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New Religious Order: The Followers of Zyr.

by John Polacek

A devout worshipper of Tarastia, patron immortal of justice and revenge, Zyr was not content with merely paying homage to his deity in the sanctuary of the church. It is said that he would see visions of Tarastia herself who bade him to leave the church and exercise her will throughout the land. He would travel throughout the known world, dispensing justice believing himself to be acting as a direct extension of Tarastia's will. Though many of the elder priests in the church believed him to be acting as a renegade without their support, some of the younger clerics of the faith came to admire his zealousness as they would hear tales of his heroic quests to bring justice for the innocent and the helpless. Eventually, Zyr founded his own sect of followers who adopted his calling and their number steadily grew as other priests of Tarastia left the church to follow Zyr's example.

Zyr would eventually embarked on a quest that would result in his disappearance from Mystara. Some believe that he was killed in battle, fighting until his death to carry out the wishes of his god. The faithful however believe that he successfully completed his quest and that he himself became an immortal, called to stand at Tarastia's side.

Unlike other religions in Mystara, membership in this faith is not freely open to the general public. Followers are chosen. Priests are recruited for their physical prowess, mental strength, and perhaps above all, personal attitude. This is for good reason. An utter devotion to seeing justice carried through at all costs and without compromise is at the centre of this faith. The choice to sacrifice one's own life for the cause of the just is one that must be able to be executed without hesitation. Should a follower fail in this, then the priest's entire life is deemed to have been worthless.

There are no churches of Zyr, for it is a wanderer's faith. Zyrians are spread out throughout the Known World. Followers are recruited and trained on a one-by-one basis by a high-level member of the church, who must, as a duty of the faith, find and train an apprentice. When a prospective follower is deemed acceptable, often after years of instruction and torturous training, he is sent on his own to prove his worth. An acolyte of Zyr is referred to as a "Hand of Zyr", reflecting their perception of being an active extension of Zyr and Tarastia's own will. Once a Hand has reached name-level, he is granted then the superior title of "Arm of Zyr"

There is a loose network of the Order of Zyr. Messages are sent to one another through courier and through prayer. Hands are often sent on religious missions to prove their worthiness. The Zyrian faith is allied with many other lawful churches throughout the land, most especially the Church of Tarastia of course, and will often send one of its order to assist these churches when they are in time of need. Indeed, as part of their duties, Hands of Zyr must seek out noble causes and quests to prove their devotion to justice.

Though it may be rare for one to encounter a Follower of Zyr, as it is a small sect, with its congregation spread far throughout the known world, the faith is well-known throughout Brun and even as far west as Sind and east as Alphatia. A quiet prayer to Zyr may be spoken now and then by the common man, but only when he finds himself in a situation of being wronged most foully, and is almost seen as a curse against those who have wronged him. Followers of Zyr are often viewed as extremists and militants by many, as they often take the law into their own hands, as they see themselves the ultimate source of justice, acting with divine authority. Some would even see them as a cult, as many Hands are often quite overzealous, loudly proclaiming their beliefs and holy missions in taverns and inns across the land. Adding to the common man's apprehension is the fact that the exact nature of Zyr and his ascension to immortality is unknown to the general populace, and is instead a legend whispered only among the chosen.

Even other lawful religions have misgivings about the Followers of Zyr. Even though the Hands and Arms of Zyr are often of great use in time of need, they are seen as radicals by most clerics. In some of the more civilised towns and cities, these "radicals" may even be jailed for their actions, which are often viewed as outright vigilantism by town and city officials. It is in the borderlands and unsettled areas of the world that these clerics are most valued, for it is there that they are seen as heroes to the masses that have fallen prey to evil humanoids, marauding bandits, and other forces of Entropy and chaos. In fact, this is often where Arms of Zyr go searching for a new recruit to add to the faith.

(DMs Option: Granted Powers)

At level three, Hands of Zyr may detect lie once per day (and one additional time for every two additional levels of experience, up to 4 times per day)

At level seven, Hands cause fear in creatures of 1HD or less (creatures must save vs. spells). At level eight, fear is caused in creatures of 2 HD or less (save vs. spells), creatures of 1HD or less save at -1. At level nine, creatures of 3HD or less, creatures of 2HD save at -1, creatures of 1HD or less save at -2.

At level 10, a priest of Zyr may commune (as per level five spell) once per week.

If the DM chooses to allow granted powers, it is recommend that the amount of experience points required for level advancement be increased.