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Mythic/ Historical
Religious

3.75
6 Votes

69xp


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Comments: 13
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Rating: 3.75
Condition: Normal
ID: 7491

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September 2, 2013, 10:20 am

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The Prophet John

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The Prophet John's life and, indeed, death was a mystery. Some say that the gods placed him on this earth for his purpose without a past, and others, a rare few, claim that he was a god himself.

Table of Contents

    This NPC lived in Atheus.

    This NPC is an important part of Lunism.


    History

    “And as I stand before you today, may the gods love you; may the gods bless you; may the gods hallow you, for you are a great people, and worthy of their care.”

    -The Prophet John, Sermon to the Hills

    No one knew where the Prophet John came from. No one certainly knew his last name. Their were stories about his origin. Most say agree that he's Taurian, for his name certainly bears that influence. The exact location, though, is a mystery. Some say he comes from the northeastern swamps, perhaps even inside a Lunist village within a swamp. Some say he has no past, and was created whole in the Taurian city where he started preaching. Whatever the case, it was his adult life that mattered.

    Before his arrival, Trianarianism had emerged, and was embroiled with its war. Its war against the other faiths. Trianarianism, as it was still new to the world theater, had sevaral other contenders for the spot as dominant religion. And Trianarianism did not play nice when it fought its way to gain the majority spot. Two it outright crushed, and forced its followers to convert. One it decimated until it was forced to become an odd cult, worshipped in a couple of corners of the world. And then there was Lunism.

    Though it was widely accepted by all, Lunism had been a weak faith amongst the others. Though it was ancient, and probably older than the rest of the faiths, it had never sprung to power. It had that “been there, done that” vibe to it, a certain lack of originality, that made people gravitate to the other, bolder, faiths. That was why Trianarianism, when it was asserting its spot as #1, never bothered to crush it. Lunism was simply to far back in the minority.

    Then Trianarianism emerged from its battle victorious, the field clear of opponents, except for one: Lunism. The Moon Faith had kept out of the battle, and depended on tradition to keep its followers. Trianarianism then came after it with a vengeance.

    That was when the Prophet John appeared. Trianarianism had swept Lunism, for the most part, away from the eastern kingdoms, and the only countries with a notable Lunist population was the west: Tauria and Obstaria. Which is slightly ironic because Trianarianism was far more racist against the barbarians at that time than Lunism.

    The Prophet John- which is something that almost everyone calls him, no matter how casual the situation- was a Lunist. He took it upon himself to preach about his faith, and fight back against Trianarianism.

    Early Adulthood

    “...And as the moon shines upon you, the gods look down upon us all, never faltering in their various missions. Know this, people of Tauria: the five gods have a plan for each of us. They gave us life; they gave us change; they gave us liberty; they gave us justice; and they will give us a merciful end.”

    -The Prophet John, Sermon to the Capitol

    After the Prophet John made his name known in a small Taurian village, he traveled the country, preaching the word of Lunism. He was an excellent public speaker, and he soon had a following as he traveled from city to city, spreading the word of Lunism.

    The faith, for the first time in several centuries, started spreading. The Prophet John's energy for his faith was seemingly contagious, and no matter where he went, he would leave behind a sizable percentage of converts, and plans (if there wasn't one all ready) for a new, Lunist, temple.

    At first, Trianarianism took no notice of him. They were starting their anti-Lunism smear campaign, and were spreading the word to their priests in all the various cities. One man, so far from Triastu, was beneath their notice.

    That is, until the impossible happened. A Taurian city became predominantly Lunist.

    The Prophet John had delivered his famed Sermon of the Statutes, and the Taurian city converted from Trianarianism to Lunism. From there, the Prophet John had recruited a variety of disciples, and sent them to preach throughout Tauria. For the Prophet John has another important mission. He knew he had to go south, and preach in Obstaria.

    Late Adulthood

    “For Vivenus will protect your life, Iustitia will protect your country, Alea will protect your future, Catenam will protect your liberty, and Mortes will protect your end. The moon will ever hang over your lives and hallow them in its life-giving light.”

    -The Prophet John, Sermon to the River

    The prophet John set forth south, to preach in Obstaria. Upon reaching the river that separated the two western nations, he boarded a ferry, for he had plans of preaching (the famed Sermon along the River was delivered in these various places) at villages and towns along the river as the boat sailed downriver. It was on that ferry that the assassin struck.

