Holy Symbol: The Yaguran character for “Faith” (For all gods below)
Favored Weapon: Naginata (For all gods below)
The Yagurans consider themselves most blessed of all the nations, for their gods live amongst them and do not hide. With a proud empire and indomitable arcologies, the gods of Yagura, or the Shih, have influenced the sway of politics and culture for two thousand years, watching their power wax and wane at regular intervals. In the modern age, the gods of Yagura are content with the current political environment so long as the people continue to pay homage to them. However, with the death of Alash’Suzaku five hundred years ago, the gods are more wary of their mortality, and most rarely leave their abodes in this time of civil war.
The main force behind the Shih is a priesthood known as the Divinity. The Divinity is a vast bureaucratic system that sets down and codifies all the rules of worship, approves shrines and temples for construction, controls the use of the Divine Art, and recruits new clerics. The Divinity serves as the right hand of the Yaguran pantheon, and the word of the gods is absolute to these agents.
The chief beliefs of the Divinity drive the worship of the Shih gods. The gods are ineffable messengers of the Pure Land (considered by mages versed in cosmology to be somewhere in the Outer Realms or the Astra). They hold that mortals are unclean and must beseech the gods for their blessings in order to cleanse their souls so that they might enter the Pure Land upon death. Funerary rites commit those of the faithful to the Pure Land – to die without being buried by these rites is believed to cause the body to generate malevolent spirits.
Seeking to increase the power of their priests, the Divinity has implemented a power known as the Divine Art, derived from the teachings and inventions of Alash’Suzaku and Asur’Uhn. Utilizing steam, clockwork, and coal power alongside divine infusions, the Divine Art grants clerics of the Divinity great strength and power, enhancing their magical prowess and adding to their arsenals – for instance, vox units are used to amplify words of power, while a servo stylus can quickly carve out glyphs and runes. Weapons are also crafted, and those who have served the Divinity are rewarded with clockwork weapons and firearms utilizing enchanted bullets. None of these are given automatically to any cleric of the Divinity – they must be earned through honorable deed and spreading the influence and power of the gods.
Titles: Warmth-Giving God of the South, Many-Petaled Rose
Alignment: Neutral Good (Followers may be NG, LG, CG, or N)
Cleric Domains: Good, Charm, Nobility, Air
Aka’Vashi was the consort of Alash’Suzaku, and she has taken it upon herself to attempt to regain the control he once had and the peace he once brought, although she has little of the success and guile that her mate had. She is a political goddess in the inner workings of the Divinity, but to her faithful she is also a goddess of passion, love, and nurture. Her encounters with mortals and gods alike are close to scandalous, and many have been censored by the Divinity. Perhaps the best known tale of Aka’Vashi that remains open to the public is the matter of the Monkey Emperor. In the aftermath of the Court Civil War, Aka’Vashi gathered the clans together and commanded them to bow before a monkey that she placed upon the Lotus Throne. She would spend the next century traveling to the different homelands of the clans, staying for years in each stronghold, earning their favor (some say through scandalous means) to continue to allow the Monkey to remain emperor until the heir to the House of Minaro could be found. The Monkey Emperor’s reign was marked with untold peace in the aftermath of such a terrible civil war, but it was brought to an end after one hundred years, when Aka’Vashi could not convince the duchess of the Toroko clan to bow before the throne – an act that caused the Monkey Emperor to perish immediately. Many other tales seem to have the same structure – Aka’Vashi offers riches and romance, only for these to bring ruin and sadness when they are finally rejected.
Titles: Four Armed God of the West, Red-Crowned King of War
Alignment: Chaotic Evil (Followers may be CE, CN, or NE)
Cleric Domains: Chaos, Evil, War, Fire
The wrath of Anjor’Khan is enough to make all of the other Yaguran gods quake. Known throughout the Empire as the God of War, Anjor’Khan is a four-armed behemoth. Muscle-bound and proficient in every weapon known to man and god alike, he is a master of rage, anger, and violence. Ironically, while his words on honor and duty were the foundation of the Tenets, he personally rejects them, believing them to be a tool for the “mortals” – his staunch followers likewise profess undying loyalty to the Tenets while silently rejecting them when they become restrictive. Of the four gods, Anjor’Khan is most active, much to the chagrin of the Empire – he has become active lately in the affairs of the Haramune clan, inspiring the violent warriors into crusades across the Empire and unseating lesser clans, dynamically changing the political landscape of the northern Shrine Lands and Ishinaba. To follow the path of Anjor’Khan is to keep your emotions in check, waiting for the opportune time to release them in a violent moment of rage to decimate your foes. Seek glory, smite your enemies, and rejoice the lamentations of the weak.
Titles: The God of the Reasoning East, The Great Engineer
Alignment: Lawful Neutral (Followers may be LN, LG, LE, or N)
Cleric Domains: Law, Artifice, Knowledge, Earth
Asur’Uhn is the great god of engineers and architects, and most renown for inventing the Divine Art alongside Alash’Suzaku. His temples are grand structures of clockwork and steam technology, and his priests are outfitted with the most advanced Divine Art implements. Asur’Uhn is a calculating and cold god, not taken to many public appearances. Nevertheless, he believes that his logic is the only way to keep Yagura alive, and so places his cunning against his brethren in hopes of securing influence over the Lotus Throne.
Titles: The Turtle God of the North, Farmer’s Boon
Alignment: Neutral (Followers may be N, CN, LN, NG, or NE)
Cleric Domains: Weather, Water, Community
Anzu’Genbei is a god of the Yaguran peasantry, more interested in ritual and tradition than politics. However, even this outlook is political for the other gods – it is the ritual and serenity brought by the worship of Anzu’Genbei that keeps the farmers and lower castes in line and discourages them from rebellion. Anzu’Genbei is a god of water and storms, and his rituals revolve around calling water down to ensure good harvests. Anzu’Genbei is a slow and ponderous god, much as a turtle of his namesake. He is slow to anger, but when he is enraged, his wrath is felt across the entire land.
Alash’Suzaku is a dead god, and there has been no sign since his death three hundred years ago that he has the capacity or power to reincarnate. Alash’Suzaku was most influential of all the Shih Gods in life – he conceived of the Yagura Empire as a means to secure power and stability for the gods, and his concepts gave rise to the Divine Art and the structure of the Imperial Court. Alash’Suzaku was, above all else, a god of magic, and it was the very nature of magic that he instilled into the hearts and minds of all Yagurans. His death at the hands of the mysterious Crimson King during the Court War is still of mystery, and little is known as to how the god was slain.