Quick Scroll: Symbol Worship Advocates Deity Plane
CG Greater Deity
Aliases: The Shaded Angel, Hope’s Merchant, The Abolitionist of Souls, Lady Philanthropy, The Naive One (derogatory, used by some good deities)
Portfolio: Freedom of Thought, Charity, Understanding, Capitalism
Favored Weapon: light pick
Domains: Chaos, Community, Liberation, Madness, Magic
Tenets: Charity, Community, Education, Greed, Innovation, Labor, Lapidary, Madness, Mercy, Understanding
An Adaskan priest’s flock is represented in his holy symbol. A golden palm brooch cradles one of several gemstones. Each gemstone correlates directly to a racial faction. In most instances, a priest has but a single gemstone. Much larger communities might encompass more than one race and in that case the amount of gemstones could range into double digits.
Every gemstone is a variant of a topaz: purple (elf), pink (fenodyree), gray (human), brown (duergar), orange (dwarf), reddish pink (kel), green (goblin), blue (nalu), clear (amoraq), and yellow (kobold). The topaz’s worth ranges in value as does its color, dependent upon the wealth of the community being served.
Whether a mortal wishes to gain the enlightenment of a purely good life or an evil being is trying to exploit the religion’s “welfare” benefits, all walks of life become followers of Adaska. Most followers of Adaska help one another without expectations of reciprocating acts (ideally, though even the best occasionally fail to live up to it, particularly given how they view charity). Once a week followers visit their churches for guidance.
Overall Adaskans tend to be community people who believe in hard work. They help one another on a daily basis and are willing to expend exceptional amounts of labor or resources if hardships occur. This religion embraces a form of charitable capitalism.
Adaskan is the most common religion on Thepa. Thousands of churches exist to service the faithful in worship and community needs. Adaskan acceptance is widespread. Even evil cultures allow small churches to exist since its believers are willing to supply time, food, or money for others. The only stipulation is that they sincerely work toward abolishing the slave trade in their territory.
Additionally, the evil cultures are able to benefit from this religion without a reaching hierarchy of clergy. Each priest that forms a church does so of his own volition. It is the common practices of charity, chores, and community that unite the churches in times of greatest need. Otherwise, each parish is its own sustainable entity.
Since Adaskan churches, people, and lifestyles all differ from place to place, it seems safe to assume that this religion differs as well. Day to day goals may prove to be different, but the final goal is always the same, to make people stronger though community. All true Adaskans share the belief that helping one another fosters a more pleasant life.
Advocates, Direct Followers, and Minions
common: elf, fenodyree, human
uncommon: duergar, dwarf, goblin, nalu
rare: amoraq kel, kobold
Priests of Adaska are generally chaotic good or chaotic neutral in alignment. They believe that most people have the ability to make their lives better if they put in the required work. They support communities and individuals that show similar beliefs of a caring capitalistic society. Two types of Adaskan priests exist. One sets up a church to strengthen a community. The other travels the world spreading goodness though charitable acts.
At first glance this religion seems destined to self-implode by giving all its resources away. This is not the case. The charity of this religion has been tempered in such a way that corruption finds it rather difficult to exist. Priests do not encourage giving to others for the sake of goodness. They encourage giving to those who help the community exist and in many cases only when the party in question is in actual need of assistance. The religion of Adaska is not socialistic, it is opportunistic. The flock and the priests only redistribute wealth when it is necessary.
This limited allotment system often allows for excess resources as shown through the expensive jewelry priests wear and the gorgeous churches littered with fabulous artwork. If ever a time of great need comes, the church and priests use this beautification to lessen their people’s hardships.
Not all priests set up churches. And many never settle down at all, preferring a life filled with random acts of kindness. These priests hold to the belief of paying it forward without the requirement of a good deed. One of Adaskan’s holy tenants is that goodness is not finite. Increasing goodness is essential to the fight against the darkness.
From time to time, these priests will find a worthy individual in true peril. In those moments, the priest shows his true calling, offering everything he possesses: spiritual, mental, physical, and monetary resources. A farmer ravaged by a raiding band of kel might be given a thousand gold coins to rebuild his home while the priest spends weeks gather a party to rise against the kel tribe responsible.
