Gods of Mythosa
©2000 Bruce A Gulke
The World of
Mythosa is a fantasy setting that, like many, has been in development for
many years. Since its birth in the late 80's, it has gone through a variety
of changes, maturing as a world as I have matured as a player and gamemaster
of fantasy RPGs. It is currently undergoing its latest, and (hopefully) final
is an excerpt from the newest revision, detailing Alyara, Mythosa's goddess
of light, love, and healing (probably the only truly "good" god in Mythosa's
pantheon). It is provided as an example of a well-developed religion that
can be used "as-is", or as a model for your own world. Game statistics are
provided at the end for players using AD&D, but the description can be
used for most any fantasy RPG (though currently home to AD&D campaigns,
Mythosa has been used for other games, including Rolemaster, in the
There are a
number of references below (names and places found elsewhere in Mythosa)
that will likely be unfamiliar to the reader. These will be covered in future
installments, but feel free to use your imagination to puzzle them out in
Alyara is portrayed in three different guises: the Maiden of Love,
the Lady of Light, and the Merciful Queen. The Maiden of Love
is a young, beautiful woman with long flowing hair, clothed in naught but
radiant light. The second form, the Lady of Light, is a friendly-looking,
middle-aged woman dressed in a yellow-white robe. The third incarnation,
the Merciful Queen, is a kindly old woman. In this form, Alyara is clad in
a white robe, sashed with red, and bears a staff of yew with laurel
| Spheres of Influence
|| Healing, love, light
| Holy Symbol
|| A yellow metal disk, shaped like a radiant sun, with a dove etched
into the center
| Priestly Title
|| Sisters of Hope and Desire
| Primary Temple
| Clergy Honorific
|| "Holy Sister" (no name), or
| Celestial Body
|| The Sun
|| Halember (second month of summer)
|| Gaestahg (sixth day of the week; also "Day of Healing")
|| Dawn, mid-morning, noon
|| White, yellow, gold
|| Gold, bronze
|| Diamond, ruby
|| Sandalwood, rose, thyme
|| Laurel, yew
|| Ash, jasmine, aloe
|| Dove, phoenix
|| Open, well-lit areas
Places facing the east
| Holy Days
Last day of Scordelos, the first month of spring (Amoratahg,
the Day of Lovers)
Tanalos became immortalized in the annals of church history during the Plague
of 1432. Though Sisters are blessed with immunity to disease, some unnatural
property of the plague enabled it to strike them down the same as any other.
As a result, the priestesses hid in their temples, rather than going out
to the masses that needed whatever healing or comfort they could provide.
Brevyra Tanalos, a young acolyte of the Ilmaran temple, decried this behavior,
and defied the orders of her superiors by leaving the temple and going out
to those suffering from the terrible disease. Though she quickly contracted
the Plague herself, she continued to heal and console the sick until her
own death a month later. Shamed by Brevyra's sacrifice, the other priestesses
of the temple followed her example. Though it cost many their lives, their
work was not in vain, for the subsequent work of the Sisters helped to halt
the spread of the Plague (though they were unable to actually cure it).
Lyrradąs founded the Daughters of the Light, the militant, Undead-fighting
order of the church, over 600 years ago. Shortly after being admitted to
the priesthood, Lyrradąs' home village (many miles from her temple)
was destroyed by a necromancer and his Undead minions. The Sister vowed revenge,
and spent the next ten years studying both Undead lore and martial disciplines.
After finding and destroying the object of her vengeance, Lyrradąs
founded the Daughters, to pass the legacy of her studies.
Church of Aegar has officially discouraged worship of Alyara, but they quietly
tolerate her veneration among the commoners of the Empire.
have a high degree of respect for all three aspects of the goddess. There
aren't many Sisters among the nomadic tribes, but those who serve her are
given complete protection and hospitality.
for Alyara vary greatly; in Ilmara, Lhyrna, and the Empire of Syrhaat, Alyara
is adored and her priestesses are highly regarded. However, outside of these
kingdoms, few Marrshites worship the goddess (though they are quick to give
her lip-service when they need healing or a love spell).
predominantly desert-dwelling people, the Lady of Light is highly revered.
