Thursday, July 9, 2015

Priests of Monvesia

In Monvesia, the two priestly classes cover all the spiritual traditions.  While each tradition is rooted with a particular race, you do not need to be a member of that race to follow that tradition--you simply must train in that race's tradition.  There may be some restrictions if you follow another race's traditions, however.
As a "new" race, halflings do not have an independent religion of their own.  Honderreicher halflings typically follow rakasta shamanism; while in Cuorria, they follow the orders of human orthodoxy or goliath medicine work.


Dwarves and humans have the most recognizable clerical traditions.  Goliath tradition makes use of this class as well--though not in a way that really resembles western-style clerics.

Orders of the Temperamental Philosophies (Humans & some Halflings)

Available Domains:  By temperament -
  • Altruism (Hierophant, Hierarch):  Light, Life, Protection (Unearthed Arcana)
  • Materialism (Lithophant, Litharch):  Forge (Xanathar's Guide), Order (Unearthed Arcana), War
  • Vitalism (Pyrophant, Pyrarch):  Trickery, Travel (Wayfarers Guild)
  • Dynamism (Hydrophant, Hydrarch):  Nature, Revelry (Wayfarers Guild), Tempest
  • Idealism (Aerophant, Aerarch):  Knowledge, Arcana (Sword Coast)
  • Nihilism (Necrophant, Necrarch):  Death, Grave (Xanathar's Guide)

Human clerics are trained within religious orders which espouse one of six philosophies (which are vaguely associated with alignment) and the arch-saints that personify them. Other races may train within the orders as well. Temperamentalism is not a unified church, but is espoused by several denominations with the same basic core beliefs.  Regardless of denominational order, each temperament grants access to the same set of domains.

Keeperate of the Paragons (Dwarf-Kin)

Available Domains:  by Paragon (with Dwarven title followed by Gnomish title [if different]) -
  • Mosamartle the Magistrate / the Lawgiver [High Caste], Order (Unearthed Arcana)
  • Meomari the Warrior / the Defender [High Caste], War
  • Khelosani the Artisan [Middle Caste], Forge (Xanathar's Guide)
  • Mekare the Archivist / the Storyteller [Middle Caste], Knowledge
  • Vachari the Merchant [Middle Caste], Industry/Commerce
  • Meshakhte the Miner / the Laborer [Low Caste], Industry/Labor
  • Msakhuri the Servant / the Homemaker [Low Caste], Protection (Unearthed Arcana)
  • Vaeltava the Casteless / the Wanderer [Casteless], Grave (Xanathat's Guide) or Trickery
The domains of 5th edition do not quite match my needs for dwarven and gnomish religion.  While Unearthed Arcana has provided a few new options, there are still a few lacking.  Italicized domains above are thematic stand-ins until an appropriate domain is found/created.
Dwarvish religion centers on the veneration of eight Paragons—quasi-historical heroes who were crucial to the establishment of dwarvish and gnomish culture. There are Paragons for each caste, as well as a Paragon for the casteless.
Vaeltava the Wanderer is venerated because she reminded dwarves that the castless were still dwarves, and that they still had a service they could perform for the dwarven people. She represents compassion and redemption as much as secrecy and wanderlust.  While dwarves recognize Meomari as the chief Paragon, gnomes give this position to Vaeltava.
Dwarvish clerics are called keepers, and they form a professional guild in the Middle Case.  The institution of their religion beyond the guild is called the Keeperate.  Keepers are responsible for keeping records of births, deaths, marriages, lineages, contracts, war, etc.; as well as the lore of the Paragons.  In addition, they main a shrine for each Paragon in each city:  the Magistrate at the Courthall, the Warrior at the Arena, the Artisan and Merchant at either side of the public market, the Miner at the gate leading to the local mines, the Servant in the lower-quarter square, the Wanderer outside the front gate of the city, and the Archivist in the Keeperage (the local record hall and home of the keepers).

Medicine Work (Goliaths & some Halflings)

Available Domains:  Life, Grave (Xanathar's Guide)

Goliath culture is atheist, but not irreligious.  They do not venerate, gods, saints, elders, or any other type of being.  Instead, they venerate a dualistic worldview contrasting Taint with Medicine.  Goliath Medicine combines scientific insight with centuries of superstition.

Goliath medicine is a practical art. While it acs very much like a “religion” in goliath society, it is not viewed as such by its practitioners. Medicine is a profession that focuses on the purification and healing of the mind, body, and spirit. Practitioners are called “Medicine Workers” and “Medicine Elders;” a derogatory term used by outsiders is “witch doctor.”

Medicine workers do not solemnize weddings, rites of passage, or funerals. These areas of goliath society belong to their judges, chief judges, elders, and patriarchs.
Due to their contact with goliaths in the early years after they were cured, the halflings of Cuorria typically follow this tradition alongside the humans' temperamental tradition.

