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Mythos & Religion

Mythology

Creation Myths

Circe’s Telling

Long ago, before any of this. Before the great empire, before the wonder of the first age. Before now and then, before here and there. Before the stars, the sun, before anything; there was the empty. The great nothing. In this time before there was only one being. In the tongue of the old empire they called it Primus Dei; the first God. We simply call it The One.
In the way back, the One was quiet. A child at sleep. But the One did not sleep forever. The empty began to fill around it and as stars flared to life the One began to awaken.
And in its wakefulness the One grew bored. Bored and powerful.
The One began to create and make. It made to allay its boredom.
First it made the Ayr. The Ten; Caelestes in the old tongue. And the One enjoyed its creations; it teased and tormented, tortured and twisted them. It made War and Art, Sex and and Heart. It made Memory and Justice, Hierarchy and Rage. It even twisted the empty into something; the Outsider. But its greatest creation was the Tenth; the Voice.
After a time the One grew bored and set its toys to work.
So the Ten created the world, and with it the One’s favoured plaything; humanity.
For a long age the One reveled in the torment of humanity. But not humanity as we are. Back then we were lumpen clay, dumb and bestial.
Boredom set in again and the One turned to the Ten who set to work, refining humanity. They imbued us with a piece of themselves; sex, heart, memory, justice, war, art, rage, hierarchy, emptiness and finally voice.
The One celebrated its newest, finest toys. It crafted terrible monsters and plagues and demanded our tribute.
And the Ten watched, for at least it wasn’t them.
But in time even the Ten knew that this would not last. The One would always grow bored and always seek new entertainments. So the Voice did what it had been made to do; it spoke. It spoke to the Ten and to the Humanity and it rallied all against the One and its viciousness. The voice gave the Lingua to humanity and by the combined power of man and Ayr The One was shattered into many. Some say that victory was not at all assured; that victory came only because the One erred; that the One had invested too much in its creations.
Whatever the case, the vicissitudes of the One were at an end and the golden age of humanity had begun.

The Short Version

Nothing begat something.
Something begat the One who begat the Ten.
The Ten begat humanity and the world and all the things in it, all for the entertainment of the One.
The One was cruel, finding his pleasure in human suffering.
The Ten rose, under the guidance of the Last and down came the One.
But humanity still suffered, from the remnants of the One and the cruelest of the Ten.
So clever humans convinced the Last of Ten and its sympathetic brethren to teach them the words that formed the world.
Humanity was gifted the power to bind and dispel the Ten.
Humanity rose to dominance, building a grand empire, united under the power of the making words, the lingua, the tongue of the gods.
And that empire fell to vice and war, and the madness brought on by abusing the words.

The Ayr

The gods of Aeldos are many and diverse. The gods are referred in a variety of terms including; the Ayr; the Deva; Caelestes; Divines; Ancients; or Spirits. The guide below includes the most common and recognizable…

 AyrStatues

Deities and Devotion

The Artisan

Other Names: OMO, Manu, The Craftsmen
Primary places of worship: Nehep, Svertheim, Selene, Victra
Aspects: Inspiration, Crafting, Creation

  • Those who swear to the Artisan are swearing to craft and create.
  • The pact requires pursuit of excellence in creation and the sworn are rewarded with the ability to make exceptional artefacts.
  • Craftsworn are cautioned against the destruction of great works and can suffer physical illness and pain if they permit or participate in such acts.
  • Craftsworn are forbidden from destroying the Artisans Icons

The Warrior

Other Names: OTO, Ferum, Ensis, Gladius, Bellator
Primary places of worship: Vandar, Svertheim
Aspects: Conflict, Struggle, War

  • Those who swear to the Warrior are swearing to the art of war and combat.
  • The pact requires the pursuit of excellence in battle and conflict.
  • Warsworn are cautioned against cowardice and acts of butchery.
  • Warsworn are forbidden from killing those who are unable to defend themselves or those who have capitulated honestly.

