The following is a list of four of the churches described in the upcoming The Immortal Scriptures. Note that in the texts below, the term "Priest" (with a capital P) refers to the specialty priests called Priest (as described above), and not to the clergy of the given church or religion. The term "priest" (with a lower-case p) refers to either the clergy as a whole, or the title "priest" a clergy-member might have in their particular order.
COAT OF ARMS: Thyatian Eagle in the middle of a circle of
twelve Thyatian Immortals' holy symbols (starting from the top,
clockwise: Vanya, Thor, Tarastia, Odin, Kagyar, Korotiku, Korys,
Protius, Halav, Asterius, Valerias, and Diulanna.)
CLERGY: Clerics (50%), Priests (25%), Defenders (10%), normal humans (8%), Paladins (5%), other specialty priests (2%).
CLERGY'S ALIGNMENT: Any non-evil alignment
WORSHIPER'S ALIGNMENT: Any
The clergy of the Church of Thyatis is composed mainly of clerics. Most are pantheists, but philosophers of law and neutrality are also common. Only a few chaos philosophers are present among the hierarchy. Priests (and other specialty priests) are often in charge of the ceremonies pertaining to their particular Immortal. Of course, only priests of the Immortals mentioned above, minus Priests of Alphaks and Thanatos, can join the clergy. Even non-priests (that is, normal humans) can join the order and give ceremonies to the masses.
The temples of the Church of Thyatis tend to be grand buildings since they must serve as a place of worship for many Immortals. Most can seat a couple hundred spectators during their ceremonies. They also have several other chambers which serve as shrines for each particular Immortal. Finally, chambers in the back serve as barracks for the clergy, as well as meeting rooms for discussions and planning.
An initiate who has served well for three years [and about 3rdlevel. Ed.] attains the rank of priest. It is the priests of the religion which actually give the ceremonies to the people of the Thyatian Empire. Those of priest rank are also sent out on adventures to discover secrets, amass wealth for the order, and convert other cultures to their way.
A priest who performs admirably for at least 5 years [and around level 7 if possessing a character class. Ed.] becomes a curate. Curates are in charge of deciding exactly what the topics of each ceremony is to be, as well as plan what enlightenment will be taught to the people. There is a curate in charge of the ceremonies for each Immortal of the pantheon. That is, in each temple, there is one curate for Asterius, another for Diulanna, and so on. This is the highest rank any Priest (or other specialty priest) can attain within the clergy since their point of view is limited to those of their Immortal.
Finally, in charge of the entire temple is a bishop [they are usually around 9th level. Ed.]. He runs the place and has final say on what will or will not be accepted within his building. Normal humans who do not posses any divine granted powers cannot proceed above the rank of bishop.
In charge of several temples in entire areas - usually a complete dominion - are the Patriarch and Matriarch. Only Clerics [of 13th level or higher. Ed.] can attain this rank, as only they can remain unbiased when deciding how each Immortal is to be worshiped. These Patriarch advise rulers on matters of the church and can exert a lot of political power in their region.
There is no rank above Patriarch in the Church of Thyatis. As such, all the Patriarch of the order gather annually in Thyatis City to discuss and vote on the future of their religion. Traditionally, the Patriarch of Thyatis City has the power to veto any vote passed by this assembly, and in case of ties, holds the deciding vote.
The priests cheerfully describes the purpose, alignment, and desires of all the Thyatian Immortals so that the citizens of Thyatis can make their own choices of which Immortal to hold to heart and where they want to go when they die. Of course, since Thyatians are militant people, the Immortals Vanya, Thor, and Diulanna often receive more than their fair share of attention.
Initiate spend several hours a day studying everything known on all the Pantheon. Upon reaching the rank of priests, they are charged with spreading this knowledge to the people of Thyatis and the rest of Mystara. Most prefer to have the people come to them in their daily ceremonies at the temples, but a few adventure out into the world and try to convert other cultures.
Although not specifically stated in their doctrines, the Church of Thyatis also promotes the belief that Thyatians are the best people in the world and that all other cultures should join the Empire and become full-fledged Thyatians.
