Disclaimer: The gods presented in this series are from D&D 3.5. Although I could have changed the names to be non genre specific, there is no point. They should be considered a template for your game world. Furthermore, they are not 100% accurate to D&D mythology, although I do try to capture the essence of each god.
Disclaimer 2: The deities presented here are designed to exist in a polytheistic world. Most people would offer prayers to many deities, in the same way that Catholics will pray to different saints. Praying to one deity for safe travel, does not exclude praying to another for luck. Membership in one order does not exclude membership in another. Dedicated clerics are the exception.
- What is the deity like, and what do they represent
Kord is the God of Physical Strength, and Courage. Kord values fairness, physical prowess, and the desire to test oneself and push ones own boundaries. Kord is Boisterous, hedonistic, arrogant, and a little careless.
- How do the temples make money/ maintain themselves
The temples of Kord are the sports stadiums of the world. They have gladiator battles, olympic games, team sports, and contests for every season. Where there is a Temple of Kord, there is never boredom in the populace.
They make good money by charging ticket prices to those who can pay, sometimes charging exorbitant fees. In most temples, seating goes by blind auction. Bidding can occur on a seat, a row, a column, or a section, and some bidders will place a bid on more than one to ensure a good spot. Seats that haven’t been bid on are free, available on a first come, first serve basis, with lines that can be hours, or even days long.
Political influence rarely holds sway over seating, as the followers of Kord zealously defend fair competition, even in money and politics. In one notable example, the temple was demolished by a king who lost his favorite seat to a higher bid.
- How do they protect themselves.
For the most part, Kords temples don’t need protection. They serve a valuable service wherever they exist, and replacing one is no simple matter. The clergy’s fanatical devotion to fairness grants them an instant trust from competitors and spectators alike, that would normally take years, or decades to earn. It is common knowledge that no rigging occurs under Kord’s protection, so much so that many refuse to compete anywhere else. Just as importantly, Kord’s highest members bring a fanaticism and dedication to the games that most businessmen and nobles just can’t match.
When a temple is attacked however, the challenge is quickly received. Few other orders are willing to drop whatever they are doing, and throw themselves so completely at a challenge. Members of Kord’s Temples will flock from great distances to take up the challenge of a temple lost or in danger. If some die, it is for the better. There is no greater honor than to die testing oneself, and the young should always replace the old.
- How does the organization determine who can join, and how they advance
There are only two ways to join the temple of Kord. Either you must earn great renown for your strength, or you must test it in physical competition with others. If you win, you are clearly more favored by Kord than your opponent, and you gain the respect of other members of Kord’s order, as well as membership in the temple. The highest ranked member’s of his temples are often arena champions who have proven that they have Kord’s favor again, and again. Administrative and maintenance positions pay very little, and are either held by retired champions who don’t need the money, or by those who want free access to the temple equipment and training. Disputes of authority are always settled in physical competition though, so members don’t keep administrative positions very long unless the position is boring, or undesirable.
- What are the benefits of membership/advancement in the Kord's temples?
The reason most people join Kord’s temples, is if for fame and fortune that few others paths offer without the risk of constant death. Although difficult to earn, the most successful temples have prizes that are incredibly valuable, and often come with great renown as well. For many others who join, it is simply the chance to do what they love. Kord’s followers will say that there is no greater pleasure in the world than to be in the great stadium.
For those men, retirement is never an option. As you compete with others in Kord’s temples, you gain Kord’s favor in whatever sport you compete in, a (usually informal) rank in that temple. This advancement is local to a temple, but temple clergy talk with each other, often about little else, and those who advance in one of Kord’s temples, can be sure to gain notice in others.
For the best athletes and teams, special invitationals with exceptional prizes become common. All-star tournaments, and celebrity matches bring in big money, and even bigger fame. Those who have earned Kords favor outside of the stadium are almost always tested as gladiators.
For those retiring, training. coaching, and event design are the most prized positions, and are highly contested. Administrative positions are much safer to hold, but offer less money. Maintenance positions are available to as many as want them, and rather than earning pay, grant access to temple grounds, equipment, and the opportunity for training.
For members of the temple of Kord, temple grounds are a sanctuary and safe haven. The temple of Kord offer’s it’s own kind of justice system, and those members accused of any crime within it’s walls, are offered a trial by strength for continued sanctuary. This trial by strength is always against the actual accuser, not hired men, and it only offers continued sanctuary, not a pardon outside the walls. Most use it for respite, and time to recover before or after a challenge, knowing that temple law dictates that trials by strength must occur at peak physical condition.
- What do the temples look like?
Kord’s temples look like simple arena’s and stadiums from the outside, but many of them have unusual qualities or designs in their construction. Water battles, fire pits, high gloss walls that blind contestants, and collapsable sections of flooring are some of the more mundane designs. Strange fauna, flooring that attract or creates gusts of wind, optical effects that can trick or decieve, strange or terrible monsters, and far more interesting hazards are common at the larger temples. Which complication, if any, may be introduced to a match, is often determined randomly, sometimes involving more than one.