
all Shalimyn, when the Sea Father will visit every ship on his waters
in the course of a single day. If he finds that the hearts of the sailors
around the world are pious and humble, as he demands, then he will
give a great boon to all Shalimyn. But if he finds that those he has
graced with permission to ride upon his back are selfish and wanting,
he will destroy them all and never again allow ships upon his waters.
While the mariners believe St. Isyl’s vision was metaphorical, the
sail masters believe it is quite literal and seek to avert disaster by
constantly reminding sailors of their duty to Shalimyr. This is why
they are so driven in their evangelism and why they are almost
always out at sea rather than residing in peace at the basins.
At 1st level, a new sail master (who has just completed one year training
from a sail lord) seeks out a captain who will take him onto his vessel
in return for service. The sail master works with that crew until he is
satisfied that they are properly pious, then moves on to another ship.
This continues for most of his career. Sail masters are addressed as “sail
master,” and are introduced without their order name.
At 7th level, however, the sail master seeks out someone in control
of a fleet – a lord, a powerful merchant, a pirate king, etc. – and
offers his service as the powerful personage’s sail lord. The sail lord
usually holds this position until death, riding on the fleet’s flagship
but ministering to all of its sailors. He is addressed as “sail lord” and
introduced with his full title.
Table 4-9: Table 4-9:
The Sail Masters of Shalimyr Titles The Sail Masters of Shalimyr Titles
Level Title Requirement
1 Sail Master One Year Training with Sail Lord
7 Sail Lord Finding Position with Fleet
Sail Masters of Shalimyr
“The wind is my brother, the ship is my sister,” the sail masters say,
“and the water is my father. I respect my siblings but I obey my
father.” The sail masters have brine in their blood, it is said, and
no finer sailors live, above or below the waves. Having a sail master
on deck is a good omen, a promise of success, and a harbinger of a
speedy journey all in one. To attack a vessel with a sail master on
board, or worse, a sail lord, is considered sheer folly. The sail masters
see themselves as the bearers of Shalimyr’s good word; essentially
they are missionaries who reside on ships. Incredibly (and usually
exhaustingly) pious, they lead the crew in their three daily prayers,
talking constantly of the gifts of Grandfather Ocean and the wrath of
the Sea Father. Their order was founded to aid and serve those who
are closest to Shalimyr, sailors, and to remind them of the tenets of the
Any deeply faithful Shalimyn may become a sail master. The most
common classes to join the order are fighters and rogues, but wizards,
sorcerers, members of the Shalimyn clergy, even holy warriors of
Shalimyr have all been known to join the order. It requires only a deep
understanding of the sea and an abiding love for Grandfather Ocean.
Sail masters are most often found on the water, serving vessels great
and small. They rarely bother with those who are not Shalimyn or
sailors, so a person booking passage on a ship may never even realize
a sail master is aboard. If one travels aboard the flagship of a major
fleet, it is almost certain to have a sail lord aboard. Members of the
order make odd first impressions – quiet, contemplative, a bit spooky
at first, they eventually reveal their religious ardor. Most sail masters
shave their heads and wear simple robes adorned with the wave of
Shalimyr. It is uncommon to find two members of the order together,
unless one is being trained.
Hit Die: d8.
To qualify to become a sail master, a character must fulfill all the
Shalimyn:A sail master must be completely devoted to Shalimyr.
Profession (Sailor):8 ranks
Vow of Service:A sail master lives to serve the ships of others and
may not own a ship of his own. At least half of every year
for a sail master must be spent in service on a ship.
The sail master’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are
Balance (Dex), Concentration (Con), Climb (Str), Craft (Int),
Diplomacy (Cha), Intuit Direction (Wis), Knowledge (boating,
cartography, geography, navigation, religion, sea lore) (Int),
Profession (Int), Speak Language (None), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str),
and Use Rope (Dex). See Chapter 4: Skills in the PHfor skill
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.
All of the following are class features of the sail master prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency
Sail masters are proficient with simple and martial weapons. Sail
masters gain no proficiencies with armor. Armor and water don’t
Divine Protection (Su)
The deck of a ship on the open seas is the sail master’s pulpit; out on
the water he needs no protection but Shalimyr’s grace. A sail master
adds his Cha modifier (if positive) to his Dex modifier to modify his
Armor Class. This bonus is lost if the sail master wears any armor
– those who trust in Shalimyr have no backup plans.
Endure Storm (Su)
When a sail master with this ability is aboard a vessel, it cannot be
capsized in a storm, no matter how high the waves, except by the will
of Shalimyr. Further, it becomes highly resistant to wind damage,
with the wood of its hull and masts receiving a bonus to their hardness
equal to the sail master’s class level
Escape Doldrums (Su)
Sometimes a great ship is becalmed, receiving no wind and going
nowhere while her rowers rest. This is called the doldrums.
Through sheer force of will, a sail master with this ability is able to
keep the ship going as though an invisible hand were pushing it at
the rate of a fully winded vessel. The sail master must concentrate
to escape the doldrums, and it is taxing work. For every hour he
spends performing this minor miracle, he must sleep for three.
Fill Sails (Su)
Once a week, the sail master may call on the power of Shalimyr to
speed his ship across the waves as though it had caught incredible
winds – even though no such winds are evident. The ship
gains 3mph in speed for a 24-hour period.
