- 1 The Holy Faith
- 1.1 Priests of the True Faith
- 1.2 Fighting Orders
- 1.3 Monastic Orders
- 1.4 Order of the Purifying Light of God
- 1.5 Order of St. Gérôme
- 1.6 Other Associated Organizations
- 2 The True Faith
- 3 The Vulkul Pantheon
- 4 The Elder Elemental Gods
- 5 Spirit Worship
- 6 Ancestor Worship
- 7 The Is’ri Pantheon
- 8 The Niharian Pantheon
- 9 The Dwarven Faith
- 10 The Elven Pantheon
The main doctrine of the Holy Faith is that there is but one omnipotent, omniscient being in the universe, who is known by the name of Il Matio. Life is centered on the concept of sin (what they should do or not), and how absolve it so that one’s soul can join Il Matio in heaven after death. Followers of the Holy Faith are taught to help all who hurt, no matter who they are, and that the truly holy take on the suffering of others. Believers are taught that the Holy Church is infallible, and must be obeyed. The Holy Church holds that the Arch-Prelate is the highest earthly authority on all religious beliefs, doctrine and scriptural interpretation.
As a consequence, all other sects of the True Faith are considered heretics, and non-Holy Faith religions are generally considered cults (at best) or demoniac worship (at worst). While this faith professes an ethic of love and justice, some of the priesthood and monastic orders are prone to intolerance - in particular, arcane magic is considered the work of demons, devils and other evil spirits. In regions where the Holy Faith is powerful, arcane magic is suppressed, and in some places, practitioners are punished by severe trials and even death. The religion is almost exclusively human; demi-humans are not welcome in general (though there have been exceptions). In some areas demi-humans are even persecuted by the Holy Faith as idolaters and practitioners of witchcraft (generally the same places where arcane magic use is punished).
Priests of the True Faith
Order of the White Rose
Annau du Rose Blanc
Paladins (LG) All-Male Order, Holy Weapon is Longsword & Shield; white surcoats with insignia of sword as flowering cross
Order of Saint Allyson
Annau du Haix Allyson
Paladins (LG) All-Female Order, Holy Weapon is Spear & Shield; white surcoats with insignia of crossed spears behind flowering cross
Order of the Heart of God
Annau du Cur d’Ienui
Paladins (LG) both sexes, mounted knights, wear full-plate ornamented armor, holy weapon is lance, horseman’s mace & shield; blue surcoats, emblem is flowering cross within a heart.
The Sword of Light
Fighting Order associated with The Order of the Purifying Light of God.
Order of Saint Bernard
Annau du Haix Bernard
Monastic Order (LG) founded by Saint Bernard du Bresi. Saint Bernard founded one of the first temples and monasteries, far to the north, in the Grey Mountains North of Thornwood. There he instructed and taught the tenets of the faith, far from the eyes of the Jhonian rulers who held power over our lands at the time. His students spread the word of the Scrolls of Faith throughout the lands, going on to found settlements of their own. He was martyred when the Jhonians found his enclave in our year 2974. They flayed him naked in the snow, and threw him from the summit onto the rocky slopes below. The order keeps monasteries throughout the Lands, where they preserve all forms of written knowledge and lore.
Order of St. Yvonne the Silent
Annau du Haix Yvvone de Mumere
Monastic Order (LG), all female. Sisters spend their lives reading and transcribing ancient texts and generating new copies. They are considered a sister-order to the Order of St. Bernard. Named after Yvonne du Sadoul. Vows of silence.
Order of the Purifying Light of God
Founded by Archbishop Médard Massé of Aven Ilepeu. Monastic – zealots, persecute non-humans as demon-spawn and worshippers of other religions as heretics. Concentrated in the North and West of Athervon. Led by Monsignor Gauthier Desmarais, Lord High Inquisitor of the Order, who has led several purges in the region, backed up by The Sword of Light.
