The world of Nia has many gods and religions, some ancient, and all but forgotten, and some more recent.
Here are some of the Religions of Nia. To learn more about the Gods and Religions of Nia, consult pages 95 to 104 of the Arrowflight rule book. Note: Some of these were created for my gaming group and are not in Arrowflight.
Present Day Gods and Religion
Church of Rellian
The most significant religion in Corvel is the Church of Rellian. Rellian was an elven prophet who was tortured then burned at the stake during the "Purge of Others" by a mob of fearful humans. Six centuries later Rellian's teachings and examples had become the foundation for the Church of Rellian which spread throughout most of Corvel.
Rellian believed in a great Creator as well as lesser deities. He promoted the ideas of tolerance, forgiveness, charity and to enjoy diversity where ever it was found. However he did oppose Marg, the Dark God of Chaos and believed that it was a threat to all that was noble and good.
Many peoples and most nobility in Corvel belong to the Church of Rellian.
Know as "the Protector"
Those of the Elementalist Church co-exist with the Church of Rellian. This organization is one of the oldest in Corvel and every aspect of the elements are paid homage to. Each particular element has it's own deity.
The Church of Marg
Eons ago Shal'ekk was told by the Creator to have only three offspring before dying, and that her children would be those from which all dragonkind would spawn. As she died, a fourth dragon child escaped her womb; the Dragon Mother's final act of rebellion against the Creator who had cursed her.
This fourth child was Marg (read more below), an abomination in dragon form. A personification of her spite, hatred and disregard for the word and law of Creator, Marg was immediately banished to the Caverns of Chaos where to this day, he seeks to remake the world by destroying everything. It is generally accepted to be a human endeavor dating back at least two thousand years, that the Church of Marg began.
The Church of Marg believes that the only sin is in conforming to Order. Primal impulses and personal power are the true gains in life, and Margists push them as far as they can go through human and animal sacrifice and the summoning and control of demons. Kidnapping, rape, murder, theft and vandalism fall under the purview of those who seek to further themselves in Marg's eyes by committing crimes against society.
The practices of most of Marg's followers are abhorrent to the general populace, so his followers tend to hide their faith by practicing in rural areas, as far from the rule of civilized law as possible. The Church of Marg does not have a unified organizational body. Most Margist communities function under the disguise of other faiths, performing their secret rituals in private homes or remote forest hideaways.
In most Margist cults, there are followers, these are members of the church with no real divine abilities or power within the loose structure, but will aid in rituals. The next step up is an Acolyte, those who are in training to become leaders in the Margist faith. Above Acolytes are Priests, who lead the larger spells and perform the sacrifices. Some especially remote and larger cells may have several Priests, who will answer to one High Priest. Mages that follow the Margist order can be trained in the Summoning theory through the church.
The Scarlet Rose Brotherhood
The origin of the Brotherhood is lost in the millennia. "The God of War, Avranis, fought tirelessly for 700 years during the Godswar. The God wielded his fabulous weapon “Nomina,” which had the ability to change as desired into a new weapon. Aong side Avranis, was Sker-Hjan the burning tiger. It is said that Avranis loved the tiger beyond anything else. Every day the tiger chose which side she and Avranis were to fight—changing sides at her own discretion.
When Marg killed Sker-Hjan, Avranis blindly killed everyone around him in order to reach and slay the Evil God. Avranis managed to corner Zadrak and was about to deliver the final blow but the Master Of Deception used his art to make Avranis believe the tiger still lived. Avranis was distracted for just a moment, but it was enough for Marg. Varadah the fearsome black sword of Marg, jutted from the chest of the Lord of War.
As Avranis died, legend says, it began to rain. The rain was blood—the blood of the god. Some nearby bushes of white roses suddenly turned red, and this could mean only one thing, “Fight in the name of Avranis.”
3000 years after the Godswar, Innikas, a young soldier of fortune was riding with his small mercenary company across the Judgment Mountains. Down in a valley, a group of Dwarves was fighting against a human patrol. The Scinthy were next to defeated, and Innikas stopped his company to watch the fight.
