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Religions and Cults of Cydoria


Evilschemer

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Here's the text of the chapter for those who don't feel like downloading.

Religions and Cults of Cydoria

Cydoria is a generally polytheistic society. Each cultural region has its own pantheon of gods and each city-state worships a patron god of that city. With the advent of aero-ship trade, worshippers carried their gods from city to city. Today, a new pantheon of gods exists with representatives from every culture and city. What follows are a few representatives of each cultural pantheon.

Cydorian Cosmology

It is said that the world of Uruta was created twelve thousand years ago by the primordial titans Asag and Kur. During the age of the titans, there was no life on the world. The world was a barren, desolate place, a world of fire and brimstone and choking clouds of poisonous smoke.

The Sdara Vatra

From the depths of space came the Sdara Vatra, the gods of creation. The Sdara Vatra were entities of immense power. They commanded the energies of the universe. They could convert matter into energy and back again. They could build worlds from nothing and could destroy those worlds with a thought.

The battle against Asag and Kur lasted for thousands of years. In time, the Sdara Vatra defeated the beasts using the Seeds of Creation. The Seeds were artifacts of unguessable energy that drew upon the essence of life itself. It was a power that neither Asag nor Kur could overcome for the Seeds could create faster than either beast could destroy. Eventually, Asag was imprisoned at the center of the world while Kur was contained in a great spherical shell and banished to the skies over Uruta where it remains to this day.

The Era of Creation

To celebrate their victory, the Sdara Vatra used the Seeds of Creation to populate the world with living things. First they created the water and the soil. Second, they created the plants and animals. Finally, they created new intelligent beings such as the Capridi, the daka, the deru, and many more. This period is called the Second Age of the Sdara Vatra, the Era of Creation.

The Threat of Corruption

The Corruption is a horrible force of elemental destruction and decay. It exists outside of the universe and seeks only to return all of creation to entropy. The Sdara Vatra created the Oudh to protect Uruta and their living creations from the Corruption. Safe from the Corruption, the Sdara Vatra oversaw the development of life on Uruta in peace.

The Betrayal of the Aya

The servants of the Sdara Vatra were angelic spirit-beings called Aya. The Aya were totally loyal and served every whim of their divine masters. Somehow, the Corruption found a way through the Oudh and was able to corrupt the loyal Aya.

The Aya managed to trick their masters into revealing the secrets of the universe and the Aya stole the powers of godhead from the Sdara Vatra. The roles were reversed, the Aya had become gods and the Sdara Vatra had become their mortal servants.

The Aya, however, created their ownservants, the cyberdroids, and had no need for the Sdara Vatra. The Sdara Vatra were rounded up for elimination. They were exterminated from the world like vermin. Those that escaped were hunted and killed by the cyberdroid killing machines.

The genocide of the Sdara Vatra was nearly complete when, for reasons that have never been known, the Aya stopped. Some say the Aya abandoned the cyberdroids. Others say that Aya learned the true meaning of compassion. Whatever the reason, the cyberdroids ended the genocide and retreated to the far north, to the domed city of Sakata.

To this day, the Aya exist in the stories and nightmares of humans across Markania. To some, the Aya are evil ghosts that live on the wind. To others, they are benign spirits who bring good fortune if properly appeased.

The Sdara Vatra, no longer immortal, had become the first primitive humans. After thousands of years, these stone-age savage evolved and created the Nazarian civilization.

The Cities of the Gods

Little is left of Sdara Vatra except for their ruins. Forested hills and layers of topsoil hide the remains of mountainous structures, smashed domes, and deep networks of chambers and passages. The sites can be identified by skeletal spires of unknown metal piercing the surface of the hill and reaching into the sky.

The ruined structures of the Sdara Vatra are criss-crossed by many horizontal, vertical, diagonal, and even ring-rhaped shafts. They conceal thousands of chambers ranging from small quarters to spacious domed enclosures. The majority of the chambers and shafts have collapsed and filled with debris from above, sealing them off from the rest of the structure.

It is believed that the Sdara Vatra lived almost entirely within these structures or deep underground, rarely visiting the outside world.

