Campaign of the Month: December 2018
Aorthe - The Fading Lie
Since the Time of Troubles and Shying of the Gods, religion has changed quite a bit within the known world. Some religions died, some were born, and some have be irrevocably altered. Though the people do not know it, the pantheon of gods has dramatically changed, and slowly the world of man is catching up to the New Ways. The form of worship across the world is not consistent, but as varied as one would expect from a diverse group of people.
Gods of the Second Age
Church of the Earthmother and Treefather
Patron god/goddess of: nature, agriculture, parenting, life
“Earthmother, yours is the path of life and I am your instrument. Grant me the strength to sustain your gifts. Treefather, yours is the path of nature and I am your instrument. Grant me the strength to defend those who defile your domain. Parents of the world, my love is true. Shine your grace upon me and grant me the strength to carry your wisdom and walk among your miracles.”
Those that worship life in all forms worship two gods – Chauntea and Sylanvus. Chauntea is more widely worshiped of the two, because she represents tamed nature. She is worshiped for good harvests, fertility, and for healing. Sylvanus represents wild nature, so is worshiped for good hunting, survival, and for lumberjacking. Because Sylvanus is the wild aspect of nature, you do not often see actual churches dedicated to him. Sometimes you will see churches to both god and goddess, though. Mostly, you will only see Churches of the Earthmother. It is a good place to go to leave an offering if you require healing. There is a Church of the Earthmother in most larger towns.
Though the god and goddess are often thought of as separate entities, theocratic scholars understand this distinction is meaningless between these gods. As meaningless as the prescription of gender to these divine beings. Merely a way for common mortals to understand matters beyond their comprehension. Nature is many things, but primarily plays the role of both protector and provider – two roles humans have associated with genders, and hence the distinction. So if it’s not accurate to say they are separate gods, it might be more accurate to think of Chauntea and Sylvannus as a single creature that somehow manages to be two people at once. Just as all natural things, these gods are ever-changing, going through a continual cycle that personifies all life in a world where all things are impermanent, imperfect, and incomplete. That is why you nearly always find depictions of the gods together, and usually intertwined. The Cathedral of Chauntea near Coinge, Lareux Foret, is hope to a 15-foot marble statue of Chauntea and Sylvannus where they are depicted as being literally bound together with chains. Still, because people relate to and benefit most from tamed nature, Chauntea tends to be the name spoken when referring to the dual god.
The followers of the Earthmother also maintain seed banks, and provide assistance to the Ottimizzarian Order in their efforts to perfect crops. Her worshipers often lead double lives as gardeners and farmers. They usually dress in practical vestments of earthy colors.
Chaunta is worshiped as Yondalla to halflings and Duthila to harmonians. Sylvanus is known as Brandobaras to halflings and Nithnina to harmonians.
- Pastorals: Followers that are tasked with providing assistance and advice for farmers, or for serving the holy needs of rural areas and peoples.
- True Shapers: Those tasked with conserving nature in the name of Sylvanus.
- Knights of the Grain Goddess aka Field Guardians: A group of paladins charged by the goddess to protect life. They most often accompany physicians to dangerous areas to ensure they are able to work safely, and have been known to take on dangerous creatures that threaten to destroy food stores and crops. They value compassion as much as courage, and spend much time helping common folk in rural areas.
- Wives of Nailo: A group of Chaunteans that have taken up the cause of treating the sick and infirmed.
- Paladins of the Protector and Provider: Paladins of the Protector and Provider are rare, but in halfling-run lands such as The Ungoverned Lands, they serve their fellow citizens with sword and shield. They may multiclass freely as monks.
Chauntean and Sylvannian clerics believe the following:
1) They are encouraged to have large families.
2) That farming and hunting are holy acts of the upmost importance.
3) That no animals should be killed for sport, and without excessive cruelty.
4) Providing for one’s neighbor and the less fortunate.
5) Harvest season is the primary holiday.
Church of Eternal Rest
Patron god/goddess of: death, funerals, law, rituals
“Holder of the scales, where I walk, I walk with your compassion. With your wisdom I teach. Guide well the souls of mortals and keep them from perversion of undeath, to rest well and peaceful hereafter in your grace.”
Kelemvor is one of the Three Fates along with Istus and Mystra. Each of them watches over the Weave – the tangles bonds that hold this reality together. Istus is concerned with the Weave of Fate – that things happen as and when they should to prevent reality from unraveling. Kelemvor watches the Weave of Life and Death – ensuring mortal souls arrive when and where they should to prevent an imbalance in The Truce. Mystra watched the Weave of Magic, also known as the Arcane Weave. Of the three, Kelemvor is the only one with a domain outside of the Weave. The god’s closeness to mortal affairs predictably leads to his being more directly involved in the daily lives of mortals.
Kelemvor is the companion god of Istus and Mystra, who rules over judgement of the dead. The thought of a church to a god of death can seem unsettling at first, but the faithful provide sadly necessary and important purposes. Brothers of Eternal Rest ensure the dead receive a proper burial, abhor undead, and provide resurrection services. There is a church of eternal rest in most large towns, and even small areas will likely have one or two faithful acting at caretakers of the local graveyard, though they may not be capable of offering resurrection services. Kelemvor is also the aspect responsible for judgement, and so some of the faithful act as barristers and attorneys as well.
They usually dress is grey vestments. Their holy symbol is a skeletal arm holding scales.
- Doomguides: Kelemvor’s elite warriors that wander the countryside to cure diseases, destroy the undead, and protect people from monsters (so they do not die before their time.) They wield bastard swords with cross guards styled to look like Kelemvor’s scales. Sometimes called Paladins of the Lord of the Dead.
- Most Solemn Order of the Silent Shroud: An organization of gravediggers, embalmers, and other cemetery workers and crafters. Those of this order identify each other with a series of secret signs. Their task is to keep the church informed of undead sightings and grave-site desecration.
- Lawspeakers: Kelemvor’s faithful that serve as barristers, attorney’s, and often judges in places where they are accepted or where there is no judiciary or legislature to serve as such.
- Paladins of the Just God are front-line warriors in the battle against evil and untruth, and often lead military and adventuring groups to further their cause.
Kelemvari clerics believe the following:
1) It is of the utmost importance to train an acolyte to replace them in the order when they die. This is typically one of their biological children, but doe snot have to be. This person is expect to perform the burial rites for their mentor when they pass.
2) That the undead are abominations and a direct insult to their god.
3) That resurrection magic is to be used sparingly, and souls should only be released from death if their god chooses. Therefore, resurrection magic perform by non-Kelemvari or that which is meant to force the return of souls is and offense to their order and their god.
4) That order is the way to good, and therefore the law is of greatest importance. Chaos is the way to evil.
5) Thoroughness and attention to detail are blessings. Whether the act is a funerary right or a legal investigation, one should devote oneself wholly to the task,.
