Religion of the Isle of Mist

Gods

  • Mostly standard pantheon, but with a critical variation - all deities have both a light and a dark aspect. Ignore listed alignment for each deity - they're ALL both good AND evil.
    • Note that some have been combined and some tweaked slightly
    • Sort of think Greek tinge to this - each god has an aspect of himself or herself that corresponds to each alignment
  • Everyone worships all the deities, though divine spellcasters do have a patron
    • It's not that a divine spellcaster worships her patron more so than any other god; instead, it's that she has been chosen to specialize in the understanding of her patron so that she truly learn the rites, rituals, and norms required to appease her patron and keep her patron's lighter aspects shining upon the people of the island
    • Also, divine spellcasters do not commune directly with the deities. Instead, think of it more that they have faith that Pelor brings the warming sun and the blistering drought; Ehlonna brings the plentiful game and the wolves who prey on livestock; etc. There is no direct proof of direct divine intervention on the island; the clergy take it on faith that their deities are involved in the daily lives of the people.
    • For most of the populace, this religion is a religion of practicality. Pay service to the gods to keep in their good graces, for you have been taught that if you don't, their darker aspects will visit you. But religion isn't foremost in your mind, really; you do what is expected because it is expected and because it is culturally appropriate, but you don't generally live and breathe the religion unless you are a member of the clergy.
    • Core tenet of religion: all gods can punish just as well as they can reward
    • Spellcasters: Law, Chaos, Evil, Good domains not available without clearing with DM first - these domains probably will be excised from campaign completely.
  • To the population at large, there is no difference between divine and arcane magic. Even the clergy are hard-pressed to truly understand the difference.
    • Knowledge (arcana) -> Knowledge (magic) for the purposes of this campaign
    • Knowledge (religion) is still applicable for this campaign, but it pertains to the philosophical understanding of the will of the gods, not to divine spellcasting

Major aspects of the gods:

  • Hearth:  The god's fatherly or motherly form; family, contentment, and home.
  • Passion:  The god's form of passion and romantic love.
  • Battle:  The god's form in battle/warfare.
  • Wrath:  The god's form as a pure entity of rage.

The gods are usually represented as four people standing around and joined to a central pillar. The people face in the compass directions oriented so that hearth and passion face more toward the Island as a whole and battle and wrath face more away from it. Hearth is always opposite battle; passion is always opposite wrath.

Boccob

  1. Goddess of Magic
  2. Beneficial side is magic used for benefit of all
    1. Hearth: Plain brown tunic, breeches, and robe; ink-stained hands.
    2. Passion: Rail-thin whip of a woman with a fire behind her eyes; usually pictured conservatively but attractively dressed (dress or skirts).
  3. Detrimental side is magic used to destroy, hoarding power
    1. Battle: Wreathed in scintillating rainbow of force armor; wields a staff wreathed in flame.
    2. Wrath: Walking crystal of scintillating rainbow colors; blasts apart anything in her way with bolts of pure magical power.

Ehlonna

  1. Goddess of Nature
  2. Beneficial side is life, plants, growth, harvest, hunt
    1. Hearth: Pictured in simple homespun wool, surrounded by succulent dishes of meats and fruits.
    2. Passion: Pictured barely covered in a revealing gown of moss with accentuated full-figured curves.
  3. Detrimental side is blight, disease, ravages of predators
    1. Battle: Wears leather studded with living thornwood that tears at her opponents when they close; fights with longbow and knives.
    2. Wrath: Towering giant with skin of bark, claws of a bear, and fangs of a wolf; rends flesh of her enemies with her bare hands.

Erythnul

  1. God of Warfare, Combat, Militia
  2. Beneficial side is honor, protection, service
    1. Hearth: Solemn, older man, still muscled but covered with the fat of years of calm, like an ex-soldier turned strong father. Stern at first, but the care is in his eyes.
    2. Passion: Well-muscled young warrior, stripped bare to the waist.
  3. Detrimental side is war, brother against brother
    1. Battle: Wears dull chain armor, completely functional, that reknits; wields a longsword and a strong shield.
    2. Wrath: Steel giant made fully of chain links with glowing orange-red eyes burning from beneath the links; wields dual longswords and wears his shield on his back like a turtleshell.

Fharlanghn

  1. God of Travel, Trade, Merchants, Messengers
  2. Beneficial side is trade, journey, meeting and sharing with new people
    1. Hearth: Fatted merchant wearing rich robes; jovial and generous.
    2. Passion: Lean and tanned traveller in travel-worn clothing, torn between lust and wanderlust.
  3. Detrimental side is homelessness, loneliness, monetary greed
    1. Battle: Wears supple leather armor giving him complete freedom of movement; wields a quarterstaff and carries a pouch of small throwing blades that perpetually renew.
    2. Wrath: Old man clutching a worn and ragged staff radiating despair and loneliness nearly impossible to resist.

