Main Page » Gods and religion
See Also: BRCS Chapter four: Gods and religion - This page is a rewrite of the section in the BRCS

The pantheon known to the humans of Cerilia is not the same pantheon recognized by the ancient tribes who came to Cerilia before the War of Shadow. The old gods gave up their existences in order to destroy their evil brother Azrai at Mount Deismaar. Their essences imbued hundreds of champions and common soldiers with the beginnings of Cerilia's bloodlines, and have shaped history every since. More importantly, the god's mortal champions, closest to the old gods in their ideals, took the brunt of the divine essence released by the gods' death and were elevated to create a new pantheon.

The new gods numbered eight; Haelyn, assuming Anduiras reign over nobility and war; Erik, the druid, ruling nature in Reynir's stead; Sera, taking the place of Brenna as the goddess of commerce and fortune; Avani, taking the mantle of Basaïa as lady of reason; the Vos warriors Kriesha and Belinik, absorbing the energies of Azrai to become the Ice Witch and the Prince of Terror; Nesirie, absorbing the power of Masela and gaining power over the sea; and Ruornil, inheriting from Vorynn domain over magic and arcane secrets.

At first, the new gods worked closely together in the flesh; they fought, loved, had children, and helped the peoples of Cerilia recover from the War of Shadow. Nesirie and Haelyn formed a strong alliance and bore Cuiraécen, a new god of battle and storm. Likewise, Avani and Erik bore Laerme, goddess of fire and passion, and Sera and Ruornil bore Eloéle, goddess of the night. As centuries passed, however, wars and feuds between mortal followers ensued, fragmenting many of the god's alliances and creating argument and rivalry. Fearing a repetition of Deismaar in any future conflicts, the gods agreed to a universal pact: Never to battle each other in physical form.

The powers continue to increase the prestige and well-being of their worshippers, priests, and temples, but, for the most part, now restrict their guidance to dreams, inspiration, and prophesy. A few scholars may argue that gods no longer exist, and perhaps never existed, but most Cerilians believe implicitly in the existence of their gods. The divine abilities of blooded scions and divine spellcasters provide seemingly irrefutable proof of the continued existence of the gods and the history of their ascension at Deismaar.


Table 4-1: Human deities by region
Culture Deity
AnuireanHaelyn or by class and alignment
BrechtSera or by class and alignment
KhinasiAvani or by class and alignment
RjurikErik or by class and alignment
VosBelinik, Kriesha, or by class and alignment

Throughout Cerilia, personal faith is an important characteristic of every character, from the meanest peasant to the highest lord. Most people of Cerilia say an occasional prayer to more than one deity on a regular basis, but dedicate their lives to one patron deity. Cerilians believe that one's patron deity oversees all of the important aspects of existence. No one deity controls birth, coming of age, marriage, death, or the afterlife; each deity cares for such needs for their faithful.

Each major human culture, and most humanoid cultures in general, have a specific god that looks after the well being of the people of that culture or race. This does not preclude members of that race from worshiping another patron deity, but most characters naturally seek advice, guidance, and support from the faith of their people. The gods of the human pantheon have complex relationships, but most humans pay respect to all of the gods that are not considered enemies of their faith. An Anuirean Knight might worship Haelyn, but also pray to Sera, Lady of Fortune, before taking a great risk. Table 4-1 lists the principle faiths of Cerilia by race/culture. As long as one's own deity is not at odds with another, acts of simply piety towards the other deity are not considered offensive.

As a general rule, Cerilian deities do not overtly punish sinful behavior or reward faithfulness. The deity's rewards and punishments are measured in the afterlife. The clergy of a deity's church are responsible for meting out punishment and acclaims in the mortal world.

[top]Metagame Commentary

Dividing the faiths into rival sects creates nice opportunities for conflict. Creating different doctrines, alliances, holidays, and alignments furthers division between the sects. The Birthright setting is full of opportunities to create conflict between kinds of people who might be friendly or even helpful in other settings. Particular to this example are clerics of the same god. The Impregnable Heart of Haelyn and the Orthodox Imperial Temple of Haelyn experience a schism both political and doctrinal. The Impregnable Heart is not only born of the independence of Roesone and Ilien from Diemed, but also rejects the emphasis on rites and ceremonies, a strict interpretation of the social order, and various readings of the Book of Laws.

[top]Divine spellcasting

A divine spellcaster forges a personal connection to a source of divine power in the rituals and rites that bind them as a priest of a religious order. Once forged, this divine link allows the channeling of divine energy and the casting of divine spells. Cerilian deities do not (and perhaps can not) judge how this power is used; the powers are granted to men, and it falls to men to decide how best such powers shall be used. Should a spellcaster act outside the precepts of his or her faith, it falls to the clergy of the faith to guide or punish the offender.

