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Roleplaying Elements from
Deities & Demigods
By Rich Redman, Skip Williams, James Wyatt

The Lore of the Gods

Book Two: The Asgardians

Lead Designers Steven Creech and Kevin Ruesch Lead Editor Steven Schend Creative Director Jim Butler Art Director Todd Morasch
Illustrations Michael Nickovich Typesetter Joshua Gilchrist

Page 232 of Brown, Abbie Farwell (1902). “In the Days of Giants: A Book of Norse Tales” Illustrations by E. Boyd Smith. Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Author Elmer Boyd Smith

Balder (Aesir)
The Dying God; God of light and tears; God of peace, love and beauty
Intermediate Deity
Home Plane:
Asgard before death, Niflheim afterward
Neutral Good
Good, Healing, Knowledge
Domain: Beauty, Light, Music, poetry, Renewal
Symbol: Golden Chalice
Traditional Allies: Nearly all of the Aesir
Traditional Foes: Loki, undead
Divine Artifact: Mace of Holy Brilliance
Favored Weapon: Mace
Worshipers: Bards, Gnomes
Cleric Alignments: CG, LG, NG
Favored Class:
Favored Race:
Benefits: clerics of Balder gain an inherent +2 bonus to Turning Checks against undead.

Balder, whose name means ‘The Glorious,’ was the god of innocence, beauty, joy, purity, and peace, was the favorite of the gods, Odin‘s and Frigg’s second son and brother to Thor. Renowned for his beauty. Considered to be a very handsome and wise god, he was worshipped as the god of light because his was so great that light shined from within him. Balder led an idyllic life until he became troubled by ominous dreams. His wife is called Nanna and his son Forseti. Baldr has a ship, the largest ever built, named Hringham, and a hall, called Breidablik.

Apart from this gushing description Balder is known primarily for the myth surrounding his death. His death is seen as the first in the chain of events which will ultimately lead to the destruction of the gods at Ragnarok. Balder will be reborn in the new world, however, as foretold in the Völuspá. With this resurrection in mind, he is classified as a life-death-rebirth deity.

He was beloved by all the other gods. One night he had a dream foretelling his death (or his mother had the same dreams). Since dreams were usually prophetic, this depressed him. When he told the rest of the Aesir of this dream, they sought to protect him, his mother Frigg exacted an oath from fire and water, iron and all kinds of metals, stones, earth, trees, ailments, beasts, birds, poison, and serpents, every object on earth vow never to harm Balder.

All but one, an insignificant weed called the mistletoe, made this vow. Frigg had thought it too unimportant and nonthreatening to bother asking it to make the vow (alternatively, it seemed too young to swear). When Loki, the mischief-maker, heard of this, he made a magical spear from this plant (in some later versions, an arrow). He hurried to the place where the gods were gods delighted with Balder’s invulnerability and amused themselves by hurling objects at him, which would bounce off without harming him. Loki tricked Balder’s blind twin, the blind God Hod, into throwing a sharpened spear made of mistletoe at Balder, guiding Hod’s hand so it aimed at his brother’s heart. Thus inadvertently killing his brother with as it struck his heart and Balder died instantly. For this act, Odin and Rind had a child named Váli, who was born solely to punish Hod, who was slain.

Balder was ceremonially burnt upon his ship, Hringhorni, the largest of all ships. His wife, Nanna, died of grief and heartache at the news of his death threw herself on the funeral fire and was burned with him on the funeral boat to await the end of Ragnarok when she would be reunited with her husband . The dwarf Lit was kicked by Thor into the funeral fire and burnt alive. Balder’s horse with all its trappings was also burned on the pyre. The ship was set to sea by Hyrrokin, a giantess, who came riding on a Wolf and gave the ship such a push that fire flashed from the rollers and all the earth shook.

Upon Frigg’s entreaties, that someone journey to the underworld to ransom her son. Hermod the Brave, messenger of the gods, volunteered to go. Hermod rode to the Underworld to ask Hel to release Balder so he might live again. Hel agreed on the condition that all living things shed a single tear for him. And all did, except one giantess named Thokk (who was Loki in disguise) who refused to mourn the slain god and doomed Balder to his death. Thus Balder had to remain in the underworld, not to emerge until after Ragnarok, when he and his brother Hod would be reconciled and rule the new earth together with Thor’s sons.

