Where are the gods?
Prior to a legendary event known as the Interregnum, it is said the gods walked all of Evindale, interacted with mortals, and religion as a whole was an important facet of daily life.
After the Interregnum the world changed and with it, the gods disappeared. According to legend, Mütvia was twice the size and the River Gergi today once continued down what is the eastern seaboard. Entire principalities were supposedly swallowed whole and with it, evidence of the faiths once practiced.
Even today, however, there is little doubt Mütvians hold a place in their heart for the unrequited belief they are not alone. Of course, they are a superstitious bunch when compared to those who live elsewhere and this superstition may have its origins in the old faiths. Much of survival in Mütvia depends on knowing what creatures are kept at bay by a spring of bonesbane by the door or a certain incense that repels spirits.
Apothecaries and even vrojiti are hard-pressed to find out why these things work, or why a charm brings luck while a talisman enhances something already owned. Commoners as a whole have little care to delve into the mysteries of the hidden worlds and what knowledge the drósti have isn’t being shared. Even as the nobles lynch practitioners of magic, every Mütvian practices what some elders believe is actually worshipping ancient deities and should the observance of these superstitions yield results, then it is a god that has caused it.
Or spirits really don’t like the smell of incense. Either way, sometimes it works so Mütvians practice it as a method of survival.
The Beginning of the End
Very few documents, journals, or evidence can explain what happened in the event known as the Interregnum. Less unknown for certain are the events that led up to it, when it was, or what happened immediately after it.
Every now and then, however, a farmer’s plow uncovers some relic of the past that begs questions to be asked. Fear of the unknown or the local prince’s wrath has caused such objects to be immediately destroyed but every now and then an object survives, research performed, and something of an answer gained.
What answers are had sometimes come from mystics accessing lore from ancestor spirits or from the Anshaysa people of the Drósti caste. Nobles sometimes come across dusty and decrepit volumes in ancient parts of their libraries as well. But whatever the source, there seems to be a general consensus of what happened.
- A god sought to gain control over this world and oust another god
- Mortals interceded and killed the intruding god
- The world collapsed
Who sought what control over what god is speculative at best. Some say the ancient proto-deity Sythlia conquered death itself with the help of mortals, while others say it was the crafter god of knowledge, Benos, who was responsible for the upheaval of the land that caused oceans to flood entire kingdoms and with it, their cities of lore and libraries.
How the Gods Died
The most ancient of writings in noble house libraries correspond to what the mystics speak of when a particularly ancient ancestor spirit whispers to them, and that matches the chantings of the Anshaysa drósti: the gods aren’t dead, we merely think they are.
Mütvia is but one country in all of Evindale and the people of other nations agree: from the firesongs of the Sta’abarian shaman, the rune songs of the godmen of Nudvrium, the drug-induced vision-prayers of the Hillslade people of the Southern Spine, the bardic songs of Iviria, and even the wordless tree-whispers of the odd Delerese people all say the same thing: mortals rewrote the very core of reality through some process (thankfully) lost to history.
After the Interregnum which is said to have lasted for no less than 100 years, new cultures rose up in place where others were destroyed. These new cultures had no reason to chase gods as those who worshipped ceased to see miracles occur. in the old was still prevalent. It only took a few generations for the gods to be forgotten, however.
The Mütvian Cults of Old
The Nor’daghan Cults
In Mütvia, the priests of Nor’dagha faded away with age. Nor’dagha, once the patron deity of the country and worshipped heavily in the northern reaches of the nation, supposedly left her mark somewhere before fading away according to the elders.
What the mark is, where it was left, or even if it was in this world or the world of spirits is unknown. The last known reference to this mark is from the last Archvyer of the Nor’daghan Cult, Cosma of Eagle Point.
She lives. Always has. She’s the air we breathe, the ground we walk on, and the brambles that bite us. She is the storm, the river, the mountain, and the life that is thrust into every living thing. She is the sister of Sythlia, the creator of all, and like her sister, will never cease to exist.
When she is ready to return, we will know. This is her sign.
The Journal of Dmitri Vladescu, Son of the Wolf
We can assume Cosma understood this sign and the journalist Dmitri was there to witness it. At least to one person of faith, it was something of a reality to him.
To this day, some say the Nor’daghan Cults still exist and await for the day when the “sign” will present itself.
