Since this page was first written, HarnMaster Religion has been published, and includes 'official' answers to the questions discussed on this page. Therefore, the following will be useful primarily to players of HarnMaster (1st ed.) who do not own HMR.

Most of the tribal nations of Harn worship gods not known to the civilised peoples of the island, and therefore not listed in Gods of Harn. The GM must decide what the status of these beings is. The articles on this website and the table in HarnMaster Religion give my own point of view (and/or those of the individual authors), but the purpose of this page is to outline the alternatives. This discussion makes the assumption that the gods are demonstrably real in your campaign; if not, then the status of the tribal gods is probably irrelevant.

Essentially, there are four different positions one can take:

Note that when I say on this page that two deities are 'the same', I mean that they are demonstrably the same. If the same deity is known to two different societies and has completely different attributes in each, then for rules purposes they are not the same deity, even if this is incorrect in some metaphysical sense. Unless your players are going to meet deities face-to-face, then as far as game play is concerned, the deity should be treated as two separate entities, with separate rules for worship, even if you (as GM) know otherwise.


In the official write-up in HMR, this option was used for Cothlynn (Taelda) and Saraen (Pagaelin). It was already known to be the case for K'orr (Anoa).

If you don't want to create new Lesser Gods beyond the ten described in Gods of Harn, but don't want to limit the tribal religions to worshipping demigods, then it follows that the tribal gods must be civilised gods known under different names. For example, K'orr, the god of the Anoa tribal nation of northern Harn, is known by many Harnians to be another name for the civilised god Ilvir.

We may also assume that many of the civilised gods were worshipped by tribal peoples prior to the establishment of their Churches. This is most obviously true of Sarajin and Ilvir, but it is possible for many of the others too. For example, the Halean Church, which was founded as late as the third century, is known to have been preceded by many small hedonistic cults.

Obviously, the first thing we must decide is which civilised god the tribal god equates to. Apart from K'orr, none of the tribal deities are obviously identical to one of the civilised gods. Manaclir, for example, is a sea and wind god, and thus has some resemblance to Sarajin, but lacks that deity's bloodlust and code of honour - both central features of his Ivinian religion. Kekamar, the violent wind god of the Tulwyn, might be either Sarajin or Agrik, depending on how you interpret his warrior ethic. Are Cothllynn's fertility and feminine aspects (Peoni) more important than her light and harmony aspects (Siem)?

Once we have decided on which god we are talking about, we have to decide what practical effect this has. If you don't think there will be any practical effect, then see the section on creating new Lesser Gods below, because in rules terms, that's what you are doing.

In Harnmaster, the choice of god you worship has three effects:

We might add to this the question of which temples a follower can worship in, but unless the civilised church recognises the tribal god as being its own, they are going to bar worshippers in any case. Even if they do recognise the link, worship ceremonies are likely to be too divergent to allow for this possibility. When the deity is known by a different name and is given different (if similar) properties by his worshippers, differences between civilised and tribal religions are likely to be even more extreme than those between rival sects of a civilised Church.

On the question of morality, it seems highly likely that a deity would require the same moral standards (or lack thereof) of its worshippers regardless of the name by which it is known.

In the case of divine intervention the situation is slightly less clear. One might argue that the civilised Church worships the deity in its more 'correct' form (as revealed by prophets such as Ambathras or Merodyne) and that therefore worshippers of the tribal gods should have a lower chance of successful divine intervention, and maybe even a greater chance of the DI backfiring. However, we know that Ilvir and Agrik, at least, are equally likely to answer DI requests from followers of many different sects, some of which are mutually antagonistic. Furthermore, the tribal nations have been around for hundred of years and should by now have figured out what pleases their gods. As a result, since the tribal religions do differ from their civilised counterparts, we may assume that if they are worshipping the same entity, then that god is prepared to accept some degree of difference in styles of worship - presumably so long as its ultimate aims (which are incomprehensible to mortals) are being met. So, in most instances, divine intervention is likely to remain the same.

Invocations are different for two reasons. Firstly, the lifestyle of tribal peoples is very different from their civilised counterparts, and the god is likely to recognise that and provide invocations of use to those followers. Secondly, with the exception of K'orr, the tribal gods do have different properties than their civilised counterparts. For that to be meaningful, we must assume that the invocations granted differ. Having said that, if you have decided that, for example, Kekamar is really Sarajin, that must have some meaning in-game. Therefore the invocations granted should be very similar, with only 10-25% being different. These differences should reflect the tribal lifestyle and known differences between the two 'aspects' of the deity. Woodscraft, for example, is an invocation known only to Siem among the civilised churches, but might be more widespread among tribal peoples.


In HMR, this option was used for Kekamar (Tulwyn), Kemlar (Kubora/Urdu/Equani) and Wajok (Ymodi).

This is, perhaps, the most obvious solution to the nature of the tribal deities. If there are only ten Lesser Gods, and a given tribal god is not identifiable as any of them, he must be a demigod if he exists at all. This option can be combined with the one above, if you determine that a tribal god is actually one of the demigods listed in Gods of Harn. For example, Kualthurlu might actually be Njehu, the Sarajinian demigod of the deep sea.

If we decide that a given deity is a demigod, we are faced with the same three questions as before. With regards to morality, a servitor demigod should be in the same range of morality as its ruler, so Kualthurlu's morality range should be the same as Sarajin's if she really is Njehu. If not, the demigod can demand what it likes of its worshippers. When considering a morality range for a new deity, bear in mind that low moralities are generally not tolerated in tribal cultures; in small communities, people failing to work together for the common good will soon become outcasts if the society is to survive.

