The Mountain King, The Lord of the Hearth, Olgrom the Enduring, Master of Tribulations
|Domain||War, Honor, Fate, Fellowship, Hunting, Glory, Hearth and Home.|
|Ethos||Conflict and adversity breed strength.|
|Typical Worshipers||Primarily worshiped by the Tomarin people of the Iron States.|
|Head of the Church||None. Each Citadel has its own high priest.|
|Demographics||90% Human (Tomarin), 4% Human (Aukarian), 2% Hyttar, 2% Magrakian, 1% Pugnar, 1% Other|
|Geographic Regions||Primarily the Iron States. To a lesser degree, Magrakor, Aukaria, the Trossoli Dominion and the Sybrenar Imperium.|
|Holy Symbol||A black obsidian shard with a fiery core. A hearth or fireplace.|
Olgrom appears as a squat, powerfully built human male with a long bushy beard, glittering grey eyes, and a ruddy complexion. He wears heavy plate armor and a large bear skin fur cloak. On his furrowed brow rests a simple iron crown and he adorns himself with a ring on every finger and a shard of black volcanic rock about his neck on a heavy iron chain. He is normally depicted seated on a huge obsidian throne within a great stone hall.
A round iron shield rests against the throne and an array of weapons are fanned out behind him on the wall. Olgrom is the God of War and Honor, Fate and Fellowship. He is the Lord of Hearth and Home, the Keeper of Knowledge and Secrets, the Forger of the World and Master of All Things. He is the quintessential Tomarin warlord - strong, proud, a skilled hunter, a great warrior and the master of a great hall.
Myths and Legends
Olgrom dwells in a great stone hall atop the tallest mountain, at the northern end of the Shard Mountains. This peak is known simply as Olgrom's Mountain. It is considered by the faithful to be, quite simply, the "top of the world".
Olgrom is the master of the world. When he is angry, Olgrom causes the ground to shake and the bellies of the cairns to churn. When the world was new, Olgrom buried metal and precious gemstones in the ground for mortal man to find. It is Olgrom that reforges the sun every morning and casts it high into the sky. The stars are diamonds from Olgrom’s mines and he has woven them into the curtain of night to remind all of his great wealth.
Within his mountain, Olgrom keeps three dragons as pets - one red, one green and one blue. Each day they serve him and accompany him on the hunt. At the end of the day, each lays one egg and then dies. Each night, Olgrom throws these three eggs into the sky for safe keeping and they float high above at night as the three moons. They hatch the next day to repeat the cycle.
Overview of the Church
Although other gods are worshiped in the Iron States, Olgrom is, by far, the chief god. Most Tomarin (citizens of the Iron States) offer him respect and a daily prayer. Many oaths in this land begin with his name.
Olgrom is a hard and demanding god. The faithful are expected to work hard and rely on their own strength. Olgrom looks down from his great mountain, watches each worshiper and judges their actions. Sometimes he will send the Harkon, the spirits of the faithful who have been judged worthy and now serve him, to deal with mortals. Sometimes the Harkon come with orders to aid, other times they come to plague the Tomarin with difficulties. Adversity and challenges are welcomed by the faithful of Olgrom as they see it as an opportunity to please their lord and gain his favor.
Suffering is an important concept in the theology of Olgrom. This is not simply pain. In this religion, "suffering" refers to the pain that comes from an honest day’s labor. It comes from wounds earned honorably in glorious battle. This is the kind of suffering and hardship that strengthens the body and spirit. This is the kind of suffering that every faithful strives for every day. As is commonly quoted in the lands of the Tomarin... "Suffer today, strength tomorrow".
There is a definite similarity, and often a sense of brotherhood, between Olgrom and Bromat. It is clear that there is some overlap in the nature of these two religions and it is very likely that these two religions have influenced each other over the centuries.