The Death Cults of the Anshaysa
Whether for entertainment or trade of service, most drósti have a penchant for working with spirits. The Anshaysa drósti, however, are known to take it a step further and worship the very cause of many spirits: Death itself.
The Anshaysa are an adoptive family of drósti, its members leaving their own families to join the cult wherein rituals are conducted to cause them to become “one of the blood”. Family ritual magic of the drósti do not work for, by, or against these Anshaysa which causes many drósti to swear off their kind. Some claim the Anshaysa are not drósti at all but instead an offshoot.
Most worrisome of the Anshaysa is their ability to sever the connection another has to the Land. This is normally a power reserved to certain sinister nobles who practice a form of geomancy. Even more worrisome, particularly to the noble caste, is this power doesn’t just sever one’s connection, it reallocates it to that of the drósti.
This explains why the Anshaysa take a new name upon becoming a full-fledged member. At least three “missing” nobles have been seen in their ranks.
Who they worship or how they derive their power is certainly not known, but the hunt for the Anshaysa is widespread in Mütvia for the powers their elders have.
The Creed of Star
Whereas most cults are satisfied with recruiting members here and there, the Creed of Star actively invades smaller villages and abducts people into their ranks.
Their methods are undeniably effective and princes across the nation have received whispers from the Land these people are not only not Mütvian, but also are to be killed on sight.
The Creed seems to exist for one reason: sow terror. This is achieved not only by human members, but also by creatures that do not normally associate with humans: things of shadow, mares, and more creatures of the realm of nightmare are employed in their wicked and unknown designs.
All of their practice, however, points to one thing: they worship (or at least follow) the deity of nightmares: Tyrla.
Advanced Castes are ways for the storytellers to reward excellent roleplay, faithful and convincing portrayal of their character, assistance in immersion, and generally being known as a bar-setter in terms of quality. They are badges of achievement gained through quality, consistency, and contribution to the Mütvian community via in-character means. Advanced Castes are not the only methods of rewards for such play, but merely one option.
In Mütvia, the initial caste of a native-born character is determined by the Land. In very rare cases, the caste of a character may change. One method is to be recognized by deity as one who transcends the purpose of the Land (whatever that may be) and is called upon to serve a specific purpose. These Chosen may take several forms, but those listed here are but a few. Others may come about in game play and develop organically.
Deities can be quite demanding and portraying an advanced caste can be difficult at times due to the extraordinary circumstances of the character’s new existence. At any moment, they may demand something of import be done such as the acquisition and destruction of a seemingly innocuous item, recruitment of new cult members, or even sacrifice. Of course, fail a deity and you may face its wrath.
As suggested, Advanced Castes may only be gained in-game though roleplay, challenges, and actions of the character.
As some believe the old gods awaken, people of faith seek others to lead them. Enter the Vyer.
Neither noble, commoner, nor drósti, the vyer is a person who has dedicated themselves to no master other than the god or gods to whom they’ve dedicated themselves.
In the Mütvia of old, the vyer were a priest class and often walked the halls of manor houses alongside nobles, offered services to commoners from the pulpit of a mud pit, or sang midnight songs to drósti travelers.
Today, no vyers exist but the cults that gave rise to them in the past have begun.
The Role of the Vyer
When an individual becomes a vyer, doubts will be had. Some princes may hunt down the vyer out of fear of their power, commoners may lead a revolt against them, and even the drósti may view them with heavy suspicion to the point of capture and murder.
Those vyer who are accepted may instead find a new role in society depending on how they follow the perceived tenants of their deity. What is presented here serves only as a guideline. Only interaction with other characters will determine one’s actual role.
In Noble Society
Vyers in a noble house often find themselves in the role of moral advisers and confessors or leaders of religious militia or the domain itself. Those vyers who become princes in their own right may suddenly find their domain invaded by hordes of pilgrims who wish to touch the Chosen while other invaders may be nearby princes who cannot bear the power of such an individual near them.
In Commoner Society
Vyers who choose more humble roles in society may find themselves as the tavern corner adviser, leading a life of a deferential cleric. Some may become beggar-priests, while other still may find themselves as wandering preachers or silent devotees who seek only to do their deity’s work.
In Drósti Society
Some, particularly those of Nor’dagha and The Urchin, find themselves amongst the Travelers acting as advisers. Those born of drósti heritage often become the family vrojiti, the true wise elder of the worlds beyond. In most cases, however, the vyer is seen as one to be protected at all costs.
