Posts Tagged With: Religion

The Heptarchy

The Heptarchy is a pantheon led by the Lady Night and it is made up of Her, along with Her three sons known as the Perihelion and Her three daughters known as the Perilune. It is a very old religion, dating back to Atlan and before, and it is found wherever humankind fled after the fall of that realm.

Lady Night Herself is known as the Mother of Darkness, and holds sway over magic and mysteries of all sorts. She accepts the worship of any and all, unconcerned with alignment by either priest or worshipper and is distant, some would say uncaring, head of her family. Some say she is one of the Great Gods, hidden in a lesser form, but if this be true even Her priestesses known it not. She and Her priestess keep their counsel close, but when they share their thoughts it is generally a deep wisdom that shows both unlooked for compassion and the willingness to sacrifice all for the greater good. Her symbols include the Dark of the Moon, Jet, or an Orb (Domain: Arcana/Knowledge)

The Perihelion

The Orders of the Suns are made up of Sol Invictus and Helios Panoptes. The Orders are well organized and mutually supporting sects that are found in all civilized lands. They oppose evil and chaos and are often willing to ally themselves with groups like the Church of the Lords of Light or the Khemeti where they have both morals, ethics, and overall goals in common. Together, the brothers ride the Great Dragons of the Suns, and the faithful watch the sky for signs of their passage.

Sol Invictus, the Unconquered Sun, is first among leaders and warriors. He stands for all that is lawful and good, and tolerates nothing but the same in his priests and followers. He is favored by nobles and rulers across the Mortal Realms, as well as by common soldiers who pray for His blessing and protection combat. The symbol of Sol Invictus is a Golden Bladed Imperial Sun. (Domain: Light/War)

At His side stands His brother, Helios Panoptes, the All-Seeing Sun, truth-seeker and bringer-of-judgment. Truly neutral, Panoptes brings judgment based on what has happened, by whatever standard is asked – truth is his purview, not justice. His worshippers includes spellcasters, judges, lawyers, and kings who rule by wisdom rather than by strength of arms. The symbol of Helios Panoptes is the All-Seeing Eye within a Golden Sun. (Domain: Knowledge/Light)

They are both thwarted by Their brother, whom They curse whenever He appears, the Midnight Sun. The Masked One whose intrigue outmatches the strength of arm of His brother Invictus and whose deception can blind even His brother Panoptes. The Midnight Sun is served by thieves, spies, and diplomats and while very few who are good serve Him, many of His worshippers are neutral and even evil. The symbol of the Midnight Sun is a some variation of a Sun in Black or a Mask. (Domain: Trickery)

 The Perilune

The Mysteries of the Moon are made up of sects that worship the daughters of Lady Night, the Three Sisters; Mother of Pearl, Daughter of Bone, and Sister of Blood. These sects are more secretive than the Orders of the Suns, often concerned more with issues of hearth, home, and heart than with the more lofty political and social concerns of the Orders of the Suns. The Perilune are often willing to ally themselves not merely with the Perihelion, but with the Old Faith, and are friendly with the servants of the Lords Tarot. Like their brothers, the Three Sisters each ride one of the Great Dragons of the Moons, their passage marked by tides and weather.

The eldest of the daughters of Lady Night is known as Mother of Pearl. She holds sway over birth and rebirth, over the potential of the womb, and the cycles of life itself. Mothers everywhere swear by Her name and sacrifice pearls in times of need. Careful, considerate, compassionate, but also calculating Mother of Pearl attracts priestesses and followers who are Lawful in nature – She is less concerned with the morals of Her followers and more with the ethics. Her symbols include the Full Moon, Pearls, or a Chalice. (Domain: Life/Nature)

The middle daughter of Lady Night is known as Daughter of Bone. She is feared by all, unaligned and Neutral in all ways as are Her servants. Daughter of Bone holds sway over Death, of the body, the mind, the soul, and the spirit for She is final silence that comes to all things. Her worshippers are few and far between, but all pray to Her in their final moments. Her symbols include the Waning Moon, an Bone Knife, or a Skull (Domain: Death)

The youngest daughter of Lady Night is the Sister of Blood, She who rules over passion and fertility, and all those things that quicken the blood. Unlike Her sisters, She is Chaotic and Her followers are equally as unpredictable – often gathered together in bands of maenads and bacchae, even bands of berserking amazons fighting on the battlefields alongside men. Her symbols include Waxing Moon, a Spray of Blood, or a Labrys (Domain: War)

 

Game Mechanics Will Come in a Later Post

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The En Khoda Theos Kirk – Part One

Part Two

Also known as the Cult of the Elements or the Dancing Kirk (church), or the Kirk of the Four Great Elemental Dragons, the En Khoda Theos Kirk is the formal name for the religion or mystical philosophy that is focused individually upon the elements as they manifest through the Great Dragons of Earth, Fire, Water, and Air. It is the closest to formal worship or veneration or organized contemplation and study of the Great Gods (or at least a portion of them) that exists and is thought to be among the oldest of the organized religions, primarily practiced by the Dragonborn and the Warforged of the Iron Court but with a strong minority following of humans from Ith and Atlan. Human worship is loosely organized into a great congregation that is known as the Quatrefoil, while the Warforged have a highly organized and ruthlessly efficient organization known as the Svastika, that serves them as a state religion even if the analogy is a weak one.

There are five basic roles recognized within the religion of the En Khoda Theos Kirk; there are the Drakein (trans. “those who see clearly”), the common body of sworn and allied faithful who pursue the mysteries of the Great Dragons; the Maikoiran, the prophets; the Kenza, the warriors and champions, the Dorje, the priesthood; and the Vajra, the mystics – all of whom are devoted to the Great Dragons. Unlike other religions there is no formal pursuit of a status beyond that of the Drakein, there is only the Call of the Great Dragons, and the trials and process of moving deeper within the faith can be terrifying. Similarly, there is no real organizing authority within the religion and for the various authorities both secular and religious this is also of the most frustrating parts of dealing with the En Khoda Theos Kirk. Strange as those outside of the religion find it, Dorje-led Kirks, Kenzan Fighting Orders, solitary Vajran mystics, and Maikoiran secret societies all coexist and somehow manage to operate without much conflict – and this is the essence of the Quatrefoil, known also as the Dancing Kirk and the Union Stoicheion. For the Svastika, this is the state religion of the Iron Court, but again, more a philosophy than what most humans and other races think of as “religion”.

The Drakein are the gathering of the faithful in the greater congregation of the Kirk. While all of the Great Dragons are venerated, most faithful have one (or perhaps two) of the Great Dragons that are the most meaningful for them and that are granted the majority of their attention. The Drakein are taken from all walks of life – across social class and profession (Normal Worshippers).

The Maikoiran are the distinctly not a portion of the Dorje, the Kenza, or the Vajra – though many within those other groupings also followed this path for a time, or continue to follow it as a part of their service. They are dancing oracles, seers, and often tantrics who are viewed as touched by the Great Dragons, and are highly respected by the Drakein and others. The Maikoiran are organized into a bewildering series of secret societies and fellowships that provide support for themselves and Dancing Kirk as a whole (Bards, Clerics, Sorcerers, Warlocks).

