Deities in Varia
“The [great calamity] sundered [our] lands, destroyed our homes, and irrevocably altered life. For those who still remember. Yet, we still stand. Why? Is it because of heroes? Of extraordinary individuals? Some would say yes. After all, was not our patron Avalon among them? Yes, but more so in that, [they were] the arms of our true source of salvation: the gods. For they provided the cradling hand. For they provided the uplifting hand. Turning our conviction and our hope and our faith [into strength]! Strength that allowed us to survive and overcome the tribulations brought [by] the Scourge. Strength that allowed one of our own to transcend, elevating Avalon to, as I can only presume as a humble servant, a rightful pedestal. So, as we seek [to rebuild], we must forever hold our conviction, our hope, our faith, in our gods everlasting, for they grant us true strength.”
Gods, goddesses, and other forms of deities are immortal beings of power who oversee or manipulate (whether directly or indirectly) some part of mortal reality, often referred to as domains. Deities vary in strength, though the accumulation and prevalence of belief are often considered the sources, if not strengthening aspects, of their power. Deific worship has had a place in Varian life since the First Era. However, with the loss of most records regarding life from that time, the origins of Varia’s gods have sunk into obscurity, barring spoken tales of their supposed affairs and feats. In some cases, deities with followings present on the continent originated from beyond Varia’s borders or, at the most extreme, beyond the plane of Zentrem.
History & LocalizationReverence for the gods differed between the various regions of the continent and over time. From what accounts survived, certain deities apparently made appearances, more than likely through avatars, on the continent during the First Era. The War of the Scourge also saw numerous champions and other individuals blessed by the gods participating in the conflict; though, it also marked most of the known occurrences of direct divine intervention in the modern annals of Varia. During the Restoration Period, the Order of Avalon and surviving sects of worship contributed in establishing a new pantheon for the continent. Worship also swelled during this time with the lack of other stable forms of order to keep societies intact, resulting in the establishments of the holy orders of old and mass religious settlements. However, by the Third Era, nearly everyone these entities had dwindled into churches, temples, and smaller communities or had been absorbed by larger political settlements. Arguably, the historical and cultural influences of deities, notably that of Avalon, attributed to their continued relevance in Varia. Even in the present, major political bodies acknowledge them and uphold reverence within their territories, even without considering the Order of Avalon’s influence in Grandia. The presence of clerics and other practitioners of divine magic further maintain a more concrete, if not somewhat erroneous, belief in the capabilities of the gods.
Native Deities of VariaThe modern pantheon derives from the divine figures whose worship was known and comparatively widespread during the War of the Scourge and the following recovery period in the Second Era. Accounts of these gods and goddesses involve either their direct impacts or the doings of their followers and conduits on the continent. In the present, each member of the Varian pantheon maintains notable followings either consolidated or scattered between regions. However, due to the lack of records regarding the First Era, there exists a continuous debate regarding the scope or even validity of commonly acknowledged deities particular to Varia.
The Pantheon of VariaThe pantheon for the major gods of Varia has been a debated subject since its first declaration during the early years of the Second Era. Members have been added and removed over the millennia as determined by the degree and prevalence of worship.
- A god of death, records of Aark date to before the War of the Scourge. Ultimately, Aark represents a neutral and necessary aspect of mortal reality. Modern views of Aark have typically painted him as a figure to be feared, if not abhorred. Curiously, during the War of the Scourge, Aark received notable reverence, for upholding death in its entirety and preventing the creation of the Scourge.
- The primary goddess of magic in Varia during the First Era whose following wavered during the War of the Scourge. The Second Era saw a recovery in reverence for Aizur, though her sects remained confined to the areas of central and southwestern Varia. She is held in high regard by the Arcane Society, and her followers include mainly arcanists, such as wizards and bards, but can also include other scholars and general practitioners of magic.
- A mortal king of Avon who ascended to godhood at the conclusion of the War of the Scourge. Avalon became the youngest member of the Varian pantheon and has since maintained a powerful and widespread following throughout all of Varia. Even in the present, his name is used to evoke hope and triumph in the face of evil, particularly in persisting conflicts with the Scourge managed by the Order of Avalon. However, it has also become a household name with the perpetuation of the legends regarding his exploits and the subject of his ascension.
- The ancient deity of the arts and crafting who is worshipped by individuals involved in those trades. Doromis is held in especially high regard in the states of the Dwarven Confederation to the north. However, most settlements involved in industry hold him in reverence, and it is not uncommon to see a shrine or his symbolism present in places of such work.
- A god of life who also belongs to the pantheon of the Feylands. Worship for Eluron had spilled into Varia through the forces sent by the Evergreens to aid in the continent’s plight against the Scourge. Since that time, Varian reverence for Eluron remains particular to the areas bordering the Feylands, with the rise of Avalon overtaking his sects further west.
- One of Varia’s ancient deities, the goddess of love and joy sees veneration amongst the continent’s civilized races and is often beseeched with prayers for fertility. However, Erevea also possesses notable followings in centers of culture as practitioners of the fine arts, from bards and artists to writers and performers. Each pray for her good graces, often in garnering favorable reception to their works.
- An ancient god of magic whose main following had been in the Feylands during the First Era, when worship for him had been displaced by that of Aizur. The Evergreens’ involvement with the War of the Scourge contributed to his rise in prominence in Varia. However, present-day scholars more often associated veneration for Faenorias as an extension of the Archmage Vyliar’faeien’s role in the aforementioned conflict and subsequent relevance in the early periods of the Second Era. He is considered the patron deity of the Arcane Society and receives reverence from practitioners of magic, of both the arcane and the divine, scholars and intellectuals, and even literary artists.
