Gods & Pantheons: Christianity

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St.-George-and-the-Dragon.pngChristians always worship one God, but may favor one of Jehovah, Jesus, or Mary. They also pray to a specific saint if intercession is required from the saint’s sphere of influence. Saints (and Mary, to some extent even Jesus) are said to intercede with Jehovah on behalf of the petitioner. But the difference between intercession and outright deitical action is often fuzzy.

While a literal reading of Christian theology is that the spirit and son are avatars of Jehovah, they are not treated as such in prayer and daily life. God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are the central three figures. Many Christians, to purge evil spirits or evil thoughts, recite “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost” while touching their right hand to their forehead (father), the chest (son), left shoulder (holy), and right shoulder (ghost). While Christians may worship many beings, they all claim that there is only one God, to the point of calling their god simply “God”, as there is no other.

The beliefs of Christians are recorded in the Christian bible. The bible is considered so holy that its mere existence makes it blessed. Prophets will memorize passages from the bible and use them in holy combat. Believers will write snippets on paper or cloth and place them in their home.

All Christian prophets are ordained with water or oil or both. Often, this ordination will come at the hands of another prophet or priest, but prophets may also be ordained through saintly, angelic, or supernatural intercession.

The greatest Christian festival is the Feast of Easter, with forty days of penitence leading up to it (Lent), eight days of special observance preceding it, and eight days of celebration following it (an octave). Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon of the Spring Equinox, which vaguely corresponds to the Jewish festival of Passover that marked Jesus’ death and resurrection.

The vampire holds a special place in Christian mythology. It is a mockery of Jesus. The vampire must die before being reborn. Where Jesus gave his blood that others might have eternal life, the vampire steals blood to maintain its own eternal life. Angels are the servants of Heaven, and Demon lords are angels who rebelled against Heaven.

Christianity: Death

Grim Reaper.png
Names: Death, Grim Reaper
Sobriquets: Fourth Horseman, Angel of Death
Symbols: Scythe, Hourglass
Status: Demigod
Special Day: November 2 (All Souls Day)
Worshippers: Undertakers, Philosophers, Soldiers
Moral Codes: Any
Prophets: Ordered, Wisdom 14, Charisma 12
Spirits: Prophet, Death, Healing, Prophecy

Death commonly appears carrying a scythe and wearing dark robes—brown monk’s robes or black robes. His face and hands may be obscured, skeletal, or pale. Sometimes he wears an hourglass on his belt. Death can appear out of nowhere; disappear at any time; and fly or levitate as he makes his rounds. Sometimes Death appears with wings; other times, he wears a cloak that billows like wings behind him. He can also appear on a pale horse against clouds on the horizon.

When a Christian’s time to die arrives, Death passes his scythe before the victim’s face; the soul exhales from the mouth and follows the scythe, which severs it from the material world. Death then guides the dead to their afterlife.

Especially spiritual Christians will see Death before he takes them. This gives them the opportunity to make their peace and ask for forgiveness from God or perform some last deed. Death will not let them perform final deeds that take more than a few minutes, but it is possible to delay death through riddle contests, games of chance, or feats of mental prowess. The most infamous means of delaying death is to challenge it to a chess game. Death only accepts challenges of mental prowess from people with an intelligence of 13 or more. Challenges of chance require a charisma of 13. Riddle contests require a Wisdom of 13. Death will not cheat, but he will manipulate, intimidate, and trick his opponents—or better, manipulate them into tricking themselves.

Death is destined to die, or be transformed, at world’s end. Then mankind shall be immortal again in the God’s presence.

Saint George

Saint George was the patron saint of the Knights of the Round Table and the Knights of the Garter. He was renowned early in life as a cavalryman and died a martyr after confessing his faith to the Roman emperor. King Richard the Lionheart had a vision of him during the crusades. He is famous as a dragonslayer. In the Libyan city of Selena, the king’s daughter Cleolinda had been chosen by lot to die at the hands of a dragon who demanded tribute. Armed only with a spear and a horse, he confronted and killed the dragon, saving the king’s daughter in Jesus’s name.

Names: Saint George
Sobriquets: Dragonslayer
Symbols: Horse, Spear, Dragon, Arms of St. George, Red Cross
Status: Hero
Special Day: April 23
Worshippers: Knights, Cavalry
Moral Codes: Ordered Good
Prophets: Ordered Good
Spirits: Prophet, War

Saint George is known for his chivalry. He refused the king’s reward for saving his daughter, asking only that the king remember the Church, the clergy, and the poor. St. George’s shield is silver with a red cross.

