For today, it’s some more of the Cemar religious material. Why so much of it? Simply because – classically – religion was a major element of human society. It was the theory which explained the nature and structure of the universe, it underlay many of the laws of the land and influenced those who enforced them. It bound societies together, was called on to justify social distinctions and structures, and gave meaning, structure, and purpose to people’s lives. As a rule, an area might host a few eccentric cults, but one religion would dominate.
Today, of course, there are dozens of religions around, competing with each other, with other philosophies, with scientific naturalism, and with pragmatism. Relatively few people expect their religion to explain the origin of diseases and infections, to provide national unity, to structure negotiations with other countries, or to tell them their “proper place in life”.
In a world where divine an infernal powers regularly intervene in spectacular ways, religion will probably be an even more important focus of people’s lives. It’s one of the biggest elements of a campaign background – and it shouldn’t be brushed off with some vague statements about a classical pantheon and a few generalities about local temples. The rules notes are for writing up such characters using Eclipse: The Codex Persona.
The Xin Clerical Orders:
The Xin have mixed the faith of the High One with their own classical devotions to the Totems and their reverence for the Six Elements (Air, Earth, Fire, Spirit, Water, and Wood). In general, they see the Elemental Powers as being entrusted with the physical organization of the world, the Seven Saints of the High One with its moral structure, and the innumerable Totems with the well-being of non-sentient life. Given that the Totems generously extended their care to the people of Xin during the three Demon Invasions, the Xin have returned the favor by accepting responsibility for the well-being of the plants and creatures of the natural world as well as for their own behavior. This syncretic Rhy-Hinsu Faith is commonly regarded as over-complicated by the rest of the people of Cemar, but does offer the Xin an unusually large number of clerical options. Classically the Xin royal family acted as priests of the Lord of Heaven. Since the introduction of the Church of the High One, the Xin have come to see the Lord of Heaven as simply another aspect of the High One – and have accepted the indirect priesthood of the Saintly Orders as a faith for common men who would not presume to ask for the direct attention of the High One.
The major Rhy-Hinsu orders include the usual orders devoted to the Seven Saints, the Miir Kendor, the Yu’An, and the Quo Ming.
The Miir Kendor are made up of clergy “attuned” to the elemental powers; their available domains include Fire, Air, Earth, Spirit, Water, and Wood. Associated minor orders devoted to particular elements get Air and Weather, Fire and Sun, Earth and Craft, Water and Plant, Plant and Craft, and Spirit and Dismissal domains. They tend to be practical architects, craftsmen, builders, and/or engineers, devoted to the physical care and well-being of the Xin people. They normally dress in loose robes of Red, Blue, Brown, Green, White, or Yellow depending on elemental affinity and celebrate both the seasonal rituals – blessing the earth and the fields in spring, the weather and the air in summer, the waters in the fall – and the fires of the sun in the winter – as well as the harvest festivals and the day of the dead.
“There is virtue in simplicity, in the life of the ascetic – or the hermit. There is nothing to distract one from the true ways, from the contemplation of the High One. One may rightfully withdraw to such a life when one’s worldly tasks are done, to prepare oneself to pass beyond.
Indeed, in this way alone do elves grow old and fade from Cemar in peace.
Such virtue can be the solace and the salvation of the lost and the abandoned.
Sadly, if it is unchosen, the virtue of simplicity is dreadfully vulnerable. The most trivial temptation looms large to one who has nothing… If untaught, it is little more then the virtue of a beast. Uninformed choices mean little, and such innocents are even more vulnerable to being mislead then the merely desperate are. Lacking knowledge of deception, they are easily deceived.
And thus we teach.
People who are sick, unsheltered, hungry, thirsty, cold, or exhausted by toil, learn poorly.
They must be cared for.
People sheltered in muddy huts find it hard to see beyond leaky roofs – and such places are a poor tribute to the light in any case. Our creations should shield the body and exalt the spirit, leading it to God.
