Surtr is the patron of fire giants, and of the same generation as Thrym and Skoraeus. Like his brother Thrym, he has also become obsessed with the affairs of the Aesir, in part due to his hatred of the god Freyr. He is much more patient than his chaotic brother, and is willing to wait until the right time to make his move and lead his armies against Asgard, and slowly builds the strength of his warriors. Enjoy!
Surtr (PDF Version)
(Lord of the Fire Giants, the Black, the Black One, the Swarthy One, Lord of Volcanoes)
Intermediate Power of Ysgard, LE
Portfolio: Fire, destruction and rebirth through fire, smithing, iron, war, volcanoes, patience, fire giants
Aliases: Surt, Surtur
Domain Name: Muspelheim/Muspelheim and Ysgard/Jotunheim (Meerrauk)
Allies: Garyx, Grolantor, Hastsezini, Imix, Karontor, Kossuth
Foes: Clangeddin Silverbeard, Darahl Firecloak, Diancastra, Freyr, Thrym, Zaaman Ruul, the Aesir and Vanir, the dwarvish and gnomish pantheons, the Seldarine
Symbol: Flaming sword
Wor. Align.: LN, N, CN, LE, NE, CE
Surtr (SURR-ter) the Black is the giantish god of fire and fire in its destructive forms, smithing, volcanoes, and patron of fire giants. He seen as the eldest of Annam’s second generation of sons, brother to Thrym and Skoraeus Stonebones by the same mother, often depicted as Gaea, Chauntea, Beory, Ninhursag, or another goddess of the earth. At his core, the Lord of Volcanoes is a very utilitarian being, believing that tools should do the job they are expected to do and nothing more. Fire is one of these tools, and one of the most important ones in the Jotunbrud’s arsenal; it can form metal into thousands of useful shapes and it burns away all that is old and broken-down to make way for the new. Like his brothers, the Swarthy One chose one of the breeds of giant as his chosen followers, and claims dominion over their preferred habitats. He inherited his father’s trait of great patience and is willing to wait long periods of time for opportunities to act on his goals; however, his rage and anger simmer like a long-dormant volcano during these periods, and he explodes with terrible ferocity with the time is just right. While his brother Skoraeus is the patron of craftsmanship in general and the arts specifically, the Lord of the Fire Giants cares only for utility in the items his followers create; function over form is the ideal he believes in. While few besides the fire giants actively worship him, he is often called upon when matters of war and weaponmaking arise among the Jotunbrud.
Surtr spends much of his time watching and interfering in the affairs of another pantheon of deities entirely: the Aesir of Asgard (with whom he lumps the Vanir of Vanaheim as well). While most members of the Ordning have had rather poor relations with those who dwell in Asgard, the Swarthy One considers each raid, each insult, and each marriage or dalliance with a giantess by the Aesir and their followers a personal affront. Much of this is due simply to his domain in Jotunheim being closer to Asgard than any save Thrymheim, so contact between his followers and the residents of the Aesir’s lands has been lengthier and more frequent than most of his sibling deities. Surtr especially holds a long-standing grudge against Freyr, for the Lord of Sunbeams wooed away the beautiful mountain giantess Gerdr, whom the Lord of Volcanoes himself had wished to take as a wife. Surtr has confronted the Sunbeam of the Vanir on multiple occasions, but the inconclusive battles do nothing to discourage him. He has heard the prophesies in which he is fated to lead his armies of fire giants to cleanse all the worlds in fire, and with them face the arrayed might of the Aesir, and on that day will he slay Freyr. He is content to wait until that day, slowly letting his hatred build inside.
Besides the Aesir, Surtr often comes into conflict with the Morndinsamman and the gnomish pantheon, as followers of each prize mountains as domains. He holds them all in equal contempt, but has faced Clangeddin the most in battle, as might be expected of one called the Father of Battles. He also holds the Seldarine as foes, for he fought alongside his brothers in an ancient war with the elven powers over the forested lands that have come to be known as Arvandor. However, simply because the lands of the elves and the lands of the fire giants rarely coincide, he has only crossed paths with Darahl Firecloak more than once since that time. The Lord of Volcanoes sees him as a misguided fool who has no real understanding of elemental fire or earth, and for his part, the Lord of the Green Flame has wisely not attempted direct combat due to the significant difference in power.