Every day, at noon, ceremonies are held in the various temples of the religion. Each ceremony starts with a brief talk about all the Immortals, then proceeds onto the main topic of the day which usually deals with one Immortal in particular. The subject for the day is determined by the bishop, usually in conjunction with his curates. Since there are currently 12 Immortals in the pantheon (not including Alphaks or Thanatos), a common theme is to have an "Immortal of the month," thereby teaching the philosophies of one Immortal for a month, then changing to another at the arrival of the new moon. Still, some bishops have other complicated schedules dividing the days evenly throughout the year in a pattern only they can see.
Finally, the Temple of Thyatis often gives special rites when a Thyatian child is born, blessing her and asking the Immortals to look after her as she grows up. The clergy members also take care of marriages ceremonies and divorce throughout the Thyatian Empire.
On Flaurmont 1, priests give a special ceremony celebrating the Day of Freedom for those Thyatian youths who have turned 21 and are now "free" from their parent's whims.
Other days are considered important, but only to a particular Immortal, and not the entire Pantheon. Because of this, they are not considered religious holy days, but are usually celebrated by the bishops of the temples anyway. These days include the Start of Shipping Season (Va. 23; Protius), The Day of Valerias (Fe. 15, Valerias), Vanya's Day (Sv. 8, Vanya), and Protius' Day (Ei. 22, Protius), as well as several others.
All applicants to the order must have both a Knight of the Gold Dragon and a clergy member of the Church of Thyatis sponsor them. Candidates are then tested, and if their combat skills are adequate [that is, if their THAC0 is 15 or better. Ed.], they are accepted into the ranks.
During ceremonies, however, a more formal dress code is enforced. Their ceremonial dress consists of a full-sleeved, floor-length blue robe. The coat of arms of the of the church is displayed prominently on the left chest. If also a member of the Knights of the Gold Dragon, their gold dragon symbol is sown unto the upper edge of the right sleeve, much as military rank insignias are often displayed.
Priests of the Church of Thyatis of all ranks except initiate also carry with them a metal scepter while in ceremonial dress. The size and color of the scepter indicates the rank in the clerical hierarchy the owner is.
The Church has also made grounds recently. For the past 20 years, they have made inroads into the Jungle Coast, converting many of the hinterland barbarians to their beliefs. The Church of Thyatis even went as far as accepting Diulanna, their Immortal, into the Thyatian pantheon; after all, they are Thyatians now, aren't they.
But the church seeks to expand further. At the moment, they are slowly building temples within the nation of Darokin, using the city of Selenica as their main base of operations. Rumors also claim that the Church is seeking to reabsorb the Church of Karameikos into their fold.
As another means of regaining worshipers, the Church of Thyatis has seriously started debating about Holy Days, something which has until very recently never crossed their minds. Wrath of the Immortals Day is one such idea. At the moment, they are also debating on whether or not to make Fyrmont 19th "The Visit" an official Holy Day. This day would mark the discovery of the "Footprint of the Immortal" found in the Altan Tepes back in AC 1010, showing the world that the Immortals actually visited the Empire of Thyatis. Making the site into official Holy Ground is also high on their priority list.
COAT OF ARMS: Three connected hemispheres forming a triangle.
CLERGY: Wizards (100%)
CLERGY'S ALIGNMENT: N, LN, and CN
WORSHIPERS' ALIGNMENT: any
Although religions and preaching about the Immortals is illegal in the Principalities of Glantri, Glantrians do have a place to go where they can contemplate personal problems. In the Temples of Rad, wizards known as Shepherds of Rad listen to the problems of nobles and commoners alike, giving them counseling on any problem they might have.
Their marble temples scattered in every major town of Glantri promote meditation and contemplation. The Shepherds believe by relaxing and thinking things through one can eventually solve any problem and make the vital discovery that was missing. This self-enlightenment just serves to show how Glantrians truly do not need any Immortal guidance in their lives.
