Thursday, July 16, 2015

Monvesian Culture: Human Calendar & Relgion

Humans have spread across Monvesia to become the dominant race of the continent.  I do not make this declaration out of hubris over human superiority, but out of acceptance that humans are greedy, relentless, and selfish.  Humankind spread across the land because that is what they do.  Here are some cultural elements of Monvesia that relate to the influence of humanity's religious tradition on the known world.

Senarian Calendar

The calendar is divided into six seasons of 60 days each, each of which is preceded by an extracalery festival related to one of the philosophical temperaments—for a total of 366 days. While each philosophical priesthood counts its own high holy day as the beginning of the liturgucal year, it is the Feast of Spiritual Thought that is most commonly used as the secular new year.

For followers of the philosophical temperaments, regardless of denomination (see below), the seasons hold spiritual significance, as each is associated with a particular element and temperament.  The seasons, including the feast day which precedes them, are treated as a Zodiac of sorts:  The season you are born in has an influence on your personal and interpersonal development.

Each season is further sub-divided into 10, 6-day weeks.  Days are named as variations of:  Windday, Sunday, Flameday, Stoneday, Starday, Riverday).  Dates are noted as the Xth [y]day of [Season].  For example:  Sixth Windday of Summer (the 31st day of the Season).

  • Feast of Spiritual Thought [vernal equinox, akin to Easter; New Year celebration] 
  • Spring (air) [March - April]
  • Feast of Luminous Affect [akin to Beltain/Pentecost] 
  • Seelie Time (light) [May - June]
  • Feast of Igneous Energy [akin to Lammas] 
  • Summer (fire) [July - August]
  • Feast of Terrestrial Matter [autumnal equinox; akin to Thanksgiving] 
  • Autumn (earth) [September - October]
  • Feast of Vacuous Entropy [akin to Samhain/Halloween] 
  • Unseelie Time (void) [November - December]
  • Feast of the Aqueous Time [akin to Imbolc/Candlemas] 
  • Winter (water) [January - Febrary]
The canonical "order" of the Spheres is taken from the seasonal cycle, above.
Most nations number their years independently—by the reigns of kings or dynasties (such as in Voztok), the foundation of the government, or even the foundation of the nation itself (such as the Empire or Kleimland).  The most universal calendar is the Senarian Calendar of the Empire--with year 1 coinciding with the beginning of the reign of the first Emperor.  As this date has religious significance as well, it is also commonly used in Notopoli and Voztok.

Temperamental Orders

The orders of human religion were briefly explored in "Priests of Monvesia."  This religion is composed of several denominations, generally divided into one of four categories:  Ancient, Universal, Metropolitan, or Independent.

Ancient Orders

Ancient orders can be fond primarily in Veldistan, where the Cult of Human Perseverene originally evolved into the philosophial temperaments.  These order are not dedicated to saint or gods, but to aspects of the elements.

Chroniclers of the River

The Chroniclers of the River are an Ancient order of dynamists that share a lot in common with druids.  They venerate the great river Monvesien as a symbol of history, heritage, and commerce.  While it originated in Veldistan with the other Ancient orders, it also has many adherants in Galtain and the Honderreich.

Universal Orders

Universal Orders in Communion with the Pontiff in Sena are nearly ubiquitous in Cuorria and the Hondereich--and are practically synonymous with the Empire.  All of these orders worship the same set of 20 (the Holy Icosad) gods, which form the majority of the Great Tetracosad (24) of immortals. Orders are dedicated to one of the five eligible tetrads (by tetrad alignment); these orders venerate all the archsaints of that temperament, as well as any appropriate folk saints absorbed by the Universal Orders.

Metropolitan Orders

Metropolitan Orders in Communion with the Archons of the South and East represent the faith of Notopoli and Voztok. The primary differences between the Universal and Metropolitan orders are: 1) the Metropolitan Orders do not forbid the worship of Umbral Entropy (recognizing the entire Great Tetracosad as archsaints); 2) each "denomination" is governed by an independent Archon (six total); and 3) there are 24 individual orders, one for each archsaint (the Metropolitan Orders do not venerate folk saints).
NOTE: The Archons of the South (Notopoli) and East (Voztok) consider themselves equals of the Pontiff in Sena. Once every twenty years, the Pontiff meets with the six Archons as a show of religious unity despite the churches' organizational differences.  However, the leadership of the Ancient and Independent orders are hardly ever invited to attend.

Independent Orders

Independent orders (not in communion with either Pontiff or Archons) are common in the Honderreich and can also be found in Galtain.  Organizationally, they are similar to the Ancient orders--though they do recognize and venerate immortal saints.  While these orders also uphold the tenets of the philosophical temperaments, they are otherwise disjointed (and often at odds).  These orders did not break away from the Universal orders; instead, they developed alongside them only to be overshadowed by them.  Some Independent orders have come to be absorbed by the Universal Orders, but others have survived--particularly those beyond the political influence of the other orders.  Sample Independent orders include:

Order of the Triad of the North

The saints Jostin and Ignatius were originally venerated by independa orders with influence throughout the Free Baronies east of the Hindland. An early clerical order merged their veneration with that of the historic king Gygar as the Akhnaphar ("Triad of the North"). Modern revival of the “Northern Pantheon” now also includes the veneration of heroes who have followed in their footsteps.

