GODS OF MYTHANDAR
In the World of Mythandar©, the gods are immortal, other-planar beings with immense power and knowledge. However, because of some cosmic law or agreement, they cannot or will not manifest themselves physically in the world. The gods can and do act through their followers. They can produce magical effects and manipulate the forces of nature - create storms, winds, waves at sea, lights in the sky and other phenomena. And they grant power to their priests, giving them the ability to perform miracles.
There is a link between the power a god or goddess can demonstrate and the number of worshippers the deity has in the world. Sages speculate that the massed faith of a deity's followers, aided by the rites performed by priests, maintain a conduit between the godsrealm and the mortal one through which the deity manifests his or her power. Most gods have a "holy day" during which their power is intensified by the concentrated attention of their followers. At these times, great miracles and displays of Power are used to reinforce the devotion of the faithful ... Gods may "die" by being cut off from the mortal world, when their rites are forgotten or their worshippers exterminated. Thus, some gods vie against each other, either to convert their worshippers or wipe them out.
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THE GREAT MOTHER (lawful-chaotic) is the universal nature goddess of Mythandar, believed to be far older than any of the other gods save Titan, and the only deity worshiped by the Elves. She is Goddess of the Moon and Seasons, bringing spring and the harvest, birth, death and rebirth. In Norland, she is called FRAYA, The Horned Goddess, and in the Storm Isles, DANAE. In Anglamar and the West, farming folk celebrate her holy days on the Ides of Spring and Harvestfall.
The Druids of the Storm Isles are thought to be the inner circle of the Goddess' faith, though there are other, individual nature priests and priestesses throughout the West. The Druids tend the Sacred Grove on Kinnaran and conduct ceremonies at the Standing Stones at High Summer.
SYLVAS OF THE WOOD (neutral-chaotic) is an ancient forest god and lord of the wild, seen as a wiry, bearded man with antlers, elven features (including pointed ears) and skin the color of old wood. He is guardian of the forest and master of wild beasts, with both a benevolent and violent side. In the Storm Isles, Sylvas is celebrated as Lord of the Hunt who pursues Danae at High Summer. Along with Danae, his worship is centered with the Druids of the Storm Isles. His sacred symbol is miniature antlers carved out of bone, ivory or wood.
UMO THE SEA-GIANT (neutral-chaotic) is god of the deep, master of all sea-creatures and King of the merfolk. He is depicted as a white-bearded, blue-skinned giant rising up out of the waves (and may or may not carry a trident). According to myth, Umo made peace with Valkan and the other gods and was granted the ocean as his realm. He is not a benevolent deity, but his favor is invoked by sailors and fishermen. Umo's symbol is a circular whirlpool, generally carved into a disk of driftwood or ivory.
HOB THE PRANKSTER (chaotic) is a mischievous deity, described as small, dark and hairy, with spindly legs and arms, a long nose and very large pointed ears. Hob is stealthy and quick, with a cruel sense of humor. He is said to bring misfortune, and the Halflings of the Dales ward him off by setting out offerings of food each new moon and draping garlands of wildflowers over doorways and windows.
KOR THE FOUNDER (lawful-neutral) Lord of Earth, Stone and Fire, is the ancestral god of the Dwarves. He was first to forge metal and shape stone and he invented the dwarven runes. Kor is depicted as a giant dwarf with iron-hued hair and beard and blazing eyes, wearing course iron mail and gauntlets and wielding a massive hammer, called Earthshaper. Kor is said to have aided Valkan in defeating the giants in the First Age.
Dwarven priests tattoo themselves with runes and are said to be able to summon and command creatures of living stone. The god's sacred symbol is an iron hammer, and miniature hammers are worn as amulets.
THERA (lawful) was the preeminent goddess in the Inner Sea Lands before the rise of the New Faith, and she is still worshiped by many. As the goddess of justice and wisdom, she is regarded as a warrior queen, but only as a protector and guardian. She is seen as a statuesque, raven-haired beauty in a gilded cuirass and flowing gown, bearing a polished shield. Most of Thera's temples were torn down or converted to the worship of Mythas before the Empire of the Inner Sea fell.
