Major Deities of Karyst
Adeln | Ahzel | Barak | Brenal | Celd | Evrah | Feryl | Grahltoc | Holtus | Kos | Mael | Mortahs | Nasmirrhyn | Orym | Riva | Rolm | Solran | Sulis | Ulnek
The Keeper of the Land
Adeln is the goddess of the untamed wilderness and all that dwell within it. Although usually viewed as a woodland goddess, Adeln also watches over grasslands, swamps and the cold tundra of the north. Charged with the protection of these lands, she is wary of any encroachment into her realm, although she is not without reason. It is common practice for woodcutters and trappers to leave offerings to Adeln, while often settlers call for a priest of Adeln to bless a selected area before beginning to build.
Adelnís clergy is only loosely organized, with a simple hierarchy. Adeln has very few actual temples, most of her worship taking place out of doors. Typically a shrine is erected in a wooded area where her priests and worshippers will gather as needed. More often than not these shrines are located on the edges of settlements, where the friction between the civilized world and the wilderness is greatest.
Priests and priestesses of Adeln are a motley assortment; while some are serene and contemplative, others are wild in temperament, and quick to anger. Though not violent as a rule, all of Adelnís clergy are fiercely protective of her realm.
The favoured weapon of Adeln is the hunting bow.
Ahzel is known variably as The Artificer and The Forger. The chosen deity of smiths and artisans, Ahzel oversees the creation of tools, weapons and jewelry. Stern and at times hard, he values work, honesty, and loyalty. Ahzel believes in the power of knowledge, and that not all knowledge is fit for all beings; it requires training, preparation and the right temperament.
Ahzelís worshippers are typically well organized, with numerous ranks and positions. Most of Ahzelís temples are relatively humble, often resembling or even adjoining workshops, serving as centres of learning as well as worship. His clergy are expected to practice a craft, such as smithery, or stone masonry. Though they are not required to sell their services, many of the finest artisans are members of the Artificerís priesthood.
Some of Ahzelís priests travel far and wide, seeking out new techniques, and teaching what they know to those they encounter. Many are traveling craftsmen, while others follow the path of adventure, searching in the hidden places of the world for lost secrets.
Ahzel favours the war hammer in battle.
Barak is the lord of destruction and chaos, the bringer of war and doom. Brutal, ruthless, and savage he wreaks havoc wherever he treads. His followers are equally savage, seeking only to destroy, conquer and vanquish any who will not submit to their will. Most of his worshippers are found among the monstrous races as well as barbaric humanoid tribes and bands of outcasts. The Destroyer is greatly feared among civilized peoples, and offerings are sometimes left at the site of devastating accidents, or at the perimeter of settlements to ward off his attentions.
Worshippers of Barak ruthlessly follow the rule of might. Although there are few ranks of title amongst the clergy, leaders are constantly called upon to prove their worth in ritual challenges to battle, while those of lesser rank are left to contest amongst themselves for status. Temples to the Destroyer and other places devoted to his worship are rarely found amongst the settlements of civilized peoples, at least not lawfully. More typically, his temples and shrines are founded upon the ruins of a vanquished foe or the site of a catastrophic event.
Although worship of Barak is not often practiced openly within humanoid settlements, his clergy make can be found nearly anywhere. Among the more savage and barbaric peoples, priests frequently call worshippers to battle, promising the glory of Barak's blessing and the spoils of victory. In those places where outright worship of the Destroyer is banned, as it is in many cities and towns, his priests work in secret to bring about his desires, inciting riots, fueling mob justice, and generally causing mayhem whenever they can.
Barakís favoured weapon is a heavy flail.
Brenal watches over those who travel the world, and seeks to keep the roads safe for their journeys, whether their purpose is great or merely mundane. The Wanderer believes that in any journey the true goal is to learn, to see and to discover. As such, he is particularly interested in those who travel to distant lands, searching out the hidden places in the world. Like those he watches over, Brenal has many guises; trickster, protector, and scholar. He is also associated with small animals such as foxes, raccoons, and weasels, as well as birds. Brenal himself is accompanied by an intelligent red fox named Whisper.