When the gods discovered that the giantess had been Loki in disguise, they hunted him down and bound him to three rocks. Then they tied a serpent above him, the venom of which dripped onto his face. His wife Sigyn gathered the venom in a bowl, but from time to time she had to turn away to empty it, at which point the poison would drip onto Loki, who writhed in pain, thus causing earthquakes. He would free himself, however, in time to attack the gods at Ragnarok.

Legends of Ragnarok declare that Balder will return to life at that time and lead the new created world in to a new age.


Despite his attractiveness, Balder is not a vain god. He is loyal to Odin and the other Aesir, and never fails to fulfill his obligations to them. When an ugly man or woman demonstrates his worth by performing a self-sacrificing deed of great importance, Balder often rewards the individual.

Balder’s cult has two facets. One teaches that the mental and emotional state achieved while creating beautiful objects brings the artist closer to the gods. It also teaches that the gods deserve reverence and gratitude as the sources of artistic inspiration. The other facet teaches that out of great tragedy come new growth, new opportunity, and new hope for the future. It focuses on renewal and rebirth by reminding mortals that even the beautiful and beloved Balder had to suffer in order to become a god when the cycles changed. As with other Asgardian cults, Balder’s worshipers teach acceptance of fate, but in their case, they try to accept it with a smile and laughter.

Omens from Balder are usually delivered by a handsome or beautiful member of the opposite sex.

Clergy and Temples

Not all of Balder’s clergy possess great physical beauty, but a disproportionate number of them do, they are expected to treat the less fortunate with compassion and kindness. They dress simply but well. Many are skilled artists. Those seeking comfort after a great loss are well advised to seek someone in Balder’s service.

Balder’s temples are sturdy forts, like most Asgardian temples. They are the most beautiful and well-designed temples of the pantheon without being gilded, luxurious, or overdone. Their beauty comes from elegance and simplicity. Not only are the carvings and paintings lovely, but the buildings themselves are skillfully designed for their locations and environments. Temples to Balder usually appear in areas with high gnome populations, and the signs of their artistry are clear. Wooden tools, implements, and weapons are forbidden in Balder’s temples. The temples generally contain a small armory and workshops or studios where the clergy can receive the god’s inspiration.

Visitors to Balder’s temples can feel overwhelmed by the grace and elegance, though the clerics are open and smiling. Those seeking comfort receive it with as much privacy as they desire. Those seeking inspiration are told stories or shown artwork related to their particular talent. Bards are particularly welcome, and many temples host performances by famous skalds.

