Alia_Religion and Divine Magic
Outsiders, Gods and the Supernatural
The gods do not walk the earth in Alia. Nobody knows for certain the nature of the universe, although many religious groups claim to know the answers.
Good and evil exist, but are not magically detectable or protected against. Characters should not choose an alignment.
Outsiders do exist. All of them are alien in psychology, language and motivation. Most have very abstract goals, representing ideals and concepts rather than anything humanistic. They are forces of nature, elemental icons, or avatars of a cause, idea or place. They manifest as spirits, or demons, or angels.
Ghosts and Undead do exist. The seem to be caused by one of two things: the souls of the dead that remain on this world, spirits that possess and animate the empty bodies left behind, and/or bodies or skeletons reanimated by magic. Many undead are not particularly evil, they are instead motivated by a desire to complete an important task in this world (admittedly often revenge), or are mindless tools of a controlling magical force.
Planes of Existence
The ethereal plane touches and overlaps all other planes. It is the spirit world, and many believe the gateway to the afterlife. Ghosts, spirits and anything that is intangible exists in the ethereal. The 4th edition concepts of the Feywild and the Shadowfell are both aspects of Alia’s Ethereal Plane.
Where the ethereal plane overlaps and touches all other planes as a mirrored reflection of reality, the Astral Plane is a plane of connections and gateways outside of reality which allows for travel between different locations and planes of existence.
Some Outsiders come from other planes of existence. These planes are not the afterlife but stange and alien worlds. The worlds of Celestus, Infernus, and Tartarus are ancient worlds whose inhabitants have risen to great power over the millenia. They are home to Celestials, Infernals and Demons who war constantly amongst each other for dominance over the multiverse.
Celestus is a world of endless sea and mountainous islands. Celestials have evolved into a society governed by tradition and ceremony but without formal leadership or rank. Celestus has been at peace with itself for millenia but constantly wars against Infernus and Tartarus.
Celestials value personal honor above all else. They each strive constantly to show themselves to be powerful, skilled and honorable to gain status in their society.
Infernals come from Infernus, a world dominated by vast mountain ranges and plains. Infernus is a constantly warring society. It is a single empire divided into nine kingdoms that compete amongst themselves for supremacy. Each kingdom is divided into nine principalities that also compete amongst themselves for Kingship (and so on… down to individuals in a clan competing for clan leadership). It is a society of endless betrayal, secret alliances and open war. When infernals aren’t scheming amongst themselves with their huge armies for status and power, they war and across the planes against Celestials and Demons.
Infernals value power above all else. The strong, the powerful and the ruthless rule.
Tartarus is a ruined world, broken by endless confrontations between the powerful Demons that live there. It is a world of darkness, lava flows, and immense arcane power. Demons have no society or tradition beyond the dominance of the strong over the weak. Powerful Demon Lords enslave those who are weaker to do their bidding, but otherwise little rhyme or reason is seen in thier actions other than a constant dispute over the immense resources of the terrible Tartarus landscape. Demons feed on magical energy and even though their home world is rich beyond belief in magic, they often seek easier sustenance on other planes of existence, raiding Celestus and Infernus for their own ancient magical resources.
Religion in Alea
Monotheistic (Golanist) Religions
The major religion of the northern civilized peoples is that of the Order of Man or Church of Man. They are a growth from an older (less morally rigid) religion called Golanism. Golanists are tolerated within most civilized lands if not embraced by the Church or Order.
The basic theology of golanism is that:
- There is only one god, who created the world and all in it
- All creatures have a soul
- God sees all but does not take action on the earth
- When a creature dies God judges their lives and either: casts them back into the world as a spirit, or re-incarnates them, or brings them into the eternal reward of heaven
- To make it into heaven one must strive to uplift all life.
- There is a hierarchy of life. Lower life forms are reincarnated as higher life forms once they have attained the lessons they are meant to learn. It is thought that intelligence and wisdom are the ultimate goal. Dragons are revered as the highest form.
- No creature is ever re-incarnated as a lower form of life. If they fail, they remain as they are or if they have failed many times the souls remain as spirits without form.
- Spirits may be incarnated into a living creature if they learn the lessons of their state.
Golanists are often vegetarian, revering all forms of advanced life. Most will eat fish, some birds. Mammals are mostly not eaten – the larger and smarter the animal, the less likely they will eat it. Though necessity and hunger overrides this tendency. Their morality is one of moderation, they have a hierarchy of morals – chief among them is preservation of life including their own – and it’s understood that of necessity it is sometimes one must “choose the lesser evil”.