The Wanderer has no true temples. Instead, there are way-shrines devoted to him, marking a path or a crossroads, or merely a place to seek his aid. Many such shrines are erected near to a shelter of some sort, or mark a place of safe haven for weary travelers. Among his clergy, it is common practice to post the mark of the Wanderer on a door or post, indicating where one of the faithful can be found. In most places this is done openly, but when needed it is done subtly so as not to attract undo attention.
The priests themselves are not very concerned with rank or titles, preferring to maintain a collegial attitude amongst each other. However, they do have an informal method of determining their hierarchy, based on their travels and knowledge. Generally this takes the form of a debate, with the winner judged by their arguments and displays of learning. While most of his clergy would prefer this method in all confrontations, they are not averse to defending themselves physically, although they will rely on trickery and subterfuge when opportunity presents.
Brenalís favoured weapon is the sling, practical for combat as well as other purposes on the long road.
Celd is the god of warriors, men-at-arms, and the adjudicator of battlefields. The Warlord does not judge the victors by their motives; rather he is interested in their skill at arms, their courage in battle, and the steel in their hearts. As such, barbarian invaders and dutiful protectors are as one under Celd's measuring gaze. Celd is generally not seen as a warmonger or a bringer of strife. In the eyes of warriors and combatants, he is both a guardian and an arbiter to whom they appeal for victory or mercy. Celd also guards the souls of fallen warriors, and it is to him that prayers are said over the battle dead.
Celd's clergy is highly ordered and well organized. The temples essentially function as small fiefdoms, with defined hierarchies and positions, each independent of one another in most matters. Rank and position within the temple is based both on seniority and accomplishments at arms, and is further organized into two tiers. The first is responsible for religious doctrine and instruction, while the second encompasses the martial aspects of the Warlordís faith. The head of the temple is also two-fold, with a high priest and a champion. Temples to Celd serve as places of worship and training in arms, with many also hiring out men-at-arms.
The faithful of Celd are required to train in a large variety of arms, regardless of rank or position. Those that remain within the temple are often called upon to serve as instructors or mercenaries, as well as performing other priestly duties and rites. Celdís priests are sought out to bring his blessing on combatants, as well as to adjudicate duels, and perform funerary rites over dead warriors. It is not uncommon for a priest of Celd to take up an adventurerís life, and it is even expected in some temples. These clerics often work as mercenaries, moving from place to place, all the while serving the will of the Warlord.
Celdís favoured weapon is the greatsword.
The Serpent Queen
Evrah is the goddess of power, corruption, greed, and malice. She revels in games of manipulation and temptation, offering power and riches in return for servitude. The Serpent Queen is particularly fond of bringing about the ruin of the innocent and the powerful, enticing them with their fondest wishes and most secret desires, corrupting them to their very soul, and finally casting them aside when she has used them to the fullest. She is subtle and endlessly patient, planning with painstaking care to bring her desires to fruition. Practitioners of magic, in particular, are drawn to Evrah, with her promises and power, as are assassins and others who work amongst the shadows.
The Serpent Queenís worshippers gather in secret, their temples hidden away, but never far from the reins of power. In their places of worship they plot in the name of Evrah, ever seeking to obtain more power, to control those who hold it, or dispose of those who stand in their way. The clergy is entirely power based, the priests endlessly competing and conspiring against each other, pursuing the favour of the Serpent Queen. Factions form and fracture amongst her worshippers as the mighty rise and fall, all to Evrahís glory.
Evrahís priests and priestesses are self-centred, greedy, and power-hungry. Although they work to further her greater desires, each is driven by their own goals, seeking their own path to glory. They travel solely for their own gain, gathering about them those they find useful, luring them through fear, money or other means.
The Serpent Queen favours the use of daggers, often coating them in deadly poisons.
Feryl has dominion over the seas, storms, weather and water. Although more commonly associated with the coastal regions, Ferylís domain extends through all bodies of water, including rivers and streams. Like the elements under her domain, the Stormbringer is a fickle mistress whose temper and desires can change on a whim. She demands great loyalty, offering up lavish rewards with one hand and harsh, unforgiving punishment with the other. For this reason, she is held in both fear and reverence; prayers are given to attract her favour, and to praise her generosity, with offerings to appease her and avert her wrath.
