This Codex is related to two submissions:
“These are our Gods” and “One Deity Fantasy”
We have your gods, but only the merest mention of worship, priests, and temples. This thread is the correction for that oversight. I want you to list your priestly orders. How to the clerics or priests of your gods interact with each other, their deities, and other faiths. (i.e. make a group/ organization/ society listing for your religion).
And at no extra charge, you can add other religious posts here. I want you describe your temples, holy places, or cathedrals. I want you to list your holy holidays. Bring it on.
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CodexChurch of Sciomachty By: Scrasamax ( Society/ Organizations ) Religious - Area
‘The bigger the brain, the smaller the heart. What do wizards know of faith?’
The Church of Sciomachty
Also known as Laytonism, this is the brainchild of Provost Layton Frost of Iacon. Tired of the endless religious wars of his small nation, the Arch-Mage stepped up and eliminated all faiths from the small kingdom. He was later embraced as a local hero. it was not long before his collected anecdotes and personal insights, recorded in his widely distributed book Sciomachty spawned a new pseudo-religious organization.
After seeing the seeds of his ideas take root, Layton revised Sciomachty to include details on how to organize like minded followers into cohesive cells that functioned in much the same social fashion as church congregations. Layton named himself as the head of the new organization, and was quickly accepted by those who had already adopted many of his ideas.
Herbal suppliments, especially those that sharpen the senses and clear the mind are taken on a daily basis. While things of a narcotic nature are avoided, some of the herbs can be expensive and hard to come by. There are no restrictions on foods, though ales, beers, and dark liquors are strongly discouraged in favor of clear liquors and white wines.
Passion and emotion are aspects of the base self and should be avoided. higher ideals such as analytical thinking, reason, and logic should be embraced as often as possible. The base self should be denied as much as possible, but on rare occasion, it should be indulged, lest it seek to overwhelm the higher self.
The rites of the church simply induce a conditioned responce in the mind, entering into a meditative trance is as beneficial as prayers and offerings to distant and uncaring gods. Members are expected to meditate at least 4 hours a day, more if possible.
The gods have shaped man to need the gods, and man can reshape himself to not need them. Use of various apparatti, many of enlightened K’tonian design, can overcome the limitations of the body as devised by the gods. Attributes of intelligence, endurance, perception, and magical potential can be enhanced by spinning wheels, optical stimulation, and regular exposure to magical materials.
The Church of Sciomachty is divided into Campi, each Campi roughly corresonponding with existing parishes, duchies, or dioces. A Campi is headed by a Dean, who must answer to Layton via magical communication on a week to week basis. Each Campi is in turn divided into four Quads, each headed by a Principus. A Quad in turn is divided into an unset number of cells, or congregations. Cells are encouraged to create inventive names for themselves, often drawing on the writtings of Frost, or on rare occasions the writtings of other potent mages.
On a Campi, and Quad level, the Church of Sciomachty is very legitimate, on a cell level, there are constant problems. Many cells pay lip service to the Church and use it as an aegis to continue doing things that were previously condemned by the various faiths. many morally questionable practices shelter under the power minded teachings of Layton, and use them as an excuse to indulge in illicit drugs, slavery and bondage, coercion and the like. The majority of thieves guilds in the regions that have Laytonist influence have converted. How deep seated this conviction is remains a matter to be debated.
Some sample Cells:
The Good - The PCs encounter a Sciomachtian Cell and rather than face the bad things they might be expecting, they find that the members are just ordinary people with some weird ideas and no thought of hurting others. Mages could benefit as there are likely to be more magicky types among the followers.
The Bad - As above, except the PCs run face first into a cell like the Circle of the Wheel and are faced with increasingly violent demands that they denounce the false gods and accept their own power over themselves. Dissenters might be placed in the wheel, tortured, or simply beaten and robbed, dumped in an area and told not to come back…or else.
The Ugly - If an area is dominated by the new faith, PCs can expect healing spells from priests to become much more rare and more expensive. the Cells draw up gold that would have gone to alms and the churchs so now the poor are in a really bad spot as the churches often cannot afford their own needs let alone those of others. Can the PCs help the poor, or do they step into the echelons of the Laytonists, power and privelage, turning a blind eye to the downtrodden. This is even better if the PCs started off downtrodden.
The Machine - lured by promises of increased stats on their character sheets, the PCs seek out some of the K’tonian enhancement machines, but to get that promised dot of intelligence, or a standing bonus to agility/dexterity they have to jump through the cell’s hoops, and then have to ride the machine…does it work…maybe
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Church of The Message By: MoonHunter ( Society/ Organizations ) Religious - Regional
The Church of the Message was built upon the ruins of the various churches that fell once their clerical powers were lost.
See BA’AN and The Messenger to for back story of this church.
The Church of the Message was built upon the ruins of the various churches that fell once their clerical powers were lost. The religion has a Judeo Christian feel (centralist and focused on Good Living and Good works). The Avatars/ Angels are given special worship, much like Catholic Saints. The Messenger’s Church is the only source of healing (magical or otherwise), spiritual protection (spells vs demons, magic, and evil), and wisdom in the world. It was built by the messenger’s original followers, incorporating the various priests that decided to acknowledge The Message.
By acknowledging BA’AN and The Word (i.e. The Messenger and his message), one can be brought into The Faith. The lay folk were easily taught the new doctrins. It took a while, but the old priests soon were incorporated into the new faith. Those who took to the word, were given appropriate sashes.
At the top, there is the Post Council. It was made up of the eleven main followers of the Messenger. Each Post Councilor (or Blue Sash) covers a different aspect of the Church: Building, Protectors (Paladins and Magic), Healing, Teaching, Scripture, Art, Faithspeaker (most priests, comes from the old term of non-messenger priest), Couriers (loyal, highly trained priests - those directly taught by the Followers of the Messenger), Crown (Noble Liason), Preacher (dealing with those outside the faith), and Coordinators. As each one left, they appointed an appropriate successor. The Post Council is the central organizational power of The Church.
Note: most of their staff are white sashes (true priests) and some acolytes, but they may pull in Red Sashes (Senior/ Lead Priests) to do the work (These white sashes have one red star on them, to denote a senior white sash).
Each district has its own Red Sash, the priest which oversees the district. He has priests which deal with the various areas of the Faith, (consider it similar to the post council). Each church has at least one White Sash and some supporting acolytes.
Those with Gold Trimmed Sashes can perform Healing and Clerical Magic. They are distributed around the churches. Since the Church’s power is built upon their monopoly over Holy Magics, they are constantly training people to channel the divine forces.
In the last few decades, The Church has rebuilt all the various temples to fit the folio of The Word. They all look like early Gothic period Catholic Churches, with plenty of statuary showing of the Angels and Avatars. (In fact, in many places there are special chapels dedicated to certain avatars… usually the deity the church had been previously dedicated to.)
In newer cities and towns, The Church has built buildings to their own unique specifications. Eventually all old temples and churches will be replaced by places of worship designed to promote and support the One Deity BA’AN.
The Paladins of the church tend to be witch hunters- those that hunt witches those that use magic beyond mortal control (i.e. infernal magics from the Outsider dieties -i.e. Demons). They also protect priests who go out to spread the word of The Messenger. They are stationed in most of the larger churches. They are prohibited to have their own places.
The Book or The Folio is the often used name for the collected Holy works of the Church. The Messenger wrote several short thesis/ sermons/ speeches on the Message. These were combined as the core of The Book. Included in the Book were the work of the four primary Disciples, expressing the hows and whys of proper living under BA’AN. In more modern versions of The Book, there are small sections from the other seven primary disiples which are guidelines for the various divisions in the Faith.
Please remember that his church is built upon compromises and adapting diverse elements into one. That legacy has been built upon since the earliest preachings. They are “The One Word”, but they realize that there are many letters that make up that word.
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Church of The One By: MoonHunter ( Society/ Organizations ) Religious - Regional
The Priests of The One are shaman scholars, showing the way of The Spirit, The One to the people. They do not like being called a church, as history has shown that all churches eventually become organizations and dominant ones.
The Priests of The One are shaman scholars, showing the way of The Spirit, The One to the people. They do not like being called a church, as history has shown that all churches eventually become organizations and dominant ones.
The Priests and followers of The One - The Speakers - do not congregate in churches and temples. They meet where ever the Priest lives, usually in their garden or a barn (in inclement weather). Some Speakers live in places away from the clutter of daily existence. There they cultivate a peaceful and aesthetic atmosphere. Every speaker holds gatherings at convenient times for their neighbors (early in the morning before they go to work, at noon after their central meal, after work… or once a week at a specific time). They ring a bell to call the followers. No one has to show up, but most do. Those that don’t show up, the local speaker checks on them sometime later… just to make sure nothing is wrong.
