Pantheon (Years of Gold)
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The gods of Pansaer are those titans that allied themselves with the conquering Auri in the dawn of time, when the gods fought for rulership of the world. It was with their aid that Auri reforged the world, and for their aid he granted them domains to govern over. These titan-gods have remained the same, their positions unchallenged and their divinity absolute.
The titan-gods are thought to be physical, tangible creatures instead of the ethereal gods of other realms. Thus, their existence is accepted all over the continent except in the most remote regions, where folk abide by animist religions. Each god has a dwelling place and their handiwork can be seen every day.
The divinities are not thought of as friendly, however: rather, they are the indifferent overlords of the world, forces of nature that can't be fought against. People offer prayers to the gods, but more to appease them than to thank them. It tells volumes of the people's attitude towards the world when Groke, the god of death, is the most liked of the divinities.
|A cleric of Auri.|
- Domains Earth, Sun and War
- Favored weapon unarmed; clerics of Auri gain Improved Unarmed Strike and deal unarmed damage as a creature one size category larger instead of gaining proficiency or Weapon Focus if they choose the War domain
Auri, the eldest and greatest of the titans, is the world-forger and the chief of the titan pantheon. He is venerated as the creator of the world, bringer of light and of bravery. On the other hand, he is feared as the source of earthquakes, scorching heat and unending war.
The Overgod has a great following in the lands, especially in the western region, where folk have never had to face the full might of the unclouded sun. Priests and clerics of Auri wear white, simple clothes with bands of yellow as the only decor. If they wear jewellery, its invariably made of untarnished gold with no gems. The church of Auri is militant and warlike, rallying around sun-standards and claiming that Auri will spare only the strong.
The sun is thought to be Auri's dwelling, a massive forge where he forges wonders and terrors for the world to face. Every morning, the sun rises from the western sea in a billowing cloud of steam, filling the western lands with a thick dew known as the mornmist; and every night, the sun sets into the eastern sea, bringing up clouds of fog that envelop the eastern lands with evemist. Thus, the folk of Pansaer know the time of day, even in the cloudiest days when sun doesn't show its face.
- Domains Healing, Luck and Protection
- Favored weapon longspear
Luni, the female titan of fertility, balance and passivity is perhaps the kindest among the titan-gods, although her kindness may take horrible forms. For she is the god of chance: venerated as the giver of health and long life, and of safety and peace, but she is also feared as the one who protects few by hurting many, the god of disease and of unfair odds.
It is hard to understand the handiwork of Luni, for it is often the tiniest details that she affects. Perhaps a child who would have been born dies in the crib instead, to further Luni's unseen agenda. Her clerics and followers, not many in numbers, are often female and dress in light blue with silver decor.
Luni dwells in the white moon that sails across the sky at night, rising from the western sea and setting into the east. It is said that Auri, overcome by the moon-titans beauty, hunts for her through the sky and under the world night and day, never reaching the fickle maiden.
|A cleric of Ahti.|
- Domains Air, Trickery and Water
- Favored weapon trident
Ahti, the ocean-titan, the Father of Waves and the Foam-Bearded Elder; many are the names sailors plead to when they set to sea, and many more are those their families curse when the cruel sea swallows their fathers. Ahti is venerated as the god of quarry, of rainfall and growth, but cursed as the lord of lies, storms and mischief.
Ahti's presence can be witnessed in every lake, every river, every pool and drop of rain. He's thought to be a mischievous god, except his idea of mischief is to sink ships and ravage the lands with thunderstorms. Ahti's followers live mostly on the shoreline, and are collectively called brine-priests. They wear scale mails and clothes with deep-blue hues, and wield tridents just as their god does.
Folklore places the dwelling place of Ahti at the far end of the endless sea that surrounds the continent of Pansaer. There, unreachable by mortal folk, he sets the fickle tides and spawns both the fish man preys on and the sea-beasts that prey on man.
- Domains Animal, Strength and Plant
- Favored weapon shortbow
The great forests and fells of Pansaer are all hunting grounds of Mieli, the forest titan. Where Luni represents passivity, Mieli represents passion; where Luni is balance, Mieli is the extremes. She is the beloved god of nature, giver of strength and of game, but is feared as the god of traps, savagery and uncontrolled emotions.
The clerics and priests of Mieli are very few and far between: the savagery she represents hardly lends itself to an organized following. Those few who become her clerics clothe themselves with muted greens, browns and grays, preferring simple clothes over complicated designs and the practical over the fabulous.
The folk of Pansaer believe that in the heart of the forest, mythical creatures of great power can enter the Glade, a strange realm inhabited my Mieli and her faerie folk. There, Mieli is said to grow to wolves, each the size of a mountain, to hunt with her in lands of twilight far beyond this world.
- Domains Fire, Knowledge and Magic
- Favored weapon heavy mace
Morran is easily the least-known of the titan gods, for he represents aspects of life most inhabitants of the world can't afford or don't have the time to consider: wisdom, learning, magic and guidance. He is nonetheless remembered as the giver of fire to man in the early ages, as well as the overseer of magic and careful consideration. He, too, has his dark sides: he is also the god of wanton destruction, of power over others and of dark secrets.
