Monday, June 17, 2013

Religion and the Hill Cantons Part Three: Godlings, Atrophied Gods and Also-Ran Deities

Continuing this series on the religion in the campaign. Parts one and two here and here.

Gaxx the Jerk-King sets forth in his time-misted Annals of theFive-Fold Path that “puissant and sage paragons who follow alignment to the absolute letter of its definition must eventually move off into another plane of existence.” Such must be the case as despite humanity's seemingly inexorable march toward monotheism a bewildering number of godlings on the rise have joined the ranks of demi-gods, fallen gods, and nature spirits that densely pack most corners of the Weird with their Immanence.
Kostej the Deathless
The Ursine Master
The Mistress of the Mountains
Svatek the Guardian
The Horned Oracle
Moon Calf
Vul the Drowned
Ježibaba the Witch-Bitch
Water, Wood, and Hill Spirit-Gods
The Half-Gods of Marlankh
Civic Gods

Atrophied Gods
Even beings as powerful as gods face inevitably sunset. Without the power of veneration they coast on for years living on past glories, perhaps regaining a spring in their step here and there when fashions revive a pocket of faddish worship.

Many of the Old Pahr deities, like those of the Kaftors and Boreans before them, have faded to shadows. Who knows—indeed, cares--these days of the cosmic wrestling between Chernobog and his brother Bilibog? Or the Cattle Raids of Velesh? The aching pain of the Great Stonefisting? All-powerful world-shattering gods slowly become autumnal backhills gods and then--before the longer midnight of sleep claims them--they finally slump into mere godlings.

A few able-toed fallen deities manage to adapt to their downshift, sometimes recasting themselves with entirely different briefs and personas as they adapt to their new station. Marzana, the old Pahr goddess now coasting a head above local godling status, is widely suspected to be Mara, a chthonic goddess of legendary emotional iciness. It is said that after running hot for a while with the jet-set gods of the Latter Hyperborean successor states as a trendy “goddess of bittersweet remembrances, poised languidness, and doleful fashion” that she had a tremendous row with a divine lover and in that baleful fallout covered the world in ice.

Like Radegast she ekes out a life mainly as a Hill Cantons folk festival patroness (and tiny pockets of worship) where a rag-filled, garlic-bedecked straw effigy of her is dragged through the streets toward the local water source while being dipped into every puddle, pond and mud mire along the way. At water edge the effigy is burned and a nearby tree festooned with gaudy baubles. Druids (either real if a pagan community or symbolically draped with granola if a Sun Lord-fearing community) march behind the procession chanting “it's not much, but it's a life.”
A: Neutral
B: Ice Arrow (3), Reincarnation (11)
C: Female druids, magic users
D: Winter, Dead and Rebirth, Emotional Distance

The Silent God
Rumored to be the Father of the Sun Lord, though the increasing tight-lippedness of his dwindling congregants makes the true nature of this god and his doctrine a head-scratcher for most. His symbol is nine-pointed star. Complicated esoteric equations and schematics are often associated with savants that follow him.
A: Lawful (Good? Evil?)
B: Confusion (5)
C: Any but must be born into the faith
D: Inscrutability, Stoic Continuity, Guiltmongering
Click to enlarge

The World Turtle
Jarek the Nagsman, Marlank bon vivant and sage, maintains that the World Turtle that the Hill Cantons rests on swims through time in a series of dialectical mini and macro cycles upwards to the End of History. The other planes, he contends, may be the antithesis or synthesis of the present of the HC--but of course that's absurd heresy.

At High Summer, the shortest night of the year, Altnoc, is celebrated by placing a turtle shell (for the WT naturally) inside a wagon wheel and rolling into an enormous bonfire while celebrants plait wreaths of nightshade and jump across the blazing logs in defiance of the demons who dwell Beyond the Veil.

Perhaps troubling for the continuing existence of the world, very few actually worship the World Turtle anymore.

Hyperborean “Space Gods”
The Late Classical Hyperborean period suffered from a surfeit of power-intoxication best personified by the wicked, vying Necromancers' pursuit of divine transformation. Lying in state in the Cerulean Vaults far below the surface streets of Kezmarok they spend millenia pondering dream logic and building up the will to metaphorize into beings of pure energy. Small cults nestled in the Undercity continue service and worship of them.
Zirran the Golden
Nezar the Aborted
Hisvart the Underwhelming
Onig the Prober


  1. i thought cosmos was a hamburger first glimpse

  2. As usual with the Cantons I get my guard down and then the slovak folk song lays me flat.

    1. I attended a Morena festival in the Tatras when I was living in Slovakia. It was like stepping back 1200 years, the most authentically pagan thing I've ever witnessed.0