Heironyous

  1. Goddess of the Sky, Justice, Revenge
  2. Beneficial side is justice, ethics, mercy
    1. Hearth: Grandmotherly blue-haired woman who always smells clean, like a refreshing breeze.
    2. Passion: Roiling raven-haired beauty with a storm boiling behind her piercing blue eyes.
  3. Detrimental side is cold, undirected revenge
    1. Battle: Wears clean, bright plate armor that reflects the clouds, rendering her nearly invisible; wields a massive hammer.
    2. Wrath: Towering blue giantess wreathed in lightning.

Hextor

  1. God of the Sea, the Forge
  2. Beneficial side is fish, protection of the sea, water
    1. Hearth: Grandfatherly silver-haired man who smells faintly of the sea; always seems to be carrying a fishing rod and basket.
    2. Passion: Moderately-muscled man of incredible speed and stamina with a storm boiling behind his piercing green eyes.
  3. Detrimental side is ravages of storms, crushing power
    1. Battle: Wears spiny, bladed plate armor that looks and cuts like sharp coral; wields a spear that always returns to his hand and a long, curved knife of the style used to gut fish.
    2. Wrath: Green-skinned giant who moves across the earth like waves moving across water. Weapons pass through him and he crushes those who stand before him with powerful blows from his fists.

Nerull

  1. God of Death, Birth
  2. Beneficial side is natural order of things, death and birth
    1. Hearth: Old man or old woman sitting in a rocking chair, ill and dying, but surrounded by caring family and contented.
    2. Passion: Hugely pregnant mother about to give birth.
  3. Detrimental side is murder, kill for pleasure, etc.
    1. Battle: Wears black leather studded with small silver skulls; nothing but a skeleton; wields a giant silver-blue scyth.
    2. Wrath: Vaguely human-shaped form of utter darkness; can't look directly at it, and it can utterly destroy/disintegrate anything it so chooses.

Olidammara

  1. Goddess of Knowledge, Secrets, Trickery
  2. Beneficial side is white lies, thirst for knowledge, sharing secrets with deserving only
    1. Hearth: Looks like a young mother, just awakened from slumber. Always gives the impression of caring for her newborn child while her husband watches over her shoulder, but child and husband are just blank slates accentuating her situation as a young mother.
    2. Passion: Nude Aphrodite-like woman wearing nothing but fine jewelry to accentuate her neck, breasts, and wrists. Though all the gods could be said to exude sex in their passion-aspects, she is head and shoulders above the rest.
  3. Detrimental side is greed for knowledge, lies for power, dark secrets, etc.
    1. Battle: Wears studded leather wreathed in gold and silver and cut low to expose cleavage; wields a pick and incredible sexuality.
    2. Wrath: Army of flickering copies, each of whom rushes foward and backward, taunting and flanking. No way to tell which, or indeed how many, are real. Tear apart whatever is in their path with unexpected blows from all sides.

Pelor

  1. God of the Sun, Healing
  2. Beneficial side is warmth, growth, life
    1. Hearth: Wears golden-yellow robes flowing in waves down his back.
    2. Passion: Bear of a man, the male equivalent of Olidammara; just exudes power and sex.
  3. Detrimental side is fire, withering crops
    1. Battle: Wears golden breastplate with golden chain draped from it. Wields greatsword inlayed with argia.
    2. Wrath: Towering pillar of flame that sunders mountains and turns stone to lava.

Places of Worship

  • Three cities have one temple near city center. Center has congregation area; many wings spread out from there, each exactly the same size. One per deity.
    • 2 altars in each deity's nook, 1 white marble w/ gold inlay, 1 black granite w/ silver inlay
  • Every village has 2 shrines like altars in temples but with all deities' symbols engraved around circumference

Parables

Note: Though the Isle is "Eden" to the people of the island, that doesn't mean it's PERFECT. It just means its heaven compared to what the parables say about Across, which is a land of demons and monsters, wholly inhospitable to humans. Those who try to enter the demons' realm are punished by the gods. The Elite Guards defend the Bridge from these demons and from those who would try to walk the Bridge, as everyone who has tried has both failed and brought ruin on their family (e.g., see the Parable of Sandra).

The Other Side of the Bridge

Isle is like a reverse Eden. People used to live Across, but it was a terrible place, beset with disease and dangerous creatures. Life was harsh; people were beset upon on all sides by thugs, brigands, bears, lions, and worse. Eventually, gods came to Farmer Mirle in a vision. Mirle was a pious but poor man who never turned down a request for help. In the vision, the gods told him that he'd proven to them the best that a man could be. He'd shown them a side of man they'd never seen before. They told him to gather his family and friends, good people all, and a year hence — just after the next harvest — come to the top of a hillock in a grove overlooking the stream that ran through the nearest town.

