Religion

DesnaThe faith of Desna is an old one in Ustalav, predating the state Pharasmin religion. The Song of the Spheres has been long known to Varisians who traveled here from the West.  Her aspects of chaos and good speak to the duality of life in Ustalav, where nature is cruel and chaotic but also good and beautiful in unexpected ways.  Freedom and travel have always been central to Varisian belief, as has luck, and to a lesser degree, destiny.  Ustalav may go to weekly services to Pharasma diligently, but when they pray from the heart for many of life's desires or peace from their terrible nightmares they frequently pray to DesnaScarzni travelers sometimes claim their wise women’s ancestors learned the secrets of the Harrow from Desna, and secrets about the destruction of the Inner Sea and a possible way to avoid this end.

* Star Monarch, Servant of Desna (artwork by J.P. Targete, from Pathfinder's The Choking Tower)

Erastil - Hunters, woodsmen, and fur traders frequently have a habit of saying quick prayers to Erastil.  Shudderwood has a noted following of Erastil, often carving the symbol of his bow into pieces of bark.  There, in the dense woodlands, log cabins will often have a carved wooden placard of his image above the fireplace.

* The Grim White Stag, Servant of Erastil (artwork by Scott Purdy)

Gozreh – Although other gods are far more recognized in Ustalav, such as Pharasma or Desna or even Sarenrae, many people do practice short prayers in their daily lives, undisturbed by such minor pantheism.  Farmers, culinary masters, and vinters say quick prayers to Gozreh before trying their newest wine or setting down their farm tools for the day.  Children are taught to thank Gozreh for sweet treats, especially candied fruits.

* Wrath of Gozreh (artwork by Sean Reynolds, from Pathfinder's Inner Sea Gods)

Iomedae – The Inheritor boasts few cathedrals or churches in Ustalav.  While honor, justice, rulership, and valor are lofty goals few Ustalav peasants could argue against, they also would say they know little of such things.  Justice is rare in Ustalav, and honor, while deeply respected, is not something whole congregations openly worship and contemplate.  Lastwall or Mendev immigrants frequently continue their worship to Iomedae, and Andoran transplants add to the worshippers.  Usually such services are held in modest shrines that dot the landscape, nestled in Ustalav’s many caves or in hollowed tree trunks.  The legendary St. George, said to have killed countless undead in the Shining Crusade, was a well-known devout of Iomedae, and his name still calls to many residents of Ustalav.

* Parnoneryx, the Gold Dragon, beside Iomedae (artwork by Rob McCreary from Pathfinder's Scourge of the Godclaw)

Lamashtu – The Mother of Monsters whispers to many in Ustalav.  She inspires the goblin drum beats in the deepest caves of the Hungry Mountains.  The orcs of Belkzen sometimes scream out in praise of her as they perform glorious deeds of carnage.  The ettercaps of Shudderwood chitter prayers to her, and leave soiled idols hanging from trees.  Many claim that Ustalav's high proportion of caliban are the result of Lamashtu's attention, marking the unfortunate as a servant of the Mother of Monsters, willing or unwilling.

* Lamashtu Holy Symbol (artwork from Pathfinder)

Norgorber -The Reaper of Reputation isn't a very visible god in Ustalav, but his portfolio draws many supplicants in the Immortal Principality.  Sometimes residents don’t wish a peaceful death in its due time on their neighbors.  They’re a passionate people, and the way of trickery and murder can appeal to those who’ve been deeply wronged.  And there are many in Ustalav’s borders who fit this description.  And for others, charms and knowledge are the tools by which they lead their lives.  Scarzni travelers, nobles who live by intrigue, driven scholars – all have reasons to offer tribute to the Reaper of Reputation in private.  In some circumstances, cells or small cults gather together in religious and philosophical community or dance by firelight in the Reaper’s name to give their gypsy curses more power.

* Norgorber's Holy Symbol (artwork from Pathfinder)

The Old Cults – Those who follow the Old Cults worship alien entities known as the Outer Gods or  the Great Old Ones, often said to exist in the abyssal space between the stars known as the Dark Tapestry.  Most cults are relatively localized, containing a small cell or an individual, but there are rumors that there are networks of interconnected secret societies infiltrating all levels of Ustalav – academies and noble circles, trade guilds and simple hamlets.  They say the Kellids built great menhirs to these Great Old Ones, and that they left them for the new inhabitants to seduce them to the alien ends.  Some explorers have claimed that there are still Kellid tribes in the swamps of Sinaria or the ruins of Canterwall and Lozeri, or the forgotten valleys of Amaans and Ulcazar, and they practice bloody rituals of the Old Cults going back thousands of years.

