Philosophy and Religion


It is hard to describe the philosophy of the Martic lands since the Martic people have a habit of gathering beliefs from all the lands they visit and the result might be modestly described as "ecelectic". In Lacramar, the largest city, it has been estimated that there are over 14,000 temples, shrines, hallows and places of sacrifice, while the number of gods defies calculation. An accurate count could never be made, since some cults - bereft of worshippers - collapse, while new ones spring up, nearly every day. In addition, it is often hard to distinguish some of the poorer religions from a particularly vociferous collection of beggars, while some of the richer ones more nearly resemble merchant houses. Likewise, the numbers of magicians, sages, seers, gurus and philosophers the Martic league encompasses is enormous and the only belief they seem to share in common is that almost all their peers are fools, charlatans or both.

Having said that, there are some basic beliefs that are common enough to warrant mention. Most philosophies recognise the existence of many worlds other than Arth and most agree that the majority of these are unpleasant or even dangerous. These worlds are envisaged as bubbles moving in the fabric in the universe, which occasionally come close enough to impinge on one another - or which can be connected by a mage foolish enough to try. Most religions believe that people have a soul or spirit which moves to another of these spheres after death, but they all bitterly disagree about what this means, which sphere it will be, whetherthis happens once or repeatedly and so on.

In Irilian and Ilthmar, the temples are scattered throughout the city, but in Lacramar most of them cluster in an area immediately to the south of Templegate, to take a tax exemption granted to the temples of that area long ago. The area is now known as Temple Lane, although it encompasses many lanes. At the southernmost extremity of Temple lane is a plain temple referred to as the Temple of the City. Supposedly, it is the home of the resident deity of the city and it is pretty much the one constant of this area. It is said that if this temple is ever neglected, the city will be destroyed, so every year, with great fanfare, the temple is opened, and offerings are hurled into the supposedly bottomless pit that forms the temple's centre. It is then ceremonially closed again. Some people have speculated over the years that this is the sepulchure or withdrawing place of the last of the vanished wizard-kings, but the city officials are keen to prevent any poking around, so the question remains unresolved. Ilthmar has far fewer temples, and true to the traditions of that city they are less ostentatious than those of Lacramar. Ilthmar does have, however, a large number of mysterious cults. Like Lacramar, it also has a shrine erected to the city's patron or past - in this case however the shrine is on the sea bottom, out past the mouth of the harbour. On dates chosen by its (land-dwelling) priesthood a selected condemned criminal is hauled from jail, and (well bound with chains) sent down to commune with the gods therein.

A few (very few) deities of note are:

The Waterdancer. This cult is largely confined to Ilthmar. Its tenets are obscure, as is the real name of the deity, but its spectacular parades are well-known.