Faith and Pantheons

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In the celestial sphere of the multiverse, the pantheon of deities is not just a collection of divine entities but the very heartbeat of existence. In this path, we will plunge into the intricate dynamics between the cosmos's mortal inhabitants and the divine, revealing a multiverse where deities are not distant overseers but integral threads in the fabric of life. Their influence permeates every aspect of existence, from the murmur of a prayer in a secluded glade to the grandeur of temples that scrape the heavens.

The bond between a deity and their worshipper transcends mere reverence, manifesting as a profound, living connection. It is a relationship forged in the sacred flames of initiation rituals and sustained through acts of devotion and adherence to divine dogmas. This sacred connection not only guides the worshippers through their mortal lives but also advocates for their souls in the life beyond, weaving their destinies with the eternal.

Yet, the spiritual landscape of the multiverse is rich and diverse. It is a world where the faithful may pay homage to multiple deities, recognizing the dominion of each over different facets of the cosmos. This practice underscores the complex tapestry of life, where the divine touch is multifaceted and omnipresent.

Worshipping the Deities

A Traveler Making an Offering to a Temple

The worship of deities is a deeply ingrained and multifaceted aspect of life. Each sentient being, in seeking connection with the divine, typically aligns themselves with a patron deity whose dogma resonates with their personal philosophy and way of life. This spiritual allegiance is not only a reflection of one's beliefs and aspirations but also carries profound implications for the afterlife, for it is the patron deity who advocates for the soul during the transcendent trials in the world beyond.

The sacred bond between a deity and a worshipper is not formed by mere acceptance of dogma but is forged through the solemn and revered initiation ritual. This ritual, a cornerstone of spiritual life, marks the transition from spiritual adolescence to maturity. It is a rite of passage that requires meticulous preparation, deep meditation, and the guidance of a devoted cleric of the chosen deity. The aspirant, engages in the deity-specific ceremonial practices that not only invoke the presence of the divine but also symbolize the aspirant's commitment and devotion. The bond between a mortal and a deity is not something that can be forced. The commitment is something that must be done of free will and true conviction, or else the initiation will fail and no bond with the deity can be created.

Take, for instance, the initiation into the radiant embrace of Aerion, deity of the sun. The future worshipper, after a period of contemplation, kneels before the horizon at the cusp of dawn, accompanied by a cleric. In the profound silence of anticipation, they await the first golden ray of sunlight. At that divine moment, prayers are offered, and the cleric, acting as an intermediary between the mortal and the divine, casts the sacred initiation spell. This spell is not merely a formality but a profound spiritual conduit, marking the soul of the worshipper with the celestial signature of Aerion.

While the initiation ritual is a deeply personal and spiritual event, it is often followed by communal celebrations. These festivities, lasting days, are a testament to the joyous union of the worshipper with the divine and serve as a reaffirmation of the community's collective faith. Yet, the heart of the initiation remains in the sincere and solemn observances prescribed by the deity's dogma, and a cleric, adhering to the essence of the ritual, can perform it with the same divine resonance, even in the absence of grand festivities.

The path of devotion, however, is not rigidly fixed. Should an individual seek to realign their spiritual journey with a different patron deity, the initiation ritual offers a conduit for transformation. This transition, marked by both introspection and societal observation, may involve a quest or an act of penance, symbolizing the aspirant's dedication to their new chosen path. For divine spellcasters, this change is further sanctified by the atonement spell, allowing them to embrace new divine domains and reforge their spiritual and magical connections.

Yet, for those who wander through life without the guidance of a patron deity, the prospects are somber. Known as Soulstrays, these individuals face a perilous fate beyond the mortal realm. Legend whispers of Nessus, the deity of death, who claims these lost souls, condemning them to an eternity of torment in his obscure domain. Whether this is myth or reality, the consequence is unequivocal: the soul of a Soulstray, once departed from the mortal coil, cannot be reclaimed by any known magic, their essence forever adrift in the unknown. Younglings cannot be considered Soulstrays, as it is the deities of the parents the ones who answer for the youngling's soul until they come of age.

It is important to note that devotion to a patron deity does not preclude reverence for the broader pantheon. It is a widely embraced practice for individuals to offer prayers to various deities, acknowledging the multifaceted nature of the divine and the myriad aspects of life they govern. A weaponsmith, for instance, while primarily devoted to their patron, may still offer a fervent prayer to Dunguthar when forging a fine weapon, seeking the deity's mastery in craftsmanship, and to Aerion if the weapon is destined for a knight, invoking the sun deity's blessing of valor and honor. At day's end, the same soul might whisper a plea to Antanara for restful slumber or seek Brigit's mercy when ailment shadows their doorstep.

This practice of offering prayers to multiple deities is not seen as a dilution of faith but as a recognition of each deity's dominion over different spheres of life. It is an acknowledgment that while one's path may be aligned with a particular deity's dogma, life's journey weaves through the realms of many divine influences. Even in fear or respect, offerings are made to appease deities of markedly different alignments or interests, ensuring a harmonious balance with the divine forces that pervade the cosmos. The most common form of offering, a humble yet profound act, involves tossing a few coins into a temple bowl and murmuring a heartfelt plea, a tradition that stands as a testament to the enduring bond between the mortals of the multiverse and the beings that watch over them.

