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[Fantasy HERO Pantheons]

Part 2

Copyright © 2000 by Robert J. Hall

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Pantheon of the Empire

The Empire began as a nation of river people. Under relentless attack from the mountain tribes, the river people mastered the arts of warfare and drove their enemies from their borders. As the nation continued to grow in size it absorbed new peoples and continued to increase in power and cultural complexity. The pantheon of the empire also grew in power as the nation expanded, and word of the gods was spread to other lands by its missionaries.

According to the ancient myths of the river people, the universe began in a timeless chaotic void in which neither light nor substance existed. Pockets of order formed from this sea of chaos, and in these ordered domains the first gods appeared. Over an immensely long age of struggle, these gods battled with each other for control of the ordered universe. In time, only three powerful gods remained from this war.

Of the three gods, Yam-Ar was the most powerful. An androgynous god, Yam-Ar sought balance in all things, and used his great power to prevent the other two gods from gaining complete control of the universe. Ircoth and Onyg, the bitter rivals of Yam-Ar, are sometimes referred to as the two-faced gods. As Yam-Ar prevented either Ircoth or Onyg from wresting control of the universe, Ircoth and Onyg decided to ally long enough to destroy the most powerful god.

Yam-Ar was torn asunder during this combined attack, resulting in the formation of the heavens and the earth. The upper torso of the corpse formed the firmament, and became the male aspect known as the father sky. His arms arched over the earth to protect his form, thus forming the glowing band of diamond light that is seen at night. The lower portion of Yam-Ar formed the world, and is the female aspect known as the mother earth. As Yam-Ar now rests in a permanent slumber, he is known as the sleeping god of the earth and firmament.

The great rent of Yam-Ar created several lesser gods. Onyg tore the heart from Yam-Ar and hurled it across the sky to form the sun, Ar-Talath. The moon, Beshada, appeared in the cavity in the sky, and the sun has chased it ever since. Oerne was born from the void when Yam-Ar was rent apart. Finally, the blood of Yam-Ar created the seven Divine Dragons.

With Yam-Ar out of the way, Ircoth and Onyg could now continue their protracted struggle for the universe. However, the two gods were now so closely linked that they formed a yin-yang pair. Neither could wrest control of the universe from the other without destroying it. The gods instead created many lesser deities in order to continue their battle without risking annihilation. These new gods in turn created mortals to aid them in their struggle.

Over time the new gods rebelled against their creators and came to establish their own identity. The many spheres of influence were divided among the young gods, and their power slowly expanded at the expense of Ircoth and Onyg. These gods in turn created yet weaker demi-gods to serve their needs.

A great proxy war was thus fought for the two old ones. This war created unrelenting turmoil upon the face of the lands. During this time the many barbarian tribes of man kin were created and continued the war across the world. It was during this war between the tribes of man kin that three of the divine dragons were slain. The death blood of these great beasts created the many enchanted creatures that inhabit the wilds of the lands. The surviving dragons are Dholemtrix, who weaves the clouds; Argoeth, who sows the winds; Bretaine, who fires the mountains; and Chorquatl, who sends the waves.

With the lands constantly wracked by this struggle, the gods came very close destruction of the earth. To save the world, the gods created a pact that banished most of them from this universe and into the outer planes. The exceptions are the gods Finos and the sleeping old one Yam-Ar. This banishment is celebrated by many of the man kin on the first full moon of each new spring, for this ended the great wars between their races.

Descriptions of the Deities

Each of the significant deities of the pantheon described below will include information on the personality, physical appearance, philosophy, and spheres of interest of the god. The typical Divine Manifestation advantages and limitations are listed, along with the school of magic practiced. Finally, miscellaneous colorful details are included.

The colleges of magic practiced by these Divine Manifestations are as follows:

Each of the gods will have a set of worshippers who follow the will and teachings of the deity. Such worshippers may be isolated to a particular geographic location, such as the coast, plains, forests, or mountains. The clergy of the deity often have a readily identifiable type of garb. They will carry symbols associated with the god, such as an icon, fetish, or totem. There may also be certain animals or vegetation that is symbolic of the god, and are sacred to his followers.

Major Gods of the Virtues

The gods of this cycle are considered good by the common people and ground consecrated by these gods is warded against unholy creatures. Most of the gods of the virtues have poor to bitter relations with the gods of the vices, and war between these groups is an all too common state. They are led by Ircoth, the high god of the Glorious Virtues, who is an old god said to be born from a golden egg in the form of the primordial void. He represents happiness, labor, longevity, and wisdom, but rarely intervenes in the affairs of mortals. Instead he leaves such mundane labors to the new gods. Nevertheless, yearly celebrations are held in the name of Ircoth, featuring many flutes and garlands.

Althain
 
Spheres: reason, knowledge, and forests.
Followers: sages, scribes, shephards, and hunters.
Symbols: oak leaf
Appearance: shrewd old man or great stag

This god of virtue represents reason, knowledge, and forests. He is also noted for being the great scribe of the gods, and it is common for philosophical works to be dedicated to Althain. He is also a seer god and the god of history. When not appearing in the form of a shrewd old man, he can be seen as a great stag wandering the forests.

Althain is the son of Beshada and a god of the balance, Arn Droue. He is the arch enemy of Habatwa, and much of his energy is spent opposing her dastardly deeds. Althain is thoughtful in nature and rarely performs a rash act. He is also steady, somewhat wary, and can be very wilful. Once his mind is made up, Althain is difficult to sway from a course of action.

Manifestations of Althain appear in the guise of tall, scholarly figures garbed in white silken robes. Common advantages of the Manifestations include Mental Defense, Cramming, Eidetic Memory, and Speed Reading. They are vulnerable to attacks from any beings who know their true name. They will also suffer an Ego Attack backlash whenever a nearby tree is maimed or killed, and find forest fires especially painful. (A reason to dislike the father of their god, Arn Droue.) The Manifestations use the magical arts from the College of Naming, with the exception of the unique or named spells. (To use the spells, replace "Requires 10 points of Naming Experience (-1/4)" with "Religious Limitations (-1/4)".)

