"Some would ask: how could a perfect God create a universe filled with so much that is evil? They have missed a greater conundrum: why would a perfect God create a universe at all?"
Religion plays a significant role in the universe of Dream Chasers. The worlds of Filgaia and Lunar both feature organized religions with a major influence on global politics. More to the point: it is a dangerous and difficult world out there, one that has suffered more than its fair share of calamity. Even in times where technology and science are explaining more and more of the world around them, faith provides comfort to the people.
No matter how much they are suffering, God has a plan.
Below you will find a summary of the beliefs of major faiths operating in Dream Chasers (whether organized or not).
The Nisan Orthodoxy is based in the city-state of the same name. The Nisan faith is monotheistic, believing in an absolute and omnipotent God. They teach that God created the universe and is essentially unknowable. Because God is such a distant figure, and understanding his teachings and will is incredibly difficult, it is left to humans to work together in order to support each other and work towards an understanding of God. The symbology of Nisan shows that man and woman are both halves of a single whole, unable to succeed without one another -- hence the two great statues with a single wing each that hang in Nisan’s holy cathedral.
The humanistic message of the Nisan Orthodoxy predates the Day of Collapse, but the church has gained a considerable amount of traction ever since the arrival of the Seed cities. With a generally inclusive and open message, the Nisan religion tends to work hand in hand with many other faiths, and has had close ties and cooperated on many humanitarian projects with the Order of the Ethos and Granas sect in the past. They tend to be more tolerant of the various foreign religions of the Seed cities, but view those who seek salvation from more tangible higher powers such as the Guardians or Althena as misguided -- such religions are frowned upon, but not banned.
Their priesthood, which includes both men and women, act as the Holy Mother's hands throughout the world. However, the Holy Mother is traditionally kept in seclusion in Nisan. Ever since the founding of Aveh, the Holy Mother married the desert nation's King, though that has come into question after the fall of their monarchy. Because of this, the Nisan faith is directed by the Conclave, a group of high-ranking priests (known as Patriarchs and Matriarchs) who direct the faithful.
Nisan's churches are found throughout Ignas, Aquvy, and Elru. It is the majority religion in most nations, though others have stronger holds in some regions.
Church of Granas
The Church of Granas was formed shortly after the Day of Collapse by survivors in the Aquvy region. The foundation of the Church of Granas is the belief that mankind had trespassed into the realm of the God, and that God had unleashed a terrible scourge upon the world. The Day of Collapse was a price paid by mankind for their hubris. This event was the result of conflict between two incredibly powerful beings: Granas, an angelic servant of god, and Valmar, a dark entity of destruction. Valmar, it was written, was aided by wicked men who wielded powerful weapons. Ultimately, Valmar was banished and sealed away, and has since become a byword for evil in the faith.
Granas was forced to withdraw from the world after the terrible strain of the battle, and warned that humans should always be mindful of their place in the world -- never seeking to obtain the power of God, but to remain true, helpful, and kind to one another. The Church of Granas teaches that only through good works and the rejection of evil power can humanity prevent a second coming of the powers that brought about the Day of Collapse, and magical and technological power should only be used for the benefit of other people, and in the glory of Granas’ name.
The Church of Granas and the Ethos are in many ways much the same these days -- the Church tends to focus their activities in major population centers, bringing their message of humility and kindness to large groups of people while the Ethos focuses on their humanitarian efforts and the pursuit of knowledge. Both the Church of Granas and Ethos believe that power should only be held in the hands of the righteous -- the Ethos using their technological prowess to help control the use of Gears and ARMs, and the Church of Granas providing training in the use of mystic power only to those who join its ranks. The Singers and Songstresses of Granas are Symbologists, Sorcerers, and Ether uses who travel and use their power to heal the injured and support the Etones in their work to smite evil.
The Church of Granas is headed by its Pope, and the primacy of the two churches is often traded between the Pope and the more worldly Head Etone. However, the current Pope of Granas, Zera Innocentius, is also a former Etone and acts to fill both positions, preaching a message of unity in preparation for what he believes will be the second coming of Granas to end the ongoing conflicts among men and deliver them to paradise.
