Religion and BeliefsEdit
All the civilised races and most of the others, believe in the Gods of Light, the Great Wyrm and the Darkness. Some Outlanders it is true, follow different Gods, but even they perceive the Light and the Dark. There is no middle ground between the Light and the Dark and most civilised races punish any who worship the Darkness most severely, usually by death.
Light and DarknessEdit
In the land of Ormgard, Light and Darkness are in perpetual opposition, warring for the minds and hearts of Men, Elves and Dwarves. The Light seeks to protect and cherish the people of Ormgard, the Darkness seeks to conquer and destroy. Zenethists, pure-hearted mages of Light, call upon the power of Light itself to wield their magics. Dark mages, corrupted by the easy road to power, employ the Darkness to destroy their opponents. The Gods of Light are the divine beings that make up the Light. These six divinities instruct their priests and followers in the ways of Light. In return for worship and devotion, they perform miracles on behalf of their most pious priests. The Gods of Light hold sway throughout Ormgard and all living creatures acknowledge their power in varying degree.
The priests who tend the shrines and temples of the Gods of Light are their most obvious worshippers. These pious men and women learn ancient prayers with which to beseech the aid of the Gods of Light. They teach the faith to those who wish to learn and adhere to strict moral codes decreed by their patrons. Many possess powerful abilities given them by the Gods of Light to combat Darkness, and preserve the power of Light. These powers are not like magic however, the priest does not control the power, and he humbly requests that his patron aid him. Such powers though powerful are often temperamental, for should the God decide that the Light is better served in another way, then the priest may get nothing. Priests who stray from the ordained path often find their powers desert them totally, either immediately, or when they most need them.
As well as their priests, all the Gods of Light have a great many worshippers. Anyone can chose to follow one of the Gods of Light and become a worshipper and appearances are often deceptive. Though rare, there are warriors who worship The Veiled Mother and scholars who follow Marnus. Worshippers of the Gods of Light sometimes have miraculous powers bestowed on them, just like priests, but lacking the formal training and arcane knowledge of the priest, usually they cannot control them as well. However devout a servant of the Light a person is, it is impossible for any person to serve more than one of the Gods of Light in his lifetime.
Just as there are those who follow Light, there are individuals from every race who turn to Darkness. Tempted by whispers of power, these people bargain their soul in return for the ability to perform Dark magic. Some can command Daemons, evil servants formed from Darkness itself. Some become inhuman warriors, unstoppable in combat, while others are given powers to torture minds, sending decent people insane.
Marnus the Honourable WarriorEdit
Marnus is the leader of the Gods of Light and first amongst them. He teaches honour, compassion, bravery, leadership and the tenets of chivalry. He looks down on dishonourable forms of combat such as missile weapons, poisons or magic. The Order of the Eagle, a fellowship of knights, follows Marnus and carries his standard into battle. Although they are loyal to the King they pay fealty and taxes only to Marnus. The priests of Marnus tend his shrines and temples and keep the records, but many of them are members of the Order of the Eagle also. The head of the Order of the Eagle will be the most powerful knight of noble birth and it is his sacred duty to crown the King.
The tenets of chivalry include courtesy to the weak, bravery in battle, quarter to defeated foes, charity to the poor and respect for those of more noble birth. Knights of Marnus are often drawn into fights for they settle all disputes by trial by combat, but they observe strict rules of combat and abhor unnecessary killing. These rules include never using proscribed weapons, no backstabbing, never taking advantage of an opponent’s misfortune and never fleeing a fair fight.
The Order of the Eagle often take the field alongside the Gatekeepers, the warriors of Tarna and speak well of their bravery. They also have good relations with the Healers of Aria, whose services they often require, and they are courteous to the priests and scholars of the Veiled Mother. However many within the order will not speak of the priests of Feylis for they can find little good to say about them.
Tarna the Protectress of the DeadEdit
Tarna is the lady of the dead, who welcomes all departed souls to her realm. Tarna teaches her followers to welcome death, not to fear it. She detests those who Darkness have stolen from her realm and her militant order the Keepers of the Gate, are charged to destroy all unliving creatures in Ormgard. The priests of Tarna tend the dead, sanctifying their bodies against the Darkness and command the Gatekeepers in battle. All mortal beings must eventually come to Tarna.
Priests of Tarna, and the Gatekeepers who serve them do not fear death and will not retreat from battle with the Unliving if victory can be secured. They are contemptuous of healing, for since Tarna chooses who will live or die they know they cannot impose their will on hers. Because of this, followers of Tarna never accept magical healing such as potions or spells relying instead upon their faith in Tarna. In battle with the Unliving, followers of Tarna wield maces, seeking to crush the bones of their foes. Priests of Tarna serve the local magistrates as executioners for they alone have the right to send people to Tarna’s realms ahead of their appointed time.
Priests of Tarna sometimes accept the Order of the Eagle as allies, although they find their fear of death amusing. They respect the knowledge and learning of The Veiled Mother, and tolerate the priests of Feylis viewing knowledge and cunning as useful weapons against the Unliving. However some priests of Tarna view healing as blasphemy and their relations with the Healers of Arin are poor.
Arin the Compassionate HealerEdit
Arin is the lord of healing, who teaches self-sacrifice, compassion and charity. His priests heal through compassion and never for money, they try to help all who ask them for aid and regard self-sacrifice as the most noble action. They always dress in white flowing robes and try to treat all races with dignity and respect. His priests, often called simply the Healers of Arin, build small hospice’ where the sick and wounded come to be treated. Other priests wander the lands seeking out those who need help and though unarmed they are usually safe since even Orcs and bandits will not attack those who wear the white robes of a Healer.
