Religion

DISCLAIMER: Those of you familiar with real-world religions may well find obvious similarities here. These are not attempts to faithfully recreate the tenets of the religions they obviously derive from, and basically it’s all in good fun. If you are offended by these heavily altered and fictionalized versions of real world religions we’re very sorry. However that also probably means this isn’t the game for you.

Of Gods and Men

In the beginning, there was Creation, but it was an unformed, malleable thing, filled with chaos, and from that chaos came the Old Things. Vast and powerful and alien, the Old Things ruled over Creation, feeding off the entropy of constant change. But Creation was stronger than the Old Things believed, and despite their efforts to perpetuate the primordial chaos, structure came to the world, and the Earth, the moon, the Stars, and the Sun were formed. Even so, for countless centuries the Earth was a place of unimaginable beasts and monsters, ruled by the Old Things who gave no care to their charge. Seeing that structure was little impediment to the Old Things, Creation gave birth to the Sidhe, but the Sidhe were still too wild and too infused with the early darkness and chaos that came before Creation to fight the Old Things, and soon took to squabbling amongst themselves, and so Creation brought about the existence of Man. Man was weak compared to the Sidhe and the Old Things, but he was untainted by the touch of the Old Things or the entropy that still heavily infused the world. Man bred quickly, supplanting what they lacked in individual strength with numbers. Most importantly, though…Man had the power to affect Creation. Though they knew it not, their presence brought order and structure where they passed. By force of collective will alone they could affect the world, unconsciously channeling the waning power of Entropy into something far less destructive.

Still, Man’s early days were spent in fear…fear of the Old Things and their loathsome spawn, fear of the Sidhe and their capricious whims or oft-deadly curiosity, and even fear of each other. Then, however, a few Men chose to fight back against that fear…they learned of Man’s secret power over Creation and turned it to their advantage, bringing other men to worship them, and thus started on the path to Godhood. It was the Gods that would lead Men against the Old Things in an age of unbridled magic and legendary heroism from both Man and God alike. Legendary weapons were forged and heroes whose names echo through the ages were born, fought, and died. In the end, though, the Old Things were defeated, and the Gods became the custodians of Creation. Some say the Gods ascended to a different plane of existence to watch over Men. Others say that they slumber in the Earth waiting for when they are needed again. Others still claim they built a mighty fortress on the Moon, or the Sun, and dwell there still. Who is to say what is true? Perhaps all of them are, in their own way.

Even when the war against the Old Things was still at its’ height, there were already factions built among the Gods. While the Gods themselves do not fight amongst themselves, their followers most certainly do, and in so doing the power of the Gods waxes and wanes. What the Gods think of all this is unknown, but it seems certain that they do occasionally favor their followers with their gifts. No one doubts the existence of the Gods, and all are aware that the Gods were once Men (with…perhaps…a few exceptions)…but there is much argument as to which Gods are the most powerful or worthy of worship.

Creation

Fundamental to the cosmology of the Earth is the concept of Creation. Men do not believe that any God created the world as it is. They know that the world predated the Gods. Thus the concept of Creation was born. Creation effectively encompasses all that is. It is both the world that men occupy and the engine that drives life itself. Save for some tiny pockets of truly ancient sects, Creation is almost never worshipped directly, but Creation is understood to have a will of its’ own. In the rare instances that Creation is anthropomorphized, it is usually depicted as a nude woman, always in natural settings. She is, ultimately, the mother of all, but none question where Creation comes from. It simply is, and that is sufficient. The creation and presence of the Gods is proof enough that Creation has left Man’s fate in their own hands.

Religions of the Civilized West

The Many - The Oldest Religion of the West, focusing on a multitude of Gods, worship of the Many is considered a "barbaric" religion and primarily practiced by the Icenailan tribes of the Far North, as well as the Caltu. In the "Civilized" West, it is often rooted out and eradicated by the Holy Inquisition. This does not however, preclude occasional pockets or cults of worshippers from still existing in secret.

The Tuskanuld - Practiced almost exclusively by the people of White Hall, the Tuskanuld are a pantheon of 13 Gods and Goddesses ascended from two ancient tribes of White Hall warriors. Very few Tuskanuld Worshippers live in the Civilized West, but they are hunted by the Inquisition as surely as those that worship the Many.

The One Faith - The predominant religion of the West (though also the youngest), the One Faith is a monotheistic faith organized and commanded from the Holy City of Rikton. The High Priest of Rikton serves as the earthly messenger of the One. The Church of the One is among the dominant political forces in the West. There are variants of the One Faith practiced in the Vir Sidus and Partharian Empires, as well as a schismatic New Faith based in Four Corners.

Relations Between the Religions

Put simply: Worshipers of the Many and worshipers of the Tuskanuld generally hold no particular animosity towards one another based on their religion. Their reasons for fighting each other are pragmatic and personal rather than religious, and as far as faith is concerned they generally have a "live and let live" attitude towards each other. It is not entirely uncommon for some in White Hall to pay homage to both the Many and the Tuskanuld. Tuskanuld worshipers in Icenaila are not quite as rare as in the Civilized West, but still far from common.

The Church of the One, however, has branded worshipers of the Tuskanuld and the Many as heretics to be converted or eradicated, and established the Inquisition to carry out that mission. Suffice to say, there is no love lost between the "Barbarian" religions and the One Faith.

Further, the One Faith in the Civilized West has uneasy relations with the variant of the One Faith practiced in The Partharian Empire. While neither side has gone quite so far as to declare the other outright heretics and launch a crusade, both sides have reached an impasse in discussing matters of faith, and as such there is little diplomacy between the two factions, and plenty of simmering tension that thankfully has yet to boil over.

Moving On After Life

It is interesting to note that all three faiths (including all three variations of the One Faith) have a single thing in common. Who takes them to their respective Afterlives. These beautiful creatures are called Guardians. Though there are three variety of Guardian, they are simply called Guardian.

The first is the Ethereal, nearly otherworldly Guardians of the One faith. These appear as women with long flame colored hair flowing freely. They wear flowing high slit dresses of pure sunlight with a low back line to allow their wings freedom of movement and they are responsible for taking the souls of the One Faith to either The Kingdom of the Sun, the Eternal Pits (Sometimes called the Abyss) or damning the soul to Purgatory.

The second is reserved for the hearty Njorvolk. These women appear as tall statuesque creatures with braided long blonde hair. Over their pure white dresses is worn lightsilver chainmail with again a low back to allow powerful wings to propel them. They take their respective souls to the Halls. If one dies in battle they are taken to the Great Hall, to feast and drink among the gods in a land of warmth, wealth and comfort. Should they die quietly, but have served well the people and the gods, then they are taken to a land of warmth and comfort. However, should the soul be found to have spoken against the gods, and acted in such a manner as cowardice, they are sent to the Cold Hall. A land of suffering and cold.

The third and final type of Guardian is of an earthly look. Their dress, in the same general cut as the others but are a deep green. While the others have pure white wings, these guardians wings are more cream colored, and their hair is an earthly brown with vibrant and piercing green eyes. They have only two places they take their people. If the person served the Many well then they are taken to the Summer Lands, where they may build a home and live in peace and warmth. Should they however have spurned the Many, or harmed the will of the Many, they are dragged by chains of fire to lands of Eternal Cold. There the only warmth they can have is when the chains of fire are worn, to burn and blister their flesh.

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