- A god of war and battle known for his cruelty in combat and beyond, and a trait emulated by his followers. Tales of his exploits from the First Era have often placed him at odds with the other divines. He has maintained substantial followings within the states of the Dwarven Confederation as well as among the more ferocious races, in the likes of orcs or goliaths. However, some political states in central Varia, specifically their armies, have expressed reverence for Haskir during the Third Era.
- The god of luck and fate has been a staple of the Varian pantheon since the First Era. However, while maintaining constant relevance, Ilm has never had consolidated bodies of worship. He receives reverence and pleas from just about anyone or anything vying for good fortune, though has often been considered the patron of rogues, thieves, and other tricksters. Tales of Ilm have placed him as something of an unknown, and at worse a trickster, even amongst the gods.
- A god of rivers originally worshipped in the Feylands. Isiril’s initial inclusion to the Varian pantheon had been met with the most debate. A minor deity compared to the likes of Visarias Eri or Faenorias, Isiril’s prominence arose from her active participation during the War of the Scourge where rivers became prime location for bastions and strongholds against the Scourge. Through the eras, she has maintained a steady following comprised of travelers, settlements, and individuals who reap from the bounties of the rivers throughout Varia.
- An ancient member of the Varian pantheon who oversees the seas surrounding the continent. Her following has remained relevant through the Eras, though her worship has had a somewhat fluctuating relationship with Isiril’s rise to prominence. Seaside settlements in Varia often place a shrine to Janas within the vicinity of their ports, and merchants and sailors often pray to her for safe travels.
- A god of catastrophes whose worshipers often hailed from the lands of the Dwarven Confederation or the less civilized races. Kraite receives little obvious reverence in the major states of central and south Varia. However, the permanence of disaster, and the possibility of disaster as symbolized by the constantly tempestuous Kraitian Seas, has made him a permanent aspect of mortal reality on the continent. Thus, individuals unfortunate enough to have to brave such disasters may plea for his mercy.
- The goddess of war and martial combat has been a staple of the Varian pantheon for millennia. Reverence for Marcet dwindled by comparison as the War of the Scourge escalated and the civilizations of Varia turned to the gods of light and magic for salvation. With Varia’s restoration came renewed worship. In the present, even the greatest warriors, soldiers, and combatants mutter a prayer in respect, and no army in Varia dares to forget to implore for her blessings before battle.
- Since the dawn of the Second Era, the goddess of trade and civilization has been among those deities constantly at the forefront of Varian life, with the major cities of Varia as well as the civilized states of the Dwarven Confederation venerating her. Records of Orina had indicated similar levels of reverence in the First Era before falling into obscurity during the conflict with the Scourge. Beyond traders, merchants, and those involved in commercial enterprise, she is often beseeched by sailors for safe travels.
- A god of order and tyranny, records date that Rook and his worship had existed during the First Era. His relevance actually increased during the War of the Scourge with the emergence of generally tyrannical pseudo-governments amidst the chaos brought on by the calamity. The early centuries of the Restoration Period saw a dwindle in the activity of his devotees. However, the dawn of the Third Era brought in a surge of worship as war, and the need to maintain order in the aftermath, engulfed Varia.
- A prominent deity during the First Era and the patron of order and civilization. Sarod’s following suffered with the fall of most of Varia’s major states during the War of the Scourge. However, the eventual return of political structure and order to the continent during the Restoration Period bolstered his worship, though Avalon’s sects have more than overtaken his own. Most major Varian cities include some sort of display of Sarod’s Scales in their governmental buildings.
- The goddess of the harvest and growth whose devotees often hail from settlements reliant on agriculture. Worship for Terevi had nearly dwindled into obscurity during the conflict with the Scourge. However, the subsequent era of restoration brought her to the forefront of worship as civilizations once again dove into the cycle of the harvest.
- This ancient god of the woods was originally the primary deity of the pantheon in the Feylands. She became an official part of the Varian pantheon due to the kingdom of the Evergreens involving itself in the War of the Scourge. The resulting elven aid sent to Varia brought worship of Visarias Eri with them into the conflict. In modern times, her sects congregate in the eastern areas of Varia where the continent borders the Feylands, though smaller communities of supporters can be found dotted along the Hanalian Coast with Wiltide boasting a strong following. It is also not uncommon for druids to revere him.
Deities of Other WorldsAssociated with Zentrem’s place in the universal cosmology, Varia has witnessed the establishment of worship for deities whose origins trace back to other worlds. Theorized to have been more common during the First Era, knowledge of such entities often emerged from creatures who have experienced interplanar travel. During the War of the Scourge, the denizens of Varia heavily beseeched gods of light and life for support and salvation. These acts not only inflated worship for such deities but had the power to reach those of other worlds, an example being the rise of Pelor’s (a god of the sun and light from a world known as Greyhawk) influence in eastern Varia. The influence of these deities notably collapsed during the waning years of the War of the Scourge with Avalon's rise to prominence. In the following eras, they have maintained little more than cult followings into the present day.
Mortals as Conduits
Since time immemorial, mortals have served the gods or otherwise acted as their hands in affairs of the world. Deities bestow power upon select individuals with the expectation that they would uphold the god’s or goddess’ better interests in the mortal realm. The abilities garnered by these mortals typically manifest in relation to a god’s domain(s). In other, more uncommon cases, mortals with no direct or formal connection to the gods may be bestowed with divine powers; the reasons for this phenomenon include lineage as well as a more individually dependent trait of embodying certain aspects of domains or beliefs.
The Gods & Domains
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