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Cults of the Immortals
The following sections deal with the various Immortals and their churches found on the world of Mystara. Except for the table giving the major Immortals and their followings, the material below is a preview of the upcoming The Immortal Scriptures to be released at a later date by Joshuan Gallidox Publishing. Those with interests in the Immortals should make sure to place this book on their must-read list.
Clerics and Specialty Priests
To most folks, anyone who worship the Immortals or gods and receive spells in return are simply known as priests. The common peasant does not care to note that there is a difference in behaviour, devotion, powers, or even duties between various priests within the same religion. The fact is, there are two main types of priests found on Mystara; the cleric and the specialty priest.
The cleric is a believer in a cause or higher goal. To him, the concept of the Immortal's portfolio is more important than the Immortal Himself. As such, clerics worship a greater goal first, then a particular Immortal second, if they even bother to worship any Immortal at all. To a cleric, every Immortal has a role to play in relation to their particular belief in the "big picture" of things, therefore rarely does one particular Immortal deserve more worshipping than another.
Clerics tend to travel the land, as they are not locked into a hierarchy or organisation. Some join various churches and religions throughout their lives, while others do not. Those that do often do so because the Immortal worshipped in that particular religion is often very close in philosophy to the beliefs of the cleric. For example, clerics of the Norse Pantheon often join the church of Odin, as being the head of the Norse gods, He obviously represents Them best.
Still, clerics can (and do) leave a particular faith without much incident. The above mentioned cleric might decide that the worshipping of Thor is starting to slip and therefore try to fix things. He would likely resign his role in the church of Odin and then join the church of Thor. This is one of the main advantages of being a cleric.
The other comes from the fact that, since you worship almost all the Immortals, a cleric will generally be well treated by most religious organisations and priests. After all, the cleric is a potential recruit into their order.
The powers of a cleric are as detailed in the Player's Handbook, although a more updated and balanced version can be found in Player's Option: Spells and Magic. As such, they have access to most spells and can turn/command undead. They can wear any armour and only use blunt weapons.
On Mystara, there are two types of clerics: the philosopher, and the pantheist.
The philosopher is a cleric who believes in a particular ethos, notably Law, Chaos, or Neutrality. To him, the moral definition of good and evil are secondary when compared with the struggles between order and anarchy (Law), stasis and freedom (Chaos), or stability and choice (Neutrality).
Philosophers receive their spells from all the Immortals of Law (or Chaos or Neutrality), and therefore upsetting just one of Them will not cause any problems with the cleric's powers. Only a severe change in ethos (alignment) will affect the philosopher's powers.
The pantheist is a cleric who believes in a way of life represented by several Immortals as to be the correct way to live. As such, a pantheist worships and entire pantheon in which she believes are the true ideal of perfection. She therefore honours all the Immortals of the pantheon and will only lose her spells if she somehow offends Them all. The goal of the pantheist is to make sure that all the Immortals in a pantheon are respected, thereby keeping a balance between Them all.
There are several pantheons found on (and within) Mystara. More details will be given in the pantheon chapter later on in this tome [in The Immortal Scriptures. Ed.].
A specialty priest is a priest who believes and upholds the dogma of ONE specific Immortal. To the specialty priest, her Immortal is more important than anything else in the world. A specialty priest is the champion of the cause of any given Immortal. Specialty priests are the ones that actively preach about their Immortal and do their best to convert others to their philosophies.
The biggest misconception people have about specialty priests is that all priests of a given Immortal are all alike. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most Immortals have several specialty priests of various natures working for Them. Each type of specialty priest has a specific function within the hierarchy of an Immortal.
Think about it. Both the Temple of Vanya in Thyatis and the Heldannic Knights worship Vanya, yet the two religions are different in attitude and behaviour. Would it therefore not be logical that the abilities of the specialty priests also vary slightly?
Even a relatively peaceful Immortal, such as Asterius, still needs warriors to defend His temples. If His specialty priests were all merchants and thieves, how would He manage? The answer is simple: by having fighting specialty priests (such as Defenders [warrior kit from the Savage Coast setting. Ed.]) act as guards. The difference is that being a less warrior-like Immortal means He will probably have less warrior-type specialty priests than, say, Vanya.
Despite each Immortal having a different portfolio and goal, many share the same type of specialty priests. For example, Ordana, Faunus, and Zirchev have druids among their specialty priests, as do a few others.
The most common specialty priests of Mystara are described below:
The specialty priests known simply as priests are the most common specialty priests of Mystara. As such, their abilities are identical to the clerics' (that is access to most spheres and turn/control undead) with the addition of one extra power.
For example, a priest of Halav gets a +2 to damage against goblinoids in addition to all abilities listed for the cleric (as per Player's Handbook or Player's Option: Spells and Magic). On the other hand, the extra power of a priest of Protius is a swimming movement equal to his movement on land. The exact ability a priest of an Immortal gets is described in the Codex of the Immortals from the Wrath of the Immortals boxed set.
Priests are the catch-all specialty priest of an Immortal. Their ability to use any armour and blunt weapons along with a decent THAC0 make them capable of holding their own in combat while their access to most spells can be useful in just about any situation. Their versatility often makes priests the adventuring specialty priest of a deity, travelling around the world and spreading the faith. Many also serve as temple guardians, caretakers of the flock of worshipers, and representatives to the average person.
All Immortals commonly use priests in their ranks.