Morran is prayed to mostly by the wizards of Pansaer, although they do not believe magic comes from him; merely that he sets the Law that governs the world, the changing of which is the source of wizardly power. Those who serve Morran wear deep scarlet and prefer billowy robes, lined with hidden pockets and secret stashes.
Morran is the only god who has no dwell of his own; instead, he sits in Auri's forge, staring into the flames to discern deep knowledge and wisdom from therewithin. He is a god with two faces: at times he stays unseen, deep in thought and unconnected from the world; then suddenly, he changes the course of history in drastic strokes, infecting newborn with sorcerous blood and making the mountains burst with fire.
- Domains Death, Destruction and Travel
- Favored weapon dagger
Groke Who Is Cold, often called merely Groke or the Cold One, is the reaper of the dead and the ferryman to the worlds beyond. He alone of Pansaer's pantheon is not a titan, but a strange force of alien origin. It is said the other titan-gods fear and hate his power, but are unable to thwart him. He is fondly remembered as the god of rest, of ease and of safe travel, but is also the god of death, entropy and going astray.
Many pray to Groke, some to be safe during long journeys, some to die a painless death. Death is commonplace in the harsh lands of Pansaer, and Groke is thought of as the one who takes souls away from the hardships of life, to rest in his halls beyond the world. The followers of Groke dress in a variety of whites, grays and blacks, often leaving their road-hardened feet unclad to show their devotion to the god of journeys.
It is said that Groke Who Is Cold lives in beyond the world, in a secret place hidden beyond the cold stars of the night sky. There, say the clerics of Groke, the souls of those who die gather. The ones left untainted by lies, anger and greed get to lay their heads to eternal rest, while those who lived sinful lies are forced to be born again and again into the cold, uncaring world.
Not all choose to worship the titan-gods: some believe them to be indifferent to the plight of mortals, and thus there is no point in praying to them; others dismiss them with spite and turn their eyes to other gods. These are collectively known as the animist religions, for they worship the spirits of sacred places, of legendary animals and of otherworldly creatures.
Even most of those who believe in Auri and his pantheon choose to worship the natural spirits as well: if Ahti will not give rainfall for the harvest, then perhaps the lesser god of the local spring will. Only the largest cities are mostly free of animist religions, and even there immigrants bring their beliefs with them.
The animist religions are as varied and as abundant as the towns and tribes that inhabit the lands, so it would be an impossible task to count them all, let alone write down their beliefs and teachings. Thus, only the most influential are listed here.
The Eight Winds
|A shrine to Sudic, the south wind.|
The winds, bringers of all-important rain and air as they are, are thought divine by many, especially in the western kingdoms. The worship of the winds extends roughly from Remoras to the northwestern slopes of the Tumbling Fells, with the great plains and fields around Redford being a strong hub of the faith. This makes sense: the farmers that live in the area are entirely dependent on wind-brought rainfall.
The chief wind is the southern wind, known as Sudic, for it is the strongest wind, and the winds blow most often from that direction. The other winds are (clockwise): southwestern Wesic, western Wodic, northwestern Naric, northern Polic, northeastern Ludic, eastern Kilic, and southeastern Vulic. These names are also widely used to refer to where the wind is blowing from, even if the speaker does not worship the winds as gods.
While most agree that the titan-gods were the ones who created the world, no one knows who (if anyone) is going to destroy it. Those who worship the World-Serpent, however, have the answer: the female snake god, Ophidia, will rise up from the breast of the earth at the end of times and swallow the prideful titans. Then, her hunger still unsated, she'll devour the world, and finally herself.
The death of the gods is a common theme in the animist religions, considering few like what they represent, but no one takes the idea as seriously as those who worship Ophidia. Her priests, especially common in the east, travel the lands, appealing people to abandon the titan-gods. For they believe that when the titan-gods are thoroughly without worship, the end of the world will commence. Many consider the World-Serpent's priests a dangerous influence or even madmen.
The followers of Ophidia believe that she slumbers beneath the great mountain range of Caragos Eavorn, its steep slopes and daggerlike peaks formed by her restless tossing and turning. Legends speak that in the deeps of the humid eastern forests, temples devoted to blood-sacrifice to the serpent god are governed by female priests who've turned halfway into snakes themselves.
Korgar of the Fells
Deep, deep under the Tumbling Fells, under stone and soil, hidden in the heart of the world dwells Korgar, the ancient father of the trolls, the giants, or even the titans, depending on who you ask. All stories have one thing in common: it is from him that worldly riches come from. Gold, silver, platinum; bright jewels and valuable minerals; even the edible roots are said to come from his bosom.
For Korgar is a greedy, hungry being, always delving for the treasures of the world too deep for man to go. Every so often the great wonders he gathers to his fathom slip and end up in the earth closer to the surface, so that those who live under the sun may find them, blessing the name of Korgar all the while. The ancient giant-being is thought not to care for any race or creed, but the gifts he bestows by accident are well-loved.
