Monday, July 3, 2017

[City State of the Invincible Overlord] Religions of the CSIO Part 1

RELIGIONS OF THE CITY STATE
Part 1 of 3

More than 30 significant pantheist religions and cults are practiced in the City State, together with numerous small independent cults representing more than 300 gods. Of these, nine religions and cults are regularly practiced by more than 60,000 citizens, while less than 40,000 citizens follow the other 23.

Note that most religions and the gods thereof are polytheistic, in that they do not demand exclusive worship on the part of members and worshipers. Only the Mycretians, followers of the Lone God, Mycr, are monotheistic (some might say, dangerously so, or they would be, were they not pacifists). Thus, the numbers mentioned above overlap, as a citizen will attend the ceremonies of more than one deity or even pantheon. Only initiates and priests are required to remain exclusive to their religion, and in the case of a pantheon, even they may revere more than one god!

There are five levels of worship, the level of which allows greater access to the benefits of the faith:

Irregular: An irregular worshiper shows up at services at least once a month and on one or more holy days a year, and provides a minimal monthly donation, depending on his social level and the financial expectations of the temple. Irregular worshipers may be of any alignment. If the worshiper has not otherwise declared a patron faith or god, the soul of the deceased will possibly (30%) be judged according to the tenets of this faith, if judged at all.

Regular: Regular worshipers show up at weekly services at least twice a month, attend services most holy days, provide at least 2.5% of their income as a donation, and have developed a friendly relationship with at least one or two members of the clergy so that they recognize them on sight. If the worshiper has not otherwise declared a patron faith or god, the soul of the deceased will usually (60%) be judged according to the tenets of this faith, if judged at all.

Semi-Exclusive: Semi-exclusive worshipers show up at least once a week at services when they are in town, and seek out another temple or to perform their own small service at least once a week when they are away, attend all holy days and sponsor them to whatever extent they can, and provide at least 5% of their income as a donation. If the worshiper has not otherwise declared a patron faith or god, the soul of the deceased will most likely (90%) be judged according to the tenets of this faith, if judged at all.

Initiate: Initiates are exclusive worshipers of a single temple pantheon and/or deity, and attend every service possible, even if daily, and perform all required rituals on their own when unable to attend a service. The god is their “Patron God.” They actively participate in services, especially on holy days, and provide at least 10% of their income as a tithe, if not more. Initiates are considered “lay clergy,” and some go on to become priests. Initiates are generally found at the lowest level of the temple’s hierarchy, though if they have wealth and/or political power, they can rise higher. Souls of initiates are guaranteed to be judged by the tenets of their patron faith and god, though of course, the proper burial rituals must still be made, or soul still must be significant enough to be noticed to be judged.

Priest: Priests of a deity possess levels in a spell-casting class and exclusively revere the temple pantheon and/or deity. Most clergy tithe at least 20% up to 100% of all their wealth to their temple, lead rituals during regular and holy day services; and can move up in the temple hierarchy. Priests can include anti-paladins, bards, clerics, druids, illusionists, magic-users, monks, paladins, rangers, sages, and shamans. Note that not all spell-casters, even clerics, are part of a temple hierarchy! Souls of priests are guaranteed to be judged by the tenets of their patron faith and god, though of course, the proper burial rituals must still be made, or soul still must be significant enough to be noticed to be judged.

ALIGNMENT IN THE WILDERLANDS
The Wilderlands is a place with lots of shades of grey and only one great divide that matters, cosmologically speaking. I refer, of course, to Jeff’s Threefold Apocalyptic Alignments, based on the classic alignment system. Quoting and Paraphrasing Jeff:

Answer the quiz below to determine your alignment:

Ragnarok just started. Aligned on one side are Odin, Thor, Mitra, Re-Harakhte, Thoth, Daghdha, Nuada, Zeus, Apollo, and most of their pantheon members. On the other side are Cthulhu, Tsathoggua, Loki, Set, Orcus, and Asmodeus. Where does your PC stand?

A) I fight alongside Odin and Zeus!
B) I fight alongside Cthulhu and Set!
C) Where do I stand? Are you crazy? I get the hell out of there and find a place to hide!

If you answered A your character is Lawful.
If you answered B then your character is Chaotic.
If you chose C then you’re Neutral.

No other behavior matters for alignment purposes. Cosmically, everything else is just static, though your actions in life WILL matter when you die, as all gods have some sort of code of ethics, morals, taboos, or simple rules if you want in on the good stuff in the Afterworld.

