The Gods of the North

While many of the Southern gods have made their way into the Northlands, near the edges of the Angrelid, the peoples still follow the path of the original gods. These are the couple, Ustig and Silstig (first mother and first father). As legend has it, Ustig gave birth to the world and followed by bestowing it with 9 fair sons (Vanik, Orstag, Gessig, Urdag, Vorig, Kostan, Yeln, Tura and Grod). Silstig, jealous and bitter over the worship Ustig received, slew Grod who was the youngest and was cast from the Great Glacier by the other 8 sons. He landed in the lowest lands where great beasts tore his arms and legs from him; being a god of sorts, he escaped by taking the shape of a drake and slithered into the long passages of the Gallendaag. The spirit of Grod returned, but since he could no longer walk the path of the Great Glacier, he roamed the lands to guide the dead back to safety.

Ustig – FirstMother
Domains: Life, Ice
Holy symbol: A circle in a pair of hands

She is the mother of all things. Her cult primarily consists of females clerics and doulas, though men are not forbidden to serve. She’s the primary goddess when anyone prays or gives thanks. Her sons are considered demigods, each with his own special trait, but there are few clerics at all that still serve the sons. Her priestesses dress in loose animal skins and ritually paint their faces. Her holy symbol is a silver dagger in the shape of an icicle. (NG)

(Note: Some scholars believe Ustig and Aerthas are the same goddess in a different aspect, But neither religion would admit to such a thing.)

Son Servants – Followers of the Eight
Domains: Varies
Holy symbol: A bone square with the name of the demigod engraved on it

Typically, there are Soncults surrounding nearly every church or community. While they do NOT have any organized clergy, some talented individuals can call on the power of the eight if it serves the right purpose. The Eight remaining sons of Ustig each have a nickname that gives some idea as to what their influence is:

Vanik the Shieldbearer, Orstag the Runner, Gessig the Lover, Urdag the Brute, Vorig the Voice, Kostan the Trickster, Yeln the Puzzler, Turak the Archer. 

Since there is no organized church, there is no central worship site or temple for the Eight. Nor are there any sort of vestments. What passes for a holy symbol among their believers are small totemic representations of the sons, usually carved from some sort of animal bone. (No alignment affiliation)

Grod – The Ever Wandering
Domains: Death, Travel
Holy symbol: A primitive compass rose

Grod’s death is a tragic story, especially knowing that his spirit has no rest. His worshippers and clerics are a very somber lot. They typically handle the dead in the issuance of last rites. They paint themselves in ice and dress in white skins to honor Grod’s ever journey across the ice. The hold a round stone as their holy symbol, eternally rolling and never sitting still. They also consider the followers of Silstig their mortal enemies. (N)

Silssstig – The One Who Crawls Below

Domains: Trickery, War
Holy symbol: A thick, stone snake

There are a number of Northers who not only reject the teachings of Ustig as weak, but they embrace Silssstig, which they perceive to be a survivor. One may notice in the old texts that his name was extended to emulate the hissing of his eternal form. He is represented as a snake, naga-like, who’s skin is hard as stone. His clerics seek only power and to dominate those around them, driving their conquests into servitude. They dress in deep green robes and are adorned with many images of snakes. As a matter of rank, they are tattooed with images of serpents – the more tattoos, the more dangerous they will be.  The holy symbol of Silssstig’s followers is a stone snake. (NE)

The Old Gods – Those Who Whisper Beyond

Domains: Magic, Knowledge
Holy symbol: Typically, a petrified or mummified eye or finger

There are still some who follow the whispers in the darkness, whom they believe to be the Original Gods; formless, twisting shadows who gave form to Ulstig herself. The followers of the Old Gods are pragmatic and can be secretive. It’s unlikely one would ever see a cleric of the Old Gods, because they believe blending in is the most important sacrament. While some would call their worship pagan and barbaric, with blood sacrifice and little regard for life, the followers understand that these sacrifices keep the balance of all things.

It’s thought that the original followers of the Old Gods who pushed South were corrupted by the Spearfolk and it gave birth to the cult of Shta’Nodaen. While this could be true, there is little actual proof, save the similarity in the theme of dark tentacles.