Order of St. Gérôme
Monastic – vows of poverty, working amongst the poor. More prevalent on the fringes of Athervon - the south, The Wild Coast, The Barbarian Kingdoms, and the New Kingdoms.
Other Associated Organizations
The Wayward Daughters
Champions (CG), must take spear as weapon.
“Dogma and religious laws have no divinity; they are earthly tools to maintain power over others. Listen to them not. Let your conscience be your only guide.” – Mother Clarissa Ward
Founded several decades ago by Clarissa Ward, a Senior Sister within the divine Order of St. Allyson. During her time in the Order, she was a radical reformer. She protested against displays of wealth and power by the Church, arguing that the Church should be humble. Instead of building cathedrals, the wealth of the Church should be used to help those in need. She also protested against dogma and religious law, stating that every person had a personal relationship to the divine, and that the Church was in no position to dictate or monopolize that relationship, and conscience should never be replaced by dogma. In particular, she felt the prohibition against women entering the priesthood was a grave offense to the written word of Il Matio.
Her opinions were not well received by the Church hierarchy, who gave her several warnings. Nevertheless, she persisted; finally, after an incident where she flattened a member of the priesthood after learning of what he had asked a young girl to do in order to receive absolution, she was expelled her from the Order. If the Church thought that expelling Ward would silence her, they were wrong. A soldier as opposed to a preacher, she continued her mission in the streets, especially in the poorer districts. Her message of freedom and responsibility soon gathered a following – an exclusively female following, for she had some things to say about the rule of men that alienated most menfolk. Some of the followers took her message to heart, and soon Senior Sister Ward found herself Mother Ward, with a number of would-be disciples asking for instruction. Once she started instructing them, The Wayward Daughters were born, although the organization did not get a name until sometime later. A fiery sermon was given at the time by the infamous Archbishop Médard Massé of Aven Ilepeu -- the fanatical priest that made North-West Athervon a land of fear and repression. Denouncing “Mother Ward and her Wayward Daughters,” they found the name to their liking, and adopted it.
Although Mother Ward has passed on, her Daughters are still around. They are few in number, and all female, for as Mother Ward taught: “Men will always seek to dominate every group they become a part of.” The Daughters themselves have no official hierarchy, just a sort of pecking order based on fame and wisdom. More accomplished and experienced daughters are shown respect by the younger ones. They have no keeps, churches or other buildings. On the rare occasion a number of them gather, they gather in a tavern or the house of some member or supporter. Generally, they act alone, bringing the message of Mother Ward to those who would hear it, especially in places the Church does not visit. And the Waywards do not evangelize or give sermons. They bring their message by deed and example. As Mother Ward taught, those in need should be helped, and Waywards live by that teaching. The Church has occasionally attempted to crack down on Waywards as heretics and blasphemers, but this has tended to end up in embarrassment. The Waywards are dispersed, have no bases of operation, and carry no symbols of their membership – they have proved exceedingly difficult to find when forces are dispatched to do so. On the few occasions that those dispatched did find them, the fact that they are very much a martial order was quickly made clear. They are few, and their mission often brings them to dangerous areas or situations, so the Waywards would never recruit a person who could not take care of herself. Every new recruit is apprenticed to an older Daughter, a relationship that the Waywards refer to as Aunt and Niece. The Aunt teaches her Niece the necessary skills, including fighting skills, and when she is deemed ready to become a full member of the order, the Waywards pool their resources to arm and equip her. Wayward Daughters will not shy from violence. They will defend themselves and others – though violence against other of good alignment is only a last resort, and only in direct defense of themselves or others of good alignment.
Although the relationship between the Church and Waywards is frosty, the Waywards do not seek to bring down the Church. That would be against Mother Ward’s teachings. Just as the Waywards are free to reject the dogma of the Church, others are free to accept it. And unofficially, some people within the Church hierarchy do maintain a relationship with some Waywards. When there is a problem within the congregation that the Church hierarchy can’t or won’t help with, they know that the Wayward Daughters are the ones to turn to.
