The Victor, The Glory, The Lord of the Feast, Master of the Pit
|Domain||Competition, Glory, Victory, Risk, Celebration, Indulgence, Debauchery, Hedonism|
|Ethos||Take from life everything it has to offer. Live every day as if it were your last.|
|Typical Worshipers||Very popular with warriors, gladiators, gamblers, adventurers, thieves and bandits. Even some craftsmen and businessmen pray to Kolo.|
|Head of the Church||None.|
|Demographics||40% Human, 20% Ogre, 14% Orc, 13% Dwarven, 5% Grum, 5% Saurian, 3% Other|
|Geographic Regions||Northern Ithria, from Borrell to Uthran|
|Allied Faiths||Daramis, Kael, Magrizath. On generally good terms with most of the Elder Gods and Celestials.|
|Opposed Faiths||Sarreth and the Dark Lords|
|Holy Symbol||A clenched fist.|
Kolo is the god of competition and risk, glory and celebration. He is associated with athletics, brawling, strength, victory and conquest. He also represents the spoils of victory, the rewards of winning and the celebration that follows. As such, he is the god of indulgence, excess, debauchery and feasting. He teaches that the only way to life is to live without limits. Everything should be risked in pursuit of glory, victory and the spoils that follow.
Kolo is depicted as a muscled humanoid with the head of a boar and great tusks. He is typically depicted bare chested or with an open shirt. He wears a pair of iron bracers on his massive forearms. He wears no shoes. His feet are the cloven feet of a boar. Kolo is, first and foremost, seen as a wrestler and bare fisted pugilist. He is often depicted fighing in a gladiator pit, hence his title of “Master of the Pit”. The dwarves who worship him tend to depict him with a distinctive dwarven form, a shorter dwarven-like stature, broad chest and an elaborately decorated beard in the dwarven style. In orcish art, he is depicted as a boar headed orc with long braided grey hair, enormous tusks, flaming cloven hooves and green skin with dozens of scars from countless battles.
Myths and Legends
In stories, Kolo is described as a larger than life figure who indulges in extremes. Kolo is a headstrong competitor, a legendary drinker, a notorious womanizer and a boisterous showman. He does everything loudly and publicly. Kolo’s legendary power and charismatic personality shine through in every tale. Although originally human, in combat he often wore a mask made from the head of a boar. He was also said to have the "strength of the wild boar".
Like all gods, there are many stories of Kolo. The most famous is the story of his ascendance. His clerics swear the story is true and will meet skepticism with naked steel. The story goes that Kolo once lived as a man, many ages ago when the world was young. He was simply the greatest athlete, the fastest runner and the strongest wrestler. In all competitions he was unbeatable. When challenged by a swordsman to a duel, Kolo could not refuse. When the time came, a great throng gathered to witness the duel. Kolo put on his boar's head mask and faced off against the swordsman in an enormous fighting pit. Each wielded a sword, but neither wore armor. Although very skilled with a blade, Kolo found himself in the pit with a superior swordsman and, for the first time ever, losing. Time and time again, the swordsman's blade bit into flesh while Kolo’s sword sliced only air. The swordsman was too fast. The swordsman struck and knocked the mask from Kolo's head. The swordsman then crushed the mask beneath his booted foot. Maskless now and bleeding from a dozen wounds, Kolo showed the astonished onlookers what a true competitor would give to win. Kolo dropped his own weapon and threw himself on to his opponent’s sword, impaling himself, and grabbed a hold of the startled swordsman. This changed the contest from swordplay to wrestling at which Kolo had never been beaten. The swordsmen struggled but could not break Kolo's hold. Kolo choked the life from him and then crushed his opponent’s skull. He won, but at the cost of his life. After being declared the winner, Kolo collapsed and died.
His priests claim, quite emphatically, that this moment was, for Kolo, merely the transcendence from mortal man to god. He was gifted with a new form, that of a boar headed humanoid, to match his strength and life.
Overview of the Church
The religion of Kolo is very loosely organized. It is a brotherhood of wandering priests that preach the stories and teachings of Kolo to whoever they meet in their travels. The worship of Kolo is common in the northlands, even among those who do not practice the faith. Many, both noble and common, will mutter a quick prayer to Kolo before any contest or challenge, especially one involving physical strength or prowess. Kolo's name is also invoked in curses and oaths.
