Gods & Cults - A Sample

Burned Lords - Old Powers - Princes of Breath - Light - Vitriarchs - Bound Ones - Black Flame

Sample Burned Lords

The Lord of the Tower of Heroes

The Lord of the Tower of Heroes is said to be the guardian of the souls of those who have lived great and legendary lives. He is something of an ambivalent figure; on the one hand he clearly shows great men the respect they deserve, on the other hand it is usually the Lord of the Tower of Heroes that devises the punishments for those who have escaped the Burned Realm. The Lord of the Tower of Heroes doesn't seem to be particularly given to moral judgements, legendary rogues and blackguards have made it into the Tower as well as your archetypal heroes. Even the occasional necromancer has found entry to the Burned Realm under the eye of the Lord of the Tower. The cult of the Lord of the Tower is popular amongst some subsections of the adventuring community, though there are many who consider it unwise to attract the eye of a deity who has a vested interest in your death. The Tower itself is a magnificent structure stretching farther than the eye can see. Its walls are covered in murals depicting the deeds of great heroes forgotten by history.

The Lord of the Lake of Suicides

The Lake of Suicides is, as one may expect from the Burned Realm, of Ash rather than water, but it flows and ripples like liquid and there are even said to be fish of sorts living there, if "living" is the right word. The Lord of the Lake of Suicides is quiet even by the standards of the Burned Lords. She (all Burned Lords are referred to as "Lord", even the Ladies) spends most of her time walking amongst her charges and tending to the trees that stand (they do not "grow") around the edge of the lake. The cult of the Lord of Suicides is small but not non-existent, she is followed mostly by those sorts of poets and artists.

The Lord of the Faithful

The Lord of the Faithful is the protector and warden of those who have died in service to something outside themselves. His cult is popular but disorganised, since most of its members are actively serving some cause or other (indeed they frequently find themselves on the opposite side of violent ideological rifts). The Lord of the Faithful is particularly unforgiving of necromancy, which he views as one of the worst expressions of narcissism. He is associated with hounds, both popularly and in heraldic tradition.

The Lord of the Silent Voices

She is the collector and the guardian of all the still-born, the aborted, the infant dead and the Never-Born (or so it is said; and a great many contradictory things are indeed said about that one). She is extremely solitary, wears the aspect of a twelve-year-old girl and is inexplicably fond of musicians. Minstrels in the White City have a tradition that they will always play a "free" song for mourning parents who ask in the name of this Lord, as "The Lord will pay" in luck or so it is believed. Certain particularly ancient documents refer to her as the Lord of the Dead Unborn, but that name has passed out of common usage in recent years - much as the Lord of the Field of Battle sometimes used to be known as the Lord of All War.

The Lord of the Gardens

The Lord of the Gardens was a strange and contradictory deity. Like most of the Burned Lords he was sombre, dour and severe, unlike most of the Burned Lords he did have other interests beyond the direct call of his duties. He bled softly from a wound in his side that he received in some ancient battle. Many speculated that he was not all that he once was, and that his fascination with gardens - with tending, growing and shaping things - stemmed from a desire to find a way to overcome his condition (this association with self-transformation and perfection made him rather popular amongst alchemists). His choice of charges - the dead by love, by age, by folly and by treachery - similarly spoke of an infatuation with completeness, with those who died through or in the workings of their own natures. He is thought to have created the Bodach, for some purpose of his own. Many of his followers were known to use a coat of arms which displayed a silver-coloured robed figure pierced with a blue spear below a red, white or black rose torn up by the roots, on a green field.
The Lord of the Gardens is now dead or changed beyond recognition; the actions of the abomination Selena Curiana led to his splintering into the Vitriarch of self-hatred and incompleteness, the Broken Gardener. What remained of him in the Burned Realm was hunted down and slain like a dog. Those few of his followers that remain can only hold their loyalty to his memory; most have given up hope, or surrendered to Glass worship and now follow the Broken Gardener.

The Garden Lords

Raised up by a party of adventurers these 4 Gods together wield the power of the old Lord of the Gardens. They are the Lords of White, Black, Red and Grey roses and they respectively tend to the realms of love, folly, treachery and old age. Each has been imbued with the power and essence of the old Lord of the Gardens and has a sympathetic wound in their side which gently bleeds ash. Individually they are less powerful than the older gods however the link between them means that they can cooperate to achieve the power of their fellow Burned Lords.
From a system point of view you can be ordained to 'the Garden Lords' in general or to an individual Garden Lord.