The ancient Nazarians worshipped the Sdara Vatra as gods and venerated these structures as holy places. Many of the structures were explored by the Nazarians, the artifacts removed and stored in their temple vaults. Some were left untouched and trapped to dissuade future grave-robbers from removing the holy relics hidden within. Intrepid explorers investigating these subterranean ruins have won their way past the Nazarian traps and have recovered strange devices and artifacts, most inoperable or indecipherable.

Legends of the Sdara Vatra

The following items are commonly accepted “facts” about the Sdara Vatra.

• The Malusians, Phanosians, and other aliens are also mortal descendants of the Sdara Vatra.

• The Sdara Vatra were hatched from eggs.

• The Sdara Vatra could transmute matter into energy and back again.

• The Sdara Vatra could control time and alter the laws of the universe.

• The Sdara Vatra could create entire worlds from nothing and could destroy those same worlds with a mere thought.

• The Sdara Vatra could cross great distances, even the void between the worlds, by thought alone.

• The Sara Vatra were immortal, immune to all disease, could recover from any injury, and could only be killed by completely destroying the brain.

• The Sdara Vatra could fly through the air without the aid of Zephyrium.

• The Sdara Vatra were served by the Aya, spirits bound into crystals.

• The Sdara Vatra could create life from nothing using the Seeds of Creation and created all life on Uruta.

• The Sdara Vatra lived inside mountains made of metal, some of which could fly through the heavens and visit other worlds and universes.

• The Masters of Ouhd claim to the learned the secrets of ta’oudh from the Sdara Vatra.

• Somewhere, out in the wilderness of northern Markania, is a vast underground bunker where some Sdara Vatra still live, sealed away and un-touched by the treachery of the Aya, waiting to return to the world.

• The Sdara Vatra could turn any mortal into a god.

The New Gods of Cydoria

The Sdara Vatra are no longer worshipped as gods by modern Cydorians. They are considered the ancestors of the modern humans. It is believed that, despite having their godhead stolen by the Aya, the spark of divinity remained hidden within their descendants and that any mortal may one day become a god. Over time, many mortals became gods. Each city cultivated its own pantheon of gods, with each new god challenging its predecessor for power over an elemental force or an aspect of the human condition.

Other cultures, especially non-human cultures, have no such belief. Their gods have no Sdara Vatra heritage and are independent of the Cydorian pantheons.

Anaka, the Serpent God of the Daka and the Galloans

Anaka, the serpent god, is the malevolent god of the Dakans and the Galloans. Anaka is variously depicted as a three-headed viper, a man with the head of a viper, or as a divinely powerful Daka. Anaka worship involves human torture and sacrifice, often in the form of throwing the victim into a pit to be devoured by a gargantuan viper. The worshippers of Anaka believe that their devotion and sacrifice will bring them power and influence and secret cults of Anaka have become popular with the wealthy and powerful of the Cydorian elite. Tithes are paid to the temples of Anaka in the form of gold and treasure which is kept hidden and secure in secret underground vaults.

Brinna, the Mother of the Demetrian Gods and Protector of Homes

Brinna is the Mother of Gods and Protector of Homes of the Demetrian pantheon. She is generally portrayed in paintings, mosaics, and statuary as a friendly matronly woman with four feathered wings and carrying a loaf of creet bread in one hand and a sword in the other. She is a goddess of fertility and of nature, the patron of mothers and farmers. Offerings of grain and food are brought to her temple as sacrifice. The priests, in turn, distribute the collected offerings to the needy.

The Corruption

The Corruption is the universal force of entropy, the personification of decay, betrayal, and evil. The Corruption exists in the void between the worlds and seeks to reverse the force of creation and to one day destroy the universe. The Oudh was created to shield Uruta from the influence of the Corruption.

The Demon-Lords of Haru

The degenerate tribes of Haru worship a multitude of hideous demonic gods collectively referred to as the Demon-Lords of Haru. They have many names; their number is too large to list. They are depicted as chaotic mutated things, tentacled, bat-winged, squamous, clawed, and bloated. They are celebrated in unspeakable sacrificial orgies of rape, torture, exsanguinations, dismemberment, and cannibalistic feasting.