The Healers of Arin believe strongly in compassion and charity to other people and abhor violence. They rarely carry money; giving any they receive to the poor and needy. They never carry weapons of any kind and prefer to keep company with people who do likewise. Darkness takes little interest in the Healers for they make poor foes and worse sport. They will always try to prevent any killing from taking place and will not defend themselves against aggression, preferring to flee if possible. However bravery is important to the Healers of Arin, who often walk in the midst of battles, or in plague-ridden streets.
The Healers of Arin are always polite and respectful to other priests. They appreciate Marnus’ distaste for senseless killing, and share Tarna’s dislike for those who cannot be healed. They respect knowledge and learning, and disapprove of greed and ambition. They also have good relations with Zenethists and Nemetites and some elemental wizards.
Feylis, Master of Fortune and LuckEdit
Feylis is the lord of contentment and trickery. His followers trust to fate to provide, enjoying life as it comes. Consequently they have little or no organisation, with few shrines, no temples, acolytes or records. Their priests wear no official robes and have no ornaments of office and it can be difficult to tell the identity of his priests. Many have a fascination with mirrors and most enjoy music, good food and bright colours. Although there are few worshippers of Feylis and even less priests, many folk will say a short prayer to him when they know they must rely on good fortune.
Feylis despises ambition and greed and teaches contentment and happiness. Some of his priests delight in embarrassing and humiliating those who are desperate to gain more money or power, often-using clever wit, or practical jokes. Others believe that contentment is achieved through self-understanding and seek to promote people to consider their own nature by confusing them with deceptions and trickery. All priests of Feylis prefer to avoid direct confrontation, relying on more subtle means. Most priests have a strange array of skills, which along with blessings and kind words, they barter in exchange for food and shelter.
Since there is no organised church of Feylis, it is difficult to tell their view of others. Some of his followers laugh at other priests, while some are respectful of one God or another. However all despise Darkness and take delight in foiling it’s plots.
The Veiled MotherEdit
The Veiled Mother is the mother of the Gods and the patron of scholars. Her only temple is in Arnstadt, where her priests work closely with the University. Other shrines and chapels do exist, but most priests of The Veiled Mother live in halls with noblemen where they serve as trusted advisors. The temple in Arnstadt has no formal organisation, the priests therein answering only to each other. Priests of The Veiled Mother often have very different interpretations of events and how best to proceed, though most of her priests, being scholars and men of words, prefer to inform others rather than act themselves. Worshippers of The Veiled Mother prefer plain clothes, usually grey or sometimes brown. Some of her priests wear veils, especially at important ceremonies.
The Veiled Mother is the patron of knowledge and learning. She knows much that occurs and through this knowledge she can predict much that will occur. Her priests believe in affirmative action to thwart the powers of Darkness, particularly if they can prevent Dark deeds from occurring. Priests of The Veiled Mother believe in education and studying and making ones own fate through understanding of events. They despise those who read auspices or interpret omens believing that faith in such lies weakens people’s ability to decide their own fates. They are often given mystical insight into the future but use such knowledge to guide rather than to lead. They never accept money for such aid, believing that all knowledge should be shared freely.
The Priests of The Veiled Mother regard all faiths as being equally important in the war against Darkness. They believe that whatever calling a man follows he serves the Gods of Light by fighting Darkness. However they regard the actions of some priests of Feylis as being irresponsible and lacking true understanding.
Elspeth - Godess of Hope and CharityEdit
Hope was only recently created by the other Gods of Light in one of their many struggles against Darkness. As such, her priests remain rare.
She has been seen to support the cause of adventurers and goodly peoples whenever they take up goodly causes, She seeks to stand as a light in the darkness whenever people would falter, her presence can be felt.
The Darkness is the foul power that controls the Unliving, sends plagues and blights harvests, The Darkness is evil and seductive, it offers power seemingly without price, to those who would serve it. Its servants study Dark Magics, summon Daemons or invoke Dark powers. Anyone can fall to the temptations of Darkness and those who seek out quick routes to power find it easily. By the King’s laws any who traffic with Darkness are sentenced to death.
The Great WyrmEdit
The Great Wyrm is an ancient being, the expression of the earth’s power incarnate. Those who are close to nature can sense where the Wyrm is strong and perceive when it is restless. Long ago the Great Wyrm made a pact with Men and the other races, offering them powers to command nature, in return for vows and promises of service. It was the Great Wyrm that instructed Orme to conquer the Dark Heart and it was the Great Wyrm that gave him the power to triumph over his enemies. Worshippers of the Great Wyrm believe that all living things have a spirit that is reborn whenever they die. By calling on the power of the Great Wyrm who, is ruler of all spirits, they can command the spirits of nature to do their bidding
Those who serve the Great Wyrm are called Shamans. They are most common amongst the Barbarians and Wood Elves who still live close to nature, but none of the races have totally forgotten the ancient beliefs.
Shamans hold true to the old traditions of hunting, fishing and living freely. They do not heed the Gods of Light, but neither do they listen to whispers of Darkness. They preserve the arts of making fetishes to control the spirits of nature but make certain that such actions do not upset the laws of the Great Wyrm. The Great Wyrm sets no taboos or required conduct as the Gods of Light do. His worshippers largely do as they please so long as they preserve nature. They are not given their powers as other priests are, but must study them from older Shamans. Nor can they receive guidance from the Great Wyrm through prayer for he gives no counsel.
Many generations ago the Great Wyrm withdrew from the lands of Ormgard instructing his Shamans to remain true to the ancient ways until his promised return. Those who call on the power of the Great Wyrm are still powerful although the Great Wyrm no longer guides them. Some command the spirits, servants of the Great Wyrm who remain in the land, others infuse their body with the power of the Great Wyrm making them bloody and terrible to behold in battle.