Friday, September 3, 2010

World of Avis: The Twelve Gods

The gods of Avis embody powerful forces constantly at work in the world. These gods are designed to allow players to "get" them, allowing for an easy transition into the fantasy of Avis. Who, even in the modern world has not heard of Mother Nature, or has a good idea of her character?
Avis, and the rules presented here are meant for the Labyrinth Lord Tabletop Role-Playing Game, but can be altered to fit other systems. The Labyrinth Lord game can be downloaded for free here, or purchased here.

Mother Nature
(Greater Deity)
Mother Nature is responsible for the changing of the seasons and for helping manage the day to day activities that occur in the natural world. It is her role to watch over nature and make sure it all runs smoothly. She appears as an attractive but mature woman with long hair that is often tied up in a bun, wears a long bell-bottomed dress, and carries a wand of some kind. She and Father Time are married, and can often be found together. Mother Nature prefers places of natural beauty and wonder rather than churches. The wealthy and city-born tend to cultivate parks and gardens dedicated to her. Clerics of Mother Nature typically dress more like gardeners than clergy, though some prefer gowns of natural colors. Worship of Mother Nature generally revolves around natural cycles, observing the changing of seasons as holidays.
All creatures that draw breath on Avis revere Mother Nature, from animals and elementals to great beasts and monsters. Animals and plant creatures such as Treants are often found in her company, and are amongst her closest friends. The Giants, particularly Hill and Stone Giants are amongst the most avid of her worshipers, constructing elaborate earthworks and obelisks in her honor. Some monstrous races, particularly evil dragons, orcs and goblin-kin, reject the worship of Mother Nature, seeing Mother Necessity as the true Nature (see Mother Necessity).
Symbol: Holly berries
Alignment: Neutral (Chaotic Neutral)
Cleric Alignment: Any
Favored Weapon: Quarterstaff

Father Time (Greater Deity)
Father Time is an extremely powerful entity who has power and control over time. It is his responsibility to make sure that time and events happen in the right order. He appears as an elderly man with a long gray beard, is dressed a long robe, and carries a farmers flail or a scythe. Father Time is a very busy person, and does not like to be disturbed without good cause. He and Mother Nature are a married couple. Father Time requires no churches or temples as he neither craves or needs worship. Still, a great many would have Times goodwill, and thus shrines and temples are built in his honor. Clerics of Father Time (known as Reapers) dress in black and are tasked with monitoring the passage of time and destiny.
A curious aspect of Father Time is that he begins each New Years Day as the infant Baby New Year, but quickly grows up until he is an elderly bearded man at the end of his year. At this point, he hands over his duties to the next Baby New Year. Celebration of the arrival of this infant is widespread amongst all races of Avis, with feasts, drinking and wild dances. Even normally hostile creatures might be found sharing good cheer or even a drink at this season, only to return to hostilities when the holiday has passed.
Symbol: Hourglass
Alignment: Neutral (Lawful Neutral)
Cleric Alignment: Any
Favored Weapon: Flail, heavy (farmers flail)

Sun Maiden (Intermediate Deity)
The Sun Woman is the goddess of the sun. She appears as a radiantly beautiful woman with a full figure and long golden hair. The Sun Woman adores beautiful things, particularly gold and diamonds. She is a generous but fickle deity who has little true understanding of mortals, often accidentally harming them with her gifts and affections. Sun Woman dwells in a vast palace of adamantine gold on the sun, where she holds court over a large number of celestials and other beings of light. Most of the male gods are infatuated with her, though none have yet dared pursue her for fear of her rejection. Because of this she is a lonely being, and adores any attention she receives. Temples to the Sun Woman are always beautifully made and adorned with gold and gems, with large and ornate windows. Her clerics wear garments of white and gold and are tasked with bringing light, wisdom and joy to the world and to oppose darkness and undeath whenever it is encountered.
Summertime is when most think of this goddess, when she is the strongest in the world. The Aubadian Empire, though now shrink to the Eastern Islands, has long favored the Sun Maiden and sought her favor. The Knights of Dawn are the most respected and wide-held knightly order dedicated to her, with members shunning the company of all women save their goddess.
Symbol: Golden disc or sun
Alignment: Neutral
Cleric Alignment: Lawful or Chaotic (no middle ground!)
Favored Weapon: Mace