The Caretaker

Other Names: OXO, Animulus, The Empath, Custodian
Primary places of worship: Lux
Aspects: Emotion, Love, Devotion

  • Those who swear to the Custodian are swearing to the stewardship of Aeldos and its creatures and the maintenance of the natural equilibrium,
  • The pact requires the pursuit of balance between humanity and the Ayrcrafted wilds. That means the elimination of manmade monsters and threats such as the creeping sands.
  • Caresworn are cautioned against disturbing the balance; this means acts of greed such as over-harvesting of resources or game or unthinking damage to the environment. They are also cautioned against causing suffering, and must reduce the suffering of others when possible.
  • Caresworn are forbidden from killing Ayrborn and Ayrcrafted creatures

The Scourge

Other Names: AXA, Iram, Furor
Primary places of worship: The Wild
Aspects: Rage, Destruction

  • Those damaged few who swear to the Scourge are swearing to the cause of unceasing carnage. They might as well swear fealty to the hurricane or wildfire.
  • The pact demands nothing less than the pursuit of destruction in all its forms. Tearing down all things man or Ayr-made.
  • Scourgesworn are cautioned against acts of mercy
  • Scourgesworn are forbidden from possession and ownership.

The Tyrant

Other Names: AMA, Opes, Imperius, Sceptrum, Ditio, The Prince
Primary places of worship: Granden
Aspects: Hierarchy, Power

  • Those who swear to the Tyrant (or Prince as many prefer) are swearing to the cause of power, hierarchy, and the accumulation of dominion.
  • The pact requires the pursuit of ever higher levels of control and sway over others. Political, military, criminal, and social power.
  • Tyrantsworn are neither cautioned nor forbidden anything in the pursuit of power. The only proscription against Tyrantsworn is the abandonment of power or dissolution and low ambitions.

The Deviant

Other Names: AIA, Verpa, Cunnus, Lust, Libertine
Primary places of worship: Subin
Aspects: Lust, Sex, Pleasure

  • Those who swear to the Libertine are swearing to the cause of absolute personal liberty, particularly in regards to pleasure, pain, indulgence and excess.
  • The pact requires the pursuit of indulgence, pleasure, and novelty of experience.
  • Pleasuresworn are cautioned against…
  • Nothing is forbidden in the pursuit of experience

The Outsider

Other Names: IVI, Advena, Peregrinus, Hospes, the Stranger
Primary places of worship: Selene, Mujin
Aspects: Emptiness
IVI the Outsider

  • Those who swear to the Outsider are swearing to mystery; its creation and its dispersion.
  • The pact requires the pursuit of mysteries, revelation, and questioning. It also requires personal excellence in all endeavours and courtesy and “proper” action.
  • Voidsworn are cautioned against discourtesy, particularly to strangers. They are also cautioned against solopsism and self-absorption.
  • Voidsworn are forbidden from harming the avatars of mystery (Felisur, Mistborn)

The Scholar

Other Names: IXI, Sagacitas, Memoria
Primary places of worship: Selene, Nehep, Lux
Aspects: Memory, Knowledge, Wisdom

  • Those who swear to the Scholar are swearing to wisdom, memory, and the retention of knowledge and invention.
  • The pact requires the pursuit of lore and knowledge; the collection, chronicling, and cataloging of known phenomena, historical events, and human invention.
  • Booksworn are cautioned against excessive earthly involvement. They are to observe and avoid altering the flow of history and invention.
  • Booksworn are forbidden from destroying knowledge.

The Exile

Other Names: IWI, Iudex, Arbiter, the Judge
Primary places of worship: Selene
Aspects: Honour, Parity, Justice

  • Those who swear to the Exile are swearing to remove themselves from society. As they advance this oath changes and they swear to the rule of law and justice through detachment.
  • The pact requires the pursuit of an ascetic lifestyle, removal from concerns of family, wealth, and personal power. It also requires a rigid pursuit of justice as espoused by natural law (acts of cruelty, avarice, hubris, and inequality are the core of this edict)
  • Lawsworn are cautioned against harming those who pursue local forms of justice
  • Lawsworn are forbidden from violating principles of natural law.

