Building A World: The Cattori

Welcome to the latest development diary for my homebrew world, Seliit! This time, I’m going to be talking about another religion in the setting: veneration of the Cattori, the group of gods said to have created the humans, dwarves, and halflings.

A lot of the Cattori are actually drawn from my old homebrew world, Kanvarr. Specifically, I ended up reusing a lot of that setting’s dwarven pantheon. The dwarven pantheon was my favorite set of gods I’d built in that setting; they were inspired by Norse mythology, complete with a complex legend explaining a cyclical pattern of death and rebirth akin to Ragnarok. When I decided that Seliit wouldn’t have pantheons unique to each race but instead broader categories of gods encompassing multiple cultures, I cherry-picked some of the Kanvarr deities I liked, stripped away the Norse elements, and rebranded them as the Cattori.

Initially, I had a ton of Cattori–eighteen, in fact, two for each possible alignment. I iterated on that a little bit, breaking the gods into two groups: Cattori (good and neutral gods) and Nostori (evil gods). However, one day I was scrolling through Twitter and came across a very interesting thread from the excellent Transplanar RPG group. The thread talked about how they approached their setting from a non-colonialist perspective, and also did away with alignment in regard to their deities. There were no good or evil gods, there were just gods. You could interpret their domains in ways that were both positive and negative–it was up to the individual worshiper. I really like this approach! I have felt in the past that I was stretching too far to create unique gods for different alignments (for instance, having multiple ‘war’ gods because one was the god of fighting for a noble cause, one was a god of bloodlust, etc.). In fact, I’d been feeling dissatisfied with the Cattori for exactly this reason. This was a great solution to that problem!

With that in mind, I bulldozed the work I’d done and started over. I kept the names and some of the basic ideas of the Cattori I’d already written up, but I chopped the number of gods way down, from eighteen to six. Each god represents one major idea, and followers can interpret that primary domain in any way they choose.

The core duo of the Cattori are the ones that retain the most from their place in Kanvarr: Aunder and Garga. These two are the ones directly responsible for the creation of the human, halfling, and dwarf races. They are essentially the ‘parents’ of the Cattorite races. Aunder is a goddess of life, while Garga is a god of creation and invention. Aunder has the capacity to imbue things with life, while Garga is a master of the forge. In the Cattorite religion, it is said that Garga designed each of the three races (dwarves from stone, halflings from steel, and humans from clay) and hammered them into shape on his anvil. Then, Aunder gave them life. These are therefore the ‘primary’ deities of the religion.

Beyond that, there is of course a goddess of death. Bremis is said to decide the fate of every living being on Seliit, choosing the time and place of their demise and deciding what will await them in the afterlife. However, she is also worshipped by necromancers who seek the power to manipulate death, as well as people like assassins who deal death professionally.

Karnix is the god of combat in all forms. Whether fighting for justice, coin, or pleasure, Cattorites praise Karnix and ask for his aid in battle. Aside from Aunder and Garga, Karnix probably has the most ‘backstory’ of any of the gods, as there are numerous legends about him casting down various monsters and demigods. The most prominent of these is the serpentine Knuckner, progenitor of demons.

Ierchak is the god of society and civilization. This includes positive things like community and law, but there’s a dangerous side to it as well; many worship Ierchak out of greed (they are, after all, the god of coin) or take the idea of ‘community’ to the extreme and seek to erase individuality through conformity and peer pressure. Of the Cattori, Ierchak has perhaps the most complex and multifaceted domain.

Finally, there’s Threm, god of weather and the wilderness. Threm is frequently worshipped by hunters and sailors. They are considered a somewhat wild and boisterous deity, but at the same time, they represent the natural order–thriving ecosystems, weather patterns, and so on.

I feel that with these six deities, most aspects of an average person’s life on Seliit are covered. I’m very glad to have seen Transplanar RPG’s excellent advice (seriously, if you aren’t following them on Twitter, go do so), as it helped me greatly simplify a pantheon that I was severely overcomplicating. It’s also just a refreshing idea in general! Building this new and improved version of the Cattori was a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to figuring out more about how people worship them in the future.

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