Becoming a Vyer
There is no set path to become a vyer as it is different for each cult. Goal Number One, however, is to be known as a priest of that god and carry forth its tenants.
While each cult has its own hierarchy, working up the ranks, overcoming challenges of faith, and exemplifying the dogma of deity/deities is hard work. It will require dedication, perseverance, and a steadfast attitude that will be challenged again and again over the course of time.
As a rule of thumb, the character should have fifteen games under their belt before being considered. The reality is a vyer is already a vyer in action and faith before they’ve been recognized as one. Therefore, exceptions to the time rule may exist but the establishment of one’s reputation as a vyer candidate could take longer than 15 events.
Things that help consideration may include:
- Work your way up to the top in your faith
- Convert others to your faith
- Remain consistent in their practices
- Establish a temple, altar, or shrine dedicated to the patron deity/deities
- Expand on the teachings of the faith
- Be known as a leader of the faith
The Miracles of Deity
Once your character has worked their way up to become a vyer, they may find any number of new abilities at their disposal, but they will also be badgered by enemies and agents of their faith. Being a vyer is to be a target as well as a leader.
Miracles never cost Threshold as vyers are considered part of the deity’s retinue and through them the deity channels their power. Overuse of a deity’s miracles, especially for selfish purposes and not for the deity’s benefit is a sure way to be divested of all powers, or even face the wrath of deity.
The following are samples of a vyer’s miracles, but your miracles will be customized to your character’s faith.
If your deity is prone to give portents or omens, your character may request advice toward a given goal. It is guaranteed accurate.
System: Grab a marshal. Establish a sacred area, even if personal. High use of props, chanting, casting of divination objects, incense burning, and dedicated time to give a convincing performance of asking/begging/demanding deity for assistance. If the augury is successful, an answer will come when the deity is ready to give one. The more complex the questions, the more vague and complex the answers. Deity determines when the questions are no longer answered.
Healing wounds, mending limbs, restoring sight, and curing diseases are all in the vyer’s bag of miracles. To less savory gods, truly horrific miracles may exist.
System: Through personalized and memorized incants and prayers, the vyer must provide a convincing performance of augmenting a body.
Sample Vyer Endeavors
Road of Benos
Road of Nor’Dagha
Road of Fayer
Avoid the Grave
Road of Serathid
Road of Dranathas
Enter the Umbra
Subsume the Shadow (s)
Road of Sythlia
Road of Tyrir
Road of Tyrla
The Old Gods
According to legend. the gods were once as real as you or I. They walked the world and the spaces between.
Now they’ve left us, awaiting the day when people believe in them again.
(“Old Masters”; Tira, masters; -sar-venerable. TEER-sahr)
The semi-sentient proto-deities. The personification of possibility and ultimate creators of all. Their individual names, or even if they had any, are unknown. Very few know of their existence, even fewer worship. Cults dedicated to the Tirsar seem to be on the rise, albeit slowly.
From the Tirsar sprang these possibilities, or “gods”.
“Eternal Mother”, “The Sun”
Goddess of the Sun
Benos / Vallor
“Hammer of Knowledge”, “Crafter of Worlds”, “Light Bearer”
God of crafters and preservers of knowledge
Symbol: Hammer or Lantern
Benos is said to have crafted the world according to Sythlia’s plan which included her own fall from power. Followers of Benos, including those from the massive range of mountains far to the east where Benos is known as Vallor, say in the beginning days of The Interregnum it was he who brought destruction to the world’s great centers of power so as to hide forever the knowledge that brought about the Tirsarian faiths’ downfall and ushered in the Epoch of Discovery. Followers of Benos maintain this destruction was necessary as the world’s people had become complacent and too reliant on magic, losing the knowledge of working with their hands.
When worshipped as a god of destruction and/or knowledge, Benos is viewed as a bringer of lessons through hardships and a destroyer of barriers that prevent growth of the mind.
Goddess of Destruction
God of Workers
“Eyes in the Mine”
God of miners
“Mother of Vengeance”
Goddess of Storms
God/dess of New Beginnings
God of universal/absolute truth & wisdom gained through experience.