Order of Ethos
The Ethos is a monastic sect of the Church of Granas dedicated to the collection and preservation of knowledge and technology. Ethos outposts exist in all countries on Filgaia, and are the main source of maintenance for the world's Gears; as a result, they have a considerable amount of independence. Governments that rely on Gears for military power will stomp all over anyone attempting to rebel. They are responsible for organizing the Kislev Battling competitions as well.
Ethos’s headquarters is based in an archipelago off the Aquvy continent, which has strong ties to Guild Galad given the nation's heavy use of ARMs. They also operate a number of orphanages across Filgaia, from which they draw many of their recruits. The Ethos is known for their wide scale humanitarian efforts, offering medical supplies, food, shelter, and other necessities to those who have been displaced by war or natural disaster. They also focus on the destruction of unnatural creatures which threaten humanity -- the only named priests in the Ethos are known as Etones (atoners of sin) and tend to be heavily armed in order to deal with the monsters that they encounter during their duties.
The Ethos has little in the way of formal organization, as many of their religious support functions are handled by the Church of Granas. They act as wandering priests, bringing the word of the Church to the faithful, and free of the bureaucratic constraints that can grip much of the church.
While not a formal religion or sect, worship of the Guardians -- godly spirits that have protected the planet since the dawn of human history -- is the predominant faith in the hinterlands of Filgaia. There is no specific set of prescriptions governing this system: only a general sense that the Guardians (and by extension, Filgaia itself) are a positive influence on humanity, and humans should strive to live in a way that is respectful of the spirits. Indeed, some adherents of 'Guardianism', as some choose to call it, paradoxically think relatively little about the Guardians, simply believing that it is a philosophy of living in harmony with one's neighbors and the world.
In the present day, it is common for even major settlements have some connection to the Guardians; many settlements are within a day's ride by horse of at least one Guardian shrine, and some even have small shrines or sacred statues within the town itself. These sites are regularly used for local ceremonies, but often more out of a sense of local history than true veneration of the Guardian in question.
This worship of the spirits is tied closely to a shamanistic tradition, by which the spirits can be called on to act on behalf of mankind. Most villages will have at least one minor caster capable of using local spirits to achieve minor effects: weather reading, promoting good health, and so on. The Guardians are occasionally known to bless particular humans by granting them the ability to call greater spirits (see Sorcery for more on shamanism).
The only exception to the preceding are the Baskar Tribes; Guardian worship is central to their lives. They also frown upon humans who calls themselves "shamans," insisting that true Shamans are something else entirely.
Most formal religions, particularly the Order of Ethos, consider Guardian worship to be pagan superstition. Stories of persecution of Guardian-worshipping villages are not uncommon.
Guardians contains a listing of known, major Guardians on Filgaia.
The Church of Althena
There is only one organized religion active within Althena's Boundary on Lunar: the Church of Althena. Based in the Holy City of Pentagulia, the Church is dedicated to worship of the goddess for which it is named. Beastfolk and humans are alike and equal under Althena’s grace; her blessing touches all life.
According to the doctrine of the Church, millennia ago, humans lived upon the Blue Star, the largest planet in the night skies. It was a golden age for humankind, but catastrophe struck, devastating the planet to the point where it could no longer sustain life. But Althena was a merciful goddess, and lifted up her people to the world of Lunar, using her powers to reform the barren world into one that could sustain life.
Althena herself has historically been a goddess content to observe her people from afar. To watch over the world, she created four dragons of enormous strength, each carrying a fragment of her power. These Dragons, in turn, would empower a single human to be Althena’s champion and protector: the Dragonmaster. Children across the planet have been raised on stories of the Dragonmasters and their struggles to protect the goddess and her people. She also created elemental spirits who protect her people and maintain her blessings, known as the Seraphim. Seraph are thought to be throughout the world, acting as Althena's eyes and ears. They serve as intermediaries between the people and the Dragons.
