Religion in the Labyrinthium is a largely ignored concept. Many of those who dwell in and around the Vicious City care little for the presence of the divine. They believe that life is hard enough without divinities to mess it all up and hoping for salvation is a prospect as vain as a slave besting the King-slayer in a death-duel.
But the Cabalists Convocation or the Qabbalim disagree with the theory of godlessness. If gods do abound in Overworld or Underworld, they are a hard lot of beings, each offering power and glory to those that please them. The Gods of the Labyrinthium are more powerful than Demon Lords and have even less in the way of mercy and patience. They are fickle and chaotic and ever hungry, but they reward well those who service them with sacrifice.
Priests exist in the Labyrinthium, but they are as ruthless and as dangerous as the Sorcerers and the Witches with whom they consort.
Origin Myth: The Qabbalim believe that Midworld was forged in a divine war between four gods. They warred constantly and they had destroyed countless worlds and realities in their conflict. In this period, they decided to dream forth a world and create denizens to decide who was the greatest among them. Each mortal was given a soul and given a will to serve the gods, who mask their true forms from their creations.
The end will come when the gods tire of their game and their own constant cheating. They will remake the world anew but only after devouring and destroying everything on this world first. For now, they are content to play their pawns and grant power to those who please them.
Afterlife: The Qabbalim believe that the souls of the dead are dragged to the hellish pits of Underworld where demons torture and enslave them until their memories are completely erased. These souls are reborn to Midworld to continue the cycle of pain and suffering in life and in the afterlife.
Service to the Gods of the Qabbalim allows a Chosen to forfend one’s torment in the afterlife. Instead, a pious member of a Vigil may spend his afterlife with in his God’s domain and perhaps be reborn in the world into a higher station or into great fortune.
View of Magic: It is the belief of the Qabbalim that all magic springs from the Gods to the dwellers of Midworld in some way shape or form.
Naturally, faith and servitude of a Priest are rewarded by the Gods with magical power. The Qabbalim believe, however, Witches harness the power of the elemental spirits only through the Rhelyeh, Dark Mother and Halak – the Gods that invested these spirits with their very essences. Likewise, the Gods claim dominion over much of Sorcery as well; Rhelyeh inspired the creation of the Necronomicon and Dark Mother spawned forth the first Daemon from her unholy womb, or so say the Qabbalim.
He will unravel
The Qabbalim believe that Rhelyeh is the water that fills the chest of the drowned and the last breath of the hanged. He is called the Drowner in the Dark and the Hangman’s Tree. Rhelyeh is the final beat of the quivering heart, the final shiver of the stilling corpse. He is death itself, waiting upon his throne in the dark of the skies until the stars are right; then, he will drown Midworld in the fullness of his power.
Rhelyeh’s rites usually involve ritualistic murder, usually as a spectacle watched and enjoyed by an audience of his Chosen. Rhelyeh is appeased by the sight of a dying creature, especially if that death is prolonged and painful. His Priests have special holidays during equinox and during the start (and the end) of each year.
Rhelyeh is often depicted as a tentacled monstrosity kin to spider and squid. His arms are innumerable and tangled but he has two which are longer than the others. He has six eyes, each with a patient, malignant intellect that awaits the end of the world.
Commandments: Rhelyeh commands his Chosen to:
o Never act in haste, to act only when the time is right.
o Spread pain and death wherever one goes, but to do so with subtlety
o Record and enjoy the last moments of a creature’s life.
Symbol and Colors: Rhelyeh’s symbol is of a squid that floats between two pillars, clutched by ten of its twelve tentacles. Two of its tentacles hang down from its form, longer than the others and tipped with scything blades. His colors are of the night sky and the deep seas, pale-grey over navy blue and dark green.
Spells: Priests who are Chosen of Rhelyeh inflict ice damage when they use divine spells.
Sphere Access: Priests of Rhelyeh may choose one of these Spheres for the Acolyte of Faith ability they gain at first level. Furthermore, they may learn the Servitor skill for the other listed Spheres.
Clergy: Those of the Vigil of Rhelyeh also call themselves the Rhelyon. This Vigil is as steeped in secrets as they are in the arts of death. Many Chosen of Rhelyeh are Hunters, Assassins and Necromancers, all working under the supervision of his unholy Priests.