Barbarian 20/Bard 20
Medium-Size  outsider
Divine Rank14
Hit Dice20d8+180 (outsider) plus 20d6+180 (Brd) plus 20d12+180 (Bbn)
(1,060 hp)
Initiative+12 (+8 Dexterity, +4 Improved Initiative)
Speed70 ft.
AC76 (+8 Dexterity, +27 natural, +14 divine, +17 deflection)
Attacks+5 bane* keen holy greatsword +70/ +65/+60/+55 melee; or spell +64 melee touch or +62 ranged touch *+72/+67/+62/+57 against evil outsiders.
Damage+5 bane* keen holy greatsword 2d6+20/15-20 or by spell *4d6+20/ 15-20 against evil outsiders.
Face/Reach5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft.
Special AttacksDomain powers, salient divine abilities, spell-like abilities.
Divine immunities, DR 49/+4 (4/–), fire resistance 34, sonic resistance 34, fast healing 34, spontaneous casting of divine spells, understand speak, and read all languages and speak directly to all beings within 14 miles, remote communication, godly realm, teleport without error at will, plane shift at will, fast movement, bardic knowledge +28, bardic music 24/day (countersong, fascinate, inspire competence, inspire courage, inspire greatness, suggestion) range 14 miles, uncanny dodge (cannot be flanked, +4 against traps), SR 46, divine aura (1,400 ft., DC 41).
SavesFort +55, Ref +54, Will +54.
AbilitiesStrength 31, Dexterity 27, Constitution 29, Intelligence 27, Wisdom 27, Charisma 44.
Skills*Alchemy +44, Appraise +44, Balance +51, Bluff +58, Climb +48, Concentration +50, Craft (metalworking) +54, Craft (stoneworking) +54, Decipher Script +34, Diplomacy +66, Disguise +58, Escape Artist +49, Gather Information +58, Hide +49, Intimidate +62, Intuit Direction +54, Jump +48, Knowledge (arcana) +27, Knowledge (nature) +27, Knowledge (the planes) +27, Listen +44, Move Silently +39, Perform +105, Scry +44, Sense Motive +49, Spellcraft +49, Spot +44, Swim +46, Tumble +46, Use Magic Device +41, Wilderness Lore +44. *Always receives a 20 on checks.
FeatsAlertness, Blind-Fight, Cleave,Combat Casting, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Endurance,Combat Expertise, Extra Music, Great Cleave,Improved Critical (greatsword), Improved Initiative, Jack of All Trades, MobilityPower Attack, Power Critical (greatsword), Spring
, Superior Expertise, Weapon Focus (greatsword), WhirlwindAttack.
Ability damage, ability drain, acid, cold, death effects, disease, disintegration,electricity, energy drain, mind-affecting effects, Paralysis, poison, sleep, stunning, transmutation, imprisonment, banishment.
Divine Abilities
Alter Form, Alter RealityAlter Size, Area Divine Shield, Divine Bard, Divine BlastDivine Fast HealingDivine Rage, Divine Recall (every person or thing of beauty), Divine Shield, Divine Skill Focus (Perform), Gift of Life, Increased Energy Resistance (sonic), Irresistible
(all abilities), Mass Divine Blast, Rejuvenation,
Domain PowersCast good spells at +1 caster level; cast healing spells at +1 caster level; cast divination spells at +1 caster level.
Balder uses these abilities as a 24th-level caster, except for good
spells, healing spells, and divination spells, which he uses as a 25th-level caster. The save DCs are 41 + spell level. AidBlade Barrier, clairaudience/ clairvoyance, cure critical wounds, cure light wounds, cure moderate wounds,Cusdetect secret doors, detect thoughts,
discern locationdispel evil, divination, find the pathforesight, heal, Healing Circle, holy auraholy smite, holy word, legend loremagic circle against evil, mass heal, protection from evil, regenerate, summon monster IX (as good spell only), true resurrection, true
The following changes are in effect as long as Balder rages: AC 71; hp 1,360; attacks +75/+70/+65/+60 melee (2d6+25/15-20, +5 bane keen holy greatsword); SQ Fire resistance 44, sonic resistance 44, SR 56; SV Fort +60, Will +59; Strength 41, Constitution 39; Climb +53, Concentration +55, Jump +53, Swim +51. His rage can be used 14 times per day, it lasts for 1 hour (or until ended), and he is not winded afterward.

Bard Spells Known (4/9/8/8/8/8/7; base DC = 27 + spell level):

Other Divine Powers

As an intermediate deity, Balder automatically receives a die result of 20 on any check. He treats a 1 on a saving throw or attack roll normally and not as an automatic failure. He is immortal.

Senses: Balder can see, hear, touch, and smell at a distance of fourteen miles. As a standard action, he can perceive anything within fourteen miles of his worshipers, holy sites, objects, or any location where one of his titles or name was spoken in the last hour. He can extend his senses to up to ten locations at once. He can block the sensing power of deities of his rank or lower at up to two remote locations at once for 14 hours.

Portfolio Sense: Balder senses anything involving objects of beauty and discussions and comparison of beauty the instant it happens and fourteen weeks into the past.

Automatic Actions: Balder can use Appraise, Craft (metalworking), or Craft (stoneworking) as a free action if the DC for the task is 25 or lower. He can use Perform as a free action if the DC for the task is 39 or lower. He can perform up to ten such free actions each round.

Create Magic Items: Balder can create magic instruments and magic art tools and supplies, as long as the item’s market price does not exceed 200,000 gp.

Artifacts that the Avatar May Possess:

Mace of Holy Brilliance

This heavy mace in constructed of oak and ivory and is a +5 Brilliant Energy, disruption, ghost touch, Holy weapon with the following special powers (at 20th level):

-Can be used to invoke the Sunbeam power, as if it were a Sunblade.

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