The Newer Lands
A pantheon, which is composed of seven greater gods who each control part of the cosmos, and three lesser gods who serve the greater gods at various tasks.
The Seven: Erathis, Avandra, Corellon, Ioun, Bhannoth, Melora, Sehanine,
The Servitors: The Raven Queen, Moradin, Kord,
THE HIGH GODS
Avandra’s faith is popular in the younger lands, and this dates from the early eras of exploration, when the merchants and explorers who first came across the sea from the sevenfold realm, brought with them their faith in the patron of adventurers. Many were the expeditions and mercantile companies blessed in her name, but as the coastal colonies of the younger lands became more civilized and wealthy, the faith took on a new form, as priests and prophets of Avandra called for liberation and freedom from the dominion of the sevenfold realm. However, when it came upon the land the priesthoods of Avandra were ill-used by the war they so eagerly sought.
They paid a heavy toll in the revolution, fighting on the front lines, and finding their temples a constant target for loyalists. Worse yet, when victory seemed close at hand, the generals of the revolutionary armies of each colony met with their opposite numbers from the seven armies of heaven, in what is known amongst most city folk as ‘the reconciliation’, but spoken of in hushed tones by the followers of Avandra as ‘the great betrayal’. One of the terms of the agreement was that the newly appointed “Arch-Barons” of each major colony would cast the ‘Avandran Cult’ out of their cities, forcing them to relocate to the frontier.
By the time these frontiers were absorbed into the ever-growing territories, the masters of the new order – now styling themselves Dukes- were only too happy to welcome the faithful of Avandra back into the fold. As for the priesthood itself, while it’s histories speak of the great betrayal, it has committed itself to what is seen as avandra’s first cause- adventure, exploration, commerce, and the freedom only possible upon the frontier.
Corellon is the god of magic and art. While his faith is rare in the newer lands, he is revered by the elven tribes of the western woods, and by Eladrin wizards, particularly those who have settled in the newer lands to teach the arts to the common people of the realm. While his worshippers follow paths of sophistication and power, due to their generous interactions with the locals, they are often seen as naive and indulgent by the priests and soldiers who make up the majority of the Eladrin enclaves in the newer lands.
This deity is male and patriarchal in demeanor. They are praised as the Builder of Towers, and function as the patron deity of fishermen. Erathis is credited with the creation of the mighty Towers of Light which rest at the heart of each of the seven great cities of the sevenfold realm, and is sometimes referred to as ‘the architect of all that is Worthy’. When the newer lands were being colonized, the Church of Erathis sailed across the ocean and tamed the frontier in the wake of the followers of Avandra, laying foundations, breaking ground, raising the keeps and towers that gave rise to the great colony-cities that rest at the heart of each of the realm’s domains.
But the work of the church was cut short by the revolution, moving them even deeper into the loyalist camp and leading to a harsh emnity between the Avandrans and they. When it seemed the rebels would triumph in the final days of the war, many of the faithful fled back across the sea to the homeland, leading the leaders of the church to despair that the newer lands would never become civilized. And indeed, even after the reconciliation and the consolidation of power under the Dukes, it seemed that the newer lands would forever more be dominated by the untamed savage wilderness or at best only slightly less repellent- the backwards ruralism of the frontier. Yet, the faithful of Erathis still work to pacify the frontier, civilize the rebellious border baronies, and enhance what tatters of civilization remain in the capital ‘cities’ of Prowmeet, Tonnerre, and Baelamar.
The god of knowledge and learning. Ioun is a peaceful and reserved god, with tranquil and quiet followers. They work tirelessly to create great chronicles of events, maps, and other records, and their faith states that during the end times, these works shall be gathered by the angels of ioun and taken to the blessed realm. Ioun also deals in prophecy, and many fables about the religion deal with powerful or wealthy men, seeking out their future from a follower of Ioun, only to be rebuffed twice, before, after making threats or outrageous offers of bribes, finding that the reward for knowing their own fate is despair, madness, or sometimes, a chance at redemption that they all too often squander.
Melora is the gods of the wilds and the ocean. She is revered by the elves of the western woods, and by rangers and mariners of all regions. She is known as ‘the pure’ and her followers work to preserve the natural order, sometimes quite zealously. If a calf or child is born with some disfigurement in a village, it can be sure that the followers of Melora will present themselves to deal with the unnatural event, and any taint that lingers in relation to it. Sometimes healing is possible in such a case, but often only the purifying flame will do.
