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Yora
2013-06-21, 03:51 PM
While I have a certain interest in fantasy religions, most apearing in D&D-type games seem to always be recaps of the same thing. Male neutral nature deity, chaotic good moon goddess, chaotic neutral war god, lawful evil god of tyranny, neutral good sun deity, chaotic good deity of love, and so on and on and on... And it all is very closely based on the ancient archetypes of Indo-European religion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Indo-European_religion) (Greek, Roman, Germanic, Slavic, Baltic, Hindu, ...)

So I am calling for all types of deities that are less conventional. But it should be serious attempts that someone at least tried to make into a flashed out concept, and not just joke combinations that simply seem silly.

Amidus Drexel
2013-06-21, 04:22 PM
While I have a certain interest in fantasy religions, most apearing in D&D-type games seem to always be recaps of the same thing. Male neutral nature deity, chaotic good moon goddess, chaotic neutral war god, lawful evil god of tyranny, neutral good sun deity, chaotic good deity of love, and so on and on and on... And it all is very closely based on the ancient archetypes of Indo-European religion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Indo-European_religion) (Greek, Roman, Germanic, Slavic, Baltic, Hindu, ...)

So I am calling for all types of deities that are less conventional. But it should be serious attempts that someone at least tried to make into a flashed out concept, and not just joke combinations that simply seem silly.

Well, there's always The Burning Hate... :smallamused:

A lot of the gods in my setting conform to that standard, although I've made a point to separate alignment from religion, so that worshipping a particular god isn't an indicator of whether you're good or evil. There are a few that defy the stereotypes, though... Time to pull up the setting doc and paraphrase. :smallamused:

Let's see... There's a chaotic god of change, Mairah, and essentially he's responsible for things not staying the way they are. That does include war to some extent, but it also includes the changing of seasons, and other things that might be considered "normal", but involve change to some extent. A gambler who's down on his luck might pray to Mairah for a hot streak, or an anarchist might pray to him to destabilize a city government. His influence would likely be a godsend (quite literally) to someone living in destitute poverty (where nearly any change would be good news), but people in a utopia would fear him upsetting the status quo.

There's a goddess of revenge, Cirda, and there's several sides to what she's in charge of too. She's as much an aspect of begrudging and hatred as she is of righteous wrath and justice. Think angry paladins and devious stalky ex-'s. :smallamused:

Yora
2013-06-21, 04:30 PM
I think my favorite deity I've created is a Goddess of Night and Darkness. It's a deity of night creatures, thieves, secrets, and apathy, and all that, but also the deity who is the best protection against these things. It's a deity that keeps people from being discovered in their hiding places, protects guards who are on watch at night, and keeps away nightmares. In public, it's considered a dark deity of which you don't speak in decent company, but many people secretly regard it very favorably for protecting them in their sleep.

enderlord99
2013-06-21, 05:13 PM
What about a Lawful Good deity of undeath?

Here's an example:

He believes that living once is a basic right, and that "living" again is a privilege. His undead followers are often volunteer farmers, working to feed those who still need food. His living followers, meanwhile, are usually out trying to enlighten/convert Neutral undead, and destroy Evil ones (though they still give them a chance for redemption, whenever possible). Harming the living is forbidden, usually even in self defense.

The Rose Dragon
2013-06-21, 05:19 PM
Legend of the Five Rings and Exalted both have rather interesting animist divine cosmologies, though to call them "religions" might be pushing it in most cases, as the religions of both settings focus more on the philosophy of the soul and how to better it rather than the nature and power of divinity.

navar100
2013-06-21, 05:33 PM
I find Ilmater is already an unusual deity even though he's been around since forever. I really like his Lawful Good portfolio of Suffering. He's the only good deity I know that does it. Any other pantheon, the deity of Suffering is evil who delights in inflicting pain and wants his followers to spread it. Ilmater endures others' suffering to relieve them of their burden and wants his followers to do that.

Eldan
2013-06-21, 05:39 PM
I think my favorite deity I've created is a Goddess of Night and Darkness. It's a deity of night creatures, thieves, secrets, and apathy, and all that, but also the deity who is the best protection against these things. It's a deity that keeps people from being discovered in their hiding places, protects guards who are on watch at night, and keeps away nightmares. In public, it's considered a dark deity of which you don't speak in decent company, but many people secretly regard it very favorably for protecting them in their sleep.

