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Before you start reading his background however, I wanted to explain a couple of things.
First of all, his history is based on the epic Finnish poem Kalevala, that narrates the deeds of the heroes Ilmarinen, Vainamoinen, Lemminkainen and Kullervo. The saga has obviously been adapted to Mystara and its history, but it bears significant similarities so that those of you familiar with it will recognise it. For obvious reasons, I had to incorporate all heroes into one, and you'll see how I managed to do it.
Second thing: even if I first used the nations of Saamaria and Kaarjala as base for this cult, I got convinced that I needed to take another route. That is why I ignored the terms "Saamari", "Vaarana" and "Kaarjala" which may be familiar to you, because I thought them to be too tied to Mystaros's texts to be useful in my description. Therefore, to avoid confusion, I replaced them with new ethnic groups and a new history for the people living north of the Great Bay, with the help of Zendrolion and Zompatore.
Ilmarinenby Marco Dalmonte
Patron of Invention, Patron of Autuusmaa
Level, Alignment, Sphere: 15th (Celestial), NG, Matter
Symbol: Ilmarinen: a windmill; Vainamoinen: a white crown; Lemminkainen: a bow with three arrows
Portfolio: inventions, magical creations, crafts, heroism, sacrifice, patriotism, war, exploration, hunting
Worshipped in: Norwold (Autuusmaa)
Appearance: Ilmarinen has three manifestation forms according to the hero he is representing, and is always accompanied by the legendary Automaton.
as Ilmarinen: a middle-aged man with silver hair and long white moustaches. His skin is reddish as heated by fire, and he wears simple woollen clothes, with a large belt that holds many craftsman's tools.
as Vainamoinen: a handsome youth with perfect white skin, green eyes and a long blond mane. His face expresses authority and courage, and he dons a shining silver armour and carries a longsword with glowing runes of power etched on its blade.
as Lemminkainen: a thirty years old man with tanned skin and a white scar on his forehead, long brown hair and a bearded visage that shows bravery and fierceness. He is always clad with animal pelts and carries a longbow.
LIKELY THEORY: Ilmarinen was a great craftsman and a skilful inventor who lived in Isanmaa (literally "Land of our Fathers", in eastern Borea), the homeland of the Kansajaa ("Ice People" in their tongue), around the XIX century BC. Thanks to his skill and the runic magic he mastered, he built many wonderful artifacts with amazing powers, which he gifted the monarchs of Isanmaa in order to help them rule the country and protect its inhabitants. Ilmarinen was totally disinterested in power or money: he was content with the reputation and the honours all Kansajaa tributed to him , and above all with the joys of creating new marvellous objects. Kagyar noticed him because of his dedication and brilliant creative skills, and he tested him to see if he could undertake the path towards immortality. During one of his travels in search of new materials and new ideas, Ilmarinen met the most beautiful Maiden di Pojaara, a woman (perhaps a fairy) famous for her exceptional beauty and irresistible charm, who stole the heart and mind of the great inventor. Ilmarinen went to live with her in Pojaara (a country near Isanmaa), forfeiting everything that had made him happy in the past just to be with her. One fateful day, a traveller knocked to Ilmarinen's door and asked him to repair his broken wagon. A few minutes after beginning the repays, the mind of Ilmarinen awakened to the old passion, and after working for the whole day, Ilmarinen gave the stranger back his wagon, now more resistant, swifter and with greater carrying capacity. In that moment he understood how many years he had lost, and decided to return to his old lifestyle. He asked his lover to follow him in Isanmaa, but the Maiden could not follow, since if she left Pojaara she would have begun to age and would have surely died. Heartbroken, Ilmarinen departed to return in Isanmaa, which was at that time besieged by humanoid hordes coming from Urzud to the west. Ilmarinen immediately began to work in order to strengthen the Kansajaa army and its defences, teaching the secrets of the runes to his apprentices. After some months, Ilmarinen was so obsessed with the thought of the Maiden that he resorted to create a copy of the woman to keep him company, since he could not leave Isanmaa in a moment of great need. He used gold, jewels and silver to craft its body, but the result unfortunately was simply an efficient yet cold and detached golem, which resembled the Maiden only in her look. After some time Ilmarinen could not bear the sight of his automaton anymore, and gave it to the King as gift for his birthday. At this point he met again the stranger he encountered in Pojaara, who revealed to be the immortal Kagyar. He told Ilmarinen he had just complete the first part of his path, and that if he really wanted to survive all his inventions, he should have followed Kagyar's instructions and try to attain immortality. Ilmarinen agreed and was immediately reincarnated by Kagyar in his second identity: Vainamoinen, the infant heir to the throne of Isanmaa.
