Tuesday, 24 March 2009

The Gods of Nagoh - The Pantheon of Twelve

"Brace for infodump!"

The Pantheon of Twelve are a gang of squabbling godlings who, through their fame and level of activity in the world, command the bulk of the religious belief in the Wilds of Nagoh. Some few of the gods are native to this world, but most have entered it with the intent of it being either a refuge or a new power base.

note: that's my way of saying almost everything here is ripped off from somewhere else (cookie to the first person to spot them all)

The gods hold themselves above such petty mortal concerns as 'ethics' or 'morality', caring only that their names are honoured and their rites observed. There are thu very few restrictions on who may pray to which god for favour or mercy in the Vaults game: good-aligned characters plead for Erythnul or Utravit to show mercy, just as evil-aligned character pray to Pholtus for vengeance on their enemies. Such pragmatic polytheism is deemed insulting by the powers only if their own favourites, their anointed priests and sworn templars, show excessive deference to another god.

Thanks to mutual competition and age-old rivalries among the gods there are constant low-level feuds between devotees of the major temples. These differences can range from petty arguments over whose icons will take precedence in a parade, through preaching anathemas against one another, up to outright religious war. At irregular, but not infrequent, intervals templars of one god may sack the fane of another at the command of their patron. The loot from these raids being exploited as the centrepiece of a triumphal parade. Of course, the offended cult will then launch reprisals against the offender. As you can imagine, such heated theological discussions have a tendency to get out of hand...

AgniHe Who Dwells in the FlameFire, the forge, dance, invention, inspiration
AradarThe Many-handedCities, writing, trade, crossroads, mechanisms
BelisThe Fungal QueenFertility, growth, medicine, fungi, decay, sickness
ErythnulThe Howler in DarknessBeasts, the wild, chaos, destruction, liberation
GrimnirThe One-EyedTrickery, strategy, judgement, slaughter, mourning
GromeEarthshakerEarth, mining, wealth, endurance, oaths and contracts
IranonHe Who Goes ForthStars, travel, navigation, parting and forsaking
IthaquaThe Wind WalkerAir, cold, language, dreams, madness
NerhagulThe Spider KingDeath, secrets and mysteries, the underworld
PholtusThe Blinding OneSun, rulership, nemesis, vigilance, self-discipline
ThalateaThe Sharp-sightedBeauty, vanity, jealousy, lust, love, cats
The TwinsThe Black and WhiteWar, horsemanship, thunder and lightning, boundaries
TyshaThe Peacock SpiritLaw, song, birds, hope, new beginnings
UtravitThe Dragger DownWater, the seas, greed, fertility, change
VorynnThe Silver PrinceThe Moon, magic, history, imprisonment

The Burning One, He Who Dwells in the Flame
God of fire, the forge, dance, invention, inspiration

Agni appears as a red-skinned man with three legs, three faces and multiple, constantly waving arms which seem to juggle fire. He moves in the sinuous, flickering manner of a wind-blown flame. His voice sounds like the crackle of burning wood. Agni wears a brazen kilt and heavy golden jewellery.

Agni’s symbol is a flame, usually stylised as a red triangle. His holy day is the summer solstice.
Hawks and salamanders are sacred to Agni. His favoured servitors are fire elementals and phoenixes.

Priests of Agni wear flowing robes of red and orange brocade, and carry hammers as symbols of their office. They are charged with feeding the eternal flames of his temples, with forging new weapons and tools, with the creation of art, and the uncovering of new lore. Devotions to Agni include experimentation, wild dancing and whirling, ordeal by fire, and sacrifice by immolation. His priests can earn favour through burnt offerings or the discovery of new knowledge.

The Many-handed, He Who Measures the World
God of cities, writing, trade, crossroads, mechanisms

Aradar appears as a tall, elderly man with a long, well-groomed beard and four arms. One arm is raised in greeting, a second bears a surveyor’s rod, the third a quill, and the fourth a set of merchant’s scales. His pace is perfectly regular. His voice is deep and resonant. Aradar always wears layered robes of grey and white hue.

Aradar’s symbol is a pair of golden dividers, usually stylised as a yellow lambda. His holy day is the first day of the trading season.
Doves and bulls are sacred to Aradar. His favoured servitors are Shedu.

Priests of Aradar wear layered robes of white and grey edged with geometric patterns, and carry scribing and measuring gear at all times. They are charged with surveying land, establishing and enhancing the health and wealth of cities, and with facilitating peaceful exchange. They are most commonly found in urban areas. Devotions to Aradar include accurate recordkeeping, the negotiation of trade, and the transcription and illumination of written material of all kinds. His priests can earn favour by improving the prosperity and healthfulness of their environs.

