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Auril (pronounced AW-rill), also known as The Cold Goddess, The Frostmaiden, Icedawn, the Queen of Air and Darkness, and the Goddess of Winter, was a fickle, vain and evil deity, who was primarily venerated out of fear. She was most powerful in those regions that were affected by deep winters or crouched at the edges of the Great Glacier.
Sacrifices to the Frostmaiden were common, especially in the North, as people hoped to appease her and thus avoid cripplingly cold winters. She also had many secret temples along the Spine of the World that brought terror and dominion to small settlements of people trying to eke out a living.
Auril is the goddess of winter, and a servant of Talos, god of storms. She has a singular purpose: to cover the lands of Faerûn in ice. Not surprisingly, very few actively worship her – possibly some of the Frost Giants, although their own god Thyrm tends to hold their allegiance – but she’s feared and sacrifices are made to her in the northern lands, especially amongst the barbarian Uthgardt tribes of the Far North. Brother Zapp is also her worshipper, and she no doubt appreciates the opportunity to screw up the plans of the Evil Elemental powers as revenge for not being included. In addition the weapon Vane is an important part of the religious legacy of Auril (part of Brother Zapp’s backstory).
Auril’s clergy is loosely organized, and the main goals of most followers is to intimidate common folk and make them venerate the Frostmaiden to avoid reprisals from her clergy, or to have them make donations to her church. Some of her powerful clerics accumulated impressive personal wealth in this manner, some of which they sacrificed as offerings to Auril. Her priests wore ice white robes with blue trim, and were easily identified by the dire warnings they proclaimed of the wrath of Auril come the winter (“Winter is Coming!”). They were also known to cast cold based spells, many of which were described in the Codicil of White.
“Cover all the lands with ice. Quench fire wherever it is found. Let in the winds and the cold; cut down windbreaks and chop holes in walls and roofs that my breath may come in. Work in darkness to hide the cursed sun so that the chill I bring may slay. Take the life of an arctic creature only in great need, but slay others at will. Make all Faerûn fear me.”
Auril’s clergy are commanded to revere her and sing her praises into any chill breeze or winter wind. They are to make all creatures fear or worship her and to bring down her cold power against all so that all might know her and quake before her. They are not to raise their hands against any other cleric of Auril.
Titles / Ranks
Auril’s church had a few males within its ranks, and most clergy of the Frostmaiden were female. The entire church is very loosely and informally organized, and clergy members wandered and were largely independent. Most priests of Auril used only the honorific “Hand of Auril” or “Icebreath,” but at temples such as the House of Auril’s Breath at Glister the clergy used formal titles. In ascending order, these were:
- Storm Sister / Storm Brother
- Lady / Lord Cold
- Lady / Lord Deep Winter
- Lady / Lord Cold Circle
- High Hand of Ice
Auril’s church had no affiliated military or knightly orders. She was just not of a mind to sponsor prolonged military actions; she would rather send a blizzard down on those who offended her than troops. An odd assortment of cults and fellowships grew up around or became attached to her worship, though. These groups included the Cult of Frost, whose driving goal was the acquisition of the artifact known as the Ring of Winter; a group of wizards known as the Frost Witches, who recorded at least one tome of frost and cold magic in Auril’s name and were reputed to know the location of the Codicil of White, a priestly book describing Aurilian rituals and containing some wizard spells as well; and the Sisters of Istishia, who worshiped Istishia as a herald of cold and servant of Auril. The Sisters of Istishia’s worship seemed to benefit Istishia, not Auril, as a few Aurilian priestesses were given a mandate to seek out the Sisters and “correct” their theology.
- Alban Arthan (Winter Solstice), the longest night of the year.
- Midwinter (Night), 1 Hammer. This was the most holy night of the year for the clergy, a festival of ice-dancing that lasted all night.
- Last Storm (Vernal Equinox), 19 Ches
- The Coming (Winter Solstice), 20 Nightal. Informal but enthusiastically celebrated rituals where the priests gathered and called howling ice storms down on a region to mark the onset and end of winter.
Temples dedicated to Auril
- Icedawn’s House (South of Neshkel)
- The House of Auril’s Breath (Glister)
- The Towers of Fury (Calimport)
- The Winter Palace (Luskan)
- Ice Temple (located between Andora and the Wandering Village in Icewind Dale)
The Codicil of White
The Codicil was a magical book containing basic rites, rituals, services, and major ceremonies of Auril’s faith. The book also had several pages devoted to the goddess’ favorite arcane magic. It was created as a tool for Aurilian wizards and sorcerers to gain a better understanding of the faith.
More info here: Codicil of White
Known Worshipers of Auril
- Iyraclea – Self-styled queen of the Great Glacier
- Gerti Orelsdottr – effective leader of the Shining White frost giants
- Cierre – wandering drow surface spy
- Cefra Windrivver
- Lysan – Priestess (Icewind Dale)
- Odea of Andora – Druid (Icewind Dale II)
- Cathin – High Priestess of the Ice Temple (Icewind Dale II)
- Lysara – High Priestess of the Ice Temple (Icewind Dale II)
- Oria – High Priestess of the Ice Temple (Icewind Dale II)
- Thvara Baelm – Priestess of the Ice Temple (Icewind Dale II)
Note: Auril’s Chosen is one of the primary antagonists of Legacy of the Crystal Shard, the second adventure in the Sundering series.
During Legacy of the Crystal Shard, Auril invests part of her power into a scorned barbarian woman named Hedrun. You can gain a lot of insight into Auril’s state of mind when you learn that Auril froze Hedrun’s lover because Auril wanted Hedrun to love no-one but her. She takes jealousy to an art form. And fickle doesn’t even begin to describe her; she is amused by at first aiding her petitioners, only to betray them at the last moment. Despite that, she’s Neutral Evil, not Chaotic Evil.
The harsh winter that Auril and Hedrun created around the Ten Towns caused a few to convert to her worship – and several would have survived the adventurers who came to the region to end the unnatural winter. Whatever the result, Auril’s power is strongest in the frozen north, and those who travel there fear her power.
Despite Auril’s connection to ice, she does not feature in the Elemental Evil campaign, other than the odd cleric of Auril coming to investigate the Cult of the Howling Hatred and perhaps being opposed to them.