"The Pagan Gods of Arcanum" is a book by Aldous T. Buxington III.
THE PAGAN GODS OF ARCANUM
By Aldous T. Buxington III
The following is a brief description of the pagan religious figures of Arcanum. Most, with a few exceptions, have been forgotten and lost to antiquity. It is this author's experience that the old gods do indeed have power, and are not at all to be disavowed.
THE LESSER GODS Edit
There is a Lesser God for every race in Arcanum. I have classified them into three categories; The Noble Lesser Gods, the Neutral Lesser Gods, and the Darker Lesser Gods.
THE NOBLE LESSER GODS... Edit
TER'EL, the Elven God of Wisdom Edit
Before the advent of existentialism, the elven people were mostly mystics who worshipped Natural deities. The most powerful of those deities was Ter'el, god of the Trees, who later came to embody Wisdom. Ter'el was both blind and mute, and could only speak through the wind or the rain. Offerings to Ter'el were the small wooden statues known as Li'tani, or Houses-of-the-Soul. Such idols, carved once a year by elven shamans, were said to hold the spiritual essence of the owner. Every year the Li'tani were offered to Ter'el and then burned.
Offerings of the Li'tani to Ter'el were believed to increase both intelligence and insight.
GESHTIANNA, Human Goddess of Love Edit
Gehstianna has been a central figure in human Paganism for as long as their history has been recorded. Human mythology claims that Geshtianna was once a mortal woman who was so beautiful that she was made into a god by the moon and the sun. Humans believed that Geshtianna would smile down upon them at twilight, and that her love was manifested in the springtime. The festivals to the goddess were a time of celebration, wrought with music and drink, as well as various rites of physicality and fertility.
Offerings at the altars of Geshtianna were usually Passion Root, which was believed to bring the giver increased beauty and charisma.
THE NEUTRAL LESSER GODS... Edit
ALBERICH, Stone God of the dwarves Edit
The ancient god Alberich has always weighed heavily in dwarven lore. According to the oldest dwarven myths, it is upon the spine of Alberich upon which Arcanum rests, and the dwarves are his first children who are privileged to live within him. Alberich is the most of ancient of things, and loves those who are slow to anger, deep of thought and hardworking.
To the altars of Alberich, dwarves bring chunks of lava rock. To them it represents his anger, which can be terrible, but which is cool and light when all is well with his children. Dwarves believe these offerings bring them increased strength.
MAKAAL, the Bedokaan God of the Hunt Edit
Very little is known of the lizard-like, nomadic Bedokaan. The following is an excerpt from "Fauna and Specie of the Darke Fens", by the famous gnomish explorer, Sir Warren Purrington:
"...they have language, and the most elementary beginnings of culture, but besides that seem altogether wild and ferocious. Their simple religion revolves around deities they call the Snake-fathers, one of whom is a being named Makaal, the god of the Hunt. Before their daily outings to find food, Bedokaan warriors kneel before the altar of Makaal, and offer small pieces of something they call Heartstone, which looks to be some form of rough diamond or crystal. Where they get them, I've yet to ascertain.
Bedokaan warriors believe that the offerings to Makaal give them speed when hunting their prey. Truly, these are a primitive people."
One-armed BOLO, the Halfing God of Thieves Edit
One of the most important halfling deities was Bolo, the one-armed god of Thieves. Bolo was known for his cunning ways, and his love of all things precious and beautiful. Legend tells that Progo, the halfling god of the Storm, cut off Bolo's arm, because Bolo had stolen his shadow. In retaliation, Bolo stole Progo's soul, and tore it in half. Progo promptly dropped dead.
Halfings used to offer rings at the altars of Bolo. Rings reminded them of them of the price that Bolo paid for his carelessness, as well as the skill he still possessed in his remaining hand.
Thieves who make offerings believe that Bolo helps them to move more quietly, and helps them to open locks more skillfully.
KERLIN, the Golden God of the Gnomes Edit
Gnomish history is well-guarded, as are their most ancient beliefs and traditions. But a visit to any gnomish household will reveal at least one of their religious traditions...one will invariably find a golden statuette, or likeness thereof, of Kerlin, the Golden God. Kerlin was the oldest of the gnomish pantheon, and all other gods were sprung directly from the palms of his hand. He sung the world into existence, and the sound solidified into great veins of gold and silver.
Kerlin wanted only the coins that were made of his words, and so gnomish offerings were always of money.
Gnomes believed that the offerings brought them luck in games of chance, as well as a shrewder eye in business dealings.
