HEL - Goddess of the Afterlife, Death and Disease

Cantabrian pantheon (Greater goddess)










Animate Dead

Cure Serious Wounds


Aerial Servant

Astral Spell +



Continual Darkness

Detect Lie


Animate Object

Control Weather

Create Water

Detect Charm

Create Food


Cure Critical Wounds

Blade Barrier


Cure Light Wounds

Find Traps

Cure Sense


Cause Critical Wounds

Conjure Animals


Detect Evil X

Hold Person

Cure Disease +

Lower Water

Dispel Evil

Find the Path

UnHoly Word

Detect Good X

Know Alignment

Cause Disease +

Neutralize Poison

Dispel Good



Detect Magic

Resist Fire

Dispel Magic

Prot. from Evil 10ft r.

Flame Strike


Restoration +


Silence 15ft r.

Feign Death

Prot. from Good 10ft r.

Insect Plague

Part Water

Energy Drain +


Slow Poison

Glyph of Warding

Speak with Plants

Plane Shift

Speak with Monsters


Protection from Evil

Snake Charm

Locate Object

Sticks to Snakes


Stone Tell

Symbol +

Protection from Good

Speak with Animals



Raise Dead

Word of Recall

Wind Walk

Purify Food & Water X

Spiritual Greatsword

Remove Curse

Cure Major Disease X

True Seeing

Create Mummy +


Remove Fear X

Animate Dead

Speak with Dead

Cause Major Disease X

Create Mummy X

Create Vampire

Summon Plague

Resist Cold

Cure Minor Disease X

Raise Ghoul


Summon Minor Death X

Death Spell



Cause Minor Disease X


Cause Serious Wounds X

Summon Shadows

Mass Death Knell +


Detect Undead

Death Knell +


Hand of Death


Summon Minor Death +



Deathwatch +


Raise Ghast




Speak with Wolves

Infect Blade


Wall of Bones





Resist Disease





Special Spell Descriptions   (Spells marked + are not available in Cantabria; struck-out spells marked X are available in Cantabria only).

Detect UndeadAs Detect Evil (C1), but any undead are revealed instead. (Beware: In Cantabria, skeletons & zombies probably won't be revealed!)
ShieldAs 1st-level Magic-user spell.
Speak With Wolves - This spell functions in the same way as the Priest 2nd level spell Speak with Animals. There is a restriction however that ensures that the Priest who cast the spell can only speak to wolves rather than a generic animal.

Cure/Cause Minor Disease - Within my game world I have two sets of diseases those that are minor and those that have greater effect. This spell although based on the 3rd level priest spell allows the caster to decide the kind of disease he/she wishes to impose upon an individual. Most diseases can be cured by this spell with the exception of Plague. An example of the kinds of disease a cleric may impose would be a Mild or Severe, Acute attack of a disease from the DMG (AD&D 1). I actually use diseases similar to the RuneQuest ones in my campaign as they result in more visual effect in a short time.
Hold Person - Within our group Hold Person has been cut so that it works only on an individual and if the save is failed they are rooted to the spot (but can move the rest of their body). This was not a change made purely for the Hel religion but a general one as this spell is used by many religions both for and against the party.
Spiritual Two-handed Sword - This is basically the same spell as Spiritual Hammer except the weapon that forms is a two-handed sword. Within my campaign this spell has been modified with the following changes. Casting Time: 5 segments + spend the rest of round giving orders. The weapon will carry out its orders until re-ordered which takes a round to do. No concentration is required upon the part of the caster who is free to continue with other things. If the spiritual weapon rolls a "1" on it's to hit roll it disappears prematurely.
Death Knell – As D&D3 spell (C2). Kills dying creature; caster gains d8hp, +2 Str, +1 Power for 1 turn per Level/HD of target. (Not available in Cantabria).
DeathwatchAs D&D3 spell (C1). See alive/dead/undead status and Hit Points (if 3 or less) within 25+5ft/level, for 1 turn/level (Not available in Cantabria).
Infect Blade - Casting: 5 segments (VSM); Range: Touch; Area: 1 Weapon/level; Duration: 1 Turn/level; Save: Special. By means of this spell a Priest is able to infect one weapon per level. Any living being later struck by an infectious weapon and failing a save vs Poison cannot be cured naturally as the wound they have received will fester. Any healing spells cast at the wound will only be one half the effectiveness rate. (Material Component: A drop of blood)
Resist Disease
- Casting: 5 segments (VS); Range: Touch; Area: 1 Person; Duration: 1 Turn + 1 Turn/level; Save: None. The recipient of this spell becomes immune to exposure to any disease. If an individual already has a disease they will still be infected but the spread of the disease will be allayed until the spell expires.