The only holy symbol for worshippers of the Old Gods is some token taken from nature and blessed by a prayer; a special twig, a phial of dark water, etc. It varies from believer to believer. However, all of them believe in the idea of sacrifice, even if it means to lose one’s self.  (N)




Lesser Known Dieties

There are several dieties found throughout the known worlds; several have risen in popularity and worship during the time of Herrasian Era. These represent a few of the more common ones encountered by the players:

Talhannin – The Minstrel
Domains : Good, Healing, Music
Holy symbol: A golden harp

In many tales of Famil Dandurrin, there is a gnomish bard that is mentioned. Talhannin, a fair faced and light hearted companion is usually there to help bail Famil out or heal him when he is hurt. While he is most often described as a handsome grinning, sandy haired gnome, he sometimes appears as music on the wind, as a kind halfling farmer with a distinctive whistle, or a very clever finch. Those who follow him are usually bards, skalds or poets and serving him as a cleric requires that you know at least one instrument to mastery.  There is no set pattern of dress or worship, but nearly ever cleric of Talhannin wears a holy symbol in the shape of a lyre with a small bird sitting on it.   (NG)

Haggach – The Werewolf
Domains : Evil, Strength, Transformation
Holy symbol: A black claw

A smattering of purist humans have associated themselves with this cult, believing in the superiority of Lycanthropes, representing themselves as stewards to those undergoing the change. Typically, any race of lycanthrope is allowed to join the cult (except elves), but the positions of power are still held by humans alone. The majority of members hold other positions in society and the clergy disguise themselves as something else. They tend to meet in old Elven temples or consecrated sites which they immediately profane. When in ritual state, they wear grey robes and are often tattooed with the image of Haggach, a Werewolf with two outstretched knives. They are the sworn enemies of Eadowyn, who’s wiles in the form of the shapeless moon cause them to lose control.   (CE)

Ransharna – The Master of Djinn
Domains : Magic, Weather, War
Holy symbol: An adorned bottle

In the far south there is a legend of a great warrior who defeated a Rakshasa Prince and retreated to his magical keep, which gave him eternal life and a mastery over magic in the realms of deserts. He rules a court of Djinn who serve him and carry out his will on the material plane. His clergy are almost all from the southern desert, though his popularity is on the rise. Clerics of Ransharna are required to carry a scimitar and lose proficiency in simple weapons to favor only that one.  They are identified by ritual tattoos under their eyes and the most powerful are accompanied by a Djinni. (N)

Shuttaret – The Whirlwind
Domains : Law, Wind, Tenacity
Holy symbol: A spiral of silver on lapis

Sister to Ransharna, Shuttaret left her home in search of her brother when he disappeared into the Dry Realms. Her determination is legendary, as she walked every inch of the desert to find him. So driven was she, that she gave up the need for food or drink. After not finding him, she sat and meditated until she became sand. Only then was she able travel anywhere on the wind and finally came to settle around her brother’s palace. Her clergy pride themselves on feats of endurance. They are most often identified by their covered faces and wearing a cloth tunic belted with a long sling (“Thundersling”) which makes the noise of a desert wind when twirled.   (LN)

Datakha – The Thieving Serpent

Domains : Trickery, Knowledge, Revenge
Holy symbol: A serpent poised to strike

Jealous of the power Ransharna and Shuttaret achieved, Datakha was once a Naga that vowed to find the Hidden Palace and take it from Ransharna. In several stories he fashions a plan to infiltrate the Dry Realms, but is somehow thwarted by Shuttaret’s sand and wind. Datakha represents vengeance and most clerics of the Snake take a vow of vengeance against a people or government (in game terms, they gain a favored enemy as a Ranger in lieu of Destroy Undead). Datakha is accompanied in his dealings of the material world by mummies of fallen priests.  His active clergy carry snake like staffs and wear a headband fashioned to appear as a striking Naga. (NE)

Mamaranda – Mother of the Jungle
Domains : Good, Plant, Healing, Animal
Holy symbol: A length of bone with a story carved into it

In the jungles, there are few gods or clerical practitioners, many following the path of the druid or medicine woman. However, there are a group of believers that ascribe the birth of the deep jungle to Mamaranda. Her skin is a dark as the night sky, but her eyes burn green like the jungle itself. She is kind, but not gullible; stern but never cruel. Her servants wear a torc of bone and vine. Little else is known about them, but travelers to the southern jungles have sworn her followers can transform into many shapes which have provided them protection.   (CG)

Festival Days

While each religion has it’s own specific days associated with worship, there are some universal days that are celebrated in the Edeldale.

BRIGHTFEAST – Origin; Davanic worship
On the First day of Lightsong, a festival celebrating the light returning to the world is held across every major holding. From the highest lord to the lowest born, each family lights a multitude of white candles (in lieu of any magical lighting, torches or lamplight) at sundown and partakes in a meal of four courses; the Bland, the Bright, the Hot and the Tepid. This represents coming from darkness to light, the brightness of the sun (or Dava’s countenance), the warmth of the sun, and a reminder what it is to be without it.