“The Three Sisters”
Guardian Spirits of Water
Typically the Three Sisters are worshiped by land-based creatures as a collective. As such, very few temples are dedicated to one over the other but within each there may be separate areas for each goddess. Mind you, every statue in a land-based temple depicts always all three goddesses then known as The Eddei.
Instead there are small intimate altars either in or at the shores of lakes, rivers and oceans where offerings can be made.
Specific locations to each one of the Sisters are within their native elements and are never constructs but rather naturally occurring phenomena such as the depression in the silt after a whirlpool, etc. As such, these locations often change.
There are, however, three permanent temples dedicated to each of the Water Goddesses. At 10th level, all clerics are expected to make a pilgrimage to such locations (all are underwater). One is in the Gelesic Ocean, Sarak’s Bath (a large freshwater lake south of the Gelehinde Bay near Cultrek) and in the Drenihil River in eastern Iviria.
All in all, followers of The Eddei tend to be relaxed and easy-going types; it’s a religion that emphasizes a flowing nature and adaptation to obstacles and threats. The healing aspect of The Eddei is seen as a perfect example on a small level of the brute power of water. While it normally flows around objects water can be a destroyer of things, more than fire which often leaves something behind from which life may begin once more. Water destroys, erodes and carries away. Such as it is with wounds or mountains. The Eddei teachings hold to always seek a way around an obstacle than confront it head on. When prevented from journeying forth because of an obstacle, the power of water is brought to bear and the obstacle is to be obliterated. Thus clerics of The Eddei are less about peace and more about adaptation but also do not represent stagnation.
The Eddei spirit is said to have been lost in dead pools of water and it’s not too far of a stretch for a cleric to casually toe a channel in the sand on a beach from such a pool to another source of water so it may flow. Such things, however, are done more out of fancy than not as even then such things serve a purpose to living beings.
“The Blind God”
God of personal honor
“Poisoner of Dreams, The Jade Queen”
Goddess of Murderous Death
“Father of the Grave”
God of Natural Death
“The Shaker of Worlds”
Goddess of Earthquakes
Harpies of Discord
Goddess of the Plague & Undead
God of Lies
God/dess of the Mad Moons
“Medres is a child goddess. Indeed, she and her siblings, Zelres and Urthes, are the children of Fayan, the Elder Goddess of Murderous Death, an evil if there was any.
This is where it gets complicated and if you hunt undead you will want to know the whole story.
Before Fayan existed, there was no murder. Not per se, though I’m certain Sythlia would disagree. See, when her consort, Evin, was slain, she begged the concept of Death — not yet a fully formed god which is nothing more than a sphere of conceptual possibility given form and independent thought — for control over Death in her newly created realm, our physical universe and all within it.
This proves deities have their weaknesses; Sythlia had to bargain for control over how life ended in a realm she crafted from the energy of the Tirsar.
Moving on. When she made that request, Death literally was torn in two. A child of the Tirsar ‘requesting’ something is akin to us giving birth. It’s not a question, it’s an act of creation.
Death had to continue to exist otherwise Life would be out of balance. So it split from a parent, Death, into a brother and sister: Fayer and Fayan.
Fayer, the brother, is as neutral and uncaring as a god could be. He serves the original function of balance to Life but now ensures that those that possess material bodies — like you and I — have those bodies return to the earth to provide nutrients so that life may continue elsewhere. In the Fayerite religion, some sects hold it forbidden to ever be resurrected or reincarnated and likewise, to ever murder or bring premature death to someone or something. They do not eat meat and only consume portions of plants so that nothing may intentionally die. This is why there are not many of those sects around: they… tend to pass out from starvation.
Other Fayerite sects believes theirs is to prevent unlife — which cheats the natural process — in its entirety and enter the world fully capable of destroying undead.
Other sects still will kill anything for food but make sure each and every single bit of the creature that sacrificed itself so another may live is used in a productive and recycled fashion.
Now enter Fayan, the sister to Death. See, Evin was murdered, the first murder, and Death became divided. Evin was not killed for food as would occur in a natural setting. No, no… Evin was slain out of a desire to change the course of events, a selfish act. This, my friends, was murder. Death couldn’t resolve this so it split.
Fayan, a creature born from selfishness and greed, from lust and wrath, came to Sythlia in her grieving state and was the one Sythlia wished to see. For though her wish for control over death in her realm was presented, it was wrapped in deceit fueled by selfishness.