Lawful types can fight wars against each other, as can Chaotic types. But if two Chaotic groups are fighting and the Lawful types attack, be prepared for those Orcs and Goblins to suddenly act like fast friends.

Conversely, Lawful and Chaotic types can often get along just fine in everyday life; in many cities, they must get along, or the Powers That Be, who are more concerned with the Here and Now of the Secular World, will toss both lots outside the walls with little ceremony and no tears lost…

Good and evil, for purposes of detection spells and such, measure intentions. A man with malice on his mind detects as evil, no matter how good his previous deeds.

MAJOR RELIGIONS
60%+ of the citizenry bend their knee or at least drop a coin at one or more of these temples, usually once per week, but no less than once per month. These faiths are, in descending order of popularity and power:

1) FORN SIDTHR (“The Ancient Faith”)
Gods: Odin “The All-Father.” His wife, Frigga “Queen of Gods,” his son Thor “The Thunderer,” and Thor’s wife Sif “The Valkyrie” also have major shrines here, while votary offerings may also be made to Forseti the Justiciar, Heimdall the Watcher, Hermod Hellwalker, Odur Sun-Brother, and most other “goodly” Aesir.

Odin from the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Worshipers: Anyone, though especially those seeking wisdom, justice, strength in battle, peace and prosperity at home, and success in war abroad. Worship is so broad and deep in the City State that even the Overlord must make an appearance at this temple now and again, as do most nobles and other politicians who wish to remain in the good graces of the “common people.” Few fighters willingly leave the City State to go to battle without leaving an offering for Thor and Sif.

Priesthood: Mostly clerics, with a few bards, monks, paladins, and rangers. As wizardry is frowned upon by the faith, there are no illusionists, magic-users, or sages among the clergy, nor are there any druids or shamans.

Patriarch of the Faith: Ralibarn the Wise.

Alignments: Lawful and Neutral. Clergy must be Lawful to rise above 6th level as a cleric; Neutral clerics may only advance as far as 6th level.

Symbols: Stylized As rune for the pantheon; Odin’s Eye (Odin), Fehu rune (Frigga), hammer (Thor), and upraised long sword (Sif).

Enemy Gods and Demons: Loki, Hel, Fenris Wolf, Jormungandr, Surtur, and Thrymr, most especially, but the Aesir and their followers count any Chaos god or demon as enemies.

Regular Worshiper’s Benefit: Due to the broad and common worship of Forn Sidthr, basic benefits are few, save ready access and fair rates for the casting of spells, and free advice on most common troubles. Plus, the temple throws some of the best beer and brat parties in the city! You get a 10% discount on all spell-casting services and parties.

Semi-Exclusive Worshiper’s Benefit: As above, plus you may use a language slot to read and write Valonar, or learn it later through worship and training. You get a 25% discount on all spell-casting services and parties.

Initiate Worshiper’s Benefit: As above, plus you may cast rune of protection (as protection from evil). Once you have cast the spell, you regain its use only after you sacrifice at the temple and engage in at least two hours of prayer. You get a 50% discount on all spell-casting services and parties.

Afterlife: The honored dead have a place prepared for them in Asgard, and the most valiant warriors a place at a table in Valhalla, where the brave may live forever, fighting giants and demons by day, and being raised again in time for the feast at night. The dishonorable dead are cast into Niflheim, Jotunheim, or Muspelheim, there to be the playthings of giants, demons, and worse until Ragnarok. The truly evil dead are either consumed by the Fenris Wolf or condemned to walk the world of the living as draugr, a cursed variety of undead.

You can get the full lowdown on Forn Sidthr in Wilderlands: Faiths of the City State: Forn Sidthr.

2) TRISM EGISTUS (“The Temple of Knowledge”)
Gods: Thoth “The Thrice Great.” His wife, Seshat “She Who Scrivens,” is also revered at the temple (male priests serve Thoth, female priestesses serve Seshat). Followers of other “goodly” deities of the Ennead, the gods of Alt Ghinor (Egyptian), especially Re-Harakhte, Osiris, and Isis, may perform rituals and leave votary offerings for their gods at a small pantheist shrine in the temple. There is also a special shrine devoted to Thoth’s good friend, Ganesha (of the Telanghan faith), with a handful of clerics in attendance.

Thoth from the Marvel Comic Book Universe
Worshipers: Anyone, though especially those seeking wisdom, knowledge, truth, and arcane secrets. Most magic-users and sages leave an offering before setting out on a quest for knowledge and secrets. Thoth is served by magic-users, both in the priesthood and outside the hierarchy.