Traditionally the meal begins with a type of round bread (davanloaf), followed by a lightly spiced meal (varies by culture), followed by peppers and a cold soup. At the end of the meal, candles are all extinguished and generally, the darkness of the night is filled with quiet song.

CHAMPION’S WEEK – Origin; Spectacle of the Many Tribes
In further days, the Spearfolk were more autonomous, but lived closely together. Each tribe would elect a champion to compete in what they referred to as “The Spectacle”; a massive series of games and contests to determine the Champion of the Folk. The festival usually begins on the 16th of Newgraze, but over the years has been held at different times due to war or tragedy. In any case, it’s always begins and ends on a Chorseday.

During the week, in memory of the original spectacle, there are contests of strength, games of skill and in the more urban areas, tournaments of magic and wit. During the week, several events will be hosted and culminates on the following Choresday. Champions may hold temporary title, be awarded a great prize or just retain the title and status of Champion until the following year. In all cases, the Champion is given some red mark or article of clothing to show their status.

DRAGONSBLOODOrigin; Herras’ slaying of the last red dragon
In the spirit of Champion’s Week, on the 30th of Newgraze is Dragonsblood (or Dragon’s Eve in some communities). On that night there are reenactments of Herras’ deeds. Children often wear dragon masks and attempt to scare adults (who usually laughingly comply). The festival usually is a night of great boasting and tale telling. At the end of the evening, a large bull’s heart is served and an effigy of the King (or in the case of Glimring, the King himself) is spattered with blood.

THE NIGHT OF HARD BISCUITS – Origin; The Dwarves entry into Edeldale
It is said that all the best brews mature by the month of Lightsong. So on any given Settlesday of that month a city, community or even a humble Dwarven outpost, hosts a NIGHT OF HARD BISCUITS (Sometimes called “Toast’s Night” and other times, just “Biscuits”). The timing varies, as rumor has it, because the ancient kings didn’t want ALL of their vassals to be incapacitated by drink in a single evening. So it was decreed that each region or village would be authorized to have a night of drunken revelry in accordance with a set schedule.

The name of the event dates back to Men’s first encounter with the Dwarves. They exchanged goods and cursed the almost rock-like biscuits the Dwarves gave in trade. That was until the first or Uli’s envoys came down from the mountain to drink and the humans realized that the the biscuits were in fact, designed to only be eaten after being dunked into heavy Dwarven stout. While the two peoples had previous a very formal and indifferent relationship, this drunken feast fostered immense goodwill and was responsible for the alliance the Dwarves and Men now have.

GRANDFEASTOrigin; farm tradition and possibly, Aerthan tradition
At or near the end of harvest, a great feast begins on Choresday through Settlesday. The actual timing is based on the the amount of harvest taken in. But this three day festival features agrarian tokens and traditions. No matter how poor, each community contributes a portion of the harvest to this event. In some towns it may be little more than three days of donated goods to be redistributed among the farmers. But in larger towns and cities it’s 3 nights of bountiful eating and drinking. There are songs that date back hundreds of years, showing of livestock and sharing of rustic traditions.

While it’s just considered a great culinary event in the cities, most who worship Aerthas, treat this as a festival of Thanks and end the evening of Settlesday in prayer and worship.

[more to come]

Dieties in the Civil Age

The gods have always had a place in the world. Some have waned and their power receded, but others have remained strong. While there are many who worship and some that follow dark paths, the religions here are those followed by the vast majority of the Civil Folk.

DAVA – The Lightbringer
Domains : Glory, Healing, Sun, Protection, Nobility
Holy symbol: A stylized sun

The most popular god among humankind is the worship of Dava. He is a being made of pure light and his clergy are known for their knowledge of the healing arts. Some refer to him as the father of the Aasimar, as he appears as a bright man with fiery golden wings. Almost every town in Edelrend has at least a shrine to Dava. His clerics wear simple white or cream smocks adorned with blue vestments, the highest members of the order dressing in all white with a rays of gold emanating from their chest. While they aren’t specifically forbidden to kill (returning evil into the light is allowed), they typically carry weapons into the field that do subdual damage.  (LG)

RAAST – The Sleeper
Domains: Shadows, Dreams, Knowledge, Travel
Holy symbol: An face with one eye open

