Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Gods of Yane

Yane's location between several civilizations means it recognizes several pantheons, including the White Gods (the gods of the north), the Hierarchy (the gods of the "Perfect" Realm, now catastrophically diminished), and the Middle Gods (the gods of the Middle Ocean). Only eight gods have a substantial foothold in Yane:

* Coth, the Gray God of Lahaz
* Amiza (or Amiza-Lacarni), Messenger of the Gods
* Elicca, Goddess of Fire and Passion
* Fanatin, Demigod of Shields
* The Iconess, Goddess of Light
* Kuraltes, God of Conquest
* Tirwein, Elf Godling of Flowering and Rebirth
* Xarrion, Goddess of Intrigue

Each of these gods possesses a powerful--and often hidden--shrine on Yane that serves as a conduit for their power; while outside Yane their full manifestations have different motivations and goals, their aspects on the Island of Scars form a rough pantheon. There, they cooperate to oppose upstart gods and the malicious powers that plague Arkat Bay.

CG Ecumenical Elemental-Goddess of the Middle Gods
Weapon: Longbow
Color: Blue
Omens:  Porpoises, broken staves, the number eight
Cleric Alignment: CG, NG, CN
Domains: Air, Law, Liberation, Luck, Rune, Travel, Trickery, Water, Weather
Paladins: No
Druids: Yes

A powerful and important goddess among the Middle Gods, Amiza found little traction in Yane until she fused with the Lacarni, eight local wind spirits. With their influence, she has become a goddess of sailors.

COTH, the Grim Gray God 
CN elemental godling (church is LN) of the White Gods
Weapon: Battle-ax
Color: Gray (or rust)
Omens: Rust, drabs (parrot-crows), head wounds, the number thirteen
Cleric Alignment: Any
Domains: Darkness, destruction, earth, law, liberation, strength, rust*
Paladins: Yes
Druids: No
* domain unique to Coth

Centuries ago, Coth was a crude barbarian totem, joyless and chill, disinterested in his followers. But a priest yoked him and, through ritual agonies, twisted him into the shape of a gray patriarch suitable for mass worship. His people died away but his cult proliferated, becoming a major religion that now dominates much of the North.

The Church of Coth is rigid, hierarchical, dogmatic, and stoic, but Coth’s true nature gives his powerful servants an independent streak that its (mostly nonmagical) hierarchy despises.

ELICCA, Goddess of Fire and Passion [EL-ik-kah]
CN primal goddess of the White Gods
Weapon: spear
Color: Orange
Omens: Blood, burning brands, elk, torn bark, the number two
Cleric Alignment: CN, CG
Domains: Animal, chaos, charm, luck, fire, trickery
Paladins: No
Druids: Yes

A goddess of campfires, love, and mating of animals and people. Her priests and priestesses tend roadside inns and raise great fires to mark their locations in the cold and the dark. Once they demanded flesh or oaths of obedience as the price of spending the night; now they accept money and have become a powerful banking institution. Many coins in Yane are stamped with Elicca's sign--a red elk with a burning crown.

FANATIN, God of the Barred Gate [FAN-ah-tin]
LN Archon of the White Gods
Weapon: Warhammer
Color: Black
Omens: Closed doors or gates, scorpions, images reflected in still water, the number four
Cleric Alignment: LN, LG, LE
Domains: Artifice, community, earth, law, protection, rune
Paladins: Yes
Druids: No

A minor aspect of the Allfather of the Dwarves (one of the great powers of the White Gods), Fanatin gained importance to the dwarves of the Temno Mountains when they hid for centuries from the undead. He is now their primary god. The followers of this distant and unapproachable god have been known to go mad trying to decipher his will; heretics whisper that he is no god at all, merely a bundle of magical power, and that explains his silence.

