I’ve decided to put some time into a game research effort at my university: The Odin Project. They recently made a post on their blog talking about Gods and Men, and it spurred me to finish writing this up. You see, while they do a great job discussing different gods and their effect on the world they’re in, they mention little about the effect of how people view the gods.
A while back I posted the nations of Ipiera. At the time I mentioned that the continent had four deities, but that the deities were viewed and worshiped in different ways by different religions on the continent and that I would post them later. It’s later and I have finished writing it up. There are seven “Gerads” or Traditions, each viewing the four deities a little differently.
Central and Southern Praetum
Fergerad—The Old Tradition (Vetus Sapentae): Reputedly the oldest religion in the continent. Fergerad uses the ancient names of the four gods and holds to the traditional form of the story as found in the Hilger, their scripture. That is that Gyrdmal one time ruled over all the lifeless matter that now forms the world and its life. Geradhil, a spirit like unto Gyrdmal, but younger, wild and good, wrested some portion of matter from Gyrdmal and formed of it a world and beings who were free and full of vigor like himself. Finding that the beings were on their own short lived and soon returned to Gyrdmal if he did not care for them closely, which he did not have the patience to do, he created the Caregivers and raised them up to immortality and near godhood and placed the most worthy of them at their head. Her name was Nafliia and she grew to be a goddess, whose power preserves the Caregivers and those they have charge over. Soon the Caregivers proved numerous and able and could preserve all life created by Geradhil. Seeing this, Gyrdmal, who had born the fleeting intrusions of Geradhil, became desperately jealous of the young spirit’s growing domain, his own shrinking beside it. He set forth to entice the Caregivers and turn them against one another with bitter lies and ambition. He won over many of the Caregivers and they became the Fallen Ones. Perolew was the greatest of those tempted by Gyrdmal and in time he grew to be nearly equal to Nafliia in power but wild and unpredictable. It was then that Perolew demanded freedom from Gyrdmal. Still he hated much of the life of the world and so he arranged with Gyrdmal to become a god himself, ruling over the other Fallen Ones, in exchange he would turn over to Gyrdmal the lifeless matter left by his destruction. So stands existence now, Geradhil taking from Gyrdmal to create life for Nafliia to watch over and Perolew destroying the charges of Nafliia to create lifeless matter for Gyrdmal, thus slaking his thirst for blood and destruction.
- Enslaver—Gyrdmal: A long ago defeated enemy with now little sway on the world. He is symbolized by darkness and often ashes. His colors are black and grey.
- Creator—Geradhil: Creator of the world and of Nafliia and Perolew. Regarded as a spirit who oversees the coming of life into the world as well as the growth of it. In lore it is he who creates heroes of ordinary men and raises up gods. He is symbolized by the Sun. His colors are gold, white, and bronze.
- Nurturer—Nafliia: The creation of Geradhil appointed to care for and cultivate the life he creates. She presides over the Caregivers Geradhil created as her helpers. She is a motherly figure who is said to uphold governances and carry out the will of the more distant Geradhil. She strives to save creation from Perolew. Her symbol is the moon. Her colors are silver, white, and green.
- Destroyer—Perolew: A creation of Geradhil who was enticed by the waning Gyrdmal to turn against his fellow creations and bring them to ruin. The greatest of the Fallen Ones so enticed by Gyrdmal, he became a god in his own right and now reigns over the other Fallen Ones. He seeks to end the life of those protected by Nafliia and ultimately all life, giving it back over to Gyrdmal to sustain him. His symbol is fire and his colors red and brown.
- Fergerad holds in highest esteem Nafliia and considers the true foe to be Perolew. For them Geradhil plays a passive role and Gyrdmal is an ancient and long impotent force. They consider the Caregivers to be angel-like beings of great power like Nafliia in beauty and the Fallen Ones to be fiendish devils like Perolew in ruthlessness and terror.
- Fergerad is very influential on the other traditions and has a strong presence in most of Praetum.
- They do not recognize the undead rumored to walk the land under the control of Gyrdmal. Some teachers consider this idea blasphemous and attribute it to Perolew’s attempts to increase his power through fear.