Man in the Moon (Intermediate Deity)
The man in the moon is the deity of the moon, and lord over the realms of sleep. He appears as a pale older man or dwarf with scrawny arms and legs and an overlarge head. He often watches the mortal world and the realms of sleep, and has a particular affection for children. Father Time is his older brother with whom he is very close. The Man in the Moon dwells in a large observatory from which he looks down on the sleeping world. He has many daughters but only one son- The Spirit of Invention, from his wife Mother Necessity. Temples dedicated to the man in the moon are often lunar observatories or stone circles. Clerics of the Man in The Moon are tasked with watching over the affairs of the night and its creatures. The realm of dreams is always of concern to the priesthood, with a great many fey employed as special servants.
All night loving creatures revere the Man in The Moon, but especially good and neutral lycanthropes such as were-bears, whose revels in honor of the Man in the Moon are legendary. Elves and fairys all adore the Man in the Moon, holding monthly revels during the full moon. Such celebrations are wild affairs, full of music and dancing.
Symbol: Crescent moon
Alignment: Lawful (Chaotic Good)
Cleric Alignment: Lawful or Neutral
Favored Weapon: Morningstar

Old Man of The Sea (Intermediate Deity)
The Old Man of the Sea is the master of the waterways and the deep, known for his deceitful ways. He appears as a wild old man with glaring eyes and a long beard, sometimes dressed in simple but well-made attire but also known to go in rags or to appear as a Triton. He adores treasure of all kinds and demands tribute of such to safely cross his territory. Those who fail to please him may find themselves taken into his deep realm where their souls will fill his coffers instead. Temples to the Old Man of the Sea are always near the sea or a river leading to the sea and are typically built on the wreckage of a previous structure that was overwhelmed by the sea. The remnants of wrecked ships, sea-caves and similar structures are common temples to the Old Man of The Sea, though smaller “business shrines” are often located nearer to settlements. His clerics act as money changers and tight-fisted merchants and slavers, looking to make profit at any expense. A great many undead, intelligent and not, serve this deity.
Despite the cruel nature of this god, the church of the Old Man of The Sea is extremely ethical in regards to money, as long as the god gets his due. Letters of credit, allowing persons to deposit their valuables with a local church preceptory before embarking, received a document indicating the value of their deposit, then used that document upon arrival to retrieve their funds. This allows travelers some security for their wealth, and also contributes to the Old Mans coffers.
Symbol: Sea chest
Alignment: Chaotic (Lawful Evil)
Cleric Alignment: Chaotic or Neutral
Favored Weapon: Club (driftwood)

Mother Necessity (Intermediate Deity)
Mother Necessity is a powerful goddess who oversees the forces of change and (hopefully) renewal. Towards this end she promotes conflict and strife in the hopes of spurring people, nature and society to adapt and grow (or die and get out of the way). Mother Necessity appears as a proud and determined woman who is in turns warm, sexy, domineering and cruel with a sharp tongue and mind. She is married to the Man in the Moon and is the mother of The Spirit of Invention. Temples to Mother Necessity are small but well adorned and well staffed. Clerics appear as stern and serious scholars, politicians and teachers, often traveling into odd and dangerous locations or promoting economic and political change in places of power.
Monstrous races such as Trolls, Gnolls and Goblin-kin of all sorts adore this goddess, viewing her as the true Mother Nature. Such creatures are regularly used by the goddess to "test the nations," causing strife and war. These bestial followers of Mother Necessity realize their role in the world, and see it as a holy duty. Chaotic Dragons are the favored "children" of this goddess, and can often be found in her company. Worship of Mother Necessity more often than not involves sacrifice of living creatures, particularly intelligent ones. Children, particularly male children of a rivals are typically slain on cold alters of stone. Cannibalism is usually only practiced by monster races such as goblins and Trolls. Worship of this goddess is outlawed in most regions.
Symbol: Oroboros (life and dissolution)
Alignment: Chaotic (Chaotic Evil)
Cleric Alignment: Neutral or Chaotic
Favored Weapon: Flail, light

Dame Justice (Lesser Deity)
This potent deity is the goddess of justice and liberty, constantly looking for wrongs to fight injustice and avenge the downtrodden. Dame Justice appears as an attractive woman wielding a sword and wearing a blindfold. She takes an interest in all levels of law, but prefers the big cases, hunting murderers and rapists with a grim determination that is a terror to wrongdoers everywhere. Temples of justice are courts of law prisons and police stations, though she also acknowledges righteous gatherings of militia and similar rural groups. Clerics of justice work as judges, sheriffs and guardsman, pursuing evildoers and exacting justice, even in lawless lands.
Though law and justice is desired by most people, Dame Justice and her acolytes make people uncomfortable. Even the very good have something in their past that they aren't proud of, and the presence of a cleric of Dame Justice can make a person feel the weight of their sin all too distinctly. Because of this, those who follow this goddess must try to be self-sufficient and to aid others of their order, as they are unlikely to find folk to put them up. Fighters dedicated to Dame Justice are called Paladins, and are amongst the greatest and most virtuous warriors, seeking to right wrongs and oppose the wicked. Sadly, most such souls die quite young, but this is not always the case.
Symbol: Scales
Alignment: Lawful (Lawful Good)
Cleric Alignment: Lawful
Favored Weapon: Mace

