Rank: Intermediate God
Title: The Shalm
Power Skills: Creatures, Nature
Areas of Concern/Portfolio: Nature, Woodlands, Freedom, Hunting, Beasts
Holy Symbol: A mask of oak leaves and acorns
“The Shalm,” is an archaic deity of deific idea of nature and wildlands. It has some of the oldest associations in the Flanaess and is one of the most ancient beings worshipped by the Flan prior to the arrival of invading Aerdi. According to the Druids of the Old Faith, Shalm is actually a word for the presence and existence of cyclical eternity, rather than the deific persona Obad Hai (OH-bahd HI) has become, as the god of nature. Indeed, the ancient stone circles that are scattered about the Flanaess are often referred to as “Shalm stones,” even though even the highest druids and clerics of Obad-Hai? cannot explain their existence; only recognize their significance and power.
While many of Obad Hai’s followers refer to him as “The Shalm,” the Druids of the Old Faith insist that the true idea of the Shalm is above even the gods, above even Obad Hai. This sore point has split the druidic organization.
Obad Hai can appear in human form as a lean, weathered man of indeterminate but considerable age. He is usually clad in brown or russet, carrying a hornwood staff, looking as if he were a pilgrim, hermit, or merely a rustic. In the legends of the demi-humans, he has also appeared as dwarf, gnome, or Halfling, and does not seem to favor humanity. Obad Hai is also able to assume the form and characteristics of any natural animals. He can take any new form instantaneously. It is not uncommon for The him to roam about in the guise of any of these creatures.
Obad Hai’s symbol is an oak leaf and acorn. Because of their difference in perspective, Ehlonna and Obad-Hai? are unfriendly rivals. He also counts Phyton as his enemy.
Clerics of Obad Hai tend get along very well with rangers and druids. They serve as protectors of nature, agents of retribution when their protection is insufficient, and preachers of conservationist methods of cultivation and hunting. Obad Hai’s adherents learn to become one with the Shalm in isolation, surrounded by wilderness.
Only at the beginning and end of a new cleric’s training does he receive guidance from a senior member of Obad Hai’s clergy. The rest of the time is spent living off the land and developing an instinctive connection to Obad Hai’s will. Not surprisingly, Obad Hai counts more druids among his followers than clerics. Quests that protect a forest from woodcutters, cleanse the corrupted heart of a swamp, or prevent a dwarf mine from unleashing a volcanic eruption are smiled upon by the Shalm. Obad Hai’s prayers and psalms often start with a reference to birth or growth and end with a reference to death or ending. One common prayer for guidance begins, “Shalm my thirst for knowledge grows/Lend me your wisdom and bury my doubts.” Groves of oak trees deep in the wilderness mark Obad Hai’s shrines. These temples are defended by dozens of guardian animals and other denizens of the wilderness, many of whom are content to observe visitors from a distance.
Obad Hai’s rites are seasonal and are triggered by a real-world event. The first songbird of spring and the first snowflake of winter, for example. While Obad Hai’s Druids are hierarchical, almost pack-like in the way rank is ascended, the clerics of Obad Hai have no formal hierarchy. They treat all those of their order as equals. They wear russet-colored clothing and maintain hidden woodland shrines that are usually located far from civilization.
Churches or chapels of Obad Hai are always in rustic settings and made of rough timber. Services are brief and not particularly ritualized. Living flowers, earth, water, and fire are typical service adornments.