The worship of deities is not merely a facet of culture; it is the essence of existence, intertwining the fates of mortals with the will of the divine. It is a dance of devotion, destiny, and the eternal interplay of life, death, and the profound realms beyond.

The Overgod

Aethas creating the multiverse

People might not know about this, but the deities are not the ultimate beings in the cosmology. Ancient Dragons rival their power, but more importantly, there is a being that stands above all. He is the creator of everything, the Overgod, and his name is Aethas. Even though Aethas true form is one that cannot be properly comprehended by any being in the cosmology, not even the deities, most old tomes of lore represent him as an old man of incalculable age and wisdom.

Aethas stands as the enigmatic origin and inevitable destiny of all creation. As the architect of the cosmos, this omnipresent Overgod crafted the very elements and energies that weave the tapestry of existence. Known only to entities of profound wisdom, Aethas exists beyond the realm of alignment, worship, and prayer, untouched and unbound by the conventions of lesser beings. After initiating creation, Aethas receded into an impenetrable silence, broken solely during The Vanishing – a singular event that bound the deities to the godrift. Aethas is the embodiment of the cosmic cycle: from him, all creation sprang, and to him, it is said, all will return at the end of times, when existence itself ceases to be, marking the culmination of an unfathomable plan set in motion at the dawn of time.

The Overgod Aethas is not only the origin but also the ultimate culmination of all existence. As the architect of creation, Aethas wove the fabric of the multiverse from the void, instilling every star, every world, and every breath of life with a fragment of his incomprehensible power. But his role extends far beyond the dawn of existence. In the grand cosmic cycle, Aethas is both the beginning and the inevitable end, the alpha and omega of the cosmos.

It is said that as the tapestry of time unfurls towards its final fold, all of creation will once again converge into Aethas. Every celestial melody, every whispered secret of the dark, and every fleeting moment of joy and sorrow will return to him. This grand convergence is not an act of destruction but a sublime reunion, an affirmation of Aethas's divine majesty. With each cycle of creation and reclamation, his glory amplifies, resonating through the cosmos in echoes of eternal majesty.

In this light, the destiny of every star and every soul is intrinsically linked to Aethas. Their journeys, their trials, and their triumphs are all facets of his divine narrative. And as they navigate the complex paths of existence, they move ever closer to their ultimate return to the Overgod, contributing to the boundless glory of Aethas, the eternal architect and final sanctuary of all that is and ever will be.

The Deities

In the boundless expanse of the multiverse, where the fabric of existence weaves together the tangible and the transcendent, the deities stand above as entities of incalculable might and enigmatic essence. These beings, wielding power to sculpt cosmos and command the forces of creation and destruction, stand as the architects of reality and the shepherds of fate. Their thoughts alone can birth stars or rend the veil between planes, and their hands have molded the elements into worlds teeming with life and wonder. Yet, their influence extends beyond the mere physical; it is woven into the very essence of existence, guiding the destinies of mortals and immortals alike.

While often perceived as embodiments of ideals and forces beyond mortal comprehension, the deities of the multiverse are entities of emotion and ambition, not unlike the mortals who revere them. Their divine hearts are susceptible to the same passions, follies, and virtues that stir in the hearts of men and creatures alike. This shared tapestry of sentiment and desire has, throughout the ages, shaped legends and histories, as the divine and the mundane realms intertwine in an eternal dance of creation and consequence.

Though deities can appear in any form they will, during the time they could walk among mortals, they normally had a preferred form of showing themselves to them. Sometimes this preferred form was selected to be easily recognizable, to ease their encounters with their worshippers, or sometimes, especially evil deities, to induce fear into the hearts of both followers and foes. They even have animal forms they like to use when they want to move through the world unnoticed.

Hierarchy of the Deities

The pantheon of deities is structured into a nuanced spectrum of divinity, each tier reflecting the varied scope and potency of the gods' influence over the multiverse.

At the pinnacle of divine power reside the Greater Deities, beings of unparalleled might and wisdom. These sovereign entities command the most fundamental aspects of existence, holding dominion over the forces that underpin the cosmos itself. They are often the leaders and, in many cases, the eldest among the gods, revered for their profound knowledge and the vastness of their power. Their will shapes the very fabric of reality, their decrees echoing across the planes, and their influence permeating the essence of life, death, creation, and destruction.

Bridging the expanse between the almighty and the lesser gods are the Intermediate Deities. These beings, while not as supremely powerful as their greater counterparts, wield significant authority and specialize in specific domains. They often serve as executors of the greater deities' broader schemes, overseeing intricate aspects of the universal order. Their patronage extends over more focused realms, be it a force of nature, a concept of civilization, or a particular aspect of mortal existence. Their power, though not boundless, is formidable, sculpting the multiverse in subtle yet profound ways.