When priests are not reacting to situations, they spend their time teaching. The idiom, “give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime,” is practiced daily. Priests utilize their gathered funds to organize communities, offering them knowledge that might not otherwise be available to them. In fact, some Adaskan encourage innovation and re-examination of older technologies hoping to advance misunderstood or inferior processes.
An uncommon fact about the larger and more established churches is that the elder priests will ask for, and often demand, monetary commitments from rich followers. This goes against the religion’s initial belief system. As a priest ages he begins to lean toward socialism. Not in the general sense (nor for greed), the truth is that this priest believes he can do greater things with more resources and those with the power should help.
Many of the clergy understand this “failing” of their religion and choose to go out of their way to keep their churches small, thus reducing the risk of over stepping their initial boundaries. The easiest way to keep a church small is to choose a small community. This is why churches of Adaska are rarely large.
The final reason why Adaskan communities are small is corruption. Once a community becomes too large, the administrative problems begin to pile up. Corruption becomes rampant and the entire community dissolves into a selfish, entitled mass. The church is blamed and is eventually eradicated. This eventuality is the driving force behind the churches’ choice not to interconnect. By keeping the resources separate, corruption is unable to completely over throw the belief system.
Which isn’t to say it can’t happen, and when it does, the corruption is spectacular. Few liars and criminals create a deception as grand or impenetrable as those who believe they are serving the greater good. Thanks to the ideological self-regulation, those corrupt clergy and faithful whom follow the Shaded Angel that do arise are almost always those who believe they follow a just cause. Rarely are their reasons righteous, though these people tend to have a definite end goal in mind and resign when it is achieved. Otherwise, the solution is oft worse than the problem.
A lesser known fact about Adaskan priests is their ability to hold a grudge. All Adaskans hold dear the belief that liberty is a right of all creatures. It is common for a priest to settle in an oppressive community as an attempt to instill change. Feverishly working though education not violence, the priest alters the practices of his chosen civilization – many times lessening the burden of slavery if not outright eradicating it.
The manifestation of a grudge only comes into existence when another being takes great pleasure from enslavement and does so on a scale of immense proportions. A priest will devote his lifetime trying to usurp such an abusive figure, even striking wrathfully at his nemesis if the opportunity presents itself. A grudge can be so overwhelming that a priest, unable to make an impact in the mortal life, carries his hatred for that individual into the afterlife.
Adaska is best known for her chaotic nature. She has no true form, existing as a roaming vapor with the ability to condense into any known shape, living or inanimate, and does so with great vim. She uses this form to advance her charitable goals.
As the ruler of Elysium, Adaska allocates an exorbitant amount of time to her domain. Her immortal life, spent defining the framework of her homeland, keeps Elysium in constant flux molding not only her realm but its occupants as well. Her motto, structure inhibits generosity.
Surprisingly, the preoccupation of her dominion does not have a significant impact upon her presence on Thepa. Adaska’s mortal followers tend to adhere to her belief system even with this limited guidance. And so, her clergy continually provide her with a strong following.
An unusual side affect to her lack of interest in Thepa is boldly displayed through the use of her holy symbol. Adaska does not consider the object divine. In fact, she prefers to see the symbol in the hands of either the truly needy or those that are able to reach beyond the scope of her advocates. Many other elohim find this act sacrilegious yet rarely comment about it as the symbol is outside their control.
As far as elohim go, Adaska is normally looked upon with favor by her peers. Her willingness to participate often places her in the middle of the defenses for heaven, making her an excellent ally. But what truly solidifies her peers’ approval is her over indulgence in Elysium. She rarely has a free moment to spare thus any time to meddle in the affairs of others.
Her military involvement cited earlier holds true until major preparations are necessary. Adaska is an unreliable ally. Her unpredictable benevolence has led to many minor setbacks and in one instance an utter defeat for her comrades. The other major elohim understand and accept this “shortcoming” of hers preferring not to rely upon her resources when discussing strategies.
Strategy was an intricate part of Adaska’s former life. She was once a rigid paladin and leader of the Eluen-cuthpar, Thepa’s conglomerate of goodly religions. It was upon the day of her death that she was swayed from her lawful ways to fully embrace chaos.