    The assassin's hurled dagger would have struck the Prophet John in the head had he not fallen to his knees to add emphasis during the sermon he was giving. The captain and his crew, who had been in the mess hall listening to the sermon at the time, quickly tried to catch the killer, but he escaped over the side and had swum off.

    The assassination attempt, though it had failed, succeeded in alerting the Prophet that Trianarianism was trying to kill him, because he knew of know one else who would have either the means or the motive to carry out the act. Thus, at the next city they reached, the Prophet John purchased a sword and shield, and advised his followers to do the same (see Relics for more information on the Prophet John's Shield).

    The Prophet toured and preached throughout Obstaria, and succeeded, as he did in Tauria, to make an Obstarian city convert. He also, as his public speaking skills had improved, convert almost all of the Southern Hills villages and towns.

    It was when he was leaving an Obstarian city in a trade caravan that bandits struck. As he had arms, and the Lunist Gods were fine with self-defense, the Prophet fought with the caravan guards against the bandits- well enough that he discovered that they were too well armed and armored to be mere brigands, and had to be another assassination attempt against the Prophet.

    Believing that Obstaria was too dangerous for him, and that all the work he could do there was done, the Prophet John returned to Tauria.

    Death

    “Though I will be gone from you shortly, the gods will always be gazing at you from the heavens, and guiding your steps. Have faith, people of Tauria, for though Mortes will soon guide me to my final rest, the moon's holy light will shine on all who believe in it, and keep you from walking in darkness.”

    -The Prophet John, Sermon to the Capitol

    After reaching Tauria, he toured it quickly, and then judged that it was time to act. At that point, since his disciples had stayed, preaching in the country, and spreading the faith, Tauria was all but Lunist.

    The Prophet gathered his disciples, and together they marched onto the capitol of Tauria. In the following years, it would be called the Gathering of the Moon.

    Over the following month, the Prophet John and his various disciples preached and spread the word of Lunism in the capitol.

    On the full moon of the month, the Prophet John was due to give his sermon, entitled the Sermon to the Capitol. Thus, that night, as the moon hung over the podium, the Prophet John began his speech.

    About halfway through, an eruption of noise exploded from the audience as two men sprinted to the podium, swords raised, and shouting phrases from the Liber Tribi, the Trianarianistic holy book. The Prophet nodded, lowered his sword, and was run through.

    The two young killers, capitalizing on the shock, manged to escape into the night.

    Legacy

    “Each of us has a role to play in the game of life. Vivens makes sure that we do. Despair not that your lives seem worthless compared to the splendor of others, for the gods have chosen you for an important task.”

    -The Prophet John, Sermon to the Hills

    Two days after the Prophet John died, the Taurian king declared that Tauria's state religion would become Lunism. The Prophet's disciples rejoiced.

    The next new moon, all the Lunists in the Taurian Capitol held a candlelight vigil for their fallen leader, and the disciples of the Prophet declared that John was a Saint, the first Saint of Lunism. For St. John was blessed in the eyes of the gods, and brought a new age for Lunism upon the country.

    From St. John's day on, Lunists gained a newfound confidence in their relgion. Their numbers soared in the entire country. In the name of St. John, missionaries spread over the entire continent. Even into the western, barbarian, half. Lunist temples sprouted up everywhere, even in Triastu, the Trianarianistic holy city.

    St. John revitalized his faith, brought it back to life. He is his faith's first and last Saint.

    According to his will, St. John's body was taken by his disciple, Alexander, and buried in a secret place. None know where it currently lies, and would be one of the most sought out places in Atheus if people hadn't given up on it.

    "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free"

    From the bible, John 8:32

    "For lo, the truth is protected by Iustitia, for the truth is so precious, so dangerous, that it must be kept under guard at all times, whether that guard be of honesty or dishonesty."

    -The Prophet John, Sermon to the Obstarians

    Note: no one in Atheus knows of what I am about to write in this section.

    The Prophet John was born to a small, Taurian village of Baddoney, which lies in the northeastern swamps of Tauria. Baddoney is a very insular and secretive, so much so that the only real contact they have is with another Taurian village, called Edgewater, which lies on the edge of the swamp. Baddoney trades swamp goods to Edgewater for farm-grown foods.

    The Prophet John was born called John Batist, and was born with the gift of wizardry. Because of the insular nature of his town, he never heard of the outside world of wizarding education, and thus never went.

