Metamor Keep Religions and Pantheons
Metamor Keep, if nowhere else in the world, is a tolerant place. Elsewhere battles are fought between believers and non, religion and religion, sect and sect. But in Metamor they all coexist more or less peacefully. This is due to two reasons. The first is the tolerance enforced in law and by the Keep members, who feel that religious wars are largely a waste of time. The other is the feeling that when the Lutins are getting close, it can't hurt to have as many gods on one's side as possible.
There are many small religions and philosophies in Metamor, all brought by distant travelers with their own ideas. But they are overshadowed by two main religions that warily coexist in the Keep. Down south battles rage between the two, but a common enemy has brought them together. Members of both now focus on their true enemy- Nasoj.
The Keep philosophy of keeping Metamor safe from invaders means a martial approach to life. This tends to conflict with some of the more pacifistic religions and philosophies. Thomas tries to send such people on non-combatant missions. But if the feeling isn't too strongly supported by the religion or by the person, Thomas will send them out. All hands are needed, after all, and a desperate leader gets frustrated when a giant wolf declares that he 'can't fight.'
The Lightbringer religion and The Ecclesia outside of the Keep, tend to fight with a holy fervor. They both are the state religions in two powerful countries, and fight it out in a third. The Lightbringer Religion is established in the Sathmore Empire, The Ecclesia in Pyralis. Regular warfare between the two has largely stopped, as each slowly grows more civilized. However, this doesn't stop them from flooding the Midlands with priests from both sides, in an effort to win the souls of the populace. The underhanded religious battles there have been fought for some centuries.
Unfortunately, it has backfired for both religions. The mistrust and hate between the two religions has allowed evil to enter into the minds of both sides. Ecclesia Priests are slowly subverted by the Angel of the Abyss, Lightbringer priests find themselves seduced by the Daedar. This has led to a gradual pervertion of the religions of both sides. Ecclesia priests in the Midlands are known to run Questionings, against the express orders of The Patriarch, and to burn unbelievers at the stake. Lightbringer subverts have begun human sacrifice and more open worship of the dark Lightbringer gods. Not all, or even a majority of these priests are in the Midlands, but their numbers grow. In the Northern Midlands, elements disgusted with this have established small but growing Rebuilder groups.
The Ecclesia mirrors real life Catholicism on almost all major points. Important events are mirrored in similar MK past situations, and religious dogma is very much the same, as is Ecclesia hierarchy. The past of Ecclesia includes a similar amount of splits from the mother religion.
Metamor is part of the larger diocese down south though until recently, they had to depend on visiting priests for religious services.
Father Hough is the half official pastor of Metamor, he has recently been affected by the curse and become an AR. This has not effected his status as a priest, though he has been more or less permantly assigned to Metamor as its parish priest.
The influence of the Follower God is more strongly felt in MK. Prayers can and are frequently granted, and certain protection is bestowed on all believers.
It is important to note that Followers are by and large staunchly against the practice of magic. MK Followers have a laissez-faire view of wizards, however. They view it as idol worship, but not necessarily of an evil god. For true communion with Eli, the practice of magic is prohibited. Receiving the effects of magic is a minor sin, to the tune of swearing. In Metamor, magic is too prevalent to be avoided.
Inherent magic is viewed as a gift of Eli (such as the Sondeck). Debilitative inherent magic is a test.
To make up for this, Followers have priestly magic of their own to draw on. Prayer by a true believer in needy circumstances can produce many effects.
The more true the believer and desperate the circumstances, the more priestly magic can be drawn on.
A polytheistic religion, Lightbringer religion is an extremely personal one. Gods can and do visit, bless, and test worshippers. More practical to the daily needs of Keep members, it is more popular than The Way. Also much more reliable- Lightbringer Gods can be prevailed much more easily and for many more reasons. However, they charge prices for their services.
See the calendar for important holidays. Important Lightbringers-
Beings of light and energy, the gods (and their counterparts, the daedra) can also take physical form. They draw their magical powers (predominantly) from the actions of those who do works in their service; a burnt sacrifice to Yajiit, for instance, siphons power from the animals sacrificed (and to a lesser extent, from the worshippers) and transfers it to the goddess for her own use. The gods need a regular supply of energy, received in a way that is in keeping with their sphere of influence, in order to survive in their noncorporeal form.
Most of the gods will perform services for mortals who have pleased them in the past, but these services are rarely (if ever) without cost. Akkala, for instance, will do difficult healings, and Velena will grant enhanced beauty, but they require a period of service or some sort of quest in exchange for their assistance. A god can only grant favors that lie within their sphere of influence.
