As I stated before, things change as I develop my ideas. In order to illustrate that, I am posting my latest rundown of the religions of Djapar. I ended up liking all the ideas I had so decided to go with all of them. In addition, I have tried to design in some sort of internal division within each religion to provide tension/conflict. They all need fleshing out, but I am satisfied with the basic layout, so that is unlikely to change.
So, without further ado, here are the 8 major religions of Djapar.
RELIGION #1 (Dragon Faith)
Since these islands appear on at least one Cerilia map named Dragon Isles, I have decided that this is a
draconic religion based on the 2nd Edition dragon deities.
There is a detached demiurge that creates the multiverse, and included in that creation are three co-equal deities, one each LG, NN, and CE. These three contend for mastery of the multiverse.
The plan is for each deity has its own priesthood and is worshiped separately in their own temples.
The alignment conflict is central and in the open in this cult.
RELIGION 2 (Cult of the Great Mother/Materism)
This religion has a single female demiurge that causes creation. She then somehow “mates” with creation and bears a pair of twins, one positive and the other negative who contend for rulership of creation in a behind the scenes manner, influencing each person individually.
The divine Triad is worshiped as a whole, and although the neutral demiurge is aloof from the struggle, the cult is centred on her (i.e. the twins are not worshiped individually and are seen as subservient to the mother goddess). Currently I like the idea of the twins being seen as infants (the statues would portray a mother nursing two infants).
Alignment is seen as degrees of influence by each twin (Law is seen as positive and Chaos as negative). An individual priest’s exact alignment is kept personal and does not directly impact place in the hierarchy.
At this point I am short of ideas for any internal schism/factions for this religion, so for the moment it has none.
RELIGION 3 (Way of the All/Omnisism)
This cult is a pantheistic animist cult. It views all of creation itself to be the Supreme Being. It has no creation story, it holds that the multiverse has always existed. This deity is made up of two co-equal and complimentary aspects along the lines of the idea of Yin and Yang. These are innate aspects of the Supreme being (i.e. the multiverse) and are not conceived of as individual entities.
Each of these aspects is immanent throughout the multiverse in the form of 6 pairs of opposing influences, 1 member of each pair is manifest by each aspect, which govern the course of events. These pairs are as follows:
Alignment is seen as a reflection of the degree to which the creature is subject to each of the influences and thus are not seen to be in actual conflict (note that the various alignments are in conflict as a game mechanic, but not in the way the cult members see their conflicts).
In addition to the above there are spirits. These must be summoned, and are conceived of as manifestations of the divine nature of creation rather than actual separate entities. These spirits come in a variety of types and strengths.
This cult has no temples or priesthood per se, but rather has shaman who commune with a specific spirits to achieve their aims. There is no shamanic hierarchy or factions, but rather there are a number of “schools” that trace their origin and rituals back to some famous founding shaman. The religious conflict is between these different schools.
At the moment I see this as the oldest of the various religions and the source of the three-way struggle idea for the other religions. I also plan on putting it in as one of the major religions of Ninshon.
RELIGION 4 (Named after the demon)
This area is a swamp in the middle of the plains, so I decided to make it the classic “evil swamp dweller” realm. Something too powerful to be wiped out but not powerful enough to conquer. Maybe yuan-ti, ogres ruled by ogre-mages, or something along those lines. Anyway, in keeping with that idea, this religion is an evil one, some sort of demonic cult. I am considering introducing the idea of this cult being influenced by the base Djapari religious concepts by making it a 3-headed demon (L/N/C).
This religion is small and serves the game function of the universally hated foe, so it doesn’t need any internal doctrinal conflict.
RELIGION 5 (The Three-fold Way/Triplicism)
This religion worships three triple-aspected deities. The religion has two main factions: one sees the deities as Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic, each with G/N/E aspects; the other sees them as Good, Neutral, and Evil with L/N/C aspects.
This is a bitter schism and at the moment the idea is to have both factions intermixed (at least on the national level if not locally) and for the main religious conflict being that between the two factions. Each deity has its own priesthood and temples (of both factions, effectively making 6 individual cults). This allows for intra-faction strife as well as the overarching inter-faction struggle.
RELIGION 6 (Bicreationism)
This one believes in two co-equal uncreated demiurges (one positive and the other negative) each of whom was unaware of the other. Each created their own creation (Upper planes/Lower planes?). Various sub-cults differ as to if they were created at the same time or which one was created first.
These two creations overlap/intersect (I will have to come up with some esoteric rationale – perhaps an accidental collision or something like that). Where they overlap is the prime material plane (and possibly the neutral planes), and is seen as a sort-of “pantheistic” sub deity (neither positive nor negative). All things are seen as being composed by of all three of these things in varying degrees (Example: Fire can be a good thing (warmth/light/cooking), a bad thing (wild fires/house fires/being burned), or both (the way the fertility of land is renewed by a wild fire)).
The cosmic conflict is between the two demiurges and the neutral (the 3rd entity) actively struggles to maintain a balance between them.
For factions, I am at the moment toying with the idea of having the disagreement be over which creation was created first (2 factions) or if they were created simultaneously (1 faction). At this time I am thinking that these factions are not separate hierarchies, but rather an ongoing theological debate. Since that doesn’t provide for a lot of active conflict I am thinking of putting in a hated heretical sect that teaches that the Neutral entity/creation was the first created and that the other two somehow split off from it (perhaps with it’s own internal factions reflecting the theological debate over timing of creation in the mainstream cult).
Another possible source of conflict could be a schism over if the demiurges are “pantheistic” as well or actual entities separate from the creations.
Alignment, again, is seen as the result of the varying degrees of influence each entity has over the subject.
As far as the temples/priesthoods go, my thinking is that there is just the one (plus the heretics if I go with that idea), or two if I go with the pan/poly schism idea.
RELIGON 7 (Cult of the Dead God/Senioism)
This religion believes that the demiurge is killed (there’s my Dead God!) in the act of creating 3 pairs of twins (one each male and female). Each set of twins bears one child. The twins are LG/LE, NG/NE, and CG/CN; and the children are LN, NN, and CN respectively.
Temples are to each triad (i.e. either L, N, or C), with the alignment of individual priests being interpreted by the hidden influence of a specific one of the deities in the triad.
The religious conflict is between the cults of each triad (L/N/C).
RELIGION 8 (Cult of the Dreamer/Trideaism)
I am currently going with the idea that this area was conquered at some point by Araèlikì from Tòlanar (There’s the Ptolomeic foreign dynasties idea. Thanks to Abe Taiyou for the idea).
Therefore this religion combines aspects of both the Djapari and Tòlan traditions.
It borrows the basic creation story of the Tòlan religion: a detached demiurge that dreams all of creation, including a male deity and 3 female deities, with each of whom the male has a set of twins.
The goddesses are LN, NN, and CN, and each set of twins has one good and one evil twin. The main conflict in this religion is the L/N/C one, with a faction dedicated to each goddess. The Temples are faction specific and work like those in Tòlanar.
This religion may or may not have more deities like those in Tòlanar (meaning, effectively unimportant for most purposes).