Religions of Obbittia

Long ago, the majority of Obbittians were animists, worshiping the spirit world or any of a multitude of local gods. Though these deities were as varied as the people who worshiped them, a single theme repeated throughout the land: the distinction between light and darkness. In many religions, the gods of the sun and the moon, the day and the night, or of birth and death were the chief deities of their pantheon. And so it was that when Obbittian kingdoms began to rise, uniting varied tribes under their banner, these themes stuck. As time went on, originally distinct deities began to merge. Neighboring tribes agreed that their different gods were really just the same gods under different names, and when a god had no counterpart in the neighboring religion, he became an aspect of another, similar god. This process repeated itself as the kingdoms of Obbittia grew larger and mightier, so that soon only two gods remained.

These two gods were known by many names, but when the great empire of Aurstin Fuelm arose across Obbittia, they were canonized by the names they have to this day: Phybantix, goddes of Light, and Yalun, god of Darkness. Neither was good nor evil, for each was necessary for existence to continue, and each encompassed much more than just Light or Darkness; domains such as War, Disease, Arcana, Water, Fire, Life, or Death were all assigned to one of the two deities. They were worshiped together, and indeed they were considered to be different aspects of the same god; thus the Church of the Duality was born. The Church was popular across Obbittia, and it spread rapidly and drove out most competitors; very few Obbittians now worship the old gods.

With the fall of Panbbittia, two nations strayed from the path set forth by the Church of the Duality. First were the kingdoms in the old Panbbittian Heartland. Having just lost their great and mighty empire, they found themselves opposed to death, destruction, and the other endings espoused by Yalun. Creation, argued the Heartlanders, and Life, were the true virtues of the world; without the corrupting influence of Yalun, the Empire would still exist. They turned away from the Church of the Duality, burned those who would still worship Yalun at the stake, and endorsed a new god for themselves: Phybantus, God of All. Meanwhile, the southern people of Snearjt, in their perpetually frozen forests, began making use of the undead in an effort to produce enough food for their population. Upset by this endorsement of Yalun, the Heartland Kingdoms struck out at their neighbors. The invading crusaders of Phybantus upset the Snearjt, and so they too turned away from the Duality, this time in the other direction: they began to worship Yalin, Goddess of Death.

The Duality is a relatively simple religion. It teaches that the two gods, Yalun and Phybantix, are but two sides of the same coin. Whatever Phybantix births, Yalun eventually destroys. The worshipers of the Duality believe that Yalun does not truly destroy anything, but only stores it away for future use. They believe that one day, the roles of Phybantix and Yalun will be reversed; Phybantix will bring her creations back to her, while Yalun will release the contents of his vault into the world.

In the imagery of the Church, Phybantix is depicted as a plump woman with golden skin. She is often holding a baby, a sapling, or caring for the young of some domestic animal. Phybantix's holy symbol is a simple golden disk which represents the sun. Yalun is usually depicted as a gaunt, silver-skinned man. He is often alone, before a field of black; very rarely is he depicted with another creature. His holy symbol is a silver disk, which represents the moon. Those rare priests who serve both Yalun and Phybantix carry a disk of which half is silver and half is gold. When Phybantix and Yalun are depicted together, they are always looking in opposite directions with their backs towards each other; to create an image in which the glance of one falls upon the other is a serious taboo for the worshipers of the Duality.

Churches of the Duality are spread throughout Obbittia, except within the borders of the Panbbittian Confederacy or Snearjt. Priests usually do not serve the Duality itself; rather, they pick one of its aspects and serve that deity. Often, their closest friends serve the other aspect; the friendly debates between priests of the Duality are legendary.

The Order of the Golden Light is a much different religion. Many of the temples of the Golden Light, which are almost exclusive to the Confederacy, are militant in nature. Golden Light temples are much larger and more imposing than those of the Duality; some are as large as castles, and perhaps even more defensible. Aside from priests, much of the Golden Light clergy is made up of paladins or warpriests; the holy warriors of the Golden Light travel the Panbbittian Confederacy and far beyond, smiting the enemies of Phybantus: demons and devils, lycanthropes, aberrations, and most of all, the undead. The Order of the Golden Light has banned numerous forms of magic, especially those involving the undead, negative energy, or the summoning of beings other than celestials. The penalty for violating this ban is simple and universal: death. The Order depicts Phybantus as a man in golden armor, trimmed with red. He carries a sword which burns with holy flames; thus, his holy symbol is an iron sword trimmed with golden flames. Most priests wear an amulet which represents this symbol, but some warpriests or paladins use their actual sword as their holy symbol.

The Mystics of Yalin are much more tolerant. They believe their goddess to be aloof and uncaring, and most followers of this religion have a single goal: to avoid meeting their mistress for as long as possible. The Mystics do not truly worship Yalin so much as draw on power in her name; every corpse they animate, every creature they kill, and every soul which they erase from existence is considered to be a praise of their dark mistress. The Mystics do not care whether the secular population of their lands worships Yalin or not, nor do they care what their goddess thinks of them; they simply wish to delay their meeting with her for as long as possible. Yalin has no holy symbol, or rather her holy symbol is a lack of one. She is rarely depicted by her followers, but on the rare occasions that she must be she is represented as a silver skull.