The Imperial Cults

Human (mostly belonging to the Old World) Gods. Please note that not all groups of Humans worship all Gods.

Sigmar The founder and patron God of The Empire. Not commonly worshipped outside the Empire.
Ulric God of Wolves, Winter and Battle.
Morr God of Death; guardian of the dead, ruler of the underworld. Also god of dreams and prophecy.
Shallya Goddess of Healing, Mercy, and Childbearing
Myrmidia Goddess of War, Tactics, Strategy, and Soldiers. Also a patron of art, science and other things.
Ranald God of non-violent Thieves, Tricksters, and Fortune
Verena Goddess of Knowlwdge, Learning, and Justice.
Taal & Rhya God of Nature and Wild Places & Goddess of Fertility, Farming, and Love
Manann God of Sailors, Sailing, and the Seas

The Cult of Sigmar
In the years after his abdication and disappearance, a cult was established in the name of Sigmar within the Empire, that quickly grew into a fully-fledged religion. The Cult of Sigmar, also called the Sigmarite Church was founded by Johann Helsturm in 73 IC after he vanished, Helsturm claiming to have received a vision that bade him do so. It is now the foremost religion in the Empire and is inextricably intertwined with the political, cultural, and national identity of the Empire and its people. As a god, Sigmar is worshipped as a unifier of mankind, and a protector of the weak and innocent against the insidious threat of Chaos and dark magic.

There is some political conflict between the leaders of the cults of Sigmar and Ulric – the northern god of winter, wolves, and war – but within the armies of the Empire followers of both cults are often found fighting side by side. Temples of Sigmar can be found throughout the Empire, with the largest located in Altdorf: the Great Temple of Sigmar. Another temple of Sigmar is located in Black Fire Pass, on the site where Sigmar made his historic pact with the Dwarfs. The head of the Cult of Sigmar is the Grand Theogonist, who is assisted by two Arch Lectors of Sigmar, who act as the Grand Theogonist’s surrogates, and each of these positions holds a vote in the Electoral Council to determine a new Emperor.

A few Sigmarites, not to mention most Ulricans, are deeply concerned with the role of the Sigmarite cult in the politics of the Empire. Although Sigmar stressed the need for the unity of the Empire, and probably never preached abstinence from worldliness, these Sigmarites seek to express their piety by abdicating personal goods and riches to live as eremites or beggar monks or sign up in the Empire’s armies to spread their god’s word. However, generals usually don’t like to have religious zealots amongst their ranks, so these people often form their own little war parties, the most fanatical even joining one of the wandering bands of flagellants.

The Cult of Ulric
Ulric is the god of wolves, battle and winter. Long before the Empire was founded by Sigmar, he was worshipped by the soldiers and warriors of the Old World. Ulric is by far the most irate god of the humans, but at the same time he embodies courage, strength and power. In the pantheon of the old gods he is the brother of Taal. He is worshipped predominantly in the north of the Empire, in the provinces of Nordland, Ostland and especially Middenland and the city of Middenheim. Worshippers of Ulric preserve the spirit and traditions of their pre-Imperial ancestors, and the leadership of the cult of Ulric is able to trace its roots back over three millenia.

The symbol of Ulric is the white wolf, and his followers often wear wolf pelts as cloaks, which were taken by an animal killed by their own hands according to Ulric’s strictures. He is commonly depicted as a massive warrior in the style of the tribes who founded the Empire: his long hair flows unbound, his thick, black beard is silvered with hoar frost, he weilds a giant two-handed hammer and goes into battle without a helm to show his bravery. He is said to abhor the use of black powder, explosives and mechanical weapons, preferring warriors to wield simple hand-crafted weapons, and he favours an honest, up-front approach to all things, considering deception and trickery to be tools of the weak.

Ulric’s main temple is located in the “City of the White Wolf” and houses an eternal flame that can – according to the Cult – never be extinguished. It was built by Wodaan, a former High Priest of Ulric, in 63 IC after he had received a vision from his god that bade him do so.

The Cult of Ulric is the most powerful and widespread religion in the northern regions of the Empire, especially in Middenheim. It’s influence is so strong there that the High Priest Ar-Ulric has his own vote at the Emperor’s election. This makes the Cult the strongest and most powerful religious faction in the Empire aside from the Sigmarites.