Priesthood: Mostly clerics, though with a significant minority of magic-users and sages, and a handful of monks. The small resident priesthood of Isis also includes magic-users, while the priesthood of Re-Harakhte includes no few paladins.
 
Patriarch of the Faith: Krongil the Prudent.

High Priestess of Seshat: Memnerbeth the Rubricatrix.

Alignments: Lawful and Neutral. Neutral clergy are not limited to 6th level of advancement. Clergy of Re-Harakhte, Osiris, and Isis must be Lawful.
 
Symbols: An ankh for the pantheon; an ibis for Thoth, a stylized hemp leaf for Seshat, the Eye of Ra for Re-Harakhte, crossed crook and flail for Osiris, and five-pointed upright star for Isis.

Enemy Gods and Demons: Set is the primary enemy of the pantheon; Harmakhis is close behind. These gods also loathe Asmodeus and his ranks of devils (which have encroached on their native homelands in the Southern Reaches) and the various ranks of Demon Princes and such ilk who serve Harmakhis.

Regular Worshiper’s Benefits: The sage priests of the temple are far more willing to deal with those seeking knowledge than the School of Ancient Knowledge or the Sage’s Guild, often willing to barter services for knowledge and wisdom, whereas the school requires proper social connections and the guild requires cold, hard coin. With non-believers, the priests are no less demanding of coins than any guild sage. You get a 10% discount on all spell-casting and sage services.

Semi-Exclusive Worshiper’s Benefit: As above, plus you may use a language slot to read and write Ghinorian, or learn it later through worship and training. You get a 25% discount on all spell-casting services and sage services.

Initiate Worshiper’s Benefit: As above, plus you may cast sanctuary. Once you have cast the spell, you regain its use only after you sacrifice at the temple and engage in at least two hours of prayer. You get a 50% discount on all spell-casting services and sage services.

Afterlife: Those whose sins balance with the Feather of Ma’at are granted a place in the Seven Halls of Fair Ament, where eternity will go on much as did life, while those whose sins are lighter than the Feather of Ma’at and whose accomplishments are great are granted estates in the Offering Fields amid the palaces of the gods. Those whose heart is heavier than the feather will be consumed by the beast, Am’mit, in whose bowels the damned will writhe for all eternity. However, as the faithful believe each person has five souls, various fates for each may be in store after death...

3) HADAWY HATANAR (“The Temple of Offerings”)
Gods: Harmakhis “The Dark Sun,” “Son of the Damned,” the “Ebon Sphinx.” Harmakhis worship comes from distant Alt Ghinor, out of time immemorial. Harmakhis is no longer openly worshiped there, for he is an outcast, like his father, Set.


http://tj-illustrates.tumblr.com/
Awesome art by Travis Purvis
Rumors that he is, in fact, a Tharbrian deity are actively denied by the hierarchy of the City State (who favor the trappings and rituals of Alt Ghinor), though cults of Donn and Harmakhis outside the City State have other beliefs. Some sages believe that when he was young, and hunted by his brother-cousin Re-Harakhte, Harmakhis hid among the Wild Men ancestors of the Tharbrians, and was deified by them with the name Donn.

Harmakhis is a greedy, jealous god, and allows the worship of no other gods at his temples, not even his father, Set, though the priesthood has a budding professional relationship with the clergy of the Hell-Bridge Temple, often trading tips on summoning fiends and raising guardian baboons, or so it is said. Also, Harmakhis has many demon servitors, who serve his priests and sometimes, his followers. It is said that the god is in attendance personally at every sacrifice, though the truth of this is known only to his priesthood.

Worshipers: Anyone, though few can be said to truly worship Harmakhis. Placate him, yes. Bribe him, certainly. But few worship him, save those who have an unhealthy concern for death, dying, or serial murder. Many who wish someone dead leave offerings at his temple — offerings which include slaves, for human life is his required sacrifice, no less than one soul being offered up to him each day at his temple, more on holy days.
 
Priesthood: Almost entirely clerics, with a few magic-users who specialize in summoning demons, and a handful of anti-paladins.

Patriarch: Unknown to the public.

Alignments: Chaotic and Neutral; even Lawful types make appearances at his temple, to make offerings of placation. His clergy are almost universally Chaotic, and must be Chaotic to rise above 6th level.
 
Symbols: The stylized mask of a hieracosphinx; sometimes this is surmounted by a pair of Ghinorian-style hawk wings.