Continual Darkness - This spell is the reverse of Continual Light. Another house rule makes Continual Light have a duration of 1 month per level of caster (Lots and lost of arguments about that one, but it works surprisingly well).
Cure Sense - This spell is the same as the old Cure Blindness however I expanded it to include all forms of sense curing such as Taste, Sight, Hearing, Smell and Touch. (Note that the spell cures something that is damaged it does not restore something that has never been there. A Cure Blindness does not rebuild an eyeball. If a sense has been damaged due to a disease or a curse it will only work for a limited period until the root cause of the problem once again manifests itself).
Feign Death - This spell acts in the same way as the normal priest spell however a Cleric of Hel actually dies during this time. A Speak with Dead will work on the cleric. Duration is as long as the cleric wishes but when he wishes to return to the land of the living he must roll under his wisdom on 3d6 or stay dead permanently
Glyph of Warding - All glyphs by Clerics of a religion (including Hel) can only create glyphs of spells which they are already able to cast. Most Hel temples are protected by glyphs of Cause Disease, Hold Person, Cause Wounds spells, Hand of Death, Wall of Bones, Death Spell etc. This ensures only those who are allied with Hel are able to cross the barriers that defend the Altar. If an enemy they would have little chance of knowing the commands to pass through such wards.
Raise Ghoul - Casting: 1 minute (VSM); Range: 10ft; Area: 1 Cadaver; Duration: Permanent; Save: Special. By means of this spell the necromancer is able to transform the body of the deceased into a Ghoul. The Ghoul will be free-willed and may attack the necromancer. Any intelligent body can be raised in this way and the spirit that controls it will not normally be the original unless the spell is cast immediately after death. When raised the Ghast will apply the following modifications Strength +4, Intelligence -4, Wisdom -4, Constitution +4, Charisma -8. (Material Component: A drop of blood)

Cauterize - Casting: 7 segments (VSM); Range: Touch; Area: 1 weapon; Duration: 1 turn + 1 turn/level; Save: None. By means of this spell a Priest is able to affect a single weapon such that any hit done by that weapon will automatically cauterize and seal the wound. The Healing of such wounds takes twice the normal length of time and any curing will be at 1/4 effect round off i.e. 7 points of healing would be reduced to 1! The only negative about this spell is that all wounds are reduced by 1 due to the healing factor and the victim need not worry about bleeding to death. While under the influence of a "cauterized" wound the individual will feel a sapping of his strength. The duration applies to the weapon and not the victim, who may be affected for a lot longer. (Material Component: A drop of blood)
Hand of Death Casting: 12 secs + special (VS); Range: 15'+15'/level; Area: 1 Creature; Duration: Special; Save: Negates. The cleric causes any single target to sense the clerics hand squeezing his heart to a pulp. Even if the character saves he will suffer -2 to hit that round and will break his or her concentration. If the character fails, he suffers D10+1 hit points damage per melee round, until he/she makes a save (made every round). If the cleric wishes to continue the duration he must expend 1 power point per round while making squeezing motions with his hand to simulate the squeezing of the heart. Even when the victim saves the victim will suffer -2 penalty as long as the cleric continues to make the squeezing motions.
Raise Ghast - Casting: 1 minute (VSM); Range: 10ft; Area: 1 Cadaver; Duration: Permanent; Save: Special. By means of this spell the necromancer is able to transform the body of the deceased into a Ghast. The Ghast will be free-willed and may attack the necromancer. Any intelligent body can be raised in this way and the spirit that controls it will not normally be the original unless the spell is cast immediately after death. When raised the Ghast will apply the following modifications Strength +4, Intelligence -1, Wisdom -1, Constitution +4, Charisma -10. (Material Component: A drop of blood)
Wall of Bones - Cast: 7 segs (VSM); Range: 15'+15'/level; Area: 1'x10'x20'wall or 1'x10'high 5'r circle; Duration: 3T+3T/level; Save: Special. The caster may increase the height and thickness by 1ft & the radius by 3 inches for every level beyond seven. A living creature coming within sight of the wall must save versus fear (petrification) or run away in fear until out of sight. The wall will suffer 100hp damage then turns to dust. Sunlight inflicts 20 points per melee round on the wall.
Cause Major Disease - This spell is the same as the 3rd level Priest spell except that it is able to cure plague and the diseases that are imposed upon the victim are normally Chronic, Terminal types found in the DMG (AD&D 1).

