From the most primitive, shaman controlled, tribes to the most worldly cosmopolitan cities, the idea that all things possess an awareness and sometimes can be called upon for aid is widespread. Religion and the practice of religion varies greatly; from beliefs that everything has a spirit in it that can be prayed to, or appeased in some cases, to the more sophisticated cults that revere a god or like creature. Some beliefs go further and theorize abtract ideals and thoughts take the form of dieties and spirits in the world.
The Argossean civilizations have melded together gods and other beings worshipped across several thousand miles and, with the extensive trade and contact between the lands, have transplanted deities and religions far from where they sprung. Cults are constantly being born, remade, and dying off while most of the beings worshipped as gods endure.
In most cases, the gods make their presence known in small things and in the ordinary life of the common folk. Farmers give praise to Demeter, Warriors worship Ares, Mars, or some other deity of war, and woodsmen look to Artemis. Polytheism is the rule of the land. While some gods are revered for their raw power, most commoners pay only lip service to them and make the required sacrifices. The gods, while often active in the affairs of humanity, rarely interest themselves with the day to day needs of the people. The worship of household spirits and personal gods, along with their associated saints, favored animals, and mystic allies, is widespread.
The average home, business, and civic buildings all usually have an altar and niche with countless idols and statues of the various gods. If the home is too poor the symbols of the deities may be inscribed or painted on the wall. The lesser spirits of the shrines oftimes have a direct impact on the day to day existance of those they watch over. From preventing food from spoiling to okeeping a well flowing with clean drinking water, their duties may be mundane in scope but vital to the survival of the home or building.
Everywhere adventurers travel throughout the lands they will encounter peasants and commoners calling upon the gods; seeking their blessings or attempting to appease them if necessary. Some societies have gods that mirror their own lifestyles, like the noble warrior who follows Mars, or the low born swordsman who knows he will die in battle and wants to pledge his life to the more savage and bloody Ares. The Dosadans have a pantheon of gods who all hold battle and conflict to be the highest ideals while the Argosseans themselves view warfare as just another aspect of life but whose pantheon includes many other gods and goddesses.
The gods in general are powerful outsiders beyond the knowledge of humanity. Some deities have arisen from humanity or other races while some appear, or at least to their followers, to predate creation.
Although it makes a certain psychological sense, it is perhaps the most ironic facet of religion that the gods tend to be viewed in the image of those who worship him. Different nations and societies view gods differently: Ishtar is a goddess of love to the Kothians who dwell to the south while she is worshipped as a war goddess and named Iskoda to the Shemites who inhabit the vast deserts bordering Koth. The Argossean god Apollo has been inducted into the Koveli pantheon under the name of Atvan; a semi-barbaric god who bears little resemblence to the stately Apollo.
As the barbarian Hybori tribes coalesced into what is commonly referred to as the Argossean city-states; religions arose linking various gods into pantheons whose belief systems became more fully defined. These city-state religions cross pollinated across the known world to the extent that on both divine and mortal levels there are entirely valid reasons for peaceful relations with other pantheons and their religions.
Religions also compete with each other; followers of the same god but in two different religions will compete and at times even war on one another. Religions all desire a limited though valuable resource: worshippers. Depending on the religion's ethical structures and its willingness to ignore its own tenets, the methods by which it competes with other organizations ranges anywhere from aggressive recruitment drives to total annihilation of the enemy. When divine will comes into play, the stakes rise significantly.
Some gods will never allow their followers in different sects or religions battle each other while others encourage it.