Each god has their own MO, as well as a distinctive "aura" that surrounds them -- this aura can be discerned by the Lightbringers and other magically-perceptive individuals, even if the god itself is not visible. The gods are neither omniscient nor omnipresent -- though some, such as Kammoloth and Artela, have observers everywhere.
Akkala: Goddess of Healing and Purity, Akkala's physical form is a blonde-haired woman of radiant but mature beauty -- she projects more the image of the ultimate mother than the ultimate mate. Akkala requires those in her service to abstain from sex, drugs (including tobacco & alcohol), and the killing of any natural creature except in self-defense or defense of innocents ("natural" defined as anything not unholy, cursed or undead). She directs her acolytes to seek out and destroy creatures of darkness, and to do good whenever the opportunity presents itself. Actions of healing or purity -- or good deeds in general -- done in her name are her source of power. Aura: Rose-pink, radiant light. Possible Favors: Healing.
Velena: Goddess of Beauty and Love. Velena appears as a gorgeous young woman, though the specifics of her appearance vary depending on who is observing her. She draws power from acts of love done in her name, including sexual relations between two truly devoted and loving individuals. Another important act of love is self-sacrifice to save another, which is a tremendous source of power for Velena. Aura: Deep red glow. Possible Favors: Enhanced beauty (or handsomeness).
Dokorath: God of Battle and War. Dokorath generally appears as a tall man in a black suit of armor, with a black cape and a silver broadsword. His face is usually obscured from view by his helmet, which most often has two rams' horns mounted on it -- the only facial features that are generally seen clearly are his eyes (which flash with glints of red from time to time) and his mouth, which is known for its exceptionally white, even teeth. Those few who have seen him unmasked tell of black hair and a swarthy complexion, but solid details are hard to come by. Dokorath draws power from battle and war which is conducted in an honorable fashion, in keeping with the unwritten laws of combat. (Keep in mind that "honor" is a flexible term in war, and even a surprise attack can be considered honorable if the cause is just.) He is said to frown on those who commit atrocities against civilians and prisoners of war -- though those who have seen him know he spends most of his time frowning anyway. Dokorath's aura is usually seen as a smoky gray fog. Possible Favors: Victory in battle; protection from war.
Dvalin: God of Weather. He has bronze skin, opalescent eyes, dark hair, and refined, handsome features. He draws his power from nature itself, particularly nature's rawest and deadliest forces -- volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes and other violent storms, etc. Certain offerings and ceremonies by supplicants can also bring him power, and act as a substitute for the terrifying weather patterns he would otherwise unleash (and thus feed from). Aura: A mysterious wind that comes from nowhere. His skin and eyes may also glitter and glisten with a faint blue-white corona. Possible Favors: Good weather; lightning or hailstone attacks on enemies.
Kammoloth: King of the gods, Kammoloth's appearance remains a mystery; only a few priests (all dead now) have ever seen him. His aura, which announces his presence even when he is unseen, is a warm golden light. A god of celebrations, he draws power from feasts, libations (drink offerings), and similar proceedings. He also exacts an energy "tax" of sorts from all the other gods. Possible Favors: The aid of any one of the other gods for a limited period of time; a favorable ruling in a dispute with a god.
Artela: Queen of Nymphs, Goddess of the Wilderness and the Hunt. She appears as a wandering scout, with simple and weathered leather jerkin, boots and leggings. She carries a short bow, a hunting knife, and a quiver of magical arrows whose properties are the subject of many dubious and contradictory legends. Artela has long, braided black hair, dark eyes, and skin that seems tanned by years of wandering and exposure. There is a rugged beauty about her. Artela draws energy from the wild creatures; as such, she works to prevent the desecration or waste of nature's bounty. Mercy shown toward animals is a great way to get on her good side. She draws an energy "tax" from the nymphs who inhabit the trees, streams, lakes, caves, etc. Aura: Generally nothing more than a heady, earthy scent in the air, like the mixture of a dozen types of animal musk along with cinnamon, mint, and floral scents. Possible Favors: Protection and/or provision in the forest; aid from one or more nymphs for a limited period of time; enchanted arrow to aid in a specific task.
Yajiit: Goddess of Fire and the Sun. Reportedly one of the most spectacular beings to see in person, she appears as a young woman with flaming red hair and golden skin. Her eyes glow yellow-white, and her body is usually encased in a blazing ball of fire. Yajiit is almost never known to actually touch the ground -- anything she touches bursts into flames -- and she flies and hovers at will as if gravity were merely a local ordinance that had no jurisdiction over her. She leaves a tail of fire behind her when she flies, giving her the appearance of a shooting star or comet at long range. She draws power from burnt sacrifices. Aura: As noted, a ball of fire; when she is not visible, it is perceived as a wave of intense heat. Possible Favors: Warm temperatures (even out of season); fire-from-heaven attacks on enemies; any task requiring miraculous amounts of heat or fire.
