"Thus did Androgenae's soldiers fall around him, overrun by the countless orcs of the Voordlands. And Androgenae cast his hands to the heavens to call Yatindar's wrath down upon the servants of Mazripos; destruction did he rain down upon them from the stars themselves. Androgenae strode from the Voordlands alone, and the orcs were no more until the rise of Katheledon."
-The Book of Justice, Androgenae, Chapter 4
The gods of Gaeleth are very real (and very powerful) to all its peoples -- few question their existance. Through their servants, mountains have been destroyed, nations created, and lovers have been married. They sometimes stride the world, to impart gifts of wisdom and knowledge to their followers. Faith can truly heal, prayers are answered, and curses can bring the wrath of a god full upon a man.
Religious scholars know that any one of the gods of Gaeleth could kill another with a mere thought. Students of history sometimes feel there is a set of rules that govern the gods, though who made the rules, or created the setting, is unknown. Just as much mystery surrounds the need of each god for a divine Relic that serves as the resting place for all the souls that a god accrues. Those that have returned from the Relics, through the powerful prayers of the faithful, have reinforced the concepts of heavens and hells, limbo and purgatory.
A commonly asked question is, "What are the Relics?" Essentially, the Relics are where the souls of a particular god reside -- and where the essence of that god exists. Within the Relic, each god is all-powerful, and the souls that worshipped it before death reside in a kind of localized heaven. The Relic also serves as the home for all the greater souls -- more commonly known as angels and archons. Each Relic is relatively small, and appears made of some strange metal, but within the Relic, space is infinite, depending on the whim of the god that Relic represents.
The Relics are indestructible, save by the will of another god -- thus there is a winnowing process by which unstable or homicidal gods are snuffed out by the majority of the other gods. The Relics, while indestructible, do not give off auras, magical eminations, or any kind of radiant energy; aside from their strange metallic color, each Relic might be just a piece of jewelry.
Where they come from and who makes them remains as much a mystery to the gods as to mortals. When a 'blank' Relic is found, however, it is often imprinted with the needs and wants of the mortal that finds it, giving birth to a new god.
The ranks of the gods varies, based off of the number of worshippers they have on the mortal plane, and the number of worshipful souls they have gathered into their Relics. More powerful gods have a vast number of souls and worshippers' powers to draw upon, and their priests tend to be more powerful. Weaker gods tend to have lesser numbers of souls or worshippers to draw upon, and thus have relatively weaker priests or churches.
Clerics worshipping these pantheons gain their choice of any two domains among the pantheons, but cannot advance in ecclesastical rank unless their chosen domains fall within a single god's perview, and the cleric can only advance within that god's church. For example, Torduneth might worship as a cleric of the pantheon of the Karatikans -- naturalistic gods -- choosing the plant and fire spheres as his domains; he can only advance beyond the level of 'priest' in a given church by choosing one church, and the domains belonging to that church.
Clerics of pantheons do not gain the special abilities granted to priests who choose to follow only one god.
Among almost all pantheons, Brigain is a common thread, making him arguably the most powerful of all the gods of Gaeleth. Common pantheons include (but are not limited to):
Nature: Arpelos (the sun), Barith (plants), Brigain (weather), Elinthar (animals), Mikindim (earth), Olorin (water), and Xoriah (fire).
Nobility: Brigain (destiny), Mikindim (works), Rahne (war), Whalin (compassion), and Yatindar (law).
Evil: Argunas (demons), Brigain (power), Dakis (the undead), K'Tath (vengeance), Nabrol (madness), and Samis (theft).
Empire: Barith (harvests, alcoholic drinks), Brigain (destiny), Elinthar (mounts, work animals, and food animals), Galanus (maneuvering), Lul (merchants), and Rahne (war).
Dwarven: Brigain (destiny), Elinthar (mounts), Galgiran (steel), and Mikindim (stone).
Elven: Barith (plants), Brigain (destiny), Elinthar (animals), Galanus (stealth), Habrem (life), Xynosalionisis (memory).