The Kenza are the champions of the Dancing Kirk – lay brethren who are charged with the protection of the faithful and the guardianship of the various kirks and shrines. The Kenza are fierce and dedicated warriors who are associated with various fighting orders to whom they owe allegiance to. Common fighting orders include: The Thousand-Forged Dragons, The Storm Dancers, The Five-Fold Avalanche, and The Claws of the Dragons (Clerics, Fighters, Monks, Paladins, Rogues, Wizards).

Dorje serve the Great Dragons as a whole as part of the Quatrefoil, the Dancing Kirk. They serve as advisors and healers for their communities but only have formal authority within whatever kirk (temple) or vihara (monestary) they belong to. The two assemblages, kirk and vihara, are seen as distinctly different rules of conduct and behavior, but also as essentially co-equal and serving different purposes – kirks for the Quartrefoil and vihara for the individual Great Dragons. (Clerics).

Vajra are rare individuals who have been chosen and blessed one of the Great Elemental Dragons – they are generally seen as champions of that individual Great Dragon. They are often solitary in nature and wander looking for enlightenment and challenge, though a fair number tend to isolated shrines deep in the wilderness – a rare few even take up residence in an actual kirk and end up taking formal vows as a Dorje (Class Independant).

The Great Elemental Dragons

The Great Dragon of Earth and Metal: Also known as the Body Stoicheion, and often represents both stability and fertility.

  • Symbol / Color / Animal: Square or Rectangle / Brown / Stone Drake
  • Place of Worship: Underground or Stone-built Kirk or Vihara
  • Divine / Worshipper Alignment: True Neutral / Neutral (Any), Lawful (Any)
  • Common Manifestations: Finding a gem, a stone or gem shattering, earthquakes
  • Common Professions: Warriors, Smiths, Craftsmen, Midwives.

The Great Dragon of Air and Sky: Is known as the Breath Stoicheion, and represents the ideals of curiosity and intellect.

  • Symbol / Color / Animal: Downward Triangle / White / Storm Drake
  • Place of Worship: Open Air Kirk or Vihara
  • Divine/Worshipper Alignment: True Neutral / Neutral (Any), Chaotic (Any)
  • Common Manifestations: Whistling winds, still air, tornados
  • Common Professions: Sages, Sailors, Travelers, Wanderers.

The Great Dragon of Fire and Flames: Known as the Spirit Stoicheion, the Great Dragon of Fire represents both passion and consumption.

  • Symbol / Color / Animal: Upward Triangle / Red / Fire Drake
  • Place of Worship: Kirk or Vihara with Furnaces or Firepits
  • Divine / Worshipper Alignment: True Neutral / Neutral (Any), Chaotic (Any)
  • Common Manifestations: Fires flaring, fires dampening, explosions
  • Common Professions: Performers, Tantrics, Artists.

The Great Dragon of Water and Seas: Consider by the some the most fearsome, the Great Dragon of the Sea is also known as the Blood Stoicheion, and stands for both mystery and adaptability.

  • Symbol / Color / Animal : Circle / Blue / Sea Drake
  • Place of Worship: Kirk or Vihara with Springs, Pools, Fountains, etc.
  • Divine / Worshipper Alignment: True Neutral / Neutral (Any), Chaotic (Any)
  • Common Manifestations: Water going still, water running abnormally, whirlpools
  • Common Professions: Mages, Diplomats, Psychics.
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Society of Light – Part 5

Part One     Part Two     Part Three     Part Four     Part Six

As large and encompassing as the Church of the Lords of Light, all those who work with the Celestial Hosts do not full under it’s rubric – nor are all of the Celestials in accordance with how to pursue the War Without End. Some of these organizations are well-respected by the Church, being recognized as members of the Greater Society of Light that have different connections to the Celestials than the Covenant of Enoch.

  • The Healers of Sc. Estor – Perhaps the best known of the Orders that do not fall under the Seal of the Lord Sc. Metatron, the “Green Friars” or “Green Cloaks” (as they are often known) are renowned as healers and have chosen to coexist with the Church by creating monasteries and chapter houses similar to those of the Orders Anchorite and Mendicant. In truth, most members of the Church do not fully realize that the Estorians are not members of the Church proper.
  • The Endorian Warrior Monks – Equally as renowned as the Healers of Sc. Estor, the Warrior Monks of Endor maintain a series of monasteries across the Mortal Realms. Masters of the martial arts, the Endorians wander the realms, bringing justice, healing, and wisdom to those in need. More obviously not members of the Church, they are nonetheless deeply respected, and are friends no commoners and nobles alike.
  • The Sabean Order – Little known and secretive, the Sabean Order likes to think of itself as the “pragmatic cousin” to the Church of the Lords of Light. More “neutral good” than “lawful good” the Sabeans work with all Celestials not merely the Host, as well as good-aligned Dragons, Fae, and Giants (and neutral as well if need be) – often acting as spies and assassins as often as they fight on the field of battle.
  • The Tamarines – With their robes of many colors and ash-marked faces the spiritual sons and daughters of Tamar dwell deep within the Desolation of Hazor in the Tower of Absalom. Led by the descendant of Tamar herself, the women are mystics and prophets, while the men are assassins who seek vengeance for the crimes witnesses in drug-fueled visions. They can be found throughout the realms, doing their bloody work in the darkness and the shadows.

Others however are viewed as heretics by the Church and not considered part of either the Church of the Lords of Light or the greater Society of Light, even though they may have been accepted at one time.

  • Rite and Benediction of the Congregation of the Triune – A short-lived Rite that was declared heretical within a generation of it being founded, the Triune was established with a group of angels fell from grace when they lay with women and spawned a race of monsters – fair in form, black in heart. While it still exists in small hidden communities, it is ruthlessly stamped out wherever it is found by the Church, wary of the monsters that can be hidden within their midst.
  • Order of the Blessed Knights of the Triune – An Order Militant that is associated with the Triune Rite, it is equally small and hidden at this point, working in secret to protect the members of the Triune Rite from the enemies both within and without the Church. Considered as skilled in the skills of the knife and cloak as the Siccari  by those who know of them, they are quite feared by the hierarchy of the Church.
  • Children of the Revelation – An extremely heretical sect unrelated to the Triune Rite (and never actually a formal part of the Church), the Children of the Revelation are a sect that practiced (or practices, their extinction is unconfirmed) a radical form of prophecy involving altered states of consciousness derived from a series of intense ecstatic experiences. Though similar (and much less intense) practices are used by the Church, these were of such a nature that the Children were deemed to be heretics on the verge of Apostasy.

