I continue to plug away at Live Weird
or Die, the obsessive compilation of house rules, variant classes,
and Hill Cantons setting whoha. As the project grows it becomes
unclear who I am actually writing for. The players? A broader
audience? Or just myself?
At any rate I find it a pleasureable
place to go in my mind when work gets overwhelming and it's helped
fill in the holes during play so I take it as a good place to
“procrastitask”. And because the players have been recently eager as
of late to suss out the various big-ticket cosmic mysteries in the
campaign, I have been pounding the keys on the religion chapter.
Below is part one of that chapter,
headed up by the simple system I am using to spit out the necessary
D&D mechanical information. You will note my moving away from
Clerics as a universal class for deities and one specifically tied to
the ostensibly monotheistic dominant religion detailed here.
|The first painting from Mucha's Slavonic cycle|
Attributed Alignment (A): the
hyper-powerful beings called gods exist beyond the human-derived
theoretical framework called alignment. In fact, many stories of the
antics of the gods clearly show them acting in ways inconsistent with
alignment behavior and it's not an infrequent occurrence for many of
the most powerful gods to have distinct aspects, manifestations, or
incarnations that act wholly in a different alignment mode (though
never in the one directly in opposition). Of course, that doesn't
stop humans from attributing a single, approximate alignment to the
deity and an aspirational doctrine for followers.
Bonus Spells/Powers (B): Special bonus
spells and powers granted to faithful clergy or other temporal agents
beyond their normal spell range. The number in parenthesis represents
what level the power is granted. All powers are useable once a day
unless otherwise specified.
Priesthood Class (C): Clerics are only
found in the ranks of the most supreme of all humanity's gods, the
Sun Lord. All other clergy are vocational posts (with special
powers/spells) eligible to certain classes as per their deity.
Domain (D): What humans consider the
deity's area of control. Again the actual deity may consider his or
her's brief to be something wider and may share or battle another
power for jurisdiction.
Most of humanity in Zěm (the world
that the Hill Cantons reside in) lives nominally under a single, yet
highly fractious and localized religion called Solarism. As the
centuries have rolled on this body of religious doctrine has been
thought by sheltered Coreland practitioners to be the single
“theologically correct” world view ruled (or at least dominated)
by a single godhead, the Sun Lord. Though open to fierce debate two
other “entities” the Celestial Lady and the Antagonist are
recognized--to varying degrees--as part of the religious umbrella.
Paradoxically the more monolithic
Solinaity has grown the more hyper-nuanced, locally-differentiated,
contradictory, contested and absurd it's actual real world practice
A: Lawful Good (with odd, rare Chaotic
Good and Lawful Evil aspects)
B: by sect below
C: Clerics only
D: By doctrine all things human, but
Illumination, Glory, Warmth, Sustaining the World, Heroic Activity,
All Things Related to the Sky and the Sun,.
It is known that in the post-Hyborean
period that the Sun Lord roamed the world conducting great feats.
Achingly similar stories of his virile prowess and —the
bullwhipping of the Unachus, the jilting of the White Goddess,
etc--are told throughout the known world. One school of contemporary
thought maintains that the Sun Lord was merely a mighty folk hero, a
fleshy mortal sac like you and I, another that the many and diverse
manifestations are the work of many separate local heroes. The more
orthodox hold that he was an existent god, who manifested himself
everywhere as hero and concealed his divinity as a test of humanity's
The Sun Lord (his true name is banned
from mention) drives the Chariot of the Heavens along the
wheel-rutted troughs of the Dome of the Cosmos daily. The god spends
the winter months dining with the ancient divine “space god”
luminaries of Hyperborea. Some savants believe that the god is
in reality a godhead of 313 “Rays” and that many old gods have
been said to be usurped, absorbed or even eaten this way.
The faith is currently divided into 31
Houses of Orthodoxy over seemingly absurd doctrinal differences
(whether sign of the sun is clockwise or counter, how many fingers
used, the number of wheels on the Sun Chariot, etc.)
The Sun Lord grants special favor to
his servants that walk the path of prim and orderly weal (LG), they
gain access to the full range of spells and bonus powers. Clerics
that have lapsed into Chaotic Good can use the full range of spells
but not the bonus ones, while those who have decadently slipped into
Neutral (a sad majority of this class, really) are limited to the
first 3 levels of spells. Perversely Lawful Evil clerics gain access
to all levels of only the reversible spells—though clearly they
gain such nefarious power from secret affiliation with the powers of
the Anti-Cantons or Ha-Vul the Antagonist (see Part 2). Chaotic Evil
clerics do not exist.
Supernal Orthodox Temple of the
Puissant Sun Lord
The official religion of the
Overkingdom with an established and widespread hierarchy through most
of human civilization. Projecting itself as a monotheistic (if
syncretistic) religion, the Temple ostensibly dominates the
Overkingdom spiritually. The Temple itself holds a tight monopoly on
the manufacture and distribution of the Seed of the Sun (gunpowder),
which does not work in the Weird.
A: as above
B: Light (1), Continual Light (4),
Disputation (6): priest lays down such a mighty and byzantine line of
theological polemic that the listener must save as vs. a Confusion
spell, only usable on humans who understand Vulgar Hyperborean (the
common tongue of the realm)
D: as above
The Ultra-Orthodox Patriarchate
The official religion of Kezmarok with
the Patriarch as its supreme spiritual head. Though astoundingly
rigid in its doctrine and intolerance of other sects of the
Solianity, they are shockingly tolerant of other “apostate”
religions to the point of allowing their open (if regulated and
A: as above
B: Smell Heresy (2): priest can smell
out in a 20-foot radius followers of other houses, Continual Light
(4), Disputation (6) as above.
D: as above
The Thousand-Faced Myrmidons
A martial order of clerics and
lay-brothers who emphasize and centralize the hero-cult
manifestations of the Sun Lord.
Brothers of the Other Mother
Orthodox monastic order that promotes
the veneration of a less divine “Marian” like mother-figure to
the Celestial Lady.
Followers of the Cleansing Rays
An ascetic order of ultra-orthodox
followers that believe one must drop away all care of the material
world and devote yourself to full-time basking in the rays of the sun
and other devotional acts.
Brethren of the Supernal Skies
A mystical and martial order of monks
devoted to a heretical reconciliation—cosmic “remarriage”--of
the Sun Lord with the Celestial Lady. Nominally at war with the Other
An orthodox sect that dogmatically
maintains that the Sun Lord's chariot has four wheels and four wheels
only. In mutual and heated conflict with the Two-Wheeled School of
Immanence and the Troikaites (who go as far as to say at times that
the chariot could be in fact a sled).
It's unclear what they actually believe
other than a highly contrarian worldview that involves the shouting
down of opponents.
Orthodox sect that maintains that the Sun
Lord has a single aspect to be venerated among all others. There is
internal confusion however on what that aspect is, paralyzing their spread.