This was originally for palladium Fantasy. I was playing a Wolfen Priest of Light at the time and was charged by my god, Wolvenar, to rewrite the code of ethics, and precepts of our religion. This is what transpired. I think it is a good template to rough out a religion and obviously it leaves it open for expanding.
Deity : Wolvenar, The Deity of Honor and Loyalty; The protector of the Weak; The harbinger of Justice.
Worship Days: daily. (Worship for continued life and health.)
Holy Days: Full and new moons, Summer and Winter Solstice.
Favored Deities: Northern Pantheon
Disliked Deities: Orcus, Dragonwright
Favored Races: Wolfen and Elves.
Disliked Races: Goblins, Ogres, Changelings, others vary.
Teachings and other Information
Full Priests - Generally only the Wolfen and Elven races can become priests. A few exceptions have and will be made for those outside the norm.
Full Priest Requirements
1) spread the word of honor
2) care for all those who need care. Yet don’t hand out anything to someone who isn’t willing to work. If they don’t want to work for aid, then they must not need the aid.
3) At every opportunity let it be known that you work in My (Wolvenar) name. The rewards given far outweigh those taken.
4) Never harm an innocent. That stuff about harming an unarmed person is useless. No one is truly unarmed.
5) Kill those that can’t be converted to the Church of Light. If they can be saved, do so, but never regret your actions. I’ll tell you what to feel sorry and guilty about.
Half-Priests - Because of the influx of other races into the church of Wolvenar, vast rethinking has occurred over who is worthy. While every race has exceptions to the rule that would allow any one of any races to apply for initiation, non-Wolfen and some select few races may
never become Priests. Although they can reach high status and accomplish the near impossible, they will always be considered a Half-priest.
1) spend at least five years (depending on race) in the Wolfen army. They need to fully understand what Wolvenar and they people stand for on the most basic of levels. They must understand the harsh reality of the world and what it means to those, who follow Wolvenar. However, they can train and learn to follow the more martial paths of Wolvenar’s philosophy, attaining the highest praise and accomplishments.
Guardians - A guardian is a martial follower of the religion. Paladins, holy warriors, monks - whatever you would call them, they are all considered a Guardian. Their goal is not to preach and maintain the holy aspects of the religion, but instead, to protect those who do and remove the blight from the world that is evil and would corrupt and harm innocents or followers of light. While they are taught the precepts of the religion, they are not priests and cannot order a priest to any action. They are the voice of action during a military campaign. However, they still follow the rule of a half priest or a full priest.
Guardian Requirements - Any follower of Wolvenar can become a Guardian and attain the highest levels of rank and title.
War and Fighting
Fighting is a necessity of survival. One must be able to protect one’s family and the weak from harm done by others. This is first and foremost. One must remove those who would threaten to take away the very homes in which they are protecting.
If your going to fight, don’t do it half heartedly. Fight to finish it. There is no real glory in war, just victory.
Never forget to feast to the fallen.
The only rule of war is, only the dead are free.
If someone says he only fights for their principles, count their debts.
Be good, if you can’t be good - be careful.
Be faithful, if you can’t be faithful - be ashamed.
Be honorable, if you can’t be honorable - find another Deity.
Never lie. To lie is to sully your word and honor. Honor is the only thing no one can take from you. Keep it as long as you can.
Duty to Lord
Obey your oath. Be loyal until they prove unworthy. Should your lord betray you, destroy him.
Rulers are a necessary evil. Follow their lead, but step easily.
Duty to Religion
Defend and care for the temples and the priests. The better you give care, the better they care for you. Do this as you would for your own. Even more so, for by caring for your priests and your temples you are caring for me and My Word. We in return care for yours.
Oaths of Ordination
Loyalty, Service, Obedience
While humans and other races are allowed and encouraged to be a member of the New Order they are still looked at with a wary eye because of all the hardships that have befallen the Wolfen Empire from non-Wolfen hands. If they can prove themselves worthy then they are more than willing to start their new religious path. Someone willing to be a priest or guardian must enlist into the Wolfen military for no less than three years for a Wolfen, five years for a human, and ten years for the longer lived races. This is so they understand the military in and out and the relationship with the Wolfen and the world around them. This is very important for those who are not Wolfen because they better understand how the Wolfen people and therefore Wolvenar acts toward the world around them.
Simple followers are different and fall under a different rule.
Order of Rank
Priests - A full priest of Wolvenar. Generally the Wolfen, the Elven and some special cases of other races can become priests.
Half - Priest - A Wolfen who has shown bad judgement or has fallen from the good grace of Wolvenar Himself. Any follower of another race that attains to become a priest may only become a half-priest without approval from the Principate or from Wolvenar Himself.
Guardian - A guardian is anyone who wishes to train under the martial aspect of the religion. They are not a voice in the higherarchy except during times of military council and even then, they speak tentatively when a half or full priest is present. They must speak with the approval of half priests of full priest.
Followers - Anyone willing to listen and follow the edicts of Wolvenar.
To clarify what some of this all means to the non-palladium croud I have added in a very short description of what all this means. It is short, not as in-depth as I do not have material in front of me.
The Wolfen are large, humanoid wolves, who have, in the past century, established their own Empire in the extreme north of the continent. They are what seems like an average resemblance to a werewolf in appearance. They average eight to ten feet tall depending on their tribe and stand upright on bent back hind legs similar to a canine and have thick fur and a long snout. Unlike many other fantasy games, there is very little interbreeding between the races.
Recently, in the past century, they have evolved from a tribal society into an empire of tribes. They are fashioned loosely around the Roman Empire and have strict military rank within their society. While they are still a young culture to expand into a military might, their strength, they are brutal and protective, often giving them a victory when one was not in their favor.
Wolvenar is the patron deity to the Wolfen Empire. He is seen as a large wolfen and is young in his ascension, seen more as a demi-god during certain portions of history but part of the pantheon of light. He is protective of his children and has little love for the week, although the week should be protected it is a double edged sword.
Because he is a young deity he is often ignored by the other gods and can secretly put his claws into the doings of the others sometimes without their knowledge. His intentions are for the protection of his children and their expansion of their culture.