The Voice

Other Names: X, Ehz, Vox
Primary places of worship: Everywhere
Aspects: Voice, Communication, Will

  • Those who swear to the Vox are swearing to the elevation of humanity, the pursuit of enhancement and evolution of the species and enlightenment.
  • The pact requires the pursuit of betterment of not merely the self but all humanity.
  • Voxsworn are cautioned against causing harm generally and are required to show compassion and care for all fellow humans.
  • Voxsworn are forbidden to kill sapients, regardless of circumstance. For the Voxsworn even self-defence is not a legitimate reason to kill a sapient.

Other Celestials

The Tenebrae

 Tenebrae Statues

  • Those who swear to the Tenebrae are swearing to the inevitable end of all things; to death and its attendance.
  • The pact requires the pursuit of just treatment and care for the dead according to the rituals of the Tenebrae. This includes both the bodily dead and echoes.
  • Deathsworn are cautioned against
  • Deathsworn are forbidden to desecrate the dead or tamper with Resurrection or reanimation
  • Deathsworn take three types: Jackalsworn who deal with the animate, Crowsworn who deal with the echoes, and Serpentsworn who deal with the ritual requirements of the Tenebrae

Animulus

Other Names: Demiayr, Lesser Gods, Wild Deva, Wild Gods. Specific names are unique to each entity
Primary places of worship: Vandar
Aspects: Specific to the entity, but typically tied to nature in some way

  • While the vast majority of Aeldans follow some variation of the Ayr, some offer their worship to wilder things, entities often treated by the great cultures as ‘lesser gods’ or ‘wild deva’. These often strange and ancient creatures are only found far from the hearts of civilization, and their followers are accordingly distant; the Vandar in particular.
  • The pacts of the animuli vary as do their limits and prohibitions.

The One

Other Names: Comm.-Amth, Oss.-Unilateralis, Sel.-Unar, Lux.-Edowa/Tuat, Vic.-Ansean, Tol.-Ruq, Ahm, Iyral, Erstgot, Modati, Primus, Premya, Heti.
Aspects: The One is typically associated with cruelty, caprice, and sadism and is almost universally associated with malice and evil. Most religions and stories depict Amth as utterly insensate to mortal lives, instead deriving great pleasure from the pain, suffering, and deaths of others. Amth is often portrayed as having motivated or directly engaged in the creation of numerous life forms but only so that it could then control and pit its creations against all variety of torment. Some of the rare folk who worship or defend the One often accept this portrayal but re-characterize it instead as ultimately beneficial behaviour that was meant to winnow weak from strong, creating ‘better people’. Some others argue that the One is mis-characterized entirely, and instead depict it as the victim of a grand religious conspiracy.

Religion

Major Religions

Aeldos’ major religions are varied, with no single belief system truly dominating the globe. Polytheistic tolerance is common in most parts of the world, though there are some areas where religious fundamentalism and persecution of outsider beliefs is a risk. Below is a brief list of the major religious beliefs.

Ten Spirits/Archons/Polytheists/Decarists

Many refuse to single out a deity and instead proffer prayers and offerings to the Ten as a group in acknowledgement of their role in freeing humanity from the ones cruelty.

The Last

These believers offer their prayers, invocations, and sacrifices only to the Last of Ten, the Deva responsible for teaching humanity the making words and leading the rebellion against The One

Versists

These believers worship the creation, not its creators. They believe that the One and the Ten, also known as the makers, are either gone, corrupt, or ultimately transient. They are typically more concerned with the rules that govern reality and do not generally offer prayers or offerings. Also known as natural philosophers.

Hegists

Those who do not worship the supernatural but instead seek to enumerate and classify it. They see a hierarchy of power and seek to place themselves in it. The chosen religion of many rulers, aristocrats, librarians, Shapers and Shifters. There is a very diverse interpretation of the power structure by its adherents and though there is no church, many believe that the Hegists maintain a network of occultists and a grand occult library in central cities.