The effects of divine intervention granted by a demigod are given on page Religion 6 of Harnmaster 1st ed. In general, demigods are more likely to grant DI than true gods, but are also more likely to impose conditions and more likely to get angry if their favour is abused. This is because of their closer proximity to their worshippers, and also possibly because they did not commit themselves to the Concordat [1]. This allows them to be much more proactive than their more powerful brethren, although the aid they can offer should be more limited. Obviously, the precise chances associated with DI should be according to the nature of the demigod in question.

No guidelines are given for what type of invocations, if any, can be granted by demigods. Logically, they should be fewer in number [2] and weaker in power than those of true gods. Although only invocations up to the fifth circle are listed in the rules, Lesser Gods may have rituals of up to seventh circle. For demigods, fifth circle should be a genuine limit. If your campaign restricts Lesser Gods to granting fifth circle invocations, then demigods should be restricted to third or perhaps fourth circle as a maximum.


In HMR, this option was used for Manaclir (Adaenum), Shadet-Etu (Kamaki) and Kualthurlu (Chymak), all of whom were identified with the Lesser God Eder.

There is nothing to say that there are only ten Lesser Gods on Kethira. Only ten have been able to found churches in Western Lythia, but up until the third century, Halea had no civilised church, yet we know she is a Lesser Goddess. Perhaps there are still Lesser Gods who have yet to found a civilised church.

There are two possible reasons why this might be so. Firstly, the god may be content with only being worshipped by tribal peoples. Sarajin has made little attempt to proselytise his faith to cultures other than the Ivinians, and for a long time they were not particularly civilised.

Secondly, a deity may simply have been unlucky, or have not yet had an opportunity to develop a civilised church; we only know of the prophets who have been successful in spreading their creed, many may have existed who were less fortunate. This was the case with Halea prior to the third century and with Morgath five centuries earlier.

So it seems entirely possible that other Lesser Gods exist. Indeed the Libram of the Pantheon, the most widely accepted document concerning mythological history, never actually states how many Lesser Gods exist. The civilised churches assume there are only ten, but they aren't necessarily correct in this belief. The actual number can be left vague by the GM, and it is possible that two or more seemingly different tribal deities are actually the same being.

In deciding whether a given deity is a Lesser God or a demigod, we should consider the different game effects. If a deity is perceived as being close to his worshippers, especially if he appears to break the Concordat, then he is probably a demigod; if not, he may be a Lesser God. This is the reasoning I have used in determining into which category to place tribal deities on these pages. For instance, Kekamar is said to be physically present in our world as the wind, which everyone can feel and experience directly, and he seems to have no qualms about making his will directly known; therefore, I assume that he is actually a demigod in game terms, regardless of what his worshippers believe.

Once we have decided to create a new Lesser God, we have entirely free reign in allocating his morality range, DI rolls and invocations. See the individual shaman write-ups for suggested invocations.

The table below is adapted from HMR to give the DI rolls and morality range for each tribal deity described so far on this website:

Tribal Gods
Tribe Intervene Conditions Retribution Morality
Cothllynn Taelda





Kekamar Tulwyn





K'orr Anoa





Kemlar Kubora/Urdu










Kualthurlu Chymak





Manaclir Adaenum





Oyinath Gozyda



Saraen Pagaelin






This option was not employed in HMR.

It  has been implied in some official sources that some of the tribal gods do not exist. We are not told which ones they are, and according to HMR, none of them are worshipped by Harnic tribes (with the possible exception of Oyinath). But it is a valid option for the GM.

Obviously, a non-existent god cannot grant divine intervention or invocations, but a particular religion can still require a morality of its followers, regardless of whether that requirement is backed up by withholding piety points. Social ostracism in a tribal society is far more to be feared than any vague loss of piety, since it will generally result in death.

Shamans of non-existent gods may have Shek-Pvar type powers, or may just be highly skilled in herblore and other useful arts. In the former case, they may well attribute their powers to their deity, and may even have a psychological block that prevents them from using these powers if they lose 'piety'. In the latter case, they may be quite open about their abilities, knowing that their god prefers his followers to survive on their own merits without needing magical assistance, or they may be self-deluded [3] or plain fraudulent.

Finally, it is worth noting that some of the tribal religions of Harn do not worship gods as such. These animist cultures, such as the Bujoc, believe that interacting with spirits is more important than dealing with remote deities, who they may not even believe exist. The questions the GM must consider with these religions are somewhat different, and will be discussed in an article of their own.


[1] The Concordat is described as having been agreed by the Lesser Gods. Presumably, their own servitor demigods are also bound by it. Whether or not independant demigods and demons are similarly restricted is not specifically stated, and it seems quite possible that they are not.

[2] Demigods generally have a restricted range of responsibilities compared with true gods, so it seems logical that they should have a more limited number of invocations.

[3] It is quite possible to delude yourself into believing you possess powers that you don't without having to be insane. While this would be difficult with respect to fireballs and the like, it is appropriate for lower key powers, especially if the people you deal with (other members of your tribe) believe you have the ability. Two examples relevant to tribal shamans are healing powers and visits to the spirit world. In the former case, psychosomatic healing might lead to you having some genuine effect (although much more subtle than a real Healing invocation) even without magic, if the subject believes you can heal them. In the latter, a shaman might take hallucinogenic drugs and believe that he has visited another world when the whole event has really taken place in his mind. Such shamans will be sincere in their beliefs, and are, IMO, more interesting than the out-and-out fraud.

Back to the tribal religions main page

This page was last updated 31st August 1998 by Jamie 'Trotsky' Revell. Comments are welcome.