Religion

I want to start this out by stating what I think is obvious. All of the deities listed are fictional, not real! So please don’t think that I think they’re real and freak out.

Additionally, the Primal Gods are written from the perspective of another setting entirely.


Primal Gods

When the world came to be, the Primal Gods were there first. The Maker forged the planes in perfect alignment. The Mother gave life to them. The Destroyer allowed things to be changed in ways beyond the Maker’s vision. Nature’s Court gave defined shape. The Timekeeper gave things perspective. The Weaver gave magic and the ability to fulfill wishes. And Death allowed things to come to an end. These are the primals, unmatched in power, and unassailable by mortal hands.

Those who have read the Sisters of Radiance sample will note a glaring omission to this list, that of Kari’Torath. This is because as the Ender of Worlds, Kari’Torath often poses as a lesser goddess while the universe came to be. Now, let’s discuss the gods. Note that the primal gods are neither good nor evil, they are forces of nature and natural laws. They also have no true gender, and can manifest as whichever they prefer, this is simply how I view them.

The Maker – The first god to take action in a universe, the Maker crafts everything with perfection as his goal. Perfect symmetry and flawless designs of unliving materials are his canvas, and he works with the four classic elements, air, earth, fire, and water. (Yes, fire isn’t an element, but this is fantasy. Deal with it.) He is the builder god.

The Mother – Once the Maker has created a universe, the Mother gives the spark of life, of movement and potential. She does not shape life, that is not her role. From healing, souls, or even the unlife of necromancy and the undead, she provides the spark of creation that allows all of them to exist. Most view her as a benevolent goddess, as few know that she doesn’t care whether her power creates a virulent plague or a newborn child.

The Destroyer – Perhaps better named the Breaker or Chaos, the Destroyer is the god of chance and change. He throws off the Maker’s perfect laws and sends his fellow god into a frothing rage. The randomness that makes life interesting is his fault, but he doesn’t care who his changes hurt. He’s the agent of change for change’s sake.

Nature’s Court – It’s an open question whether these are five weak goddesses whose power fuses into one greater whole, or a five-faced goddess. Regardless, the Court are the five who give shape to the life that the Mother granted to the universe, allowing more than formless energy and elementals to exist, and are the gods of the elements and seasons.

  • The Changer – Goddess of air and whimsy, the Changer is a shapeshifter, mercurial and curious, and rarely concerned with the consequences of actions, despite the fact a mere breath could cause a storm or hurricane.
  • The Dowager – Goddess of fire and reaping of life, the Dowager is the one who is in charge of natural selection. She is merciless, but without her the Princess would fill the worlds with life until they choked to death upon it.
  • The Guardian – Goddess of earth and protection, the Guardian is the slow, even-tempered manifestation of the earth. Slow to anger, her rage can crack mountains and sink continents when roused. However, her true purpose is to provide a counterpoint to the Changer.
  • The Princess – Goddess of water and life, the Princess is the goddess of new growth and births. While generally benevolent, she believes in life at all costs, not truly understanding what a world without death would entail. While she is a goddess of rain and weather, her aspect as the goddess of water can lead to tidal waves and other horrific weather in her rage.
  • The Queen – The center of all of the other goddesses, the Queen is the balancer, she who keeps peace between the others. In other worlds she would likely be revered as mother nature, and she is the wisest of the five aspects, with less individual power, but able to balance the needs of each of the five.

The Timekeeper – Without Time, there would be no beginning or end. The Timekeeper gives perspective to all things, allowing time to flow from the beginning to the end. Only the Timekeeper can see everything that will happen, and that is solely because as far as the Timekeeper is concerned, everything already happened. Every decision was made, and time is simply playing out as it should. (To those who’re concerned about this, it’s not that people can’t make a difference in the future. They can make decisions freely, and it’ll affect the outcome. To the Timekeeper, though, he’s already seen every decision of these sort made.)

The Weaver – The Weaver forges the ley lines that cross the cosmos, allowing magic to flow throughout reality, and forming the weave with which mortals can alter the fabric of reality itself, what spells can be cast, and allowing, within limits, ways for mortals to break the laws of reality itself. This somewhat endears her to the Destroyer, while the Maker respects her intricate art, and Nature’s Court creates the World Tree which forms the nexus of all ley lines.

Death – Without Death, things could not come to an end. This is the fate that awaits even all gods save the primals, and even they may one day have their end. Death may pity mortal circumstances, and may like some more than others, but more than any other deity, Death is an impartial judge of all things.