Speakers live a very simple life, with a minimum of distraction. They wear simple clothes and pull their hair back into a single braided tail. They are often supported by their community, but if that is the case, they do some work around the village to earn their keep.
Many priests wander, trying to divorce themselves of the material. These priests live off the charity of others or the occasional itinerate work.
No matter the priest, they then try to pass the mysteries of the spirit on to others, in the forms of stories and riddles. They also provide advice on how best to achieve ones purpose, to work with the flow of cosmic forces/ spiritual energies, and to achieve happiness.
There is no one central school of thought. In fact one of the tenets of the The One is that there IS NO ONE WAY. Those who have the calling are those who feel the duty to relearn the spirit. Priests are taught by other peer priests the fundamentals of the One’s message. They are taught paths for achieving oneness. (There is no one path for any journey.) They are also taught meditation, some oratory skills, and several classic passages and riddles to serve as the foundation of their understanding.
There are no central authorities, just priests with more reputation and knowledge are revered and their wisdom listened to. Many of these priests live in communities of other priests in out of the way areas where the aesthetic lifestyle can be maintained.
There is some structure for the priests. There are five circles. To become a priest requires one to study under five different priests of the fifth circle (or greater) and be accepted by all of them. To be admitted to each circle requires the acceptance of five members of that circle. To become a member of the fourth circle, a member of the fifth circle must study under and be accepted by five members of the fourth. There are currently 23 members of the 1th circle through out the land. The names of the circles are simply fifth through first, to avoid any flowery distractions from the truth.
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Keldorian Church aka Church of Creator By: MoonHunter ( Society/ Organizations ) Religious - World Wide
Looking back on things, Keldor was the most unlikely of prophets. While charismatic, he was short, of middling birth, a half breed, and of a questionable profession. Yet his words have change the very fabric of society and created a lasting peace.
Even though this is a nearly monotheistic religion, it functions well in a world with one or more active pantheons
Centuries ago, Keldor was a rogue turned prophet, was on the run. It during the time of the Purges, when genocide and war was the order of the day. People turned against other races, other peoples, and even other countries. It was during that time Keldor found his connection to The Creator. He tried to avoid the responsibility and the notoriety, but understood his duty to the greater good. Keldor became his mouth piece. He preached tolerance and a dedication to a higher good. He did good deeds. He left a small following of people everywhere he went. For his trouble, he was burned upon stake (symbolized by the use of a candle/ flame motif found in the Keldorian Church) by the local Lord Bishop in country of Canador (which is now a small provence in the state of Kashon).
His words had been captured by several of his followers. They came together to morn his death and compare note. (Thus the first wake of Keldorian tradition.) His sermons, conversations, and stories were bound together in the Codex of Truth. (Each of The Seven (Original Copies scribed by Pipp the Scribe) are found in the six Great Western Cathedrals and the Monastery of Dolman). This book, with its discussions on Truth, Forgiveness, Tolerance, and Higher Good, is the cornerstone of the faith. People then taught by example and stood up for their beliefs. They helped to curb and eventually end The Purges.
Over the five hundred years or so, the Keldorian Church has become the dominant faith for the Civilized Lands of the Center Countries.
The Creator wove together universe. Other Powerful Spirits do exist, rainbow manifestations of the Creator’s True Pattern. The Universal weave creates the divine order: Creator/ Spirits/ Saints/ Material creatures.
Spirits are reflections of The Creator off the material universe. Thus other ‘Gods’ are possible. They are important as reflection of The Creator, but their exclusive worship is strictly forbidden (thus this religion can co-exist somewhat with any polytheistic religion).
Saints are mortals chosen by the Creator on to weave the world closer to the ideal, to protect and direct the higher good. Saints are most often beatified heroes of legend and history, considered saints after the fact. Many of them are nobles who have taken up the mantle of heaven, the true noble obligations. This touching of greatness has made the religion attractive to the Noble and Knightly classes.
The Material beings are just that. Humans, Elves, Animals, it is all the same. They are part of the divine pattern because they make it up… being material things.
Magic is not only allowed by their theology, it is encouraged. It allows material beings to utilize their spirit to effect the material. As long as the Magic is in line with the Higher Good, it is accepted. Many priests practice magic to serve the greater good.
Tolerance, Forgiveness, Moderation, Support of the Family of spirits and blood, and Charity, are all key ideals.
Celebrate Diversity, Forgive the living, Never forget the wrongs of the past, lest you repeat them, Support Life, Seek out and destroy those things that seek death and destruction for its own sake (i.e. destroy Evil/Chaos).
Hatred, Intolerance, Gross indulgence of anything, Harming of Children, Exclusive worship of lesser deities, The promoting of chaos/ evil, Dishonesty, murder/ theft, etc.
The church is run by Cardinals, regional over-priests. There is a council of cardinals. One can be a cardinal forever. One can only be the First Cardinal for one year at a time, and not consecutively. Each cardinal oversees a region or a sect of the church.
Bishops work on the Cardinal’s staff and over see a DeoRegio which contains 1-7 churches (in a state, large city, or small country).
Priests are the face of the church. It is their parish priest that they talk with and listen to every 6th day. Deacons are young priests that are under a given priest who is tending a large flocks.
Monks are priests without a parish or specific flock. Following Keldor’s example, they are vagabonds, wandering the world doing good and spreading his teachings. Monks and priests are trained inMonasteriess.
OrdersKeepers of the Codex
: They are the traditionalists and conservatives of thechurchh - fanatical, focusing on church power and wealth… with little tolerance for heretical (in its minds) orders.Order of Vagabond Monks
: These are the wandering preachers. They set up the way stations of their monks and do much of the monastery support.Followers of the Way
: As in “those that follow the in the footsteps of the saints”. This sect focuses upon following the ideals and worshiping of the saints, rather than the unknowable creator.The Wallechi Searchers
: Since Keldor was not the first prophet, there must of been others. The searchers seek out tales of other prophets in other lands. They are also searching for the next prophet to be sent by the creator. An oddly optimistic bunch, they hope to better understand The Creator and their faith, though the next prophet.Maldacorians
: This sect spends much time dealing with the “other gods” and spirits besides the creator. These are thinly veiled followers of other gods. They are prevalent in areas where the church is newly installed or where heretical traditions are long ingrained.Swords of Peace
This is is the military arm of this peaceful church. They teach martial prowess, confidence, and strength, to protect and defend others. They also search out Evil and Chaos and remove it from the world. They make other members of the church uncomfortable.Polechi Church
This Cardinal region is headed by a hereditary cardinal. They venerate an earlier prophet of the creator and have embraced Keldor as “The One of Prophecies”. They have a number of “odd traditions” and customs that they keep trying to bring into the church mainstay. A powerful sect in the early church, their power has waned over the centuries.
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Order of Silence By: Iain ( Society/ Organizations ) Religious - World Wide
Believed by some to be heretics, the adherents of Silence worship the Blessed Ruth, Our Lady of Silence.
The Order of Silence follow the Blessed Ruth, Our Lady of Silence, twin sister to Our Lord Andur Astartes, Saviour and Redeemer. They believe that she is both divine and immortal, though of a less divinity than that of Andur, Lord of Order and his incarnation on earth, Andur Astartes. As such they consider themselves to be part of the Anduran faith. How they are viewed by conventional Andurans varies according to the denomination. The Canonical Church tolerates them and has officially recognised the denomination as part of mainstream Andurism; however, Scriptualists and other non-conformists view them with at best grudging tolerance and at worst as heretics.
The Book of Andur tells of how, when Our Lord Andur Astartes was born, his mother also bore a twin sister to him. Deaf and blind from birth, the baby girl was named Ruth, meaning pity, or compassion.
From later chapters it is clear that Ruth not only survived childhood but was able to, in some way, communicate with others, something that would seem to be most unusual for one so handicapped. However, the Book of Andur gives no indication that Ruth in any way shared the divinity of her Brother.
In the early days of Andurism, many sects and factions abounded, most utterly heretical, before the enlightened won out and truth prevailed over heresy. Historical documents indicate that from the very earliest days, a cult of Silence existed, worshipping Ruth, Our Lady of Silence. However, the earliest extant documents that testify to this belief are the Ruthine Scrolls, a set of apocryphal gospels dating from the early third century. Adherents of Silence claim that St. Gregory’s Second Epistle to the Aesthenians (II Aesthenians 14:23) implies that St. Gregory was aware and approved of an earlier version of these texts but both the translation and interpretation of the verse in question are hotly disputed by scholars.
So, for the first few centuries, the Order of Silence had little firm foundation, relying on a number of disjointed, often corrupted or incomplete, texts and the anecdotal tales of Ruth’s intercessions that were passed on by word of mouth and only occasionally written down.
It was not until the ninth century that Silence worship was put on a firm theological basis with the publication of the Annalia by Konelis Larach, 26th Abbot of Zarant. This seven-volume masterpiece firmly established and codified the doctrinal basis, scriptural support and philosophical underpinning of Silence worship, essentially codifying for the first time Ruthine theology.