Summon Shadows - Casting: 7 segments (VS); Range: 10 yds; Area: 10ft cube; Duration: 1 turn + 1 turn/level; Save: None. When the Priest casts this spell he opens a gateway to the negative plane allowing a number of shadows through the small gate. This number is determined by halving the Priests level and rounding down. The Priest is then able to command these Shadows automatically to assist him in whatever way they wish to. The shadows will then stay on the prime material plane until destroyed or the duration expires.

Create Mummy - Casting: 3 hours (VSM); Range: 10ft; Area: Cadaver; Duration: Permanent; Save: None. By means of this spell a Priest is able to create a mummy. During the casting of the spell the body must be prepared for the final spell. At the end of the time the mummy will be created and it will be wholly under the control of the Priest who created it. (Material Components: 1 Cadaver, Bandages and embalming fluid) (Available as Level 5 in Cantabria).
Create Vampire - Casting: 1 day (VSM); Range: Touch; Area: 1 Person; Duration: Permanent; Save: Special. By the use of this ritual a Priest is able to create a vampire. The target person of this spell is normally a willing recipient. The priest is also able to cast the spell on himself. Many Clerics view this as being a way of achieving immortality. During the casting of the spell the recipient dies and if the recipient was willing they must make an Intelligence roll (roll less than intelligence on d20). If the recipient was unwilling they make a wisdom roll to cheat the cleric and stay dead. In this case it would only be possible for the person to be resurrected rather than raised because the spirit is sent to an outer plane (Hel's Domain). When the spirit returns to the body various changes will have occurred that increase the body statistics of the recipient. There are a number of components of this spell which have not been listed but would be individual to each casting. (Material Component: A drop of blood, etc)
Mass Death Knell – As D&D3 spell (C2), but all 'dying' creatures (i.e. on -1hp or lower) within 25ft + 5ft per 2 levels are affected. Each effect gained is +1 per extra creature. Duration is 1 turn per level/hit die of the highest level/HD creature which succumbs. (Not available in Cantabria). [SJW special]
Summon Minor Death - Casting: 5 Minutes (VSM); Range: 10ft + 10ft/level; Area: 1 Individual + Special; Duration: Special; Save: None. By means of this spell the Priest is able to summon a minor Death figure. This "Death" is equivalent to that summoned by a "Deck of Many Things". The target must defeat the Death in order to avoid being slain themselves, and a comrade who also attacks the minor Death will automatically have his/her own summoned to defeat. Once one is defeated the freed individual may help in the slaying of others. The minor Death will depart as soon as its victim has been slain. Minor death: AC -4, HP 33, Scythe for 2-16 damage, strikes first in every round and always hits. The Death is immune to most spells as an undead and is also immune to Fire, Cold, and lightning attack. In appearance it is a large cowled figure with an oversize scythe. (Material Component: Incense) (Available as Level 5 in Cantabria).

Summon Plague - Casting: 1 Turn (VS); Range: 0; Area: Caster (initially); Duration: Special; Save: Negates. In using this spell the caster will die from its effect. (Most intelligent high level Priests would create scrolls or a potion for someone else). The person affected immediately catches the virulent Plague. This plague is highly contagious, victims will suffer an attack each day. Plague attacks Constitution and Strength. Resisting the disease requires the victim to roll below his Strength + Constitution total on a D100. If this roll is failed the person affected loses 1-3 point from each attack. If a roll is made the victim stabilizes but must make a second consecutive roll in order to recover. Strength and Constitution take about one month per point to return and for every 4 points that were lost 1 point will never be recovered. The plague is transmitted by touch or by prolonged exposure. If a plague spot is isolated quickly and the remains burnt down it can be eradicated. The Plague can be cured using Cure Major Disease, a Heal spell or Divine Intervention, which will normally halt the spread of the Plague. A normal Cure Disease spell will not work, however there may be some herbs that will cure the disease. The disease normally has a limited life span of (Level of Caster)xD10 days after which no more people will be infected. A save to avoid infection is only made if the target did not cast the spell.