 

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Society of Light – Part 4

Part One     Part Two     Part Three     Part Five     Part Six

The Sarim: The Sarim are the Chief Celestial Princes who rule over the Eternal City, the Seven Heavens, and Heavenly Host, and the Choirs of Angels. It is said that there is an angel for everything, and that There are too many for a complete list here, as there are entire tomes dedicated to the Hierarchy of Heaven, but the following is a list of the greatest among the Host.

  • Lord Sc. Anafiel: Lord of the Crown Judgment; Chief of the Qaddisin (The Judges, two of which must be part of any celestial court); and the Keeper of the Keys to the Eternal City. Once soundly thrashed the Lord Sc. Metatron as part of a Divine Judgment.
  • Lord Sc. Camael: Prince of the Presence; Prince of the Choir of Malakim; Chief of the Soqed Hozi (Keepers of the Divine Balances); and the Master of Divine Justice.
  • Lord Sc. Chayyiel: Prince of the Choir of Kerubim; Chief of Angelic Guards over the Great Realm of ‘Aden; and Master of the Sword of Enoch.
  • Lord Sc. Gabriel: Archangel of Annunciation, Resurrection, Mercy, and Vengeance; Tutelary Prince of the Great Realm of Thalath; and Chief of the Soperiel Mehayye (Keepers of the Book of Life).
  • Lord Sc. Jehoel: Prince of the Presence; Prince of the Choir of Ofanim; Chief of the Merkabah (the Chariots of the Heaven), and the Master of the Trisagion.
  • Lord Sc. Metatron: Chancellor of Heaven; The Great Archon; Prince of the Ministering Angels; Sustainer of Mankind; Angel of the Enchiridion; Preceptor of Enoch in the Mysteries of the Evangelion; and Tutelary Master of the Congregation of Istar.
  • Lord Sc. Michael: Archangel and Prince of the Presence; Prince of the Choir of Seraphim; Tutelary Prince of the Kingdom of Light and the Mortal Realm; Angel of Repentance; Viceroy of Heaven; Firstborn of the Sarim; Deliver of the Faithful; and Supreme Commander of the Heavenly Hosts and the Sword.
  • Lord Sc. Phanuel: Prince of the Presence; Tutelary Prince of the Realm of the Great Waste;  Prince of the Sustaining Angels, Angel of Penance; and Master of the Epitemia.
  • Lord Sc. Radueriel: Tutelary Prince of the Underdark; The Recording Angel; Leader of the Celestial Choirs; and Creator of Lesser Angels.
  • Lord Sc. Raphael: Archangel of Healing, Science, and Knowledge; Prince of the Choir of Arelim, Prince of the Presence; and Regent of the Sun.
  • Lord Sc. Ratziel: Archangel of Proclamation and Herald of the Sarim; Master of the Supreme Mysteries; Preceptor Angel of Enoch; Revealer of Divine Mysteries; and Chief of the Irin (the Watchers, two of which must be part of any celestial court)
  • Lord Sc. Uriel: Benevolent Archangel of Death; Preceptor Angel of Enoch; a Prince of the Presence; Angel of Salvation; Regent of the Moon; Tutelary Prince of the Shadowlands and the Great Realm of the  Dead, Overseer of Tartarus; Chief of the Sopheriel Memeth (the Keepers of the Book of Death); and Master of the Tachrichim.

The Angels: Often considered the epitome of the Celestials (though there are many others), Angels, collectively known as the Host, are organized into seven great Choirs. Though it is rarely their true form it is common for angels, especially the lesser Choirs, to appear either as normal members of a mortal race or as clearly celestial and winged members of that race. In truth, angels (and most Celestials) have beautiful and awful forms that the mortal mind and eye can barely comprehend, and they cloak themselves in humble array to spares the minds and souls of those that bear witness to their presence.

  • Seraphim – The first and highest Choir of angels, in their true forms the seraphim are great fiery snakes made of love and light, with six wings and four eyes. They unceasingly intone the Trisiagon and surround the thrones of the Heavens.
  • Ofanim – The second Choir of angels, the Ofanim, are the great wheels of the Heavens, their true forms being an iridescent constellation of eyes made up of stars and burning coals. They are the messengers of the Heavens, moving at irresistible speed through the Great Realms, bringing news to all that serve the Light.
  • Kerubim – The third Choir of angels, they are the holy beasts of the Heavens, their true forms most commonly being great multi-winged lions with mortal heads, set to guardianship as a flame of whirling swords.
  • Arelim – The fourth Choir of angels, the valiant ones comprised of white fire, are among the most numerous of the Host, commonly appearing as winged humanoids bearing weapons of fire and thunder.
  • Virtues – the Ministering Angels are the fifth Choir of angels. They are responsible for all living things, plant and animal, and they watch over and minister to their needs.
  • Powers – the Sustaining Angels are the sixth Choir of angels. They are responsible for all the fundamentals of the great works of creation and those things made from and of them. The stones and the seas, the fire and the wind are their charges and they watch over them and sustain them.
  • Malakim – The Choir that stands alone, the dark-winged Malakim are full of grace and valor, standing against the Fallen and the Dearth. The Malakim are the destroying angels, fierce and terrible in their wrath in the War Without End.

The Virtues and the Powers are constantly present on the Mortal Realms and elsewhere, invisible and undetectable for the most part. Arelim are the angels that most commonly answer the summons or answer the needs of mortals, their form and manner being the least alien to mortal understanding. The Kerubim are set as guardians only upon the most powerful or important of mortal places or beings, instead generally being concerned with more arcane matters, and the Ofanim move across Creation unceasingly – their presence dazzling enough to drive mortals blind and mad with it’s mystery and beauty. Seraphim remain Heaven for the most part, rarely venturing elsewhere save in the most dire or important of circumstances. The Malakim can be found anywhere at any time for they are among the most fearsome of the angels, their presence a portent of death, destruction, and despair even in the greatest of victories.

The Council of the Elect: Comprised of those mortals who have come to the notice of the Sarim by virtue of their exemplary service to the Light. The first among the Elect was Enoch, who was blessed by the teachings of the Lord Sc. Metatron as a slave and found his way out of darkness and tribulation in the service of the Light. The Elect often act as inspirations and patrons to various Orders (Anchorite, Evangelion, and Militant) within the Society of Light and their families and bloodlines are respected. Of course, the most respected of the Elect are the Patriarchs of the Church, those life’s work and service serve as the foundation of the Church:

  • Sc. Enoch: First Patriarch and  Patron Saint of the Slaves and the Oppressed
  • Sc. Christoforo: Second Patriarch and Patron Saint of Travelers
  • Sc. Constantine the Faithful: Third Patriarch, Patron Saint of Kings & Rulers, and First Among Equals
  • Sc. Dominus the Preacher: Fourth Patriarch and Patron Saint of Orders Mendicants
  • Sc. Amun the Hermit: Fifth Patriarch and Patron Saint of Hermits and Eremites
  • Sc. Andraa the Valorous: Sixth Patriarch, Patron Saint of the Orders Militants, and Defender of the Holy Lands
  • Sc. Tomasin the Wise: Seventh Patriarch and Patron Saint of Atlan
  • Sc. Aristus: Eighth Patriarch and Patron Saint of Orders Anchorite
  • Sc. Musafir of the Travelers: Ninth Patriarch and Patron Saint of Khem
  • Sc. Simeon: Tenth Patriarch and Patron Saint of Istar
  • Sc. Singh the Lion-Blooded: Eleventh Patriarch and Patron Saint of Khitain
  • Sc. Isaac: Twelfth Patriarch and Patron Saint of the Faithful
  • Sc. Kerioth: Thirteenth Patriarch and Apostate