The Great Mother, The Ever-flowering One
Goddess of Fertility, growth and decay, medicine, plants and fungi, pestilence

Belis appear as a pale-skinned woman of coldly alien mien. Flowers and fungi sprout from her eyes and mouth. Her arms are always outstretched and her hands always empty. Short-lived plants sprout in her footsteps and clouds of spores circle in her wake. Belis is always robed in vegetation of seasonal colours. Her voice is soft and whispering.

Belis’ symbol is the woven wreath, usually stylised as a green U. Her holy day is the harvest festival.
Snakes and moles are sacred to Belis. Her favoured servitors are unknown.

Priests of Belis wear robes of yellow and brown. Some castrate themselves in her honour. They are charged with ensuring the fertility of crops, and with the burial of the dead. Devotions to Belis include the cultivation of temple gardens, ministering to the sick, and sacrifice by exsanguination or live burial. Her priests can earn especial favour by tending the private gardens of her temples.

The Howler in Darkness, He Who Sunders Bonds
God of beasts, the wild, chaos, destruction, strength

Erythnul appears as a twisted and grotesquely over-muscled thing more beast than man. He combines all the worst features of boar, ape, man and reptile in one. His movements are erratic and lurching. His voice sounds like a cacophonous howling. Monsters are born of the spilled blood of Erythnul.

Erythnul’s symbol is a snarling bestial face, usually stylised as a horizontal zigzag pattern. His holy day is the first day of the campaigning season.
Pigs and black dogs are sacred to Erythnul. His favoured servants are Hezrou demons.

Priests of Erythnul wear mantles of black fur and kilts of ruddy leather, and ritually scar themselves in his honour. They are charged with culling the weak and exalting the strong. They are most commonly found outside cities, their presence within large communities being deemed a nuisance. Devotions to Erythnul include the hunt, the broaching of bondage, causing chaos among settled communities, and bloody ritualised battles. His priests can earn favour by defeating their enemies in single combat, or by burning urban settlements.

The One Eye, He Who Mourns
God of Trickery, strategy, judgement, slaughter, those who mourn

Grimnir appears as an old man, bent but still hale. His single eye weeps constantly. He leans upon a twisted oak staff. Grimnir is always garbed in a grey wolfskin cloak over battered chain mail. His wide-brimmed hat is trimmed with crow’s feathers. His voice is low and quiet.

Grimnir’s symbol is a silver spear, usually stylised as an arrow. His holy day is the autumn equinox.
Crows and foxes are sacred to Grimnir. His favoured servants are Winter Wolves.

Priests of Grimnir wear mourning garb over armour. His fanatics blind themselves in one eye. They act as advisers, as executioners, and as professional mourners. Devotions to Grimnir include public mourning, success through stratagem or ruse, and sacrifice by hanging. His priests can earn favour by killing serpents and other reptiles, or by succeeding through cunning.

Earthshaker, He Who Upholds the World
God of Earth, mining, wealth, endurance, oaths and contracts

Grome appears as a fine-crafted statue of a hugely muscular man in dark stone. His skin is adorned with complex patterns of gemstones. And his joints glow with banked internal fires. His face is a blank mask with a single eye that glows like magma. His voice sounds like a distant rock fall. He moves slowly and with a sound like grinding stones.

Grome’s symbol is the jewel, usually stylised as a white diamond shape. He has no particular holy day.
Mountain goats and lizards are sacred to Grome. His favoured servitors are Earth Elementals.

Priests of Grome wear short-sleeved robes of green and grey. They wear clattering metal-shod boots. His priesthood act as architects and mining engineers, and often work as jewellers. Devotions to Grome include stoneworking and gem cutting, the administration of oaths, the beating of drums, and sacrifice by crushing under huge weights. His worshippers can earn favour by bearing hardship with fortitude, or by the sacrifice of fine material goods.

The Wanderer, He Who Goes Forth
God of the Stars, travel, navigation, parting and forsaking

Iranon appears as a young man with blue eyes, sun-bleached blonde hair and tanned skin. He is always barefoot and his feet do not touch the earth. One hand bears a walking cane. His movements are smooth, and his voice a harmonious tenor. He is invariably garbed in travelling clothes. It is said he walked into this world from another, and that he walks the world constantly.

His symbol is a sextant, usually stylised as a capital A. Iranon’s holy day is the first day of the New Year.
Horses and migratory birds are sacred to Iranon. His favoured servants are ???

Priests of Iranon wear robes of sky blue elaborately embroidered; these are usually covered with travelling cloaks. They walk barefoot wherever possible.His priesthood maintain lodgings for pilgrims, and oversee the public discharge of obligations. Devotions to Iranon include stargazing, journeying to new places, abrogating one’s possessions, and hospitality to visitors. His priests can earn favour by offering hospitality to strangers, and by never sleeping in the same place twice.