A. Before Time

Hel is a Greater Goddess and bows only to Ukko. She is the sister of Hephaestus, Ukko, Ilmatar, Hiisi, Loviatar, Sif and Bragi. Unwedded, as no immortal would wish to stay within her domain for long, she had a child from Hiisi whom she named Surma. Hel and Surma got along well and rarely fell out over things. Later Hel coupled with Forseti, one of Ukko's sons, and by that union produced Hermes. Hermes is known by many names: the Trickster, the Peacemaker, the Two-faced. Good and Evil, Law and Chaos can be found within the religion of Hermes. Consequently although born the son of Hel, Hermes drifted away and became a rebel in some respects and a trusted ally in others.

B. Since Time Began

Hel ensures the mortality of all living things through death and disease. All things that die pass through her domain to be judged. Most people who live near Hel temples worship her mainly through fear. A few warriors recognise her and a number of assassins also follow her ways. Her strongest following however is probably within those associated with the undead. Many intelligent undead are her followers, some of them previously Clerics of her religion.

C. Life After Death

Once dead a Hel worshipper can never be brought back to life, and if an attempt is made dire retribution is visited upon the perpetrator. Hel disdains those who have been raised or resurrected; Clerics of Hel would view them as having cheated their Goddess. An odd anomaly within this view is that undead are not viewed as such. Worshippers believe that the spirit of the undead creature has never actually been to Hel's domain and has therefore not cheated death but prolonged their existence upon the Prime Material plane naturally.
Hel worshippers normally wish to be buried in a shallow grave, with a celebratory wake being held to mollify the jealousy of worldly companions who have been unable to meet with their Goddess yet. Suicide is frowned on and normally discouraged, after all if you are judged upon the deeds you could have done in your normal span of life you will probably fall far too short.

D. Symbolic Associations

All Clerics of Hel wear a face-mask which is coloured one half black the other white, this gives them a fairly terrifying visage. Clerics wear these masks the majority of the time. One advantage of this is that it can hide such features as pallid skin, long canines etc... Hel is only associated with the wolf as an animal, this is due to the protection it bestowed upon her while bearing the child of Hiisi. Most temples of Hel would have a kennel for such creatures. Unusually for wolves they are trained as individuals rather than in a pack.


A. Reason For Continued Existence

While there are people who die the Goddess of Death has a reason for her existence and importance. All people come to her in the end no matter which God(ess) they worship. It is because of this that many people whose main allegiance is to another God will often sacrifice at the high holy days. Priests are often asked to perform the funeral rites for important personages and will often wander a battlefield ensuring that warriors pass onwards in the correct way. (They are accused of being slightly too keen to do this sometimes). Paladins of Hel seek different paths, some view the controlled spread of disease as being of utmost importance. Others like to seek further recruits into the religion and see adventurers as optimum material for conversion, after all they produce the most souls for Hel. Worshippers who profess more interest in this religion tend to be of a certain type of alignment: Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil, Lawful Neutral or Neutral. It is possible, but rare, to see any other types within the clerical ranks.

B. Social/Political Position And Power

Hel worshippers are generally feared due to what they represent. Although Hel is neutral, there are strong evil tendencies within the priesthood. (Within Cantabria the priesthood has been divided into two factions, one is evil the other is neutral and is generally the public relations officers).

C. Particular Likes And Dislikes

Hel revels in death and disease, through any means. Resurrection and the raising of the dead is definitely frowned upon. Hel clerics generally act aloof of the other religions and would normally only obey a Priest of Ukko if he/she were more powerful. There are certain weapons and armour restrictions that are placed upon the dedicated worshippers which are detailed in other sections.


A. Inter-Temple Organisation

There are currently two Major temples found in Cantabria: one in the City of Chia, the other in Port Raz. All the other cities and many towns have chapels dedicated to Hel however the countryside is sparsely populated with these chapels. The religions tends to send wandering Clerics into the countryside to maintain a presence. The two temples are autonomous and there is little communication between them (Port Raz has very few Neutral clerics while Chia is predominantly so).