Temples to the Stormbringer are typically situated near water, and always incorporate a fountain or pool within the structure. Shrines are commonly placed along the banks of rivers and streams, and always have a clear view of the sky. Ferylís clergy, while ordered in specific ranks with assigned duties, often appear disjointed and in constant disarray to outsiders. In truth, it is the result of serving both aspects of the Stormbringer, at once appeasing and praising their mistress. Ferylís priests navigate a labyrinth of rituals and ceremonies, specific to the last detail, lest their failure raise her ire. Feryl's clergy are typically called upon to oversee the launch of new ships and the construction of waterworks, as well as to give her blessing over new wells. The Stormbringer's priests and priestesses are also frequently asked to intervene in times of drought or flood.
Priests and priestesses of the Stormbringer are passionate and intense in their devotion to their mistress. Serving the Stormbringer requires a strong will and a steadfast heart, for she does not suffer the meek or the timid. Sometimes seen as overbearing, they can also be vengeful and spiteful when crossed, particularly in matters of faith. Still, many consider the company of the Stormbringer's clergy to be good luck, a means to protect against her wrath and attract her favour.
Ferylís favoured weapon is the javelin.
The Savage Hunter
Grahltoc is the god of vengeance, wrath, and insanity. He is the embodiment of mindless rage, and the patron of those consumed with anger. Those who suffer from madness, including beasts and animals, are said to have been blessed by Grahltoc. Those who succumb to bloodlust, or are consumed by hatred and the need for revenge, have felt the touch of the Savage Hunter. A near mindless beast, he feeds on the anger and rage of others, ready to strike at anything and anyone at hand.
The Savage Hunter's clergy have no appreciable organization, his priests and priestesses entirely given over to anarchy. He has few known temples, although shrines can be found in scattered locations, primarily in the wilderness. If discovered near settlements, his shrines are torn down with decided quickness, for the mark of Grahltoc is considered by most to be a taint upon the world.
Shunned and often outlawed, his priests and priestesses wander the world, following the chaotic, raging direction of their master. Some are driven by their own desire for vengeance, others by anger and madness, and lastly those who are driven to spread his taint throughout the world. Although highly unusual, his faithful sometimes work together, but never for long and typically not well.
Grahltoc favours the use of a spiked club.
The Harvest King
Holtus is the god of agriculture, food, and drink. Benevolent, lighthearted, and gregarious, he is a paternal deity who cares deeply for his worshippers. Although generally associated with feasts and festivals, Holtus admires and rewards hard work. A farmer who neglects his field will not receive Holtusí favour, and one that mistreats his livestock will find the Harvest King a hard master. Those who work their fields and tend to their stock are well received by the Harvest King.
For obvious reasons, Holtus is a popular and widely worshipped deity. In rural settlements, the Harvest Kingís clergy play a significant role in society. Priests and priestesses are often seen as community leaders, and are frequently sought out for advice and aid. Even in more urban settings the clergy of Holtus form a major part of the community. In such areas the clergy commonly venture into the surrounding regions, acting on behalf of landowners. Some cities have formalized this role, with the head of the Harvest Kingís temple taking on a permanent advisory position within the ruling structure.
The Harvest Kingís clergy have strong community ties, and as such do often take to a life of adventure. When they do travel, it is to visit outlying settlements, or to perform some specific rite of faith. On rare occasions, one of Holtusí priests or priestesses undertakes a quest or other obligation which forces them out of temple life and into the wilder world.
Utilitarian and practical, Holtusí clerics typically carry a sickle to serve them at work and, when needed, combat.
The Mountain Lord
Kos is the god of mountains and hills, and has charge over all who dwell upon them, and the earthly treasures within. The embodiment of strength and resilience, his patience and determination are without equal. At times seen as cruel and harsh, the Mountain Lord's favour is the difference between life and death to those who inhabit his demesne.
Temples to Kos are found on the slopes of mountains, hills, or inside mines. Any natural cavern is considered a place sacred to the Mountain Lord, and small shrines can often be found deep within the earth. Kos' clergy have a simple hierarchy, more focused on observing his rites than position or rank. Like their patron, they are expected to display great patience and frequently undergo tests of endurance.