Another religious hero in their faith is the Shepherd. These individuals are of humble origin and believed to be more recent by religious scholars. The earliest showed up a thousand years ago, while Dragonmasters extend further back. Shepherds are tasked with guiding and protecting Althena's flock in the Dragonmaster's stead, until they can rise and champion Althena's people. Shepherds are rare and often humble, with their names rarely committed to history and memory in recent times.
The antithesis of of the Dragonmaster and Shepherd is a being known as the Lord of Calamity. This figure brings an Age of Chaos whenever they appear by causing death, destruction, and terror across Lunar. To date, three Ages of Chaos have occurred in the past. The Lord of Calamity spreads a force known as Malevolence, which transforms those wicked of heart and deed into monsters known as Hellions.
In recent years, Althena has taken a more active role in guiding the people of Lunar. She emerged from seclusion and took up residence in the city of Pentagulia, gathering a force of the faithful called Althena's Guard. Under the command of White Knight Leo, one of the Four Heroes, they spread the word of Althena to Lunar and halt all wrongdoing in the name of the Goddess. The Church of Althena also declared the mysterious sorceress known as Lucia as the current Lord of Calamity.
Most notably, in the past two years Althena has outlawed music, dancing, and drinking, on the grounds that they are immoral. The edicts have caused some concern, but Althena’s people are largely faithful, and respect her commands.
- Louie: The first Dragonmaster, the leader of the people who Althena took to Lunar from the Blue Star.
- Chloe: A beastwoman who sealed away a great darkness in the Silver Spire.
- Nike: A Dragonmaster known for challenging -- and overcoming -- the trials of all four Dragons trials at once in a large plaza at the center of Vane.
- Dyne: Hero of the Heresy War, in which a cult sought to throw down the Goddess Tower. Known largely for being the leader of the original Four Heroes: "Hell" Mel de Alkirk, Lemia Ausa, and Ghaleon.
- Alex: Successor to Dyne, he stopped the Vile Tribe invasion and slew the Magic Emperor. Shortly after his victory, he vanished from the world. He was known until recently as the Last Dragonmaster, as none had been named for a millennium since his death.
- Ghaleon: Companion to Dragonmaster Dyne, Althena recently returned Ghaleon from the depths of the dead and named him both Dragonmaster and leader of the Four Heroes.
Religions of Spira
The far-off land of Spira, residing beyond Althena's Boundary, is largely unknown to those who live on Meribus and Glenwood. The Church teaches that this is a dangerous land, filled with monsters, and gripped by sin. The tenets of Spira's faiths are unknown by those who worship Althena, much less understood by them, and they tend to look upon those poor souls as living beyond the attentions of the Seraphim and the Goddess.
Minor Icons, Cults, and Belief Systems
- Ark of Destiny: A breakaway Ethos sect, the followers of the Ark of Destiny believe that mankind came to Filgaia aboard metal birds that descended from the stars. They are regarded as somewhat eccentric, but are well-funded by their leader, Lamium, and often purchase the relics found by Drifters and Diggers.
- Earth's Religions: Earth's religions arrived via the Seeds fleet (and may be followed by other characters from the Pangalactic Federation). Most of Earth's religions are represented in some form, but variations on Protestant Christianity were the most common. These have changed over the last 11,000 years, with specific dogmatic changes being left to player decision. Most Filgaians regard these foreign religions as strange, and the faithful have periodically persecuted their members outside of the cities created by the Seeds fleet.
- The Warrior of Light: This legend, popular only in the Krosse Kingdom and its environs, holds that the legendary first king of the Krosse dynasty, Kahlus, was a divine figure who died fighting against an ancient evil. Believers claim Kahlus will one day return, dressed in alien raiments and bearing a sword of light, which he will use to save the world from a time of crisis. They are regarded as eccentric, though not terribly dangerous, by the Church of Granas and others.