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Phoenicia

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PostSubject: Deity information   Mon May 10, 2010 4:12 pm

Copied from the Legends boards, where I slapped all this info down a long long time ago;

Crom
He dwells on a great mountain. What use to call on him? Little he cares if men live or die. Better to be silent than to call his attention to you; he will send you dooms, not fortune! He is grim and loveless, but at birth he breathes power to strive and slay into a man's soul. What else shall men ask of the gods?
- Conan

Crom is the head of the Cimmerian pantheon of cruel gods, sending forth dooms and death from his seat on the great mountain of Mount Crom, or Ben Morgh, the holiest place in Cimmeria.

To pray to Crom is a pointless task, as it will only invoke his anger. Prayer is a sign of weakness, and Crom has little patience for the weak. Cimmerians prefer to not attract his attention, and if his name is muttered, it is invariably in the form of an oath or a curse.

Nominally, every Cimmerian is a follower of Crom, but there is no established clergy devoted to him, he doesn't inspire any rituals, and the people bid him no sacrifice besides using the strength he granted them to take what they want from life and to cleave the skulls of their enemies.

Crom does not send avatars into the world to meddle with the affairs of men. Some claim that the voice of Crom can be heard in the harsh winter winds of Cimmeria.

Crom does not care to share his divine power with mortals. It is enough that he breathes life into mortals when they are born



Mitra
Mitra is the most common God worshiped in Hyboria, and is the chief deity in almost all Hyborian kingdoms, including Aquilonia, Ophir, Nemedia, Brythunia, Corinthia, and even Zingara.

The worship of Mitra is a monotheistic one. There are a host of saints, but there must be no other God than Mitra. His followers are fervently suspicious towards other Gods and religions, especially the worship of Set and of the Pictish animal Gods.

As opposed to Crom and Set, Mitra is a kind God, although he holds his followers to high standards. The theology is based on justice and a very strong sense of right and wrong. His followers are expected to strive for justice and are encouraged to forgive.

There is a huge clergy associated with the worship of Mitra, and one can find temples in his honor everywhere his influence is spread, Nemedia is home to the most devoted of Mitra's servants. Mitra's temples are conspicuously free of ornamentation. They are supposed to reflect the pious and ascetic ideal he holds over his subjects. Mitra doesn't need precious metals and elaborate ornaments in his honor. He wants dedication and prayer, not superfluous sacrifice; and he abhors the ritual of human sacrifice prevalent in many other Hyborian religions.

Mitra's name was recognized by Xaltotun, an Acheronian who lived around 13000 BC. Mitraism's real ascendancy probably began about 1400 years after Acheron's empire fall, when the Hyborian lands were once again menaced by the shadow of Set, and were largely saved through the efforts of the Mitraic prophet-hero Epemetrius the Sage. One of the earliest nations to embrace Mitra was Koth, around 11000 BC.

Today, the deity Mitra emerged as one of the most popular gods, receiving worship from peoples in the kingdoms of Aquilonia, Argos, Corinthia, Nemedia, Ophir, and Zingara; in fact south of Nordheim and Cimmeria, Mitra worship was almost universal. It was rivaled here and there only by little cults of such as that of Asura, Ibis, Ishtar, and even, to some degree, Set. That last deity was also Mitra's sworn enemy, as Mitra intervened in human affairs often to protect his own worshippers and humanity in general from Set's foul designs.

Some Mitraists are unique in having an unflinchingly monotheistic devotion to Mitra. While most people follow a type of henotheism, in which they acknowledged the existence of gods that they chose not to worship, some Mitraists held Mitra as the only god in existence. Not unexpectedly, this exclusivist view of Mitra produced intolerance of other religions at times.

Ostensibly Mitra is a gentle god in contrast to Northern warrior gods such as Crom, Borri, Ymir etc and supposedly taught mercy over vengeance. However, despite this, Mitra does banish people to a hell dimension for punishment, for as mankind's eternal judge, Mitra decided final assignment of souls to either there or a heaven world as a reward. Mitraic sorteriology preached salvation based on works, i.e. a person's life on Earth is judged based on his deeds in his or her life. Mitra, known to be attended to by a host of saints and angels, presumably dwelled in this heaven dimension.

Blood sacrifice is explicitly excluded from the Mitraic religion, the rituals of which have much simplicity, dignity, and beauty. As opposed to the case of the idols of non-Mitraic religions, the statues of Mitra serves only as emblems intended to represent the god in idealized form and not to be worshipped themselves.