The Cult of Morr
Morr is the classical God of Death and Dreams in the pantheon of the Old World. He is the ruler of the underworld, and is depicted as a tall, brooding man with an aristocratic bearing, wrapped in dark robes. In Old Worlder belief he is the guardian of the souls of the dead.

He presides over the realm of death, called the Shadowrealm, which is inhabited by the souls of the dead. Morr is also known as the Guardian of Dreams, as the realm of death closely borders the land of dreams. It is also said that he is able to create illusions and communicate through dreams. His symbols are the raven, the scythe, the hourglass, the black rose and the stone portal. He is the husband of Verena, who is said to have knowledge of all that is past while he is the master of dreams and of that which is yet to be. His brother and foremost rival is Khaine, who, in the Old World, is the god of murder and patron of necromancers and assassins.

Although priests of Morr are found throughout the Old World wherever there are dead to be taken care of, his is not a religion which is practiced widely. He is worshipped mainly by the bereaved, who offer up prayers and sacrifices in the hope that their departed will reach his realm safely and prosper there. Interpreters of dreams and those who wish to be free of nightmares also invoke him. Many Amethyst wizards consider Morr to be their patron. In addition, those who fight against the undead, such as Witch Hunters call upon him for divine help, for the art of necromancy enslaves the souls of those who should rightfully enter Morr’s domain.

The Cult of Shallya
Shallya is the Goddess of Healing, Mercy and Childbirth. In the classical pantheon she is the daughter of Verena and Morr. She is normally portrayed as a young beautiful maiden whose eyes are perpetually welling with tears, but she can also take the form of a white dove. She is an exceptionally important goddess throughout the Old World. People pray to Shallya all the time: when they are suffering from an illness, when they are hoping to have children, or when they are looking for forgiveness for their sins. Of all the gods, she is the only one who most people agree really listens.

Shallya is the most beneficent of all the gods, and her temples provide places of comfort for the sick, the dying, and those without homes. Her clerics are almost always women, and they are trained in the arts of healing and midwifery. Many of the people of the Empire were born in a temple of Shallya; most of them return when they are ill or dying. In the end, it is to the temple of Shallya’s father they go. Followers of Shallya lead a life according to strictures of pacifism and forgiveness, although they have a special enmity for Nurgle, the god of pestilence and sickness.

The Cult of Myrmidia
Myrmidia is the Goddess of War, and her worship has spread into the Empire from the southern Old World nations of Tilea and Estalia. She is a goddess from the classical age, depicted as the daughter of Verena and Morr, and is said to have been given to mortal parents as a child and then grew into a maiden warrior who rallied the people of both lands against all enemies. Myrmidia is commonly portrayed as a tall, well-proportioned young woman armed and equipped in the style of the soldiers of the southern Old World. She can also take the form of an eagle. Her symbols are the spear and the shield as well as a sun with a female, often smiling benevolently face upon it. Myrmida is also often associated with lions, and so many depictions show some of the great beasts resting at her feet. A stylised lion head with a giant mane looks quite similar to her sun symbol.

Where Ulric stands for strength of combat and the fury of battle, Myrmidia stands for the art and science of war, and she is venerated mostly by professional soldiers and strategists.

While worship of Myrmidia in the Empire is overshadowed by the cults of Sigmar and Ulric, she is worshipped with fanatical devotion in Tilea and Estalia, where people invoke her name as a ward against everything from illness to death at the hands of Dark Elf Corsairs.

Myrmidia is popular with both common soliders and mercenaries as well as their officers. Many Tilean mercenary companies adorn their banners with a portrait of hers (often using the Mona Licca or a portrait of Gossippa Lotta as inspiration) or one of her symbols. Her greatest temple is located in Magritta in the lands of Estalia, where she is also worshipped as the Goddess of Wisdom. The Great Book of Wisdom which is stored there was at one time the target of an assault by the Necrarch Nourgul the Black. The Vampire Count led a bloody campagin just to reach it, only to be eviscerated into dust when he touched the tome. Her main temple also houses the Archecclesiastium, a kind of ruling council of her cult whom all other temples have to answer to.

