Monday, 9 January 2012

Deities of Solpertaine part Two

Hecate is portrayed as a stunning woman. She promotes the utilization of spells and magic items (though many of her followers insist she favours the creation of such things). Her allies are lawful gods while chaotic ones are her enemies (except Abarta, who is her lover despite their philosophical differences). She respects Woden, dislikes the beauty goddess Myhriss, and ignores most other deities. Her symbol is a full moon. Magic is the key to all things. Understanding, personal power, security, order, and control over fate come with the study of magic. Respect those who came before you, left their knowledge, and died to make room for you; there will come a time when your life is over and those who come after will honour your learning and your memory. Clerics of Hecate arbitrate disputes, give advice on magic, investigate magical curiosities, create magic items, and administer funerals. The more powerful clerics use their magic to fortify their temple and city. Clerics of lower level are expected to defer to ones of higher level at all times. Her clerics must get
her permission before restoring a weak or chaotic being to life.

The daughter of a demon and a giant, Hel was confined to Tarterus by the gods. She appears as a gaunt woman whose body is fair and lovely on one side, but dead and rotting on the other. Hel teaches no particular dogma to the living, focusing instead on her dead minions. She does have a cult devoted to her however. It's members feel that society unjustly imprisoned, exiled or ignored them, and often seek revenge for real or imagined slights. Hel is a goddess of death who receives the spirits of those who die by diseases or old age.

Helios is shown as a seemingly old man with leathery, wrinkled skin and young-seeming bright green eyes. His symbol is a wooden disc carved with the curved line of the horizon called the Sol Disc. He is the patron of those who walk or ride long distances (including travellers in tunnels, and as such is praised by those who must use mountain passes). People need to move about and see new things. Be open to travel, as the world may change overnight and you may be in need of a new home or perspective. Look to the horizon for inspiration—the far end of the world has new peoples, new cultures, new magic, and new roads to walk. The church is comprised of wandering clerics (who favour green and minister to those on the roads) and settled clerics (who favour brown and are usually older clerics whose wandering days are behind them). Clerics of Helios are encouraged to travel the world and see new things. They bless caravans, explore exotic lands, scout for armies, and record lore on distant places and people. Because they learn many languages and cultures, they act as translators and diplomats. Many aid in constructing of roadways and bridges, and a pair of shoes made by one of his clerics is held to last longer than any other.

Horus is shown as a tall well-built young man with a hawk's head, clad in a chainmail shirt and blue or violet clothes. He fights evil and oppressive law, so he sometimes opposes other good-aligned deities. All deserve life and the ability to choose their own place in the world, and those who would place others in shackles or control them with oppressive laws must be toppled. Train the common folk to defend themselves and their property should another wish to take their freedoms, if you are wronged, you are right to exact vengeance yourself, especially if none will help you. Because the faith praises individuality over standardized doctrine, each church has a different focus but is allied with all others. Horus's clerics are rugged individualists, never afraid to question authority. Those in cities instruct commoners in self-defence and recruit like-minded rogues and rangers for the cause of individual liberty. Those in rural areas act as scouts or spies against despotic lords or murderous non-humans. Both sorts keep close watch on Lawful religions lest they become too powerful. Horus is the son of Isis and a mortal.

Idun is the goddess of spring and youth and the bringer of arcane magic into the world. A cheerful and friendly deity, she takes great delight in seeing things grow and remain healthy. Idun takes the form of a spry girl in her early teens and her cults tend to be exuberant and passionate. Whatever they do, they do with full enthusiasm. Racially and culturally one of the most diverse religions in Solpertaine, they find beauty in magic and vice versa. Despite this, physical appearance is irrelevant to those seeking initiation but instead, they must demonstrate the kind of ardour promoted by the cult.

Isis is the most popular deity of the Sulmaneesh. She is a goddess of fertility, a patron of marriage and a goddess of motherhood. Her dominion over water represents the ancient rivers that are the source of fertility and life. In her purest essence, Isis represents the power of love to overcome death. When Tiamat killed her mortal husband, Isis searched the land to find his body and laboured to restore him to life. She is an approachable deity, for she loves her worshippers as much as she loves her husband, and she offers them the same gift she gave him: everlasting life in the peaceful bliss of Celestia. Naturally, Isis is a great enemy of her husband's murderer and encourages her followers to oppose Tiamat and her minions in the world.