Below the Patriarchs of the Church are the Patron Saints, members of the Church whose life was singularly defined by some aspect of service that they continue to take active interest in guiding those with the same interest or concern. This can be a profession, it can be an area, or even a somewhat abstract concept. A short list includes:

  • Sc. Bane the Scourger: Patron Saint of those who hunt Undead
  • Sc. Estor: Patron Saint of Healing
  • Sc. Mattias the Dragon Slayer: Patron Saint of those who hunt Monsters
  • Sc. Dominic: Patron Saint of Lawyers
  • Sc. Austin: Patron Saint of Poor and Oppressed
  • Sc. Calir the Mystic: Patron Saint of Psychics
  • Sc. Brendan: Patron Saint of Seamen and Navigators
  • Sc. Kirra of the Sacred Passion: Patron Saint of Tantrics
  • Sc. Thrace of the Oath: Patron Saints of Bodyguards and Boon Companions
  • Sc. Ulric the Trollborn: Patron Saint of Thule
  • Sc. Cullen the Survivor: The Patron Saint of Prophets
  • Sc. Brigid of the Sacred Flame: Patron Saint of Loren
  • Sc. Stefan the Martyr: Patron Saint of Martyrs
  • Sc. Raul the Long Suffering: Patron Saint of Lost Causes
  • Sc. Jamison of the Sword: Patron Saint of Swordsmen, Duelists
  • Sc. El’Azar: Patron Saint of the Siccarri
  • Sc. Olivia: Patron Saint of Children, Virgins, and the Innocent
  • Sc. Aragon the Ranger: Patron Saint of Huntsmen and Archers
  • Sc. Erol the Masked: The Patron Saint of Harrow
  • Sc. Tamar of the Hand: Patron Saint  of Mystics, Visionaries, and Survivors of Rapine
  • Sc. Gerald the Relentless: Patron Saint of those who fight the Lords of the Maelstrom
  • Sc. Lucia the Blind: Patron Saint of the Betrothed
  • Sc. Branwen the Raven: Patron Saint of Ravens and Female Rangers

There are also many of the Saints that have no particular orders associated with them, or who are supplementary figures in the larger orders. These members of the Council are no less respected or revered by the members of the Church of the Lords of Light, merely often of greatest interest to their mortal descendants and their families.

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Society of Light – Part 3

Part 1     Part 2     Part 4     Part 5     Part 6

The Rite and Benediction of the Congregation of the Lord Sc. Metatron

Ultimately, the entirety of the Church of the Lords of Light falls under the authority of this most ancient document, penned originally by the First Patriarch Enoch, laying out the structure and organization for the Church. As the Church spread it quickly discovered that different lands and cultures demanded adaptations, as did the various organizations that sprang up as the Church grew. So while this document still to this day provides the foundation for all other Rites and Rules, it is only directly followed by a handful of extremely conservative and isolated communities.

The various “Rules” to the Church of the Lord of Light are considered the hands of the Faith. These are the basic structures for the various types of groups and organizations within the Church of Lords of Light that make up the general hierarchy. Each specific group (usually called an Order or a Company) has it’s own specific Rule, but these exist under the rubric of overall type or style of that particular organization. E.g. particulars notwithstanding, the needs for the Rule of the Anchorite are different from the needs of the Rule of the Orders Militant. In no particular order, as no type of service is considered to be greater in the eyes of the Lords of Light than any other, here are the various Rules.

  • The Benediction of the Rule of the Brethren – This the “default” Rule for the basic membership and participation in the Church of the Lords of Light and is derived most fundamentally from the Rite of Lord Sc. Metatron.
  • The Benediction of the Rule of the Orders Minor – The lay members of the Church that support the good order and keeping of the community follow this Rule, it to owes it’s fundamental existence to writings of the First Patriarch, Enoch.
  • The Benediction of the Rule of the Orders Militant – This Rule covers the military orders and service, both directly in the service to the Church in it’s military Orders, but also members of the Church who serve in the armies of their temporal lords.
  • The Benediction of the Rule of the Orders Anchorite – Despite it’s martial nature the Church of the Lords of Light also prizes learning and knowledge, and has a long history of monastic and reclusive life. This Rule covers monks, nuns, anchorites, hermits, and all those who lead contemplative lives.
  • The Benediction of the Rule of the Orders Evangelion – There is a third path between that of the conflict and contemplation, that of charisma. The Orders Evangelion are focused on preaching, missionary work, and travelling both roads and wilds in search of those in need.
  • The Benediction of the Rule of the Society of Light – This is Church of the Lords of Light attempt to codify membership in the greater “Society of Light” which defines those groups and organizations which still serve the Lords of Light but do not “technically” fall under the authority of the Council of Devas or any High Archon – much to their chagrin and frustration at times.

Currently the specific regions of the Mortal Realms have their own division of the Church of the Lords of Light assigned to it, this set of protocols, laws, and the associated hierarchy is known as a “Rite”. While the Church of the Lords of Light spells out any number of specific ways in which things should be done, just as many have come about based on the specific needs of the area and the cultures in which they are embedded. In order of seniority, these are the various Rites of the Church of the Lords of Light, along with the major Orders (meaning those that are large enough to have holdings in multiple Rites or that are exceedingly well-known) that are headquartered within the lands covered by that Rite.

