Kortus
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Lord of Grain, Lord of Bounty, the Reaper

Kortus is the deity of agriculture and all plants that human hands cause to grow. He is not a god of nature as a whole - the kind of well ordered and large-scale agriculture practiced by most cities doesn't mix well with the wilderness that most people associate with "nature".

However, the cycle of nature as represented by seeding the plants, watching them grow, and bringing in the harvest is a recurrent theme in his faith, and the links to the human life cycle is emphasized. Death, as represented by the harvest, is something inevitable, and should not be fought when the time comes.

A deity of agriculture might seem an odd candidate for the status of a Greater Deity. Yet millions of people pray to him to deliver them food. While the slum dwellers of the cities are divorced from the tilling of the fields, they know that the difference between a bumper crop and crop failure can mean the difference between life and death to him. Furthermore, a variant of the faith has sprung up among merchants and other businessmen - they liken the initial investment of a business venture to the planting of the seed, and the dividends they reap from it as the harvest. Others extend the cycle of life metaphor to other aspects of urban life - the growth and decline of districts within a city, or even cities or nations themselves. Furthermore, Kortus has also gained followers among bureaucrats, accountants, and others who keep things running by ensuring that the right processes and cycles are adhered to at all times.

In rural areas, his clerics tend to be the foremost experts on agriculture, and it is them who traditionally bless the fields with ritual magic to ensure a bountiful harvest. In urban areas, they operate soup kitchens that make sure that even the poorest people have something to eat. Wandering clerics of Kortus usually fight bandits, monsters, and other beings who disturb the farms and the transport of grains to their intended targets. Others specialize in hunting undead, who are abominations in the eye of Kortus.

The faith holds to these central tenets:

  • Encourage growth in all its forms.
  • The ultimate purpose of all growth is its harvest.
  • When the cycle of growth has ended, don't try to keep it alive past its time. Instead tear the remains down so that you can plant the seeds of a new beginning.

Kortus' symbol is a scythe crossed with grain stalks.

Dwarves pray to Kortus as Kartas, who they believe watches over all the generations of their ancestors. Given the respect that most dwarves have for their ancestors, this makes the priests of Kartas among the most powerful of all dwarven deities. Some elves, who see the eternal cycles of nature clearer than most, worship Kortus as Rollas. This is especially popular among those who resent sidhe rule, as they claim that the cycle of sidhe rulership must also come to an end.

Temples of Kortus

Temples of Kortus generally follow a square (less commonly, a circle) layout, with each of the corners pointing into one of the cardinal directions. On the inside, each corner has an alcove where symbols or dioramas display one of the four seasons: East for spring, south for summer, west for fall, and north for winter. During ceremonies, the priest always stands before the alcove representing the current season, while the congregation faces him. Furthermore, the temples usually have four doors. The congregation enters through the door to the left from the "current alcove" (as seen from the inside of the temple) and leaves through the door to the right of the alcove. The pulpit and the benches are rearranged to fit the current season, as well as for the four High Holy Days of the faith when one season passes into the next and the alcove for the old season is ceremonially veiled while the next one is opened.

Funeral Rites

For the most part, the followers of Kortus bury their dead. The exception are those who died childless; their remains are cremated and the ashes mixed with the soil of a special plot of land next to the local temple called the "God's Field". The fruits and vegetables harvested from this plot are eaten by the community on the high holy days of Kortus, and in this way the deceased remain part of the community even if they have no children to perpetuate the cycle.

Equating this practice with cannibalism is seen has highly insulting, and often a cause for fights.

See Also

Adventure Ideas

Designer's Notes & Resources

Often, deities of fertility and growth and deities of death are opposed to each other. It seemed worth a try to combine these two concepts into a single faith.

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