With his attention diverted to such outside affairs, it is little wonder that he can call few of his brethren in the Ordning true allies. He despises his brother Thrym above all, seeing him as a stupid and impulsive drunkard, and when not sending his warriors to raid Asgard, he often sends them to raid Thrymheim. Neither does he hold any love for his other brother Skoraeus, whom the Lord of Volcanoes considers a coward frightened by the realities of the multiverse. He respects Stronmaus and Memnor’s strength, but holds no love for them, and considers Grolantor and Karontor disgusting brutes, although he keeps these feelings to himself and has no qualms about manipulating either of them to serve his purposes. While he does not see females on a level with males, he does respect Hiatea’s abilities and prowess, although he is disgruntled at what he sees as her encroachment on his portfolio of fire by her use of pyromancy. Surtr considers Iallanis soft and passive, although he appreciates her efforts to bring giants together in marriage; as far as the Swarthy One is concerned, that will only increase the size of his armies. Finally, he despises what he considers the impudent and bratty antics of Diancastra, and hates her for playing a trick on one of his powerful wizardly servants and losing a valuable and unique spellbook to her in the process. The only member of the Ordning that the lord of Volcanoes holds a deep respect and love for is the All-Father himself. Despite these feelings, he can rely on most of the other members of the Ordning, and they can rely on him, if their followers face an existential threat that has the potential to endanger the other giantish breeds as well.
The Lord of the Fire Giants does have some he can call true allies, however. He is close with a number of powers of the Elemental Plane of Fire, notably the Prince of Elemental Evil, Imix; Surtr’s followers often serve as mercenaries in the Archomental’s armies. He is also on good terms with Kossuth; the Tyrant-King of Fire approves of the use of fire as a tool and agent of purification, and his firenewt followers have been known to dwell with fire giants for mutual defense. While their followers rarely encounter each other, Surtr has long had an alliance with the Black God of Fire, Hastsezini, another power of the Plane of Fire. Finally, despite the general animosity between the draconic pantheon and the giantish gods, the Lord of Volcanoes and Garyx, the dragon deity of fiery destruction have a shared alliance through their mutual desire to burn all the worlds of the multiverse with cleansing fire. Both feel that after that task is accomplished, they can battle each other for domination for what remains.
Surtr is an active deity, but much of his concentration is reserved for watching the Aesir and waiting for his final battle with them. As such, he only rarely sends his avatars to the prime material plane, unless there is an opportunity to interfere with the plots of the deities of Asgard. He may send an avatar if a large community of fire giants is under an extreme threat of destruction, particularly if that is through the actions of dwarves or followers of the Aesir. Otherwise, he prefers to use manifestations and rely on his followers inherent strengths.
Surtr’s Avatar (Fighter 34, Cleric 20, Fire Elementalist 20)
Surtr appears as a stout humanoid some 22 feet tall with coal-black skin, bright red-orange or charcoal-grey hair and beard, and clad in iron plate armor. He is regal and domineering, arrogant but patient. While he primarily casts spells from the school and sphere of elemental fire, he can cast spells from all schools except elemental water and necromancy, and the priest sphere of elemental water.
AC −2; MV 18; HP 219; THAC0 −9; #AT 5/2
Dmg 3d10+19 + 1d10 heat damage (giant two-handed sword +5, +12 Str, +2 spec. bonus in two-handed sword)
MR 20%; SZ G (22 feet tall)
Str 24, Dex 12, Con 22, Int 19, Wis 14, Cha 20
Spells P: 11/9/9/8/7/5/2, W: 6/6/6/6/6/5/4/4/3*
Saves PPDM 2; RSW 5; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 6
* Numbers assume one extra elemental fire spell per spell level.
Special Att/Def: Surtr wields Bjartasverd, a giant two-handed sword +5 of solid flame that shines as bright as the sun which deals an additional 1d10 points of damage from the intense heat on a successful strike. A single touch from this blade can set alight nearly any substance, unless it makes a successful saving throw vs. magical fire with a −4 penalty. The resulting fire causes 1d10 points of damage per round to any creature in contact with the flames. The sword deals maximum damage to any cold-based or arctic-dwelling creature. Creatures protected from fire suffer only half damage from the weapon, while those completely immune to fire suffer only minimum damage from Bjartasverd.