Once grown into a charming young lad, prince Vainamoinen chose to set out in the neighbouring lands in search for glory and adventure, and fell victim of the Maiden of Pojaara's beauty as much as Ilmarinen did. Lovestruck, Vainamoinen abandoned his palace and went to live with her. Believing this to be some kind of witchery that put his son's life to risk, the King sent the Automaton to face the Maiden and bring back Vainamoinen. Unfortunately the two women struggled for the prince, and only when the Automaton killed the Maiden did Vainamoinen come to his mind once again. Crushed and grieving for the loss of his love, Vainamoinen was forced to return to his homeland in sorrow. After some years, Isanmaa had to face its darkest hour when the Great Horde of King Loark marched eastwards from Urzud and invaded it. When the King fell defending the borders of Isanmaa, Vainamoinen took on the responsibility of the destiny of his people. Desperate in front of the overwhelming power of the humanoids, he asked the Automaton for advice (with whom he had developed a strange love-hate relationship), since she had already proved capable of wise thinking in the past. The Automaton simply raised her arm and said "Take your people with you and find me"; then she left the palace and headed east. After a couple of days tormented by the bad news of the war, the Maiden of Pojaara appeared in Vainamoinen's dreams and invited him to follow the golem. Vainamoinen was thus convinced that he had to abandon his homeland forever. The king announced his disquieting decision to his people, and the majority of Kansajaa chose to follow him in his trek to avoid falling under the humanoid advance. The exodus reached northern Norwold in BC 1722, where Vainamoinen and his followers settled along the banks of the Landsplit river. Here they found the Automaton, who helped them repel an attack from a vanguard of humanoids who had been on their heels ever since their departure. Thanks to this resistance, the bulk of King Loark's Horde headed southwards, invading southern Norwold and the Antalian lands south of the Great Bay. With the humanoid threat gone, Vainamoinen founded the reign of Autuusmaa ("Land of Salvation") in BC 1720, and he died one year later in the arms of the Automaton, who took his corpse with her and disappeared in the woods. Ilmarinen's spirit was then reincarnated as Lemminkainen, the great hunter.
Lemminkainen (an adventurer who belonged to the Vaeltajaa, the nomadic cousins of the Kansajaa) remained famous in the history of Autuusmaa for taming the reindeers and driving away or killing many of the monsters and humanoids that they haunted the Autuusmaan woods. But his greatest accomplishment was braving the northern tundra to reach Frosthaven, the land of the ice giants, in order to retrieve the Automaton the giants had stolen in one of their raids. With great sacrifices and bravery, Lemminkainen and his companions succeeded in finding the Automaton and taking her back to Autuusmaa, although in the end he took the golem and disappeared with her in his beloved woods.
Few people know of Ilmarinen's third and last reincarnation, because the events he took part in are obscure and remain for the most part a mystery, the object of Vaeltajaa folktales. In fact, after Lemminkainen's disappearance, the Automaton was stolen by the Rimal Hag, a follower of Hiisi, Queen of Ice (Hel), who hid the golem in her swampy domain. The man who was given the task to retrieve the Automaton was Kullervo, Ilmarinen's third host. His trek across the swamp was terrible, and worse were the traps and monsters he had to face. Many of Kullervo's companions fell during the quest, and when the finally faced the hag, she managed to flee to Hiisi's icy underworld before they could deal her the final blow. Kullervo and his companions followed and only after a great deal of heroic deeds and sacrifice Kullervo (the sole survivor of his group) succeeded in killing the hag and taking the Automaton back to the world of the living.
It was at this point that the legendary Ilmarinen returned to his people, and crafted his greater wonder, the Saampo, a magical mill that could mill straw and produce food or gems, and heat the surrounding lands with its power, making them more fertile. After saving his people from the cold of Norwold, Ilmarinen disappeared for his last adventure, at the end of which he became immortal in BC 1610.
Personality: Ilmarinen currently grants divine powers to all the clerics who worship each of his incarnations (Ilmarinen, Vainamoinen and Lemminkainen). His portfolio includes all the characteristics of his various lives (heroism, sacrifice, adventure, hunting, crafts, etc.), although his major interest remains invention and the construction of wonderful objects.
Patron: Unknown [Likely: Kagyar]
Enemies: the immortal patrons of the humanoids, Hel
Classic D&D Stats:
Followers' Alignment: any
Favoured weapon: Throwing hammer (allowed all bludgeoning weapons, long bow and harpoon)
Clerics' skills and powers: +1 to Intelligence (for clerics of Ilmarinen), to Strength (for clerics of Vainamoinen) or to Constitution (for clerics of Lemminkainen), +2 bonus to general skills: Resist cold, Hunting and one kind of Craft (not free)
D&D 3E Stats:
Domains: Ilmarinen always grants the domains of Matter and Good, plus a third domain which differs based on the worshipped incarnation :
Ilmarinen : Craft
Vainamoinen : Nobility
Lemminkainen : Hunting
Preferred weapon: throwing hammer
Sources: WotI, Master and Immortal set