The belief in Korgar is the least widespread of the larger animist religions, with devotees only living in the harsh lands of Tull and surroundings. Some claim that, were a hero great enough be born, he could descend into the troll-halls under the world and challenge Korgar himself. This way, the treasures in his bosom, greater than all the riches of the world combined, could be brought to light.
Animal deities of the goliaths
|The goliaths believe that the aurora borealis|
represent their animal gods.
The goliath race, although more and more integrated to the other populace of Pansaer as the years pass, still holds onto their ancient beliefs and gods. The most commonly worshiped among these animist spirits are the Moose, the Bear, the Raven, the Boar, the Mouse and the Ape, but there are as many animal gods as there are animals.
According to their folklore, each goliath's life is governed by one of these spirits. Which spirit takes over guiding and safeguarding the goliath is sometimes decided by what omens can be divined at birth, sometimes by what animal the child first sees. Some goliaths will never know which spirit watched over their life, but they believe they invariably do.
Cults and other creeds
There are those who cast away both belief in the titan-gods, who are indifferent and cruel, and to the animist spirits, who are powerless to stop the ills of the world, and turn to other sources of power: the ancient gods and quasi-titans who Auri waged war with, aided by his brothers and sisters. Groke is thought to be of their kin, but as he is elevated to a greater god, is not worshiped as such.
The ancient gods are often cruel, petty and monstrous, hiding in the depths of the world or in other realms of being so as not to be seen by the titans. Thus, their cults are mostly small in numbers, but might command great power through subterfuge, lies, assassinations and dark forces. These cults often scheme to elevate the ancient beings they worship to greater power, so they could challenge the titan-gods and reward their followers with untold riches.
It is easy to understand how someone would come to worship these dark beings: when your wife has been taken by Luni's plague, your sons by Auri's wars and your foodstock by Mieli's whims, you're bound to get bitter. The cults offer you what the other titan-gods and animist spirits never could: hope.
Again, the cults are almost endless in numbers, and most either have only a few members or little influence in the grand scheme of things. Thus, only the most noteworthy are listed here. Note that the cults listed here are unknown to almost all in Pansaer.
Cult of the Fathoms
|The Stygian bring madness in their wake.|
In the most abyssal depths of the endless seas, there are vast, beautiful ruins of white marble and mother-of-pearl; it is said a pearl diver boy from Irid can, if he dives deep and far enough, see a distant glimmer of their glory. And that might very well be the last thing he ever sees.
For they are the ancient dwelling places of the Stygian, an order of ancient gods that hid from the titans in the primordial depths. Even Ahti does not dive as deep as the haunts of these morbid, formless gods go. There, they thirst for the power they once knew, for the kingship they had when the alabaster cities were built.
The Cult of the Fathoms worships these ancient gods, for when Ahti does not share his riches, they will. The cultists commit terrible atrocities, usually drowning young boys and girls and casting them to the waves, and receive bounteous spoils of fish and ancient gold jewellery, weed-encrusted but nonetheless beyond value. Their gifts are often adorned with images of deep sea animals, and their amphibious servants, when they send them to the surface, cause madness and delusions in those who see them.
Daughters of Roses
Every now and then, a young maid, no more than fifteen, will walk into a village or small settlement, dressed all in scarlet and holding a basket of roses. She walks through the village, and though the people know the ill omen she brings, they dare not touch her. Most men she passes by, but ever so often she stops to give one a beautiful rose and an even more beautiful smile. Eventually she leaves town, leaving those she gave a rose to terror-struck and their families a wreck.
For the Daughters of Roses are a strange coven of witches who curse men with enchanted roses that doom them to seek them out - perhaps not today, perhaps not this year, but eventually the geas takes place and the rose-given sets out to seek the daughters, who fornicate with him and eventually sacrifice him, using his blood and semen to appease their strange, unnamed hermaphroditic god-being. The god gives them sorcerous powers in return, which peak during their menstruation.
The Daughters of Roses operate only around the blasted prairie in the northwest of the continent, gathering their male sacrifices from Remoras and surroundings. Their covens often take place near Dead Illusk, leading people to say that the nameless god-being lives in the ruins.
The underworld and its inhabitants
The folk of Pansaer do not believe the souls of the dead will receive some sort of divine punishment in a hell or similar afterlife, but the idea of an underworld is strong in their minds nonetheless. Mutations, bad omens, monsters, occasionally even sorcerers, are said to come from a realm below the world; not physically, but on some lower level of being, where things are less defined and chaos rules.
Often called Underworld, the Great Below or merely the Rift, this underworld is where the demonic creatures and forces of Pansaer are beckoned from. A wizards of great power may rewrite the Law of the world to allow these dangerous beings a moment of existence in the real world, hoping perhaps that their power could add to his. Rarely so, for the chaotic beings are more likely to tear the wizard apart and rampage until the universe catches up with it and blinks it back to the underworld.
Some of the demons, either through their own powers or through continued wizardly aid, may make their physical form permanent in the world. They are the most dangerous of foes, with unearthly powers that lack both logic and limit, and a hunger for the kind of power they've seen the titan-gods wield. Cults often form around these figures, commonly established by the demons themselves.