The Faultless Arrow has encountered knowledge concealed by the Gods on multiple occasions.
- In the Protectorate of Sol they have discovered that the Greater Temple of Libros, the Library that is at the center of the continent's politics, has at least four access levels granted based on political favors (or officially, "intentions of the scholar"). The top level did not have any books, only a magical pedestal (?), and looked more like a place for meditation than for study.
- In Eremus Minor, they have entered Saurhel, an underground temple to Vecna, the evil god of secrets. There a secret was revealed to them about a conspiracy in which all gods, both good and evil, took part. They turned on their sister, the Goddess of Life to steal her power and rule over her creations. They were forbidden from killing her, so they locked her away where she slowly withered and lost much of herself, leaving nothing but her Sorrow. They erased all mentions of her and changed the perception of mortals that so that none may know the truth. Once she broke free they conspired to have mortals finally kill her.
- Also in Eremus Minor, Chad Trump has learned some unspeakable truths about other planes by touching a statuette of some unknown deity worshiped by the Illithids.
Virginia as the only party member who's both faithful and wise to understand the implications of the truth about Sorrow, set out on a personal journey to come to terms with it. What's especially disturbing is party's inability to speak to anyone of their secret - any speech on that topic is censored by gods. To envision what this world's theology has to say on the matter, and what will Virginia might discover on her journey, here is a description of the religious philosophy developed in Rubia and other realms to date.
1st level of Awareness: masses Edit
The religion of the masses is simple polytheism, where the focus is on rituals, donations and sacrifices in exchange for god's favors in this world. The afterlife is also mentioned, as a means to threaten those who don't follow the rules of any particular god. A twist is that evil gods also promise an afterlife that benefits followers, which would mean that one can get a good afterlife no matter what crazy things he does during his lifetime. Of course, the good pantheon followers believe that evil gods are deceivers, and their followers will suffer greatly.
One thing is certain though: those who follow none of the Gods are sentenced to eons of suffering and then to non-existence (Gods draw most of their power from followers and this is to encourage worship).
2nd level of Awareness: clerics and paladins EditThere are always those who try to serve their god better. There are two main ways to do it in our world: (i) to join an institution (a church) and preach the teachings of your god to the masses (ii) to become an exceptional follower by obeying all the commandments of your god and living a truly virtuous life. There is much debate as to which way pleases the god more among the scholars, and it this dichotomy is also reflected in many of the myths and legends (saint hobo vs. rich priest). All the gods of our world have followers from both types.
3rd level of Awareness: scholars, guru Edit
It is rare for an adventurer to reach the 3rd level. It is mostly a domain for non-fighting classes. Here not all gods are equal: it turns out only in the teachings of Pelor, Libros as well as some gods worshipped in distant lands where the party haven't been yet, exist hints of the existence of a 3rd level. Specifically, Pelor teaches that his followers can be saved by just not pursuing material goals, and stoically accepting suffering. It is no longer about afterlife, just about a salvation that comes from within of each individual. This peculiar property of the Church of Pelor made it local favorite for many kingdoms. Even the Minthras Imperium accepted this unusual extension to normal religious lifestyle, albeit the imperial authorities strongly discourage the preaching of these beliefs as it "encourages laziness and incites against the social order". Within the Church itself, this level of awareness is considered dangerous, and anyone who questions the Church's accumulation of wealth is immediately burnt at the stake. Only those who are careful not to menace the Church's income are left to their studies. And even though this leaves very few, they formed a vibrant community of Old Continent philosophers, exchanging letters and copying each other's work. Their body of work explains the apparent inconsistencies in religious lore by existence of a special, even higher level of Awareness.
4th level of Awareness: gods Edit
According to the consensus of many modern philosophers of the Old Continent, gods exists in a different way from anything that we're used to. The human concepts are meaningless for gods: time (they know the future), free will (again, they know their own actions in advance), truth (whatever they say immediately becomes truth). It is not clear what does it mean for gods to have a war, and what it means for a god to die. One is tempted to imagine an epic battle, that results in an epic explosion after which the god is no more, but all of that is just convenient metaphors that humans can relate to. What actually happened may well be lost in translation from "god language" to "human language". Just how unnatural the god language might turn out to be is exemplified by the cult of Chtulhu: the Old one didn't bother to make a good translation of his teachings and didn't simplify some of the concepts, which makes all of his followers eventually go insane. The only way to truly comprehend the meaning of god's affairs is to abandon one's humanity:
- Some cultures have legends of humans becoming gods through meditation and self-discipline, although gods would always oppose such an ascent. One would also need to become a favorite of most of the gods before attempting this.
- Other cultures have records of demigods being born by a union of a god with a person from one of the humanoid races
- Haereldor says: "The top of the Greater Temple of Libros seems like a good place to get high"