Religion impacts almost every facet of everyday life in Arcanis.

The Mother Church of Coryan becomes more popular and powerful with each passing generation.
The Church of the Dark Triumvirate, despite the fact its oppressive theocracy threatens to crush the Canceri citizenry under its harsh rule, enjoys the devotion of almost the entire population. There is one element that separates the people of Arcanis from those of other fantasy worlds.

They don’t need to see their deities roam the streets beside them, nor do they need to commune directly with them to know of their existence, for they have faith.

Religions of the Known Lands

Religion Gods Worshipped
Church of the Dark Triumvirate Neroth, Nier, Sarish
Eloran Elemental Lords Belisarda, Beröe, Keleos, Mârok, Osalían
Milandric Orthodox Church Pantheon of Man, The Fire Dragon
Mother Church of Coryan Pantheon of Man
Myrantian Religion Tzizhet and various other deities
Ssethric Religion Kassegore, Jeggal Sag**, Yig

*Pantheon of Man includes the following deities: Althares, Anshar, Beltine, Cadic, Hurrian, Illiir, Larissa, Neroth, Nier, Sarish, Saluwé, and Yarris.
**Jeggal Sag holds a special place in Ssethric religion and in the Black Talon society. Thus, any Disciples of Jeggal Sag will not be considered as “outside their religion or heretical” for the purposes of a spell cast by Black Talon ss’ressen cleric or paladin.



The Mother Church of Coryan

Heir to the Imperium’s Pantheistic religion, the Mother Church of Coryan was formed just after the founding of the Coryani Empire. After the fall of the Imperium of Man and the subsequent Theocracy of the Cleansing Flame, the individual cities, towns and villages that made up that great empire lost all connection from each other and become isolated islands of civilizations amidst a sea of barbarism and chaos.

As the centuries passed, the patron deity of the settlement became the central focus of the population, and the rituals, beliefs and even existence of some deities passed from memory. After many generations and the rise and fall of empires, the worship of the entire Pantheon as a whole and integrated religion slipped from human memory.

It was not until the city-state of Coryan rallied the other independent settlements, repelled the infernal invasion, and forged the fledging Coryani Empire did mankind begin to realize that more than just their patron deity existed.

During the crusade to defeat the infernal horde, an Illiirite priest, Vesiti val’Assanté, began reconstructing the rites and rituals of the various Gods into a holy text known as the Canticle of the Pantheon. After the founding of the Empire, Emperor Almeric val’Assanté appointed Vesiti the first Patriarch of the Mother Church and tasked him with reestablishing the ancient religion as it was during the Imperium.

Overall, the Mother Church appears to desire harmony and absorption over strict orthodoxy. When a new people or faith is found, the priests of the Mother Church quickly equate these foreign gods with one of the Twelve.

For example, when the Myrantians of Toranesta were conquered, the Mother Church rationalized the Myrantian god Tzizhet as an amalgam of Neroth and Sarish. This then becomes the official position of the Church, and is taught to the newly conquered people.

However, should the people of the Empire begin to fall into heresy, turning away from the Twelve towards false gods, or infernals, the Church calls in the Inquisition.

These agents, backed by a legion, are tasked with keeping the God’s Children along the true path.



The Church of the Dark Triumvirate

The Church of the Dark Triumvirate, the unquestioned authority of the Dark Apostate, and the righteousness of their teachings form the spine of Cancerese culture. As a theocracy, the edicts from the Church are absolute law.

The Church of the Dark Triumvirate emerged from the corrupted teachings of the prophet Becherek, who spoke against the Mother Church’s ban and restrictions on worship of the faiths of Nier, Neroth and Sarish. These gods had fallen out of favor for a number of events, such as an attempted coup against the imperial family, and the spread of a virulent disease by a radical Nerothian group called the Blight Bearers. Becherek believed the Mother Church to be a flawed vessel if it cannot recognize a quarter of the Pantheon. He called for the restoration of the deities to their former station, and the full restoration of Their followers as members of the Mother Church.

Their ultimatums were met by the arrival of the Legion of Radiant Glory, whose leader botched the arrest of the heretical prophet by decapitating and then tossing his head into the crowd, resulting in a mass revolt by the people.