Innikas was a just man, and in his heart, wanted to help the Dwarves who were boldly holding out. But his men would never enter into the battle without being paid. Innikas did not have money, but decided to speak to the men. His speech was brief and came straight from the heart; he spoke about the men, courage and the spirit of the gods. The mercenary company did not pay attention to him, and let him go alone in the battle. While Innikas was going down the valley ridge, he crossed by several bushes of white roses. As Innikas passed, all the bushes turned blood red. The mercenaries watched on in wonder and decided it was a divine sign. The battle began, and the Scarlet Rose Brotherhood was born."
The Scarlet Rose Brotherhood follows the deeds of Avranis. They are holy warriors, fighting by the will of Avranis. The Brotherhood does not necessary fight along side those who are good, often they line up with the side that shows more boldness—regardless of its intention or allegiances. During its history, the Brotherhood has participated to many battles and wars, even changing their alliances and sides during the battle. This attitude made them to appear as mad and bloodthirsty men.
Cowardice is not an option for the Scarlet Rose Brotherhood cleric, who learns to face their fears and control them. An apprentice spends five years learning and training at the Brotherhood monastery. Each year, the apprentice learns a new skill—swordplay, military tactics, mounted combat and smiting. The final training year is called “the fear year.” The apprentice accompanies an elder member on a voyage or other journey, this elder has the duty to find the weaknesses and fears of the apprentice and let him (or force him) face them. Only after the apprentice has faced his inner demons, can he finally become a Brother of the Rose. Women are also accepted into the cult, but all of them practice celibacy. The cleric who oversteps this rule
is immediately driven away from the Brotherhood.
There are two ways which the Brothers of the Scarlet Rose can decide to join a battle—if the white roses in the monastery garden turn to red, the Brotherhood knows there is a battle to be joined, and they leave as soon as possible the monastery. If they are called, a thing that happens rarely due to their terrible reputation, they could perform the Blood Ritual. White rose petals are added to the monastery’s pool, and all the full-armored members of the brotherhood dive into the water fill a pool of water; the clerics wear white fullplate armor—if the armor turns red, they will fight.
The leader of the brotherhood is called “the High,” and he always bears the name of Innikas. Every Innikas is made to resemble the former one. This is a tradition that crossed 3000 years, and only the Innikas knows the true reason of it.
The main monastery rises on a high rock between the Judgment Mountains, near the fortress of Draman Del and the Cursed Woods. Only by way of a complicated elevator made of wood, ropes and pulleys can anyone reach the building. The monastery has a square shape with a large courtyard inside. A sculpted dome is visible from a distance—it covers the meeting room situated on the first floor. The meeting room is very impressive. The inside of the dome, the ceiling is carved like a giant rose. Tiny holes are found on it and while, during the night, nothing is visible, during the day the shiny holes resemble the dew on the rose petals. The inner garden has many wonderful white roses bushes, carefully tended by the clerics. Also in the garden, there is a crystal clear pool of water with white marble steps that descend in it. A small chapel is located on the first floor and access to it is forbidden to everybody but the High and the Brothers of the Scarlet Rose. Apprentices may not enter there. If a non-believer is found inside the chapel, they are killed on the spot. The monastery is also equipped with all sort of facilities, like an exercise area, fight practicing room, a swimming pool, and a library.
There are a few smaller, monasteries scattered through out Nia. The leader is still called "the High" but does not have the name of Innikas. Most of these only teach the first year or two's skills before they send the initiate to the main monastery to complete there training.
While outside the monastery, the Brothers of the Scarlet Rose always wear white full-plate armor, except when they are disguised or traveling in incognito. In this case, they simply wear white or brown tunics. In battle, the Brothers wear crimson-red full plate armors—this way allows their enemies to spot and fear them at any time during the battle. Inside the monastery, they are free to wear what they wish, but during the dinner they are all in white tunics with red weapons embroidered on the chests. The apprentices wear a red hood over the head at all times, except in the year of fear when the hood is black.
A small scarlet rose embroidered on a white scarf.
Ancient Gods and Religions
The ancient gods are all but forgotten. In distant times, more than 10.000 years ago, the gods chose the world as a battlefield to settle their differences. Today known as the Godswar. To that end, they created the mortal races as pawns for their bloody chess game. For thousands years the world knew only the rumbling sound of battling armies, clashing in an endless and bloody struggle. The exact reasons behind this conflict are lost to his history, but by the end the evil gods were on the verge of victory. Marg, the god of darkness, besieged the fabled Fortress of Thousand Years where the Gods of the Light offered a desperate and futile resistance.