The Lord of the House of Gods

Generally not a subject of worship by the established Temple of Ashes, the Lord of the House of Gods is - according to the tales - the greatest (or least) of all the Burned Lords, who has responsibility for the care of gods and Powers who have died. The House of Gods is severally described as a many roomed palace, an empty hall, a cavernous mausoleum and a small wooden shack.

The Lord of the Field of Battle

The Lord of the Field of Battle is associated with carrion birds, both popularly and in heraldic tradition.

The Lord of the Isle of Souls

It is the patron of those who die unburnt in general, but more specifically those whose souls are killed but whose bodies remain “living” in some sense, that is, those turned into undead, crystal vessels, and anyone sent to the Shattered Plain upon death. Very few such individuals ever reach the Burned Realm at all, but those who do end up with the Isle of Souls. They arrive in the Burned Realm without bodies, as formless spirits. The Lord is also without body, being generally seen as swirling cloud of ash. It is at least half-mad, as many of its dead are, having gone so far as to open a gateway to the Shattered Plain (which has now been closed; the Lord of the Faithful keeping watch to ensure that it does not happen again) on the Isle to allow some of those sent to the Plain to escape. The Lord is most decidedly not a Virtriarch, but has a much closer connection with Glass and Necromancy than most of the Burned Lords. It is possible that it will regain some sanity with the closing of the gateway.

The Sinister Lord

Appropriately given his name, little is known of the Sinister Lord. Apparently his domain is over those who suffer 'Death through Inaction'. He enjoys almost no followers, is featured in scant few legends and appears to be exceptionally passive even amongst the dour Lords of Ash. Despite this conspiracy theorists do like to speculate that he's up to something, after all there must be a reason for his name...

Sample Old Powers

The Lady of Blood and Wine

A real party girl, if you define a "party" as an event which ends with most of the guests unconscious, a good proportion of them permanently. The Children of the Vine are hers and pretty much sum her up. She's vibrant, passionate and quite likely to lay waste to small villages in a fit of over-enthusiasm. She is generally thought to wander the Great Forest to the West of the White City spreading mayhem in her wake. The Cult of Blood and Wine is popular, most religions that include "free alcohol" amongst their central tenets are, on the other hand it has a slightly dubious reputation because at the end of the day they do also sometimes kill people. Many of her followers are known to use a coat of arms in the form of a green oval field bearing two golden wine-cups, divided by a wide left-facing diagonal gold stripe on which is a blood-red kiss.

The Spider-Queen(s)

There is a lot of speculation about the existence or otherwise of a Spider Queen or Queens. The people of the City of Silk certainly believe such individuals exist, and there are several shrines to Our Lady of the Silk, the Venomous Mother and so on throughout that settlement. Certainly there have been some very big spiders seen in the great Western Forest, but nobody can truly say whether they are divine in nature.

The King of the Eagles

Not much followed by mortal men, but with some popularity amongst the Dream-Catchers, the King of the Eagles is a grand but mysterious figure dwelling in the furthest and most distant peaks of the North. The King of the Eagles is unusual amongst the Old Powers in that he is associated with the oneireal as much as the physical, dwelling in the boundary between the physical world and the world of dreams.

The Lord of the Blood-Fury & The Lady of Battles

Nice simple gods. The Lord of the Blood-Fury is a lunatic berserker who rips people's limbs off when he isn't inspiring them to rip one another's limbs off. The Lady of Battles is a weirdly noble warrior maiden, more reserved than her consort but no less bloodthirsty. His is the heat of bloodlust, hers is the fight for the cause. She will tend to the fallen, he will frequently attack his own side. Between them they represent two of the many faces of war. Many of his followers are known to use a coat of arms which displays a blood-red right hand, palm forward, on a black field.

The Verdant Lord

The Verdant Lord is the god of plant life, often worshipped by farmers, foresters and others who depend on the fertility of the land. The Verdant Lord is said to sleep through the winter and wake again in spring; sacrifices are often made to him in between the winter solstice and the spring equinox in order to ensure his awakening. He rarely appears to his worshippers, choosing the form of a human-like figure made out of plants when he does.