Each Temple of Rad has a large crystal ball placed on their main altar. The Shepherds claim that it is a receptacle of Rad, the living incarnation of magic itself. Although foreigners assume Rad is an Immortal, the Shepherds of Rad and Glantrians know better than to assume that magic could possibly be an Immortal. After all, he doesn't ask for worship, so he can't possibly be a divine being.
Apparently, they receive dreams and visions through the receptacle, indicating when Rad desires for his Shepherds to perform a task or change something. The Shepherds of Rad therefore believe that they wield power both temporal and magical thanks to their direct connection with the incarnation of magic.
[Editor's Notes to the DM: Contrary to what the Glantrians believe, Rad is indeed an Immortal, or at least he use to be. Rad used the mortal incarnation of Etienne d'Ambreville to further his goals in Glantri. At the end of the Wrath of the Immortals events, Rad disappeared into the Radiance and was not heard or seen again, baring some rumors of Etienne's brief appearance in Chateau Sylaire back in AC 1013. The Shepherds of Rad have yet to realize this since they still receive dreams and visions through the Radiance Receptacle in their temples. In fact, the Brotherhood of the Radiance have always given them their visions, not Rad - except as a member of the Brotherhood himself. Glantrians therefore continue to believe in Rad - the incarnation of magic - without the slightest hint that he might no longer even exist.]
There are only two ranks in the Temple of Rad; Shepherd and High Shepherd. All members of the organization are considered Shepherds while the individual in charge of a particular temple is the High Shepherd. High Shepherds are determined based on magical experience. [Most are at least 12th level mages. Ed.]
There is no connection between individual temples. All higher goals and common decisions come from sharing the same visions from Rad through their receptacles.
Shepherds also visit the Great School of Magic regularly. Since many are accomplished wizards in their own right, their magical expertise is often sought by other mages, and they often give lectures at the school. Besides trips to the Great School of Magic, many often travel to the numerous wizard towers scattered across the principalities. Shepherds of Rad are therefore well respected members of society.
High Shepherd Chath Restoun (human, male, M14) is currently still shaken up by an incident in AC 1013. He was charmed by an illithid and performed acts he has yet to forgive himself for [see the "Temple Takeover" adventure in Glantri - Kingdom of Magic for more information. Ed.]. His advice since then has been less than effective, and many wizards are beginning to complain about the situation. It has gotten to a point where other High Shepherds are deciding whether or not to intervene in the matter.
COAT OF ARMS: Vanya's holy symbol; a lance crossed by two
CLERGY: Priests (30%), Crusaders (25%), Defenders (25%), Clerics (15%), other specialty priests (5%).
CLERGY'S ALIGNMENT: any non-chaotic.
WORSHIPERS' ALIGNMENT: any.
The Temple of Vanya is a church dedicated to the Grey Lady; the Immortal of war and conquest. The clergy consists mainly of specialty priests of Vanya, with a few philosopher clerics who incorporate battle into their ethos.
This temple is strong within the Empire of Alphatia, with worshipers numbering is the hundreds of thousands. In fact, the Temple of Vanya has almost as many lay members as the Temple of Thyatis. Despite this, there is no rivalry for numbers; the Temple of Thyatis simply view the Temple of Vanya as a sub-branch of their religion which concentrates on only one of their Immortals. There are a few squabbles between the priests, especially when it concerns respecting other Immortals besides Vanya, but in general the two orders get along well.
New members to the order start out as novices. As in most other religious orders, this means they have more or less the roles of servants within the temples. Between chores, novices attend various classes on the teachings and doctrines of Vanya.
Once a novice has mastered his knowledge on the philosophies of Vanya, he is promoted to the rank of acolyte [This usually represents attaining level 1. Ed.]. At this point, instead of lectures and study classes, the acolyte is taught how to fight and use weapons.
Senior acolytes [those of 5th level. Ed] must choose in which branch of the Temple of Vanya they wish to continue their career in. They may either remain in the clergy hierarchy, at which point they earn the title priest, or they main join the militant branch and be known as Knight-Adepts.
