The Deity Dynamic Organization in Orlos | World Anvil
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The Deity Dynamic

“Throughout my travels it is amazing the principles and values that seem to crop up over and over again. No matter the country. No matter the deity worshipped. No matter the race of those around me. The principles remain the same. This has led me to believe that there is something larger at work, something that can only sometimes be grasped. What if, all of the deities and cultures reflected the same people, only focusing on different aspects?”

Excerpt from Arimel’s notebook
1140 AC

  Religion is a central aspect of nearly every group on Orlos, civilized and uncivilized. An interesting feature of the religions though is that, even should the names and images depicting the deities change, certain aspects always remain. Certain principles are present across numerous deities of dozens of cultures – strength in war, supporting the dying, preservation of nature – yet the names and appearances of them change or sometimes seem almost a blend of multiple deities. This has led to the conclusion that the deities are not the personages that people try to bind them to. A deity can take many forms or names, it is merely the powers and principles that they represent that remains constant. So, while there could be large churches worshiping deities by a certain name, the same deity can also be found among smaller communities under a completely different visage.

Would not it would be better for them to unite all of their supporters under one name and banner? This is a commonly held belief but by making the aspects they represent the center of their personage rather then their image it actually allows them to be a lot more versatile and possibly attract more worshipers. Groups that may not always agree with each others interpretations of a deity's beliefs need not admit that they worship the same deity under this dynamic. You could have two completely different groups worship the same deity for completely different reasons without risking many of the internal and political difficulties that may otherwise arise.

Additionally, the emphasis on the principles allows the deities to interact with each other in a lot more devious manner. Should a community worship a set of principles but no single deity represents them all then two deities can ‘merge’ to provide the principles necessary. Such an occurrence would be impossible should each strictly follow their own appearance and principles. It gives them access to more worshipers and makes them more adaptable. However, there are a couple of deities whose principles are so different that they have never been recorded as merging to gain followers.

This belief on the essence of deities is not widespread on Orlos. Only a few high priests accept this concept and recognize the divine names of the deities they follow. Of these priests, even fewer openly proclaim the full extent of the deities interconnectedness. Many great churches have lost large numbers of followers as a result of such open conversation. From these occurrences though several other ‘religions’ have sprouted. These tend to view life as a path, following destiny and, in doing so, follow all and none of the deities. Most followers of these paths admit the existence of the deities but believe greater power and oneness with creation can be achieved through following a separate route from those individual deities provide. Sometimes though followers of these paths still worship deities in addition to following their own paths; it is largely up to the individuals.

The Rise of the Deities

To say a deity is born is an understatement to say the least...

Ramblings of the Mad

The exact process leading to deification is not known. It is believed that the deities were first wished into existence. In the cataclysm following the collapse of the old world, in the chaos that raged across the surface of the earth, the sheer want and need of so many people merely caused the first deity, Orlo to come into existence. Such circumstances have never been fully replicated though. The sheer amount of magic present during the cataclysm and the primal need for protection by so many people has never happened again.

Myths hold that the second deity, Craorloc, was created by Orlo. Orlo was the balancer and he created Craorloc to many the chaotic magic that coursed through the world. So, again, it was a need that brought the second deity into existence but this time it was through another deity's intervention.

The other deities came into being towards the end of the chaos. The source of these beings though is less documented. Some say that people lost faith in Orlo, resulting in his power being depleted and drained into new beings that could fulfill the people's needs. Others say that the new deities were part of Orlo's and Craorloc's plan, draining the remaining chaos into these new beings they had created together. The truth will probably never be known.

Mortals have tried on many occasions to rise to a deific level. Through processes attempting to replicate the original rise of Orlo in extremely chaotic environments to individuals gathering excessive amounts of power and ability to entire nations dedicating their entire focus of worship to a single person or ideal. There is no proven success story. In most cases the individual has been killed, torn apart by magic, competitors, or even, in extreme circumstances, effigies of the deities themselves who felt threatened. However, there are some stories where the individual simply went missing and, although no drastic religious changes occurred, small changes could be seen to reflect the missing individual. If such stories are to be trusted it can perhaps be said that any individual that rises to deific power merges with the deity they are trying to replace rather then killing them and taking over. However, as no survivors have ever returned to tell their tales, the true answer to this speculation is unknown.  

The Deities

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In Game Play:

Why are there so many deities??? *sobs*

The Deities in Orlos have been designed to be adaptable to the players and open a wide range of options. Players choose their deity by relating to the principles the deity represents. The player must choose at least two of the principles the deity represents to count as worshiping them. Alternatively, the player can choose four principles from two different deities. The players can then, in discussion with the DM, discuss domains, favored weapons, and other deity/class specific features. This will reduce the long list of obscure deity names that may otherwise arise.

In choosing the deity principles it is important to realize that the interpretation of the principles is up to the individual. For example, Estrell escorts death and disease. This could mean that her worshippers bring death and disease with them when they travel, dealing it to those they meet. It could also mean that they protect the sick and dying and lead them to new life. The interpretation would vastly change the way that the character would be represented and how different PCs and NPCs would regard the deity. It could also change which abilities such characters would hold. All of this would be up to the DM’s discretion (but is important for the player to be aware of as it could start religious wars within a single deity's sect).
Religious, Pantheon


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