The Empire of Nede is home to many cultures, and almost as many faiths. Ranging from animism, to ancestor worship, to diabolism, to the worship of demons and bizarre and ancient beings from beyond the stars, no religion is illegal in the Empire, though the practices of many religions (such as unsanctioned demon summoning and the sacrifice of intelligent creatures) very well might be.
Need has no official, state-sanctioned religion, though one certainly does come close. The largest, most powerful, and generally most accepted faith in Nede is the Church of Thirteen, a tightly knit religious organization whose members worship one of a pantheon of thirteen draconic deities. Commonly referred to by laity simply as Thirteen, or sometimes just as “the Church,” the organization is powerful enough to have a Grand Cathedral in each of the major cities of Nede, with various deities having smaller temples scattered about the land. The Church owes much of its popularity to its inclusiveness, near universal acceptance, and sheer variety. While each dragon has a certain type of creature he, she or it favors, only a handful of creatures are barred from worshiping, and the fact that the Church does not require singular devotion to any member of the pantheon is inviting to those already inclined to other faiths; the vast majority of the laity also pray to spirits, ancestors, other gods, demons, Great Old ones and so forth.
Below is a brief description of each member of the Thirteen, including their name, holy symbol, and brief overview of their philosophies, (as well as alignment, domains, favored weapon and so forth). It should be noted that none of these deities is considered to be higher in the pantheon than the rest; unlike most, the Thirteen do not have any singular leadership, though Aequitus stands apart from the rest except when needed to settle disputes. The information also includes each dragon’s sacred colors, with the first color being the Primary color (used most often in regalia and symbolism, and representing the deity’s favorite kind of true dragon)m and the secondary color being used less frequently and often being omitted outright. In addition to the below information, the entire pantheon grants the Scalykind domain and the Dragon subdmain.
Luciferus, the Daystar, Dragon of the Sun
Portfolio Honor, the Sun, Honesty, Valor
Domains Sun, Fire, Law, Good
Sacred Colors Gold, red
Favored Weapon Fang (bite) or bastard sword
Luciferus frequently appears as a gold dragon wreathed in a halo of gleaming light, though he is also known to appear as a golden-skinned humanoid resembling a Solar angel, with draconic wings and no ears.
He charges his followers to behave with honor at all times and to stand against undead and their schemes, as well as fighting for the good of the innocent many, even at the detriment of the righteous few. Most of his followers are paladins. Rituals to him include waking just before dawn and gretting the rising sun with a prayer of thanks, and pausing at noon to reaffirm one’s devotion to goodness and justice.
Despite having the best intention, followers of Luciferus tend to be proud, aloof, and assured of their own goodness and righteousness. Their steadfast devotion to the tenets of order as well as good can come across as restrictive and even tyranical, and they are sometimes aggressive or even cruel on an individual level, so confident are they that they act for the greater good.
Though he gets along well with the other Good members of the pantheon (often despite his haughtiness) his relationship with Argenta is known to be particularly turbulent. As siblings the two are frequent rivals, with their clergy often meeting on holy days and having a wide variety of more-or-less friendly competitions. But the two are also rumored to have trysts from time to time, and such relationships amongst the clergy are not unknown.
Argenta, the Silver Dream, Dragon of the Moon
Portfolio The moon, dreams, oceans, lycanthropy
Domains Chaos, Madness, Water, Good
Sacred Colors Silver, blue
Favored Weapon Tail or whip
Argenta has dominion over the moon and all it influences. She frequently manifests as a great silver dragon whose scales are tinged the color of sea foam, but is also known to appear as a mermaid with silver hair and scales and as a human woman with silver hair and vibrant blue eyes.
She commands her followers, primarily, to heal the sick and injured and do the most good that they can; many of them become doctors and other healers, and her holy symbol has a prominent place above the doorways to hospitals, clinics and pharmacies. Her dominion over the ocean also sees her revered among sailors, merchants, fishermen and any who make their livelihood on the waves.
On a negative note, her followers are know to be particularly prone to manic activity on nights of the full moon, and crippling depression on the new moon. Her ties with both silver and lycanthropy give her somewhat of a dualistic approach regarding those afflicted with the disease; those who follow her have more control over themselves when they change, even under the full moon, but her association with silver means that those who hold animosity towards shapeshifters in general, and lycanthropes especially, pray for her blessing before going forth to hunt such creatures.
Like her brother she gets along well with the rest of the pantheon, having a particularly close friendship with Inlustrea and Truculenta. That said, she has no love lost on Sepulcris, whose associate with death she finds distasteful.
Lignum, the Treeminder, Dragon of Growing Things