Nights In Lankhmar
The Gods all spring from Beya, the All-Spirit, the embodiment of the cosmos. First there were Adapel and Kaxus who created the earth and the sky and all plants. Their firstborn was Vacha who created the beasts and people of the world. Following Vacha’s lead, the Twins created the other Gods and gave them lordship over various aspects of the world. Some of the spirits the Twins created did not find bodies, though, and in their resentment turned against the twins. They tricked Aktaruk into crafting substance for the spirits to inhabit and thus became demons.
The gods are neither malevolent nor benign, although in the grand scheme they are protective of the world and its peoples despite the occasional earthquake, flood or plague. They do not manifest directly (apart from Vacha and Rassos, who like messing with mortals every now and then) but will occasionally give visions and prophesies to oracles devoted to their service and reward miracles to priests who give them due obeisance.
Most people, if they bother to give respects at all, pay homage to whichever god is most appropriate to the situation. A sailor will usually favor Adapel while out at sea but will give a quick thanks to Rassos when he wins at cards, beseech Losivya to stop the rain, then ask Vacha for the fleetness of a hare so he can get back to the ship on time.
Priests, on the other hand, tend to view the world through the lens of their patron god. The other gods exist, certainly, but the priest will usually praise or supplicate their patron deity before considering the rest of the gods out there.
The older gods (Beya, Adapel, Kaxus) are vague in appearance, with wildly varying appearances from tale to tale when they are described at all. The younger gods (Vacha, Losivya, et. al.) have more set appearances, although they too can vary, with Rassos having the most mutable mien.
Faces: Fate, Justice, Karma
Appears As: Nothing
Sigils: Eight-pointed star (rare)
Beya, while sentient, is more of a force than a being. Neither male nor female, Beya is the primal force of reality that rules and guides all things, even the gods. Beya is often uses a synonym for ‘destiny’ or ‘fate’, and is the god of abstract concepts. Beya only expresses an interest in the affairs of Linae and Kaxus and remains utterly detached from humanity. Therefore Beya has few direct adherents barring a few scholars and wizards.
Faces: The Sailor, The Mother, The Moon
Appears As: A woman, the moon
Sigils: Gibbous moon of silver, a crashing wave
Adapel is the twin/wife of Kaxus and the child of Beya. She is the god of oceans and rivers and the arch of the sky. As the first mother she is also the face of motherhood, although the concept of life is the provenance of her child Vacha. While Losivya may holds domain over the air, the moon is Adapel’s Eye. She is Lady Night.
Faces: The Guardian, The Stone, The Father
Appears As: A man, a mountain
Sigils: A mountain, two fists touching
Kaxus is the twin/husband of Adapel and the child of Beya. He is the god of the earth, stones and mountains. He also watches over homes and towns. As the first father he is also the face of fatherhood, but his child Vacha holds dominion over life itself.
Adapel and Kaxus are collectively considered ‘nature’, and sometimes a priest may give obeisance to The Twins rather than each god individually. Forests and trees are the domain of The Twins collectively.
Faces: The Beast, The Wilds, The Breath
Appears As: A squat, hairy dwarf, wild in appearance
Sigils: A bear’s head, a dancing dwarf
Vacha is either male or female depending on circumstance and whim. (Priests interested in pointless discussions debate if Vacha was born a girl, a boy, both or neither). In either case Vacha is a gnarled, unkempt, hirsute dwarf with a broad grin. Vacha is the child of Kaxus and Adapel and the creator of all the beasts and people. Vacha gives life and takes it away and thus rules both Life and Death.
Faces: The Sun, The Storm, The Eagle
Appears As: A woman with blue skin (pale to indigo, depending on her mood) in diaphanous silver robes with a headdress of lightning
Sigils: An eagle in flight, the sun disc with rays
Adapel bestowed her daughter with dominion over the space between the earth and the sky, controlling the winds, the clouds, the lightning and the thunder. She provides or withholds rain at her pleasure. She rules the daylight hours, since the sun is her radiant heart. Winter comes when Losivya travels to visit her mother. Vacha has gifted her with dominion over hawks and eagles. Her feet never touch the ground.
Faces: The Jester, The Poet, The Beggar, The Thief
Appears As: A short, gaunt, four-armed man dressed in cloaked motley, either ragged patchwork or fine jester livery
Sigils: A mask of comedy, a glove
Rassos rules over wild passions, from the highest artistic inspiration to the basest gluttony, although he serves more as an instigator than a participant. He is subtle and manipulative, the trickster murmuring suggestions from the shadows. He takes great pleasure in pointing out the arrogance and folly of his fellow gods. He watches over artists and outcasts, madmen and children. His appearance is mutable, but his usual form is that of a beggar or jester, a short cloak covering his second pair of arms.
Faces: The Farmer, The Merchant, The Flower
Appears As: A heavy-set woman with olive-green skin and morning glories for hair, a wheat-stalk skirt covering a tangle of roots instead of legs
Sigils: A flower, balance scales, a bee
Meleki is the god of prosperity and agriculture, patron of merchants, herdsmen and farmers. When angered she is also the bringer of plague, but she is rarely angered. Vacha bestowed Meleki with rule over insects; the bee is particularly sacred to her. She has no legs, merely roots, and cannot leave the ground.
Faces: The Warrior, The Smith, The Flame
Appears: A man of red-hot coals with yellow flames for a beard, wearing black armor and wielding a massive blacksmithing hammer
Sigils: A blacksmith’s hammer, a flame
Where Rassos brings inspiration Aktaruk brings skill, ruling over craftsmen, particularly masons and blacksmiths. Aktaruk is also the lord of martial prowess and is the patron of warriors and soldiers. He is grim and slow to anger, but when he is enraged his temper is terrifying. Rassos, Aktaruk’s frequent collaborator, takes great pleasure in provoking Aktaruk. Despite Aktaruk’s heat, Aktaruk’s hammer exudes a deep, deep cold.