The Annalia led directly to the recognition of the Order of Silence by the Canonical Church. Though utterly abstruse to the average layman, the chapters in Volume Two in which Larach precisely illustrated the exact nature of the Blessed Ruth’s divinity and the reasons why it did not threaten the supremacy of Andur were the primary cause of Patriarch Johan IV’s decision in 1052 to both canonise Larach and to formally recognise the Order of Silence as a non-heretical denomination of Andurism.
Historical and Geographical Spread
Despite its shaky underpinnings, the Order of Silence nevertheless spread widely in the first millenium. Though by no means mainstream, typically around 5-10% of the population of an Andur worshipping region might venerate Ruth. Only in the Zechen-Rotliegendish Commonwealth was this not true. There, thanks largely to strong state support, the denomination became firmly rooted, at its peak becoming the norm rather than the exception.
However, Silence’s fortunes waned with the Commonwealth and, when it fell in the 14th century, Ruthine worship likewise declined. Though stronger in the areas once ruled by the Commonwealth it still only commands the allegiance of around a fifth of the population. Elsewhere, the figure is more like a tenth (in Canonical countries) and far lower in Scriptural and nonconformist countries due to suppression and persecution.
Beliefs and Values
Due to the Blessed Ruth’s deafness, her adherents venerate silence. Ruth lived permanently in a holy silence, and so do they aim to. Though blind, Ruth could still perceive the world and, perhaps due to this, the Order of Silence venerates knowledge and scholarship. Furthermore, many are mystics, pursuing the arts of prophesy and divination - it is not unknown for a particularly devout monk or priest of Silence to blind themselves to devote himself more fully to the “other sight”.
The Blessed Ruth herself is considered to be both immortal and divine. Unlike Andur Astartes, she was not assumed into heaven for her divinity is of a lesser kind; instead, she wanders the world, ageless and undying. Her appearance is that of a woman in her fifties, yet one who carries her years lightly and who is still beautiful. Her hair is as black as night; her skin pale as moonlight, her carriage and figure stately and elegant.
Though blind and deaf she has no difficulty finding her way; however, she is not omnipresent and can travel from one place to another no faster than a normal human could. However, by foresight she knows where she will be needed. Ruth is said to often test mortals; those who aid her - a blind and deaf woman - freely and unstintingly (particularly if they do so despite having some other pressing purpose driving them) will receive her aid, either by wise council or by direct blessing or intervention.
Worship and Buildings
Silence worship consists of an honour of stillness and silence – religious services involve large amounts of silent prayer and meditation, occasionally broken by rhythmic chanting – and there is little in this to attract the majority of people. There is a very strong monastic element to Silence worship (over half of Silence priests live in monasteries) and many of these monks take a vow of partial or total silence. All refrain from any unnecessary noise.
The veneration of knowledge is another reason why Silence worship attracts scholars and many Silence priests work to preserve knowledge. They are frequently in the forefront of establishing and running the great libraries of the world
Churches of Silence are designed to be unobtrusive and to blend in with the surroundings. The architecture is cunningly designed to cut off the noise of the outside world and to muffle any sounds made within. Most Silence churches are found in cities or large towns – the denomination is not large enough to have churches in small villages. The majority of people drawn to silence worship fall in to three categories: reclusive and solitary individuals who are at home with silence; certain people, often wealthy or scholars, who are slightly withdrawn from the world and who have come to find great spiritual meaning in Silence and the underclasses: thieves and assassins who live by stealth and silence and who thus see it as the natural power to worship. Naturally, the priests of Silence do not condone such actions; however, the ability to move with true silence is greatly admired and, as such, many great assassins believe that Ruth is served by their work. Maybe she is.
Misconceptions of Silence
The above mentioned association with undesirables is perhaps one reason why there is frequently suspicion of the Order of Silence. More seriously, some of the uneducated confuse the worship of Silence with the worship of the silence of the grave. This misunderstanding is not helped by the fact that in areas where Silence worship has historically been strong, the order has adopted Longest Night as a night of meditation in honour of Ruth, whereas elsewhere in the world this night is feared as a time when the forces of evil are strongest. It is also sometimes alleged that the Order of Silence will use evil methods - such as necromancy - in pursuit of its aims. Whilst it is true that Silence priests have been known to use such methods, they have a strong antipathy towards and doing so and the Order does not advocate there use except if their is no other alternative.
It should be remembered that much hostility towards the Order of Silence does not result from misunderstanding but rather comes about because their opponents understand them all too well - and consider them to be heretics of the true Anduran faith.
Powers and Rituals Please ignore this section if your world/system does not involve clerical magic.
The clergy of Silence, with its devotion to knowledge and scholarship, have many powers, almost all concerned with the arts of silence and concealment. Devotees of Silence are able to deaden noise, to become nondescript or invisible and even to feign death itself. They may indusce drowsiness or sleep in others and, at times, have been known to communicate telepathically even in a noise-deadened area. It is said that some Silence priests have even been known to take on the form of an owl, sailing ghostly through the night.
Regarding rituals, amongst their most powerful is the Ritual of the Larachian Refuge, devised by Konelis Larach himself, that can conceal an entire region save under the dark of a total solar eclipse. They have also been known to bind a person to silence upon a subject, to transform a person into spirit form and even to slow time. However, many of their rituals centre upon the arts of divination and the most devoted, those whom have blinded themselves in service of Ruth, are able to divine the deepest secrets of an object or person’s past and nature or to probe the murky depths of the future, albeit imperfectly.
Note that although presented here as an adjunct to a monotheistic religion, it could potentially be adapted to a polytheistic religion, with Ruth the twin of a more major deity.
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Preserver Thought By: MoonHunter ( Systems ) Divine/ Spirit - Specific
Preserver Thought is “The School of Thought” on Kerren. It motivated the Colonist to colonize. It is what led them to their unique technolgical and social mix. These Preservers live up to their own ideals.
There is no “religion” on Kerren (or Earth of their era) as most of us 21C natives would think of it; there are only “Schools of Moral Thought” (akin to Confucianism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confucianism ). It is “The School of Thought” on Kerren, and the one that motivated the Colonist to colonize, is Preservationism or Preserver Thought. Its practitioners are simply called Preservers.
The Preservers Movement was experiencing an upswing in active popularity on Earth in the Century before the Landing. A series of technological disasters, lack of system flexibility, and societal disruptions, created a need in people to create something more. Preservers do not see themselves acting in opposition to older religions or technology or existing social orders. They see themselves as the next step, to ensure the survival of Society (en mass) and Community (en local). Community is something they see as lacking on Earth and one of the things they wished to rebuild.
The Preserver Movement had its roots in the ancient Ecological Movements. Feeling Humanity has failed on Earth, they are now trying to preserve and extend the ecologies of new colonial worlds. It would be simplistic to just “blame technology”. Preservers are not anti-technology by any means. They do, however, want it harnessed for social good and kept to an appropriately MAINTAINABLE level. Their Goal is to preserve society (en large) and community (en local) in a sustainable model, one in ecological harmony.
Note: At the time of Launch, they have been quite successful on over 38 worlds in which they were the Primary Charters. They have had no “failed” colonies.
Preservers had a dispersed structure, much like a network. There is no hierarchy or chain of command, though it has a number of Charismatic Leaders involved with it. People were just part of it or not. Decisions were by general consensus, with a project leaders designated by popular accord. One was to think ecologically (in terms of fluid ordered systems), but you act locally, with the higher ideals in mind. This kept the group fairly harmonious.
This dispersed structure has been maintained on Kerren. It is up to the Elders to teach the Younger about the way of things. While the Colony originally had some “Charismatic Scholars”, they and the actual Teachers were lost in the first Kerren Flus. Thus everyone tries to teach the Children the way of things, with the bulk of it being done by Healers (who were running the formal classes for each Warren/ Cluster/ Village at this point anyways).
Preserver beliefs are simple and logical (if you accept their premises). It is a rational belief system tempered with a bit of optimism. As with Confucianism, there are some vague and quite minimal metaphysical aspects.
*A simpler life is better for humanity/ society, and is much more sustainable. They try to keep social structures as streamlined and as local focused as possible. (This shows in the Two Tiered advisory council model they use for government. )
*Community is a group of people living and working together with a balancing of their own good and the group good. Helping one and another is a key ideal. In the dangerous world of Kerren, it is a very practical ideal as well.
* People have to live in harmony in nature. Nature must be respected and learned from. The Colonist had this idea before they colonized here. They learned greater respect for nature when they found out “nature” would casually walk through their walls and rip people apart.
Note: The first Guliver Quote in the Sagas: “See, I told you so.”
The Kerrenese do not build dams or change the environment on any scale. They don’t build in flood planes or places where they would be in danger. After all, the world is dangerous enough… why add more danger to it?