6) That the dead deserve reverence and funerary rights in accordance with their wishes.
Church of the Magical Mystress
Patron god/goddess of: arcane magic
“Lady of Magic, grant me the knowledge of your secrets to shape the world in my image. Protect me as I peer into your world, and grant me to wisdom to know the limits of my power.”
Mystra is one of the Three Fates along with Istus and Kelemvor. Each of them watches over the Weave – the tangles bonds that hold this reality together. Istus is concerned with the Weave of Fate – that things happen as and when they should to prevent reality from unraveling. Kelemvor watches the Weave of Life and Death – ensuring mortal souls arrive when and where they should to prevent an imbalance in The Truce. Mystra watched the Weave of Magic, also known as the Arcane Weave. This concept is a little more complicated. Essentially, when the gods arrived they found the world as it was in the First Age. The battle that followed was cataclysmic in nature and essentially destroyed the world. To ensure a home for their creations, the gods had to essentially terraform the world. To do that, the Arcane Weave was created to bind the land, water, and all things. Essentially altering reality to stave off the inevitable death of this world. Now, powerful mortals can learn to “manipulate” the Weave. By tugging, twisting, and crossing the strands they can essentially alter reality – we call this magic. However, too much manipulation of this weave can cause it to tangle or unravel, causing unpredictable and sometimes horrific consequences. It is Mystra’s domain to watch over and protect this Weave.
Mystra is the goddess of the Weave – the arcane power that binds all reality and makes magic possible. She is not worshiped much. Her primary faithful are wizards, but they are not the sort to put too much faith in the divine, and she is like them and not concerned with prayers. Miracles become less impressive when you can perform them yourself on command. Most wizards regard her as the wizard of all wizards, and master of all magic. You will find a Church of the Magical Mystress in major cities because they act as gathering places for traveling wizards and hedge mages, and often have accommodations, laboratories, reagents, and the like.
Usually for a nominal donation to the church, a lay member can have access to the church’s library, which may or may not have specialized knowledge or incantations. While libraries in general tend to be the realm of Oghma’s followers, Mystra’s churches tend to be places where esoteric knowledge accumulates. It is also a good place to find someone with a mind keen enough to crack a cipher, solve a riddle, or do research on the best way to slay a mythical creature.
- The Chosen: Mystra has been known to select a wizard here and there to grant her favor to – giving them unnaturally long life and special insights into the weave.
- Paladins of the True God: The magical weave can be a fragile thing. There are some places where it could be said to fray, and these paladins make it their mission to ensure that doesn’t happen. Their mission is to delay prevent (delay) the comong of the Third Age.
Mystran clerics believe the following:
1) Arcane magic is holy and should be respected.
2) There is no such thing as forbidden knowledge.
3) The quest for excellence is a holy task and study is prayer.
4) A person’s secrets should never be revealed until they are dead.
5) The weave is sacred. It can be touched, but should never be broken.
6) Clerics are discouraged from having children, as it is a distraction from the study of the weave.
Church of the Colorless and All-Colored / House of the Lady of Fate / Temple of the One
Patron god/goddess of: fate
Istus is one of the Three Fates along with Mystra and Kelemvor. Each of them watches over the Weave – the tangles bonds that hold this reality together. Istus is concerned with the Weave of Fate – that things happen as and when they should to prevent reality from unraveling. Kelemvor watches the Weave of Life and Death – ensuring mortal souls arrive when and where they should to prevent an imbalance in The Truce. Mystra watched the Weave of Magic, also known as the Arcane Weave.
Istus is the most powerful of the deities, but aloof from mortals and immortals alike, concerning herself only with the fate of the universe. She is depicted in three different ways. The first is as an old crone, the second as a mature and haughty noble dame, and the third as a cold and unfeeling young maiden. She carries a golden spindle (her holy symbol), with which she spins the future into the present, thus weaving the web of fate.
In the strange metaphysics of the worshippers of Istus, the multiverse is conceived of as an intricate mesh of interconnected threads, with everything connected to everything else. They are believers in predestination, although the threads of fate are sometimes slack enough that destiny can be altered in some small way. Because the future is for the most part preordained, it can be predicted by those with the skills to perceive how the threads are linked. Clerics of Istus teach that acceptance of one’s fate is the only honest approach; those who strive too hard against Fate will only meet their own preordained ruins.
Because Fate is callous and often unkind, only cynical and unfeeling people tend to make Istus their patron.
Istus has few true followers and her clerics tend to be stoic and cynical, having seen all the extremes of mortal destinies. They use divinations to discern what fate will bring, and are called upon by nobles and other important people to make predictions about the future. They hold honesty as a virtue, and teach the importance of accepting one’s destiny and role in the world. Eighty percent of them are female.
Clerics of Istus wear gray or black robes. Higher ranking clerics have formal vestments with weblike patterns. They must wear their holy symbols openly and allow their hair to grow at least six inches in length.
Services to Istus include hangings of gauze, clouds of incense, the music of woodwinds, chanting, and meditation.
Istus is the god/goddess of fate. This gives Istus power of nearly everything. However, she is not concerned with worshipers. She doe snot answer prayers, though many will call to her in times of desperation. She produces no miracles, having no concern for mortals as Beshaba does. All she and her followers are concerned with is ensuring that fate takes the course it should. You will not find churches and temples in cities, for if they exist they will have no sign, request no donations, or proselytize for new followers. Her order is entirely monastic, with followers devoted to diving the future, studying the will of Istus, and maintaining the order and way of fate.
- Seers: Followers of Istus that dedicate themselves to reading the strands of fate and detecting the will of Istus are known as Seers. They are able to use divination magic to see into the future and past, but do not share this knowledge widely, as that might disrupt the weave of fate. In fact, they detect so-call “fortune tellers” and diviners that ply their trade for coin.
- Protectors of the Weave of Fate: Followers of Istus that go out of their way to detect and stop people or things attempting to disrupt fate, or to correct disruptions of the same. They tend to operate as Inevitables or Ultum Exploratars, except focused on neither right nor wrong, but SHOULD and SHOULD NOT. Their ability to divine the future can give them a mysterious, almost supernatural ability to seem to be in the right place at the right time, and appear just as someone breaks the natural order or fate. Inevitables are mysterious mechanical creatures apparently serve Istus in some fashion, though no one is sure exactly what their relationship is. Whenever there is a situation that Istus believes is threatening the weave, the Inevitables may be dispatched to “correct” the issue.
Istian clerics believe the following:
1) Fate is inescapable. Anyone attempting to break their fate must be corrected.
2) Since all events are written, the future is as readable as the past.
3) All fates are entwined, and so the works of the Kelemvari and Mystrans are the works of the Istians.
4) The works of Istus are unknowable to mortals.
5) Istian clerics are neither encouraged not discouraged from having a family, but they are discouraged from using birth control.
