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Religions of the World of Rowan
by Matthew J. Finch
Three religious traditions dominate the Continent of Rowan: firstly, the proud and lawful Teutonic tradition (with its roots in chaotic and reprehensible barbarism), secondly, the wild and rambunctious religion of the Galts (with a few eerie and best-forgotten deities remaining from the more brutal days of yore), and the sinister Metep tradition brought by the Nethtep invaders, consisting of animal-headed gods better placated than emulated. Many deities are common to two or more of the pantheons. This ought not surprise the reader, for these are, of course, gods who make their presence felt upon the earth. Their influence spans cultural lines, though they are often known by different names in different cultures. Conversely, some gods of one pantheon may be in direct conflict with gods of another pantheon. Lugh and Thalasskoptis, for instance, are rival sea gods. Both are divine entities with power over the sea, and in the World of Rowan they are locked in a deadly battle for the hearts and minds of worshippers.
Religion of the Teutons
In the Teutonic and Barbarian Teutonic cultures, two different forms of the Teutonic religion are observed. The Barbarian Teutons worship gods reflecting a more chaotic society, while the civilized Teutons have emphasized their lawful deities, and virtually eliminated worship of the older gods. During the transition phase, the relative power of the two sets of deities is about equivalent.
The Metep Religion
The Metep religion is the pantheon of gods brought to the Rowan by the Nethtep Culture. The Metep religion is based upon fear and placation of these deities, not upon imitating their example.
The Galtic Pantheon
The Galtic pantheon is an optimistic, good-aligned set of deities.
The deities to the right are deities of non-human cultures.
The Campaign Deities
Short Description: God of magic and dark secrets
Symbols: Eye between the points of bullís horns which connect at the bottom, completing a circle
Patronage: Magic and Dark Secrets
Code: Accumulate knowledge to be used in the service of evil, protect the dark mysteries of power
Domains: Knowledge, Evil, Magic, Protection.
Typical Worshippers: Evil sorcerers, wizards, rogues and bards.
Arcaneth has the head of a bull, and minotaurs and gorgons are sacred to his priesthood. His symbol is an eye held between the points of bullís horns which connect at the bottom, completing a circle. It is a point of pride among the priests of Arcaneth to become extremely heavy, whether by fat or muscle. A number of demons and devils are subservient to Arcaneth. Vecna and Arcaneth are deities with identical power bases, and they are engaged on many levels in a struggle for supremacy. Clerics of both deities are well suited for this long-standing war of poison, espionage, magical assassination and slander.
Short Description: Goddess of Safekeeping and Order
Symbols: Intricate iron key on a ring
Patronage: Stockpiling, scolding, defending, putting in order
Code: Guard the benefits of civilization, prevent famine and theft, organize things.
Domains: Law, Plenty, Healing, Knowledge.
Typical Worshippers: Guardians, merchants, managers.
Brelady is a popular goddess with the mercantile classes, for she is the goddess of making and keeping money, inventory, order and stability. Brelady is worshipped in Teutonic regions (as a minor goddess in barbarian Teutonic myth, and as an important goddess in High Teutonic myth) as well.
Brelady is a petite goddess with red hair and green eyes who wears a blue dress with a great belt of keys around her hips. She is, according to virtually all of the myths, a goddess with a quick wit and a sharp tongue, never outdone in business, often rescuing other gods from their domestic and financial mistakes.
Breladyís clerics wear blue as a badge of their priesthood. The holy symbol of the goddess is an intricate iron key on a ring.
The current High Priestess of Brelady is Mariah Cointrader, a cleric of fourteenth level. Mariah administers the other priests and priestesses of the religion from the Stronghold of Keys, a fortress within the walls of the city of Yrdeep.
Short Description: Goddess of Lust
Symbols: Metal circle of coupling figures
Code: Increase the power of the goddess
Domains: Charisma, Trickery, Destruction
Typical Worshippers: Some evil bards, evil prostitutes, pimps.
