Editor's note: This summarizes a lot of discussion between Jörg, Jeff Richard, Steven Martin, Eric Rowe, myself, and others. It is not necessarily a consensus opinion, nor official, but the history of the Orlanth cult has not been presented before.
There were plenty of different Storm Gods and Storm worshipping peoples before Vingkot came and united them. [My pet theory is that the pre-Vingkotling "Storm" people were invaders from the south, and that they conquered and subdued a native "Earth" populace. "Storm" means that they were pastoral warriors, whereas "Earth" indicates less aggressive agriculturalists.] Nine of them became known after the sons and daughters of Vingkot.
Then came the Chaos peoples, and after their rule of terror Heort went about to unite the shattered remnants of the "Storm" and "Earth" peoples. He (or someone else around this period) created the cult of Orlanth from the plenitude of local tribal founder deities. This was the base of the Heortling culture that went into the Theyalan Council at large.
What followed can be read in the Broken Council Guidebook, although there are some details which remain debated.
After this, the rule of Lokamayadon and Palangio formed indeed a Theyalan monoculture -- quite bland, with little local variations, and dreadfully civilized. "No" (i.e. less than 15%) petty tribes, instead nations formed around cities. When Palangio's province was overrun by Arkat and his minions, nothing much changed. For a while these nations had to pay tribute to the trolls, then Sun Dome settlers invaded from Saird. The Waltzing and Hunting bands expanded into that power vacuum.
Only when the EWF had outgrown its reason, Alakoring came from Ralios and brought the old Orlanthi "virtues" of petty tribes and tribal kings, but with a new royal power over the priesthood which had not been there in Lokamayadon's age.
After the EWF had been driven backwards, we slowly arrive at the multi-faceted cult of Orlanth we got some hints of in the various RQ publications.
Anyway, some of us feel that the tribal cult is more closely guided by godis (or in the correct plural, godar), part-time priests with a wide range of weaker special cult spells from all the obscure range of aspects of the cult -- Lawspeaker, Hunter, Adventurer, etc, whereas in more organized communities (cities, large and great temples) there are specialized priests of the greater subcults, like Adventurer, Thunderous, Lightbringer.
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