Jun 30, 2012

Religions of the Dawnlands: The God of Gates

The God of Gates

The God of Gates is a popular god in both Kaddish and the petty kingdoms of the northern plains. He is the deity of protection, of travel, of medicine, of lies and telling the truth, of overcoming obstacles, of beginnings and endings, of cleverness, of tricks, secrets and mysteries; the patron of fools, children, criminals, wanderers, exiles, doctors, architects and those who make their living by their wits and intelligence. He is a powerful god, and somewhat untrustworthy like all the old gods. No one has ever coherently explained where he fits in the myth cycle of Eternal Night and the Dawnmen, except that he appears, already ancient and well-known, at the parley with Moon, where he gives the Dawnmen a gift that leads to the loss of their names.

His icons are a beggar in tatterdemalion bearing a ring of keys; a ring made of swimming fish; three vertical lines of equal length with a horizontal line through them. His true name is every sound that can be made by sentient beings, all spoken at once. Many claim the writing that covers the mountain called "Dawntongue" is his name completely written out. He is called the Gentle God, the Humble God, and the Clever God by his priests and the God of Gates by everyone else.

The Gate Cults

His church was once powerful in Weykuln, but since the fall of that kingdom, it has been dispersed, with the largest and most powerful sect existing in the Orthocracy under the leadership of Versullus Halia Terminus. The God of Gates is one of the few gods other than the divine heroes and the Hard-Faced Mother whose worship is permitted in Dwer Tor, and a small number of ecclesia maintain shrines to him. The hobgoblin petty kings who conquered Weykuln have continued to seek his favour to strengthen their bastions.

All of these sects are engaged in a constant, murderous intrigue against one another for inscrutable reasons. They are forbidden to use their magic to directly kill one another, or to summon augermen against one another, but everything else is fair game. Occasionally two sects will band together to take down a powerful rival, but such alliances usually collapse, ideally only after the completion of their mutual goal.

Worshippers

The God of Gates is widely propitiated. His temples and priests are most common in the petty kingdoms of the northern Dawnlands and in the Orthocracy, though there is a single large temple complex in Dwer Tor.

Type of Cult

Great Deity - The God of Gates is a popular folk deity, and even devout members of other religions will whisper a prayer his way.

Cult Skills

Deception, Engineering, Mechanisms, Religion (God of Gates)

Worshipper Duties

Priests:

Lay:

Battle Magic

All

Divine Magic

All Common Spells plus Call Augerman, Divine Heal, Illusion, Shield

Special Benefits and Notes

When battle magic and divine spells taught by this cult have a cost in gold ducats in the rules, the cost must be replaced by a number of keys equal to the number of ducats. Each key must be to a different lock or gate from any other key used in the ritual. The keys may be used by another priest to cast a spell, but the caster can never use them again.

The Find spell included in this cult's common spells is Find (Path) and allows a priest of the God of Gates to find the nearest traversable pathway to where they wish to go.

Priests of this religion do not receive ally spirits. The Summon (Otherworldly Creature) spell summons Augermen.

There are only two levels in this cult, lay follower and priest. To become a priest, a lay follower must spend 5 IP and have Religion (Gate Cult) at 75% or better. They must be accepted by the priests of a temple as a peer (which often requires a task or favour).

Religious clothing varies from order to order, but all incorporate a ring of keys that is constantly being exhausted and replenished.

The God of Gates does not have a specific holy day. Priests may return to a temple or shrine and recover their spells whenever they wish.

Augermen

Also known as Door-Spirits, augermen are the servants of the God of Gates. They are capable of shape-changing as needed, but their "true" form is a lean grey humanoid without gender whose face is a featureless mass of honeycombed orifices and with six, unnaturally long fingers on each hand, each one ending in a long claw. Their only clothing is a belt of jangling keys of all types. Despite their terrifying appearance, augermen are not malignant except when ordered to be by their master. Augermen possess many powers. They can step through a doorway into any other doorway. They can find a way into and out of even the most tightly sealed location. They can create portals in time and space with a flick of their claws (this is how they defend themselves, sending their attackers careening off to far away lands and worlds) and they can pass through barriers that would bar any other traveller. They are capable of bringing others with them if convinced to do so.

Augermen have a relatively straightforward method of summoning and obtaining services from, though they are almost impossible to bind. One requires a container with an extremely complex lock that one does not know how to open. This cannot be simply a mechanical lock that one does not know how to pick, but the actual mechanism of the lock must include a puzzle or challenge, preferably inobvious. The container contains the payment for the augerman, usually a key of some sort (more valuable locations are preferred). Placed under the light of the full moon, it may attract nearby augermen (there aren't many, but they get around), who will come to open it and take the treasure inside. If the lock was sufficiently challenging, they will offer to perform a single service for the summoner. Augermen will not destroy the container in the process, as they consider this shameful.

In the rare case that the augermen cannot open the box for some reason, they will begin bargaining with the summoner, offering more and greater services in exchange for the secret of how to open the box. The high priest of the God of Gates in Kaddish, Versullus Halia Terminus, occasionally uses this to reinforce his power over the cult of the God of Gates and the augermen. Past examples of unopenable chests have included a solid block of glass with the key to the city granary inside, feeding the key to the outer glacier wall of Kalak-Who-Blinds' palace to a worm which then cocooned itself, and injecting the chemical mixture required to unseal the Tomb of Mestinves the Wyrm (which turned out to be poisonous) into the bloodstream of a slave.