The Little Gods that hide in the crowded places of the world are myriad and their powers bubble, rise, and burst as favor and status waxes and wanes among their followers. They are just as important to the Major Deities, but their followers are the common folk, the needy, and the disenfranchised.
CULTS OF THE LITTLE GODS
The Cult of the Burble (Guttersnipes)
There are urban streams, if you look to your feet. They swirl with grey water and leaves and dead rats. They sing and gurgle the secrets of the city, for those who know how to listen.
Children sometimes whisper secrets to the Holy Gutter, and those wishes, those dreams, those blasphemies travel the length and breadth of this urban jungle, and, if the churning waters are benevolent, those prayers are answered.
Gutter witches chant litanies over bubbling grates and sacrifice twitching rodents into the black waters. The small gods of waste, refuse, and cast-away things often return the favors in kind, and half-chewed things often crawl from the darkened drains in the small hours and scratch at clapboard doors to serve their new masters.
On dark moons, sometimes the forlorn will build waxed paper boats, masted with tallow dips that smoke and flicker as they sail into the still night. The boats are scrawled with blood and ashes, fervent devotions to secret desires. The targets of those desires often dream of the subject, and feel compelled to seek them out, though they know not why.
Brave youths sometimes dare one another to pry open a sewer grate and run to the “place where the mold grows” and back without chickening out. From time to time the small gods take one of these bravos as fair sacrifice.
There are always those who get the idea that more is better, and cabals of Dustmen often meet in abandoned sluices, or in the belly of some moldering, crumbling pipe. Here they chant litanies and beg for favors. More often than not, they leave disappointed, but on certain nights an Otyugh may choose to manifest and take one of the cultists as sacrifice in exchange for granting the wish. .
Notable NPC Cult Member: Balash, Gutter Witch
Witch, Level 3
Balash is an old woman, with many deep wrinkles (some tattooed with sigils), and long greasy red hair. She is dressed in discarded clothes, a grimy medley of styles and patterns, and wears no shoes on her filthy feet. She has lived a long time in the city, in the very hovel where she was born, and can navigate anywhere she pleases by following the burbling gutters that span the urban landscape.
She rarely speaks, choosing her words carefully in any case, and does not like or trust anyone who uses her first name, or tries to act familiar, or too friendly with her. Often she will bark drainHexes at the offenders, who find themselves hours later with severe bowel and stomach problems. Her devotion to the small gods that she serves is complete. She spends most of her time squatting next to a large and noisy gutter, her head cocked, eyes closed, listening for instructions or any sign of blessing. She sacrifices rats and cats (if she can catch them) to the holy sluice 4 times a month, at precise times. She sometimes wanders, on some holy mission, and follows the gutterways as a ball of string unwinding.
The Cult of Wells
All around us lie dark portals into unknown depths. They watch and they listen day after day while life goes on around them, taking for granted the waters they give and the mysteries they hold.
A well sees and hears all that goes on around it and may be bribed to share a bit of gossip it heard, or an ancient memory from years past, however, the well will demand an equal sacrifice in exchange.
Commoners often throw a coin to a well and ask for a wish, or good luck, requests which are sometimes but rarely granted. However, there are lesser known rituals to be performed at a well. It is rare for anything thrown into a well to ever come back out again. Wells are a place where unwanted things can be forgotten. The guilty or the scarred may give a memory to the well, where it is drowned and eaten, forever forgotten. But be cautious, wells never give back what has been taken. A well knows no mercy, anything tossed in may be taken, a stone, a precious ring, a rat, or a child… A well does not always take everything but what is left behind is forever changed.
Sometimes one finds an old well abandoned and covered, odd and overgrown, this is a place of power.
A dry, dead well has its own rituals. Sometimes when a well dies it leaves a few things behind, the brave can descend down and claim these treasures from the damp mud at the bottom. The bottom of a well is a place of transformation where one can shed themselves and be born anew. One can also look up at the sky from the well’s heart and divine many things. The bottom of a well symbolizes the lowest point in existence, where the only choices that remain are rebirth, or destruction.
“Here I stand! …at the bottom of a well.”
Notable NPC Cult Member: The Well Watcher
They once had a name, but it was given to a well in exchange for knowledge of another’s identity. They do not remember why they needed to know it so badly, that memory too has been given to the well. They serve as a cautionary tale of what may happen to a careless practitioner, but they also serve as a guide for any who need to use the well to forget.
The Cult of Unspoken Confessions
The crush you never confess your attraction to. The belief you withhold as to not upset a friend. These are offerings to the God of Unspoken Confessions.
The God of Unspoken Confessions hears them all, and those who provide many offerings receive some of their divine knowledge. They share these secrets with devout followers, but only when those followers provide many offerings of their own.
While the gods of the domain of secrets know many things, it’s the God of Unspoken Confessions that knows the precious few things even they cannot see. For it is only the deepest of unspoken secrets they know and may share with their few followers.