A relatively recent schism, several worshippers broke off to follow a brother named only once in the holy texts of Dava. He was cursed with eternal, dreamless sleep, but his followers believe that he can show them visions of the future through connecting to the Greater Dream. They believe that all other faiths and reality itself is just a version of the Great Dream. His followers operate in the shadows for fear of being struck down by the Davan church. They typically isolate themselves and wear dark hooded cloaks and wear scruffy beards (earning them the nickname the Hermit’s Church).  (CG)

GILESH – Guardian of Secrets
Domains : Repose, Death, Life, Knowledge
Holy symbol:  A scythe

The followers of Gilesh are oft misunderstood, since their god embodies the image of the Reaper; long, thin grey fingers, faceless woman in a black shroud and wielding a scythe. The true purpose of Gilesh is to guard the gateways of life and allow only the most pure to pass into the realm of the dead. For some, Gilesh guides them to Dava’s realm, to others, the nine hells. But her own followers are considered to pass into the realm of ghosts. Her clerics are somber, wear grey  (black is reserved for the god herself). They come from all walks of life and often have additional professions which deal with death. (N)

ARKA – Weigher of the Two Suns
Domains: Law, Chaos, Protection, Magic
Holy symbol: A checkerboard adorned sphere

Arka is an unusual (and recent) addition to the Edelish pantheon of gods. An androgynous, bald being, with dark eyes, dressed in a checkered black and white gown, holding two orbs (one black, one white) in it’s hands. The clergy of Arka dress in pale robes with a white sash, checkered hood and a mask, half white-half black for formal events.  The enemy of Arka is its Shadowfell equal known as Akra of the TWO WORLDS, who’s orbs are shadowy swirls; its clergy wear black robes, black sash but otherwise dress identical. Arkan worshippers are expected to weigh the consequences of all things and while it neither sides with law or chaos, believers are typically fall on the side of goodness. Most often they act as advocates and judges for the realms. (NG)

AERTHAS – Goddess of the Field & Fold
Domains: Community Healing, Plant, Animal, Weather
Holy symbol: A sheaf of golden wheat

This, oldest of the pantheon, is the name called on by farmers, hunters, travelers and virtually anyone who was raised in an agrarian part of the lands. She is always portrayed as a buxom, tanned, with wild red hair. She invites the tired to come in from the fields to rest, but expects them to produce much harvest before they do. Aerthasines alone hold the belief that there is only ONE true goddess and that’s Aerthas. Clergy dress the most humbly, wearing simple brown robes and wear green or brown skullcaps according to their station. If a cleric of Scarthas is bald, they are required to wear some sort of wig or they never remove their skullcap. They are all champions of individual freedoms and occasionally are at the forefront of populist revolts. (CG)

EADOWYN – The Formless Moon
Domains: Love, Charm, Chaos, Good, Water
Holy symbol: A droplet of silver from a filagreed moon

Formless, but reflecting the light of the stars, the Elves worship a goddess who’s form is fluid and everchanging.  Her priestesses (priests are rare) wear provocative clothing of blue, green or white and accent it with necklaces, bracelets, earrings and torcs of pure silver – a sacrament to them, they eschew the handling of silver coins as they believe moneychanging to be disrespectful. The see the enemy of the multiverse manifest in a being called Haagach, a wolf-like beast –the progenitor of lycanthropy – and they fight tirelessly to rid the world of lycanthropes.  Their temples are often found near fresh water, where they reflect upon the face of their deity. (CG)

SHTA’NODAEN – The Center of the Void
Domains: Madness, Trickery, Darkness, Chaos
Holy symbol: Ebony starfish of multiple arms

For the most part, this is the central god of a barbaric pantheon to the far North of the Six Kingdoms, but there are enough worshippers among the peoples of the Folkstand for it to be mentioned here. Shta’Nodaen is represented as a great tentacled beast who reaches into the hearts to find their weaknesses. Only then can it find ways to make them stronger. His clergy wears a purple tabard with a black starfish or squid-like and preaches the message of self-sufficiency overall. His temples are often little more than dark pools at the edges of society. Some among them believe that madness is the highest form of freedom and thus, embrace it.  They see the rise of the All-Cloudists an affront to their viewpoints. And All-Cloud worshippers suggest that the Shta’ites are merely worshipping a collapsed star. (CN)

THE ALL-CLOUD OF INFINITE POINTS – Points unto Points unto Points
Domains : Law, Order, Knowledge
Holy symbol: Metatron’s Cube

