The Holy Firestick
As the sun set, the holy monk of Jove muttered a word and the tip of his staff flared into flame like a torch, without being burned or scorched in any way by it's own holy fire. He carried on his way without fear of being sneaked up on or stepping off the path in the dark.
The symbol of the god Jove is that of the flame, and the monks that serve Him use it in a big way. Their robes are orange, the colour of the flame, their preachers preach fiery sermons and tend to have fiery tempers towards their underlings. Small sacred flames are kept burning in the main ziggurat temples dedicated to Jove, and dead Jovians are cremated and would be appalled at the thought of their bodies after death being left to rot instead of being purified by flame. So it is not surprising that the defensive weapon of a Jovian monk has fire as a major component. After being created from wood that is cut down from an orchard on a sacred site of Jove, the wood is shaped with great care into a quarterstaff that reaches to the shoulder of its owner. The staff has a few holy symbols cut lightly into the hilt, and is blessed by a Jovian Bishop, and it is then given a handle of wet leather and placed in a fire and left there for several hours.
Under normal circumstances this would result in it being burned to ashes, but provided it has been blessed properly and comes from the right orchard, and has been shaped properly, it is plucked from the fire unburned and only slightly warm to the touch. A leather hilt is then placed upon it, covering the holy symbols, and the Holy Firestick is ready. It’s owner is generally given it when he is a child and has just joined the monastery, and is trained in it’s use, although it is kept in the monastery’s armoury when not needed for training until it’s owner reaches the age of eighteen, to avoid accidents. If such a weapon is stolen from the armoury and its owner is underage, he-it is always a he as Jovian monasteries refuse to admit women, is not held to blame unless he was guarding the armoury at the time. But should it be lost or stolen from an adult owner, then the owner is in disgrace and suspended from his monastery until he finds a way to get it back, legally or otherwise.
Most Jovian monks as a result will fight against anybody, even in extreme circumstances, law enforcement officers, who tries to take their Sacred Firestick away from them permanently. It has so many uses. It can be used as a normal quarterstaff in battle, as a walking stick for the aged and the ill, and to help climb steep hills, and that is without using its powers. When a key world is spoken, it can burst into bright yellow flame. A well-trained Jovian monk can make it flame at the tip, or all the way to the handle (which is protected by the symbols cut into the wood under the leather from going on fire). Or he can hold it like a quarterstaff and make everywhere except where he is holding it go on fire. Only the fully trained monks will use it as a quarterstaff though, as it’s fires can burn a monk who touches them just like everybody else.
As well as a weapon, it’s powers can be used to light candles and campfires, cook food, light the way in the dark, as a tool to create firebreaks when facing a fire that is too large to control any other way, or to signal in Morse Code (or some other code known only to the Jovian Church for important and secret communications) at night, dusk or dawn. Of course, it can also set buildings alight, but a Jovian monk will only do that in one of three circumstances.
-To save his life from a howling mob, something unheard of in Jovian areas but possible in a very few far out of the way places.
-To create a firebreak to stop the rest of a city or town from burning down, if there is no other option.
-During a properly called Crusade in the context of a Holy War. Whilst in some circumstances Jovian monks can tolerate the members of other religions very well, should a Crusade be called, then the gloves really come off. Although they deny it, some chapters of monks have tortured prisoners, murdered civilians and even on a few occasions poisoned wells and other water sources.
Apart from sparring in training, or if one of their own was to turn foully evil, heretic, or criminally insane, no Jovian monk is allowed to fight another Jovian monk in any physical way. In special circumstances such as the above, a Bishop or priest who is higher in rank then a Bishop may declare an order of capturing or, if there is no other option, of killing him.
If a non-Jovian tries to use this and his or her target is not a Jovian monk, he or she will face problems. First, he or she most likely will just not know how to use its powers, nor will he or she know Jovian martial arts. If he or she does somehow find out how to ignite it, it will blaze into fire all along its length, and as long as the staff is in infidel hands, it will burn not with holy fire but with normal fire. Within a minute or two it will be charred but still useable, within an hour it will burn away to the hilt and extinguish itself for good.
If a non Jovian who somehow knows how to activate it’s powers tries to use them against a Jovian monk, the monk can extinguish the flames, whilst those of Abbot rank or higher in the Jovian church can use the flames from the stolen staff to burn the infidel who dared first to steal the staff in the first place, and then to grossly insult the Jovian Church by using it against it’s monks.
When a Jovian monk dies, be it in combat, of disease or just after a long life, his staff is used after all the proper prayers for the dead have been said to light the north end of his funeral pyre and placed in his dead hands, and as the body burns, releasing the soul from it’s fleshy prison, the staff burns to ashes so that it’s ghost can aid the ghost of it’s owner in the Jovian afterlife.
Summer may be winding down (in most places), but the fires of imagination still burn bright.
Thousands upon thousands of years ago, role-playing was invented by our ancestors. Long before the first wheel rolled down a hill, and long before the first loaf of bread was sliced, early humans sat around their caves regaling each other with tales of gods, creatures, heroes and villains, and entertaining themselves with impersonations, play-acting, and role-reversals. All this was made possible by the roaring FIRES inside their caves, which warmed their bodies, roasted their meats, and shone light on their faces.
This month we celebrate FIRE and Role-Playing!
'The Quest revolves around the element of FIRE. Water, Air, and Earth need not apply.
Items, Locations, NPCs, or Plots. All are welcome as long as FIRE is involved! Don your asbestos suits and enter with us, into the all-consuming inferno that is this month's Quest!'
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? Responses (4)-4
An item and backstory I think most players would enjoy.
A nice variant fire staff, but I find the frequent run-on sentences a bit distracting. Use more sentences -don't use the same sentence to say 3 different things.
' It's owner is generally given it when he is a child and has just joined the monastery, and is trained in it's use, although it is kept in the monastery's armoury when not needed for training until it's owner reaches the age of eighteen, to avoid accidents
An initiate, usually a child, is issued a staff once they have completed the necessary basic training. Until they complete the more advanced training, the staff is kept in the monastery armory outside of training.
Quite a decent stick! One note: the staff is said to reach to its owner's shoulder, but is given to him in childhood - is it magically grown to account for the owner's maturing? Maybe that is how its powers come into effect in the first place... it has to mature as well.
(Oh, and don't forget to link to other relevant posts from your world, there must be something related. :) )
I like the visuals of monks fighting with flaming staves, and the cultural elements that go with the item.