Gods

The Ever-Flowering Tree (Lawful Good, Universal)*

Most gods are created and sustained by belief of sentient beings. Enough people see Thunder and decide it must have a divine source and Hey Presto! Thor pops into being on the Outer Planes.

The Tree is an anomaly – it developed, mostly ignored and unattended by the more…motile gods of Mount Celestia. It seems to absorb background energy from acts of creation, kindness, duty and self-sacrifice without the need for conscious doctrinally-focused belief; more interestingly, it absorbs such energy even from non-sentient processes, from the eruption of a new volcanic island to the budding of a single flower.

In short – the Ever-Flowering Tree is a God of, and a feeder upon, what might awkwardly be termed ‘anti-entropy.’

In appearance, the Tree is a massive flowering behemoth that shifts endlessly in an undetectable breeze that swirls through its boughs. It seems to match the aesthetic preferences of its beholder; ask any two observers to describe it, even two Gods, and they will report that it looks different to each; suffice it to say that it is achingly, inspiringly beautiful in a way tailored naturally as breathing to the perspective of each onlooker, aspirant or humble Celestian petitioner.

Tree-ism is one of the most popular and enduring faiths by virtue of its very laissez-faire attitude to day-to-day life. The Commandments of the Tree are mostly modular and optional: the only truly ironclad rules are:

  • Firstly, never let cruelty rule you.
  • Secondly, honour the laws of your chosen home so long as they do not violate the First Rule.
  • Thirdly, live as you wish and flourish as you ought so long as the First and Second Rules hold true.

Simplicity has proven a virtue in this case – as the tree holds many very disparate characters with very different approaches to life under a wide, benevolently law-abiding umbrella. Many dwarves and members of other races similarly invested in the building of elaborate and enduring fortresses and homes venerate the Tree in particular, but even rootless wanderers have found shelter under its Aegis.

Not many poets, though: the Tree’s one major peccadillo is its deploring all forms of figurative language and metaphor. Its followers are free, however, to enjoy a good tune in their down time. The Tree just won’t ever truly understand why.

Most Priests of the Tree are artisans (Flame Priests) or healers (Flower Priests), creating new things of value and worth or encouraging new growth and repair in things that are damaged or worn. The Flame and Flower congregations of the Tree are both privately convinced that they are the more happily exact in their mortal manifestation of the Tree’s glory, but all get along well – there’s more than enough beautiful, inspiring Arboreal Deity to go around.

Jon of the Three Villages, God of the Harvest* (Neutral Good, Gnomish)

Jon of Three Villages is possibly the smallest of the parochial gnomish minor gods of the South-eastern Pelen Forest.

He began as the harvest god of a small collection of gnomish villages, but his domain rapidly expanded as the people of the villages began praying to Him for more and increasingly disparate aspects of their lives, having neither the means nor the inclination for more than one temple. Nor did they need more: despite being a harvest god, Jon cares for His followers and attempts to answer all prayers (usually by stretching the definition of “harvest” to the breaking point in order to be able to consider it part of his domain and therefore his powers).

Jon of the Three Villages is a practical, well-meaning, and hard-working god who tries his best to fulfill the needs of his faithful. His main tennents are as follows:

1) Treat people as well as you can;
2) Do not shirk your part of the labour;
3) Take care of any villager unable to fend for themselves;
4) Make sure you get the harvest in just after the talfian moon to avoid frostbite;
5) Give a generous but fiscally prudent portion of your livelihood to charity;
6) Listen to whatever Old Travers says on the subject of growing wheat; and
7) Follow any rules passed by a vote of the villager’s association.

Rather than recitation of stuffy and hard to remember prayers, followers of Jon of the Three Villages have found that He prefers them to show devotion primarily by performing a variety of simple rituals throughout the day, such as whistling when crossing a stream, always stirring soup counterclockwise, keeping a small rock in one’s coat pocket, and decorating one’s home with red thistle***.

He divinely imbues a single cleric, currently Oswald, with the ability to cast Cure Wounds once per day.

Sometimes He thinks He can feel a faint ping of worship, as of a single faithful household, from across the Sea but He can never quite tell.

* Formerly the Four Villages, until Trenwhistle-on-the-Brant decided to transfer their divine allegiance to a river goddess from upstream

** And Anything Else He May Be Called Upon To Oversee

*** His Divine Plant had previously been violets, until a nasty case of violet beetles greatly decreased the conveniently available supply of it, at which point it was decided with a two thirds majority at a townhall meeting that His Divine Plant would henceforth be red thistle, which was quite plentiful.

Valkor, the God of Courage (Lawful Good, Universal)

Valkor is the God of Courage. Courage requires risk, daring, and not flinching in the face of danger. Being a god means you have divine senses that tell you about many of the world’s dangers, constantly. The confluence of these two factors means that Valkor is an often changing god, because the average Valkor only survives for a few decades. It turns out that if your entire essence demands face-checking every fey hunt, demonic incursion, or divine war, you don’t have a great life expectancy, even as a god.

As a result, Valkor relies on his (or her) Chosen to fill the void. At any given time, Valkor has somewhere between a dozen to a hundred Chosen spread across the world, each imbued with divine strength to augment their own innate courage and charisma. If Valkor dies, one of the Chosen (usually the highest level) becomes Valkor.

The current Valkor has been a god for two centuries.

