Monday 11 February 2013

Folk Saints: St. Gumption

Continuing an extremely irregular series of the folk saints in the world of Mittellus. This one emerged with player input during a session last weekend as I floundered for a name for the main church in Renneton.


A Short Oar Sect image of the saint.
The long-deceased holy woman, Gunderdon of Frusk, often has her name shortened to Gumption when she is honored as an unofficial saint along the wild borders of the True Religion.

Escaping a raid on her convent, this devout sister of middle years set forth on a choppy sea in a coracle with woefully insufficient provisions. Her faith, grit, and determination pulled her through this ordeal and the subsequent trial of shipwreck on a deserted, cold island, where she remained for seven years, defending herself against wolves and sea-devils with a broken oar.

After her rescue, she traveled the wild shore on a donkey, enduring fantastic extremes of cold, dry and wet, surviving horrific tortures of the heathen. Eventually, broken in body but not in spirit, she met her martyrdom on a hot griddle, demanding to be turned over so she would roast evenly, and taking a miraculous three days to cook through and through.

Gumption's faithful scorn the complexities of civilization. If the Church will not canonize her because she never performed any miracles on anyone else's behalf, well, what do those incense-swingers know about anything anyway? Her followers place a premium on self-reliance and stick-to-itiveness, and waste no opportunity to teach these lessons to their children. Temples and shrines to the Saint are scrubbed clean, often several times a day.

If Eracle is the folk saint of strength, Gumption is the folk saint of constitution, and other elusive qualities besides. In social relations she is called upon to lend chutzpah. Where initiative is needed, she doles out moxie, spunk, pluck, pep, and good old-fashioned get-up-and-go. In uncertain situations, she recalls horse-sense to mind. And when danger looms, her blessing reinforces guts, strengthens the kidney, stiffens the spine, and thrusts the chin upward. Her spiritual enemies are lazybones, stay-a-beds, those who dilly-dally and shilly-shally, dingbats, duffers, poindexters, and the legions of the lily-livered.

Prophets of the Saint dress in plain, frayed and much-mended clothes, and carry as their sacred weapon a broken oar. There is a rift between the Long Oar (as staff) and Short Oar (as club) sects, often coming to blows; the Long Oars are seen as decadent by the Short Oars, and foolish in their hope that Gumption will eventually be canonized.

All her prophets lack the ability to abjure evil creatures, but emanate a 10' radius aura of morale (+2 for allied NPCs and animals). Additionally, they can exhort others to buck up and pull themselves together, having the ability to dispel fear, confusion, and paralysis at will by touch (at 1st level), at 30' distance (at 3rd level) or for all creatures in a 30' radius (at 5th level). Finally, they save at +4 versus all mind-affecting magic and distractions.

1 comment:

  1. I know it's been a few years, but I still want to see a writeup on Saint Eracle. These folk saint bios are still my favorite part of this blog!