Old Gods

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Old Gods
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Religion
Pronunciation Old-Gods
Origins Old Ceardia
Deities
Too many to list
Subsects
Cellik and Velheim variants

Origins

The origins of the Old Gods Religion are somewhat murky, because of intensely conflicting versions. Old Gods as a religion has always lacked an organized hierarchy, and so local communities as well as diasporas do not agree on a common origin tale. While many Regalians consider Old Gods synonymous with the Velheim Culture, they actually are not, and there are more Ceardians who worship Old Gods under the Cellik variant than there are Velheim Old Gods worshipers. Old Gods reaches beyond these cultures however, with Zvorun, Tarkkin, and Dunbrae all having slight variations on the same ideology. All Old Gods worshipers agree that their faith started on the island of Yervonth (called Jerl in old Velheim) however they all disagree with what happened after. Cellik and Velheim Old Gods however are the two largest denominations controlling around 80% of the total worshiper population, and as such, their version is generally accepted as common dogma. Cellik and Velheim Old Gods doctrine claims that when the menace from the west (Nelfin slavers) arrived on the shores of Ceardia, that a group of Pagan Gods created a pantheon together and spirited large communities away from the Ceardian continent, harboring them in safety on the Yervonth island. From here, Old Gods would continue to spread over the world with migration waves, however the further they went, the more their doctrine was changed by local variations and changes. Unlike Unionism, Old Gods never underwent any major cataclysmic changes or schisms. As such, this page will treat the average understanding of Old Gods as fact, though minor local variations like changing a God's name or patron identity is permissible.

Core Identity

Old Gods is a religion that developed out of the old concept of Ailor Paganism in Ceardia, which was a polytheistic religion with a theoretical infinite amount of gods. Old Gods as a religion reformed this principle, attaching itself to the tangible gods that the people could see and interact with, and then centralized religion to them. Old Gods as a religion is centered around the concepts of Honor of the Soul, which is similar to Asaredu, but not strictly bound to combat honor alone, rather to the purity of one's soul as understood through the lens of behavior, actions, and things said. Old Gods worshipers refer to the Honor of the Soul as Soldi. The Old Gods (both Vanir and Aesir) are referred to as Old Gods even by their own faithful, because they take pride in the ancientness of their faith in comparison to modern Unionism.

Tenets

  • Bravery: Soldi is gained by seeking out competition, challenge, and self improvement, by not showing cowardice and hiding away from struggles.
  • Wroth: Soldi is lost by letting events simply transpire without having a role in them, making Old Gods faithful rather forceful in their habits.
  • Pleasure: Soldi is gained by spreading one's progeny, and expressing the virtues of the Union of Fire and Eikki, to be passionate in life.
  • Vengeful: Soldi is gained by settling scores, and particularly by taking vengeance on those who have done wrong to the individual, or society.
  • Greed: Soldi is gained by being greedy for power, but by also being merciful with how that power is applied and pressured onto others.
  • Honest: Soldi is lost when lying, in the simplest of terms. White-lies exist, but lies for personal gain cause one to lose Soldi.
  • Pride: Soldi is gained through fame, and the only way to be famous is to be proud and live as if one is already magnificent.
  • Respect: Respect is an immensely important aspect of the Old Gods religion, which abhors irreverence, even of other religions and beliefs.
  • Soldi: Soldi is an intangible currency of the soul, the more Soldi someone has, the greater they are considered, and more likely to thrive in the afterlife.
  • Hel: Hel is the opposite of Soldi, a realm, where those who die without any Soldi, or those with negative Soldi go. Their souls belong to the Aesir there.
  • Loyalty: Loyalty is immensely important, to family, to clan, to liege-lord. Treason is a great way to instantly lose all Soldi gained over one's lifetime.

Beliefs

  • Narrative: In Old Gods beliefs, the world is one giant proving grounds for all living things (even wild animals) to prove the value of their soul, and increase the amount of Soldi they have. Those with low Soldi can go into the afterlife, but only the Lower-Realm. Those heroes who achieve high Soldi however, pass on to the High Halls, where they sit at the feet of the Vanir, and have a glorious afterlife of plenty. Those with negative or close to negative Soldi are considered Honorless, condemned to wander a color less happiness-devoid dimension owned by the Aesir as penance for their worthlessness.
  • Canon Evil: Canon Evil is extremely difficult to establish in the Old Gods religion, because while Aesir are definitely more violent, treasonous and deceitful, they have also saved the Old Gods people numerous times, while the Vanir chose the evil of inaction equal amounts of times. Old Gods faithful are split among three different views, that of the Vanarik who worship only the Vanir and consider the Aesir evil, the Aesirik who worship only the Aesir and consider the Vanir unworthy and lazy, and the Sammun, who worship both, and consider themselves above the struggle of legitimacy. Priests usually fall in this latter category, because those concerned with religion and the dead are expected to be above the clan-based struggles of who supports which pantheon, though people who are not priests can also be Sammun.
  • Identity: Old Gods dogma has no explicit gender, sex, sexual orientation or gender-identity bias, though it has an implicit male-bias. While any Old Gods worshiper will claim that all genders and sexes are equally fair in their religion, traditional male-coded masculinity takes a unique place that discolors a lot of the nuance about gender. Strong, masculine and emotionless are framed as virtues for men living by the examples of their gods, and so Old Gods society can come across as publicly egalitarian, but having hidden masculine preferences under the surface.
  • Conversion: Old Gods as a religion does not require preaching or spreading through missionaries, which is usually a practice reserved for Estellon and Unionism, though to say it is without violent impression is false. Among Old Gods worshipers, holy wars can rage between two distinct populations over small denominational ideals (some as ridiculous as the believed hair color of a god), but bigger conflicts arise with other religions' influence on their faithful. While Old Gods worshipers in general are fairly tolerant to other religions, they are extremely intolerant to Old Gods converting to other religions, because disloyalty to the gods (for example by converting from Old Gods to Unionism) means a complete loss of Soldi and thus a soul being condemned to the Mirror world. Whereas a person who has always been a Unionist is not at risk of this.
  • Sins & Taboo: The Old Gods religion does not strictly have a great Sin or Taboo, because life is too complicated for that kind of black and white categorization. Even great acts of evil and good can be explained away or villified, the religion does not assign rules or laws to the daily lifestyle of its worshipers, just general guidelines to live by, and some general behavior to avoid. Even disloyalty, when loyalty is a virtue, is permissable, if it comes through the scope of pride and bravery or revenge, all good things for one's Soldi. The only true arbitrator of these values is the Jovrlov, a greatly respected cross-clan priest.