    John soon learned of his gift, and became the apprentice of the other wizard in Baddoney, who was the town healer. John soon found that vitamancy, which was the main requirement for a wizard in Baddoney, just wasn't his specialty. In fact, John's vitamancy spells were horrible, and could only heal the most basic bruises and cuts. When his master died, John discovered he had a talent for necromancy.

    For many years, John was able to use a mixture of sorcery and necromancy to fake vitamancy spells. That is, until the townsfolk found out. As both sorcery and necromancy are hated by the peoples of Atheus, John was driven out of town and exiled into the swamp, which is usually a death sentence because of the inherent danger of the swamps from the terrain and predators. However, usually around 1 in 10 people can make it out, as they're familiar with the terrain.

    Using sorcery and necromancy, however, John was able to make it out of the swamps alive.

    He came to a village that he never heard of before, learned of the world. In fact, as Boddoney was solely Lunist, John was surprised to learn that Trianarianism was suppressing and inciting hatred for Lunism. He decided to do something about it, perhaps because of force of habit from helping various people with their problems as Healer.

    Whatever the reason, John soon discovered a necromancy spell, as well as sorcery, that can help with one's public speaking, and your talent for it. Using his two illegal magics on the sly, John became the Prophet John, and converted hundreds of people.

    His magics helped him survive the first two assassination attempts. But somewhere along the line, his sorcery must have caused the side-effect of madness, as he would claim that the gods told him it was time to die, and that he should let himself die. Of course, as he was so influential, everyone believed the gods were speaking to him.

    And thus, the Prophet John, because the "gods" told him it was time to die, let himself depart from this life.

    But that was not enough for the Prophet. He decided to write his secrets down, and sealed it inside a scroll case. He gave the scroll case to Alexander, who was the man who was to entomb him, and told him to bury it with him, and not to open it.

    Alexander did so, and thus the Truth is the treasure that is the prize for any who seek out his tomb.

    Relics

    The Sword of Saint John: Believed to be a longsword of some sort, with a moonstone as the pommel, the Sword has been missing for several centuries. Unlike the shield, it has no special abilities attributed to it. Its main worth is the fact that it was St. John's sword. Some say that there's a clue where St. John's tomb lies on the sword, while others claim that the sword lies inside the tomb itself.

    The Shield of Saint John

    The Saintly Shroud: The shroud worn by St. John as he was carried off was brought back by the disciple Alexander. There is a legend about the Shroud that it bears some clue towards St. John's body's location, though the Mausoleum of the Moon's various caretakers don't let anyone poke or prod it, as the Shroud lies in their possesion.



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    Comments ( 13 )
    Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

    Ted
    August 12, 2013, 21:00
    0xp
    Woah woah woah, when did we get the capability to add table of contents that actually linked to that specific part of a submission?
    Ted
    August 12, 2013, 21:00
    0xp
    Woah woah woah, when did we get the capability to add table of contents that actually linked to that specific part of a submission?
    caesar193
    August 12, 2013, 21:46
    0xp
    http://strolen.com/guild/index.php/topic,6216.0.html

    And can you not put your awe at new site features in my subs? I'd rather comments be about how awesome of a writer I am and how great my work is than about the Table of Contents.
    Voted Ted
    August 13, 2013, 9:31
    6xp
    As a history and mysterious prophet figure, it works, but overall John's backstory is a boring tale of some dude avoiding a few assassination attempts while the masses fall at his feet and covert immediately despite the angry guys with swords acting like the Spanish Inquisition running around.

    Do Lunist holidays exist in John's name? Are there rites or sayings that invoke him? What are they? Do priests attempt to emulate what little they know about such a bland and mysterious figure who was seen speaking by hundreds if not thousands of people?

    How did a guy who managed to convert an entire continent remain mostly anonymous and why are the details of how he lived his daily life shrouded in mystery?
    caesar193
    August 13, 2013, 23:11
    0xp
    First off, let me make something perfectly clear. He didn't convert an entire continent. What he did was convert one country, bring another near to the conversion line, and instill confidence into a religion. Lunism then, on its own, either spread into other cities or increased its numbers in them.

    And two, they don't convert immediately, and Trianarianism isn't running around blatantly. You'd get a crappy reputation. Except for the instances where they do try to kill the Prophet John, they go about ruining the other religions and increasing their converts stealthy. If the religion is seen as dangerous to the people, the kingdoms will ban it, and how would that help Trianarianism?

