Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Religion Of The Black-Blooded Earth

One of these days, I really need to learn what is the name of this world.

I was in Belwick recently, and asked my host about religion in the city, and in the world at large. He explained to me that they recognize several types of beings that we would translate as "gods". There are the Transcendent Gods, which are very few, but whose followers are widespread. This is what most modern Westerners would think of as "religion", and it is only in these religions that there are Clerics. In Belwick, the dominant Transcendent church is the Quaternary Church, which worships four gods: Jin, the Salamander King, Niksa, the Undine Queen, and their children, Ghobe, the Gnome Prince, and Paralda, the Sylph Princess. There is, however, a small temple to another Transcendent god, the Fatalist Church, which worships Arachne, the Weaving Goddess of Fate. The Transcendent Gods don't generally act directly, but instead through their Clerics and their angelic messengers (Solars, Planetars, Devas, Ki-Rin, and so forth).

Next are the Immanent Gods. These are more like the traditional RPG gods, but without the ability to provide spells to Clerics. Their priests are Druids, whose magic comes from the circulation of brí, which is the underlying force of the universe. Like the Force of Star Wars, it surrounds and pervades everything in the universe, binding it together and giving it form. The Druids and their congregations make alliances with the Immanent Gods, rather than gaining the ability to cast spells. In addition to Druids, some magic-users have developed spells to contact Immanent Gods, which they use to forge alliances with these powerful entities. Immanent Gods also include entities like Primus, the Prime Modron, Bahamut, the Platinum Dragon, or the like. Basically, like demons, but not actively malicious.

Third are the Demon Gods. These are the demons and devils (and daemons and slaad and so on) of the RPG. They have no priesthood, but interested magic-users can summon them with spells like Cacodemon, and command them by threatening spells like Spiritwrack.

Finally are the terrible cults of the Outer Gods. These are four gods (and numerous demonic lesser Outer Gods) which exhibit an extreme indifference to humanity. The four central Outer Gods may be Transcendent Gods of a sort, but they do not provide powers to Clerics. The only worshipers of these terrible entities are insane magic-users who seek the power they imagine that they can wrench from these forces. Or, at least, that is how it was presented to me by my host. I notice, however, that there are quite a few magic-users highly placed in the city and provincial governments who attempt to make pacts or other deals with the Outer Gods.

(So, what do you think of the conceit that I "visit" Belwick to learn more about the world of the Black Blooded Earth? In a sense, it's exactly what happens - the visit is, of course, in my head, but it happens something like this: I envision what the world looks like and ask questions of one of the people I have come to know in the city. Should I present it that way here, or would you prefer a more traditional presentation? Should I go even further in this sort of presentation, something like Ed Greenwood's visits with Elminster? Let me know!)


  1. I quite like the way you've presented here.

    1. Thanks! It was a bit of an experiment, and if the general reaction is favorable (so far, so good!) I'll keep using it, at least for materials related to this setting.

  2. Makes perfect sense to me... as it always feels like I'm discovering my campaign worlds rather than creating them!