The Temple of Indifference

The following text is written over the main entrance to the Temple of Indifference in Marrephilahd:

“Once humanity trusted the gods and obeyed their every wish. Over the years, many men died to preserve the dignity of their Gods, who, as the divinities do, lived on, not noticing nor caring about the suffering.

“No longer.

“We know you exist, and we thank you for the world, but that’s the extent of our contract with you.”

The Temple of Indifference is not what it seems. It’s more of a library than a temple; refusing to worship any god leaves the acolytes free to record all that they can about the world.

Indifference is, in its own way, a compelling religion. Refusing to worship gods takes away a lot of power that a religion can weild. The Temple survives on the basis of large business/trade holdings, plus fees for usage of materials found in it’s libraries. It has no organized services, but it sponsors many talks and symposiums about philosophical matters. A good 90% of the residents of the province of Marrephilahd follow its teachings, and from 20-70% of the rest of Vens and the balkanized states. Not surprisingly, the main temple is the Temple itself; there are minor libraries scattered elsewhere. (As a comparison, look at the Christian Science reading rooms scattered through the United States)

There are, however, a large collection of other faiths scattered around; most of them are hearth-deities that aren’t worshipped outside of a particular village - or house for that matter - but there are some that have a large enough following to warrent mention.

Ancient Gods

The ancient Gods of Vens (aside from the Mountain Man) do not appear to have any sexual attributes. However, the cults worshipping them refer(red) to them almost exclusively as masculine.

It’s accepted that Radiance was the first of the Ancient Gods to come into existance, with the Eater of Wisdom and the Black Goat as its offspring. Chance was created when the other three created the universe, and was given the duty of populating the universe with appropriate worshippers. However, none of these gods have any authority, nor much power, over the others.

Note that there is no god for goodness. Goodness is considered to be intrinsic in the world, and is not granted by divinity.

Over time, many minor deities were added to the pantheon; when Hinduism was introduced to the world, these deities changed religion, so to speak, and were rationalized into the Hindu teachings.

The Mountain Man (Whim/Chance)
  • God of chaos and humanity.
  • Manifests as a goat-man or animated tornado.
  • Worshipped by gamblers and humans taking long odds.

No priesthood, no published creed. Worship of Chance survived past the creation of Indifference because the uncertainty on just how to worship a god of randomness made it very unthreatening.

Sometimes seen by people facing long odds in the mountains. Can be called on for help, but may not help in the way you’d expect.

The Mountain Man is believed to be responsible for the various Eyes of God that are scattered about the globe.

The Eater of Wisdom

Complex, prohibition-filled creed, with many layers of authority and permissions. Incredibly dedicated to the acquisition of knowledge without caring about the means of getting this knowledge, but not so good about disseminating this knowledge. Access to cult knowledge strictly regulated according to what the believer is able to contribute tithing money or information, like many file-oriented computer BBS systems.)

The cult of the Eater of Wisdom was based in Vens, in the now destroyed) city of Vens. A schism in the cult formed the heresy that became the Temple of Indifference.

The cult of the Eater was very keen on being the one true faith. Before it collapsed, it was responsible for many crusades and assassinations.

Promises of great knowledge can be used to get divine assistance from the Eater, though if the knowledge isn’t interesting enough, the Eater will kill and eat the petitioner before vanishing back to whereever the gods come from.

A few people still follow the Cult of the Eater, but in deepest secrecy. Cultists still pro-forma attempt to gather knowledge, but are better known as assassins.

  • God of life, light, order
  • Doesn’t manifest. (The sun is believed to be the manifestation of Radiance; the planet is the manifestation of Life)
  • Worshipped by farmers, fishermen, and lawyers.

Simple more-or-less unadorned sun worship. Keen on sacrifice, though human sacrifice is uncommon. The creed doesn’t support a complex clergy, but provides for an inherited priesthood.

The cult of Radiance was founded in the city of (?) [now in Cinnabar] and still has a strong following in that state. It has flirted on the edge of the law in Vens, being banned off and on because of the human sacrifice bit. Currently, Radiance is not banned in Vens, but it is relegated to the role of a fringe faith.

Sacrifices can be used to get divine intervention, with human sacrifices being the most potent attraction. Human sacrifices also attract certain other divinities which are somewhat less useful to have around.