He was a good man, and many owed their lives and comfort to him. When he began to preach of the vision he'd had, at first people thought nothing of it; the gods sent the wind and the sun, the rain and the snow, but never a vision! But when he insisted his vision was real, some began to deride him as crazed. Still, a few listened to his gentle tones and began to believe. They spread the word as well, and after a year had passed, he was surprised to see many scores of people waiting at the top of the hillock with him. For a long time, there was nothing; but he and his followers, ever patient, simply sat and waited. As they waited, some began to talk with one another. It was there that Ring's daughter and Brightmiller's son, both but children, first met… but I digress. After hours and hours of waiting, during the blackest hours of the New Moon's Night, a bright fireball raced across the heavens, blooming in the sky to the west. Struck with inspiration, the men, women, and children gathered what they could carry and traveled west toward the blossoming streak.

After a year's hard travel, though a few had given up and a few more had died, the group arrived at the Bridge. They crossed over, and after they passed a mist descended on the Bridge like the closing of a door. The people somehow knew that this would be their home now, and that though they could never return, this land would give them everything they'd dreamt of and more.

Legend has that the gods, having saved their chosen, let the land Across to the demons. The demons swore to leave the Isle unmolested forevermore in exchange for the sundered lands of the Across. However, demons are not keepers of their word, so the gods bid the chosen to keep careful watch over the Bridge and cross it not. Should anyone or anything cross the bridge, that creature should be struck down.

Legend says you can sometimes hear the howls of the demons thrashing on the other side, but none has slipped by the gods' watchful eyes without an Islander first violating the pact.

Ring and Brightmiller

Story about Ring's son (Piers), Brightmiller's daughter (Olivia), and how they married and began the Pact. Met at the hillock before the Journey; journeyed for two years; separated on the Isle when Brightmiller went south and Ring west. Reunited later after Brightmiller's daughter, against her now-ailing father's wishes, headed north during hard winter and famine a few years after Brightmill founded. Against all odds, she made it through the blizzard where so many others had failed. Found small town where Violetford now stands, and the man at the center of the town was Ring. They reacquainted, and Ring gathered the local farmers to take emergency supplies to Brightmill. Brightmill saved at the 11th hour by the emergency supplies. Ring and Brightmiller fell in love and married; she convinced her eldest brother, master miller (Theodoric) running much of the town of Brightmill, to sign a pact with Violetford. Forms basis of system of arranged marriages and trade of apprentices; essentially is the first treaty of the Isle.

Rhydderch's Tragedy

Danica Rhydderch was a priestess who lived long ago. This parable tells the story of her casting a powerful spell to protect her town from a forest fire. Though she was an experienced priestess of Hextor, she was all alone, trying to defend a small farming village from a raging inferno while others. In a last-ditch effort, she pushed every last effort she could into an abjuration ritual. The fire raged around her village, but at the last second it split and bypassed the village on both sides. The villagers found her after the firestorm standing just outside the village, arms raised in a gesture of repudiation… but burned to a column of ashes. The fire had split around her, but the power of the spell had overwhelmed her, killing her as she saved her village.

The Fall of Rupert

Long, long ago, far beyond the memory of any living person yet long after the founding of the Isle, the villagers of Violetford had become complacent. Though they lived nearest the Bridge and bore the task of guarding it, nothing had happened since the Founding. Guardianship of the Bridge was quite a drain on the city's resources, and soldiers quickly grew tired of watching over nothing night after night. Slowly, the number of soldiers assigned to the Bridge Guard declined, until finally only a handful of men remained.

One night, the only man on guard let his curiousity get the best of him. The soldier, a young man named Rupert Pasternak, was standing watch alone and decided to wander out onto the Bridge. He made it but a few hundred feet when he felt a steady rumbling under his feet. This rumbling woke the rest of the soldiers sleeping in the camp. Fear took him over and he turned a bolted toward the Isle again, but it was too late. Suddenly, a fire erupted at the far end of the Bridge. The sleepy-eyed soldiers saw a group of Demons wreathed in the flame, sniffing the air. Suddenly, as if they'd just noticed the massive structure looming before them, they started and moved toward the Bridge. In a flash, they were across. The guard captain, young and inexperienced, thankfully thought ahead enough to send a runner to Violetford.

Again, luck or the Gods were on our side, as the runner was able to scramble some of the Violetford night Watch. Soon after they had gathered at the edge of town, the Demons game. The fighting lasted for hours. Many died; houses and businesses were destroyed in the battle. The Demons were finally defeated by the massed power of Violetford's priests and wizards, leaving nothing behind but smouldering corpses that disintegrated in the breeze. The only survivor of the Bridge guard was the runner.