Priests of Elilsheba may be male or female, although they are predominantly female. They scorn the concept of love, and seek to extend the power of the goddess by literally any means possible. Temples of Elilsheba function, as one might expect, as brothels of the most degenerate sort. The priesthood is extremely rich, and is often at the vanguard of the Metep priesthoodís attempts to subvert foreign cultures. Elilsheba is commonly depicted as a woman with the head of a rat. Like most of the Metep Gods, Elilsheba is adored only by her clerics and a few others (pimps and the like). The vast majority of those who pay homage to the goddess do so to turn her attention away from them, or to obtain help in a specific situation related to lust.
Short Description: God of towns and fairs (civilization, trade and travel)
Symbols: Gate and Scales
Patronage: Towns and Fairs, transactions.
Code: Be honest and law abiding.
Culture of Prominence: Galtic and Teutonic (especially High Teutonic)
Domains: Protection, Travel, Strength, Knowledge.
Typical Worshippers: Lawful merchants, townsfolk, Police.
Farathane is usually pictured as a man with short, sandy-colored hair and a long mustache, wearing a brown tunic and a green plaid cloak. He carries a set of merchantís scales wherever he goes. Farathane is a stern enforcer of laws, but is equally fair in dealing punishments out to wrongdoers. His clerics are continually employed serving as judges, supervisors of weights and measures, and other such mundane activities that maintain society.
Short Description: God of berserkers, thunder and heroes
Symbols: Wolf Head
Code: Excel as an individual at the expense of the team if necessary
Culture of Prominence: Barbarian Teutonic
Domains: War, Strength, Destruction, Fire.
Typical Worshippers: Barbarians, farmers, sailors.
Fjorn is the thunder god of the barbarian Teuts, depicted as a massive blond-bearded man in a horned helmet, accompanied by a wolf pack. He is the god of personal heroism, plunging into battle to become a hero without regard to the odds, the cost, or the intelligence of the action. In High Teutonic culture, he is often portrayed as something of a joke by the clerics of lawful deities.
Short Description: God of the Sea
Code: None other than to respect the sea and sea creatures.
Culture of Prominence: Galtic
Domains: Water, Luck, Protection, Travel, Air.
Typical Worshippers: Sailors.
Lugh is the God of the Sea and of all creatures in the sea. He is sometimes portrayed as a man with flowing blue-gray hair, a massive metal torc about his neck, bare-chested and with tartan trousers of blue, green and black, but he is not said to ever manifest himself in any shape at all.
Offerings to Lugh are normally made at druidic holy places as well as in temples. Those who seek Lughís favor, such as a safe journey or a bountiful catch of fish will leave their offerings in the sacred groves of the druids, or in the stone circles. Some of the druidae of the Green Mother seem to have a particular affinity for Lugh and for his realm, but they do not lose their affinity for the land as a result. In Rowanslieg, there are certain druids of the Shalm who seem to be Water-Druids, although their power is still tied up in the use of mistletoe, rowan and oak.
Clerics of Lugh are actually quite common, though not nearly so numerous as the priestesses of the White Goddess. Those who are blessed with spellcasting by Lugh are an impossibly random lot; their only characteristic is that none of them are evil. Indeed, many of them are totally impious, do not pray to Lugh until they need help, and then receive whatever spells they plead for. They will take opposite sides of the same fight, and even kill each other on occasion, without the slightest concern that such behavior would anger the god. They do not proselytize or preach, but they are experts on the various little rituals that maintain a sailorís luck, and they are good luck for any ship which has one of them on board. Some of them are even afraid of the water, and everyone has heard the Ballad of Owen the Seasick, probably the most famous of all of the clerics of Lugh.
The clerics of Lugh barely form an organized church. Their temples are usually poorly maintained and small in size, often supplementing income by maintaining a sacred tavern in the temple itself. It is considered lucky to drink with a cleric of Lugh (at least, for sailors), but to really secure the favor of the god, or to honor him, one makes an offering at a temple or in a druidic grove.
