This world has a host of Powers That Be, but they are neither ineffable nor are they omniscient. They are petty, cruel, kind, benevolent, capricious, and as varied in their temperaments as any person is from another. They can have understandable motivations and they do not always react like we tend to think Gods will react.
Moreso, there are two different structures: the Old Ones, ancient deities that are said to have traveled to Wyrlde with us, that we brought them. And then there is The Host, who arose from us, and became the Powers That Be we know.
Only the Old Ones are called Gods. This because people don’t like Gods. Gods led them into a war that destroyed everything, and then abandoned the people when they were needed the most, having made great and grand promises.
Gods are cruel, scheming, traitorous. Powers are just folks who can do a lot more than the average person. If nothing else, Clerics are good at marketing. Clerics and related sorts within the Empire are looked at askance; as weird, somewhat dangerous, and yet useful.
The habit of the population, by and large, is to avoid attracting the attention of one of these powers. People on Wyrlde do not pray so that a Power will help them or give them something, they pray so that they will not be seen, lest they decide to help overmuch. Lay Prayer here is averring, negative, distracting, except for the rites, when folks have found the blessings and benefits to be useful – but not all, and not always on terms the Powers like. This is part of why people can be consecrated to three different Powers.
Clerical prayer is always affirmative, beseeching, requesting, and hopeful. This is supposed to cut down on distractions in a lot of ways, enabling Clerics and Druids to have more rapid contact and receive greater boons, above and beyond their existing mandate to convert others.
It seems to work for me.
A generic term for places of worship is a Cloister. This applies to Temples, Shrines, Manses, the assorted schools and residences for the religious, and similar such places.
The Bright Host are worshipped in Temples. A Temple is a space designed specifically to perform very specific rituals in, and Temples are overseen by Clerics. Three things mark a Temple: The Figure, the Ritual Space, and the principle income producing means – typically mead and beekeeping, but also growing of herbs and useful plants, and this is then sold in stalls that sit to either side of the temple gates.
Temples have been raised by a Power before – the Tempe in Dorado is an example of such, and often Temples will be pulled into the minor clashes between the powers – for all of them are competing within each Host.
Temples exist in walled compounds, and not every city or town will have a Temple to all the assorted powers – usually there is only one, sometimes two. They will be dedicated and consecrated ground, and only those who are baptized to that Power will be able to enter upon and receive the boons of that Power, or make offerings and worship.
A standard temple is surrounded by a 15-foot-high wall, five feet thick, and marked by a single gate. The gate is surrounded by ornate carved relief sculptures depicting assorted Saints who served the God whose temple it is.
Temples themselves are large, rectangular structures that are raised by a high ranking Cleric and that follow a set floorplan that is functionally part of the spell used to create them.
Beyond the gate is a fifteen-foot-high set of stairs that leads down to a large open space that is divided into assorted functions on the sides and at the back and given over to gardens around several areas that are set up for different functions and each will contain a square, raised altar surrounded by a wide space reached by five steps that is called a Dais. A Dais is about twenty-five feet to a side, with a square altar about 5 feet to a side and is fully sacred and Consecrated ground.
A path will lead through them, never directly, to the center of the complex, where the tall, column-fronted, doorless entrance to the Sanctum lies.
Within the Sanctum lies a shallow, columned, hallowed area that is given over to a narrow, long altar set before a tall plinth on which rests a stature or other representation of the Power That Is. The statue is typically twenty-five feet tall, carved (some say from bone), gilded and inlaid to match an appearance known to have been used by that Power.
The Approach to the Sanctum always consists of three buildings connected by a walkway – the first is a square, columned purifying area, the second is a square, plain baptismal preparation area, and the last is a circular and domed building that holds the penitent area, where people wait after purification to offer their worship at the feet of the statue.
Temples often have bees all around them, and beekeeping is a traditional role for Clerics, as they are the source of Mead, the making of which is a well-guarded secret and rumored to be ruthlessly enforced with great cruelty. Mead brings in a rather essential amount of money and is often spoken of as the only worthy drink, with some locations having a Cleric who rails against the evils of other alcohols. It can often be quite comical. They get a tad bit angry about that.