Since this incident, Violetford has never faltered in its guardianship of the Bridge, nor have they ever let anyone approach the Bridge again. Passing the entry columns of the Bridge is, to this day, one of the crimes for which the Guards have the authority to kill.

Parables of the Salted Field

This is a collection of short parables taught to farmers. They basically cover how growing the same crops and not properly tending the fields causes problems with yields. The stories describe some of these bad practices and implore farmers to vigilantly care for their crops.

Parables of the Waterwalkers

Sailing parables describing different types of weather and how to understand what is and isn't safe.

Parable of Demonhome

Parable describing the hellscape the Demonhome is thought to be and the terrors that lurk there. Everything is described vaguely, but fire and brimstone, lightning, sulphur, needle-plants, noxious gasses, and other such unpleasant and deadly metaphors are used to describe the land.

This parable says that Demonhome is the lesser half of the world; the Isle is the greater half.

Parable of the Sky and the Sea

Parable explaining away thunderstorms as Heironyous and Hextor fighting. Encourages people to work extra-hard to appease the two with Hearth and Passion instead of Battle and Wrath to calm the storms. Conversely, when the two are getting along, they control the mists that protect and shroud the Isle.

The pounding waves are the pounding of Hextor's forge, the sea mist the smoke and sparks that fly from it.

Downfall of the Impenitent Mage

Warns mages and priests against prying into the Bridge and the Watchers too deeply. Warns that scrying them can cause blindness or insanity and prodding them with physical spells can cause backlash that can burn or kill.

Gift of the Gods

Parable about Godsmetal. Basically a morality story about how all argia should be treated as a) extraordinarily precious, and b) the property of the Isle as a whole. Dissuades people from keeping secret any argia they find, as it can be crafted into items for the good of all of the Islanders. Unclear on whether argia itself is magical or if it is just really conducive to magical enchantment.

Parable of the Soldier

Parable about how dutiful soldiers are rewarded for their service in the afterlife.

Parable of the Shipwreck

Story about a group of sailors who strayed too far past the Watchers. Swept to Hope Island and spent years there fighting to survive and return home.

Parable of Divine Intervention

Parable about a conversation between Farmer Mirle and the gods (or maybe another vision Mirle had) during the journey to the Isle. Discusses the hardships the families faced and the sacrifices made and asked why the gods couldn't just show them the path. Gods essentially explained that without hardship, there is no wisdom; without sacrifice, no value; and without choice, no free will. People had to choose to fight for what they wanted, but they would be rewarded for their determination.

Eclipses

Eclipses are bad omens - generally considered to be an argument between Pelor and Nerull. Partial means that Pelor and Nerull mended ways quickly and things might be touchy for a while but should get back to normal soon. Full eclipse is a very bad omen. Eclipses are not predictable.

Other Lessons

Children learn anywhere from dozens to hundreds of parables and lessons, depending upon where and how they grow up. The priests teach appropriate parables depending on the area the children are in. Older students who have been selected for apprenticeship learn additional parables related to their chosen career field.

Some examples of general parables and lessons every child would know:

  • The Golden Rule
  • The Silver Rule
  • Stories and meanings behind the major religious holidays

Most lessons are taught via story. Songs and poems are more rare, though there are some. Storytelling is by far the most important art of oral tradition on the Isle.

Death

Islanders either bury their dead or send them to sea on fragile rafts. The Islanders consider the body a vessel for the soul and worthy of respect, but they do not as a rule visit the gravesites or concern themselves with remembering where specific individuals are buried. The religion of the Isle teaches that your soul leaves your body upon death and waits in a timeless void until a new body is born for you. Your soul is then reincarnated into the new body without explicit memory of any previous lives, though every soul shall learn and grow throughout its infinite tenure in the world.


Q&A

  1. Is Pelor the same entity as Ononion Birvir?
    1. The aelphin you've spoken with to date haven't heard of Pelor, but based on what you have been able to determine, the descriptions of the two deities are not identical. However, they're not completely incompatible, either. This is still an open question.
  2. What are the names and capabilities of other named Demons like The Purging Fire?
    1. You have personally encountered two confirmed named Demons, The Purging Fire and Iealdith the Iceblood Empress.
    2. You have also heard stories of 4 other named Demons:
      1. Emem the Giant, who is said to be imprisoned under the dharven city of Sundtar Agamm.
      2. Iakalos, who is said by the dharven to have been hurled into the sun long ago by warriors "from the east."
      3. Botros Albaf, "a demon of diamond and ruby," who was shattered and scattered high into the sky to circle the world in a glittering halo.
      4. Majel, who is a capricious demon said by the dharven to be unpredictable but less destructive than most.

Notes

  1. Islanders refer to other side of bridge as Across, but it is formally Demonhome.

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