Additional temples are found in nearly every Tilean and Estalian city and in some cities in the south of Bretonnia and The Empire, such as Talabheim or Nuln. Smaller shrines are found everywhere Tilean mercenaries are in high demand. The architecture of Myrmidia’s temples usually has an Estalian or Tilean style. They consist of quadratic or rectangular halls with high and pointy roofs. Rich mosaics of giant weapons or shields are usually adorning the outside of her temples, while real weapons and shields hang on the inner walls. Shrines are often miniature versions of these temples with statues of the goddess or sculptures of piled weapons, shields and armour.

Priests of Myrmidia traditionally wear white robes. They are held in high regard by generals and other army leaders for being nearly unmatched tacticians.

The Cult of Ranald
Ranald is the God of Tricksters. He is a rogue and a charlatan, with an irrepressible sense of humor. He is said to be able to take the form of a crow, a magpie or a black cat. He loves nothing more than to bring down the mighty and raise the low, although he abhors violence of all kinds, and would never condone violent crime, murder or torture. Ranald is considered to be a giver of good fortune, and many prayers are said to him by those wishing for a change of luck, or to keep the wealth they have gained so far.

Although there are almost no real temples to Ranald, he is widely worshiped, mainly by merchants, gamblers, thieves, and all those whose daily tasks revolve around money. Revered across the Old World as a hero of the common folk, his reputation amongst the leaders of other cults is that of a patron of rogues and other so-called “low lifes”.

The Cult of Verena
Verena is the Goddess of Knowledge, Science, Law and Justice. Her symbols are the scale and the downward-pointing sword, representing justice, as well as the owl, representing wisdom. Verena is generally portrayed as a tall and beautiful woman, dignified and serious, sometimes with a blindfold over her eyes, her scale in one hand and her sword in the other. Other depictions include an owl or an elderly scholar of varying gender. In legends, she sometimes takes the form of an owl or a venerable sage of either sex. She is said to be the wife of Morr, and is often asked to intercede with her husband by people who have broken the law for a just cause, or those who are oppressed and affected by injustice. Verena is concerned with fairness, rather than with the literal letter of the law, and she is equally opposed to tyranny and oppression as she is to crime. As Verena values wisdom and education, her church is much more positively aligned to magic than other religions in the Empire.

Verena is a classical god worshipped across the Old World, and she is especially venerated in university towns such as Altdorf and Nuln, where there are great temples in her honour. All those who owe their line of work to the fairness of the law tend to honour her above other gods, and the most devout of Verena’s followers can include magistrates, politicians, scholars, law enforcers and wizards of the Celestial and Light Colleges. Followers of Verena value reason above force but are more than ready to take up arms in the name of justice if diplomacy fails.

The Cult of Taal and Rhya
Taal is the God of Nature and Wild Places. As with his brother Ulric he was the god of a pre-Imperial tribe, and the Empire province of Talabecland still bears his name. He shares with his brother some of the primal aspects of nature. Taal is not a violent god however, and although failing to show the land the proper respect can incur his wrath, his realm is more often the protection and harmony of the wild. His followers are those who depend on and live in accord with the natural world, including many hunters and farmers, and although there is no formal church of Taal, there exist many temples of loose stones out in the countryside, where passing woodsmen can pay their respects to nature.

Rhya is the Earth Mother, the goddess of all that grows and lives. It is Rhya to whom the people of the Old World pray to for fair winds, moderate rains, healthy plants and animals, yet she is also the Huntress. Wife of Taal, the lord of Beasts and Rivers, Rhya is seen as the more merciful and gentle of the pair, and is often asked to intercede with her husband to calm his rages.

The Cult of Manann
Manann is the God of the Seas, and commands the waves and storms. He is usually depicted as a heavily built man wearing a crown of black iron, but can take the form of a great waterspout or sea monster. The largest temple to Manann is in Marienburg, and all his other temples in the Old World pay it tribute. He is worshiped in coastal areas across the Old World, invoked for protection from storms and monsters at sea and for good fishing. In particular those who spend months at sea, such as warship crews, traders and pirates, are careful to make regular offerings to Manann lest their ship be destroyed in a storm or thrown against a reef by the vengeful sea god.




The Imperial Cults

Buried but not Forgotten Edward_D