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Faiths of Darokin

by Ripvanwormer

There is no single "Church of Darokin." The people of the Republic are far too independent-minded to agree on one or to welcome attempts to create one. Instead, Darokinians follow local adaptations of many different faiths from all across the Known World. Darokin is a melting pot of many peoples, and nowhere is this clearer than in its religious life.

Darokinians tend to focus more on the present life than the afterlife. They generally believe that when someone dies, they end up in the realm of whatever Immortal they choose, or to the Immortal whose prayers are uttered at their funeral if they had no particular choice in life. Each afterlife seems equally good to most Darokinians, so they concentrate on the benefits religion brings them here and now. They pray to Asterius before business ventures and to Protius before travelling by sea. They expect that devotion to the Immortals will result in good luck, while impiety will bring bad luck. For many Darokinians, this is all the religion they need.

Others crave the structure and comfort that only organised religion can bring. They hope to know the deeper meaning of existence, and for those Darokinians, there are plenty of organised religions willing to tell them. In the Republic, religion is subject to a free market, and free market pressures ensure that religions sell what people want to buy.

The Darokin Temples of Rad

While Glantri's mad cult would seem an odd export, in truth it wasn't surprising when some Darokinian merchants began converting. After all, attending Radite ceremonies and even donating to the temples is an excellent way to gain prestige within Glantrian society and to gain the trust of the wizards of Glantri - which made it so much easier to gain profitable exclusive contracts with them. The promise of increased intelligence didn't hurt, either. What's more, many find the rituals of Rad addictive, going back again and again to experience the ecstasy of pure magic. It wasn't long, therefore, that the merchants began founding their own Temples of Rad when they returned home.

In Darokin, the Temples of Rad are seen as an excellent place to meet wizards. The people of Darokin appreciate magic and the convenience it brings to their lives, and appreciate having a place they can go to show their appreciation in a religious setting. The Temple of Rad has become something of a fad among Silver and Gold-class Darokinians with hopes of upward mobility, and even some Elites have joined the faith in hope of finding an edge against their rivals.

Thus far, the biggest Temples of Rad are in Akesoli, where so much Glantrian trade passes through, and Darokin City itself. In those cities, the new Temple is a large and impressive building meant to match or overshadow some of the greatest and oldest religious buildings. Elsewhere, the cultists of Rad tend to meet in smaller, even cramped buildings, or they make do with the homes of wealthy believers. The people of Akorros have rejected the new philosophy entirely, perhaps because the people of Akesoli seem to like it so much.

A Temple of Rad is led by the Shepherds of Rad, who are always wizards. Clerics have no role in the Radite philosophy, and the Shepherds teach that clerical magic is redundant and even harmful in the long term.


The Shepherds of Rad teach that most unpleasant things, including stupidity, what other faiths call "sin," poor physical health, pain, laziness, dishonesty, addictions, and vulnerability to hostile magic have the same ultimate root: the "responsive psyche," which stores impressions of past events (or "el-runes"), blocking the energy and life force which would otherwise spring naturally from the Light of Rad. The teachings of Rad allow one to bypass and eventually eliminate this troublesome part of the mind, allowing a devoted follower to be successful, quick-witted, and perpetually healthy with no need for clerical healing. Normally, this involves chanting mantras, inhaling incense, and banging one's forehead on a gong in order to ensure that the lessons sink in. Special amulets are also sometimes used in what is called a "thaumaturgic review." Financial-minded Darokinians have taken to calling these sessions "audits."

High-level initiates eventually learn that the "el-runes" are actually a form of ethereal parasite created by the Immortals in order to prevent mortals from achieving Immortality on their own. With the Light of Rad, Immortality is achievable without Immortal patronage.

Radites believe that after physical death, initiates of Rad who have not reached Immortality become one with the force of magic in eternal ecstasy, although they always have the choice to be reborn in a physical body and try again. This is contrasted with the afterlife awaiting followers of the Immortals, who are trapped in the Outer Planes or in a futile cycle of rebirth at their Immortal's choosing.

The Darokinian Church of Thyatis

This is the most popular (by a small margin) and oldest religion in Darokin, and it is what people mean when they refer to "the Church of Darokin." Darokinians themselves generally avoid this label, calling it simply "the Church" or sometimes "the Great Church."

It is really a branch of the Church of Thyatis, and shares communion with that church (and with the Church of Karameikos) and answers ultimately to the Thyatian patriarch. There have been churches to this faith in Darokin since before the first Darokinian kings, even before the crowning of the first Thyatian emperor. Its precise origins are lost in the mists of time, but its clerics teach of a Poimanides, or celestial messenger, who gave the early Thyatians a unique glimpse into the true reality of the Multiverse. This has, they claim, not been repeated since; most Immortals tend to answer cosmological questions vaguely, for fear of biasing their "experiment," so the Church can insist it holds the sole legitimate secrets of the cosmos even in a world where communion with the gods is possible and even relatively commonplace.

The church had already spread throughout the southeast region of the Known World when Empress Valentia declared it the empire's official religion. Tenacious holdouts in Ylaruam continue to follow its main principles to this day despite the success of Al-Kalim and his Eternal Truth, though they stopped recognising the authority of the Thyatian patriarch after Ylaruam declared its independence.

The Thyatian Church commonly refers to the Immortals as gods and goddesses, eschewing the more descriptive but less reverent term. The church teaches that many gods, even those yet unknown, are deserving of worship and do not put restraints on which ones an individual chooses as his or her patrons, so long as those gods' teachings are not contrary to those of the Church, and so long as the individual does not deny the divinity of those gods the church recognises as true. Thus, the Darokinian branch of the faith emphasises those gods who particularly appeal to Darokinians, such as Asterius and Koryis, and this does not disturb the powers that be in Thyatis.


The teachings of the Darokinian Church of Thyatis are essentially the same as those of the Church of Karameikos. They believe that sins stain the spirit and require ritual purification, and teach that unfounded superstitions should be avoided. Darokinians often treat these teachings lightly, embracing the Church for its ancient traditions and impressive pomp and ceremony while assuming that purification can be bought for any sins that are too serious. Pardoners are a problem in Darokin, literally selling absolution to the highest bidder.

Priests in Darokin are less concerned with proselytising than their counterparts in other lands, counting on extravagant masses, baptisms, funerals, holidays, and weddings to ensure a steady base of followers. Thus, they have been losing ground in recent centuries to the People's Temple and the Eternal Truth, though they are still marginally more popular than either.