    And three, you raise some very good points. And I will act on those points. You know. Eventually. Probably (hopefully) tomorrow.
    Shadoweagle
    August 13, 2013, 19:03
    5xp
    There are parallels/similarities in this with Jesus (travelling preacher, spreading the word dispute persecution, thought of by some as a god etc) which I am guessing are intentional. John serves as a solid historical figurehead for Lunism and the religion definitely benefits from his story.
    It is a little bland, but then again something doesn't have to be flashy to be useable; a good npc to further the believability of Lunism in a game.
    caesar193
    August 13, 2013, 22:57
    0xp
    Close, but, as they say, no cigar.

    I wasn't actually going for Jesus, though I do see how he could be thought of that way. I was actually going for the Prophet John's namesake (John the Baptist, Jesus's forerunner) more than I was Jesus. And, of course, Malcolm X with the death bit, and the public speaking, religion, birth (as in, the Prophet John, as people know him, has no past that bears any importance to the man of the present. Like Malcolm X), convincing, charitable, and furthering his cause. Of course, the wandering thing is a good similarity to Jesus, and was, somewhat, intentional.
    MysticMoon
    August 14, 2013, 9:48
    0xp
    I have mixed feelings on this.

    On the one hand, how could I not like a religion of the Moon :)

    On the other, I agree with the blandness that others pointed out. It seems like this could be so much more. However, the prophet seems more like a cardboard cutout than a real person. He must have had charisma or piety or something in order to affect so many people, so why not show it? I'm not really drawn into the conflict between the two religions and thus don't actually feel moved by his assassination. Of course I could use that conflict in a game and maybe reference the followers of John but I want to be a little lazy and have you show me how I should make my players care.

    I'm Ok with the mysterious past; that could actually work for you if done right. IMO, it just needs more work.
    caesar193
    August 14, 2013, 12:40
    0xp
    Update: Added another section. I think it makes the Prophet John just a little more interesting, with a little more depth of character.
    Voted Shadoweagle
    August 16, 2013, 20:54
    0xp
    Aah, a dark secret; a nefarious twist! This is the kind of thing that the sub needed; a fellow of high morals preaching about his religion until he died was a bit dry, but have that person harbor a secret life of taboo arts... That makes things more interesting.

    It would be tastier if some of the 'higher ups' knew this secret, and then when the pcs decide to hunt for clues as to johns tomb, they suddenly find a secret lunist organisation trying to assassinate them. After all, having the truth of a religious figurehead being a necromancer come out will be very damaging for the faith! Lies, coverups, scandals; you have turned this sub into a very 'Da Vinci code-esque' kind of drama.

    And when the pcs finally get to the tomb and learn the truth they have a choice: reveal the truth and damage the reputation of someone who did actually do some good in the world, or destroy the evidence.
    Voted valadaar
    August 23, 2013, 13:59
    1xp
    Not bad, the secret certainly helped it. I have a some suggestions:

    Change

    "However, usually around 1 in 10 people can make it out, as they're familiar with the terrain. "

    To this, or something similar:

    "Occasionally some exiles survive, either by blind luck or exceptional skills at woodcraft."

    "Whatever the reason, John soon discovered a necromancy spell, as well as sorcery, that can help with one's public speaking, and your talent for it."

    Such magics are not normally considered the area of necromancy, but perhaps sorcery. It feels forced - you needed him to have exceptional public speaking, and he uses necromancy, so poof - charisma enhancing spell.

    I'd say instead he became possessed by some spirit during his dabbling that wanted to use him for some evil end. It helped him in his quest, grooming him for bigger things. In the end, perhaps John figured it out, and killed himself, or he began to disobey the spirit and the spirit killed him. The tomb may in fact still harbour this evil spirit.








    Voted MysticMoon
    August 24, 2013, 22:29
    0xp

    On reading this updated version I am upping my vote. The background made the character more real to me. His hidden skills in sorcery and necromancy, used as a tool in his battle for supremacy of his religion over the other, also speaks to the nature of the faithful in your world.

    However, I do agree with the points made by valadaar. Saying "1 in 10" sounds like the simple mechanics of a die roll, which pulls me out of the story. I really like the idea of John in turmoil over being possessed by a spirit which both helps him and controls him.

    Voted Dozus
    January 22, 2014, 17:12
    Only voted
    Voted Cheka Man
    January 22, 2014, 20:15
    Only voted

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