One after another, the Gods of the Light fell, killed by the fearsome black sword of Marg and his fellow dark gods. At the end of the struggle Galinor, the most powerful of the Gods of the Light and the last remaining, made the extreme sacrifice: he turned himself into a lightning bolt and threw his very essence against Marg. The body of the Dark God was shattered and the other evil gods were shaken by the might of the impact, yet Marg ’s soul did not die. Seven black lights, seven shards of the deity’s soul, were scattered in the cold air. These are the Knights of Discord. Later, the remaining Dark Gods began to weave a powerful spell to attempt to reunify the shattered soul of the lord. In that moment, mortal history as we know it was born. Two mighty humans, Draman the Red and Gadrath the Immortal, dared for the first time to interfere in the affairs of the gods.
Draman the Red, a powerful red haired warrior, wielded the blade Naterah, known in the following millennia as “The Guardian Sword” or “The Guardian of the Night”. Galinor himself forged this unearthly artifact, but its greatest power was infused in the sword by Gadrath the Immortal, the wizard who followed Draman the Red onto the battleground.
In the midst of the dark deity’s ritual to reunify Marg’s soul, Gadrath raised his hands to the sky and summoned the mighty power of the Web of Life, channeling it into the magical blade. Then, the Red Warrior raised his sword in the midst of the coalescing pieces of Marg’s soul, sending the pieces flying madly away, repelled by the power of the Guardian Sword.
The morale of the evil forces was badly shaken. However, the army of good exulted but for short time, for the shards of Marg’s soul found refuges in the powerful bodies of seven black generals, who were immediately taken away and hidden by the Dark Gods. The battle raged again for three more days but at the end the Dark Gods, demoralized by the loss of their commander, were defeated. The last remaining good goddess, Savanah, blessed mortal kind, and leaving the mortal plane, delivering the fate of the world into their very hands.
Despite the battlefield success, Gadrath could not find peace. In the following years he and his legendary fellowship: Draman the Red Warrior, Svarn the Silver Archer and Fidenath the Sly, sought and killed all the remaining Dark Gods. While the seven black generals could not to be found, the destruction of these deities secured a complete victory over the forces of evil, and the Guardian Sword ensured that Marg’s soul could not reform to plague the world again.
The power tht Galinor summoned from the Web of Life was at a great cost to the surrounding area. Life in the area took a long time to grow back and even then it was twisted and warped. This area is now called "the Cursed Woods", which seperates Corvel from the barbarian people of Akrindor.
Marg (evil and deception)
Marg is the sole living ancient god in mortal existence on Nia. His shattered soul lives in seven bodies that once belonged to his dreaded lieutenants; the seven Black Generals better known as The Knights of Discord(see below). After Galinor hurled himself against the body of Marg shattering his soul in seven pieces, Marg ’s loyal minions took the seven Black Generals to locations so secret that Gadrath the Immortal and his fellowship were unable to find them.
Marg and Galinor were the opposite sides of the same coin. No one understands why they started the Godswar but it is said that without the war mortals would never exist. While Marg is the quintessence of evil and vileness, chronicles say he is also a very powerful and charismatic god. A schemer and very cunning, he is famous for his sly plans during the war. His plots led to the death of more than one god of light, thanks to his machinations.
Marg is a powerful fighter and with his black sword "Varadah" -whose name in the ancient tongue means “the one who extinguish”—is widely feared. Many prophecies tell about the awakening of the Knights of Discord, and blind prophets and dreaded witches whisper that the time has come.
The Knights of Discord
The ancient dark gods wisked the 7 dark generals away and hid them. The e dark generals would sleep until called forth again to destroy the "Gaurdian Sword" and then be reunited into Marq.
These 7 generals are the "Knights of Discord".
Being imprisoned in mortal bodies the KOD developed personalities of there own and became minor dark gods themselves, tho always with the goal of causing as much chaos and suffering as possible and to be re-united as Marq.
The Knights of Discord have waited, to be released from their sleep by someone worthy of Marg.