On the Gods of the Motherlands – Part One

The Priestly Colleges
Although many deities are worshiped in the Motherlands, the following deities are the most popular and well known. Most city-states have a temple or shrine to each of them. Each city-state in the Motherlands has a college of priests (usually 10 to 20), with one priest assigned to manage each temple. The college is headed by a pontiff, and each temple priest is assisted by a staff of lesser clergy. Some city-states have an upper college dedicated to the Motherlander deities and a lower college that oversees the temples of foreign deities.

Apollo Helios
Apollon, Apulu, Belenus
Lawful god of sun, music, archery and herdsmen
Wields a bow
Patron deity of Antigoon
Served by elohim and nymphs
Symbols are the lyre, crook, sunburst or cross
Clerics can cast the magic-user spell Fireball as a 5th level cleric spell, dealing damage as though 3 levels lower.

Apollo Helios is the god of the sun, archery, medicine, healing, light, truth, oracle, colonists, patron defender of herds and flocks, music and poetry, homosexuality, harmony, order, reason and plague. He helps ripen crops, destroys pests, cures illnesses, and protects shepherds and their flocks. Apollo is not entirely beneficent. He carries a bow with terrible arrows that visit plague and disease upon the targets he fires them at.

In his true form, Apollo Helios is a beardless young man of divine beauty who radiates warmth and light. Apollo Helios always carries a lyre or longbow; in fact, the object he carries can take either form as the god desires.

Apollo Helios is the son of Jove and Leto, half-brother of Mars, Minerva and Hercules and twin brother of Diana.

Midsummer’s Day (May 15): People build huge bonfires and walk themselves and their livestock between them to protect them from the diseases of warm weather. Masked mummers frolic and folk stay up all night making merry.

Atlas Telamon
Lawful god of strength, perseverance, exploration
Wields a club
Patron deity of Dweomer Bay
Served by devas, giants
Symbolized by a globe or compass
Clerics can cast the magic-user spell Enlarge

Atlas is worshiped not only as a deity of strength and endurance, but also as a god of exploration and cartography. He is the strongest of the titans who separates the heavens from the earth. Atlas appears as a giant of man holding the tools of exploration: compass, sextant, spyglass and globe.

Atlas is the son of Japetus and Clymenem, the daughter of the titan Oceanus. His brothers are Prometheus, Menoetius and Epimetheus. His own children are mostly daughters, and include the Hesperides by Hesperis, the Hyades and Pleiades by Aithra, and Calypso, Dione and Maera by unspecified goddesses.

Atlas’ temples are supported by merchant societies and in turn fund cartographers and explorers. Temples of Atlas are decorated with images of exotic lands, animals and people. The classic cleric of Atlas will wear three-quarters plate and be found at the head of a column of explorers plunging into unknown lands.

Ceres Dea Frugu
Demeter
Neutral goddess of grain, agriculture and fertility
Wields a staff
Patron deity of Lyonesse
Served by fey creatures, earth elementals and erinyes
Symbolized by a poppy, sow or mare
Sacred animals are the bear, crow and horse
Druids can cast the spell Respite from Death

Ceres is the queen of the fruitful earth, goddess of agriculture, and patron of motherly love. Without her blessing, no crops may grow on the earth. Ceres will not hesitate to use this fact to blackmail men and other gods if the need exists. Ceres also has control over the weather. A sow is sacrificed to her when a death occurs in a family. Ceres is a usually a benevolent goddess. If her worshipers ignore their duties, however, she does not hesitate to destroy their crops and send famine upon them.

In her true form, Ceres is a beautiful woman, but she can change her own shape and that of others at will. She carries the cornucopia, or horn of plenty, and a scepter.

Ceres is the daughter of Saturn and Rhea and sister of Jove, Juno, Vesta, Neptunus and Plutus. She is the mother of Persephone by Jove. When pursued by Neptunus, she took the form of a mare to escape him. She could not hide her divinity, though, and Neptunus took the form of a stallion and coupled with her, producing a daughter called “the Damsel”, who leads the avenging erinyes, and a black-maned, divinely swift, speaking horse called Arion.

Lammastide (August 1): Celebration of first fruits, when loaves are baked from the first harvested grain and shared with friends and family.

