Religion in The Unification

Posted by EarthDragon on 9th August 2015.

In the world of The Unification, there are a number of deities which are regularly worshipped (eighteen, to be precise). Of these, by far the most commonly worshipped deity is Nol-reth, the goddess of War, Protection and Vengeance. The reason for this mass conversion toward the war-goddess has to do with the incessant struggle between The Unification and The Fallen, which has grown to something of a stalemate. This has resulted in considerable importuning to Nol-reth in search of some relief from the war and respite from the constant threat of annihilation. Many scholars, however, have criticised this view on a number of points. First, Nol-reth is actually evil, and thus may not be overly inclined to help the forces of good quite as much as they might need. Secondly, she is also a goddess of War and Protection and Vengeance, and she’s getting plenty of War, lots of requests for Protection and plenty of supplications for Vengeance right now, thank you very much, given the current circumstances. These reasons have caused some scholars and priests to question the wisdom of extensive devotion to Nol-reth, while others have cast some considerable doubt on both her motives and her impartiality in this matter. This type of thinking has started to make an impression in The Unification, and other deities are starting to be worshipped more as a result.

It is worth noting that The Unification has an abundance of gods and goddesses of Evil, Destruction, Chaos, War, Vengeance, Betrayal and both a god and a goddess who deal with Death and the Dead (the deities in question are brother and sister and are also related to Nol-Reth, giving her less reason to listen to pleas to end the war), but The Unification does not have a god or goddess of Peace. Indeed, from a historical perspective, even the concept of peace is not well known within the borders of The Unification. It is believed by many of those who piece together the ancient remnants of history that can still be found that peace was a foreign concept even many thousands of years ago when The Unification did not exist and a plethora of nations existed in its place. This is part of the reason why many have trouble accepting the purported tenets of the Sisters of the Eternal Void; peace is alien to the people of The Unification so, therefore, the Sisters must be Up To Something.

An examination of the portfolios of the gods and goddesses who survive in The Unification’s mythoi indicates that every deity sees to more than one realm of influence. Ancient scrolls and tablets suggest that this was not always the case and that the deities have themselves been party to internecine warfare and destruction. Whether this was actually “between” the gods, or something acting “against” the gods is less certain, the evidence sort of points both ways, depending on where you look and how you read it. Some speculate that the gods had their own war with something like The Fallen prior to the one currently going on in the mortal coil. If this is the case, it is possible that The Fallen are quite literally that, the fallen from the divine struggle who were cast out by the gods, which causes some to be a little resentful that the gods might struggle with a mighty enemy and then throw them down into the mortal world for everyone else to deal with once they were done with them. It is also believed that the names of the deities are from different, now defunct, languages, suggesting different cultural origins now lost in the mists of the past.

The world of the Unification has never seen or been exposed to Raise Dead, Resurrection, or Reincarnation and the like as spells that can be tossed off whenever a caster feels like it (though there are powerful and difficult rituals that can achieve similar effects). The gods of this world view souls as currency, the number of souls that a god can lay claim to reflects their power and status among their peers. As such, newly claimed souls are closely guarded and the gods are about as willing to give them up as an avaricious dwarf is to give up his grandfather's mithril mine. As soon as a person dies, their soul is claimed by the deity who can stake the closest tie to the soul, adding it to their wealth and prestige, and to their power. Given that souls (as opposed to living worshippers) are so closely related to divine power and social standing among the gods, the gods of The Unification tend to be somewhat less careful to keep their beholden souls alive than gods of other worlds. However, a deity which works at cross-purposes to the god a particular soul “belongs” to might interfere in a death in order to lay a claim to the soul through gratitude. Of course, the soul often regrets this when it finally passes and passes to the deity trying to short-change the god that they originally belonged to. The after-life of some gods is quite a bit beyond brutal, and few of The Unification's gods are terribly nice to begin with.

And to make matters worse, there are ancient legends of an Age Lattice which bound all aspects of the differing worlds together and provided for the gods and their followers to live in harmony whilst they struggled with the primordials. Sometime during the struggle, the Lattice collapsed and many gods were weakened to the point of being vulnerable to dispersal and ending. Some believe that a new Lattice will allow the lost gods to return and shape the heavens the way they should be. No more gods being dispersed and their powers absorbed by rivals and enemies, and new gods rising to claim their power to play the Lattice and allow life to follow the Creator’s original plan. No mere mortals stand any hope of restoring the Lattice, or of generating a new one, but spirits of deceased heroes of sufficient power, backed by the right types of new gods (and surviving old gods) combined with a willingness to end the internecine struggles stand a chance of restoring that which was lost. Extensive travel into the myths of the past would be required to address the main nexus points of failure, but even some few early successes are bound to affect the Fallen both at the terrestrial and celestial level. Rumour has it that the diaspora of the world of the gods was the work of a minor functionary whose brilliant vision was tainted and twisted by an unnamed dark god. The hunt for a saviour is on.

Deities Worshipped Within The Unification

Name Gender* Domains Alignment Favoured Weapon Portfolio
Abadon M Chaos, Destruction, Evil, Fury CE Great-axe Destruction, Evil, Chaos
Apireth F Animal, Good, Healing, Plant, Wood CG Spear Love, Flowers, Celebration, Beauty
Atsubo F Good, Healing, Metal, Strength LG Javelin Art, Crafts, Writing
Avuitar F Air, Good, Nature, Sun NG Short bow Life, Sun, Sky, Rain
Egremmel M Animal, Earth, Good, Nature, Plant, Wood LG Sickle Animals, Harvest, Healing, Earth
Fuliaton Indeterminate Animal, Fortune, Luck, Nature, Water CG Light Crossbow Luck, Water, Rivers, Sea
Guiladon M/F Chaos, Evil, Metal, Trickery NE Kukri (dual) Trickery, Thieves, Betrayal
Harukan M/F Death, Grave, Law, Strength LN Great sword The Dead, Judgement, Justice
Herramek F Chaos, Destruction, Fire, Sun NE Two-Bladed Sword Fire, Passion, Light
Ibadorn F Air, Good, Healing, Protection LG Hand Crossbow Wisdom, Air, Mercy
Immi-kora Indeterminate Celestial, Magic, Protection, Strength N Dagger Magic, Creation, Truth
Itorran M Community, Luck, Protection, Travel N Quarterstaff Commerce, Travel, Wealth
Jol’Kanduth M Ancestor, Celestial, Knowledge, Magic N Sai Knowledge, Prophesy, Messengers
Luisette M Chaos, Community, Luck, Strength CN Nunchaku Pleasure, Happiness, Joy, Hedonism (including alcohol and drugs)
Merrekath M Air, Destruction, Earth, Metal CN Ranseur Earthquakes, Storms, Thunder
Nol-reth F/M Death, Evil, Law, Protection, War LE Halberd War, Protection, Vengeance
Sibi F Death, Evil, Grave, Strength NE Scythe Death, Decay, Night
Sirrilath F/M Destruction, Evil, Law, Metal LE Spiked Chain Pain, Disease, Suffering
* Gender, as it relates to the gods, is a somewhat tricky affair. "M" or "F" means that, in the available literature, most sources refer to the deity as being primarily either male or female, as indicated. "M/F" indicates both genders appear against that deity in the available sources, but the majority are male, likewise, "F/M" indicates the opposite. "Indeterminate", on the other hand, means either both genders are represented equally, or (more often) neither gender is explicitly mentioned, and characteristics of both appear at scattered intervals in the extant texts. The two deities who fall into this category are generally regarded as neuter. Sexuality ascribed to the gods, however, is all over the shop as gender seems to be largely irrelevant to them.