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Ancient religions of Mystara

by Giampaolo Agosta

History of the Religions and Cults of Mystara

For this discussion, I'm using the terms defined in Giulio's Ethnographic History of Mystara.

Prehistory (before 5000 BC)

At this point, there were three main human groups, the Tangor, Neathar and Oltec Men. IMO, they had three different pantheons, along these lines:

Tangor Man: Korotiku
Oltec Man: Ka, Ixion
Neathar Man: Verthandi, Odin, Valerias

The first two are simply derived from canon sources. My interpretation of the original Neathar pantheon requires a longer explanation, which I will provide in a future post.

Then, there were the Elves, protected by Ordana, who also was patron to other woodland creatures, together with Faunus. Kagyar was emerging as the Brute-Man Immortal, while Ka and The Great One where the patrons of reptilian races. Terra was a general patron of other races, including perhaps the Giants and Dwarves (the most linked to earth).

There were also some entropics, Thanatos, Hel, Nyx, and Demogorgon.

An early offshoot of the ``Neathar Man'' (Brunians) was the Lhomar people. Here is my first question: what was the evolution of Lhomar/Lhomarrian religion?

Rise of Blackmoor (5000 BC to 3000 BC)

This is an important point in history. In these two millennia, many key Immortals are born.

First, a split in the Neathar group creates the Ahonians that evolve into the Thonian people. Little is known of their religion. From the Blackmoor module, we know of an organised church in Thonia, but we don't know any Immortal patron. Ahonian-Thonian religion remains an open problem.

During the Blackmoor Age, two Thonians/Blackmoorians reached Immortality: Asterius and Khoronus. I think both of them had small cults in Blackmoor, which survived in later Blackmoorian remnants, such as Taymora. Rafiel is the last Blackmoorian to reach Immortality.

The second group of Neathar, Aharians, evolves in part in the Skandaharians. These still follow the proto-Norse pantheon, Odin and Verthandi. They may still know Valerias as Frigga. Other Neathar are still primitive, and their pantheon does not evolve much. However, a member of this people, Djaea attains Immortality.

The Oltec Men splits in may groups. We know the Afridhi worshipped an obscure god, never mentioned after the GRoF. Perhaps this Immortal was a native Afridhi, and died when the last Afridhi were destroyed in the GRoF.

I know little of the Valoin. The History of Littonia does not discuss the Valefolk pantheon, nor the current Littonian pantheon. Ideas?

The Peshwah pantheon is not known, but if we consider the Ethengar as descendants of the Peshwah, then Ixion is certainly the central figure in Peshwah religion. The Peshwah/proto-Ethengar Cretia reaches immortality during the Blackmoor age.

The main Oltec group still worships Ixion and Ka. Rathanos is an Oltec, and reaches Immortality at this point.

The Beastmen appear during the Blackmoor age. They are created by Hel (who is certainly known to the Neathar and Blackmoorian people). I suppose Terra took an interest in them. (BTW, what Immortals do the HW Beastmen worship, if any?)

In Old Alphatia, Razud becomes Immortal.

The Third Stone Age and Bronze Age

During this age, the new Immortals lead their followers in many migrations and create new civilisation. Also, new Immortals are created.

At this time, the Neathar tribes occupy most of eastern Brun. Antalian, Dunharian and Maharian groups are quite different by this time. The first follow the rising Norse Pantheon (Thor, Frey and Freyja attain Immortality during this age, and replace Valerias and Verthandi, who disappeared at some point). Dunharians are followers of Djaea and Odin, thought the cult of the other Norse will reach them (mostly through Antalian invasions and migrations).

Oltecs spread through Skothar, and Jennites (followers of Rathanos) and Teslans are established (what Immortals do the Teslans worship, Giulio?). Tarastia achieves immortality. Western Oltecs (proto-Atruaghin, Savage Coast Oltecs) still worship Ka and Ixion, while Proto-Ethengar worship Ixion and Cretia.

Other followers of Rathanos do not cross the sea, but merge with Neathar tribes. They are the Nithians.

The Goblinoids create Urzud. They are followers of Terra, and from the local Oltec-derived people (related to Ethengar and Huleans) take the cult of Ixion. Kaarash may be born in this age.

Thonian remnants in Taymora follow Asterius and Khoronus, but especially Nyx. They also include Ordana and Wayland in their pantheon, from the Giantish and Elven pantheon. Thanatos corrupts the Taymorans, causing their destruction.

Elves, meanwhile, have moved from Evergrun to Brun, following Ilsundal, who becomes Immortal at this time. Also, Rafiel and Atzanteotl begin creating a following among the Shadow Elves.

Nithian Age

By this time, the Nithian pantheon includes Rathanos, Ka and Ixion from their Oltec background, and Odin from the Neathar. Also Protius takes some interest in them. Pflarr, Noumena and perhaps Maat emerge as new Immortals.

Due to the Goblinoid invasion, the Ethengar pantheon is modified, and Terra joins Ixion and Cretia. The goblinoids leaders Wogar, Yagrai and Bagni reach Immortality, and begin displacing Terra and Ixion.

Jennites worship Rathanos and Tarastia.

Maharian tribes (Urduk) and Oltecs have merged into the Sindhi nation, with a large pantheon including all Neathar and Oltec Immortals.

Trantalians and Thantalians, under Nithian influence, develop their pantheon to include Ixion and Protius as well as Odin, Valerias and Thor. Due to the Gnoll invasions in the Traldar lands, Halav, Petra and Zirchev reach Immortality and the Traldar pantheon is formed.

Atruaghin joins Takhati Stormtamer as patron of the Atruaghin Clans.

Eyrindul reaches Immortality and wrestle control of some elven clans from Ilsundal. By now, Ordana is worshipped only by few elves.