The Mountain Lord's faithful are not overly concerned with the world beyond his realm, although they generally do not go to any lengths to avoid or shun outsiders. His clergy work to protect his realm, and are often called upon to oversee the construction of mines, or the opening of a discovery of a new chamber within a cavern complex. Kos' priests also watch over those who enter his realm, to ensure their safe passage, or their swift exit should they defy his wishes.
The favoured weapon of the Mountain Lord is the pick axe.
Mistress of Shadows
Mael claims dominion over magic, darkness and knowledge. Primarily worshipped as the patron of the magical arts, Mael is also associated with the moon, stars and night. Strict, cold and unforgiving, the Mistress of Shadows demands much from her followers, though the rewards are considered well worth the effort. Aside from the spheres under her power, Maelís motives are a mystery to the uninitiated, and often to her initiates as well. In general, she acts to collect and disseminate knowledge, in particular arcane knowledge. However, the Mistress of Shadows believes that no gain can come without a price, and some things learned are priceless.
Maelís clergy are strictly ordered, with distinct positions and a clear hierarchy. Each individual priest is assigned specific tasks, often related to some form of research. Generally, new initiates are given simpler tasks, such as scribing or cataloguing, while more senior adepts and priests are assigned more complex duties. Maelís temples are commonly found in cities and large towns, where they serve as places of worship as well as libraries and centres of learning. These temples, particularly the libraries, are divided into different areas of access, which can only be entered when permission has been granted, or through specific positions of seniority within the temple. In some cases, a task may be undertaken on behalf of the temple, or some similar form of payment, in order to gain access to one of these sections. In others, only senior clergy are allowed to enter. There are often rules of entry that must also be followed, most commonly set times or periods for which these areas are open.
The Mistress of Shadows is not a well-loved goddess, except by her devotees. The common folk often feel a hearty distrust of her and her clergy, while the privileged do not take well to her strict rules and precepts, many of which are designed to strip one of any rank or position outside of her own. As a result, Mael is held at arms length, only to be sought out when her services are required, or that of her clergy.
Clerics of the Mistress of Shadows often undertake long journeys and voyages to locate a lost tome or artifact. Some will take to life as an adventurer, collecting what they may in service to Mael. All of her clergy, however, have some association to a temple.
Mael favours the quarterstaff for its simplicity and practicality.
Mortahs is the god of fear and terror. He stalks the dark of night and the depths of shadows, calling the unwary to their doom. His name is rarely spoken aloud, for fear of drawing his attentions. Nightís Shadow, as he is known, is universally feared, for he cares not whether one is good or wicked, poor or wealthy, only that he may reach out with his long grasp and take them for his own. He seeks to drive out the stouthearted, to bring them cowering to their knees, and to claim the dark of night for his own. Most homes and inns bare some manner of ward against him, while even those who guard the streets and gateways in the long hours of night seek out charms against the cold touch of Nightís Shadow.
Temples to Mortahs are not found among civilized peoples. A few may be found hidden in secret caves, or elsewhere in the darkness. More commonly, his worshippers gather at shrines devoted in his honour. Such places are built outside of easy view, but are generally meant to be found sooner or later, for the knowledge that Nightís Shadow is near is a terrifying thing to learn. His priests and priestesses work to sow fear however they may, while they remain hidden, their true hearts unknown to those around them.
The faithful of Mortahs are willing to travel far and wide to spread terror in his name. Typically working in small groups, they commonly recruit followers from those who dwell in the dark: thieves, murderers, and others who shun the light.
The favoured weapon of Mortahs is the shortspear, whose reach, like that of Nightís Shadow, is deceptively long.
The Nimble Prince
Nasmirrhyn is the god of chance, agility, and whimsy. Nasmirrhyn smiles on those who attempt to subvert fate and who trust to their own luck. Nevertheless, the Nimble Princeís favour is never a surety, as he is wont to let chance rule. His name is frequently invoked in gaming houses, and not always in praise; his is the province of good and ill luck alike. Nasmirrhyn is also fond of those who create their own luck through skill, particularly in displays of agility and acrobatics.
The Nimble Prince has numerous temples, great and small, as he is a popular and well-liked deity. Often flamboyant and even extravagant in some cases, Nasmirrhynís places of worship are well attended and rarely dull. There is little organization amongst Nasmirrhynís clergy, nothing more than a very basic hierarchy. Other than simple daily duties, priests are generally left to their own devices and serve the Nimble Prince their own manner. The result is a highly eclectic clergy, with vastly differing, and at times conflicting, approaches.
