Campaign of the Month: January 2008
A Deadly Affair
Church of the Flame
History and Teachings
A religion from the distant land of Pintare, the Church of the Flame claims to have existed in one form or another since the very beginning of time, though no written record remains of the world before the Cataclysm. Trade with Pintare has spread this faith to the shores of Archos and the Troll Kingdoms, though conflict with the native religions has prevented them from moving much further inland.
The faithful of this religion believe that all power and magic in the world comes from their nameless god, called simply the Lord of Flames. They are taught that fire itself is the simplest form of magic – a magic anyone can learn, and that even the warmth of their bodies is the gift of fire from the divine. Their priests preach that the Lord of Flames has placed each and every person into their caste, and only his blessing can advance or reduce them. The caste-based and strictly structured society that the church promotes makes it popular among ruling classes and the wealthy. As a fire-worshiping faith, they also venerate the sun as the fire of their god.
Priests of the Church of the Flame tell their followers that adherents of other faiths and religions are being fooled by demon-worshipers and charlatans. Where other faiths resemble their own (like Raer of the Nord), they take a syncretist view, teaching that their faith has simply been distorted by ignorance in this practice.
Priests of the Flame advance through specific ranks in the church, from Neonate to Acolyte to Priest. Each of those ranks covers about 3-5 character levels in a class that grants divine spells or Knowledge (Religion) as a class skill. Characters that advance beyond the rank of Priest are few, but they are known as Torches. Each rank the character achieves grants privileges in areas the church is dominant, at the price of ever-increasing behavioral restrictions.
Neonates leave their old caste behind for the Godly caste, which allows them access to any residence save those of royalty, and exempts them from conscription. Neonates must not eat uncooked flesh of any kind. Doing so unintentionally will not harm the Neonate, but an intentional transgression will remove any divine casting ability until an Atonement spell can be obtained.
Acolytes are granted the authority to take goods and materials from people of the Farmer or Tradesman castes for their own immediate use, so long as it does not create an undue hardship on the original owner. While it is not required, some form of repayment (at least symbolic) is traditional. Acolytes may not start fires except by magic, and may not eat uncooked grains or seeds.
Priests may grant others the rank of Neonate. Priests must also be afforded free passage aboard ship, wagon, or horse by any adherent of the faith. Again, some form of compensation is traditional, but not required. Priests may command the actions of Neonates and Acolytes, and even grant them leave to break their strictures on a temporary basis. Priests may not wear garments made from plant fibers, and may not perform manual labor except to further the goals of the church, to preserve their own life from imminent danger, or as commanded by a Torch. Priests also cannot allow themselves to be fully submerged in water (unless involuntarily or when in service of the faith).
Torches are almost equal in authority to the Princes of Pintare. They issue rulings on matters of religious law and help shape the traditions of the church and the peoples it serves. Torches can change the caste of any individual except those in the Noble caste, raising or lowering it as they see fit (though they do so rarely and cautiously). The strictures specific to Torches are unknown to commoners, though it is rumored that they dine only on fire and ashes and never drink water.