The Gods & Cosmology (Herregor Supplement)
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The Gods of the world are unknowable. Even today some dispute their existence and suggest those that call upon their might are but another type of wizard or warlock. It is true that in some cases the abilities seem similar, but for those that make use of the divine, there is no doubt that the forces they call upon have a will of their own. None know from whence the faithful of the God's came, all that is known for sure is some time during the Elfwar some few insightful folk began speaking of the Triad, and these men and women of faith served an integral role in the defense and succor of whatever community they found themselves in.
Unlike many worlds only three true deities are generally acknowledged by current society. The pantheon is known as the Triad or the Circle. Clerics of the gods usually favor one of three over the others, but all acknowledge and honor the other two. Whether there are more than these three deities is a question best left to the theologians.
Corian of the Light: Called Lor by the Dwarves. He is attributed a masculine aspect and said to have dominion over creation, life, the day, healing, summer, and purity of intent. His name is invoked at births, marriages, cleansings of taint, and when granting succor to the sick or wounded.
Those who take the Bright Dawn as their patron advocate parley before warfare and in a fight would rather defend the young and the injured than bring the fight to the enemy.
His symbols are the Sunburst and the Sickle with a sprig of Holly. His animal is the Dove. His colors are white, gold, and green. His metal is gold, and his gemstone is emerald.
Laria of the Shadow: Called Ara by the Dwarves. She is attributed a feminine aspect and said to have dominion over the dawn and dusk, change, learning, spring and autumn, wisdom, and the pursuit of understanding. She is also attributed the very important aspect of being the guardian of the Barrier Between. Her name is invoked in divinations, graduations, and abjurations against things not of this world.
Those who take the Twilight Lady as their mistress teach that knowledge avoids the fight altogether and say that if there must be a fight better to start in on your terms than wait for it to occur on the enemy's.
Her symbols are the Rising / Setting Sun and the Broken Mask. Her animal is the Cat. Her colors are silver, blue, and violet. Her metal is silver and her gemstone is opal.
Sardon of the Dark: Called Nul by the Dwarves. He is attributed a masculine aspect and said to have dominion over destruction, death, vigilance, the night, winter, and the dark deeds one must sometimes do. His name is invoked at funerals, to ward off fear or incite it, when smiting one’s enemies, when defending one's allies, and when laying the dead to rest.
Those who take the Dweller in Darkness as their master say that there is enough death in the world, but not so much that they will not end an enemy gladly if you would threaten that which is near and dear. They are no stranger to bloodshed and will attack fearlessly on the battlefield, or end the fight before it starts by slitting an enemy's throat in bed.
His symbol is the waning moon and the Skull with the ruby eye. His animal is the Wolf. His colors are red and black. His metal is iron and his gemstone is ruby.
Religion by Race
Amongst men and dwarves the gods are worshiped in a pantheistic fashion. The cleric calls upon the God who is thought to have dominion over the task at hand. For example: most favor one of the three as their patron, but when healing the sick it is always a prayer to Corian (or Lor) that is heard.
The Halflings as a race are often rather agnostic. Those few clerics amongst the race are usually found within the priesthoods of the other two races.
The Dragonborn have accepted the Triad in most instances, though most often keep a small honorific shrine to a god they call Bahamut. If the Gods of the Triad take offense to this they do not make it known.
Most Turathians pay homage to their own pantheon of gods. Their worship is a private affair that outsiders are not privy to, though they do occasionally entreat the intervention of Gods with names like Asmodeus, Moloch, and Belial. Some few wandering Turathians also convert to the Triad, amongst these most seem to take Laria or Sardon as patrons.
Elfsworn do not usually pray to gods, and on the rare occaision that one does, his prayers are never answered. As they have no soul they have no ability to touch the divine.
Elftouched have the ability to call upon the power of the Gods, and some do with a fervent need as if they are filling a void within. Others go as far as to deny the existence of the triad entirely and behave bitterly towards clerics.
Many of the other races have their own local gods and spirits that they worship. Some of them exhibit abilities similar to clerics of the Triad. It’s most likely that these clerics are merely worshiping different aspects of the Triad as individual gods; however, there are also rumors that denizens of the Nether can empower individuals with abilities much like clerics.
Of Serpents & Darkness
Across the sea in the empires of the Kurg, Suutep is worshiped with a fervent devotion that is rightly called fanaticism. What is strange is very, very few of his "priests" exhibit much ability with divine magic. Most seem to display abilities much more akin to sorcerers.
The majority of the populace pays lip service to the Serpent God if only to mollify his priests. Those whose "faith" is found lacking often find themselves stripped of property and sold into slavery, or disappear outright. The priesthood rules all levels of government without question. No other faiths or cults are tolerated (though they do occasionally crop up, particularly among slave populations).
It is no secret that the most favored among the priesthood exhibit serpent-like features congruent with their devotion. In the Herregor campaign setting it is the faithful of Suutep that are the origin of the Yuan-ti.