In her mortal life a time came when she had to choose between the life of a young child, Kellandra, and the tenants of her faith. She chose the child; fell from grace; and was executed per the rules of her position. Upon her rebirth in the afterlife, her essence proved to be pure and true. She held no regret for her choice or hatred for those that punished her. She ascended into the position she holds now, fighting both law and evil equally.
Adaska is the epitome of self-sacrifice. It is the end result of her attempt to save the child’s life that provides evidential truth of Adaska’s perfect self, conveyed each time her most trusted angel Kellandra helps an inhabitant of Elysium embrace the heavenly grace of generosity.
Unfortunately, a happy ending rarely exists without its corresponding opposite, and in this case the adage follows suit. Adaska’s brother Ivaidin, ruler of Gehenna, was the successor to her leadership position of the Eluen-cuthpar. He was bound to either adhere to his faith or spare his sister’s life. She believes he chose his faith. Adaska holds no animosity toward her brother or his decision. Quite the contrary, Adaska feels responsible for her brother’s plait.
Adaska and Ivaidin were fraternal human twins. Raised in the Ouncarth region, both children learned the values normally taught to the Eluen-cuthpar. Throughout their childhood and well into adulthood they competed against one another – Adaska out of sport, Ivaidin out of pride. In most cases, Adaska won. This was no different than when she took control of the Eluen-cuthpar.
Looking back over those mortal years, Adaska came to believe she made an error of judgment, a grave mistake that eventually led to Ivaidin’s slow creep away from the light. Her choice to spare the child forced Ivaidin into an impossible decision. It was unfair of her to put him in that position and to this day she fixates on what she could have done differently. Furthermore, this particular incident instilled a firm sense of forgiveness in Adaska for all beings, especially the daevas.
Appearances might suggest that Adaska is a neutral deity with a slanted view of goodness, but that is certainly not true. She is a purely good creature who abhors evil. She simply views evil differently than most other creatures. Evil is a force. It influences all things. Acts of violence, hatred, and selfishness are products of this greater force. And the only way to truly defeat evil is by influencing it with virtues and education.
Adaska attempts to win her war against evil by educating the inhabitants of her domain on how to guide and enlighten mortals. She especially enjoys teaching them about the trappings of evil. How it appears so harmless at first yet through its evolution this supposed harmless evil becomes overwhelming and destructive. Her true delight, however, is the opportunity to open the eyes of an evil creature.
Ever known as the Shaded Angel, Adaska allies herself with evil creatures, even daevas, for the sole purpose of persuading these creatures into re-evaluating their existence. Malevolence, which does not bend easily to brute force, is best changed through subtle actions – a specialty of Adaska’s. The most well known instance of this rehabilitating enterprise was a demon known as Gelion.
In this case, Adaska appeared to Gelion as a mortal, a vessel he could not refuse. Gelion attempted to possess Adaska but in turn was possessed himself. Over the course of several hundred years, Gelion watched helplessly as Adaska made decisions for him. Eventually, these decisions led Gelion to a greater understanding of the world around him. He ascended into grace causing a ripple of fear that extended into every corner of hell.
Newcomer souls to Elysium find the potential for adventure endless as is its variation. If there is logic to the layout of Elysium it is the same sort of logic of dreams and just as malleable as one. For petitioners, the endless sporadic and potential of this domain eventually leaves them longing to form some sort of order to the chaos, to make something that is both good and logical in the fantastical dreams.
Elysium is located on the first tier of heaven, a realm of purity. It plays host to chaotic good souls and angels. Adaska oversees this realm, constantly enhancing or altering its structure. The entire realm is surrounded by an impenetrable mist. Pockets of civilization exist inside this mist on what appears to be common earth. These pockets may be stationary from time to time but eventually the mists engulf the pockets causing them to either join other pockets or recreate themselves. If any creature enters the mist, they can become lost for days at a time eventually popping out in some random pocket.
No established settlements exist on Elysium. Any attempts to create such communities will encounter great difficulties, eventually escalating into uncontrollable and dire consequences. Most often, attempts to control the realm will simply cause the mists to cover the offending area and splitting it into weaker areas. These areas find communication with other pockets extremely difficult for a significant amount of time, a punishment for fostering order.
Creatures with flight have an easier time in Elysium since much of the mists stay near the ground. Azatas spend a majority of their time flying between pockets, helping souls and exploring the newly created areas.
Artwork provided by Sandara
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