The Lord of Sand and Stone

The Lord of Sand and Stone is a wilderness god, worshipped in wild and inhospitable places where plants and animals are scarce. His servants include sand-spirits and some centaur tribes. His priests are rumoured to use a rare hallucinogenic mushroom known as "the eye of stone" in order to contact him through visions.

The Mother of All Serpents

The mother of all snakes, drakes, lizards, salamanders and such like, and also the mother of the Dragons. She has been asleep for a very long time, and her worship is now mostly forgotten by men. When she fed the dragons the fireblood they were forced to reject their father, the Frost Prince, as a result of which he cursed her such that she cannot now travel beneath the open sky.

"Man Oak, Man Willow"

Ruler over Oaks and Willows, he is rumoured to have an emnity with the Verdant Lord. Recently many of his cults have been destroyed by followers of that more popular and powerful God.

The Lord & Lady of the Pack

A bestial pair of minor Blood powers, fulfilling a similar role to the Verdant Lord, Spider Queens and Mother of All Serpents but looking over mammals. Some scholars conjecture that they are aspects of the Lord of Blood-Fury & the Lady of Battles, others claim that they are the gods followed by the animals themselves, and others point out the links between wolves/hounds and the Princess of Stories, Lord of the Faithful or Inskuldraes the Shapeless Wyrm. Historians have also uncovered several similar gods over the millenia - the 'Hounds of the Great Hunter' mentioned in texts from the Binding War, The Howler in the Night (a spirit of place centred on a place known as Wolfmeet), Old Greybeard, and various children's stories. It remains uncertain how or if any of these theories are related- Yet Another Mystery Of The Western Forest.
The Lord of the Pack is, like the Lord of Blood-Fury, a violent warrior god followed by those who tear apart their foes- but he's slightly less berserk and is also a god of hunters and rangers, of tracking and pursuit. The Lady of the Pack is, like the Lady of Blood & Wine, a goddess of feeding and nurturing. However she has a more violent side similar to that of the Lady of Battles, as she's a goddess of defending those who cannot defend themselves (which applies only to young children and heavily pregnant females- anyone else should be capable, and if they can't then they're too weak to live), and of those who turn to fight when trapped by a superior foe. She acts both to restrain the Lord and his followers from indiscrimate slaughter, and to encourage the Lord to punish some of those he previously blessed- a hunter who kills cubs may well find himself being hunted...
The worship of the Lord and Lady is not common outside the Forest (city-dwelling human worshippers tend to get big ideas about going hunting with wolves, and end up being hunted by wolves...), but inside the Forest they're fairly respected. Many people out hunting will leave a part of the kill behind as an offering to thank the Lord of the Pack, whilst they will spare the lives of young animals and leave offerings to the Lady of the Pack in the hope of getting her aid to defend their own families.

The Lord of the Deep

This ancient and enigmatic Spirit of Place holds dominion over the plantlife on the ocean floor and the creatures that subsist upon it. Not much is known about him or rather it other than its thoughts are said to be slow and considered, yet profound, much like the changing of the tides and the deep underwater currents. Superstitious fishermen will sometimes spend a small offering of their blood to help ensure the favour of this power.

Sample Princes of Breath

The Rattle-Prince

Quite literally named for the death-rattle, the Rattle-Prince is one of the least pleasant figures counted amongst the Princes of Breath. The Rattle-Prince is the Death That Cheats, the sudden unexpected twist of fate, the icy patch on the road, the want of a horseshoe nail, the betrayal from an unlooked-to corner. One half trickster, one half devil-figure, some legends say that the Rattle-Prince conned mankind out of its immortality long ago. The cult of the Rattle-Prince is not regarded kindly, unlike the Ash-Cults which concern themselves with funerary rites and the proper disposal of the dead the cult of the Rattle-Prince is full of traitors, swindlers and murderers. It is popular amongst bandits and thieves.

The Prince of Storms

The Prince of Storms is a nice simple understandable deity. Arrogant, capricious and vengeful, the Prince of Storms really is everything you'd expect a Prince of Storms to be. If he likes you then he'll go easy on you, if he doesn't he'll smite you with thunderbolts. It really is that simple. The Prince of Storms is a popular patron amongst sailors, who reckon they could do without his displeasure, and also amongst some of the more enthusiastic warrior-priests.