Notable NPC Cult Member: Gulik
Gulik is a quiet and reserved Lizardfolk who gives far more offerings than they wish. Their agreeable and soft-spoken persona is a stark contrast to their active and thoughtful mind. They will only speak their mind when pressed. However, their thoughts often reveal something no one could notice about the subject. Gulik offers many unspoken confessions, so the god whispers many of the unspoken confessions of others to them.
Gulik and their unmatched insight on the thoughts of others that they’ve never shared. Their knowledge of a person’s most intimate secrets are second to none.
The Cult of the Wickers
The flame on a candle may seem a silly thing, but there are many of them. Thousands of them light dark corners during the day, and at night they are more abundant than the stars. Little flickers of life, everywhere, and the heralds that guard them.
Each single little flame needs to be respected, hungry little things. Feed them a moth, or offer them to grow a bonfire, and you have earned yourself some favors. They do not ask for much, and don’t give much in return, but they can make a difference. Flickering and dancing they may tell things to those that know to listen. They may lead you to a thing you need, show something you missed, or even warn you when you are threatened.
Notable NPC Cult Member: The Chandler
A candlemaker who infuses his candles with a little extra. The Chandler has made a deal with the flickering flames, and is protected by them. He can pry all the secrets and details from the most remote corners of the City.
The Cult of Brooms
The god of brooms accepts the lowliest of individuals into his fold. The dust is his incense, dirt his sacrifices. He does not make all things new, but he does bring things back to the way they were. He can help with the messes that are too small for the other gods. He can sweep the cobwebs out of your mind, helping you to remember some small piece of information that you can’t quite remember.
Worshiped with intricate symbols swept into the dirt, this process is referred to as the Dust Dance. Outsiders who see practitioners conducting this ritual usually assume that it is nothing more than simple folk embracing their work in an effort to alleviate the drudgery.
Notable NPC Cult Member: The Scullion
A lowly servant who has been visited by the broom god. She is but the most recent to be chosen to share her visions to others, and to see the god’s work fulfilled. “We have to sweep to show our god we are grateful to be alive,” she says. Her broom has been blessed and is a conduit of the god’s power which she uses to perform minor miracles.
The Cult of Coppers
Most people do not appreciate the little things in life, they have no time for the details, or the small victories. The exception is those people that are down on their luck, as they do see what they are given, however small. These people deserve a penny for a thought, and they may receive it. Finding a couple of coppers between the cobbles, just as you were about to starve. A couple of extra pennies you didn’t count before so you can spend the night in a barn.
Divine redistribution at its finest, literally. From those that do not appreciate it, to those that do. Pocket change really, but enough to change the world. Mostly unappreciated.
Notable NPC Cult Member: The Begging Queen
One of the few who understands and knows the work of this little deity, and fully supports it. Her connections go deep, and she actively contributes to the redistribution, with the aim of nursing the little divine into her own fledgling god.
The Cult of Procrastination
Rules? More of a loose guideline. “Don’t do today what can be done tomorrow.”
Sacred texts? We’re getting those. Promise.
Why? Folk march forward to their own destruction. We are here to slow their march. When we get an ill omen, we work harder, doing more without advancing toward a dire end.
We despise laziness. Failing to do today what requires action now is the original sin. Laziness is for the weak. We are strong in our conviction. When action is needed, we act. If not, well, you get the idea.
Notable NPC Cult Member: Jghul Nonstow
At the battle of Casikya when a portal from hell tore open, Jghul was there; on the front lines with her enchanted polearm slaying demons.
When the walking city of Spatina suffered critical damage and the pilot tower fell, it was Jghul who crawled through the rubble to the pilot chamber and got the city walking again, providing the reinforcements that brought about victory.
At brunch last Sunday when she was supposed to bring the juice for the mimosas, she was really busy. Honest.
The Cult of Lovers Quarrels
Everybody loves a bit of drama, and so does this divine. There is an art to it, a discovery of life’s details, accidents that are a trick of faith. A letter of a lover delivered to a spouse, a drawer left unlocked for a snooping lover, and the wrong perfume that trails a little too long. There is nothing like a lovers spat, a hurricane of emotions, fury and passion.
Notable NPC Cult Member: Alantian Lush
One of the many artists that claim to revere this deity, albeit for selfish reasons. He tends to accidentally leave evidence of his presence behind with every one of his conquests.
The Cult of Reflection
Mirrors possess magic, everybody knows, though few understand that it is not the mirror itself that holds such power. It is the reflection. You can find it anywhere, in a puddle of fresh rain, in a shard of glass, or even on the edge of a finely polished blade. These reflections are eyes into another realm, one that resembles our own but isn’t. The details that are mismatched are tells of secrets and stories. Divinations of potential and possibilities, and the deity that governs it is just as curious as you about the futures it sees. It likes to see, everything.
