Dark Moon Rising
Religion in EndWorld
Almost all religions of EndWorld hold a few basic assumptions in common, discovered and rediscovered throughout the ages by mystics and mages.
- Unless interferred with after death the soul is reabsorbed into the world and is reincarnated into a new lifeform.
- The soul’s journey can be interrupted by many things and the soul can become trapped.
- Blood is a medium between the living and the dead. Blood, given willingly or not, is used in religion to attempt to connect with gods.
- Under the right circumstances gods can exert a limited influence upon the world, but none grant spells.
- The gods are subtle in their ways and their focus is limited by their nature.
Major Faiths of EndWorld
For over a millenium the primary gods of the Ord have numbered only two. The prophet Morrow is the lord of benevolence and guidance, and is the most commonly worshipped god. His twin sister Thamar is the lady of power and freedom, generally gained at the expense of others. The two started out as ordinary humans, thousands of years ago, but they came to believe that any person could continue to improve their lot in life without end. After a long, hard path they sacrificed their physical bodies to walk the world in spirit, providing guidance to those who needed it. It is unclear when and how the two spirits gained sufficient power to claim divinity but they are generally accepted to be the first Ascendents. The twins’ journey is recorded in the weighty Enkheridon, the primary religious text of the worship of the Twins.
Sadly, the siblings fought near the end of their journey, and their paths diverged. Morrow chose the path of selflessness, deciding to guide and protect others in their journey through life, nudging them to the path of virtue and self-improvement that he discovered. Thamar chose to guide mortals in a different way. Her journey taught her that only by using every one and every thing in your path, disregarding their needs and desires, could one grasp ultimate power.
Adherents claim that every Ord at some point has to make a choice between the two paths – that Morrow and Thamar eventually visit everyone and secretly test them. “The Volition,” as the trial is called, takes the form of a moral dilemma, usually early in life. Few people can pinpoint when their Volition was, for the gods are subtle and clever, never showing themselves directly. The rare individuals that can clearly see the test and the gods before them are said to be blessed, and on rare occasion go on to manifest mystical sacred powers.
The central teaching of both siblings is that you create your own destiny and your lot in life is not fixed at birth. This philosophy, radical at its inception, has raised, fed, and destroyed great nations. Although simple at its core, both branches of this religion are ripe with layer upon layer of subtle complexities.
Church of Morrow
Clergy of Morrow see themselves as shepherds of humankind, and those of Ordic descent in particular. They see all sentient races as capable of spiritual ascension and enlightenment. Since Morrow was of Ordic blood many believe the Ord are blessed and closest to divinity. They believe every Ord has a responsibilty to strive towards his ideals and guide those of other races and ethnicities. The Church values wisdom, guidance, and kindness to others as both a means to bolster personal and others’ spiritual growth. They respect most, if not all, sentient life and view choices and hardships as opportunities for growth.
The church of Morrow has a loose structure with a long, rich history. Temples usually have a large open space where priests give weekly sermons. The buildings are constructed to throw a soft, warm glow inside symbolizing the light of guidance.
Sect of Thamar
Thamar is most often worshipped privately, either individually or in small septs. Casual worshippers of Thamar are common as heeding her lessons is seen as an easy way to get ahead. Serious worshippers seek out those more spiritually advanced and barter or pay for guidance. Thamar teaches that when moral constraints are lifted and the mind and will applied with sufficient force the soul gains power. Advanced worshippers of Thamar are notorious for practicing human sacrifice and some traffic with necromancers.
Dedicated worshippers of Thamar often pursue the blessing of their goddess by learning the Dark Tongue, a collection of blasphemous words and phrases resonating with unholy power. Uttering the Dark Tongue effectively does not require Magery however it is difficult to learn and dangerous to use. A slight error in pronunciation can have dire consequences to the speaker so the sane only use it with great care and reservation. Thamarites believe the power of the Dark Tongue is drawn from the goddess Thamar herself but some outsiders have theorized that it instead functions by consuming the speaker’s own soul. Only the Thamarites are likely to have a good accounting of the varied effects of the Dark Tongue but examples of curses, madness and supernatural persuation have been attributed to it.
Worshippers of Thamar generally scorn the idea of priests as sanctimonious, deluded, and a crutch of Morrowians, although the occasional charismatic Thamaran will gather a cult of worshippers to himself to both teach and use. A notable exception to this individuality exists in Five Fingers where a dark chapel to Thamar is rumored to exist hidden beneath the city.
