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Religion in Audalis
As is the case with many fantasy worlds, the pantheon of Audalis consists of a wide range of deities, from benevolant to quite wicked. These deities are grouped into two major divisions - twelve greater deities, and fifteen lesser deities.
Audalis exists in a seperate "pocket," if you will, from the rest of the multiverse. An interesting side effect of this pocket is the fact that no deity, regardless of power, can exert influence on Audalis without being a member of the Audalis pantheon. This means, for instance, that Corellon, god of elves in the Forgotton Realms™ setting, has no power here.
Every deity in the Audalis pantheon is tied to the world somehow, and wishes to further their own interests. However, by common and binding agreement, they are prohibited from doing so directly; physical manifestation in the world has catastropic side effects. Therefore, deities must work through their followers if they wish to further their own agendas.
Worship and Religious Organization
Most people tend to pick a patron deity. This is not to say that they do not pray to other deities, or ask them for favors; a knight who follows Therassor's teachings will certainly not shy away from asking Shinara's blessing, for instance, nor would Therassor begrudge him for doing so.
The bulk of all religions are made up of lay followers and normal priests. Miracles in Audalis are just that - miracles. Clerics that have the ability to cast spells are not commonplace (though they are not rare, either). Since every clerical spell is actually a tiny expendature of a deity's energy, deities tend to carefully watch their clerics for abuse. A cleric of Rydor, for example, that decided to go into business selling healing spells would quickly find his spellcasting abilities gone.
Virtually all religions in Audalis are further divided into sects; information about any particular deity's sects can be found on that deity's page. While it is not necessary for a follower of a deity to select a sect, it does allow for richer roleplay.
Raising the Dead
As stated above, divine spells are treated as miracles. After all, having deadly poison instantly neutralized, or being protected from a raging fire are not events that the average person will ever see, much less be involved in. It only stands to reason, then, that the restoration of a dead person to life is the sort of stuff that legends are made of.
Only greater powers have the ability to ressurect a dead character, and this is a boon reserved for the greatest of heros. Necromancers may be able to create a parody of life with their undead servants, but to truly bring one who was dead back to the world of the living requires a great deal of exertion for a deity.
Lesser powers simply do not have the ability to do this; if they desire to resurrect a follower, they must approach their patron, or another friendly greater deity, and request the favor. It is a request not often granted, for few deities are willing to tire themselves so greatly, especialy for someone else's follower.
Direct Interaction with the World
We mentioned how direct action by a deity always results in extensive side effects; consider the following analogy.
The world is a small pond, and the actions of mortals, even the most powerful, are the ripples created by tossing a pebble into the pond. Certainly, particularly violent pebbles can be felt more, but all in all, the pond has a way of absorbing the ripples.
Now, toss a huge boulder into the pond. This is the effect that a deity has on the world. Even if the boulder is only dropped, and not flung with force, it creates huge disturbances. Likewise, a deity cannot fully manifest in Audalis without dire consequences.
Millenia ago, all of the greater deities agreed to stay out of the world, for fear of destroying it; a fate even Tyrannis did not wish, for if Audalis were destroyed, there would be nothing left to rule. Deities are permitted to use avatars, or mortal bodies, to enter the world, but their actions are still very limited; in addition, doing so requires a great deal of energy and concentration, and is often not worth the cost.
Therefore, for the vast majority of all instances, deities find it much more beneficial to work through their mortal followers. Bestowing spells on a cleric is a trifle, when compared to casting the same spell in person.
Thanks to Olan Suddeth for this contribution!