A divine spellcaster who forsakes his or her deity does not lose the ability to cast divine spells; only a ceremony of excommunication is capable of severing the divine link between man and god once forged. Should a divine spellcaster wish to take up the faith of another deity, they may do so without immediate penalty. Accepting ordination in a new faith forever severs a spellcaster's connection to their previous deity. Divine spellcasters who abandon their deity are often considered to be guilty of most heinous blasphemy and may find themselves harshly judged by their peers (as well, perhaps, in the afterlife).

All blooded scions contain with them some small spark of divinity; the more powerful the bloodline, the more powerful the spark. Any scion with a True bloodline is capable of channeling enough divine energy to cast divine spells without a patron deity. The divine abilities of any scion that has accepted a bloodform far exceed those that do not. Scions that have a completed bloodform may cast divine spells without a patron deity with only a Great bloodline. Bloodformed scions with True bloodlines are capable of forging a link with worshippers that will allow the casting of divine spells.

[top]State religions

Throughout Cerilia, priests are held in high regard and most nations have a recognized state religion. In general, the state religion of any realm is the faith with the most levels of temple holdings in the realm. In cases where the measure is very close, the state religion may vary from one ruling line to the next (or even one ruler to the next), as different dynasties declare their own religious loyalties.

Even kings must bow to the wishes of their state religion in matters of spiritual consequence. When the time comes to install an heir, the church must provide support by performing the coronation ceremony to complete the investiture. Without the support of the church, the new regent receives only half of the normal regency points. The church (or churches) performing the coronation becomes recognized as the official state religion under that regent's rule. The official state religion has the authority to challenge any landed regent's actions (or even his right to rule) if they fly in the face of the precepts of the faith.

Churches often claim the right to hold their own courts and to administer the enforcement of a variety of religious crimes (canon law), including blasphemy, heresy, and witchcraft (the use of magic to cause harm to others). Such claims can bring them in conflict with secular legal powers unless the realm's regent supports the churches activities. The methods of trial and the penalties handed out vary significantly from one faith to another, but most temple courts are required to obtain secular consent to death penalties or any trials against nobility; this formality is often ignored by some faiths.

[top]Patron deities

Cerilian gods are generally associated with worshippers of a specific race. Each of the deities was once a champion of a different race, and that association remains. Even so, as gods with various portfolios there is a universal appeal to each of the gods and so worship for each of them appears throughout Cerilia. Humans may be clerics of any human deity, but are most likely to worship the god associated with their tribe, culture, or region.

Your character may or may not worship a specific patron deity. Clerics, druids, and paladins always have a specific patron deity. If you want your character to have a patron deity, consider first the deities most appropriate to her race (Table 4-1: Human deities by region, and Table 4-2: Non-human deities), or class and alignment (Table 4-3: Human deities by class).

[top]Temple Organization

Like every other type of holding, temple domains are ruled by one person. This person must be a scion in order to collect regency from the holdings. Typically this ruler is also the high priest of the temple, but sometimes the high priest is a lieutenant of the domain ruler. Below the high priest, are the key organizational heads of the temple. Typically they reside in the place where the principal site of worship is located. These people may be lieutenants, cohorts, friends, allies, rivals, leaders of affiliated orders, supervisors of temple functions, or even senior priests from individual provinces. Each temple selects these people differently, but they all exist. No ruler runs the temple domain alone, there are always underlings to help, hinder, or complicate their ruler's actions.

Whether they are part of the leadership team immediately below the ruler, or whether they are subordinate to that group, there is always a temple priest who is the leader of every province. In provinces where there are very small holdings, that leader may be the only member of the clergy who attends to a very small number of worshipers and the occasional supplicant. Large holdings may find a powerful provincial leader with many priests and even several smaller temples answering to him. The High Druid of the Oaken Grove of Erik is Günther Brandt, and he lives in Riveside in Dhoesone. The senior druid in Yvarre in Rjuvik supervises a level four holding and therefore has many subordinates himself. If the ruler of a temple domain is not careful, he might find that a Great Captain event occurs in his domain and one of his provincial leaders, or even a member of his inner circle attempts to break away and form a new sect.

Along with the vertical hierarchy that leads from the high priest of an entire domain down to the lowliest new acolyte, they may also be affiliated orders and other allied organizations. A temple domain of Ruornil, for example, might have an organization of wizards who serve the temple with their arcane power, while another organization, such as the Order of the Silver Crescent in Medoere might be composed of knights. Still another organization might be composed of rangers, scouts, and rogues, like Ruornil's Silver Guard in Grevesmühl to protect wild places and source manifestations. Still another organization might be composed of those who are dedicated to oppose the encroachment of the Shadow World.

