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Rich with lore and an intriguing origin story for life, the Tal’Dorei Reborn setting provides a breath of fresh air for Dungeon Masters and players alike. However, because the setting revolves around set campaigns in which exploration of specific motifs and worldbuilding elements may be restricted, readers may be left with a vast expanse of uncharted mythology. It is for this reason that I have written a quick analysis of one of the main Tal’Dorei deities: The Wildmother.
In this article, you’ll find an extrapolation of the Wildmother’s tenets of belief and commandments. I’ll also provide ideas for implementing these tenets and lore into your campaign, as well as a narrative sermon from a priestess of the Wildmother that explores the credo of this deity.
Tal’Dorei Wildmother Lore
Much like with the wild deity Silvanus in the Forgotten Realms setting, a feminine nature-based deity exists for the service of Druids, Clerics, woodland beings, and any creature who worships nature in the Tal’Dorei setting. A steward of nature and commander of the seas, this prime deity has been known to nurturingly contact her wards on the material plane when guidance is requested, and yet contradictingly does not shy from punishing those who defile her domain of untamed nature.
Essential to Tal’Dorei worldbuilding, the Wildmother stands at the center of the creation of humans with her lover and counterpart, the Lawbearer, whose impassioned romance is only tempered when the forces of civilization and nature are in balance:
Commandments of the Wildmother (Tal’Dorei Reborn, pg. 31):
- Protect the untamed wilderness from exploitation and destruction.
- Slay abominations and other mockeries of nature.
- Embrace and respect that which you cannot control in this world. Exist in harmony with it.
Complementary Lore from History
Analyzing nature-based religions and practices from human history, common themes and elements may be gleaned and repurposed to embellish the tenets and lore of the Wildmother. For example, the four elements of nature (air, fire, water, and earth) present a strong theme for nature-based religions, and the fifth element of spirit ties this theology with magick. Aristotle considered all material things to be made of matter and form, matter being the building blocks of earth and form being the spirit of all living things, or the soul.
Reductively, Neo-pagan beliefs, eclectically founded upon a myriad of cultures, accept that the natural world is the embodiment of the sacred, and that all things possess a spirit or energy (animism), finding sacred understanding in the natural world. As such, many religious naturalists believe themselves to be custodians over the Earth, protecting nature’s chaos and wisdom from the disillusion of modernity and destruction of industrialization.
Many naturalistic religions believe all of creation is interconnected. They honor the beauty, creativity, and mystery of nature itself. Philosophically, members of the naturalistic movements or religions seek to integrate the ethics of environmental protection, practices of sustainability, and a view of the sacredness of all life.
That being said, many nature-based religions or cultures understand and respect the destructive chaos of nature. Tumultuous storms, destructive wildfires, volatile tectonic activity, and so forth, are all natural processes. Some believe these disasters to occur when life on earth is in imbalance.
Specific nature-based religions and cultures can be explored in-depth to provide additional ideas for lore and tenets of the Wildmother. See: Playing a Celtic-Inspired Druid in Dungeons and Dragons 5e.
Example Sermon of a Wildmother Priestess
Providing specific examples of text for worshippers of a deity can present a challenge to any Dungeon Master. Below, I’ve taken from theologies of natural magic and written an example sermon one may incorporate into their campaign.
A Druid of the Wildmother may know this sermon by heart. It would be appropriate for a Dungeon Master to provide a printout of this sermon to a Wildmother follower, who can take pieces of it for their own bonds and ideals.
Alternatively, players in the Tal’Dorei setting may come across the Hierophant Ophera and listen to a portion of this sermon while they await an appropriate time to approach her during her vernal-equinox celebration with an informal Wildmother congregation.
A large portion of the inspiration for this sermon comes from the book “Elemental Magic: Traditional Practices for Working with the Energies of the Natural World” by Nigel Pennick.
Might and Main, a sermon from Ophera, High Hierophant of the temple of the Wildmother in Vasselheim
From the dust and earth granted by the eternal and wise Wildmother,
Our elemental flesh materializes at conception—
Our sturdy bones build as heavy stone.
Our liquescent blood flows as river water.
Our empowered nerves rouse as briny salt.
Our breath inflates with mirthy air, and our body heats with passionate fire.
Our soul leavens with Sprit, the fifth element—
And most importantly, our enigmatic intelligence emanates from the Divine.
From the moment of our first breathing-in, we partake of the cosmic energy around us, the spiritual and chemical essence of the Wildmother’s atmosphere, until the last breathing-out completes our mortal season. Through the Wildmother, when balance is achieved and we embrace that which we cannot control, we become aware of the subtle and mystical aura of the Weave that gently flows around and guides us.
In seeking balance with the cosmos, we achieve strength that is in harmony with our physical element and mental consciousness. It is only when we utilize our strength balanced by our intellect, matching our might with our main, we reach the liminal space wherein the Wildmother’s voice may infuse our soul with inspiration.
Equal and important elements of a being, might is the physical energy that powers the body’s actions, and main is the inner strength that empowers the soul. While might is required to provide the physical body with sustenance and muscle, main is necessary to will the body to live, enabling a soul to exert their magical influence on the world. Harmoniously, might and main work together to manifest the Wildmother’s magic.
Therefore, with your balanced might and main, protect the Wildmother’s wilderness from exploitation and destruction, overcoming mockeries of Her nature. Embrace and respect that which you cannot control, and exist in harmony with it, as your might and main too exist in harmony.
And as we approach the crossroads of death, our might or main, or both, abate. At the moment of departure, we lose both powers. The elements that make up the body are released
back to the care of the Wildmother. First returned is the air, our breath. Then fire, our heat, along with our power of awareness. Next, water departs in the form of our liquids. And the flesh decays to return the other elements. What remains long after our death are our stony bones and the influence we had on the wilderness under our aegis.
In this return to the Wildmother, our elements empower the creation of forthcoming life. Thus death need not be feared, but celebrated as a genesis of new life. For your elemental components shall live on in the bodies of all creatures of the material plane: from dust to dust.
End of Sermon.
There are many ways to incorporate the Wildmother into your Tal’Dorei campaign. My hope is that the exploration of lore above has provided a player or Dungeon Master with ample inspiration and practical character-building application.
If you have enjoyed this lore dive, let us know in the comments, or send us a message in the footer. And don’t forget to check out these similar lore articles:
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- Domains of the Divine: D&D Outer Plane Cosmology
- Developing the Inner Planes: D&D Cosmology
- Materializing Elemental Chaos: D&D Cosmology
- Echoes of the Material World: D&D Cosmology
- The Orientation of the Planes: D&D Cosmology
- Life After Death? 5e Afterlife Lore and Analysis