Thursday, July 16, 2015

Monvesian Culture: Human Religion

RETCON NOTE: The Senarian Calendar has moved to a new post.
Human religion is commonly called Senarian--referencing the six Spheres and Temperaments venerated by the various orders, and original six factions to attend the Senary Councils. This religion is composed of several denominations, generally divided into four categories:  Ancient, Universal, Metropolitan, or Independent.  The structure of the individual orders is explored in "Monvesian Culture: Temperamental Orders."  Below, I explore how various orders relate to each other.

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Ancient Orders

Ancient orders can be fond primarily in Veldistan, where the Cult of Human Perseverance 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

Temperaments:  Dynamist

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 adherents in Galtain and the Honderreich.

Universal Orders

Temperaments:  Altruist, Materialist, Dynamist, Idealist, or Vitalist

Universal Orders in Communion with the Pontiff at Dray 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:
  • Universal Order of Aqueous Time
  • Universal Order of Igneous Energy
  • Universal Order of Luminous Affect
  • Universal Order of Spiritual Thought
  • Universal Order of Terrestrial Matter
In these orders, the Tetrad of Vacuous Entropy is demonized as the source of all evil and suffering in the world.

Metropolitan Orders

Temperaments:  Any.

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):
  • Altruist Orders
    • Metropolitan Order of the Provider
    • Metropolitan Order of the Comforter
    • Metropolitan Order of the Anointed One
    • Metropolitan Order of the Prophet
  • Materialist Orders
    • Metropolitan Order of the Regent
    • Metropolitan Order of the Mistress
    • Metropolitan Order of the Shield Maiden
    • Metropolitan Order of the Champion
  • Vitalist Orders
    • Metropolitan Order of the Storm-Bringer
    • Metropolitan Order of the Lover
    • Metropolitan Order of the Charioteer
    • Metropolitan Order of the Traveler
  • Dynamist Orders
    • Metropolitan Order of the Reaper
    • Metropolitan Order of the Sower
    • Metropolitan Order of the Huntress
    • Metropolitan Order of the Youth
  • Idealist Orders
    • Metropolitan Order of the Alchemist
    • Metropolitan Order of the Craftsman
    • Metropolitan Order of the Sage
    • Metropolitan Order of the Hearth-Keeper
  • Nihilist Orders
    • Metropolitan Order of the Devourer
    • Metropolitan Order of the Deciever
    • Metropolitan Order of the Devil-Child
    • Metropolitan Order of the Crone
NOTE: The Archons of the South (Notopoli) and East (Voztok) consider themselves equals of the Pontiff at Dray. 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

Temperaments:  Altruist, Idealist, or Vitalist

The saints Jostin and Ignatius were originally venerated by independent 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

Temperaments:  Materialist

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 Senary Council, before the foundation of the Divine Drajan 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 Senary Council, 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 at Dray (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)
      • Sytun (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; August 20, 2018 (removed calendar); May 25, 2019; May 26, 2020.

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