* Technology is not bad, but it needs to be responsive and appropriate to the world. Thus the world is an mix of sustainable technologies, the very low tech and some high tech. No fossil fuels, but alcohol based fuels, advanced chemistry is used to avoid much in the way of toxins, the wind mill is a strong generator of power here.
The Kerrenese were prepared to have a much higher technology level for their colony, akin to the late 19C/ early 20C. However, the electrosensativities of the Sauraians and Dragons, the lack of industrial metals, and the other ecological concerns, modified the plan greatly. Thus the technological level is generally much lower than expected, but has some odd spikes. However, it all is a perfect fit for the ecology.
* As for the metaphysical, there is a generalized belief in a balance and flow in the universe. The ecology is a tangible map for the more cosmic flows and balances. If you are in harmony with the universe, the universe will be in harmony with you. The universe has a plan that you can’t see in the chaos of the details, yet each piece of the plan is important to the whole plan.
Author’s note: Okay, this is sounding like the Force from Star Wars. Maybe they rereleased or redid the first trilogy in 2190?
There is a Karmic ideal inherent in this belief system: actions have consequences both in this life and the next few. After death there is a time between: returning to the spiritual whole. There you heal and learn from your experiences, some day to come back. Since people can’t “know” this time, it is something that is downplayed.
Note: Recycling is more than a good idea, it seems to be a cosmic pattern.
The Kerrenese cremate their dead. Originally they wanted to bury them to return them to the soil, but the local scavengers would dig them up to eat them. The Dragons will burn their dead, so the Humans took to the custom.
Now, The Ryder Honor Code is part of the moral system. You can see how it is an extension of this Moral System.
Also remember that these people still learn of Earth History and The Mistakes made on the Homeworld. They know about some of The Colonies, and that there are other Preservers out there. Because this knowledge is still taught, it makes people more accepting of this ecologically minded moral code which holds back some of their “progress”.
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Samahhi; Sama's Word By: Pariah ( Items ) Books and Scrolls - Campaign Defining
Always wary of the minions of the Lying Ones, for they revel in aberrant actions, and seek only to undo your works and subvert your thoughts. - Excerpt from the Samahhi
Please know that this is a collection of excerpts from these particular books, and not the books in their entirety. It’s one of those things I’ve been sitting on for a while, and it took a particular violent spurt of ADD to bring me back to it. Smiles
Book I - Book of Beginnings
See Story of Sama
Book II - Book of Life
The Six Commands of Sama
i - You shall know the sanctity I have given to my priests, and shall obey all their commands and believe all they teach.
ii - Wage war against the heretics and the heathens unceasingly, and let your blade be always turned against the impure and their aberrant brothers
iii - No man shall recoil from his enemy, for I am with him and seek only the destruction of the False Ones and their followers.
iv - Let no lie escape your lips, and no falsehood be written by you.
v - Let never your heart hate they brother, for you are both made pure by I, but if your brother forsakes me strike him down before I take vengeance upon your whole line.
vi - Steal not from your brother, nor from anyone else made pure by me, for there shall be no hatred among my chosen.
Various Other Commands
-Drink no blood of either animal or man, for these are holy to me, and whoever does so shall have his blood spilt unto the ground in one of my tents as restitution.
-If any sacrifices blood out of my tents, he is to be treated as if he had sacrificed it to one of the goat gods, and is to be mauled by a bull, and his blood is to be collected and brought to my temple as restitution.
-Let no one, either foreign slave or one of your line, consecrate any blood or beast or grain to one of the Lying Ones. If any does so he must be dragged out of the village by a goat, and then all that saw him are to testify upon his head of his transgression. And after such, all in the vicinity shall throw stones at him, first his house, than his blood’s blood,* followed by any of his line, than by all others, until he is dead.
-Let no one profane my name, for it is well revered, and to do so shall bring punishment down upon the speaker and his house.
-Never let your lands be feed off of by the impure, for it isn’t for the impure to take what is the pure’s due. So, when you have had your pick, and given as needed to your line and blood, you shall set light to your lands, and then plow them under again.
-Do not seek revenge, nor hold a grudge, against one of the pure, for to do so shall make you impure, and fit to be cast out.
Book III - Book of Truth
"In the beginning we were all one folk, strong under His rule, but He rested and the False Ones shattered us. So we were weak, and lived as thieves, stealing fur and fangs of beasts for survival. Then came Sama, and with him the Light. Thus we grew strong, but there were still others who clung to the darkness and were weak, and so we know that to reject the Light is denounce life."
"And always you shall be vigilant and look into the shadows. For mine enemies are many and will seek only your destruction, and among your numbers remember that the sneaking grasp of sin never rests."
"If one has eyes to see what I have made, and Light to see it by, but does not, than your eyes shall be torn from their sockets and you shall be made to wander forever blind."
"You, my children shall always be hounded by the demons and the Dark, and from your enemies your only shield be blood, and in it you shall thrive. Upon the battlefields where the heathens died your children will plant fields, and their blood’s blood shall grow strong."
Book IV - Book of Joy
After the second week** of the first harvest the village is to come together and all are to feed each other on fine wine and good grain. There shall be much celebration, and all are to sacrifice of themselves to me.
Feast of the Moon
Upon the Day of the highest Flow+ all shall join together and drink wine and give praise to me to shake the highest reaches of heaven, and the deepest reaches of the foundation. And there shall walk among you one of my priests and he will give exoneration for the sins you’ve committed in the time since you last communed with one of his brothers.
Feast of Horns
Once, every sixmoon, you shall lay aside a week to only prayer and fasting, and during this time you are to treat each other as closest brothers, taking no advantage of each other in deals, and not collecting debts owed.
Day of the Stars
Once a year, on the second day of the sixth sixweek, you shall fast for a full cycle of the sun and give remembrance of all that have passed before you, and give praise for the paths my saints have set before you.
Feast of the Sun
Once, every sixth sixmoon you shall all sacrifice of yourself twice over, and then spend a week in fast. In this time no deals shall be made, and no wars started. You shall raise the sword only in defense of yourself or your line. No animals shall be butchered on these days, and no work shall be done.
Book V - Book of Enemies
"I have given to you, my chosen, the earth and all that is in it."
"And the lands of the pagans; where they shall neither yield, move, nor die; you shall burn. And when the fires of retribution die down you shall salt the land to make it uninhabitable so that none of their blood shall return to take up their parents religion and blasphemous belief in the lies of the False Ones."
"And you have been born into a rebellious world. The whole of its history is treason; your blood has been spilt before you were even born; the various creeds are but an infidelity to My Truth; and Man’s laws are but treason to his maker. So you shall go out, with the torch and the sword, to bring my laws to them and the Light. There will be many that don’t accept what you offer, and so they shall be given the light of your steel, and their children shall be taken as your slaves."
Book VI - Book of Ends
"When one in your household dies he is to be laid out in full light of the sun and stars for two days, and during this time the members of your household, and any that come to help pay his sins, shall stand watch over him lest any defile his body. On the second day all the men shall put a drop of blood from their thumbs under each of his eyes, or if it is a woman, the women shall, and then he is to be carried to one of my tents. My priests will then say their prayers over him and absolve him of any of his sins that are known, then they shall cut into him and drain all the blood out of him as a sacrifice to me, to wash away all of his sins. And then his body shall be laid into the ground to rest."
"Let the mourning for the dead go on for more than a week, and then move on. Remember the dead on the Day of Stars, for that is when they burn brightest, and their souls are close enough to hear your words and respond."
"Let no one among you commune with the spirits on a regular basis, like the heathen priests do, but instead commune with the living and strengthen my kingdom."
*blood’s blood means children
**Samahen week is 6 days instead of the more common 7
+Flow is the high tide, which comes monthly and is a lot larger than ours. Also something like 4.4 months in a year.
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The Church of the Merciful and Glorious Ion By: Alec_Shadowkin ( Society/ Organizations ) Religious - Country/ State
The figures looked more or less human. And they were engaged in religion. You could tell by the knives (it’s not murder if you do it for a god).
—(Terry Pratchett, Small Gods)
After the fall of the Marthanean Empire, the lands formerly controlled by the Emperor dissolved into dangerous anarchy. About 30 years after the empire collapsed, a man known only as Prophet Sharta started traveling the land, spreading the word of the Almighty Ion. At first people were hesitant to listen, they still wanted to hold onto their old gods. However, when Sharta pointed out that the old gods, who had supported the empire, had now failed it, people were quick to convert. Ion rapidly gained strength and after a short while, enough followers came together that they built a church. Ion became a settled god, a figurehead. More and more converted from the old gods until the old religion was basically forgotten. The Church of the Great and Forgiving Ion was born, soon growing until it engulfed all of the old empire’s lands.