Gods and Goddesses

Old Gods is a unique religion in that it has two distinct pantheons, one larger Vanir, and one smaller Aesir. The Vanir are what is considered "natural", born from Arne, the Tree of Life, from which all Ailorkind was born (in the eyes of the Old Gods believers). There is no origin story for the world, though it is very much implied that Aerne is actually the world, and that the great tree is only a physical representation of the world's spirit. The Aesir are foreign, entities from a hellish place that have become gods by forcing their way into the Old Gods pantheon. Morality between all these gods is never so clearly black and white, some of the Vanir do reprehensible things for good reasons, or show indifference and silence to the suffering of mortals, while the Aesir are cruel and unforgiving, but grant so much more power to their faithful with a bargain of free will. There are parts of Old Gods society that worship one pantheon while reviling the other, and then there are parts that worship all of them, each in their own way. For more information, consult the Velheim Culture Page. Dragons are somewhat acknowledged in Old Gods folklore, remarking that they were "beings before being", and sat at the roots of Arne before the first birth, they are considered ancient and powerful, but not godlike. Arne does not have a distinct identity of its own, it is more a cosmic force, which is why the Tree of Life is seen as a symbol, nothing more, to the religion. Old Gods both has a Velheim and a Cellik (Cearden) Variant, where the identities are the same, but names differ.

Vanir

The Vanir are created in so called Unions. Nidda and Bev are the Union of Water associated with death, Adal and Dáuw are the Union of Choice associated with loss, Bard and Njal are the Union of air associated with power, Gro and Jord are the Union of Life associated with time, Halfvel and Asbjørn are the Union of Mind associated with free-will, Frode and Toke are the Union of Seasons associated with change, Leif and Astrid are the Union of Fire associated with passion, and Hagen and Tove are the Union of Earth associated with thought.

Bev, Mirror of Life

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  • Identity: Bev, the third son of Arne, was born when a mother deer and her children died beneath the Tree of Life, confronting it with the necessity of death.
  • Themes: Bev’s themes are the afterlife, measure of the soul, solitude, serenity, mourning, and the dead. He is also invoked during burials, and when communing with the dead.
  • Depictions: Bev is depicted as a shrouded figure in a large funeral cloth, with only his pale white hands showing of his body, and always holding the Mirror face out.
  • Worship: Bev is worshiped specifically by the Valsung, singers of the dead, but also by offering food and candles to Bev shrines in Helbolwen.
  • Manifestation: Bev does not manifest in the living world, only serving to hold the Mirrror and pass souls into the afterlife, which he must do without fail and reprieve.
  • Individual: Bev does not manifest to individuals or groups at all, as he is only ‘met’ when someone’s soul is passing on for judgement. He is rumored to have made the Vaarda Gates however.
  • Worship House: Bev is worshipped in Old Gods Crypts, or Helbolwen, where a statue in his likeness with a mirror is kept. These mirrors reflect hundreds of lit candles, to represent the dead.
  • Relations: Bev is the husband of Nidda, doomed to never embrace, as he cannot leave the water, and she cannot enter it. He is also tasked to hold up the Mirror, which Nidda would destroy.
  • Other Notes: It is believed that if Bev should ever drop the Mirror, it will shatter, and release the Soldi-less dead who reside within it, causing a terrible undead cataclysm to occur.
  • Cellik Variant: The Cellik Variant of Bev is called Cyne or Cyneweard, and as opposed to a mirror, he holds up a silver door. All other aspects are identical.

Nidda, Dancer of Death

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  • Identity: Nidda is the first daughter of Arne, who was born when the river flooded the Tree of Life and touched its bark, thus familiarizing it with large amounts of water.
  • Themes: Nidda's themes are water, the ocean, protection from the waves, misery, unrequited love, and abandonment. She is intensely linked with Bev due to their relation.
  • Depictions: Nidda is a lithe woman with many tattoos and a body or dress made of the torrential waves. Her anguish and loneliness cause her to be cruel and whimsical.
  • Worship: Nidda is worshiped only by those who go off to sea, or know someone who is going off to sea, praying for their safe travel and return by dancing and offering her company and song.
  • Manifestation: It is believed that every great typhoon, hurricane, tsunami, and waterspout, is Nidda's manifestation, and that each of them are her physical presence.
  • Individual: Nidda has not touched anyone individually per se, rather she has supposedly caused the deaths of thousands of sailors, dragged to an early grave under the ocean.
  • Worship House: Nidda's shrines are built on cliff sides near oceans, her cult is called the Sea-Dancers, water mages who ‘dance’ with their magic on ships to protect them from her wrath.
  • Relations: Nidda is the wife of Bev, but she cannot touch or be with him, as he resides below the ocean, and she can only dance on the surface of it: the source of her anguish.
  • Other Notes: Nidda is considered the goddess who takes lives, and knows when all Old Gods worshippers will die. This is mostly why Nidda is feared rather than admired.
  • Cellik Variant: The Cellik Variant of Nidda is called Flaed or Flæd, and she is traditionally associated more with river water than ocean water, and subsequent floods and droughts.

Adal, Prince of Forgiving

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  • Identity: Adal is the son of Bard, who was born when Bard’s anger caused a thunderstorm that cut two branches off the Tree of Life, familiarizing it with pain.
  • Themes: Adal’s themes are giving aid and help, enforcement of laws, conceding, forgiveness, holding no grudges, and also of the lightning and thunder of the world.
  • Depictions: Adal is usually depicted as a male with glowing golden tattoos and dismembered arms, the tips covered in gold, and replaced with lightning.
  • Worship: Adal is not worshiped on a day to day basis, but by Pilgrims who wish to forgive someone, but cannot find the strength to do so, traveling to his Temple.
  • Manifestation: It is believed that every thunder strike is an expression of approval by Adal, which is why Old Gods worshipers sometimes ask things of Thunderstorms.
  • Individual: Adal is not known to have made a personal presentation in front of anyone, because his manifestations are mostly in the elemental realm.
  • Worship House: Adal’s shrines are built high atop mountains, where lightning may strike them, and where bottles of Celectic gas store electricity in visible form.
  • Relations: Adal is the twin brother of Odal, who he feels responsible for, eternally on a quest to convince Odal to return to the pantheon, but eternally failing.
  • Other Notes: It is said Adal’s arms were cut off by Bard, who had gone into a rage, though this is dubious, because many also claim he was born without arms.
  • Cellik Variant: The Cellik Variant of Adal is Glaed or Glæd, and as opposed to thunder and lightning, he is more representative of light and the sun.