Orthodox Church of Oghma / House of the Wise God / Temple of the Errant Explorer
Patron god/goddess of: knowledge, education, lore, news, truth
“Keeper and binder of knowledge, we come before you, and desire that our lives to be like an open book. Come write your wisdom across every page, and when my story ends, grant me a place among your works to be among the library of All That Is Known for eternity.”
Those who worship Oghma include artists, bards, cartographers, inventors, loremasters, sages, scholars, scribes and wizards—archivists, a generalist cleric prestige class, might pray to him as well. Many followers of the church undergo advanced training, and are expected to go into the world and educate the people. Nearly all schools and academy’s in the civilized world are staffed by those faithful to Oghma. That said, you won’t find many official churches. There is one in Sedem Imperii. Monasteries in remote locations aren’t unheard of, though.
To dwarves, this god is Dugmaren. Dugmaren’s clerics draw from the most creative free thinkers of dwarven communities, on rare occasions even allowing gnomes to join their orders. They follow a doctrine of knowledge for knowledge’s sake, seeing equal value in learning a once-lost recipe for toasted zygom stalk and discovering the crucial flaw in an enemy’s defensive fortifications. In fact, since the clergy strongly favor creation over destruction, there’s a good chance many of them would have preferred the recipe. Temples of the Errant Explorer, usually sprawling edifices filled with the scattered detritus of a half-hundred abandoned experiments and twice as many open books, could be found both above and below the surface.
- Xothor: Dugmaren’s specialty priests are called xothor (dwarven for “those who seek knowledge”, roughly), with the singular form of xothar.
- Perochials: Faithful that make it their mission in life to visit rural areas without access to books or learning to educate children and adults.
- Professors: Faithful that teach advanced topics at Bard’s Colleges, academies, universities, etc.
- Companions of the Silver String: Heroic bards who act valiantly and risk their own lives in the service to the Church of Oghma.
- Keepers of the Binder of Knowledge – The monastic order of Oghma, god of knowledge, has a sub-collective of both faithful and secular scholars. This group essentially encompasses all of the very best and brightest minds on Aorthe. From history to mathematics, physics, arcane studies, and even liberal arts, all disciplines are valid and worthy topics of discussion.
Oghmari clerics believe the following:
1) The collection of knowledge is a holy act. Study is prayer.
2) To uncover and preserve knowledge is the utmost importance.
3) Knowledge should be shared and available to those that need it.
4) To teach is the most pleasing act to Oghma.
5) To pass false knowledge or news is the greatest offense to their god.
6) They are discouraged from marrying or having families, but it is not a commandment.
Church of the Great Guard / Citadel of the Watcher
Patron god/goddess of: protection, order, soldiers, oaths
“O Great Guard, through you I bring warmth in the might, through you I wrest life from winter’s grip, and through you I protect the weak with Your might. Grant me the eyes to see my enemies, a shield to defend the defenseless, and may the miracles you work with my weapon bring peace to the world.”
Helmites are long respected and revered for their dedication and purpose, and their pledge to come to the defense of those who called for it. They wear polished full suits of armor often with plumed helmets. Their hierarchy is strict and militaristic, with a single pontiff as head of the church—the Supreme Watcher, Archbishop of Sedem Imperii Boniface IV. They have seen a great upheval since the Shying, and have begun to take drastic steps to ensure ideological purity in their ranks. Perhaps the result of having such a rigid dogma. You will find a Church of the Great Guard in some cities, though they are concentrated mainly in Fragrantia, as Helm is their patron god.
To dwarves, this god is Claggedin, the dwarf deity of battle.
- Watcher Over the Fallen: The faithful that are battlefield healers.
- Everwatch Knights: A group of dedicated bodyguards that Helmite temples hire out to others as a way to generate revenue.
- Vigilant Eyes of the God: An order of paladins dedicated to helm
- The Knights of the Redeemer: An order of paladins dedicated to the cause of right, protection of the weak, and responding to the call against the world’s greatest threats.
- Alaghor: Clangeddin’s clerics, known as alaghor (“Those who demonstrate valor in battle”) are taught and learnt the art of forging armour and weapons, and practiced military training each day. Though they seek to make their dwarven brethren stronger on the battlefield through their teachings, followers of Clangeddin are often viewed as little more than bloodthirsty barbarians among other races. Clangeddin’s priests wear silver war helms and chain mail. He is worshiped before and during battle and weapons are sacrificed to him in honor.
- Paladins of the Watcher: Prefer to guard against evil or slay it outright rather than work to heal its damages. They seem rigid and uninterested in helping others.
Helmite clerics believe the following:
1) They are encouraged to be celibate and forbidden to marry or have families.
2) Weapons and armor are holy objects and should be treated with reverence and respect.
3) To battle is a holy act, and to be a soldier is the highest calling.
4) Protecting those that cannot protect themselves is the mission of Helmites.
5) The strong should never prey upon the weak.
6) A defeated enemy should always be given quarter.
Patron god/goddess of: creation, dwarves, crafts, inspiration
Holy Crafthouse of Inspiration / House of Wonders / Temple of the Silver Anvil
“O Lord, forger of souls, muse to muses, god of wonders, grant us the grace to respect and care for your creation, bless all dwarves as a sign of your wondrous love. O Lord, help us to end the suffering of the poor and bring healing to all of your creation. O Lord, help us to use our clever minds to undo the damage we have done to your creation and to sustain your gifts. Lord, hear our prayer.”
Temples to Gond are imposing, boxy stone structures surrounded by porticoes. The only internal decorations are sprawling exhibits of items, some of historical interest, some representing the latest work of master crafters. The central altar consists of a massive anvil surrounded by spinning cogs in a giant machine. Backrooms consisted of workshops.
Clerics of Gond have a unique dress. They wore saffron robes, sashes that held tools, and sun hats. They have great belts of large linked medallion ringlets. They serve rural communities as tinkerers, carpenters, and civil engineers. All clerics of Gond keep a journal in which they wrote down ideas for inventions to be worked on and contemplated. Journals kept by wandering priests are given to temples they visited. Their notes were recorded and added to the temple library for everyone to gain insight from.
Gond is also the most important god of dwarvenkind, but they call him Moradin. Moradin is the father and creator of the dwarven race. They honor him by emulating his principles and workmanship in smithing, stoneworking, and other tasks. Wisdom is derived from life and tempered with experience. Moradin charges his people to advance the dwarven race in all areas of life. Innovate with new processes and skills. Found new kingdoms and clan lands, defending the existing ones from all threats. Lead the dwarves in the traditions laid down by the Soul Forger. Honor your clan leaders as they honor Moradin.
You will find a Holy Crafthouse in most cities and in many rural areas, where they act as craftsmen in support of a village or district. You will definitely find temples to Moradin wherever there are dwarves in number.
- Order of High Wonders: Faithful to Gond that believe magic is the tool to further creative endeavors and work to master the weave.