THE ICONESS, Goddess of Light
NG Demigoddess of the White Gods
Weapon: Longsword
Color: Gold
Omens: Lions, rabbits, sunlight cast on screens, strange clouds, the number twelve
Cleric Alignment: NG, LG, CG
Domains: Community, Glory, Good, Healing, Knowledge, Liberation, Magic, Nobility, Sun, War
Paladins: Yes
Druids: No

A mortal who rose out of the chaos of the north to help forge the Holy Kingdom of Keimia, the woman now called the Iconess represents an impossible mystic ideal toward which knights and scholars can both strive. She is attended by twelve radiant spirits (angels) who interact frequently with the other White Gods, trying to secure a place for the rather earnest people of Keimia in the harsh north. She also has connections to the Great Bear, a significant Keimian druidic spirit, and is sometimes pictured riding him.

KURALTES, God of Conquest [koor-AHL-teez]
LN God of the Hierarchy
Weapon: Spear
Color: Brown
Omens: Rams, pigs, broken earth, treacherous vines, markings on walls
Cleric Alignment: LN, LG, LE
Domains: Artifice, Community, Destruction, Glory, Plant, Protection, Strength, War
Paladins: Yes
Druids: No

The Perfect Realm began its long decline when its gods died, though no one knows how it happened. Only the Unconquered Sun survived, and it scrambled to fill vacated posts among the Ten Perfect Thrones of the Hierarchy. To replace the overthrown god of war, the Unconquered Sun found Kuraltes, a minor god of fences. Suddenly promoted, Kuraltes struggles with his new role in the pantheon of what everyone now calls the Old Realm. He has gained some respect as a war god for the hard-pressed people of the Scarred Island, for whom the Iconess can seem too soft and Coth too joyless. Kuraltes is also a god of vegetation and a patron of woodworkers, who celebrate him by creating and ritually destroying vine-shrouded wooden rams or other animals that represent the god.

TIRWEIN, Spirit of Flowering and Rebirth [teer-WAIN]
CG Elemental Godling of the White Gods
Weapon: Scimitar
Color: Green
Omens: Flowers, heartbeats, owls, thorns, the words of children
Cleric Alignment: CG, NG, CN
Domains: Animal, Chaos, Glory, Good, Healing, Plant, Protection, Travel
Paladins: No
Druids: Yes

The elemental godling Tirwein experiences alternating bouts of sleep and wakefulness, rising whenever he is needed to heal a land inhabited by elves or fey. He is currently active in the White Owl Forest and Muro Forest, working to restore the land after the long blight of Simani. He lacks foresight, though, and has no plans in case the Necrotic Empire returns.

XARRION, Goddess of Intrigue: [Zah-RYE-on]
CN Demigoddess of the Middle Gods
Weapon: Rapier
Color: White
Omens: Music, panicked animals (especially horses), rumors, chance meetings, the number five
Cleric Alignment: CN, CG, CE
Domains: Animal, Chaos, Charm, Darkness, Liberation, Luck, Magic, Trickery
Paladins: No
Druids: No

The Middle Gods have a proper god of “thieves,” but Xarrion represents something a touch more aristocratic and elegant: she is the goddess of lies and tricks, moonlight robbery, swindles and revolutions. As a goddess of “words that have power,” she is also Yane’s nearest thing to a goddess of magic. The Arcane Lyceum has little interest now in the Hierarchy’s magic god (Temulo, formerly god of knots), though Xarrion has focused Yane’s spellcasters away from written magic and toward the spoken word and the creation of items…and especially the breeding of monsters, which she loves. Her celebrants dress like horses and flagellate themselves to drive off evil spirits.



I worked hard to keep the gods to a manageable number while still offering deities for most roles. Most of the gods are more or less my own invention; the term "The Iconess" derives from someone else's campaign (I cannot remember where on the Internet I first heard it), but the goddess behind the name differs from its original conception.

I look forward to seeing Coth--the god himself, and his priests--in my game. I love the idea of a Crom-like god of granite winds and cold peaks beaten into the shape of a palatable Patriarch. Not enough D&D religions feature serious conflicts between the gods and their followers.

Next Up: The Malignant Powers!

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