The faith of Olgrom is found chiefly in the Iron States. To a lesser degree, Olgrom is worshiped in neighboring lands throughout western and central Aggradar. This includes Magrakor, the Trossoli Dominion, the Sybrenar Imperium and the Aukarian Republic.
History and Origins
Thousands of years ago, when the Kytohan Empire ruled most of Aggradar, there was a cult popular with the barbarians of northwest Aggradar. This cult was devoted to the worship of Ulgrum the Great Hunter. This Ulgrum was also prayed to by many warriors and militia men in the west.
When the World Storm struck, the empire was thrown into chaos. Landquakes toppled towers, towering tidal waves engulfed whole cities, towns burned down, rivers changed course and mountains rose. The Empire was devastated and millions died.
After suffering for months with no end in sight, there was a great backlash against the imperial gods. To all, it was clear that they had abandoned the people. Temples were raised and imperial priests were stoned. In droves, the refugees and survivors turned to other gods. Minor cults and obscure faiths at the fringes of the empire suddenly found themselves awash in new converts.
Over the years, the Kytohan Empire disintegrated into warring provinces and independent city-states. There was, likewise, a tremendous evolution in the religions of the time. The imperial pantheon fell from grace while new cults rose up to war against each other. In time, these conflicts sorted themselves out. Only a few survived the passage of centuries. Among these was Ulgrum. Within a few generations, the faith of Ulgrum had spread. He was seen as both a war god and a god of hunting. His weapons made him mighty. His great stone hall stood strong and his mastery over the wilderness kept all those faithful to him save from a world gone mad.
After a thousand years more, the god of this faith became known as Olgrom, the Mountain King. In the far northwest, a land of warriors and hunters, there grew the first “fire cairns”. As the fire cairns developed, so too did a culture based on a mining, stone craft, hunting, war and the erection of tremendous citadels. Perhaps this faith led to the creation of the Iron Citadels. Or perhaps it was the Citadels that influenced the nature of the church. In any case, scholars agree that no other faith could be so perfectly suited to the Iron States.
The faith of Olgrom is not centralized. There is no single great temple or high priest. Each Iron Citadel has its own priests and temple. Each town and village has its own church. As such, there are no goals that can be ascribed to the faith as a whole.
Temples, Churches and Holy Sites
Every Citadel has a great temple to Olgrom. Temples to Olgrom in the Iron Citadels are huge, high vaulted chambers of hewn stone and forged iron. They are well crafted and pleasing to the eye, but not overly decorative. Each temple is built so that one side is open to the great shaft of the fire cairn. Priests will give sermons from a pulpit at the edge of the great shaft.
In towns and villages, churches to Olgrom are built of stone with high arched ceilings. They are stout buildings with curved walls and steeply sloped conical roofs. The main worship chamber is a semi-circle built around a large central fire place.
Most worshipers are the Tomarin humans of the Iron States. Almost everyone in the land of the Iron Citadels, from the Dukes to the lowest serfs, pay homage to the great and powerful Olgrom.
Outside of the Iron States, Olgrom is seen as a god of hunting, war and exploration. He is prayed to by warriors, hunters, woodsmen and mountain men in the Aukarian Republic and Magrakor. Although the Trossoli have outlawed all foreign religions in the Dominion, many hyttar slaves worship Olgrom in secrecy.
Although he is considered a “lesser god” not fit for the Imperium, some Sybrenar do pray to Olgrom, particularly soldiers.
Allied and Opposed Faiths
Though there are no formal allies or enemies of Olgrom, there is a great deal of good will between Olgrom and Bromat and more than a few similarities. Trodule is also seen as a "friendly spirit of the wilderness" by the church of Olgrom, though not an equal of Olgrom.
Conflict and adversity breed strength. To suffer through hard labor and glorious battle will make you stronger. Word hard, face challenges, overcome adversity and fight for that which you desire. Guard your Hearth and Home with your life, be it humble camp or mighty castle. Protect that which you love. The weak, the cowardly and the lazy deserve to be conquered.