The crusaders are considered to be weapons against the enemies of the faith. While defenders are charged with defending the temples and holy grounds, crusaders are the ones that invade the temples and territories of the enemy. They are militaristic and often organise themselves as any army would.
The exact abilities and requirements of a crusader can be found in Player's Option: Spells and Magic. Briefly, they require a Wisdom of 9, Strength of 12, and Charisma of 12. The most important power is the fact that a crusader uses the warrior's THAC0 instead of the priest's THAC0. They have major access to the spheres of All, Combat, Guardian, Healing, War, and Wards. They have minor access to Necromantic and Protection spheres. For a more complete description, as well as a list of the rest of their minor abilities, see Player's Option: Spells and Magic. (Note: they cannot turn/control undead.)
Crusaders are common among the Immortals of war, guardianship, justice, revenge, rulership, strength, and thunder. Vanya's favourite specialty priest in the crusader.
Defenders are exactly what the name implies: defenders of the faith. Their role is to protect the temples, priests, and worshipers of an Immortal. Defenders often organise themselves along the line of knights, viewing themselves as the champions of the peasants in the name of their Immortal.
Defenders are actually fighters with the "Defender" kit. They therefore have the THAC0 and hit points of a warrior. They must have a Strength of 12 and a Wisdom of 13 to take the Defender kit. Spells available to a defender vary according to the Immortal they worship; they are not necessarily combat oriented spells (that's the role of the crusader), although they often have major access to both Combat and Healing. A few have weapon restrictions limiting them to weapons noted as being favoured by their Immortal (such as a war hammer for defenders of Thor or a longbow and long sword for defenders of Ilsundal), but most Immortals let them use whatever weapon they want. There is never any restriction on armour. The exact spell progression of the defender, as well as other benefits and disadvantages, can be found in the Savage Coast on-line rulebook, in the warrior kits' section. (Note: they cannot turn/control undead.)
Defenders can be found worshipping all the Immortals, although peaceful ones will only have a handful of defenders while more war-like Immortals will have complete regiments of defenders. Defenders of nature-oriented religions are often called "druidic knights," while evil-aligned defenders enjoy the title of "avenger" or "anti-paladin."
The druid is a specialty priest of nature and nature-oriented Immortals. They view themselves as the protectors and guardians of all things natural, making sure that mankind does not interfere with the natural way of things. The abilities and requirements of druids are found in the Player's Handbook, although an updated and more balanced version can also be found in Player's Option: Spells and Magic. Of important note is the fact that they cannot turn/control undead.
Contrary to popular beliefs, druids are not simply "forest priests." Druids are found in any natural setting. There are desert druids, mountain druids, and even underdark (underground) druids. Their abilities can vary slightly according to their favoured terrain (for more information, see Complete Druid's Handbook).
Unlike the traditional druid, a Mystaran druid can be true neutral, lawful neutral, or chaotic neutral in alignment. The lawful druids believe in keeping things as they are while the chaotic ones see a more dynamic approach with the advances of man in one area balanced by an advance in nature in another. True neutral druids are somewhere in the middle (for more details, see Karameikos: Kingdom of Adventure).
Of special note on druids is the fact that some of them don't worship any Immortals at all, but instead worship Nature directly. Sages speculate that the Immortal Djaea grants them their spells, but priests of Djaea deny this. Regardless, druids of Nature receive spells even if they don't worship an Immortal. To the druids of Nature, all other druids are not real druids, so they call them balancers instead (although their powers are identical). Druids of Nature still give praise to many of the Immortals of nature-much as a cleric can honour a particular Immortal-but they do not receive any benefits from it.
Each order of druids has its own hierarchy, as detailed in the Player's Handbook. Despite this, their territories do not overlap; the presence of one druid in an area, regardless of religion, is enough to maintain the balance of nature. The "guardianship" of the land can be transferred from one order to another in the same way as rising in the ranks: through combat. A druid of one religion can challenge a druid of another religion of the same rank [level. Ed.]. The winner becomes the guardian of the land in the name of their particular Immortal (or Nature). The opponent must be of the same rank, because this is not a challenge to rise in levels; there can still only be a specific number of druids of higher levels in any given religion. A druid cannot replace a higher level druid of another religion as this will create one too many for his own religion!
There appears to be one great druid for each region of Mystara. The female half-elf Great Druid Maud of Robrenn (a forest druid) is in charge of the entire Savage Coast region. In the Old World, the human male Kaikhatu who lives in the steppes of Ethengar (a plains/grassland druid) is rumoured to be the great druid of the area. The great druids of Norwold and other regions are still a mystery to most people.
A ranger is a specialty priest of nature-in particular woodlands-that is more combat-oriented than druids. They are also aligned toward Good rather than Neutrality, making them somewhat biased as to how nature works (at least according to druids). Rangers tend to follow the same Immortals as druids, but they play a more active part, often hunting down those who would destroy nature.
The abilities and restrictions of rangers are well detailed in the Player's Handbook (with extra options found in the Complete Ranger's Handbook). Of particular note, although they receive priest spells, the ranger class falls in the warrior category and advances as warriors. Only Immortals who favour woodlands, nature, and goodness use rangers as specialty priests.
Like druids, however, some rangers worship Nature directly instead of any particular Immortal, and they still receive their spells. Once more sages speculate that Djaea grants them their spells in these instances, but again this has yet to be confirmed.
A paladin is a specialty priest of law and goodness. They actively roam the land, spreading justice and honour everywhere they go. To Immortals of such concepts, paladins are the ultimate champions of their cause. They are the ideal knight, and exemplify everything the Immortal seeks to achieve.