Thera's priesthood is exclusively female, though temples are served by both men and women. Her High Priestess, Celene, is rumored to be immortal and dwells in the Syrenean Isles of the Inner Sea. The scantily clad Priestesses of Thera are blessed with the power of prophecy and divination. Her sacred symbol is a bronze disk, often fashioned as a shield and engraved with a woman's open eye.
TITAN (neutral-chaotic) was the Great God-King of Earth and Sky who ruled all of Creation ages ago. He was the father of the giants and considered the power behind the creation of Mythandar out of Primal Chaos. According to legend, his sons rebelled against his rule and slew him. This Cataclysm resulted in the birth of lesser deities who assumed Titan's power and sparked the Gods' War between the gods and giants. There are rumored to be (or have been) cults dedicated to the One Dead God, seeking to pave the way for Titan,s reincarnation. They prophesy that when He returns, Mythandar will be destroyed and recreated.
THE DARK LORD (chaotic) is the universal, faceless source of evil. He (or it) has been known by different names over the ages - The Evil One, the Tyrant, the Devil, the Enemy. He is the god of darkness, chaos, cruelty and destruction, usually depicted as a black, hooded figure with a blazing, blood-red eye or black clawed hand. He rules the Underworld, where he is served by hordes of demons and monsters and plots the downfall of the forces of good. The Dark Lord works through those he can corrupt, deceive and enslave - evil wizards, black priests, bloody tyrants, and undead lords who raise vast armies of orcs and other monsters to attack the lands of Men and Elves. Fortunately, his servants always seem to have some weakness which they fail to recognize, giving valiant heroes the opportunity to foil their master's plans.
LLISS OF THE BLOOD-RED MOON (chaotic), the dark Queen of the Drow who, according to legend, ruled them after they left the surface world. The elves believe that she was either a manifestation of the Dark Lord himself or a powerful servant who seduced the Lost Ones to evil. In the New faith, Lliss is named as one of the Nine Demon Lords ... Whatever Lliss' true nature, she is still worshipped by the drow and other subterranean creatures. Her symbol, the blood-red moon, is a corruption of the symbol of the Great Mother.
The New Faith became the official religion of the Empire of the Inner Sea before its fall. Today, the Faithful dominate the Inner Sea Lands and have spread north into Anglamar, teaching peace, generosity and forgiveness. Officially, pagan beliefs are tolerated, though in some places they are not. The practice of Magic is regarded as a dire sin ("All power comes from God."). Believers range from the quietly tolerant to religious zealots who consider it their mission to convert everyone to the worship of Mythas, and by force if necessary.
The festival of New Sun, celebrated on New Year's Day (the day after Mid-Winter) is Mythas' holy day, but ceremonies are conducted regularly. Priests rely on the tithings of their followers to support them. They are sworn to celibacy and forbidden to hold titles or own more than the basic necessities of life. In Anglamar, most of the nobility has converted to the New Faith, so the Church's expenses are well tended to.
The black, gray and white robed priests of Mythas are exclusively male and divided into a rigid hierarchy of acolytes, monks, priests and Bishops, all under the supreme authority of a Patriarch (who also rules the ancient Imperial City of Tharsis). In Anglamar, the Archbishop of Gondaran presides over the Faithful and there are priests and monks in nearly every city and town of the kingdom.
Mythas priests are divided among several orders devoted to various aspects of service. Each is overseen by an Archbishop who is responsible for the activities and behavior of its members:
THE HOLY ORDER OF MINISTERS is devoted to the healing arts. They wear white robes as they minister to the sick and see to the needs of the poor.
THE HOLY ORDER OF ACADEMICIANS is a clerical order, gray-robed, devoted to scholarly pursuits, record keeping and the preservation of knowledge.
THE HOLY ORDER OF VIGILANTS, or "black-robes," is the inspection branch of the priesthood, responsible for enforcing the edicts of the Patriarch, rooting out heretics and other enemies of the Faith. Many believe they hold the true power in the Church.
THE HOLY ORDER OF MISSIONERS is the marshal and adventuring arm of the Church, warrior-priests charged with protecting the Faithful and seeking converts among the pagans.