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Author Topic: The Tepestani Pantheon - Roleplay Resources  (Read 1166 times)

MAB77

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« Last Edit: September 02, 2016, 09:30:29 AM by MAB77 »
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Re: The Tepestani Pantheon - Roleplay Resources
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2016, 08:44:06 AM »
Creation Myth

Quote from: Ravenloft Gazetteer Volume V
Tepestani believe that their gods created the world one season at a time, starting with Spring, and populated each season with its own beings. Some versions of the story say that each season was originally an attempt by individual gods at making separate worlds and that eventually the gods combined their creations into one world. The traditional Tepestani calendar starts in Spring as well; they only adopted the Barovian calendar some three decades ago.

Regardless of the version, the creation starts with Spring. Along with Spring, the gods created the Children of Spring, the fey. These immortal nature spirits neither knew nor experienced death, so to this day they have no respect for life or death. In the versions that state each season was the work of different gods, Spring is credited as the work of Daghda (goddess of fertility and the forest), Diancecht (god of healing), and Lugh (god of magic and secrets).

Summer and Summer's Children came next mortal men and women, and natural animals. All versions agree that the gods felt giving the fey immortality was a mistake and therefore created Summer's Children with a limited life span. Since Summer's Children experience all facets of life and death, they develop an appreciation and understanding of the joys and the pains that make life what it is. The Tepestani consider summer's children to be the only trustworthy type of spirit. The versions that credit seasons to individual gods say that Belenus (god of the sun) was the main architect of Summer and of men and women, while his consort Brigantia (goddess of nature, industry and agriculture) and her brother Manannan mac Lir (god of the water and aquatic creatures) created the animals and helped with defining how mortal beings moved through their life-spans.

Autumn and Autumn's Children followed. This season came about because some of the gods felt they could improve upon Summer but failed miserably in their effort; none could match the splendid creation that resulted when all the gods worked in concert. The creatures of autumn are all inferior and twisted reflections of Summer's Children: goblins, hags, lycanthropes and other monstrous beings. In the separate worlds' myth, Autumn and its children are the creation of Arawn (goddess of death) and Morrigan (goddess of discord and war) because they were jealous of Summer and felt they could create a superior world. Unfortunately, the fundamentally vile natures of both deities seeped into their creation, making it a place of death populated by unnatural, hate-filled creatures.

Last in the order of creation was Winter, as well as Winter's Children. Interestingly, all creation myths credit this creation to Math Mathonwy (god of dark magic and secrets), apart from the rest of the gods. Most commonly, it is believed that he initiated his creation as an expression of spite toward the other gods, because none of them consulted him during their efforts. Other interpretations suggest that Math Mathonwy was attempting to perfect Spring and Spring's Children, but that his own cold and evil nature tainted his creation beyond any ability to support life, or that he was creating the ultimate repository for the evil magic and secrets that he wanted to preserve. To this end, he had snow blanket Winter and created the undead and elemental beings, strange reflections of Spring's Children, eternal as well, but utterly devoid of life.

In the separate worlds' version of the Tepestani creation tale, Belenus visited all the various creations and decided that if the gods combined their worlds into a single place, it would be a more perfect creation, a place where Summer's Children in particular could flourish. All the gods agreed, and so the world was born. In both versions, the gods agree that in order to avoid the problems that arose with the Children of Spring on a cosmic scale, their world would eventually die. The Tepestani believe that subsequently all of history follows the course of a single year, as seen from the vantage of the gods. The world will follow the course of that single year, and then it will end.

According to the Tepestani, we currently live in the Autumn of creation. Untold eons ago, the fey reigned without challenge and kept mortals in fear with chaotic and unpredictable magic. Eventually, mighty heroes arose among the mortals and forced the fey into the wildest depths of the forest. As the fey retreated, magic became more orderly, and humans became increasingly more powerful and important in the world.

Overview of the pantheon

Quote from: Ravenloft Gazetteer Volume V
The Tepestani honor and worship a small pantheon of native gods, as well as acknowledge the existence of other deities such as Hala and the Lawgiver. On the surface, they appear to worship the same pantheon as the Forfarians of Forlorn. The gods have the same names, and they are generally called upon or placated for the same reasons, but there are differences.

In Tepest, Belenus is revered as the god of gods. He is viewed as the organizer of their ranks, and without him, the world we know today would not have existed. In some tales, he is the prime creator, while in others he created our world by combining the singular creations of the gods into a coherent whole. He is also considered to be the god who cares most about humans and who is their greatest ally in the struggle against the fey. All Tepestani worship him, and each community has at least a small temple devoted to him.