Althain is worshipped by sages, scribes, shepherds, and hunters. The Ent is his sacred ward and the oak leaf his symbol. Successful prayer to Althain requires a calm, thoughtful mind as he will rarely respond to an angry or vengeful worshipper. The priests of Althain are a small, but very dedicated group. They favor plain white robes and wooden weapons. Secrets passed to the priests of Althain are held in the strictest confidence, and they have been known to die before revealing an important confidence. The greatest of the priests of Althain are the Oracles who dwell alone in the deepest forests.

Ar-Talath
 
Spheres: sun, agriculture, rainbows, and plains.
Followers: peasants, merchants, and manor lords.
Symbols: bough of cereal stalks.
Appearance: healthy youth with glowing hair.

Created during the sundering of Yam-Ar by Ircoth and Onyg, Ar-Talath is the virtuous god of the Sun, Agriculture, and the wide-open plains. His most common apparition is that of a healthy, vigorous youth with thick, glowing hair. He is an especially vigorous god and highly egotistical, although generous to a fault. As would be expected of a god of the sun, Ar-Talath is always punctual.

Ar-Talath was created from the heart of Yam-Ar. He is the eternal suitor of Beshada, and spends the daylight chasing the goddess. On the rare occasions that they meet, the sky is darkened as Ar-Talath is embraced by Beshada. Their passions never last for long however, and Ar-Talath is soon sent away to burn once more with desire. He also has a love-hate relationship with Festur, the god of decay. While the rot of Festur can ruin the harvest, it also rejuvenates the fields for the next years crops.

In some lands, Ar-Talath is also worshipped as the god of rainbows. It is commonly thought that the gateway to his home plane is found at the end of such rainbows.

During the night, the heart is carried by the demi-gods of dusk and dawn in preparation for the next day. These two demi-gods are represented by the morning and evening stars. During the night time they journey from west to east through the underground passages, carrying the heart in a great golden goblet. The heat from the heart of Yam-Ar melts the rocks along the passages, creating flows of lava.

Manifestations of Ar-Talath appear as dark-skinned dwarves with glowing white hair and dressed in waving grass skirts. Common advantages of the Manifestations include the ability to create and manipulate light and rainbows, draw sustenance from empty fields, and immunity to disease magic. They are dependent on sunlight and must rest during the night. They are vulnerable to darkness and shadows, and have an intense dislike of the underground and shadows. The Manifestations use the magical arts from the Sun Priests.

The worshippers of Ar-Talath include peasants, merchants, and manor lords. The priests of Ar-Talath dress in bright gold-colored garb and carry a golden bough of cereal stalks, the symbol of their god. This symbol is stamped on the gold coin of the empire.

During religious ceremonies, the priests will blacken their faces, hands, and feet with soot. All such celebrations are tied to the growth of cereals, and indeed the first loaf of the season is always dedicated to him. The marriage ceremony of Ar-Talath requires the couple to spend a day and night in the fields. This ceremoniously fertilizes the earth and brings forth a bountiful harvest. The holy places of Ar-Talath are found in open places, typically circles of standing stones which are carefully aligned to track the seasons.

Beshada
 
Spheres: light moon, fertility, and hunting.
Followers: rangers, hunters, and most women.
Symbols: sheaf of silver arrows, or three women.
Appearance: maiden, mother, or crone.

As with Ar-Talath, Beshada was created during the sundering of Yam-Ar when she was formed from the chest cavity. She is the goddess of the light moon, fertility, and hunting. As the phases of the moon change, so does the aspects of the mother goddess. She first appears as a maiden during the waxing moon, then matures into the mother aspect in the period of the full moon. Finally, during the waning moon, Beshada takes the appearance of the crone.

The maiden aspect of Beshada represents youth, sexuality, and the athletic huntress. She appears as a beautiful young woman with silver hair and a silver bow in her hand. This youthful Beshada is often accompanied by a deer. Upon attaining the mother aspect, the matured woman represents fertility, nurturing, and feminine power. Finally, the crone aspect represents wisdom, experience, and the approach of death. In all her aspects, Beshada is wise, calm, loving, benign, and occasionally careless.

Manifestations of Beshada bear her same aspects during the phases of the light moon, although they can appear in male or female form. Consequently the END and EGO scores vary with the phase of the moon, losing 1 point of END per 5 days and gaining 1 point of EGO per 5 days. Common advantages of her Manifestations include bonuses and extra range to ranged attacks, plus improved senses. Their magical ability is limited to the spells of the Moon Priest. The Manifestations are especially vulnerable during the three days of the new moon. They are also more strongly influenced by the opposite sex.

Her soft, glowing light is seen as the feminine counterpart to the more masculine sun. She is constantly woo-ed by Ar-Talath, although the two are doomed to be forever apart except during an eclipse. An especially fertile goddess, she has born seven offspring, including La'ahl, Althain, and Erog. Her current consort is Arn Droue, a god of the balance.

Beshada is worshipped by rangers, hunters, and most women. She watches over the purity of young people, and in turn is revered by all virgins. Her symbol is a sheaf of silver arrows, or three women. She is also represented by the rare and holy white bull.

Coeurstav
 
Spheres: honor, loyalty, and martial skill.
Followers: paladins, honorable warriors, and arms masters.
Symbols: white warhorse on a purple background, or a sun-shaped shield.
Appearance: mighty warrior in golden plate mail.

Known as the Noble Light, Coeurstav is the patron deity of paladins as he represents honor, loyalty, and martial skill. Like a chivalric knight, Coeurstav is virtuous, brave, loyal to his followers, well mannered, and respectful. He appears as a mighty warrior wearing golden plate mail armor, and wielding a long sword and polished bronze, sun-shaped shield. He is usually mounted on one of his prized, six-legged storm mounts, of which he keeps a stable. Being presented with a six-legged mount from the stable is a sign of great honor from Coeurstav.