Priests have the role of giving ceremonies and teaching to novice the ways of Vanya. More experienced ones [9th level] are placed in charge of their own temples, earning them the title of bishop. Archbishops are placed in charge of all bishops within a certain territory. In charge of the entire religion is the Vicar of Vanya; only specialty priests of Vanya may earn this title [and they usually have to be of at least 15th level. Ed.]
Those following the militant branch of the religion enter their own hierarchy. They are the ones in charge of the Brotherhood of the Grey Lady. Knight-Adepts who perform well are promoted to Knight-Warriors [level 9. Ed.]. A Knight-General [of at least 13 levels in experience. Ed.] is in charge of the entire order.
Vanya looks favorably on those who throw themselves recklessly into battle, throwing their entire fate into their battle prowess. Those who fight honorably and tirelessly in battle, slaying all opponents while avoiding destroying homes or the innocent are the epitome of what Vanya represents.
Battles are not to be feared, for eventually all must learn to stand for what they believe in or what it be swept away by the enemy. Because of this, all should learn to improve their martial skills. Also, no enemy should be disrespected as valor can be found in all, regardless of age, gender, or race.
The more martial clergy members can often be seen fighting in the gladiatorial arena. They also regularly sponsor such activities, and having a priest of Vanya trainer is considered a good omen.
It is from here that Claudia Derrogan (human, female, P17 of Vanya), Vicar of Vanya, heads the order of the Temple of Vanya. She has led the order wisely for the past 20 years, and many believe she talks regularly to Vanya herself, marking her as one who is truly blessed by the Immortals.
The second order calls themselves the Wings of Vanya. Their estate is located a few blocks away from the main temple. The Wings of Vanya clerical order is more monastic than the Temple of Vanya. Here, the priests spend time meditating and contemplating rather than actively pursuing combat and preaching to others. The monks of this temple are practiced healers, and many priests of Vanya come here to receive healing after a battle or duel. Rumors also claim that the monks have mastered the unarmed fighting techniques of the mystics of Sind and Ochalea, but so far no one has ever witnessed them use such skills. The Wings of Vanya are actually a separate religion from the Temple of Vanya, but the two work so closely together, most people assume that they are merely two different branches of one philosophy.
Archbishops and the Knight-General have dark red robes instead of purple. They do not have any sash, however. Finally, a dark red robe with a purple sash indicates the Vicar of Vanya, leader of the entire temple.
More recently, the Temple of Vanya is still infuriated at the Heldannic Knights for the execution of the Knight-Warrior Lenard Doverson in their outrageous Inquisition. The fact that the Knights lost their Vanya-granted spells and powers only served to prove that these Heldannic Knights have corrupted the dogma of Vanya. Some speculate that the Temple of Vanya is beginning to plan an outright war against the Heldannic Knights. How the Empire of Thyatis - the seat of power of the Temple of Vanya - will respond to this, if it is true, remains anyone's guess.
COAT OF ARMS: A black lion on a white background.
CLERGY: Crusaders (40%), Priests (30%), Defenders (25%), other specialty priests (5%).
CLERGY'S ALIGNMENT: any non-chaotic.
WORSHIPERS' ALIGNMENT: any.
Easily the most renown religious order of the world, the words "Heldannic Knights" is guaranteed to get a reaction out of anybody. Some claim they are tyrants and slave masters, while others bring up their dedication to order and abolishment of crime as proof of otherwise. The only thing that everyone can say for certain, though, is that they intend to conquer the world for the Glory of Vanya.
Unlike most other churches, the Heldannic Knights accept only specialty priests of Vanya into their ranks. Clerics, even if they value Vanya's beliefs, will not be accepted. Even specialty priests of Vanya must be able to wield swords and lances, as well as wear any armor if they desire to become a Heldannic Knight.