The basic tenents of Ion are common knowledge. There are tenants covering most situations where spiritual guidance may be necessary.
1. Ion is the only true god. The Old Gods abandoned the world leaving only chaos. Ion is the only provider.
2. A witch shall not be allowed to live. These traitors are threats to Ion’s guidance, leading others away from the light of Ion’s righteous path and shall not be tolerated.
3. Those who bask in the light and warmth of Ion shall be admitted into his Palace upon death. Those who denounce Him, however, or those who wield the infernal powers of the metaphysical without His endless guidance, shall forever be banished to the Wastelands, forced to forever live around His house without being allowed entrance.
4. The Arcane Arts are granted by the Glorious Ion and are only granted to those of the Church. Any others with power over the Metaphysical are witches of the false gods and must be punished according to Ion’s great Mercy.
The Church consists of a trio of Deacons as the highest officials. They make all decrees and are viewed as the divinely appointed representatives of Ion. At the next level down are the twelve Bishops. They handle the interactions between the Deacons and the Priests. They also oversee religious enquiries and act as judges during witch hunt trials. The Priests are separated into six numbered “Steps”. Step one priests oversee the various counties; each priest is given one county to watch over, acting as peacekeepers and mediators when problems arise. Steps two and three are the next lowest in rank and these Priests are primarily charged with the day-to-day chores of the Church: holding services, mediating minor disputes, etc. The fourth through sixth steps are the church converters. They spend the majority of their time listening to rumors of unfaithful and trying to bring them into Ion’s merciful light. They also act as police officers when a non-believer becomes a problem.
The other main group within the Church is the Guardians of Purity, also known as the Redhammers. These men and women serve Ion by following his will to hunt down and expose heretics, believers in the old gods, and practitioners of the forbidden arts. They are usually seen in gray robes with red detailing and a small insignia on their left breast of a war hammer with a flame crossing the haft. They are ruthless in their task to expose betrayers of Ion and merciless in their disposal of any found.
Great emphasis is placed on death as the person is now moving on to either live in the Great Ion’s palace or to be rejected and forever wander the wastelands outside of the Palace. Officers of the Church will be given elaborate and time-consuming funerals and after they are placed into a tomb depending on their status within the hierarchy; Priests in a small mausoleum, placed into niches carved into the walls. First through third step Priests are places with silver coins over their eyes, to symbolize the wealth of their lives in service to Ion. Priests of the fourth, fifth and sixth steps are placed with the silver coins, as well as a small iron holy symbol, to show their place as protectors of the faith; Bishops into a large tomb, given freestanding, open top coffins with ceremonial daggers placed in hands crossed over their chest; Deacons are granted their own small pyramids as burial grounds.
Priests and Bishops who are discovered holding unorthodox beliefs, or who are caught investigating the gods and beliefs of the Marthanean Empire, are punished most harshly. Instead of being buried in the tombs, as their service to Ion would usually earn, they are buried alive in a graveyard. They are allowed no coins over their eyes and none of the rituals or scriptures usually read over a deceased priest are allowed. Once the dissident is laid to ground, a vigil is kept for six days and night, to ensure that no distraught family member or sympathetic priest tries to rescue the live grave-resident. This is a horrendous punishment, and priests who receive this burial are considered dishonored, earning Ion’s scorn for all time.
There are different customs involving the passing of a commoner as well. Heretical women are buried in ordinary graveyards still bound and gagged, to represent their subservience to Ion after their trial by fire. Heretical men are left in stocks until carrion feeders devour most of the body, then the remains are thrown into a mass grave. Peasants who are followers of Ion are granted a place in a local graveyard, buried with their family with a small headstone to mark the grave.
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The Dreamer's Cult By: Pariah ( Society/ Organizations ) Mystical - World Wide
Trust in dreams, for in them is the hidden gate to eternity.
The Dreamers, as they are called, are a small religious group that worships a primal force greater than the gods themselves. Often called a demon cult, they are hunted by the more devout followers of the false gods, persecuted for trying to restore the natural order to this broken world, hunted for preaching the truth of dreams, or so they would have you believe.
Little is truly known about the cult, with conflicting information coming from the more accepted religions and the cultists themselves, it hard to piece together the truth of the matter. But some of the more ‘accepted’ facts are that they view the gods as the foulest beings, the bringers of injustice, the jealous beings who had the gale to claim godhood. Their religious texts make vague references to the ideas that if Aahr had not rebelled then the demons never would have escaped to torment the very foundations of reality, and also that the gods have the angles locked and bound away, little more than shadows of what they once were. Of course, it would take months of studying the texts to find anything more definitive than veiled references, but when you’re sleeping you have all the time in the world.
The reasons the Dreamers sell the Dreamer’s Tears is twofold. The baser of the two is to get money for food and drink, which is hard to get in the dark places that many of their temples are. The second one is this, sleep is the holiest of holies, and in sleep a dreamers dream the same dream. It is a dream of rebirth they say, a dream of rebuilding. And if you ask why the dreamers cry they will tell you this, "They cry because they know something better is coming, but that it is taking too long. They cry because they feel a piece of the despair that the Heavenly Pillar feels over its betrayal."
The temples of the Dreamer are often built in out of the way places, places that have been abandoned by all but the dregs of civilization. Their temples are inside of abandoned warehouses, old catacombs, blocked of sections of the sewer, and the like. The insides of the temples are dark and dreary, with candles providing only shadowy illumination, the floors are covered by the sleeping bodies of the worshippers, and in the corners there are tables with scrolls lying scattered all over the place. The scrolls often contain little things rumors, prophecies, gibberish, lost pieces of arcane lore, all are given the same treatment, for they are the rantings of a sleeping one. On these tables on may also find pages from the Tome of Midnight, the supposed holy book of the group, scattered around.
The city temples are usually populated by 10-15 faithful, any more and it poses as too good of a target for the zealots to pass up, and any less and they can’t defend themselves. They often have one High Priest for every three or four disciples, with another ten or so coming in from around the city to worship on a semi-daily basis. But, outside the city walls it is a different story entirely. There are rumors that some of the temples can grow to as many as fifty disciples. Of course, the only reason for this is that those who manage to escape a raid by the authorities generally flee the city entirely, so as to not risk exposing others by going to them. The monasteries outside of the city are usually caves, with small entrances, that have been enlarged inside. The disciples here have some form of martial training, and generally have the support of the local rangers in expelling any invasion by the Order of the Vigilant.
They are a simple order, with a small hierarchy. The High Priests will hold council when they need, and other than that they spend their time teaching their sleeping disciples the truths of dreams, and praying for the return of their sleeping lord.
Behind the Scenes:
Beliefs - In reality they view the gods as little better than the demons, things to be hated rather than worshipped. Their religious texts, at least the ones in the "real" world, only make vague references to this, but the ones in the Dreamscape often contain recounts of the beginning of the Universe, when the gods betrayed their creator.
Needless to say this has caused a bit of stir among the aforementioned gods, and while they wont comment on whether or not the accusations are true, seem to be encouraging swift and fatal repercussions where ever this craftily hidden cult dwells. This seems to be the main reason that the Order of the Vigilant has grown so big so fast. Unfortunately, even with the help of he gods it can take months or even years of searching to find one of the temples, so whether or not the gods even have a grip on the matter has been called to question as well.
The Tears - seem to be regular tears, but they have extraordinary powers. The powers of restoring that which the gods have taken away. Mages often find that they can cast more spells with this, and there are even cases of blind men gaining back some sight. Yet again they seem to be undermining the standing of the gods, for isn’t it true that the only healing come from those Holy Ones?
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The Followers of The Book and The Word By: MoonHunter ( Society/ Organizations ) Religious - Regional
The Followers of The Book and The Word believe in the strict adherence to the Law and The Word.
The Bringer of the Word was first in the lands of the North. His disciples (The Cleric Kethen and a dozen others) brought the word to the Lands of the South and East.
The Bringer of the Word was The Son of the Primal Deity BA’AN.
He brought his message to the peoples that the Primal Deity had returned and the false Spirits had been cast down. His was the only font of life. He wrote down his message in The Book. Included in the Book were the work of the four primary Disciples, expressing the hows and whys of proper living under BA’AN.
With the Book under their arms, they brought the Word to the Hundred Tribes. The tribes were lost without their tribal spirits. The suggestions for proper living became the foundation for The Law in the Land of the Hundred Tribes. From The Law came the Lands of Corbis, Alaba’am and Chekk’ka.
The Followers of The Book and The Word follow the path of prayer and devotion, the giving of gifts to friends and the poor, the supporting of the elders, and the slaying of the those who worship the old Gods/ demons over BA’AN. Also the Book suggest to “walk the path of the Bringer”, so those who can will often pilgrimage to the various venerated places the Bringer preached the Message of the Word.
