The Mediator, The Calm God
Symbol: White heart of wood or metal or a heart-shaped mask with a calm expression
Home Plane: Celestia
Alignment: Lawful Good
Portfolio: Peace, Reason, Serenity
Worshipers: Paladins, monks, negotiators
Cleric Alignments: LG, LN. NG
Domains: Community* (CD), Glory* (CD), Good, Inquisition* (CD), Knowledge, Law, Mind* (CD), Pact* (CD).
Favored Weapon: Light mace
Description: The deity of calm, meditative thought and contemplation, Rao (RAH-oh) is shown as an old man with dark skin, white hair, slender hands, and a serene smile. Any time an offering of peace is made, Rao grows a day younger. Although he never intervenes directly on Oerth, Rao is the creator of several artifacts of good, particularly the Crook of Rao. He is a dedicated foe of Iuz, an ally of Zilchus, and is otherwise friendly with all other beings. He can cause any aggressive being to relax into an agreeable calmness with a glance, having thwarted even Nerull with this power in the past. His holy symbol is a white heart of wood or metal, or a heart-shaped mask with a calm expression.
Rao is the serene, detached god of reason, intellect, and peace. The Power does not act on the Prime Material directly, but he is known to have created several powerful magical artifacts which are highly potent against evil (notably the Crook of Rao), possibly with the aid of Boccob.
Because he is the god of peace. He rarely interferes directly in the affairs of Oerth. instead working through his worshipers to bring an end to the wars that rage across the Flanaess. He becomes active to oppose luz whenever he can, because luz has been responsible for much of the recent warfare.
Monks and spellcasters who seek uninterrupted meditation also venerate Rao. Many gurus admonish their fidgeting pupils to “be as Rao"
Rao is always depicted as a dark-skinned, white-haired old man with bright, dark brown eyes and long, slender hands; he is smiling and serene. Rao’s faith is one that does not appeal much to common folk; he has always had more followers among rulers, diplomats, sages, scholars, and philosophers. Clearly, his church is not exactly overpopulated at present. Those who seek to find powerful magic to aid the cause of good make him valuable offerings and meditate on Rao’s sacred texts. Services to Rao involve discussions of theology and group meditations. He is rarely without The Serene Staff of Rao, an artifact that he wields as a light mace.
Rao expects clerics and other worshipers to reject strong emotion for the calm and serenity of inner peace. Only when the foundation of good and reason are threatened should Rao’s followers take to the battlements. As Rao’s clerics say in a post-meditative prayer:
“Reason is the greatest gift. It leads to discourse, which leads to peace, which leads to serenity. If all could be convinced to reason with each other, the world would enjoy the harmony of benign order. Some refuse to use reason and instead resort to violence, at which time action – governed by reason and wisdom – is required to counteract their deeds and restore peace.”
When such direct action is required, evildoers find Rao’s soldiers a difficult challenge; calm, implacable, and utterly convinced of the righteousness of their cause. Though slow to act, Rao’s Followers act surely, carefully, and with great force.
Clergy and Temples
Rao’s priests are mediators, and negotiators – wise and quiet people. Some are gifted counselors and negotiators, and many warring noble clans only bury the hatcher after a cleric of Rao bids them sit down and talk of peace. Most are male. Rao’s High Patriarch in Greyhawk was instrumental in the diplomacy that ended the wars. The priesthood is very studious, but one motto is “there is a time to think, and more rarely to act; but in that time, action is wisdom.” These priests are not wholly pacifistic!
His clerics pursue knowledge, paths of logical thought, theology, and introspective meditation. They prefer peaceful means over violence, but are not above using force when their arguments are ignored or the bastions of reason are threatened. They search for new schools of thinking, fabled locales of calmness and quietude, powerful magic to use in the cause of Law and Good.
Temples to Rao are generally stately, open-air affairs filled with incense, quiet chanting, and earnest philosophical discussion. Many have extensive libraries and teamed sages on hand to answer even the most esoteric questions.