Dáuw, King of Mountains

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  • Identity: Dáuw, King of Mountains, was not born with the pantheon, but a Dwarven God who stumbled upon the Tree of Life, and joined the pantheon by sheer willpower.
  • Themes: Dáuw's themes are Mountains, Grudges, Righteousness, Survival, Stone, Construction, the heat of the forge, and raging against the dying of the light.
  • Depictions: Dáuw looks like a normal Dwarf male, though living among Mortals, is always followed by the sound of the echoing caves and the sparkle of wealth.
  • Worship: Dáuw worship takes the form of offering grudges for completion to a statue in his likeness, or tossing coins at strangers and making wishes.
  • Manifestation: Dáuw is the only Old God who lives among the mortals every single day, and is houses in the Great Chamber of the surviving Rammuur Hold.
  • Individual: Dáuw remains among the Dwarves to offer them guidance, but does not give much personal directives, only general plans and hints on how to survive.
  • Worship House: Dáuw's largest temple is the Great Chamber, which is an inner sanctum within Rammuur that only chosen priests are allowed to enter.
  • Relations: Dáuw's relation with the other Old Gods is somewhat frosty. While he is accepted by the Pantheon by will of the Tree of Life, they ignore him too.
  • Other Notes: Dáuw was once far more proactive in trying to help the Dwarves, but has slowed down and been seen less and less as time has passed.
  • Cellik Variant: The Cellik Variant of Dáuw is still called Dáuw, because this word is close to a Cearden word for revenge and absolution in justice.

Bard, King of Bears

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  • Identity: Bard is the first son of Arne, and was born when bears rested under the Tree of Life. Bard is considered pivotal in the Pantheon due to his relations.
  • Themes: Bard’s themes are battle, rage, strength, endurance, stability, power, solitude, and being the ‘guardian of the gods.’ He is said to be strongest of all.
  • Depictions: Bard is always depicted as a large rugged man, covered in animal pelts, with charcoal around his eyes emulating bear claws and broad stance.
  • Worship: Bard is worshiped before, after, and sometimes during battle. His cult, Bard’s Bears, was partially eradicated in the Carrhen War by the Regalian Empire.
  • Manifestation: Bard has been known to manifest as a giant in front of those who committed high treason to the Old Gods, cursing them with the Marken Affliction.
  • Individual: Bard exclusively visits individuals, but only on rare occasions, because one knows they have really messed up if it requires Bard to show up.
  • Worship House: Bard’s shrines are large stone steles with inscriptions and bones, or stone tables with bowls on them. Animal carcasses are offered as sacrifice.
  • Relations: Bard is the husband of Njal, but was originally a loner. His temperament was soothed by Njal, who found him, calmed him, and they became spouses.
  • Other Notes: Despite Bard's Bears being eradicated in Carrhen, a small branch of them is yet alive in Talahm Gall, a rugged province of Gallovia.
  • Other Notes: Bard’s fits of rage are legendary, and uncontrollable, losing all semblance of humanity during them, except for Njal's artistic touch.
  • Cellik Variant: The Cellik Variant of Bard is called Brom, and he is effectively identical, though the animal associated with him is the wolf instead of the bear.

Njal, Prince of Art

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  • Identity: Njal is the second son of Arne, and was born when birds sang perched on the branches of the Tree of Life, seeing beauty for the first time.
  • Themes: Njal’s themes are creativity, art, fertility, compromise, male beauty, silver tongue, and protection from godly cruelty and care for mortals.
  • Depictions: Njal is a handsome young man wearing expensive clothes, with an air of arrogance and calmness in his demeanor and stance.
  • Worship: Worship is done by saying a prayer, and then giving gifts to any artist. His cult is Njal’s Harps, who host debauched feasts and parties.
  • Manifestation: Njal is said to permanently dwell among mortals, because creativity is a gift of the people, not of Gods, and he wishes to see art.
  • Individual: Njal's has not been seen for thousands of years, though was very active before this point, no one knows exactly why.
  • Worship House: Njal’s shrines are always mobile, in carts or on harnesses so people can carry them, as Njal never sits still and roams the land.
  • Relations: Njal once roamed to find the perfect art. Then he met bard, and realized the perfect art was man. They soon fell in love and married.
  • Other Notes: Njal always has heterochromia, one light blue eye and one light brown, which he uses to always watch Bard, who has dark brown eyes.
  • Cellik Variant: The Cellik Variant of Njal is called Aedel or Ædel, though all other aspects about him are identical to Njal.

Gro, Shaper of Flesh

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  • Identity: Gro is the last daughter of Arne, and was born when Dragons spoke of the Nelfin, and the Tree of Life dreamt of flesh.
  • Themes: Gro’s themes are largely lost, but she supposedly begged the Dragons to breathe life into the her meat dolls, creating the Ailor.
  • Depictions: Gro's depiction has mostly been lost to time, but it is assumed she was an amalgam of blood and flesh.
  • Worship: Gro is considered a lost god, but when she was worshipped, she played an active role in the lives of Ailor, which other Old Gods did not and did not allow.
  • Manifestation: Gro supposedly helped mortals with even simple day to day tasks, making their lives easier and more comfortable, this was her hubris.
  • Individual: Gro has not been seen since she was expelled from the Pantheon thousands of years ago, and nobody has really gone looking for her either.
  • Worship House: Gro has no known worship houses, though the concept of Gro shrines has been debated as of recent due to finding Sunnan Velheim worshiping her.
  • Relations: Gro is the wife of Jord, both bargained with the Great Betrayer (which they were expelled for), forcing the Velheim people in millennia of hell, but saving them from slavery.
  • Other Notes: The memory of Gro and Jord is said to have faded when the Old Gods worshippers broke free from the Great Betrayer, called the 'Liberation'.
  • Cellik Variant: The Cellik Variant of Gro is identical to the Velheim Old Gods version, name included, because the split occurred close to the Velheim divergence.