Brigantia and Manannan mac Lir are described as brother and sister by the Tepestani. They are Belenus's best friends among the gods, his frequent collaborators in matters of Creation, and the other two main deities in the Tepestani faith. Brigantia is considered to be Belenus's consort, and she is a goddess of the wild forests and beasts, as well as the domesticated animals and cultivated fields. She is also said to bless hardworking artisans. Manannan mac Lir is the master of all lakes and rivers, as well as the creatures that dwell within them. These deities are honored by all Tepestani on their holy days and are actively worshipped by some farmers, fishers, hunters and artisans.

In Tepest, Lugh, Daghda and Diancecht are considered dark and somewhat simpleminded reflections of Belenus, Brigantia and Manannan mac Lir. They are cast as the creators of the fey and are therefore seen as the patrons of these enemies of mortals. This patronage is not attributed to malice, but rather to a misguided love for their dangerously flawed creations. Lugh is the god of the moon and arcane (and fey) magic, while his consort Daghda is the mistress of wild growing weeds and untamed wilderness. She is also a fertility goddess, and women call for her blessing when seeking to become pregnant. (In other cultures, Daghda is portrayed as male.) Her brother Diancecht has a nebulous position in so far as he is called upon when the Tepestani wish to cure or protect themselves of illnesses or to ensure a healthy childbirth for a woman. Diancecht is credited with creating all illnesses in the world, but he is not thought of as evil like a god with his portfolio might be in most faiths. Instead, he is merely misguided. He is credited with being the only one of the trio who is trying to make amends for the mistakes he visited upon the world; hence, although he created illnesses, he is also the one who is most adept at curing mortals. These three deities are typically only honored on their holy days or in services held with specific intentions in mind. Some shrines and temples dedicated to Belenus also reserve a small corner for Diancecht so he can be called upon easily.

As is the case with most cultures, the Tepestani don't so much worship the evil gods as they desperately attempt to placate them. The relationship the Tepestani have with Arawn (another figure seen in some cultures as male rather than female) and Morrigan - goddesses of death and conflict respectively -„ are what one might expect. They are not worshipped, but honored with occasional sacrifices designed to keep the unnatural creatures of Autumn from plaguing communities.

Finally, there is Math Mathonwy. The Tepestani almost universally ignore him, and in so they mirror the gods in their tales, except in certain funeral rites for Outlanders who die within Tepest. These rites are intended to call upon Math Mathonwy's mercy so that he doesn't cause the deceased evil person (because all Outlanders are by default considered evil) to return as one of Winter's Children but instead remain peacefully in the ground.

Quote from: Ravenloft Gazetteer Volume V
In Tepest, Belenus is honored in noon-time services. This is also the time of day his priests pray for spells.

As the Inquisition has gained strength in Tepest, priests serving the other gods in the Tepestani pantheon have become increasingly uncommon. Subsequently, worship of other gods starts to fade. The Inquisitors are not actively discouraging devotion to the other gods of the pantheon. Rather, their strong, very visible stance against the evils that menace the Tepestani make Belenus appear to be the only god who truly looks out for the endangered Children of Summer.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2016, 11:44:55 PM by MAB77 »
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MAB

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MAB77

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Re: The Tepestani Pantheon - Roleplay Resources
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2016, 08:45:44 AM »
The Pantheon

Arawn
Goddess of Death
Alignment: Neutral evil
Domains: Death, Evil, Repose
Symbol: Skull wearing antlered helm
Favored weapon: Scythe

Belenus
God of Gods, Sun and Fire
Alignment: Neutral good
Domains: Fire, Good, Sun
Symbol: Sunburst
Favored weapon: Sickle

Brigantia
Goddess of nature, industry and agriculture
Alignment: Lawful Good
Domains: Animal, Good, Protection
Symbol: Woman holding a hammer
Favored weapon: Warhammer

Dagdha
Goddess of fertility and the forest
Alignment: Chaotic good
Domains: Good, Plant, Trickery
Symbol: Cauldron
Favored weapon: Club

Diancecht
God of Healing
Alignment: Neutral good
Domains: Good, Healing
Symbol: Leaf
Favored weapon: Dagger

Lugh
God of the moon, arcane (& Fey) magic, and secrets
Alignment: Chaotic neutral
Domains: Chaos, Knowledge, Magic
Symbol: Eight-pointed star
Favored weapon: Mace

Manannan Mac Lir
God of the water and aquatic creatures
Alignment: Lawful neutral
Domains: Animal, Law, Water
Symbol: Fish
Favored weapon: Trident

Math Mathonwy
God of dark magic and secrets
Alignment: Lawful evil
Domains: Knowledge, Magic
Symbol: Iron Scepter
Favored weapon:  Quarterstaff

Morrigan
Goddess of discord and war
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Domains: Destruction, Evil, War
Symbol: Crossed swords
Favored weapon: Greatsword
« Last Edit: September 02, 2016, 09:35:34 AM by MAB77 »
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MAB

Proud member of the Dev team, kindly working nights and days to bring you all more creative ways to slay all your PCs, faster and more efficiently!