Enemy Gods: All the Lawful gods of Alt Ghinor, especially his brother-cousin Re-Harakhte, his mother Isis, her husband Osiris, and most of the rest of the Ghinorian gods. His own father, Set, rejects him (for his part, he has betrayed Harmakhis no fewer times than he has himself been betrayed). Mitra is also a notable enemy, as they crossed blades no few times over the millennia, usually when he was in service to his father. The Tharbrian and Tharbriana gods are no friends of his due to a long-held feud.

Regular Worshiper’s Benefits: You are low on the list to be sacrificed, and can readily replace your draw with a slave. You get regular invitations to the Orgy of Blood and other low-level special events. A very cult-like temple, most benefits accrue to those inducted into the “Inner Mysteries.” You get a 10% discount on all spell-casting services and events.

Semi-Exclusive Worshiper’s Benefit: As above, plus you may use a language slot to read and write Demonic, or learn it later through worship and training. You get a 25% discount on all spell-casting services and events.

Initiate Worshiper’s Benefit: As above, plus you may cast mask evil (the reverse of detect evil). Once you have cast the spell, you regain its use only after you sacrifice at the temple and engage in at least two hours of prayer. You get a 50% discount on all spell-casting services and events.

Afterlife: The living faithful exist to curry favor with Harmakhis through sacrifice and ritual. Those who please Harmakhis in this life will be guaranteed a place of service in his palace in the Seven Scarlet Hells. Those who fail him will be the playthings of his demons — dogma states that any who worship other gods before Harmakhis will suffer this doom, as the other “gods” are nothing but the lies of false priests and sorcerers.

2 comments:

  1. "Good and evil, for purposes of detection spells and such, measure intentions. A man with malice on his mind detects as evil, no matter how good his previous deeds"

    Is this first edition AD&D? OD&D?Are you talking about know alignment or detect evil/good spells?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am using the classic alignments as used in Moorcock's Elric series and Three Shields, Three Lions by Anderson. Thus, Law and Chaos are completely distinct from Good and Evil; Law and Chaos are cosmic states of being, whereas good and evil are merely intentions (and even then, relative to the bearer and the target thereof)...

    Good and Evil are all about one's current intentions, not about one's alignment with the cosmos. And especially in the case of magical "intent," it also has to do with how those intentions affect the caster.

    For example, a goblin sneaking up to stab a wizard who has invaded the goblin lair... from the goblin's perspective, it is doing a good thing, killing an invader. Of course, from the wizard's perspective, someone seeking to kill you is an evil act. The fact that the wizard is Lawful and the goblin Chaotic does not even enter the equation.

    Similarly, if a Lawful warrior intends to kill a Lawful cleric of another faith, to the cleric, that is an evil. And so if the cleric casts "detect evil," he will detect the intentions of the warrior toward the cleric as evil, even if in the warrior's mind killing the cleric is a "good" act.

    So in respect to good and evil and spellcasting, good and evil are relative to the caster, or the target, of the intent.

    Thus, "detect evil" detects anyone with evil intentions according to those intentions toward the caster and his allies (or neutrals). Note that the Labyrinth Lord spell "detect evil" works in this way, essentially, even to the point of requiring an object to be enchanted in order to have "evil intentions." Thus, the will of the caster embeds the intentions in the object, whereas a simple physical trap, no matter how dangerous, will not detect as evil, as the intentions are not magically embedded into the trap...

    "Protection from evil," likewise, depends on intent. Naturally, from the perspective of the caster (or the one the spell protects), anyone trying to kill you is of "evil intent." It has nothing to do with Law or Chaos. The secondary effect has to do with summoned and conjured creatures, regardless of alignment or even intent!

    "Know Alignment" allows the caster to know if a person, place, or thing is cosmically aligned with Law or Chaos. As even the vast majority of NPC and PC followers of Lawful and Chaotic gods are Neutral, not taking that grand and important step of aligning, this spell is not of as much use as it might otherwise be, as it has no ability to determine intent, good or evil, merely cosmic alignment. This helps most especially when you are dealing with an unknown kind of magical enchantment or aura.

    "Dispel Evil" in my game actually changes to "Dispel Law" or "Dispel Chaos," as the original intent of the spell was to destroy spells and banish creatures of the opposite alignment. Thus, a "dispel chaos" spell causes all Chaotic summoned and conjured creatures of Chaos to save; if they fail, they are destroyed, if they save, they flee (this includes Undead). Ongoing spells and temporary magic items in the area cast or created by Chaotic spell-casters get a saving throw as per their caster; if they fail, they are dispelled, if they succeed, they are merely muted and ineffectual for one turn per level of the dispel caster. Permanent items are muted for one turn per level if they fail; muted for one round per level if they succeed. Artifact/relic level items are unaffected.

    ReplyDelete