Ibis
Ibis is a lesser Stygian god, opposed to Set. The priests of Ibis were driven from Stygia by the snake-worshippers of Set. The rise of the dark wizard Thoth-Amon was instrumental in the downfall of Ibis and its priests.

A god of knowledge, learning and magic. Priests of Ibis are scholars, sages, doctors and diviners.

Ibis isnt generous with his knowledge, but neither is he covetous of it. For those who study and work hard with research, he is a faithful source of information. His worshippers claim that Ibis is omniscient.

It is said that Ibis keeps a set of three great books in which all knowledge is recorded. These books are locked away at the heart of a great crypt.

Ibis doesnt send his avatar often into the world, but might do so to further his own interests in seeking new knowledge or magic, or to oppose Set. Ibis can manifest as a sudden burst of inspiration, or through dreams when sleeping and visions.

The priests of Ibis sometimes ally with the priests of Mitra against their enemy, the cult of Set.

Kalanthes who is a wizard-priest is sometimes referred to as "the last priest of Ibis".




Xotli
Xotli, Lord of Terror was a demon-god of the Elder Night. He appears unto his followers as a rolling cloud of ebony darkness; a vortex of ultimate, boreal cold. He drinks the living souls from those slain upon his towering, pyramidal altars in the islands of Antilla (the bodies of the dead go to feed the dragons inside the pyramid). In Conan of the Isles, Conan fights Xotli using a Phoenix amulet given to him by the prophet Epermitreus. By breaking the amulet, he releases the power of Light, which destroys the demon-god.

Herald of Xotli are a playable class in Age of Conan who call on Xotli to gain access to more deadly powers than other Mages would dare use.


(Also see Chtulhu: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DsgZ4JXXB8 )




Derketo
Funcom's Age of Conan community website describes Derketo thus:

The Goddess Derketo - 'They will put her through paces she never dreamed of! She is too soft to endure what I have thrived on. I am a daughter of Luxur, and before I had known fifteen summers I had been led through the temples of Derketo, the dusky goddess, and had been initiated into the mysteries'. – The Slithering Shadow, R. E. Howard

A goddess of fertility and lust originally worshipped in Shem, Derketo can be found among the pantheons of many southern kingdoms, particularly Stygia and Kush. In Stygia, Derketo is a decadent, licentious deity, serving as the religious counterpoint to the strict and humourless devotions of Set, the Great Serpent.

Nearly every Stygian city contains a grand temple to the goddess, where young girls are initiated into the erotic mysteries of Derketo. Initiates of Derketo often serve as courtesans to Stygian nobles and high priests, while priestesses of the temple practice the arts of pleasure with devotees in return for contribution to the temple coffers.

Followers of the goddess celebrate the harvest and the equinox with wild, wine-soaked orgies that invoke Derketo’s life-giving powers. Though the arch-priests of Set frown upon the wanton rituals of the temple and some would like nothing better to see the religion driven from their kingdom, they know that the noble families and the merchant class would never permit it.

The sign of Derketo is the fish, representing her powers of fertility and life, and in Shem she is frequently associated with the life-giving river Styx. In Kush, however, she is worshipped as Derketa, the malevolent Queen of the Dead.

There are several NPC priestesses of Derketo in the towns of Bubshur and Pashtun in Khopshef province. A cult claiming to worship Derketo is recruiting in Bubshur and is based in the nearby Pyramid of the Ancients, where their leader, the self-proclaimed Oracle of Derketo resides. The Blessed Caves near Bubshur are sacred to Derketo and were used to celebrate her mysteries until they were recently taken over by Thoth-Amon's Black Ring.

During the early pre-release development of Age of Conan, Scourges of Derketo were intended to be a playable Priest class: their powers were reportedly mostly fire-based area-effect attacks. In January 2007 they were removed from the game, and some of the game-play concepts for them were amalgamated into Tempests of Set.

