Many heroes and “living gods” have cults while they live. Those cults provide the hero with magical resources – however, these cults do not directly provide the worshipers with Rune spells. Instead they insure that the hero can continue to protect, defend, bless the community – or sometimes just so that the hero is well-inclined towards the community!
The Red Emperor is probably the most widespread example of this sort of “living god” cult, although Belintar, Sir Ethilrist, Cragspider, Jaldon Goldentooth, Jar-eel, and others also have cults (Godunya’s cult is a very different animal).
Now these cults have priests, some who are secunded from other associated cults (like the Red Emperor’s cult being built off the Yelm Imperator infrastructure in the Lunar Emperor or Jaldon Goldentooth using the existing Waha cult. They get material benefits from the hero (like access to spirits or special spirit magic).
When a hero is associated with an existing cult, their cult might function as a subcult that provides access to special Rune magic from the god – not from the hero. The hero might show a path towards that Rune magic, but the god is the source of it, not the hero. Think of the hero as the guide that shows the way to the god’s special magic, and not the source of it.
So in the Holy Country, Belintar had many temples and countless “lay members”. He had priests – but those priests were also priests of the gods of the Holy Country and led Belintar’s worship ceremonies as well. In addition to provide massive magical resources for Belintar, these ceremonies were connected with the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death, and Belintar carefully made sure that the various gods of the Holy Country had their representatives in his “cult”.
is there a Chain of Veneration? Yes, that is common in many cults. So our community offers 100 magic points at the worship ceremony. Let’s say they get distributed as such:
- 10 get siphoned off by the officiant priests and lords to maintain their closer tie to the god.
- 20 get used to open the gateway between the mundane world and the divine realm.
- 50 go to the worshiped entity.
- 20 get siphoned off to associated deities who are also worshiped.