- Sonnlinor: Among dwarves, Gond is known as Moradin. They wear earthy colors, chain mail, and silver helms.
- Hammers of Moradin: The Hammers of Moradin are an elite military order dominated by crusaders and fighting clerics with chapters in nearly every dwarven stronghold and members drawn from every dwarven clan. The Hammers served both as commanders of dwarven armies and as an elite strike force skilled in dealing with anything from large groups of orcs to great wyrms to malevolent fiends from the Fiendish Planes. The order was dedicated to the defense of existing dwarven holdings and the carving out of new dwarven territories. Individual chapters had a great deal of local autonomy but, in times of great crisis, a Grand Council assembled to plot strategy and divine Moradin’s will.
- Order of the Soul Forger: Paladins that champion all and work to protect and preserve all of Gond’s creation – every part of this world.
Moradinite clerics believe the following:
1) They are encouraged to have children.
2) Crafting is the most holy act, and to be an artisan the greatest calling.
3) What is broken should be repaired.
4) Invention is a gift from their god.
5) Those that threaten to destroy what has been built are an offense to their god.
Church of the Morninglord / House of the Lightbringer / Temple of the Bearded Lady
Patron god/goddess of: the sun, truth, light, Serebra
“Morninglord, when the night is darkest I will go with you and I will burn bright. Let your grace shine upon us, and those that defy you be cast to eternal shadow.”
All of Lathander’s clergy respect art, liberty, nature, and culture; promote betterment of oneself; and strive to bring hope to their followers and others. Many of these followers work in various creative arts. They are intolerant of evil, especially undead and inaction that causes evil to prosper. Most ceremonies of Lathander are held at dawn and actions and contracts agreed to at sunrise were said to be blessed by him. Funerals, among his followers, were held at dusk, and followed by a wake that lasted until dawn.
You will find a Church of the Morninglord in most Serebran cities, as Lathander (who they call Pelor) is their patron god. They are almost unheard of elsewhere, because Lathander’s role is mostly supplanted by Chauntea, Oghma and Kelemvor there. In Serebra, Lathander acts as the place of funerals, law, healing, life, and knowledge.
Lathander IS widely worshiped by dwarves, however. Except they know the god as Mya – goddess of clan, family, wisdom. Dwarves do not have a personal relationship with the sun, living mostly underground.
- Awakened: Clerics that make it their mission to educate the people of Serebra.
- Dawnbringers: Clerics in charge of giving last rights, healing the sick, and performing funerals.
- Order of the Aster: A small, restricted order of paladins and fighters among the faithful of the god of the sun.
- Order of the Sun Soul: A monastic brotherhood to the Morninglord.
Pelorian clerics believe the following:
Church of Our Lady of Passion / House of Sune / Temple of the Hearthmother
Patron god/goddess of: love, marriage, hearth and home, family
“Lady of Love, beauty of beauties, may you with a kind spirit grant me strength, and make my descendants flourish. Allow me to live long and see the light of the sun, blessed among the people, and reach the threshold of old age surrounded by the fruits of your grace.”
Sune’s clerics seek to bring beauty to the world in many forms, all of which are pleasing to the senses. They create great works of art, become patrons for promising actors, and import exotic luxuries like satin and fine wines. Her followers also enjoy looking beautiful, and hearing tales of romance. The stories range from star-crossed love, true love overcoming all else, to following one’s heart.
Her temples usually hold social salons and display mirrors for use by lay parishioners. Some of them even have public baths for the local populace. Her shrines often stand on the corner of busy city streets. They often have a small ornate overhanging roof with a mirror underneath. They are used to check one’s appearance while honoring Sune with prayer. Some shrines even held perfume and cosmetic items for those who could not afford such luxuries themselves. In short, they are beauty salons. In some cases, where they can operate with impunity, Sune’s churches may act as houses of ill-repute.You can find a House of Sune in most mid to large towns.
To dwarves, this goddess is known as Berronar, Moradin’s bride and matriarch of their pantheon.
- Faenor: Berronar’s clerics are known as faenor, which translates as “those of the home”. Faenor serve as the guardians and protectors of dwarven clans. They archive the lore, traditions, and family histories of the dwarves. By acting as teachers and healers, they aim to further the good health and good character of the dwarven race.
- Heartwarders: The most beautiful of Sune’s worshipers. They are expected to keep their appearance as flattering as possible and shower others with sweet words at least five times per month.
- Order of the Ruby Rose: A knightly order affiliated with the Church of Sune, made up of bards, fighters, and paladins. Their primary mission is to guard Sunite temples and holy sites, and occasionally accompany clerics doing good works or questing for something important to the Lady of Love. Initiation into the order is done by standing vigil in a temple of Sune for an entire night. If the goddess showed her favor by granting a vision or some other boon, the candidate is accepted into the order.
- Paladins of the Firehair defend things of beauty. They seek out and destroy creatures that are particularly hideous in their evil. They tend to be incredibly self-confident.
Church of the Moonmaiden / House of the Moonmaiden
Patron god/goddess of: the moon, expatriates, sailors, lycanthropes, fortune-tellers
“Silver lady, nestling in the midnight sky, shine your ageless wisdom upon our souls. We shall forever follow your illuminated path.”
Those that are faithful believe Selûne to be the oldest of the gods along with Shar. They say Selûne was created from the primordial essence of the universe, along with her twin sister, Shar. Together, they created Chauntea (the embodiment of the world) and some other heavenly bodies and infused these areas with life. The two goddesses then fought over the fate of their creations. From these struggles emerged the original deities of magic, war, disease, murder, death, and others. Selûne reached out of the universe and from a plane of fire, brought forth a flame and ignited a heavenly body in order to give warmth to Chauntea. This greatly enraged Shar, and she began to erase all light and warmth in the universe. Desperate and weakened because of Shar’s actions, Selûne hurled some of her divine essence at her sister. Selûne’s essence tore through Shar, bringing some of Shar’s essence with it. This magical energy combined to form the goddess Mystra, the goddess of magic.
Selûne’s clerics are a very diverse group, including sailors, non-evil lycanthropes, mystics. Her church’s main objective is to fight evil lycanthropes and summon the Shards, blue-haired female planetar servants of Selûne, to battle the minions of her archnemesis and twin, Shar. The temple also performs fortune-telling, healing, and practiced self-reliance and humility.
Followers of the Moonmaiden will often set bowls of milk, a sacred fluid, outside on nights when the moon was full. It is rare for a town to have a place dedicated to the Moodmaiden. They are usually only found in large cities.
To dwarves, this god is known as Muamman. Muamman is the dwarf deity of wanderers and expatriates, so it is also rare to see temples to this god even in dwarven strongholds. Generally, you will see the symbol of Muamman carved in placed where homesick dwarves or those in need have been.
