Thursday, February 28, 2013

Campaign Design - The Lords of Heaven: Vali

Vali (Macha)

The Raven of Battle; The Savage Huntress; The Tracker in the Wilds; Celestial Mistress of War and the Moon

Alignment: Chaotic Neutral.
Domains: HunterLycanthropy, Moon, Repose, SurvivalWar, Wild.
Prestige Domains: Beastmaster.
Summon Monster: Vali's clerics and favored souls can summon anarchic creatures using summon monster spells. Vali's clerics may also use the summon nature's ally lists when summoning creatures using summon monster spells.
Symbol: Nine black ravens on a white field trimmed in red.
Favored Weapon: "The raven's spike" (leaf spear or belly spear).
Related Prestige Classes: Moondancer of Vali, Ranger.

Over his head is shrieking
A lean hag, gently hopping
Over the points of the weapons and the shields;
She is the raven-haired Vali.

     - from the Tain Liath Vali.

Vali is the fierce and violent mistress of war, battle, destruction, and death. She represents the naked violence of warfare, the vicious predatory instinct, and raw animal savagery, and is the embodiment of the raw, destructive power of unrestrained warfare, as well as the moon and shape changers. Vali is said to be the sister of Syfa and half-sister to Füllar, although some of the myths hold that her kinship with Eiur may be tenuous at best. She is said to be as beautiful as she is dangerous, although the stories have little else to say about her appearance other than to say she is a slender pale woman with black hair and blue traced body paint who can be beautiful or terrible depending upon her mood. Myths tell of her fearsome presence, the fury and panic of battle surrounding her as a mantle of fear, driving the faint of heart to flee her presence.

As the mistress of battle, Vali is also closely associated with death, and it is her and her entourage of daughters who serve as her battle-maidens that select those warriors who have proved themselves in arms sufficiently enough to be added to the armies of Heaven. Many warriors pray to her that they be worthy of being so chosen should they die in battle. When she fights, she and her daughters carry vicious barbed spears in battle, Vali names hers Tocyn Coch, and the favored weapons of her devotees are the leaf spear and the belly spear. Although Vali has no consort, she has nine daughters who follow her onto the battlefield. Each daughter is associated with a particular aspect of Vali. They are: Agrona, mistress of slaughter; Ancasta, mistress of fear; Caireen, mistress of strife; Cauþ Bodva, mistress of fury; Cabh Deað, mistress of bloodshed; Ernmas, mistress of killing; Fæ, mistress of hate; Nemain, mistress of venom; and Uaþach, mistress of anger.

Vali gives little heed to the past or the future, and is of little use as counselor or advisor. When she appears in legend she typically takes the role of an active participant giving aid on behalf of a hero or cause. The faithful pray to Vali for success in the hunt and in war. Those who devote themselves to her adorn themselves with silver jewelry, usually in the shape of the moon or weapons of battle. Vali is said to take powerful mortal warriors as lovers from time to time, and when she communicates with her devoted followers, she often speaks by taking the form of one of these heroes who has died in battle, although she sometimes appears as a raven. Divine casters devoted to Vali refuse to use her gifts to heal wounds not inflicted in battle, considering only injuries inflicted in combat to be worthy of her blessings. In addition, wounds healed by her power always leave a visible scar: A display of the bravery and honor of the bearer. Stories tell of a magical golden boar owned by Vali that can be hunted and eaten every night, but is healed anew before the next moonrise. Because of this, Vali is associated with the boar, and her worshipers frequently honor her by conducting ritual boar hunts.

Vali is also the mistress of the moon, complementing Brid’s mastery over the stars and Yng's suzerainty over the sun. She is closely associated with the powers of shape changing, as many of the most famous and noteworthy warriors in myth and legend have been powerful shape shifters. Vali is said to be tireless and fast enough to run down any four-legged creature, and can take the form of any beast or bird. Her priests teach that she and her daughters fly as a flock of ten shrieking ravens or carrion crows, calling up a host of slain warriors over any field where a battle is fought. For this reason, a raven is seen as an omen of impending combat and death. She is closely associated with the powers of shape changing, as many of the most famous and noteworthy warriors in myth and legend have been powerful shape shifters. While she favors shape changers devoted to her, lycanthropy obtained and exercised without her blessing is regarded as a blasphemy against Vali’s power. It is her power that reveals lycanthropes in their true form under the full moon, either to reveal their blasphemy against her, or to demonstrate their devotion to her power. Vali is, understandably, quite popular among khülen communities, and among the khülen she is widely regarded as the creator and patron of the race.

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