I was asked how ‘water can be chaotic’. Certainly the surface of the water can be unpredictable, but water, fluids in general, follow rules. In fact, the movement of water encourages and grows toward more orderly movement (erosion cuts channels so water will be more likely to follow ‘previous water’).
Which is all true, but does not take into account how those who use the water might use it.
Goddess of Water
- Domains Water, Trickery, Protection, Darkness
- Alignment Neutral
- Chosen Weapon Spear
- Symbol Heron
This goddess of water is most often found in pools and behind waterfalls, and enjoys playing pranks on those who think too lightly of the power of water. She is most powerful near moving water, but even still and stagnant water bends to her will. Those who approach her properly can sometimes elicit her aid.
Shrines to Vodenjak are simple cairns and small altars (much as tiny dolmens, really) made of found materials near waterfalls, pools, and springs.
Daily prayers are offered at dusk, as darkness falls, and offerings are left to float away on the water.
Vodenjak’s followers are called Herons, after the long-legged freshwater birds.
She has been known to manifest as a deep blue-grey heron, and as a small, sleek woman wearing only a feathered cloak and bearing a spear with a shaft made of reeds.
Aspects of Vodenjak
- Domains Trickery, Glory, Weather, Chaos, Water, Luck
- Alignment Chaotic Neutral
- Chosen Weapon Rapier
- Symbol Flamboyant feathered hat
This trickster god is an intrepid explorer and revels in going to sea during storms to go where the storm takes him. It is never known where he will be, and while his presence on board a ship may be a good sign the ship will not sink, the sheer uncertainty of the destination that will be reached quite reduces his welcome. It is said that sometimes ships end up in places that should be impossible to reach in the time traveled, or even the space traveled.
Shrines to Izvodac are most often found in harbors, near the docks, where sailors can make offerings in hopes of returning safely, or in hopes of discovering new lands previously unseen by those who don’t already live there.
Daily prayers are offered at noon, when the sun is highest and a navigator has a chance to learn where the ship is.
Followers are known as Explorers. They spend much of their time at sea serving aboard ships, ideally seeking out new places.
Izvodac sometimes manifests as a grandiosely (and inappropriately for the job) dressed member of the gentry, wearing (his vision of) a dashing uniform suited for a sailing officer or well-tailored and pressed explorer’s outfit. His influence might be seen in a serendipitous discovery of a life-saving resource such as food that isn’t full of weevils, or a barrel of fresh water.
- Domains Protection, Glory, War, Community, Water, Good
- Alignment Neutral Good
- Chosen Weapon Trident
- Symbol Clasped hand and fin, as a handshake
Staratel is a guardian deity working to improve the relationship between land dwellers and the shallow-sea locathah, for the betterment of both. Just as locathah exhibit sequential hermaphroditism (i.e. switch back and forth between male and female), Staratel may be male or female, or in-between, at any given time.
Shrines to this deity are located on the shore and made of driftwood bound in kelp found only at depths difficult for humans to harvest. The need for the shrines to be periodically rebuilt is a repeated opportunity for the land dwellers and the locathah to work together.
Prayers are offered at one of the daily low tides, with each follower choosing which one based on personal schedules of responsibilities and duties.
This deity’s followers are called Seawardens.
Staratel manifests as a seven-foot tall locathah wearing glistening scale mail and wielding a vicious trident.
- Domains Darkness, Weather, War, Travel, Water, Evil
- Alignment Neutral Evil
- Chosen Weapon Cutlass and pistol
- Symbol Skull above crossed cutlass and pistol
This goddess is the patron of pirates, raiders, buccaneers, and privateers. Whether sanctioned by a letter of marque and thus sanctioned by some governments, or merely out for plunder and slaughter, all fall under her bailiwick.
Shrines to Osvajac are always hidden from public view, and often are accessible only by boat (and small boats at that). They are often in grottos that are partially flooded at high tide, or on forbidding uninhabited islands. Even in a pirate town you are unlikely to find a true shrine to Osvajac. The shrines accumulate mounds of treasure, offerings from her followers in exchange for her boons, and dire curses await anyone foolhardy enough to try to steal from them.
Prayers are offered on first waking, since later in the day is likely to be busy with work and possibly with raiding.
Followers of this deity are known by many unsavory terms including Pirates or Privateers.
