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    Oeridian vs. Suel religions
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    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
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    Wed Jul 24, 2013 6:04 pm  
    Oeridian vs. Suel religions

    I'm trying to brainstorm the differences in order to figure out ways to make Dullstrand and the Lordship of the Isles more distinct from one another. This is all just brainstorming.

    I feel like they could still be more different, but I'm not certain how. It'd be cool if the Oeridians had a monotheistic or dualistic religion (perhaps with Heironeous and Hextor as their only gods, with the others reduced to the status of angels or saints) while the Suel faith was polytheistic, but that's probably too great of a change. The Oeridian gods are some of the most interesting ones in the setting, and it'd be a shame to lose them.

    1. Oeridian faiths are prophetic and eschatological, while Suel faiths are eternal.

    The Oeridians built their religion on prophecies. They believe in a golden age yet to come or, potentially, a dark age in which the world could fall into ruin or oblivion. In the Suel cosmology, the worst thing that could happen - the total annihilation of the Suel homeland - has already happened long ago, yet the world and the stars still turn. For the Oeridians, demons might devour everything or angels might shepherd all souls into paradise. For the Suel, the Oerth and heavens will always exist, and talk of "end times" are heresy.

    2. In Oeridian faiths, epic heroes can become gods. In Suel faiths this is blasphemy.

    All Suloise gods are descendants of Lendor. To be a god means to belong to these first, cosmic generations, and while mortals can hope to achieve great power they will never become gods. The Rain of Colorless Fire, in fact, can be interpreted as a warning of the costs of hubris. The Suel Imperium was destroyed because the Mages of Power dared to compare themselves to deities. Any who claim that deities were once mortal, or that mortal heroes are now deities, risk inviting a similar fate.

    The Oeridians know that a number of their gods were once mortal, and some might believe that all gods began as mortal heroes long ago.

    3. Oeridian gods are anthropomorphic. Suel gods have bestial aspects.

    All Oeridian gods are depicted in humanlike form. They may have angelic beauty or demonic hideousness, but they're recognizably human. Suloise gods may be depicted as dragons, a dragon turtle, a beholder, a bear, an ankheg, or other inhuman forms, and these forms are every bit as divine as their anthropomorphic guises. The Suel faithful think nothing of bowing before a giant idol of some beast, while Oeridians would find this sort of display to be vulgar and fit only for savages.

    4. The Suel pantheon is a single family. The Oeridian pantheon is made up of multiple tribes.

    The Suel gods are feuding siblings and cousins, all descended from Lendor. The Oeridian gods tend to come in pairs of siblings, some of them interrelated by marriage but some with no easily discernable relationship. While they might (or might not) have a familial connection many generations back, they relate to one another more as a divine reflection of the many feuding tribes, houses, and families that make up Oeridian society. The history of the Oeridian gods is one of war with other pantheons, demons, titans, and so on, while nothing can ever really challenge the order of Lendor in the Suel cosmology.
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
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    Wed Jul 24, 2013 6:45 pm  

    I like the general idea.

    Some issues you might consider are:

    1) Are there any canonized Suel gods/demi-gods that were once mortal? You may have to explain how the religion of the Lordship of the Isles has addressed that differently than other Suel cultures.

    2) The beast-like aspects of the Suel gods seems similar to that of the Olman gods. Their cultures were separated by the southern Hellfurnaces, but there may be some small connection that could be explored there.

    3) Do the two dominant sects of these two religions in these two cities acknowledge the existence of other deities? Are they actively confrontational with respect to each other?

    SirXaris
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    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 14, 2008
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    Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:20 am  

    I second the Oeridian religion antropomorphic aspect. IMC Flan gods are purely spiritual, and their antropomorphic manifestations are an Oeridian idea. Nerull and Pelor are just snow and blistering heath for old school flan worshippers, while the countries that have been under great kingdom dominion have the classic grim reaper/kirin rider aspects.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:40 am  

    Thank you for pointing out those thought provoking distinctions between those two pantheons.

    Perhaps expand your second and fourth points regarding the Suel deities, and their familial relationship.

    With divine blood being the prerequisite for divinity, what happens when members the Suel pantheon dally with mortals, in the fashion of real world Greek mythology? The mythology of Zeus includes numerous offspring, and Zeus even seducing the mortals while in non-human form (keeping with your third point).

    Might there be some known as having the "Blood of Lendor," or "Blood of Beltar" and being set apart from society? Might noble or highly regarded families be said to be the descendants (regardless of how many generations) of some deity, even if they do not display any difference from other mortals?

    Pyremius advanced in status and acquired a sphere of concern by taking the blood of another of Lendor's children. Are the children of Lendor some group of divine "Highlanders?"

    Perhaps entry into a priesthood requires a divine pedigree, and this distinguishes the worship of Suel deities in the Lordship from elsewhere.

    For the Oerdians:

    For Dullstrand, perhaps a major driver of spirituality is a particular set of prophecies. These might be the Oeridians who, during the migrations, received a prophecy about not stopping until they saw the sun rise above the sea, rather than settle along the way. Those who arrived at the shore first are of the most noble houses or families (local anyways). "Firstshore" or "Seasight" might be honorifics or family names.

    Dullstrand's shore location might very well be "the promised land" with all the complications such a designation might entail.

    Apotheosis for mortals to divine status might have required the fulfillment of particular prophecies. Joydhee, Arnd, Daern, all fulfilled some prophecy on their road to the status of legendary hero, hero-deity, or quasi-deity.

    The people of Dullstrand can change their views rapidly based upon the omens, augury, and other tidings. They are unusually concerned with having divinations performed before any major (or even minor) undertaking.