He was born the first child of Ar-Talath and Silvera, two of the virtuous gods. During his youth Coeurstav and Vhoux developed a mutual hatred, due to the nihilistic nature of the wilding god. He also has a fierce, but friendly rivalry with Bharkhamel, the blood god. The two have been on opposites sides of a battle many times, but neither holds it against the other due to their mutual respect for their martial skills. Being the most honorable of the major deities, he serves as the messenger between the gods and mankind.

The Manifestations of Coeurstav always appear in the guise of a great warrior ready for battle. They have the ability to sense martial ability in others, and are very skilled in the various martial arts. In dire conditions, the Manifestations are able to call upon the followers of Coeurstav to serve their cause. When magic is required, they can call upon the spell-casting abilities of the Paladin, as well as the common spells of the College of Warrior-Magery. They are bound by a strict code of martial honor, which prevents them from telling a lie. Finally, the Manifestations have a strong hatred of craven individuals.

This god is worshipped by paladins, honorable warriors, and arms masters. His symbol is the white warhorse on a purple background, or a polished bronze sun-shaped shield. Priests of Coeurstav are well trained in the arts of war, and ride under the purple banner.

La'ahl
 
Spheres: comradery, hearth, marriage, and healing.
Followers: healers, bards, inn keepers, and farmers.
Symbols: serpent and white thorn plant.
Appearance: sedate matron.

This popular goddess is the patron deity of comradery, hearth, marriage, and healing. Her manifestations and agents work to protect the continuity of family life, while her name is often called to protect the family, food stores, and hearth. Prayers to La'ahl are spoken at the beginning of each meal. Her name is also toasted in inns, pubs, and other places of comradely gathering. La'ahl's most dedicated followers are healers, bards, and inn keepers. She also has a strong following among farmers and close-knit families.

La'ahl is noted for her ability to heal any sickness and even to raise the dead. She is also invoked to bring painless child birth during midwifery. La'ahl appears in the form of a sedate matron with no distinguishing characteristics. She is kindly and humble, dependent, yet oddly at times flippant.

Her manifestations appear in the form of a jovial, pot-bellied giant with red hair, a leather jacket and a kilt. They have the innate ability to calm and control snakes, and can use these snakes to cure many ailments. The manifestations are immune to extreme cold, and heal rapidly from all wounds. They have a variety of useful household skills, which they use to aid families. All manifestations of La'ahl are compelled to aid children, and are banned from the use of weapons.

The magic of the manifestations is drawn from the Church of Healing. (Replace "Extra Time: Full Phase (-1/2)" with "IAF Live Snake, Fragile (-1/2)".) There are also some unique spells known to the manifestations, including Blood Brothers (create a mind link between sworn allies); Comradery (generate friendly emotions); and Binding Oath (in which a token changes hue if the oath is broken.)

La'ahl is the guardian of the golden fruits of immortality, which keeps the gods and their servants from aging. She is the sole offspring of Ar-Talath and Beshada, and was conceived during an eclipse. Due to these circumstances, she has earned the eternal enmity of Dyarx. She also has a strong dislike of Habatwa, who has torn apart many families.

Her temple in the capitol of the empire is the home of the E'orn La'ahl, or the seven virgins of the goddess. Each virgin chosen for church service spends thrice seven years in the temple. The first seven years are for learning duty; the next seven for for performing services such as tending the sacred hearth fires; and the final seven are to train the next initiates. These virgins must remain chaste or they are sacrificed by being buried alive. Couples must walk seven times around the hearth fires to seal their marriage vows.

The symbol of La'ahl is the serpent and the white thorn plant. A wreath of white thorn plants are sometimes hung upon the door to drive away evil spirits. Priests of La'ahl dress in short, green robes with a staff carved in the shape of a serpent. A white serpent is said to be a sacred creature of La'ahl.

Silvera
 
Spheres: sanctuary, preservation, and charity.
Followers: scribes, knights, guards, engineers, and unfortunates.
Symbols: porcupine or portcullis.
Appearance: tall, slender woman or a golden-haired bear.

This revered goddess is the patron of sanctuary, preservation, and charity. When not appearing as a tall, slender woman, she takes the form of a great, golden-haired Bear. Silvera is a protective goddess, a nature that also makes her distrustful. However, she can be quite patient even with the most foolhardy individuals, and is pious to the core. It is said that nothing can be hidden from Silvera because she is so wise.

A legend associated with Silvera tells the tale about the Queen of the Lake, a symbolic story about the need for vigilance. It is said that a sacred lake exists in a mountain valley. The lake is protected against intruders by a thief. This thief is driven by the same protective and distrustful nature as Silvera, and he lives without aging in the melancholy wooded hills around the lake to fulfill this task. It is only when a successor arrives to murder the thief and take his place as guardian that the thief can finally rest.

As Silvera, all of her manifestations appear in the form of a golden-haired bear. These manifestations are immune to aging, and are skilled in the arts of siege craft and engineering. They are also able to preserve both food and drink, and can sense the true nature of any being. The manifestations are strongly compelled to aid and protect the unfortunate, and are foresworn to defend the right of sanctuary to the death. For magic arts, the manifestations employ the spells of the Our Lady of Holy Sanctuary college.

Little is known about the origins of this goddess, and she is unlikely to share such information with even her most trusted agents. She is a bitter enemy of both Dyarx and Festur, and spends much of her time opposing their schemes. Silvera is the only friend of Finos in the pantheon, a bond which he holds dearly. For this reason, the agents of Finos will often lend their aid to the priests of Silvera.

Silvera is worshipped by scribes, some knights, guards, engineers, and unfortunates. Her priests lead an austere lifestyle, and use their money to aid others or to build strong sanctuaries. There is a rumor that holds the first emperor was the child of Silvera and a mortal. For this reason the royal family is said to contain the blood of gods. Besides the bear, the symbol of the priesthood of Silvera is either the porcupine or a portcullis.