I had something a bit similar. I had two deities, Day and Night. Day was more often seen as male, Night as female, but that wasn't certain or fixed.

Anyway. Day is the god of things done during the day and in plain view. Travelling and Commerce, Architecture and Craft, Law, War, Leadership...

Night is the god of things done during the night and secretly. Crime, Love, Sex, Family, Rest, Healing, Dreams, Secrets, Murder...

The thing is that both of them had dozens of aspects.

incandescent
2013-06-21, 06:24 PM
Rasp the Divider is a god in an old setting I created. He started as a rebellious and destructive god that challenged everything created by other gods. After ages of ceaseless deific conflict, he made the decision to bind his wild side into demigod so he could coexist peacefully with the pantheon. The demigod was bound to the largest mountain chain in the world (a feature called the rasp of the earth, which led to them calling this god by the name), where it roamed around trying to entertain itself while Rasp became a god of strength, disciplin, dedication, and defiance.

TheCountAlucard
2013-06-21, 06:31 PM
Legend of the Five Rings and Exalted both have rather interesting animist divine cosmologies, though to call them "religions" might be pushing it in most cases, as the religions of both settings focus more on the philosophy of the soul and how to better it rather than the nature and power of divinity.Seconded, though I'd like to point out that the cults of various gods certainly could count as "religions."

TuggyNE
2013-06-21, 07:20 PM
Rich's system deliberately subverted deific conventions. I also found Hourglass of Zihaja's deities rather intriguing.

Kitten Champion
2013-06-21, 07:27 PM
We used the Mother-Maiden-Crone as the Trimurti of our setting - Es, Ether, and Eon.

Es is an angelic-looking girl prominently carrying some kind of artistic accoutrements like a harp or paintbrush - her iconography changes depending on the culture's perspective but are all coloured with the idea of creativity and virginity. She's completely innocent but at the same time utterly without conscience, wisdom or perspective. She's chaos, discord, madness, selfish desires and bacchanalian conceit. Why is the world the way it is? Because its creator doesn't care about the consequences of her actions. Men typically pray to her for luck, women for a healthy child, and everyone curses her for the lack of either. If you find her, in one of her avatars, you can petition for something, anything - the revival of a dead loved one, riches beyond imagining, a perfect lover - but whether you win your prize depends on her capriciousness and how many hoops you're willing to jump through.

Ether, is depicted as a voluptuous woman, usually wearing a wreath or accompanied with some kind of floral motif. Her expression is completely sanguine, impassive. Ether is omnipresent, and is understood in the conventional theology as the existence which holds all of reality together - an Atlas-type figure floating in the burning heart of creation. She exists in every future, every possibility that could come about is observed by her. She's neutral in most respects, any direct action on her part will unbind reality according to the theology. If you manage to reach a mystical state where you can pierce the veil of creation and enter in a limited fashion into her realm. You can ask her for the Truth about anything and she will answer. However, within that answer lies deeper intentions and potential misdirection which subtly leads to her own desired conclusion. She is thus in turn considered abstractly benevolent or malevolent depending on who you ask. There are countless tales - some true, some not - about some ironic twist where the hero or villain failed to surmise the full context or subtle possibilities hidden within their augury. For the more layman faithful, you pray to her for wisdom and as a ward from disaster.

Eon, represented as an elderly lady sitting on a throne usually without eyes, is the psychopomp of the setting and the final judge of all souls. She's blind and deaf to the living world, her throne rests in the outer darkness lit only by the faintest whisper of starlight. As she can't see the actions of men through their lives, she determines one's worthiness through three trials she demands of the soul itself. The various theological interpretations revolve around preparing for these trails during one's life, usually by being a righteous person, obtaining vast amounts of wisdom, developing an unbreakable will, or through martial valour and sacrifice. Although Eon herself chooses the trials based on a complex understanding of a person from having encountered them at the end of each incarnation cycle, her ignorance of the world is irrelevant because she understands people with a clarity none can hope to match. All creatures are - despite what theologians claim - returned to life, the context of which is determined by what Eon believes that soul needs to experience in order to evolve. Eon is the opposite of Es, she's methodical, considerate, and exists outside time, meaning she has an eternity to judge. She's typically the one you pray to for justice or mercy, but few do since she has no apparent connection to the living world. The only way to communicate with her and remember the experience is to die and be revived.