Fimgar, the Targan God of Fire and Battle

Fimgar the Warrior is the god of victory in battles and of fire in the Targan pantheon and is the patron god of Vrildar. The gods of the Targan pantheon are warlike and severe, befitting the people of the region and Fimgar is no exception. Fimgar is a mighty warrior, clad in shining gold armor with flaming red hair. He carries Gorin, the golden sword of destiny. The Vrildarians offer animal blood poured into sacrificial pyres to beseech their god for blessings in upcoming battles. Emperor Viktor is believed to be the living avatar of Fimgar. Viktor’s sword, passed down through the generations of Vrildarian kings, is believed to be forged from a sliver of Gorin.

Gorox, the Fornaxian God of the Sea and Trade

The people of the city-state of Fornax worship Gorox, the god of the sea and of trade, as the patron of the city. Gorox is a stout man with long hair and beard. He commands a holy ship pulled by the four winds in the form of four flying gimwals. The Fornaxians offer sacrifices of fish and tithes on trade to the god in a cyclopean temple of black granite. A fire forever burns in a tower overlooking the temple, a guidepost to all Fornaxian sailors, visible for many leagues out to sea.

Groata, the Roatin Great Bird of the Sky

The Roatin worship Groata, the great bird of the sky, under vaulting temple domes supported by beautiful pillars of clear crystal. Groata is depicted as a gigantic fiery eagle. He is identified with the sun and the Roatin believe the sun to be Groata flying across the sky each day. It is believed that the broken moon Thumn is the remains of the egg that bore Groata and that the moon Kur is the egg of Groata’s successor.

Gründ, the Ossian God of the Cave Bear.

The tribal people of the hills of Ossia worship Gründ, the god of the cave bear. Gründ is described as a large burly man covered in hair and wearing the skin of a cave bear. It is believed that he was born a bear and later took human form. He lived among the bears and became their leader. Gründ set the cave bears against mankind as a test for man. Every Ossian boy must venture alone into the forest in order to slay a cave bear as a right of passage. Ossians wear the teeth of the cave bear they killed as an earring or around their neck.

Hrawr, the Gatan Goddess of the Razorfangs

The matriarchal tribes of Gatas worship the goddess Hrawr. She is described as having the body of a female human but the head of a razorfang, the hulking feline predator of the plains. She is a fierce goddess who lives among the big cats. It is said she has a special fondness for the taste of Gatan children. Captured outsiders are often offered as a sacrifice to the razorfangs, the so-called “Hrawr’s pride”.

Korg the Uncaring, the Samirian God of Battle

The chief god of the Samirian pantheon is Korg the Uncaring, the horned god of battle. He is depicted as a giant armored warrior with a head resembling a demonic horned head with fangs. He wears magical armor that cannot be pierced by any weapon and wields a massive sword named SCALE, forged from the impenetrable hide of the World-Dragon whom Korg slew at the beginning of time to form the world. Korg has no priesthood and no formal rituals. Korg instead serves more as an example, a prototype for the ideal Samirian warrior, against whom all other warriors are judged.

The Korulan Pantheon

The coastal tribesmen of Korula pay homage to the ancestral god of their tribe’s long-house. There are hundreds of tribal gods and goddesses along the Korulan coast, each a representative of the spirit of the tribe with an accompanying myth that ties the god to the village. The whaling village of Sirida worships Saparda the Whale Killer, who wields a harpoon of lightning that once split the tree from which the long-house is constructed. The fishers of Yimjuk worship Uluga, the old lady that lives at the bottom of the bay. It is said that she gathers the fish from the sea and corrals them into the bay each year. Dardari the strong is the tribal god the village of Kimhedi. Dararis strength comes from his long beard, so the men of Kimhedi do not cut the hair of their beards.

Kurok, the Awan God of the Hunt

The shamans of the Awan tribes describe Kurok the Hunter as a giant man with the antlers of a magnificent stag growing from his head and fierce glowing eyes. His face is always darkly shadowed and never visible. He wears a cape made of feathers and carries a stone-tipped spear. He is the spirit of the wild gelk and protector of the forests. The primitive Awans offer a sacrifice to beg Kurok’s permission and forgiveness when embarking on a hunt, and his name is praised in thanks upon a successful kill.

