Saturday, 16 October 2010

Church World

The Universe
Between Heaven and Hell lies this Middle World, suspended in the Formless Void. The Lord of Heaven made the World, but suffered the Devil to rebel and keep the fires of Hell for all who make the Devil's choice. While the Devil and his infernal court form part of the Lord's plan, the free will of men is no less dangerous for spawning Demons, who lurk in the Void, awaiting the chanting of their names in ritual. There are other worlds and powers - Faerie, the Halls of Heroes, the ancient gods of the fallen Empire - their influence fading as the Revelation of the Church spreads.


The World
In the centuries since the Revelation and the fall of the Empire, the Church of the Lord has become the religion of nearly all civilized kingdoms and most of their inhabitants. Vast and sprawling, the Church has a complex hierarchy and a system of devotional Orders. Within the Church all tendencies can be found: the tolerant, the fanatical, the merciful, the severe, and sometimes the decadent and corrupt. At its best, the Church acts as the arm of the Lord on earth to fight the Devil and other dark forces. Among those forces, some would include those dwellers of remote and inhospitable regions who still follow the pagan Old Way, or who worship the old hero-gods.

Alignment
Beings can be either Good, Evil or unaligned. Beings from Hell, the Void and undead beings are unholy, and Evil if intelligent; beings from Heaven are holy, and Good if intelligent. The Church promotes Good but contains many who have fallen from that standard.

To maintain a Good alignment, a being must uphold five principles by avoiding certain actions:

Life: Don't kill or torture a helpless sentient being.
Kindness: Don't harm, disrespect, or steal from a peaceful sentient being.
Courage: Don't back away from a fight against Evil that you can win.
Justice: Don't let crimes against Life and Kindness go unpunished.
Generosity: Don't hoard wealth; do what you can for your own security, then give to others.

A being is allowed a "flaw" - ignoring one of these five precepts at will - without losing Good alignment; such is the mercy of the Lord. If the being then breaks an additional precept, his Good alignment is in doubt.

To be unaligned rather than Evil, a being must refrain from two less restrictive actions:

Life: Only kill or torture a sentient being who would have killed or tortured you if it could.
Kindness: Don't harm, disrespect, or steal from someone you have a social tie to (adventuring party, village, guild, however defined)

Breaking these precepts puts unaligned status in doubt.

The rules about being in doubt about one's alignment are the same as in Pantheon World. For members of the Church, Atonement can come only through a high ranking priest of the Church, who may additionally impose a penance of wealth, pilgrimage or service.

Spellcaster Classes
To certain of His servants the Lord gives miraculous powers. These are priests; robed spellcasters, not trained to fight in armor. They observe the ancient sacerdotal taboo of never using a blade to cut or pierce. Evil priests serve the Devil and demonic forces, but some may have also infiltrated the Church. The Devil in particular sometimes gives his servants powers in imitation of the Lord's miracles. These can be told apart only by the uses to which the wicked priest puts them.

Priests of the Old Gods and Druids of the Old Way also gain powers from the spirits of the earth, and are less restricted by weapon taboos.

Militants are demi-priests of the Church trained to arms. Thus they are better at fighting, and train using armor and edged weapons (though their code of valor requires they not use missile weapons). They cast spells as a priest one less than their own level, but still get a bonus 1st level spell at level 1 if they have high Wisdom.

Priests and militants follow the spell rules from Pantheon World priests, but with different lists of spells. These spells and restrictions on the various Orders of priests and militants of the Church, as well as the followers of evil and the Old Ways, are detailed in the following table (next post).All priests of the Church must maintain a Good alignment, or be denied their spells and powers until they atone (or turn to the Devil for replacements).

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