Priests of Nasmirrhyn frequently take to a life of adventure and travel, their destination left to the whims of chance. Many choose to attach themselves to traveling troupes of performers, at least until something else catches their fancy. Colourful and flamboyant, the Nimble Prince's servants are often dismissed as being flippant, excessively carefree, and having no true purpose. In truth they are stout defenders of individual freedom, quick to stand against oppression, and rally others to their cause.
Nasmirrhynís favoured weapon is the dart.
Orym is the god of law, trade, and justice. Orym places great importance on order, duty, and loyalty, virtues which he believes are endemic to the spheres under his dominion. He is also associated with nobility, and the obligations of those with noble blood. The Arbiter is commonly invoked in trade contracts and negotiations, as well as in matters of justice and law. And while his is the domain of trade and commerce, some merchants view Orym as an interloper, particularly those who are less honest than they would like to admit.
Temples to Orym can be found in most cities and towns. Many smaller towns and villages also have some affiliation with Orym's clergy, either in the form of a resident priest or through association with the nearest temple. It is also common practice for a shrine devoted to the Arbiter be erected within markets. Orym's clergy are usually involved in the awarding of trade charters, and it is not uncommon for a priest or priestess to act as a magistrate or in various other official capacities.
Most of the Arbiter's clergy are an unadventurous lot, more comfortable with officialdom and the confines of bureaucracy than the rigours and uncertainties of travel. Some few, however, do take it upon themselves to extend Orymís reach beyond the temple walls. These individualís adhere strongly to the Arbiterís role as law giver and protector, and are fierce defenders of order and justice.
Orymís favoured weapon is a heavy mace, which is also commonly used for ceremonial purposes within the temple.
Riva is the goddess of health, fertility, and home. She has strong associations with healing and herbalism, as well as having dominion over the powers of life and love. The Matron is a benevolent deity, dedicated to the creation and preservation of life, and the protection of hearth and home. She is commonly portrayed as having two aspects: as a strong, wise mother, and as a young, alluring woman.
Riva is widely worshipped throughout the known world, and as such temples and shrines devoted to her are found in most settlements. Temples dedicated to the Matron are typically simple and humble, the atmosphere one of welcome and comfort. Most homes will have some representation of her about, typically a symbolic carving above the entry door or over the hearth.
Her clergy are well organized, with a simple hierarchical structure based on experience and seniority. Priests and priestesses always have some association with a temple, although the connection in some cases may be tenuous. The clergy are called upon to perform marriage rituals and oversee births, as well as being sought out for their expertise in healing.
Although the governing power of home and hearth, the Matronís clerics are not unused to travel, though generally it is to visit remote settlements. Some are encouraged to take to life on the road, at least for a while, to see that her works are brought to as many as possible. Such individuals commonly seek out those who threaten the safety and sanctum of the home, for while generally seen as kind and gentle, the Matron is a fearsome foe when protecting her domain.
The favoured weapon of Riva is a cudgel.
Rolm is the god of protection, courage, and honour. He is the patron of defenders and guardians, and those who stand honour-bound in the face of adversity. Although his is a martial domain, the Stalwart Shield teaches it is the duty of the strong is to defend the weak and to guard against those who seek to dominate through might of arms. Rolm opposes the use of power for personal gain, believing it can only rightfully be used to the betterment of others.
Rolm's temples are a common fixture in most large towns and cities. It is also common practice for the clergy to establish strongholds and keeps near smaller settlements, or in areas they deem in need of the Stalwart Shield's guardianship. These structures are essentially fortified temples, often encompassing small villages to house the families of priests and priestesses, and others working within the temple. The clergy themselves are well organized, and adhere to a strict hierarchy. The hierarchy is typically regional, with smaller temples and strongholds owing allegiance to larger holdings. Despite their rigid internal structure, Rolm's faithful are a welcoming lot, offering sanctuary and shelter to those who request it.
