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Dark Worship in Selhomarrby Geoff Gander
As mentioned earlier in this book, as well as in the Player's Guide, the vast majority of Selhomarr's five million inhabitants worship Ixion in his manifestation as Xeron. Though this is in fact true, there are many people in this nation who either worship other Immortals, or who mask other, darker devotions. According to the Player's Guide, roughly 90% of Selhomarrians - Lhomarrian and Ilarnnian alike - worship Ixion. This is what Selhomarrian PCs should believe, and this is what will strike visitors to Selhomarr as apparent. The other faiths of Selhomarr, in order of magnitude, are worshippers of Diulanna (5%), Protius (3%), and Halav (2%). Again, this is what the players should think.
In truth, Ixion's following is not nearly as large as most people would believe. Many worshippers only pay lip service to him, in order to conceal their true leanings; only 77% of Selhomarrians are true followers of Ixion. This is not so with the minor faiths, as most of them are comparatively new, and their adherents are far more energetic in promoting their beliefs. The remaining 13% of the population, or approximately 650,000 people, are followers of evil Immortals, the Outer Beings, or have no faith at all. Thanatos' following is by far the largest - 5% of the population as a whole. His faith is also known to exist by many common citizens; why else would it be explicitly forbidden by law to worship him? Worship is done in secret, often in cellars or in dark forests, and the rites have involved the creation of undead, as well as sacrifices.
The second-largest following is that of the Outer Beings, comprising 3% of the population. Due to Selhomarr's long history of combating these entities, worship is done deep in the wilderness, securely hidden away in abandoned buildings, or underground. Most ceremonies involve sacrifices, and on occasion servitors of the Outer Beings have been summoned. For the most part, worshippers aid their clerical leaders in finding ways to weaken the magical barriers that seal their evil masters away from the Prime Plane. As with Thanatos, it is known by some people that the Outer Beings do, in fact, have a following in Selhomarr. This is never discussed openly. Not only is it considered bad luck to mention them; it is also considered a private mark of shame that this blot on Selhomarrian civilisation persists, despite all that has happened.
Of the remaining 5% of the population, 2% venerate other evil Immortals, while 3% do not worship anyone. Atzanteotl commands a considerable following, at 1% of the population. Most of this worship, however, is concentrated through the Hunters of Righteousness and their followers, who mistakenly attribute their clerical powers to Ixion. As a result, only the highest-ranking clerics of Xeron are aware of Atzanteotl's presence, though they do not as yet know what to do about the situation. Atzanteotl's incursion into Selhomarr is very recent - less than 500 years ago - and he built his faith by "stealing" less devout worshippers of the Outer Beings. He enjoys the prospect of destabilising this well-established, generally lawful nation.
The remaining 1% of the population are followers of Loki, Alphaks, and Ranivorus, all of whom consider their followers in Selhomarr as nothing more than additional playing pieces in their manoeuvring in Pandius. They have no plans to expand in Selhomarr at the moment, due to the tough competition, but none have ruled it out, either.
Finally, there are those who do not worship any Immortal at all. Most Selhomarrians, being highly religious, tend to look down on those who do not venerate any Immortal. Although they will not say anything about this where foreigners are concerned - they realise that other cultures have their own practices - many Selhomarrians, especially the clergy of Xeron, take a dim view of their own people "straying from the path". At best, known atheists can expect indifference, and at worst, violence, from their fellow citizens. As a result, many pretend to be devout, out of fear of ostracism, or even persecution.