Religions of the Known Lands
Of the many facets of everyday life that have undergone change in the Fourth Age, organized religion has seen the most divergence from the past. After seeing the devastation caused by Calimar’s fall, the Storyteller decided to limit the other deities so that such an occurrence could not happen again. The first step he took was to limit the number of deities, dispersing many to the mists of time and legend. Those few he left intact, six in total, were barred from physically interfering on the physical plane any longer. Any designs they had on the mortal world would have to be enacted completely through their worshippers. To provide divine guidance to those mortals who had worshipped dispersed deities, the remaining gods realigned themselves along a basic axis: Good, Evil, Law, and Chaos. The two remaining deities each chose one of the neutral powers of the world, magic and nature, to watch over.
On the physical plane, those most attuned to the divine quickly realized the new situation, and began to realign their churches accordingly. This was not done without conflict. The decade-long God Wars were some of the most brutal conflicts ever to mar Zion’s Abyss, in this or any other age. Eventually, however, the clergy had their houses in order. This was not the complete end of the problem, unfortunately. The various followers of any given deity found that they often had conflicting visions of how to worship their god. These divides gave rise to sects within each church, each dedicated to a particular aspect of a given deity. The cooperation and good tidings between the sects is largely dependent on which god they worship. While the outright bloodshed is long over, the internecine struggles between sects are often just as bad.
The Major Deities
The six deities chosen by the Storyteller to remain after The Fall are colloquially called the Major Deities by worshippers of all. They represent the vast majority of worshippers throughout the Known Lands, and hold the greatest amount of divine power. Each of these has a symbol that represents them as a divine being that is worn by all of their worshippers. Each sect within a given deity’s church has a second symbol that lets others know which aspects of their deity they represent. Both marks function as holy, or unholy, symbols for the purposes of divine spellcasting.
The Minor Deities
In the quarter-century since the Fall, it has become evident that despite the Storyteller’s edicts and restrictions, the spark of divinity is too strong and too diverse to completely contain. New stories are always beginning, new heroes always rising, and there are always those for whom ascension to the divine will be a goal. The energies released during the Fall still permeate the Known Lands. Not as strongly as the initial release upon Calimar’s destruction, but they do still exist. It remains a truth, as well, that Zion’s Abyss has always been a realm of infinite possibilities, where any dream can come to pass with enough determination. So it came as no surprise when the first of a new breed of god arose. Not as strong as the Storyteller’s Chosen Six, but strong enough to grant them power, and strong enough to pass a modicum of that power to their worshippers. There seems to be no set guidelines on how these deities attain their divinity. The first rose through cunning and stolen power, halted before he attained true greatness, but not soon enough to stop him from keeping what power he had amassed. It has been a truism that each new Age has seen the rise of new gods. Perhaps ultimately, these minor deities will become the pantheons of the Fourth Age and beyond. For the moment, it is too soon to say.