After Becherek’s death, the Apostles of Becherek, who claimed to understand the message of the Prophet, used the execution to press their agenda and formed the Church of the Dark Triumvirate. This Church venerates the darker aspects of the three deities, Neroth, Nier and Sarish.



The Milandric Orthodox Church

Like the Church of the Dark Triumvirate, the Milandric Orthodox Church, or simply the Milandric Church, is a sect that split off from the Mother Church of Coryan.

Following the announcement that newly discovered holy texts, known as the Revelations of Illiir, were to amend or supplant the millennia old interpretation of the Canticle of the Pantheon, the Arch-Prelate of Milandir, the aging but still vibrant Sabinus val’Assanté, adamantly and eloquently argued for a spiritual separation to match Milandir’s political secession from the Coryani Empire.

Sabinus, a close advisor to the King of Milandir, explained there were examples in living memory of the Coryani usurping the careful plans of the Pantheon, which ultimately resulted in the death of tens of thousands of the faithful. He also pointed out that for as long as the Milandisian people bowed to the Mother Church in the south, they would forever be at the mercy of the Coryan’s endless plotting and political manipulations. ”For the sake of your people’s souls,” he argued to the King, ”you must sever all ties with these corrupt people and their institutions!” Within weeks of the King’s agreement, all clerisy that did not convert to the new, or as many called it, original, manner of venerating the Pantheon, were banished to the Coryani Empire. Sabinus, once the leading spiritual representative of the Mother Church in Milandir, recanted and converted in a huge public spectacle, whereby he was anointed by King Osric as the first Primarch of the Milandric Orthodox Church. With this ceremony, Osric gained the power to influence the major ecclesiastical appointments within his own realm.



Belisarda and the Elemental Lords

The worship of Belisarda and the four Elemental Lords is one of the most ancient religions on Arcanis, preceded only by the hoary cults of the ssethrics. Worshipped as their creators, the four Elemental Lords and Belisarda, the Life Giver, enjoyed a special bond with their children. Why the ssethrics were permitted to enslave them is a question the elorii have never been able to answer to their satisfaction.

After overthrowing their oppressors’ empire, the elorii controlled vast tracts of the Known Lands, and enjoyed millennia of peace and prosperity until the coming of the Pantheon of Man and Their servants. Within a generation, the elorii went from ruling an empire to refugees taking shelter in the vast forests of the land. To make matters worse, the four Elemental Lords, Keleos, Beröe, Mârok and Osalian, were destroyed; absorbed by four of the Gods of Man.

Since that time, the temples of the four Elemental Lords remain largely empty and silent. All but the most fanatical of elorii pay no more than lip service to them. The vast majority flock to the only one of their deities which remains: Belisarda, the Life Giver. Only her priests are still able to cast divine miracles and heal the injured and infirm.
Thus, even those elorii who stubbornly maintain that the other Elemental Lords will return must pray to Belisarda for power and divine gifts.



The Matriarchy of the Fire Dragon

A relatively new faith in the scheme of things upon Arcanis, the Church of the Fire Dragon, also known as the Matriarchy, had its auspicious beginnings less than four hundred years ago. In those dark times, the despondent Black Talon Egg Clutch of Ssethregore was teetering on the edge of collapse. The Black Talons began to question the morality of their actions, and rebelled against the corrupt and decadent rulers of the Ssethregoran Empire. Looking for guidance, they turned to an aged matriarch who proclaimed to having visions of a new god who promised them a better life beyond the realm of the ssethrics.

Rallying to her, the Black Talons fled north and established themselves in the Sulfur Marsh. Under the strict but gentle guidance of the priestesses of the Fire Dragon, the society prospered, and the Matriarchy was born.



Myrantian Pantheon

Unlike most religions upon Arcanis where the Gods create or intervene to protect an anointed people, the Myrantian Pantheon began from the lusts and desires of a group of sorcerers. The tale told is that these dark magi lived in a land far to the south of the continent, and their specialty, some would say obsession, was considered too profane by the rest of society.

