GUERRO IS THE RELIGION OF BER, and aspects of it have caught on in Drakr. Immigrants from that land to Risur and elsewhere have likewise imported their beliefs and traditions, which give the impression of antiquity, but in actuality are mere decades old.
Guerro is a syncretistic faith best described as “neo-paganism,” a union of many old obscure pantheons and racial deities with an easily overlooked unifying doctrine—to accept the eccentricities of one’s neighbors. It was born of necessity, during the rise of Le Roye Bruse who united the disparate, warring tribes of monsters into a wealthy, cohesive nation.
The first Bruse, a tactical genius of an orc, knew his vision of a unified Ber could never be realized without making some compromises. Though he wished to impose a state religion around Irori, his personal inspiration, he knew that any attempt to divorce the masses from their traditional gods was folly. What he accomplished instead was the employment of bards and sympathetic priests to circulate epic tales of the localized deities’ interactions with each other—a common theme of these tales was the gods misunderstanding and warring amongst themselves, but eventually turning to diplomacy and cooperation.
Though the myths were new, they possessed enough consistency with the traditional deific depictions that they rang true. Within a generation, the new stories were so seamlessly intertwined with the old that they appeared to have always been. Soon enough, closely-related ceremonies, feasts, and holidays were merged together, and several races of violently prejudiced monsters had reasons to celebrate—together. The gods were at peace, so the people were at peace. Guerro was born.
Gods of Guerro
It is fortunate the good-aligned gods of this hodge-podge pantheon are mighty, for they are greatly outnumbered by the gods of evil. Guerro’s adherents are still monsters, and the wicked behaviors and attitudes they set for their followers have only marginally dulled under the faith’s blanket message of tolerance. Ber’s people engage in practices as a matter of course that most humans would find criminally degenerate. Blood and violence remain part of the culture as much as open-mindedness. Murder is still common in Ber—the gods of the people wouldn’t have it otherwise—but violence is rarely motivated by racial hatred. But even the darkest gods stand together with those who have ensured Ber’s success as a culture and a nation: Irori, a neutral god of diligence and enlightenment whom the first Bruse’s managed to subtly promote to the top of the new pantheon; and Milani, a goddess opposed to slavery and tyranny.
Included in the Guerro pantheon are the gods of the fallen Dragon Kings. Many of those the dragons had subjugated continue to uphold the religious beliefs of their former masters because they are so ingrained in local traditions and racial identity.
Among many Berans, the veneration and worship of ancestral spirits or ancestral ghosts is a common religious practice. This is especially true among the eldbrud and giant tribes, who incorporate communion with these spirits into their daily lives.
Titles—The Ancestors, Fathers, Mothers, The Spirits of the Earth
Portfolio—earth, family, homeland, kinship, life, time
Domains—Community, Divination, Knowledge, Luck, Protection
Apsu is the patron deity of all good and metallic dragons, and one of the oldest gods. Along with Tiamat, he is (at least according to draconic lore) believed to be one of the two original creator beings of the cosmos.
Titles—Waybringer, The Exiled Wyrm, Maker of All
Portfolio—Dragons, Glory, Leadership, Peace
Worshipers—Dragons, good reptilians
Domains—Good, Earth, Law, Travel, Void
Favored Weapon—breath weapon or quarterstaff
Asmodeus is the most powerful of the nine archdevils that inhabit the underworld and the only one of hell’s rulers to claim full divinity. It is he who is credited with the penning of the contract of creation, within which his followers believe is hidden the means for their patron’s eventual rise to supremacy. Though he has a large following in Ber, his worship remains underground.
Titles—Prince of Darkness
Portfolio—Tyranny, Slavery, Pride, Contracts
Worshipers—Hobgoblins, slavers, bureaucrats, tyrants
Domains—Evil, Fire, Law, Magic, Trickery
Dragonkin believe that Dahak was one of the original gods created by Apsu and Tiamat. While the other deities began to create, Dahak chose to destroy. He is credited with transforming Hell into a place of agony and flame. He is also believed to be the creator of the metallic dragons, which he formed solely to hunt as sport.