B. Intra-Temple Organisation

Within the temples there can be elements of up to two sects. The first is viewed as the Public Relations branch and generally wishes to ensure that people die in the proper way with the appropriate rites. The second tends to aim to increase the amount of Death and Disease at large. Normally there will be only one high priest, however there is sometimes a second whose influence lies with the other sect. Death by assassination is frowned upon within the Hierarchy and the perpetrator may find he/she in his/her own premature meeting with Hel.

C. Centre of Power and Holy Places

There is no particular place of worship or power. Certain holy/magic items are known to exist and will often class as mobile altars. Any place of mass death (battlefield or plague) may hold extra bonuses for Hel clerics who practice there.

D. Holy Days and High Holy Days

When the moon is at the half way stage between Full and None there will be a Hel holy day. The high holy days are during the winter months with the January ceremony being the most important. Minor ceremonies are held on the death of the week (last day), the death of the month, and the death of the year (classified as a holy day in many religions as well as this one).


A. Requirements to Join

Hel accepts all races as long as they have souls to be judged. The majority of people who worship her do so only during the High Holy days or out of fear (because of a nearby temple). Very few of the regular lay members are of Good alignment and the majority is probably Evil. This restriction may imply that elves never worship Hel as they have no soul.

B. Restrictions to Belong

Within the main stream of the religion to which the vast majority of lay members profess allegiance there are very few regulations to which they must adhere. All Hel worshippers should respect the dead(1). Very ill or wounded people should be allowed to die, and this process should not be interfered with except in exceptional circumstances(2). Note that suicide is not acceptable to Hel - worshippers believe that by committing suicide the individual is pre-empting Hel's right to determine their time to die. On holy days Lay members are expected to sacrifice two points of power to their deity(3).
(1: This may cause a problem depending upon the amount of sincerity a person has in the religion. The obvious effect upon adventurers would be that tombs could no longer be robbed.)
(2: Either the person who is dying is very important to the Cleric because of special circumstances (in which case he may heal them) or if there is another cleric who is healing all the injured including those who are 'knocking' at the gates of Hel.)
(3: Power Points: In my House system all Clerical and Magical spells work on a Power points basis. All people from 0th level and up have power points. The base amount is Wisdom/4. Certain clerical spells allow the collection and transfer of worshippers power points into a reservoir (normally an altar) or straight to the deity. Where campaigns do not have this kind of system DM's are advised to ignore it.)

C. Benefits/Skills

In being a worshipper of Hel there are two main benefits. The first is that quite often Hel gives swift and favourable judging to those who have worshipped her. The second is that no funeral costs will be levied at the family of the deceased and it is possible that they may become part of the temple guard (a privileged position(4)). No special skills are normally taught for lay members but there is often some teaching about diseases.
(4: The Temple guard is normally made up of undead creatures!)

D. Divine Intervention

All lay members receive a base 1% chance of Divine Intervention. A call for divine intervention cannot occur after the person has fallen as he/she is nearly within Hel's realm. Also because of the apparent information leaks, no-one should be aware of the nature of the proclamations.


A. Requirements for Acceptance

Lay members who have shown true dedication to the religion may be invited to become initiates of the religion. A candidate for initiation must take this step with the full realization that if the initiate later refutes his/her pledge then they may suffer the consequences of a spirit of reprisal. Within the Hel religion this will normally take the form of some kind of non-corporeal undead creature that cannot be turned, it will only attack the ex-initiate. For minor offences it may only strike once, however for major transgressions it may try to slay the individual. A number of powerful Hel clerics have in the past managed to avoid this fat by becoming undead themselves. At this point if the creature has not hidden away the nearest temple may send an expedition against it (or get another temple to do so).
A prospective candidate must have a sponsor who is already at least an initiate within the religion. He/she must also pass a test that is a (wisdom * 5 roll). A cleric of Hel will cast Feign Death at the initiation and the recipient must make this roll to survive(1).
(1: Feign death: This spell is modified from the original for this religion full details of the changes are made in the spells section.)

B. Restrictions

Once accepted into the inner circle of Hel, the initiate need never fear death. Many initiates are, when ready, transferred to one of the many undead creatures that protect the Hel temple. While still alive the initiates will often go out into the area around the temples to perform burial rites in villages and to collect tithes. Initiates must sacrifice two power points during each holy festival and donate 10% of their wealth. Initiates are expected to enforce the religious tenets to the full, a number of assassins become initiates of Hel as they meet with death during each 'job'.