Suutep, the Night Serpent: The Lord of Serpents and Darkness is attributed a masculine aspect and is said to have dominion over darkness, venom, domination, excess, consumption, virility, and lies. His name is invoked at orgies, hedonistic acts, to bring ruin to one's enemies, and to ward off his wrath.
Those that follow the Night Cobra say that nothing escapes the grasping coils of their lord and that all other gods shall eventually smother within his crushing embrace and be consumed to sate his eternal hunger as his priesthood consumes their followers. All the pleasures of the world belong to the faithful and all the souls of men belong to Suutep.
His symbol is a serpent coiled about the sun, and the "eye" pattern of the cobra's hood. His animal is the serpent. His colors are black, violet, and green. His metal is copper and his gemstone is jade.
The Major Cults
The Triad is the most universally accepted religion, having worshipers amongst most of the thinking races in one name or another, but there are other cults and minor churches about that all claim patrons of some questionable level of divinity.
What sets many of the cults apart is not all of the faithful "priests" can channel magic as a cleric. Many of the minor cults have warlocks, wizards, or even commoners as their head priests. This is not to say that their patrons have nothing to offer, however. The "divine" patron of many cults may act in a much more direct fashion to aid their "faithful".
As to the nature of these patrons, many are infernals of varying power. They offer dark investments and direct intercession to their followers. Some are ancient spirits that may have once been men themselves. Others are more enigmatic entities that may in fact be minor gods. Some of the more prominent cults follow:
Gormesh, the Thrice Gold Lord: Gormesh is depicted by his faithful as a large man of enormous girth with bronze skin and curving ram's horns bedecked with heavy golden jewelry. His cult promises to make the faithful wealthy and grant them temporal power with that wealth. Gormesh demands flesh and blood to placate him. His rites include feasting and drinking to excess that culminate in blood sacrifice. His symbol is a gold coin bearing his countenance.
Sutheruss of the Black Circle: Sutheruss is depicted by his faithful as a tall, thin, man of regal bearing in fine robes with a black, lambent flame surrounding his left hand. In life Sutheruss was a grand wizard, in death his faithful labor to maintain his store of knowledge and restore the dread mage to life. The faithful join his cult to gain access to the store of his knowledge. He had a powerful ring of onyx that was lost when he died at the hands of a rival, and a ring carved from onyx or bearing an onyx gem has become the symbol of his acolytes.
The Purifying Flame: The Purifying Flame is less a cult and more a philosophy. The flame purifies and destroys. It brings light and destroys lives. It is a force of enlightenment and danger. Those that are called to the flame embrace the light of civilization and science, and eschew blind faith and mysticism. The faithful follow the flame to debate philosophy with like minded individuals and support the endeavors of each other. A simple signet struck with the symbol of the flame marks the members of this cult.
For those learned sages who study such things, it is well known that there are other worlds than the one we dwell in. These worlds are perhaps countless. One such example is the realm that gave birth to the Dragonborn and Tieflings. Other races also originated on other realms. When sages point to the other worlds, two are most often mentioned. It is these two that intersect ours most often, bleeding through to impact the course of the world. A third is theorized, but no mortal is ever said to have gone there.
- The Nether – The Realm Below: Also known as the Outer Dark, Hell, and the Abyss - legends say that all evil is born of the Nether. It is this realm that many of the most terrible creatures of nightmare dwell. Demons, devils, infernals, and daemons. They have a host of names. These creatures play by a strange set of rules. They cannot gain ingress into the world without being called, and they are more than happy to exchange power and knowledge for influence in the mortal realm. Many warlocks draw upon the Nether as a source for their power.
- The Feywild – The Realm Between: Perhaps the best known of the other realms, it is from this place that the Faerie Lords came to destroy the civilization of humanity and change the world into what it is today. It is said that all worlds touch the Feywild and the Faerie Lords touch all worlds. What is most disconcerting is that gateways through the barrier into the Fey open up seemingly at random, and it is quite possible to stumble through one without being aware of it, only to become lost in the thorns on the other side. Deep forests, forgotten ruins, places of ancient power, and sites of atrocity often seem to wear the barrier thin. One must be on guard in such places, or become lost forever in the lands of the Faerie Lords. Warlocks with the proper knowledge can also forge a pact with the Fey as a source of their power.
- The Shadowfell - The Realm Beyond: Some say that this realm is part of the Nether, others say a portion of the Feywild. In truth it is both and neither. The Shadowfell bleeds into all other realms. It is like a reflection of all other things. It is the home of the source of the unquiet dead and necromantic energies. Legends say that the reflections shown in mirrors are the gateway to the Shadowfell, there is truth in this as most rituals intended to tap into the shadow make use of mirrors as a focus.
- Godhome – The Realm Above: This realm is only speculated about. The Church of the Triad says that as there are gods that the gods must call some place home. It is said that this is the wellspring of the divine, and the dwelling place of the Triad. No divinations have revealed anything of the Godhome, and no mortal has found their way here by design or accident.