Titles—The False Wyrm, Sorrowmaker, The Endless Destruction
Portfolio—Destruction, Dragons, Evil, Treachery
Worshipers—dragons, evil reptilians, demagogues, nihilists
Domains—Chaos, Destruction, Evil, Scalykind, Trickery
Favored Weapon—Bite or scourge
Haggakal is an ogre god, the offspring of an evil deity and a giant. His followers believe him to be a round ogre face in the sky (the moon). For them the waning moon is the time to hunt and to raid while the waxing moon symbolizes the time of their god’s return. Other myths interpret the moon’s phases as the incestuous relationship Haggakal has with his twin sister and the resulting pregnancy.
Portfolio—Ogres, Darkness, Inbreeding
Domains—Chaos, Destruction, Evil, Madness, Strength
Irori is a god of hard work, enlightenment, and self-perfection. His followers claim that he was once a mortal, often depicted as an orc, who achieved absolute physical and mental perfection and thus attained divinity. He is one of the core gods, if not the most powerful deity in the modern Guerro pantheon.
Titles—Master of Masters
Portfolio—cooperation, industriousness, history, knowledge, self-perfection
Worshipers—monks, warriors, Ber laborers
Domains—Community, Knowledge, Law, Strength, Rune
Favored Weapon—unarmed strike
Lamashtu is the mother and patroness of many misshapen and malformed creatures that crawl, slither, or flap on, above, or below the surface of Lanjyr, and thus among the most popular deities in the Guerro pantheon, perhaps second only to Irori.
Symbol—Three-eyed jackal head
Titles—The Demon Queen, Mother of Monsters, Demon Mother
Portfolio—Madness, Monsters, Nightmares
Worshipers—Deformed outcasts, the insane, evil monstrous races
Domains—Chaos, Evil, Madness, Strength, Trickery
The goddess is the patron of all those who fight against oppression and unjust rule. She is honored by the rites of the executores dola liberta, warrior women who wander the nation of Ber punishing tyrants and slavers.
Symbol—A rose growing out of a blood-soaked cobblestone
Portfolio—Hope, Devotion, Uprisings
Worshipers—Devotees of freedom, ex-slaves
Domains—Chaos, Good, Healing, Liberation, Protection
Tiamat is the five-headed queen mother of the evil chromatic dragons. Along with Apsu, Tiamat is believed to be one of the two original beings. Together, they created the original gods of the multiverse. Their offspring Dahak created the mortal dragon race on the Material Plane, though Tiamat claimed five as her own. Tiamat has also been known to manifest as a dark-haired sorceress.
Symbol—Five dragon heads
Titles—The Chromatic Dragon, Creator of Evil Dragonkind, the Avaricious, the Dragon Queen
Portfolio—Evil dragons, evil reptiles, conquest, greed
Worshipers—Dragons, evil reptilians, spellcasters
Domains—Evil, Law, Magic, Scalykind, Trickery
Ydersius is the patron of the ophiduans, a race of snake-men who battled the forces of ancient Avent in the days before that human civilization was swept under the waves. Ydersius became known as the Headless King when he was decapitated by a mighty aventi champion. A deity of unquenchable passion and anger, the generally more cerebral serpentfolk regard him as an example of all that is potent and primal in their psyche.
Symbol—Snake head with globe in its jaws
Titles—The Headless King, Lord of Coiling Poison, the Father of Serpents, the Primal Coil, the Sundered God, the Slumbering Speaker Below
Portfolio—Serpentfolk, Immortality, Poison
Worshipers—ophiduans, evil reptilians, sorcerers with the serpentine bloodline, human snake cults, assassins
Domains—Chaos, Evil, Nobility, Scalykind, War