Persecuted, demeaned and ridiculed, they performed blasphemous blood sacrifices, which allowed them to contact an otherworldly being from Beyond. This creature, calling itself Tzizhet, was able to insert itself into the minds of Its supplicates through their dreams despite being separated from the Mortal Realms by the immense gulf of the abyss. Spurred into a religious fervor by the mind twisting and corrupting touch of Tzizhet, these newly anointed priests began recruiting from the lowest rung of their society, partaking in ever-increasing profane acts in exchange for the power that Tzizhet promised. Before the ultimate ritual to bring their “God” to this Mortal Realm could be enacted, the authorities discovered the corruption influencing their nation and moved against its source.

A few score of the adherents escaped the purge, fled across the ocean, and finally landed on its northern shore, where they built the city of Myrantis and founded the Myrantian Hegemony, as instructed by their terrible deity. Generations passed before the city and its dreadful Black Pyramid was completed. During that time, Tzizhet introduced Its worshippers to others of Its ilk, such as the inscrutable Shu, the Dark Archon of the Fifth Direction, and Mose, the Caller of the Dark, as well as other lesser entities.

For centuries, the high priests of Tzizhet, known as the Necromancer Lords, taught their subjects that they existed solely to serve their dreadful deities. To do otherwise would invite devastation and destruction upon them and their posterity. Faithful adherence to their tenants, on the other hand, would be rewarded a hundred-fold. Thus, did the Myrantians make war upon their neighbors, not for wealth or territory, but for living beings they could sacrifice to their gods to satiate their unquenchable appetite for terror and blood.

With the destruction of Myrantis at the hands of the Sorcerer King, the central place of worship shifted to the surviving cities of the Myrantian Hegemony. It was not until its conquest by the Coryani that the worship of the Myrantian Pantheon changed. No longer were the gods seen as something to be feared, but rather as paternal allies that could aid their ‘children’ against their oppressors.

With the establishment of the Abessian Dominion, the Myrantian Pantheon is once again the state religion, with the worship of Yig among the ssethrics and Anshar among the val’Inares tolerated. The worship of Tzizhet and the rest still resembles the manner in which the Coryani allowed these deities to be venerated, more as amalgams of the Pantheon of Man, rather than the blood-thirsty entities of old. Yet a small, marginalized group still persists in performing their profane sacrifices, biding their time for the resurgence of their ancient ways.



Animism

One of the earliest and most ubiquitous religious traditions existing upon Arcanis involves the veneration of the spirits that reside in the world. These spirits helped guide the less civilized peoples to live harmoniously with the world around them, and gather the bounty of the earth.

Some of these ancient tribes existed on the edges of the Yahssremoran Empire long before the coming of the Pantheon of Man. They stayed hidden from the reptilian masters of the world, and when the ssethrics were finally overthrown, made peace with the elorii who supplanted them.

These human tribes and populations were able to avoid persecution by other, more organized religions, that they were worshipping a long forgotten or dimly remembered aspect of one of their equivalent gods.

Within the Known Lands, worship of these ancient and ethereal beings is found primarily among the Yhing hir tribes of the Hinterlands, on the isle of Naori where the tribesmen sacrifice to the volcano god Ghord, and among the undir peoples of the Western Lands, where the worship of the Ulumai predominates. However, veneration of spirits of various types can be found wherever the authority of civilization ends, and the untamed lands begin.



Infernal Cults

For over a generation, the Infernal Horde released during the Time of Terror roamed across Onara spreading horror and death in their passing. Some of the more malevolent of this demonic host found rich hunting grounds where the human population could be cowed into submitting and acknowledging their dominance over them. These human settlements would sacrifice others, performing the most heinous and foul acts to appease their terrible infernal lords.

With the coming of the First Crusade of Light, many of these infernals were uncovered and destroyed by fire and blade, but not all. To this day, some villages and isolated townships continue to offer tribute to these foul beings either out of fear or willingly in exchange for power over their fellows.

These Infernal cults are usually centered on a powerful other-planar being and a cadre of cultists that range in number from a handful of malcontents to an entire settlement’s population who have grown corrupted over time, with each generation degenerating further into depravity and wickedness.


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