[top]Metagame Commentary

The Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition sources mentioned a few organizations affiliated with temple domains, such as the ones actually named in the above example. Current editions make much greater use of organizations in general, and given the Birthright setting's emphasis on organizations in the second edition, its doubtless that organizations would be even more plentiful playing Birthright with a Dungeons & Dragons Edition 3.5 ruleset. Rules governing prestige classes, contacts, responsibilities and benefits of membership, and a whole chapter on affiliations in the Player?s Handbook II, all demonstrate how much the mechanics of organizations have flourished in the current edition. Its hard to imagine that organizations are not proliferating no matter what edition is being played by the ideas put out there with each new supplement.

[top]Allies and Rivalries

Every deity has enemy faiths. These faiths and their sects and clerics are sure to meet unfriendly or actual hostile reactions. Worshipers are careful never to give reverence to gods hostile to their own patron. Among friendly gods, one might expect a friendly, or even helpful reaction, unless history, politics, or some doctrinal disagreement separates them. After all, as mentioned above, even sects of the same god may be hostile. Reactions from clerics or sects which are indifferent to one another might run from a warm welcome to immediate hostility depending on circumstances. In general, you are much more likely to encounter an enemy than a friend. That's why you carry a sword.

[top]Cerilian deities

Each deity description follows the same general format.

[top]Deity name (level of power)

Each entry begins with the deity's common name among their race/culture of primary worship. Following the name is the deity's level of power. In descending order, the levels of power are greater deity, intermediate deity, lesser deity, and demigod. These ranks represent relative levels of power among deities only and do not affect the abilities or spells of the deity's divine spellcasters.

[top]Titles and aliases

A few of the more common titles used by a deity's worshippers are listed under each entry. This is not an exhaustive list, but represents several of the names by which a deity is commonly invoked. If a deity's name differs between different cultures/races, the deity's regional name is also listed by region.


The deity's symbol is used by the faithful to represent the deity. The holy symbol used by clerics of the deity must take the form of the deity's symbol, although it can vary significantly in size, cost, and utility.


The deity's alignment provides a guideline for the general behavior of their faiths. Each sect of a deity's religion has an alignment. A sect's alignment can differ by at most one step from the deity's alignment.
Likewise, a cleric's alignment can differ by no more than one step from the alignment of their particular church. Therefore, most of a deity's clerics will have the alignment of the deity. It is thus possible (but uncommon) for a cleric to have an alignment that differs by two steps from her deity's listed alignment.


The deity's portfolio includes those areas of human experience or nature over which the deity claims dominion, power, and control.


The listed domains are those granted to the clerics of a deity and reflect the deities? alignment and portfolio. As with the deities listed in the Player's Handbook, a cleric chooses two domains from the deity's list and acquires the granted powers of those two domains. Domains listed in italics are campaign specific, and are detailed in Chapter Three: Magic.

[top]Favored weapon

The deity's favored weapon is usually a representation of a method of punishment used by the deity against foes or those who sin. Spell such as spiritual weapon take the form of the favored weapon listed in parenthesis. This weapon may differ by sect. Weapons of the listed type are the conventional favored weapons of the clerics of each faith and therefore their most likely armaments.

[top]Deity description

The first paragraph of the deity's description includes the deity's attitude, temperament, and general nature. The second paragraph describes the deity's church. This overview explains the church's organization and the common duties of the clergy. The third paragraph lists the time of day a deity's clerics pray for their spells. If more than one time of prayer is listed, the cleric must choose a specific time and use it thereafter. This section also lists well-known holy days of the faith, which the cleric may be expected to attend/perform.

Finally, the most common multiclassing options (if any) for clerics of the faith are given. The cleric is not obligated to multiclass. Paladins of deities that have a common multiclass may advance in their deity's favored multiclass without forfeiting the ability to advance further as a paladin.

[top]Dogma and relationships

The dogma of the faith contains the tenants of a religion that all clerics (and divine spellcasters) of a deity must hold dear. The interpretation of these tenants, however, provides the basis for many of the splinter sects of worship. The deities hold themselves aloof from such schisms, leaving it to man to find truth through their own trials. This section is written as if it were an excerpt from a holy text of that deity. Likewise, the relationship between the deity's major temples and the faiths of other human deities are provided as if discussing the relationships of the deities themselves. Members of the faith are expected to treat worshippers and clergy of other faiths as the deities are perceived to treat each other. This is complicated by the fact that the relationship between any two deities is not necessarily perceived in the same light by both sides.