Thoshanir
 
Spheres: purity, sacrifice, and justice.
Followers: servants, good samaritans, and knights.
Symbols: honey bee.
Appearance: humble servant or white unicorn.

Thoshanir, the god of purity, sacrifice, and justice, often takes the appearance of a humble servant haloed by light. This appearance belies the true strength of this god. He is by nature highly altruistic, optimistic and forgiving, making him especially favored by the poor. Some would say that Thoshanir is also obsessed with cleanliness, and everywhere he steps the surrounds are left in a more tidy state. Indeed, he will sometimes appear as a spotless white unicorn.

During a great war against Festur, many of the followers of Thoshanir became infested with the plague. Thoshanir told his followers to sting their hands with the Bee and wipe their feet and face with honey wax. As a result, the plague was cured and the empire proved victorious. The Bee is thus a sacred animal to Thoshanir, and has become his symbol. Indeed, the priests of Thoshanir often garb themselves in multi-layered robes of black and honey yellow.

The manifestations of Thoshanir have an innate ability to sense and neutralize any poison. They also have a strong presence that allows them to drive away undead. Finally, they have a defense that protects them from any power-based attacks. Manifestations of Thoshanir practice the magic available to the Church of Purity. They are obsessed with cleanliness, and will often pause in their task to straighten up. All manifestations are obligated to protect their charges at all costs, although this drive is tempered at times by their strong sense of justice.

Thoshanir is the offspring of the old one Ircoth, and Oerne the goddess of the dead. He has since become estranged with his mother and the two rarely meet or cooperate. He is the eternal enemy of the god of rot Festur, and the thief god Te'Oberon. He shares this hatred with Argenta, and in the distant past was her consort. This god is worshipped by servants, good samaritans, and many knights. He began as a river god during the early empire, and has increased in power as the empire grew.

Major Gods of the Balance

These gods are considered to have a more balanced view of the world and the nature of people. They are less demanding of their worshippers than the gods of virtue and vice, and so are more approachable by those of less than rigid morals. The creation of Beshada and Ar-Talath turned Yam-Ar to the balance, and so these gods struggle to one day restore Yam-Ar to his full glory. Yam-Ar, the mother of earth and father of sky, is also worshipped as the god of shepherd and flock in parts of the empire. It is said that Yam-Ar can make any people or animals panic with merely a glance.

Argenta
 
Spheres: trade, wealth, security, and rivers.
Followers: wealthy, nobility, and patricians.
Symbols: eye.
Appearance: silvery woman with long black hair.

This goddess normally appears as a silvery woman with long black hair and a robe of many eyes. Her spheres of interest include trade, wealth, security, and rivers. Argenta's obsession with precious items has made her greedy beyond measure and very competitive. Her constant desire to accumulate wealth have honed her bartering skills to a fine level and made her very crafty and rather haughty. She is a very social goddess, and enjoys talking to any mortal who catches her interest.

In times past Thoshanir was Argenta's consort, and the goddess used her considerable negotiating skills to wrest away his power over the rivers. As a result, Thoshanir now has little trust for Argenta. Ironically, she is now the wife of Dyarx, a god who creates only fear among the mortals. Argenta shares the same parents as Arn Droue, and the two have much in common. She has a fierce dislike of Te'Oberon, who Argenta views as a threat to her constant need to accumulate wealth. She also greatly dislikes Silvera due to her charitable ways.

Fortunately for those priests who negotiate with the manifestations of Argenta, these spirits are compelled to adhere to any agreements made. The manifestations of Argenta share her greed for accumulating wealth, and will often perform services only for gold or precious items. They have high ratings in the appraisal, merchant, and negotiation skills, which they put to good use in their search for goods. The manifestations are gifted with a strong telepathic sense which only further aids their ability to negotiate.

Manifestations of Argenta have the ability to control river currents, allowing craft to move against the flow. The manifestations are crafty negotiators, and will sell anything for a suitable price. They practice the magic of the College of Trade and Negotiation. Finally, the manifestations have a strong dislike for charitable persons.

Argenta is worshipped by the wealthy, nobility, and patricians. She also attracts treasure hunters who are drawn by tales of Argenta's immense horde of treasure guarded by her many eyes.

Arn Droue
 
Spheres: craft, invention, and fire.
Followers: artisans, engineers, and mechanics.
Symbols: olive branch.
Appearance: coal-skinned man.

Arn Droue has closer ties to man and his kin than any other god. Being the god of craft, invention, and fire, the gifts of Arn Droue raised human kind from a primitive savage to his current level of civilization. He is commonly portrayed as a coal-skinned man armed with a forge hammer, shield and a spiked helm. Despite his fierce appearance, Arn Droue has a very practical and deliberate demeanor. He is always civil in his dealings with man, and is gifted with immense creativity.

This god favors those with a creative mind, and is often worshipped by craftsmen and artisans. Arn Droue aids in the invention of new tools, and his mark is often left on forged implements as a blessing. His symbol is the olive branch, which represents peace through the use of arms, lance, and shield. During warfare, he is particularly attendant to siege operations which favor the engineer. This also accounts for his curious friendship with the goddess Silvera.

The manifestations of Arn Droue appear as beardless men with coal black skin and flaming hair. All his manifestations are able to summon fire at will in any shape or form. They are all knowledgeable about engineering and inventions. They are also highly skilled with security systems, invention, and the sciences. His manifestations practice the magical arts of both the college of animation and the college of builders, with the exception of the unique or named spells. They are also able to heal any wounds by enshrouding in flames. His manifestations can be critical of any work not done to perfection, but are fascinated by any clever invention.

Arn Droue is the brother of Argenta, and the two are particularly close as deified siblings go. He is currently the consort of Beshada, a relation that has somewhat tempered his creation of destructive devices. Nevertheless, he is known to overindulge his passions sometimes, using great forest fires to renew his strength.

