As we prepare to release The Brigade, an adventure for Mazes & Perils, I had to review the text for a religion I had created a while back called the Temple of the Earthen Father. There’s an appendix in the module that details it to some degree, but I began considering it from a more extreme direction the other day.
The Temple is based on a simple trio of heavenly objects – the Earth (the Earthen Father), the Sun, and the Moon. People live on the Earth, gain heat and light from the Sun, and track time more effectively with the Moon. Easy enough, right?
What if it’s not that simple? A lost volume in the Temple of Domerre tells a slightly different variation of the origins of the faith. Here’s a fragment of that manuscript:
“… in the depths of the earth and in the deep pockets of space, you can sometimes find a sliver of light… but in the Void, the darkness is absolute. That is where the original deep king lies, waiting. He has no physical being and is purely a construct of thought so dense that it pulls you under no matter the distance. In that hole, there is nothing but despair, depravity, and doom.
There is another deep king, however. A being of pure light who resides at the white hot core of the sun. But where the Void will feed you lies and lead you into the dark to hide away, the Light offers nothing but the truest illumination. That true illumination is not without risk and every flaw and lie is burned away in its fiery light.
Fall to the Void, you lose it all – but you are able to hide from the world, even from your true self.
Fall to the Light, you see it all in a flash – with nowhere to hide from the truth.
In the soft light of the ever-changing Grey moon, there are moments of clarity when our Grey Lady bathes us fully in her gentle glow and times when we can hide as she turns away from the world. Hers is a shifting landscape in the space between her twin masters.
Beneath it all, there’s the earth we pound our feet upon as mortals, dependent on the benevolence of our brilliant celestial lords. Beneath the ground, there are pockets of Void. Above it, places of nearly infinite Light. And in the transition between day and night, the Grey moon dances her eternal ballet through the sky.
It falls to us to choose the path best lit for ourselves…
May the Father bless us and keep us in his graces. May we avoid the dark thoughts of the Void and the impossible fire of the Light. And may the Grey dance forever in the heavens…”
Though this is vague and circumspect, I think there are several interesting ideas to explore…
- Imagine if those who fall into the Void lose themselves, becoming demons of darkness.
- And devout believers of the Light are on an Inquisition for the truth.
- Those between would either worship the Father Earth, providing sustenance and a means for survival, or the Grey Lady who could occasionally turn a blind eye and allow folk to live in a neutral or somewhat chaotic world.
Void would be equivalent to true Evil and the Light would be true Good. The Earth and the Moon offer some sense of neutrality or even chaos between those two polar opposites.
But I suspect that the main temple would stray away too much from talking about the Void in public – for fear of bringing it to the fore simply by mentioning it. I wonder what sorts of summoning spells might exist for reaching into the Void and pulling forth a demon to serve your purposes… [shudder]
Hmmm… Going to have to think further.