Some of the first NeoExodus projects I worked on were Pathfinder re-vamping of The Sanguine Covenant and The Church of Kaga, both churches and religious organizations. So this section was very dear to my heart.
Like most “D&D" campaign setting, NeoExodus has a number of unique deities and divine powers. One thing I particularly like when it comes to religion - and I believe PCI’s Arcanis is perhaps the best representation of this is that religions are not a strict block of people of similar alignment. Alignment and religion is not the same.
Let’s take for example a well-established real-world church like the Catholic Church (I’m Catholic, so I’ll speak from experience). Within the church there is a VAST majority of “good people" who live their lives doing the best they can, incorporating the rulings of the church whenever they can. And there are a bunch wacko-nutjobs. There are liberals and traditionalists currents within the church. Depending on which book of the Bible you read, it seems the teachings are slightly different. Through the centuries the church turned a blind eye on some extremely bad things (wars, genocides, executions, etc.). But it’s still the same church. And today’s thinkers try to tie themselves more with the better thinkers such as St Augustine.
So when I began writing about faiths and religion, I tried to keep in mind that there are three main elements here: the lay worshipers, the church and its teachings and the god’s own will. The goals of all three are rarely the same.
The Sanguine Covenant
The Covenant is the most widespread faith on Exodus by virtue of being the official religion of the Imperial Alliance. The Covenant is a monotheistic church based on the notion of an almighty, all-powerful deity known as the Sanguine Lord. To speak his real name is heresy. The church is an expansive one seeking conversion of all to its numbers. The Covenant takes from elements of the medieval Catholic Church with elements of Judaism and other faiths sprinkled in.
The Covenant is particularly active in hunting that which it considers heresy (which also means a lot of the bad elements of Exodus: the First Ones, worshipers of Khayne, undead creatures, evil shapeshifters, evil outsiders, evil arcane casters, to name but a few).
The most unique thing about the Covenant is that rather than praying directly to the Sanguine Lord himself (who is much too busy keeping the universe together), faithful instead pray to his Venerates. These extremely powerful beings - akin to archangels - are freer to listen to followers and grant benefits to faithful in the name of the Sanguine Lords. In other words, don’t disturb the boss… ask his Senior VPs.
The Venerates are: Dhazvok (the Warrior), Koliav (Keeper of the Icy Gates), Laita (the Queen of Rites), Makash (The Green Mother), Perun (The Stormbrother), Rylos (Lord of the Wildlands) and Svarog (The Father Smith). Their alignment, powers, favored weapon and domain are varied, and are presented in the same format as deities are in other Pathfinder settings.
In game terms, most lay worshipers worship "the Covenant". Only clerics and other divine casters devote themselves to one of them. Depending on their current needs and desires, they will pray to one of the Venerates. I strongly recommend The Sanguine Covenant as it is choked full of extremely valuable information, plot hooks, story ideas and NPCs.
The Church of the Kaga
The Church of the Kaga is a church that is not a religion. Yep. The Church of the Kaga is organized along the lines of a church but really is not. Its followers - and any learned person - know that the Kaga is not a god, even though it has god-like powers. However, to the masses and uneducated, it is much simpler to say the Kaga is a god and that his shrines are mini-temples. But his devoted are arcane casters rather than divine casters and are more akin to wizards than clerics. Clerics of the Kage must belong to a unique archetype - the Cleric of the Kaga. The Church of Kaga is present in major cities throughout Exodus.
The Kaga was created during the reign of the First Ones over Exodus when a thousand of mankind’s greatest minds gave themselves to the creation of the single greatest and most powerful arcane creation in the universe. The Kaga is an arcane construct, a creature resulting of the merging of all those minds, and two millennia of additional knowledge. Petitioners who seek to learn from the Kaga do so by discussing with miniature versions of the Kaga (called "avatar of the Kaga"). Avatars can take in information and give information. Thus the Kaga is one of the best-informed persons on Exodus. The Kaga frequently restricts dangerous information from those he does not deem worthy. He sometimes volunteers information (known as Revelations) to petitioners. In short, the Kaga is an ever-evolving encyclopedia or as Louis likes to say "The Kaga is an edited version of Google."
The church of the Kaga has two main goals: the pursuit of all knowledge to increase the Kaga's own and the destruction of that which can threaten the people of Exodus. Clerics of the Kaga travel the world, recording their experiences in log books and travel journals. They are known for their insatiable curiosity.
As before, I strongly recommend you check The Order of Kaga book for full details. The campaign setting presents a simplified version of the information in that book.
Next time: More Faiths of Exodus