Faiths of Feyworld
There are eight major faiths in the known world, though all but two agree on how the world was created and by whom. The main differences between the faiths are mainly focused on what happened (or didn't happen), in the millennia after the creation of the world or else the reasons the world was created in the first place. Though religious wars between the faithful of specific deities are relatively common, war over differing faiths tends to be rare. The notable exception is the irreconcilable differences between the Imperial Ecclesia and the Koramian Heresy, with both sides bent, sometimes martially so, on eradicating the other.
The Aebasan Orthodoxy is one of the three dominant human faiths and arguably the largest of the three, comparable only to the Imperial Ecclesia in numbers of worshipers. The Aebasan faith is primarily practiced across the breadth of the continent of Gallorea, though most High Temples are located among the cities of Aebasa. The central theological difference between the Aebasan Orthodoxy is that, some time during the 2nd Age of Man, Lord Ptharos stepped down as King of the Gods because he realized his own selfishness and tyranny had resulted in great hardship on Creation itself. He was replaced by the Celestial Council, an essentially democratic governing body of the gods, which he remains as an adviser to. As a result, democratic governments and thought are much more dominant on Gallorea than on either Aurea or Duria. Within the Aebasan Orthodoxy, Phlegethon (god of tyranny) is the primary Adversary, with Dagon reduced to the role of an almost comical trickster-god.
Animism is the belief that all things, even rivers and mountains, possess a spirit that can be communicated with and from which a wise or knowledgeable person can draw power from those spirits. Animism is relatively rare in Feyworld, typically practiced only by some humanoid tribes. Ancient legends suggest that there were animists among primitive humans, but most, if not all, human tribes converted to the Tuatha de Dannan during the Second Age of Man. Animists, typically shamans, draw on Nature magic, so it is generally presumed to be the same magical force that druids and rangers draw on, though in a substantially diluted form.
Some scholars have postulated that some dragons may hold animist beliefs and draw power from Nature through animism. Others point out that dragons are more akin to the spirits shamans call on rather than shamans themselves.
"Never ask an Elf about religion" is a common saying among humans that has no small amount of truth to it. Historically, the elves have been extremely private about religion, to the point of becoming violent towards those who inquire too deeply and hunting down those who reveal their secrets. That said, late in the Third Age of Man, a tome authored by a half-elf named Mandrake of the Spire made its way to Paeldain, in Koramia, that detailed the secrets of the elven faith. Though most of that information is still generally unknown, some of the secrets have leaked out. The most important of those secrets, it is believed, is that the elves know the secret pathways to Apotheosis, taught to them by the Tuatha de Dannan in the middle of the First Age of Man over six millennia ago. Though the Tuatha themselves initially served as patrons of the elves, as more elves ascended to the ranks of godhood, the Tuatha became less and less influential until finally fading from the elven faith altogether.
Though it is generally believed that all elves now follow the secretive elven pantheon, there are rumors of some pockets of elven civilization that did not receive the gifts of the Tuatha and never received their teachings. The names of the elven deities are unknown outside elven lands and, indeed, those who inquire too deeply into such matters are still usually met with cold disdain, at best.
The Imperial Ecclesia (or simply "The Church") is one of the three dominant human faiths and arguably the largest of the three, comparable only to the Aebasan Orthodoxy in numbers of worshipers. Ironically, the Imperial Ecclesia is based more closely on the oldest human faith of the First Age of Man, unfettered by subsequent revelations that have lead to the three-way schism between the three dominant human faiths. According to the Imperial Ecclesia, Lord Ptharos is still seated on his throne as King of the Gods, doling out his beneficence with supreme wisdom and generosity. Dagon is the chief Adversary, continually trying to destroy creation in a jealous rage at the beauty of creation.
The Imperial Ecclesia is predominant on the continent of Aurea and was predominant in the Imperial colonies on the continent of Duria prior to the rise of the Koramian Heresy. At the dawn of the Fourth Age of Man, only Cambrecia still holds to the Imperial Ecclesia on Duria and even that hold is tenuous at best. High Temples were once primarily based in Zeth, the capital of the Great Empire, with the Emperor as the mortal voice of the unified faith, but with the dissolution of the Empire, much of the former power of the Ecclesia has shattered as various churches chose their own path in church hierarchy.
The Koramian Heresy rose in the Third Age of Man after the discovery of a flying ship, later called the Glorious Galleon, by Saint Garimund of Ryard in the then-Imperial colony of Simmeria. Inside this ship the boy found a book, called the Koram, which revealed that Lord Ptharos had long ago stepped down as King of the Gods and appointed Vortumnus, god of chivalry and honor, as his replacement. The Koramian faith shares the concept of Ptharos stepping down as King of the Gods with the Aebasan Orthodoxy, but the two faiths disagree on what transpired thereafter.
