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Alphatian Faith: The Path of Pure Thought

by Ripvanwormer

The Path of Pure Thought: Mystic/Religious sect
Immortal patrons: Alphatia, Koryis, Korotiku

Beliefs: The interaction between Thought and Energy, or Air and Fire, produces an endless cycle of reincarnation and suffering in which all mortals are trapped. Only by renouncing the temptations of Energy (magic) can one escape this cycle and enter the freedom of Pure Thought, where suffering, war, pain, and death cannot exist.

History: The Acolytes of Pure Thought were originally a political faction that believed that magic, which had doomed their previous world, should be shunned. They presented themselves as the champions of the common people with no magical talent. As time went on it gained a mystic/philosophical bent. This was, needless to say, not a popular movement among the rulers of New Alphatia, and it soon went from being marginalised to being actively persecuted.

The Immortal Alphatia, who had disagreed with the faction in her mortal life, felt compassion for them as an Immortal; she disliked seeing anyone suffer from persecution, and admired their peaceful goals even if she continued to disagree with their methods. The most extreme of the faction, who refused both clerical and wizardly magic, she transported to the Hollow World. To the others she began granting spells, transforming them into a full-fledged religion, and giving them some credibility in the eyes of other Alphatians.

She enlisted the aid of Koryis, and together they became the patrons of the sect.

The other Immortal associated with the group is Korotiku, who some legends claim manifested on Old Alphatia before its destruction, living as a heroic roguish type who used his wit to avoid and in some cases overcome the vast wizardly might of the rulers of that world. He is remembered as a folk hero, beloved of the common folk and by thieves, mystics, and roguish minstrels who survive in Alphatia with little or no knowledge of magic, using pure intelligence, skill, and magic items they've begged, borrowed, bought, or stolen.

The Acolytes of Pure Thought revere Korotiku as a being whose wit and skill penetrate through the prison-universe created by the immortal rulers of the other Spheres of Power, opening a secret path into the Sphere of Thought through which those who emulate him can travel.

Korotiku is pictured as a Common Alphatian, as a spider, or sometimes as a monkey or tabi.

The legendary Empress Savina was sympathetic to the goals of the Acolytes of Pure Thought, appointing some of their greatest mystics as royal advisers equal in status to archwizards - a move of breathtaking audacity. She made the Path of True Thought one of the empire's official religion, and under her patronage it spread to far-off corners of the empire like the Alasiyan Desert and Ochalea.

When Empress Savina died, at an advanced age, future emperors and empresses stopped appointing non-mages to advanced positions, and the next imperial dynasty revoked the religion's official status, forcing it underground again. By then it had grown fairly powerful in some of the outlying Alphatian colonies and could not be stamped out entirely. Since then, some emperors have been more tolerant toward the faith than others, and the Acolytes of Pure Thought have responded accordingly, sometimes preaching that wizards are evil oppressors whose magic destroys the fabric of the universe, and sometimes considering them merely sadly misguided souls doomed never to know the release from reincarnation that true acolytes of the faith are destined to know.

Empress Eriadna has tolerated the sect, deciding that persecuting them isn't worth the hassle or the grief, but she has not officially recognised them. Her father, Tylion IV, had been far more ruthless.

Acolytes of Pure Thought may belong to any character class that doesn't use arcane magic, including fighters, clerics, thieves/merchants/rogues, and mystics/monks.