Jord, Forger of Metal

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  • Identity: Jord is the last son of Arne, and was born when the roots of the Tree of Life touched metal ores in the ground, which it could not crush or bend.
  • Themes: Jord is no longer worshiped as he is considered a lost god for dealing with the Great Betrayer. Only small groups still worship him.
  • Depictions: Jord is depicted as a male with a body made of metal, bent and straightened around his body, and long arms with ball joints, made of dark blue metal.
  • Worship: Jord is no longer worshiped, when he was, he played an active role in the lives of Ailor, which other Old Gods did not and did not allow.
  • Manifestation: Jord supposedly helped mortals with even simple day to day tasks, making their lives easier and more comfortable, this was his hubris.
  • Individual: Jord has not been seen since he was expelled from the Pantheon thousands of years ago, and nobody has really gone looking for him either.
  • Worship House: Jord has no worship houses, but was last rumored to be seen on the isle of Barratt, which is surrounded by a terrible maelstrom.
  • Relations: Jord is the husband of Gro, both bargained with the Great Betrayer, forcing the Velheim people in millennia of hell, but saving them from slavery.
  • Other Notes: The memory of Jord and Gro is said to have faded when the Old Gods worshippers broke free from the Great Betrayer, called the 'Liberation'.
  • Cellik Variant: The Cellik Variant of Jord is identical to the Velheim Old Gods version, name included, because the split occurred close to the Velheim divergence.

Halfvel, the Father of Demigods

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  • Identity: Halfvel, nicknamed the Father of Demigod and Wolf-God, was born when the mortal Berrin fell in love with Bard, King of Bears, because some part of Arn wanted Demigods to exist.
  • Themes: Halfvel does not represent any themes, but rather is the sole source of Demigodhood, blessing pregnant mothers with the Godspark, which can either be Mundane or Magic.
  • Depictions: Halfvel is always depicted with his Cloth of Godliness, in which it is said all Demigod children are born or laid to be found in the forest surrounded by Wolves.
  • Worship: Halfvel is worshiped by traveling the world, seeking out his children, and aiding them on the path of their divine purpose, whether they are Magical or Mundane.
  • Manifestation: Halfvel is often said to appear before mothers who pray intensely for purpose for their children, but is also said to disguise himself as a Wolf-man and birth Demigods among mortals.
  • Individual: There was once a Temple in Old Ceardia which supposedly housed Halfvel nearly all year round, however this place has not been visited since the destruction of Ceardia.
  • Worship House: Halfvel does not have any official Temples, however shrines dedicated to him are a wolf skull rested on several black wolf pelts, coins of gold inserted into its mouth for well wishes.
  • Relations: Halfvel has no formal relations with the Pantheon, as he largely avoids them altogether, concerning himself more with creating the fates in the mortal world.
  • Other Notes: Halfvel's Demigod children supposedly have icy-blue eye-color, a high rarity among Ailor. Halfvel turns an unborn child or conceives each Demigod for a specific fate, some bad, some good.
  • Cellik Variant: The Cellik Variant of Halfvel is Godsun, and as opposed to the wolf, his representative animal is the Lynx. All other aspects are the same.

Asbjørn, the Punished Winter

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  • Identity: Asbjørn, nicknamed the Punished Winter, (prior Berrin, a mortal) was made God when he committed a crime by falling in love with Bard, God of Bears, forced to bear a curse.
  • Themes: Asbjørn's themes are punishment, service, restitution, Winter, seeking forgiveness, and taking responsibilities for one's crimes and wrongdoings in the eyes of society.
  • Depictions: Asbjørn is always depicted as a white bear, usually in chains, but often also in a resting pose. There is always a dubiousness to him, as if his godhood may not be a curse.
  • Worship: Asbjørn isn't strictly worshiped, but rather invoked when someone should submit themselves to punishment to make up for their wrongdoings, and he gives them strength to bear it.
  • Manifestation: Asbjørn has occasionally appeared, when a prisoner collapses under their punishment, or someone who is seeking forgiveness is about to give up, giving them strength once more.
  • Individual: Asbjørn only ever helps individuals, but he seems quite jovial for someone who is being cursed, some speculate that he is actually quite devious, and was cursed on purpose.
  • Worship House: Asbjørn's largest and most important Temple is the Ice-Crag Hall in Hedryll, a temple where docile polar bears roam, though it has recently fallen in disrepair by Vampires.
  • Relations: Asbjørn is said to be madly cursed and in love with Bard, but this has been pulled into question recently because none of the other folklore supports this sentiment.
  • Other Notes: Asbjørn is sometimes somewhat dubiously treated because it unclear if he genuinely wants to help those seeking restitution through punishment, or is just using them to get to Bard.
  • Cellik Variant: The Cellik Variant of Asbjørn is Vitbera, and his origin story is different. As opposed to a relation to Brom, he is simply the eternal representative of winter.

Frode, Carer of Spring

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  • Identity: Frode, nicknamed Carer of Spring, was born when the early dew of spring first slipped down the leaves of the Tree of Life, creating the seasonal change in Old Ceardia.
  • Themes: Frode's themes are Spring, rebirth, sweetness, insects and plants, flowers, sweet smells and cold colors, the sounds of life, and teeming flora in the forests.
  • Depictions: Frode is always depicted as if gliding on the green light of nature in spring, anytime they touch grass, causing the most wildest of floral arrangements to bloom.
  • Worship: Worship to Frode is done near or around a Tree, woven and decorated to mimic the Tree of Life, usually in a park, and by engaging in social happenings around that tree.
  • Manifestation: Frode has manifested a couple of times through history to save important groves of the Old Gods people, but in general seems more skittish than the other Gods.
  • Individual: Frode is said to hate being regarded, and as such, most encounters were supposedly more of their smell (a distinct cut-grass and honey mix) than their actual face.
  • Worship House: Frode has no real worship house, but Old Gods worshipers often build Frode circles in the forest, which are patches of grass with stones arranged in circles.
  • Relations: Frode is the twin sibling of Toke, and the two are said to dance in the forests, cycling between Spring and Autumn, until Leif burns in Summer and Asbjørn freezes in winter.
  • Other Notes: Frode is why Old Gods worshipers have a positive relation to Yanar, and can often connect quite well with the Estellon worshipers in Yanar inhabited regions in Regalia.
  • Cellik Variant: The Cellik Variant of Frode is called Faegen or Fægen, and he is entirely identical to the Velheim variant of Old Gods.

