Friday, September 16, 2011

Of gods & mortals

The following is a transcription of the handout I give players prior to the game to help them relate to the world.  I modified it for the [10] level DCCRPG system and to incorporate the idea of "corruptions." Most of the changes are to Gorhan, Justica, and Elyr.

[edited for spelling and other minor errors and updates: 6-28-13 ]

Of Gods and mortals-

{reference: the family tree of the Gods of Áereth article}

First off, in the World of Áereth, there are no atheists.  It’s a completely alien concept to the peoples of Áereth. The Gods and Goddesses of the realm receive worship from the people, and the Gods in turn send aide to the people and the world of Áereth through their clergy.  The Clergy of the various deities take very active roles in society especially during the Interregnum.  One could even argue that without the clergy and the Engineers Guild: civilization would have collapsed by now.  They have greatly enjoyed this increase in corporeal power.

Below are listed many of the Gods & Goddesses of Áereth that play prominent roles in Human society and their daily lives.  This isn’t an exhaustive listing, just the most popular ones and their roles in society.


Elyr- Goddess of Healing [C-G]-  She believes that life should be sustained at all costs & is worth any risk.  She is also one of two Gods who can remove Corruptions (makes you invaluable to wizards).  Clerics of Elyr function as the doctors of this society.  Low levels (1-5) clerics wander the world bringing aid to those in need, during this time they tend to develop specialty skills.  At 6th level they decide whether to stop wandering and live out their lives in the hospital/temples, or continue their wandering ministrations: this choice is permanent.  Elyr has a particular hatred for demons & aberrations and grants her clerics powers and abilities to deal with these creatures.  All clerics of Elyr are limited to non-lethal weapons and are not allowed to kill unless fighting evil; additionally, they radiate a zone of purity = 10ft / level that grants all within it range +1 / level of cleric bonus to saves.

Gorhan the Valiant- the Helmed Vengeance [L-G]- The Valiant One, He who fights first is the patron God of those who fight against the lawless & corrupt; he also acts as executioner when required by his wife Justica.   Gorhan doesn’t bother to heal anyone who hasn’t proven themselves to be honorable, brave, or innocent.  Usually this means that the recipient of the healing has just survived a battle, or are the peasants caught on the battlefield.  Those who are killed in combat are His to judge. If the soul is found honorable, or innocent then they are granted a pleasant after-life; if judged corrupt, then the soul is obliterated.  The clerics of Gorhan are divided amongst two sects; one that is male only and one that is open to all stouthearted folk who hear the Valiant Lords call to battle.  The clerics of the male only sect are paired off with clerics of the female only sect of Justica’s clergy.  They live their whole lives within the Temples of Law and function as the Imperial Judicial system.  The open order is generally known as the Ordo Militantis they spend operate as battlefield troops or helping the Clerics of Thormyr with securing the Empire from harm.  In this capacity they are mostly responsible for escorting members of the wandering order of Justica, hunting the undead, & as bounty hunters serving Final Justice on those who have fled Justica’s wise and merciful decrees.  All clerics of Gorhan radiate a zone of courage = 10ft / level that grants +1/ level on saves verses fear.  Preferred weapon is the Longsword.

Justica the Blind seer of Truth- Bringer of Justice [L-G]- the merciful Goddess of Justice & Defensive Combat seeks to remedy all hurts and redeem all evil.  Those who atone for their crimes shall be cleansed of their sins and corruptions.  Those who deserve death & will not repent their crimes are given over to the clerics of her husband Gorhan for execution.  Wizards who repent of their evil actions can have one or all of their corruptions removed by purifying flame.  If the wizards repentance is true then the fires will only burn away the corruptions acquired by the wizard, and he/she will then swear oaths to one of the Gods of White or Neutral magic.  If they betray that oath, they die.  Justica selects naturally blind female or other women who then lose their sight when they become clerics.  They are secretly compensated with the “blind sight” ability which allows them to function somewhat normally; but only allows them to discern rough shapes and sizes, as well as distances and movement within range.  The clergy is split into 2 sects; one lives their entire lives within the temples of law with their husbands tending to the Imperial legal system. There are a rare few women of this second order who are assigned a cleric from the Ordo Militantis as escort while they wander the Empire delivering justice to those who cannot seek it on their own.  All clerics of Justica radiate a zone of truthfulness = 10ft / level that forces all within range to speak truthfully; Willpower save DC=12+1 per cleric level to overcome.  If target overcomes the effect, then the cleric gains a spot check DC= the result of the lying targets success.  Clerics of Justica may banish/turn Demons and creatures of Chaos in addition to undead.  Preferred weapon is the quarter staff.