They do not proselytize, but will discuss their philosophy with anyone who has an interest. They respect the educated and the wise among them and amongst other cultures. Their charity often goes towards schools and educational centers as well as to support their religious orders.
Order and Church of Man
The Order of Man and the Church of Man subscribe to the basic belief in re-incarnation, but believe that Humankind are the ultimate pinnacle of life. They say that Narek the Prophet was sent by God, to save Humanity and bring them the message that humans are the pinnacle of creation. They classify magical intelligent beasts as “demons”. They believe in a hell, where unworthy human souls are cast if they fail. The Order and Church of Man believes that humans only live one life and then their souls are finally judged.
The Church of Man differs from the order on several minor points, but the major schism is that the Church of Man believes that Narek was God, walking the earth, whereas the Order believes that Narek was a human with an pristine soul that God chose to enlighten humanity.
The Church and Order are basically identical in morality. They believe that all life was put on the earth for the benefit of humankind. The are not vegetarian like Golanists are and see such a practice as ridiculous. Humans rightful place is above all others in their hierarchy. And within the race of humans they also assert a hierarchy based on class and birth. With royalty above the nobility above the non-noble upper class, above the middle and lower class. They believe that non-human humanoids are inferior to humans. The most respected elf or dwarf other non-human is seen as below the lowest working class human, at least as far as spiritual development is concerned.
Slavery is outlawed in the Republic of the Isles, but widely practiced in the Empire of Rhode. (Acceptance of slavery is broadly coincidental to the Order/Church schism, but based culturally rather than in church doctrine). Many dwarves, halflings and gnomes from the south have fled to the north, elves from the southlands have mainly stayed, successfully fighting off, slave raids on their forests. Half-orcs in the south have been largely subjugated and taught the Chruch of Man philosophy and mostly accept their place in life a slaves to humans.
In their hierarchy of sins, the Church and Order place the life of Humans as first and foremost. Captial punishment however is accepted as a necessity, and as humans often do, there is much killing in wars. All this is excused as fighting for the will of god.
The Church and Order do proselytize and commit a large effort of bringing the word of Narek to those who have not accepted it. Pagan, elemental and nature worship are outlawed in the Empire of Rhodes and many preachers are sent to remote communities to try to bring them into the fold. The Order of Man is the official religion of the north, the Church of Man in the South.
Pre-golan, the dominant religion was belief in the four siblings, Umos the god of earth, Wikri the god of fire, Enosa the god of water and Freda the god of air, who together created the world. In particular orcs and goblinoids believe that they are descended from Wikri the god of fire, and that their duty is to act like the flame of the earth and consume all in a blaze of glory. Many humanoid and giantish races also subscribe to this pantheon.
In this religion, the races are descended and/or created by the gods.
- Orcs and goblinoids – Wikri, fire
- Elves and gnomes – Freda, air
- Giants and dwarves – Umos, earth
- Humans and halflings – Enosa, water
Spirit and Nature Worship
Rural humans and many non-humans practice spirit worship. They do not acknowledge a creator – or they admit ignorance to the creation of the universe but do worship the spirits of their ancestors and the spirits of nature. (This is basically equivalent to atheism – since spirits are observable in Alia.) Most notably, Dragons often follow this belief – they are amused and tolerant with golanist worshipers… usually.
Common Worship by Race/Culture
Orc/Goblinoid Humans of Estvald Rural Humans Republic Elves Rock Gnomes Giants Dwarves
Church of Man
Rhode (All Urban)
Order of Man
Spirit and Ancestor Worship
Wood Elves Wood Gnomes Dragons
Halflings Deep Gnomes
Nature of Divine Magic
Where does divine magic come from? Everyone has a different story.
Golanists, Order and Church believe it comes from God, the creator. Church of Man believe that evil divine magic comes from demons in hell. Order and Golanists believe that evil divine magic is a corruption and misuse of a gift from god.
Elementalists believe that it comes from their patron god.
Spirit/Nature Worshipers see Divine magic as just another form of magic. Where arcane magic is harnessing the power of the universe through mental discipline, divine magic is another approach where casters surrender to the flow of magic through nature and work with the universe instead of struggling against it. Beneficial Divine magic is seen as the magic of life and in harmony with nature where Destructive Divine magic is seen as the magic of Death and the magic of the spirit world.
Clerics and other Divine spell casters do not get their spells as granted powers from their god, but are casters of magic in their own right.
They may make any class and or feat choices as suit them. Also a loss or change in their faith does not lead to a loss of spell access or divine abilities. There are no alignment restrictions on spells.