Respite from Death (Druid Level 4): A recently killed comrade’s soul is released from the Land of the Dead as a shade for a limited time. If the person’s body has not been destroyed, it can re-animate it as a zombie with the mentality of the deceased (with one half of the deceased memorized spells, determined randomly, and all special class abilities except saving throws and attack bonuses, which are per a zombie’s statistics). The shade can persist in the re-animated body for 24 hours only. If the body cannot be inhabited, the shade uses the statistics of a shadow, but can only remain for 1 hour. In either case, the soul cannot subsequently be raised, resurrected or reincarnated for a period of 9 months.

Diana Prima Dea
Artemis, Brigantia, Nicevenn
Neutral goddess of maidens, the moon and hunting
Wields a bow
Patron deity of Tremayne
Served by dryads, nymphs and giant animals
Symbolized by a boar or the moon
Sacred animals are the eagle, boar and wolf
Druids may cast the spell Coursing Hound

The huntress Diana is the patroness of young girls and the mistress of beasts and all wild things. Because she will have nothing to do with men, she is a favorite goddess of the Amazons. Except for helping women during childbirth, she avoids involving herself in mortal concerns and matters. She values her privacy, and will severely punish any man violating it. Merchants, always on the hunt for profits, also pray to her to give them persistence.

In her true form, she appears as a slim young girl wearing buckskins and carrying a longbow. She is sometimes mounted upon a stag. Oak groves are sacred to her. Diana is the daughter of Jove and Latona and the twin sister of Apollo Helios. She is associated with the water nymph Egeria and the woodland god Virbius.

Diana’s high priest is the rex Nemorensis, or “King of Groves”, stationed near a sacred lake near Tremayne. The rex Nemorensis attains the position through a trial by combat, killing the reigning king of the grove. Combat may only be initiated, though, if the challenging druid is able to pluck a golden bough from one of the trees in the sacred grove.

Those trees in whose dim shadow
The ghastly priest doth reign
The priest who slew the slayer,
And shall himself be slain.

Whitsuntide (May 15): On this day Whitsun Ales (fairs) and horse races are held, mummers dress as wild forest men, and hunting is forbidden.

Coursing Hound (Druid Level 2): The druid conjures a ghostly hound that can track on a roll of 1-5 on 1d6 (-1 chance for each day since the tracks were made, additional -1 chance if the tracks have been obscured by snow, hard stone or running water). The hound exists for 24 hours and cannot attack or be attacked.

Hecate
Hekat, Trivia
Neutral goddess of ghosts, witchcraft and curses
Wields a dagger
Served by demons and the fey
Symbolized by a torch and key
Sacred animals are the wolf, serpent and horse
Priests can cast the spell Entrancing Dance

Hecate is the enigmatic and dark virgin goddess of the undead and witchcraft. She is also associated with childbirth and rearing, doorways, walls, crossroads, torches and dogs. Most city-states, towns and villages honor her with, at the very least, a shrine and a lichfield. She is also associated with the concoction of medicines and poisons, thus making her a patron of alchemists, apothecaries and assassins. Hecate is served by chaotic clerics and druids.

Hecate is depicted as a three-headed goddess, either with the heads of three maidens or with the heads of a dog, serpent and horse. She is the daughter of the titans Terra and Uranus, the Earth and Sky.

The most common offering to Hecate is meat left at a crossroads. Dogs are sometimes sacrificed to her. A more intense ritual requires one to bathe in a stream of flowing water at midnight, don dark robes, dig a pit and then offer a libation of honey and blood from the throat of a sheep. The libation is placed on a pyre next to the pit by the petitioner, who then leaves the site, never looking back.

Hallowtide (Nov 1): The boundaries between the Mortal World and the Ethereal Plane are thinnest on this day. People light bonfires, stay up all night, drink beer and enjoy the end of the harvest season.

Entrancing Dance (Cleric/Druid Level 3): As the priest dances, all those present (except the priest’s allies, unless the priest chooses to affect them as well) must save or become entranced. A new save must be made each round the priest dances without interruption (i.e. takes damage), and a dancing priest loses any dexterity bonus to Armor Class. Entranced creatures take on a bestial aspect and begin attacking one another savagely (+2 to hit and damage) until no rivals survive or the dance stops.