Erastil

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Erastil
Erastil's holy symbol, a bow and arrow.
(Deity)

Titles
Old Deadeye, Stag God, Estig the Hunter, Elk Father
Adjective
Erastilian
Realm
Alignment
Areas of Concern
Family
Farming
Hunting
Trade
Worshipers
Farmers, hunters, tradesmen
Edicts
Care for your home and family, fulfill your duties, keep the peace, protect the community
Anathema
Abandon your home in time of need, choose yourself over your community, tarnish your reputation, tell lies
Cleric Alignments (1E)
Domains (1E)
Animal, Community, Good, Law, Plant
Subdomains (1E)
Archon, (Cooperation), Education, Family, Feather, Fur, Growth, Home
Cleric Alignments (2E)
Domains (2E)
Earth, family, nature wealth
Alternative: duty
Favored Weapon
Symbol
Sacred Animal
Sacred Colors
Brown, green
Source: Inner Sea Gods, pg(s). 52–59 (1E)
Gods & Magic (Second Edition), pg(s). 22–23 (2E)

Erastil (pronounced eh-RAS-til)1 is one of the oldest human gods still worshiped in the Inner Sea region. His religion dates back to before the Age of Darkness, when small farming communities and hunter-gatherers prayed to him for bountiful harvests and successful hunts. He leads his followers by example and good deeds rather than flowery rhetoric.2

Dogma

Erastil believes that groups work best when led by a good and strong leader, with strong leadership being a virtue of strong souls. That group may be a simple family, or a whole community. He also believes that children should honor their parents and understand the difference between work and play time.3

Erastil condemns suicide, and the souls of his worshipers who take their own lives are condemned to Avernus, the first circle of Hell.4

History

During the Age of Creation, Erastil was among the original gods who battled the Rough Beast who sought to destroy Golarion, and were eventually able to contain him in the Dead Vault.5 His worship hearkens back to the time when mankind first set about harnessing the wilderness and mastering nature. Legends claim that it was Old Deadeye himself who crafted the first bow and gifted it to humans to overcome the challenges of the world. Even as the accomplishments of civilization mount, Erastil continues to embrace and represent the simpler pleasures life has to offer.6

Home

Old Deadeye's realm is called Summerlands, located on Requius, Heaven's fourth tier. Here, alongside the Steward Andoletta, he oversees the villages and towns where the shades of those who are not interested in joining Heaven's ongoing crusades against the forces of chaos and evil reside.78

Appearance

Depictions of Erastil are commonplace in the homes of his followers. Such images usually portray the Ulfen deity as either an aged human with the bow and gear of a trapper, or as an elk-headed humanoid. They often show Old Deadeye holding fast against various beasts and animals of the wilds. In times of need, Erastil has also been known to appear to lost hunters in the form of a stag.6

The stone giants, who call him Estig the Hunter, depict Erastil as a fur-clad stone giant.9

Relationships

Jaidi, Erastil's wife.

Family

Erastil is married to Jaidi, and their children are the empyreal lords Halcamora and Cernunnos.10

Other relationships

Because of their similar beliefs, followers of Erastil find much common ground with members of the Green Faith.11

Erastil is on good terms with most non-evil deities, but is set in his ways, often criticises others, and frequently addresses criticisms of other deities' ways and beliefs openly to his worshippers, like a village elder does. As a result, few go out of their way to befriend him, except when they need his unmatched skill at archery and tracking to hunt down monsters or find someone lost; they then have to tolerate Erastil's advice and opinions on such matters.1213

Erastil teaches his followers to embrace traditional and simpler ways of life, free of the constraints of modern civilization, a trait that often results in disagreements with more progressive deities such as Abadar. Abadar sees the value in Erastil's villages, which he hopes will eventually grow into cities, but views him as old-fashioned; Erastil views Abadar as a good boy but pompous and occasionally amoral; however, both want peaceful, orderly communities. However, this difference in opinion leads to increasing conflict between these deities' respective clergies. Erastil appreciates Torag for his work, especially craftsmanship and clan loyalty, but both are too stubborn to find common ground. He respects Aroden and Irori but considers the former overly obsessed with his legacy, and the latter too selfish. He thinks that Cayden Cailean is good-hearted but foolish and needs to settle down with a wife, and views Gorum as nothing more than a violent thug.1261314