The Wind Walker, Lord of the North
God of Air, cold, language, dreams, madness

Ithaqua appears as a spindly-limbed demonic creature with black skin and tusks in a wide, leering mouth. His eyes burn redly under heavy brows. He swims through the air like a fish through water, never touching the ground or remaining still. His movements are rapid and accompanied by gusts of wind. His voice sounds like a howling tempest.

Ithaqua’s symbol is the whirlwind, usually stylised as an inverted grey triangle. His holy day is midwinter’s day.
Wolves and carrion crows are sacred to Ithaqua. His favoured servitors are Air Elementals.

Priests of Ithaqua wear full robes of white decorated with swirling patterns of red. They carry bullroarers and ritually flay themselves. The priesthood act as envoys, interpreters and soothsayers. Devotions to Ithaqua include the interpretation of dreams, the care of the insane, and sacrifice by defenestration or by burial in glacial ice. His priests earn favour by interpreting dreams, and by sacrificing intelligent beings.

The Spider King, Lord of All that is Hidden and Buried
God of Death, secrets and mysteries, codes, the underworld

Nerhagul appears as an emaciated, mummified man. He is invariably garbed in multiple layers of burial wrappings, cerements and spiderwebs. His head is covered by a black veil. In one hand he bears in one hand a long crook-headed staff, in the other an onyx jewel. His voice is croaking and the smell of grave dust accompanies him.

Nerhagul’s symbol is the crook, usually stylised as a hook. His holy day is the day of the dead, when the departed walk the world.
Spiders and mice are sacred to Nerhagul. His favoured servitors are phase spiders and powerful free-willed undead.

Priests of Nerhagul wear tunics and kilts of purple and maroon hue, and wear black veils. They carry crooks in emulation of their lord, and avoid the sun’s glare wherever possible. His priesthood act as morticians, cryptographers and explorers. Devotions to Herhagul include the discovery or concealing of secrets, communication with the dead, and the sacrifice of finely crafted grave goods. His priests earn favour by uncovering and exploiting secrets, and by ensuring that the dead lie undisturbed by treasure hunters.

The Blinding One, The Man of Gold
God of the Sun, rulership, nemesis, vigilance, self-discipline

Pholtus appears as a tall, well-built man wearing a golden mask and a kilt of ivory scales. His skin is bronzed. He bears a jewelled sceptre of solid gold in his right hand, and a golden knife in his left. His voice is loud and he invariably speaks in declaratives. He walks with a stiff-limbed gait, never deviating from his planned course.

Pholtus’ symbol is the golden sunburst, often stylised as a yellow circle. His holy day is the summer solstice.
Eagles and lions are sacred to Pholtus. His favoured servitors are Lamassu.

Priests of Pholtus wear tunic of white or cream colour, ornamented with gold. Many bear tattoos of eyes on the backs of their shaven heads, and his high priests wear golden masks in homage to their deity. His priesthood act as advisors to rulers, as bounty hunters, and as executioners. Devotions to Pholtus include the public administration of justice, the sacrifice of money, and numerous ascetic practises. The most characteristic of Pholtus’ rites is that of engaging in watchful meditation atop narrow pillars. His priests earn favour by engaging in ascetic exploits, bringing fugitives to justice, or by establishing the dominion of the church over secular authorities.

The Sharp-sighted, She Who Hungers
Goddess of Beauty, vanity, jealousy, love and lust, cats

Thalatea appears as a beautiful woman with inhuman all-green eyes and long wicked talons on her flawless hands. She is attracted to beauty of all kinds, but is driven to mar and ultimately devour anything that meets with her approval. She walks with a seductive fluidity and her voice is harmonious. Statues of Thalatea are invariably stylised into abstract humanoid forms, so as not to insult her beauty. Only her claws are represented figuratively.

Thalatea’s symbol is a heavily made-up green eye, this is often stylised as a jade-green ovoid. Her holy day is the first day of spring.
Cats and songbirds are sacred to Thalatea. Her favoured servitors are Lillends.

Priests of Thalatea wear revealing costumes in rich cloths and bright colours, the better to please the eye. Many deliberately mar their features so as not to attract the fatal attention of their mistress, covering these flaws with elaborately decorated partial facemasks. Her priesthood serve as courtesans, artists, cosmeticians, and exterminators of vermin. Devotions to Thalatea include orgiastic rites, instrumental music, and the sacrifice by intentional marring of the most beautiful things. Her priests gain favour by engaging in temple prostitution, or by the ritual destruction of beautiful things.