Shrines are usually smaller than Temples, never as ostentatious, and rarely located within sight of a temple. Unlike Temples, where treading Holy Ground is not possible, Shrines cannot be disturbed – the parts and pieces of a Shrine cannot be touched or moved –except by the followers of the Power That Is to whom the shrine is dedicated.
Shrines have similar stalls out front and often have many things for sale that go to support the living and work of the Shrinewardens. This can and does include mead, and beekeeping is still an ongoing effort among many of them – though they may have some other broad service.
Shrines are not only raised to the Host – there are other Powers that exist, and A Shrine may be raised to them – or to a local and smaller Power of the World. For example, it is said that Acacia has some small Shrines in assorted cities. One thing always holds true: there will be no Shrine within a walled city if there is a Temple to the Power already. Temples are often seen as “superior” to Shrines, though the Powers themselves don’t seem to agree with hat, and so it is purely a function of the people who run them – but one cannot consecrate a shrine to a power who already has a Temple built within 100 miles of that Temple. According to Antelle, this has to do with something called “the franchise”.
A Shrine is often located outside of a smaller settlement, usually in a place of great beauty or special feeling. The area around it is consecrated, and a small wooden barrier is erected around it. This area is far less formalized, often more rustic, and will be composed of the Shrine, proper, a penitent area, a purification area, and a ritual space, as well as a small area for ritualized education and other features that can often seat around two dozen people – though larger Shrines may seat up to sixty in their areas.
The Shrine proper is always raised at least 3, 5, or 7 steps, is typically covered by an ornately carved wooden cover or shelter and is open on one side. Within the shallow shelter there is a small figure (3 to 5 feet tall) to the deity in some form or aspect of them that sits behind a low Altar, usually three feet by five feet, before which supplicants can leave offerings. Only a few folks may kneel and worship at the Shrine at a time.
Shrines typically filled with the things that please the spirit or Power as offerings, and are located in markedly special places. They may have great beauty, or immense peace, or offer some benefit (such as hot springs), but are always places that people feel are special, and they are preserved by the blessings and consecration Shrines do not have a structured and codified layout or space – they are, however, defined by the consecrated grounds, and often cities will have several shrines scattered around them, where they will be seen as a kind of park like area, protected and preserved by those who oversee them.
Fortune telling, ritual dances, and storytelling of the Heroes that have served the Powers That Be are all performed in a nearby Pavilion that can usually seat around sixty people nearby. Rituals are held in a very sacred space off to the side of the Shrine proper and are very much the same as those done in Temples.
A Manse is a place where the Dread Powers are worshipped, a space sacred to the Dread Host. The Dread Host does not generally have any kind of clerical service – but they may give certain people powers akin to them through intermediaries or via some artifact, and in such a case, they will operate in secret, in the shadows and often beneath the city or town itself in warrens and caverns natural or crafted.
There is no known settled erm for a head priest of a Manse, and those that have been discovered and routed all feature a space for cruelties and horrors, seating to witness this spectacle of terror, and an altar on which sacrifices are given. Manses always involve sacrifice, and they most commonly choose those in a way that makes the sacrifice truly noteworthy and memorable.
It should be noted that consecrating a Manse to a Dread god requires the deaths of 100 non believers in an ordained fashion that relies on torture and takes at least three days for each. An exception to this is Urisha, who additionally requires that none may have the same kind of harm done to them – all must be distinct forms of death.
The Bright and Shadow Hosts are served in their ways by Clerics, people who have chosen or been chosen to serve the Powers in assorted ways. This is a key point, as well since the clerical orders for each are typically overseen locally and not always in agreement with each other.
The interesting thing to keep in mind is the difference between them: for many that serve the Powers, it is a job, no different from being a banker or a baker, a farmer or a stall worker. But for some of them, it is something they cannot escape, cannot avoid, and the hands of Powers are always in their lives.
Of note is that there ae no limitations on Priests in regards to family, marriage, or children – there is no chaste requirement, for love is sought by all the Powers for all people – though it is rumored that those who serve Dread Powers may indeed be required to forego such unless directly ordered. I am fairly certain the current Ikon for Belial is celibate. He whines enough about it.
