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Religion on Galon

Gregora has two state churches: the Church of Ceridwah (neutral-good goddess of healing and the sun, not to be confused with the Celtic goddess of magic of similar name) and the Church of Aeros (lawful-good god of the winds and patron of scholars and the theatre). Other gods are legal, however, as is the practice of Druidry. Ceridwah is the highest of the good deities in the Descentist religion, an eclectic pantheon formed when several disparate religions were unified by a common prophecy (the so-called Prophecy of Descent) 688 years ago (the current calendar year is 688 PD, or Post-Descent). Ceridwanism is by far the predominant religion in Gregora, but the other Descentist gods have their followers too. Druidry has a presence and has recently grown much stronger, particularly a druidic sect called the Circle of Stars (otherwise known as Sabaists, or star druids); other druidic sects are delineated primarily by the type of terrain inhabited (the largest sect being the Circle of the Forest, but there are also the Circles of the Mountains, Plains, Swamps, Desert, Caverns, Sea, and several smaller enclaves; the most feared is the Broken Circle, those druids who eschew the purity of nature and devote themselves to the blasted wastelands of nature and the powers of death, decay, and mutation). The worship of most of the evil Descentist gods is illegal, and the most feared evil deity is Ceridwah's archenemy, the god Markira, patron of bats, evil, the night, the hunt, and animal instincts. Several cult religions exist throughout the land as well, but these are mostly small, unpopular, and in many cases illegal. Two of the major cult faiths are the Orphics, worshippers of a deified mortal bard who practice a mystery religion opposed to the church of the music goddess Teirtu, and the Lonibramians, a science-worshipping cult centered on an angel of reason called Porendasar. Both cults are illegal, but the Lonibramians are generally tolerated as harmless kooks unless they make trouble; the Orphics, however, are rumored to practice sinister forms of necromancy and other evil magic, and the cult operates in deep secrecy.

The gods are somewhat meddlesome; they are known to send omens and visions to the pious, and on very rare occasions send a proxy or avatar to protect their interests. Clerics of legitimate gods (not most cult religions) receive divine spells in exchange for their prayers and faith. Each god grants its clerics different powers depending on its specific area of control (as expressed by the clerical domains). Druids, who worship forces of nature rather than gods, receive magic from their understanding of and devotion to natural powers, and their spells reflect the powers of nature and its inhabitants. Nonhuman religions have their own gods, with clerics and shamans as appropriate, although a few nonhumans in Gregora have taken up the worship of Ceridwah or other Descentist deities.

An important distinction should be drawn between clerics and shamans. Both use divine magic, but their manner of service to the powers granting it differs greatly. Clerics worship and serve their deities, and uphold the message and dogma of those deities among other mortals; they are the gods' agents for change in the mortal world. Shamans, however, do not so much worship their patron spirits and gods as they do respect them; theirs is a pact of mutual benefit, wherein the shaman acts as the intermediary between the spirits and the world, serving spirit and mortal alike. Shamans are often keepers and arbiters of their tribes' moral and ethic standards, but these are typically based upon tradition rather than divine command; shamans do not act as agents to deliver divine edicts, but more as middle-men between the mortal and spirit worlds.

The Descentist pantheon is large, and worship of any given deity is widely scattered, although certain religions are predominant in each regions and nation. Ceridwah is by far the most commonly worshipped deity in most of Gregora, but in some areas, such as the Cunnott Peninsula in the southeast corner of the kingdom, her influence is not quite as strong. Although the Descentist gods share a common pantheon, each deity has its own rites and moral teachings and there are frequent interfaith squabbles. The only common ground is acknowledgment of the Prophecy of Descent, and the gods Ceridwah, Circros, and Markira as the highest deities of Good, Neutrality, and Evil. Every Descentist is expected to pick a patron god upon coming of age, usually the deity of their family, although this deity can be changed later (a decision tantamount to switching between Christian denominations). A Descentist with no patron god will get funny looks if this fact is made public, but won't be burned or imprisoned unless they profess atheism (which is still a capital offense, although followers of Druidry who worship the Forces of Nature rather than gods are accepted in most realms). A list the Descentist gods is found below, along with the alignment and area of control of each. Anyone interested in playing a cleric, paladin, or other religiously inclined character should contact me so I can fill you in on appropriate details.

If you’re playing a nonhuman and are interested in deities outside this pantheon, let me know, as most of the nonhuman races have their own religious traditions.

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Category: Religion

Created by blacksol. Last Modification: Sunday 08 of January, 2012 22:37:08 EST by blacksol.
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