Bharkhamel
 
Spheres: war, gambling, and challenge.
Followers: mercenaries, guards, warriors, and adventurers.
Symbols: battle axe and lightning bolts.
Appearance: brown centaur.

Aptly named the Blood God, Bharkhamel is the god of war, gambling, and challenge. He is very impulsive and given to violence, a personality that is not aided by his argumentative and stubborn nature. However, he is extremely organized, a trait often shared by his militant worshippers. Bharkhamel is also known as the "Glorious God" and God of Tears.

When he appears, Bharkhamel will often take the form of a powerful brown centaur, carrying a great axe and wearing plate barding. The axe rings with thunder each time it is thrown, and returns to his hands after striking the target. Priests of Bharkhamel are often armed with a battle axe, and favor chain or plate mail for battle.

His manifestations are highly skilled warriors who distinguished themselves in battle during their mortal life. He gifts such fighters with eternal life in his service. All such warriors are easily enraged, and have a tendency to go berserk during combat. They are very familiar with the strategy and tactics of warfare, and practice the magical arts of the Church of War. All of Bharkhamel's warrior manifestations are warded by suits of flexible steel that is tougher than the best plate mail.

Bharkhamel is worshipped by men-at-arms, including mercenaries, guards, and adventurers. However, the great doors of his temple are only opened during times of war. Instead, prayers to the battle god are made at shrines or at the sacred site of a great victory. He is the brother of Vhoux, and the two have been known to run amuck on a battle field. Appropriately, his wife is Oerne, the goddess of the dead. He has a fierce, but friendly rivalry with Coerstav, another martial god.

Diaderum
 
Spheres: sea, mists, and rain.
Followers: sailors and navigators.
Symbols: three dancing fish in a jade pool.
Appearance: mermaid.

This eerie goddess controls the sea, mists, and rain. She appears in the ocean as a half woman, half fish creature armed with a great net and spear. Diaderum is very mercurial goddess, with a reckless and uncaring nature. She is always solemn and cool, as are many of her followers.

Diaderum is the only true offspring of Yam-Ar, having emerged from his leg fully formed to create the vast expanse of the seas. She dislikes Arn Droue for the ships that carry land creatures across her waves, but tolerates any sailors who sacrifice to her. Diaderum has a troubled friendship with Argenta, sometimes feeding her rivers and other times bringing drought.

The manifestations of Diaderum are able to sense and create water at will. They are speedy swimmers, and are psychologically compelled to remain near water. Indeed, her manifestations are all susceptible to drying. They are skilled in the magical arts of the College of Water Magic, with the exception of named and unique spells.

The symbol of Diaderum is a circular disk of jade or drift wood carved in the form of three fish dancing in a circle of waves. Specks of gold are inlaid in the disk to represent the many hidden treasures of the sea, while the waves represent the power of the naked ocean. Diaderum is worshipped by any sailors who value their life and respect the power of the sea.

Eptielle
 
Spheres: love, beauty, and vanity.
Followers: lovers, young adults, and romantics.
Symbols: vanity mirror, flowers, or song bird.
Appearance: scantily-clad maiden.

Known as the golden goddess, Eptielle is the deity of love, beauty, and vanity. She appears as a beautiful, scantily-clad maiden with hair of pure spun gold. Eptielle is the ideal of all beauty, and resents any woman whose appearance any man or god finds more pleasing than her own. A volatile goddess, she can be warm and seductive one moment, then all vain and scornful the next.

Eptielle is considered to be the divine figure who brings all species together in procreative love. She has the power to make any living thing fall in love, often against their will. She will never indulge in strife, although she can be the cause. As noted above, Eptielle is the goddess of vanity and is easily flattered by even a common mortal.

The manifestations of Eptielle are all stunning in appearance, although not nearly as beautiful as the goddess. They are very reluctant to engage in any form of combat, and are unskilled in the martial arts. As the goddess, the manifestations are easily flattered about their appearance. They can also form emotional attachments to particularly comely mortals. On the other hand, they have a strong prejudice against the ugly. Eptielle's manifestations practice the magical arts of the College of Empathy, with the exception of the unique and named spells.

This goddess was the offspring of the old one Ircoth and the Sun God Ar-Talath. However, her vanity and lust for beauty have forever barred her from the ranks of the virtuous gods. She is also much despised by Bharkhamel, whom she detests with equal vigor. Eptielle has had many consorts among the gods, but none have held her attention for more that a short period, as deities count such things.

Eptielle is worshipped by lovers, young adults, and romantics. Her symbolic animal is the song bird, and caging such an animal is said to bring good fortune in matters of love. Other symbols of Eptielle include the vanity mirror, and beautiful flowers. Her priests and priestesses often wear flowers in their hair and stitch floral designs into their light, flowing robes.

Erog
 
Spheres: beasts, winter, and music.
Followers: bards, minstrels, barbarians, and rangers.
Symbols: bear paw with eyes.
Appearance: any beast.

This primordial god is the deity of the beasts, winter, and music. He appears in animal form and will take the shape of any beast. While an unpredictable and coarse god, Erog is very attentive to his charges. He has a cool disposition which hides a wintry temper. Erog is the offspring of Beshada and Te'Oberon, the god of thieves.

The frosty hall of Erog is guarded by a race of immortal giants. Inside is played music of such beauty that any mortal who hears it is forever deafened to ordinary sounds. Erog is also charged with brewing the sacred ale of the gods, a beverage of such quality that it is forbidden to mortals.

Erog is worshipped by bards, minstrels, barbarians, and rangers. His worshippers dress in animal hides and worship their god with wild dances to the beat of large drums. At puberty, the followers of Erog commonly adopt an animal to serve as their spirit guide throughout their life. The most holy day is mid-winter, when it is traditional to bathe in icy cold water.