Like rangers, paladins are considered to be warriors, not priests, and their class abilities are well described in the Player's Handbook (again, the Complete Paladin's Handbook gives variations on the theme).
The Immortal Tarastia has been known to grant spells to paladins who uphold their ideals but don't worship any particular Immortal of paladins. Her priests claim that as long as they serve justice, Tarastia will continue to grant the Immortal-less paladins their powers, since to Her, the ideal is more important than the religion. Most of these Immortal-less paladins scoff at the claim, yet none have outright challenged it.
Many other specialty priests exist, including the mystic (also known as the monk or fighting-monk as detailed in Player's Option: Spells and Magic) found throughout Sind, the shamans of Ethengar (again, see Player's Option: Spells and Magic or the accessory Shamans) or the very specific priests of the Nithian culture in the Hollow World (see HWR2 Kingdom of Nithia). Individual DMs are free to create their own specialty priests. Useful suggestions can be found in the Complete Priest's Handbook, while guidelines for keeping everything balanced are available in Player's Option: Spells and Magic.
Others examples of specialty priests, created by various members of the Mystara Mailing List can be found in the mailing list archives.
Needless to say, the amount and type of specialty priests are endless, and depend greatly on the whims of the Immortals. The advantages of specialty priests come from the fact that they can possibly gain powers far beyond the grasps of most clerics. On the downside, their actions are closely monitored by their deity, and any stray actions or thoughts from the tenets of the religion can cause a loss in spells and powers. Also, it is difficult for a specialty priest to break free of an organized religion to her Immortal; after all, she can't exactly join the church of another Immortal, now can she?
Churches of Mystara
The following is a list of four of the churches described in the upcoming The Immortal Scriptures. Note that in the texts below, the term "Priest" (with a capital P) refers to the specialty priests called priest (as described above), and not to the clergy of the given church or religion. The term "priest" (with a lower-case p) refers to either the clergy as a whole, or the title "priest" a clergy-member might have in their particular order.
The Church of Thyatis
Coat of Arms: Thyatian Eagle in the middle of a circle of twelve Thyatian Immortals' holy symbols (starting from the top, clockwise: Vanya, Thor, Tarastia, Odin, Kagyar, Korotiku, Koryis, Protius, Halav, Asterius, Valerias, and Diulanna).
Clergy: Clerics (50%), Priests (25%), Defenders (10%), normal humans (8%), Paladins (5%), other specialty priests (2%).
Clergy's Alignment: Any non-evil alignment.
Worshipers' Alignment: Any.
The Church of Thyatis is a religious organisation that encourages the worship and/or respect of all the Immortals of the Thyatian Pantheon. This list includes Alphaks, Asterius, Diulanna, Halav, Kagyar, Korotiku, Koryis, Odin, Protius, Tarastia, Thanatos, Thor, Valerias, and Vanya.
Although Alphaks and Thanatos are included in this list, the Church of Thyatis does not actually encourage their worship. These two Immortals are used as examples of evil and simply serve to show the fate that awaits those of evil alignment upon their death at their hands. In fact, except for mentioning them as the evil to be fought against in the Church of Thyatis, their worship is a crime punishable by death in the Empire of Thyatis and most other nations.
The clergy of the Church of Thyatis is composed mainly of clerics. Most are pantheists, but philosophers of law and neutrality are also common. Only a few chaos philosophers are present among the hierarchy. Priests (and other specialty priests) are often in charge of the ceremonies pertaining to their particular Immortal. Of course, only priests of the Immortals mentioned above, minus Priests of Alphaks and Thanatos, can join the clergy. Even non-priests (that is, normal humans) can join the order and give ceremonies to the masses.
The temples of the Church of Thyatis tend to be grand buildings since they must serve as a place of worship for many Immortals. Most can seat a couple hundred spectators during their ceremonies. They also have several other chambers that serve as shrines for each particular Immortal. Finally, chambers in the back serve as barracks for the clergy, as well as meeting rooms for discussions and planning.
All clergy of the Church of Thyatis start at the rank of initiate. Their duties include serving as messengers, preparing the temples for the ceremonies, and generally acting as servants for the higher-ranking clergy. It is a life of studying and classes in the temple libraries followed by hard work and menial chores.
An initiate who has served well for three years [and about 3rd level. Ed.] attains the rank of priest. It is the priests of the religion who actually give the ceremonies to the people of the Thyatian Empire. Those of priest rank are also sent out on adventures to discover secrets, amass wealth for the order, and convert other cultures to their way.
A priest who performs admirably for at least 5 years [and around level 7 if possessing a character class. Ed.] becomes a curate. Curates are in charge of deciding exactly what the topics of each ceremony are to be, as well as plan what enlightenment will be taught to the people. There is a curate in charge of the ceremonies for each Immortal of the pantheon. That is, in each temple, there is one curate for Asterius, another for Diulanna, and so on. This is the highest rank any Priest (or other specialty priest) can attain within the clergy since their point of view is limited to those of their Immortal.
Finally, in charge of the entire temple is a bishop [they are usually around 9th level. Ed.]. He runs the place and has final say on what will or will not be accepted within his building. Normal humans who do not posses any divine granted powers cannot proceed above the rank of bishop.
In charge of several temples in entire areas-usually a complete dominion-are the patriarch and matriarch. Only Clerics [of 13th level or higher. Ed.] can attain this rank, as only they can remain unbiased when deciding how each Immortal is to be worshipped. These patriarchs advise rulers on matters of the church and can exert a lot of political power in their region.