- Swords of the Lady: One order of fanatic Selûnites is known as the Swords of the Lady, who are often referred to colloquially as the “Lunatics”. Its members are led by a few Selûnite crusaders who tend to act rapidly in response to threats from Shar and her priesthood, although their behavior was often viewed as bizarre by the public at large.
- Oracles of the Moon: The Oracles of the Moon are a group of diviners who worship the Night White Lady. They perform fortune-telling rituals and were some of the highest bards and priests in the faith.
- Silverstars: These priests and priestesses are dedicated to protecting the vulnerable. Gifted Silverstars are capable of conjuring a moon blade, which has special properties to harm those who are evil lycanthropes.
Church of the Kicking Lady / House of Wren
Patron god/goddess of: tattoos, comedians, orphans
“As I stumble through this life, help me to create more laughter than tears, dispense more happiness than gloom, spread more cheer than despair. Never let me become so indifferent, that I will fail to see the wonders in the eyes of a child, or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged. And in my final moment, may I hear You whisper: “When you made My people smile, you made Me smile.”
Wren is a legendary hero and member of the Revelers. Following the Time of Troubles, people began to worship her as a goddess, even though most believe her to actually be alive in the world somewhere. The impression she has left is simply of that magnitude.
Churches to the goddess of tattooing, dancing, and comedians often act as tattoo parlors and comedy clubs. They are not very widespread, but you can find them in most large cities, and oddly scattered throughout the lands. Wren, being an orphan herself, also have faithful that run orphanages in many cities.
The head of the Church of the Kicking Lady is known as the Punmaster General. Her followers wear purple sleeveless vestments to show off their guns and tats, and red boots.
- Order of Chuckles: Faithful that serve a mission to spread joy and laughter, made up of bards (especially gnome bards) and anyone that aspires to be a comedian.
- Peacocks: The Kicking Lady has faithful that specialize in mastering the art of dancing. Those most proficient among them are known as Peacocks.
- Revelers: Those of Wren’s followers that dedicate themselves to fighting things that would threaten happiness and joy are known as Revelers, who ar emasters of the deadly dance technique Wren pioneered.
Church of Revels / Temple of the Merciful Mother / Taphouse of Hanseath
Patron god/goddess of: joy, revelry, celebration, dancing, entertainers
“Lady of Joy, we cheer your name! Bless us as we sing your grace, and keep us from tripping on the dace floor. May our revelry be heard far and wide and spread your love. Protect us from neighbors that would make noise complaints, and may your enemies be filled with such rapture that they cannot take arms against us.”
Followers of Lliira are called Lliirans and wear brightly colored outfits, and adorned themselves with rubies and sapphires. These stones are sacred to Lliira and any seen wearing them were blessed by passing clergy. They are known for always having a smile on their lips; it is unheard of to see one with a frown.
The Lady of Joy abhors violence at celebrations, and will withhold her blessing from any celebration marred by it. The only weapons drawn at a festival must be ceremonial and
never lead to bloodshed.
To dwarves Llirra is known as Hanseath. Heanseath is the dwarven deity of carousing. Hanseath represents the festive side of dwarven culture. Brewers hold him in high regard, as do dwarf barbarians and any dwarf who charges headlong into battle heedless of the odds.
- Thalornor: Followers of Hanseath come from all walks of life from dwarves struck down during combat to commoners accepting vows of marriage. Clerics of Hanseath are called Thalornor or “those who are merciful”. These clerics aid the sick and injured and educate young dwarves on proper courting rituals. Temples to Hanseath are usually large halls that had enough room for dancing and celebration, along with plenty of intimate guest rooms for visiting worshipers.
- Joydancers: Priests and priestesses of Lliira entrusted with leadership and tasked as planners of festivals.
- Scarlet Mummers: The Mummers were formed to avenge the murder of Lliira’s High Revelmistress at the hands of followers of Loviatar. Their duties included protecting Lliiran temples and battling with Loviatans. Their battle prowess caused their fellows in the church to both fear and respect them. Loviatar is now dead (unbeknownst to them) and good thing, as the number of Mummers was decimated in the Time of Troubles. People wouldn’t normally associate warriors with the goddess of Joy, Lliira, but the rise of Wren Knackle brought such an organization to light. While not even nearly the first Scarlet Mummer, Wren is certain the most famous. Since then throngs of people have been flooding the various churches and cathedrals dedicated to the goddess. Unfortunately, they find that no one is admitted to the Scarlet Mummers. In order to become one, one must be hand-selected by the goddess form among her faithful. Since The Shying, this means that they receive a vision and must perform a ritual in the temples. If they are insincere or fraudulent in their claim, then woe unto them, for Lliira does not abide false claims of mummerhood. Since Wren’s fame, there have been scored of mercenaries that attempt to drum up business by claiming to be a mummer. Sooner or later, all are found in a catatonic state, enraptured by the pure joy they witness. Little do they know that Wren was a rare example of a paladin mummer. In fact, most mummers are simple monks of Lliira, who wear no special garments aside from their trademark bladed boots. However, this is no longer entirely true, as the numerous celebrations to the Revelers are considered sacred days by Mummer who worship Wren Knackle as their patron. On these days, the Mummers make no effort at hiding, throwing scarlet flowers to crowds or even dressing up like Wren. This is not only to celebrate their most famous member, but also to celebrate their greatest victory – Wren’s utter ousting of Lovitar, Lliira’s most hated enemy. It’s also an attempt to bring people to Lliira and bolster their now-dwindling numbers. The Mummers themselves would never reveal their numbers, but it’s widely known that their numbers dwindled during the Time of Troubles, and that even though they celebrate the defeat of their greatest enemy they know they must take on a new enemy in the Black Mummers.
House of Lady Luck / Temple of Fortune / House of the Fickle Bitch
Patron god/goddess of: luck, mischief, daredevils, circuses
“Lady of luck, fortune lies in your favor. I witness your miracle. Luck is not fair, and it is not nice. Your grace turns the dice. Luck be a lady tonight.”
Beshaba is a complicated goddess, as fickle a luck and as frivolous as mischief. Her doctrine states that bad luck befalls everybody and the only way to avoid it is by worshiping her. Her clerics offer an entreaty for their spells and make sacrifices of alcoholic beverages such as burning brandy or wine. There are two festivals in the calendar of Beshaba followers at Midsummer and Shieldmeet. Both are celebrated by revelry and indulgence in food and drink. Followers are known to erect shrines to Beshaba near their ritual chambers to ward off bad luck. Essentially, though she is the goddess of misfortune, it is more apt to say that she controls the tap of luck, filling the cups of some and letting others run dry. When she is with you, she is a glorious goddess of bounty and benevolence. When she is against you she is cruel and malevolent.
