Gods of Liminal
The Empyrean Courts
Gods of the Great Heavens
Also called the First Gods, the Empyrean Courts are divinities of great power. Creator gods who fought in the Dawn War, the Empyrean Courts discovered the secrets of mortal life and the power that the worship of such mercurial beings brings to those whose nature is that of the Astral Sea. These are gods of whole races and nations, and of the most noble and terrible of precepts.
Greater Empyrean Gods
- Aevo: Greater God of Skies and Kingship The Lord of the Skies and Master of the Horizon is a mighty kingly figure. The winds are his servants, and the moon and sun his children. Aevo is also the god of national identities, of tribal loyalties and concepts of sovereignty and nobility. He is considered the king of the Empyrean Gods.
- Edyma: Greater Goddess of Fire, Healing, the Home A rotund and matronly goddess, Edyma is one of the Two Mothers. For herself, Edyma is the Lady of the Hearth, the home-maker whose gifts to mankind include the laying of the hearth-fire, the cooking of food, midwifery and healing.
- Ulandira: Greater Goddess of the Land, Animals, Brewing The second of the Two Mothers, Ulandira is mother of the living world, particularly of animals and the land. Her gifts to mankind include the domestication of animals, the plow and agriculture, and brewing of drink. She is depicted as a tall, curvy shepherdess with a flask of sweet wine at her hip.
- Aeldryn: Greater God/dess of Magic One of the two hermaphroditic deities of the Empyrean Court, Aeldryn is the personification of arcane mastery, a god/dess of potent occult sorcery. S/he explicitly does not grant such magic; Aeldryn simply is the deity of those forces and the knowledge of how such power is wielded. The priesthood considers the use the pronoun of one's own gender to be most appropriate if the speaker is a wielder of arcane magic; otherwise, it is respectful to use the gender opposite of one's own, to reflect that the essence of the deity is the "eternal other."
- Ildinmara: Greater God/dess of the Sea The second of the hermaphroditic Empyrean deities, Ildinmara is powerful and elemental, said to be the closest to the primordials in nature. Ildinmara is the deity of the sea, and viewed as eternally shifting and wild, elemental rather than capricious. Ildinmara is also considered the creator of passion; as such, the proper pronoun to refer to the deity by is that pronoun which matches the gender the speaker prefers as sexual partners.
- Aldinmure: God of Crossroads, Travel, Mercantilism A liminal god of in-between places, Aldinmure is the unofficial patron god of the city Liminal. He is also a god of crossroads, of transitions, of travel and mercantilism. Aldinmure's seal is a cross-quartered coin of wood, lead, steel and silver, and he is depicted as a four-armed robed god with a variety of implements in his hands (the exact implements varying from depiction to depiction). Aldinmure is reckoned as the son of Edyma and Aeldryn.
- Kaedlah: Goddess of Mystery, Language and Thought The goddess of learning and thought, Kaedlah is a goddess of mysteries first and foremost, being the daughter of Ildinmara and Aeldryn. To those who are not initiated into her mystery cult, she is simply the goddess of language, both written and spoken, and of the glorification of thought and speech. To her initiates, however, she is the Keeper of Mysteries, blurring the lines between Known and Unknown - what one might expect of the daughter of the gods of magic and the ocean.
- Khoro: Goddess of the Sun and Civilization The Radiant Daughter is the goddess of the sun, the daughter of Aevo and Edyma. She is a goddess of justice and purity, of civic-mindedness and poetry. She is the patron goddess of all higher-minded ideas about nobility and civilization, invoked in courts of law, philosophical debates and poetic recitations alike. Many adventurers claim her as their patron goddess as well, for her healing power and upholding of the wonders of civilization.
- Xanayr: God of the Moon and Ecstasy The Midnight Son is the god of the moon, the son of Aevo and Ulandira. He is the god of ecstasy, joy and happiness, a god of transgression. He is a trickster god and loves to see the humiliation of the prideful and powerful. He is the favorite of wanderers and (along with his sister) many adventurers. His creed is the importance of Self over Community, and his rites are orgiastic in nature.