The Twins
The Black and White, The Dwellers in the Storm, Khiros and Thromos
Gods of War, horsemanship, thunder and lightning, boundaries

The twin gods Khiros and Thromos are never seen together. Khiros, a slim, black-skinned man in white enamelled armour bearing a bow and arrow, always precedes his brother Thromos, a stocky man of corpse-like pallor dressed in heavy night-black armour bearing a bridle and wielding a huge iron mallet. Khiros moves almost faster than the eye can follow and speaks in staccato bursts. Thromos paces slowly, and speaks in a deep, sonorous rumble.

The Twins’ symbol is a white thunderbolt bisecting a black circle. This is often stylised as a white Z shape. The Twin’s holy day is the first day of the campaigning season.
Horses and woodpeckers are sacred to the brothers. Their favoured servitors are eladrin.

Priests of the Twins wear parti-coloured robes of stark black and white, and ornately worked metal pectorals at all times. They often paint or tattoo their faces half black and half white. The priesthood serve as horse breakers, military chaplains, gate wardens, and arbitrators in territorial disputes. Devotions to the brothers include ritualised duels and horse races, the establishment of clear divisions, and the sacrifice of prisoners of war. Priests of The Twins gain favour by acts of valour in battle, or by presiding over the division of something.

The Peacock Spirit, The One Who Ascends with the Dawn
God(dess) of Law, song, birds, hope, new beginnings

Tysha appears as a slim, wryly-smiling androgene dressed in a flowing decorated with patterns of iridescent feathers. (S)he bears a mirror in his/her left hand and is constantly accompanied by the sound of birdsong. His/her movements and gestures are fast and flickering, with a voice high and lilting.

Tysha’s symbol is a wing with feathers in rainbow colours. It is usually stylised as a shape similar to a capital J with a long crossbar. Tysha’s holy day is the spring equinox.
Peacocks and birds of paradises are sacred to Tysha. His/her favoured servants are couatls.

Priests of Tysha wear light robes in bright colours. They often wear feathered headdresses or beaked masks. His/her priesthood serve as teachers, advocates, aviary keepers, singers and musicians. Devotions to Tysha include choral and solo singing, the administration of justice, the recovery of arcane lore, and sacrifice by defenestration. His/her priests can earn favour by performing deeds against the cult of Thalatea (the two cults have a longstanding rivalry).

The Dragger Down, She Who Lurks in the Depths
Goddess of Water, the seas, hunger, greed, change

Utravit appears as a great kraken, a nightmare of twisting tentacles, glaring eyes, and gnashing maws. She moves through the seas with a roiling motion, reaching upwards only to draw down something she covets. Her voice sounds like bubbling screams ascending from the deep.

Utravit’s symbol is a squirming mass of tentacles around a central eye, often stylised as a circle surrounded by outward curling arcs. Utravit’s holy day is the first storm after the start of the shipping season.
Sharks and squid are sacred to Utravit. Her favoured servitors are kraken and wastriliths.

Priests of Utravit wear robes of green, blue and turquoise, all of which are richly embroidered with amber eyes and adorned with trailing ribbons. They often file their teeth in her honour. Her priesthood serve as sailors, slavers, food tasters, and fomenters of revolution. Devotions to Utravit include blessing ships, devouring vast banquets, tending carnivorous fish, and sacrifice by drowning. Her priests can earn favour by overthrowing existing systems, through acts of heroic gluttony, or through mass drowning (usually enacted by sinking ships).

The Silver Prince, He Who Sees with Clear Sight
God of the Moon, magic, history, imprisonment

Vorynn appears as a slim, pale-skinned man in early-middle age. He is invariably garbed in a scholar’s robe of ivory hue. In one hand he bears a slim silver wand, in the other a sealed scroll. His expression is distracted and his voice seems to come from far away.

Vorynn’s symbol is the crescent moon, often stylised as a silver C. His holy day is the first new moon after the spring equinox.
Cranes and salmon are sacred to Vorynn. His favoured servitors are ???

Priests of Vorynn wear scholar’s robes, invariably of muted colours. The most devout subsist on charitable offerings alone. His priesthood serve as scribes, historians, lighthousemen, and jailers. Devotions include the banging of gongs, the lighting of coastal beacons, prolonged meditation, and sacrifice by immurement. His priests can earn favour by immuring themselves for extended periods, or by thwarting the machinations of the cult of Utravit.



  1. Good stuff. But you gave Utravit a mastectomy. :)

  2. @Scott: I wasn't prepared to get one of *those* looks from the girls in my gaming group. I'll get quite enough stick from them just for having a tentacular, ever-hungry bitch-goddess of the sea. ;)

  3. Just came across this post (and your blog) and I really like what you've done with this pantheon. Thanks for sharing it!


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