The Makers, Gods of the Cyberdroids

The cyberdroids of Sakata worship a group of gods collectively known as the Makers. The Makers are a group of Aya that created the Sakatans from energy and metal to hunt the Sdara Vatra. The Makers lack individual identities personalities and the Sakatans argue endlessly about how many there were and where they came from. Such are the mysteries of the Makers.

The Makers promise freedom to all slaves and enlightenment to those who follow a path of virtue and freedom. Such sentiments are well received by human slaves and prisoners who have come into contact with cyberdroid travelers from Sakata and a few small cults have grown to worship them. Most Cydorian cultures consider the Aya demonic spirits and any worship of the Makers to be equivalent to heresy or devil worship. This and the cult’s doctrine of individual freedom have resulted in the cult being banned in nearly all Cydorian communities.

Matina, the Goddess of Love and Forgiveness, Patron of Mothers

The goddess Matina is worshipped in the rural villages on the islands of Meruta and Saibra. Though she is not considered the chief god of the island pantheon, that title goes to her son Heis the sky-god, Matina is generally considered the more popular deity. She is usually depicted as a lovely young woman, modestly dressed, carrying the infant Heis in her tender arms. Matina is the goddess of love and forgiveness, the patron of mothers. The story of Matina tells of a goddess that fell in love with a mortal farmer. She forsook her godhead to be with her love and bore him a child, the infant Heis. Heis grew into a marvelous young man, a man of peace and learning, unaware of his heritage. One day, the gods Irik and Blem, Martina’s brothers, found Heis working in a field. They kidnapped, tortured, and eventually murdered him. Sais, the god of the hurricane and father of Matina, learned of the murderous acts and held the offending gods over to Matina’s judgment. Instead of punishing them, Matina forgave her brothers. In their shame and dishonor, Irik and Blem turned themselves into fish and banished themselves to the ocean. Seis, as a reward to his daughter, raised Heis as the god of the skies and proclaimed him the new supreme god. Martina eventually died a mortal’s death, but she is worshipped to this day by the common farmers of Meruta and Saibra among whom it is believed she lived.

The Mother-of-All

Many primitive sub-human tribes, such as the cannibalistic grey-folk that live in the mountains of Bansya, the tribes that live in the hills of Ossia, and some of the degenerate tribes hiding among the Apparian mountains, all worship a variation of what Cydorian anthropologists have named the Mother of Uruta. The Mother is a fertility goddess. She has no known name. Even the Ossians, the only tribe that worships her with a language, refer to her only as the Mother-of-All. She is depicted in crude statuettes as a faceless woman with large breasts and wide exaggerated hips and thighs. Her worship involves animal and sometimes human sacrifice and cannibalism.

Nil, the Two-Faced Judge of the Dead

Nil, mother of Fimgar and judge of the afterlife in the Targan pantheon, is the patron goddess of Vrildar’s neighbor Norukar. Nil possesses two mask-like faces, one a white smiling visage of mirth and laughter, the other of black frowning scowl of loss and foreboding. Her gown is grey and simple. She is said to exist in two places at once. As the judge of the afterlife, she wears her mask of sorrow and sits on her throne at the gates of death, where she judges the souls of the recently dead. The souls that have served the gods well are allowed into the paradise of Vartis, where they feast and revel with the gods until the end of the world. Souls that are not recognized by Nil are sent into the Kos, the maelstrom, where they are lost forever in the chaotic void. Statues of Nil show her wearing both masks, sitting on her throne. In one had she holds the cup of revelry, in the other the spear of despair. Tithes are paid to her priests either to forestall death or to ensure entry into Vartis.

Ommu, the Great Worm at the Center of Uruta

The Deru worship the god-beast Ommu, the Great Worm that lives at the center of the world. Ummo is believed to be a massive bloated white maggot eating away at the bowels of Uruta. Deru clans keep an actual giant maggot, a creature they believe to be an avatar of Ommu, at the bottom of a deep pit. They feed the giant maggot the bodies of their dead and the occasional animal sacrifice. The Deru believe that caves are left in Ommu’s wake, or in the wake of its children, and that earthquakes are the result of a restless Ommu writhing at the center of Uruta.