- Elbitara: Goddess of Love The Lady of Three Faces is a triune goddess. As the Lady of Pearl, she is the goddess of new or unrequited love, pure in its fancy. As the Lady of Garnet, she is the goddess of love's consummation and also of marriage. As the Lady of Onyx, she is the goddess of long-lasting love and devotion, lasting even after death.
The Talion Courts
Gods of the Eternal Hells
Created by the First Gods, the Talion gods are called the Young Gods. Crafted of the wicked essences of the slain Primordials let loose into the multiverse at the end of the Dawn War, the Talion Courts' duty is first and foremost the imprisonment of the Primordials' remnant essence. Once the mortal races of the material world began to spread and propogate worship, the Empyrean gods decreed that those souls who failed in their ordained duty should be also cast into the realms of the Talion gods to be punished and purified.
- The Gaunt: God of Death Also called "the Grey" or "the Grim," this death-god was crafted by Aldinmure in his capacity as a god of passage. Knowing that mortal souls must be transported unto the Heavens or Hells after death, to await their proper rewards, Aldinmure crafted the Gaunt from the shattered essence of the primordial Yldrin Kaath, an ephemeral horror of deathly energy that snuffed life itself. The Gaunt rules no Talion realm itself, instead constantly overseeing the passage of souls through his myriad exarchs.
- Augdos: God of the Underworld, Greed and Riches Deathly pale and without eyes, the subterranean master Augdos' realm is a seemingly-eternal winding labyrinth in the deeps of a stony elemental plane. Here the ghosts of those who cruelly deceived others or profited from confusion or being lost are sent for punishment, to wander in the blackness eternally, hearing those around them but never able to find them. Augdos' realm imprisons Sum'korah the Eternal Darkness, the primordial from whose essence Augdos was himself crafted by Kaedlah.
- Makoryn: God of Tyranny and Vengeance Called the King-in-Iron, Makoryn is depicted as clad in long leathern vestments set with garnets, with a scepter-mace of jagged iron. His crown and mask are a single piece of finely wrought, garnet-set iron, and only blackness looks out from the eye holes. His realm is a place of eternal clangor and splintered, sharp edges of iron. It is here that those who abused their power over others, or threw over justice in favor of vengeance are sent. Makoryn's Iron Hell imprisons the remnants of the primordial Vabrosyn, also called the Weaver of Flesh, imprisoned by eternally cutting iron. Makoryn himself was crafted of a gobbet of Vabrosyn's essence, sealed away in his raiment by Khoro.
- Gildammar: God of Disease The Carrion-Faced Lord is carried through his swamp-like realm on the backs of lepers. He is a horror, some hideous amalgamation of many poxes and contagions, sewn into a robe of filth-stained sackcloth. His laughter is the anguished death cries of plague victims and his breath is the miasma that ends health but not life. Those who gave in to their worldly vices are brought here after death, and stricken with those diseases that best reflect their lifetime of sins. The essence of Waz Amarr, a primordial of eternal, purest water, is imprisoned here, forever stained by the poisonous nature of the place. A dollop of Waz Amarr's essence was stagnated and shaped into the form Gildammar by Xanayr.
- The Red Lady: Goddess of War Depicted as a noble woman in breastplate and flowing garments soaked in the blood of soldiers, the Red Lady is the goddess of war and wanton bloodshed. Those who march to war are said to "court the Red Lady" and those who are victorious are "granted the Red Kiss." She is veiled and cloaked in a swathe of shining, thin chain-mail as supple as silk, and attended by the any number of twisted avatars of war-time endeavors. Her realm is a fiery, smokey place of shattered fortifications and blood-soaked, charred fields where eternal battle rages. Those who gave in to their bloodlust or used violence for its own ends are doomed to be press-ganged into the factions at war here. This realm imprisons Gascalyne the Burning, a primordial that stoked flames both literal and metaphoric where it passed. The Red Lady herself is made up of a small mote of Gascalyne's essence, bound up in blood-soaked garments and swathes of war-time chain by Khoro.
