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Tanagogre Cult

by Marco Dalmonte English translation by Gary Davies

Worshipped in: Tangor, Arm of the Immortals

The Shapechanger (Korotiku) - Freedom, clear thinking, fun, wisdom, astuteness, cheating, guile, subterfuge
Karaash - War, victory, conquest, tactics, force
Macroblan - Prosperity, trade, money, wealth, greed
Gorrziok - Oceans, extreme natural phenomena, creation and destruction
Pyrak (Ixion) - Light, sun, fire, power, magic
The Celestial Traveller (Sinbad) - Travel, exploration, adventure, courage, cross any barrier or border
Sumag (Terra) - Balance of the life cycle, earth, fertility, agriculture
The Celestial Architect (Polonius) - Architecture, arts and craftsmanship, creativity
The Infernal Judge (Masauwu) - Deceit, fiction, corruption, illusion, manipulation

History of the Tanagogre
The tanagogre are a race formed from the ogres and the Tanagoro who live in the peninsula of Tangor and who have founded the two colonies of Gombar and Sumaía in the Arm of the Immortals around the VII century AC (ref. Ogrekin cited in Dragon Magazine #200). There isnít much on their true history, but they probably originated following a mass migration of humanoids from the western coast of Brun towards southern Skothar arriving around 700 BC. The most likely hypothesis is that the majority of the ogres halted in the current Tangor Peninsula and here had fought for some decades under the lead of Karaash, prior to enslaving the native population, while some Tanagoro managed to flee to the island of Zyxl and to the Tangor Chain more to the north. Following a mixed union between ogres (due to a scarcity of males skilled in war) and humans, breed the first tanagogre, which had been breed by the ogres as a submissive race but superior to the enslaved humans. With time the tanagogre acquiring power began to occupy themselves with the fields that before had been left to the Tanagoro slaves and that the ogres werenít interested in, like craftsmanship, trade and especially navigation and exploration. With the passage of time and the decreasing numbers of the ogres, the army as well fell in the hands of the tanagogres, who in the end enacted a cultural revolution by achieving positions of power and prestige equal to the ogre nobles, who until then had occupied the highest social level and had based their power on the control of lands, slaves, and tanagogre subjects. When it was clear that the true economic and military power was in the hands of the tanagogres, the ogres were quick to grant them several privileges in order to avoid an uprising, and possibly around the I century AC ending up with them dying out however, because of the numerous interracial marriages and of the decline of the species due to excessive marriages between the few remaining blood relations. Currently the tanagogre society continues to practice slavery in the confrontations with the other races, but it has notably advanced and strengthened their cultural, religious and economic basis, establishing trade relations with several communities in Skothar and in western Brun, and gave the way to the exploration of the continent in order to facilitate the settlement of new colonies. There is no real kingdom but one of city-states and allied territories (some more bellicose and others more dedicated to trade) among them in a sort of federation, in which a Council of the Kings of each territory is assembled annually (one or more times per year in case of problems or important reasons) in order to take decisions regarding internal and external policies and especially in order to agree new trade agreements.

