Today I post my fifth and final (for now) post in a series of posts about my brief cosmology and pantheon for the game 13th Age from Pelgrane Press. The first post can be found here, the second here, the third here and the fourth here.
I close with a few notes of further elaboration on my version of the Dragon Empire. The world is dominated by the religion of the Four Houses. Woship, however, is by no means uniform. The deities are remote enough that no one gets a good read on what is the "true" way to worship (or, often enough, two diferent interpretations are both given signs of being "true"). It is a wide mysterious world, and the way an Elf, a Dwarf, a Human, etc. look at the deities often sharply contrast. Further, faith is often very local, and even personal. I see villages and families having shrines wherein they venerate, propitiate, or at least acknowledge a broad spectrum of deities from the houses. Just to throw out ideas, I would say you would find in many homes things that fall into (or between on a continuum) the kind of personal, often ancestor centered shrines, found in China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia, or, also, the kind of collection of devotional figurines and amulets found in a Roman home in the family's Lararium. While game play is often going to simplify questions of religiosity (cleric prays to the gods, gets spells and powers, kicks some holy butt), I want to give the sense of a wider and more mysterious world, and to allow that to possibly fuel some interesting and compelling stories.
That being the case, here are some notes to further complicate the neatly defined descriptions left to us by our Journeyman Sage writing about the Four Houses.
Notes on The Faith of All Light
Orobonos Lord of Life and Keeper of Creation
Hiktharos The All Death
The Faith of All Light holds that there are but two deific forces in the Universe: Orobonos, Lord of Life and Keeper of Creation, and Hiktharos, The All Death. The Believers in the Light hold that, in the beginning, the Universe held two siblings, one light and one dark, one keeping the house of Life and one the house of Death, and between them they held the power of creation and balanced the Universe. However, The Void consumed and possessed the dark sibling, and though the light sought to take in all that was good to save the balance, the dark ever held the evil and destruction with which it had been tainted. The light sibling thus became the sole possessor of what was good and right, whereas before it had been shared. Then began the eternal struggle between good and evil, Orobonos and the Void possessed sibling, Hiktharos. In the end of all things, the Void shall be cast out and Orobonos’ lost sibling will be restored. Until then, all creatures must serve to fight and defy The Void that is Hiktharos. Believers do not disdain the worshippers of the Four Houses, per se, but they do believe that, in the main, the world is tainted such that most beings only perceive fragments of Orobonos and seek to understand them through the Houses. Also, many, say the Believers, are led astray by Hiktharos and when they seek to perpetuate Life they are actually giving in to the All Death. It is dangerous to worship to ardently any of the gods of the Houses, because while each may be a fragment of Orobonos, each also can be tainted by Hiktharos.
The Faith is generally not suppressed, but it is sometimes ridiculed. There are small temples in hinterlands, and some scattered communities keep to the Faith. Enclaves can be found in every major city. The Priestess has surprised many by giving over a small chamber to the Believers in The Cathedral, giving some pause to think that there may be some kind of truth to the Faithful’s strange beliefs.
Notes on the Masks of the Void
Devourer who consumes all; vulgarly called Eater.
Destroyer who bring annihilation; vulgarly called Breaker.
Pain Bringer who delights in torture; vulgarly called Hurter.
Corrupter whose touch taints everything; vulgarly called Friend.
Notes on Some Demi-Human Pantheons
Gods of the Elves
All elves hold five deities in high regard and build their temples to venerate these five patrons. Though they acknowledge other gods, they typically have little to do with them. Some Sages have called these the Elven Five. The Five are:
Urvonobos, called The Absent. Revered as the Dragon Origin of the World.
Maya Zo, the Sun Goddess.
Cipanec, Deity of The Wild.
Sendowa, called the Moon. Revered as a Secret Messenger, and Messenger of Secrets.
Tzendras, the Dark Empress.
High Elves elevate Maya Zo above all. Wood Elves revere Cipanec before all. Dark Elves follow the path of Tzendras first.
Gods of the Dwarves
Here are the gods that the Dwarves hold in esteem. They have little to do with other deities.
Thar, whom they call The Foe Hammer
Raathay, whom they call Earthblood
Khelebeth, whom they call Hearth Mother
Urfestos, whom they call The Forge Captain
Osiahn, whom they call The Brewer
Duronatos, whom they simply call The Mountain
Urvonobos, whom, when they remember the Dragon of Light, they call Master Builder
Gods of the Gnomes
Maya Zo Sun Mother
Ptahluran The Beautiful
Bastash The Fortunate
Osiahn The Mad
Gods of the Haflings
The mysterious Haflings appear mainly to revere the domestic deities, largely Ptahluran, Khelebeth and Urfestos, but they are sometimes tricksy and always surprising, and usually their house shrines have a wide array of the members of the Four Houses represented. When a Hafling steps onto the path, one never knows where he or she might end up, and what deity they might call upon.
Thank you for reading. If you found any of this interesting or useful, please feel free to leave comments. As the 13th Age team says, Be Legendary.