When deemed worthy by his master, a squire is promoted to the rank of Knight [by then, he has attained 2nd level. Ed.] Knights who perform admirably [and reached level 5. Ed.] earn the rank of sergeant - although they are still called Knights except during military operations. Further promotions up the rank are captain [Editor's Note: at least level 9.] and Warlord [who is in charge of an entire division. He must also be at least a 12th level priest of Vanya. Ed.]. Finally, the leaders of the armies are the Generals.
The Heldannic Knights also combine these ranks with the titles of government and nobility. The Heldannic Knights have many minor nobility titles, such as Baron and Count, which are usually titles kept by nobles of other nations who joined their ranks [such as the minor nobles of Norwold. Ed.]. In this case, they keep the title, placing it before their military rank. For example, you could have a Baron-General, or a Count-Sergeant. When it comes to policy of an area, deciding the law, giving punishment, and such, the higher government rank is in charge. With the above examples, it would be the Count-Sergeant who decides the interpretation of the law in a town. When it comes to military matters, it's the highest military rank who leads. This time, the Baron-General would be in charge of the Count- Sergeant.
Above these minor nobility ranks, the Heldannic Knights have two other imposed by their own nation; Chancellor and Governor. Both of these rank higher than any other minor noble rank. Chancellors are placed in charge of major cities and the land surrounding them, while Governors are in charge an entire Territory. Governor-General is the highest rank one can attain without being the Oberherr.
Finally, the Oberherr is the head of the entire order of the Heldannic Knights, deciding on their day to day policies and on the entire direction of their military campaigns.
One must strike at the enemy first, before the enemy can attack your home. Better that they suffer than the people of Heldann. No enemy should be disrespected, however, as valor can be found in all, regardless of age, gender, or race.
Vanya looks favorably on those who fight honorably and tirelessly in battle, slaying all opponents in their way. Vanya will one day conquer all of Mystara, and it is the Heldannic and Hattian people who are her chosen champions. All other races are inferior and will be conquered.
Those who are out adventuring are given the task to always act honorably and courageously. They are to serve as shining examples of what it means to be a Heldannic Knight to the rest of the world. The leaders of the Heldannic Knights therefore only allow those who are charismatic and of good alignment to adventure; this helps make sure they only get a good reputation from their wandering adventurer-priests.
On Sviftmont 8th is Vanya's Day. It is a day celebrated by parades, duels, and heavy feasting. Vanya's Day serves to remind the Knights of the day when the mortal woman Vanya led an army against the Milenians on the continent of Davania, saving her people. It shows how anyone can be a hero and receive glory and honor.
The Heldannic Knights have a ceremony known as the Receiving of the Sword. This ceremony marks the day a squire has earned the right to be called a Knight. The squire spends the entire day, starting at sunrise, fasting and praying to Vanya. Should the sun not be visible, the aspiring Knight must wait another day to receive his title and ceremony. At sunset, the squire bathes then proceeds to the temple after donning a white robe. There, Priests of Vanya perform the Receiving of the Sword ceremony, whereas they give the squire his first longsword, armor, as well as black lion shield. By the end of the ceremony, the squire has earned the title Heldannic Knight.
The building receives it's name from a large, central chamber in the shape of a star. Here, 8000 Knights can gather in the five wings to listen to a speaker standing in the center. A glass ceiling in the shape of Vanya's Lion lets sunlight shine upon the speaker, giving the impression of a divine glow enhancing his words.
In the field, the dress code is identical, except that you can expect the armor to be actual full plate.
The faith of the Heldannic Knights has suffered a tremendous blow during the past couple of years. The Knights started an Inquisition and wound up losing all their spells granted to them by Vanya. This has lead Wulf von Klangerdorff to re-examine the values and doctrines of the Knights. The Oberherr is currently trying to make changes into the order and their beliefs. The first was the removal of force-worshiping of Vanya in the Heldannic Territories. Many Knights have also been stripped of the rank and privileges. Other changes are still being discussed with the elder priests of the religion.
Besides this reorganization, the Oberherr is busy planning the invasion of Norwold. Changes in the order aside, the true glory of Vanya comes from conquest, and that's exactly what he plans on doing