Primalists

Worshippers of the Animulus, the first beasts and other nature spirits. This umbrella term covers several tribal and totemic religions driven by emotional connection to various beasts and natural phenomena. Primalists are often more concerned with emotion than logic, survival more than enlightenment and equality more than personal opulence.

Kriegus

Worshippers not of the Warrior but of war and battle itself both as an abstract concept and as anthropomorphic deities. Kriegers are accordingly aggressive and many are found in the ranks of militaries and mercenary groups. This religion is found primarily among the Tollam

Cults

The only difference between a cult and a religion is the breadth of adherence. While the cults below may have a small number of adherents compared to the major religions, they are notable for reasons beyond their prominence.

Hemron, Blood Iron Cult

Hemron cultists are obsessed with ‘Blood Iron’. Though it is a poorly understood phenomena, there is significant evidence that ‘cold’ iron immersed in the blood of the dying, inherits some form of power. Some believe the power is in fact the victims soul, while others argue it is a portion of some other divine power imbued to each human on their birth. The truth is unclear, but it is true that items made from so called ‘Blood Iron’ are more powerful than their mundane counterparts, exhibiting preternatural features. The potency of the effect seems tied to the metaphysical power of the victim; Linguists, the devout, certain lineages, supernatural beings, Priests, kings, warriors of note, etc.

Serpents, The Serpent Cult

A rare breed who worship the Aeldos embodiment of death itself, ‘The Uncreated Serpent’. Not prone to prayer or offering as they believe their own spirits are one day destined to be taken by the Serpent as payment for their worship.

Formati, Cult of the One

Revisionists who have recently risen in power in a few remote places. They have inverted the generally accepted truth of the making. In their mythology the One is the victim of the treachery of the Ten and the perfection of the old world is only attainable by raising worship of the One. Considered in most nations to be violent heretics, they brook no theological debate and use grim methods to enforce their will.

Brutusi

A group of fanatical worshippers of the Scourge, the Brutusi are found almost exclusively amongst the savages of Aeldos. Considered insane by all others the Brutusi are the origin of the term ‘Brute’ and live up to the name, building horrific ‘pillars’ and ‘icons’ to the Scourge composed of their maimed or dismembered victims. Driven by a relentless bloodlust most lack any ability to conceal themselves. The depths of Brutusi depravity are unknown as they are driven by a singular edict – to do harm to all life.

The Cult of Mysteria

Those who worship the mystery beyond the Ayr, the vast and thrumming darkness. The darker things that lurk in the beyond are not a myth. They are distant intelligence’s which don’t understand the world we live in. Their curiosity is cold and unkind; the clinical curiosity of a bored child; a messy and alien curiosity that would be terminal to the subject. This cult is often associated with the Mists of Mujin and the Sucha found therein.

Votari

From the term ‘Votary’ or ‘The Avowed’, this cultist sect of Tyrant worshippers follows dark figures and teachings and participate in rituals that place them outside the normal Decarists.

Receivers

Also known as the cult of the Unquiet Dead, this small but strangely omnipresent cult is devoted to the tending of the dead. Receivers are identifiable by their tendency to paint or tattoo skulls and skeletons on their bodies and the vows of silence many take. Receivers are a benign and symbiotic cult, considered favourably in many places for their readiness to deal with the dead. Some Receivers are even said walk the wilds, seeking out and settling the restless dead who fall far from home.

Death Beliefs

Aeldan beliefs about death are diverse and can vary even within individual groups of believers.

Membrists

Believe that upon death you relive your best or worst memories repeatedly according to whether you did good or bad.

Iwists

Believed that all humans are judged by the Ayr upon death and sentenced accordingly. The devoted of each Ayr get special places in the hidden domains of the Ayr.

Momentists

Believe that the spirit of the dead experiences the moment of death repeated for eternity. Are accordingly cautious and often seen as cowardly.

Tenebrists

Believe that the gods of death have sole dominion over the dead; that the Jackal takes the body, the Raven the mind, and the Serpent the spirit.

Convalists

Believe that all spirits are treated equally, that they fall into the ‘Valley of Souls’, the resting place and source for all, a great mixing pot of spirits.

