“Thus did Androgenae's soldiers fall around him, overrun by the countless orcs of the Voordlands. And Androgenae cast his hands to the heavens to call Yatindar's wrath down upon the servants of Mazripos; destruction did he rain down upon them from the stars themselves. Androgenae strode from the Voordlands alone, and the orcs were no more until the rise of Katheledon.” -Yatindar's Book of Justice, Androgenae, Chapter 4
The gods of Gaeleth are very real (and very powerful) to all its peoples – few question their existence. Through their servants, mountains have been destroyed, nations created, and lovers have been married. They sometimes stride the world, to impart gifts of wisdom and knowledge to their followers. Faith can truly heal, prayers are answered, and curses can bring the wrath of a god full upon a man.
Religious scholars know that any one of the gods of Gaeleth could kill another with a mere thought. Students of history sometimes feel there is a set of rules that govern the gods, though who made the rules, or created the setting, is unknown. Just as much mystery surrounds the need of each god for a divine Relic that serves as the resting place for all the souls that a god accrues. Those that have returned from the Relics, through the powerful prayers of the faithful, have reinforced the concepts of heavens and hells, limbo and purgatory.
A general list of gods includes (but is not limited to):
Agincoth – goddess of knowledge, believed by many to be dead.
Arpelos – god of the sun and destroyer of the undead.
Argunas – god of the demons and those who would control them.
Ayelin – elemental goddess of water – DECEASED.
Barith – god of plants, the harvest, and farming.
Blervoncara – elemental god of air – DECEASED.
Brigain – god of destinies and fortunes, as well as storms and lightning.
Curiss – god of the dead; also, god of the kobolds.
Dakis – god of the undead and those who would control them.
Elinthar – god of animals, and of hunting.
Galanus – god of stealth and hiding; formerly a god of death.
Galgiran – god of the dwarves and of smiths.
Habrem – goddess of music and math, pleasure and culture.
Infierne – god of weapons – DECEASED.
KTath – god of vengeance and retribution.
Lul – god of merchants, information, and coin.
Mazripos – goddess of disease; also, goddess of the orcs.
Mikindim – god of architecture, stone, and work ethics.
Milthel – the dragon god – DECEASED.
Olorin – goddess of the oceans and seas and all the creatures therein.
Nabrol – god of the Nabrolians; sometimes known as the Mad God.
Nathel – the Dark God; deceased; god of strategy – DECEASED.
Rahne – goddess of warfare.
Samis – goddess of thieves, secrets, and the darkness.
Tromth – elemental god of earth – DECEASED.
Whalin – god of healing, mercy, and martial arts.
Xoriah – elemental goddess of fire.
Xynosalionisis – god of dragons, memories, and bowmen.
Yatindar – god of justice and honor; leader among the Inquisition.
Divine servants of the gods are known as archons and angels, with little distinction between the two. Archons are often elemental servants of the divine, but not always, and in many cases archons are simply a specialized form of angel.
A commonly asked question is, “What are the Relics?” Essentially, the Relics are where the souls of a particular god reside – and where the essence of that god exists. Within the Relic, each god is all-powerful, and the souls that worshipped it before death reside in a kind of localized heaven. The Relic also serves as the home for all the greater souls – more commonly known as angels and archons. Each Relic is relatively small, and appears made of some strange metal, but within the Relic, space is infinite, depending on the whim of the god that Relic represents.
The Relics are indestructible, save by the will of another god – thus there is a winnowing process by which unstable or homicidal gods are snuffed out by the majority of the other gods. The Relics, while indestructible, do not give off auras, magical eminations, or any kind of radiant energy; aside from their strange metallic color, each Relic might be just a piece of jewelry.
Where they come from and who makes them remains as much a mystery to the gods as to mortals. When a 'blank' Relic is found, however, it is often imprinted with the needs and wants of the mortal that finds it, giving birth to a new god.
The ranks of the gods varies, based off of the number of worshippers they have on the mortal plane, and the number of worshipful souls they have gathered into their Relics. More powerful gods have a vast number of souls and worshippers' powers to draw upon, and their priests tend to be more powerful. Weaker gods tend to have lesser numbers of souls or worshippers to draw upon, and thus have relatively weaker priests or churches.
Pantheons – collections of gods into groups by mortals – adds to the power of the gods. For instance, a mortal choosing to worship three specific gods gives his power equally (or unequally, depending on his tastes) to those three gods; the three gods all benefit from the power of the worship, and there is no lessening of the power shared between the three of them. Because many of the gods have similar designs, or their churches seek similar ends, there are a number of nearly standardized pantheons.
Clerics worshipping these pantheons gain their choice of any two domains among the pantheons, but cannot advance in ecclesiastical rank unless their chosen domains fall within a single god's purview, and the cleric can only advance within that god's church. For example, Torduneth might worship as a cleric of the pantheon of the Karatikans – naturalistic gods – choosing the plant and fire spheres as his domains; he can only advance beyond the level of 'priest' in a given church by choosing one church, and the domains belonging to that church.
Clerics of pantheons do not gain the special abilities granted to priests who choose to follow only one god.
Among almost all pantheons, Brigain is a common thread, making him arguably the most powerful of all the gods of Gaeleth. Common pantheons include (but are not limited to):
Nature: Arpelos (the sun), Barith (plants), Brigain (weather), Elinthar (animals), Mikindim (earth), Olorin (water), and Xoriah (fire).
Nobility: Brigain (destiny), Mikindim (works), Rahne (war), Whalin (compassion), and Yatindar (law).
Evil: Argunas (demons), Brigain (power), Dakis (the undead), K'Tath (vengeance), Nabrol (madness), and Samis (theft).
Empire: Barith (harvests, alcoholic drinks), Brigain (destiny), Elinthar (mounts, work animals, and food animals), Galanus (maneuvering), Lul (merchants), and Rahne (war).
Dwarven: Brigain (destiny), Elinthar (mounts), Galgiran (steel), and Mikindim (stone).
Elven: Barith (plants), Brigain (destiny), Elinthar (animals), Galanus (stealth), Habrem (life), Xynosalionisis (memory).