Ellada and Northern Praetum
Rexgerad—The King’s Church (Rege Tradita): A common alternative to Fergerad in Northern Praetum, also popular among the Elladic nobility.
- Enslaver—Adseror: A fallen deity, fallen because of injustice toward matter. Now nothing.
- Creator—Aedafex: The rebel, a means to overthrow Adseror, now subordinate to Matrea. Aedafex is considered to be a being of spirit that subdues Adseror’s spirit.
- Nurturer—Matrea: The new deity who was put in place by Aedafex as a ruler over the world. She is kind and powerful, accepting the tributes of the wild Aedafex and resisting the petty rebellion of Perduel.
- Destroyer—Perduel: Considered a radical and terrorist who seeks to destroy life and sow fear, eventually to overthrow the just Matrea. He is chaotic and uncouth.
- Rexgerad rejects the idea of the undead as does Fergerad.
- Rexgerad contributes a divine right granted by Matrea to the kings of men. They are often called caregivers and Rexgeradian kings take an oath to nurture and strengthen those under their rule, protecting them from destruction.
- The Caregivers in Rexgerad include the angelic figures common in Fergerad as well as men of noble character, specifically the nobles and their faithful servants. The Fallen Ones are not only the Fergerad demons, but also rebels and criminals.
Chamgerad—The Low Church (Chami Eklis): In competition with Rexgerad in most of Ellada, it appeals to the common people but is ever under close watch from the powerful nobility to assure it does not stray to radicalism. It is well received in the Northern Provinces of the Praetum Republic.
- Enslaver—Ipodul: A cruel dictator who was thrown down by nobleness for the sake of freedom. He is an object of scorn and considered mostly powerless. Embodied, but weak.
- Creator—Demiorg: The one responsible for life and freedom. He is given anthropomorphic characteristics and portrayed as a heroic warrior. He is called upon in births, plantings, breeding, and other trades of creation.
- Nurturer—Anatlefon: The chief steward of Demiorg’s realm of the living. She is sought after for healing and harvests. She is held in high regard beside Demiorg.
- Destroyer—Echthrew: A servant of Ipodul who is trying to reinstate his cruel reign by destruction. He is a sort of bogyman.
- Uses the undead at least symbolically as a growing of Ipodul’s power.
- Values freedom, especially freedom of character, but in parts of Praetum freedom of government as well.
- Gives human form to all the gods, also attributes Caregiver and Fallen One attributes to mortals with greater universality than Rexgerad.
Southern Praetum and Suthland
Sangerad—Tradition of the Heart (Tradita Sangra): Popular among many living in Southern Praetum and the Praetum military. It is also the religion held by most nobles of Suthland and a majority of the population of Suthland in general.
- Enslaver—Mortigne: A cold and lifeless creature. He is a symbol of greed and lonliness. He is not feared, but considered undesirable and pitiful.
- Creator—Koraza: A brave warrior, full of heat and passion. He is magnanimous and charismatic. He is considered a great role model for military leaders, fathers, and anyone.
- Nurturer—Sandra: A warm, calm mother figure. She is kind and lively. She is considered responsible for the growth and thaw in the spring and is a role model for mothers.
- Destroyer—Rotmer: Fiery and wrathful. Rotmer, together with Mortigne is considered the cause of winter’s cold and the death in fall. He is feared and blamed for accidents and wrongful deaths. Murderers, arsonists, and deserters are considered his.
- Unclear whether the gods are embodied or not.
- Values courage and passion.
Gealdir and the Suthland Coasts
Luxgerad—The Tradition of Light (The Tower of Light or Pillar of Light): A common religion among the superstitious tribal culture in the Gealdir isles as well as the peoples living along the southern coast of Suthland. It is a more primal religion with singing and dancing playing a large part in worship. Dramatic plays are often performed as an expression of historical and traditional conflicts between the gods. It believes in the undead.
- Enslaver—Rubgrid: Considered to have a real influence on the world. He is depicted as a cruel slaver and ruler of a nation of darkness. He is also blamed for the presence of undead, who are considered definitely to exist.