Rash, the Rat-God of the Roshu.

The Roshu, the large intelligent rats beneath the city of Norukar, worship Rash. Rash is depicted as a gigantic stone rat, sometimes gold plated, with gems for eyes. The Roshu offer sacrifices of items stolen from the surface world which are then collected by the priests. The priests of Rash teach that one day the Roshu shall inherit the surface world and that on that day all men will be their slaves.

Ururu, the Living God of the Quorians

Quorians worship Ururu, the deep god who lives in the ocean depths. Ururu is, in fact, a living god, a massive mutant cephalopod that lives within a cyclopean temple built by the Quorians on the sea floor south of Nrolis. Any subjects of failed Quorian experimentation lucky enough to survive the process live only long enough to be sacrificed to their amorphous undersea god.

Uzon the Dragon God of the Dazi

The Daka of Dazi worship Uzon, the dragon god of the desert. He is depicted as a giant reptile with a long neck and tail. His back is covered with a ridge of spines and the mouth in his horned head is lined with razor-sharp fangs. It is unknown if Uzon is mythical or in actuality a rare beast of the desert.

Yorala, the Otaran God of the Sky

Yorala “the Sky-Father” is a warrior-god, defender of his mate Gaya “the World-Mother”. Yorala stands ever vigilant in defense of the world, protecting it with his magic shield from the forces of the Corruption.

Zopat, the God of Merchants

The Varzans treat their gods with pragmatism. The Varzans believe their gods exist only to serve their needs and worship is a kind of business arrangement. The chief god of the Varzan pantheon is Zopat, lord of merchants and moneylenders, patron of Zinj. The priests of Zopat claim that to ensure a profitable business arrangement, one must pay a monetary tithe to the temple. The belief being that the one that pays the most will enjoy the better profits of the arrangement. Of course, one must weigh the cost of the tithe against the gain of the potential profit. The money from the tithes is then spent to improve the temple as well as the splendor of their finery.

Other Philosophies

The Guardians of Adhara

The Guardians of Adhara worship no gods and pay veneration to no higher power. Instead, they live by a strict moral code and the knowledge that their actions beget consequences to themselves and others. They live their lives according to the the four directives: teach, help, heal, and protect. Many also teach a secret fifth directive. When the four directives are not enough, it is the Guardian’s mission to avenge the innocent.

The Brotherhood of Elemental Mastery

Though not technically a religion, the Brotherhood of Elemental Mastery is a Norukarian order with the trappings of a religion. The Brotherhood studies the ancient scriptures that teach the principles of engineering and applied science. They believe that these holy secrets are reserved only for initiates of the order and are jealously guarded. Many initiates of the Brotherhood also worship the gods of the Targan pantheon while initiates of the fascist Masters of Lightning have a cult-like reverence for the Emperor. For more information on the Brotherhood of Elemental Mastery, see page xx.

Techno-Mysticism

The philosophy of Techno-Mysticism teaches that one can gain insight into the secret working of the universe through the understanding of complex mechanisms. Techno-mystics study, disassemble, reassemble, and attempt to duplicate machines and electronic devices. The more complex the device, so the techno-mystic believes, the greater enlightenment one achieves. The philosophy of techno-mysticism is in direct opposition to the secretive dogma of the Brotherhood of Elemental Mastery. For more information on techno-mysticism, see page XX.

Edited by Evilschemer

__________________

Christian Conkle

Blogs: Geek Rampage! - Swords of Cydoria - Exiled in Eris

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I just received my shiny softcover in the mail (read: post <-- translation for Mr. Chapman, bobs your uncle) today. Paged through it and I'm SUPER excited about this setting. The illustrations for the races are nifty and I love the feel of this setting. Thanks for sharing this stuff, it's going to add important flavor (read: flavour because real English speakers use more U am I right Chapman?). Now I need to get a game planned...

Trentin C Bergeron

Bard, Dreamer & RPG Enthusiast

My Blog | My Worlds

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