There is no rank above patriarch in the Church of Thyatis. As such, all the patriarchs of the order gather annually in Thyatis City to discuss and vote on the future of their religion. Traditionally, the patriarch of Thyatis City has the power to veto any vote passed by this assembly, and in case of ties, holds the deciding vote.
The philosophies of the Church of Thyatis hold that all acts performed by mortals are recorded by the Immortals above and will be used to judge them when they pass into the afterlife. The spirits of the dead will belong to the Immortal he or she most resembled in life and will wind up serving eternity in the Outer Plane of their Immortal. This is why they describe the temperaments and homes of Alphaks and Thanatos; by seeing what awaits those of evil alignment, they hope they will change their ways. As such, good deeds will be rewarded with good deeds in the afterlife, just as bad deeds will be paid back with bad deeds.
The priests cheerfully describe the purpose, alignment, and desires of all the Thyatian Immortals so that the citizens of Thyatis can make their own choices of which Immortal to hold to heart and where they want to go when they die. Of course, since Thyatians are militant people, the Immortals Vanya, Thor, and Diulanna often receive more than their fair share of attention.
Initiates spend several hours a day studying everything known on the entire Pantheon. Upon reaching the rank of priests, they are charged with spreading this knowledge to the people of Thyatis and the rest of Mystara. Most prefer to have the people come to them in their daily ceremonies at the temples, but a few adventure out into the world and try to convert other cultures.
Although not specifically stated in their doctrines, the Church of Thyatis also promotes the belief that Thyatians are the best people in the world and that all other cultures should join the empire and become full-fledged Thyatians.
The clergy of the Church of Thyatis can often be seen roaming the streets of major Thyatian cities, preaching about making choices for one's afterlife. Those who seem curious about their speeches are often referred to one of the temples of the order.
Every day, at noon, ceremonies are held in the various temples of the religion. Each ceremony starts with a brief talk about all the Immortals, then proceeds onto the main topic of the day that usually deals with one Immortal in particular. The subject for the day is determined by the bishop, usually in conjunction with his curates. Since there are currently 12 Immortals in the pantheon (not including Alphaks or Thanatos), a common theme is to have an "Immortal of the month," thereby teaching the philosophies of one Immortal for a month, then changing to another at the arrival of the new moon. Still, some bishops have other complicated schedules dividing the days evenly throughout the year in a pattern only they can see.
Finally, the Temple of Thyatis often gives special rites when a Thyatian child is born, blessing her and asking the Immortals to look after her as she grows up. The clergy members also take care of marriage ceremonies and divorce throughout the Thyatian Empire.
Holy Days and Important Ceremonies
Up until recently, the Church of Thyatis did not have any major holy days. Now, however, Wrath of the Immortals Day (Nuwmont 15th) is considered to be sacred. This day celebrates the fact that the Thyatian Pantheon proved to the world that Thyatians are the favoured people of the Immortals by destroying the continent of Alphatia. The logic goes that since Thyatians are the favoured people, then the Church of Thyatis must be the favoured religion of the world. Wrath of the Immortals Day started in AC 1010 as a workers' holiday but has since become a full-fledge religious event.
On Flaurmont 1, priests give a special ceremony celebrating the Day of Freedom for those Thyatian youths who have turned 21 and are now "free" from their parents' whims.
Other days are considered important, but only to a particular Immortal, and not the entire pantheon. Because of this, they are not considered religious holy days, but are usually celebrated by the bishops of the temples anyway. These days include the Start of Shipping Season (Va. 23, Protius), The Day of Valerias (Fe. 15, Valerias), Vanya's Day (Sv. 8, Vanya), and Protius' Day (Ei. 22, Protius), as well as several others.
Major Centres of Worship
The Great Thyatian Temple, located in the estates district of Thyatis City, is an immense building which can seat almost 5,000 citizens. This marble building is crafted in the typical Thyatian style, with marble columns and a circular styled-styled ceremony hall. Several other buildings are attached to this hall, including the residence of Dylan Finnson, Patriarch of Thyatis City, as well as sleeping quarters for over 250 clergy members.
Several other temples (although usually much smaller) can be found throughout the city as well as every other major Thyatian city. The temples of the Pearl Islands still have a good following, while a new temple is currently being built in Selenica.
A few blocks down the street from the Great Thyatian Temple, one can find the Knights of the Gold Dragon Enclave. This building houses a military order dedicated to upholding the decisions taken by the patriarchs of the Church of Thyatis. The ranks of the Knights of the Gold Dragon are composed of warriors, rogues, paladins, and crusaders. Members of this order protect the various temples of the religion, lead military expeditions as needed by the patriarchs, and roam the empire seeking to enlighten people about the choices they make in life. When not on a religious mission, this order acts as a mercenary band willing to perform any mission that doesn't go against their philosophies or the church.
All applicants to the order must have both a Knight of the Gold Dragon and a clergy member of the Church of Thyatis sponsor them. Candidates are then tested, and if their combat skills are adequate [that is, if their THAC0 is 15 or better. Ed.], they are accepted into the ranks.
During their everyday lives, clergy of the Church of Thyatis are permitted to wear any clothing that suits their needs.
During ceremonies, however, a more formal dress code is enforced. Their ceremonial dress consists of a full-sleeved, floor-length blue robe. The coat of arms of the church is displayed prominently on the left chest. If also a member of the Knights of the Gold Dragon, their gold dragon symbol is sown unto the upper edge of the right sleeve, much as military rank insignias are often displayed.