Often individual priests of Kolo will gather a small circle of enthusiastic followers around them who form a small brotherhood of sorts. These “troops of Kolo” form they most basic unit of followers. These troops are often boisterous warriors who try to emulate Kolo in everything they do. They fight, they compete, they adventure, they drink, they gamble and they bed every wench they can find. Such groups often form within fighters’ guilds, militia units, armies, guilds, mercenary companies and sailing ships. They are more often found in major cities than anywhere else. Not every Kolo worshiper is a member of one of these troops, but many are. Troops tend to attract only the most ardent worshipers and they are usually localized to a specific area, such as a city or town.
This faith is very male dominated and only men serve as priests of Kolo. In this religion, women are not seen as worthy adversaries. A woman may inspire a man to fight, but she may not fight herself. A woman may be the prize for the victor, but she may not compete. Although women may worship, they are, for the most part, relegated to subservient roles in the celebrations that follow.
The religion of Kolo is strongest in the northern lands of Ithria. He is worshiped chiefly in Borrell, Duthelm, Kitar, Vorrik, Arkalia, Normidia, Rivergate and Uthran. Kolo is also very popular with the orcish clans of the northern mountains and several dwarven enclaves.
History and Origins
Historians and scholars doubt the authenticity of the above origin story and there are no records to support such a tale. However, there are records of a boar cult based on a pig headed war god named Kullu that was popular among warriors in the Irenni League and men of the mountains.
Records of a later war god named Kolu are scattered in the realms of northern Ithria from the time of the Great War, whose symbol at the time was a boar's head. From the misery of the many conflicts of the Great War, the war god Kolu began to take on the role of savior and victor. The focus of the faith began to shift toward military success, personal victory in combat and celebration after battles. During the long years of the Age of Sorrow, the war and battle aspects of worship began to fade and were replaced by competition, athletics and celebration.
The current faith is very much an urban religion based on fellowship and celebration. Sports, duels, contests of strength, wrestling matches and so forth form an important part of the culture. Kolo is often seen as a father figure who oversees tournaments, faires and festivals. Carven statues of the boar headed Kolo are erected to watch over such festivities.
In general, this faith is interested in cultivating a warrior culture where every man is able to compete with other men and excel to victory or learn from defeat. The faith is more a way of life than a collection of teachings. While the religion may have no specific overarching goals, individual troops often will have very specific goals depending on their size and geographic location.
Temples, Churches and Holy Sites
The church of Kolo has no grand temples. The priests of weaker gods can keep their vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows. Kolo needs no such things. This is a faith of mud and sweat and blood, of cries of anguish and cheers of victory. The temples of Kolo are the jousting field, the gladiator’s pit, the guild house, the barracks and the battle field.
Where as some deities appeal to a wide swath of society, those who follow Kolo are from specific niches. Warriors, gladiators, wrestlers, racers and competitors of all types seek his favor. Kolo is also widely worshiped by revelers, adventurers, gamblers, risk takers, thieves and any who would drink deeply of life. Kolo welcomes all. Often members of a troop of Kolo will invite others to join in their feasts and celebrations. They are welcomed and given minor gifts in hopes of recruiting them into the troop as full members. Those who agree to be recruited officially join at the next Boar's Head Feast.
Allied and Opposed Faiths
Because both faiths focus on fellowship and celebration, the priests and followers of Kolo get along very well with those who worship Daramis. The two often are celebrated side by side.
Kolo also gets along well with Kael. Battle is the ultimate competition and the compelling reason for celebration afterwards.
Although there is grudging respect between the churches of Kolo and Barrinor for prowess in battle and a certain machoism, their very different natures tend to keep them separate and neutral. Both gods, however, are worshiped in Arkalia. Pigs and boars are an important food animal in Arkalia and this also might explain some of the popularity of Kolo.
The church of Kolo does not get along with the Sisters of Sarreth. The teachings of peace and tolerance by “those women” are at odds with Kolo’s priests’ pursuit of competition, battle and glory. The hedonistic indulgence in wine and women also puts them at odds with the Sisters.
The troops of Kolo have an admiration for those who follow Magrizath because of the intensity which the Magrizathians conduct themselves, but the Magrizathians can be too intense sometimes.
Kolo is on relatively good terms with most of the other Elder Gods and Celestials. Kolo is generally opposed to the Dark Lords.
There are no holy books associated with this faith. Stories of Kolo are passed down orally, from priest to followers.
