Saint Cuthbert

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Greyhawk Deity
Saint Cuthbert
St Cuthbert01.jpg
Saint Cuthbert, as depicted in Deities and Demigods (2002).
Title(s) Saint Cuthbert of the Cudgel
Home Plane Peaceable Kingdoms of Arcadia
Power Level Intermediate
Gender Male
Alignment Lawful Good (Lawful Neutral tendencies)
Portfolio Common Sense, Wisdom, Zeal, Honesty, Truth, Discipline
Domains Destruction, Domination, Law, Protection, Strength
Superior None

Saint Cuthbert of the Cudgel is the combative deity of Wisdom, Dedication, and Zeal.

Rumored to have once been a mortal man, Saint Cuthbert is an intermediate deity. His alignment has been variously interpreted as lawful neutral (lawful good tendencies) and lawful good (lawful neutral tendencies). Saint Cuthbert hates evil, but is more concerned with law and order, with converting the uninformed, and preventing backsliding among the faithful.


St. Cuthbert takes many forms (including that of a common yokel or white-haired mustached man in plated mail) but in each one he is usually shown with a bronzewood cudgel.


Saint Cuthbert is a foe of many evil deities, including Iuz and Vecna. He also has an intense rivalry with Pholtus.

Saint Cuthbert is strongly allied with Rao. He is an ally of Delleb, Heironeous, and Pelor as well. His worshipers get along well with those of Lendys.


When they shed their mortal coils, those who worshiped the Saint in life go to Saint Cuthbert's divine realm, called the Basilica of Saint Cuthbert or the Bastion of Law. This realm is in Arcadia. Souls there act as silent observers while the saint gives out judgments from his Seat of Truth. Saint Cuthbert seldom leaves his plane unless some great duty calls him forth.



  • Saint Cuthbert and Common Sense. This short book, normally no more than thirty pages long, uses simple language to explain the tenets of Saint Cuthbert's faith. Some personal interpretation is permitted, but the essentials (obey the law, be good, and use common sense) remain the same. Those who fail at living up to the Saint's virtues are advised to turn to their communities for advice and support, and to prey to Saint Cuthbert to clear up their confusion. Copies of Saint Cuthbert and Common Sense are normally written by hand in easy-to-read letters, sometimes with simple drawings. Gilded illuminations and elaborate calligraphy are not in harmony with the Cuthbertine aesthetic.
  • Tales of the Vulgar Fool. This book is considered foul heresy in the eyes of Cuthbertines, particularly the Order of the Stars, who try to suppress it whenever it is encountered. It takes the traditional Cuthbertine parables of the Wise Fool and twists them so that instead of overcoming his problems with common sense, he indulges in thievery and lechery. Non-Cuthbertines see these stories as humorous parodies of uptight Cuthbertine homilies, but the church does not approve. A small minority of the faithful take the Tales of the Vulgar Fool to heart and incorporate their "advice" into their lives, and this is the sort of thing the Order of the Stars tries to stamp out.


Cuthbertines (that is, worshipers of Saint Cuthbert) are most prevalent in the central Flanaess. The Saint has churches in Dyvers, Furyondy, the Gran March, the Free City of Greyhawk, Keoland, Perrenland, the Shield Lands, Tenh, the Principality of Ulek, the County of Urnst, the Duchy of Urnst, Veluna, and Verbobonc.

On other planes, Saint Cuthbert is the most favored god of the Harmonium faction, who appreciate the god's uncompromising nature. The current leader of the faction, Faith, is a cleric of Saint Cuthbert.


Saint Cuthbert's priesthood is divided into three major orders.

  • The Chapeaux, whose symbol is a crumpled hat, seek to convert people into their faith. They are equally divided between lawful good and lawful neutral characters. Paladins of Saint Cuthbert, known as Votaries or Communicants, have an honorary position in the Order of the Chapeaux. Their role is not just to convert others, but to actually fight enemies of the faith.
  • The Stars, whose symbol is a starburst, seek to enforce doctrinal purity among those already dedicated to the saint. Most are lawful neutral, and they do not shy from using mind-reading magic in order to ensure that even the private thoughts of their flock are pure.
  • The Billets are the most numerous of Saint Cuthbert's clergy. Most are lawful good, and they seek to minister to and protect the faithful. These are well-beloved by the common folk. Their symbol is a wooden club. The Chapeaux often come into conflict with the Billets, because the former order wants to seek new converts while the latter wants to care for the worshipers they already have.

Minor orders

There are a few lesser-known orders of St. Cuthbert.

  • L'Ordre de la Croix-Rose Veritas, or the Order of the Rosy Cross of Truth, was founded in 587 CY, after the Greyhawk Wars. It was founded by Ormus, a former priest of Rao, recently converted to Saint Cuthbert's faith. When Ormus discovered an evil warlord had been corrupted by a devil in disguise, he founded the new order in order to track down other devils living among mortals in disguise. The order has three branches: La Croix-Vert, La Croix-Blanc, and La Croix-Bleu.
  • The Society of the Sanctified Mind focuses on ridding the world of evil psionicists. It was founded circa 561 CY by a cleric of Saint Cuthbert named Sir Jeremy Costineux, after his home village was enslaved by illithids. This society is a knightly order rather than a strictly religious one, and people of a wide variety of character classes belong to it.