He is very, very good at what he does, and his Chosen reflect him. In the current era, Chosen of Valkor are universally respected as devout, upstanding, moral defenders of justice, a welcome departure from eras when Valkor was the god of courage and foolhardiness, or courage and prickly honour, or courage and will to power. Valkor is also, coincidentally, ace, and all of his Chosen are as well. This is a slight bias on Valkor’s part, but since he shares an intense emotional / psychic bond to each of his Chosen, it’s understandable.

Which makes Melora all the more awkward. She reached the threshold for courage and force of will to be Chosen at the age of eight when she attacked a devil with a slightly sharpened spoon, and Valkor didn’t realize that she was only ace at that point because she was so young. Melora’s puberty was very awkward for Valkor.

Currently, Valkor is off somewhere in the western end of the home continent wrangling volcano spirits, and feeling guilty that he’s slightly relieved that Melora’s fiancé Clementine Merryweather recently died.

Dave the Nameless (Chaotic Neutral, Universal?)

The god of Pierre Lee. Little else is known about him.

Iah – The Light In Darkness

Iah is a secretive god of shelter and redemption. His symbol is the crescent moon. He is known to give second chances to those who are lost, and to shelter those who hide away from the world.

Unfortunately, the last sect of Iah on the new continent (a small monastery hidden away in the mountains) was destroyed by a disaster. The only surviving member of the religion, Bennu of Iah, was not very diligent in his religious studies, and so nearly all that is known of Iah has been lost.

Yamaa, Goddess of Death (Lawful Neutral, Universal)

Keeper of the Boundary between Life and Death. Speaks in all-caps with an affectation of Middle English. Her designated followers (designated by Her Divine Will, not by their own choice, of course, that would be crazy) are known as the Gatekeepers. They wield the sacred bells of Sleep, Wake, Speech, Thought, Walk, Command, and Passage to ensure the dead stay down.

Yamaa does not concern herself with lists of rules. There is only one rule which matters: everyone and everything has a time to die. Every undead is a violation of this rule which must be corrected. (Do not try to explain to Yamaa that she herself violated this rule when she raised Sarene from the dead. It will not go well for you.)

Shirana, Goddess of War and Honouring the Fallen (Neutral Good, Dwarven)

Shirana was originally solely a god of war, but over centuries she noticed that the souls of those who fell in battle often had more difficulty reaching their proper afterlife, having been jumbled somewhat by the violence of their deaths. She expanded her portfolio to include caring for such souls, and gradually became better known for that than for her original purpose as a god of war.

Sunfish, God? of the World Sea and its Crimson Sun (Neutral Good?, Universal?)

For some gods, their own belief in a better future for all sentient beings keeps them sustained… weak, feeble, but waiting. So goes the Sunfish, imprisoned at the bottom of a crystal-clear pool on the islet of Los on Mainland. Imprisoned since some sneaky Godling sent flame-wielding followers after it and its twin. Alone since those followers stole into its presence and murdered its twin. But our Sunfish did not fall, for it is wise. It hid, like all wise things, and it thrived on self-belief.

In early days, twin Sunfishes watched over a landless world. It was an endless sea, over which a crimson and black sun blossomed. That sun gave light but did not burn, guided but proffered no befuddling mirages, drew only the good parts of humanity upwards. These traits are unlike the betrayer’s sun that sits in the modern sky. When the world was the sea, the heaviest parts of mankind sank to the bottom. There they dwelt in dark. There they remain untouched by light to fester, to wither, to die. The lightest parts of mankind floated to the surface. There they were weightless, unburdened by doubt. There, they basked in the glory of the sun. This is what some Godling took from us.

But wait is awarded. The Sunfish found its first priest in countless centuries, quite by accident. He receives the Sunfish’s truth in glorious visions. Those visions are now recounted for you, the curious and interested.

In appearance, the Sunfish is a massive fish that rests at the bottom of a crystal clear pool. Its face is adorned with beady eyes and a curiously serrated, circular mouth. Its body is a cold grey with occasional puissant streaks of glowing gold and purple. Like all sunfish, it has a strange caudal fin that looks somewhat like underside of clumpy mushrooms. Despite the water’s clarity, the fish’s location and the exact shape shifts and twists under endless layers of refraction.

Sunfish has offered the following commands to spread:

  • First, know that all creatures are made of good and evil. In water, only good floats to the surface.
  • Second, know that all creatures are made of good and evil. On the surface, the good is drawn into the crimson sun’s heavenly maw. There, disconnected from all the evil within them, sentient beings are freed and joyful.
  • Third, know that all creatures are made of good and evil. Evil dwells in the silt and mixes with the sand and dirt and earth, so land is the source of all poisons.
  • Fourth, know fire carries with it the false Godling’s mark. One should never shun useful tools, but one should never embrace the amber and yellow flame if other tools will do. Our need for heat is a reminder of our sin.
  • Fifth, know language carries with it the fasle Godling’s mark. One should speak in the Sunfish’s tongue, Deep Speech, when possible as it is the first and untainted language. Its sounds will rouse ancient allies from the deep.
  • Sixth, know hatred and vengeance carry with it the false Godling’s mark. Such passions belong smothered in clay, because hatred and anger agitate the soul and mix the good with the evil.
  • Seventh, know that all creatures are made of evil and good.

Gods

Silanya James_Elcombe dgonobsidian