The Fury
2013-06-21, 07:44 PM
In a D&D setting a friend of mine came up with he used a pantheon where none of the gods' alignments were explicitly stated which I thought was pretty cool. While it was fairly easy to get a rough idea for where they fell on the alignment scale, there was still room for doubt and I liked that a lot. Also, none of the gods' genders were explicitly stated either.
The DM later told me that within the setting different regions and cultures have their own traditions and depictions of the gods-- that is to say one of the gods which is depicted as wisened old man in a human farming village might be depicted as a young woman in the elven capital. He also explained that most of the D&D races tend to think of the gods as their own race.
Something else I liked was the fact that most people revered more than one god-- even clerics. This made the pantheon feel much closer to actual polytheism.

Geostationary
2013-06-22, 12:20 AM
Nobilis is another good setting to look to for crazy animistic cosmologies with bizarre gods- incidentally, the author is also responsible for Exalted Hell, amongst other things.

It's also fun in that it divides deities along more philosophical lines/origins (not as much of a difference in this system) than typical.


Heaven believes in Beauty as the highest principle, and closes itself off from the world until it can be brought up to their standards- by force, if necessary. Heaven invades.
Hell loves everyone unconditionally, especially the worst of us, as they have no one else to love them. This rubs off on the Fallen, especially as part of the nature of Hell is Corruption and suffering.
The Dark loves humanity and stands for our freedom, but loves us most when we're enabled to drive ourselves to self-destruction and death. It cares for the individual.
The Light loves humanity and seeks our preservation, through any means possible. It cares not for the individual, only for the whole.
The Wild is composed of solipsist gods, believing only in the laws of their nature; to them, sanity is a prison.
True Gods are the vast, primordial gods that arose early in the days of Creation, eating and rutting and growing, forming part of the substrate of reality. Empathy was late to the game.
The Aaron's Serpents are massive trillion-ton snakes, born from the substance of the World Ash. They're basically hippies, but the mightiest of hippies. Don't mess with the Tree if you want to be on their good side.
The Excrucians are the beautiful gods of the void, coming from Beyond Creation to steal away the world. They seek to unmake us, for their own reasons.


The gods themselves (called Imperators) are an eclectic bunch- you can never really tell what their portfolios will be based on origin/philosophy alone, especially as some categories are more fluid than others.
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On a different note, I really liked the gods from Bastion, what with the little we're told. Each one embodies seemingly contradictory concepts, like Order and Commotion or Pain and Pleasure. The sparse descriptions were also pretty evocative.

erikun
2013-06-22, 12:59 AM
I'm had thoughts of a desert-living Egyptian snake-person race.

One of the deities was basically Ra, god of the sun and law, but also god of necromancy. Mummies were specifically created by the followers of Ra, and the holy power used to raise of the sun is assumed to be the same which raises mummies and skeletons at guardians for tombs and vaults.

Another is that, because the people have natural venom, poison is not considered treacherous or even evil. It is considered natural, and so a neutral or even good deity of animals/nature would have poisons and toxins as part of its domain. Poison could reasonably be a domain of a deity of war and tactics.

kieza
2013-06-22, 01:10 AM
All...well, most...of the major religions in my setting have neutral gods. They also aren't totally anthropomorphic; only two of them have a defined gender, they generally aren't depicted in religious artwork, etc. They don't even have names, really, just titles, because one of the common aspects of religions is that speaking, hearing, seeing, or even knowing a god's name is either blasphemous or hazardous to one's health and sanity.

Deus Valiant: God of courage, determination, and sometimes self-sacrifice.
Deus Conquerant: God of strength, battle, leadership, and sometimes tyranny.
Deus Ending: God of endings, change, and destruction.
Deus Making: God of creation, crafts, art, and engineering.
Deus Knowing: God of knowledge, science, education, and sometimes magic.
Deus Radiant: God of truth, hope, and light.
Deus Veiled: God of lies, secrecy, and shadows.
Deus Judging: God of laws, justice, and civilization.
Deus Untamed: God of freedoms, travel, and wilderness.

The last two are a dichotomous pair of female deities, almost always worshipped together:
The Dark Maid: Goddess of death but not undead.
The Bright Lady: Goddess of life and healing.