Ceremonies of Lugh:
Sousing Day: A non-druidic festival invented by the clerics of Lugh, on which everyone drinks until they canít stand up any more, at which time they are said to have reached "sea level," a mark of respect for the god.
The Greenwitch: Coastal villages build a huge being out of green branches and foliage, tie ribbons all around it, and throw it into the water from a cliff, or from a boat, as an offering to Lugh.
Lughsday: In coastal and river villages, the druids process to the edge of the water, and then through shallows to a stone, where one of them stands to sing the praises of Lugh. On this day, druidic followers wear a blue cloth armband or headband, or a metal armband, torc or headband with a dolphin upon it.
Short Description: God of Luck
Symbols: green plait of hair bound into a circle and secured by silver wire.
Culture of Prominence: Galtic
Domains: Luck, Chaos
Typical Worshippers: Rogues, gamblers, anyone needing luck
Magog began life as a whale, not a god. He was harpooned by sailors some time in the dim past. While they were drawing him to their coracle, the coracle was hit by lightning, and one of the sailors was killed. The chieftain of the tribe (who happened to be in the coracle) called upon Annorn to save the sailor, and Annorn, ever willing to avoid the work involved in keeping the souls of the dead, sent down a bolt of white light from Godland to reincarnate the sailorís spirit. Just as the bolt of white light came down, however, a swelling wave caused the bolt to strike the whale rather than the sailor. The whale was reincarnated as a large man, Magog Once-a-Whale, and the sailor died. A very confused Magog Once-a-Whale wandered the world while Annorn pondered and puzzled how to balance the accounts of the dead, a matter involving considerable and difficult mathematical calculations. At long last, Annorn became frustrated and simply threw a heavy rock at Magog, but missed his aim completely. The rock struck a whale that had been about to eat a sailor, killing the whale and rescuing the sailor. As it happened, this coincidence caused the accounts of the dead to balance again with no further work on Annornís part.
After a series of similar events, Magog found himself in Godland as a god himself, having become immortal by winning the bracelet of Neverdeath in a game of chance, from a traveling sword-swallower ignorant of the nature of the bracelet (whose career ended shortly thereafter).
Magog has a blunt head and rounded teeth, like a whale, a thatch of dark green hair, and his eyes are rather far apart. He has an unnatural fear of squid, and he is by far the most timid and shy of the gods of godland. He is a source of tremendous annoyance to Annorn, whose intricately planned amorous machinations frequently misfire in such a way as to leave the fair lady swooning for a confused and completely innocent Magog.
Magogís priests are few and far between, and they generally choose to let the priestesses of the White Goddess accept sacrifices to Magog. It is common that each year, most of the priests of Magog find themselves in the same village, quite by chance. They call this time of the year Magogís Finding, and have a party.
The symbol of Magog is a green plait of hair bound into a circle and secured by silver wire.
The Night Hunter of the Moon
Short Description: God of Hunters
Symbols: Man with antlers or stagís head
Culture of Prominence: Galtic
Favored Weapon: any spear
Domains: Animal, Destruction, Strength, War.
Typical Worshippers: Hunters, rogues, barbarians, some druids.
The Night Hunter of the Moon is one of the nameless deities from Galtic prehistory (like Annornís Ferryman). He is an eerie god, not attached to any moral code, just existing in a state of divine power. There are few myths about the Night Hunter and no moralizing homilies featuring his divine antics. His clerics are usually rather feared when they appear, for both they and the dictates of their bloodthirsty god can be unpredictable and dangerous. In the City of Marbolg it is common for a visiting cleric of the Night Hunter to be shadowed by clerics of Farathane, for these two cults have a particular dislike for each other. The Night Hunter is the closest thing to an evil deity in the Galtic Pantheon.
Ogdal the Leatherworker
Short Description: God of crafts
Symbols: Needle and Thread
Code: Create useful and beautiful things, promote craftsmanship, and (possibly) run naked through the trees.