Worshipers of the Twins: Ord
Centered in the Iron Kingdoms of Syrama, Orith, Magasoa and Bayfork
Influences: Iron Kingdoms by Privateer Press
Church of Helios
A young, but rapidly growing religion of sun worship. The church preaches that the sun is not a ‘god’ of EndWorld but above them, a powerful entity that sustains the entire world. The church is organized, political active, and monotheistic. It does not deny the existence of other ‘gods’, but labels them as petty things not worthy of worship.
Priests of Helios preach of the Light of Truth, the Gold of Wisdom, and the Purity of Flame. The actual tenants of worship include strength in service, obedience to the church, and denial of false gods. It is not uncommon for priests of the church to ‘purify’ with fire heathen temples and enemy strongholds when given free reign. The Church is unusual in that it actively recruits mageborn into its fold and trains them in Fire, Light, and Truth Detecting spells. These mages are often loaned to the local government.
The Church does not recognize ‘divine’ gifts from Helios. As Helios is above and beyond the world. Claiming He would lower himself to grant such powers to a mere mortal is high blasphemy.
Worhipers: mixed Ord and Jin
Centered in the Kingdom of Yam
Influences: Iron Kingdoms by Privateer Press
Even to practioners the worship of the Jin is a confusing weblike mass of interactions between a near numberless assortment of gods and goddesses called devas. The devas assist and oppose each other, wearing different names and faces. They vie for the blood and adoration of their worshipers battling each other and offering small favors. They are more active than gods worshiped elsewhere in EndWorld but this may be simply because there are so many of them.
Many gods that have found worship elsewhere in EndWorld were originally Jin gods.
A heresy gaining some momentum among the Jin is the belief that all the devas are but faces of the one great divine god.
Worshipers: Jin, some Karn
Centered in Amman-Mon, Amman-dur, and Amman-Yarad
Influences: loosely Hinduism
The most predominant religion among the Karn does not worship any gods. It takes the idea of reincarnation and moves it further to an exploration of the five elements. The Karn believe that the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal, and water infuse everything. Each person is a mix of these elements to varying degrees. When a soul has acheived perfect balance of these elements it advances and evolves to join the Eternal, either a state of unending bliss or of nothingness (depending on which authority you ask). Acheiving this balance generally takes hundreds of lifetimes. Holy men of the Karn guide others in this process, viewing auras and helping people to determine what element they are lacking and which they have too much of. The practice of the Five Elements is considered a science to members of the faith and is heavily used in medicine.
Each element is associated with certain things, occupations, colors, body parts, etc..
Note: in the Karnish Imperium the Five Elements is the state religion with a twist. The seated Emperor or Emperess is officially seen as the divine focal point of the five elements and is recognized as the godhead of the religion, and a perfectly balanced soul.
Worshipers: most Karn
Centered in City of Karnish
Influences: Chinese five elements, Buddhism, Egyptian godkings
Minor Faiths of EndWorld
the Forgotten Ones
Throughout the lands of EndWorld there are dark places, residues of power. Deep fissures and fetid caverns that vomit corruption. It is whispered these are the death throes of ancient gods, dark formless powers from before the coming of man, best left forgotten. Whatever lies in these places is tainted and cancerous to life. But they are also reservoirs of enormous power for those who would pay the price and risk destruction. These are the places of tentacles, nightmares and madness.
Way of the Ascendants
Throughout history at different times and different places an exceptional mortal will, through their own efforts, throw off the bindings of life and death and ascend to immortality becoming something akin to a minor godling. They are viewed as either enlightened or doomed depending upon the perspective. Some believe all the gods evolved this way. Followers of the Way of the Ascendants seek to emulate these heroes and follow in their footsteps. There is no dogma attached to the Way, but adherents tend to make pilgrimages to sites of importance in the Ascendants’ lives and seek to learn from as many different Ascendants as possible. Followers of the Way build no temples but small shrines often mark significant sites. Likewise there is no organized church or clergy. Followers of the Way revere the Ascendants as demigods but do not worship them.
This religion, or philosophical study, originated as a minor sect within the worship within the Twins a millennium ago.