Priests of the Church of Thyatis of all ranks except initiate also carry with them a metal sceptre while in ceremonial dress. The size and colour of the sceptre indicates the rank in the clerical hierarchy the owner is.
The Church of Thyatis suffered many losses during the past couple of decades. About 40 years ago, when the Grand Duchy of Karameikos separated from the empire, so to did their branch of the church (forming the Church of Karameikos). More recently, with the independence of Ochalea, the Pearl Islands, Helskir, and the Grand Duchy of Westrourke, the patriarchs fear the complete destruction of their religion, along with the empire. Despite their fears, the Church of Thyatis remains strong in the Pearl Islands, Helskir and Westrourke. Only Ochalea has completely abandoned the tenets of the church.
The church has also made grounds recently. For the past 20 years, they have made inroads into the Jungle Coast, converting many of the hinterland barbarians to their beliefs. The Church of Thyatis even went as far as accepting Diulanna, their Immortal, into the Thyatian pantheon; after all, they are Thyatians now, aren't they.
But the church seeks to expand further. At the moment, they are slowly building temples within the nation of Darokin, using the city of Selenica as their main base of operations. Rumours also claim that the church is seeking to reabsorb the Church of Karameikos into their fold.
As another means of regaining worshipers, the Church of Thyatis has seriously started debating about holy days, something that has until very recently never crossed their minds. Wrath of the Immortals Day is one such idea. At the moment, they are also debating on whether or not to make Fyrmont 19 "The Visit" an official holy day. This day would mark the discovery of the "Footprint of the Immortal" found in the Altan Tepes back in AC 1010, showing the world that the Immortals actually visited the Empire of Thyatis. Making the site into official holy ground is also high on its priority list.
The Temple of Rad
Coat of Arms: Three connected hemispheres forming a triangle.
Clergy: Wizards (100%).
Clergy's Alignment: N, LN, and CN.
Worshipers' Alignment: Any.
Although religions and preaching about the Immortals is illegal in the Principalities of Glantri, Glantrians do have a place to go where they can contemplate personal problems. In the Temples of Rad, wizards known as Shepherds of Rad listen to the problems of nobles and commoners alike, giving them counselling on any problem they might have.
Their marble temples scattered in every major town of Glantri promote meditation and contemplation. The shepherds believe by relaxing and thinking things through one can eventually solve any problem and make the vital discovery that was missing. This self-enlightenment just serves to show how Glantrians truly do not need any Immortal guidance in their lives.
Each Temple of Rad has a large crystal ball placed on their main altar. The shepherds claim that it is a receptacle of Rad, the living incarnation of magic itself. Although foreigners assume Rad is an Immortal, the Shepherds of Rad and Glantrians know better than to assume that magic could possibly be an Immortal. After all, He doesn't ask for worship, so He can't possibly be a divine being.
Apparently, they receive dreams and visions through the receptacle, indicating when Rad desires for His shepherds to perform a task or change something. The Shepherds of Rad therefore believe that they wield power both temporal and magical thanks to their direct connection with the incarnation of magic.
[Contrary to what the Glantrians believe, Rad is indeed an Immortal, or at least He used to be. Rad used the mortal incarnation of Etienne d'Ambreville to further His goals in Glantri. At the end of the Wrath of the Immortals events, Rad disappeared into the Nucleus of the Sphere and was not heard or seen again, baring some rumours of Etienne's brief appearance in Château Sylaire back in AC 1012. The Shepherds of Rad have yet to realise this since they still receive dreams and visions through the Radiance receptacles in their temples. In fact, the Brotherhood of the Radiance have always given them their visions, not Rad-except as a member of the Brotherhood Himself. Glantrians therefore continue to believe in Rad-the incarnation of magic-without the slightest hint that He might no longer even exist. Ed.]
First of all, never call any Shepherd of Rad a "priest." They will rudely let those who made the mistake know that they are wizards just before throwing them out the door.
There are only two ranks in the Temple of Rad: shepherd and high shepherd. All members of the organisation are considered shepherds while the individual in charge of a particular temple is the high shepherd. High shepherds are determined based on magical experience [most are at least 12th level mages. Ed.].
There is no connection between individual temples. All higher goals and common decisions come from sharing the same visions from Rad through their receptacles.
While not an actual set of religious beliefs, the doctrine of Rad promotes the use of magic and its superiority over all other powers, including those of the Immortals. By mastering magic, one can learn to master his or her own fate.
Their method of dealing with the personal problems of Glantrians is to encourage them to meditate and think things through. The serenity of their temples usually makes these endeavours successful.
Shepherds of Rad usually spend the day in meditation or working on magical studies and experiments. When a Glantrian enters the temple seeking aid, they help the person enter a relaxing trance and attain what comfort they need to feel at ease.
Shepherds also visit the Great School of Magic regularly. Since many are accomplished wizards in their own right, their magical expertise is often sought by other mages, and they often give lectures at the school. Besides trips to the Great School of Magic, many often travel to the numerous wizard towers scattered across the principalities. Shepherds of Rad are therefore well-respected members of society.
Holy Days and Important Ceremonies
Since the Temple of Rad is not a religion, they have no holy days or important religious ceremonies. They simply meditate in their temples and wait for Glantrians to seek their advice when they have a problem.