Manifestations of Erog are true animal spirits, taking the form of a ghostly beast in winter growth. They are all resistant to the effects of cold, and uncomfortable in warmer climes. The manifestations also have natural pitch and know the songs of many lands and cultures. They practice the magical arts of the College of Bardic Magic. (Replace "Minimum 10 points in Bardic College (-1/4)" with "Religious Restrictions (-1/4)".) Unlike other deities of the pantheon, bards of Erog are allowed to practice this same magic.

Finos
 
Spheres: poverty, enslavement, and outcasts.
Followers: beggars, outcasts, and slaves.
Symbols: begging bowl.
Appearance: stooped, old beggar.

This unfortunate god is uncommonly ugly and is disliked by most of the other gods of the pantheon. He takes the form of a stooped, old beggar, and his portfolio supports paupers, slaves, and the unfortunate of society. Finos is an outcast of the gods who dwells among the mortals. He spends his time helping the poor in small ways and giving favor to those who aid the unfortunate.

Finos is worshipped by beggars, outcasts, and slaves. He has no temples, only shrines and travelling priests who are often indistinguishable from their flock. His followers collect and trade information, making them useful spies for those who do not despise the downtrodden.

The manifestations of Finos are banished from the halls of the gods, and so must live a wandering lifestyle among the dregs of society. They are intensely curious and will attempt to aid those who are oppressed or paupers. The manifestations practice the magical arts of the College of Sense and Exploration, with the exception of the named and unique spells.

Finos was born of the rape of Silvera by Festur, but despite his origins Silvera is one of Finos' few friends among the gods. She takes pity upon his flock and attempts to aid and comfort his followers in her temples. Finos has a strong dislike of Ombrum and Argenta, the former for his oppressive ways and the later for her greed.

Oerne
 
Spheres: death.
Followers: relatives of the deceased.
Symbols: jackal or vulture feather.
Appearance: pale yellow jackal or great black eagle.

The only god feared by all mortals, Oerne is the dour goddess of the dead. She rules over an underworld divided into five realms: the Dream Lands are a paradise for those found worthy by the gods; the Unlife is a cursed and hideous place of the damned; Gorliana is a place for great heroes to feast and recant their deeds to the divine hosts; Devrish is the ghostly, shifting land of first death; and Ankoth is for those mortals who lost their life thread and are destined to be reborn.

Oerne is a chilling sight for any mortal, appearing either as a pale yellow jackal or a great black eagle. She was born of the void when Yam-Ar was rent apart by the old ones, and appropriately is the wife of Bharkhamel. Oerne has a superior mannerism even among the gods, as she knows that all their creations are destined for her realms. She can be very stubborn to deal with, knowing that in the end she will always gain her wish.

This goddess spends much of her time standing judge over those who suffer a second death in the underworld. A black feather of the vulture is balanced against the heart of the deceased to determine whether a good and honest life was led by the individual. Those she deems good are sent to nirvana, a place in the Dream Lands of eternal beauty and joy. Those deemed evil are sent to the abyss, a great pit in the Unlife where souls suffer eternal torment by demons.

The manifestations of the goddess Oerne are able to communicate with the spirit world, and serve as a link between the mortal planes and the afterlife. They are all but immune to the adjustment attacks of undead life forms, and are compelled to slay such creatures as abominations. Being the manifestations of Oerne, these spirits cause intense fear in others, including their summoners. They have a strong hatred of necromancers and vivimancers, as these upset the natural balance between life and death. Manifestations practice the magical arts of the College of Spirit Magic, with the exception of unique or named spells.

Oerne is worshipped by relatives of the deceased. These followers make sacrifices to Oerne in the hope that her judgement will be kind toward their loved ones. The symbol of Oerne is the Jackal and the Vulture Feather. The Vulture is seen as a sacred creature and thus must not be hunted.

Ombrum
 
Spheres: might, order, inheritance, and mountains.
Followers: nobility, wealthy, and merchants.
Symbols: mace-like rod.
Appearance: powerful man with a great, black beard.

This deity is the god of might, order, inheritance, and mountains. He appears as a powerful man with a great, black beard. Ombrum is a cautious, sober god. While selfish, Ombrum masks his self-serving nature beneath a smooth veneer of the consummate diplomat. By his conservative nature, Ombrum particularly favors the firstborn of each family.

The manifestations of Ombrum are powerful beings that resemble a crudely humanoid column of rocks. They draw their strength from the mountains and grow weaker when away from the peaks. When they agree to obey their summoners, they follow their orders relentlessly and to the letter. Ombrum's manifestations favor first born and are more likely to obey such when summoned. They have the ability to practice the same magic as the Priests of Order.

Ombrum is worshipped by the nobility, wealthy, and merchants. He is especially favored by ruthless lords, and less so by benevolent rulers. The priests of Ombrum wear dark grey robes with heavy boots and an iron buckled belt. They carry a mace-like iron rod, the symbol of Ombrum's rule.

Pip
 
Spheres: luck, fate, divination, and comets.
Followers: travellers and pregnant women.
Symbols: checker board pattern with manacles.
Appearance: elf dressed in half-black half-white.

This comedic god is the deity of luck, fate, divination, and comets. He makes his appearance as one of the elfin folk, dressed in half white and half black attire. Common lore holds that the fate delivered by Pip depends on which half delivers the fortune. As gods go, Pip is rather humorous and jovial, although at times he is cynical and capricious. He is very worldly in outlook, and does not join with causes, whether for good or ill.

Not even the gods know from whence Pip came, although it is rumored that he was born of the spirits of the old ones defeated by Yam-Ar, Ircoth, and Onyg. He rarely visits with the other gods, and has can count few friends or enemies among the pantheon. It is said that Pip has the ability to determine the destiny of each man, and he sews the threads of many lives in a great tapestry in his hall.

The manifestations of Pip appear in the guise of various fey races, but especially prefer the leprechaun. They are either blessed with good luck or cursed with bad, depending on the fates. All can sense danger to some degree, and have a strong sense of precognition when they choose to look forward. The manifestations practice the magic of the College of Chaos Sorcery, with the exception of the named and unique spells.