Saint Cuthbert's churches can be large cathedrals, but most commonly are wayside shrines and small, rude chapels.

The monastery-fortress of St. Cuthbert in the canton of Clatspurgen, Perrenland was the center of resistance to Iggwilv's tyranny between 481-491 CY, protecting the valley through which the Velverdyva river left the realm. [LGG, 86]

Holy days

  • Saint Cuthbert's Day. Celebrated on the 4th day of Growfest, Saint Cuthbert's Day is the largest festival celebrated by Saint Cuthbert's church. It involves locals and pilgrims gathering at a city's gate at dawn and parading and singing along a major road until they reach the local shrine or temple. Children swipe at everyone within reach with switches in a custom known as "the cleansing." At their destination, a cleric brings out a replica of the Mace of Cuthbert and there is a great feast from noon until dusk, and then a bonfire from sundown until midnight that the faithful believe can remove curses and misfortune.
  • Breadgiving Day. This is a new event that began only after the Greyhawk Wars, originally as a charitable event for refugees. Subsequently it has become a day dedicated to feeding the hungry in general. Cuthbertines take the opportunity to preach and gain converts, and provide security for the event. The faiths of Pelor and Rao also participate.

Artifacts and relics

Saint Cuthbert wields a powerful artifact called the Mace of Cuthbert. Other magic items associated with Saint Cuthbert include the cudgel that never forgets and the tabard of the great crusade.

Myths and legends

Saint Cuthbert as depicted in Dragon #67. Art by Jim Holloway.
  • The Saint Among Us. This is a story of Saint Cuthbert's origins as a mortal shepherd who lived a simple, blameless, charitable life long ago, who was rewarded by the gods by being brought to Oerth where he walked the world as a holy man teaching evil the error of its ways. Eventually he became a god; the tale attempts to guide others by example.
  • Parables of the Wise Fool. The dogmatically correct stories that the Tales of the Vulgar Fool work of heresy is a parody of, these stories involve agriculture, animal husbandry, crafts, fending off beasts, fighting, and other common activities. The protagonist, the Wise Fool, is normally portrayed much as Saint Cuthbert is, as a young or middle-aged man with a crumpled hat, who shows up well-meaning but self-important antagonists with simple common sense. Many of the most common sayings used in the Cuthbertine faith are attributed to the Wise Fool. These books are often illustrated, and simple paintings of the Wise Fool are common on rural chapels and the like.
  • The Boy Who Cried Wolf. This story, possibly brought by Saint Cuthbert himself from another world, tells of a shepherd boy who tells lies about a wolf attack and is consequently not believed when a wolf actually attacks. A variation of this story is "The Boy Who Cried Orc."

Publishing history

As a Dungeons & Dragons character, Saint Cuthbert of the Cudgel first appeared in the short story "The Gnome Cache" by Gary Gygax (as "Saint Cuthburt") in the second issue of The Dragon. He was given formal game statistics in Dragon #67 (1982), which were reprinted in the World of Greyhawk Fantasy Game Setting in 1983. His alignment then was given as lawful good (lawful neutral tendencies).

A roleplaying scenario appeared in Dragon #100 involving the recovery of the Mace of Cuthbert from "real world" of Earth, in a museum in London. According to the scenario, Saint Cuthbert had secreted his favored weapon there in order to keep it safe in a world where magic doesn't exist, and therefore no one would have reason to believe the medieval armament was anything special.

The first significant change to the character was in the third edition Player's Handbook, where he was reinterpreted as a lawful neutral (though still intolerant of evil) deity with a focus on retribution and the punishment of sins. Retribution had formerly been the primary area of influence of the deity Trithereon, who did not appear in this book.

In Dragon #358, a "Core Beliefs" article by Sean K. Reynolds has officially returned Saint Cuthbert to lawful good (with lawful neutral tendencies).

Creative Origins

Saint Cuthbert's name was inspired by the real-world Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne (AD 634-687). There are subtle hints in some sources (including the aforementioned Dragon #100) that Saint Cuthbert of Greyhawk and Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne are intended to be one and the same, or at least that the former has knowledge of the latter.


Cuthbert04.jpg Cuthbert02.jpg Cuthbertfist.jpg


  • Baker, Richard, James Jacobs, and Steve Winter. Lords of Madness. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2005.
  • Conforti, Steven, ed. Living Greyhawk Official Listing of Deities for Use in the Campaign, version 2.0. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2005. Available online:[1]
  • McComb, Colin. On Hallowed Ground. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1996.
  • Schroeck, Robert. "The City Beyond the Gate." Dragon #100. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1985.

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