Religion and Death
The gods are quiet in the infinite isles. Religion exists, but perhaps because of the isolated nature of each Tradeland, worship spreads slowly. It is said that some of the fallen empires had whole pantheons and entire castes of priests to service their churches.
A common saying is that there are as many gods as there are isles (Others say that there are fewer gods, but they each go by many names). Groups of islands that make a named region often share their gods, or hold one in reverence above the others – but it is true that most Tradelands you visit will have an altar of some kind to the god of that island. In some remote parts worship is even more primal, and the folk worship the spirit of the island, and lesser spirits representing the animals or individual places, or perhaps the ancestors of the islanders that are believed to watch over them.
The larger cities have something closer to organised religion. Their influence spreads further and so do their gods. In addition they often cater for those people who have settled in the city from other parts, but who still wish to pay tribute to the god of their island of birth. Of particular note is the Cathedral of Countless Faces, in Sorlish Greatharbour – just such an edifice where hundreds, perhaps thousands of small altars have been set up, and anyone is free to ask a minister there to help them find a few inches of space to add another.
If there is one creed that unites the Tradelands it is that shared by sailors and fishermen and other people who risk their lives at sea. Although really no more than a cloud of superstitions which vary even from ship to ship, some things are just taken for granted. The sea must be honoured and respected, but not worshipped. The same goes for her denizens, especially dolphins. Seamen all say that when they die they become dolphins. This belief spreads even onto dry land, and is common in many Tradeland religions. Some say that the soul becomes a ghostly dolphin in the astral sea, where it must make the journey to the home of its god, or until it finds a new body to be reborn in. The sailors though seem to be content with the idea that they will simply swim into eternity, just as dolphins do.
As can be seen, divine magic and worship is probably fairly limited in scope in the Infinite Isles, which makes playing clerics, paladins, avengers and invokers difficult. A player can still choose to do so if they have a strong character concept; for instance a priest of one of the larger island’s churches, attempting to evangelise or seek knowledge; or a paladin of a tiny island god who vows to protect his home by setting out to make all the seas safer.