Istus appears as a Sulmaneesh woman of any age or stature, always carrying her mystical gold spindle (her holy symbol) with which she creates the strands of fate. She is aloof from all other gods, as she concerns herself solely with the fate of the universe and its inhabitants. Everything is connected to every other by invisible strands that push and pull over time. The choices a person makes in life affect the pull of some strands, allowing one to alter fate in a small way, but some of these webs of fate have a strong and inevitable pull that cannot be escaped. The perceptive can come to understand these strands and watch them to predict the future. Accepting your destiny is the greatest service you can make to yourself, for dishonesty about your role in the world leads to ruin and disaster. Clerics of Istus have seen the extremes of fate, from innocents dying horrible deaths and sadists controlling kingdoms to children recovering from mortal illness and despots felled by simple accidents. Because of this, most her clerics are cynical or stoic, but some kinder individuals serve her because they feel they were rewarded by fate. They are called upon to make predictions and divinations for important personage all over the world.

Lugh can best be described as the god of excellence, reputed to be not only the inventor and patron of the arts, but also an expert in such diverse fields as sorcery, history, craftsmanship of all sorts, storytelling and heroism. “The Shining One” is widely worshipped, with numerous monuments where followers pray to him for guidance in any of his many areas of expertise. A wanderer of the lands of his worshippers, consorting with the with the various goddesses of the lands that he meets, Lugh is a self-confident god, eager to keep his hand in mundane affairs. He keeps an eye out for fair play in mortal matters, stepping in to affect the outcome of endeavours within his own expertise.

Modi is an incredibly powerful god and is a hugely muscular man with long red hair and beard, wearing dragonhide gauntlets (white), boots (blue), and fighting girdle (red); these items form his holy symbol, although a star composed of spears and maces is popular. He fights with his intelligent dragon-slaying greatsword Kelmar, and when wounded he often enters a blood rage so intense only Istus can control him when he succumbs; because of this, a cleric of Modi will always defer to a ranking cleric of Istus. He is reputed to have dallied with beautiful humans, elves, or even giants, and tales are told of the great heroes who are born of such liaisons. The strong and fit should lead the weaker. Bravery is the greatest quality in any ruler. Scorn cowardice. Modi loves physical challenges and contests, and it is this love that inspires many barbarian tribes to use non-lethal sports as a method for resolving disputes. Modi's clerics are expected to be leaders. They train people to become stronger, organize athletic tournaments, and participate in challenging physical activities. Doubting their fitness is a grave insult, and they go to great lengths to prove their physical abilities (although they realize the difference between difficult and suicidal challenges). Wearing of dragon-hide by a cleric is a blasphemy, unless the wearer is a descendant of Modi. Clerics believe magic should be used to enhance allies rather than strike directly at foes.

Myhriss is shown as a Tuel woman just reaching adulthood, a garland of flowers in her hair, or else as a fair-skinned, dark-haired provocative beauty or a sun-blonde tanned woman of approachable prettiness. She is friendly and affectionate toward all benign gods but avoids those who are hideous, crude, or hateful. Although Hecate dislikes her, Myhriss appreciates the vain goddess for her obvious attractiveness. Love can cure the world's ills. Quarrelling rivals and warring nations can be brought together with a well-placed romance, and beauty can turn the heart of a dumb beast or a despondent tyrant. Beauty is often fragile, so protect it from accidental harm, as the destruction of something beautiful is a great tragedy. Beauty comes in many forms, for even the most evil red dragon is a sight of terrifying splendour when it is on the wing. Celebrate love, affection, romance, and beauty wherever you find it. Clerics of Myhriss are starry-eyed and always looking for signs of love and beauty in the people and places around them. They bless young lovers, perform marriage ceremonies, create works of art, and travel to see beautiful people and fantastic sights. A few take roles as diplomats, as their looks and charisma make even the most hostile folk stop to listen to them. Some are crusaders against hate and ugliness, seeking out those who destroy love or vanquishing those of repulsive presence.

Njord is a generally benign god, revered by people as the protector of those who travel on the water. He is compassionate, yet he is not averse to punishing those who offend him or disobey his laws. He is shown as a handsome robed man, a dolphin, a barracuda, or a sperm whale; the latter two are interchangeably used as his holy symbol. He wears no armour but is protected by a ring carved from a whale's tooth, given to him by the grandfather of all whales. The seas provide a bounty of food and a means of travel; protect the sea as you would your own home, or face Njord's wrath. He protects those who sail and their vessels as long as they respect his and abide by his laws. He guides vessels through dangerous waters and is the patron goddess of naval explorers. Those who defy his laws are punished by storms of ice, and it is said entire towns were wiped out because of serious transgressions against him. His clerics are skilled navigators and often become the spiritual leaders of communities that rely on the sea for survival. Many gain political power for themselves based on the need for their abilities. Clerics not tied to one place might travel a great deal by ship;though they feel awkward away from the ocean, they are comfortable enough near lakes or rivers to venture inland.

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