Precepts of the Cult
The Tanagogre Cult venerates a mixed pantheon of divinities of humanoid tradition and Tanagoro considered protectors of the most important and holy areas of life. Every territory has a preferred patron, but all respect the dictates and the traditions of the cult, and follow the genesis established by this doctrine. According to legend, Pyrak (name of Ixion derives from the fusion of the gods Pyro and Tabak), Sumag (name of Terra, derives from the fusion of the divinities Yamag and Ashanti) and the Shapechanger (identity of Korotiku took among the tanagogre taken from the Tanagoro traditions) are the three creators of the world. Pyrak breathed about himself, creating the sky, the stars, the sun and the spirits, while Yamag shaped the earth, the plants and the animals using her own hair and spit. The Shapechanger watched in amusement as all that had been created was still missing the divine spark of intelligence,, and he decided to intervene in order to create a race worthy of this gift. It was thus that with a subterfuge he changed his aspect and with the help of Gorrziok, lord of the storms and waves, reached the sky where he joined with Pyrak. Descending once more to the earth he therefore persuaded Samag to lie with him, and after she was lulled to sleep, he fled by riding the waves escorted by Gorrziok to beyond the immense ocean, going to hide in the bowels of a volcano. Here the fruit of his two unions grew within his womb, until the moment of birth, and thus gave light to the elite breed of the tanagogres, which have all the intelligence of the Shapechanger, the force of Pyrak and the wisdom of Samag. Envious of her descendance, Pyrak and Samag united and created all the other races of the earth, but none of them was ever at the height of the tanagogres, because of the absence of the guile of the Shapechanger. The forebear of the Shapechanger, the bold Karaash, led the tanagogre to the conquest of the populations of primitive humans that lived in the peninsula, and thus founded the Great Kingdom, whose power and splendour frequently reoccur in the current tanagogre legends. Unfortunately at the disappearance of Karaash, who left the kingdom in order to link up with the Shapechanger, his children eaten up by the demon of jealousy were unable to rule in peace, and this brought about the kingdomís collapse and the division of the peninsula in to the present small nations that it is composed of.
The Shapechanger (Korotiku) is therefore the principal divinity of the pantheon, and embodies both male and female in one entity, also symbolising the parity between the sexes in the tanagogre society. He is the patron of deceit meant as clear thinking, cleverness, of charisma, of superiority and of authority, and all the High Priests of the pantheon must always be specialist clerics of the Shapechanger in order to cover that role.
Second only to the Shapechanger is Karaash, the Divine Son and the Supreme Leader, patron of war, tactics and victory. His cult was that of the ancient caste of the Ogre Kings, and once dominated the humanoid pantheon, but was undermined by the new faith at the fall of the last noble ogre. Many tanagogre soldiers pray to Karaash in battle, and still today some particularly warlike tanagogre governors worship Karaash still more than the Shapechanger.
Macroblan, the Keeper of Prosperity, is the third most followed Immortal, a native divinity who represents the first tanagogre who was able to found his own trading company and to subvert the laws of the Ogre Kings. The cult of Macroblan is extremely popular in the territories more devoted to trade and to the god money, and rivals those ancestral cults of the Shapechanger and of Karaash.
Gorrziok is the fourth most important Immortal, worshipped as patron of the waves and storms. His cult derives from the marine populations and from those giants who had mixed with the ogres before arriving in Tangor, and it has remained strong also in the society formed by the union with the Tanagoro. Gorrziok represents the force and unpredictability of nature, and is associated to both the sea and the sky, becoming the incarnation of the most important forces in the life of the tanagogre.
Pyrak, lord of the sun and fire as a symbol of arcane power, is associated with manly force and ancient wisdom. Many of the mages of the various tanagogre communities address their prayers today to Pyrak, together with the more level-headed tanagogre. Also the cult of Sumag (Terra), patroness of fertility and life, of nature and animals, no longer fills the same predominant role that it once had within the ogre community, having been ousted by the new tanagogre creed that sees her submissive to the Shapechanger and submissive even to Pyrak her partner, so that the priestesses of Samag (a position that belongs by right only to females) are always quick to obey but donít have great powers outside of their temple.
The Celestial Traveller (Sinbad) is an errant divinity who frequently has driven the tanagogre to adventure and to the exploration of remote and unknown places. It was Sinbad who inspired the first tanagogres to sail the Sea of Brun and to establish new colonies elsewhere, and his cult has remained unshaken by time. He has a temple in every tanagogre city, but it is supervised by a priest only occasionally, since they are forced by his doctrine to not remain in one place for very long and to wander the world in search of enlightenment.
Also the cult of the Celestial Architect (Polonius) derives from the contact with the underwater populations, and it has in effect been the tritons who taught the tanagogre to build palaces and temples, as well as to hand down to them the more common arts. Although they arenít a people particularly given to these arts, the cult of the Architect however maintains a certain prominence.
The Infernal Judge (Masauwu) closes the list of tanagogre deities: he is the opposite of the Multiforme, an hellish nemesis waiting to judge the fates of each individual to decide whether he deserves rebirth or eternal damnation. The Shapechanger tries to protect his worshippers, as he knows the Judge uses any mean to corrupt the living, and any trick or promise in order to induce them to sell their soul in exchange for power and wealth. Because of this he asks his followers to be suspicious of easy promises and of dreams of wealth, since in them are hidden the seeds scattered by the Judge in order to condemn the souls of the mortals. Very few temples of the Judge exist, usually hidden except on the rare occasions in which the governor of the territory approved the cult in order to have greater influence over his subjects or for his own inclination for intrigue, but some followers of Masauwu are always found in the tanagogre communities, usually scrupulous individuals thirsty for power.
At the moment the tanagogre cult is followed by the entire race in all the provinces and colonies, and the majority of its priests (70%) are specialist clerics, that is priests devoted to only one Immortal in particular (for 80% this is Korotiku). The remaining 30% belong to a group of polytheist clerics who worship the entire pantheon. All the clerics normally dress in richly decorated clothing and wear a tiara of gold or silver on the forehead that denotes their class. The specialist clerics use the holy symbol of their own divinity while the pantheists have adopted as the cult symbol a blue spiral that comes from a central point (in which appears the symbol of the Shapechanger, that is six red points) and ends in six offshoots, each one of which is represented by a symbol (the other divinities of the pantheon), all represented on a black background (to symbolise the always present temptation represented by the Infernal Judge).