Samekkh: God of Prophecy and Light. Appears as a wise-looking man, often somewhat aged, with gray-white hair and a beard. He wears a silvery white robe, and has piercing blue eyes, which occasionally flash and glitter with emotion. He draws power from ceremonies which are believed to induce visions. Aura: Silver-blue radiance. Possible Favors: Prophetic visions; Holy Light (counteracts darkness spells).
Wvelkim: God of the seas. Somewhat similar in appearance to Samekkh, Wvelkim's hair and beard are a deep blue-gray, his robes a midnight blue. His beard and hair are wild and unkempt, where Samekkh's are well-groomed. He carries a golden trident, which stirs the waves and tides to his bidding. Sea creatures, such as dolphins and sharks, flock to his command like the wild forest animals that follow Artela -- and similar to Artela, he draws his power from the creatures and forces of the seas. A wide variety of ceremonies for Wvelkim are acted out in the numerous port cities of the Midlands, but the Lightbringer Order has not closely examined which of these practices are most effective in placating the sea lord. Aura: A rolling white mist, usually hanging low to the ground, accompanied by a scent of sea-spray. Possible Favors: Protection and swift travel on the seas; tidal waves or sea-storms to destroy enemies; assistance from marine creatures and/or seafolk (if such beings exist in this world).
Nymphs: Minor goddesses. The most important of these is Kyia, the spirit of the Keep, who within Metamor's lands has a power virtually on an equal level with the major gods. Numerous nymphs acting in concert can frustrate a more powerful deity's efforts. Kyia appears thin, delicate, virtually ghostlike, with silvery hair in a close-cropped hairstyle. Her eyes are as gray as the stones of Metamor itself. Nymphs have no aura. Possible Favors: Generally related to a nymph's particular field of influence -- a specific lake, stream, cave, tree, etc. Nymphs can also affect the weather in their immediate vicinity, a la MK: Lightbringer.
The gods' sinister counterparts, the daedra draw power from chaos, violence, evil, and selfish actions. There are nine Daedra Lords who act as counterparts to the gods of the Pantheon. They usually have no aura: they most often take physical form to deceive mortals, so they do nothing to attract suspicion that they are anything more than mortal. Only when they have been discovered -- or make their strike, drawing power from their victims -- do they manifest an aura.
The daedra will grant favors, as well, but their price is almost always dangerously high; the immortal soul is a particular favorite of several Daedra Lords, especially Agemnos. The Lightbringers are discouraged from making deals with daedra unless it cannot be avoided.
Tallakath: Master of Sickness and Pestilence. Tallakath's "truest" physical form is as a tall, emaciated man with pale skin and a dour expression, dressed in a dark brown robe. He draws power from the suffering mortals experience when sick or diseased. Aura: Green-yellow smoke. Possible Favors: Disease-attacks on enemies.
Suspira: Mistress of Lust. Suspira most often appears as a seductive, voluptuous woman possessing whatever features her target finds most attractive. Revealing and/or "kinky" outfits are practically a must (she has a particular taste for red leather). Often carries a bullwhip. Suspira draws power from any casual, inconsiderate or selfish sexual act; this includes one-night stands, orgies, rape, bestiality, and any sexual union in which one partner benefits at the expense of the other. Suspira takes particular pleasure in seducing mortals herself; the measure of energy she extracts from her partners can be dangerously (even lethally) high. Aura: Red smoke. Possible Favors: Sex; enhanced sexual equipment; enhanced animal magnetism and/or charm; the alteration of a desired mortal into a sex-slave.
Revonos: Master of Rage and Death, Revonos appears as a tall, strong, muscular man with swarthy skin, dark hair and eyes, and black clothing. He carries a black adamantium sword with a golden skull on the pommel, and often wears a necklace of animal bones. Whereas Dokorath encourages honorable battle, Revonos stirs up treachery and mindless violence -- his mere presence in a room, however inconspicuous he has made himself, causes tempers to flare hotter than usual. He will also appear frequently as a Black Rider: clad in black armor adorned with skulls, wielding a sickle, and riding a huge black war-horse with glowing red eyes. His power comes from murder, bloodlust, treachery, dishonorable conduct in battle, atrocities against civilians and POW's, and the shedding of innocent blood. Revonos uses enchanted black eagles as his spies and messengers, which has led to a saying among the Lightbringers: "Where the black eagle circles, the eyes of Death watch." Aura: Black smoke. Possible Favors: Inhuman strength for a limited period of time; success in some treacherous act.