The tapestry of divinity finds its intricate details in the Lesser Deities, the custodians of the narrower facets of the cosmos. These deities may not command the sweeping powers of their superior kin, but their influence is deeply woven into the lesser aspects of the multiverse. They preside over specific elements, minor realms, individual species, or particular emotions. Their proximity to the mortal plane often makes them the most accessible and relatable to the inhabitants of the multiverse, their narratives rich with interaction, patronage, and the subtle interplay of divine essence in the everyday.

The lower level is that of the Demigods. These beings are normally divine servants of more powerful deities, or beings that have very recently attained divinity. Nevertheless demigods usually have only one primary concept in their portfolio and normally very few on their secondary. Though they can grant spells and even be patron deities, their cults are relatively small, sometimes even existing within the cult of a more powerful deity. Even though deities from greater to lesser are all well known through the multiverse, most demigods could be not know at all outside of their sphere of influence.

This tiered hierarchy of deities creates a dynamic and multifaceted panorama of divine power within the multiverse. It allows for a rich dynamic of inter-deity relationships, conflicts, and alliances, as well as the profound impact of their presence and actions on the fabric of the multiverse and the destinies of its myriad inhabitants. The spectrum of divinity, from the greatest to the lesser, forms a complex and captivating framework for the unfolding saga of gods and mortals, their stories forever entwined in the cosmic dance of creation and consequence.

Porfolios

The concept of a deity's portfolio intricately defines the scope and depth of their divine influence. A portfolio, a collection of related concepts and domains, outlines the extent of a deity's power and authority over certain aspects of existence. All deities have a primary and a secondary portfolio. This structure establishes a complex and nuanced hierarchy of divine influence, ensuring a balanced and multifaceted pantheon.

The primary portfolio of a deity encompasses the core concepts over which they hold supreme influence. These are the aspects of the cosmos where their power is unrivaled and absolute. A deity's primary portfolio is a definitive statement of their identity and authority within the pantheon. The concepts within this portfolio are unique to each deity, making it a sacred and exclusive domain of power. For instance, if Bran, the Deity of Challenges and Survival, has hunting in his primary portfolio, it signifies his ultimate dominion over all facets of hunting. No other deity can rival his influence in this realm, marking it as his sovereign territory.

The secondary portfolio, on the other hand, represents the areas where a deity holds significant, yet not absolute, influence. These are the aspects of existence where their power manifests in more specialized or limited ways. A deity's secondary portfolio allows them to extend their reach into areas that intersect with their primary domains, often creating overlaps with the portfolios of other deities. For instance, Velthar, the deity of Beasts, also holds sway over hunting but within the specific context of beasts. His influence over hunting is significant but is confined to the aspects that pertain to his primary influence.

The Pantheons

Every deity, woven from the ethereal threads of existence, finds their place within the triumvirate of celestial orders, each aligned with their intrinsic essence and moral compass. Yet, it is a folly to perceive these celestial congregations as monoliths of unified purpose. Within each pantheon, be it of light, shadow, or the twilight in-between, there exists a complex web of individual wills and motives. Each deity, an entity of sovereign power, harbors personal designs that may dance in harmony or clash in discord with the collective creed.

This intricate dance of individual ambition and collective ethos is most vividly embodied within the dark corridors of the malevolent pantheon. Here, each deity is a master of intrigue, weaving plots as intricate as the stars in the sky, each vying for supremacy and dominion in an eternal game of celestial chess. As we unfurl the scrolls of lore, let us venture deeper into the realms of each pantheon, where gods and goddesses, bound by allegiance yet driven by personal decree, orchestrate the symphony of creation and chaos.

The Celestial Pantheon

Here are the deities that conform the pantheon:

  • Greater Deties
    • Bahamut, deity of good and good dragons
    • Gaidos, deity of knowledge and truth
    • Leviathar, deity of the sea
    • Aerion, deity of the sun and knighthood
  • Intermediate Deities
    • Brigit, deity of healing and family
    • Antanara, deity of the moon and music
    • Crossus, deity of mountains and strength
    • Cirgrith, deity of exploration and discovery

The Pantheon of Equilibrium

This pantheon is conformed by the deities mentioned:

  • Greater Deties
  • Intermediate Deities
    • Chrovonner, deity of justice and retribution
    • Aela, deity of the weather
    • Edmer, deity of nature
    • Bran, deity of challenges and survival

The Pantheon of Dread

This pantheon has the following deities:

  • Greater Deties
    • Tiamat, deity of evil and evil dragons
    • Xendral, deity of tyranny
    • Zabel, deity of chaos and destruction
    • Nessus, deity of death
  • Intermediate Deities
    • Kal'katoth, deity of corruption and aberrancy
    • Tarnull, deity of eartquakes and volcanoes
    • Thonoxum, deity of diseases and plagues
    • Samael, deity of secrets and conspiracies
  • Lesser Deities
    • Yuthdel, deity of suffering and murder
    • Ophion, deity of shadows and undead
    • Hamziel, deity of lies and betrayal
    • Kharn, deity of hate
    • Serkar, deity of fear and nightmares