Hallowed Deck (Su)
Given a week and 500gp worth of
livestock and wine to sacrifice, the
sail master can make the deck of
the ship on which he serves holy
ground. He spends the time
chanting, sacrificing the animals
and letting their blood run from
aft to stern, pouring out the
wine, and otherwise sanctifying
each and every plank of the
deck to Shalimyr. All crew
members receive a +2 sacred
bonus to AC while on deck,
and any individuals attacking
the ship receive a -1 morale
penalty to all skill checks
and attack rolls while on the
deck of the ship – it just feels
wrong. A ship’s deck remains
hallowed only as long as the
sail master serves on the ship.
When he leaves, it becomes a
normal ship once more, much
to its crew’s chagrin.
Holy Vessel (Su)
The ship on which the sail master
serves may become a holy vessel,
in accordance with the prophecy
of St. Isyl. If all the crew members
are faithful servants of Shalimyr (saying their thrice-daily prayers),
the sail master has succeeded in his duties. While he is aboard
such a ship and it is on the open water, it glows with a holy aura.
Any member of the five mortal races must make a Willpower save
(DC 15) in order to attack the ship. Any creature or race with the
designator “aquatic” must make a Willpower save to attack it also,
but at DC 20. If the subject fails, she is afraid of the ship and all
its crew members as though under the effect of a fearspell cast by a
20th-level cleric. Even if the save is made, an enemy attacking the
ship or its crew suffers -2 morale penalties to her attack, damage,
and skill rolls while on board the holy vessel (if she is not touching
the ship, she may attack without penalty if she makes her saving
throw against the fear effect). The holy vessel will even terrify the
undead if they are ghosts of sailors (such as the crew of a ghost ship)
and maintain the personalities and memories of sailors. The holy
vessel is clearly protected by Shalimyr’s hand and to attack it is to
risk the wrath of a god – not something anyone does without a bit of
Those who serve on a holy vessel are under the constant effect of
the sail master’s Inspire Crew ability while on board (they lose the
confidence if they board another vessel). The sail master must still
deliver oratory if he wishes to inspire in the crew the Madness of the
Inspire Crew (Ex)
In times of need, a sail master can whip the crew of a ship into
a religious frenzy. By praying and chanting loudly and
continuously, usually just before engaging in ship-to-ship
combat, the sail master plays on the predisposition
of all Shalimyn to scoff at death. To be
affected, an ally must hear the sail
master’s oratory for a full round. The
effect lasts as long as the sail master
speaks and for 5 rounds after
the sail master stops speaking
(or 5 rounds after the ally can
no longer hear the sail master).
While speaking, the sail master
can fight but cannot cast spells,
activate magic items by spell
completion (such as scrolls), or
activate magic items by magic
word (such as wands).
Affected allies receive a +2
morale bonus to saving throws
against charm and fear effects
and a +1 morale bonus to attack
and weapon damage rolls. As
Inspire Crew is a natural effect,
it cannot be dispelled, but it
also does not affect those who
do not worship Shalimyr or are
otherwise resistant to the sail
Madness of the Seas
As the sail master grows in power,
so too does his oratory. When using
the Inspire Crew ability, the sail master grants the ability to all of those
inspired by his words to fl y into a Barbarian Rage, exactly like the
Barbarian’s ability explained on page 25 of the PH. Attentive listeners
feel themselves moved with the very rage of Shalimyr and do not care
whether they live or die. If an inspired party is already capable of
entering a barbarian rage, this is simply a bonus daily instance of the
ability. The ability to enter the rage only lasts as long as the Inspire
Crew ability (the length of the oratory plus five rounds), but once
the rage begins its duration is determined exactly like the barbarian
Sea Legs (Ex)
A sail master spends years at sea and learns to stay on his feet during
fair weather and foul. A sail master gains a +2 competence bonus to
all Balance checks. Furthermore, a successful check allows a full move
instead of a half move. A failed check still means no movement at all.
Speed Oars (Ex)
If a sail master is below decks before a battle, he may inspire the rowers
into a frenzy. By shouting, cajoling and even sitting at the fi rst oar, the sail
master can get the ship moving at impossible speeds for a short period.
The practical effect is that the ship does triple its normal damage when
ramming an opposing vessel (there are several different sets of nautical
rules available for the d20 System; this rule should work with all of them).
Speed Ship (Su)
For reasons none but Shalimyr himself can explain, when a sail
master is onboard a ship, it simply moves faster. There is no obvious
explanation – the speed of the wind does not increase, and the rowers
don’t seem to go any faster. Ships move at the speed of the next
fastest vessel on table 9-6 in the PH when a sail master is
aboard (a sailing ship moves as fast as a warship, a warship as fast as
a longship, and so on). Galleys move at 5 miles per hour when a sail
master is aboard, or 120 miles per day.
Beginning at 1st level, a sail master gains the ability to cast a small number
of divine spells. To cast a spell, the sail master must have a wisdom score of
at least 10 + the spell’s level, so a sail master with a wisdom of 10 or lower
cannot cast these spells. Sail master bonus spells are based on wisdom, and
saving throws against these spells have a DC of 10 + spell level + the sail
master’s wisdom modifier (if any). When the sail master gets 0 spells of a
given level, such as 0 1st-level spells at 1st level, the sail master gets only
bonus spells. A sail master without a bonus spell for that level cannot yet
cast a spell of that level. The sail master’s spell list appears below. A sail
master prepares and casts spells just as a cleric does.
Sail Masters choose their spells from the following list:
1st level—animal friendship, bless, bless water, create water, divine favor,
endure elements, fl are, know direction, obscuring mist
2nd level—animal messenger, fog cloud, animate rope, spider climb
3rd level—consecrate, water breathing, augury, gust of wind, sleet storm,
4th level—control water, divine power, quench, rainbow pattern, solid fog