Domains: Craft, Magic, Protection, Air.
Typical Worshippers: Craftsmen, some alchemists, some wizards
Ogdal is the patron deity of craftsmen. He has temples in most major cities, but offerings to him are generally made at the Temples of the White Goddess. In the cities, Ogdalís priests generally select a Master Craftsman from their number, but there is no church authority or bureaucracy higher than the Master Craftsman of each city. Ogdal is a passionate and inspired leatherworker and blacksmith in Godland, crafting the weapons and utensils of the gods with unearthly skill. All of the products of his workshop have magical properties worked into them by his breath and his fingers.
Ogdal departs his workshop from time to time to exercise his lungs, breathing deeply in and out. These breathing exercises are the source of great winds throughout the fey realms, and Ogdal is therefore often called upon by becalmed sailors.
Ogdal, while a consummate craftsman, is a poor businessman. He ignores projects which are not of interest to him, even if they have been paid for in advance, and even when the gods are clamoring at the door of his workshop for their goods, he takes a long lunch (according to the myths) and leaves the workshop early to do his breathing and to run naked through the trees.
Ogdalís clerics are generally hard working, industrious, sober craftsmen and, while conceding that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they generally draw the line at running naked through the trees. Many years ago, a delegation of the Master Craftsmen of Marbolg, Anglammys Town and Yrdeep hired the Priesthood of Boccob to determine that running naked through the trees was not a theologically relevant point of imitation, but rather a theologically irrelevant peccadillo of Ogdal himself. Despite a well-reasoned dissertation upon the subject prepared by the priests of Boccob, the clerics of Ogdal can become very testy on this subject, and since several of them are also blacksmiths, prone to argue theology with their fists, this is a topic to be avoided in evenings of drunken tavern philosophy. Especially since the priestesses of the White Goddess capriciously refuse to validate the opinion of the priests of Boccob and chuckle irritatingly and suggest that perhaps just to be on the safe side the craftsmen ought to do a little bit of running naked through the trees, just not anywhere near the sacred groves, please.
Ogdal is generally depicted as a brawny, compact man with a bushy red beard and his carrot-colored hair in a long plait reaching to the small of his back. He wears tartan trousers, a red cloak and a floppy hat when he is not running naked through the trees.
Short Description: Rulership, oppression and battle
Patronage: Tyrants, evil fighters.
Code: Support harsh, oppressive rulership.
Domains: War, Death, Law.
Typical Worshippers: Pirates, Sailors.
Soloth is the Metep god of rulership and oppression, and battle. He is commonly depicted as an armored man with the head of a vulture. The Main Temple of Soloth, the Dreaded Citadel of the Eye, is located in Iroliolon, capital of Solomoriah. The Symbol of Soloth is an Eye, and his clerics wear the symbol tattooed on their eyelids. Like most of the Metep Gods, Soloth is adored only by his clerics and a few others (in this case, tyrants). The vast majority of those who pay homage to the god do so to turn his attention away from them.
Thalasskoptis (Ptarbaothic) The Sea Demon (Galtic, Teutonic)
Short Description: Sea God
Symbols: Octopus with face
Patronage: Evil Sailors, sea monsters, storms at sea, and the drowned
Code: Enforce the worship of the god, kill the disrespectful
Domains: Water, Chaos, Luck, Air
Typical Worshippers: Pirates, Sailors.
Thalasskoptis is the tentacled one, god of sea monsters, storms at sea, and the drowned. His attention is to be avoided or placated at all costs, by means of spells, charms, and human sacrifice. Like most of the Metep Gods, Thalasskoptis is adored only by his clerics and a few others. The vast majority of those who pay homage to the god do so to turn his attention away from them.