  • Rite of the Congregation of Atlan – Most ancient of the Rites, this Community is made up mostly of isolated monastic communities rather than the living, breathing towns and communes of the rest of the  Church. That said, some of the oldest and most respected Orders are based here.
    • Orders Anchorite
      • Order of the Anchorite Sisters of the Shiron
    • Orders Evangelion
      • Company of the Most Holy Judgment and Inquisition into the Kingdom of Heaven- Inquisition
      • Order of the Congregation of Watchtowers of the Eternal City – the Siccari
      • Brethren of the Hallowed Evangelion
      • Brethren of the Blessed Annunciation
    • Orders Militant
      • Order of the Brethren of the Poor Knights of the Lost Temple of the Archangels – Templars
      • Order of the Silent Knights of Sc. Calir the Mystic – Calirites
      • Order of the Knights of Lord Sc. Michael
  • Rite of the Congregation of Khem – Spiritual home of the Church of the Lords of Light, the Council of Devas is based here, nominally ruling over the whole of the Church in the name of the Lords of Light. It solidly remains the largest of the Rites, it is also the most expansive and accepting of other races.
    • Orders Anchorite
      • Order of the Anchorite Sisters of the Blessed Sepulcher of the Patriarchs
      • Order of the Eremetic Brethren of Sc. Amun the Hermit
      • Order of the Singers of the Earthbound Host of the Lord Sc. Gabriel – Gabrielites
      • Order of the Scholars of the Earthbound Host of the Lord Sc. Raphael – Raphaelites
    • Orders Evangelion
      • Order of the Congregation of the Faithful
      • Company of the Earthbound Host of the Servants of the Sarim – Sarimites
      • Blessed Lovers of Talia
    • Orders Militant
      • Order of the Relentless Sovereign Hospitaller Knights of Sc. Andraa the Valorous – Hospitallers
      • Order of the Solemn Knights of Sc. Constantine the Faithful -Constantines
      • Order of the Warriors of the Earthbound Host of Lord. Sc. Michael – Michaelines
      • Order of the Holy Knights of the Shiron – Shironites
  • Rite of the Congregation of Ith – Old, established, but still a discriminated minority in it’s environs of Ith, this Rite cleaves closely to the roots of the Church as the respite and solace of slaves and the repressed. It is regularly ruthlessly repressed by the authorities for sedition and heresy.
    • Because of it’s level of persecution, there are no Orders based within Ith. That said, the Siccarri and the Calirites are quite active in Ith, as are the Green and Blue Friars.
  • Rite of the Congregation of Khitain – Perhaps the most isolated of the Rites in distant and exotic Khitain, the members of this Rite have little contact with the rest of the Church.
    • While there are certainly Orders in Khitain, they are unknown at this time.
  • Rite of the Congregation of Istar – Product of the second great schism in the Church, the Rite of Istar is proudly and often defiantly independent of the Council of Devas. Conservative and fundamentalist in nature, the Rite of Istar is often at odds with other religions and has been the source of much conflict over the years.
    • Orders Anchorite
      • Order of the Contemplative Brethren of the Evangelion – the White Friars
      • Order of the Visionary Brethren of the Lord Sc. Ratziel – the Blue Friars
    • Orders Evangelion
      • Order of the Mendicant Brethren of Sc. Austin – the Grey Friars
      • Order of the Preaching Brethren of Sc. Dominus – the Black Friars
    • Orders Militant
      • Order of the Eternal Knights of the Light of Istar – Istarian
      • Order of the Stalwart Knights of the Shield of the Faithful of the Society of Light
      • Order of the Steadfast Knights of the Sword of the Armies of the Society of Light
      • Order of the Knights of the Sword of Istar
  • Rite of the Congregation of Thule – The Church of the Lords of Light has made very few inroads into Thule, the Northmen not being attracted to the tenants of the faith for the most part. As such, the Rite of Thule is mainly concerned with the traders of the faith visiting from other lands.
    • Orders Militant
      • Order of the Implacable Knights of Sc. Ulric the Trollborn
  • Rite of the Congregation of Harrow – Based in Harrow, this Rite is actually the source of spiritual authority for the Church of the Lords of Light in the Shadowlands. Often looked at askance by the rest of the Church, they are often viewed as somewhat suspect given some of the compromises and alliances that they have made.
    • Orders Anchorite
      • Order of the Masked Brethren of Sc. Erol the Guardain
    • Orders Evangelion
      • Order of the Tantric Sisters of Sc. Kirra of the Sacred Passion
    • Orders Militant
      • Order of the Hallowed Knights of Sc. Bane the Scourge
      • Sacred Guardian Sisters of Sc. Thrace of the Oath – The Thraceans
  • Rite of the Congregation of Loren – A schism from the Rite of Istar, the Rite of Loren owes much to the interactions of the members of the Church with the followers of the Old Faith. It is generally far more accepting and more diplomatic than the more senior (and more numerous) Rite of Istar.
    • Orders Anchorite
      • Order of the Healing Sisters of Sc. Brigid of the Sacred Flame
    • Orders Evangelion
      • Order of the Sisters of Sc. Branwen of the Raven
    • Orders Militant
      • Order of the Valiant Knights of Sc. Stefan the Martyr – the Stefanos
      • Ancient Order of the Knights of Sc. Aragon the Ranger – the Aragonese
  • Rite of the Congregation of Tierna – Always the smallest of the Rites, it has dwindled even more since the Mad Gods War. Much like the Rite of Atlan, it remains as the spiritual home and nominal temporal authority of a number of Orders.
    • Orders Militant
      • Order of the Resolute Knights of Sc. Mattias the Dragonslayer – Matteans
      • Order of the Victorious Knights of Sc. Jamison of the Sword – Jamiseans
      • Order of the Devout Knights of Sword of Lord Sc. Camael – Camaelines
  • Rite of the Congregation of Acadia – The most recent of the Rites formed, it owes a great deal to the Rite of Loren which it considers it’s spiritual forebear – and which often puts it in conflict with the High Archon of Istar.
    • While there are a number of small Orders in Acadia, none are found outside of Acadia and the Orders that do operate here do so autonomously – much as they do in Rites in which they are not headquartered.

While technically ruled by the Council of Devas in Kistath under the authority of the High Archon of Khem, the various Rites all maintain a relatively high level of generally respectful autonomy. This is most lacking in Avalon, with three competing Rites – those of Istar, Loren, and Tierna – that have historically bad relationships with both each other. Technically, while the Rite of the Congregation of Harrow is also based in Avalon its focus on the members of the Church in the Shadowlands means that it has remained uninvolved in political matters there.

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Rambling thoughts on religion in RPG’s

So, this is in response (in some ways) to Gregory’s post Gods, Demigods, & Heroes – itself a response to a couple of recent things he’d read and seen. Myself, I was underwhelmed by Monte Cook’s presentation – it seemed like a rehash of very basic theology from an anthropological standpoint. Now, as a bit of a disclosure on my part – I was raised in a utterly non-religious household, have studied and practiced various forms of paganism and the occult since my early teens, joined the Unitarian-Universalist church (and was the youngest member of my congregation to, as a teenager, take the “Build Your Own Theology” adult religious education course offered) and quite seriously contemplated becoming a minister for a number of years. I’ve even contributed a forward to a book about pagan shamanistic practice (no, I’m not saying which one here). I do have and practice a deeply spiritual life, but not one that I generally talk about here because it isn’t the focus of the blog.

Playing RPG’s for me was a galvanizing process to study history, religion, anthropology, occultism and all sorts of related issues. One of my fondest memories I being told at the Catholic university I did my B.A. at that I was one of the only people they had seen who probably could have tested out of the mandatory “western civ” classes they had with a focus on Catholic history – including the emphasis on Church history and related theological matters.

I tend to look at all of my gaming in terms of “big questions” – my science fiction game is/was about “what does it mean to be human?” and for my fantasy game I always tended to think of it in terms of a morality play, “what is the nature of evil?” I always found a nominal AD&D universe an excellent model for this (in much the same way as I expect Tolkien and Lewis did – both theologically minded writers) – there is clear “good” and “evil” and things can have a inherently evil nature or alternately natural valence for evil that is ultimately different from what modern Christian theology tends to talk about (aside from some fundamentalist sects). That’s before you add in something like Lovecraftian Outer Gods or Great Old Ones, where are manifestly not “evil” by the author’s definition merely  the ultimate “Other”. This issue is inherent within the boundaries of whatever version of Gygaxian Naturalism your game world is run.

