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The four branches are identified with the four iconic classes of D&D but can also substitute for their absence in a party. It is reasonable for a wizard to join the Sword path wanting henchmen as bodyguards, or for a cleric to serve as the party's money handler, joining the Pentacles.
Can you spot the third idea from AD&D this draws on? Yep, alignment language.
More on St. Hermas here.