Dhakaani Religion

Like its people, the religions of the Dhakaani Empire were varied and complex. Two major goblin religions dominated society with a number of minor religions existing among immigrants and slaves.

Ancestor Worship

The primary religion of the Dhakaani Empire, this was the faith practiced by western goblin kingdoms in the days before the empire. It is similar in some ways to the religion of the Tairnadal in modern Khorvaire, though the goblins would be insulted to hear it mostly because of several key differences. Firstly, the goblins do not believe that their ancestors live on through their actions. In fact, the ideology is exactly opposite for most goblin worshipers. Ancestral worship in Dhakaan centered around the idea of apotheosis, mortals becoming godly beings through extraordinary deeds. These ancestors are already immortal and do not need their descendants' help in continuing their power. Those mortal worshipers are able to attempt their own divine transmutations, however, by emulating the lives of famous ancestors to discover their same secrets. Another important difference is the idea of remote connection. Unlike the elves who profess a strong, direct connection to their ancestors (sometimes tangibly in the case of the Undying Court in Aerenal) the goblins believe that their deified ancestors are in a distant realm beyond the known planes and so have no direct hand in mortals' affairs.
Some historians believe that this belief led to the cosmological exploration of late-Dhakaani arcanists, who they posit may have been trying to reach the Divine Realm of their ancestor-gods. If so, this would mean that their ancestral religion could have inadvertantly resulted in the planar incursion that began the Daelkyr Wars that ultimately doomed the Dhakaani Empire.

Merlaac Taer

Before the formation of the Dhakaani Empire, goblinkind followed a pantheistic religion of gods which most scholars describe as a primitive version of the Sovereign Host. The Highest Crowns, or Merlaac Taer in Goblin, are fourteen gods which include both those of the Sovereign Host and the Dark Six. The legends surrounding this pantheon are different from modern interpretations and they changed over time, most notably with the formation of Dhakaan which strongly favored the ancestral worship of the western hobgoblins. During the early centuries of the Empire, worship of the Merlaac Taer shifted slowly to become a sort of hybrid religion of gods and ancestors. The gods became legendary figures who founded the lineages of the later empire. By the time of the Daelkyr Wars even this tenuous connection had broken and the formerly-divine figures had become heroic mortals and nothing more. Though some suggestion is made of cults on the fringes of Dhakaani society following the Old Ways, these were certainly far from the mainstream and most Dhakaani citizens had very little concept of the pantheistic religion of their ancestors.

Minor Faiths

There are a number of faiths that are referred to in passing in Dhakaani manuscripts, usually as "slave religions" or the "crude cults" of the orcish immigrants from northern Khorvaire.

  • Bond of Hosts: This primal religion of the gnomes was largely unknown to the goblins but it thrived among their slave populations. Unlike the traditions of the orcs and halflings, the worship of the Bond of Hosts is concerned primarily with the spirits of Thelanis where the gnomes originated from and not the preservation of Eberron. Gnomish legend speaks of a period of enslavement to fomorian giants in Thelanis (possibly the same period or a parallel period to the dwarven Age of Chains) which they escaped by forging alliances with the fey spirits of Thelanis. These alliances became integrated into bloodlines of gnomes, a tradition which continued through the Age of Monsters but has largely been lost in the Current Age. During the days of the Dhakaani, this tradition was heavily discouraged because it is so bound in a tradition of freedom and overthrowing masters, something the slave-holding goblinoids had little interest in allowing to thrive.
  • Dragon Cults: The dragonborn kingdoms of eastern Khorvaire have held on to the Dragon Cults that their people learned during the Age of Demons, following a spiritual geas placed on them by the dying couatl race. The dragonborn of ancient Q'barra worship the dragons as living gods and watch over demonic prisons from ancient days to prevent them from escaping. Though they remained strong during the days of the Dhakaani Empire, they continually lost ground to the goblinoids, then to the dwarves, then the humans on the ships of Lazhaar. Their religion was similarly reduced as their society collapsed into barbarism, becoming a shadowy reflection of their once-noble calling.
  • Halfling Druidism: Born not from a charge to defend the world against extraplanar threats but from a deep communion with the plains, the halflings' Bha Talenta (the "Way of the Plains") is in some ways a purer primal religion. It developed at some point before the Dhakaani Har'daach Dynasty (exact dates are not available because a written history was not kept by the halflings) and seems to have developed freely between the halflings and primal spirits of their homeland. The Gatekeepers, of course, have other opinions and point out that if their faith was "purer" then the dragon Vvaraak would have chosen the halflings to defend the world from demons and daelkyr. Instead, they see this "natural" creation as a flawed and imperfect one and consider the primal traditions of the halflings to be colloquial and limited.
  • Goliath Animism: Developed from the religion of the giants in ancient Xen'drik, the animistic faith of the goliaths was extremely site-based and limited to their ancestral lands. This faith proved advantageous to the Dhakaani goblinoids as the half-giants were frequently discouraged from expansion by the need to stay near their gods. While the ancient giants worshiped an ever-changing pantheon of gods, primordials, heroes and demons, a pantheon known collectively as the Ullyhdec Necaem ("Immortal Halls"), the goliaths favor a collection of spirits which embodied certain locations, ideas, and tribes. This blend of primal and divine practices is complicated and imperfectly understood, thanks to the dearth of written material from the goliath tribes themselves before integration with orcish traditions.
  • Orcish Druidism: The orcs were taught druidic magic by the dragon Vvaraak who sometime after the Dhakaani Empire was established. During the early conflicts between the orcs and goblins, this exotic faith was a major rallying point for Dhakaani generals who sought to cast the orcs as dangerous outsiders following unkown supernatural beings. After the two races settled into relatively peaceful relations, orcs began emigrating to Dhakaan and brought their religion with them. Despite mass conversions to goblin faiths, most orcs remained druidic worshipers and even converted some goblins to the the faith continued through the late empire and Daelkyr Wars to the Gatekeepers and, indirectly, the Kurmaac of the Current Age.
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