Gods (Ricasa Supplement)
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Though it doesn't come to the surface very often, Ricasa has a strong religious undercurrent running through it that stretches back thousands of years.
The Whole Shebang
Though there's no end to the minor religions and cults that have sprung up all over the place like weeds, the majority of the faithful in Ricasa follow the way of one of ten ancient gods- the ones the months are named after, in fact. There's Wolithi, Zethos, Dieter, Kolkis, Jun, Hartha, Secundis, Lorthas, Camrecol, and Olida, of whom four are "good", four are "evil", and two are neutral.
As far as the creation story goes, the gods created the Ricasan world, Marex (for more on the name look up the countries), as the crown jewel for their masterwork- the cosmos. At the time, all ten gods were neutral. But the four who now make up the evil pantheon saw the wonder of their creation and wanted it all to themselves (cliche'd!). They turned on the other six and started wreaking havoc in the north of the planet, still largely unexplored to this day and rumored to be covered with hordes of evil creatures.
Now, the remaining six neutral gods were divided. All of them wanted a balance, but four of them wanted to proactively achieve it- that is, go into direct conflict with the evil side. The other two wanted to negotiate, to find a solution normally and lawfully. But within the span of five minutes, the four proactivists had become the "good" side and began waging war against the evil gods. Chaos reigned in heaven.
At the same time, the creatures down on the planet felt the gods waging their war, and the feelings transferred over- they started to quarrel and disagree. This eventually led to a war on Marex, the first of many- the Lost War. Though the only mentions of this conflict come from inscriptions in various ruins, it most definitely happened, and caused some serious problems- several smaller races shown repeatedly in various carvings were evidently wiped out entirely, as well as some of the more extremely large ones.
The gods eventually noticed that their battle had retroactively torn their creation to shreds, and as a result called a halt to the fighting. They set about rebuilding the shattered remains, and it was at about that point that Ricasan history began.
The Good Guys
The good side of the Pantheon is Wolithi, Zethos, Dieter, and Kolkis. These four correspond to the late fall and winter months of the year, when the harvest is finally stored away and all fighting stops as blizzards come from the north to bury the lands in a blanket of white. For most Ricasans, winter is the best time of the year.
One of only three female deities and goddess of Protection and Preparation, Wolithi watches over the final months of autumn, helping to ensure that everyone is ready for the coming of the storms from the north. She is said to have been the last of the "good" gods to break away from the original path of neutrality, as well as the most prescient, creating such natural defenses as the Sectite Hills, the Shield Mountains, and the Great Cliffs of the Markaean Peninsula even before the split. She is also one of the two gods put in charge of healing magic, the other one being (surprisingly) Jun.
God of Luck and Hope, Zethos's charges are the supposed lost causes of Ricasa- the drunks, the gamblers, the cheats, and the thieves. Almost everyone is at least a part-time cleric of Zethos, since he's prayed to more often than any of the others- soldiers before a battle, students before a test, diplomats before a meeting, all pray to try and gain the luck they need to survive. Zethos was also the one who is said to have convinced Lorthas to send down the Great Famine- little did Lorthas realize that it would be that famine which ended the far more horrible Founder's War.
God of Peace and Celebration, Dieter's domain is the Yule season and the aftermath of battle. His symbol, the pentacle (a pentagram bracketed by a circle), is the official insignia for the Red Star humanitarian group and is also often found on poorboxes and church collection spots as the Yule season approaches. Dieter is said to have aided Wolithi in raising the Shield Mountains during Ricasa' creation. He is also the only god of the pantheon to have a seriously devoted nation under his wing- Serlithana.
God of Renewal and Justice, Kolkis ensures the creation of new life and the defense of that which exists already. Most every courthouse has a statue of this god somewhere, and many small towns have one to help ensure a good crop. Kolkis, while not inherently violent, is loathe to stand by and watch evil destroy his work, and as a result is the closest thing to a god of war in the good pantheon. He was also the first of those gods to suggest the idea of actively attacking evil.
Due to threats of physical violence on the part of the Church to the Nomenclature Committee, the name of the Bay of Cevet was changed to the Bay of Kolkis, and subsequently to the Bay of Kolvet as a compromise, all of which has given countless cartographers aneurysms. The changes are highly debated, and are not universally accepted yet- many maps and archives still bear the old names.
The Bad Guys
The evil side was formed about five minutes before the good side, derived of the original ten. They hold reign over the late spring and summer months of the year, striving to drive out the rest of the gods and claim the Ricasan world for their own. Though Ricasans enjoy the summer as much as anyone, they know that it also tends to bring droughts and famines with it. And the cold-blooded armies of the enemy can't find a much more enjoyable time to wage war.
Goddess of Hatred and Malice, Jun is every jealous weakling, senseless bully, and cruel dictator rolled into one. Even the other evil gods don't like working with her, but often they find it necessary, as her abilities and reach are almost endless. Surprisingly enough, Jun is also one of two gods responsible for the clerical ability of healing, the other being Wolithi.
God of War and Death, Harthas is one of the most dangerous forces known to either heaven or earth. His power is said to grow stronger if the planet is in turmoil, but he is absolutely unable to be subtle, which more than often negates his power almost entirely. It has become unofficial policy in some places never to sign treaties in the month of Horthei, lest they disintegrate into bloodshed (This may in part be due to the example of the Treaty of Yehul).
God of Trickery and Cunning, Secundis watches over thieves, con men, bandits, and those who thrive on deception. Possibly the wiliest of the gods, Secundis has long been championing for a more quiet takeover of the planet from good, but so far none of the others are listening. The terror group known as the Insiders holds Secundis in very high regard, and at least one chapel to him can be found in any of their bases. His symbol is easily recognizable- a stylized "S" with three bars running horizontally across the middle.
God of Pestilence and Corruption, Lorthas is said to have caused more trouble for Ricasa than the rest of the evil pantheon put together. He's also rather indiscriminate in his targets, which can cause problems for his forces on Ricasa. One theory about the burning of the Treaty Dome puts a cleric of Lorthas as the prime culprit. He is also, however, said to be somewhat easy to fool: Zethos begged him to stop causing trouble in the Founder's War, so Lorthas sent down the Great Famine- little realizing that it would bring the whole thing grinding to a halt, which was Zethos' plan all along.
Neutrality is a nebulous term in Ricasa- rather than complete withdrawal from either side of the equation, as often as not it merely means working on both sides rather than none. And such is true of the two remaining neutral gods. The Peacekeepers of Ricasa hold sway over the early spring and early fall months, both of which are pivotal times for Ricasa.
God of Harvest and Commerce, Camrecol watches over the wheels of Ricasa and ensures that they remain turning. His blessing is often invoked at harvest-time and before business meetings, to help ensure that they are successful. Camrecol is something of a patron in Styalenuth, but is also highly revered by members of the Mob, who have just as much reason as the Merchant Council to hope that the gold keeps flowing.
Goddess of Communication and Knowledge, Olida acts as a mother god for all those devoted to the arts and sciences- the intellectual fields of Ricasa. Most long-range televocals are usually brought to be blessed by a priest of Olida when they are created, and almost every messenger in the continent carries a small pendant with her symbol- a feather pen.
As mentioned before, there's no end to the separate religions that can be found in Ricasa besides the Big Ten. Some people believe the world's about to end, some believe it already HAS ended, some think that it's all a big experiment in a jar. There's religions that only believe in one god, and some that believe in a god for everything imaginable, from the sun to construction. But the Big Ten seem to show the most favor to their subjects.