Toke, Lirh of Autumn

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  • Identity: Toke, nicknamed Lirh of Autumn, was born when the leaves on the Tree of Life faded to red and brown, creating the seasonal autumn that swept Old Ceardia.
  • Themes: Toke's themes are Autumn, the world slowing down, taking care of yourself and loved ones, caring for one's own mental health, warm colors, and fauna itself.
  • Depictions: Toke is always depicted as if dancing, reminiscing a leaf falling from an autumnal tree, conspicuous feline ears in their hair and a mischievous smile.
  • Worship: Toke Worship is done by hosting seasonal feasts, particularly those in which Old Gods worshipers dress up as animals and try to prank and trick each other.
  • Manifestation: Toke's manifestations were often to protect wildlife from extinction, miraculously saving a few viable pairs in a valley to protect them.
  • Individual: Toke has not ever been known to enjoy being regarded by mortals. As such, their ears or fox-tail is seen more often than Toke themselves fully.
  • Worship House: Toke has no real Temples or shrines, but supposedly lives together with Frode in the Frode circles in the forest, as animals are eventually drawn to them.
  • Relations: Toke is the twin sibling of Frode, and the two are said to dance in the forests, cycling between Spring and Autumn, until Leif burns in Summer and Asbjørn freezes in winter.
  • Other Notes: Toke is why, even when killing wildlife for the hunt or sacrifice, Old Gods are always respectful, and will say a prayer for Toke to receive the animal's soul.
  • Cellik Variant: The Cellik Variant of Toke is called Aestas or Hiems. Hiems actually also means winter in Old Ceardian, because their winters were mild like autumns.

Leif, Summer of Passion

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  • Identity: Leif, Summer of Passion, was born when the Tree of Life first experienced the love between Bard and Njall, and a fire erupted on some of its branches.
  • Themes: Leif's themes are passion, fire, burning feelings, expressions of love and willpower, never giving up, divine inspiration, and offspring specifically.
  • Depictions: Leif is always depicted with some part of his hair on fire or spitting flames, his hands covered in glowing golden light for the wealth he brings.
  • Worship: Worship to Leif is performed by bringing offerings of rare earth metals to open flames, and dancing with or inhaling the smoke.
  • Manifestation: Leif has not known to manifest himself, though it is said that a part of him lives in each and every flame, and that he always listens.
  • Individual: Leif's individual relation to mortals, is that he supposedly inspires and enflames their emotions, with love itself being inspired and fated by him.
  • Worship House: Leif's largest Temple is the flame-spire in Billund, Regalian Archipelago, a large and steep peak mountain which near permanently fumes smoke.
  • Relations: Leif is the husband of Estrid, though they are more than that, the folklore specifically defines them as soul mates with a fated connection.
  • Other Notes: Leif is claimed to have a particular burning hatred for those who discriminate based on gender, supposedly spontaneously immolating terrible offenders.
  • Cellik Variant: The Cellik Variant of Leif is Aeledda, or Æledda, entirely identical, though has a feminine coded name as opposed to a masculine coded one.

Estrid, Queen of War

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  • Identity: Estrid, Queen of War, was born when the Tree of Life's branches caught fire in Leif's birth, which she then doused by absorbing them and funneling them to war.
  • Themes: Estrid's themes are similar to Bard's but differ slightly in that she specifically concerns herself with War, conquest of other lands, ferocity and challenge.
  • Depictions: Estrid is always depicted in her typical "Gothik" style, dark hair and intense darkened eyes, dark clothing and pale skin, with lots of accessories.
  • Worship: Estrid worship is usually performed before armies face each other on the field, known as the 'high hour', 3 hours before the battle, when Old Gods armies are weakest.
  • Manifestation: Estrid has appeared at every major pivotal battle the Old Gods worshipers had to face in their expansion, but stopped appearing one day, for no-one knows why.
  • Individual: Estrid never had any individual appeal, rather keeping expansion for the Velheim people, and by extension, Old Gods open, until she ceased.
  • Worship House: Estrid has the most amount of Temples across the world, each of them called a Temple of Fire, in which a massive bonfire is lit around the clock.
  • Relations: Estrid is the wife of Leif, though they are more than that, the folklore specifically defines them as soul mates with a fated connection.
  • Other Notes: Estrid is sometimes blamed for the reversal of Velheim expansion in the world, coinciding with the quick rise of the Regalian Empire.
  • Cellik Variant: The Cellik Variant of Estrid is Deorcnysse, which is incidentally also the word for Darkness in old Ceardian.

Hagen, Crafter of Time

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  • Identity: Hagen, Crafter of Time, was born when the Tree of Life remembered history and all events that had gone before, creating wisdom and knowledge for the ages.
  • Themes: Hagen's themes are wisdom, sagely advise, dogma, staying true to rules and laws, obeying precedence and the elderly, and ancestry and heritage.
  • Depictions: Hagen looks relatively normal in comparison to all the other gods with his crafting apron, which is on purpose, as he travels among mortals.
  • Worship: Hagen worship is done passively simply by becoming a more knowledgeable person. Reading books is often good enough as a form of Hagen worship.
  • Manifestation: Hagen like Tove has manifested many times, always paired together, to offer words of meaningful advice (or misadvise in the case of Tove) to their lives.
  • Individual: Hagen's manifestations are usually Static. Tove and Hagen represent a debating duo, where Hagen always insists on dogma and knowledge gotten before.
  • Worship House: Hagen's largest Temple is the House of Stone Healing in Nordskag, which doubles as a massive library with stone debating chambers and reading rooms.
  • Relations: Hagen's relation to Tove is somewhat dubious, sometimes depicted as two sides of the same coin, sometimes he is depicted as her grandfather.
  • Other Notes: Hagen appears different each time, sometimes of passable age, sometimes so decrepitly old that his beard touches the floor and drags behind him.
  • Cellik Variant: The Cellik Variant of Hagen is Werold, but he is otherwise completely identical to the Velheim Old Gods variant.