    Just some thoughts.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: May 12, 2005
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    Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:02 pm  

    Insightful as always, rasgon. The only nit I'll pick is to make the distinction in point 2 between Oeridian ascended mortals (e.g., Kuroth, Rudd) and all the unnamed Suel demigods who are Kord's illegitimate offspring.
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
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    Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:45 pm  

    SirXaris wrote:
    1) Are there any canonized Suel gods/demi-gods that were once mortal?


    Well, there's Nazarn, a half-orcish hero-deity sponsored by Kord. But his apotheosis was after the Rain of Colorless Fire which, combined with his half-human heritage and semi-divine status, might mean that most Suloise faithful don't accept him as divine.

    It's also conceivable that he's one of Kord's bastards, though the source material (Living Greyhawk Journal #3) doesn't suggest that.

    Dragon #265 suggests that Rudd might be the daughter of Norebo (the word "papa" is after Norebo's name in parentheses in the list of her divine allies), though the LGG counts Rudd as an Oeridian goddess.

    Quote:
    You may have to explain how the religion of the Lordship of the Isles has addressed that differently than other Suel cultures.


    My brainstorming above isn't necessarily meant to reflect the Lordship of the Isles (or Dullstrand) specifically; I'm just hashing out general cultural trends to begin the process of figuring out what things are like in these comparatively isolated cultures. It's generally my rule of thumb that the Suel and Oeridians (and Flan) don't really exist anymore, and haven't since the Great Migrations a millennium ago; they've changed, evolved, and hybridized to the point that many are scarcely recognizable. And I'd expect an island culture that was ruled by the Aerdi for centuries to have changed more than most. But I want the experience of visiting Dullstrand, Duxchan, and Sulward to be distinctive, and going with the LGG's assertion that the Duxchani culture is mainly Suel and Dullstrander culture is mainly Oeridian sounds like a good start.

    Quote:
    3) Do the two dominant sects of these two religions in these two cities acknowledge the existence of other deities? Are they actively confrontational with respect to each other?


    I think there are several major ways of reconciling the existence of other religions' deities:

    1. They're the same as the deities you're familiar with, under different names.
    2. Other deities exist, but they are for other cultures to worship. Leave Duxchaner gods to the Duxchaners, for they won't answer your call and care nothing for those of foreign shores.
    3. Other so-called deities are false, possibly the product of pure superstition or demons under other guises.
    4. All deities are valid and important to worship, to the point that it's prudent to leave offerings to the shrine of the "unknown deity" in case there's one you forgot or never learned about.

    One possibility is that the Oeridian (and Flan, Elven, Baklunish, etc.) gods represent a generation of deities that Lendor deemed unfit to rule over the cosmos, so he banished them into the void. Since the Rain of Colorless Fire, they have managed to breach the cracks in reality and whispered into the ears of barbarian priests. The faithful Suel know that these gods are outcast and not to be worshiped, but other peoples are less wise.

    DMPrata wrote:
    Insightful as always, rasgon. The only nit I'll pick is to make the distinction in point 2 between Oeridian ascended mortals (e.g., Kuroth, Rudd) and all the unnamed Suel demigods who are Kord's illegitimate offspring.


    Yeah, that would be the line "The world is full of his sons and daughters, but few, if any, of them can claim demigod status (less than 1%)" line in Dragon #87. Although these "demigods" lack the full powers of demigods enumerated in the Glossography, and may not be fully divine by AD&D standards. They simply have the right, having passed their father's tests, to call themselves demigods and they're granted a few special powers.

    Still, some of them might have gained greater status (perhaps Nazarn is one) and even those who haven't might be worshiped as full deities in some places. Still, these characters are all true descendants of Lendor and thus part of the divine family, and it might be valid to distinguish them from characters like Zagyg, Wastri, and Raxivort, who have no divine blood at all yet blasphemously claim to have achieved divinity through personal merit.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 20, 2004
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    Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:36 am  

    Great topic Rasgon. I've been thinking about the same thing myself lately but so far have been thinking about more physical and material differences.

    I've been treating 'modern' Oeridian faith (as developed by the Great Kingdom) in a kind of medieval Christian / Holy Roman church vein. They have churches and chapels not temples, orders of monks (not the martial arts type but the tonsured type!), saints (generally quasi-deities) and Christian titles - Bishop, Friar, Brother, Father, Abbess etc.

    For the Suloise faith I've gone for something less 'Western'. Their places of worship are temples varying in design between something Mesopotamian to Hellenic and quite 'old fashioned and archaic'. Ancient mystical traditions, mystery cults. With their homeland destroyed I've always imagined the Suel priesthoods taking repsonsibility for maintaing the culture of the Suel peoples (especially the lawful faiths) and therefore their religious traditions have evolved slower than those of the Oeridians which is why their religion seems more archaic than the modern Oeridian faith.

    As for the stuff you've mentioned so far - it sums up the differences really nicely.

    When it comes to reconciling the existence of seperate pantheons I tend to favour option 2 with a smattering of the others depending on the culture. Wee Jas for example I see as pretty uninterested in anything non-Suel mainly through a kind of racial supremity complex.

    I've gone with option one for a number of the humanoid and monstorus gods. Annam = Boccob for example.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:31 am  
    beautiful piece

    wonderful analysis Rasgon.

    Question:

    What say you WRT mortal's who learn they're offspring of Kord as they become adults? Is there a door open for one of these NPC types to poof into a demi or quasi beyond the place of importance in his church as the wiki suggests? It's not something i'm upto or anything but your post got my brain going on that.
    thank you =)
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
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    Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:47 pm  
    Re: beautiful piece

    fonce wrote:
    Is there a door open for one of these NPC types to poof into a demi or quasi beyond the place of importance in his church as the wiki suggests?


    I would assume so, depending on the church. Some distant Suel-descended faiths might worship ascended demigods exclusively, ignoring all the stodgy old gods of their ancestors.
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