Priests of all stripes wear sashes. There is no ranking here. The priest who convince others to follow him through his personality and his wisdom is the most senior priest. (inject military prowess and this is the same pattern that the 100 tribes used to determine leadership).
The Followers of The Book and The Word find the Northerners weak, as they do not properly follow the tenants of The Disciples and the Word of the Bringer. The Followers have to pass through this so called civilized mess on their way to the venerated places of the Word. There is much talk among the Holy Men of the Followers that the Right Path must be brought to the Northerners.
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The Order of Dalraaen By: Dozus ( Society/ Organizations ) Religious - Regional
"Hear, O Servant of the Just One! Hear and stand ye before him, the Celestial Judge! Hear and write: ‘Thus speaks the Great Lawgiver, before whom the world shall be tried, the one that is just and righteous beyond all - I am the Law. I am Dalraaen.’"
-The Didache of Law
The worshippers of the Celestial Judge have kept peace and law for a thousand years. When they see great injustice across the Continent, what can they do but fight?
In the days when the Teberian Empire reigned over the entire Continent, the name of Dalraaen was rarely known. A minor urban deity, Dalraaen was worshipped in a few scattered shrines and but a single temple, a wooden fane on the outskirts of Teber. A single priest maintained the temple and kept the votive candle lit. There were never worshippers: in the wide pantheon of Teberian gods, Dalraaen was all but forgotten. One evening, as the priest - whose name is lost to history - kept the fane’s hearth, he was struck with a vision: from the flickering flames of the pyre appeared two figures. Both were garbed brillantly with flowing robes and tasseled belts. They were androgenous and seemed to eminante a holiness and righteousness the priest had never before experienced or imagined. With a single gentle yet terrible voice, they spake thus:
Hear, O Servant of the Just One! Hear and stand ye before him, the Celestial Judge! Hear and write: "Thus speaks the Great Lawgiver, before whom the world shall be tried, the one that is just and righteous beyond all - I am the Law. I am Dalraaen."
This priest obeyed and, by the Archangels’ dictation, wrote the Didache of Law, the Order’s holy text. After three weeks of endless scripting, the Archangels immidiately ordered the priest to go and spread the Didache across the land as the true Law, ending obedience to any inferior mortal laws or rulers and rightfully granting Dalraaen his true place as the Celestial Judge. The priest did as was commanded and assumed a pseudonym - the Prophet - to disguise himself from inquiring Teberian authorities. The Dalraaenite religion remained small and obscure for some time until the Teberian Empire collapsed. As factions and tribes scrambled to reclaim the lawless lands, the Dalraaenites set to bring order and created a series of affiliated provinces called the Judicial States. These remain as the bastion of order and faith for the Dalraaenites today.
Beliefs & Teachings
While the early Order of Dalraaen honored the other gods of the Teberian pantheon, worship of the Celestial Judge became more focused as the Empire declined. By the founding of the Judicial States, Dalraaen was worshipped as the only true god, and he was officially claimed the sole deity shortly thereafter in the Edict of Justice. Theology gradually progressed and Dalraaen came to be seen as a sort of creator god:
"Before the Falling of the Gavel, the universe was chaos. All things were not, and no-things were, the stars knew not their places, nor the sun its time for rising and setting. The crops grew and withered as they pleased without heeding season or month, and the snows fell in defiance of the wandering sun. For countless time, thus was the world.
And then appeared Dalraaen.
The Celestial Judge, seeing these things in lawlessness and chaos, set to right the world. The All-knowing Lawgiver ordered the stars into their sockets, the sun to its path; the crops he set to their seasons, and the snows he affixed to winter. All things he placed according to the Law, which is his Divine Will, and all was well. With new order in place, Man arose to govern and be governed, to rule and be ruled, to judge and be judged all according to the Sacred and Eternal Law."
-The Didache of Law
According to the teachings of the Order, Dalraaen rules as judge over all the universe. All beings - men, creatures, spirits - come before him at death in the Celestial Court, the heavenly throne of Dalraaen from which he weighs, judges, and rules the universe. A soul will kneel in homage and obedience before the great ivory throne of Dalraaen and, with the thundrous sound of the Elysian Gavel, the trial begins. The prosecution always speaks first, with the Archangel Saint Ajor leading the litigation. The evidence: an account of the soul’s every unlawful, dishonorable, and unrighteous act. Ajor speaks with firey conviction and cold malice, and the defending soul weeps and cowers at its own hateful sins. As Saint Ajor completes the convicting evidence, the soul’s defender rises: Archangel Saint Sephor. Clad in the pure white garments of a Judicator, Sephor eloquently defends the client by making note of every kindness, justice, and benelovence the soul has made, great or small. It is said the soul comes into ecstacy at the wonder of its own capabilities under Dalraaen’s just Laws. At the close of the trial, the Celestial Judge makes his decision. There is no plea bargaining here: the soul will be found either guilty or innocent, wicked or just. The righteous souls are granted entrance into the Heavens where they spend eternity in bliss proclaiming the great justice of Dalraaen. The poor souls who are convicted of their crimes, however, collapse under the immense weight of their sins: as Dalraaen’s gavel falls, the soul shatters and is obliterated. A seemingly harsh justice, but justice indeed from the very mouth of the All-Knowing Lawgiver.
The Order often uses distinct iconography always representing one of three beings: Dalraaen, Saint Ajor, and Saint Sephor.
The Lawgiver himself is rarely portrayed literally. Standard theology dictates that the sheer magnamity of Dalraaen’s presence is impossible to even fathom, let alone fashion into recognizable form. Thus, Dalraaen is often portrayed metaphorically or symbolically. The most common representation of Dalraaen is the gavel, reminding observers of his prime role as Celestial Judge. Many practitioners wear a small gavel amulet on their person for this purpose, and it is often found on the steeples of courts across the Judicial States. Nearly as common is the Del Aleph, a combination of the first two letters of Dalraaen’s name in the Ancient Teberian alphabet. This symbol tends to be used more by the priesthood and finds its way into many signets and seals. Most rare are the scales, used to again show Dalraaen’s status as Judge of the Universe. Scholars and theologians tend to frown on this image, however, as it implies Dalraaen is a mere machine used to measure good and evil rather than the author of Divine and Eternal Law.
The two archangels of the Order’s faith are the most commonly portrayed figures in iconography. Depending on circumstance, St. Ajor is usually portrayed in one of two forms. The first is as one of the mouthpieces of Dalraaen, the heralds who proclaimed the Didache to the Prophet. Here Ajor is seen in pure white robes with a golden diadem, the scroll of the Law in hand; the saint in this image is notably androgenous. This is commonly used by priest-judges and everyday shrines as a reminder of the heavenly origins of law. The other instance of Archangel Ajor is more militant. When used by paladins, soldiers, or peasants during wartime, Ajor has abandoned the robes of an Arbiter for the gear of a soldier. Distinctly male in contrast to the ambiguous herald, St. Ajor appears as a divine soldier, covered head to toe in gleaming armor save a large pair of feathered wings and halo. Always seen armed, he usually carries the two-edged sword of conviction, though occasionally bears Dalraaen’s own gavel as a maul. He is the personification of just vengence and the patron of prosecutors.
Like Ajor, the Archangel Sephor is often portrayed in one of two ways. The first is as herald of Dalraaen, looking nearly identical to St. Ajor bearing the Didache but with a different shaped circlet. Often, however, St. Sephor is shown as a woman wearing the garb of a healer. Here she bears a large shield embossed with the seal of the Order, a defense for all the faithful against injustice and evil. At her hip is a medicine bag, used to heal all those who are wounded by unrighteousness. Many look to Saint Sephor as a protective spirit and healer of ailments, making her popular with physicians and town guards. As defender in the Celestial Court, she is the embodiment of mercy and patron of defense Arbiters.
For the Dalraaenites, law itself is a sacrament. It follows logically, then, that their liturgy and worship derives from legal affairs. A Dalraaenite temple is known as a court, a priest-judge presiding as pastor of each one. When Dalraaenites must settle conflicts - which happens with some frequency, as faithful follow a complex and sometimes apparently contradictory code of law - they come to the court and plead their case before a judge. Usually the both parties arrange for court to be held prior to a formal accusation, though priest-judges have been known to be waken in the middle of the night by parishoners who insist their case be heard immidiately. Once a formal complaint has been lodged with the priest, the Liturgy of the Trial begins. Unlike an ordinary secular trial, a liturgical trial in the Order of Dalraaen is laced with prayers and hymns. The priest serving as judge always begins with the same prayer:
O Great Lawgiver and Celestial Judge, hear now your faithful who come before you to plea! These two parties have chosen to settle their conflict in a most divine and holy way: by your Blessed Judiciary. Grant that they and all present may find your divinity in this trial, your justice in its settlement, and your mercy in its execution. May your Archangels Ajor and Sephor guide both the prosecution and defense, ever seeking the truth by your will, the Law.