Most coastal towns in Ptarbaothic regions have a temple specifically dedicated to Thalasskoptis. This is generally a stone edifice which is built partially or entirely in the water, so that the lowest level or levels are perpetually flooded, and one level may fill with water at high tide. In smaller villages, such an elaborate construction is, of course, beyond the means of the village, and Thalasskoptis may simply have a shrine, looking like a cistern, built in the shallows.
The view of Thalasskoptic priests is that it is their duty to ensure that the rule of Thalasskoptis extends over all of the seas, and that no other sea god is venerated. There are rumors of pirate ships captained by clerics of Thalasskoptis which will attack ships which do not have the proper signs of placation to Thalasskoptis on board.
The symbol of the Tentacled One is a writhing mass of tentacles, sometimes with an octopoid face looking out from the center.
The High Temple of Thalasskoptis is located in Shemoss, the capital city of Arzouman. Much of the temple complex is underwater, a dark, unlit maze. The High priest of Thalasskoptis is Modrobar Thalasskoptian, a cleric of high level.
The Green Mother
Short Description: Goddess of Nature
Symbols: Green Pomegranate
Code: Oppose aberrations and enemies of nature
Domains: Animal, Plant, Earth, Water, Fire, Destruction.
Typical Worshippers: the grief-stricken, bards, guardians.
The Green Mother is one of the unnamed deities from Galtic prehistory, like the Night Hunter of the Moon. Like the rest of these deities, the Green Mother is primal, aloof, and can be destructive. Most of the Green Motherís followers are adepts and druids, though she has some clerics, often headquartered in the Temples of the White Goddess. There is considerable tension between followers of the Shalm (Shalmic Druidism) and followers of the Green Mother; enough tension to have led to violence over the right to control and tend druidic holy places such as standing stones.
The White Goddess
Short Description: Goddess of the Moon
Symbols: Full moon quartered by four crescent moons, owl, white, silver.
Patronage: community, family, women and children.
Code: Protect children, family, and community
Domains: Moon, good, protection, healing
Typical Worshippers: Majority of Galts
Most clerics of the White Goddess are female, for a male follower of the goddess cannot achieve more than three class levels in her service. The White Goddess is the most important of the primordial Galtic deities whose names are not spoken. She is the unquestioned leader of the Galtic gods (in other words, in the Galtic areas, other gods permit her clerics to take the lead role in religious matters). Temples of the White Goddess are often used for the worship of the other Galtic gods.
Thryciss (rhymes with crisis)
Short Description: Goddess of female sexuality, children, reproduction, harvest, and plenty.
Symbols: Red pomegranate and wheat sheaves
Code: reproduce and add to the plenty of life
Domains: Plant, healing, destruction, charisma.
Typical Worshippers: women, farmers.
Thryciss is usually depicted as a tall woman with long, wild hair decorated with garlands of flowers, wearing white robes. Her favored weapon is a scythe.
Charisma Domain Spells:
1 Charm person
4 Modify Memory
5 Mark of Justice
8 Holy Aura
9 Power Word Kill.
1 Magic Weapon
2 Make Whole
3 Locate Object
4 Leomundís Secure Shelter
5 True Seeing
6 Move Earth
7 New Spell: Blessing of Ogdal Ė bonus of +40 on skill checks on any 3 of appraise, alchemy, disable device, search, craft or profession for 24 hours.
Moon Domain Spells:
1 Endure Elements
2 Chill Metal
3 Searing Light
4 Moonfire Shield (as Fire shield, but deals cold damage)
5 Whirlwind of the Moon (as Flame Strike, but the elemental portion is cold damage)
6 Wind Walk
7 Moonbeam (as sunbeam)
8 Moonburst (as Sunburst)
Plenty Domain Spells
2 Zone of Truth
3 Create Food and Water
4 Spike Stones
5 Mark of Justice
Website for more DM Resources: http://mythmere.tripod.com/index.html
Copyright July 2002, Matthew J. Finch, all rights reserved. No claim is made to any intellectual property of others, including WOTC.
All content is Closed Game Content other than game specific descriptions.
OGL:Open Game License