Tove, Daughter of Dreams

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  • Identity: Tove, Daughter of Dreams, was born last of all Gods, and somewhat a mess, as the Tree of Life started dreaming, experienced 1001 random thoughts, and then slept.
  • Themes: Tove's themes are gladness, dreams, happiness, making others happy, challenging dogma, questioning the world, youth and youthfulness and being carefree.
  • Depictions: Tove looks relatively normal in comparison to all the other gods with her unnecessary belts, which is on purpose, as she travels among mortals.
  • Worship: Tove worship takes the form of finding random strangers, and doing something for them to make them happy, or to elicit a smile, or to break some dusty rule.
  • Manifestation: Tove like Hagen has manifested many times, always paired together, to offer words of meaningful advice (or misadvise in the case of Tove) to their lives.
  • Individual: Tove's manifestations are usually chaotic. Hagen and Tove represent a debating duo, where Tove always takes the questioning side with a constant barrage.
  • Worship House: Tove's largest Temple is the House of Stone Caring in Nordskag, next to Hagen's Temple, doubling as a hospital with free healthcare for children.
  • Relations: Tove's relation to Hagen is somewhat dubious, sometimes depicted as two sides of the same coin, sometimes she is depicted as his granddaughter.
  • Other Notes: Tove appears different each time, sometimes as an adult, but more often than not as a recalcitrant teenager, ready to combat Hagen's opinions.
  • Cellik Variant: The Cellik Variant of Tove is called Cihnt (pronounced as see-h't), and she is identical to the Velheim Old Gods variant.

Aesir

The Aesir are not created in Unions, but rather in opposition to one another. Vaarda, while a realm of infinite pleasures and satisfaction, is also a realm of inherent chaos. Old Cearden culture was not devoid of its extreme expressions of violence and glorification of warfare and killing, and as such, there is a constant "game" happening between the four Princes in Vaarda who battle each other with armies of souls belonging to them, each an immortal warrior who lives and dies over and over again. Odal and Faellan struggle over honesty from west to east, and Dreikar and Eikki struggle over pleasure from north to south. Odal hates everything deceitful while Faellan represents it, and Dreikar loves the violent kind of pleasures which Eikki hates, preferring the fun kind. Rand meanwhile, sits at the center of it all in his great crystal palace, a master over this chaos who makes the lesser Aesir fight among each other so that he becomes the most powerful among them and their All-Father.

Rand, The Great Betrayer

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  • Identity: Rand, The Great Betrayer, was not born with the pantheon, but forced his way in and became the closest equivalent of the devil in Old Gods who made Hel.
  • Themes: Rand's themes are betrayal, control, demons, fall from grace, those without Soldi, and the world in between imellomgård, where the honor-less lie.
  • Depictions: Rand does not have a consistent appearance because he never manifested, but many Old Gods worshipers depict him as a beast of a man.
  • Worship: Rand is worshiped, mostly in a fearful way. The act of wearing a necklace depicting Rand's eye to ward off his gaze is common among the faithful.
  • Manifestation: Rand is not known to manifest in the world outside of Vaarda, his own home, which has made the recent appearances around Regalia quite disturbing.
  • Individual: Rand has two known rules, one: he does not enter a house without being invited in and two: he never takes power, rather he waits for it to be given freely.
  • Worship House: Rand's largest temple is the realm of Vaarda itself, though not having access to this, Aesir worshipers flock to the Vaarda gates instead.
  • Relations: Rand is hated by every Vanir, but they have invariably made bargains with him over the history of the Old Gods, making his relations complicated.
  • Other Notes: Rand is commonly accepted by Ailor and Nelfin scholars, to actually be the Power Arken, who is also the main antagonist of the Dwarves.
  • Other Notes: While the Vanir don't have a God among Gods, Rand fulfills this role among the Aesir, seen as the King of the Aesir and the most powerful one.
  • Other Notes: It is said to whisper ill or destroy that which belongs to Rand, allows him by Old Gods Law to claim the soul of the defiler, something that scares many.
  • Cellik Variant: The Cellik variant of Rand is called Devil, so that this word also exists in our lore and can be used without breaking canon phraseology.

Odal, Prince of Vengeance

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  • Identity: Odal is the son of Bard, born when Bard’s anger caused a thunderstorm that cut branches off of the Tree of Life, crushed a family of hedgehogs below.
  • Themes: Odal’s themes are revenge, overcoming, conquest, magic, corruption, and the indomitable spirit. Odal is sometimes considered good, sometimes evil.
  • Depictions: Odal was once a Vanir, but became an Aesir, angered by the inaction of the other Gods at the suffering of mortals, his spirit was corrupted by the Betrayer.
  • Worship: Odal worship is offering him food and goods in a ritual fire to stave off his vengeance. Odal’s Avengers is a cult of for-hire revenge seekers, called Odalv.
  • Manifestation: Odal has been known to personally manifest, particularly to protect the respect and honor of the Great Betrayer, when Old Gods worshipers defile him.
  • Individual: There are many tales of Odal showing up to kill Vanir fanatics attacking Aesir priests and faithful, as well as sinking whole fleets set to attack Vaarda.
  • Worship House: Odal has lingering shrines decorated with blue-painted horns, but only because people are afraid he’d destroy them if they destroyed his shrines.
  • Relations: Odal is the twin brother of Adal, and is constantly fighting Bard to force his will onto the Vanir, It is said only he can challenge Bard.
  • Other Notes: Odal is the Demon Prince of the West, of Vengeance, he rules the mountainous west of Vaarda, where thunder and blizzard coalesce into a chaotic storm.
  • Other Notes: Odal is sometimes sought out by those wishing to be Demonically possessed, becoming Odalv, the Cult of Odal, who enact his vengeance on the world.
  • Other Notes: Demons acquired from Odal are distinctly different from Void or Exist Demons. Though they are Void inclined, they greatly respect the Old Gods faith.
  • Cellik Variant: The Cellik Variant of Odal is called Cynesige, while the Cellik version of the Odalv are called Sigeryk, though otherwise all is identical.