The Hushed Princess

The Hushed Princess is the lady of intrigue, slander, gossip and other things talked about in hushed tones. She is not malicious per se but is not looked upon in a kind light. She is the patroness of assassination but not of assassins - she likes things being done quietly but doesn't give a damn what happens to those who do them. One of the many, many rumours regarding Chiara Velasquez is that she is in fact the Hushed Princess in disguise.

The Rose Princes

The Princes of the North Wind and the South Wind and the Princesses of the East Wind and the West Wind are generally treated as a group. The Prince of the North Wind is a strange and ethereal being, dwelling half in and half out of dreams. The Prince of the South Wind is a cocksure braggart with a penchant for duelling. The Princess of the West Wind is a silken, diaphanous wind-in-the-trees. The Princess of the East Wind is mad, and is widely rumoured to have been driven so during the Binding War.
From a system point of view you can be ordained to 'the Rose Princes' in general or to an individual Rose Prince.

The Frost Prince

Father of the Dragons and the lord of the Snow Riders. He is the Prince of cold winds, snow and ice, and can be invoked by calling his name while standing on a high mountaintop. He has something of a cult in the Whistful City, who go and freeze to death on mountaintops in his honour.

The Princess of Tempests

Some say that the Princess (formerly the Maiden) is a new god, and some that she is an old one, recently rediscovered. Many more dismiss the tales of a goddess rising in the South out of hand; they ignore rumours of a mighty tower rising from the rocky coasts, of storms that dance like living men, and of abductions and murders carried out by mad cultists crying out devotions to their goddess. If there is a Princess of Tempests, the ancient tales say she is the dark mistress of storms and the violent seas, untrustworthy, cruel, and placated with only the most dire sacrifices.
Few, save for the most well informed scholars, and the high priests of the Ash lords know the truth- that the Princess was dead, escaped the Burned Realm, and then died again thanks to the actions of a small band of adventurers. Her cultists may continue to plot dark sacrifices, but the goddess herself is powerless.

The Princess of Stories

Many of her followers are known to use a coat of arms which displays a white wolf, poised to spring, on a blue oval field.

The Prince of the Trade Wind

A patron of commerce who enjoys obvious popularity amongst merchants, tradesmen and mercenaries.

The Prince of Miasmas

The lord of sickness and plague. Like the Hushed Princess he is not himself malicious, but is generally disliked by the majority. This is not helped by the occasional mad cult that springs up to 'do his work' in spreading sickness across the world.

The Princess of Monsoons

The Princess of Monsoons is a goddess with strong associations to the south. She is closely tied to the Rose Prince of the South, and on occasion is seen to sport yellow roses, although there is some debate as to whether she is his lover or sibling. Whilst the Rose Prince of the South brings the warm breezes from the south, she brings the cool breezes from the northern oceans that bring the annual rains to the southern kingdoms. She is depicted as a beautiful but strong warrior goddess.

Traditionally she is associated with the ritual of courtship and when a young noblewoman in the City of Stone comes of marriageable age she will traditionally go to the sacred pools outside the city to ritually bathe in a ceremony of dedication to the Princess. If the Princess is suitably pleased with her prayers and offerings it is said that she will bless her quest to find a suitable husband. The Princess is also commonly tied to change, the timeliness of things and occasionally to social reform. However her Priests often argue about the exact symbolism of the latter two. Whilst some maintain that as the yearly rains wash away the impurities of the last year, so must the government change every few decades to allow constant reform and to prevent things from going stale. Others claim that as the nature of monsoons is cyclic, all reform will eventually lead back to the same starting point and they hold to the old adage that the more things change the more they remain the same. Her cult is all but unknown north of the southern ocean. However, she has a great number of worshippers in the southern kingdoms and there is even an annual festival where they will give her offerings in order to placate her into bringing the rains as usual.
A small cult of the Princess has recently begun to emerge on the Isle of the Broken Moon. Her followers in the south are often seen to carry a coat of arms depicting three blue raindrops on a green background. Her cult on the Isle will typically use the symbol of the three raindrops superimposed on an octargent.