The Rhelyon are divided into two orders:
The Death-Watch: are Rhelyon dedicated to preserving the secrets of the Vigil and protecting Rhelyon sanctuaries. They are researchers, archivists, guardians and wardens – all serving the cause of Rhelyeh.
The Death-Wind: are Rhelyon devoted to seeking and destroying the enemies of the Vigil and protecting Rhelyon interests. They are enforcers and assassins, diplomats and hunters.
The Rhelyon are led by the Hand of Rhelyeh, a minotaur by the name of Kragach. Kragach is smaller than most minotaur but is blessed in cunning, in faith and in madness. His utter devotion to Rhelyeh is contrasted by his support of the King-slayer, a concept that mystifies his colleagues and the King-slayer’s enemies.
Halak the Ruiner!
Halak the Sunderer!
The Bringer of Chaos!
The Breaker of Worlds!
Rend! Tear! Destroy!
Halak is the fury of a thousand storms and the death-screams of a hundred fallen gods. She is the warcry in the throat of the warrior, the bloodlust in the eyes of the slayer. The Qabbalim call her the Sunderer and the Breaker of Souls. When the time is right, she intends to smite Midworld and shatter it into shards of stone and frost, each no bigger than a man’s head.
Halak’s rites involve ritual combat, the massacre of at least 4 creatures or the destruction of a building. The harvest season and spring thaw are times of celebration and slaughter among the Vigil as raids are performed on hapless settlements for ritual fodder.
Halak is often depicted as a four-armed demonic woman with each arm holding a weapon that is wrought of lighting (usually a sword, a spear, an axe and a hammer). Her hair is a thousand writhing serpents, her four horns form a crown around her brow and her three eyes burn with unholy malevolence.
Commandments: Halak commands her worshippers to:
o Break apart the enemies of the Halakai and allow nothing to obstruct your goals
o Spread dissention in other Kingdoms and Religions
o Create a world of fear and suffering that will please Halak when the time comes to break it
Symbol and Colors: Halak’s symbol is of a solid circle broken into two jagged pieces. Halak is associated with Dark Red, Light Orange over Steel Grey.
Spells: The Priests of Halak inflict lightning damage with their divine spells.
Sphere Access: Priests of Halak may choose one of these Spheres for the Acolyte of Faith ability they gain at first level. Furthermore, they may learn the Servitor skill for the other listed Spheres.
Clergy: There are those that say that the Halakai are a cult of ruin mongers and madmen. They are only half-correct. A very vocal and visible minority of the Halakai are psychotic and depraved marauders who rampage across the world and bring ruin and death to all that they meet. However, a good portion of the Halak’s Vigil are psychotic, depraved and Machiavellian in their methods, creating and enacting subtle plans that further the Halakai’s ends without causing suspicion amongst themselves.
Ravagers: form the notorious and visible portion of the Vigil that are usually killed on sight. They are berserkers and slayers that seek to emulate the stormy aspect of their god.
Sunderers: are as intelligent as they are malicious, fractioning organizations, causing wars and promoting their god’s cause without their enemy’s knowing.
The Halakai are led by a charismatic female Twilight Elf who calls herself Lady Entropy. She is always masked and cloaked in prismatic attire. It is said that her reach spans the entirety of Midworld and that battles have been sparked across the continent at her whim.
Gorthag’s gullet is ever hungry
Gorthag’s heart is ever empty
Gorthag seeks to devour whole
Gorthag seeks to devour souls.
Also called the Devourer of the Eternal and the Ever Hungry, Gorthag is a God that seeks satisfaction. This means glutting his hunger, quenching his thirst but also sating his bloodlust and feeding his avarice. Gorthag calls his followers to similar satisfaction – the world will end eventually after all and Gorthag intends to consume Midworld piece by piece, starting with the flesh and the souls of the smallest creature and ending with the seas and the lands in his gullet.
Gorthag’s rites involve ritual cannibalism, hedonistic feasts and/or destructive arson. The Devourer encourages his followers to sate their lusts and their hungers upon the hapless and the unwary. He holds no specific day or month as holy, although he demands that feasts be held in his name every month.
The Devourer is often depicted as a great dragon seated upon a pile of gold or a dragon about to devour a hapless victim. In both portrayals of Gorthag, his many rows of teeth and the size of his maw are emphasized by the artist.
Commandments: Gorthag commands his followers to:
o eat, drink and be merry – Gorthag commands it.
o give to Gorthag his due, which is as much as you can squeeze out of your victims.
o eat the flesh of their enemies to gain their strength and to please the Devourer.