C. Benefits/Skills

Initiates are able to gain a form of immortality and some may even be made into vampires (this is rare though). The main benefit is the amount of fear and respect engendered by being one of the chosen of Hel. Within some of the sects of the religion certain training can be given in the use of potions to spread and to halt the spread of disease(1). Very little weapons training is given within the religion, but wolf handling is often offered as a course. Most initiates would be offered room and board at any Hel chapel or larger. Surprisingly there are few initiates and most are viewed as being slightly touched by Hel herself, consequently Clerics are normally very civil towards them. One reason for this is that it seems most initiates do not fear death at all.
Very little skills training is given. In the major temples training will probably be offered in spear and two-handed sword. Also training will be offered in the handling and care of wolves(2). Other courses may be offered by differing sects such as courses about diseases and death rites. All courses will be offered free to initiates but they are expected to spend a like amount of time within the religious precinct aiding the resident authority.
(1: DISEASE: Disease has a large role to play in the death of humans, however it should rarely be allowed to reach epidemic proportions. Sometimes other religions will interfere with the spread of disease to the extent that it is in danger of being wiped out, in this case a Hel worshipper may wish to encourage the spread a little more. However if a Disease is in danger of wiping out a region of population entirely then a Hel worshipper may aid those who seek to halt the spread.)
(2: Treat this as a secondary skill.)

D. Divine Intervention

If an initiate calls upon Hel for divine aid the base chance of succeeding is 1% per level of the initiate.


General Statement

Paladins of Hel are normally known as Death Warriors or Death Mages. They are very rare and even a large temple may have no more than half a dozen. They are seen as the elite of the religion and will normally only report to the high priest (or leader of the sect to which they belong). They all wear Hel Masks(1) and will often be striving towards 'immortality'.
(1: Hel Mask: The Hel Mask is worn by all Paladins and Clerics of Hel. It is a face-mask half white and half black in imitation of the face of the Goddess. It is rarely taken off and most wearers take it off only when necessary. It is useful in hiding the features of a corporeal undead cleric!)

A. Requirements for Acceptance

Unlike many other religions the only way in which a person can become a Paladin is to have been an initiate for a period of five years. There are only two sorts of Paladins, one is Cleric/Fighters and the other is Cleric/Magic-User. The individual must have shown dedication to the religion and have a marked sympathy with death. To become a Death Warrior the following scores are needed: Strength and Constitution >11, Wisdom >8, Dexterity >5. To become a Death Mage the following scores are needed: Intelligence >16, Dexterity >13, Strength, Wisdom and Constitution >11. Most are accepted using these criteria however there is normally also a test of sorts devised by the current Paladins, which can vary immensely from purely sedentary and mental, to very violent and deadly.

B. Restrictions

Although there are no restrictions placed upon the Paladins with regard to weapons or armour, most tend to comply with the same stringent set imposed upon the Clerics when within temple grounds. Death Paladins must uphold the tenets faithfully and any deviation may bring upon the wrath of a spirit of reprisal. There are few other restrictions placed upon Paladins and they do not have to provide any dues to the religion. They are expected to aid and help the expansion of it by setting up new chapels and temples or to seeing to the defence of one.

C. Benefits

When a prospective Paladin passes the test he will become a 1st level cleric and will be able to rise in both classes at once. Whenever a Paladin stops at a chapel or Temple he/she will be offered the best accommodation in the building. It is not uncommon to find Paladins for and against the forces of the kingdom. Where a Death Warrior will be fighting at the forefront of his troops a Death Mage is laying waste to them with a formidable array of spells. It is often found that when a high level Magic-User Death Mage gets older he/she may seek the secret of Lich-hood from the Goddess herself.

D. Divine Intervention

Divine intervention can be called upon with a 1% chance per level (Cleric + other) of success.


General Statement

The priesthood of Hel is the most numerous of the religious arms of the religion. A priest will always be found at a chapel and will sometimes be assigned to a series of shrines in a rural region. They generally perform the majority of the funerals and religious ceremonies and also do a large amount of the mundane work about the temple/chapel. Hel priests are never the 'healing machines' that priests of other religions occasionally are. Healing will generally be given only to those lightly injured or where it is commensurate with the priest’s own survival.