Anyone who touches Surtr’s red-hot iron plate mail +3 suffers 1d10 points of damage; this includes any successful melee attacks. He can heat metal at will with a simple touch, and once per day can cast burning hands (for double range and damage), Agannazar’s scorcher, flaming sphere, fireball, fire shield (hot version), wall of fire, and flame strike. In addition to any other attacks, he can unleash a flaming meteor (as Melf’s minute meteors) every other round.
Surtr is completely immune to all forms of heat or fire except those of divine origin. Bathing or immersing himself in extremely hot liquids (molten metal, lava, etc.) is invigorating and allows him to regenerate two hit points per round while he submersed, as well as for one turn after he leaves the liquid. He suffers one extra point of damage per die from any cold-based spells or attacks.
Surtr takes a direct interest in his followers, and uses manifestations often. Most commonly, he wraps a devout follower in the midst of battle in heat of Muspelheim with twice the effect; all fire giants know instinctively when this is a divinely granted effect and fight with extra vigor, gaining a +1 bonus to their attack rolls and morale. On occasions where clergy members are faced with strong and vigorous attacks from followers of one of the Swarthy One’s hated foes, he may protect key individuals with the hot version of a fire shield spell. Most rarely of all, devout warriors who have lost their weapon may be granted one from the vast stores of weaponry Surtr keeps in preparation for the final battle at the end of the world. Weapons may be magical or non-magical; if non-magical, they are expertly crafted of the finest metals with an extra-sharp cutting edge (+1 to damage). If he grants a magical weapon to the warrior, it may be a flametongue, or a weapon especially suited to the foes the devout follower faces. The gift may be permanent, but is usually temporary. Warriors are usually expected to offer the weapon to high member of the clergy or a powerful and respected chief. If the gift was temporary and they do not give it up when their need is done, the Lord of the Fire Giants strikes the warrior down and retrieves the weapon himself. Finally, followers who cast themselves into sacred pools of lava rather than let foes slay them may have their prayers answered. In such cases, a phantom stalker is summoned with the mission of slaying those who lead to the death of follower’s self-sacrifice. He sends omens to his priests in the licking flames of forge-fires, in the swirling and bubbling patterns of pools of lava, and the heat shimmers and smoke clouds that are found above those same heat sources.
Surtr is served by ash mephits, ash quasielementals, azer, belkers, efreet, fire bats, fire elementals, fire mephits, fire minions, firedrakes, flame linnorms, firenewts, hell hounds, lava children, magma mephits, magma paraelementals, magmen, phantom stalkers, pyrohydras, pyrolisks, red dracimerae, red dragons, smoke mephits, and smoke paraelementals. He displays his favor through the discovery of meteoric iron, high quality iron ores, and destroyed relics of the Vanir deity Freyr, as well as agni mani, black sapphires, fire agate, fire opals, flamedance, hematite, jacinths, jet, obsidian, and smoky quartz. He displays his displeasure through the discovery of fatal flaws in otherwise perfect-looking iron, newly-created ferrous equipment that rusts away in an instant, and armor and weaponry that shatters or breaks during its first use.
Clergy: Clerics, specialty priests, crusaders, shamans, witch doctors, wizards
Clergy’s Align.: LN, LE, NE
Turn Undead: C: No, SP: No, Cru: No, Sha: No, WD: No, W: No
Cmnd. Undead: C: Yes, SP: No, Cru: No, Sha: No, WD: No, W: No
All clerics, specialty priests, shamans, and witch doctors of Surtr receive religion (giantish) and religion (Aesir/Vanir) as bonus nonweapon proficiencies. All priest-class clergymembers are allowed to take proficiency in and use two-handed swords. At 5th level, clerics, shamans, and witch doctors can enchant a firestone (as detailed below) once per month; specialty priests can do so regardless of level.
As the lord and patron of fire giants, Surtr is rarely venerated by other members of the Jotunbrud. His clergy is deeply respected amongst that breed; while they are never kings or chiefs, they are close advisors to the rulers. They are known for their loyalty and devotion to Surtr and the fire giant race. A handful of other giantish tribes worship him as their chief god; these tend to be verbeeg or fomorians who live in volcanic or desert regions. He is sometimes called upon by giant smiths of other breeds to bless their forges and crafts, but even this is uncommon.