Spirit of Invention (Lesser Deity)
An energetic and scatterbrained deity, Invention is the force of raw creativity and inventive genius. He appears as a rumpled dwarf in workman’s clothing and wearing a tool belt. He is constantly working on some project or another. He interacts with few gods, even avoiding his parents, Mother Necessity and the Man in the Moon whenever possibly. He prefers the company of constructs, dwarves and gnomes. There are no temples dedicated to the Spirit of Invention, rather his shrines are workshops and his altars are workbenches. Clerics of Invention are all craftsmen and seem more like madmen to most folks. Religious observances revolve around invention and craftsmanship.
The Spirit of Invention teaches on the importance of creativity in invention, and the willingness to take risks. His acolytes are those who push the boundaries of engineering to create marvelous and useful devices such as musical instruments, block-and-tackle pulley systems, hydraulic pumps, elaborate siege engines, reversible crank mechanisms, and many others. Some even more elaborate devices such as ship shakers and steam cannons can be made by the truly inventive.
Symbol: Cog
Alignment: Neutral (Chaotic Neutral)
Cleric Alignment: Any
Favored Weapon: Hammer, light

North Wind (Lesser Deity)
The North Wind is an aggressive being of frost and winter winds. This deity is ferocious, looking to blow his way into homes under doors, through thatch and into bodies and souls chilling all as he goes. He appears as a ferocious man with a wild thick beard and cruel eyes. He loathes warmth and comfort, and can only be held at bay with extreme precautions and sacrifice. The North Wind is known to spend time with the Old Man of the Sea and the East Wind. Temples to the North Wind are always grim, cold affairs with few amenities such as rime coated caves or up on lonely cliffs. Clerics of the North Wind are grim-faced men and women who dress more like barbarian chieftains than priests, with fur and animal hide covering them. These clerics are charged with spreading a healthy dread of the winter.
Though this god is considered cruel by many in the North, he is also known to be surprisingly generous. Mid-Winter festivals depict the North Wind as Father Winter, a laughing bearded being who brings presents to good children. Woe unto children who are wicked when this spirit is about, as he has been known to carry off such wee ones to an icy death in the northern wilds. Most times this role is conducted by clerics of The North Wind, who give small gifts of carved toys, snowshoes and mittens.
Symbol: Icicle or Snowflake
Alignment: Chaotic (Chaotic Neutral)
Cleric Alignment: Neutral of Chaotic
Favored Weapon: Hammer, War

South Wind (Lesser Deity)
A fickle and energetic deity, the South Wind is the god of summer storms. Though he can be beneficial with his cooling and watering rains, he is notorious for hailstorms that flatten crops. The South Wind appears as a young, winged man with long hair and wearing flowing robes. He is a fun loving deity who adores the company of attractive persons of either sex. Temples to the South Wind are usually small roofed shrines along roads. Such shrines function more like way-stops for travelers, often with an inn or other eatery close-by. Large shrines are themselves inns, offering shelter and sustenance to those traveling the world.
Mid-Summer is the time of the South Wind, when the first and greatest planting is in the soil and growing and the herds growing fat. It is at this time when great lords and peasant alike celebrate the Sun Maiden, Mother Nature and the South Wind are celebrated with bonfires and dances. Only cultures that plant and cultivate their food take part in Mid-Summer festivals, with raiders and monster such as orcs, pirates and trolls choosing to prey upon other civilizations for their sustenance. Such peoples and creatures typically prefer the treacherous East Wind. Other times of the year the South Wind is revered in hopes of warmer currents, but he is known to be fickle.
Symbol: Hurricane or Tornado
Alignment: Neutral (Chaotic Neutral)
Cleric Alignment: Chaotic or Neutral
Favored Weapon: Sling

