Religion In Greentown

The gods are alive and well and thriving in Greentown.

The Legend fantasy roleplaying game sometimes suffers from the same problems plaguing many other fantasy roleplaying games - their gods and goddesses are all holdovers from Dungeons & Dragons, and they only exist to give their player characters healing and smiting spells, and to similarly equip the villainous bad guys with nasty curses and rituals.

I'm working on a Divine magic system for the second and third of my articles, following The Blood Path. Greentown and outlying villages all have temples to the various deities - smaller communities tend to lump them all together in a single temple containing many smaller shrines - and in Greentown, various shrines can be found on every street corner and inside all homes in the form of lares and penates (household and family gods).

Among the various deities which will be listed, the cults will include:-

- A goddess of widows, orphans and women and children in general. Women in Greentown do not suffer the stigma of unplanned pregnancy, and they can turn to the cult for assistance, to give them accommodation while they are expecting if they have nowhere to live, and even to accept unwanted children or children who have been left orphaned. Children brought up within the cult are given a decent education, taught the Abacus Common Magic spell, and learn at least two languages - because those who come to the temples can come from all species and cultures.

- A god of fertile orchards and goddess of fields. They are both invoked for basic blessings over food and drinks, as well as crops and food being sold at market.

- A goddess of sex. Everyone loves this deity and the adherents, all women, who worship at temple. Women who want to be pregnant - or who want to not be pregnant - come to the temples, or pray at the small shrines dotted here and there about the town. Young men pray to her to send them a woman who will love them; women pray that the man in their lives won't grow up to abuse them or their kids. Couples get married in front of the shrine outside the temple, on the fane. The ceremony takes three minutes, and costs 10GP - paid for by the father of the bride, or the groom if the bride has no father to pay. All kinds of marriages are performed, gay and straight, as well as formal business partnerships. This cult possesses some powerful and unique Divine spells.

- A god of commerce and business. Prudence and generosity to the poor are rewarded, as are hard labour and good cheer. Meanspiritedness and avarice earn the disfavour of the god. Also responsible for luck in gambling, favouring those gamblers who don't get too greedy.

- A god and goddess of Adventurers and mercenaries, invoked at the beginning and end of an adventure. Some of the Divine spells familiar to Adventurers can be bought and prayed for here.

- A goddess of couriers and travellers, invoked by those who have to travel between the communities overland; and a god of travel over water, who fulfils the same functions for those who have to travel along rivers, or over lakes and seas.

- Trickster has a presence, too, in the pantheon. There is one small shrine in one of Greentown's many back streets, set in a cramped little building sandwiched between two large tenements. The interesting thing about Trickster is that he will always answer any prayers sent to him - usually in a most unexpected way: a strange magic item might land in the character's lap; he might be plagued by bad luck; women might fall for him - every woman, single, married, young or old - and chase him through the streets, followed by the boyfriends, fathers and husbands of those women; or Trickster himself might drop by and intervene personally, though after such intervention the petitioner may well regret ever having asked Trickster for the intervention ...

Adventurers can pray to any and all of these deities, sacrificing food and wine, typically to the value of about 1d10SP per sacrifice just like the rest of the people - and divine intervention takes two forms: either they temporarily acquire access to a specific Divine spell for themselves, or they are given the blessings of a Divine spell, Extended, lasting for the duration of the adventure as the priests back home keep prayers going 24 hours a day on their behalf (typically this is reserved for protection spells protecting the Adventurer).

Blood sacrifices are also acceptable, particularly to the Great Mother, a cult which accepts all species but is particularly beloved of both humans and orcs. Small sacrifices such as those of rabbits or pigeons can attract the Great Mother's favourable attention, and the bloodstained shrines to her dotted about the countryside are neutral locations where violence and bloodshed are absolutely forbidden.

The deities of Greentown and environs are, as I say, alive; and I aim to paint a rich, detailed image of religious life in the setting, putting the adventurers' interactions with the Divine into a context; making them members of a community of people, all petitioning the Games Master *cough* gods and goddesses for the usual favours and blessings, and perhaps - if they become priests themselves - being called upon to bestow the blessings and favours of their deities on others.

Giving the people what they want.

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