The roles the church plays in society are as varied as the duality of the goddess herself. Beshaba has an almost split personality. Her churches might be quiet places to reflect or offer a sacrifice for good fortune. They could be seedy dens of killers-for-hire. They could be gaudy casinos full of bells and lights. They could be closed private clubs where members of the nobility meet to plot. They could be raucous taverns filled with mischievous souls who drink and concoct plans to paint mustaches on public statues. They could be theaters where the faithful perform feats of daring to increase the name of their goddess. There is no telling with the flaky nature of Lady Luck.
- Doommasters: The best known order of specialty priests are the Doommasters, universally feared for the way they reveled in the infliction of misfortune on others. They represent the darkest parts of Bashaba worship.
- Beshaba Umbra / Dark Scar Children: The Beshaba Umbra are an order of monks dedicated to perfecting this and using their ability to infiltrate to sew mischief as well. The Beshaba Umbra became the Dark Scar Children around two years ago.
- Black Fingers : Only by Beshaba’s favor, some of the Beshaba Umbra are singled out by the goddess as the most elite of her assassins. There are never more than five members of the secret order of the Black Fingers.
- Wormlucks: In order to spread Beshaba’s influence, the Wormlucks (or Priests of Bad Fortune) serve as a focus for calamities. They tend to occur wherever they go, often affecting them as well. In essence, they are the anti-Ultum Exploratar. Their style of dress is distinctive, forced upon them by the orthodox clergy for high visibility. They wear bright red robes over armor and white hair wigs, which have to be obvious and usually ill-fitting, to honor Beshaba’s own locks.
- Fellows of Free Fate: This is a special fellowship of clergy within the church who dedicate themselves to countering the efforts of the Black Fingers. Yes, the fickle goddess fights her own duality, pitting her own followers against each other to maintain the razor-thin margin of luck. Any clergy member who shows experience, dedication to the cause, and is vouched for by a senior Fellow can join.
- Testers: The Testers are fanatical followers of Beshaba who take extreme risks in order to further the worship of the goddess. This includes circus performers that take death-denying stunts or opium dens where faithful do dangerous amounts of drugs to commune with the goddess.
- Fatemakers: Beshabans who believe that games of chance are the holiest of expressions to the goddess, and run casinos, underground card games, fight clubs, etc.
Church of the Broken God / House of He Who Endures
Patron god/goddess of: endurance, perseverance, healing, medicine, exercise
“He Who Endures, hear my prayer, send your light through me. Feed me this righteous cause, for this soul, I seek redemption. Let me carry the burdens of those that cannot bear them. Let me stand as a rock in a raging river, a mighty tree in the storm, a stone in the flame. May my soul be forges by this hardship and tempered by your grace.”
Those who are oppressed, sick, lame, or poor are likely to be worshipers of Ilmater, and people who have been injured or are otherwise suffering will often call upon him for aid. His faith is popular among the poor in big cities, and with serfs and slaves, as well as merchants, thieves, and a few guards. Across the world, it is the hardy people of the harsh and war-torn lands that particularly venerate Ilmater.
Attending clerics during a battle are recognized by the coarse furred shirts they wore. It is considered a great wrong to harm these priests as they helped ease suffering. Even Ulgan orcs and goblins hold them in esteem for ministering to their fallen people and not just humans.
Because he is primarily worshiped by the poor and downtrodden, you do not see many official churches. When you do, Ilmater’s churches often serve as public gymnasiums or clinics for the poor. Most of the time, you will only find shrines to Ilmater on street corners in ghettos, or makeshift gathering places under lean-to shacks.
- Ilmatari: The name of the clergy of the church who will be present in places where battles will be fought so that they can attend the wounded and ease the suffering of the fallen, with no regard to race, creed, or affiliation. They wear white robes tied with red cords, which are often stained with blood and dirt.
- Paladins of the Broken God guard the weak and use their healing powers on any who need them. They are not shy about fighting evil; but they would rather pause to heal someone who is about to die than sacrifice that life in order to pursue fleeing evildoers.
House of the Lord of Archers
Patron god/goddess of: fletchers, archers, explorers, scouts, rangers, survival
“He Who Roams, watch over us this day. Help us to survive the wilderness. Guide us to food and water, provide us shelter, and keep the weather off our back. Grant us keen eyes to see far. Grant us steady hands to aim true. Grant us strong legs to wander. Guide and protect us, Lord, we beg you.”
Gnomio Levine was a member of the Revelers that was known as an incredible archer. Since the end of the Time of Troubles some have taken to worshiping him as a god. They are rare, but when one encounters a church to Gnomio, it is usually a place that is used as a shooting range. It is also a place that acts as a school of sorts, where master fletchers pass on their trade and children go to learn to use a bow.
- Keen-Eyes: Followers of Gnomio that serve are rangers-for-hire, taking others on safari or acting as guides and trackers in the wilderness.
- Ultum Exploratar: Some followers of Gnomio have taken to emulating the Ultum Exploratar. Though obviously not actually of that group, they strive to be like them, wandering the world seeking to make a difference.
House of the Lady of Mysteries
Patron god/goddess of: students, schools, libraries, couriers, mail, secret messages
“Lady of the Secret Words, hear my prayer. May my message reach its destination, and may the words been seen fair. Protect those that keep and share knowledge, and those that keep the currents of communication flowing, in your grace. Keep my secrets from baneful eyes, and shelter those that carry them.”
Quillithea was a member of the Revelers that was a wizard and priestess of Lliira. Since the end of the Time of Troubles some have taken to worshiping her as a god. They are rare, but when one encounters a church to Quillithea, it is usually a place that is used as a library and/or rooming house for travelers. It is also a place that acts as a school of sorts, where those with a high degree of knowledge of a topic can conduct informal classes to pass on their knowledge to others.
- Joybringers: Followers of Quillithea that seek to spread cheer and provide assistance to the needy. Ara Amastacia, Quillithea’s sister, is the leader of this movement as she serves as almoner of Ashtesma, spending Quillthea’s fortune on the poor of the city.
- Order of the Secret Words: A group of followers that seek to perfect the art of the cipher, and who work tireless to decode the world’s greatest mysteries.
The Verden Gods
The Verden were proto-humans that existed in the First Age. Their oral tradition maintains epic tales of heroes that fought giant primordial creatures and cautionary stories of meddling with the concern of the fae. When the gods of the Second Age came, the Verdens came to know them. Like the elves, a bargain was struck with the gods – the elves would protect the Tree of Life in the physical plane. The Verdens would protect the tree in the outer planes. Upon their death, the bravest and most worthy of Verdens would go to Ysgard – the plane of heroes – and travel the planes protecting the Tree from any that threaten its existence.
The Gothic Order
“Lo, there do I see my father; Lo, there do I see my mother and my sistsers and my brothers; Lo, there do I see the lne of my people, back to the beginning; Lo, they do bid me take my place among them, in the halls of Valhalla, where the brave may live forever.”