Agemnos: Master of Greed and Self-Serving Ambition. Arguably the most refined and civilized of the daedra, Agemnos appears as a middle-aged man of regal bearing and distinguished appearance, often clad in the finest of royal garments. With a winning smile, an accultured demeanor and an engaging wit, Agemnos is a dealer, a manipulator. He convinces the wealthy and powerful (or those who would like to be) to use his services to get what they want. He derives his power from the self-serving actions of those who deal with him ... and from the souls of those same individuals, whom he imprisons upon the time of their physical death (thus preventing their journey to the afterlife). He most often finds customers among those who mock the idea of an immortal soul, and do not fully consider the potential cost of the power he gives them. Lightbringers have a sworn duty to free these souls when they find them -- Agemnos keeps them bound inside enchanted crystals, called soul gems, which he hides in various caches throughout the physical realm. On a broader scale, Agemnos benefits whenever injustice is done in the name of avarice or selfish ambition. Aura: Golden smoke. Possible Favors: Wealth, Power, Fame, Prestige.
Ba'al: Prince of Daedra. Little is known about Ba'al, and he likes it that way. Unlike the other daedra, Ba'al rarely disguises his physical form -- a body of solid black, with glowing blue-white eyes that seem to burn like a gas flame. Ba'al extracts power from drunkenness, wild and selfish revelry, binges and orgies -- any gathering or celebration that descends into chaos and vice. Mardi Gras, if such a thing existed in the MK universe, would give Ba'al an exceedingly great amount of magical power. He also extracts an energy "tax" from the other daedra, and uses them in his bids to subvert sentient mortals to his control. His long-term goal, apparently, is to drive the gods from their place of honor and take the position of most-revered deity in the MK world. Aura: Shadows that throw everything around him into darkness, even if candles are lit and glowing nearby. Possible Favors: None known, but it is probable that Ba'al is responsible for Nasoj's incredibly strong magical powers.
Lilith: Queen of Dark Life -- old darker nature, the darkness and shadow, the undead, the cursed, and most creepy, unholy creatures. Mistress of the Hunt, Lilith is also the patron of draconians (evil black dragons), were-beasts (only those who give in to their dark, predatory nature -- not to be confused with the morphs of the Keep), vampires and other undead creatures. The woodlands that Lilith haunts are sinister places, filled with ancient gnarled trees, giant spiders and centipedes, predators who have succumbed to the lust for human flesh, and other nasty creatures. Her forests always emanate from a magical nexus, hidden at their very center ... "A domain of evil it is," and few have survived an encounter with such a nexus. Lilith extracts a measure of the life-force of each creature within her sphere of influence; the longer one remains within the radius of the nexus' effect, the more dedicated one becomes to Lilith's service. Lilith appears as a darkly beautiful woman with long (usually black) hair, generally dressed in black jerkin, tunic, leggings and boots. It is said that her kiss will make one a vampire. Aura: Similar to Artela's, but carrying a more dangerous, predator scent. Possible Favors: The aid of one or more of her dark minions; nature-related magical powers; becoming a vampire, I suppose, if you're into that sort of thing.
Oblineth: Mistress of Ice and the Void, she appears as a young woman with pale blue-white skin and long, light blue hair. Said to rule the vacuum of space itself, she is generally surrounded by a field of frost -- water vapor in the atmosphere, frozen instantly by contact with her aura. She drains energy, in the form of heat, from everything around her; cold, wintry weather surrounds her (even in summer), as the very radiant energy of the sun is drawn into her body. During the winter months, nature itself is at her command. Most of her contact with mortals stems from ceremonies and rituals to buy her off, providing her with magical energy as a substitute to keep her icy touch from the region in question. Aura: Cold blue light that freezes anything that comes near her. Possible Favors: Any feat requiring miraculous amounts of ice or cold; ice/cold attacks on enemies; (possibly) protection in the Void for a short period of time.
Klepnos: Master of Madness and Folly. A true master of transformation, Klepnos can appear as anyone and anything -- though whatever the form, his actions are mischievous, foolish, or utterly insane. His truest form is a young, thin man of medium height with tousled blond-brown hair and a closely-trimmed goatee. Klepnos is a trickster, a prankster, and a mischief-maker, and his transforming abilities can be just as easily applied anyone he happens to be in the room with. He draws power from the confusion, chaos and bewilderment of mortal beings -- but he seems most driven by his own twisted idea of "fun." He often is seen in the company of one of the other Daedra Lords, especially Suspira -- things can get very twisted when those two show up together. Aura: None, but trained Lightbringers learn to recognize the telltale prickling on the back of one's neck. Possible Favors: Just about any transformation imaginable, but the effects are only temporary if they contradict the Metamor curse; just about any magical feat you could convince him that he could have fun doing, such as a practical joke or poetic-justice-type revenge on an enemy or rival. Klepnos is also rumored to possess several powerful magical artifacts, but these will cause madness with extended use (and, of course, their use is addictive).