So religion in RPG’s, in D&D in specific, has to contend with both ontological as well as epistemological evil, and evil as praxis – all within a setting that echoes the mythopoetic origins of the players understanding of good and evil. It’s a rich setting that can force a player and  DM to confront the social biases inherent in cultural constructions of morality and ethics. I think that it is the job of the DM to do this justice if that is the sort of game they want to run and that their players are ok playing in – most players probably don’t care or won’t notice depending on how the DM chooses to go about doing this.

TTFN!

D.

 

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Society of Light – Part 2

Part 1     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5      Part 6

The Enchiridion is the title for the collection of the holy texts of the Church of the Lords of Light. It is composed of thirty-six distinct texts, only twenty of which are available for any to read. By religious law, the Enchiridion is always written in Aleph, a mortal analog of Enochian (the langauge of the Host). Many of these texts are living documents, being updated and revised as needed. The following fourteen texts are commonly collected together as either a bound volume or a set of scrolls and is what most people think of when the term “Enchiridion” is used.

  • Record of the Proclamation of the Lord Sc Metatron – The words of the Lord Sc. Metatron on the formation and purpose of the Society of Light and the Church of the Lords of Light.
  • Book of the Evangelion – A description of the meaning and rewards of the Society of Light.
  • Record of the Knowledge of the Lord Sc Raphael – The words of the Lord Sc Raphael on the breadth and depth of the knowledge and authority of the Sarim.
  • The Trisagion – The text and music of the twenty-four hour song in praise of the Light.
  • Scroll of the Vale of ‘Aden – The story of the creation of humanity and their Fall from Grace.
  • Record of the Annunciation of the Lord Sc Gabriel – The words of the Lord Sc Gabriel on the birth and role of humanity.
  • The War between the Sons of Light and the Princes of Darkness – The tale of the Fall of the Angels as related by the Host, detailing both the reasons and the measures taken to avert it.
  • Record of the Battle of the Lord Sc Michael – The words of the Lord Sc Michael on the War Without End and the battle between Light and Darkness.
  • The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs – Starting with Enoch, the first Patriarch, this is recording of the earliest histories of the Church of the Lords of Light and the Society of Light.
  • The Lamentations of Istar – The history of the fall of Istar and the treachery of the Witch-King
  • Record of the Path of the Lord Sc Uriel – The words of the Lord Sc Uriel on death and salvation.
  • The Lost Temple – A mystery-chaunt of the lost Templum Archangelorum
  • Songs of the Cities – Tales of the Eternal City and its reflections in mortal history and institutions.
  • Record of the Revelation of Lord Sc Ratziel – The words of the Lord Sc Ratziel on the threat and signs of the Endtimes.

The following texts each contain so much information that they each fill a weighty volume on their own. In the case of the Rulings of the Most Holy Tribunal it fills multiple volumes and is constantly being revised with commentary. All of these texts have abridged versions, and some highly abridged versions may show up in single volume copies of the Enchiridion.

  • Codex of the Sarim – A list of the Sarim, their names, portfolios, and manifestations.
  • Codex of the Eternal City – A description of Heaven, the Eternal City, and it’s environs.
  • Codex of the Host of Heaven – A description of the Hierarchy and Choirs of Angels
  • Codex of the Illuminated Brethren – A description of the Blessed Spirits of the Society of Light
  • Tally of the Elections – A list of the Elect, their histories, and their portfolios.
  • Rulings of the Most Holy Tribunal of the Blessed Irin and Qaddisin – A collection of the laws and commentary on the rulings of the laws of the Church of the Lords of Light and the Society of Light.

There are nine restricted texts that, while they are considered part of the Enchiridion, are not commonly available. While not exactly heretical, they often deal with sensitive subjects and access is monitored within the institutions that have copies and restricted to those who can demonstrate both the need for the knowledge and the wisdom to use it with care.

  • Codex of the Fallen – A list of the Fallen angels, their hierarchy, names, and manifestations.
  • Codex of the Apostate – A list of the Apostate, their names and crimes.
  • Codex of the Pit – A description of Hell, the Pits, and the environs of the Fallen.
  • Codex of the Accursed – A description of cursed and dire beasts that have been born of Darkness.
  • Song of the Shadow – A poetic description of the Shadowlands, its peoples, environs, and dangers.
  • The Banishment of the Grigori – A description of the banishment of the Grigori for the crime of mating with mortals and bringing forth the Nephilim.
  • The Incarnations of the Maelstrom – A description of the dangers of the Maelstrom, the Ran, the Wyld, the Forsaken, and the Lords of Chaos.
  • The Permutations of Form – A description of the Great Elementals, their manifestations and servants, and the rules that bind them.
  • The Emanations of Mercy, Severity, and Balance – A description of the cosmology of the Greater and Lesser Realms.

Similarly, there are also seven primary texts that are actually suppressed. These deal with heretical subjects of the Fallen and Nephalim and are kept under close lock and key by the Church of the Lords of Light. It is believed that the seductive lies and the blasphemous truths of theses texts are too much for the uninitiated ear and unprotected mind.

  • Canticle of the Morning Star – A song praising the un-Fallen Morning Star.
  • Lament of the Lightbringer – The tale of the Fall, as related by the Fallen.
  • Song of the Black Dragon – The description of the methods used by the Fallen to corrupt the Faithful.
  • Song of the Seven Darks – A song that celebrates the great sins of the soul.
  • The Isa Dirge – A song of lamentation by the mother of the first Nephalim.
  • Revelation of the Dark Mother – The story of the First Woman and Mother of Monsters.
  • Chronicle of the Black Labyrinth – A description of the Void and the Dearth.
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The Society of Light – Part 1

Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5      Part 6

Huh, it’s always kind of funny when you look at your original documents for something and realize that you originally named something, something else. So the “Society of Light” is more formally the “Church of the Lords of Light” but I can also see how “Society of Light” gets used more commonly…

Also known as the Church of the Lords of Light, the Society of Light is a group dedicated to a greater community of service with and to the Sarim, who are also known as the Lords of Light and as the Tutelary Princes of the Angelic Host. There are two primary supernatural groups that are respected and venerated by the members of the Society of Light – The Council of the Elect, those mortals whose service has been deemed extraordinary and have earned a place in the Deliberations of Heaven, and the Sarim, the Lords of Light which consist of the mostly highly ranked angels among the greater Host. But the true strength of the Society is that of the Household and Community, these are the common people and the their lives, that they organize in Service to the Light and the pursuit of its Great Work.