Major Centres of Worship
There is no temple of Rad more important than another within this organisation. The most renowned, however, is the Temple of Rad of Glantri City, due mainly to the fact that the shepherds of this temple are often spotted in the Great School of Magic.
The Temple of Rad has no official affiliated order. Unofficially, many powerful mages appreciate the counsel from the shepherds in both magical and personal affairs. Should the Temple of Rad ever get into trouble, they can probably count on the support of several hundred mages to come to the rescue.
Shepherds of Rad wear simple brown robes with long, flowing sleeves. There is no headpiece for their ceremonial dress, and in fact, it is forbidden for anyone to wear any type of hat while within a Temple of Rad.
Since each Temple of Rad is more or less self-sufficient, the order as a whole is not making any type of grand plans or schemes. Still, one event might actually cause a few high shepherds to work together.
High Shepherd Chath Restoun (human, male, M14) is currently still shaken up by an incident in AC 1013. He was charmed by an illithid and performed acts he has yet to forgive himself for [see the "Temple Takeover" adventure in Glantri: Kingdom of Magic for more information. Ed.]. His advice since then has been less than effective, and many wizards are beginning to complain about the situation. It has gotten to a point where other high shepherds are deciding whether or not to intervene in the matter.
The Temple Of Vanya
Coat of Arms: Vanya's holy symbol, a lance crossed by two short swords.
Clergy: Priests (30%), Crusaders (25%), Defenders (25%), Clerics (15%), other specialty priests (5%).
Clergy's Alignment: Any non-chaotic.
Worshipers' Alignment: Any.
The Temple of Vanya is a church dedicated to the Grey Lady, the Immortal of war and conquest. The clergy consists mainly of specialty priests of Vanya, with a few philosopher clerics who incorporate battle into their ethos.
This temple is strong within the Empire of Thyatis, with worshipers numbering is the hundreds of thousands. In fact, the Temple of Vanya has almost as many lay members as the Temple of Thyatis. Despite this, there is no rivalry for numbers; the Temple of Thyatis simply view the Temple of Vanya as a sub-branch of their religion which concentrates on only one of their Immortals. There are a few squabbles between the priests, especially when it concerns respecting other Immortals besides Vanya, but in general the two orders get along well.
The ranking system within the temple hierarchy is very similar to those of the military. Everyone has a rank and must follow the orders of someone of higher rank.
New members to the order start out as novices. As in most other religious orders, this means they have more or less the roles of servants within the temples. Between chores, novices attend various classes on the teachings and doctrines of Vanya.
Once a novice has mastered his knowledge on the philosophies of Vanya, he is promoted to the rank of acolyte [this usually represents attaining level 1. Ed.]. At this point, instead of lectures and study classes, the acolyte is taught how to fight and use weapons.
Senior acolytes [those of 5th level. Ed] must choose in which branch of the Temple of Vanya they wish to continue their career in. They may either remain in the clergy hierarchy, at which point they earn the title priest, or they may join the militant branch and be known as knight-adepts.
Priests have the role of giving ceremonies and teaching to novice the ways of Vanya. More experienced ones [9th level. Ed.] are placed in charge of their own temples, earning them the title of bishop. Archbishops are placed in charge of all bishops within a certain territory. In charge of the entire religion is the Vicar of Vanya; only specialty priests of Vanya may earn this title [and they usually have to be of at least 15th level. Ed.].
Those following the militant branch of the religion enter their own hierarchy. They are the ones in charge of the Brotherhood of the Grey Lady. Knight-adepts who perform well are promoted to knight-warriors [level 9. Ed.]. A knight-general [of at least 13 levels in experience. Ed.] is in charge of the entire order.
The Temple of Vanya concentrates on teaching Vanya's aspect of combat and honour. Priests are given the task of encouraging martial training, making sure that everyone can fight. They also show the value of honour and fair fighting, scorning backstabbing or outright slaughter. Discipline is therefore important to this clergy.
Vanya looks favourably on those who throw themselves recklessly into battle, throwing their entire fate into their battle prowess. Those who fight honourably and tirelessly in battle, slaying all opponents while avoiding destroying homes or the innocent are the epitome of what Vanya represents.
Battles are not to be feared, for eventually all must learn to stand for what they believe in or it will be swept away by the enemy. Because of this, all should learn to improve their martial skills. Also, no enemy should be disrespected as valour can be found in all, regardless of age, gender, or race.
Priests of the Temple of Vanya are charged to keep battles a thing of rules and tradition with professional behaviour and minimised bloodshed. They are therefore often found as judges or witnesses to the various duels that take place in the streets of Thyatis.
The more martial clergy members can often be seen fighting in the gladiatorial arena. They also regularly sponsor such activities, and having a priest of Vanya trainer is considered a good omen.
Holy Days and Important Ceremonies
One day is considered particularly holy to the Temple of Vanya, Vanya's Day (Sv. 8). This day commemorates the day when the mortal Vanya led Thyatian troops against the Milenians on the southern continent of Davania. It is celebrated with good cheer, heavy feasting, and numerous duels and gladiator combats.
Major Centres of Worship
The High Temple of Vanya is by far the most renowned temple of the entire Old World. Even those who don't worship Vanya have heard of it. Although created over a century ago, the High Temple of Vanya was recently expanded and redesigned. This construction ended in AC 1013. Now, the temple can fully seat over 15,000 spectators during the ceremonies [magic is used for the priests' voices to carry across the entire crowd. Ed.]. The arched towers and ceilings are at least ten stories high, while the central spire reaches the amazing height of at least 15 stories. Magnificent coloured windows depicting various battles and wars in the name of Vanya are scattered throughout the complex.
