Legacy of Zanzer Tem
The Prophecy of the Expanse says that the ultimate fate of creation will land in the hands of a handful of gods. Some will, intentionally or not, be pivotal in bringing about the end of creation, and others have the power to preserve and renew creation. This belief has been enshrined in the faith of the humans of the rift. The Expanse is made up of Zemya (Mother Earth), Petra (Protector of the Weak), Ixion (The Sun), and Thanatos (The End of All Things). The Abaddon (Destruction) is made up of Orcus (Prince of Destruction), Nyx (Lady of Night), Falcho Fallowguard (Patron of Coincidence, God of Thieves), and Vanya (The Grey Lady, Goddess of War). Non-cannonically some stories imply that Halav (Husband of Petra, Ancestor of Kings) is a member of the Expanse, and Luna (The Moon Dragon) is a member of the Abaddon.
The Expanse is the dominant faith of humans and halflings in the rift, with a grand Cathedral in Melinir, and smaller temples or chapels in nearly every other town. A small chapel to Vanya is said to exist in Avenal, and shrines to Falcho are common wherever halflings gather.
While technically no god is given precedence within the faith of the Expanse, Zemya is generally presented as the head of the pantheon, with Petra and Ixion as close subordinates. Thanatos, in his incarnation as the peaceful keeper of the dead, is presented mostly in out of the way elements.
The Grand Temple of the Expanse is the focal point of the town of Melinir, the grand cathedral itself can seat 1500 people though it is rare for it to be so full, but during festivals as many as 4000 can be accommodated standing room only. The altar lies to the north, facing the pews to the south, great stained glass windows depict the four gods of the firmament along the walls that lead to the high vaulted ceiling.
Zemya: Zemya directs her followers to respect life and nature, honor the land as it supports you, and respect the wild places. She is the Goddess of Beast, Forest, and Field. Her followers dress in long white robes (sometimes with armor underneath), and favor quarterstaffs if arms are necesary. Her symbol is a snake wrapped around a standing stone (often worn as a snake armband). Appropriate domains would include Nature and Life.
Petra: Petra directs her followers to protect the weak, so they may grow strong. Her followers have a particular distaste for slavers. She is the Goddess of Defenders, Frontier Settlements and Besieged Cities. Her clerics wear yellow tunics and red skirts, and favor maces or warhammers. Her symbol is a round shield (sometimes interpreted as a potters wheel). Appropriate Domains would be Life and War.
Ixion: Ixion directs his followers to be heroic, to banish the darkness, and to fight entropy and evil. He is the god of the sun. His clerics wear gold (the metal) generally over white to make it stand out, and favor bows. His symbol is a flaming wheel, or the sun. Appropriate domain is Light.
Thanatos: Thanatos directs his followers to protect and sanctify the dead, and return the undead to the grave. He is the God of Death, The End of All Things. His clerics wear purple robes with black cloaks and plague doctor style masks, favored weapons are maces and scythes. His symbol is the scythe, or sometimes a pair of wings. Appropriate domain is knowledge.
Vanya: Vanya directs her followers to never hesitate in the face of danger, and to face, bravely, impossible odds. Conquest leads to progress, but tyranny retards it. She is the goddess of Conquest and Bravery. Her clerics ceremonial garb is made of white linen robes with elaborate headdresses, but in the field they prefer functional armor and martial weapons. Her symbol is a pair of crossed swords, sometimes with a vertical lance. Appropriate domain is war.
Falcho Fallowguard: Does Falcho direct his followers at all? If he did it would be to protect nature, seek balance in all things, and to subvert the rules, but never for selfish gain. He is the God of Luck, Coincidence, Laughter, and Halflings (not officially of course). Falcho has no clerics, but sometimes a followers of his alternate identity Raven comes up. If such a followers were to dress ceremonially it would be in black robes with feathers and would use a raven on a field of black flames as a symbol. In such a case Trickery and Nature would be appropriate domains.
Orcus: Orcus Directs his followers to destroy, murder, and cannibalize. He is the God of Disasters, Destruction, Violence, Lycanthropes and Demons. His clerics wear furred leggings and deer or ram head headdresses, their preferred weapon is the mace. His symbol is a ram’s head. The appropriate domain would be tempest. While only madmen worship Orcus, small offerings are left by many when the threat of a natural disaster looms.
Nyx: Nyx Directs her followers to remind man why he is afraid of the dark, and to respect, honor and protect the undead. She is the Goddess of Night, Secrets, and Undeath. Her clerics garments are tessellated white and black waves, and they do not wear armor. Her symbol is the solar eclipse. The appropriate domains would be knowledge and death.
The Great Cycle – Kaldmont 28-Nuwmont 1 (New years eve and day)– The last days of the year are a grim festival in honor of Thanatos, and the First is a vibrant celebration in honor of Zemya.
The Day of Three Suns – Vatermont 2 – Awkwardly named, as it is fairly rare for the sun to shine on this day. Celebration of a miracle performed by Ixion at the Battle of Loosecoat Field.
Day of Creation – Vatermont 28 – Thaumont 2 (Spring Equinox)– A celebration sacred to all the gods, it is the biggest celebration of the year. Birthdays are celebrated, infants are baptized, children come of age, and the drake frequently floods with the spring runoff.
Reading of the Law – Flaurmont 7 – The barley harvest is accompanied each year by the reading of the law in honor of Zemya and Petra. It is an austere holiday.
Day of the Straw Men – Klarmont 1 (Summer Equinox) – The faithful make (or buy) small straw men and whisper to them their sins from the past year, at sunset the dolls are burned in this holy day devoted to Petra. It is believed that those whose dolls don’t burn have not repented sufficiently for their sins, and must carry them for another year.
Day of Song – Klarmont 14 – The wheat festival is sacred to Zemya and Ixion, it is the time of music, storytelling, feasting, and drinking.
Beasts Day – Felmont 1 – One of the biggest holidays in the rift, while sacred to Petra, it is mostly a secular celebration in commemoration of the goblin wars.
Vanya’s Dance – Felmont 6 – This holiday, not honored by the expanse is celebrated by warriors donning full armor to perform an ancient dance around a bonfire in Vanya’s Honor. After resting from the ordeal, they feast and drink into the night.
Day of Remembrance- Ambyrmont 1 (Autumn Equinox) – This holiday sacred to Thanatos and Petra is the day when the fallen are remembered and lost loved ones are grieved.
The Day of Suffering – Ambyrmont 24 – The clerics of Zemya keep a vigil as all followers cower against the coming darkness.