The earlier Order of Saint Jostin, also called the “White Order” for the distinctive dress of its priests and paladins (who are called “White Hats”), was an Altruist order order. The order made its home at the Monastery of St. Jostin, near the estate of the Margrave of Kynnys (together, these two sites now compose the city of Santjostin). The paladins and lower-ranking fighters of the order served as the local law enforcement of Kynnys, with a warrant from the Margrave (and occasionally assisted by the Margrave's knights).

The elder Society of Saint Ignatius was a Vitalist order known as the “Fiery Order” or “Red Cloaks.” According to local folklore, Ignatius and Jostin were childhood companions who adventured together during their early careers--though it was later revealed that Ignatius was far older than Jostin, and the ageless founder of Kynnysboro. Ideological differences separated these heroes, but did not leave them at odds with each other.

Historically, Gygar, Ignatius, and Jostin represented the last the generations of the Cult of Human Perseverence in the Honderrech (partiularly the local region of the Kleimland).  The Order of the Triad of the North maintains altruist (Jostin), vitalist (Ignatius), and idealist (Gygar) priesthoods.  It also sponsors Vastfurt, the most importat wizard academy in the Honderreich.
SURPRISE! The Kleimland was the local region of my first campaign set in this world.  The party included a cleric of Ignatius and a wizard.  Despite being a relatively small order, this is the most developed.

Divine Order of the Rose and Shield

The Divine Order of the Rose and Shield was originally the state religion of the short-lived Kingdom of the Hindland.  It was endorsed by King Theodore II, grandson of the nation's founder, who has come to be venerated as Theodore Rosenshild after his death.  Not long after Theodore II's death, however, came the downfall of the Hindland.  Much of the territory of the Hindland was absorbed by neighboring Gierland, which had a rocky relationship with the Universal orders; the Honderreicher native Rose and Shield was soon adopted as a state religion again.

Senarian Creed

Originally written during the First Council of Sena, before the foundation of the Divine Senarian Empire or the any of the schisms between the Orders.  Where the creed now says "Immortals," it one read "Powers."

The creed was expanded during the Second Council of Sena, after the schism with the Ancient orders (italicized).  Without approval of the Archons of the South and East, a further revision was made by the Pontiff of Sena (italicized and underlined), solidifying the schism between the Universal and Metropolitan orders.

The canonical text of the creed is:
I believe in the Immortals of the Sphere of Morality, whose compassion shines upon the world with glory and peace. Nobility of the highest order: He that Provides and she that Comforts, the Anointed One and his Prophet.
I believe in the Immortals of the Sphere of Matter, who have built laws both mundane and divine upon the rock of this world. Warriors of the realms above and below: the Regent and his Shield-Maiden, the Mistress and her Champion.
I believe in the Immortals of the Sphere of Energy, who have kindled the fire of life from the chaos which existed from before the world was. Wonderworkers of darkness and light: the Storm-Bringer and the Traveller, the Charioteer and his Lover.
I believe in the Immortals of the Sphere of Time, whose current flows like a river through wasteland and pasture. Priests of all that is and was: She that Sows and He that Reaps, the Huntress and the Youth.
I believe in the Immortals of the Sphere of Thought, who inspire every breath with understanding and acceptance. Talents of the unreal and the real: the Alchemist and the Sage, the Craftsman and the Keeper of the Hearth.
And I believe in the Immortals of the Sphere of Entropy, vicious and terrible. Monsters great and small: He that Devours and She that Deceives, the Devil-Child and the Crone. May the Immortals of the living world protect me from them.

Arch-Saints of the Creed

The creed details the Great Tetracosad of arch-saints.  While there are hundreds of local saints, these constitute the "pantheon" of the Universal and Metropolitan orders.  It is not uncommon for laypersons to swear by these saints.
Though the dominant human religion, not all of these saints come from human legend and lore.  Some are actually adopted (and modified) from the dwarven Paragons and other non-humans.
  • The Holy Icosad of the Universal Orders --
    • Tetrad of Luminous Affect (altruist orders)
      • Hadin, the Provider
      • Aria, Comforter
      • Baltus, Anointed One
      • Mohas, Prophet
    • Tetrad of Terrestrial Matter (Materialist orders)
      • Iamus, Regent [Mosamartle the Magistrate]
      • Mura, Mistress
      • Netha, Shield-Maiden
      • Honsu, Champion [Golai]
    • Tetrad of Igneous Energy (Vitalist orders)
      • Sietun (SIGH-ton), Storm-Bringer
      • Hathra, Lover
      • Nyres, Charioteer
      • Maun, Traveler
    • Tetrad of Aqueous Time (Dynamist orders)
      • Sychus (SIGH-cuss), Reaper
      • Isyria, Sower
      • Astama, Huntress
      • Orro, Youth
    • Tetrad of Spiritual Thought (Idealist orders)
      • Mermis, Alchemist
      • Hephtan, Craftsman [Khelosani the Artisan]
      • Adotho, Sage
      • Nesta, Hearth-Keeper
  • Worship of the following is forbidden by the Universal Orders, but accepted  among the Metropolitan Orders—
    • Tetrad of Vacuous Entropy (Nihilist clerics)
      • Syphis, Devourer
      • Rellis, Deceiver
      • Oge (OZHE) , Devil-Child
      • Hekala, Crone

Edited July 29, 2015; August 15, 2015; August 19, 2015; August 28, 2015; June 25, 2016; June 28, 2017; June 16, 2018.

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