The Holy Ghost

The Holy Ghost is the holiest messenger of God, bringing the word of God wherever it is needed. The Holy Ghost brought a child unto Mary, and also brought illumination to the Apostles after Jesus’ death and resurrection (celebrated in the Feast of Pentecost). This was the task that Jesus set for the Holy Ghost at the Last Supper: “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Names: Holy Ghost, Holy Spirit
Sobriquets: The Comforter, Breath of God, Paraclete
Symbols: Flame, Dove
Status: God
Special Day: 7th Sunday after Easter (Pentecost)
Worshippers: Missionaries
Moral Codes: Ordered, Ordered Good
Prophets: Ordered, Ordered Good, Charisma 14, Wisdom 13
Spirits: Prophet, Charm, War, Prophecy, Fire

One of the seven sacred rituals of Catholics is confirmation, which confirms the call from the Holy Ghost in the recipient’s life.

Prophets of the Holy Ghost are outspoken and glib. They will walk flaming coals, handle venomous snakes, and travel into the deepest uncharted territories to proselytize for the Lord.

Christianity: Jesus

Names: Jesus, Christ, Jesus Christ
Sobriquets: The Son of God, The Son of Man, The Prince of Peace, The Son of David, The Word of God, Emmanuel
Symbols: Wine, Bread, Cross, Nativity
Status: God
Special Day: December 25 (Christmas), Easter
Worshippers: Anyone, Children, Priests
Moral Codes: Good
Prophets: Good, Chaotic Good
Spirits: Prophet, Healing, Peace, Protection, Prophecy

El_Greco_011.pngJesus was the son of Jehovah and Mary, and the founder of the Christian religion. While his worshippers can come in any form, his basic teachings were the epitome of Chaotic Good. He spent much of his time arguing against the priests of Order:

Then one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”

Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

The legend of Jesus, his works and teachings, are recorded in the Gospels, of which Matthew is generally the first. There are many apocryphal records as well, and different sects work from different translations of the Gospels.

Of the seven sacred rituals of Christians, four emulate various events in the life of Jesus. The first is the baptism, which, while it comes from an earlier ritual, also calls to mind the Baptism of Jesus by the prophet John the Baptist by water in the desert. The second is the holy communion, which emulates the last supper which Jesus had with his 12 apostles. Holy communion is either a divine or a symbolic transformation of a blessed bread into the flesh of the Son of God. Jesus commanded his twelve apostles to “do this in remembrance of me”, and it has become the integral part of the Christian mass.

The third is the ordination of priests. Each priest is ordained in a line of succession from the first ordinations of the apostles by Jesus. He ordained his original twelve apostles, telling them to “preach the kingdom of God and heal the sick”, and commanded them to “take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece. And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart. And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.” But he also said, at the last supper after washing the feet of each of the apostles:

“When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing?” And they said, “Nothing.” Then said he unto them, “But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.”

Fourth is the ritual of contrition, or forgiveness of sins. Ordained priests may, through Jesus’ power, forgive a believer’s sins.

Saint Joseph

Names: Joseph
Sobriquets: Joseph the Carpenter, the Just Man, Holy Patriarch
Symbols: Hammer
Status: Hero
Special Day: March 19
Worshippers: Carpenters, Fathers
Moral Codes: Ordered Good, Good
Prophets: Ordered Good
Spirits: Prophet, Protection

Joseph, Jesus’s father, is perhaps best known for trusting his wife, Mary, when she became pregnant before he could have gotten her pregnant. The Holy Ghost visited him in a dream and told him that the child was a holy child begotten of the spirit. Joseph was of the line of the Hebrew king David, which also helped fulfill the prophecy which culminated in Jesus’ birth.

Joseph protected the child Jesus during the trying times surrounding Jesus’s birth, when Rome required them to travel for a census. Soon after arriving in Bethlehem (where Jesus was born) for the census, Herod tried to track down the new-born “king of the Jews” to kill him, so Joseph brought Mary and Jesus into relative safety in Egypt before returning home to Nazareth.

Joseph died before Jesus began his final three years of teaching. He is last seen in the bibles when Jesus was twelve years old, and was almost certainly dead before Jesus died on his cross. It took the Church a long time to recognize Joseph as a Saint. His life, once Jesus was born and his survival relatively assured, was presumably a quiet one and does not enter into the sacred writings. Only after the church’s initial trials, when quiet devotion became more popular, did Joseph’s worship increase.