Erastil holds a distant, sad paternal affection for Desna, whom he considers to be lonely and too whimsical, aloof, and self-indulgent to be trustworthy in most situations. Shelyn occasionally asks him to lead her to the most beautiful places in the Great Beyond, and Erastil enjoys her company and her support of marriage and families, which he sees as strengthening communities; although, they do disagree on many topics. He appreciates how Iomedae has saved countless lives with her acts, but has difficulty understanding her lack of interest in having a family. Iomedae is frustrated by Erastil's pacifism, but has long given up trying to persuade him to be more active.151314

Erastil sees little difference between most evil deities, only reserving a special hatred for Urgathoa for her gluttony and spreading of epidemics. Urgathoa is aware of this, and sets her minions upon frontier communities when there is an opportunity.15 The one exception is Minderhal: Estig tolerates him but views him as an embarrassing family member.16

Providence

Those who please Erastil are often rewarded by increased yields, both from agriculture and hunting, while earning his disfavor can lead to damaged or ruined crops and poor hunting.6

Servants

Animals held in high esteem by Old Deadeye include elk, deer, and other hoofed creatures.2 His divine servitor race are the horned archons, deer- or elk-headed humanoids who protect Erastil's followers.17

Unique servants

The following extraplanar allies can be summoned through the planar ally spell. Because many of Erastil's priests are not powerful, his servants have responded to summons through summon monster or summon nature's ally spells as well.14

Arangin
This servant is a ruby-toned heavy horse that understands Common but does not speak.14
Blackfeather
This servant is an eagle-archer that has the power of shape-shifting.2
Grim White Stag
Erastil's herald appears as a gigantic white stag with branches in place of antlers, and vines wrapping around its legs.2
Proudsnout
This servant of Erastil is a divine boar.2
Scorchbark
This minion is a young arboreal regent who possesses a rather brash temperament.2

Church of Erastil

Erastil teaches his followers to embrace tradition and the old ways. Many of Old Deadeye's faithful never even enter a city, and can be found in nearly any wild or untamed region across Avistan and Garund; his worship is particularly well established in the nations of Andoran, Cheliax, Galt, Isger, the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, the Mana Wastes, Molthune, Nirmathas, the River Kingdoms, the Steaming Sea, and Varisia,61819 and among Chelaxians,20 Kellids,21 Tian,22 Ulfen,23 Varisians,24 gnomes,25 and halflings throughout the Inner Sea region.26 In the Shackles, a golden boat with sails full of Gozreh's wind is used locally to symbolize Erastil as the provider.27

Worshipers

A worshiper of Erastil.

The faithful of Erastil can be found in nearly every wilderness community. They usually choose to live simple lives and practice his teachings away from the complications of more advanced societies. The faithful often hang depictions of the god over their fireplace.618

Halflings associate Erastil with the family and community: his priests within halfling communities tend to be elders and leaders. Rather than the longbow, halflings consider the sling as Erastil's weapon. Most halflings that become druids worship Erastil. There are very few halfling paladins of Erastil.2829

Knights who revere Erastil tend to live simply, appearing more like a commoner than a noblemen. They are highly practical in supporting their communities.30 Paladins of Old Deadeye are among the most commonly found throughout the Inner Sea region.31

Clergy

The members of Old Deadeye's clergy are active in their respective communities, leading by example and serving in various capacities as needed by those that live around them. This can include helping in childbirth, building structures, overseeing fair trade, and blessing crops. The clergy's formal dress is kept simple to reflect their deity's tastes: a simple cloak of fur or leather, usually accompanied by Erastil's holy symbol burned into the hide or worn as part of a wooden clasp.618

Temples and shrines

Sites dedicated to Erastil are simple affairs, even in more civilized locations; shrines are usually nothing more than a wooden building or house serving communities of his faithful. Just as Old Deadeye emphasizes the simple things in life, his shrines focus on providing for his follower's more practical needs. Ceremony and formality are often abandoned in such locations, which instead act simply as a place to pray, or to sleep.6