The Faith is organized with essentially four levels of devotional service and practice; the Individual Oaths, the Household of Faith, the Community of Service, and the greater Society of Light. Service to the Light, and the Oaths one has made in that Service are the cornerstones of the individual life, and laid atop the bedrock of the three Testaments of Faith. Service to the Light is performed on each level of an individual’s life, and membership within an active spiritual community is the optimal form of large scale worship and service.

Community Testaments of Faith (“Taking the Gold”):

  • Always bearing a bladed weapon for the defense of the Community of Light.
  • Men wear their beards long, in the bound Babylonian style, and both women and men wear their hair long. Hair is cut only for mourning and in death, both men and women, save for the Orders-Militant who are always clean-shaven and wear their hair close cropped. This represents the sense that are always in mourning due their constant state of war and constantly prepared for death. They also dress in some version or some layer of plain white linens, the burial shrouds that they are buried (also known as tachrichim).
  • Always bear an ‘Argentos’ (Holy Symbol: a silver sword, Point down, with wings outspread from the hilt)
  • The Cord. Always wear a triple-braided cord of silver, gold, and white, the length of the bearers body. It is the measure of their strength in body, in spirit, and community.
  • Maintenance of the Epitaphion (tomb cloths) of the Saints, and participation in the Lamentation of the Grave (the Epitáphios Thrēnos) for the honored dead.

Household Testaments of Faith (“Taking the Silver”):

  • A Flaming Chalice is to be maintained at all times in representation of the Light.
  • Meals are to be shared as a celebration of Community of Light.
  • Marriage: As a sign of devotion to the continuance of the Community of Light.

Individual Testaments of Faith (“Taking the White”):

  • Chastity: For the discipline of the self and the Community.
  • Prayer 3 times per day: Dawn,Noon, and Dusk. This is done as a Community, Household, and Individual Testament of Faith in the Society of Light. Individual prayer is standing and facing the sun, arms in open embrace.
  • Learning and mastery of the holy and ritual language Aleph.
  • Anointed with Chrism, in birth and in death.

There are somewhat subtle variations within the various Rites and Rules of the Society of Light. A “Rite” is the greater or overall set of laws and customs which bind members of the Society of Light by physical area of authority (also known as a Congregation), a “Rule” is the same by type of organization.  For example there is a Kistathian Rite, an Istarian Rite, an Thulian Rite, etc. while at the same time there are Rules of the Orders Militant, the Orders Anchorite, and all sorts of other specific roles and organizations with both the Church of the Lords of Light and the Society of Light. All of these Rites and Rules are what make up the Church of the Lords of Light as a formal organization – and also represent how the Society has adapated to the different cultures that it has found itself embedded in. But there are other groups that fall outside of the Church of the Lords of Light such as the Warrior-Monk traditions (mostly famously the Warrior-Monks of Endor) or the Healers of Sc. Estor who answer directly to the Light itself and not to any mortal institution. These groups are considered to be part of the greater Society of Light even though they are not part of the organized Church of the Lords of Light.

Given the focus on marriage and chastity, it is also worth mentioning some greater specifics on the issues of sex and the customs of marriage. The Church of the Lords of Light does not condemn bisexuality any more or less than any other culture or those who follow the Old Faith or the En Khoda Theos Kirk. While the Society of Light encourages heterosexual marriage, and demands chastity, it accepts same-sex love and attraction as natural. The Istarian Rite focuses on heterosexual marriage with a chaste love for other partners – while allowing for multiple wives or husbands in a polygamous or polyandrous union. The Kistathian Rite permits and encourages group marriage focusing more on the happiness of the partners involved. Similarly, the Istarian Rite recognizes only lifelong marriage, with divorce only possible in the case of abuse or neglect while the Kistathian Rite allows divorce upon very little basis. Sexually the Society of Light is no more or less inhibited than the majority of the rest of Uerth While there are few Tantrics who belong to the Society, it is not unheard of. Sastra as an art is highly regarded in the Kistathian society and that is reflected in the Kistathian Rite, but the Heartlands are often considered less cosmopolitan in it’s acceptance of the art of sacred sexuality, and the Istarian Rite reflects that in turn. It’s notable that the smaller Loren Rite, from the southern Heartlands and highly influenced by the Old Faith, is much more accepting than the Istarian Rite.

Members of the Larger Community, but who have sworn no special oaths, and follow the observances of the Community (this includes the all three of the above Testaments) are referred to as: Brother and Sister. This is the humble title, which all members of the Society can use to speak with another, no matter what their other title may be. It is also used for any individual who serves the Light, be they a member of the Church of the Lords of Light or not.

Lay Members of Society, those who have taken Minor Orders, refer to each other and are referred to as Frater or Sorer. With a full compliment of Minor Orders and a Dean (see below) a Community is able to function within the Rule without a Lightbringer present and are able to maintain the spiritual health and well-being of the Community except in dire circumstances. The Minor Orders are as follows:

  • Verger, the Master of Ceremonies
  • Cantor, the Singer of Sacred Texts and Caller to Worship
  • Sexton, responsible for Maintenance of Grounds and Graveyards
  • Ostiarius, the Doorkeeper and Guardian of theTemple
  • Exorcist, the Wardens of the Soul
  • Acolytes, the Keepers of the Sacred Flame.

Each independent, local community is lead by a Dean, who may also have other titles but has not automatically taken Minor Orders – the role is more secular in nature than religious. The Dean is responsible for everyone within that particular community and is advised by their Lightbearer, the priest or priestess who serves that particular community, and it is not uncommon for the Dean to have taken Minor Orders at some point in the past, though the responsibilities of being Dean may very well preclude them acting in these roles. Deans, Heads-of-Households, respected Teachers, Leaders, and Elders, are commonly addressed as Dom or Domina.

Finally, those who have often been initiated into the greater Mysteries of the Society are addressed as Pater or Mater (Father or Mother) – though they may very well be addressed as Dom or Domina due to the respect given to them by virture of role or wisdom. This includes Lightbringers who have reached 3rd Level. Lightbringers are those that bear the Holy or Major Orders of ordained priesthood, and will have been granted each and every one of the Minor Orders as well in the course of thier studies. They are the direct representatives of the Sarim in the Mortal Realms, and they are looked to for guidance and wisdom in all matters as they spend much time studying the Enchiridion, which is the multi-volume holy texts of the Church.

That final piece stated, the Church of the Lords of Light is the organization that the various Orders, Rites, and Rules organize around, and that the organized hierarchy of Lightbringers, Archons and Devas belong to. Archons are the senior Lightbringers that are responsible for the spiritual well-being over cities or other large areas, and who are directly served by Lightbringers known as Deacons. The Council of Devas resides in Kistath and is the highest mortal authority of the Church, and they are served by a set of Lightbringers styled as Archdeacons who act as their voice and hand. There are a limited number of High Archons which technically defer to the Council of Devas, but since the Council sits in the Kistathian Empire the High Archon of a distant land often has far more autonomy than might be expected.

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So who does my character worship..?

