Monday, January 29, 2018

Veneration and Deification

Veneration and Deification
Sometimes mortals who become especially revered figures can actually become deified. This happens gradually, after the individuals' deaths, when others begin to invoke their names in the hope that they can somehow intervene in the problems of this world. Such has been the case with Imhotep the Traveler, a leader of the Church of Ptah who set out to explore the Void in one of the first aetherships; Khan the Conqueror, who led a horde from the barbarian lands to victory and glory; and the Bear Spirit, an ancestors believed by the Ursine people of the far north to watch over them.
Because the Pathfinder roleplaying game doesn't provide stats for deities, the rise of such a historic figure to becoming a deity is more of a narrative event. It starts with the occasional, whispered invocation, and perhaps the creation of small shrines to honor that individual. As time passes, though, and more and more people add their voices to this praise, the faithful actually begin to have their prayers answered. This usually requires the rise of a noted cleric, along with the establishment of a place for worship and some kind or regular ritual practice.
In game terms, this is left pretty vague mechanically. A GM can, however, use the overall number of followers and level of the deity's most powerful cleric to reflect that deity's power and influence relative to others.

This archdevil is an up-and-coming power in the Universe. He has been masquerading as an avatar of Sol, claiming to embody the purifying quality of the sun's fire. In truth, however, he is a power who delights in promising power, riches and other such desires in the short term, at the cost of the recipient's immortal soul in the long term. With a trio of erinyes posing as his angels, he has fostered the belief a new church, and it is only a matter of time before his true nature is revealed to all.
     Common followers: Clerics, fallen paladins and some monks and wizards; greedy merchants and government officials.
     Important times: None.
     Sacred locations: None.
     Forms of worship: In general, those who wish to cull favor from Xaphanus have either been visited by one of his diabolical emissaries, or have learned of his potential promises and thus have sought to commune and establish a contract with him. In either case, this usually involves signing an agreement in the petitioner's own blood.

Imhotep the Traveler
The seventh person to hold the title of Imhotep—that is, high priest of the Church of Ptah—this cleric distinguished himself by being among the first people from Homeworld to use an aethership and explore beyond the heavens. Although he never returned from that voyage, like-minded individuals began to invoke his name when they prepared for their own aetherial expeditions, and his cult grew from there. Now he has followers of his own, as an offshoot of Ptah's church.
     Common followers: Clerics, rangers and bards; humans; ship captains, navigators and other explorers.
     Important times: The start and end of a voyage or expedition.
     Sacred locations: Usually a small shrine in a port city or town, or aboard a vessel.
     Forms of worship: Prayers or invocations written on paper and then burned; symposia about recent discoveries in the same manner as followers of Ptah.

Khan the Conqueror
Once a leader among the barbarians who live east of the Middle Sea on Homeworld, Khan led his horde to tremendous conquest and sired many children, all of whom encouraged honoring his spirit among their own descendants. In time this reverence became an actual cult, and then those who called upon him for aid began experiencing real intercession as a result.
     Common followers: Clerics and barbarians; humans and half-orcs; warriors and their families.
     Important times: The anniversaries of Khan's birth and death.
     Sacred locations: Khan's tomb, in the heart of the Barbarian Lands.
     Forms of worship: Displays of trophies from defeated foes; pilgrimage to Khan's tomb.

The Bear Spirit
Tales told among the Ursine people of the far north describe an ancestor who was recruited by the Moon herself to aid in a war fought beyond the heavens. While that story is believed by scholars to be little more than fancy, there's no arguing the fact that the Spirit seems to answer followers' prayers.
     Common followers: Fighters; Ursine people (werebears); people of the Far North.
     Important times: Night, especially during the Long Night of winter (the solstice).
     Sacred locations: Burial mounds believed to hold the remains of the Bear Spirit's companions.
     Forms of worship: Endurance of great heat followed by exposure to tremendous cold.

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