Most people recognize and worship a single deity called God. God epitomizes good and exhorts his followers to perform virtuous deeds and live moral lives. While God does not often show himself in the world, and worshipers often wonder if he hears their prayers, enough miracles and extraordinary deeds occur that few doubt his existence. Holy men and priests preside over congregations in the cities and towns, while worship in the rural areas if often more personal. Although a structured religious hierarchy has developed in the urbanized areas, there is no central authority that holds sway over all believers. At times this has caused disputes regarding the interpretations of God’s desires. Even pious men find reasons to war against one another.
A few cultures follow other gods or beings. For example, the Swamp Men of the Kith’takharos region are animists, and consider various swamp creatures and locations as imbued with souls. Some souls, especially those of places that have experienced traumatic events, migrated from dead ancestors. The Swamp Men consider people, animals, plants, and places to be equal in metaphysical terms, and deserving of equal respect. The Swamp Men also revere the lost Harlass Orn, who they believe to be even more ancient ancestors. Harlass Orn ruins and artifacts hold special meanings for the Swamp Men, and control of certain Harlass Orn sites provides great prestige to Swamp Man tribes; disputes over ownership has provoked fighting and long-running feuds.
There are also powerful extraplanar, magical, and possibly immortal beings that are not truly gods, but provoke awe and reverence in those searching for a darker path to enlightenment or dominance These beings often offer power to those who faithfully pursue their goals, and are quick to punish those who fail. Right thinking people disdain such worship, and practitioners can expect punishment, death, or banishment if discovered.
The people of Kith’takharos follow the predominant monotheism of the civilized lands. However, they have lived in close contact, and sometimes conflict, with Swamp Men for many years. A treaty with the Bright Water tribe lasted twenty years after the founding of Kith’takharos. Swamp Man attitudes, customs, beliefs, and superstitions have colored Kith’takharos society.
One superstition regards albinism, a very rare disorder characterized by a lack of skin pigment. The Swamp Men consider albinos harbingers of ill fortune. Any tragedy that occurs in the vicinity of an albino is caused by the albino, even when such connections are obviously false. Unless born with high social status, most Swamp Man albinos are left to die of exposure as children, or exiled from the tribe after reaching adulthood. No one recalls how the superstition transferred to Kith’takharos. In Kith’takharos, albinos are not killed or exiled, but they are shunned, treated poorly, and often avoided. After all, who wants back luck in such a harsh environment as the swamp?