There is a high concentration of Sisters of Hope and Desire to be found in
this region, with a large temple located in the city-state of Oasys.
have twisted the religion of Alyara. They hate light, see no need for healing,
and misinterpreted the true meaning of love. To the Dark Folk, Alyara is
a divine harlot and her worship constitutes a degenerate orgy of depravity.
She is known as Decate to the Drakari, and is worshipped jointly with
her rival, Hhiltara the Damned.
respect Alyara, primarily because of her connection to Ramm, but they neither
worship the goddess nor seek her priestesses for aid.
Many of the
Children of Shaarizad consider Alyara to be an enemy of their creator, and
thus, their enemy. These orcs and their kin have no qualms about attacking
Alyaran temples and shrines, and have been known to attack heavily-guarded
settlements for no other reason. Most orcazhai, however, tend to have little
or no regard for Alyara.
This cult exists
that others may find the joy of the Light, love, and the healing power of
the goddess. The Sisters have no real agenda, and exist primarily to serve
The cult has
a small amount of influence due to their healing but overall they are not
that powerful. Despite this, it is recognized as a grave transgression by
most cultures to violate the sanctity of an Alyaran temple.
faith of Alyara is fairly neutral in its dealings with others. The church
does have some dislikes, though. They are not fond of people whose profession
focuses on killing (mercenaries, assassins, etc.), nor do they care for the
cults of the war gods (despite the belief that Alyara is related to Ramm
in some manner). The church is an outright enemy of the cult of Hhiltara,
and (as recent events would have it) the priests of Shaarizad.
are rather friendly with the cults of Baltur and Dynera. They do not approve
of some of the tenets of the Code of Baltur, but they understand the principles
on which they were founded.
are claims to the contrary, the church of Alyara is not prejudiced against
men. However, they do believe that men are too aggressive to properly serve
the goddess as priests; thus, only women can be clerics for the goddess.
Men are not forbidden from joining the laity, however.
is lead by a triumvirate of priestesses; each High Priestess represents one
aspect of the Goddess (Maiden, Lady, and Queen). The rest of the sisterhood
generally follows no particular hierarchy, though age and clerical power
tend to contribute to an unofficial ranking system. Shrines to Alyara (basically
satellites of the temples) are usually administered by a single Sister as
part of her training for becoming a High Priestess.
Alyara rely on private donations for their support (shrines receive support
from their superior temple). Some are on retainer to certain noble houses
or merchant families; these temples give preferential treatment to members
of those houses or families (all who require healing are served, but no one
ever said what order had to be followed).
are holy to Alyara are regions of healing, sunshine, and romance. These include
(but are not limited to) forest glades near clear streams, desert oases,
and verdant meadows.
to the Lady are generally circular, with white stone and brick walls centering
around a courtyard. In the center of the courtyard is a fountain, in the
middle of which is erected a statue of the Triple Goddess. The fountain is
the altar of the faith, and its waters have healing powers.
Alyara are similar to in construction to her temples, but they lack a healing
fountain. Instead, the shrines have a smaller idol of Alyara.
contain a number of small rooms (outside the courtyard). These rooms include
clerical cells and places used for the care of the sick and wounded.
It is said
that consecrated grounds of an Alyaran temple or shrine will prevent the
Living Dead from treading upon them. Whether this is fact or just a myth
is unknown, though such a thing would not be a surprise to most people.
ceremonies, the Sisters of Hope and Desire dress in robes of white with gold
trim, with laurel wreaths on their heads. The three High Priestesses each
wear a different colored robe: the Priestess of the Maiden wears light red,
the Priestess of the Lady, yellow, and Priestess of the Queen dons a light
While "in the
field", or tending to everyday activities, there are few restrictions on
what Sisters may wear (outside of evidence of their faith - i.e.; their holy
symbol). Given their nature, the priestesses tend to wear flattering attire
that emphasises their physical gifts.
tradition of the religion is a ritual known as the Renewal of the
Fountain. During each weekly ceremony, the Sisters cut themselves on
the right arm and let fall a small amount of blood into the temple fountain.
This serves to show their devotion to the goddess, it provides the fountain
with its healing power, and is said to be symbolic of an ancient notion of
the religion that says for a life to be saved, another must be lost.
of Alyara has two special orders within its clergy, the Daughters of the
Light and the Scarlet Maidens.
of the Light are the closest thing the religion has to a "fighting arm".