All of these gods are unaligned, even the ones that might be generally perceived as good or evil; Deus Ending is a god of destruction, but in the sense that everything has to end sometime. Deus Radiant is a god of light and truth, but doesn't discriminate in regard to whose secrets are revealed. All of the gods have both good and evil worshippers; Deus Ending has worshippers who want to end the practice of slavery, and worshippers who want to watch the world burn. Deus Radiant is worshipped by muckraking journalists and malevolent spymasters alike, although the spymaster would probably also worship Deus Veiled.

That's another aspect of the setting's religion; the gods are part of a pantheon, and a lot of people devote themselves to a couple of gods, or worship the pantheon as a whole and pray to whichever one is appropriate to the situation. Most people worship the entire pantheon, and attend services at different temples for different holy days and festivals, or when they feel a need for a particular god's attention.

There are a ton more gods than the list above, but they're less popular. There's a god of agriculture, for example, but most of the countries in this setting are industrialized, so Deus Sowing is only really worshipped in rural areas, by farmers, or during the harvest festival. And then there are the "fringe gods" whose existence and divinity is debated. In one city, there's a temple to the god of bootmakers, but since his priesthood doesn't have any clerics or paladins in it, most people aren't convinced that Deus Well-Soled is actually out there. And there are a ton of small cults of Deus Revelling, the god of wine, drugs, and debauchery, but they all have different practices and holy texts, and most of them don't have clerics. Some do (their holy days are FUN!) so they're accepted as a legitimate religion, but the ones without divine casters get lumped in with the fringe god cults.

JusticeZero
2013-06-22, 10:26 AM
One setting I ran had its pantheon purely evil. Central tenet was that evil had destroyed the god that had created them that had any like of them at all and was victorious and now raining down the worst horrors they can manage. And things still aren't that bad so hallelujah. They had clerics not to empower and glorify their gods but to know how to placate and evade them, since they were generally Good, and all of their gods were flavors of Evil.

Mewtarthio
2013-06-22, 12:32 PM
Legend of the Five Rings and Exalted both have rather interesting animist divine cosmologies, though to call them "religions" might be pushing it in most cases, as the religions of both settings focus more on the philosophy of the soul and how to better it rather than the nature and power of divinity.

Exalted does have possibly the coolest Hell ever, though. It works like this: The world was created by the Primordials, beings so impossibly vast that each one is comprised of numerous souls, each one of which is itself comprised of numerous sub-souls. When the Exalted overthrew the Primordials, they turned the Primordial King inside-out, locked all the other Primordials inside him, then shoved the entire thing into the King's sister like a Titanic turducken.

Hell is now Malfeas, the Brass City that is the body of the King, surrounded by an infinite desert (Cecelyne, the sister of Malfeas) that stretches five days in all directions (that's right, "days." It doesn't matter how fast you travel, it always takes five days to cross Cecelyne). The souls and sub-souls of the fallen Primordials became powerful, unique demons, known as Third and Second Circle demons, respectively. The common demons, known as First Circle demons, are entities created by the Second Circle demons. Note that the demons aren't exactly evil; they're just alien and highly dangerous.

But, yeah, it's not entirely tied with religion (though you certainly can worship the Yozis if you wish--Heck, you could even honestly think it was wrong for them to be overthrown in the first place!). Still, "religion" does mean something entirely different in a world where the most popular religion involves an order of monks beating gods up until they agree to do what they say.

Eldan
2013-06-22, 02:17 PM
Another quite interesting Pantheon to turn to would be the Elder Scrolls divinities.

Not the Aedra. They are quite generic, I feel. At least in their portfolios. The Daedra.

TheThan
2013-06-22, 03:16 PM
In order for gods to make sense in a RPG universe, gods have to DO something. For example, a god of rain/storms/weather etc is in charge of making it rain. In these regards NPCs have to pray to that god for rain. Theyíre paying for rain (to water their crops etc) with their faith. Maybe the gods need that faith to live and therefore are happy to oblige. Maybe some other cosmic force is forcing them to do it, and the faithful donít need the prayers to keep powerful.
So what I suggest is simply deciding what sorts of gods a particular culture should have, and build them up from there.

Some pretty generic ones go as follows:

God of agriculture- makes sure things grow
God of the hearth and home- watches over homes, maybe also repels disease
God of war- protector of warriors; also provides strategy and even makes the blade of a warrior strike true.
God of the weather- makes it rain when villagers pray, staves off drought and other forms of bad weather.
God of travel- protects travelers and helps them reach their destination
God of the sea- watches over the creatures in the sea, protects the secrets of the sea, provides safe passage for seafaring people.