- Creator—Lux: He is considered a warrior of freedom, freer of slaves, and the recruiter of spirits, putting them in their bodies in order to go to work in the world. He is worshiped in a spirit of gratitude but otherwise not heavily considered.
- Nurturer—Vitral: She is a life preserver, a monitor, and an enforcer. The laws set forth by Lux are expected to be carried down by her. Those who disobey, she punishes, those who do obey, she rewards.
- Destroyer—Neblix: A threat of clear evil and malevolence. Believers of Luxgerad watch against his arriving in person to bring destruction and the reign of the undead on behalf of Rubgrid. Many practitioners of magic have been accused of necromancy and killed either as representatives of Neblix, or embodiments of the demon himself.
Eastern Praetum and Western Tharn
Schvergerad—The Hard Tradition: A religion born of the cultural exchange of Praetum with the Tharn tribe in the west of the barbarian lands. It holds many things in common with Fergerad and draws only minor influence from the native Tharn Zyklusgerad. It is largely limited to the part of Praetum near the Tharnic border and the Tharn tribe, though some variation of it is said to have cropped up among the Carn tribe.
- Enslaver—Sklavor: As in Fergerad, he is considered long gone and is associated with death and darkness. He is not considered active in the world.
- Creator—Schator (Sator): Creator of the world and heroes. Unlike in Fergerad, Schvergerad considers him embodied. He is consulted in birthing and building.
- Nurturer—Erhigen (Erigo): An angelic figure encharged with keeping alive the things Schator creates. She has a host of helpers and is consulted in the issues of day to day work.
- Destroyer—Clades: As in Fergerad, he is considered a force of evil, fallen from the grace of Schator and bent on the destruction of the world. Schvergerad borrows from Zyklusgerad a recognition of his part in the cycle, believing that he is a necessary evil for life to go on and that all things must exist in opposition.
- The Hard Tradition puts great stock in the idea that opposition exists in all things. When bad things happen the instruction is to endure it, for it is necessary.
- Diligence and patience are important qualities in their teachings. Erhigen is their most revered deity and exhibits these qualities.
Far Tharn and the Isles
Zyklusgerad—The Tradition of the Cycle (Tradition Des Zyklus): Claims to be nearly as old as, if not older than, the Fergerad tradition. Zyklusgerad is like no other tradition on the continent in that it respects all four of the deities and considers none of them enemies of mankind, but rather part of a cycle of life called Der Zyklus. It is the primary religion among most of the Tharnic barbarians, with the exception of the Tharns themselves. The island dwelling Horgis are the most extreme believers; it is said their zeal is what drove off the emigrants who founded Gealdir and Luxgerad long ago. The Scythian and Baerud tribes are also firm believers in Zyklusgerad. They do not have a book of scripture like the Hilger, but follow an oral tradition known as the Zyklus Des Schaffern.
- Enslaver—Todgriff: Depicted as an old man. He is respected as old men should be. His time is considered to have passed, but he plays an important role in keeping the dead ordered and resting. It is thought the appearance of undead is a result of his losing power as respect for him wanes. Believers fear that if he loses all his power the undead will go unchecked and destroy humanity.
- Creator—Schaffern: A heroic model and leader. He is supposed to be represented by tribal leaders in the flesh and is entreated with all great matters and questions of the future.
- Nurturer—Pflegren: The female model, the shaman-priestesses of the tribes are considered to represent her interests directly. She is more often entreated by the common people than Schaffern, especially for day to day and domestic matters and things concerning the present.
- Destroyer—Zerstor: Though sometimes mischievous and disruptive, he is considered a necessary part of the Cycle. He is in some ways feared, but often called upon to know of things in the past, particularly when seeking missing people.
- Zyklusgerad embraces change as part of life. It reveres all of the deities for the part they play in life and do their best to pay dues to all four of the gods.
Interested in video game design? Check out the Odin Project! Have any ideas about this kind of view on fantasy religion? Let us know in the comments!