Discovering the New World
Up front, there are no true atheists in this world. There are some differences in interpretation between the civilizations, but the fact that the gods exist is beyond debate. The Kingdom and its immediate neighbors believe in a greater pantheon of five deities, as primal forces of reality, and a lesser pantheon representative of more focused abstract concepts. The Seafarers seem to hold a different, more savage version of the mythos, but outside of the port cities the mainlanders prefer to dwell on them as little as possible.
The result is very much a state religion. Priests and the church have
a measure of political clout, but it’s largely indirect; enough to
grant them a voice, but not enough to leverage demands. Holidays and
Ceremony impact every single citizen, and even the highest royalty is
forced to abide by divine law. For example: on holy ground, violence
is a grave offense, and outright killing someone almost always results
in a swift execution regardless of circumstance.
However, the role of Religion in an individual’s life varies greatly
from person to person. Many members of the Kingdom simply believe in
earning their achievements through blood and sweat, paying minimal
respects to the higher powers, and relying as little as possible on
circumstance. Everyone knows you don’t buy or sell anything on a
given holiday, but the Sun and Moon won’t come down from the heavens
just because a few people aren’t lighting incense for them. These
folk tend to their own concerns, and – as much as possible – let
others worry about keeping the gods happy.
Other citizens devote large portions of their lives to divine service.
A dedicated few will become fully vested priests of the Five, while
others will simply earn a small portion of their favor by serving the
Church, and still others will choose to become agents of one of the
Gods in particular, striving toward direct, personal relationship with
their patron. Generally these last will choose one of the lesser
gods, as earning the notice of a god such as Sun or Sea takes a
storied individual indeed.
Hushed rumors sometimes speak of shadowy cults with designs on
overthrowing the gods, but these speculations are either laughable or
so terrifying that no one wants to be publicly associated with them in
The symbol of the 5 is a cylinder with the same combined surface area
on the two circular faces as the body. The faces are stained and
elaborate decorated reliefs of the Sun and Moon, while the body is
divided along the length to depict Nature and Sea on either side. The
whole symbol is made of a wood characterized by the presence of
subtle, wavy coloration which is present throughout, and represents
the planes tended by the Shepherd.