The symbol of this church is a clenched fist. The clenched fist is many things. It is thrust skyward in victory and raised in salute to fellow worshipers. It is shaken in fury at failure and loss and pain. The fist can be clenched around the hilt of a weapon or raised as a weapon itself. Many priests of Kolo wield clubs and maces with iron heads crafted into the shape of a clenched fist.
The boar's head is also commonly associated with this religion and is sometimes combined with the clenched fist symbol. Both symbols are incorporated into clothing, art and weapons of this faith.
Prayer and sacrifice are common rituals in this faith, but they are very pragmatic offerings. In this religion, both are seen as an exchange of favors. If Kolo aids you and grants you victory, you sacrifice in his honor as thanks. If he ignores your prayer, you are not required to sacrifice. A standard sacrifice is a boar, which is choked to death and then it's skull is crushed. In this religion, prayer is merely a way to ask for what you want. The faithful of Kolo do not beseech or beg. They inform. They demand. Begging is beneath them. But Kolo is equally willful and he does not simply reward desire. He grants victory only to those who he deems worthy.
At least each month the faithful gather in fellowship and celebration. Such gatherings involves drums, music, dancing, feating and contests of strength. Wrestling matches are common in this faith. Both as a way of competing with each other and settling disagreements, but also as a way of celebrating.
There is only one true holy day in this faith and it is called the Boar's Head Feast. It is celebrated each year on Chilldeath 10. According to the Kolo priests, it is the anniversary of the death of Kolo and his ascension to godhood. A troop of Kolo will celebrate this day with much feasting, drinking, wrestling and games. At the start of this day, a boar is blessed and then ritually slaughtered. It is then beheaded with a great sword, after which it is then roasted and eaten at the feast. The head of the boar has a special place of honor, mounted on an ornate staff, so that it may “preside” over the feast. During the ceremony, new recruits approach the head, bow to it and kiss it, giving thanks to it for the feast and for their new membership. It is believed that the spirit of Kolo resides in the animal and with its death, the spirit and life force of their god enters them. During the feast, the priests believe that Kolo sees through the eyes of the boar and, for the duration of the feast, the boar’s head is an avatar of their god.
The great sword used to behead the boar is melted down during the feast and used to fashion bracers for the new recruits. Each bracer is engraved with the symbol of the boar's head. The bracers are actually crafted during the feast and, at the conclusion of the feast, are given as gifts to the new members. The new members are expected to wear their bracers at all times.
The religion of Kolo has no holy relics or artifacts.
Overview of the Clergy
Priests of Kolo are always male. They are, in many ways, the living and breathing embodiment of their deity. They seek to emulate him in all ways. They often shave their heads and wear masks or helms shaped like boar's heads and often go bare chested. They work their bodies hard to build strength and speed. They are loud, boisterous, jovial and charismatic. In conversation, they are friendly, but also quite blunt and direct. They love wine, woman and song but will abandon all three for a wrestling match or a contest of strength.
Priests of Kolo use a variety of weapons and armor, but tend to favor light armor and bludgeoning weapons. They prefer weapons that allow them to get up close and personal with their enemy. Cesti are very popular. Simple clubs. maces and hammers are used as well. In keeping with this desire to be close to one’s enemy, bows and other ranged weapons are forbidden to priests of Kolo. Whenever circumstances allow, a priest of Kolo will favor wrestling an opponent over other forms of combat. Every priest of Kolo wears a pair of bracers fashioned during the Boar's Head Feast.
Priests of Kolo have limited magic available to them which often involves augmenting their own physical abilities. Their magic includes spells which boost speed, enhance strength, allow them to make tremendous leaps, run for hours without tiring, swim at great speeds and heal themselves and others. Other spells include the ability to turn water into wine, to summon food, to charm people and to cause musical instruments to play of their own accord.
Priests of Kolo will almost never refuse a challenge if it involves a contest of martial skill, physical ability or a simple duel. They live to compete. When not engaged in a contest of some kind, they will simple challenge themselves, constantly improving their abilities. Because of this endless pursuit of training and their jovial and charismatic natures, they are often welcomed into guilds, militias, army units and so forth. They tend to inspire the soldiers. Even when competing with an opponent, they have a tendency to inspire, to encourage and to teach.
There are no formal codes of conduct or styles of dress for Kolo priests. There are also no formal ranks. All Kolo priests are brothers and only differentiate themselves by winning or losing contests.
This website was last updated July 31, 2022. Copyright 1990-2022 David M. Roomes.