As well as the main family of deities, the world of Shail is home to divine beings who walk on the surface inside the Gloom Barrier, or sometimes show themselves as shadowy spirits before they succumb to Shail’s enchantment. Even the True Gods must lose their immortality if they descend, so when they walk on Shail they possess mortals or inhabit avatars.
Divine spellcasters on Shail fall into one of two major traditions: The worshippers of the True Gods, represented by organized clergy and churches; and the shamans of the Million Gods who propitiate countless spirits and ghosts. Shail’s Druids, the followers of the Gods on Earth and the philosophers comprise other minor traditions.
Clerics of the True Gods are commonplace in every culture, though some gods are more important than others to each of the peoples. These clerics manifest divine magic, as do the tribal shamans and witch-doctors who conjure the millions of spirit beings. Some heretical scholars even believe that divine power comes from within, and that the god or spirit is merely a necessary catalyst. After all, the flickering ghost of a bone-waving shaman’s father seems to grant the shaman as much power as mighty Khiro gives to his sun-priests. Whatever the case, the common people recognize the power of the servants of the gods, and treat them with respect.
THE GODS ON EARTH
HALAHNA (Neutral Good) Halahna is the Lady of Mercy, the goddess of healing, life and compassion. Her bird was the crane but is no longer. She was created by Shail from earth and the blood of all mortal peoples, and this bond with the mortals was to prove her undoing. During the catastrophe, Halahna was so distressed by the plight of humanity that she passed through the Gloom Barrier in all of her glory to aid them personally. Stripped of her divine powers and unable to pass through the barrier again, Halahna now wanders the surface of Shail as one of the Gods on Earth. She is of course a supremely powerful and ageless being, still able to apparently grant miracles to her few remaining faithful, but she is now mortal and theoretically can be slain.
Domains: Healing, Good, Protection
MANALAUN (Neutral Evil) Manalaun was a mighty human wizard a thousand years ago who was obsessed with uncovering the secret of immortality. In a famous story told across the world, he used magic to trick Luna, herself the goddess of magic, into revealing to him a means to transcend his mortal form. Once Manalaun gained immortality people discovered that if they prayed to him miracles were granted, and a priesthood was formed, the Cryptika. It is a strange organization, more a circle of wandering agents seeking forbidden knowledge, with Manalaun himself as first among equals. All Cryptiks (as they are known) are charged first with discovering a way to aid Manalaun to pierce the Gloom Barrier.
Domains: Knowledge, Divination, Trickery
THE EXILE (Chaotic Good) The Exile is a spirit of the Elves, a being made up, it is said, of their hope to one day return to their home world. He has grown in power as the Elves degenerated from their original form, and his ascension to godhood tragically happened around the time the last known void craft was destroyed by Orcs. He shows himself to Elvish tribes in times of great need, where they must escape from overwhelming danger. The Exile is not a warrior so much as a saviour – he leads the Elves to safety when they need him the most, sowing discord among enemies and confounding their path. His clergy are known as Callers. They lead and defend tribes devoted to The Exile and call on him for aid when all seems lost.
Domains: Travel, Luck, Knowledge
THE GOD OF GHOULS (Chaotic Evil) The last of the Gods on Earth is the God of Ghouls, a hideous being who rose to immortality amid the fear and chaos of the Bone Circle’s failed rite in Felor. He lurks at the heart of that shattered nation, served by the dead, and his motives are unfathomable. All who live in Felor or travel through that cursed place are at risk of being taken before him as a sacrifice. It is said he is grotesquely fat and depraved in the extreme, though since none have seen him and lived this seems to be little more than conjecture.
Domains: Evil, Death, Destruction Continue reading