The Black One’s temples are heavily fortified structures; they are typically thick-walled castles near volcanic peaks or deep caverns near great lava pools. Coal-filled braziers, pots of burning pitch, lava pools, and active forges keep the ambient temperature high and the air filled with smoke. Many temples also make use of firestones (see below) to heat and protect the altar room. Typically, the altar is a large block of dark igneous rock, such as basalt or granite, surmounted with an excellently crafted fifteen-foot long sword lying flat in stand. These altars are often enchanted as firestones as well. The wall behind the altar, and sometimes the rest of the altar chamber, is decorated with a large painting depicting scenes of Surtr defeating his foes. Shrines are very similar in design, but scaled down. They have many of the same features, but usually only occupy a smaller structure in a giant fortress
Novices of Surtr are known as the Unburned. Full priests are known as Firebringers. In ascending order of rank, the titles used by the Black One’s priesthood are Master of Soot, Master of Smoke, Master of Candles, Master or Torches, Master of Pitch, Master of Blaze, Master of Conflagrations, and Master of the Sword. Specialty priests are known as brightswords. Fire giants (82%) make up the bulk of Surtr’s clergy, although smaller numbers of mountain giants (7%), verbeeg (3%), fomorians (2%), and other giantish races (6%) fill out the priesthood. The clergy of the Lord of Fire Giants is particularly dominated by males (78%); females aren’t often drawn to his service and not all sects allow them to join. Surtr’s clergy includes specialty priests (39%), shamans (32%), clerics (11%), crusaders (9%), witch doctors (8%), and wizards (1%).
XP Value: 500 GP Value: 2,000
A firestone is a large piece of rock enchanted by priests of Surtr, god of the fire giants. After a week of ritual, prayer, and study of the ambient magical energies of the rock’s location, a single piece of stone up to eight cubic feet in size (normally a ten-foot-by-ten-foot area to a depth of one foot, or a two-foot diameter boulder) begins to radiate heat. Fire giants use firestones to warm their lairs to a comfortable temperature when they are forced to live in an environment that is generally too cold for their tastes.
The temperature of the firestone rises to about 150°F (66°C), hot enough to cause a point of damage if touched with bare skin, or 1 point per round of exposure through metal, wood, or thick leather (such as by standing on a firestone floor). Alternately, the priest can focus the magic onto a three-foot-square area of stone, which causes it to heat to a temperature just under that of burning paper (about 400°F); momentary contact with this surface does two points of heat damage, and continued contact causes ld4 damage per round. This variant is normally used to make a cooking surface, especially in places in which wood is scarce.
A firestone is relatively fragile in terms of magical durability; a dispel magic spell can easily dispel it, as will exposure to any sort of magical cold. Breaking or moving the firestone will also cause its magic to fade as it loses its connection to the magical energies flowing from its environment. The XP value listed above is only for the creation of a firestone by non-Surtran spellcasters.
Dogma: Flame is pure, cleansing, and sterile; those who purge themselves in fire grow strong. The weak burn, the impure burn, the strong survive. Prepare for the day Surtr cleanses the world with fire, burning away the old and making way for the new. The forge is the ultimate device for creation; never let it burn out and always create new weapons, armor, and tools for the glorification of the Lord of the Fire Giants, and make him proud of the creations. Crush the followers of the Morndinsamman and the Aesir whenever you encounter them.
Day-to-Day Activities: Surtr’s clergy spends much of their time at the forge. They create equipment to better arm their tribe, as well as creating tools and equipment to use in trade. Items forged by the priesthood are generally of fine quality or better; they never create crude items unless the need is urgent. They also organize and direct the work of other giant smiths in their tribe. Many priests also design and create complex mechanical devices, used mostly for traps, but they have been known to create massive geared structures as well. When not performing any of these tasks, they can also be found training pets, especially hell hounds, as well as captives, such as trolls or red dragons.
Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: The most important ceremony amongst the priesthood of the Lord of Fire Giants is the Feast of Surtr. Taking place over the three days leading up to Midsummer Day, the giants feast and have contests of craftsmanship and sport. Finally, at noon on Midsummer Day, each giant casts an item into a sacrificial flame; most of the time, these are items of personal importance to the giant, although items of value such as jewelry are also accepted. They do this to temper spirit and to show Surtr that their devotion to his cause trumps their worldly interests. After the casting of items is complete, the priests lead the tribe in a lengthy prayer to the Black One, and the day culminates with a final bout of revelry.
Major Centers of Worship: Pools of particularly hot lava found deep underground are considered especially sacred to Surtr, and devout giants often make pilgrimages to such locations to worship. Many such sites will have a towering statue of the Black One erected nearby, so he can watch over his charges. Some followers believe that sacrifices of treasure bring particular favor upon themselves, especially in times of dire need. Giants defend such sites with their life, and if the battles go badly against them, particularly devout followers will throw themselves into the lava in hopes such a sacrifice will rain Surtr’s wrath down upon their foes.
One of the largest known populations of Surtr’s followers are the fire giants who inhabit the continent to the south of Io’s Blood Isles. They have established a large kingdom under the reign of Rjolotr; one of the hallmarks of this kingdom is the considerable influence the clergy of Surtr holds. The high priest at the top of the hierarchy is Lord of the Fire Sword Hyrstojn, who presides over the clergy from the massive fortress Stor Sladr at the edge of a volcanic caldera.
The island of Tuern, in the Trackless Sea on Toril, has a rare seafaring kingdom of fire giants who trade with, but more often raid, nearby islands using their gargantuan longships. They are an especially devout people, with an elaborate temple dedicated to the Black One in their hell-protected harbor town.
The Hellfurnaces on Oerth, a mountain chain filled with volcanoes bordering the Sea of Dust, is known to contain at least a half dozen large fire giant keeps, each with its own shrine or temple. Deep beneath the mountains, near the Sunless Sea, lies a pool of lava, similar to those described above, that is especially sacred to Surtr. Giants can commonly be found on a pilgrimage, or just returning from one, to this holy pool.
Affiliated Orders: Martial orders are common amongst fire giant tribes that follow Surtr. The most common is a group of clerics, specialty priests, and crusaders known as the Black One’s Shields. They function as protectors of Surtr’s temples, shrines, and holy sites, defending them from enemies of the Lord of the Fire Giants, and leading strikes upon those that have defiled his holy places. The Searchers of the Unburned is a far flung group of specialty priests, crusaders, and warriors who search the known spheres for places sacred to Surtr that have been lost or forgotten, as well as new lands suitable for fire giants to dwell in. They are known to have bases of operation in Greatspace, Realmspace, and Greyspace. They are believed to be using former dwarven Citadels as their bases, staying mobile with their own versions of the dwarven forges; this has yet to be confirmed to the satisfaction of wildspace sages, however. They are known to also operate smaller vessels, including Tradesmen and Hammerships which have been gutted to accommodate the great height of the giants.
Priestly Vestments: The ceremonial garb of Surtr’s priests is a set of elaborate black iron plate armor with bright red or gold accents. They wear large open-faced iron helms, equally embellished with red or gold. Finally, for the most formal of occasions, they wear expensive red robes over the armor. The holy symbol used by the clergy is a small iron sword worn on a chain around the neck.
Adventuring Garb: Priests of the Lord of Fire Giants wear the same armor and garb as their tribe’s warriors do when not performing their ceremonial duties. Whenever they can, they wear heavy plate armor and use large two handed swords, although they will use other weapons and equipment if necessary.
Specialty Priests (Brightswords)
Requirements: Constitution 12, Wisdom 12
Prime Req.: Wisdom
Major Spheres: All, charm, combat, divination, elemental earth, elemental fire, healing, protection, war
Minor Spheres: Creation, law, necromantic
Magical Items: Same as clerics
Req. Profs: Armorer or weaponsmithing (pick one), two-handed sword
Bonus Profs: Blacksmithing
- While most brightwords are fire giants, verbeeg, fomorians, and mountain giants are sometimes called to Surtr’s service.
- Brightswords may not be multi-classed.
- Brightswords may select nonweapon proficiencies from the warrior group without penalty.
