Thursday, 13 October 2011

Religion in Unlit Match

Religion was never meant to be a significant feature of the campaign when I was creating, but was always meant to be part of the landscape. When I laid eyes on the character sheet for Bram, this all had to change. He's a failed acolyte. We've added lots of details to religion as we've gone along, and this is the full picture of what we've seen in the story.

Religion of Foxglen
Aestra, goddess of the heavens
Her realm is above the clouds and reaches up beyond the stars. She brings the sun, the night, and the stars. To worship her is to remember all that is lofty and beautiful. People pay homage to her through the arts; sculpture, poetry, dance and song.

Cambruach, god of the air
Dwelling amongst men and animals, Cambruach rules from earth to clouds. His work is to create the space for all creatures to live in, even the birds and the fish. He is worshipped as the one who brings the order of nature in all its beauty and violence. His rites include feasting, learning and contests.

Ferroan, goddess of the earth
Beneath the surface, and down to the depths of depths, is Ferroan. She is the source of all fertility, bringing crops from soil and seed, children from adults. She is worshipped in growth, nakedness and burial. Rituals to Ferroan centre around the cycle of birth, life, death and renewal; in childbirth, lovemaking and mourning.

Cambruach is married to both Aestra and Ferroan, and sets the example of polygamy practised in the region. Men like to joke that he keeps his two brides far apart, and are thereby superstitious about high mountains which reach above the clouds. Waters are implicitly sexual in this religion, as in most religions. Rain, snow and storms are the symbols of his love for Aestra, and rivers, lakes and oceans the symbols of his love for Ferroan. The waters bring life and support life. Between the three of them, the whole of nature has an order. Believers aren't fatalists, however, and hold a strong sense of struggle against life's obstacles in order to gain self-realisation. Overall, this is a nature religion, looking to nature to teach and guide.

Temples of this religion tend to be complexes of buildings with open air areas in between. Some activities take place indoors and some take place barefoot outdoors. Temples have areas for contemplation, for liturgy, for theological research, for training and also for accommodating the clergy.

Religion of Liguelen
Liguelen, the nearby major city, is overseen by a single god: Ithnell. He is a god of storms and thunder and favours people who are industrious. Unlike other gods, Ithnell is also reclusive, preferring the mountains around Liguelen rather than the town itself. Worship of Ithnell revolves around hard work and labours. Priests are often large men, and also often blacksmiths. The forge is a sacred fire for Ithnell. Three is a religiously significant number. A triple lightning strike signifies Ithnell's presence, either now or very soon. Ithnell also has a cursing mark that he places upon the most apostate mortals. It's rarely used, but invokes a sense of fear, hatred, derision and anathema amongst his loyal followers.

The Dark Lord
This is a strange and foreign god, from the lands to the south. He's known only as the Dark Lord to the people around Foxglen and Liguelen. There are rumours that he has some followers in this area, but they'd be considered heretics and exist only in secret cult structures. Any worshippers encountered so far in the story are quite secretive and use a number of secret signals to identify themselves to each other.
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