They are dedicated to hunting and eliminating the Undead. Less jovial and
more militaristic than other Sisters, they are nevertheless extremely effective
in their pursuit of the destruction of the Living Dead.
primary temple of the religion is in Ilmara, the Daughters are headquartered
in a fortress west of the city, on the edge of the Varghani Desert. The abundance
of Undead in the desert's ruins keep the priestesses quite busy.
Maidens exemplify the "love" aspect of the religion, primarily that of physical
love. The Maidens are highly skilled in "romantic" disciplines, and are
responsible for a rather sizable portion of the church's monetary
can be found in most cities, with Ilmara and Zeldora being home to the largest
a lay person of Alyara, an applicant needs only a devotion to the precepts
of the church. However, those who engage in "death-related" occupations
(warriors, assassins, etc.) are discouraged from joining.
Laity are required
to aid those who are hurt, and must assist the priestesses of their local
temple or shrine during times of trouble (plague, wars, etc.). Benefits of
being a member of the laity include quick access to healing, and an increased
resistance to common diseases. Penance for wrong-doing is based on the severity
of one's transgression. It may range from indentured servitude for a period
of time, to assisting priestesses in particularly plague-stricken areas,
a Sister, an applicant must meet the admission requirements for the laity,
with two additional stipulations: they must be female, and must never have
taken a life (even in self-defense).
Duties of the
Sisters include healing those in need, regardless of who they are (followers
of Hhiltara, Shaarizad, and Tehmorix are exempted), and aiding those in love
with whatever means are necessary.
There are a
couple of restrictions on the Sisters. First, they may never wed unless they
their relationship has been blessed by Alyara, who will make her approval
or lack thereof evident. Second, a Sister may never kill or willingly harm
a sentient being, even in self-defense (this restriction is lifted in the
case of intelligent Undead, worshippers of Hhiltara or Shaarizad, or any
by the goddess include healing powers (naturally), immunity to natural disease,
the ability to purify water, and the power to repel the Undead.
for sins against the church vary; they may range up to excommunication or
a ritual known as the Blood Sacrifice. If a Sister has committed a
grave enough transgression to be excommunicated, she may seek forgiveness
by participating in this ritual. There are a variety of elements to the ritual,
but it focuses on the priestess having a massive amount of her blood drained
into a temple fountain. According to the ritual, if Alyara believes the woman
truly regrets her action, she will survive and be allowed to continue to
serve the faith.
by Sister Arashi Talamir, priestess of the Sacred Mosque of the Goddess
Aadu - Destruction,
Entropy and Chaos
creature is a foul stain on the divine tapestry! No good can come of a religion
dedicated to destruction. We must embrace life and live it fully - not seek
out its premature annihilation.
War, Storms and Smithying
Storm God's smiths are master craftsmen, they would do better to apply their
skill to endeavors other than warfare. Like their Flameknight counterparts,
the Stormraiders do little more than revel in death and destruction.
Aeryand - Wealth,
Wine and the Sea
be an insult to call the priests of Aeryand greedy drunkards - most drunks
don't possess nearly the avarice necessary to be a true Harvester! The excesses
and debauchery of Aeryand's religion makes one wonder if this faith truly
has any purpose in the first place.
Strength, Protection and Justice
of Baltur is flawed and a bit extreme, but the Virtues of this religion are
admirable qualities for the Knights to uphold. The priests of Aegar and Ramm
tend to be little more than savages, but Baltur's priests maintain a high
level of dignity and seemliness. They are to be respected.
Dynera - Nature
and its priests are a peaceful folk, shying away from the destructive or
debauched natures of many other religions. Dynera and the Myrshae consider
life to be sacred, as should we all. While this deity seems more concerned
with plants and animals than people, this religion is one of the few outside
Alyara that is worthy of worship.
Hhiltara - Fear,
Darkness and the Undead
the goddess Hhiltara has no place among the divine, her twisted and depraved
worshippers have no place among mortalkind. The Shadowlords and their Undead
cohorts are unnatural, an abomination to the Light. It is our duty to destroy
them wherever they may be found!