Notable NPC Cult Member: Serena De La Lura
A born sorceress that has devoted herself to her own future, divination is her blood. She has studied her own magic to get glimpses ever further into the time to come, and stumbled on this deity. She has conversed with this watcher of gateways, and it has taught her a few tricks in return for her company.
The Cult of The Divine Ligature
Knots are the workhorses of the modern world. They hold ships at anchor, keep heavy objects from falling on us, and even hold our vital organs inside our bodies when we are injured. Vozel, the god of knots, stitching, and ties draws power from those who focus intently on learning the bowline knot, how to tie one’s shoes, and chirurgeons frantically working to save the life of their patient. She lives in the moment of satisfaction when a craftsman or longshoreman surveys their work. She weeps when the tiedown on a ship slips, causing a sailor to fall to their death.
Notable NPC Cult Member: Movarl
Head of the Longshoreman’s League in Sentia, Movarl is a grizzled veteran sailor and advocate for the proletariat in the city. He also covertly worships, and spreads, the faith of Vozel of the Divine Ligature. Mentoring young sailors, he has passed on her prayers as mantras to them to aid them in remembering how to tie the finest knots to keep them all safe.
The Cult of Minor Nuisance
Most don’t appreciate the little things in life. A small rock in your boot; a sleeve slightly longer than the other; the jar on the shelf just a bit out of reach. For those who follow Subenta, Goddess of Irritation, these are her blessing; an intervention performed on your behalf to prevent a greater harm visited by evil gods. While the common people place small offerings of coin on their windowsill or under their pillow in the hope of keeping her at bay, those who follow this path will smile as they remove a bug from their teeth, or lifting their hands in prayer when the sole of their shoe wears out. To stub one’s toe is to remember her generosity, and give thanks for the abatement of greater pains unknown.
Notable NPC Cult Member: Sanrec the Holey
Though his worn clothes and shoeless foot make him appear as a common beggar, Sanrec is the Head Priest of the Cult’s arm in Mahala. Little is known of the gray-haired dwarf’s past. Some believe he was a sailor by the many tattoos on his body, while others take him as a high ranking general in the Golden Army before life dragged him down. What all know him for is his smile, broad and always pleasant, so bright even the most dour of folk will find themselves returning it. His title was born of his conversion to the faith; standing upon the cliffs of a distant shore, ready to end his life, he became keenly aware of the hole in the bottom of his shoe. Thus Subenta smiled upon him, and he took upon himself a mission to show the people that the small irritations life sometimes sends us are blessings meant to keep us on the path of truth.
The Cult of Petty Revenge
An annoying colleague, an unreasonable boss, a shop owner talking behind your back. It happens to everybody, small things that aren’t big enough for you to speak up, or done by people too important for you to react. You just shut up and take it, day after day, letting the stress build. One day, you can’t take it anymore, so you do something. But it has to be something small, something that won’t get you in trouble, a minor nuisance, petty and evil. You know it’s pathetic, and it won’t help you, but you can’t help it. You just want to hurt them in moderation. Well my friend, know you’re not alone. Frick, God of Petty Revenge, in that moment, is with you. Frick is a rather minor god: it has no churches, no texts and very few people know about it. Many people say its name every day without realizing it: over the centuries, many expressions of annoyance and anger related to its cult have spread over the world: phrases like “What the frick!” and “You frickin…” seem simple swear words, but they are all connected to this primal deity through the power of the greatest emotion: Frustration. Depicted in many shrines all over the world as a genderless humanoid with its face hidden by a hood, a rock in one hand and the other fist clenched, there are only two rules ot Frick cult: First, never get caught. Always hide the hand that throws the rock. Be sneaky, be pathetic, screw them. Doesn’t matter. They deserve it. Second, never go too far. Never break the law, never get guards involved. Even if you get caught, you want to get away with it without real repercussions. Graffiti their wall during the night, put salt in their drink, pretend to spill your wine over their dress, there are countless ways to mildly ruin their day, and once you do, when you cackle from the shadows looking at them whining about their own misfortune, know that Frick is cackling with you, from atop his throne of mild evil. How to involve the players? They find their weapons at the inn misplaced by an innkeeper that dislikes them, the items they look for at the shop always seem to be out of stock, or more expensive than normal. Their well deserved rest is interrupted by pebbles at the window. Endless options to mildly annoy them, but make sure they never have a good reason to raise their weapon. No, let the stress accumulate, until they too will be left with petty revenge as their only option. A self sustaining cycle that feeds Frick with ENDLESS POWER!
Notable NPC Cult Member: Bellod the Guard Captain
Few are the active followers of Frick, but they are always the worst. Bellod looks like a regular middle aged captain in a large city, but he’s always been a petty, vengeful little shit. He’s angry at criminals, at other guards and at the world, and takes it out on the town. When people ask his help, he always makes them wait longer than normal, intentionally misplaces or loses paperwork, and refuses vacations to his soldiers. He is always a bit nasty when dealing with people, always making people uncomfortable, and dealing with him will inevitably be unpleasant.
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