|Stern Alia, as depicted in the heraldry of Thalos in Dragon #294 (2002)|
|Title(s)||The Shield Mother, the Mother of War|
|Portfolio||Oeridian Culture, Law, Motherhood|
|Domains||Inquisition, Knowledge, Law, Protection|
|Alias(es)||Alia, Allitur (according to some)|
Stern Alia is the demigoddess of Oeridian Culture, Law, and Motherhood. She is also the tutelary goddess of the island nation of Thalos in Western Oerik, which was settled by Aerdi explorers many centuries ago. Her holy symbol is an Oeridian woman's face.
It has been suggested (in Bastion of Faith, the Player's Guide, and Warriors of Heaven) that Stern Alia is somehow an aspect of the Flan god known as Allitur. However, she is presented as entirely separate from Allitur in 3rd edition materials.
The Shield Mother is a maternal figure, fully armed and armored. Alia is lawful neutral, but her church in Thalos tends toward good, while her church in Medegia tends toward evil.
Alia is the mother of Heironeous and Hextor, although they have different fathers. Another son, Stratis, is mentioned in literature for the Chainmail miniatures game in Dragon #285, but he is deceased.
In the Flanaess, Stern Alia's church is mostly limited to Medegia, where it has been largely destroyed due to infighting and by priests of Hextor. In Thalos, her powerful church works hand in hand with the monarch of that country.
The clerics of Stern Alia organize local militias to fight back against threats, buying time for the professional armies.
At the moment, paladins of the Shield Mother are on a quest to recover the Shield of Stratis, one of the artifacts left scattered across the land when that son of the Mother of War was killed. The church would do anything to win this holy relic.
In the city of Pontylver, Alia was the patron of the Temple of the Correct and Unalterable Way. Many of the clergy there became increasingly arrogant and arbitrary over time, seeing themselves as the ultimate interpreters of the law. They embraced a heresy that said the Law was concentrated in the individual rather than the community, and for this their goddess forsook them, no longer granting them spells beyond 2nd level. The temple hierarchy managed to keep this a secret for a time; when their fellow cleric Myrrha attempted to speak out, they tried to silence her permanently. She barely escaped the city with her life.
Myths and legends
It was the Shield Mother who gave Heironeous the gift of meersalm, coating him with it at birth, which made his skin immune to mortal weapons. She neglected to do so for his brother Hextor, which began the jealousy that eventually led Hextor to the Lords of Evil.
According to myth, Alia used to to leave her arms and armor in the care of her sons Heironeous and Hextor while she met with her many lovers. Once, before recorded history, a servant of the half-brothers, a man called Savnok, convinced his masters to allow him to guard the armory of Stern Alia while they attended to other matters. Left alone with the relics, Savnok could not resist trying on the goddess's armor. Drunk with power, he knew he could never bring himself to take it off, so he fled to the mortal realm, where he began carving a kingdom out for himself.
As long as he wore the armor, Savnok could not be harmed by any mortal weapon or energy. Stricken with guilt, Heironeous and Hextor became determined to retrieve the suit before their mother returned. He was immune to Heironeous' lightning, however, so Hextor broke into the armory again and acquired his mother's bow and arrows. Though young, still two-armed Hextor could barely draw the bow, his arrows hit their mark, and Savnok slowly bled to death from small wounds.
Hextor advised his brother to help him replace the missing items and hide the body of Savnok beyond the edge of the cosmos, where their mother would never know about it. Heironeous agreed to the plan, feeling like he owed Hextor for solving the problem. He has felt guilty about this deception ever since.
- 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:
- Pramas, Chris. "The Armies of Thalos." Dragon #287. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2001.
- -----. "The Empire of Ravilla." Dragon #285. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2001.