The Gothic Order is a collection of Verden priests. Gothi, as they are known, are the shamans of the various Jarldoms that make up the nation. To be named a Gothi and admitted to the Gothic Order means you have taken on a tremendous responsibility. A jarldom’s gothi is responsible for maintain the oral history, spiritual well being, and magical protection of the entire community. In exchange, they say that the gothi are granted incredible abilities, such as the ability to act as an oracle and answer questions about the future. Several times per year, during the Days of Two Moons, Nights of Darkness, and Yule time, the gothi gather with the Jarls and King Jorgenson in what is known as the Woldmuld – a general counsel. Here they cast rituals of protection, decide on important political matters, retell the oral history of their people, and make sacrificial offerings of wheat, beer, wool, and other goods to the various gods they worship, like Tempus and Chauntea. This gathering is also where average people will come to ask for miracles. A woman who can’t have children will wish for it, and find themselves a mother soon after, a farmer that cannot grow crops for lack of rain will return home to find their fields filled with healthy plants, etc. However, perhaps the most important function of the Gothic Order at the Woldmuld is the one they perform for the dead. For the Verden people, when they die an honorable and worthy death their bodies are taken and ritually cleansed and wrapped in a burial shroud. They are then placed into a barrow while their spirits climb the roots of Yggrdrasil to Ysgard. There, the heroes feast forever in the halls of the citadel of Valhalla, and the commoner’s experience lives of peace and harmony, celebrating with their ancestors and the totemic spirits that guide them. However, if someone does not die well or honorably, or their body is destroyed and cannot be placed in a barrow or burial jar, they say that their spirits become lost and trapped here on Aorthe. After this, the only way they can be saved is at the Woldmuld, while the entire Gothic Order concentrates on locating and guiding the spirit to Ysgard. For the Verden people, it’s a very important function, as they honor their dead.
Ovators of the Rapture
One of the newest religious orders is the Ovators of the Rapture. Their leader, Abigor Morfran (aka. The Devil Deacon), began his church with a small group of individuals that began worshiping a “new god” known as Belairsaurius in the city of Ashtesma. Unfortunately, after some “religious persecution” by the Revelers, they have been forced to move to the curiously abandoned city of Goliad. There they have renovated the former cathedral of Lliira into their own flagship church, known as The Apocryphal, in which the holiest place is The Necropolis where rituals and worship takes place. As for their dogma, that is something of a question. It is known they worship death, but they are no mere death cult. To hear Abigor explain it, they do not worship anything but the end of days. They do not wish to hasten it, but recognize its inevitability at the hands of a power greater than anything ever known, and so they spend their days in quiet reflection and prayer, trying to learn all they can about the state of things when time ends. They refer to this event, this end, by the anthropomorphized entity known as “Belairsaurius” – and a 15 foot tall likeness of this now stands in front of the cathedral upon which a dedication to Lliira once stood. The depiction is of a tall, handsome man dressed in extravagant robes with a sneer upon his face as he gazes out over the mostly abandoned city of Goliad. Other interesting tenants include the ritual tattooing of the members faces. Abigor himself sports a crude scrawling tattoo on his face, and other members follow suit as a sign of dedication. As for ranks, the church is known for being very humble and not having grand ranks or elaborate vestments. In fact, all members wear simple rough cloth robes. Abigor is known as the Second in Line while all other members are simply Ovators. Those that are charged with the protection of the church and its members are known as The Vigilant, and carry knobbly clubs in addition to their simple vestments. Their goal is simply to live simply, meditate on the meaning of life and the coming of the end times. However, as their influence has grown they’ve begun sending out missionaries to warn people that the end is coming and pleading with them to repent for their sins. On one occasion, a group of Ovators abducted two women and a man and beat them with their knobbly clubs until they confessed their sins. Those Ovators were apprehended and have been summarily remanded to the Second in Line for judgement and punishment, but it is a disturbing turn to say the least. The Ovators accept new recruits from all walks of life. One need simply inform any Ovators of their desire and a spiritual ritual will be performed over the course of a few weeks where the prospects faith will be tested and they will endure hardship and humiliation in public before confessing all of their sins before the entire congregation or city. After this, if their faith seems genuine, they will have their face ritually tattoos and scarred and they will be considered Ovators.
Spirits of the First Age
The Four Wind Kings (LG): A quartet of heavenly beings thought to rule over the cardinal directions. Sailors frequently appeal to them for favorable winds, and farmers for rain. They do this because they wish to encourage righteous behavior among mortals. Temples to The Four are quite common and their worship is popular.
The Mother (NG): The Mother represents the forces of nature, balance, and harmony. She is a nurturing character, but not beyond punishing those that betray her. Worship of her evolved into Chauntea/Yondalla for some societies, but she is still an Anima to lesser-developed cultures.
The Trickster (CG): Representing change, curiosity, mischievousness, the Trickster is a man easily bored with the status quo.
Old Grandmother (CN): A fickle spirit who is said to reside near reefs and shoals. She is rarely invoked, save for those times when ships are caught in storms and sailors are in dire straits – for to merely mention her is to invite her capricious attention. She has no shrine, though fishing hamlets and ports always set aside a mooring for her exclusive use, so she can come and go as she pleases.
The Seven Sisters of Fortune (N): This group of spirits are frequently appealed to or appeased by offerings of alcohol or money. Altars to them can frequently be found in bars or gambling halls. Stealing an offering usually brings ruin upon the thief.
The Red Corsair (CE): An oni of frightening cunning who sails the sea aboard his demonically-crewed vessel, Wailing Gibbet. He is a high-seas reaver known to swear pacts with mortals who are desperate or power-hungry. It is said that he was defeated by a great monk long ago, and as a result cannot again set foot on land.
The Iron Shrine (N): A site of pilgrimage for adventurers and warriors, who leave broken weapons and banners as offerings for good fortune during dangerous travels. Over time, the energy of the place has taken on a life of its own, and a number of monks now attend the shrine. Occasionally, the metal of broken weapons is forged into a new weapon and given to a worthy warrior. Once this weapon is used, it is brought back and ceremonially broken, and its pieces eventually recycled again.
The Inscrutable Man (LE): Representing the forces of avarice, selfish impulses, and taking advantage of others for personal gain, the Man is often associated with the evils of progress by some tribal cultures.
Jilted Orime (NE): The spirit of a dead woman who killed her lover and his wife, gouged out her own eyes, then hung herself from the tree in the palace gardens. Nobody approaches the place for fear of her wrath. Occasionally though, a brave soul approaches the dead tree in its garden and nails a hex to it. The hope is that Orime will curse the object of the mortal’s wrath, haunting the victim until she kills them. The only way to stop the haunting, it is said, is to remove the hex from the tree.