It is from here that Claudia Derrogan (human, female, P17 of Vanya), Vicar of Vanya, heads the order of the Temple of Vanya. She has led the order wisely for the past 20 years, and many believe she talks regularly to Vanya Herself, marking her as one who is truly blessed by the Immortals.
The Temple of Vanya has two major affiliated orders. The first is the Brotherhood of the Grey Lady, whose guildhall is just across the street from the High Temple of Vanya. This is an order dedicated to learning and teaching fighting skills while spreading the wisdom of Vanya. Although only members of the clergy can have positions of power within the brotherhood, absolutely anyone can join the common ranks. The Brotherhood of the Grey Lady often pursues military goals for the Temple of Vanya. Although the common member of the order need not participate in such campaigns, most do. [Further details on the order can be found in the Dawn of the Emperors box set. Ed.]
The second order call themselves the Wings of Vanya. Their estate is located a few blocks away from the main temple. The Wings of Vanya clerical order is more monastic than the Temple of Vanya. Here, the priests spend time meditating and contemplating rather than actively pursuing combat and preaching to others. The monks of this temple are practiced healers, and many priests of Vanya come here to receive healing after a battle or duel. Rumours also claim that the monks have mastered the unarmed fighting techniques of the mystics of Sind and Ochalea, but so far no one has ever witnessed them use such skills. The Wings of Vanya are actually a separate religion from the Temple of Vanya, but the two work so closely together, most people assume that they are merely two different branches of one philosophy.
For the most part, clergy members can wear any clothing they like. During religious ceremonies or public appearances by the Temple of Vanya, they must wear the traditional dark purple robes and ceremonial armour. The armour will bear the heraldic symbol of either the Temple of Vanya or the Brotherhood of the Grey Lady. A purple sash above the armour indicates the rank of priest or knight-adept, while a bishop or knight-warrior wears a red sash.
Archbishops and the knight-general have dark red robes instead of purple. They do not have any sash, however. Finally, a dark red robe with a purple sash indicates the Vicar of Vanya, leader of the entire temple.
The Temple of Vanya still refuses admittance to anyone who is a member of the Storm Soldiers fighting order. They remember clearly the rift in the clergy that took place almost 70 years ago when numerous Storm Soldiers began pressing for changes to the tenets of the church [such as forbidding women from fighting and racial-purity ideals. Ed.]. A civil war almost broke out, but stopped when the Storm-Soldiers-Priests-of-Vanya decided to pack up and go somewhere where they can decide the policies of their religion. They have since founded their own order dedicated to Vanya which is now known world-wide as the Heldannic Knights.
More recently, the Temple of Vanya is still infuriated at the Heldannic Knights for the execution of the Knight-Warrior Lenard Doverson in their outrageous inquisition. The fact that the knights lost their Vanya-granted spells and powers only served to prove that these Heldannic Knights have corrupted the dogma of Vanya. Some speculate that the Temple of Vanya is beginning to plan an outright war against the Heldannic Knights. How the Empire of Thyatis-the seat of power of the Temple of Vanya-will respond to this, if it is true, remains anyone's guess.
The Heldannic Knights
Coat of Arms: A black lion on a white background.
Clergy: Crusaders (40%), Priests (30%), Defenders (25%), other specialty priests (5%).
Clergy's Alignment: Any non-chaotic.
Worshipers' Alignment: Any.
Easily the most renowned religious order of the world, the words "Heldannic Knights" is guaranteed to get a reaction out of anybody. Some claim they are tyrants and slave masters, while others bring up their dedication to order and abolishment of crime as proof of otherwise. The only thing that everyone can say for certain, though, is that they intend to conquer the world for the glory of Vanya.
Unlike most other churches, the Heldannic Knights accept only specialty priests of Vanya into their ranks. Clerics, even if they value Vanya's beliefs, will not be accepted. Even specialty priests of Vanya must be able to wield swords and lances, as well as wear any armour if they desire to become a Heldannic Knight.
The ranking system of the Heldannic Knights is semi-complicated because it actually combines two hierarchies in one: military and government. First, the knights are militaristic and everyone has a military rank. New recruits are squires assigned to a specific knight. They act as servants for the knights, who in return teach them the values and lessons of Vanya as well as combat.
When deemed worthy by his master, a squire is promoted to the rank of knight [by then, he has attained 2nd level. Ed.]. Knights who perform admirably [and reached level 5. Ed.] earn the rank of sergeant-although they are still called knights except during military operations. Further promotions up the rank are captain [at least level 9. Ed.] and warlord [who is in charge of an entire division. He must also be at least a 12th level priest of Vanya. Ed.]. Finally, the leaders of the armies are the generals.
The Heldannic Knights also combine these ranks with the titles of government and nobility. The Heldannic Knights have many minor nobility titles, such as baron and count, which are usually titles kept by nobles of other nations who joined their ranks [such as the minor nobles of Norwold. Ed.]. In this case, they keep the title, placing it before their military rank. For example, you could have a baron-general, or a count-sergeant. When it comes to policy of an area, deciding the law, giving punishment, and such, the higher government rank is in charge. With the above examples, it would be the count-sergeant who decides the interpretation of the law in a town. When it comes to military matters, it's the highest military rank who leads. This time, the baron-general would be in charge of the count-sergeant.