- Varum: God of Murder The Lord of Poisons and the Maker-of-Endings, Varum is depicted as a gaunt, shadowy man, clean-shaven with the face of an adolescent but ancient, cold eyes of deep venom green. He is clad in tight black leather beneath a cloak of velvet shadow, and he has a great number of piercings on face and body. His realm is eternally twilight and deathly cold, each fogged breath a little more life leaving the body, for it imprisons Zikkurnath, a celeritous primordial whose motions are stilled in the terrible cold. The souls of those who resort to the killing of others as a passion or strategy are banished here after the death.
- Iritsa: Goddess of Trickery and Manipulation Cloaked in sheer veils that reveal just enough of her divine form to tantalize, Iritsa is depicted with a curved blade in one hand, and a thousand-petaled blossom in the other. She is a goddess of suggestion and impulses, of bad decisions made while under the influence of one's passion rather than reason. She is also the patron goddess of those who use trickery and outright manipulation. Her realm is a dim, airy realm of cool marble stone, filled with wafting mists that intoxicate the senses and hide the lissom silhouettes of the denizens of this realm. Iritsa was crafted by the love goddess Elbitara from the primordial essence of Adnum Baratha, an entity of elemental air, illusion and treachery.
- Admaak'Raas: God of Madness and Savagery None of the gods will take credit for the making of the Mad God. He is a bestial terror, most of his face hidden behind a mask of bone, with only burning yellow eyes peering forth. His many-fanged, roaring maw is all that is visible, and his body is a naked welter of terrible scars and disfigurements. Admaak'Raas wanders the overgrown wastelands of his divine realm, hunting all the souls banished there, with a pack of his favorite hunting devils to hand. This land imprisons the terrible primordial Ydma-Logos, the Ancient Word, a primordial who imposed order on chaos and is thought to have been the guiding hand behind the genesis of the gods themselves.
The close-knit nature of the divinities is reflected in the fact that the churches of the pantheon work closely together, rather than engaging in rivalries (although the Talion priesthoods can fall to venality and in-fighting frequently). As such, there are a great many organizations made up of adherents of multiple deities who work together towards a single goal. Though these organizations don't often cross the Empyrean-Talion divide, individual exceptions sometimes exist.
- The Heavenly Covenant: A secretive order of holy assassins, the Heavenly Covenant is the secret weapon of the Empyrean Courts. They answer to no single faith, and any of the churches may invoke their assistance (though those who do so too obviously risk censure by their fellow churches). There are many avengers of all faiths in their numbers, and the Paragon Path of the Covenant Agent is originally named for this ancient organization.
- Mission of the Silver Flame: The Mission is an order of exorcist and warrior-priests who all serve the Empyrean gods. Their great Mission House protects the original Silver Flame, a holy weapon given to mankind to act as a beacon for the battle against demons, undead, lycanthropes and similar horrors. Their chapterhouses also protect smaller shrines of the Silver Flame, and their famous Exorcists of the Silver Flame (a Paragon Path) actually contain within their breasts a breath of that holy fire.
- Order of the Platinum Dragon: A knightly order made up of not just the faithful of the Empyrean gods, but also of a good many martial combatants and sword-mages, the Order hunts down and destroys old, powerful wicked dragons of the chromatic colors, due to their possession of some measure of Primordial power.
Other Worshipped Entities
The gods are not the only ones who garner worship, though they are the only ones who do so openly in the natural world. The gods do not take kindly to those entities who usurp the concept of worship - created by the gods for themselves - in gaining power from mortals. Warlocks, in particular, are feared for their dark arts which tap directly into these entities through soul-deep pacts of sympathy.
