[Note: this overview is broken down into three parts. PART 1 provides the general picture of the situation which your character will likely be aware of. PARTS 2 and 3 are “Out Of Character” in that they give you the overview in terms of how it impacts both the mechanics and flavor of your character. PART 3 is specifically tailored to clerics because making a cleric is complicated.
Clerics are not able to change their domains throughout the course of the game – which allows an early mistake to limit the character’s options. No other class is limited in this way because the starting areas allow players to adjust character appearance, religion, and equipment.]
PART 1: AN OVERVIEW OF RELIGION in ARNHEIM and ORSENNA
Orsenna has religious traditions which influence one another. The first is religious tolerance (a contribution from the Pygmies). The second is monotheism. “The Faith”, a monotheistic religion, is the largest religion in the Orsennan Empire because it has been supported by generations of Orsennan rulers including the present Emperor. Left to its own devices, “The Faith” would force other religions out of the Empire. The Orsennan tradition of religious tolerance however prevents “The Faith” from crusading against the “heresy” of competing religions. Consequently, innumerable holy wanderers travel from place to place throughout Orsenna professing their various beliefs to anyone willing to listen. While priests of “The Faith” consider many of these holy wanderers to be misguided heretics, open hostility is reserved for those calling for Evil acts or worship of Evil gods.
Arnheim being a recent acquisition of the Empire lacks Orsenna’s traditions. While “The Faith” has recently spread to Arnheim in the city itself, especially amongst the upper classes, most of the population clings to “Nature” worship, a mix of animistic and pantheistic traditions lead by the druids. The Baron of Arnheim is particularly intolerant of the old ways, converting druids by the sword if necessary. The priests of “The Faith” in Arnheim are often happy to follow his lead, but are more focused on stamping out the Evil they see in the wilds – especially goblins, and lycanthropes.
The most successful religion to rise in the shadow of “The Faith” is “The Mystery”. “The Mystery” is a monastic order that split from “The Faith” centuries in the past. Although the split from “The Faith” was not amicable, “The Mystery” is now well respected in Orsenna. The monastic order has since spread throughout the world albeit slowly. Monks and priests of “The Mystery” do not actively seek conversions, but accept anyone who seeks the quiet, contemplative life of the monastery. The one monastery existing in Arnheim predates the spread of the empire to that country and is well established as a neutral party in the conflict between “The Faith” and Druidic traditions.
Somewhat unusual but still significant throughout the Orsennan Empire including Arnheim is polytheism, the worship of one or more of the eleven gods in various combinations. “The Faith” incidentally considers the eleven not to be gods, but creations of their God. The names of the eleven in Orsennan tradition are: Cosm, Apriana, Aurelia, Maia, Veneros, Barnabus, Orcus, Kilili, Cyriacus, Kester, and Cagli. Both Orcus (death) and Kilili (destruction) are generally considered evil as are priests who worship them alone.
Other gods may or may not exist although that does not deter the occasional holy wanderer from seeking converts for them.
PART 2: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MY CHARACTER?
Starting Barbarians, Bards, Fighters, Rogues, Sorcerers, and Wizards do not need to make very specific choices about their religious devotion. In fact, players of these classes can choose to ignore the deity field in which case the character is assumed to be “undevoted”. The broad choices available are as follows:
More fine grained choices are available, but are most meaningful to the religious classes – Clerics, Druids, Monks, Paladins, and Rangers as follows:
- Clerics must be devoted to a religion, but can not be devoted to Nature. Players who wish to play a cleric should look over Part 3 below before making a character. A cleric’s domains limit their choices of deity, and once domains are chosen they can never be changed.
- Druids must be devoted to Nature. Important: Druids have taboos about wearing certain metals – steel, iron etc… Wearing armor or a helmet made of steel or wielding a steel shield results in temporary loss of spell casting ability, wild shape, and the ability to summon a spirit animal. A druid must atone for breaking a taboo.
- Monks must begin play as devoted to The Mystery.
- Paladins must begin play devoted to The Faith with one of the following Divine Patrons: Apriana, Aurelia, Maia, Veneros, or Barnabus.
- Rangers in order to cast spells must be devoted to a religion, but have no other religious restrictions.
PART 3: CLERICAL DOMAINS, ALIGNMENT, AND THE GODS THAT ACCEPT THEM.
Polytheist clerics can (1) invent their own religion in which case their alignment defines their options OR (2) be specifically devoted to a single god above the others.
Special: If a player wishes to invent a new god or religion they will begin as a “holy wanderer”. They will be their religion’s only convert at the start of the game and have no consecrated holy place. This option leaves open a great deal of freedom of choice for the cleric at the expense of respect and allies.