Symbol and Colors: The symbol of Gorthag is of a simple circle with lines that go inward from its circumference, a crude representation of an open maw. Some of his followers have symbols of maws with teeth, rendered with greater aesthetic detail but the simple symbol will suffice for his worship. Gorthag’s colors are tongue crimson, toothy yellow and the dark of the gullet.
Spells: The Priests of Gorthag inflict fire damage with their divine spells.
Sphere Access: Priests of Gorthag may choose one of these Spheres for the Acolyte of Faith ability they gain at first level. Furthermore, they may learn the Servitor skill for the other listed Spheres.
Clergy: The Chosen of Gorthag also call themselves the Starvelings. It is a name taken up in jest, wrought by folk who never truly go hungry or thirsty or want for anything. The Starvelings are a folk of means and their hedonistic rituals keep them and their dark god sated.
There are those that believe that the Starvelings are a wanton, lusty, destructive folk – given to passion and pleasure without no thought or meditation. The Starvelings propagate this belief while stretching the web of their power and their influence across the households of Midworld. One may never know when a nobleman, a merchant or even a servant is a pawn of the Starvelings. In this regard, they are a power that inspires more fear than the outright violence of the other Vigils – because their subtle influence, their quiet strength, strikes a deadlier blow to the unwary when they finally make their move. For now, they ar
e content to feast, to expand and to be amused. But when the time is right, the Devourer will take his due from all creatures.
The leader of the Gorthag’s Chosen is a Warpling Gnome of tiny stature and enormous appetites. Called the Prince of the Starvelings, he directs and maintains the vast web of conspiracy and power that Starvelings have created. His ultimate goal is to bow the Guilder Alliance to the cause of Gorthag, a cause he claims that he is close to achieving.
Watch as your children
do you proud
without a sound.
Dark Mother is also called the Brooder of Demons, the Queen who Crawls. Unlike the other Qabbalim Gods, Dark Mother does not want to destroy the world. She merely wants to cover it with her true-born children. But her demonic children are rapacious and cruel and their very nature would render Midworld a dry, lifeless land.
The Dark Mother’s rites usually involve the use of insects and vermin to feed upon a hapless victim, eerie rituals of fertility and the summoning of a demon into Midworld. Her holy days lie in the heart of spring and the autumn harvest.
Dark Mother is often depicted as a humanoid creature wrapped in the shadows of a hooded cloak. She wears a writhing crown over her hood and her mostly hidden features hint at a mass of vermin crawling across her flesh or at the fact that the Queen who Crawls is a mass of writhing vermin herself.
Commandments: Dark Mother demands that her Chosen
o find and open gates to Underworld
o propagate plagues and pestilence across Midworld
o degenerate order and civilization to let primal savagery flourish
Symbol and Colors: The colors associated with Dark Mother are maggot white, chitinous gold and carapace brown. Her symbol is of eight spidery eyes peering out while eight legs grab the edges of the symbol.
Spells: The Priest who serve Dark Mother inflict Shadow damage with their spells.
Sphere Access: Priests of Dark Mother may choose one of these Spheres for the Acolyte of Faith ability they gain at first level. Furthermore, they may learn the Servitor skill for the other listed Spheres.
Clergy: The Vigil of Dark Mother is also called the Children of the Dark or merely the Children. They are a crazed church, seeking the propagation of diseases and vermin as well as the entrance of a greater demonic influence into the world.
Plague-Bearers: are agents of Dark Mother that seek to introduce infestations of vermin and epidemics of diseases into settlements and civilizations. Whether they are not about these two primary duties, they seek weaknesses in cities and towns to exploit for their maddened goals and places to construct enclaves for their Plague-Wreaker brethren.
Plague-Wreaker: are agents of Dark Mother that seek to create new diseases and to summon more demons into Midworld. They gather and collect more lore with which to accomplish their destructive objectives, although they usually keep to their lairs and enclaves and let the Plague-Bearers do the foot work.
The leader of the Children calls himself the Favored Son. He is a Gorgon who is possessed of powers that are rumored to be the highest blessings of Dark Mother herself. They say he can discorporate into a swam of flies, use diseases to move from place to place and craft plagues that are as painful as they are uncurable. The Favored Son is said to appear anywhere in Midworld but those that are not of the Children rarely survive his pestilent presence.