Osvajac most often manifests as a bloodthirsty pirate queen, lightly armed and armored, and possibly drenched with sea water and blood. She might be suspected when raiders ‘get lucky’: sentries fall sleep or are drunk, gates are unlocked, or powder stores of the enemy are damp.
Associates of the Water Deities
- Domains Glory, Sun, Trickery, Protection
- Alignment Chaotic Good
- Chosen Weapon Longsword
- Symbol Lighthouse
This god of glory and protection is a beacon to his people. Weathered by his time on the water, crafty enough to see through attempts to mislead, and cunning enough to draw invaders into his traps. He is a sworn foe of Osvajac, pledged to stand in her way.
Velican’s shrines are lighthouses, towers with powerful search lights to seek out attacking ships (and to a lesser extent, ships attempting a clandestine landing). It is not uncommon to find them surrounded by trophies taken from defeated pirates – the torn, burned, and bloody flags from their ships, the transoms with the ships’ names, and so on.
Prayers are offered to Velican at noon, when attack is least likely and the sun is highest in the sky.
The most prominent followers of this god are called Bright Sentries, always on watch and prepared to fight for their god and protect the city in their care. Little spoken of are the more covert followers, known to few, who gather information from less savory sources and in less obvious ways.
Valican almost always manifests as a mighty warrior clad in white ship’s uniform and wearing a gleaming mail shirt, bearing a long sword. At need, however, he might appear as a disreputable longshoreman or dock rat, such as to pass on a secret message or trick information out of someone. His influence might be suspected in a lucky break – the gleam of light reflecting from a blackened weapon, sound that carries over water, or a timely wind that blows an attacker’s ship out of position.
- Domains Weather, Trickery, Liberation, Darkness
- Alignment Chaotic Evil
- Chosen Weapon Shortsword
- Symbol Sinking ship
This goddess of storms delights in jailbreaks and in capricious weather sinking ships. She can be found in the darkness of the stormy night, and among the black-greased pirates swimming ashore to rescue their mates.
Jurisati’s shrines are durably built and well-concealed. They are often surprisingly close to coastal fortresses and towns that might be worth raiding, whether for riches, for ships, or for prisoners.
Prayers to this goddess are offered at dusk, when night’s work begins.
Her followers are called Saboteurs, well-trained in infiltration techniques and how to scuttle ships.
Jurisati manifests as a slender woman clad in tight black leather (suede, to reduce reflections) wielding a wickedly-curved shortsword.
- Domains War, Protection, Destruction, Darkness
- Alignment Neutral Evil
- Chosen Weapon Heavy flail
- Symbol Broken bones
This goddess of war embraces her role. Even protecting something, be it a city or a child, is only an opportunity to wage war with no restraint as long as the goals are met. No tactic is too underhanded, no act too vicious. Her only sense of honor toward her troops and allies is to not waste them, to save them so they can be spent to greater effect.
Ubojni’s shrines are training grounds for dirty fighting. Bloodstains abound, and broken teeth can be found swept into corners and cracks in the floor. Pit fights and gambling are seen as training exercises and revenue opportunities.
Prayers are offered daily at dusk, after the daily work is done (whether ‘civilian work’ or ship work) and before ‘night training’, the pit fights mentioned above, begins. In a large enough group, each follower might be involved in a fight only once every month or two, depending how often his bones get broken and how long they take to heal.
Her followers are called Bonebreakers because of their training practices, and how they go about warfare. A dead enemy is a good enemy, but a broken enemy is still out of the fight and distracts or demoralizes his allies. Or both.
Ubojni manifests as a muscular, scarred woman wearing an eyepatch, with a previously-broken nose and missing a few teeth. She bears a heavy flail that still bears shreds of previous foes.
The deities of water tend to the chaotic. There ended up being a fairly strong nautical theme (though not explicitly mentioned in all deities), we’ve got an explorer that hints at ending up on strange seas (on other worlds?), pirates and brigands, one who would protect against them, and one that care for little beyond carnage.
This wraps up the twenty-eight deities of the Elemental Tetratheon. I ultimately decided that though there are deities with alignments, and deities with alignment domains, the culture does not have the philosophical abstractions that would have a deity focused on each alignment (no ‘god of good’ or ‘goddess of law’, etc.). In fact, I feel like this pantheon has enough nuance that such deities might not even be needed.