Above these minor nobility ranks, the Heldannic Knights have two other imposed by their own nation: chancellor and governor. Both of these ranks are higher than any other minor noble rank. Chancellors are placed in charge of major cities and the land surrounding them, while governors are in charge of an entire territory. Governor-general is the highest rank one can attain without being the oberherr.
Finally, the oberherr is the head of the entire order of the Heldannic Knights, deciding on their day-to-day policies and on the entire direction of their military campaigns.
The Heldannic Knights believe in glory and conquest. Vanya will guide their blades in battle, and never shall they lose a war. Battles are not to be feared, for eventually all must learn to stand for what they believe in or watch it be swept away by the enemy. Because of this, all should learn to improve their martial skills.
One must strike at the enemy first, before the enemy can attack your home. Better that they suffer than the people of Heldann. No enemy should be disrespected, however, as valour can be found in all, regardless of age, gender, or race.
Vanya looks favourably on those who fight honourably and tirelessly in battle, slaying all opponents in their way. Vanya will one day conquer all of Mystara, and it is the Heldannic and Hattian people who are Her chosen champions. All other races are inferior and will be conquered.
The priests of Vanya spend most of their time as members of the armies of Heldann. Only a few [about 10%. Ed.] are permitted to leave the ranks and adventure elsewhere, and usually only if it will somehow benefit the order as a whole. These priest-soldiers make up the elite heavy cavalry of each division of the Glory of Vanya.
Those who are out adventuring are given the task to always act honourably and courageously. They are to serve as shining examples of what it means to be a Heldannic Knight to the rest of the world. The leaders of the Heldannic Knights therefore only allow those who are charismatic and of good alignment to adventure; this helps make sure they only get a good reputation from their wandering adventurer-priests.
Holy Days and Important Ceremonies
The Heldannic Knights celebrate two holy days. The first is Vanya's Dance, on Felmont 6th. At sunset, the Heldannic Knights don full armour and perform an ancient dance around a bonfire in Vanya's honour. Even squires participate, and it is the only day when squires are actually permitted to wear a full suit of armour. In Freiburg, the largest bonfire is prepared in the centre of Freiburg Square, just in front of the Temple of Stars. Afterwards, the Heldannic Knights feast and drink into the late hours of the night.
On Sviftmont 8th is Vanya's Day. It is a day celebrated by parades, duels, and heavy feasting. Vanya's Day serves to remind the knights of the day when the mortal woman Vanya led an army against the Milenians on the continent of Davania, saving her people. It shows how anyone can be a hero and receive glory and honour.
The Heldannic Knights have a ceremony known as the Receiving of the Sword. This ceremony marks the day a squire has earned the right to be called a knight. The squire spends the entire day, starting at sunrise, fasting and praying to Vanya. Should the sun not be visible, the aspiring knight must wait another day to receive his title and ceremony. At sunset, the squire bathes then proceeds to the temple after donning a white robe. There, priests of Vanya perform the Receiving of the Sword ceremony, whereas they give the squire his first long sword, armour, as well as black lion shield. By the end of the ceremony, the squire has earned the title Heldannic Knight.
Major Centres of Worship
The infamous Star Chamber is the heart of the Heldannic Knight's order. From here, Oberherr Wulf von Klagendorf (human, male, P19 of Vanya) dictates the tenets and laws of the order. The Star Chamber is a large building built with defence in mind. Siege weapons dot the upper parapets, and squads of defenders wait just beyond the main doors.
The building receives its name from a large, central chamber in the shape of a star. Here, 8,000 knights can gather in the five wings to listen to a speaker standing in the centre. A glass ceiling in the shape of Vanya's lion lets sunlight shine upon the speaker, giving the impression of a divine glow enhancing his words.
The Heldannic Knights are an order which constitute religion, military, and government all into one. As such, there was never any need for affiliated orders. Recently, however, a group known as the Champions of Vanya has been formed. They seem to be the "knights" of the Heldannic Knights. What their role and duties will turn out to be in the future remains to be seen.
During religious ceremonies, the Heldannic Knights wear a full suit of ceremonial armour [true plate mails can be a bit heavy and cumbersome for simple ceremonies and prayers. Ed.] with a white tabard depicted with the black lion of Vanya.
In the field, the dress code is identical, except that you can expect the armour to be actual full plate.
The Heldannic Knights were once part of the Temple of Vanya in Thyatis, but difference in the interpretation of Vanya's tenets caused a rift in the church. The Hattian members of the Temple of Vanya left Thyatis and conquered the Heldann Freeholds where they started their own religion to Vanya. To encourage the locals to join the order, they named themselves the Heldannic Knights, after the people they subjugated. The Hattians have kept their racial-purity ideals, but incorporated the Heldanners into the supreme race as well [probably just to get them to join their ranks. Ed.]. Their belief that women should not fight disappeared slowly over the years, however.
The faith of the Heldannic Knights has suffered a tremendous blow during the past couple of years. The knights started an inquisition and wound up losing all their spells granted to them by Vanya, later regaining them after a successful quest on the southern continent. This has led Wulf von Klagendorf to re-examine the values and doctrines of the knights. The oberherr is currently trying to make changes into the order and their beliefs. The first was the removal of force-worshipping of Vanya in the Heldannic Territories. Many knights have also been stripped of the rank and privileges. Other changes are still being discussed with the elder priests of the religion.
Besides this reorganisation, the oberherr is busy planning the invasion of Norwold and conquest of new, unexplored lands in Davania. Changes in the order aside, the true glory of Vanya comes from conquest, and that's exactly what he plans on doing.