Derketo in Conan the Role-Playing Game
The Conan paper and dice Role-Playing Game sourcebook "Stygia - Serpent of the South" has the following to say about Derketo:

Derketo, Set's whore, the Sable Queen (Anuket, Derketa)
Derketo, or Anuket as she is known to the Acheronians and the Giant-Kings, is a goddess of passionate lust, sacred ecstasy and sexual pleasure. Her attributes and her cult are considered obscene by most Hyborian standards. She is shown as a nude queen with a crown of ostrich feathers, often pictured standing on a lion. In her hands she holds symbols of eroticism and fertility; in one hand lotus flowers and in the other a pair of snakes. Her sacred symbols are the gazelle, the lion and the star. Unlike most Stygian art, she is usually shown full-face foward, instead of in profile. As Anuket, she was the daughter of Satet and the first wife of Khnemu. Derketo is a Shemite deity granted to Set as a war concession. Origionally Set had two whores but over time they coalesced into just one deity. Her lustful embrace is said to fertilize the mighty Styx. She is a deity of life, sexual power, birth and war. Her aspect of war is the feasting and sex that comes after a victory in war. She is also a goddess of the dead, leading spirits of the dead through the sky on midnight winds.

Derketo is also a seductress deity, a temptress who epitomises the essence of independent womanhood and a willing descent into uninhibited sexuality. The rites are among the most orgaistic of Stygia's religions. The dancers and priestesses of Derketo are also temple prostitutes, finding sex is the best way to capture and hold onto male worshippers. The exotic techniques taught in the temples of Derketo are extremely intense and can cause Corruption (see Conan the Roleplaying Game for rules on Corruption). Her sacred prostitutes are considered the embodiment of Derketo herself.

Men and women pray to her for fertility and sexual virility. Derketo does not listen to men unless the man making the plea visits her cult and partakes of her prostitutes. All young women in most Stygian cities, especially Luxur, are required to go to the Temple of Derketo to learn about sexuality and freedom.

The Stygians have great temples to Derketo in Luxur. Derketo is also part of the Shemite pantheon and is worshipped in Zembabwei where she is the consort of Dagon, the underworld god.

It also contains the following article about the seasonal festivals of Derketo held in Stygia:

The Orgy Festival of Derketo
The orgy festival of Derketo begins with an exhibitionist show of dancers, priests and priestesses engaged in various sexual acts. The finale involve those in the audience joining in what becomes a mass, public orgy. Similar to the worship of Pteor in Shem, even bestiality is typically part of the show. Unlike Shem's orgies, necrophilia is included. For the three days of the festival, some cities release participants of any marital obligations in regards to fidelity. The priests of Set often bring out various snakes for sexual use.

It describes the worship of Derketo in her homeland of Shem thus:

Derketo of the Shemite Pantheon
Goddess of Seduction and Depraved Sexuality
Derketo is a temptress that attempts to win Pteor away from Ishtar. Her rites are among the most orgiastic of Shem's religions, even considering the sensual nature of Ishtar and Adonis' ceremonies. Certain dark ceremonies re-enact her masterful arranging of the rape of Ashnan by El-Lil because Derketo desired to be the goddess of grain and beer. Other ceremonies re-enact the mating of Dagon and Derketo. The exotic techniques taught in the temples of Derketo are extremely intense and can cause Corruption (see Conan the Roleplaying Game for rules on Corruption). Her sacred prostitutes are considered the embodiment of Derketo herself. She is a sexual predator who takes the vitality of her lovers into herself either as a saccrifice or as a means of gratification of herself. She copulates with others, particularly young men, via deceptive guiles or illusions, sheer coercion or through her own personal attributes. She is the patron of Nippr.




Set
Set, the Old Serpent, is Ibis's arch-enemy, and the ancient god revered and worshipped mainly in Stygia, and is known and worshipped as Damballah in the Black Kingdoms.

He is a cruel, jealous god who demands constant sacrifice from his subjects, and his priests are only too willing to comply as they bring naked virgins screaming to his altar to appease his blood-lust. In Stygia the snake is holy and to kill a snake is a mortal sin--as King Conan himself once found out when adventuring in Stygia. If a snake slithers into the cities or to the streets, Set's subjects will lay prostrate before him, hoping to be found worthy of his bite.

His priests are almost as frightening as the god himself, and they terrify their own people almost as much as they terrify their enemies. Stygia is a theocracy, and the mad and corrupt clergy run the country on fear and wonder, as well as an indiscriminate willingness to sacrifice their own people.


((the following is an addition from Ankhnaset))

Howard's Set is primarily "later Set", in the post-Hyksos era of Egyptian history in which he was 'demonised' by being conflated with Apep, the serpent god of nastiness. The foreign Hyksos rulers had adopted Set as their 'main patron God' and thus in the xenophobic post-Hyksos era, Set moved from being Storm God to God-of-Evil for political reasons (i.e. he was merged with the Serpent God of Poisons, Apep).