Christianity: Lilith

Names: Lilith
Sobriquets: Night Demon, Screech Owl, Woman of the Night, Lady Without Sorrow
Symbols: Owl, Dragon, Snake, Flowing hair, Ring and staff
Status: Demigoddess
Special Day: October 24
Worshippers: Mothers, Pregnant women, Midwives
Moral Codes: Any
Prophets: Chaotic
Spirits: Prophet, Chaos, Charm, Death

Adam’s first wife who would not lie beneath him, Lilith has been alternately vilified as a punishing demon, pitied as a lonely monster at the edges of the world, or completely ignored and forgotten. Some even worship her as a hero among women. Lilith appears with long red hair, wings, and a beautiful form and countenance. Lilith is a creature of folklore among Christians. Her name appears but once, when the prophet Isaiah describes God’s vengeance upon the enemies of the faithful:

Streams shall be turned into fire, dust into brimstone, and their lands into burning pitch. The flames shall not be quenched night nor day. Smoke shall rise forever, and none shall pass into their lands.

The sea-crow and the bittern shall possess them. The owl and the raven shall dwell among them. Their princes shall fall, thorns shall come up in their palaces, nettles and brambles fill their fortresses. The houses of their sons shall be the home of dragons and a court for owls. The wild beasts of the desert shall meet with the wild beasts of the sea. Lilith shall rest there. Vultures shall gather, every one with her mate.

As a demon, Lilith is a punisher of sins. The children of sinners she binds up; they die in the night. For protection against Lilith, women hang amulets with her name written upon them at the entrance to their homes when infants lie therein, and wear such amulets during child-birth. As Adam’s first wife, Lilith continues to visit men in the night. But those who fall to her charms and who try to possess her she fends off as a fierce female warrior, bearing a sword wreathed in poisonous flame.

Christianity: Mary

Mary is the mother of Jesus, who took the seed of Jehovah through the Holy Ghost, remaining a virgin. Though she later had children normally, the name “Virgin Mother” was an evocative phrase which lasted. As the mother of Jesus, Mary is often requested to intercede on the petitioner’s behalf with her son. One of the early stories of Jesus’s life tells how Mary successfully requested his divine help for a relatively mundane matter: lack of wine at a wedding. Jesus did as his mother asked, turning water into wine.

Names: Mary
Sobriquets: Virgin Mother, Mother of God, Blessed Virgin
Symbols: Rosary, Candle
Status: Goddess
Special Day: August 15 (Feast of the Assumption)
Worshippers: Women, Sons, Mothers, Sickly Children
Moral Codes: Good, Chaotic Good, Ordered Good
Prophets: Good, Chaotic Good, Ordered Good
Spirits: Prophet, Protection, Healing, Prophecy, Hearth

Mary appears to followers with prophecies and balms. Many of the most-visited shrines of the Christians are in places where Mary appeared. She appears to the poor and downtrodden, and is more likely to appear personally at the beginning of a hero’s career than after the hero is well known. A prophet of Mary chosen in this way will construct a shrine to her at the first opportunity, in the location where Mary appeared. Mary’s feast day, the Assumption, celebrates her bodily assumption into heaven, preserved free from all stain of original sin.

Saint Michael

Names: Saint Michael
Sobriquets: Archangel
Symbols: Spear, Mountain, Snake, Scales, Book, Flaming sword
Status: Demigod
Special Day: September 29
Worshippers: Knights, Missionaries, Sick and dying
Moral Codes: Ordered, Ordered Good
Prophets: Ordered Good
Spirits: Prophet, War, Healing, Order

Saint Michael the archangel defeated Satan’s rebellion in heaven, and will fight against the dragon again at world’s end. One of his most enduring images is of an angel with a spear triumphing over a snake biting at his feet. Saint Michael is prayed to at the hour of death to preserve one’s soul from Satan. He is the champion of God’s people and patron of many knightly orders. He weighs souls and takes part in the judgment of the dead. In this guise his symbols include scales or the book of life, which records all the deeds of man.

Michael is one of four archangels. Each are parts of the One God. Gabriel (“the strong one of God”) brings dreams and knowledge of the future, as well as retribution. He brought the word of God to Mary, that she was to bear God’s son. Raphael (“God has healed”) heals wounds, diseases, and evil from individuals and the world. Uriel (“My Light is like God”) reveals secrets, and Michael (“Who is like God?”) is Satan’s adversary.

