The religious traditions of the Barbarian tribes in the Deadlands are rich and varied, drawn from different cultures and often intermixed with one another. Some worship the ‘old gods’ – often these are powerful spirits, demons, fae, or other mystical creatures taking advantage of the primitive societies – while others gravitate towards revering the Ancestors or even the forces of nature. The latter are often represented as living beings in their own right or spirits that reside in particular elements. It is no wonder that the spirits are depicted with familiar imagery, such as the Goddess of the Wind well-known among the tribes of Eastern Krokhan is often said to take the form of a giant vulture.
The priesthood dedicated to her is exclusively female, usually young orphan girls taken in by the elder Shamans and taught the ways of the Goddess. They adorn their bodies with gold jewellery and wrap themselves in cloaks of vulture feathers, their faces covered with intricate tattoos and concealed by masks of bird skulls. Upon initiation, the Skytouched are granted daggers fashioned to resemble talons of ivory and steel.
These are the most important tools a Shaman can wield, for her Goddess is cruel and demanding. She, above all, craves mortal blood, and it is the Skytouched Shaman’s duty to deliver that sacrifice. Thus one of the most important rituals they perform involved bloodletting – one carried out by the Shaman herself – it is a painful and gruelling process that can leave the Skytouched drained, but her cruel patron’s favour ensures that her allies are revitalized and ready to take on the foe, even if the Shaman herself has to pay the ultimate price.