East Wind (Lesser Deity)
The East Wind is an trickster spirit, generally associated with bad luck and thieves. The East Wind appears as a strongly built, winged man with a thick dark beard and wearing flowing robes. He is a wild deity who is rarely in any place for very long. The East Wind loves all offerings of gold, gems and especially gossip. Temples to the East Wind are always hidden in out of the way places, down back alleys, or in the wilderness. Such places serve the Clerical needs of bandits, smugglers and assorted thieves and monsters. Clerics of the East Wind are shifty, intelligent folk with a love of theft and a hatred of hard work.
Harvest time is both a time of celebration, and a dread of the coming winter. All over Avis, though particularly in the North, peoples have brought in their last harvest and have slaughtered all their livestock save for the breeders, and with all of the blood from such harvest, a great many fine dishes are made such as blood pudding and sausages. And so many feasts and celebrations in honor of the East Wind and the Man in The Moon are held as people prepare for the long dark grip of winter. Light-hating creatures such as goblins, undead and trolls are known to be particularly active at this time, as the hated sun is often hidden by clouds, and the nights are long. These beings hold wild parties in the wilderness, where humankind dare not venture.
Symbol: Dark cloud
Alignment: Neutral (Neutral Evil)
Cleric Alignment: Neutral or Chaotic
Favored Weapon: Club (sap)

West Wind (Lesser Deity)
The West Wind is the god of spring bloom and growing crops, a welcome being in any port. The West Wind loves sex, growth and growing things, often flirting with farmers daughters by blowing up their skirts and spying on them from the treetops. The West Wind appears as a handsome, winged young man with long hair and a permanent glint in his eye. He is flirtatious with attractive persons of all races and genders, though fertile females are of particular interest. Temples of the West Wind are small shrines or altars in wild fields or cliff-sides. Such locations are chosen for outdoor revels, with all participants bringing food and drink as offerings. Clerics of the West Wind are travelers who dress simply known for their skill in music and storytelling.
The great Festival of Spring is a holiday celebrated all over Avis, though nowhere as much as in the coastal areas of the Northern Continent, where the long winters make for a deep hunger for spring. When the first crop is sewn, all the farming peoples hold elaborate parties celebrating spring and honoring Mother Nature and the West Wind.
Symbol: Sheaf of wheat
Alignment: Neutral (Chaotic Good)
Cleric Alignment: Lawful or Neutral
Favored Weapon: Sling

Religion and Non-Humans
Though only the humans of Avis can take levels in the Cleric class, that does not mean that other races do not revere the gods. Rather it is that the other races have a different view of them, and serve them in other ways.
Dwarves: The Dwarves of Avis revere the gods with a solid dedication to family, honesty and hard work, seeing these things as holy in and of themselves. Of the gods, dwarves prefer Father Time, Dame Justice and The Spirit of Invention above all others. What passes for priests amongst dwarves are NPC Blacksmiths, Engineers and Sages (see LL Rulebook page 48). Such specialists keep the sacred lore of the Dwarves, and are central to the community.
Elves: The elves do indeed revere the gods, though they prefer to interact with them directly or with with arcane magic. On holy days or during celebrations, elaborate ceremonies dedicated to one or another god are enacted by the elves, hoping for the god in question to attend or send an emissary. Mother Nature and the Man in The Moon are the most revered by the elves, though all are revered in one way or another.
Halflings: Halflings prefer hard work to worship in temples, though they are known to leave offerings to Mother Nature or South and West Wind. Storytellers take the place of cleric amongst halflings, passing down tales of heroes and gods and keeping old traditions alive.
Other Races: Races such as centaurs, goblins, were-creatures, orcs, giants (including ogres and trolls), neanderthals, morlocks, lizardmen, troglodytes etc all worship the gods in their own ways but do not have true clerics. These races produce their own holy men and women (often via vision quests or other initiations), whose devotion to their gods has granted them a small dispensation of power.
Such "Witch Doctors" are created the same as standard members of their race, though often of higher than 1HD. All such "priests" gain the ability to brew potions as an Alchemist (page 47 LL rulebook) and gain one or more Dispensations from their master, roll Roll randomly to determine the nature of this power:

Roll d00
01-10 Animal Command (as a ring of animal command)
11-20 Commune (As the cleric spell)
21-25 Remove/Bestow Curse (As the cleric spell)
26-35 Animate Dead (As the cleric spell)
36-40 Cure/Cause Disease (As the cleric spell)
41-45 Lightning Bolt (As the magic-user spell)
46-50 Speak to Plants (As the cleric spell)
51-57 Insect Plague (As the cleric spell)
58-67 Climbing (As a potion of climbing)
68-77 Control Weather (As the cleric spell)
78-86 Polymorph Self (As the magic user spell)
87-96 True Seeing (As the cleric spell)
97-99 Roll twice
00 Roll three times


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I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light
-- Henry Vaughan