* A Great One (artwork by Scott Purdy)

Pharasmin Penitence – The Lady of the Graves holds a favored position in Ustalav.  Barstoi holds three famed temples to Pharasma: The Mother of Skulls, the Vault of Tears, and the Chapel of Guilts. Each highlights a different aspect to Ustalav's particular branch of faith in the goddess: of death and repose, of passing and suffering, and of penitence and fate. Pharasma's followers are midwives, morticians, so called "white necromancers," expectant mothers, and sometimes Harrowers, palmists, oneiromancers, cloud readers, and other diviners (though fewer of these exist since Aroden's death).

* Pharasma (artwork by from Pathfinder's Ashes at Dawn)

Sarenrae – The Dawnflower has a surprising, if covert, following in Ustalav.  Despite having little sun compared to a place like Katapesh, Ustalav find succor from Sarenrae’s blessings.  Wandering monks and healing clerics offer simple praise to Sarenrae when performing their small miracles to heal the populace.  The peasantry value the faith’s principles of honesty, and it could be said that all of Ustalav longs for redemption.  Lastly, there are many who have suffered under the tortures of some horror that shuns the day and turned to the Dawnflower to bring some light to cast those creatures back to darkness.  Her shrines dot Ustalav to much the same degree as Iomedae’s, though they may be found in peasant’s closets, in ruined churches, or at the foot of saint’s monuments. Ustalav still remembers St. Ezra, who traveled the countryside during the reign of the Whispering Tyrant and defended countless peasants against the most vile vampires and undead

* Sarenrae (artwork by Sati Balzane, from Paizo's Pathfinder Publishing)

Shelyn - The Eternal Rose is not unknown in Ustalav, though she boasts few shrines or churches.  There are, however, many works of great beauty created in her name throughout the larger cities of Ardis, Karcau, Leipstadt, and Caliphas.  Karcau especially has many courtyards with plaques in her name, and Ardis' Merridweigh Gardens hold rose gardens and sculptures of her many-plumed bird.  Gardeners say brief prayers before beginning or ending the work of the day, as do opera singer and performers in Karcau, musicians in Leipstadt, and painters or chefs in Caliphas.  Young lovers reference her in poetry, and hopeful parents give blessings in her name at marriages.  In this way, Shelyn's influence in Ustalav is subtle but everywhere.

* The Eternal Conflict between Shelyn and Zon-Kuthon (artwork by Yu Cheng Hong, from Pathfinder's Inner Sea Gods)

Torag – The Father of Creation boasts tidy and well constructed temples in major cities, where dwarves keep the faith alive.  Tamrivena also has a number of local sayings people regularly use in greeting or before beginning the day's work.  Perhaps that is because the orcs worship his sworn enemy, Rovagug, so strongly.  It is also in keeping with the self-sufficiency of the western settlements, so close to Belkzen, who have come to rely on no saint to come to their aid – only strong walls and stronger people.

* Torag (artwork from Pathfinder Wiki)

Urgathoa - Sometimes, in desperation, those who are sick with plague or helplessly watch a loved one dying, call out to Urgathoa to alleviate the illness, though most Ustalavans turn to Sarenrae or Pharasma in times like these.  Other times, gluttonous nobility will offer up tribute to Urgathoa to continue their excesses – whether they be food, women, or money.  Secret worship sites unfortunately exist underneath manors or in sewers, in the sheds of desperate farmers, or in other hidden places all over Ustalav.

* Urgathoa (artwork from Pathfinder)

The Whispering Way – None who know of its origins speak of it.  Its origins lead back to the Age of Darkness. The Way claims no prophet, no founder, nor divine muse.  It simply exists for those intelligent, insightful, realistic, and ambitious enough to realize it. It requires no belief to be true.  Those who don't understand it, fear it. Some say followers work to bring about the end of the world as we know it – ushering in a world for the undead, much like the Whispering Tyrant brought to Ustalav for over 600 years.  With Aroden dead, the Whispering Tyrant is a fallen king, a beacon of what is possible for those disciplined enough to pursue the Way to its ends.

* Whispering Way prostrated before the Whispering Tyrant (artwork from Pathfinder's Broken Moon)

Religion

Children of the Night signcontrast signcontrast