Hukko - Trickery,
Deception and Debauchery
been said that Hukko finds life "irreverent"; a statement supported by the
behavior of his priests. Hukko is like an unruly child, lacking any sort
of morals or ethics, and it is his religion, not life, that is truly a
Knowledge, Travel and the Arts
are an interesting lot. Many of them take themselves a bit too seriously,
but those who partake of the arts tend to be more affable. Now if only they
could be convinced that knowledge should be applied in a beneficial manner,
rather than simply gathered for its own sake...
Lis - Death, Sleep
It is indeed
a sorrowful event when healing fails us, and a soul must depart this world
for Lis' marbled halls. But we take comfort in the fact that the departed
will then be free to travel to their next destination, rather than be trapped
in some necromantic automaton. Lis is a enigmatic goddess, as are her priests,
but thankfully, the Gatherers are a mystery rather than a terror.
Ramm - War, Vengeance
Aegar are both destructive, aggressive deities. The evil that has been wrought
in their names is terrible. However, while Aegar appears to be beyond redemption,
Ramm has a healthy respect for the Light. There may yet be a small amount
of hope for him and his Flameknights.
Shaarizad - Evil,
Death and Darkness
we believed that Hhiltara was the darkest enemy of the Light, until the Darkfiend
was resurrected. A vile deity, it spawned the orcazhai which have plagued
the other races for years. Shaarizad is to be considered an enemy of the
faith, perhaps even moreso than the hated Hhiltara!
Tehmorix - Pestilence
to the perverse ideology held by the Children of the Plague, disease and
famine do not "strengthen" a people! To actively spread vehicles of death
is a ghastly concept, and creates unnecessary work for the Sisterhood. Tehmorix
is a vile being, undoubtedly spawned from the same pit as Hhiltara.
HOPE AND DESIRE - A NEW PRIEST CLASS FOR 2ND EDITION AD&D
priesthood dedicated to Alyara is described below. This class was designed
using the Player's Options books, specifically Skills & Powers
and Spells & Magic.
All, Charm, Creation, Elemental Water, Healing, Protection, Sun
drain (15 pts.)
restriction (5 pts.)
of Hope and Desire are not given to engage in adventure. However, it is not
unknown for a Sister to accompany a band of brave explorers, if only to insure
Alyara have the power of Turning Undead at the 7th level of ability.
This power takes effect against Undead if they attempt to come within five
feet of the shrine. Even if an Undead creature is able to resist the turning,
if they leave the "sacred ground" of the shrine and attempt to re-enter,
they must check against turning again. (It is left to the DM's discretion
whether this power works against fiends/demons as well).
Undead power of Alyara's shrines works the same way for her temples,
though for those the power is at the 14th level of ability.
of Mythosan Terms
With Ryh'ardha, one of known Mythosa's two major continents.
A subterranean humanoid race, originally descended from a surface-dwelling
people (who they destroyed in an ancient civil war). [Not Dark Elves, but
Hassites - One of Mythosa's
four major human cultures. Hassites are a fair-skinned people, and make up
the majority of the Ulthian Imperium (commonly known as Ulthia), a large
empire in southwestern Altaenea.
Large city-state found on the coast of Ryh'ardha. A cultural and trading
One of Mythosa's four major human cultures. The Khazrani are made up of nomadic,
plains-dwelling tribes, and are generally considered barbarians by the rest
of the world. They are found on the steppes of southeastern Altaenea.
Feudal kingdom found in northwestern Altaenea.
of Mythosa's four major human cultures. The Marrshites are primarily a sea-faring
folk, dominating the islands and coastlines between the continents of Altaenea
brutish, ugly race, more commonly known as 'orcs'. [However, the name also
encompasses goblinoid races, ogres, trolls, and similar creatures]
Altaenea, one of known Mythosa's two major continents.
A large, matriarchal empire located in northeastern Altaenea. Syrhaat is
arguably the oldest country in the known world.
One of Mythosa's four major human cultures. The Varghani are a nomadic,
desert-dwelling people, living in the eponymous Varghani Desert of western
A reptilian humanoid race. [Mythosan lizardmen]
Merchant city found in northwestern Altaenea. A place where it is said anything
can be had - for the right price.
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