Pip is most often worshipped by travellers and pregnant women. His symbol is a checkerboard pattern of black and white, with a set of manacles to remind his followers that worship of this god recognizes a certain loss of freedom and initiative. His priests are a fatalistic lot, and are rarely motivated to intervene for the benefit or ill of mankind.

Zykhiralamshad
 
Spheres: magic, mysteries, deception, and glades.
Followers: wizards, con-artists, street magicians, and explorers
Symbols: black bird.
Appearance: unknown.

This mysterious deity (pronounced Zik-here-ALAM-shad) is the god of magic, mysteries, deception, and glades. His true name and appearance are unknown, as it is said that any who behold his form or know his title shall have power over the god. He is very curious deity, with an imaginative mind that can comprehend mysteries that baffle the common mortal. He is, however, also a deceitful and dishonest god, with a confident nature that can fool even the wisest of creatures. As befits the random and unpredictable nature of raw magic, Zykhiralamshad is chaotic to the core.

The manifestations of Zykhiralamshad are equally mysterious creatures, never showing the same appearance twice. They are always able to sense all forms of magic in any direction. Manifestations also receive a bonus to any magic skills they acquire, and have a voracious appetite for new magical knowledge. (Meaning they can be bribed by this means.) They have a particular preference for the magical arts of the Warlock. (See the Warlock Multipower.) Like the warlock, however, they are equally vulnerable to iron weapons and implements.

Zykhiralamshad is worshipped by wizards, con-artists, street magicians, and explorers of mysteries. His creature symbol is the black bird, and the sight of such a winged beast will often give chills to those who fear magic. Indeed, the foes of Zykhiralamshad are convinced that he practices black magic, haunts tombs, and belongs with the gods of the vices.

Major Gods of the Vices

These gods are considered to be utterly beyond redemption, and ground cursed by them is considered tainted with evil. All gods of the vices have poor to bitter relations with the gods of the virtues, and often war with followers of the same. They are followers of the old one Onyg, the dark god of the gilded vices. Many mortals consider Onyg to be the source of all evil, and his worship is banned throughout the empire.

Dyarx
 
Spheres: fear, despair, and insanity.
Followers: tyrants, secret police, and bullies
Symbols: bearded goat or jagged dagger
Appearance: horned shadow.

This terrible god, known as the Lord of the Dark Moon, is the deity of fear, despair, and insanity. He makes his appearance only as a horned shadow, but his mere presence is enough to send most mortals insane with terror. He is a cruel deity, who enjoys bullying all whom he can cause to tremble. His dishonest and unpredictable nature makes him feared and loathed even by the dark gods and their servants.

The manifestations of Dyarx take all manner of frightful forms. They constantly radiate fear, and cause all who are near them to tremble. They are also pathological liars, and are incapable of telling the truth even if that is their desire. They practice the magical arts of the Temple of Terror. Manifestations of Dyarx are at their greatest power during the three days of the new moon, and are otherwise much weaker.

He is the offspring of Oerne and Bharkhamel. During the ancient times before the mortals appeared, Dyarx was the cup bearer for Oerne. Through trickery, Dyarx surprised Oerne and permanently exiled her to the world of the dead. Dyarx is the the husband of Argenta, although the two have no offspring. He is the bitter enemy of Silvera, and also has an intense hatred of La'ahl.

Dyarx is worshipped by tyrants, secret police, and bullies. His creature symbol is the bearded goat, and the fetish carried by his priests is a jagged dagger. See the Temple of Terror for more details on the priesthood of Dyarx.

Festur
 
Spheres: decay, pestilence, weakness, and vermin.
Followers: wererats, outcasts, and farmers.
Symbols: worm, or a scorpion in a spider web.
Appearance: old, withered man with horns.

The disgusting god of decay, pestilence, weakness, and vermin, Festur is a powerful demon who assumed the mantle of a deity. He appears to mortals as an old, withered man with horns. Festur is filthy beyond measure, and is a secretive, thoughtless miser who thrives on destruction and chaos. It is said that his merest sigh spreads epidemics across the land. His breath is rotted with consumption and a host of other ills. Towns have fallen into ruin merely at the mention of his name, so out of superstition this god is never named.

The worshippers of Festur are few in numbers, consisting of wererats, outcasts, and some farmers. His association with the plague and fever has scared away most civilized people, and eventually kills off his few true followers. Superstitious farmers are known to make sacrifices to Festur, and a macabre festival is held late each autumn in order to placate the demon lord. He is also supported by some druids who see decay as a natural part of the life cycle. Festur is hated by most city folk, especially the artisans and artists who treasure creation.

The manifestations of Festur appear as corrupt, diseased creatures who dress in yellow and brown rags. Their breath can inflict a wasting disease, and their touch causes accelerated aging. Naturally they have a strong dislike of cleanliness, and enjoy lingering over corpses. The magic practiced by these manifestations uses spells from the Cult of Decay.

The symbols of Festur is the worm totem, and a tattoo of a scorpion in a spider web. Festur is a bitter enemy of the virtuous gods Thoshanir and Silvera. He also has a love-hate relationship with Ar-Talath, as each represents a portion of the cycle of life and decay.

Habatwa
 
Spheres: storms, thunder, anger, and vengeance.
Followers: raiders, witches, and seamen.
Symbols: human skull on a storm cloud.
Appearance: four-armed green hag

Known as the Queen of the Furies, Habatwa is the dangerous goddess of storms, thunder, anger, and vengeance. She appears as a four-armed hag with scaly green skin, glowing yellow eyes, and tangled black hair. Her hideous face is smeared in blood. Habatwa wears a necklace of skulls, and floats on a dark thunder cloud.