Nocturna: Mistress of Dreams, Nightmares, and Evil Omens. She appears in a variety of forms, but the most common is a young woman with dark hair and a cool, dour expression. She dresses severely, usually in color combinations of blue and white, and is accompanied by a crow that rides on her shoulder. Nocturna is tasked with bringing oracles of doom to those for whom the gods and daedra have foreseen great sorrow, tribulation or destruction. She is the least "evil" of any of the Daedra Lords, and is on better terms with the gods than the others because of her neutrality. Some regions of the Midlands even have regular ceremonies for Nocturna, hoping she will bless them with pleasant and restful sleep and keep her omens for less faithful mortals. Aura: Blue smoke. Possible Favors: Visions of one's fate; pleasant and peaceful sleep; nightmares to plague an enemy's sleep.
Imps and Gremlins, Hounds, and Wraiths: Imps and Gremlins are minor daedra, often appearing as wizened little grey-skinned creatures with shining blue eyes and a mischevious grin. Hounds are nonsentient beasts of massive power, used by other daedra to track and hunt their prospective victims. Wraiths are frightening beings which appear as little more than a rustle in the dark, a misplaced shadow -- before striking out with ethereal claws at the target they have been summoned to assassinate. Wraiths _like_ killing, just for killing's sake; this makes them the most dangerous and unpredictable of the lesser daedra. All minor daedra can be guarded against with various types of wards and defensive blessings, and none carry an aura. Possible Favors: Imps may perform small magical favors or grant wishes, but they are much like leprechauns in the sense that these "favors" are often twisted to the imp's own amusement. Daedra Lords may assign them to a favored mortal, such as Nasoj, as advisors and research assistants. Hounds are nonsentient and cannot be controlled without the aid of another daedra. Wraiths may be hired as assassins, but they are so unpredictable (they could kill half of your own people in the process of getting the job done) that they are rarely asked to do anything, except by another daedra.
True demonic spirits, incapable of taking any physical form, the Fallen are uncomfortable with their lack of a physical body -- and they compensate for it by living inside someone else's body. Often this manifests itself as nothing more than an oppression -- strange aches and pains, night terrors, or enslavement to some vice such as alcoholism -- but occasionally this flares into a more violent possession, a literal co-opting of the victim's body. The person can go into convulsive seizures, attack others with the strength of twenty men, inflict horrible injuries upon himself or herself, or suffer any of numerous other terrifying effects. The possession may be accompanied by telekinetic or pyrokinetic phenomena, or a foul-smelling amber liquid with the consistency of honey (called amrith) that seeps from the walls of the room.
The Fallen's only goal seems to be the misery and suffering of the human race. They do not respond to incantations, blessings, curses, or any other action by the Lightbringers or any magician, conjuror or warlock. Healers' techniques will not heal the wounds caused by a Fallen upon its victim. The Fallen are universally feared by every member of the Lightbringer Order that is aware of their existence, and an encounter with one is avoided more actively than the Black Plague.
It is a closely guarded secret within the Order, but the Fallen are known to have one weakness: for reasons the Order cannot determine, devoted believers in the Ecclesia can force Fallen to leave a person's body, through prayer to their Eli and commands directed at the evil spirit. People possessed by the Fallen react in anger or terror when a devout Follower enters the room, but the Fallen will nearly always leave if the Followers continue their "deliverance," as they call it, long enough. When asked about it, the Followers will only say that they "have authority over" the Fallen, given to them by their Eli. Whatever the truth behind this statement may be, the Order recognizes the value in having a few Followers around to deal with any Fallen who may turn up at the Keep -- and while they don't much like the idea of an Ecclesia chapel in Metamor, it seems the best way to ensure that the Fallen are kept under control.
Fallen are also believed by the Order to be responsible for many encounters with ghosts and spirits; in recent years, the Lightbringers have begun to suspect their involvement in the "channeling" of spirits (allegedly) from the afterlife, as practiced by gypsies and fortune tellers. Because of this possible connection, the Order has begun to subtly discourage the arrival of these individuals at the Keep -- the less the Order has to deal with the Fallen, the better.
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