People need to pray to these gods because they control those forces people canít control.



I think my favorite deity I've created is a Goddess of Night and Darkness. It's a deity of night creatures, thieves, secrets, and apathy, and all that, but also the deity who is the best protection against these things. It's a deity that keeps people from being discovered in their hiding places, protects guards who are on watch at night, and keeps away nightmares. In public, it's considered a dark deity of which you don't speak in decent company, but many people secretly regard it very favorably for protecting them in their sleep.

I made something similar. A true neutral god of death, he takes souls to the afterlife, and watches over those that have died. He hates the undead and prevents them from being raised. Priests could be found taking care of cemeteries, graveyards mausoleums etc. The god is not someone you worship in polite company, but at the same time, the god provides great benefits to the living.

SiuiS
2013-06-23, 07:00 AM
In order for gods to make sense in a RPG universe, gods have to DO something. For example, a god of rain/storms/weather etc is in charge of making it rain. In these regards NPCs have to pray to that god for rain. Theyíre paying for rain (to water their crops etc) with their faith. Maybe the gods need that faith to live and therefore are happy to oblige. Maybe some other cosmic force is forcing them to do it, and the faithful donít need the prayers to keep powerful.

I always found that Terrible, honestly. Economics is a terrible and, frankly, modern and dissociated view of things. The gods do their thing for very normal, human reasons. Vanity, pride, empathy, hubris, vengeance, lust. The god of storms rains upon the land because rain follows his passage; he admires those who curse the downpour because they offend him by sayin. A Prince of The Heavens shouldn't tread near their precious garden/house/stream.

The god of war fights because she is insecure, and gives glory to those who most flatter her, preferably by sincerity since war is an honest pursuit, guileless but rules by the guile of others.

The god of death is a jerk. No one invokes him because he brings death! But he seeks people out because he is lonely, and priests in the region suffer because they always preach aroun death, and he is bitter.

All of this? Much better than "I enjoy the three motes per individual I get from a kingdom at the Fanatic level, it keeps me at DvR 7" or whatever people think comes out of Fairh Makes Divinity. The gods are relatable. They may be alien, sure, but there's always a heuristic pattern you can appeal to.

warty goblin
2013-06-23, 12:28 PM
I always found that Terrible, honestly. Economics is a terrible and, frankly, modern and dissociated view of things. The gods do their thing for very normal, human reasons. Vanity, pride, empathy, hubris, vengeance, lust. The god of storms rains upon the land because rain follows his passage; he admires those who curse the downpour because they offend him by sayin. A Prince of The Heavens shouldn't tread near their precious garden/house/stream.

It also leaves Ye Olde Creation Myth unresolved. What's the point of a decent pantheon without a creation myth?


More importantly, a non-economic view of matters keeps the universe in its proper order: Gods on top, everybody else...not so much.

Pokonic
2013-06-23, 01:30 PM
One personal favorite of mine is a CG sea goddess that could pass as a rather nasty Far Realm entity based on her cults behavior and garb. Deep-One look alikes lurking in the reefs and deep in the seas worship her, seaside cult's giving her tidings for good fishing in return for sacrifices, the works. There's even the occasional Kraken or Shoggoth wandering around in areas she's prominent in, and higher ranking servants of her tend to be, if not fishy, octopus-like if they were not already.

However, she's a god of the Oceans, Light, and Redemption. The cult's a relatively new one, and it's prime tenets revolve around redeeming evil acts and bringing prosperity to places that did not have it already. The "light" part of her domain is based on bioluminescence, and the deep-one look alikes are actually members of the religion that underwent a Dragonborn-like transformation to better suite there gods goals to "bring light to the deeps". Redeemed or even good Scrags, Tritons, sahagin, and even kuo-toa can be found living in relative peace in places where she's prominent, but merfolk and sea-elves tend to spurn her because of the oddity she presents regarding there own gods and the creatures that worship her.

Well, the tenticals probably don't help.