Sample Aspects of the Light

The Light is considered indivisible. It is not a set of powers, it is one glorious concept. A being, and a state of being. The Light is followed as a god, an ideal, a philosophy and more. It is known as The Light That Blinds, The Enlightenment, The Shining Place and by a hundred other names all distinct and all one. In heraldry the Light tends to be represented by simplicity, eyes, suns and stars (generally with rays) in white. The Light abhors gaudiness, so excessive decoration is unusual. The Shining Order of the Light has a coat of arms which displays a rayed white sun on a black field.

Sample Vitriarchs

The Faceless Lord

Most of the Vitriarchs are damaged in some way, such is their function and such is their nature. As his name suggests the Faceless Lord has no face. Which is why he uses other people's. The more dribbly Glass sorcerors (which is most of them) insist that every single reflection is a manifestation of the Faceless Lord as he gazes out on the world and that if you look too closely into the eyes of your own reflection you will get lost there forever.

The King in Fragments

According to some sources, this is the Vitriarch which has particular interest in the Port of Glass. The King In Fragments is, as his name suggests, in fragments. Bits of him are scattered throughout the world - or, according to the hardline devotees, throughout everything. The cult of the King In Fragments is in two minds about whether it is desirable to reassemble the King, some suggest this would return him to his former glory (whatever that was) while others suggest that it is his very fragmentation which is the source of his glory and his power.

The Never-Queen, She Whose Time Is Not To Come

The Never-Queen was a goddess without dominion or power, but one who was considered strong precisely because of that. There are countless prophecies regarding the Never-Queen, all pointing to the same thing: She never had been and never would be anything of any importance. Those who write the Never-Queen off as some kind of poor cosmic joke should possibly recall how much is actually achieved by people of no importance and how much damage can be done by somebody who knows for certain that they have nothing to lose.

In spring of the twenty-sixth year of the reign of Rebecca De Courci, the Never-Queen died, her shattered spirit consumed by the Black Flame. Her passing from the world went almost unremarked upon, a mere footnote in history.

The Master Complete

Complete is the Vitriarch who is the Vitriarchs. He/She/It has no particular identity of his/her/its own but is an amalgam of the Vitriarchs as a whole. There is speculation that Complete was once the only Vitriarch and that he was somehow shattered, giving rise to all the others. There is also speculation that Complete will be the only Vitriarch and the others are combining into him. Finally, completing the temporal triumvirate, there is speculation that Complete is the only Vitriarch and all others are but facets.

The Bride of Brittle Tears

According to her most prominent current devotee, she is the wife of the King in Fragments and was killed by him, seduced the Lord of the House of the Gods and was returned by him to the world. She is the patron of all broken promises, particularly where they relate to love and sex. Her cult is small but enthusiastic, vengeful and rapidly growing in the Port of Glass.

The Broken Gardener

The Broken Gardener is the Vitriarch who is not a Vitriarch. A recent appearance, the Gardener's obsession is with self-denial, self-loathing, self-betrayal, and the power one can gain through becoming the thing that one hates the most. It is said that the Gardener was once the Burned Lord known as the Lord of the Gardens, or maybe even that he still is the Lord of the Gardens. He holds dominion over the twisted, blighted wasteland that was once one of the Three Gardens in the Garden Lands.

The Absent Lord

Sample Bound Ones

Very, very, very little is known about the Bound Ones any more outside the highest echelons of the Cloistered Brethren of Chains. Most of them have names which seem almost nonsensical, the few scraps of lore from the days of the Binding War which remain in common circulation mention such names as "The Eater Of Wings", "The Walker In The Hollow Places", "He Who Walks Wilderness" and "Tears As Fire".

Sample Cults of the Black Flame

Like the Light, the Black Flame is a singular Power without an associate pantheon, however since its creation a number of cults have sprung up, inspired by the philosophy of the flame.

The Cult of the Lord of the Forge

A young cult, with but a small following in the White City, cultists of the Lord of the Forge believe in a God that must be created by their own hands. Whilst likely no two cultists share the exact same image of their God, most will agree that he will be a patron of artifice and human ingenuity, created to maintain and serve the interests of mankind. Strongly associated with Blacksmiths, his symbol is a stylised hammer and anvil.

Up to the top - Burned Lords - Old Powers - Princes of Breath - Light - Vitriarchs - Bound Ones - Black Flame

This page last updated: 6th Dec 2008

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