And with a fall of the priestly gavel, the trial begins. As several priests are assigned to most courts, the highest-ranking priest present always serves as judge. Lower-ranking priests usually serve as barristers for the two parties, and initiates are summoned as clerks, baliffs, and other minor duties. The liturgy proceedes as one might expect a normal trial to: the prosecution makes its case, the defense theirs; witnesses are called, questioned, and cross-examined; final statesments are presented by both sides. Strewn throughout on both sides are prayers and hymns to Dalraaen, Ajor, and Sephor, reminding all present that this is indeed a sacred rite. After the final statements are made, the presiding judge retreats to the court’s inner chambers and prays for guidance and discernment from Dalraaen, the True Judge. After his recess, the priest-judge returns to announce his verdict and consults the Didache and any other relevent laws for the sentence. If a party disagrees with the judge’s ruling, an appeal can be made to a higher court, such as those on the ward or district levels.
OUtside of the Liturgy of the Trial, Dalraaenites make daily prayers to Dalraaen. Each court has an atrium with votive candles and places for oblate donations which are generally given to the poor. Those who can afford it often have their own private shrines to Dalraaen in their homes. Many courts have smaller shrines dedicated to the Archangels, though no court or shrine is exclusive to them. Aside from the Didache, a number of popular hymnals and prayer books circulate the Judicial States; The Office of Blessed Tymion, named after and partially based on a famous Magistrate, was particularly popular during the Sectarian Wars.
The priesthood of the Order of Dalraaen is, like much of the faith, structured and orderly. A priest’s primary purpose is to serve as a guide to the Law, through which the faithful can find truth and fullness with the Lawgiver. Theologically, only those who feel the sacred call and duty to the priesthood ought to - indeed, must join. Practically, those that wish to become lawyers of any prominence will join in order to advance their career. Adults of either gender are welcome to the priesthood, though about three-quarters are male. As outlined in the Didache of Law, there are six distinct ranks of the priesthood:
- Counselar - An initiate priest. They are apprenticed to Advocates or Arbiters, and serve as clerks of the court: consulting law books, making subpoenas,
- Advocate - A low-ranking priest, they have at least six months of training as a Counselar under their belt. They may serve as attorneys at trials.
- Arbiter - The highest ranking priest in most courts. They normally serve as judges, but may serve as barristers in higher courts.
- Warden - Considered the lowest ranked priest in an "second tier" of the priesthood. Wardens serve as guardians of justice, going from court to court in their ward to ensure that trials are held fairly. Many also serve in the Order of the Gavel, a paladinic sect that soldiers in times of war.
- Magistrate - A high ranking priest who serve their district. Cases appealed from trials judged by Arbiters come to Magistrates. They serve as governor of their districts and are responsible for the well being of their constituents. They also have the power to ordain priests.
- Judicator - The highest ranking priest of the Order. There are no more than nine Judicators at any time. They serve together in the Sacred Judiciary, the highest court of the Order. Appealed district cases are brought before the Sacred Judiciary. Judicators also are the political authority of the Order, overseeing treaties and other international relations.
The territories of the Order are divided into three units: courts, wards, and districts. Courts are headed by Arbiters, wards by Wardens, and districts by Magistrates.
As the second largest religious group on the Continent, the Order of Dalraaen maintains a stable and rather influential position. From the Judicial State capitol of Justice, the Sacred Judiciary wields considerable influence over neighboring freelands and even Modoal Imperial politics on the border. The Modoals and Dalraaenites have maintained a somewhat uneasy truce over the past couple centuries. As the two groups began to establish themselves after the fall of the Teberian Empire, they fought a long series of holy wars with each other that resulted in little territorial gain for either, and heavy casualties for both. Since then, they have attempted to maintain peace despite long standing cultural and religious differences. The establishment of several courts in the Modoal Empire has complicated the issue as Modoal law requires oaths to the state god and faith. The Dalraaenites that have refused to submit to the Modoal demands have not yet been deported or have their citizenship revoked, but tension continue to rise.
The Order has consistently held the line strictly against the Vautuans, a mutual hatred that has existed since the establishment of Elysian-Infernal War theology. The existance and veneration of the Celestial Gavel only adds to the conflict. The Sisters of Yamasatra are largely ignored by the Order, at most viewed with curiosity by the faithful. In secret, chief members of the Sacred Judiciary have met with the Abbess in an attempt to establish friendly relations and mutual understanding.
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The Shining Path By: B9anders ( Society/ Organizations ) Religious - Regional
The Shining Path - a non-deitific religious path in a world full of deities.
Actually more a religion than an organisation, the Shining Path was formed little less than 400 years ago in 1007 AC when Elias the Meek first began preaching in the city of Nenbor in Errion. He preached a new religion without reliance on any gods or magic, but supported only by the power of the goodness of the hearts of men, of ushering in a new era in which man took hold of his own destiny and emancipated himself from all outside shackles.
In a time still influenced by the devastation of the magewar, Elias’ message spread like wildfire and within two decades, had grown to become one of the major religions of the west, so much that in 1032 the king of Amrond declared the Shining Path the exclusive state religion of his kingdom following a meeting with Elias.
The threat he posed to the established clergy of the west as well as arcane practitioners were countered by his pacifist teachings of spreading the teaching purely through harmlessness. In fact, the followers of the Shining Path were instrumental in helping the wrath of the Inquisition of Magic subside over time as they pleaded to the common folk to end their violent persecutions and address the question of magic through lawful and peaceful channels.
Today, although there are probably still more people worshipping gods than following the Shining Path, it has grown to become the largest religious organization in the west.
The Shining Path is dedicated to furthering study in all non-magical fields so as to empower mankind as much as possible to take hold of its own destiny. Its foundational tenets are that of peace, harmlessness, enlightenment and education. Consequently, devoted followers of the Shining Path are often educated and work actively to educate the common population.
Although it rejects the authority of the gods, the Shining Path nonetheless maintains that it has no qualms with the gods or their followers. It does however reject the practise of magic as a poisoned chalice which promises much but ultimately delivers only disaster, as mankind do not know how to control it properly and as such is not to be touched. Unlike worship of the gods, followers of the Shining Path actively discourage the practise of magic, although still by peaceful means of dialogue and education.
The Shining Path has a dedicated monastic order established by Elias to allow his followers to devote themselves fully to the holy life he preached which has widespread influence and hundreds of monasteries and churches throughout the west.
The Kingdom of Amrond is ruled by the clergy of the Shining Path and here the practise of magic is completely outlawed. Although worship of the gods is not expressly forbidden, priests of other religions are not allowed to erect temples or dedicated places to their deities or discuss their teachings with congregations of more than five people.
Elsewhere the political situation for the Shining Path is more tenuous. Its philosophy of equality, harmlessness and non-magic is generally considered dangerous by the upper classes, sometimes even contrary to the rule of the state (although its harmless means of preaching generally has the order moving within the limits of the law) and has a limited following among the noble classes, who generally rely on things like military power, magic and their own superior education as means to power.
Despite this, the huge popularity of the Shining Path among the common people has firmly established it as a major power factor in the west, despite its lack of favour among the ruling classes.
It is not uncommon for the common people to practise a hybrid of the Shining Path and other religions, acknowledging the doctrine of man taking hold of his own destiny through education and enlightenment, rejecting magic, but still paying homage to gods and spirits to receive good fortune in all kinds of matters.
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The Vicean Church By: MoonHunter ( Society/ Organizations ) Religious - World Wide
The Vicean Church is one that expresses the mysteries of existence and explains the process of life and death and life beyond. While other churches have "aims" and "goals", the Vicean church focuses on the soul and faith of its members (and all peoples) and the health of the community and its church. After a few religious conflicts or magical pogroms, the Vicean Church becomes very popular with people and governments, as they avoid such things.
The Vicean Church is one that expresses the mysteries of existence and explains the process of life and death and life beyond. While other churches have "aims" and "goals", the Vicean church focuses on the soul and faith of its members and all peoples. After a few religious conflicts or magical pogroms, the Vicean Church becomes very popular with people and governments.
The Vicean Church structure is large and cumbersome, just like any church they wish to build. (It will be as big, domed, artistically interesting, and filled with as many symbolic windows and painting as possible.) While most will only see the lowly priests and their House of Deity, he will still be dressed in finest robes possible, in a symbolic color based upon the time of the year, with a shaved head (or with a nearly shaved head with a peach fuzz of a holy Vicean Symbol of an X inscribed in a circle (X)). Those in with larger Churches will see Bishops and Priests in their fine robes and such (soon to be a feature in every city or good sized town with pretenses of being important). Monasteries (holy communities) will be overseen by a Priestly-Monk overseeing laymen monks or Bishop-Monks, overseeing priestly monks and nuns. Each Diocese will have an Arch-Bishop. Each country will have two Cardinals: one to oversee the country’s churches (seated cardinal) and one to work with the Vicean Council which discusses doctrine, new ideas, and runs The Church overall. The Voice of the Deity is elected by the Cardinals Council (Cohort of Red) and is the main spiritual leader of the Church.
