Sword of the North
Religions and Faiths
As an Initiate or member of another religious career, the character must decide who his patron god is and what church he serves. The choice of patron deity grants the character another skill or talent, as detailed in Skills and Talents entry of each deity’s description. Those not of a religious organization are likely to follow the religion of their people or region, with devotion to said gods fluctuating on an individual basis.
The Old Gods
A broad term for the Old Faith, which held many gods and nature spirits in high regard. The Painted King was chief amongst them, a god of warfare and brother to The Wilder King, a god of nature. The Fool in the Moon and the King of All Rats were their sons, one a god of luck and love, the other of death and sadness. The Painted King wedded The Whore-Mother, a fertility goddess whilst the Wilder King bedded the Mother-Hag, a monster. These gods, though varied in their moralities, all feared and hated He Who Dawns in Fire, a god who if allowed to rise would end their reign over the mortal world.
The Painted King – Patron of Warfare and Honorable Combat. Initiates and other religious careers who follow the Painted King can take Intimidate or Command as career skills.
Uniform: An open-chest robe or tunic in a variety of colors, facial paint, and shield if possible.
Symbol: Three white painted horizontal lines over multi-colored background.
Priesthood: Though the Painted King does not have a true Priesthood, his initiates and adherents exist in brotherhoods and secret societies who become very public during times of war or great sorrow. These men lead wild hunts and often fight in the near-nude. During other times, many exist as weapon trainers, old huntsmen, and watchmen.
The Wilder King – Patron of the Wilderness and a Trickster God. Initiates and other religious careers who follow the Wilder King can take Charm Animal or Navigation as career skills.
Uniform: Green or brown garb decorated by animal bones and woven-wood.
Symbol: Animal parts, usually shells or skulls, painted with two parallel black circles with tiny white dots in the center.
Priesthood: Hedge Mages and Wise Ones make up the bulk of the Wilder King’s priesthood. Though rare in civilized societies, priests of the Wilder King are known to find one another in the woods and build abbeys and shrines where they maintain their lore and work.
The Fool in the Moon – A God of Lovers and a Trickster God. Initiates and other religious careers who follow the Moon can take Charm, Gossip or First Aid as career skills.
Uniform: A yellow sash with white triangles adorning it like shark’s teeth. Tassels for senior priests.
Symbol: The sash of the faith with a ball of scented white wax kept in a net at the bottom.
Priesthood: The priesthood of the Moon is small in most cities, with no more than 50 actual adherents in an abbey or temple. They function as those who oversee unions and marriages as well as those who assist a pregnant woman prior to child-birth. Priests of the Moon are well known to travel and often to leave many pregnant women and crying babes in their wake.
The King of All Rats – A tragic God of Death and Justice. Initiates and other religious careers who follow the King of Rats can take Intimidate, Silent Move or Torture as career skills.
Uniform: A faded yellow robe with hood to conceal face. Corpses of rats, singed and cooked are strung across it on wire.
Symbol: A rat in any form of miserable death.
Priesthood: The priesthood of the King of All Rats is an unpleasant lot of solitary travelers or the occasional convent who make it their job and duty to patrol around the waste dumps, sewers, and irrigation canals of cities and towns. They carry long black iron spikes which they use to spear rats. Few ever reveal their faces to any but the most devout of students.
The Whore-Mother – A jovial goddess of Fertility and Debauchery. Initiates and other religious careers who follow the Whore-Mother can take Charm, Gossip, or Hypnotism as career skills.
Uniform: Loose dress or no dress. Something that leaves genitals easily exposed.
Symbol: No true holy symbol. Though concentric circles tattooed into a woman’s hand are common.
Priesthood: Mostly whores, midwives and bawds. Any whorehouse worth its salt has a shrine to her near the entrance which reminds men and women to mind their manners and cause no sickness or violence knowingly. Those who are considered her faithful often make brooches which display some image of the Whore-Mother in whatever chosen appearance her faithful have decided to see.
The Mother-Hag – A dour goddess of Monsters and Curses. Initiates and other religious careers who follow the Mother-Hag can take Concealment, Intimidate and Silent Move as career skills.
Uniform: Grey clothing with as much gold one can gather displayed upon it.
Symbol: A golden serpent’s head with a beard.
Priesthood: Not truly a priesthood, but occasionally a coven will gather of three men or women who find themselves able to channel the words and desires of the Mother-Hag. A single Hag-priest is often found in major settlements or abbeys to other gods and kept in fine spirits for their knowledge of foul things and how to fight them.
He Who Dawns in Fire – The Black King, Surt; Enemy of the Gods. Initiates and cultists of this dark god can take Concealment, Intimidate, and Torture as career skills.
Uniform: Burnt black clothing.
Symbol: A burnt stick with a blade in it.
Priesthood: No official priesthood, hard to say.
Held in higher regard than even the Gods, are the Norn. Nine female spirits who hold the weaving of fate, time, and life in their hands. The Norn are the reason temples are built, but they are not worshiped within their walls, merely respected. The temples to gods or ancestors or other personality cults all include at least nine pieces of feminine imagery lest the builder feel he has insulted the Norn. Though not worshiped by themselves, the Norn are always included in the prayers and books of other gods and honored heroes.
Uniform: Whatever uniform is had always contains at least one piece of white or golden cloth.
Symbol: An upright horse-shoe like symbol with two hands on the edges.
Priesthood: This priesthood is generally a collection of scribes, scholars and others who maintain belief in a secondary god (from whom skills can be gained). Most priests of the Norn are slightly unhinged as reading too much into Fate requires reading too much into everything and often finding things one does not wish to find.
The Zarist Monology
Once a great scholar, Zaris, according to his adherents, ascended to godhood after beating three of the Norn who had personally challenged him on riddles involving life, time, and death. By beating the Norn, Zaris could no longer be touched by fate or time or life, and ceased to exist as a mortal man. Zarist priests preach the power of human potential and supremacy over all things non-human, be they lesser races, beasts or gods. Though at one time a highly unpopular cult, the Zarist Monology has begun to gain strength amongst the Freemen and the Thralls, as it preaches of human unity and therefore, a humanity without castes. It’s relations with the other cults is somewhat strained as the Monology considers itself the only true religion.
Uniform: Whire robes with violet scarves.
Symbol: A golden rod etched with runes.
Priesthood: Primarily scholars, students and rich Boendr who do not wish to relinquish their gains to the Old Gods. Certain Freemen adhere to Zaris and see him as a representation of a lower class man overpowering those who believe themselves better. Thralls are quick to join the Monology as if their master is a Zarist he must release them. If their master is not a Zarist, Thralls can find sanctuary in other Zarist abbeys and chapels and leave their master’s behind without any payment of wergild.