Cult of [Human] Perseverance (Lizardfolk & ancient Humans)

Available  Domains: Knowledge, Trickery, War, Arcana (Sword Coast)

The Cult of Human Perseverance rose as a reaction against the HMDJVNW, and led humanity away from servitude in their homeland to dominance in Monvesia. It was later supplanted by the Temperamental Philosophies. In the north, where the Cult had survived the longest, there is a larger number of independent orders that pledge little more than lip service to the Temperaments.

The religious traditions of the Perseverance movement are no longer practiced openly by any group.  They survives only in small pockets throughout Monvesia--not all of which are human.  Lizardfolk communities in the Honderreich have been found to practice this tradition.

Cult of Anumat (Vanara & some Halflings)

Available Domains:  Life, Nature, or Trikery.

The Vanara honor Anumat as their patriarch and prophet, but not as a god. Recognized as the First Vanara, myths regarding his life and death differ among the three cultures. His teachings continue to evolve over time, and several appearances of the prophet throughout vanara history are recorded.  Among the Monvesian races, only the halflings of the Pridelands have taken an active interest in the cult.
Anumat is counted among the paragons and saints, as has ascended to the Verdant City of the Hydrosphere.  As few in Monvesia (particularly the Honderreich and Cuorria), he has not yet been recognized by the Universal Order of Aqueous Time.


Elves, rakasta, and Galts (humans) all have druidic traditions.  As with most things in Monvesia, the druidic faith can be equated with the world's pervasive Temperaments:
  • Altruist = Circle of the Moon (Galtic)
  • Materialist = Circle of the Land (Elfish)
  • Idealist = Circle of the Solstice (Rakastan)
  • Dynamist = Circle of the Fountain (Elfish)
  • Vitalist = Circle of the Sheperd (Galtic)
  • Nihilist = Circle of Twilight (Rakastan)
  • Universalist = Circle of Dreams (Elfish)
The Circle of Spores (Unearthed Arcana) overlaps with the Circle of Twilight as a Nihilist tradition--and the latter is a better fit for rakasta spiritualists.  This circle is not available in Monvesia.

Elvish Oracles - Circles of the Fountain and the Land

Elves follow an ancient, fatalist tradition led by wandering priests called oracles.  This tradition once rigidly adhered to the gender roles of its parent society. There was a marked difference between fauns' spiritual power and that of nymphs. While the two circles followed by elves are no longer restricted by sex, they are still discussed in terms of nymph and faun energy--and each is still primarily practiced by its original gender. For fauns, this is the Circle of the Land (from the Player's Handbook), balancing the magic of canny and uncanny places; for nymphs, this is the Circle of the Fountain (DMs Guild), celebrating the lifeblood of the continent. The "fountain" here is understood to be the true source of the Monvesien--but with so many tributaries, finding the one true fountain is almost impossible.
The elven warlock and eldritch knight traditions, though included in the umbrella concept of "Elvish Mysticism," are independent of their oracular tradition.  Oracles are wandering mystics who commune with the land, not with the energies of the fey as warlocks and eldritch knights do.
A third tradition among the elves, the Circle of Dreams (Xanathat's Guide), celebrate's that race's connection to the farie realm.  These druids are not called oracles, but judges.  It is the judges who administer the Crossing ceremony, and who are most often called upon to setle disputes between cohorts and wanderers.  As oracles are associated with faun and nymph energy, the judge is associated with the un-crossed elfling--which represents a third gender in adulthood.

Rakasta Shamans - Circles of Twilight and the Solstice

Rakasta tradition is animistic, led by shamans.  It is focused on three classes of being:  Spirits of Light (including ancestors), Spirits of the Sky (including tricksters), and Spirits of the Land (including psychopomps).  These spirits are approached primarily through the shamans of the Circle of the Solstice (Here Be Dragons).  These shamans are forbidden from contact with the dead, however--which led to the rise of the Circle of Twilight (Unearthed Arcana) among the rakasta as well.

Galtic Druids - Circles of the Shepherd and the Moon

Only in the totemic tradition of the Galts are the priests properly called druids.  They have developed the animistic Circle of the Moon (Player's Handbook) by synthesizing the elven and rakasta traditions.  Through this circle Galtic druids perfect their own ability to assume totemic qualities and abilities.  Druids of the Circle of the Shepherd (Xanathat's Guide) prefer attract totemic companions instead. Both the Circle of the Moon and the Circle of the Beast are equally represented among the Galtic people--and those who follow their totemic paths.

Edited July 11, 2015; July 13, 2015; August 15, 2015; August 19, 2015; August 28, 2015; November 2, 2015; January 2, 2016; April 10, 2016; July 2, 2016; July 4, 2016; October 10, 2016; June 29, 2017; July 6, 2017; July 19, 2017; March 17, 2018; March 22, 2018; May 10, 2018; June 22, 2018; May 25, 2019.

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