According to Olgrom doctrine, the three most serious sins are laziness, weakness and cowardice. All three may be purged from the soul through continual trials and adversity. Hard work, hunting and war are needed to weed out the weak and forge the strong. The faithful of Olgrom believe that only through labor and battle will Olgrom find them worthy. Olgrom tests his followers each day and watches them always.
When a follower dies, his spirit flies to Olgrom’s Mountain where he is judged. Those who have lived according to the laws of Olgrom and are judged worthy join the ranks of the Harkon. Those who have not are cast out of Olgrom’s Mountain to wander the world, homeless, for all eternity. These miserable wanderers are known as the Soulless. Many children's bed time stories and fairy tales feature heroes meeting Soulless wandering out in the wilderness. Sometimes the heroes are led astray by the Soulless into a life of ease and comfort. Other times, the heroes overcome the Soulless and return to join the community in labor.
The holy book of the church of Olgrom is called the Book of Embers. Specific important passages from this book are chiseled into limestone tablets and hung on the walls of temple, church and home.
In the Iron States, the hearth refers to the central and largest fireplace in the home. Every building, be it a simple cottage or a grand iron Citadel has such a hearth. When outdoors and hunting, the campfire serves as the hearth. For the great Iron Citadels the dominate the landscape, the hearth is in fact the central shaft and the molten core of the fire cairn upon which the Citadel sits.
The hearth has a special place in the religion of Olgrom. The hearth and its fire signifies the heart of a home and the strength and unity of the people who dwell there. It represents more than just warmth - it represents safety, security, control and power. The fire within the hearth is very significant. Olgrom dwells within a great mountain and he is associated with the land and the fires in the hearts of the fire cairns. The faithful commune with Olgrom through the fire in their hearths. When one speaks to the fire, one speaks to Olgrom. Prayers are made facing the hearth fire. Priests will meditate for long hours before the hearth fire. Olgrom sometimes grants visions in the flames to those who meditate and prayer before a fire.
The Burial Ceremony of Olgrom
Among the faithful of Olgrom, the dead are wrapped tightly in white cloth, taken to the temple and thrown down the central shafts into the molten lake at the core of the fire cairn. This is done amidst a large ceremony while friends and loved ones watch the proceedings from the balconies and catwalks. The ceremony is led by a hearth priest of Olgrom. Tokens of love and remembrance are thrown into the fires below along with the body.
Often times, the poor are unable to make the trip to their Citadel. In some villages furthest from the Citadel, it has become custom to burn the dead on a great funeral pyre outdoors. The smoke must be allowed to float away with the wind for it represents the soul. If possible, the ashes are gathered and then taken to the great central shaft in the Citadel where they are thrown into the fires below. It is considered a great honor to carry the ashes of the deceased to the fire cairn. This usually involves only a small group (the closest friends of the deceased) or sometimes even just one person.
In the Iron States, the third day of the week is known as Hearth Day. On this day, each week, the faithful gather at temple or church to pray to Olgrom, to seek visions in the fire, to hear the priests tell stories and to gather in companionship.
On the first day of the month of the Lynx (the fourth month), winter has given way to spring. To celebrate the end of winter and the return of the sun to the world, thanks is given to Olgrom for the strength of the home, the warmth of the hearth and the blessings of family. This festival lasts three days and involves feasting, drinking, games, sports and competitions.
The fire cairns themselves are considered holy relics of the faith.
Priests of Olgrom serve the community as spiritual guides and advisors. They tend the sick, comfort the grieving and teach the young. They confer with the Dukes on many matters and are sometimes called upon to arbitrate disputes or judge the guilty, if the Duke so chooses.
The priests of Olgrom dress as their god, with bear skin cloaks and a black shard of obsidian on a chain around their necks. There are three ranks of the priesthood: ember priest (an acolyte), a fire priest and a hearth priest (high priest).
This website was last updated October 5, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.