Religion in Rasenna
Rasennans are true pantheists, praying to whatever god may oversee their latest endeavor as the mood takes them. Families often pass on favored prayers, lucky idols or symbols, or other hereditary religious trappings almost as if they were superstitions.
Regrettably, many wealthy Rasennans use their religion as a means of gaining status rather than a path to spiritual betterment. A rich merchant or family will often donate a copious amount of coin to a favored temple with the express purpose of funding a new statue, mural, wing or other very physical proof of the benefactor’s largesse. The more cynical priests argue that it’s impossible to buy one’s way into heaven in such a manner, but unsurprisingly, this is not a popular sermon in Rasenna.
The cultural division between urban and rural Rasennans continues with religion. Rural Rasennans tend to invoke the gods themselves more directly, in what they call the Humble Faith and what theologians called the Tradition of Petition. City folk are generally more partial to the Tradition of Invocation, which calls on intercessors—angels, saints or devils dedicated to carrying prayers and appeasements to their patron gods. Those who call on intercessors generally refer to their traditions as the Respectful Faith. It’s quite common for a Respectful family, House or trade to adopt a particular intercessory figure as their personal patron.
Naturally, the two traditions are somewhat at odds. Devout Respectful claim that the “Humble Faith” is anything but, showing some hubris in assuming a god would rather listen to a mortal than to its chosen intercessor bearing the mortal’s prayers. The Humble counter-charge is that the “Respectful Faith” tends to assume greater closeness to the gods than is proper, and that it treats divine servants more as servants of the mortals who call on them than as servants of the gods themselves.
Needless to say, the prosperity cult of Jaulckem is a popular faith in Rasenna, so much so that outsiders often presume it’s the state religion. The merchant houses vary in their levels of piety, but most tithe modest portions of their income to the church, in the interests of retaining the Duke of Coins’ blessings on the rich trade of the area.
The other Centered Nine receive prayer and worship as the need arises. The sea god Qullon and the luck goddess Taltikka are asked to bless trade enterprises. Goreador, god of steel and skill, is favored by duelists and weapons-merchants. The lunar divinity Shessa is a popular deity among romantics and those who woo or do business by night; she features in many Rasennan works of art. Urvan, god of law, is usually called on to bless agreements and pacts, and is popular among bureaucrats. The death goddess Theht is rarely invoked outside of funerals, and Syndra, patroness of sorcery, is worshipped largely by the Sorcerous Houses. Broucka, warden of the wild places, is worshipped almost not at all.
Kylir and Lierce, patron deities of the arts and of love and strength respectively, are both popular deities among the youth of Rasenna, who invoke both goddesses to aid in their courtships. Dardekan receives much respect as a patron of artisans. The life-goddess Larra is venerated among all Rasennans who wish to marry well and have healthy children. Alvoran and Chaneth (who oversee animals and agriculture) are mostly seen as gods of the provincials, less fashionable in the cities. Valysa, Evrel and Kaeal receive veneration as protectors (Valysa is often invoked as a guardian of a city) but have few true faithful.
Most of the Lower Nine are ignored as much as possible in Rasenna; Rasennans are very protective of their continued prosperity, and dislike the idea of losing what’s theirs to war, famine, or other misfortunes that usually herald the Lower Nine’s interest. Serugethi priests of the Lower Nine, while not an uncommon sight in Rasenna, are curtly tolerated and encouraged not to “start trouble.” A few open shrines where one can pray to any of the gods, even the Lower Nine, are usually the only concessions a city makes to the Lower Gods’ worship.
However, there’s open tolerance, and then there’s an open secret. While few would erect large temples to the Lich Queen, a great many Rasennans will secretly pray to Namaluk in her aspect of Goddess of Vengeance — she is, after all, the default patron of vendetta. Cults dedicated to the worship of Hothos, Zamalla and Aaziphon are entirely possible among the more ruthless houses, and smaller cults to any of the Lower Nine are certain to be as persistent a problem here as they are elsewhere.