There are three general kinds of Clerics.
First and foremost, there are those who choose to serve the Powers or those the Powers have chosen. They are the vast majority of those who do so, and they are ones who enable and make possible the particular work that doesn’t involve direct intervention or some great and grand and terrifying magical ability or ritual spell – and yet they are often able to do such things to a degree themselves once they have shown aptitude for it.
These are the priests, though the term is a generalized one for all of them as each of the assorted Powers has a term for them that is specific to that Power. The Powers recognize the importance and the commitment that comes from leaving one’s home an apprenticing to the service of a power – even if you will never be granted the incredible abilities that many will speak of.
Priests can be found at Temples or Shrines, but they generally will stay with a given one for the entirety of their lives – they are the backbone of the place, and what they may lack in individual power, they make up in ritual power through the collective of them all. In many ways, Priests are the balance to the Paladins and the Shrinewards, much as how even the mightiest Wizard can be taken down by the collective power of everyday people.
A Priest will always start out as a Novitiate, or Apprentice, to a given Shrine or Temple. In times of difficulty or trouble, they may be asked – never commanded – to move or to take up a role with a different Temple or Shrine, but always under the same Power. Once one is in service to Paria or Mansa, you will forever be in service to them unless you leave the priesthood.
They will begin instruction and learning, first of the earliest tenets and ideals and history of the Power they come to serve and begin to be initiated into the differing mysteries as they move forward and prove their commitment. Baptism is the first and most important of the many rituals, as without it they cannot set foot upon any consecrated ground for that Power. The largest such locations for this are usually attached to a given temple of the particular power, and the large buildings are very much common areas for sleeping, classrooms, and workshops. They will work in the gardens, the kitchens, the stables and assist higher ranking Priests with their duties as needed.
As they become more experienced, they will do more, but most find that advancement can be slowed by time and stubbornness. At the head of each Temple is a Curate, Domina, or Vicar – this is the head Priest, whose power is significant, often both locally as well as within the Temple proper. Shrines are headed by Shrinewarden – who, unlike the Shrinewards, is bound to that shrine – and have a similar role in overseeing all the work and functions of the Shrine in the same way the Curate, Domina, or Vicar does for a Temple. In practical terms, they are the head of all religious activity for the power within their region – and for Temples that is usually an area equal to the borders of the Realm, whereas for Shrines it is far less centralized. There will never be a Shrine within 100 miles of another shrine or temple to the same power.
A Curate is a masculine Cleric, and a Domina is a feminine Cleric, a Vicar is a nonbinary Cleric. All are Priests, but some of those priests may also be Paladins or Shrinewards.
The heads of each order under a Power are called Bishops. A Bishop can be a Curate or Domina or Vicar. Each of them is the head of their particular following – though in some cases, there may be one of each, or two, who have to share power, depending on the Power they serve. Beneath them will be bots who will often serve as the local heads – an Abbot could be a Paladin or Shrinewarden as well – such is the power of a Bishop that they have oversight over all the Shrinewardens in terms of rank within a given realm. Abbots are usually Masters in terms of experience. Beneath them are Deacons, followed by Friars, then Chaplains.
Thus, within the religious orders there are still similar degrees of competence and skill equal to the world outside the cloisters. Bishops, Abbots, Deacons, Friars, Chaplains, Novitiates are all equivalent to the Grand Masters, Masters, Adepts, Professionals, Novices, and Apprentices of the wider word. This means Friars and other positions all serve some function within the faith, and whose work will include supervision of those below them, from Masters to professionals to Adepts and down to the novitiates. In a given life, it can take several decades to move up from an apprentice into differing degrees of experience.
Priests wear robes of office, with sashes that denote rank. Hese robes are always in the primary color of the Power, with decorations in secondary and third colors that highlight the power’s particular pleasures and symbols.
Priests serving a temple may live within small, utilitarian, and sparse rooms inside the Temple proper, where there is also a Working room (behind the altar), and a mess hall where all eat without regard to rank or station. Those who have families may live outside the Temple, and priests earn their wages through the sales of the goods offered from the Temples, through the nominals for the rituals performed, and through donations.