A. Requirements for Acceptance

In order for a person to become a cleric of Hel certain statistics need to be at a minimum level: Wisdom and Constitution both need to be equal to or above 9. There are also alignment restrictions of Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil, Lawful Neutral or Neutral. There are no other requirements.

B. Restrictions

Priests of Hel are severely restricted as to the weapons and armour that they are allowed to use and don. No metal armour can be used thus the general practice is to use leather armour. Weapons are restricted to the use of spear (thrown or melee) and two-handed sword. The origins behind these two weapons are simple, the two-handed sword is often used as the execution weapon for the nobility while the spear is used as the execution weapon for non-nobles i.e. peasants. Most priests will be tied down to a specific chapel or temple with certain duties to perform. Others (the adventuring ones) will be given more roving commissions to spread the faith in the villages and towns that do not yet have chapels to Hel. Where possible the priest should attempt to set up a chapel in a town(1).
(1: Of the two Hel clerics in my campaign, the first retired as the resident priest of a chapel whose last occupant was slain by the Magic-User whom the party in turn slew. The second, Gondy, is re-furbishing an abandoned Temple with the help of a third PC cleric of Hel who is a ghoul!!)

C. Benefits

In addition to the spell lists specific to Hel the Priest may gain powers at higher levels. Unlike many other religions in the world these are different depending on the alignment of the character. The first number given is the level at which Evil priests can gain the power and the second number is the level at which Neutral priests may gain the power. It should be stressed that no priest is automatically entitled to all of these extra powers.






Priest gains immunity to all Diseases.



Priest gains a Wolf Companion with an empathic bond.



Protection from Normal Missiles(2).



Opponents need +1 weapons to hit the Priest.

(2: I am unhappy with this one but have not yet thought of any that could take its place adequately. Undead Drain?)

D. Divine Intervention

Priests Divine Intervention percentage is worked out in the same way as the standard (2% per level). In most cases it is unlikely that a Priest would ask for Divine Aid to avoid certain death (and even more unlikely that it would be granted).


A. Spirit of Reprisal

The spirit of reprisal for the Hel religion normally takes on the form and powers of a wraith for minor transgressions. Any initiate or more who leaves the religion can never be resurrected and will probably be visited by the major spirit of reprisal, a minor Death. In extreme cases more than one may be sent. If a transgression is more material than spiritual it is likely that the ranking Priest will Quest the individual to perform a task to atone for the mishap.

B. Others

It is interesting to note that there are no subservient religions catered for within Hel worship. Although there are a number of other Demons/Devils/Deities that are linked with the undead and none are as powerful as Hel they still remain independent. Hel Priests do not have to treat these other necromancers as enemies, nor for that matter as friends.


A. Associated Religions

A number of religions are found to be closely allied at times to Hel. Forseti although the father of Hel's child has long since split away and is generally treated with antipathy. Hermes is well respected by Hel and her priests should echo that respect (even if the Hermes priests are neutral). Hiisi is treated with guarded respect and can be a powerful ally. Sif Priests are often treated with great respect, as they are often the greatest slayers. One religion is favoured above all others however and the respect is mutual, that is those who follow the way of Surma. Hel Priests should never refuse a bed to a priest of Surma, in return for this Surma Priests should never challenge members of a group with a Hel cleric. The guards for the Temple of Hel within cities are often members of the Surma religion, as they tend to be better fighters.

B. Enemy Religions

On the God Plane Hel has no actual enemies as she is too powerful and her sphere of influence is very separate from the rest the pantheon. Of all the Gods who most interfere with her work is Ilmatar who cures many whom Hel felt should have been within her grasp. Consequently Hel priests are very watchful about Priests of Ilmatar and generally try to "Tend" to the seriously wounded before the Ilmatar priest gets there. Ilmatar should not be treated as an enemy religion however as she has performed many favours for Hel in the past especially during the birth of her two sons.


Many Hel worshippers can be distinguished by the colours they wear which are predominantly black and white. The Holy symbol of the religion is a small mask half black half white.
There is no particular method by which burial must be observed however burying is the favourite within the Hel religion. The funeral service basically entails guiding the spirit of the deceased on its way.

(Author: S.A.Brooks, 1991; Transcribed by S.J.Wells, Sept 2006; Updated 21 Sept 2006, 13 Nov 2011)