The Thousand Gods
In the days before the Shattering the land known as the Thousand Gods was little more than an underpopulated testing range for esoteric theotechnology and experimental theurgy. Aside from a few rugged communities of lumberjacks and trappers the thick jungle had few inhabitants. Creeping diseases and dangerous beasts were a great discouragement to settlements beyond the coast.
This isolation encouraged a number of nations to establish secure testing zones within the jungle, where their magic could run free without observers. Many secrets were discovered which later became part of the Made Gods and their golem-godheads. Yet when the Shattering finally came, the desperate researchers were thrown back on their own sorceries to survive the chaos that followed.
Their response was to infuse some among their own members with divine power, patching them together into stunted divinities that might be able to preserve their fellow scholars. Many were successful in that, but the gods they made were lopsided, unbalanced things, more parasite god than calm-minded divinity. These gods saved the research stations and protected their former peers from the disasters that followed, but their mental stability was never great. Most have grown worse over the centuries, becoming more and more obsessed with obtaining greater influence and more splendid shrines.
An influx of refugees from neighboring lands followed as others sought the help of the “Thousand Gods”. Larger cults formed around each former research center, and the gods inevitably fell into the same kind of bitter struggle that had eventually consumed the Made Gods. Each tribe of researchers was pitted against the others by their patron deities, and any reluctance to serve was punished with death or worse.
Ever since, the Thousand Gods have been a dangerous patchwork of jungle kingdoms and tribal domains, at each others’ throats as often as they grudgingly cooperate against greater rivals. The shamans and priests of the Thousand Gods have an incredible degree of theotechnical expertise and still retain secrets of godhead-architecture that have been lost elsewhere, but are forced to put their knowledge to the service of their jealous patrons. The gods demand more and more worshipers, and greater and greater sacrifices each year. Even so, some deities have perished entirely when tribal godkillers of a rival research center have succeeded in slaying them.
Life in the research centers is a mixture of abject poverty and casual wonder. The Thousand Gods think nothing of calling forth marvels to sustain their people, but the jungle itself is harsh and ungenerous. Divine abundance is brought to the trading villages on the coast to be exchanged with Kasirutan merchants for the wares and sacrificial goods of foreign countries. Every so often a band of adventurers makes landfall, eager to search out the lost treasures of ruined research centers or broken tribal temples. Others seek the god-building secrets of the shamans, though earning such truths comes at a dear price.
Not all men and women in the Thousand Gods are subject to these divine tyrants. Some have the courage or the luck to flee their communities and seek refuge in the deep jungle, where bands of Godless warriors eke out a hard life without the benefit of a divine patron. Freedom is worth hunger and sickness to these people, however, and they have special techniques of godkilling sufficient to astonish a Lomite antipriest. Their trust is not earned easily, and more than ordinary material rewards are needed to persuade them to share their secrets with outsiders.