So, ckutalik over at Hill Cantons has a nice post about religion and gaming. Now, what many folks don’t know about me is that at one time I seriously considered a career as a minister, though my Calling found another expression eventually. With that piece of information in place, you can imagine that religion and spirituality play an important place in my game worlds.

I’ve really run the gamut. In the old days, the very early days, I took a page from Katherine Kurtz and ran with a direct analog of the Catholic Church – which was also rather nice because I used the Deryni in my game world as well. The “Old Faith” was an amalgam of Celtic myth and modern NeoPaganism, and pretty much all real world religion existed in one form or another – there was the “Church of the Divine Couple” for the Egyptian mythology, and the Northmen worshipped the Norse and Finnish Deities. Pretty much if it was in Deities and Demigods I was willing to include it. I also ran with the Greyhawk deities as they came out, the Forgotten Realms deities when they came out, and I have always used the Cthulhu Mythos as well as the Moorcockian Courts of Chaos. For the nonhumans I pretty much ran with whatever the “flavor of the day” was, though it was always somewhat oddly incorporated at times to try to make sense of the multiple different, “hard polytheistic”, pantheons.

But currently, religions and spirituality have gone through a handful of more recent evolutions as I’ve tried to get away from “ripped from reality” and more “inspired by reality” combined with “entirely fabricated”…

To start with big bag guys, the ones that pretty much everyone agrees are worth banding together to fight against are the Five Demon Emperors and the servants of the Dearth as worshipped by what is commonly known as the Cult of Shator under the auspices of the King in Yellow. These are combination of the Great Old Ones or the Outer Gods of the Cthulhu Mythos. Their very existence, even as a thought, brings corruption and destruction to multiverse. More than unbridled Chaos, more than simply Entropy, they are literally Nothingness made manifest. (Evil)

One of the oldest human religions is known as the Heptarchy by sages, a pantheon of seven deities made up of the Lady Night and her children, and the Twin Brothers of the Perihelion (and their dark triplet) and the Three Sisters of the Perilune. Found in both urban and rural settings, the Heptarchy is quite popular, though each deity maintains it’s own religious hierarchy. Relationships between the deities and their cults vary, but are generally neutral or good as none of the deities are in active conflict or direct opposition – save perhaps the relationship between the Midnight Sun and his two brothers.

There is the Old Faith – a pantheistic worship of nature, it’s cycles and its elements, the manifest spirits of which are often referred to as “the Old Powers” by both humans and the gnomes. The Old Faith is highly organized, with twin orders of male and female druids, along with the a variety of warrior societies (most famously the Rangers) organized into lodges. (Generally Neutral)

Then there is the Society of the Light – a religion originally inspired by Augustine’s notion of the “City of God” and then mixed in with healthy doses of early Jewish, Christian, and Islamic custom and belief along with a good dash of Sikhism. It is marked by a hierarchical relationship of mortals and the Sarim (the ruling angels), overseen in the Mortal Realms by the Council of Devas in Kistath. It has a multiple Rules, and one significant heresy (the Trinitarians) based on the actual spiritual and physical union of mortal and angels. (Mostly Lawful Good and some other Goods and Neutrals)

In opposition to the Society of Light there is what is often termed “the Horned Society” – the cults and organizations devoted to the Fallen (Angels) in what is in many ways a mirror image of the SOL. The War in Heaven and the Fall was fundamentally one of philosophical difference in how to pursue the War Without End against the Dearth. (Mostly LE, some other Evils and Neutrals)

In Thule, the worship of the Freyja the All-Mother is most popular. The pantheon, the Æsir, is greater than just the All-Mother, but after the Ragnarök there were few survivors and Freyja was the greatest among them and took the high seat of Hliðskjálf. Her servants, the Valkyrja, continue to choose the worthy among the slain to serve her as einherjar in Valhalla. (Generally Good and Neutral)

The Khemeti are also known as the Church of the Divine Couple, the Khemeti are among the eldest of the organized religions – perhaps not even originally of humankind. It is said that the Khemeti arose out of the Great Chaos at the beginning of Creation when Ptah and Ma’at created a sense of Order and Logic in the random Chaos. Currently they are worshipped primarily in Kistath, they have a very small Cult in the Heartlands and are essentially nonexistent in Thule. (Lawful)

The elves have, at their heart, a spirituality that is governed by “Li’vicor” or the idea of “Ruling Passion” or “True Will” – while at the same time having an appreciation for the universe that is similar to the pantheistic view of the Old Faith combined with a respect for the “E’lin” (the “Elect”) who seem to have a special relationship with what the Old Faith would call the Old Powers. (Good)

The dwarves don’t speak of their spirituality or religion, but seem concerned with “forging their souls” and “anvil of the world” by those outsiders that they trust enough to speak about such things with. They also have a great venerance for the living stone and their ancestors, how this all fits together is unknown. (Lawful)

There is also the En Khoda Theos Kirk – the Dragonborn’s Kirk (Church) with its worship of the four “Great Dragons” that are generally thought to encompass various aspects of the natural world and the elements. A complex religion, there is no higher authority than each kirk’s Dorje (priest), and it is a deeply contemplative religion that focuses on meditative practice, often in a monastic or other secluded setting. Primarily followed by the Dragonborn it is also followed a surprising number of members of other races and small Kirks can be found in most major cities. (All Alignments)

The Teotl is the pantheon of the Old Gods of Ith. A bloody state religion marked by human sacrifice and the veneration of the Ithian Serpent Folk. Of all the major human religions, it is the one that is closest in some ways to the philosophies of the non-human races and has it’s roots in the mysticism of the Serpathians.  (Neutral and Evil)

The goblins, ogres, and trolls worship the Formorians, a collection of beings known as “the Goblin Court”. Generally hateful and destructive, the Goblin Court is still opposed to Dearth and Arras-Kol, the Great Goblin, is ever vigilant for the seeds of corruption in his children. (Evil)

The Lords of Chaos – The greatest of the powers of Chaos, sometimes known as the Wyld, often accept worship and service in exchange for favor. With some of their members being corrupted by the Dearth (known as the Forsaken, Tiamat and Typhon), they are quick (perhaps overly quick) to act against the Five Demon Emperors. (Chaotic)

Then there are the Godlings, sometimes known as the Disparate Names, a mixture of demigods, quasi-deities, and lesser deities that work alone, in conjunction with, and in opposition to themselves and the other pantheons. They are commonly described and organized in what is called the Lords Tarot, though this may be a purely human invention rather than a true reflection of the Godlings actual relationships (All Alignments).

Finally, opposing and at the same time including the Dearth are the Bel En Khoda – the Thirteen Great Gods. These are almost like reified Platonic Forms. Though, truthfully, this isn’t worship (save in the Shadowlands where the Unborn are revered above all), but their presence is always acknowledged, by everyone with any level of mystical or magical knowledge, and many mystical or spiritual organizations are essentially organized around a philosophical allegiance to one of them even if it doesn’t exactly qualify as “worship”. (All Alignments)

I’ll probably detail those out more in future posts.

TTFN!

D.

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