Kari’Torath – The nature of Kari’Torath is something that is speculated of even by the other primals, for she came first. She often claims to be the first to ascend to godhood, and that her ascension woke the other primals from the aether, allowing them to create the many universes. The primals have theories of their own of her, but they do know one thing. She is the only one whose role it is to erase a universe when its purpose has ended, making way for a new universe to replace one of the myriad realities they have forged. She takes no pleasure in it, for she claims to have once been an adventurer herself… but her true origin is a mystery.


Greater Gods

A Greater God is a power that is virtually impossible for a mortal to even touch. Armies would fall before them, and it would take dozens of lesser gods to face them. A dungeon such as the Great Labyrinth or Sistina herself would be shattered and destroyed in an afternoon against a greater god. None save a greater god can face one of these deities, but in the aftermath of the Godsrage, they made a pact forbidding Greater Gods from entering the mortal worlds, lest they end it entirely.

No greater gods have appeared in Ancient Ruins. Two were mentioned for certain, Demasa and Kylrius, with no true details as to who they were. I’ll list a few more here, who I know are at least mentioned in Spells of Old.

Demasa – Head of the patron pantheon of Everium, Demasa was the archenemy of the dark god Kylrius, and was a deity of light and justice. She was slain in the Godsrage when facing Kyrlius along with almost her entire pantheon, shattering the earth and creating the Godsrage Mountains.

Kylrius – A dark god of the elves, Kylrius was a jealous god of darkness and tyranny, and envied the nation of Everium. Kylrius and his allies struck a deadly blow by destroying the World Tree at the center of Everium, then attacking Demasa and her pantheon. Underestimating the rage of his opponent, Kylrius and his pantheon were nearly annihilated in the process, including Kylrius himself.

Ryala – One of the few survivors of Demasa’s pantheon, Ryala is a goddess of fey and nature, and is a benevolent healer goddess as a whole.

Tianna – Originally a dragon god before the Godsrage, Tianna is the goddess of luck, wealth, and fortune. Her worship increased immensely in the aftermath of the near-apocalypse due to the death of so many other gods of fortune, and now she is widely worshiped by members of all races.

Vandor – A human god of knights, valor, and warfare, Vandor is widely worshiped across many nations. He was once widely worshiped in Kelvanis, but it began waning about a century before.


Demigods

Demigods, or lesser gods, are those who are within the means of mortals to kill, if only barely. Incredibly powerful, they can often face armies on their own, but their survival is not assured in these cases. Demigods are the most powerful beings that can still enter the mortal world due to the deific pact struck.

Balvess – Lord of the Golden Moon, an ancient deity of knowledge and magic, he fell in the Godsrage. One of the temples within Sistina’s dungeon belongs to him.

Krainos – Lord of the Hunt, Krainos is a hunter and patron of wild places in the world. He has a temple within Sistina’s dungeon.

Medaea – Goddess of Healing, Purity, and the Sun, Medaea is also something of a warrior goddess of elves, and was a close ally of Demasa. She was absent during the confrontation between Demasa and Kylrius, which caused immense guilt, causing her to enter an endless slumber in the Godsrage Mountains in atonement for her failure.

Tervor – God of adventurers, glory, and wealth, Tervor doesn’t have a large following, but his followers tend to be powerful individuals. He cares little for other affairs, and enjoys dungeons.

Vanir – Goddess of water and life, Vanir has never had an enormous faith, but she is a constant presence through the ages, and is a steadfast ally of good. She is an avowed pacifist, which has led many other gods to defend her over the years.


Demon Lords

Demon lords are quite different from gods. If gods die, their power dissipates and they are simply ended. Even many dark gods dislike demon lords and demons, which are creatures of corruption and excess. If a demon lord dies, their mantle of power simply passes to a new creature of appropriate temperament, often to the slayer if they are sufficiently powerful. If a demon lord can gather enough souls, it is possible for them to step into godhood, which most gods fear the possibility of, for even if the newborn deity is destroyed, a new demon lord near the threshold of becoming a god will be born.


Religion & Blessings

The Godsrage destroyed the primary members of many pantheons, disrupting life for many races. Some races, such as the elves, had virtually all of the elven deities slain, which led them to worship appropriate deities of other races. This tendency spread across the world as civilization rebuilt, and thus the lines between racial and regional deities began to blur. Most common folk have a particular deity they hold most dear, while offering prayers to whichever deity is appropriate to the task at hand.

