The gods of Kherai are many and varied. They can be little more than wisps of belief, suspended in the mind of a single worshiper—or madman. Or they can be the avatars manifested from nightmare and terror, feeding on fear and desperation. On Kherai, men can create, or become, their own gods.
Belief fuels the creation of gods. If a god is wise, he will appease his worshipers, and grant many boons and favors. But miracles are demanding, and require resources. A man may spend coin to buy bread, but the coin of gods is belief. Prayer and sacrifice is required to gain the attention of the gods.
Perhaps the first of the gods to be summoned to existence, the god of death is pervasive and all inclusive across all inhabited lands. The Last One, Master of the Next World, Reaper of Men—Neshet goes by many names. Prayers to him are whispered pleadings, vehement denials, and, occasionally, welcome embrace. Every being empowers him sooner or later, and seekers asking his favor must prove themselves to be worthy indeed.
Fire has always held a special place in the minds of men. The Font of Iron, Shaper of the World, Ulcanos is the god of fire and the forge. He is the god of mighty ironwork and architecture, but also small and clever things. Work that demands both attention to detail and is large in scope is the fuel of Ulcanos’ power. Ulcanos is also the patron of geometers and mathematicians.
As the Reaper gained in power, the races of Kherai plead for someone to intervene. Mercus, Lord of Peace, Suffering’s End, is formed of anyone’s pleas for mercy on the behalf of another. Blood-soaked bandages, sympathy for the maimed, and the long study of the physic of man all serve to strengthen him. Seekers of his favor devote their lives to medicine or selfless sacrifice on behalf of another.
Any civilization has its turning points, the times just before the moment of choice falls on the shoulders of a single person. The times when a hero is born, or a villain created. The Strength of the One, Lion of Men, Valund is the god of single warriors, the lynch pins of destiny. The yearning of the wronged, the determination of the revolutionary, the confidence of the hero; All of these serve to lend power to the god of Destiny. Seekers of his blessing must win against all odds, or die trying.
Not all gods were founded on fear and sacrifice. Wisdom of the Ages, Keeper of Lore, Saint of Sages, Neitas is the goddess of wisdom and prophets. Languages and lore comes easily to those who owe allegiance to her. Studious devotion to history and the arts are music to her ears.
Geographic locations are just as susceptible to the combination of magic, ley lines, and superstition. Hallowed or haunted ground can be forms of Animus Loci—Living Ground. Animus Loci exude an aura of whatever the original stimulus was for their creation. Curses, blessings, or simply the right conditions can create them. Many churches are founded on an Animus Loci, often turning them to Genius Loci.
Genius Loci are Animus Loci that have awakened. Some are brought to the brink of consciousness by having temples of churches founded on their soil. Most of them though, cloak their existence from those who would seek them out. Tapping the energy of a Genius Loci can power great works of magical artifice.
Loci that have become aware can sense the motives of any who trespass on them, and if they feel threatened, they can warp their landscape, and create illusions to trap their victims. Starving and lost within sight of edges of its territory, the Genius Loci feeds its inhabitants with the bodies of those that sought to harm it.
It is thought by sages and philosophers that the Genius Loci of ancient times were the precursors to the present day gods. Some spend their lives searching, that they may raise new deities.