THE DARKER LESSER GODS... Edit
SHAKAR, the Orcish God of War... Edit
Shakar, the orcish god of War, was a frightening creature, with the head of a ram, four arms, and the tail of a scorpion. For many years orcs sacrificed their first born to Shakar, but orcish lore says that Shakar changed his mind about the sacrifices when he saw that the orcs were truly warlike and then demanded only their finest weapons as offerings. Traditionally, these were bone-handled knives and swords...bone to represent Shakar's great horns, and tempered steel to represent his will. The Orcs were very serious about their god, and they carried such weapons to remind them of his ferocity. It is said that some of the lesser barbarian tribes have taken to worshipping Shakar. It is rumored that an altar to the god still exists in the ruins of Kree, an ancient city in the southeastern region of the Morbihan Plains.
Offerings made to the Shakar were said to imbue the giver with unnatural willpower and prowess in battle.
TORG, God of the Ogre Heart Edit
Ogre lore tells that Torg was the father of many children, and that long ago there were many gods to rule over the ogrish people. As time passed, Torg saw that his children had forgotten what it meant to be ogrish, and slew them all. From the bodies of his children he pulled their still beating hearts and ate them, bringing into himself all the best parts of them, and threw the rest into the sea.
To the altars of Torg the ogres bring rubies, a symbol of the fierce heart within their god. They believe these offerings bring them increased vitality and strength of body.
THE GREATER GODS... Edit
The Greater Gods are classified so because they are cross-cultural. All of the races worshipped them in some form or another.
HALCYON, the God of Truth... Edit
All of the pagan religions had a notion of ultimate good, and the god Halcyon represented that good in all of them. He is best known as the god of truth, and is the child of Helion, god of light, and the sun. Halcyon was said to shed light on all that was unknown, all that was petty or evil. An order of Halcyon priests still exists in Vooriden, a small village in the southwestern region of the Morbihan Plains,
Offerings made to Halcyon were always the branch of the olive tree, which are most difficult to find in light of the destruction of the Morbihan Forest. What was expected of the offering was unknown.
MOORINDAL, the God of Shadow... Edit
Evil is an integral part in any religion. Moorindal, the God of Shadow, is represented in one way or another in all of Arcanum's pagan religions. Moorindal is the bastard son of the moon and the Helion, the God of Light. Patricide is always associated with Moorindal, as legend tells that once Helion ruled over both the day and the night, but that Moorindal killed him so that the night could be his and his mother's. So the night became the kingdom of Moorindal, as did the winter months.
There were many secret cults and religions that worshipped Moorindal, but we know little about their practices and perhaps that is for the best. We do know that they used the black diamonds from the Bangellian Deeps as offerings to their dark god. It represented loss of innocence, the triumph of the shadow. What it was expected to do, we don't know.
KAI'TAN, The Goddess of Balance... Edit
Kai'tan is the daughter of the moon and the sun, and so is the half-sister to both Halcyon and Moorindal. Kai-tan is a trickster, a cunning goddess who is forever playoing tricks on her two more emotional half-brothers, setting them against one another, and laughing when they blame the other for their problems. As it was she was worshipped by thieves and actors, but Kai'tan was also the goddess of Judges and they would pray to her for guidance and discernment in all decisions, as well as her cunning when dealing with enemies. It was said that Kai-tan knew all things, as well as their value. She was always smiling because most things were worth nothing at all.
Worhsippers of Kai'tan offered to her the geode, which represented both the beautiful and the evil in the world. What was expected of the offering was unknown.
VELORIEN, The All-Father... Edit
Of all the pagan gods, the least is known about Velorien, or the All-Father. References to him are few and far between, but all of the religions speak of a deity who watches over all, and from whom all was created. There are only two known passages that refer to the All-Father by name, and both are from "The Book of the Twelve Powers", written by Mazzerin, the Elven Mystic, almost 3000 years ago. The second will be discussed later. The first says:
"...and the City of Wonders made great offerings to the All-Father, and he blessed them, and gave them power, and they made things never seen before by the eyes of man..."
If there were offerings made to Velorien, it is unknown what they were, or what was expected of him if the offering was made.
MAZZERIN, The Elven Mystic: An Excerpt from his "Book of the Twelve Powers." Edit
"..and the twelve powers, they are woven together, flowing inward. The road to truth starts with wisdom, but shadow first finds purchase in the heart. The road between them is marked with stones.
And the gods, they are jealous gods and often despise one another. Greed is spit upon by love without the protection of the shadow, and this serves as a reflection of the whole.
Be steadfast. Four powers and then a fifth. Three fives and then the one. And glory to he who gains the blessing of the All-father, who will become as a god himself..."
The meaning of this passage is unknown, but it would seem that Mazzerin believed that the all of the pagan gods were somehow intertwined. Very little research has been done concerning these supposed relationships.
I am often asked whether or not I have my own religious beliefs. I will say only this; I've studied the old gods extensively, visited their temples, even made offerings at certain altars where they are still intact. From what I've seen, I can with all verity say that these ancient beliefs are not to be trifled with. Tread lightly among them.