[top]Human deities

Table 4-7: Human deities
Name Symbol Portfolio Worshippers
A rising sun
Sun, reason, magicKhinasi, scholars, philosophers, magicians
BelinikCrossed axesBattle, feuds, fearVos men, fighters, barbarians, tyrants
Sword and lighting
Storms, conflict, battleWarriors, the reckless
Black dagger
Night, darkness, thieves, deceptionRogues, thieves, smugglers, spies, liars
Oak tree
Nature, harvests, huntingRjurik, druids, rangers, hunters, barbarians, farmers, hunters, travellers
Sword and sunburst
Courage, justice, chivalry, rulership, warAnuireans, regents, officers, paladins, nobles
White hand
Winter, hardship, beasts of the coldVos women, barbarians, witches
LaermeHarp and flameFire, love, artBards, artisans, young lovers
Trident and wave
Ocean, grief, healing, remembranceMasetians, healers, sailors, mourners
Moon and night sky
Night, moon, magic, mysterySpellcasters, explorers, undead-hunters, advisers, counsellors
Silver scales
Wealth, luckBrecht, merchants, rogues, bards
Name (Power) Alignment Favored Weapon Domains
Avani (G)Lawful NeutralShortspearKnowledge, Law, Magic, Reason, Sun
Belinik (I)*Chaotic EvilGreataxeChaos, Evil, Strength, Terror, War
Cuiraécen (L)Chaotic GoodLongsword or shortspearChaos, Good, Strength, Storm, War
Eloéle (L)Chaotic NeutralDaggerChaos, Illusion, Night, Trickery
Erik (G)NeutralGreataxe or shortspearAnimal, Earth, Plant, Wilderness
Haelyn (G)Lawful GoodGreatsword or bastard swordGood, Justice, Law, Nobility, War
Kriesha (L)*Lawful EvilLight mace or heavy maceEvil, Law, Suffering, Winter
Laerme (L)Chaotic GoodShortbowChaos, Charm, Fire, Good
Nesirie (I)Neutral GoodTridentGood, Healing, Protection, Sea
Ruornil (L)NeutralQuarterstaffKnowledge, Magic, Moon, Spell
Sera (I)Chaotic NeutralLight flail or heavy flailChaos, Luck, Trade , Travel
*See the deity's description for special rules regarding selection of this deity as patron.

[top]Other powers

Table 4-8: Non-human deities
Name Symbol Portfolio Worshippers
The Cold RiderCloaked figure on a steedUndead, the Shadow World, deceitUndead, the power-hungry
KartathokBloody spearGoblin-kindGoblin-kind
MoradinHammer and anvilDwarvesDwarves
TorazanSword and hornOrogsOrogs
Name (Power) Alignment Favored Weapon Domains
Cold Rider (D)Neutral evilUnarmedCharm, Death, Evil, Magic
Kartathok (G)Lawful EvilShortspear or longspearDestruction, Evil, Law, Strength
Moradin (G)Lawful GoodWarhammerEarth, Good, Law, Protection
Torazan (D)Lawful EvilLongswordEarth, Evil, Law, War

[top]Halfling spirituality

Refuges from the shadow world, halflings have no specific
patron deity. Although capable of deep spirituality, halflings
tend towards introspection and are dependent on the moral
compass of their community to help guide their actions.
Halflings are welcomed by human churches in their community.
Although halflings are not often inducted to the mysteries
of the church, most churches do not exclude them from the

[top]Sidhelien spirituality

The elves can call upon the forces inherent in wood and water,
field and air, but have never worshiped deities. They are aware
that the gods of Deismaar existed and that new gods were created,
but they do not pay homage to them. Particularly after
their deception and betrayal by Azrai, the elves have been
adamant in their refusal to worship human gods. To the elves,
spiritual development is the responsibility of the individual.
The path that an elf takes is a decision that only he or she can
make. So strong is this belief that if an elf chooses to worship
one of the human gods, so be it. The only restriction placed
upon such rare individuals is that they not discuss their religious
ideologies within elven realms.

[top]Celestials, demons, and other powers

In addition to the major deities, dozens of lesser entities are worshiped by the denizens of Cerilia. It is believed that the
homes of the gods are reachable through the spirit world and that it is there that the servants of the gods make their homes. Whether such beings are servants of the gods, manifestations of a people's desire, or monsters preying upon the superstitious is subject to debate. Such servants may be referred to as being celestial in origin; although those horrific or believed to be evil are often referred to as demonic or infernal. For the most part, Cerilia's gods are close to human kind; their imperfections and weaknesses, their attitudes and objectives, are comprehensible to mortals. The same is not necessarily true of celestials and demons. These powers may have alien desires and needs or inflexible lines of action; dealing with them is often perilous.

Some celestials/demons have the status of demigods and are capable of granting the ability to cast divine spells. Likewise,
True scions that have accepted a bloodform are capable of granting the ability to channel divine energy to their worshippers
and are considered demigods.

[top]Further Sections

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