Soleth the Patient- Gentle Shepherd of the Dead- [L-N] He is the God in charge of final judgments of dead souls and ensuring that they do not return to the land of the living.  His clerics do not kill unless it is to offer mercy or in defense of themselves or others.  To that end, they are more than willing to heal those in need on the grounds that if a simple healing will allow a person to keep living as normal and without suffering: then it is not that persons time to die.  Clerics of this order are quite popular amongst the masses due to the fact that these clerics have the ability to grant their faithful the promise of never rising as undead: even if they die alone in the middle of nowhere.  The clergy of Soleth maintain the palliative & mortuary services for Imperial society, whether it is in the temple/mausoleums or wandering the world.  They avoid combat wherever possible, but they are strident defenders of their faithful and the innocent.  As the Shepherd of the Dead, Soleth is particularly angered by the fact that the Great Enemy has found a way to cause the newly dead to rise within an hour of death.  With the arrival of the Dark Star, this interval has dropped to 1d6 rounds…{ up to 1min.} so the clerics of this order are very busy these days.  Low level clerics (1-6) are tasked with wandering the lands quelling the dead and searching for the cause of this restlessness.  7th level clerics and those who have become sick or injured in their travels are left to attend the temples until it is their turn to pass over.  All clerics of Soleth have the power to Speak with Dead at will and they all know how to brew the elixir of Eternal Peace; the draught which prevents resurrection.  They also know how to prepare the Elixir of Mercy for those whose time has come; this potion numbs and eases the passage into death for those who would welcome death as a release from their pain and worldly burdens.  All clerics of Soleth gain +1 on turn checks and damage results verses undead.  They radiate a zone of final resting; any who die within 10ft / cleric level of a priest of Soleth will not rise up again.  Preferred weapon is the bastard sword.

Thormyr the Loyal [L-N (g)]- God of guardsmen & those who would protect others- this Demi-god was once Human and remembers well the suffering of the flesh.  Thormyr does what he can to alleviate suffering of others, as to the “final” judgment… his clerics let the sufferer decide if euthanasia is preferred.  Clerics of this order are tasked with the daily policing of the realms.  Their authority to do so extends to the entirety of the Empire (or such as is left) not just to one town or area.  The temples of this order serve as the jails and headquarters for the Empire, Thormyr’s clerics are mostly found wandering on assignment (levels 1-5) while elder members of this clergy (6th) are usually assigned large sectors to monitor.  All clerics of Thormyr share in his hatred of devils and are granted the power to banish them as well as undead; furthermore these clerics can use mundane weaponry to harm devils and extra dimensional creatures.  These clerics automatically bypass damage reduction and gain +2 bonus to hit and damage versus devils & outsiders.  All clerics of Thormyr have a very special aura; all thief activity within 10ft / level of a cleric of Thormyr is slightly suppressed.  All larcenous or illegal activities within the radius of effect suffers a -1/ level of the cleric to any thieving abilities being utilized.  Preferred weapon is the club or spear.

Poderon the Merchant [C-G]- The patron God of merchants, bankers and businessmen and any who make their livelihood buying or selling with the public.  His Temples are found in many forms; from warrens of shops and eateries under one communal roof to a mobile street vendor.  Anywhere commerce and industry are found is the province of Poderon.  In the old Empire, before things started to crumble, every citizen was issued a 3” x 4” x 1/8” oak wafer.  On one side was the owners name and picture, on the other were the listings of their accounts; legible only to the owner.  Whenever transactions were made, the sums were added or removed instantly.  If these cards became lost or stolen, they become useless.  Now only skilled craftsmen and those of the merchant classes within the largest of cities have enough money in circulation to actually need these items.  Most folk these days use barter for needed transactions.  Poderons preferred weapon is a war-hammer.

He also the Gnome Father and has another persona as the engineer, inventor, or tinker and in this aspect he is the patron deity of the Gear Gnomes.  Poderon is married to Myna, the Goddess of Luck and they have two daughters; Wyshalar the Wanderer and Neshti the Stealth-maiden.  All gnomes venerate Poderon as the archetype of their form, but it is his daughter Wyshalar who tends to the daily needs of the Wyld Gnomes and commands their loyalty and love.  Neshti doesn’t get along with her father all the time, as they have different ideas about the rules of ownership…  that is why she is the Patron Goddess of thieves.

