Forgotten gods of the Forgotten Realms: HOAR

Let me take you back about twenty years or so. I’ve just introduced my oldest to The Forgotten Realms and are actually attempting to convert his D6 Starwars character (who has been toying with Sith things) into the realm of Faerun. It was quite an adjustment, but we all soon fell in love with the Realms.

He was in his teens and wanted to lean into a dark cleric type mirroring his like for bands like My Chemical Romance and the sort. He poured his dark passion into a character that, for now, I will only call X. Hopefully, someday, I will be able to tell his story.

He poured over the 3E tomes about the many gods available and landed on one I had never heard of: HOAR.

HOAR was originally known as ASSURAN in the lands to the east called UNTHER where he battled his rival Ramman, deity of war and storms. Like the gods of Mulhorand, they were brought over by slaves of the Imaskari from other worlds. From our vantage point, it was a way for Wotc to import gods from Egypt and Babylon over into the Forgotten Realms.

Hoar soon found himself banished from Unther along with many of his worshipers. However, his following continued to grow, but not enough to expand into great temples or congregations. He was more a deity people called out to on a regular basis when they were wronged by an injustice. If a loved one was murdered, Hoar was the first name off their lips. This was, of course, because he was the god of retribution also known as The Doombringer!

But what attracted my young teen son to this deity was because it went a bit deeper. It was not just revenge or pay back. He was known as the dealer of poetic justice. It wasn’t just enough to pay an eye for an eye. The sinner’s end must be well thought out and the punishment appropriate. Now, I was impressed, to say the least. Hoar was a thinker’s choice. And, I have to admit, at that time in my DM adventure, I wasn’t ready to play my part in this drama adequately. I just never got it going in the right direction for him. I didn’t, however, turn him away from the character or the Forgotten Realms.

He appeared as a gaunt, tall man wearing the robes of a merchant and gold bracers. He carried a long spear of lightning he called THE HAND OF RETRIBUTION. His long strands of hair were raven black as were his eyes and he sported a pointed goatee. He usually appeared as a hauntingly beaten and battered man with several open wounds; some looking quite deep.

I always pictured him as a god of few words; appearing sparingly. But, when he did appear, there was business to be done. I could see his clerics as agents of justice. I am including in my next game (Jewels of the Nine Secrets) a shrine in the starting city of Proskur where the slighted and maligned can post prayers to Hoar. These ‘prayers’ are nothing more than requests for the god to exact justice upon those who have wronged them. The clerics could be those who would answer these prayers by obeying their gods edict to be the punishers of the wicked. But woe to them who either read the prayers without station, exact justice not decreed by their god or place a prayer on the shrine in error or malice.

Three rolls of thunder was thought to be the sign that the Doombringer has exacted justice and a wrongdoer has been ‘brought to justice’. Now, poetic justice can come in more forms than simply execution. The judgment should fit the crime. If something was stolen, something must be taken. If a lie was published, truthful revelations about the liar may be in order. The punishment has to be well thought out, methodical and supremely ironic.

This was my failure of my son’s story. I never took enough time to figure out what that means. And, if you’re going to take on Hoar as your god or patron, you need to know you’re ready. Every move is calculated and no action is wasted. Your cleric, warlock or whatever should think about every move and have his facts before dispensing justice. It could be bad news if you deliver punishment and come to find you assessed the situation wrong. Representing Hoar is a gravely solemn duty as it is serving all deities.

Besides the roll of three thunders, a sign left of Hoar’s favor would be the appearance of red gems in the shape of teardrops. Counter-wise, if one found teardrop gems of Laeral’s Tears, it meant you had incurred the Doombringer’s wrath.

