The Religion of the Empire
The gods of the South resemble most the gods of the Romans and Greeks. They are a combination of gods, demigods and those who have been elevated to godhood after death. There are few written works about the gods, and most of the tales form a complex, sometimes contradictory mythology. The gods are considered one of the backbones of the Empire, and their teachings are meant to unite the far-flung lands of the Empire.
The Imperial view of the afterlife is that the honorable and worthy, and those who served the Emperor well, will be taken to a place of honor in the Underworld, Aerun, where they will know only happiness. The greatest honor will be for those who wish to continue to serve the Empire, and who will inducted into the honor guard of the Gods, to be sent to Earth as their servants, or elevated to godhood themselves. Those who are not worthy are sent to a deeper place in the Underworld, Maloth, a place of darkness and emptiness, forever away from the light.
The most prominent gods of the South are:
- Luthor Thorne the Emperor
- Assylia the Earth Mother
- Atar the Warrior
- Grimmin the Trickster
- Nema the Huntress
- Lemora the Scholar
The Religion of the North
The Northmen have departed from their ancestral religion, to embrace another faith, a more refined version of the tales of the Iceborn. The gods of the Northmen are independent, expecting more from the individual rather than trying to unite a culture.
In the Northern Faith, those who die are sent to a place of testing called Figrim where they will be confronted by the three great harpies – Naz, who will test their fears and courage; Bor, who will test their skills and strengths; and Mera, who will test their honor and their will. Those who fail these tests will be set upon by the harpies and consumed by them. Those who succeed shall pass through the Stone Gate into Godshold, where they will be greeted by the gods who guided them in life, and be taken to a great hall of feasting and joy called Goldmar.
The most prominent of the Northern gods are:
The Wild Faith
Few civilized men understand the wildlings or their beliefs. Their gods have no names, only descriptions, and it is unclear whether they are ancestral spirits or some kind of primordial gods of nature or something between or neither. They are worshiped in secret ceremonies in the forests few outsiders have ever witnessed, to the sound of drums and the dancing flames of bonfires. Their worshipers dance to them, to call forth these spirits from the sky and mists, so they may speak to them, or through them.
The Wild Gods are sometimes the most human, and sometimes the most alien, of the gods. They are not prayed to, they make deals. They do not truck with tricksters or attempts to deceive them. And their anger is terrible to behold.
The wilding’s belief about life after death is sketchy at best. They are animists, and believe that spirits live on to ‘go beneath the waters and the soil’, and ancestors can be called upon to be communicated with through the gods, and that those who anger the gods have evil fates waiting for them in the afterlife.
The most notable of the Wild Gods are:
The Religion of Mancalia
The Mancalian Free States are a strange place to peoples of the West. Their religion is based on mystery and mystery cults. Secret societies and masked priests preside over their ceremonies, and go to sacred dark places to call upon their gods and receive enlightenment. Some suggest that this is to hide the worship of demons or worse creatures. And there are rumors that entire pantheons of gods are hidden from outsiders.
Each mystery cult preaches that it holds the path to Tolath, the place beyond death, of nothingness and joy. But without the path it teaches, all souls are doomed to endless resurrection and suffering in this world.
Three Mancalian Gods are widely known and openly called upon:
The Dwarven Faith
While many Imperial Dwarves have been embraced the religion of the Empire, there are some who still hold to the Old Faith of the Mountains – Krag Har-Gorren, in the dwarf tongue. The Rampart Dwarves have never drifted from it. They venerate only three gods, though they recognize some servants as avatars of those gods, representing certain aspects of that god. The fourth god they recognize, but none worship.
Dwarven faith is wrapped in the idea of reincarnation, and each god is defined by his role within that cycle. Garar reforges souls after they die, based on the ‘quality’ they showed within life, which determines what they are reincarnated as. Only the most worthy of all souls become dwarves, of course. Sator keeps order within the world, and decides how smooth or craggy the lives of mortals shall be. And Arag snuffs out life when it comes its natural end, melting down the soul so it might be reforged.
The fourth god, Path, has his name only whispered, and represents that which undermines this divine plan, and the rebel god who created the creatures of the Dark to destroy the dwarves. According to dwarven mythology, the dark races have no souls, and are ill-forged creatures made only to attack the natural order of things.