Ritually, there are services of some degree every day of the week. Mostly are simply prayer meetings of the faithful, with the faithful talking about "right living" and their understanding of The Deity. Once a week there is a great ritual, with prayers, singing, and several lessons. Every few weeks there are Greater Rituals (requiring attendance to The Faithful) in which "greater mysteries" (and astronomically important moments in the year) are celebrated with more prayers, about the same amount of singing, more lessons, and a church social afterwards. Remember that alms are asked for at every meeting to make sure the church can "do right" for its members and the whole church.
In the Day to Day, priests assist members in "right living" which is much like being a good and lawful citizen in most places. They help people for working to be better, to do good without looking for reward, to help others who need help, and to have faith in the Deitys path of the world. For most Evil and hardship comes from not understanding the greater plan the Vicean Deity has laid out. One learns more from adversity than one does from benevolence. You just need to endure what has occurred and realize that you don’t need to understand things, just to endure. It is mostly a matter of attitude and acceptance of the world. You just need to have faith that you are doing "the right thing" and that the Vicean Deity will take you into the greater world. If you have done right by the world and played your part, you will exist in eternal paradise. Demons and Evil are created by not doing right actions. They will pull you away from the paradise if you have generated any and you are reborn to the world. If you were specifically bad, you may have a layover to be tortured by demons of your own creation.
Note: The Vicean Deity is something of a mystery. Some say it is the primal god - the universal spark- that created all the other deities and the rest of the universe. Some say that it is the God within all of us (with each of use being a shard of the primal god). The theology is thick with symbolism that each could be true, both could be true, and their may be more truths reachable through prayer and contemplation. There is no "personification" of the Vicean Deity. They may call him All Father (and paint him as an elderly patriarch), but that is mostly because the Vicean Church comes from a patriarchal society. The "correct" way to do it is to paint the sun, not the sun in they sky (but that is commonly done), but the sun/ star in ones soul. Is it confusing? Yes. Of course this variability of faith allows the Vicuñas the most paths of good living (and ease of accepting ideals).
this is a big complex catholic-ask church without a martyred son. If one did show up they would sing his praises, incorporate his teachings into the convoluted mythology of the church, and go on to the main goal of the church… to have everyone in the world be a member, have everyone do right thinking, make the world a better place for everyone, a great place for the Church…oh and of course have a good Life beyond.
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The Way By: Chaosmark ( Systems ) Divine/ Spirit - Historical
The Way is the predominant faith in Tyren, and thus it’s precepts hold major influence in the world.
In the beginning, there was nothing, save Trigu, and all was perfect, for Trigu was all that there was. Yet of all the things that an omnipotent, omniscient deity can do, there is one thing that He could not do. He could have no worship, for a being cannot truly give itself praise and glory. Thus was the world and all that is in it created, and it was found to be good in Trigu’s sight.
The Fall of Rhin and Man
For a time, all was well in the world, with men and Rhin (angelic servants created by Trigu to give aid to humanity) both giving their worship to Trigu. But with free will and it’s unique potential for true worship also comes the potential of rejection, and therein lay the fall of both man and Rhin. There was a Rhin named L’ruhk, and he was the most powerful of all creations, stronger even than man with his enormous potential. L’ruhk was the Guardian, his sole purpose to safeguard existence. Yet his power was too much, and L’ruhk became prideful, and sought to overthrow Trigu and establish himself as Ruler over Creation. His fall from grace, and his subsequent corruption of both mankind and many Rhin, drove a rift between Mankind and God, one which no man could ever hope to cross. Trigu was far too Holy to even look at those who were less than perfect, and all of Creation seemed on the verge of destruction.
Yet hope was not lost, for in a divine prophecy, 500 priests of Trigu uttered the same words at the same time:
“In darkest night, when all hope has fallen, the Corruptor shall be overcome by a man not of the world.”
It is this prophecy upon which the Way looks to the future, each member praying daily that this would be the day that the promised one would come to bridge the gap and restore the lost paradise on Tyren. However, in preparation for that time, there is still the matter of ska to attend to. Ska is your bad deeds; only perfection is tolerated by Trigu. Therefore, one must find a way to ‘cover’ ones ska. This is done with a yearly sacrifice that rolls back the ska debt for another year. The exact ritual is detailed at length in the Trigium (the Tyrenian holy book), but at it’s most basic level it involves the sacrifice of a untainted firstborn sheep.
There are a few special days honored by followers of the Way, most concerning the actions of Trigu upon the world. They include Sending Day, a celebration of the sending of the 5 Elemental Defenders to stym the tide of evil during the Demon War; Summer Feast, a celebration of Creation; and Shatter-Glass, a day of somber remembrance in recognition of the end of the Demon War, when the world was broken into three continents. Then of course there is the Day of Repentance, when the yearly sacrifice is performed in every major city, and most minor ones.
The Trigium (tr-ihg-ee-um) lists out in detail what is and isn’t allowed of Trigu’s followers; in essence, it tells what is ska and what is not. The specific passages are too numerous to list, but all of it can be summed up in a single word or phrase: Love. Love God, and love others.
Some specific examples of prohibitions include: no worship of pagan gods, no human sacrifice, no drinking of blood or canibalism, no fornication, and no murder.
The Priesthood is not a higher class of people, in the sense of being ‘better’. They are no more or less important than commoners, they just have a different purpose in life: the task of teaching, guarding, and guiding others of the faith. Each of them is just as human as anyone else, grace-fallen and, in some cases, worse than others. No-one is immune to L’ruk’s corruption, and the clergy are no exception.
Even so, there are certain members of the clergy who are empowered by Trigu as living testaments of faith and His Power. Accordingly, the truly faithful of the priesthood have at least some ability to invoke divine healing, but true faith is rarer than it might seem at first glance. However, this healing comes at a cost, for part of the healing comes from Trigu, but the rest comes from the person themself, as an acceleration of their body’s natural healing. This normally results in extreme hunger and temporary weakness in otherwise healthy people.
Certain followers of the Way have been known to cast out demons and destroy undead, having been divinely empowered to do so by Trigu. Such an ability is available to those who call upon Trigu in faith, but most followers do not have the faith required to have any effect upon undead larger than a common house rat. Major exorcism is a true test of faith, and proof of Trigu’s blessing.
Gifts and other Abilities
There are other abilities granted by Trigu to the best of the best who follow Him. To date, only 3 people have ever recieved a Gift, but theoretically an infinite number could exist. Each is unique to the Gifted. The three Gifts given so far are:
- The Holy Aura, bestowed upon St. Sayn. It tremendously weaked both undead and demons who were near the Saint, sometimes resulting in the exorcism of minor demons simply by Sayn’s presence.
- The Brightest Light, gifted to St. Trayl. This Gift allowed St. Trayl to see through deception of any kind, dispelling illusions and falsities for the Saint.
- Purifying Tears, granted to St. Gyle the Healer. When he poured water over a wound, it could heal even the worst of injuries and sicknesses.
It is the Ultimate Honor to be given a Gift by the Creator, and those who are so Gifted are very well respected amongst the other Followers.
While not detailed excessively, the corruption of some Rhin has resulted in the ability of pagan clerics to heal and otherwise perform miracles. Those Rhin are ones that are the ‘least’ corrupt, and thus have set themselves up as ‘Good’ deities. Obviously, the worst of the lot are evil deities of bloodshed and abominable practices.
Followers of the Way will respect to a good extent clerics of ‘good’ faiths, and will most likely fight with those clerics of ‘bad’ faiths, but will worship the gods of neither, for all deities aside from Trigu are pagan gods, and thus forbidden to be worshipped.
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The Worship of Mothon By: MoonHunter ( Society/ Organizations ) Religious - World Wide
The True Deity’s worship is kept quiet and out of the public eye. Public Religions persecute Mothon worshipers and their strange powers.
The True Deity’s worship is kept quiet and out of the public eye. Public Religions persecute Mothon worshipers and their strange powers.
Wise Ones are simply people educated by other Wise Ones. There is no “central authority”. They are taught the basic tenants of the universe, in addition to meditative techniques and how to keep their studies away from the public eyes. Once you have the basic wisdoms, members find themselves able to “alter reality” in serving Mothon’s needs. This is clerical miracles rather than standard spells.
New members of the church are recruited by other members of the church. After a period of “feeling out” the new member, the group decides to bring the new member in. The new member is taught the basic wisdom of Mothon. Each group collects the wisdom it can from its own member and from correspondence with other groups (usually coded).
In short, they will function like a secret demon cult, hiding from the false conventional religions and the governments that are propped up by them.
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