The Bishop is always housed separately on the Grounds of the Temple, in a place where dignitaries and related functionaries can meet. Grand Master Clerics are also able to communicate over great distances with each other – rumor has it they possess sacred devices that enable such. Grand Master Clerics have a staff that may include both Novices and lay persons.
The principal work done is rituals for the followers, ceremonies and care for the sacred space.
Those who serve in Shrines are often collectively just called Shrinewardens, though that particular term is actually meant to apply to the Shrineward who has been bound to that Shrine – and it is important to note that once bound, a Shrinewarden never leaves the consecrated ground again. It is where they will remain, and when they pass on, it is where their remains will lay.
Some Shrines will have one, other will have three, but all Shrines will have an actual Shrinewarden, and within the grounds of the Shrine, they are inviolate in person. While a Temple’s Bishop may decide they dislike a particular Shrinewarden – who may be equal to or greater in experience than the Bishop – they will never be able to unseat them directly. Nor can they seek the Deconsecrating of a shrine without combating the Shrinewarden directly. Ose who are candidates for the role of a Shrinewarden are called Shrinewards, and some of them may never find a Shrine – but the distinction of a Shrineward is that they are always called directly to service, and they are always granted unique abilities to defend and protect those of the faithful and the Shrine itself.
A Shrinewarden will often be accompanied by many Shrinewards who will be learning from them as Apprentices, as well as those who are in line to take over and those who seek to assist in the task of preserving the remarkable space they have been given.
Along with them will be Priests – sometimes trained locally, sometimes trained by the Temple if there is one (for not all realms have a temple), who will engage in much the same general work – but it is the Shrinewarden who is central to the Shrine itself.
While Priests can be identified by their robes and sashes, Shrinewards are identified by the distinctive uniform they wear. It consists of a tight fitting, mid-waisted white jacket with long, bell sleeves that drape dramatically and are set to be one finger longer than the length of their arms. This jacket is always trimmed in ribbons with the second color of the power and seems to never get dirty – it is always a bright white. Beneath it they will wear a wrap shirt of the third color of the Power, and then they will always wear a pair of very loose, skirt like trousers – dance is a frequent act for them, and range of motion is important. They normally wear sandals, but some will wear boots, especially when traveling. The trousers ae always the first color of that power. White is what stands out, and each is a solid color. It is said that the garments are gifted by the powers directly, as no one has ever been found to make them, and duplicating the dyes is seemingly all but impossible, and never for such clothing. They are potent and persistent reminder that these are people that have been specifically chosen by a power.
Shrinewards are also always able to seek shelter and community within any temple or other shrine of their Power – and there are always two or three well-appointed rooms for them in any of these locations should they pass through. The same does not apply, however, to Priests, including the Bishop.
Shrinewards are chosen and have unique gifts, but they are not the only ones so chosen. The role of a Shrinewarden, however, is to assist in the task of turning back the denizens of the Necrotic – often thought to mean that the role of a Shrineward is to turn the undead, though it is both narrower and broader than that thought. Shrinewards are often members of the Adventurer’s guild, as well, and they are the rare but still found folks who will travel, for they do not get to take time off – they are the representatives of their Power, and they have a mission to bring more people to follow that Power.
Shrinewards start their apprenticeship early. It is said that they begin training as early as 9, and that the vast majority of them are feminine in nature, though this is not an absolute nor a requirement. There are both masculine and nonbinary Shrinewardens – and notable ones, as well, but the majority of the Shrinewards are indeed women. They begin to seek out their own Shrines and go wandering, they are often 14 to 16 years of age, far younger than any others, and this often raises serious concerns by the wider communities, for the work they do is dangerous and deadly and often traumatic.
Most Shrinewards will “settle down”, whether becoming a Shrinewarden or turning to the aid and assistance of a Shrinewarden, by the time they turn 25. Again, not absolute, merely the most common outcome. The youngest grand master Shrineward ever was 23 – and to have a lifetime of knowledge in one so young is a mark that shows when you look to their eyes.