Holy texts

Parables of Erastil
This book acts as a guide and almanac for the followers of Erastil; it includes information on strengthening one's family, farming, and wilderness skills.6 The number of chapters varies from community to community, based on local needs and different ways of life. Often, fables are added based on local events or traditions.12

Holidays

Holidays and other events in Erastil's name are often fairly short, as Erastil believes long and complex traditions and rituals are a waste of time compared to more practical and necessary matters, such as farming and feeding one's family. For example, the actual rituals associated with the Planting Week are only about an hour long.12

The mid-summer month of Erastus is named in his honor.32

Planting Week
Celebrated on the vernal equinox.
Harvest Feast
Celebrated on the autumnal equinox.
Archer's Day or Archerfeast
Celebrated on 3 Erastus,2 and marked with many games and young people asking permission to marry.12

Organizations

Banner of the Stag
The organization mobilize militias and provide aid to towns and hamlets in need.33

Favored animals

Gods are often associated with certain animals, either because they possess a quality that the god favors, or because the god's faithful feel a special kinship to it. Erastil's favored animals include elk and deer, hoofed animals, and farm animals.34

References

For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. Erik Mona, et al. “Appendices” in Campaign Setting, 246. Paizo Inc., 2008
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Sean K Reynolds. “Gods of Golarion” in Gods and Magic, 14–15. Paizo Inc., 2008
  3. Sean K Reynolds, et al. Inner Sea Gods, 54. Paizo Inc., 2014
  4. F. Wesley Schneider, et al. Kobold Quarterly 22, 9. Kobold Press, 2012
  5. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 216. Paizo Inc., 2011
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 3: Religion” in Campaign Setting, 162. Paizo Inc., 2008
  7. Judy Bauer, et al. “Visiting Heaven” in Heaven Unleashed, 5–6. Paizo Inc., 2016
  8. Robert Brookes, et al. “Chapter 3: The Great Beyond” in Planar Adventures, 159. Paizo Inc., 2018
  9. Sean K Reynolds. Minderhal” in Forge of the Giant God, 71. Paizo Inc., 2015
  10. Paizo Inc., et al. “Gods of the Inner Sea” in Gods & Magic, 22. Paizo Inc., 2020
  11. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 236. Paizo Inc., 2011
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Sean K Reynolds, et al. Inner Sea Gods, 57. Paizo Inc., 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Sean K Reynolds. Erastil” in Rivers Run Red, 70. Paizo Inc., 2010
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Sean K Reynolds. Erastil” in Rivers Run Red, 71. Paizo Inc., 2010
  15. 15.0 15.1 Sean K Reynolds, et al. Inner Sea Gods, 58. Paizo Inc., 2014
  16. Sean K Reynolds. Minderhal” in Forge of the Giant God, 74. Paizo Inc., 2015
  17. Sean K Reynolds, et al. Inner Sea Gods, 287. Paizo Inc., 2014
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 220. Paizo Inc., 2011
  19. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 178. Paizo Inc., 2011
  20. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 13. Paizo Inc., 2011
  21. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 16. Paizo Inc., 2011
  22. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 20. Paizo Inc., 2011
  23. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 21. Paizo Inc., 2011
  24. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 22. Paizo Inc., 2011
  25. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 26. Paizo Inc., 2011
  26. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 27. Paizo Inc., 2011
  27. Robin D. Laws. (2013). "The Treasure of Far Thallai", ch. 1. Paizo Publishing. ISBN 978-1-60125-643-0
  28. Hal Maclean & Amber E. Scott. “Halfling Culture” in Halflings of Golarion, 17. Paizo Inc., 2011
  29. Hal Maclean & Amber E. Scott. “Halfling Culture” in Halflings of Golarion, 20. Paizo Inc., 2011
  30. Gareth Hanrahan, et al. “Knights and Religion” in Knights of the Inner Sea, 18. Paizo Inc., 2012
  31. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 275. Paizo Inc., 2011
  32. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 248. Paizo Inc., 2011
  33. Colin McComb. “Organizations” in Faiths of Purity, 22. Paizo Inc., 2011
  34. Amanda Hamon, et al. Animal Archive, inside back cover. Paizo Inc., 2013