The Gods of the Realm
Mitra is the most common god worshipped in Hyboria, and is the chief deity in almost all Hyborian kingdoms, including Aquilonia, Ophir, Nemedia, Brythunia, Corinthia, and even Zingara.
The worship of Mitra is a monotheistic one. There are a host of saints, but there must be no other god than Mitra. His followers are fervently suspicious towards other gods and religions, especially the worship of Set and of the Pictish animal gods.
As opposed to Crom and Set, Mitra is a kind god, although he holds his followers to high standards. The theology is based on justice and a very strong sense of right and wrong. His followers are expected to strive for justice and are encouraged to forgive.
There is a huge clergy associated with the worship of Mitra, and one can find temples in his honor everywhere his influence is spread. Mitra's temples are conspicuously free of ornamentation. They are supposed to reflect the pious and ascetic ideal he holds over his subjects. Mitra doesn't need precious metals and elaborate ornaments in his honor. He wants dedication and prayer, not superfluous sacrifice; and he abhors the ritual of human sacrifice prevalent in many other Hyborian religions.
Crom is the head of the Cimmerian pantheon of cruel gods, sending forth dooms and death from his seat on the great mountain of Mount Crom, or Ben Morgh, the holiest place in Cimmeria.
To pray to Crom is a pointless task, as it will only invoke his anger. Prayer is a sign of weakness, and Crom has little patience for the weak. Cimmerians prefer to not attract his attention, and if his name is muttered, it is invariably in the form of an oath or a curse.
Nominally, every Cimmerian is a follower of Crom, but there is no established clergy devoted to him, he doesn't inspire any rituals, and the people bid him no sacrifice besides using the strength he granted them to take what they want from life and to cleave the skulls of their enemies.
Set, the Old Serpent, is Mitra's arch-enemy, and the ancient god revered and worshiped mainly in Stygia, and is known and worshiped as Damballah in the Black Kingdoms.
He is a cruel, jealous god who demands constant sacrifice from his subjects, and his priests are only too willing to comply as they bring naked virgins screaming to his altar to appease his blood-lust. In Stygia the snake is holy and to kill a snake is a mortal sin. If a snake slithers into the cities or to the streets, Set's subjects will lay prostrate before him, hoping to be found worthy of his bite.
His priests are almost as frightening as the god himself, and they terrify their own people almost as much as they terrify their enemies. Stygia is a theocracy, and the mad and corrupt clergy run the country on fear and wonder, as well as an indiscriminate willingness to sacrifice their own people.
A goddess of fertility and lust originally worshipped in Shem, Derketo can be found among the pantheons of many southern kingdoms, particularly Stygia and Kush. In Stygia, Derketo is a decadent, licentious deity, serving as the religious counterpoint to the strict and humourless devotions of Set, the Great Serpent.
Nearly every Stygian city contains a grand temple to the goddess, where young girls are initiated into the erotic mysteries of Derketo. Initiates of Derketo often serve as courtesans to Stygian nobles and high priests, while priestesses of the temple practice the arts of pleasure with devotees in return for contribution to the temple coffers.
Followers of the goddess celebrate the harvest and the equinox with wild, wine-soaked orgies that invoke Derketo’s life-giving powers. Though the arch-priests of Set frown upon the wanton rituals of the temple and some would like nothing better to see the religion driven from their kingdom, they know that the noble families and the merchant class would never permit it.
The sign of Derketo is the fish, representing her powers of fertility and life, and in Shem she is frequently associated with the life-giving river Styx. In Kush, however, she is worshipped as Derketa, the malevolent Queen of the Dead.
Xotli is a demon-god from the Elder Night worshipped by ancient Atlanteans, ancient ancestors to the Cimmerians. He appears onto his followers as a rolling cloud of ebony darkness with a single eye, above the Great Pyramid in Ptahuacan as hundreds of people are sacrificed each month. Their hearts are cut out, their body goes to feed the dragons inside the pyramid, and their soul goes to feed Xotli.
His evil followers are playable classes in AOC: the Heralds of Xotli.
Yog is worshipped among various inhabitants of the Black Kingdoms, noticeably by the Darfari tribe. He may be a demon of the Elder Night, like those worshipped by ancient Atlantis.
Yog's doctrine is simple. Worshippers may only eat meat, never plants of any kind. They must consume human flesh at least once per month, and those who fail are considered ritually unclean until they have done so.
In Darfar itself, bodies for the cannibalistic rituals conic from raiding other tribes. Outside of Darfar, however, the Yoggites band together and take what they can get. Where there are many Darfar slaves, wandering bands hunt and kill anyone who leaves shelter at night.
Ymir is the oldest and most powerful of the Frost Giants, a race of enormous humanoid creatures several hundred feet tall, and covered with snow and ice, and native to the dimension of Asgard. The Frost Giants origin is lost in antiquity; however, they are known to predate the gods of Asgard themselves. In fact, during Earth's Hyborian Age (after the sinking of Atlantis and before the Bronze Age, approximately 16,000 BCE to 8,000 BCE), Ymir served as one of the most prominent gods of Earth, alongside Crom, Mitra, and others. Ymir was worshipped as a god by the people of Nordheim, a civilization composed of the human Aesir of Aesgaard in the eastern portion and the human Vanir of Vanaheim in the western portion. Ymir served as their lord of storm and war, and chief of all their deities. Ymir's domain was in Valhalla, a snowy, shadowy place that was home to soldiers slain in battle; apparently similar to the later relationship between the Mount Olympus of Greece and the otherdimensional Olympus of Zeus, Ymir's Valhalla was apparently connected to the mountains of northern Vanaheim, perhaps by some sort of portal or nexus. In any event, Ymir's daughter Atali appeared to dying combatants as the harbinger of their journey to Ymir's realm. Not surprisingly, for the Vanir, war was a sacred duty waged in the name of Ymir.
According to the old sagas of these Vanir people, a city of vampires once established a city in Vanaheim from which they lured animals and men to their deaths. The Vanir people managed to serve justice to these vampires, and Ymir himself buried the city of the undead beneath a mountain of frozen rock. These vampires would not be freed until ages later, when they were defeated by the warrior priest Vitellus, who served the aforementioned god Mitra; Conan the famed Cimmerian warrior; and a Vanir woman named Kreenara. All three brandished the Mitran cross in one of the earliest recorded uses of the cross against a vampire.
Earlier, during one of the Cimmerian's adventures in Nordheim, Atali had once made the mistake of attempting to lure Conan to a brutal death at the hands of two of her brothers. Conan managed to slay her siblings, and Atali only saved herself by calling to her father to spirit her away. Conan, however, still managed to snatch off a piece of her gossamer dress as evidence of the encounter.
Yag-Kosha was an alien from the distant world of Yag. He and some of his people came to Earth following as refugees from a vile overlord who conquered the star system. Having arrived, they were unable to leave, and so formed a society here. Although they were not limitless in age, they were long-lived, and Yogha witnessed the rise and fall of many human races and empires. Eventually, as all his people died out, he made himself known to a few tribes in the jungles of Khitai, where he was worshipped as a god. Yogha's peaceful reign came to an end when he was captured and enslaved by the priest Yara. Yogha was forced to teach him vile sorceries and do his bidding, including building the fantastic Tower of the Elephant in Arenjun. When Conan arrived to rob Yara, he ended Yogha's tortured life, allowing him to reincarnate himself as and take his revenge on Yara. Yag-Kosha, as he now called himself, destroyed the tower and left to a fate unknown.