The True Faith
Worship A'Salam, an all-knowing, omnipotent celestial being who was revealed through the work of the founder of the faith, known as The Prophet; Symbol: A golden phoenix rising on a red background Ethos: Enforce the laws of the land; Help those that help themselves; Be generous to the poor, sick, and helpless. Stringently follow the precepts of A’Salam to attain the reward that is promised to the faithful after death. Protect and preserve the most holy lands from the infidels (non-believers). Generally, a Lawful Good aligned religion if observed according to the laws. The state religion of the Jhonian Empire – citizens who do not follow the True Faith, while not persecuted, do not enjoy the full benefits of citizenship. Conquered peoples are offered the chance to convert, but are not persecuted in most cases if they choose not to. The leader of the True Faith is the Grand Imam of the Golden Mosque, located in Ajuhar-al-Sahir, the Jhonian Capital.
Priest of the True Faith
Alignment: Lawful Good
Major Spheres: All; Combat; Creation; Divination; Guardian; Healing; Protection; Summoning
Minor Spheres: Elemental; Charm; Necromantic (good effects only)
Weapons: Must take scimitar; no other weapon restrictions
Armor: Banded Mail or lighter; Shield allowed.
The Flame of A’Salam
Myrkhans (LG), holy weapons are scimitars (two-weapon fighting); colors are red & yellow.
The Eyes of A’Salam
Myrkhans/Rangers (CG), holy weapon is long bow, colors are red & brown
Defenders of the Prophet
Myrkhans (NG), holy weapon is glaive, colors are red & black
To Be Added
The Vulkul Pantheon
Primarily worshipped in the Barbarian Kingdoms, but popular in the areas of the Wild Coast, New Kingdoms, The Isles of the Sea Lords, and Athervon (until the rise of the Holy Faith of Il Matio<).
Some say the original deities worshipped by the original Tuathan humans of the Athernian peninsula in the ancient past. Virtually unknown now, this pantheon of four gods is now an underground and largely ignored religion. What few followers there are exist on the outskirts of civilized human areas, and little is known about them or their practices.
Many of the clans and tribes in the barbaric northern areas worship a Spirit God; each clan that follows this form of religion will have a specific guardian spirit, and many clans and tribes go by the name of their guardian (e.g., White Bear Clan, Black Wolf Clan). Spirits are generally animals, but less commonly one can find other examples such as sacred places (Broken Rock Tribe) or vegetation (Great Tree Clan).
Popular across many regions in the East, particularly Chandrahaar and Nihar, but also the steppes of Hazur, Iruzhin, and some of the barbaric northern clans and tribes, this religion primarily focuses on worship of the ancestral blood line of the clan, with the founders of the Clan worshipped as God or Gods (and more rarely, Goddesses) by all, and the more recent dead being demi-gods or messengers for these more powerful entities.
The Is’ri Pantheon
At one time actively worshipped in the land of Issyria (Is’ri-a), until it was conquered by the Jhonians (last 200 years). Now it exists as an underground religion there. Ex-patriots of Issyria can still be found worshipping these Gods, in lands that allow it.
The Niharian Pantheon
Worshipped almost exclusively in Nihar and a few of the surrounding Islands.
The Dwarven Faith
The Dwarves worship Ghrgükhrm as their only true diety. There is a pantheon of saints that are prayed to as intermediaries, and the Dwarves also revere their ancestors. Priests of Ghrgükhrm generally focus on spells of healing, augmentation, protection, divination, and manipulation of the earth, rocks, and stone. Dwarven priests and stone-crafters are able to create stone golems of an exceptionally powerful nature.
The Elven Pantheon
Elves are generally less religious than most other races, but do celebrate holy days for the gods of their pantheon. Each of the Elven ethnic varieties tend to prefer some members of the Pantheon over others, depending on their environment and circumstances.