There is one final thing about a Shrineward to note: it takes significant long-term contact to be able to identify them. They tend to fade from memory and thought and identifying them after a brief encounter is very difficult – it is as if the work they do and the people they save ae meant to be only whispers and vague hints. A Shrineward out of uniform is pretty much not able to be recalled at all.
One of Antelle’s former Shrinewards says that She only called her to serve for a while, and that it is a blessing, a part of the gifts they are giving, so that they can enjoy a normal life after their calling. I need to point out that I am an Ikon of Antelle, her living embodiment on the world, and I cannot recall her name or what she looked like after talking with her to learn more about it.
One of the things that folks often try hard not to remember is that we are always but a thin tear in the veil away from a disaster in many ways, for there are many different dimensions that are attached and attracted to our own Mortal Realm, stacked in interwoven, interleaving, interconnected layers that are held back only by the warp and weft of the Veil and Pale.
What works against one of those dimensions does not always work as well against another one – and there is no more critical a point to draw than that there is malice and malevolence in those dimensions we call the Infernal. Hell, The Abyss, the Dread Domain, and even, yes, the Mortal Realm of The Bleak.
Incursions from them are seemingly eternal, and it is not helped that there are those here who would listen to the seductive calls to power and domain if they would just let a bit of evil into their life…
And this is where the paladins come in.
To many, there is no need to have Paladins and Shrinewards, and given that some of the Shrinewards almost seem to be paladins in and of themselves, this might make sense to those who are not well informed, who have not studied the intricacies and the nature of these extradimensional enemies. No amount of effort to turn the undead will ever effect a Wight or a Wraith. Nor would they stand against a demonic presence or be able to defy with skill and the necessary heart a bit of deviltry in a downtown.
Not that any Shrineward would ever turn away from the fight, mind you – that simply isn’t what they are about. To fight Hags and Demons and Devils, you need a tool and a power and force of personality that is unyielding and unclouded. You need someone that the Celestial powers would support and guide and aid, and that means you need someone who is good in a way that few others are.
Not perfect, not incorruptible, but decent, fair, and able to stand against the wickedness of the evil that has brought many a man to ruin and misfortune.
Paladins start out as candidates and are tried through their apprenticeship in way that would harrow even the most noble of us. I am an Ikon and I could neve endure what they do just to become what they must. Antelle has seventeen Paladins and seeks to have 25 – but that is a struggle that she has been having for over 200 years.
Demons are among us. Devils are twisting and corrupting. Hags are ensnaring the unwary and all are causing dissent and fomenting rebellion and discord.
Mansa’s Ikon estimates that there are 30,000 denizens of the Internal Plane among us, all striving to widen the breach and trick others into summoning more of them, and I can say that even with the power I have been granted, a higher order devil is no small task, nor one assured of completion should I join against one.
That is what Paladins are for. You may have heard the stories – of Jonathan, of Paxarria, of the Knightly orders that were lost in those ages past during incursions such as we hope never to see again, of the battles that just recently took place in the far west.
Paladins are trained in Temples, and it is the role of older Paladins to do that harrowing of them, that strengthening of mind and heart, that binding of soul to self, to put them through ordeals the like of which most never emerge unscathed and many emerge no longer whole.
And even then, there is no certainty that they will become paladins. Many who do not will become vanguards or warriors, turn to the priesthood – and some may even be called to become Shrinewardens, though that is thankfully rare.
They are called only when they have endured and proven themselves – and sometimes it is not even when they have gone through those orchestrated trials and tests – the Powers sometimes choose those whose own personal ordeals have been just as harrowing. Paladins are strong people, but not cruel. They may not be nice, but they are always kind. They seek to serve and seek to bring others into the followings. Paladins are always found where disaster strikes – often appearing simply because they felt like it was a direction they had to go in, a place they had to see, an unknowable urge to be in that place.
There are legends and tales and songs sung of many who have been heroic, but it is paladins who can be nothing but, for that is part of their purpose: to be the light in the darkness, to be the balm of the wounded, to rally the troops and to stand in defiance of the greatest of evils.
One sage once suggested that Paladins are the opposite of Vampires. I find no fault with that, for there are few things as utterly unredeemable as Vampires or their kin the Lich.