And so we build.”
–Shal Hadarch, a founder of the Miir Kendor order.
The Yu’An are the militant arm of the church, made up of priest-druids and priest-sorcerers. While their offensive powers rarely match those available to a pure Cemeran Druid or Sorcerer, their ability to heal themselves gives them unmatched spellcasting endurance under Cemar’s usual hit-point-powered magic system. Carrying the basic directive of the Miir Kendor to it’s final conclusion – the active defence of their people – they’re one of the few Xin orders which spends time on combat training.
The Quo Ming were the mage-smiths, the crafters of powerful holy weapons, armor, and other wonders. They were destroyed during the Second Demon Invasion. Attempts to revive the tradition have generally ended badly; a variety of unpleasant beings seem to have an interest in preventing it.
Rules Note: The Xin clerical orders normally do not train with armor, and – like all priests of the High One – rarely train with major weapons, and thus usually spend those CP elsewhere.
Minor Xin Orders :
The Marcelites are a pacifistic order of healers, who renounce all use of violence. In compensation, they gain remarkable persuasive abilities (Professional Bonus/Diplomacy). There have even been reports of them converting demons. Their healing and defensive spells are exceptionally powerful as well (normally inherently maximized, via the Amplify metamagic and the Streamline ability). They have access to the Charity and Protection domains, and – since they are generally regarded as inviolate – are often called on to act as messengers/ambassadors.
The Green Mountain Sect is far more philosophical then religious these days, but was originally an offshoot of the Yu’An – and still works to protect the Xin people. They’re mostly Inner Way Sorcerer/Barbarian types (they call Berserker C’hi Burst and skip armor and shield proficiencies in favor of unarmed combat enhancements). They normally take a skill speciality bonus in Philosophy.
The Kwan are specialists in Demonology and and Ritual Magic. They spend a great deal of time on erecting mystic wards, putting anti-demon enchantments on Xin strongpoints, and binding stray demons. While they’re rarely out and about, when they are they tend to travel with more combative companions. In general, they have minimal combative abilities (d4 hit dice and few skills with weapons or armor) but normally take the Professional modifier on Demonology and Ritual Magic. THey also normally add the Knowledge domain to their selections.
The Disciples Of Kralizec prepare for the Typhoon Struggle. Cemar drifts at the core of reality, gate to all worlds, and is besieged by the thousand hells. If it’s defense fails, in the third, or any later, demon invasion, that gate must be forever shut. They study the Quilopothic arts, intending, at the last extreme, to rip Cemar from it’s place, shattering the multiverse into uncounted isolated realms – lost, but safe from the demon hordes until the end of days. Most outsiders think that the Disciples are out of their minds, even if their obsession with dimensional magic has been useful in sealing off some incursions. The Disciples don’t care; if the Typhoon Struggle ever comes any- one else’s opinions will be irrelevant anyway.
Xin Clerical Titles:
Rothe: A monk or priest with innate talents but no spellcasting. Quite common, and can be very effective. Usually “experts”.
Korin: A novice or postulant not yet ordained.
Patera or Matera: a general clerical title, literally “little father” or “little mother”.
Lamar: A temple or monastery leader or a high priest.
Konsuli: The head of an order. The title was also historically applied to royal advisors. Given the current lack of royalty, this is obsolete.
Rhianor: The Primate, King, or Prince of Xin, a direct priest of the High One or Lord of Heaven – unlike the usual devotion to a Saint. This title is currently unclaimed.
Yu-: Guardian or Priest-Knight. A militant defender of the Xin people.
–Miir: A member of the the Miir Kendor order.
Mirii: Druid. –Sann (suffix, Archdruid). Prefixes: Kell– (Earth Speciality Druid, a KellMirii, or KellMiriiSann – an Archdruid of the Earth), Aarr– (Air Speciality), Yann– (Fire Speciality), Parr– (Water Speciality), Baar– (Wood Speciality), and Kamm– (Spirit Speciality).