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The creation myth has four elementals creating the world but being unable to create true life; they then fell into eternal slumber, and can be physically seen in the starry heavens as distant stars/planets. They're the creators but you can't really get anything out of them; they're asleep, after all.

Their dreams dwelt on the frustration they had encountered, and as vastly potent cosmic elemental beings, their dreams actually had a life of their own, forming the Elder Gods, alien and eldritch beings (with four at the fore, as it were, one per elemental). The Elder Gods were able to create life, as well as play with all sorts of the fundamental rules of reality that the elementals, their originators, had laid down. So in the period known as the Dawn era, the Elder Gods made a dizzying array of life, spun together strange energies into the world, and generally, well, played god.

The Elder Gods did (and still do to some extent) have religious followers, including priests, but are only divinities due to power level rather than to any innate holiness or fuelled-by-faith type of nature. They certainly had 'portfolios' but these were particularly weird and more based on what they did than a particular division of concepts amongst them. Gilam, for instance, is the Father of Dragons (a servitor race it created for itself), the Eternal Fire That Consumes (as it originated from the dreams of the fire elemental), the Wall and the Tablet of Law (for its creation and enforcement of the concepts of civilisation and boundaries); Ephras is the Great Weaver, who wove connections between things; Hashrukk is the Daemonflesh, the fertile and fetid pit from which much life was forged. As to actual clerics using divine magic, there are followers who can use Elder-linked power but it's not divine magic in the traditional sense.

However, the Elder Gods are also currently dead / their essence torn into fragments. Up until the Dawn War, they were physically incarnate (even if not entirely physical) and potent enough to be a seperate realm. Now they are no longer incarnate and may be properly dead, or most of the way there.

The problem with the Elder Gods was that they went mad. I mean, they were pretty mad already by the standards of the hapless beings they'd created, but they turned to full-on Lovecraftian lunacy in their conflicts with each other and their increasingly byzantine reworkings of reality. Many of their creations had had enough, and rose up against them. Here, the Younger Gods came into their own. The Youngers are a broad category that actually collects a whole pile of different beings together; some were potent spirits, some were actual mortal or supernatural individual beings, some may not have existed at all. The exact manner in which they became involved in the Dawn War and how they achieved divinity varies.

It's hard to say exactly how many Younger Gods there are. Let's take one of them - Urazel, the Warrior and Preacher to Dragons, a deity generally associated with war, horses, discipline and fire. Urazel, so the folklore goes, was a Huronese man originally, an inspiring commander who led the Drakkar Empire into battle against the servitor races that held loyal to the Elder Gods and who, famously, won the alliance of many of Gilam's own draconic servitors through a philosophical debate. The exact manner in which he achieved godhood varies depending on the source, but like all the incarnate physical beings who became godlings, he excarnated after the War (possibly forcibly due to being terribly injured). Urazeli doctrine says he ascended and now is a god. However, in other regions of the world, the same associations and some of the same actions are ascribed to other beings with different names; some mortal, some spirits. Urazel has ecclesiastical petitioners who can wield divine power; so can these other versions of the Younger God. So which one's the real one? Or are they all correct? What does it mean that the dragons marked Urazel's preaching with a sacred stone on a blasted plateau; but that other god with very similar features from half-way across the world also seems to have indications that she really existed?

Essentially, a lot of the deities appear to exist in different forms across different cultures, sometimes with rather different characteristics. There are also a lot of Younger Gods, and plenty of other spirits underpinning the elementals' world; so there are widespread notions of a celestial bureaucracy or hierarchy (which partially covers how various people and beings may have become divinities in the first place), and which figures are believed to have done what are quite varied in different regions. A few Younger Gods are close to ubiquitous wherever you go, but even they are often portrayed in very different ways.

Younger Gods do have wielders of divine power as followers and usually have portfolios ascribed to them (like Urazel, the patron deity of Huron, commonly ascribed horses, war and fire). Some have quite powerful temporal followings, particularly those that are considered patrons to a particular nation or people. Currently, however, they are not massively interventionist; some have literally small armies of temple-guard serving their clergy, but this doesn't mean that they regularly (or even rarely) intervene in the world. Most priests are also not divine spellcasters at all, although that doesn't mean that some of the faiths can't call together a lot of divine spellcasters when they need to.

And beyond the world? Scholars and scientists know there are other planes, other realms of energy, but I haven't decided on how deeply understood such things are yet. People are aware that the elementals came from somewhere else first, that time and space existed before the world did.

Deities, Worship and the Divine[edit]

There are still cults that worship the Elder Gods, generally held as vile and mad in most lands, but their influence is by no means gone; servitor races, ancient abominations and technologies, and even strongholds that still exist like Baalshegarath. Most worship is of the Younger Gods in the form of broad pantheons supported by a spiritual and elemental bureaucracy; the Great Elementals are often shown respect but are not generally venerated in the manner of the Younger Gods.

The Younger Gods, as an array of ascended mortals and divine spirits, often serve as a polytheistic source of worship and spiritualism. There are many of them, including variants and clashing aspects in different regions and cultures. Most people venerate them as a wider whole rather than being dedicated to a particular one, with the exception of most priests.