Shul [LN] the Teacher/ the Moon Dragon- She is the Goddess of all phases of the moon; the Watcher in the sky, the Glistening Orb, the Law Giver, and the Moon Dragon; she is the Goddess of measurement, tradition, literacy, and the Moon itself.  The eldest daughter of Valdreth and Auzarr, she is credited as giving the standard 13 month calendar to the peoples of Áereth and Ur, the oldest written language which is derived from Draconic and from which all other humanoid languages descended.  Shul is the patroness of bards, engineers, educators and ascetics who follow strict curricula.  During the reign of the Red Emperor (the last Nimorian Priest-King) learning and education in general were barely holding on, but with the fall of Nimoria, temples of Shul started to become more common in the larger cities, and in most of the provinces of the New Criestene Empire.  These “Academies” are temple fortresses and through their educating of the peoples, helped to cement the new empire together by standardizing the education of the citizenry, making “Common” the language spoken for all humans and most humanoids.   Thanks to the wandering Veltoni clans, “Common” has become the language of trade even in the Old Konsaurian Empire, the Colonies, and even into the wild lands far to the north and east of the Empire.
In all religious writings, Shul is usually referred to by one of her many epithets rather than by name; a legacy of the secrecy needed to survive persecution by the Nimorian Priest-Kings.  She is not the only Goddess of Magic, but most scholars and wizardly types will offer prayers to Her before starting off on a project… lest they be stymied or side tracked in their endeavors, particularly if there will be a large amount of difficult research and experimentation.  One of the most beautiful of the Gods, she is sought after by many, but her love is only for Ormazd.  Their love is strong, but their separate duties keep them apart for most of the time, save for lunar and solar eclipses… then and only then may the lovers join.  Ormazd scours the world for the restless dead by day, but it is the Watcher in the Sky, reflecting the light and love of Phoenix Lord who keeps up the vigil by night.

Her Holy symbol is any depiction of the moon, or a silver moon medallion that has been inscribed with a moon and a beautiful woman’s face. 

Her clergy along with their temples were nearly destroyed in the Interregnum that ended the old Criestene Empire, but enough of their small monastic forts survived to bring back the wisdom of writing and ancient lore during the last 300 years without which the new Criestene Empire would devolve into embattled factions of barbarians… again.  Her Order is now charged with setting up the schools for the Northern Kingdoms as well as the preservation of history and languages.  Her preferred weapon is a dagger; preferably made of knapped stone, in imitation of the one given to her by her “Uncle” Poderon for a birthday gift.  All lunar and solar eclipses are Sabbath days and all of Shul’s temples are capable of calculating the exact time of the year, month, and day as needed.

Within the context of the Northern Kingdoms, Shul is the giver of the Laws that the treaty bound Kingdoms must obey.  She gains the knowledge of these laws both from the ancient texts in her care and from the will of the Sanctern Pantheon.  Violations of her laws are tried by Clerics of Justica and enforced by the clerics of Gorhan.

Whilst I do not wish to create the entire body of laws for the kingdom, it should be sufficient for the players to know that the laws of the Criestene Empire are nearly the same as those for our real world society: if it is illegal in the real world, then it is probably illegal in the Criestene Empire.  The notable exceptions to this rule are that “Vice Laws” don’t exist as we know them. The civil authorities are not concerned with Brothels, Taverns, & Drug Dens; unless there are any Succubi/Incubi working in the flesh dens, or slavers preying on the inebriated, or making sure that the latest drug of choice doesn’t turn half the population into hamsters.

After so many centuries of being brutalized by tyrants, the people of Crieste have become a fairly tolerant society in order to stave off any future tyranny.  The Citizens of the new Crieste Empire are quite keen on the amenities and luxuries that they have inherited from the old Nimiurian and Former Crieste Empires, but are painfully aware that the plumbing, the roads, and services gained were built with the blood of slaves and the conquered.  Unfortunately, this tolerance rarely extends to wizards and elves both of whom still languish under often brutal discrimination in most Imperial lands.

Madrah & Denithae; the King & Queen of the Faeries [CN(n) & CN(g)]- are venerated as the Masculine and Feminine aspects of nature.  They are always worshiped together lest on risk offending the excluded partner.  Most farming and agricultural areas have shrines and temples dotting the landscape.  There are no constructed temples, only wild Groves of various sizes hidden in the wild places.  Clerics of the forces of nature are considered to be Druids, though they should not be confused with the Druid Kings of olden times.  They are responsible for keeping the balance between the needs of society and the preservation of the wild places of Áereth.  Clerics of Nature have different auras depending on which aspect they identify with the most; chosen at creation.  One that speeds healing and growth or aids in hunting and fighting.  Each gender of cleric has access to both types of magic, the distinction simply shows which type they will be better at performing based on their nature.  Preferred weapons: the scythe/ or short bow.

The rest of the Gods of Magic are treated separately as wizards are the only ones who usually have dealings with them.

Neshti the Stealth-maiden [CG]-  All practitioners of the larcenous trade other than Assassins pay tribute to Her in hopes that she will favor them in their next roguish endeavor.  She rewards clever thieves, particularly if they are not too greedy with their spoils.  It is not known whether she has temples or clergy: if they exist, then they are keeping quiet.  Preferred weapon is the dagger.

1 comment:

  1. Very rich descriptions of the gods/goddesses! I also really liked the god graphic you had - is there a way to post it ( or maybe it's here and I didn't see it)?