- Polytheist True Neutral
Air, Earth, Fire, Magic, Water
Polytheist Chaotic Neutral
Air, Earth, Fire, Magic, Water, Chaos, Luck, Travel, Trickery, War
Polytheist Lawful Neutral
Air, Earth, Fire, Magic, Water, Law, Knowledge, Protection, Strength
Polytheist Neutral Good
Air, Earth, Fire, Magic, Water, Good, Healing, Protection, Sun
Polytheist Neutral Evil
Air, Earth, Fire, Magic, Water, Evil, Death, Destruction, Vermin, War
Polytheist Chaotic Good
Air, Earth, Fire, Magic, Water, Chaos, Good, Healing, Protection, Sun, Trickery, Travel, War
Polytheist Chaotic Evil
Air, Earth, Fire, Magic, Water, Chaos, Evil, Death, Destruction, Travel, Trickery, War
Polytheist Lawful Good
Air, Earth, Fire, Magic, Water, Law, Good, Healing, Knowledge, Protection, Strength, Sun
Polytheist Lawful Evil
Air, Earth, Fire, Magic, Water, Law, Evil, Death, Destruction, Knowledge, Protection, Strength, War
Polytheist – Apriana (align: NG, CG, LG)
Water, Healing, Good. Weapons: unarmed, sling
Polytheist – Aurelia (align: NG, CG, LG)
Fire, Sun, Good. Weapons: longbow, mace
Polytheist – Maia (align: CN, CG, NG, LG, LN, LE)
Earth, Protection Weapons: bastard sword
Polytheist – Veneros (align: LN, LE, LG)
Air, Knowledge, Law. Weapons: rapier, quarterstaff
Polytheist – Barnabus (align: LN, LE, LG, TN)
Animal, Strength Weapons: maul, war hammer
Polytheist – Cosm (align: Any)
Air, Earth, Fire, Magic, Water. Weapons: magic staff, quarterstaff
Polytheist – Orcus (align: NE, CE, LE)
Earth, Death, Evil. Weapons: great axe, scythe
Polytheist – Kilili (align: NE, CE, LE)
Destruction, Vermin, Evil. Weapons: halberd
Polytheist – Cyriacus (align: LN, LE, NE, CE, CN, CG)
Fire, War Weapons: longsword, shortspear
Polytheist – Kester (align: CN, CE, CG, TN)
Travel, Luck Weapons: shortbow, handaxe
Polytheist – Cagli (align: CN, CE, CG)
- Trickery, Luck, Chaos Weapons: dagger, whip
Devotees of The Mystery recognize the cosmic war between good and evil, but are not required to pick a side thus Clerics of The Mystery can be of any alignment. Life in a monastery however shifts a resident’s alignment towards lawful, and thus most devotees tend to be lawful neutral.
Domains: Knowledge, Magic, Air, Earth, Fire, Water
Weapons: Katana, Unarmed.
Cleric’s of The Faith must select one of the eleven divine beings as a patron(ess). Followers of Kilili and Orcus however are enemies of the Temple of Light in Orsenna – the main church of The Faith. In addition to Temple membership being limited to followers of 9 of the 11, patron selection also influences the cleric’s choice of alignment, domains, and favored weapons.
Domains: The cleric’s first domain must be either good or evil, reflecting their alignment and the side which they have chosen in the cosmic war between good and evil. The second domain selected is determined by divine patron. See below:
- The Faith – Apriana (align: LG, NG, CG)
Healing, Good Weapons: unarmed, sling
The Faith – Aurelia (align: LG, NG, CG)
Sun, Good Weapons: longbow, mace
The Faith – Maia (align: LG, LE, NG, CG)
Protection, Good/Evil Weapons: bastard sword
The Faith – Veneros (align: LG, LE)
Knowledge, Good/Evil Weapons: rapier, quarter staff
The Faith – Barnabus (align: LG, LE)
Strength, Good/Evil Weapons: maul, war hammer
The Faith – Cosm (align: NG, NE, LG, LE, CG, CE)
Magic, Good/Evil Weapons: magic staff, quarter staff
The Faith – Orcus (align: CE, NE, LE)
Death, Evil Weapons: great axe, scythe
The Faith – Kilili (align: CE, NE, LE)
Destruction, Evil Weapons: halberd
The Faith – Cyriacus (align: CG, CE, NE, LE)
War, Good/Evil Weapons: longsword, shortspear
The Faith – Kester (align: CG, CE)
Travel, Good/Evil Weapons: shortbow, handaxe
The Faith – Cagli (align: CG, CE)
- Trickery, Good/Evil Weapons: dagger, whip