The most prominent deities of the Drakkath region are as follows. Many have different aspects or depictions in different cultures (especially the gnolls) with a few more interesting examples picked out.

Aasor: Warding, prisons, chains, armour and duty. Aasor is unique amongst Younger Gods in that he is claimed to have been a dragon; he is worshipped widely, especially in Pharam Sung and in a region of Huron where several ancient horrors remain carefully bound beneath the earth.

Churaphrat: Death, transitions, truth, murder and mercy. Churaphrat is a feminine god, lady of death and endings. She is not widely held in great love, but is shown appropriate respect at times of death and loss, as well as in her aspect of death stripping away all falsehoods and leaving only truth. She is also known to the gnolls as the Hungering Jackal, a male spirit Younger God; High Kyros have a near-identical goddess to Churaphrat and have assumed the Drakkath name for her, but her origins are different and her aspect seen as more benevolent.

Dharummut: Fire, blood, battle, beasts, wilderness, wolves. The Great Wolf is a spirit-god of fierceness, of fire and cold, of blood on the earth and the snow. It is the Den Mother of the blood-tied, the War-Father of those who fight for their kin and clan. In the Dawn War it was chained by the Elder Gods when it turned on them, and the massive gouges in Ascaria's landscape are where its claws tore the earth.

Grumand: Stone, earth, farming, mountains, determination, clear thought. An ancient spirit of earth that is often heralded as one of the firstborn of the Great Elementals. Grumand supposedly tore the Great Rift in the far west to stop the advance of Shauku's horrors in the Dawn War; but the same act is attributed to the Stonebreaker in Ascaria, supposedly an ascended mortal Younger God.

Immar: Travel, change, fortitude, alchemy, the stars, the winds. Younger God of travel, Immar's clergy are largely an itinerant priesthood and the cult lacks any overall organisation.

Ishrak: Storms, wind, air, seas, lightning. The Storm Lady is a terrifying and beloved goddess, but it's unclear whether she's a mortal woman ascended to divinity or a storm spirit, with a significant schism within her church over this matter. Of prominent worship in High Kyros and the White Bay city-states, there are some very different versions of storm divinities beyond the Drakkath.

Lliras: Plants, animals, earth, blood, life and death. A potent spirit of the Dawn Age, Lliras is associated with the wilds and with all aspects of life; the Thorn Circle hold her in very high regard. Lliras is unusual in that her depictions are remarkably constant in all the nearby lands beyond the Drakkath.

Kevayek: Plague, disease, rot, decay, the sea. The Overseer of Disease is offered widespread supplication in hope that he will reign in the pestilences under his command. With a somewhat sinister reputation as a spirit that first supported the Elder Gods in the war before becoming a turncoat, he nonetheless cannot be denied respect. Weirdly, at least in the local region, Kevayek has also gained a role specifically as a patron of bloodshed and deprivation at sea.

Naskha: Magic, sorcery, change, madness, creativity. The patron deity of Naseria was once a mortal sorcerer of immense power, one with a flock of followers forming something of a priesthood even before he ascended. Shown respect by many practitioners of magic, Naskha is considered to have a mischievous side often lost by the proud portrayals made by the Naserian sorcerer-kings.

Solanthaar: Fire, the sun, war, metal, smithing, purity. Solanthaar is a harsh, unrelenting god; the people of Adbar specifically worship her as a Younger God who was a mortal warleader in the Dawn War, but elsewhere she is generally viewed as the spirit of the sun itself. She is often considered as the firstborn of the Great Elemental of Fire. Some minor cults worship her as the Flame of Truth.

The Eye: Shadows, darkness, knowledge, order. A strange god who is rarely petitioned, the Eye is also known as the Prophet or the Shadow, a deity of knowledge, secrets and darkness who reputedly sees all and accounts all things in its library of truth.

Toran: War, order, blood, strength, survival. The Dark Saviour is the patron of Carthagia and strongly associated with black dragons. Beyond that nation, Toran receives worship by soldiers and warriors seeking the blessing of the Great Warrior. Having led his countrymen south to Carthagia, it is said that the very throne he sat upon when he excarnated is the same as the throne that the Carthagian kings sit on.

Urazel: War, horses, fire, light. The Preacher to Dragons is the patron of Huron, and like Toran was probably directly involved in the collapse of the Drakkath Empire. By dint of the extensive Huronese priesthood, the Urazeli faith is one of the most powerful in the region, and Urazel receives supplication by many who are undertaking matters of war, as well as those tending to horses and similar livestock.

I'm fairly sure I'm missing one or two here, but it gives you an overview of the pantheon.

Of course, religion is broader than just the gods. Some offer worship to the wider celestial bureaucracy, hoping for fate to be tilted in their favour or their wishes swiftly brought to the attention of the relevant god. Some priests attend to the entire Divine Host, especially in Sukumvarang. Then there are spiritual philosophies that hold the gods and Bureaucracy in respect, but aspire to higher concepts of personal perfection.

Of particular import is that ancestor worship, or at least respectful veneration thereof, is quite common across many nations.

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