Paladins who are in the whole of their power are annoyingly great. Their mail and weapons gleam and glitter, polished and shiny, and around them no one can feel fear or be turned to despair. And while many of the typical people will say that such things are “silly” or without real value, they have never faced down a demon in the fullness of its power and in the midst of its grand design.
IF Shrinewards are the ones who help the needy, Paladins are the ones that work to make it so that there are ever fewer needy.
After the long training, a paladin will become an Errant, and hence forth they will go where they are bid, according to the Power of Powers that called and granted them their blessings. Paladins may be chose by as many as five different Powers, who will then always work in concert for that given Paladin – and there is no way to tell who will choose them or why they are chosen until that moment when they are.
I have witnessed the empowering of five Paladins in the last couple hundred years, and I would much rather go to battle with them than not – but should it be not, let it be a battle they would have approved of. That is how these traveling clerics of steel and sword are. Also, they do a bang up job of healing, and you will always find plague stopped by one.
All of them are Clerics, though. Paladins, Shrinewards, Priests – each of them has a task, a role, a way and a place, and yet, all of them share the duties of all Clerics: to further the following, to be what a Power cannot in the moment, to prove that the Powers are worthy of worship again, and to make the world a more fit place for the people who live upon it, while performing the ceremonies and rituals of worship wherever they may be called upon to do so.
Worship itself is a simple affair. You go when you feel a need, make tithe and offering, kneel before the altar, perform a sacrament of the appropriate type (Tamasin likes people to clap three times), light some incense, have your one-sided conversation, and leave. No one is limited by time. For the Bright Host, the usual prayer is for some sort of Boon that will ultimately help them. For Shadow Host, it is a payer to avoid their affections. For the Dread Host, it is a prayer for selfish actions and personal needs.
Most people only visit a place of worship when there is something important happening, or for holidays and celebrations of key events. The reason for the many small Daises in the entrance is to perform Rituals of Worship.
There are eleven basic types of sacred rituals that are performed. Each one will have at least three (1 for Shrines, four for Manses) Clerics, with one a Focal, much like a coven. For these rituals, unlike those performed by a Cleric, the Clerics draw from the faith of the adherents, the lay folk.
Making up for some past transgression, and proving that one has repented of that heresy, which restores the blessings.
One Clerical Duty is the magical Witnessing of something. One of the simplest Ceremonies, any Cleric can perform it, and in doing so they gain an absolute memory of seeing it. It can only be done when they are present, and they must actually witness it for the ceremony to take.
Another common ceremony and duty of the Clerical sorts is the sworn oath. These become binding agreements, and one of the most common of oaths is that of Allegiance, from a Liege to his underling and from an underling to her Liege. These oaths are binding, and enforced through pain, usually, though other things have been known to happen. One of the gravest of acts is breaking an oath – such can be done through the intercession of a different Cleric of a different Power. This is not unlike a marriage ceremony.
Births are celebrated, and it begins as soon as the pregnancy is known. A blessing for a smooth birth and healthy child is normal and common.
Baptism happens once a person is old enough to choose to follow or pledge to a given Power.
The ritual of adulthood is a varied and notable ritual.
Permission to court is of critical importance in many homelands, and not seeking it has consequences.
Marriage is a finality, but not a singularity. This creates a sacred bond that allows the parties to share their feelings for each other. Knowing the emotional state, concerns, and vague desires of one’s spouse is what this grants.
Should a marriage dissolve, there is a way to break the sacred bonds. As with Marriage, a Divorce can be done, severing the vows.
This ritual, covered elsewhere, is necessary each time you gain a new degree of mastery – and it applies to everyone.
Once a person reaches an age about 25 years short of expected natural lifetime, they are granted Seniority through a ritual that ultimately seeks to preserve their health and wellbeing.
Death is honored and last rites are an important aspect of being empowered to move on after death. Last rites should be done as soon as possible after death to prevent returning as a ghost.
Different Homelands have different customs, but they are always accompanied by a ritual of passing.
Sibola, Durango, and Dorado place their dead in House Tombs, mausoleums, and crypts. These are above ground buildings, often ornate and carrying scenes from the history of the House.