In reality before that era (i.e. before the New Kingdom/late Second Intermediate Period of Egyptian history), Set was not actually much associated with serpents at all... so Howard's Set is very much a 'mash-up', taking the interesting bits from here and there from a 2000 year period. Also keep in mind that almost every significant city in ancient Egypt has their own 'localised versions' of the various Gods, so Howard's highly syncretic Set is not all that daft. Also as Howard did not fill in all that many details for the Set cult, it is easy to add in supporting background without much risk of violating any 'Howard Mythos Cannon' concepts as those were actually quite basic.

So my chum posited three main Setite 'sects' to square the circle between what both Howard and Funcom have given us:

1. The sect of Set-the-King (Setanatep) : the 'official' sect of government in Khemi, representing the aspects of Set that represent unchanging stasis, rulership and continuity. The 'Lawful Evil' sect if you like.

2. The sect of Set-of-the-Ankh (Setanankh): the nature oriented Storm God that is probably closest to early 'classical' Set and and in truth not so much evil as capricious. The 'Neutral' sect I suppose that best fits the 'Tempest of Set' class. As Set was never a god seen isolation, imagine Deketo as 'Set's Whore' (which she is indeed described as) at his left hand and Nebethet (another actually Goddess Howard did a mythos-mashup on) as his 'wife' on the right hand... and when Set messes around with Derketo, that explains the storms in the upland hills... and when Nebethet the river goddess of the Styx gets pissed off as a result, that explains why the river bursts its banks and people die... that *is* kind of how early theology was used to explain things :-)

3. The sect of Set-of-many-poisons (Setnaapep): this is Set as demonic serpent god (i.e. demoted to a mere god of chaotic evil badness). This would be the Set-of-the-Acheronians and the Set invoked by Thoth-Amon

_________________
Phoenicia, lvl 80 Madam
Grelkara, lvl 80 Guardian
Kalyria, lvl 80 Tempest of Set
Thracia, lvl 56 Dark Templar
Bonedancer, lvl 46 Necromancer
Zulyana, lvl 41 Herald of Xotli

[Wulfengart]: He has nothing to do with you then? You were awefully close.
[Phoenicia]: I'm a whore. I'm awfully close with a lot of men.
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Phoenicia

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PostSubject: Re: Deity information   Mon May 10, 2010 7:14 pm

((Thanks Eloise!))

Bel
"Bel, too, is Shemitish, for he was born in ancient Shumir, long, long ago and went forth laughing, with curled beard and impish wise eyes, to steal the gems of the kings of old times." -- Robert E. Howard: "The Queen of the Black Coast"

Bel, god of thieves, appears in some versions of the Shemitish myth-cycle, and his rather peripheral episodes are thought to be later additions to the myth.

Bel is worshipped, however; the Zuagir nomads and the thieves of Asgalun point to his exploits to prove that their nefarious acts are blessed by the gods.

According to legend, in the time of the Elder Gods, Bel used his dark powers to conjure up an army of undead thieves, with which to plunder the wealth of all nations. In desperation, the people of Shem called on the goddess Ashtoreth for help. In the ensuing battle, the goddess severed Bel's sixth arm. Thereafter, Bel was driven into exile in present-day Zamora.

None has ever seen the face of Bel, as befits a god of thieves, though several idols and amulets depict him variously as a stocky dwarf with a grinning face, a six-armed elephant-man, and a lithe, pantherish human wearing a black mask.

Bel is worshipped, or at least paid lip service, by all who "earn" their living as thieves, outlaws and beggars.

The priesthood of Bel is independent in each major city or region, to prevent the frequent actions against one thieves' guild or temple from spilling over and affecting others. In areas with a single strong thieves' guild, the temple or shrine to Bel is usually connected to the guild hall via underground tunnels. In large cities with competing guilds, such as Arenjun, the temple is in an underground location and is recognized as neutral ground by all sides.

To maintain their benefits, priests of Bel may never buy or trade for anything. Should they slip, Bel can only be appeased by a sacrifice of stolen goods ten times the value of the item purchased.

_________________
Phoenicia, lvl 80 Madam
Grelkara, lvl 80 Guardian
Kalyria, lvl 80 Tempest of Set
Thracia, lvl 56 Dark Templar
Bonedancer, lvl 46 Necromancer
Zulyana, lvl 41 Herald of Xotli

[Wulfengart]: He has nothing to do with you then? You were awefully close.
[Phoenicia]: I'm a whore. I'm awfully close with a lot of men.
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