Sythlia was now able to restore life: the revenants were created, Sythlia’s stay of death to the deserving. But with that came an alteration of the magic that had slipped into the world by Evin’s spilled blood: resurrection and reincarnation were now possible but since Fayan was involved, so was the creation of undead made possible and manifest.
Fayan had her hands full. People and creatures started murdering each other now that knowledge of it was released in the world. Some say evil didn’t truly exist until that very moment but Fayan was yet done.
Again, selfishness ruled her actions. Evin was a primordial being and the reason why she existed in the first place. Remember, his murder caused Sythlia to unwittingly divide Death. Or perhaps it was part of ‘Her Plan’. Either way, Fayan visited each of the three kings of this primordial species, the most established of all the species and from whence Evin had come.
She slew each of them and their blood was poured into what we call the ‘Pond of Lament’. From the Slindar’s blood, the purest life of them all, was fashioned an unliving female child of perverted innocence: Medres. From the blood of the Myrad, the most noble of all the primordial people, was fashioned a corrupted male child that knew only of lies and deceit: Urthes. And from the focused and skilled Adri’il, an androgynous child representing neither male nor female and yet both was fashioned: Zelres who is utter chaos brought to life.
Medres is cold and calculating just like the one that created her. Her only motive is not to destroy life but to bring about death in any form. Fayan gave her the ability to raise the dead so the process (and balance) of life would be upset. A direct fly in the face of her brother, a selfish and evil act.
Some believe the mere presence of the undead in the world in some way prevents the thriving of life. That is to say a day may come when all children by living creatures will be stillborn. That is when the power of the undead balance the power of the living and neither of which may be created or born until the balance is shifted once more. And by that time, the world will be a place of nightmare.”
The Sleeper, Bordü Padu
Usher of winter and protection of the grain
“The Scales”, “The Dancer of the Scales”
God/dess of restoration of natural state
Mother of the Hearth
Goddess of the home, Patron deity of Iviria
God/dess of time and fate
“Frozen Queen”, “The Den Mother”
Goddess of ice, Patron deity of Nudvrium
Midnight Witch, Woman at the Crossroads, Bordü Sastri
Goddess of midnight and protector of drósti
The Grand Prince
God of nobles, executioner of the law
Sister, the Land, Bordü Moma
Goddess of the wilds, Patron deity of Mütvia
Watcher in the Wind, Queen of the Sanji
Minor goddess often associated with Nor’dagha
The Herald, The Rider
Goddess of dreams, messenger of the gods.
The Hidden, “The Shadow”
God of shadows, forbidden knowledge, mystics, and vrojiti
“First Mother”, “Elemental Goddess”, “Bathü Moma”
Creator of all
Erstwhile goddess of the physical relams and all those attached, Sythlia was of the Tirsar and from her sprung physical reality. With the application of the world-rewriting Caldra’fa Helix which marked the beginning of The Interregnum, Sythlia was recast as a goddess of earth spirits, including the fey and elementals. It is said that ancient nature priests, whether admitting it or not, derive their power from the Elemental Goddess.
“The Poisoner”, “Child of the Black Bile”
God of the underearth, the realm of the undead
“The Road Queen”, “The Road King”
God/dess of trade, patron deity of The Bazaar
“The Heart Striker”, “The Needle”
Goddess of vengeful love, curses, and poisonous mushrooms
“Caller of Three Swords”
God/dess of battle
“The Twist”, “Bringer of Woe”
God/dess of nightmares
Tyrlan “Creed of Star” Cult Symbol: A five pointed star with upward point extended three times longer into shape of blade.
God/dess of romantic love and lust
Thought to be patron deity of drósti
The only Tirsarian deity to not have a proper name, The Urchin is worshiped in two fashions: by those who delve into the earth seeking forgotten treasures, and by those who seek their fortunes at the expense of others.
Amazingly, followers of The Urchin share a camaraderie between themselves that transcends political or religious beliefs lending to the adage “Honor among thieves”. In each major city is said to be a Thieves Guild, and all members are expected to pay their dues and work their way up the hierarchy within. Ostensibly a business-driven society, many of these guildhalls also double as temples to The Urchin, and with the Guild Master also as the local high priest in some of the more powerful guildhalls.
“The Three-Eyed Jackal”
God of manipulation and dark magic