Rolm's clergy firmly believe in the virtues of duty and honour. All priests and priestesses undertake vows to protect and aid those in need, and to seek out those who would harm the weak and disadvantaged. As a result, it is not uncommon for Rolm's clergy to take to a life of adventure, although they must do so with the blessing of their superiors. Those who serve the Stalwart Shield are frequently sought out as honour guards, and are sometimes asked to command city guards and town militias.
The Stalwart Shield favours a heavy scimitar in battle.
The Lord of Light
Solran is the god of the sun, light, seasons, and time. He makes the sun rise to mark the day, and sets the changing of the seasons. The Lord of Light believes in order and the power of law, leaving some to view him as distant and austere. Even so, he is not without compassion. It was Solran, the Lord of Light, who taught the making of fire, giving warmth and shelter in the dark of night and the cold of winter. Solran also adamantly opposes those who stand outside of the natural order, particularly undead and manufactured creatures which he considers abominations.
Solran is a widely popular deity, and as such his temples and places of worship can be found throughout the known world. All of his temples include at least one area that is open to the sky, allowing the light of day to illuminate the interior. Solran's clergy are typically active within society, performing numerous functions publicly and privately. They oversee ceremonies and festivals that mark the changing seasons, as well as being sought out for aid in a wide variety of ailments and other problems. As the Lord of Light and the god of the sun, Solran is frequently held as a father-figure to the community as a whole.
Solran's clergy is highly ordered, with a strict hierarchy based on seniority as well as achievement. A priest's duties include specific daily tasks as determined by their position within the temple. Despite this, it is not uncommon for clerics to leave temple life to travel the greater world. In most cases, a priest or priestess who undertakes a life of adventure does so for a quest or crusade to further the glory of the Lord of Light.
Solranís favoured weapon is the morningstar.
Sulis is the god of deception and lies. His sole purpose is to foment misdirection and misunderstanding, to obfuscate the truth, and leave chaos in his wake. The Deceiver actively works to gather knowledge in any form in order to secret it away, keeping it hidden so that only he may use it. He whispers rumours in the dark, watches them grow and spread, continually feeding them with more lies and twisted truths.
The Deceiver has few true temples, and even those are hidden away, their location a secret held by a select number of Sulis' chosen. Instead, Sulis' faithful gather in small shrines, erected in secret and often used only temporarily. His worshippers are typically unknown to each other, their faces masked and hidden from sight. Lacking temples, his servants are loosely organized into small sects with but a single leader who assigns tasks and duties as she sees fit. The high priest will reign until deposed by another, a confrontation that always occurs in secret. Such changes in leadership frequently occur without the knowledge of the rest of the sect.
Their true identities hidden, Sulis' priests work in secret to further his goals. Rather than take credit for his work, they prefer to lay the groundwork for placing blame elsewhere. The Deceiver's clergy are mobile and extremely fluid, moving easily from one place to another, shedding one identify for another. The faithful employ a simple system of symbols to identify themselves to other servants of Sulis, marking secret meeting places and places of worship. These symbols are a closely guarded secret, taught only to loyal worshippers, and remain a mystery to but a small number outside of the Deceiver's fold.
The favoured weapon of Sulis is a spiked gauntlet.
Ulnek is the god of death, torment, and suffering. Cold and unforgiving, the Underlord passes judgement over the souls of the dead, determining their eternal fate. Most will eventually pass beyond into other realms, while some unfortunate few are damned to an eternity of service to the Underlord. Ulnek is patient, secure in the knowledge that eventually all mortals will enter his realm. He does, however, embrace those opportunities which will usher more souls into his domain.
The Underlord is universally feared, for there is no escaping his judgment, and as such he finds little welcome among the living. Still, he is accepted as an inescapable truth, although one which few look forward to embracing. It is therefore not uncommon to find a simple shrine to the Underlord in cemeteries, tombs, and other places that house the remains of the dead. It is also common practice to leave an offering with the dead, with the hope of appeasing the Underlord and the passage of the dead through his realm.
Ulnek's clergy are dedicated to bringing more souls under his control, but like their master, they are patient, awaiting the opportune moment to act. They are careful to observe specific rites, and are often very selective regarding who they choose to receive the Underlord's judgement. For this reason Ulnek's temples and clergy are often associated with assassins and other dark guilds.
The favoured weapon of the Underlord is the long spear.