The Koramian Heresy is dominant on the continent of Duria, though the Narbonnaise of Aurea also took up the faith during the chaos of the close of the Third Age of Man. Though the Church of Vortumnus is based in Paeldain, the capital of Koramia, few of the other Churches that subscribe to the Koramian Heresy have a central hierarchy or High Temple that leads the religion on Duria, in stark contrast to the rigid hierarchies of the Imperial Ecclesia of the Third Age of Man.
The orcs, once a unified culture that stretched the width and breadth of the Known World, are peculiar in that, though they do not deny that Lord Ptharos and the Triad created the world, they believe that the purpose to creation was, essentially, to test the mettle of the various sentient races that were created to populate it. Their belief is that the world will end in a great, apocalyptic war, wherein all the races will be forced to compete in battle for supremacy. The race that succeeds will dominate the new world in peace and harmony. The orcs intend to be that race.
Though this philosophy is generally known by scholars outside the orcish tribes, what is often not realized is that the orcs pray to one god as their leader and savior in the Final War: Darcingetorix the dragon. While most dragons are considered to be so powerful as to be forces of nature itself, Darcingetorix is the only dragon known to be worshiped as a god. That said, Darcingetorix demands no hierarchy or priesthood, though there are some rumors of actual clerics among the orcs. He only demands that orcs continue to hone their skills at battle and practice for the Final War, so that they may destroy all the other races and finally live in peace and harmony in their eternal reward.
Tuatha de Dannan
The worshippers of the Tuatha do not deny the existence of the Old Gods, but claim that the Tuatha were human philosophers who discovered the secret to immortality and deital power sometime during the First Age of Man. The initial group of humans who discovered the secret, lead by a woman named Danu, then spanned the world trying to find a people they considered ready to learn the paths to enlightenment. After many adventures, during which they revealed the secret to some particularly impressive humans, they finally discovered the elves. Believing the elves long-lived enough to truly understand and undertake the paths of enlightenment as a culture, they passed on their secret, which lead to the rise of the Elven Apotheism. Somewhere during their travels, the Tuatha became associated with a sect of naturalists called the druids. Though the Tuatha de Dannan have no clerics, the druids have essentially become their spiritual leaders, while bards became the lore-keepers of the faith.
Worship of the Tuatha became almost universal after the fall of the First Age of Man, when the Old Gods withdrew their blessings from their priesthoods. At the dawn of the Second Age of Man, one of the original philosophers who discovered the Secret, Math Mathonwy, withdrew from the Tuatha with plans to share the secret with all of humanity. Certain that humanity could not handle the secrets of immortality and, more importantly, deital power, the rest of the Tuatha rose against Math and, after a war that lasted over four hundred years, finally defeated Math and his followers. The Tuatha withdrew to a location somewhere in the world still secret, an event which resulted in the conclusion of the Second Age of Man. The Tuatha eventually withdrew from the world altogether as the Old Gods reasserted their dominion over the world at the start of the Third Age of Man. The Tuatha were remembered only in remote, primitive regions in the world and generally discarded as ignorant legend by most scholars.
During the waning years of the Third Age of Man, the Tuatha again began to influence events in the mortal realm. It is believed by some that they directly influenced the events of the Mage War and worked to bring together the Dragonknights who were instrumental in defeating the forces of the Mage King. When the Old Gods again receded during the last Dark Age, the druids began to move from their remote enclaves to again give judgment in the traditions of the Tuatha and the Bards began to retell the old stories of the Tuatha. At the dawn of the Fourth Age of Man, however, the Old Gods returned and again granted power to their clerics.
It remains to be seen if the Tautha's druids and the Old Gods clerics can coexist. There has never been an Age where one or the other was not dominant.
The faith of the Valtaan is unique in that, on the surface, it seems to have sprung whole-cloth among the Valtang without any influence from more traditional Triadic faiths. Scholars point out, however, that the Valtang use dwarven runes for writing, so they must have had some contact with the rest of the world and those who believe in the Triad in ancient times. Under the surface, however, many scholars believe that the Valtang actually do worship the Triadic gods but somehow lost access to most of the stories, apocrypha and holy books over the centuries and came up with their own stories based on a combination of a collective memory of the gods and acts by mortal kings and heroes.
The Valtang gods are generally bellicose and larger than life. They promote physical conflict and war as a means to spiritual reward over peace and scholastic, despite their chief god having given his eye to learn knowledge of the world. If the Valtang have clerics, none have been seen. Certainly, it is believed that they have some religious leadership, but as these men (or women) do not join in on raids and have not settled in regions the Valtang have conquered, they are as much a mystery as the origin of the faith itself.
|This article is part of the Feyworld Sourcebook|
|Religion in Feyworld|
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