Kreyton – warrior poet who fought trolls in the lands now called the League of Ordwyn. Ascended K -170
Xia – questing monk known for developing a famous code of honor. Ascended in Ormex K 310
Gods of the Wood
Ancient nameless gods of the wood worshiped in sacred groves. At the center of the grove lies a pond with a face carved onto a weirwood tree. Called the silent gods by their worshipers. These gods are ancient and some say dead.
Worshipers: wood elves, traditional Get.
. Influence: Game of Thrones
Sons of the All Father
Many of the Get worship the greatest heroes from their past. These gods are collectively called the Sons of the All Father. Exclusively warrior gods, their favor is sought before any armed conflict. Each family will take only one Son and will be devoted to him. Worship of the Sons has transplanted the ancient tradition of the Gods of the Wood among the Get.
A widespread, loosely connected network of cults. The Horned One was arguably the most powerful sorcerer of the Dominion Wars millenium ago. He disappeared during the height of his empire’s power and was presumed destroyed. Centuries later small cults worshiping him began to appear scattered in remote places. Today worship of the Horned God has spread to nearly every corner of EndWorld.
His worship is outlawed in most lands as it invariably involves human sacrifice. It is said the Horned God grants dark gifts to his chosen. He is popular among brigands, murderers, and many Runi.
Keepers of the Dead
Far to the East there is a great city on a hill called the Necropolis. The ancient city houses only the dead and their keepers, a priesthood dedicated to laying them to rest. The Keepers promise peace for the souls of those interred there, an escape from the wheel of death and rebirth. They charge a steep fee but there are always weary souls who make the pilgrimage to the great city to buy rest for their deceased loved ones.
According to legend Gor was an ancient hero who slew his dragon master and threw off the yoke of slavery. He led the people he freed on a long exodus to the current lands of Gorind. When his followers begged him to become their king he cursed them, chastising them for wishing for a return to slavery. Gor swore to the people he would forever protect them but never rule them. It is said that the reason Gorind has no central government is due to the curse, or blessing, Gor invoked in anger upon his people. Legend prophesies that Gor will return in Gorind’s darkest hour.
Gor is worshiped as the Warden of Gorind. He is depicted as a tall warrior armed with spear and shield. Worshipers claim he lives in the rock and wind of Gorind and honors his vow to protect its people. Temples to Gor are tall, thin watch towers where worshipers climb to whisper prayers to him.
Symbol: broken manacles
Worshipers: citizens of Gorind, any ethnicity
In many regions of EndWorld it is common for folk to adopt a local god or goddess and direct their worship to it. They acknowledge and show respect to foreign gods as one might treat a guest but reserve their worship for the local god who they count on to bless and protect them. These gods are most often agricultural, weather, or warrior gods and rarely does their power extend farther than a few local villages or towns.
These gods usually have very colorful and imaginative creation myths, often vastly exagerating their role in the cosmos or history of EndWorld. They tend to be very attentive to their worshipers but have very limited power to affect the material world. They are worshiped in a variety of ways by the different cultures that adopt them.
Worshipers: usually rural folk, many Runi and Ord
Common Minor Gods
A few of the small faiths scattered throughout EndWorld, largely independent of any one religion.
Parvis – God of cunning, murder, secrets, and vermin. He has scattered small cells in large cities each with their own agenda and interpretation. Symbol and sacred animal is the rat which is highly revered. Depicted as a human sized rat robed and standing on two feet.
Gam – God of death. Known as the Peacebringer. Priests seek to ease those suffering into a painless death. They are counselors and either highly respected or reviled and outlawed. They are masters of poisons. Popular with Karn.
Teut – God of nobility, finery, and wealth. Popular with Ordish nobility.
Askelop – Patron of medical arts. Small shrines common in big cities, but no clergy. Popular with Karn.
Morpheus – Lord of dreams, oracles, omens. His few, rare clergy blind themselves and travel the world sharing their visions. Most are insane.
Julu – Goddess of love and romance. Commonly perform marriage ceremonies for the rich. Rose is her holy color. Popular with Jinn and wealthy women. Also sometimes considered an Ascendant.
Tritons – Race of monster/godlings that live in the seas. They are worshiped by many sailors and it is common to throw minor sacrifices to them before or during a voyage. Legend tells that worship of the Tritons began when a warrior slew one of the Tritons and a great hurricane followed.