PLAYING AS A FOLLOWER OF HOAR

 “Uphold true and fitting justice and maintain the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law. Fitting recompense will always accrue for one’s actions. Violence will meet violence and evil pay back evil, but good will also come to those who do good. Walk the line of the Doombringer’s teachings, seeking retribution, but do not fall into the trap of pursuing evil acts for evil’s sake, for that way is seductive and leads only to one’s downfall. Vengeance must be sought for all injustices, and all punishments must fit the crime. Revenge is sweetest when it is sharpened with irony. All attacks must be avenged. Those who do not respond to attacks against their person or that which they hold dear only invite further attacks.” DOGMA OF HOAR

As a cleric, you would prefer illusions, fear and mental spells and weather effects. I would go on to add spells like Phantasmal Force and Phantasmal Killer. Phantasmal Force will dictate you know more about the target, their infraction and, preferably, what scares them. Phantasmal Killer needs none of that besides what you need to know to appease your lord in the execution of your duties. Killer digs into their minds and plays an illusion just for them, so it’s the easier of the two to make useful.

There are a lot of multiclass options that work for this type of character. I really don’t think a full on cleric is the most optimal. A lot of the spells that delve into the fear of your target demands a spell caster and not divine. But neither do I feel playing a warlock alone is the best. You COULD have a warlock of a Celestial patron, but you will need to rearrange the spells added.

SPELLS OPTIMAL FOR A DOOMBRINGER’S THRALL

Level One

  • Cause Fear
  • Detect Evil
  • Dissonant Whispers
  • Hunter’s Mark (from Ranger list)
  • Hex (from Warlock list)
  • Silent Image

Level Two

  • Alter Self (take on the visage that inflicts fear and rememberance)
  • Detect Thoughts
  • Tasha’s Mind Whip
  • Zone of Truth

Level Three

  • Dispel Magic
  • Major Image
  • Spirit Shroud

Level Four

  • Raulothim’s Psychic Lance
  • Shadow of Moil

Level Five

  • Mislead
  • Seeming

Level Six

  • Programmed Illusion
  • Forbiddance
  • Tasha’s Otherworldly Gaze

Level Seven

  • Mirage Arcane

Level Eight

  • Maddening Darkness
  • Telepathy

Level Nine

  • Psychic Scream
  • Weird
  • Ravenous Void

If you do go either cleric or warlock, you will need to adjust the extra spells. The above list can help. Basically, the spells that make illusions, especially if it pulls images from the enemy’s mind like Phantasmal Force and Phantasmal Killer, are highly useful. Building a Vengeance Domain around such spells or going Oath of Vengeance Paladin is a beginning. The only problem is the caveat of ‘poetic justice’.

You COULD play him straight vengeance and retribution, but you loose a lot of the flavor. Hoar is a thinking man’s patron/deity. It is not simply enough to hunt the culprit down and punish him. Hoar expects you to make the punishment a divine irony of sorts. When people talk of his death, there is a bit of ironic destiny involved. Your god/patron expects no less; nay, he demands it.

So, a Cleric or Warlock mixed with Ranger would be optimum. Rangers are the perfect hunters. Hunter’s mark alone makes this a perfect fit. Maybe, even more a fit would be Ranger/Wizard. A lot of the spells you will need to delve into the fears of the prey come from Illusion spells. But necromancy (or any) spells that cause fear are useful. I’m playing a Bladesong Wizard right now. And a segue from Level 2 Ranger to a Wizard of this type would be useful; joining the Arcane and Martial in a perfect tool for Hoar.

Enchantments, however, should probably be avoided. Your role as dispenser of retribution does not allow you to use control spells and you do not wish for your prey to flee (mostly). So control or domination spells will not bring Hoar any satisfaction. He want the culprit to react naturally and fully feel the wrath of his sentence. It might be a bit funny at the table, but you want them to live (if they are allowed to) with the weight of what they have done. You don’t want them to fill manipulated or controlled. This only gives them reason to dismiss the lesson entirely.

AMPHITHEATER OF THE FIRST THUNDER

According to what map you adhere to, Threskel may or may not even exist on Faerun. But, if it doesn’t, you can always drop this place holy to Hoar into another setting. Apparently, from the time the king of this land actually worshiped the Doombringer fervently, this amphitheater has stood as a bastion of the justice of Hoar. Both the accused and accusers meet in battle and those devoted to the way of justice believe that Hoar shows his judgment here. There was a temple deep under the complex.

I’m very tempted to develop two other complexes of some sort just to flesh out the other two thunders. Seems fitting.

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