Nocti

Believe in the eternal night. That in death humans are not and in life death is not.

Mundarist

Believe in the ‘anima mundi’ or world mind, a spiritual connection between all living things. In aggregate this connection is a singular entity and in death the spirit of the dead transcends to a higher position in the world mind.

Reincarnationists

Believe that death is a stage and that souls are reborn; that no soul truly dies. This differs from Convalists in the uniquess of souls. Where reincarnationists see people reborn and believe it is possible to remember past lives, convalists see all souls converged and new souls extracted from the valley as unique.

Ayrsworn Pacts

Faith in the Ayr is not faith in their existence; it is faith in their purpose. Accordingly the most meaningful method of demonstrating faith to an Ayr is loyalty and fealty. By enacting a pact or swearing oneself the devoted pledges to follow the example of the Ayr and have faith in their judgement. In return the Ayr sometimes empowers their follower to be exemplars. A pact requires more than just saying words; the faithful must demonstrate their devotion and the pact strengthens as the bond between believer and Ayr does. An individual can only make a pact with a single Ayr.

Mechanics

Level Title Mechanics Lingua Bonus
1 Seeker +1 to Social rolls with other devoted /0
2 Convert +1 to Will checks where faith might be useful +1 Use
3 Disciple +3 to Social rolls with other devoted, Minor Ayr specific boon  
4 Zealot Blessed: Ties now go to the character +2 Use and Resistance
5 Herald / Theoria +5 to Social rolls with other devoted, Herald’s Certainty: Double Stress Capacity, Moderate Ayr Specific boon  
6 Chosen / Prophet / Catharsis Sanctus: Can defend against and harm supernaturally guarded entities, Destiny: Immune to critical hits +3 to Use and Resistance
7 Ayrborn / Theosis Major Ayr Specific boon +5 to Use and Resistance

Advancement costs new level x5 XP + Sacrifice listed below

  • Artisan: Must craft a number of masterfully crafted items or artwork equal to the new level.
  • Warrior: Must kill or conquer a number of enemies of worth equal to the new level.
  • Custodian: Must kill a number of abominations equal to the new level.
  • Tyrant: Must devote a number of slaves or converts equal to the new level.
  • Libertine: Must indulge in carnal abandon with number of creatures equal to the new level.
  • Scourge: Must destroy a number of valued creations equal to new level.
  • Scholar: Must compile a number of artefacts of lore equal to the new level.
  • Exile: Must be the executor of justice in a number of instances equal to new level.
  • Outsider: Must walk the Outsiders Path for a number of days equal to the new level.
  • Tenebrae: Must guide the passing of a number of echoes equal to the new level.
Ayr Minor Boon Moderate Boon Major Boon
Artisan      
Warrior      
Custodian      
Tyrant      
Libertine      
Scourge      
Scholar      
Exile      
Outsider      
Tenebrae      
Animulus      
Amth      

Renunciation: It is possible, though exceptionally rare, for Heralds and below to willingly renounce their service to the Ayr. Doing so requires an active act of renunciation and the character loses all progress gained and can never again walk that path again. The character does regain a number of experience equal to half that spent in the path; a representation of the knowledge gained from devotion and denial.

Execration: A character can only truly be execrated by an Ayrborn, a Seer, or the Ayr themselves and it usually requires a fundamental violation or denial of the will of the Ayr. Execration can be temporary, pending the completion of a quest or penance, or permanent. Permanent execration operates as renunciation does.

Where are the Ayr now?

Perhaps the most contentious religious question in all of Aeldos, the answer to which seems to vary significantly depending on where you ask it. Early texts and stories speak of the Ayr as titans, vast and powerful and towering over the land; more like weather than creatures, with their presence causing mortals to flee or drop to their knees in awe or reverence. Some stories cast a more anthropomorphic light, claiming that the Ayr would assume less grandiose or terrifying forms, walking the world in the guise of mortals. A large subset of these stories speak of other aspects of the Ayr; their chosen paragons, the Demiayr spawned by their interactions and pairings, and encounters with their favoured creations the Yaga…

Regardless of the set of stories or the personae characterized within, a significant amount of lore suggests such encounters occurred with decreasing frequency parallel to the rise of the Imperium and ceased almost entirely after the cataclysm. So what happened?