True to her calling, Habatwa is a vengeful and angry goddess. She is harsh with even her faithful followers, and enthusiastic about the destruction caused by her great storms. Legend holds that Habatwa was once a kinder goddess whom Ircoth cursed. She wanders the lands in winter in an eternal search for her lost eldest son. Great storms result from her anger and frustration, and she can control the weather merely by weaving her hair.

During the summer months, Habatwa is required to attend to the underworld and so her wrath is curbed. It is said that she gathers the drowned and murdered in a great net and carries them to the halls of the dead each year.

The manifestations of Habatwa appear as dark clouds that flash with charge, switching from kindness to anger and back with disturbing swiftness. When enraged they use magical abilities similar to telekinesis to disturb everything in their path. The manifestations are particularly disturbed by violence towards women and will be greatly angered by any such acts in their presence. They practice the magical arts of the College of Storm Mages.

Habatwa is worshipped by raiders, witches, and seamen. She was formed from the fury of Yam-Ar at his defeat, and retains this primordial nature. She has been the troubled lover of Erog, and the two are often drawn to each other during the winter months when Habatwa is not visiting the land of the dead. She is the arch enemy of Althain, and also has a strong dislike for La'ahl.

Mor Brawg
 
Spheres: pain, torment, and destruction.
Followers: outlaws, berserkers, and assassins.
Symbols: hangman's noose and a spiked ball.
Appearance: grim man in black, spiked armor.

One of the darkest of the gods of the vices, Mor Brawg is the deity of pain, torment, and destruction. He appears as a grim man in black, spiked armor, and is a violent, cruel, gleeful, and highly rude god. Mor Brawg views his task in the world of mortals is to make things "interesting", and his actions have created some of the darkest hours in mortal history.

His manifestations are stealthy, mysterious creatures that cling to the secret ways and shadows. They are compelled to cause chaos and mayhem whenever they are summoned. The manifestations of Mor Brawg are capable of inflicting much destruction through their physical powers, but prefer stealthy means of torment. The magical arts practiced by these manifestations is from the College of Assassins, with the exception of the named and unique spells. While dangerous in the extreme, these beings are susceptible to good humor and spirits.

Mor Brawg is worshipped by outlaws, berserkers, and assassins. He has few friends among the gods. It is believed that Mor Brawg was created by Onyg and Habatwa, although this tale is wrapped in lies and mysteries. He carries as a weapon a great spear stolen from Arn Droue by his son Te'Oberon and given to Mor Brawg as a gift. The two have been companions ever since.

Te'Oberon
 
Spheres: thieves, vice, and shadows.
Followers: thieves, marauders, and the corrupt.
Symbols: blood-stained rope and a red snake.
Appearance: two-faced, shifty-eyed woman.

The goddess of thieves, vice, and shadows, Te'Oberon appears as a two-faced, shifty-eyed woman. She is known as the "Trickster" goddess, and is the reason the gods withdrew from the world. During the god war, Te'Oberon stole the magnificent Gem of Discord from Vhoux. When the other gods were shown the gem, each wanted it for their own. The resulting battle nearly destroyed the world. As a result, gods were banished to the outer planes by the Old Ones. The gem is said to be reason wars are fought, and is especially sought by Bharkhamel.

Te'Oberon is by nature deceptive, immoral, and cowardly. At the same time he is annoyingly cheerful about his traits, a personality shared by his craven manifestations. These agents of Te'Oberon are stealthy creatures who are difficult to detect even by those who summon them. Their movements are always silent and they are able to cloak themselves in shadows. They prefer to employ tricks to gain their objectives, rather than by the direct means used by most manifestations. For magical arts, they practice the College of Kleptomancy with the exception of the named and unique spells.

Criminals and beings of a dastardly nature worship Te'Oberon. He is the offspring of Mor Brawg and Zykhiralamshad. For a time Mor Brawg did not accept Te'Oberon as his true mother, but this changed when Te'Oberon stole the spear of Arn Droue and gifted the weapon to her child. She is the solemn enemy of Thoshanir and Argenta. Her symbols are a blood-stained rope and a red snake.

Vhoux
 
Spheres: chaos, discord, strife, and murder.
Followers: brigands, outlaws, murderers and some extreme warrior races.
Symbols: horned star on an orange moon.
Appearance: giant, red-fleshed satyr.

Known as the wilding god, Vhoux is perhaps the most dangerous of the gods of the vices. He is the deity of chaos, discord, strife, and murder. Vhoux appears, as a giant, red-fleshed satyr with a bushy, black mane. He is a violent and most hateful deity, who is impatient and quite unpredictable. His nature is to punish those who have too much undeserved fortune, and so it is common to invoke his name as a ward in times of success.

Vhoux is known as the devourer of souls and cannibal of the dead. He earned this reputation when he murdered his sister goddess, Riane, in a fit of rage. She was the goddess of Equality and Immortality. Ever since that time mortals have been doomed to age and death, and now men can never be truly equal. Even the gods are no longer immune to aging, although magical fruit keeps them forever young.

The manifestations of Vhoux are creatures that were reborn from a life of homicidal glee, and thus are extremely dangerous to deal with. They can be placated, however, by a suitable live sacrifice, preferably that of a comparable race to the summoner. The magic practiced by these manifestations is from the Temple of Doom, and they are as accomplished as a full doom lord.

This dire god is worshipped by brigands, outlaws, murderers and some extreme warrior races. He is the keeper of the great horn of chaos that will sound thrice when the end of the world is near. His spinning table of discord is said to devour time itself, bringing closer the end of man and the gods. Suitably, he is the brother of Bharkhamel and lusts gleefully over his bloody battlefields. Vhoux has a fierce enmity toward Coeurstav.

Lesser Gods

There are other lesser gods not described in the sections above. These include gods of the weather, nature, and the underground. Other gods include minor deities of such abstract notions as peace and hope. Finally, there are a number of demi-gods of the various races plus patron gods of individual towns and cities. A number of such minor gods were created during the great rent of Yam-Ar, such as the god of time, while the remainder were formed when the gods mated with each other or with mortals.