Dreikar, Horror of Frost

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  • Identity: Dreikar is not a natively Old Gods born God, but a Demon from the Hell made by Rand in the likeness of Dragons, becoming the Horror of Winter Frost.
  • Themes: Dreikar's themes are slaughter, destruction, maiming, carnage, violence, power makes right, and the consuming of the weak in glorious fire.
  • Depictions: Dreikar appears like a draconic humanoid with four arms and several tails, his body adorned with jagged spikes of ice and snow frost.
  • Worship: Dreikar's worship is perhaps the most violent of all, to sate a bloody carnage or bloodlust, being an Old Gods worshiping Vampire is permitted to him.
  • Manifestation: Dreikar is not known to manifest outside of Vaarda, as his home is the frozen cold north of Vaarda, where the sun yet shines warm to deceive.
  • Individual: Dreikar is however commonly believed to occur in Nightmares, invading people's peaceful mind and giving them anxiety in their sleep and worry during day.
  • Worship House: Dreikar has several shrines, particularly in Ellador, where fear-worship of him became popular following the freezing of the Ellador continent.
  • Relations: Dreikar is hated even among the Aesir as "giving them a bad name", for all the hypothetical evil they do, it has reason. Dreikar just likes slaughter.
  • Other Notes: Dreikar has a brood, the so-called "Drekki", which is a wild and fiercely violent Demon-possessed crocodilian species on six legs that roams old Ceardia.
  • Other Notes: Dreikar is considered a "Drake", not a "Dragon" to the Old Gods faithful, there is a difference, and an Old Gods faithful would never mistake the two.
  • Cellik Variant: The Cellik Variant of Dreikar is called Drann, while all other aspects of the God are identical to the Velheim Old Gods version.

Eikki, Prince of Pleasure

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  • Identity: Eikki was born the Vanir of Desire, but drank from the Godnectar of the Tree of Life, granting him greater godhood, and corrupting him to Aesir.
  • Themes: Eikki represents the forbidden fruit, desires untold, debauchery, pleasure seeking hedonism, beauty and attraction made manifest, a dark bargain.
  • Depictions: Eikki appears very much like his old Vanir appearance, but his intoxication on Godnectar is obvious, from it leaking from his barrel and mouth.
  • Worship: Eikki, while Aesir, is actually worshiped quite frequently among the Vanir, even those who abhor the other Aesir, because of his more benign pleasures.
  • Manifestation: Eikki is known to occasionally enter the real world from Vaarda, letting mortals drink but a drop of Godnectar, giving them Magic, and a Demon to boot.
  • Individual: Eikki's curse is sometimes placed on children from single parents, sneaking into their bedroom at night, and feeding them a drop of Godnectar.
  • Worship House: Eikki's largest Temple is the Druid Circle in Valadia, recently discovered at the heart of this tribal homeland of the Valadian Velheim.
  • Relations: Eikki is known as the great seducer among the Vanir and Aesir, believed to be able to mingle with both of them without too much issues.
  • Other Notes: Godnectar isn't a real substance, or so it is claimed. It is more the metaphorical concept of dabbling with Void/Exist Magics beyond comprehension.
  • Other Notes: Eikki is the Prince of South Vaarda, his realm, where the souls that belong to him live in endless bliss and pleasure, in its golden orchards of plenty.
  • Other Notes: Drinking Godnectar is supposedly the one rule that was ever placed on the Vanir among them, to never drink from the tree's sap, and Eikki broke it.
  • Cellik Variant: The Cellik Variant of Eikki is called Elrik, while all other aspects of the God are identical to the Velheim Old Gods version.

Faellan, Prince of Snakes

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  • Identity: Faellan is, similar to Dreikar, a Demon entity made by Rand to serve as the Prince of the East, a Prince of Treason and Deception.
  • Themes: Faellan represents the themes of deceit and manipulation, of gaslighting and reality warping illusions and constructs, driving others insane.
  • Depictions: Faellan appears like a green feline-like humanoid with an extremely long feathered tail colored like the evergreen gardens of East Vaarda.
  • Worship: Faellan is worshiped by those who wish good things to come to their plots, schemes, and plans, with the lord of manipulation aiding their pursuit.
  • Manifestation: Faellan is not physically known to manifest, but it is said he looks through the eyes of all snakes, and sometimes speaks in split-tongue.
  • Individual: Faellan's snakes have been known to assassinate important and powerful Velheim rulers over the years, so much so that his name became a curse word.
  • Worship House: Faellan's largest Temple is the Snake-Grass Hill, though it is never in one place, it teleports all over the world when he wants it to.
  • Relations: Faellan is mistrusted and despised even among the Aesir, Odal in particular has a burning hatred of him and clashes with him frequently.
  • Other Notes: Faellan's name has become a curse-word "Faen" in the Velheim language, which can best be translated as "Screw it", or "Shit".
  • Other Notes: Faellan is respected, even among non-Old Gods related Demons, as a very powerful Demonic manipulator that should be feared with reason.
  • Cellik Variant: The Cellik Variant of Faellan is called Fallan, while all other aspects of the God are identical to the Velheim Old Gods version.

The Nuance of Aesir

While Rand is often treated as the devil by the Vanir, and many of the Vanir supporters, morality is not as simple as is implied. When the first Old Gods worshipers appealed to their gods to save them from the constant Nelfin raids and attacks on their fledgling communities, the Vanir were unwilling or incapable of acting to save them. In retrospect, it is likely the case that the Vanir were simply much weaker than the Estellon Gods, which lends credibility to the idea that not all religious gods are born equal. Gro and Jord however, sought out the Aesir who supposed did have the power to save the faithful from the clutches of the Nelfin, and thus struck a bargain, in which the Old Gods faithful would be kept safe and protected from the Allorn prying eyes and slave fleets, while they would also be given a means to grow and prosper, in exchange for certain liberties. The exact details of the bargain are barely understood in the modern day, because Old Gods dogma was never written down and these events occurred thousands of years ago.

