- 1 Gods
- 1.1 Clerics and Magic
- 1.2 The Nine Powers
- 1.3 The Great Old Ones
- 1.4 The Forest Gods
Clerics and Magic
Clerical magic is rarely seen, and is every bit as secretive and mysterious as arcane magic. In Thule, clerics don’t pray for spells. Instead, they gain their magical powers when they are initiated into the deeper mysteries of their chosen deity’s worship. To put it another way, once a priestess of Ishtar is initiated into the secrets of Ishtar’s priesthood and invested with power, she gains the ability to use spells. What she does with those powers after that point is up to her.
Because priests can only be judged by the observable actions they take, it is far from certain that any given cleric is serving his or her deity faithfully. Priests, like all other mortals, are fallible and corruptible, and their magic has no special divine imprimatur that makes it holy or good. Magic in Thule is mysterious and not well understood, and Thule’s priesthoods are nothing if not mysterious.
The Nine Powers
Most civilized Thuleans recognize a distinct pantheon of greater powers with wide influence and temples in the more important citystates. This group of major deities is sometimes known as the Nine Powers. Not all of the Nine are known in all cities; different priesthoods wield different amounts of influence from city to city. In fact, many Thuleans would argue about which deities are properly numbered among the Nine Powers, usually substituting a civic patron, a legend- ary hero, or (in some cases) an anthropomorphized version of one of the Great Old Ones.
Goddess of Dawn, Messenger of the Gods, Flame of Atlantis Symbol: A crown or tiara with rays of sunlight Alignment: Neutral good Portfolio: Dawn, fire, beginnings, inspiration Favored Weapon: Spear
Lord of Beasts, the Ape-God Symbol: Broken bones Alignment: Chaotic evil Portfolio: Beasts, savagery, rage, destruction Favored Weapon: Greatclub
Goddess of Love, Luck, and War Symbol: Eight-pointed star Alignment: Chaotic neutral Portfolio: Love, beauty, art, fortune, passion Favored Weapon: Scimitar
Goddess of Grain, Mother of Rivers, Queen of the Gods Symbol: A sheaf of grain Alignment: Lawful neutral Portfolio: Agriculture, the earth, rivers, motherhood Favored Weapon: Light flail
God of the Sun, Lord of the Sky, King of the Gods Symbol: A sunburst and eagle Alignment: Lawful good Portfolio: Sun, justice, sky, rulership and dominion Favored Weapon: Heavy mace
God of the Underworld, Lord of War, King of the Dead Symbol: A black lion with a mane of flame Alignment: Neutral evil Portfolio: War, death, avarice, the underworld Favored Weapon: Longsword
God of Night, the Great Serpent Symbol: Twin serpents Alignment: Lawful evil Portfolio: Night, secrets, treachery, poison, snakes Favored Weapon: Short sword
God of Storms, Lord of Battle Symbol: A three-forked lightning bolt Alignment: Chaotic good Portfolio: Storms, sky, battle Favored Weapon: Battle axe
Mother of Dragons, Goddess of the Sea, Queen of Chaos Symbol: A dragon skull with five horns Alignment: Chaotic evil Portfolio: Chaos, destruction, monsters, vengeance, the sea Favored Weapon: Morningstar
The Great Old Ones
The Nine Powers are the gods of Thule, but they are not the only gods in Thule. Long before the gods of the human pantheon or even the myriad spirits of the natural world came into existence and assumed their places, primordial powers—evil, ancient, inhuman—came to the young planet and established their alien dominion over land, sky, and sea. Only the most fearless (or foolhardy) of sages study these crea- tures, but from these scholars a few terrible names are known.
Driven into hibernation in the desolate places of the world or exiled to the far reaches of time and space, the Great Old Ones hunger to return and reclaim what was once theirs. Some who bargain with these beings do so in search of power, some are degenerate tribes that cling to their monstrous gods, and some are vile cultists who pray for the end of all existence. Few indeed dare to name these Other Gods aloud, but that does not mean They are not worshipped. It is better not to pry into these matters, Majesty.
The Caller in the Deep CE
The Giver of Eyes CE
The King in Yellow NE
The Wind-Walker CE
Lord of the Golden Chalice NE
The Crawling Chaos CE
Black Goat of the Woods CN
The Sleeping God NE
The Dweller in Dreams NE
Opener of the Way CE
The Forest Gods
The idea of gods with human representations and human concerns is relatively new to the people of Thule, my King. Before the time of Atlantis, no one knew of gods such as Mithra or Asura. Even the old, primal deities—Herum, Set, and perhaps Tiamat— had no priests or houses of worship. In those years, humans worshiped only the unseen spirits of hill and field, beast and tree. The people of the cities may have forgotten their names, but the tribes of the jungles and the plains remember the Forest Gods, and they still pay homage to them.
Those who worship the Forest Gods are not priests or clerics. They are druids, shamans, or totem war- riors of one kind or another. Their magic is derived from the spirits of nature, not the power of faith or the divine intercession of the gods. In fact, tribal people are mystified by the rites and doctrines of the city gods; to the typical barbarian, gods don’t want anything from humankind—they just are. Honoring the natural spirits is simply good sense, since angering the spirit of the deer by failing to express gratitude for a successful hunt might lead the spirit to keep game away from the hunter in the future, while angering the spirit of the mammoth is a good way to get oneself killed.
Civilized travelers are sometimes inclined to treat druids and shamans with skepticism—after all, they have their own explanations for the mysteriesof nature and do not look at the world in the same way more primitive peoples do. But there is no doubt that shamans and other practitioners of nature magic deal with powers every bit as real and capable as the mystic forces harnessed by a wizard’s spells or a cleric’s prayers. It seems that for the wilderness tribes, believing is seeing. They perceive a world where every animal, every tree, every rock, and every stream possesses its own living spirit, and for them, it is so.