- Brightswords can enchant a firestone as listed above by spending a week studying the stone they wish to enchant. For every five levels they obtain, they can either enchant double the volume or enchant the standard volume in half the time. Regardless, they can only perform an enchantment once per month.
- Brightswords can cast heat metal (as the 2nd-level priest spell) three times per day. A favorite tactic of the priests is to cast this spell on their weapons and armor in order to deal extra damage during combat.
- At 3rd level, brightwords can cast burning hands (as the 1st-level wizard spell) once per day. They only need to use one hand to cast this spell, and it has twice the range and damage.
- At 5th level, brightwords can cast wall of fire (as the 5th-level priest spell) once per day.
- At 7th level, brightwords can cast flame arrow (as the 3rd-level wizard spell) twice per day.
- At 9th level, brightwords can cast produce fire (as the 4th-level priest spell) or control temperature, 30′ radius (as the 4th-level priest spell with a greater radius) once per day. With the latter ability, they may only make an area warmer.
- At 12th level, brightwords can cast flame strike (as the 5th-level priest spell) once per day.
- At 15th level, brightwords can cast fire seeds (as the 6th-level priest spell) once per day.
Magmagout (Pr 3; Invocation/Evocation, Conjuration)
Sphere: Combat, Elemental Earth, Elemental Fire
Range: 30 yds.
Components: S, M
Casting Time: 6
Area of Effect: 1 creature
Saving Throw: ½
With this spell, a priest is able to spit a stream of hot, molten rock at a single foe. The magmagout causes 2d6 points of damage, plus 1d6 per three levels of the caster, with a successful save vs. spell reducing the damage by half. All other creatures within 10 feet of the victim must make a save vs. breath weapon to avoid taking half damage from the splash of magma. In the round following the initial gout of magma, the victim takes half the original damage (or one fourth if they make another save vs. spell) as the hot magma cools and hardens. Those splashed take no further damage. The victim suffers a −2 Armor Class penalty until the magma is removed, which requires one round after it has cooled.
The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and chunk of basalt, pumice, or obsidian.
Heat of Muspelheim (Pr 4; Alteration, Evocation)
Sphere: Elemental Fire
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 2 rds./level
Casting Time: 7
Area of Effect: 40-yd. radius
Saving Throw: ½
This spell creates a radiating blast of intense heat surrounding the caster. All those within 20 yards of the caster suffer 2d6 points of damage per round, while those between 20 yards and 40 yards suffer 1d6 points of damage per round. A successful saving throw vs. spell each round halves the damage; the caster is immune. The shimmering heat distortion of this spell causes all creatures within the 20 yard radius (including the caster) to be protected as if wearing a cloak of displacement (initial melee and missile attacks automatically miss; −2 AC bonus on subsequent attacks; +2 on saving throws vs. directed attacks such as spells, gazes, and breath weapons; and so on).
Those protected by spells such as resist fire are immune to the damage from heat of Muspelheim, but not the visual distortion effects; true seeing penetrates the distortion. This spell melts ice and snow (including that created by ice storm or wall of ice) and evaporates water, up to 10 cubic feet per round. If cast prior to an ice storm, the two spells cancel each other out. If cast prior to a wall of ice, heat of Muspelheim halves the wall’s dimensions.
The material component of this spell is a chunk of peat, coal, or charcoal that is burned during casting.
Brightsword (Pr 5; Conjuration/Summoning)
Sphere: Elemental Fire, Sun
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 1 rd./level
Casting Time: 8
Area of Effect: The caster
Saving Throw: None
When a priest casts this spell, he summons a two-handed sword that glows as hot and bright as the sun. This sword is perfectly suited for the priest and deals damage as normal for a sword used by him, with a bonus of +3 to hit and damage. In addition, it deals an extra 1d6 points of damage from heat to any creatures not immune to magical fire, and ignites any flammable material it comes in contact with. Against creatures that favor cold environments (white dragons, frost giants, ice paraelementals, etc.) or undead, it deals 1d6+4 points of heat damage. The priest must be protected from, or immune to, normal heat or fire in order to wield the blade; if not immune, the spell deals 1d10 points of damage upon summoning and immediately expires.
The material component for this spell is a ruby worth at least 100 gp, which is expended during the casting.