Otherworldly – Vandiels and Deities
At the core of the cosmos stand some of the most powerful entities of the multiverse, the Deities and Vandiels, forever opposed.
From the will of the Deities springs forth most of the life of the multiverse. The Vandiels, on the other hand, work tirelessly to undermine the influence of the Deities in retribution for their eternal betrayal. The agents of the Vandiels rain destruction and despair upon the followers of the Deities wherever they may find them. The followers of these two camps, cultists and worshippers alike, will likely remain at odds as they struggle to sway the balance for the remainder of eternity. All of creation lies within the scope of the influence of the Deities and Vandiels, and their effect can be felt in every life and within every land across the breadth of Vathis.
The Deities are the gods and goddesses of the world. Created from the essence of the planes of the Eternal, they assert their will over creation itself, forming lesser beings to make their own worlds and realms. The mortals of Vathis worship the Deities, and those who are especially pious can draw divine power from their patron god or goddess in the form of divine magic. Worshippers of the gods act on behalf of their deity’s will. It is believed that when mortal souls pass on they eventually come to reside in the realm of their deity. A deity’s power is augmented by the number of worshippers they claim, so Deities always wish to spread their influence. However, in the current age, the Deities cannot directly interact with mortals of the material realm. They can only interact with their followers by being reborn as a mortal, or by showing their worshippers cryptic dreams and portents. Deities reborn as mortals can be killed, which makes their reincarnation risky. They rarely choose this option unless in dire need.
Long ago, the Deities were engaged in an ancient cosmic war with great and terrible beings known as the Arkhos.
To defeat the Arkhos the Deities created beings who would become known as Vandiels using Arkhosian blood, and they promised the Vandiels godhood if they were to succeed. By working together the two sets of entities managed to defeat the Arkhos, and as the last was sealed away, it cursed the entire pantheon with the Bane of the Overlord, preventing the Deities and Vandiels from traveling to the Material Plane in full power. In an act of betrayal, the Vandiels were not granted divinity. This pushed the Vandiels to attack the Deities, and some long-forgotten Deities were slain during the assault. The pantheon of gods we know today was molded by these devastating wars.
Every Deity has one Seraph, which is an extraplanar creature of great strength that embodies one of the god’s portfolios.
This Seraph acts as an emissary and fulfills duties for their god or goddess. Deities can also create Aspects, which are versions of themselves that hold a fraction of their power. This allows a god to be in several places at once. Aspects can be maintained as long as the Deity has the power to spare. These Aspects often take the chosen physical form of the god or goddess. Deities can be replaced by being killed, though historically this has only been at the hands of other powerful entities. After dying, a Deity’s essence may be released upon the universe and will either be absorbed by another being by means of ascension, or granted to another Deity willingly by the collective pantheon.
Though the mortals of the world share a universal understanding of the Deities and their portfolios, the way they view the gods are depicted differently from culture to culture.
There are five major religions in the world: Vath, Astrian, Manara, Huetlachtan, and Shenami. The tension between these religions was brought to a head during the Darkest War as Astrian worshippers were rounded up by the invading evils of the Shattered Hand and experimented on, in some cases creating the noir.
Good Deities: Valshathe, Vangal, Astea, Bastion, Circe, Irilynshaee
Neutral Deities: Junon, Naugrix, Aleydra, Mileen, Teiris
Evil Deities: Keindrinas, Tesiline, Zanon, Kato, Serena, Uryll
Vandiels reside on the deepest reaches of the planes of the Vast. Their primary goal is to destroy the Deities and their creations, as they themselves long for the divinity the Deities denied them. Thirty-four Vandiels were created by the Deities who infused their power with the blood of an Arkhos. They can be split into two categories, Lords and Lesser, that each number seventeen. The Vandiels were promised godhood after successfully helping the Deities defeat the Arkhos, but the Deities did not make good on their promise. This became know as the Great Betrayal. Scorned by the gods, the Vandiels started the Forsaken Wars in their lust for power. To the chagrin of the gods, they found that the Vandiels were unable to be slain. The blood of the Arkhos used during their creation granted these evil beings a form of immortality. Killing a Vandiel will only disperse its essence, neutralizing it for a period of time before the essence coalesces back into the Vandiel’s normal form. Despite this, the Vandiels were eventually confined to the planes of Vast, where they cemented their rule over the beings in these realms.
Like the Deities, the Vandiels cannot directly act with the Material Plane due to the Bane of the Overworld.
They are able to create one Aspect at a time, which is a physical form that houses a fraction of the Vandiel’s power. The Aspect in question usually physically represents its patron Vandiel. Even though the Vandiels are unable to infiltrate the material realms, their Aspects are not subject to this limitation, and in recent years the Vandiel Feliroz was able to infiltrate the Material Plane and bring through a number of other Aspects. His actions caused the chaos and destruction that resulted in the Darkest War.
Vantus are creatures created by Vandiels to lead their armies or act as advisors.
The Vantus created by the Vandiel Lords are more powerful than those created by the lesser Vandiels. These beings often retain their original form (in some cases, humanoid), but can transform into another form that channels their inner Vandielic essence. By transforming, a Vantus can quickly overwhelm their enemies using the sliver of power granted to them. It is rare to encounter a Vantus on the Material Plane, but the Darkest War left several stranded on Asarus.
Though there were originally thirty-four Vandiels, a mixture of Lords and Lesser, the essence of one Lord is currently missing.