Ankou (aka. The Grim Traveler, The Soul Collector, The Ghastly Menagerie)
Others worship incarnations of a creature that manifests itself in the form of spirits of the dead. These spirits are common mortals that, through life and death, assume the different aspects of the god. For reasons not fully understood, the mortal souls collected by the god seem to embody various failing of mortal lives, but not necessarily what some might consider to be sins. It would be more accurate to call them lives lived unwell. For this reason, some believe this god is an amalgamation of memento mori, existing as a boogey man for mortals as a supernatural reminder of the short puff of life we’ve been granted. These incarnations are:
The First Born Son: A male mortal, bastard first born of a mortal mother, who grew to resent his mother for the gift of life. This soul exemplifies those that are ungrateful of the gift of life because they do not accept the apparent unfairness of life.
The Divided Man: A male mortal that engaged in unseemly not not illegal acts, allowing them to consume his life. These activities could be anything that their particular culture considers t be legal, but potentially anti-social. Examples include gambling, brothels, usury, or any other activity that is unseemly, but violates only the social contract and not the laws of the land. This soul exemplifies a mortal life that refuses to join society, but lives on its edges – enjoying the fruits of the collective while feeding off of it like a parasite.
The Bound Woman: A female mortal that was physically beautiful in life, and relies upon that wholly as her only asset. This exemplifies a life lived without improvement, learning, or liberation from the physical form. For this mortal, their entire life was entirely tied to their appearance, leading a shallow existence that was fated to fade and turn bitter.
The Withered Lover: A female mortal that lived a life pining for a love she should not have. This could be an unrequited love, or a feeling of never accepting another as good enough. This soul exemplifies a life half-lived in the eyes of Ankou, but not necessarily selfishly lived. The lesson of this soul seems to reside more within the realm of a life wasted due to indecision.
The Scorned Prince: The inverse of the Withered Lover, this is a male mortal that fell in love too easily, and proclaimed their undying love for many without fully understanding the gravity of those words. When this would reasonably lead to rejection, this mortal would then allow the resentment and hatred grow until they eventually fostered a burning spite for all life. This exemplified a life lived without reflection, penitence, or shame.
The Spiteful Princess: A female mortal that allowed jealousy to ruin her life. Many believe this soul is similar to the first age spirit of the Jilted Orime, but the scenario there would only be an example. It could just as easily be a mortal who allowed her envy of friends or neighbors to bring her to ruin as well.
The Pilgrim: A male or female mortal that live a live of piety taken to excess. Essentially, those that allowed their love or fear of the gods to squander the life they’d granted them on worship and sacrifice. Those that burn grain as an offering before feeding the hungry, or kill in the name of the gods, are likely candidates for this soul.
The Great Child : A male mortal who lived as a child far longer than should have, never growing to assume their role in the world. This soul exemplifies the failure to leave childhood, and never living the full life intended by fate.
The Dire Mother: A female mortal that did not allow those around her to grow. This does not always mean that the mortal was overprotective of her children, but could also include a mortal woman that oppose progress or could not abide others living in ways with which she did not agree.
The Hammer: A male or female mortal that exemplifies the Dark Triad traits of narcissism. Not in the physical sense like the Bound Woman, but in the sense of a pathological selfishness that was destructive to themselves and others. This one of the three most grievous evils of Ankou, because this soul did not only destroy their own life, but the lives of many others. The name comes from the nature of narcissism, beating others over the head with me-me-ME!
The Jackal: A male or female mortal that exemplifies the Dark Triad traits of psychopathy. Those that hurt others for fun or because they simply do not care at all. This one of the three most grievous evils of Ankou, because this soul did not only destroy their own life, but the lives of many others. The name comes from the nature of the psychopath – roaming like a rabid beast and devouring any unfortunate enough to cross their path.
The Juggernaut: A male or female mortal that exemplifies the Dark Triad traits of Machiavellianism. Those that would hurt others because it benefits themselves can go far in life, but at the expense of the lives of others. This one of the three most grievous evils of Ankou, because this soul did not only destroy their own life, but the lives of many others. The name comes form the unstoppable nature of ambition in those whose soul Ankou claims.
Prayers are a common invocation among all people. When knowledge of the gods is so certain, it’s only natural that people would try to communicate with them when they’re in need. Generally, prayers are informal. There are several standard prayers which will be provided with their accompanying god below. However, for the most part illiteracy and geographic disparity means that many prayers are just ad hoc. Still, they tend to follow the same basic pattern:
Invocation + Claim + Demand + Pledge
Where the invocation is calling on the god(s) and using whatever titles that are appropriate. For example, “Oh, Kelemvor, Watcher of the Dead, Gatekeeper to Mortal Souls…” It’s important to keep in mind that most gods have different “aspects.” Kelemvor, for example, holds domain over the passage and keeping of mortal souls to their destinations, but he also holds domain over law. They are theologically connected to Kelemvor’s general role as arbiter, adjudicator, and rule-keepe, but they are distinctly different aspects. You have Kelemvor, keeper of the dead and Kelemvor, the lawyer god. It would be considered a mistake to invoke the aspect of Kelemvor associated with death/funerals to prayer for a favorable legal outcome. The idea is that is gauche – demonstrating a lack of familiarity with the god. Similar to someone being named Rebecca, and then a stranger coming up and calling out “Hey, Becky!” The onlything worse than invoking the wrong aspect is not providing any aspect at all. A prayer with an invocation with just the god’s name. It is considered akin to being very informal, like calling out “Hey, god, sup? I need something.” In our example, the prayer is invoking the aspect of Kelemvor associated with death.
Where the claim is an explanation to the god(s) of who you are and why they should listen. For example “…I have walked in your light and devoted myself to your wisdom, I have fought your enemies and have silenced many of the undead you abhor. I entreat you as your loyal servant to come to me in my hour of needs, where only your most holy grace can save me…” This also often accompany’s a sacrifice. The sacrifice can be pretty much anything. The manner of sacrifice is supposed to be symbolic of the god. So a prayer to the god of fire would be burnt. In our example, sacrifices to Kelemvor are usually buried or burnt on a pyre. The sacrifice is identified in the prayer, so that the god knows it’s for them. For example, “…I offer you this grain from my fields. Form the soil it grew, and to the soil it is interred as the mortal dead in their journey to you…”
Where the demand is what exactly you want. There isn’t a limit at all, but most consider that a demand should be commiserate with the sacrifice to avoid insulting the god by asking for something more extravagant that your sacrifice. For example, “…I plea for you to watch over the soul of my uncle, Harlod the Bristled of Deocedonia, who died this morning of a fever. Look favorably upon his soul in your judgement, and ensure he arrives in easy comfort to the afterlife…”
Not all prayers contained a pledge, but for those without an appropriate sacrifice on hand a pledge could be a way to “make up the difference.” This pledge could be the promise of additional sacrifices later, acts of service, or a promise to spread worship of the god. This may be framed as additional payment upon fulfillment of the prayer, or not. Care should be taken with this, as many believe some gods to be more tolerant of these promises for payment than others. For example, “…I thank you, and will sing your song in the temple complex of Hierosalyma for two hours, so others may know your glory.”