MAB77

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Re: The Tepestani Pantheon - Roleplay Resources
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2016, 08:49:09 AM »
The Tepestani Inquisition

The most visible and most powerful religious institution in Tepest is Belenus's Inquisition. A group of militant priests and lay people with good intentions and trying to do what it genuinely believes to be Belenus's will: saving the world by destroying the fey attempting to corrupt and ultimately destroy it.

They believe that everything related to fey is inherently corrupting, therefore studying the fey can only corrupt the would-be scholar. They distrust direct evidence and rely instead upon their own suppositions, existing folklore and forced confessions.

The Leader of the Inquisitors, Wyan of Viktal, has created several books he intends to serve as guides to the Inquisitors and second only to the wisdom of Belenus himself. They contain simplistic descriptions of fey, what the Inquisition thinks are their habits, and an equal mix of folklore and practical application of priestly magic to uncover fey abound. With diagrams and illustrations of fairy stool patterns and the most effective methods of forcibly extracting confessions from suspects and the convicted.

When an Inquisitor uncovers some bit of gossip that indicates someone is in league with the fey, and the inquisitor deems the claim credible, he has the accused rounded up and imprisoned in preparation for trial. The Inquisitor then collects evidence against the accused. Evidence ranges from anomalies that the Inquisitor observes in areas where the accused would spend a lot of his time - such as an abundance of fairy stools - to tales regarding the accused from every wagging tongue in town.

Observations and anecdotes are carefully recorded in the Inquisitor's ledger book. No timetable is set for the investigation, but it usually takes a week. During the investigation, other folk are free to act as the advocate of the accused. They investigate on their own, gathering evidence in the accused's defense, but leaping too eagerly to the defense of one under suspicion may also lead one to fall under similar suspicion.

Friends of the accused will often scrape a few coins together and hire independent investigators, folks from a distant village, or even foreign adventurers. Meanwhile, the accused is pressured to confess to his crimes, which often involves torture, but the tastes of individual Inquisitors differ. Confessions are drawn so the Inquisition can expand its knowledge base of the fey's methods. Once a confession is extracted from the suspect, the Inquisitor takes all his findings and the full text of any confession to Wyan. Wyan compares the findings to all known facts about fey and discusses other explanations with the presenting Inquisitor and other leading priests of Belenus.

The accused is usually brought before the Inquisition's leader, so that he may question him or her personally. This process can take anywhere from a few hours to several days. At the end, Wyan decides whether the suspect will be tried or set free. When the Inquisition tries a suspect, at least three of its members act as judges. Trials are typically held in the community that is home to the accused, and usually two of the three judges are local Inquisitors, with the third being a ranking member.  All evidence is presented before the judges. The inquisition presents an accuser, and either the accused or his advocate presents a defense. If evidence is presented that clearly proves the accused to be innocent, he or she usually does get off.

Rulings and results boil down to one of four possibilities:

1) The accused is innocent. Doesn't happen often, but it does happen. The accused is free to rejoin society and is openly accepted. If resentful over their treatment, those accused generally keep their mouths shut.

2)The accused is "bheicht faoihk raíocht" (bewitched). The accused did the deed for which he is charged, but he was ensorcelled by the fey. The bewitched are not in control of their actions and thus not responsible. The bewitched are generally chastised, given light punishments, but ultimately allowed to return to their lives. They forever after are viewed with suspicion, however, as they are proven to be susceptible to fey seduction. The upside is that the accused gets to live. To obtain a "bewitched" ruling, the actual guilty party must be brought to light.

3)  The accused is a fealltóir (fey consort). A fey consort is a mortal who has been seduced who willingly serves the fey and has thus turned to evil. If a fey consort is found guilty, and if it has not yet been done, a full confession is extracted, by torture if necessary. That done, the despised traitor to humanity is swiftly executed by whatever means is most convenient: hanging, stoning or drowning. The Tepestani bury the corpses of those so executed at crossroads, believing that doing so prevents the guilty spirit from finding its way home.

4) The accused is actually one of the fey (a true fey, a hag, and so forth): a creature of darkness. To achieve this ruling, the Inquisition needs to prove that the accused has supernatural powers. Any creature with innate spell-like abilities is guilty. The fey are forced to confess and are then burned at the stake to prevent their return.
Best Regards!
MAB

Proud member of the Dev team, kindly working nights and days to bring you all more creative ways to slay all your PCs, faster and more efficiently!