Folklore has it that when the deal was accepted, Gro and Jord were immediately expelled, but that the whole of the Old Gods faithful was absorbed into Vaarda, a dimension separate from Aloria in which they lived in extreme undying bliss with never ending supplies of food, medicine, and pleasures. From here, the exact actions of the other Vanir is also quite unclear, though there is some implication that they ended up working with the Aesir, to "make the best out of a bad situation". After all, while the Vanir hated Rand, Bev did make the Vaarda Gates, and supposedly Hagen made the Keystone Artifacts used to open and close the gates. Thus, Old Gods faithful colonization spread across the world like wildfire, because they could travel through Bev's gates in a matter of seconds across vast distances, and had the supplies of Vaarda's orchards and grain fields to support their population boom. At a certain time however, the people realized this was a poisoned fruit, and that there was no way to disagree or criticize Rand or oppose the Aesir, as even though the Vanir had been wary of him, the people saw only his blessings at first but turned on him later. They came to realize, that anyone who offended him, had their souls ripped out, and given to him to own. Furthermore, those who would die without honor would be condemned to the Imellomgård, or the "world in between" the living and the afterlife, where they would equally belong to him.

Before long, a revolt brewed, which the Vanir made use of, thus leading the Old Gods people away from Vaarda and into the open world, while also using the Keystone Artifacts to close Bev's Gates. The legacy of Rand is thus complicated. The Aesir saved the Old Gods people from being annihilated by the Nelfin slave fleets by hiding them, and also gave them the means to become the most populous of Ailor cultures to spread the furthest across the world. But also, many Old Gods faithful souls were condemned to his Hell (or Hel, the spelling differs from place to place). To this day, the Aesir still own countless souls as their slaves either for offending them, or dying an honor-less cur, thus making them entities worth acknowledging, even for those who are die-hard Vanir supporters and hate the Aesir. Religion is complicated in the Old Gods, because it strictly acknowledges from the Vanir perspective what is their canonical evil, but then also finds way to make worshiping that evil permissible and even ethically correct. The Aesir did save the Old Gods people, as have the Vanir, and the Vanir did betray their allies, as did the Aesir.

Old Gods stance on Magic

The exact views of Old Gods on Magic are complicated. In general, Magic is considered benign, it is like a sword that is only as evil as the person wielding it, and the skill to master Magic is seen as a blessing of the Vanir (who are powerful in Magic). The Old Gods don't consider Magic evil or bad in any particular way, though there is a varied interpretation on whether it is applied by the Vanir or Aesir. In general, Vanir Magic is considered simpler, more muted and less harming, like healing or light Magic that is aimed to support and soothe and heal. Aesir Magic on the other hand is chaotic and violent, more potent, but by nature of their Demonic masters far more dangerous. Magic granted by the Vanir is thus seen as weak but beneficial, while Magic granted by the Aesir is considered strong but dangerous. Godnectar is considered the holy grail of Old Gods Mages: A substance that like Eikki, makes them both physically and magically more potent, though only rumors have ever existed about it. Finally, the Old Gods faithful do acknowledge the scientific establishments of Void and Exist, but do not acknowledge the dimensional nature as independence forces. That is to say, they do not believe that Magic can simply come by itself, it is being allowed or helped into the world by the Old Gods, and thus always has the touch of the Vanir or Aesir on it.

Priestly Activities

  • The clergy in general are all considered Sammun, meaning they should acknowledge the godhood of both Vanir and Aesir, though this does not preclude them from having preferences. A priestess may for example strictly state that while she brings offerings to the Vanir and Aesir alike, that the Aesir are there more to be "feared" while the Vanir are there more to be "loved", but they should never outwardly reject or exclude someone for worshiping the Aesir or the Vanir. Priests, and all religious figures indluding the Skaarda and Velsang, are expected to be above the religious differences.
  • Those that believe only in the Vanir call themselves Vanirik, they depict the Aesir strictly as evil Demons who do not deserve worship, and should be fought against. Those that believe only in the Aesir call themselves Aesirik, they depict the Vanir as weak and undeserving of worship, and should in general be avoided and ignored to wallow in their pitiful existence. It is possible to be Vanirik and still worship Eikki on the side, while rejecting the other Aesir, while it is also possible to be Aesirik and still worship Bard for power while rejecting the other Vanir. Old Gods doctrine in general is complicated and has many shades of gray.
  • The Valsung, is a religious figure that "sings to the dead". Valsung are mortuary individuals who both carry the dead to the Helbolwen (an Old Gods crypt), embalm the dead with the song of the dead, and inter their bodies in these crypts. Helbolwen also administer rites to the dead, put them down if they turn into wicked Undead, and perform rites and song rituals for the mourning family members and friends of the dead when they come to visit.
  • The Skaarda, is a religious figure that "shields the dead". Skaarda are protectors of the Helbolwen and the Valsung. While Valsung should be able to protect the Helbolwen from inside, Skaarda protect it from the outside. Skaarda are the unofficial answer of the Old Gods people to Viridian Knights, a mirror reflection of them, an order of faith bound warriors who protect the Old Gods religion from outsiders and defilement.
  • The Laarna, is a religious figure that "tells the names". Laarna travel the lands to record stories of those who have passed away, with particular care given to recording their name, as the Old Gods faithful believe that the time when someone truly dies, is when their name is whispered or spoken for the last time, and then all memories of them pass into non-existence. Laarna try to preserve their names in recitations at Temples.
  • The Synna, is a religious figure that "speaks with gods". Synna is not strictly a job, but can be an addition to either Laarna, Skaarda, or Valsung. Synna is best described as a religious promise to uphold the belief, and share the belief with those who want to hear it, and to provide worship services to a listening audience. To be a Synna can thus best be described as being an unordained priest, but since Old Gods does not have a hierarchical clergy, nobody has to acknowledge a Synna if they do not like what they are preaching.
  • Communal worship of Old Gods can occur through so called Messe, an Old Gods version of communal worship among Unionists, where faithful come together to listen to a myth or legend retelling of the Old Gods by a Synna. Because the Old Gods religion has so many local variants and versions of the Gods, you as a roleplayer can reasonably just make up some legendary tale about Bard fighting some entity, or Hagen and Tove defeating some intelligent being at its own game by debating it, and it will all be lore canon, because these stories simply follow the general themes of the Gods, and aren't strictly found in fact. That is in fact the whole point, not to tell a factual story, but to remind the faithful what these gods stood for, and to encourage their inspiration and creativity.

Trivia


Accreditation
Writers MonMarty
Processors FireFan96
Last Editor HydraLana on 11/27/2022.

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