Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cults in the Land beyond the Drowning Woods

Clerics require gods to worship and grant their spells (or whatever passes for gods in the campaign setting). Lotfp assumes that all clerics are lawful (i.e. allied with law as opposed to chaos). Reading the Tales from the Flat Earth by Tanith Lee where gods are very distant and aloof beings, that gave me ideas.

Basically, all religions in the Land beyond the Drowning Woods are cults. They venerate distant gods. Most clergy are 0-level. In order to gain insight into the nature of the gods and the mysteries they present, one has to leave the safe confines of ones village or town and travel to distant places to experience creation. Enlightenment is not for the meek.

The Church of the Iron God worships a stern father-figure. They value honor, righteousness and obedience. It's a cult of warriors, smiths and mineworkers. It is very prevalent in the Rustmoor Highlands where the main cathedral of the faith is located.

The Order of the Pale Worm venerates the lord of death and decay. He is the patron of graveyards and tombs. The statues depict Lord Death as a giant white maggot dressed in hooded robe of black velvet. His main temple is on the Isle of the Pale Worm where he is served by the Verdigris Virgins.

The Children of the Beast King worship the Horned One as a fertility god. They dance around the equinox fires and celebrate rites to ensure the bounty of the harvest. The cult has a large following the Goblin-Spider Forest and the rural communities on the Swamp of Dreadful Dreams. At the spring equinox, a young man who has never before known a woman, has ritual intercourse with the harvest hag, a woman who has raised at least three sons.

The Speakers of the River Father can be found along the Doomglaroon. They idolize the river as a benevolent father who brings live and prosperity to the villages and towns along the Doomglaroon. Sacred priests usually accompany the river vessels.

The Society of the Ice Serpent is a mystery cult based upon ancient teachings of the pale elves. It is believed that the Ice Serpent is the creator of the pale elves. Today it is a deity worshipped by magic-users, alchemists and tieflings. The marsh elves revile all clerics and priests of the Ice Serpent.

The Servants of the Bloated Toad are merchants and traders who believe in decadence and opulence. They see obesity as sign of an affluent lifestyle and favor of the deity. The priesthood is rich and lazy. Rarely do they find the tenacity to explore the deeper meanings of the tenets of the Golden Toad. Currently, the priests are trying to open a temple in the Nameless City. An effort regularly met with some sort of setback or disaster.

These are the cults and churches of the land beyond the Drowning Forest. All of these cults have clerics, but so far they aren't really differentiated from another. I am thinking of ways to do this without unbalancing the game. On the other hand, I am not sure, if that is necessary at all. I am tempted to just let this stand, until a player decides to actually play a cleric and chooses a cult as his own.

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