Among a small group of well educated sages, there is a religion formed around mathematics. These clergy, wizards and scholars see the universal power held in the pure interconnectedness of all things. Each of the followers vows at one point in their lives to create one perfect (in this case, mathematically or structurally) thing. They revere all things orderly, respectful of great architectural works and supporters of well crafted music. The clerics wear deep blue vestments cris-crossed in tiny points and lines (reminiscent of a star chart). The high holy days for them are connected to each of the seasonal changes. They hold that Shta’Nodaen is here to disrupt all order. (LN)

VENGA (or FENGA) – The Fire
Domains:  Fire, Rune, Protection, Law

VENGIR (or TENGIR) – The Forge
Domains:  Artifice, Earth, Strength, Law
Holy symbol: A stylized flame (Venga), A stylized hammer (Vengir)

The Dwarves have always had faith in the twins, Venga and Vengir. Venga is a female dwarves with flames for hair who stokes the forge fires of the world. Vengir, her twin brother, is the Hammer. His skin appears as iron and he uses his fists to pound metal on the forge. Female clergy follow Venga and male follow Vengir; the Dwarves are quite strict about this. All clergy wear pale, brown vestments, but a hood and cloak aligned to their path; Red for Venga and Grey for Vengir. Both of them, while honoring good deeds, hold the law above all things.  In Dwarven communities, they are the sole issuer and interpreters of the law (LN)

VALGUR (or FULGAR) – The Stone at the Heart of the Earth
Domains: Stone, Power, Bravery in War
Holy symbol: A stone effigy of the god’s face

The Father of Venga and Vengir (and according to many Dwarven legends, the Father of Dwarves, Valgur is a distracted and troubled god, locked in the depths of the earth forever contemplating the intricacies of law. Thus, he split the Stone of Ages and created the Twins. There are very few clerics who still worship and follow Valgur, primarily out of respect to his privacy. It is said that Valgur created the Twins for the Stonefolk so he might have time to unravel the law. Many Dwarven warriors still carry his image (a large stone pillar with a crudely shaped face) and Dwarven paladins are most likely to represent Valgur, calling on his magic and power only in the darkest of times. Clerics to do decide to follow Valgur must follow a STRICT set of guidelines, else they fall out of his favor. (LG)

Domains: Animal, Plant, Luck, Travel, Trickery
Holy symbol: A silver acorn in a hexagon

The smaller folk have legends about Fammil the Sparrow, Fammil the Fox and FamDandurrin of the Many Leaves. All of these are seen as manifestations of an ever shifting demi-god who is immensely wise and grants his followers great luck. And the worship of Fammil the Many Faced has grown steadily since the appearance of the Halflings. His clergy will wear which ever manifestation of his personnae they worship, but all wear a sash with an acorn embroidered on it. His followers leave sacraments along the roadside (usually food stuff) and wholly expect passing travelers or animals to take the gifts. (NG)

EOFN – The Warrior
Domains: War, Air, Glory, Strength, Adventure
Holy symbol: A wolf’s head effigy

On the old battlefields, the fallen believed that they were given one last swing to earn them a place in the Blessed Hills of Eofn. Eofn is usually depicted as a wolf-headed warrior with a longspear made of lightning and his howl can open the heavens. This barbarian god is not seen often, but is usually worshipped by berserkers and clans who engage in intense warfare. His clergy dress in grey tunics and trimmed in fur, often wearing leather hoods (in the effigy of a wolf) and cloaks. Most have some sort of martial training as well. His temples are covered in altars with multiple, bloody sacrifices; goats, birds and other small animals. In some extreme cases, they may contain the trophies taken from war to include enemy heads. Some accuse them of being werewolves but the clergy deny it. (N)

ELOHANIN – The Eternal Archer
Domains: Nature, Archery, Truth, Personal Freedom
Holy symbol: A golden arrow pointing upward

There are rumors that one of the Aelfrinir ascended to godhood by pure virtue of his skill. He is considered a demigod in the traditional sense, as he has no specific temples or organized following. However, there are enough clergy that call upon his name and are answered, that one must believe there is some truth in the rumor of his divinity. His followers, though few, can be found amongst many of the Hurena, some of the Eldena and even scattered, quiet followers in human populations. As of late, he’s become a patron deity for many half-elves. The only consistency between his followers is a strong desire for personal freedom, skill in archery and either a tattoo of an arrow or a piece of jewelry in the shape of an arrow. As they tend to lead rebellions in oppressive regimes, they’ve learned to keep the faith very quietly to themselves. (CG)