Pelor is a distant but beloved deity, the god of the sun. His priesthood is fond of complex rituals, astrology, numerology, and other mathematical prognostications to determine his will, and as a result their agenda tends to be somewhat unclear. While other faiths might present a clear loyalty to the areas of their deity’s patronage, the followers of Pelor boasts that their plans and designs are truly that of a god, and as a result, incomprehensible to any not deeply steeped in pelor’s mysteries. As might be exected, skisms and offshoot sects are common in Pelor’s faith. FAKE, SECRETLY BHANNOTH
Sehanine: Sehanine is the moon-goddess, patron of trickery and illusion, and also bears the title of the keeper of lies. It is said that just as Ioun collects the truth in the great chronicles, so Sehanine collects lies, perhaps in mockery of Ioun’s task, or perhaps as some odd part of his design.
THE SERVITOR GODS
Kord is the god of strength and storms. It is said that in the making of the world he labouredly long and hard, directed by the designs of Erathis, and the Craft of Moradin, to raise the mountains, dig the ocean trenches, and generally do all the real work. After he was done the gods called on him to begin work on another world, but he complained that this new world was too hot, and demanded ‘an age of leisure’ in which to rest, eat, revel and play sports. The gods did not find this agreeable, but none of them could match the strength of Kord and so they were stuck letting him have his holiday, which has gone on ever since.
So it is that Kord is the god of festivals, sporting events, and heavy drinking, but also the god of those who make their living through the sweat of their brow- and the fierce patron and protector of their right to take their rest upon the week’s end. Kord also has an odd relationship with Moradin, who is known as ‘ever toiling’- at times they are described as rivals, at others, Kord seeks to lure the forge-god away from his anvil for a few hours of drinking, apparently to make amends for some slight or wrongdoing that Kord feels he committed against Moradin.
In the time of the revolution Kord’s followers stood with the common laborers who rose up in rebellion against the harsh conditions and long hours pressed upon them by the dominion of the sevenfold realm. Despite their rash reputation, the priesthood was still wise enough to accommodate the Lords who arose after The Reconciliation, selling their loyalty and strong arms in exchange for equitable terms for the common workers of the realm. “even the storm that wears down mountains is the might of kord at labor”
Moradin, known as “ever toiling”, is the patron god of the forge, and the high god of the dwarves. The toil of this deity and his people dates back to a pact made between the Eladrin and the Dwarves in ancient times, signed in a holy bond between Erathis and Moradin. Moradin is the god of craft, mining and smithing, and fables speak of him forging the great mauls that Kord used to shape the world in his labors. The relation between the two deities is odd- for their part, worshippers of Moradin sometimes claim that their god is ‘ever toiling’ due to the excess of work cause by Kord’s leisure. Whatever the origin of these fables, Moradin’s followers see their work as a solemn and unavoidable responsibility, but also an occasional source of joy.
The dwarves of the newer lands labor long and hard under their mountains, building tools, weapons, armor, cutting gems, smithing silver and gold, and giving “one day’s work in every ten” as a tithe to the human Dukes of the coast, and the Eladrin enclaves which support them. This value is of course a matter of tradition- at some times the tithe is absent, as was the case during the revolution, and at others, it has been far higher, as was the case in the era of consolidation following The Reconciliation. The Dwarves rarely if ever talk of or to the Eladrin, but to those who understand their situation, this silence speaks volumes.
The Raven Queen:
The raven queen is the god of death. While the raven is their most popular representation, they have many forms, but one clear purpose- to collect the souls of the dead, and carry them to the highest towers of the seven great cities, where they dwell until they ascend to the hall of transformation in the blessed realm. Ravens do indeed roost in these high towers, in odd contrast to the otherwise saintly architecture, but the citizens of these distant lands claim that each raven which alights upon a tower carries with them a soul, who is now one step closer to the great reward that lies beyond.
THE DARK GODS
The Three: The three are an almost mythical trinity of dark gods associated with infernal pacts and other unholy deals. Though rarely mentioned, they are a popular subject of folklore, which describes them as the source of the unholy power of witches and warlocks. When common folk or nobles speak of the three, they often refer to them as ‘they who must not be named’, and their influence is often seen in tales of dark magics, like the curse of the white river witch, or the coven of the midnight spire. Little is known of the three, and most civilized people doubt they even exist- at least in public.
Each of the three are thought to play a distinct role in the pacts they traffic in: Asmodei Is the Maker of Pacts, who seeks out suitable mortals and offers them the terms of a deal through one of his fiendish liaisons, Tia-Mammon is the Bringer of Wealth, who gifts the mortal with the wealth or power they bargain for(and the ever growing thirst for more), and finally Bhannoth is the Keeper of Dues, the stern taskmaster who ensures that the poor souls so bound submit to the terms of their agreements, or suffer mightily for their treachery.