Qivira, Aztlan, and Lyonese build pyres for their dead.
Antilia cremates their dead in special ovens, collecting the ashes.
Hyboria and Kahokia leave their dead to the elements, with Kahokia raising them on tall platforms, and Hyboria laying them in a bower of flowers.
Keris and Islandia bury them at sea. Coral is used to conduct them on.
Exilian embalm, wrap, and seal their dead in stone and wood crypts buried standing up.
The most common rite any Cleric will do, consecration is one of the greatest and most potent powers that they have. Consecration can destroy undead, can ward against evil, can create a safe place against the dangers.
Consecration cannot happen on places that have been Desecrated for the use of Dread Powers or consecrated to the Old Ones. It is a first come, first served thing. It appears that only Chicory and certain of her ilk can change this.
In the normal order of the Universe, people are reincarnated into a new life on one of the other Seven Mortal Realms in a cycle that persists indefinitely. It is possible for this to be forced to happen on a particular plane, but the spell caster doing it must be of the plane wanted to reincarnate on. Next, those for reincarnation require a mature vessel, a body, for the person to inhabit. The cost of a reincarnation is 2500 quid and an unharmed vessel within 7 days.
All of us, when born, are allotted five spans. A Span is 20 years. Many things can take away that full allotment, but it is still ours. Those who have not used all their spans can be returned to life, their body healed of illness and harm, but it comes with a price: they lose a Span each time. Resurrection must be performed within three days of death, costs 2500 quid, and can only be done on those who have not yet lived out their allotment on the plane of resurrection.
Ordeals are covered elsewhere but are always overseen by at least an Adept Cleric.
Tithes are usually simple and involve some form of sacrifice.
For the Bright Powers, the tithe is often coin for the temples.
For the Shadow Powers, a tithe is often a form of offering of value to the local Shrine. Figures, art, food, clothing, needed tools all count.
For the Dread Powers, it is always the blood tithe, and it is best done on site, bleeding a living thing over the altar.
Prayers for the Dread Powers are meant to distract them, to avert their eyes, to avoid attention.
Prayers for the Bright Powers are meant to seek their favor.
Prayers for the Shadow Host are meant to aid them (the powers) in their works.
All of this is in addition to the fact that sometimes some people are given Gifts by certain Powers That Be, as part of their effort to bring people back around. Gifts can vary wildly, and so in some places there are efforts underway to try and ensure people don’t give these gifts.
People with Gifts are Weird, having been chosen by the Powers That Be for something, and those who are chosen are often fortunate, while those closest to them often are not.
The Powers That Be of Wyrlde are not well liked, well thought of, or trusted by many. The scars and harm of the God’s War are still fresh, and still present, and the abandonment of the Powers That Be makes people feel very much hostile to them.
An Ikon is a regular person who is chosen by the God to be their voice on the planet. By custom, they are the highest-ranking member of that God’s followers, the favored child, and they do indeed get to hear the voice of the God often. Possibly too often. Demanding things, Powers That Be. Fussy, picky, whiny, they wake you up in the middle of the night and they cause wagons to break down and shove spells for soup in your head and generally annoy the hell out of you.
Ikons are sometimes Clerics, more often Clerics, but there is no specific limitation there. Batair is quite fond of making some overly muscled, thickheaded man with a club his Ikon, and Mansa always chooses some noble leader. The Ikons for at least one God are usually orphan and homeless children. The term of service for most is until death. Being invested with the power of a God can be hard on a body and can shorten the life – or extend it. Mortal shells are fragile, and subject to limitations that impact what the Powers That Be can do through their Chosen Ones. Ikons must do as their God commands. They are the Ultimate Servant, and the price for the power they wield is treading a narrow, distinct, and exacting path.
Over the many years, there have been people who served a God with extreme devotion and piety. Those whom the Powers That Be take an interest in often are blessed with unique gifts, be they clerics or merely Clerics. These people become saints and are usually joined by tales of great adventure. It is important to note that Saints are often more popular than the God or Powers That Be they served, as the Powers That Be of Wyrlde are not at all popular or well liked, let alone thought of well.