Christianity: Satan

Names: Satan, Lucifer
Sobriquets: The Morning Star, the Fallen One, the Tempter, the Prince of Deception, the Devil, Antichrist, Accuser, the Adversary
Symbols: Venus, Serpent
Status: God
Special Day: October 31 (All Hallow’s Eve)
Worshippers: Politicians, Businessmen, Musicians
Moral Codes: Ordered, Evil, Ordered Evil, Chaotic Evil
Prophets: Ordered Evil, Charisma 15
Spirits: Prophet, Prophecy, Death, Charm, Fire

Satan is a fallen angel, who rebelled against the order of Heaven. Some legends say that he did this because he was jealous of the attention given to Jehovah’s new creation, humanity. Others simply say that his pride led him to believe he could rule Heaven well in Jehovah’s place. His rebellion failed, and he was cast down with his followers to Gehennah, or Hell, with all the damned souls of humanity. He set himself and his followers up as rulers in Hell (or perhaps this was Jehovah’s plan for him all along—some say that angels do not have free will). Satan rules over the demons, some or all of whom were also fallen angels, and ensures the eternal suffering of the damned, those who are not worthy to enter Heaven.

Satan sees himself in competition with Jehovah for the souls of humans. He sends his minions out in his name to tempt good people into pride, and to ensure the continued wickedness of evil people. As the serpent in the Garden Satan tempted Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, resulting in mankind being thrown out of paradise.

In general, Christians do not worship Satan. To do so ensures their eternal damnation well beyond their few years as mortal beings. But the more superstitious will propitiate Satan and his followers, by, for example, placing gourds with evil faces and burning candles on their doorstep the night before All Saints’ Day, or by throwing a pinch of salt over their left shoulder after spilling salt. Many Christians celebrate Hallowe’en, the night before All Saint’s Day, by either dressing as evil spirits and going from house to house to demand tribute, or by staying home and presenting tribute (minor gifts, candy, or food) to Satan’s minions on demand.

Some Christians will go further, however, and attempt to bargain with Satan to gain earthly benefits in return for their soul. That is, upon their death their soul will be Satan’s in Hell. Some do this because they believe that their sins are already unforgivable. Some believe that they are better lawyers than Satan and will be able to find a flaw in the contractual agreement. Others may do so without looking to the future at all. Some may do so in the belief that Hell cannot be as bad as it is said to be. Satan is a master of deception and flattery and will encourage any and all such tendencies. Whether these contracts are entered into with Satan or with one of Satan’s other followers is open to debate.

While few Christians worship Satan, Christians have often believed that many people worship Satan. Some Christians believe that all non-Christian gods are Satan in disguise. To these Christians, all worshippers of those gods are Satanists. In times of chaos and uncertainty, some Christians and their political leaders have manufactured Satanists to further their political ambitions or to fill their coffers with the seized assets of accused Satanists. In Christianity, Satan is the enemy, and when humans do not have a visible enemy they will often create one.

Christian legend has it that at the end of the world, Satan will return to Earth with all his legions, including the damned, to do war with Jehovah and his legions of angels, led by Jesus. The return of Satan (and thus the return of Jesus) will be marked by incredible signs and portents. However, before the true end of the world, Satan will tempt humans to prophesize about ends of the world that never happen.

Satan is associated with the planet Venus, the incredibly bright star that never rises above the Earth for long without falling. Satan is also a gamer, and is rumored to roll dice, play chess, or otherwise challenge Jehovah for the souls of mortals.

Prophets of Satan are in somewhat the same boat as normal worshippers: they have, for some reason, come to believe that Satan will treat them well in the afterlife, or their pride in their own evil is so great that they believe their sins to be unforgivable. Prophets of Satan must be masters of deception—even to deceiving themselves.

Christianity: Yahweh

Names: Yahweh, Jehovah
Sobriquets: the One True God, the Father
Symbols: Water, Bread
Status: Ruler (God)
Worshippers: Anyone
Moral Codes: Ordered or Good
Prophets: Ordered Good, Ordered, Chaotic Good, Good
Spirits: Prophet, War, Fire, Earth, Weather

Jehovah is the original god of the Christians. He created the world in seven days. On the seventh day, he rested, and for this reason one day out of the week is considered sacred, reserved for worship. Traditionally, this day is Sunday, although the actual day of rest is recognized as Saturday. In the early days of Christianity, Christianity was another (and somewhat heretical) sect of Judaism. Judaic temples were in use by mainstream Jews on Saturdays, so Christians used them on the following day.

Many of Jehovah’s names revolve around the letters “JHVH” or “JHWH”. The name was originally written with only consonants, and later belief held that anyone pronouncing the name of God would be destroyed. The name could just as well have been “Yahu Wahu” (to quote Larry Gonick). As often as not, however, Christians call him simply “God”, because He is the only one.

  1. Sample Spirits
  2. Gods & Pantheons
  3. Elves