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
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:
- Clemmis - god of wealth. His creed holds that wealth is a sign
of the god's favour, and that those who wish to remain wealthy,
should in turn sacrifice often and heavily. His temple holds a
staute of the god, depicting him as a portly, elderly gentleman.
His priests are likewise generally portly. His temple in Lacramar
is large and imposing and sits facing the Temple gate. The
interior of his shrine is aglitter with gold and well-guarded with
spells and well-paid mercenaries. He is the patron of merchants.
His priests are at odds with the worshippers of Saxis.
- Saxis is also a god of wealth, but she is the god of thieves
and gamblers, not merchants. Worshippers of Saxis also believe
that wealth is a sign of divine favour, but they know that divine
favour - like wealth - is transient. Gamblers swear by Saxis, and
she is the patroness of risky and foolhardy enterprises. Her
temple is also wealthy - partly from sacrifices, but also from the
gambling games her priests and priestesses run. They don't cheat -
indeed, are said to be scrupulously honest - but win a lot anyway
(they get a lot of practice). Still if one wishes Saxis' favour,
what better way to attract it than by winning in her house? The
temple of Saxis is also wealthy and large and in Lacramar occupies
a prime site about halfway along Temple Row
- Odhis. Odhis is a peculiar god, popular with beggars, the poor
and those in trouble. He has no temple - his priests carry a
portable shrine, depicting a tortured man. His creed holds that
the Gods favour is extended to those who suffer and that suffering
purifies the soul. Most people think that they are crazy, but they
always seem to have some converts and are noisy in decrying wealth
and luxury. Most other priests hate them.
- Jahklara. The God of secrets and riddles. The priests and
priestesses of Jakhara are skilled in sorceries of darkness and
silence. They are masters at the interpretation of dreams and the
giving of advice. It is also said that they are skilled thieves
and learn many of their mysteries by peeping through windows and
listening at doors. Whatever, the sacrifices their visitors offer
maintain a plain, windowless but substantial Temple on Temple
street in Lacramar and an equally imposing temple on Kallamar
island in Ilthmar. The shrine is never open to visitors, so few
actually know what the god looks like - and those who do aren't
- Thannyra. The serpent god. Another god of
secrets - this time, mostly unwholesome ones. This cult has no
open temple, being proscribed by the authorities. It practices
life-theft to allow initiates to be re-incarnated, without having
to move to another sphere. There are suggestions that it is a
debased descendant of the death cults from the Lands of the
- Tremlach. God of the wind. He has a large temple and the top
end of Temple street in Lacramar, adorned with high, rickety
wooden scaffolding towers, where his priests go to blow horns.
There is a similar shrine near the Fiora in Ilthmar and also
shrines on the docks with similar towers. People pray to Tremlach
to ward off storms, for fair winds for shipping, and to bring the
rains that end summer's baking heat.
- Humet. (Also known as the Dark Priestess). A spellcaster's
deity, she has several small shrines in both Lacramar and Ilthmar.
Her favour is known to be particularly efficacious for the removal
of curses and protection from the evil eye. Her symbol - and the
sign of her favour - is a dark scarf embroidered with mystic
symbols and runes.
- Dryetha. Also known as the Fever God. Dryetha has a large, and
mostly derelict shrine actually sitting outside the city of
Lacramar. He is the one who sends the hot winds and also fevers.
Once his temple received rich sacrifices to protect the harvests,
but the practice has fallen off in recent years. Now his temple
survives on donations from those who seek to have a friend or
relative with a fever cured.
- The Lord of Gates. This god is the one who rules the dwimmaks
- the beings who carry the souls of the Dead to othe planes -
depicted as a sorrowful, black bearded man, he is prayed to and
placated in an attempt to avoid death for just a little longer.
His temples, made of black marble, liberally decorated with
silver, are ostentatious landmarks in all the cities of the Martic
league, and his black-and-silver armoured guardsmen a common site
leading funeral corteges.
- Choros. The warrior's god. Choros is said to roam the world in
human form, fighting continually. It is said that any group he
joins will be victorious and thus warriors and adventurers
sacrifice to him in the hope that he will join their cause. His
temples - squat, heavy walled, with narrow slit windows, resemble
fortresses and his priests can be induced - for a fee - to share
their martial arts training.
- Henir Earthshaker. The god of the earth. His temple in
Lacramar looks quite modest from the outside, but is largely
underground. Indeed, it is said that the tunnels lead off into
other spheres and are thus endless. Only his priests can safely
navigate them. Strangely the "statue" of the god in his temple is
simply a sphere of stone.
- Framat. The goddess of the deep. She has lavishly appointed
temples near the docks of both Lacramar and Ilthmar where sailors
sacrifice before voyaging out and on their return. She is the
- Gerag, the Storm God, who is similarly appeased. Merchants
sacrifice to Gerag and ask that he leaves their ships alone. It is
rumoured that for a large sacrifice, his priests will ask him to
pay attention to someone else's ships...
- Tyva. Goddess of small winds. A cult confined to Ilthmar, Tyva
is also goddess of birds. Her Redstone temple is adorned with
birds' nests and daubed with guano. It is said that no secret can
be hidden from her. Her favoured sacrifices are gems.
- Varish. Varish is the patron of daring acts. Like Saxis, he is
beloved of thieves, but also invoked by heroes and merchants
trying particularly speculative ventures. He is sometimes called
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.