Animists Harnessing Personal Struggles for Spiritual Growth
Headquarters The Court of One Thousand, Larrad (Five Kings Mountains)
Values acceptance of others for who they are, open negotiation founded on mutual respect, personal introspection and growth, preservation of lore
Goals explore spiritual lore; foster balance between mortal needs and spiritual concerns; supply resources, information, and encouragement for personal growth
Allies Bellflower Network, deities of the dwarven pantheon, Desnans, Eagle Knights, followers of Arshea and other empyreal lords, Hellknights (Order of the Torrent only), Irorans
Golarion’s dwarves have faced countless existential threats throughout the ages, but they have always persevered—sometimes by embracing new ways, and other times by cleaving to the old. In the chaos spawned by Aroden’s death, many dwarves found succor in the spirit- and ancestor-worshiping faith of their ancient forbearers, from times before the dwarven Quest for Sky brought them into contact with the surface world and humanity. The Rivethun
are the most populous of these enduring, animist cults from long ago, having persisted for well over 10,000 years. They seek contact with various spirits—departed souls, elementals, fey, outsiders, and the undead—and negotiate for knowledge and favors, often serving as intermediaries between dwarven civilization and otherwise dangerous, “wild” forces of the world. The Rivethun approach their spiritualism as archivists, diplomats, and entrepreneurs rather than as obedient sycophants. Most dwarves see them as valuable for the power, knowledge, and favors they collect, but also as potentially untrustworthy because of their divided loyalties between mortal and spiritual interests.
Just as a hand worn raw is more sensitive to the grain in a vein of stone, so too is a soul worn raw more open to the subtleties of the spirit world. This sensitivity helps adherents cultivate a well of inner power to draw upon, sometimes in the form of magic, but in other cases the rage of inner strength or the focus of martial ki. The Rivethun teach adherents to draw strength from their most difficult experiences, and those most fully embracing the sect are often those who have dealt with chronic difficulties from a young age. Those who transition between genders are heavily represented among the tradition, so much so that in many dwarven cities the word “Rivethun” has become an informal term for anyone who transitions their gender. The Rivethun pass on a number of recipes, rituals, and formulae that ease such transitions, and even encourage members with no need to transition to do so on a temporary basis to broaden their perspective, mirroring the cult of the empyreal lord Arshea.
While not fully a religion, the Rivethun respect a hierarchy of spiritual entities culminating in the dwarven pantheon, with Torag at the top, honored not as a god but as the most powerful and influential spirit in dwarven culture. Some Rivethun also play roles in modern temples, but they more commonly operate alone or in small groups. A few dwarven cities, including Highhelm, Janderhoff, and Tar-Kazmukh, host ancient Rivethun courts—essentially monasteries and archives where neophytes train in magic, lore, and linguistics—but only Larrad and the Osirian city of Erekrus have maintained a legacy of Rivethun residents since the dwarves’ arrival on the surface. An equal number of Rivethun learn their art from immortal spirits who still remember the days when dwarves spoke to them as equals. Despite their roots in dwarven history, Rivethun eschew tradition for tradition’s sake, and the faith has seen some growth among humans, halflings, and especially half-orcs.
Nenakari Ougor (LN female venerable dwarf shaman ACG 6/Rivethun emissary † 8):
Old Ougor does not discuss her age, but she has overseen the Smoldering Court—Highhelm’s Rivethun monastery and nexus of spirit activity—for longer than anyone can recall. Her body displays countless scars from the adventuring days of her youth. While the Rivethun eschew formal ranks, measuring one another by secrets gleaned and favors owed, Ougor is essentially the high priestess of the faith, with connections and allies across the Five Kings Mountains and beyond. Having dealt with immortal and confused spirits for so long, she is rarely able to couch her knowledge and advice in simple or straightforward language.
Third Rent in the Basalt (LN shaitan bard 5):
Unusual for a genie, Third Rent was born on the Material Plane and is a native outsider amid unusual circumstances even they don’t fully comprehend. They learned the ways of the Rivethun after Tar Taargadth’s collapse scattered many of the remaining faithful of the philosophy into the wilds, and ever since, they have carried many of the old traditions and names between various dwarven settlements and natural wonders. Born a spirit but raised among mortals, Third Rent finds Rivethun’s complex teachings a natural extension of their life experience and patiently teaches any they encounter who would learn more of this waning lore.
Xomar Glavit (LG male dwarf oracle APG 8):
Handsome, irascible, and charming, Xomar learned of the Rivethun while still just a young girl in Rolgrimmdur, and the order’s teachings helped him survive many tumultuous years to eventually find a place in a world in which he never quite fit. Filled with wanderlust, Xomar has spent years exploring the Darklands to recover lost bits of dwarven lore. In turn, several Rivethun enclaves fund his expeditions in exchange for the knowledge and maps he recovers. Much of the last century’s reclaimed lore traces back to Xomar’s efforts to retrace the Quest for Sky