The Black Goat
  • God of corruption.
  • Manifests as a pool of black ooze (which destroys everything it comes in contact with), or as a thousand-legged goat.
  • Worshipped by the insane.

Proof that the gods don’t follow the same logic as humanity. Very keen on sacrifices, of almost any sort. The followers of the Black Goat perform intricate sacrifices involving much torture. There’s no place in the civilized lands where they worship openly, because they are banned under penalty of death everywhere.

The Black Goat, like Radiance, is attracted by sacrifice. Human sacrifice, particularly on a large scale, is likely to attract it. Upon being summoned, the Black Goat first destroys the summoner, then proceeds to lay waste to the surrounding area until it is sated.

When you perform human sacrifice for summoning, you can’t be sure who you’ll get. This is one of the gotchas of trying to sacrifice to Radiance; you may get the Black Goat instead.

The Prophet

The Prophet was an orcish priest of some unnamed hearth-god who tired of religion and spent her life writing on appropriate behavior for the orcish races. The basic tenant of this faith is “anything is appropriate if done correctly”. This makes for some interesting social structures that somewhat resemble feudalism, except that the bonds of fealty depend upon correct behavior from the overlord. This faith is based within Nerol, with only minor followings outside of that state.

It’s quite hard for unbelievers to follow this faith. It’s a very chaotic religion, in that the proper way of doing things changes almost from day to day. If someone can get away with doing something a certain way, the way he did it becomes correct. Social structures, sexual mores, and even business practices (to a limited extent) are subject to change because of this. (For example, representative democracy has come into and out of fashion at least three times because of particularly daring attempts to institute it and/or destroy it. The current queen of the Khanate overthrew the most recent democratic government by stating before an election that a vote not cast was a vote for her, and then, after getting a bare plurality, setting up her own parallel government. The government that actually won the elections then abdicated and granted her power.)

The original writings of the Prophet are kept in the city library in the city of Nerol.

Hearth Gods

In the islands of the Middle Sea, most people have household shrines for their ancestors and local gods. There are a lot of local gods, and no priest can figure out the relationship between them and the Ancient Gods. On the island of Sairboern, three unnamed gods are worshipped:

Manifests as an octopus carrying throw-nets and tridents. Every fishing vessel from Sairboern has a small shrine to this god, and pregnant women are expected to wear an octopus necklace to ensure a healthy birth.
Doesn’t manifest, but is represented by a fasces and a straw broom. This is the god of duties to your ancestors (the straw broom is for maintaining the house shrine) and to your community (the fasces represents obedience to town law.) It is commonly believed that your ancestor and hearth gods consult with Duty before assisting you in any way, and that Duty is continually judging you on your obedients to ancestors and community.

Manifests as a skeleton carrying a basket and shears (presumably for harvesting a soul when someone dies.) Death is always welcomed, because if someone dies and doesn’t have their soul harvested, they will become a ghost, zombie, ghoul, or something equally appalling. People usually leave out a glass of soured wine or spoiled beer so that Death can have a cool dead drink when it visits.

Rumors that Death speaks LIKE THIS are not true.

Imported religions


Like you’d expect; The cultural baggage of a caste system didn’t last very long after the religion was imported, so some adjustments have been made.

Hinduism was imported about 1500 years ago.

Ditto. Considered a minor and eccentric sect, but not prosecuted. Also imported about 1500 years ago.
A popular import, but not tolerated very well. The original lot of Christians were a fairly evangelical bunch and didn’t get along too well with the various hearth-god cults in the eastern islands, and were only able to successfully convert Kobolds to their faith. The vast majority of the Christians on the world are Kobolds (some people estimate that 70% of the Kobold population are churchgoing Christians), which leads to an intense dislike of the faith by people who can’t deal with Kobolds (which is the vast majority of the world.) The evangelicism has long since died down, and the faith (which started out as what can only be described as evangelical Roman Catholic) has mellowed and inherited a collection of saints, &tc, which are - like the older Earth christian faiths - other divinities absorbed into the faith. Centers of worship are the city of Nerol, where a fragile truce is held with the Khanate, Marrephilahd, where it’s ignored by most everybody, and the Kobold city of Palestine in the wild lands.
Is a brand new import (about 100 years ago) which hasn’t really settled in. It’s taken hold in the Khanate and Cinnabar, but not really anywhere else.