- The Archfey: Ancient entities of the Feywild, the archfey are archetypal manifestations of potent faerie power. Usually known solely by their titles, the archfey are to the Feywild what the gods are to the natural world - its architects and the prime movers thereof. Though the fey do not worship the archfey exactly, they do serve them as vassals serve their lieges. Indeed, each of the Great Courts of the Feywild has one or more of the archfey as overlords. The archfey consider the gods to be rivals for power, though they do not actively consider them enemies, generally speaking.
- Primal Spirits: Spirits native to the natural world, the primal spirits are deeply elemental. Though they do not have the power of the gods or even the archfey, many tribal societies that are close to the natural world give these spirits their loyalty and reverence. Birthed when the natural world was born, the primal spirits take no sides in the conflict between gods and primordials, instead considering both their proper parents.
- The Primordials: The ancient and original powers of the Elemental Chaos are now sundered by the events of the Dawn War. From their essences were born the Talion Gods, though the Elemental Chaos (and those planes connected to it) are still home to some remnants of primordial power and awareness, sufficient to spawn myriad primordial cults.
- The Starry Wisdoms: In the deeps of the sky beyond the Paths of the Sun & Moon lie the stars, twinkling in their cold light. They are somehow tied to the dances of Fate, each star a mote in the ever-spinning machinations of the great engine of destiny, capable of revealing great truths to those with the wisdom to read it. These intelligences are cold and alien, but a rare few warlocks have tapped into their power through an understanding of the arts of astrology and star-watching. The center of the cult of Starry Wisdoms is the city-state Astrapola, in the River Kingdoms. The Starry Wisdoms are assigned one of three categories: Wisdoms of Fate (generally ill-fortune), Wisdoms of Destiny (neither good nor ill, but always important), and Wisdoms of Fortune (generall good fortune).
- The Dark Powers: In the deepest corners of the Shadowfell there dwell restless and uneasy powers aligned to the darkness of that terrible plane. Even the wisest sages of the natural world know little of these Dark Powers, and the denizens of the Shadowfell do not speak of them, lest they draw their attention (and wrath). What little is known is that these entities often command the obedience of undead horrors of all stripes, and that they have little power or influence in the natural world save through those undead, or the few dark-pact warlocks who call on their profane names.
- Alien Intelligences: Far beyond even the wisest metaphysician's understanding of planar cosmology, the Far Realm crawl and roil with sheerest madness and paradox. Within this mirrored slurry of horror dwell strange and inconceivable mad intelligences. Some fools in the world seek their favor with fanaticism and more than a little of their own touch of madness, finding comfort that their own insanity is but a smaller reflection of a greater, titanic insanity on a cosmic scale. Occasionally small cults dedicated to these powers crop up among mortal populations, usually rising to a fever pitch before burning themselves out in an orgy of shared madness and abhorrent violence.
- Abyssal Lords: In the vilest deeps of the Abyss, that pit that mars the existence of the Elemental Chaos, the Abyssal Lords wait. Demonic entities, each raised to a place of power by their own malign cunning, vicious ambition and the consumption of cast-off shards of primordial power, these demon princes seek to steal from the gods their proper due: the souls of mortal-kind. This they manage through deceit and power-mongering, and even the most evil of the Talion Gods warn their followers against falling to the wiles of the Abyss.
- Vestiges of Power: Not all powers of great accord are so neatly categorized into one of the above groups. Sometimes, entities of terrible potency rise, unique and strange, before being absorbed into one of the above pantheons, or destroyed as rivals by them. That kind of power is not easily wiped from creation, however, and lingers on. The Vestiges include dead gods, cast-out and slaughtered archfey, exorcised Dark Powers, fallen Starry Wisdoms and all manner of similar entities, as well as those strange and unique things that are not so easily categorized. Noteworthily, the primordials themselves are never cast into this role, for Vestiges have been destroyed - primordials cannot be, instead changing into something other than what they were originally.
The Crossroads City