This is not to say that worshipers of a single deity don’t exist. Quite the opposite, for those who epitomize the beliefs of a deity they worship are often given the deity’s blessing. The way the blessing manifests varies widely based on the deity in question, but the effects are undeniable. A worshiper of a god of the hunt will find their aim truer, their hunting easy, and senses in the woods heightened, while also gaining additional ability with magic aligned with their deity’s realm of beliefs. Thus, most people who gain a blessing join the church of their deity, for they wish to be by the side of those most similar to them.

10 thoughts on “Religion

  1. This might be perhaps the best place for this, I think? I’m not quite sure where else to ask, just to ask anyway. Do you think we’ll see more of Elissa and her place with Tyria, and the rejoining of the faiths? It was just something I was wondering about within the story and, in all honesty, would be something I’d quite like to see. Really though just idle (hopeful) curiosity.

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  2. Not a bad place to put it at all. The short answer? Yes. I have a novella in mind for Elissa and the complex mess that Tyria’s faith is going to be. I’m not certain when I’m going to do it, but it’s near the top of my list of things I want to do.

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  3. Thank you for answering me here. I was wondering cause out of the side characters of importance I’d have to say Elissa is my favorite. Her morality is…complex(or maybe horribly simple is a better way to put it?) rather than lacking from what I saw of her and it seems that she’s capable of amazingly interesting actions due it. Or I’m reading into it too much but tl dr self serving doesn’t equal evil even if you end up doing some really grey scale actions.

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  4. Elissa was an interesting character to write because she changed immensely from what I initially intended. Her goal remained steady through the entire writing process, mind you, it was the question of what she would do afterward that caused her to change. I didn’t anticipate what she was going to do, honestly, and she has a lot of facets that were never explored in the books.

    I’ll freely admit that a lot of times I find the female characters far more interesting to explore than male characters, and Elissa is the epitome of that, in my opinion. There’s a fair bit I want to explore with her.

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  5. I find the issue with male characters is that its far too easy to pigeon hole their core motivations. Male sterotypes and tropes in stories, especially fantasy stories, tend to be far easier to trap your character in than the female ones anyway. It doesn’t help that due to this the male lead anymore can seem almost, generic, even if well written. I believe this causes well written female leads and characters to be able to stand out in comparison and means that the reactions a male character has to the cast they interact with are where one would need to really work to make them shine, since nearly every motivation for being a hero or villain for a male character has become well, nearly a trope at this point.

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  6. That’s likely true, but not the primary reason that I personally write what I do. I simply find it easier to relate to female characters than male, as odd as that may seem. I have to consciously make certain to have close to equal numbers of male and female characters in a story, because if I don’t, I tend to have 90% female characters. I’m odd, though, and I know it.

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  7. While I dont know if its a fair comparison I can admit to the same issue. Outside of everything else I can admit, for my self anyway, female characters are more fun to write. I’m not sure why that stands for me however. I tend to have to force myself to write male characters. Even then I have to make sure I’m not putting my self into the story out of unintentional laziness and am actually being honest with their writing as the character was formed.

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  8. I think everyone has to be a little careful about putting too much of themselves into characters. For me, it’s been relatively easy in part because I find coming up with a character’s own ‘self’ easy. I ask myself what they would do, and let them do it. This caused significant changes to the plot of Spells of Old, in fact.

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  9. My issue here tends to crop up when as writer I find I have to be cruel to my characters and their reaction is far from my own. Admitting a flaw for myself wrath is perhaps the easiest one in me to see and some of my characters lack the anger sometimes required for thoughts of vengeance to be more than that. I find that such moments can be oddly disconcerting and, for myself, cause some disarray or even disconnect on the writing which might cause issues with flow and pacing. Additionally doubt is another big issue but that’s more a doubt of quality and substance which leads to well, issues in schedule. Its interesting and perhaps comforting to know that some of that fear (or perhaps caution) isn’t something unique to my self in any case.

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  10. Deciding to have characters perform actions that’re out of character is a problem I’ve seen crop up in a lot of writing. It’s too easy to do, and I also tend to be cruel to my characters. A couple of major characters in Halls of Power wouldn’t have survived without my wife’s intervention. I suppose I’m fortunate that I find it easy to get ‘into the head’ of my characters.

    Doubt, though… that I know well. I doubt all of my writing. I believe it was Niel Gaiman who called it Imposter Syndrome, that impulse to think you’re getting away with something and that your stuff isn’t that good. I have yet to run into an author who doesn’t suffer from it to some degree. I have these doubts about every single book I write.

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