Karameikos and Beyond
Clerics belong to one of a number of churches. Karameikos has three native faiths, and there are usually visiting clerics from other nations who have their own beliefs.
The churches in Karameikos have differing philosophies. They are all dedicated to the strengthening of the human spirit through mediation and observation of moral lessons.
The Church of Karameikos
These are the beliefs of the church of Karameikos:
- That the acts of assault, abuse, murder, theft, lying, adultery, and living together without the sanctity of matrimony are sins; that these sins stain the spirit of the doer; and that these sins require acts or ceremonies of purification (of severity appropriate to the sin) to cleanse from the spirit;
- That an unwillingness on the part of a sinner to purify himself of a sin is itself a sin, punishable by separation from the Church, the eventual result of which is the sinner’s spirit becoming too stained ever to be redeemed;
- That the individual’s role in the afterlife will be determined by the amount of stain his spirit bears at the time of his death;
- That it is the responsibility of members of the Church to bring the benefits of Church philosophy to the unbeliever, and to remain present even in hostile lands, so that the benefits of the Church be denied to no one who desires them; and
- That magic ritual with no confirmed basis in formal magic use or clerical ritual constitutes ignorant superstition, and therefore the use of lucky charms, tea-readings, palm-readings, card-readings, and so forth are all valueless wastes of time and effort.
Most of those of Thyatian descent in Karameikos are members of the Church of Karameikos; approximately half those of mixed descent are; and many of Traladaran descent have been converted by the church’s compelling philosophy of the “unstained spirit”. In all, about 25% of the population of Karameikos now belongs to the Church of Karameikos, and this segment of the population includes most of the landed nobles and many other powerful political figures.
Many of the members of the Church, especially converts, don’t truly understand the intent of the church’s philosophy. This philosophy is that no sin committed in the mortal world is so great that it cannot be purified from the spirit by the great acts of self-sacrifice. Many converts, however, consider it a game with rules to bent – that the church philosophy means they can do anything so long as they subject themselves to the deeds of purification recommended by their church leaders after the fact.
Titles in the Church
When a character enters the clergy (i.e., starts as a first-level cleric), he is called a novice; this isn’t a formal title. When a cleric reaches 3rd Level, the character is judged by the Church to be a full Priest or Priestess. When the cleric reaches 7th level, the character has sufficient knowledge to be promoted to the clerical rank of Bishop. And when the cleric reaches 9th level, he or she is deemed a Patriarch or Matriarch.
The Church of Traladara
These are the beliefs of the Church of Traladara:
- That the acts of assault, abuse, murder, theft and lying are sins, brought on by weakness or the intrusion of bad-will from evil or animal spirits;
- that the sins described above should be punished, in the manner that parents punish children: Physical punishment, imprisonment, and the withholding of rights (even death, in the case of extreme sinners who endanger others);
- That the role of the individual in the afterlife will be determined by the individual’s state of wisdom, strength of character, and good-will at the time of his death;
- That the relationship of man to woman is a personal matter, not involving the philosophies of the Church unless one of the above sins is involved;
- That common magic ritual such as the use of lucky charms, tea-reading, palm-readings, card-readings and so forth are all declarations of man’s curiosity about the world and determination to preserve himself from evil, and are often rewarded by the Immortals with the gleaning of facts about the future or nature of the world; and
- That the events of “The Song of Halav” are absolutely true; that King Halav, Queen Petra, and Zirchev are now Immortals guiding the righteous and punishing the wicked in Traladara/Karameikos; and that the Golden Age of Traladara will one day return to this land.
The basic philosophy of the Church of Traladara is that people should not harm one another, and that when they do the community should punish the wrongdoer in proportion to the degree of the sin. There isn’t much more to their philosophy than that, and so the Church is ideally suited to the cheerful and whimsical Traladarans.
The role of the Traladaran cleric is to provide advice for the younger people, based on his own experiences and the examples of behavior given in “The Song of Halav”. Traladaran clerics advise the young, perform marriages, and officiate at other ceremonies, preach the church philosophies, and promote goodwill. They also fight – to save lives or to defeat evils.
Approximately 70% of the population of Karameikos belongs to the Church of Traladara.