Symbol of Fraya (Nordland)
Symbol of Idanna (Storm Isles)
Titan in ancient stone relief, Mezzoparan
Eye of the Tyrant on stone stele, eastern Varalkia.
In the World of Mythandar©, the gods are immortal hyper-powerful beings (off the Power Level scale for those familiar with the Magic System). However, because of some cosmic law or agreement, they cannot or will not manifest themselves physically in the world. The gods can and do demonstrate their power and 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 amount of power a god or goddess can demonstrate and the number of worshippers the deity has in the world.
The ancient gods and goddesses of Mythandar are alive and well. Most of the common folk of Anglamar, Nordland and the Storm Isles worship one or more of these deities, just as their ancestors have for thousands of years, though the New Faith is gaining converts in the West. Throughout the rest of Mythandar, there are other traditional deities who have been worshipped for millenia. The elves, dwarves and other non-human peoples have their own gods and styles of worship as well. The natures and ethical alignments of the Old Gods vary, reflecting the nature of their worshippers, and most of them represent some primal aspect of the world.
In Nordland, the War-Priest of Valkan is traditionally one of the King’s closest advisors.
THE GREAT MOTHER is the univeral nature goddess of Mythandar, believed to be far older than any of the other gods save Titan and the only deity worshipped by the Elves. She is Goddess of the Moon and Seasons, bringing spring and the harvest, birth, death and rebirth. In Nordland, she is called FRAYA, The Horned Goddess, and in the Storm Isles, IDANNA. 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 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 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 wood 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 Idanna at High Summer. Along with the Idana, 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 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 wood or ivory disk or engraved on metal.
HOB the Prankster 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 to keep him away.
Akum-Ra’s priests are exclusively male. They shave their heads and wear elaborate robes of cloth-of-gold and gold ornaments. His highest representative is none other than the Priest-King of Kesh who is regarded as the mortal incarnation of the Sun-God Himself (whether true or not).
KOR the Founder, 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. He 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 often worn as amulets.
THERA was the preeminent goddess in the Inner Sea Lands before the rise of the New Faith, and she is still worshipped by some. As the goddess of justice and wisdom, she is regarded as a warrior queen by many, 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, 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 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 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 Mythandar. Fortunately, his servants always seem to have some weakness which they fail to recognize, giving valiant heroes the opportunity to bring them down and foil their master’s plans.
The Elves believe that it was the Dark Lord, or one of his servants, who seduced and corrupted the drow millenia ago.
ILLISS, according to drow legend, was the dark power who ruled them after they left the light of 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 ... Whatever Illiss true nature, she is still worshipped by the drow deep beneath the earth. Her symbol, the blood-red moon, is considered a corruption of the the symbol of the Great Mother.
MYTHAS LIGHTBRINGER is a deity of uncertain origin whose worship began in the Inner Sea Lands some 700 years ago. He is the god of light, peace, and justice whose prophets were renowned for their long-suffering, faith and forgiveness. Mythas is not depicted in art or carvings, but is represented by a golden circle, and his worshippers wear this as a sacred symbol.
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. The New Faith teaches 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 wealthy 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 Arandor presides over the Faithful and there are priests and monks in nearly every city and town of the kingdom.
The Church includes several orders devoted to various aspects of service. Each is overseen by a Bishop who is responsible for the activities and behavior of its members:
The Holy Order of the Chalice is devoted to the healing arts. They minister to the sick and see to the needs of the poor.
The Holy Order of the Scroll and Tablet is a clerical order, devoted to scholarly pursuits, record keeping and the preservation of knowledge.
The Holy Order of Inquisitors is the inspection branch of the priesthood, responsible for enforcing the edicts of the Patriarch and rooting out heretics.
The Holy Order of Vigilants are the guardians of the holy relics and the caretakers of the Great Cathedral in Tharsis. Many believe that they hold the true power in the Church.
The Holy Order of the Knights of the Shield is the military arm of warrior-priests, charged with protecting the Faithful and defending the Church against its enemies.
Imperial-style shield of the Knights of the Shield, Tharsis.