DMwithoutPC's
2013-06-23, 02:53 PM
I have one world in which the Universal Alignments and the gods are separate, and alignment is actually more important. Alignment determines your afterlives; the gods are just being trying to impose their will on the world. It is speculated that the gods came from the thoughts of men, and derive all their power from there. Anyhow these are my gods

The Stormking: the oldest god, the god of the wild. He is nearly mindless, a force of destruction and creation, the god of violence and of healing, vengeance and repentance. He is worshiped by farmers hoping for good crops, frightened children during a storm and a woman wanting vengeance on her cheating lover. Also because he leaps to extreme, his clergy really focusses on balance, and they build up what there godís wrath destroyed. (Some may say he is chaotic, because he often destroys without a clear reason, but others say he's the most lawful thing around, because he does not make any difference on origin, creed or power.)

The Sunmother: The second god, the goddess of community. The Sunmothers rays burst through the chaotic storms of the Stormking and enlightened the souls of men. In her light great cities were built, laws were created and people prospered. But not all people. If you are not part of the group, suck it. The Sunmother favours humans and elves blatantly, only partially accepting Halflings, dwarves and gnomes. Half-elves and half-orcs are viewed as an abomination and should therefore be destroyed. Planetouched races are viewed as an abomination and should therefore be destroyed. Arcane Spellcasters are viewed as an abomination and should therefore be destroyed, etc., etc., etc.
(Some say the Sunmother is evil because she excludes some from her group, but she has improved the life for many, bringing laws and protection form the dangers of the world)

The Rainbow Prince(ss): the third god, the god(dess) of sophistication. For years, the Stormking and the Sunmother waged war on one another. They diametrically opposed each other. The wilderness versus society, emotion versus logic, Psyche versus Nommos. But slowly, the Sunmother was winning and the Stormking withdrew into the corners of the world. An age of prosperity and happiness arrived for many. But the Stormking launched one massive assault and overpowered the Sunmother, and raped her. He then retreated again, satisfived with showing his superiority. From this union, the Rainbow Prince(ss) was born. The Sunmother could not stand the impurity of a bastard child, but she could not bring herself to kill it, as was her law on bastards. Instead, she razed him to adulthood and then sent her away. He then sought contact with her father, but found no satisfaction in his mindlessness. Instead he went to leave among the people themselves. She keeps switching bodies to do fun stuff with, or else trying to make people follow their urges, even if they are dangerous. He is the God of Emotions, of Hedonism of Vices and Virtues. In her very Nature the Rainbow Prince(ss) is conflicted and therefor, he left all morality behind and just focusses on fun. (One could say neutral because of total lack of moral or chaotic because of her capriciousness)

The Shade: The Fourth god, the, in an increasingly dangerous world, god of survival. The Shade is what the light of the Sunmother could not reach and unify. The Shade stands for the Individual. Do what is best for yourself, instead of listening to authority. When the evil of the world comes, governments cannot help you. You can only rely on yourself. His dogma is kind of like the Assassins credo: "Nothing is True, Everything is permitted" 1) never instantly believe something an authority figure tells you, think for yourself. 2) In the struggle that is life, every tool is acceptable. There is no evil magic, Vestiges are just another weapon, and make bargains with devils, but be careful how you word them. Within the Church of the Shade, there is a lot of discussion about whether the individualism extends to oneís family or ones 'group' (like a guild, a town or and adventuring party), but this part is open to oneís own interpretation.

SiuiS
2013-06-23, 03:03 PM
It also leaves Ye Olde Creation Myth unresolved. What's the point of a decent pantheon without a creation myth?

Who said without a creation myth?
Check Yoruba stuffs.

Bulhakov
2013-06-23, 03:32 PM
An interesting approach to religion was taken in one of my favorite Polish fantasy books. In the setting grey aurora-Borealis-like strands (in Polish called Szerń - loosely translated as The Grey-Black) are seen in the sky at all times over lands where intelligent beings live (humans, cats and vultures).

Anyone who gazes at the strands is immediately aware that it was these strands that created them, that their souls are tiny fragments of that giant strand in the sky. There is no typical religion or religious wars, as everyone is just aware of what created them, what they should give thanks or pray to and where they go after death (they rejoin the strand). Some philosophers speculate over how scary and brutal the world would be without the strands, if people did not know what happened after death, religions arose and led to religious wars.

Intelligent beings cannot wander too far away from lands over which the strands are seen, as they get progressively dumber and psychotic the further away they travel.

An new strand of a different color (silver-gold) has appeared over far away north, and alien/barbaric creatures appeared below it and currently wage an uneven war with the lands south (analogous to celtic tribes fighting the roman empire).