Asking this question generally nets one of the following responses:

  • The Ayr are resting, still recovering from their war against Amth and the exertion of mending Aeldos afterwards. They will awaken when the time is right.
  • The Ayr retreated from Aeldos during the rise of the Imperium as a conscious chose to cede control of the world to their creations and only show themselves infrequently if at all.
  • The Ayr retreated from Aeldos during the rise of the Imperium out of fear of the growing power of mortals and are careful when they show themselves now
  • The Ayr retreated from Aeldos after the fall of the Imperium, ashamed at the behaviour of humanity, and abandoned Aeldos entirely or stalk it only in secret.
  • The Ayr are dead. Killed by their creations as is the natural order. What remains they left are so vast we mistake them for landscape.
  • The Ayr are dead. Killed by ruthless betrayers in pursuit of primacy and the powers of the Ayr. Evidence of the crime was obliterated entirely.
  • The Ayr did not disappear, they just took on new forms; that child that everyone sees but no one knows, that old man that you met on the road who shared his meal and then disappeared in the night, that knight who routed the army, the beast that haunts the woods, the endless storm in the Badlands
  • The Ayr never existed; they were a primitive but convenient and culturally useful and unifying mechanism for explaining the natural and mortal world. Stories of the Ayr are useful, but shouldn’t be taken literally. (The least popular view, typically espoused only by aggressively iconoclastic natural philosophers)

Some cultures seem to prefer certain explanations, or a mix of explanations, over others:

Svertheim: Svertan beliefs tend to vary between the Ayr being in torporous slumber, dead, or inhabiting the vast wilds in new forms.
Vandar: The Vandarans tend to believe that the Ayr were ashamed by humanity and/or betrayed and murdered.
Granden: Grandenari tend to believe the Ayr have taken new, hidden forms to adapt to the world, or that they have retreated.
Lux: Most Luxi priests believe that the Ayr are resting, building their strength, and when they awake mortals will be judged based on the state of the world.
Mujin: Most Mujinese shamans believe that the Ayr are either sleeping or have taken on new, more animist forms, inhabiting the world more directly.
**Badlands: Badlanders rarely spare time to think about such things, but most would suggest they are dead.
Tollam: Many Tollam believe the Ayr are dead, killed by ancient Tollam. Some believe they are simply sleeping.
Nehep: A common Nehepi belief is that the Ayr were murdered by arcanists and many consider this an irreconcilable stain on the souls of all humans.
Ossandria: Ossandrians believe that the Ayr retreated from Aeldos, ceding control to the Osssandrian Imperator and blessing his dominion from afar
Selene: Selenian priests tend to welcome all views, arguing that the truth is a combination. Some Ayr sleep, some left, some died, and some took on new forms.
Victra: Many Victrans believe the Ayr retreated from the world out of fear of the growing power of mortals.
Subin: Subinese beliefs speak of the evolution of the Ayr; they are now inhabiting newer, more subtle forms.

Some Grandens, Victran, Mujinese, Luxi, and Subinese priests and shamans claim that, whatever their fate, it is still possible to contact the Ayr through ritual. This isn’t a common view, and most who espouse it are seen as odd or potentially crazy, but that doesn’t stop people from trying. Most who claim such potential place a variety of conditions on contact with the celestials; the place, the time, the alignment of moons, the state of the petitioner, sacrifices, all are said to be important factors. In addition, Ecstatic cults claim contact can be made through certain holy substances.

Terms and Errata

The terms, Crying, Laughing, and Silent Ayr refer to the reactions each set of Ayr had to Amth’s torment of humanity; The Crying Ayr included the Warrior, Caretaker, and Artisan. The Laughing Ayr included the Prince, the Scourge, and the Libertine, and the Silent were the Exile, the Outsider, and the Scholar.