While healers save lives, and wizards create the impossible, it is the gods that most people in Istva place their fate. The gods play a part in most everyone’s lives, from peasants to kings.
The different ancestries of Istva worship their own pantheons of gods, which typically remain consistent across Istva. Humans on the other hand have many different pantheons of gods—and saints—that they worship depending on their geographical region and culture. The humans’ pantheons are hardly set in stone and new gods can come into existence by various means.
- 1 The Old Gods
- 2 Saints
- 3 Worshiping the Gods
- 4 Divine Magic
- 5 Non-Human Gods
The Old Gods
The gods that exist today are not believed to be the original creators of the universe. The gods that created the Physical and Spirit World are often referred to as the Old Gods. What happened to them is unknown, but they have laid seemingly dormant or absent for all of recorded history.
While it’s possible for humans to become gods, it is more common for a deity to elevate a mortal to sainthood instead. This is done when a mortal commits some act that is representative of that god, and the god rewards them with a miracle. Typically the act is easy to link back to their god, however there are fringe cases where the act seems to go against the god’s tenants. A saint is officially canonized when a ki-rin appears before them and bows.
Saint Locas was an abbot of Vlantor who murdered his liege lord, Baron Guthrum. As the story goes, Abbot Locas was on his way to a neighboring town when he saw Baron Guthrum and two of his men fresh with blood; the bodies of a few farmers on the ground at their feet. Baron Guthrum told the abbot not interfere as it is his estate and his people to do with as he wishes, else the abbot would be next. Locas then watched as the baron and his men start to make their way to the next farmhouse; to execute another family. Unable to stand the injustice Locas cast a spell and struck down Baron Guthrum. The baron’s men threw down their arms and begged the abbot not to harm them, knowing the evil they had done. Locas, seeing the other men would not harm him, went to the bodies of the family still yet to be buried and wept. He himself begging Vlantor for forgiveness of his crime. Vlantor, seeing his act was not one of an evil heart, granted Locas a miracle. The family all started breathing again; their wounds healed and returned from death. As the tale goes, Locas was granted sainthood for showing that death can be used to protect life.
A saint acts as a funnel of the gods’ power. As such clerics of human gods receive their power through a saint.
Worshiping the Gods
Typically most people worship a multitude of the various gods depending on the context. Most professions have a patron saint: smiths in Southern Ohlm pray to St. Lorcan before starting a new work, farmers make offerings to St. Deidra and St. Aswin in hopes of a bountiful harvest, and merchants often will leave a few coins at a shrine to St. Keaton or Ilmuth in thanks for a good trade deal. As such most people worship the god and saint that affects them, and their work, the most. Outside of their patron saint, people will often say a prayer to one of the other many gods or saints depending on their situation. A hunter who typically worships St. Thale may become lost and utter a prayer to Xi in hopes of finding his way home, or an adventurer who follows St. Izan may give thanks to St. Miran if he finds a magical artifact. Abbots of particular gods and saints acknowledge the roles of the other gods, and may give thanks to them
Centers of the Religious
The vast number of religious institutions find their homes in temples and shrines. These temples range in size from small structures built in the wilds, to massive and complex buildings that make up several city blocks.
Shrines, unlike temples, are smaller structures, often consisting of just a statue of a god/saint or their symbol. These shrines act as small beacons for the faithful, and are a place for people to worship the more rarely invoked gods. Shrines are tended to by wandering abbots, or by the locals. A family may have their own shrine, and quite often do, in or near their home. Simple things such as a small symbol of St. Ingvi and a few candles set into a recess in a wall.
Abbotship and Priesthood
Abbots or Priests of a saint or god aren’t always clerics. Tasked with serving their deity and their faithful, they do not require magic. Clerics are actually quite rare when looking at the entire hierarchy of the faithful.
Becoming an abbot is not unlike any other job or occupation. All abbots start off as an acolyte, similar to an apprenticeship, where they learn from an abbot. Some shrines and temples may only have a single acolyte, while larger temples may have huge groups of them. After completing their education and memorizing their deities various stories, histories, and prayers, an acolyte becomes ordained through a ritual.
The power of magic is occasionally granted to mortals by a god or saint if human. There is no seeming pattern to this, some are seemingly born with access to divine magic as soon as they can earn to pray, a sign they are destined for great (or terrible) deeds. Others are bestowed this gift in a time of need or at a seemingly random time in their life, when praying in desperation.
Often these clerics end up honing their skills at a temple, where they devote their time and skills to their god. Other times, however, these people simply wander the land and try to do the will of their god.
As their magic is a result of them praying and fed to them through their god, it’s uncommon for one of these people to go against the wishes of that god. As their prayer will simply go unanswered.
- Main article: Dragonborn gods
- Main article: Dragon gods
|Ashkan||King of the Sky|
- Main article: Dwarf gods
- Main article: Elf gods
|Satari||Goddess of Creation|
|Anas||God of Destruction|
- Main article: Giant gods
|Ur||God of All|
- Main article: Gnome gods
- Main article: Goblin gods
- Main article: Kenku gods
|Kaze||Master of the Wind|
- Main article: Loxodon gods
Minotaurs and Centaurs
- Main article: Minotaur gods
|Hannaer||Mother of Nature|
- Main article: Orc gods
- Main article: Tabaxi gods