Children of Ghalii
The primary church of Ghalii’s Gate, the Church champions the almost heretical notion that Ghalii, alone among the gods, has reconciled her twin aspects. They worship Ghalii not just Undivided but Recombined, with one, not two aspects. Thus they call her Ghalii the Gatekeeper, Goddess of Life and Death and the symbol they use is a black skull inside a white egg.
SERMONS: The sermons of the church start off as calm, solemn affairs and gradually build in energy and vibrancy to a climax, often followed by some sort of street party or entertainment. Funerals, Births and marriages are all celebrated equally with vibrant Carnivals and parades.
HOLY DAYS: New Year is the biggest holy day comprising a three-day festival that fills the city streets. The autumn and spring Equinox, as moments of change, are also celebrated.
ATTITUDE: The church considers the Brotherhood of Gyros a great force for good but too sombre and ignorant of the role of death. The Lupan Protectorate, the Fortress and the Philiaics are considered pompous and soulless. The Infitem seem to have a grasp of the fragility of life but are too wrapped up in ritual and Emperor-worship.
RANKS: The priesthood of the Children is comprised of many Monks and Fighters (Forebodes), Clerics and Bards (Harbingers) a handful of Rangers, Druids and Sorcerers (Portents) and there are rumoured to be a few Paladins (Gatekeepers). There may even be some Necromancers among the ranks of the Children.
Blackvale Civil Philiaic Church
This church is unique to Blackvale and is followed mainly by the mages and the aristocracy. It is divided into three parts – the Order; comprising scholars and every mage who has been trained in Blackvale’s magic school, the Citizenry; mostly the aristocrats and other worshippers and the Guides; essentially the priesthood. They follow Philia the Civil, followers of Philia the Wild are considered beneath contempt. Their symbol is the mirrored golden mask of Philia the Civil.
SERMONS: Sermons are quiet, orderly affairs demonstrating the mastery of civility and ordered society. Magic is used frequently in ritualised, undramatic ways.
HOLY DAYS: The founding of Blackvale is celebrated, as is the holy day of Philia. The day of Blackvale’s secession from Armillia was originally a public holiday and was at first ignored by the church but has been embraced in recent years.
ATTITUDE: The church has a warm, if somewhat patronising, attitude to the Brotherhood of Gyros and a great respect for the Lupan Protectorate and the Fortress, they view the Children of Ghalii with horror as disorderly and death-obsessed and the Infitem as regressive and insular.
RANKS: In the Order a Wizard or Scholar can be a Member or a Magister depending on how active they are in the church. Similarly a Citizen can be a Member or an Exalted Citizen. The Guides have a number of titles, the initiates are called Guides, the Monks and Fighters are generally Guides of the Civil Self and Clerics and Paladins are usually Guides of the Civil Soul. Sorcerers, Rogues and Barbarians are not welcome and Rangers and Druids are rarely comfortable in the church.
Brotherhood of the Sun
The Brotherhood is by far the largest and farthest ranging of the churches. It has temples in every city and most villages although Blackvale and Sentinel City are its biggest. The Brotherhood worships Gyros Lightbringer and works mainly with the peasantry throughout the Five Cities. Their symbol is the mirrored sun of Gyros Lightbringer.
SERMONS: Sermons vary depending on location, in Sentinel the sermons are grand, formal affairs. Elsewhere they tend to focus more on group prayer and charity. They often play second fiddle to the farming calendar.
HOLY DAYS: Festival of the Light at Midsummer, Observance of Gyros Reborn at Midwinter.
ATTITUDE: This tends to vary by region; the Brotherhood in Sentinel tends to reflect the attitude of the Protectorate, elsewhere they are more open-minded and often work with other organisations in their charitable activities. The Brotherhood of Blackvale vies with the Philiaics for the best scholars and the most well stocked libraries.
RANKS: The Brotherhood has the largest number of Clerics of any church and they are known as Sun Brothers (Sun Fathers at higher levels). Monks and Bards are generally called Sun Callers. The church has a fairly large force of Fighters, Mages and Rangers tasked with protecting and escorting other priests and hunting down undead called Sun Bringers (The occasional Rogue or Barbarian has been known to join the Sun Bringers too) and an elite cadre of Paladins in Sentinel known as the Bright Guard.
The Protectorate operates mainly out of Sentinel but has some outposts as far west as Armoury. They are essentially a religious military force in service to Lupan the Protector. Their symbol is the mirrored White Wolf of Lupan the Protector.
SERMONS: Sermons are conducted with military efficiency and take the form of mass prayer, military drill and enforced self-denial such as fasting and rituals of endurance.
HOLY DAYS: The Fall is a day of mourning in honour of the death of First City. The Return is celebrated on the day the survivors first came down from Mount Sentinel and The Founding on the day the first foundation was dug of Sentinel City.
ATTITUDE: The Protectorate view most other religions as lacking in discipline and morality. They admire the Brotherhood of the Sun for their tireless charity and consider the Fortress of the Spirit their brothers in arms.
RANKS: Like any military organisation the Protectorate have many ranks but they are fairly clearly divided into divisions of Clerics and Monks (The Heart), Bards (The Voice), Scrying Wizards and Rangers and, very rarely, Rogues (The Eye) and a great army of Fighters and Paladins (The Arm).
Fortress of the Spirit
Less a religion than a legal and societal structure, the Fortress is the code of rules by which the Dwarves of Anvil live. It is dedicated to Kodir and features the mirrored hammer of Kodir the Builder as its symbol.
SERMONS: Dwarves attend a public reading of the Laws each morning and are expected to spend a portion of each evening in reading the various sub-clauses and codices.
HOLY DAYS: One day each year the laws are loosened for the Festival of Might where displays of bravery and ingenuity are performed amid a great feast and much drinking.
ATTITUDE: The Protectorate are considered to have their hearts in the right place, though their religiosity makes the Dwarves uncomfortable. The Philiaics seem to be trying but their strong links with magic are very suspicious. The rest are too flippant and lawless for the Dwarves’ taste.
RANKS: The Fortress numbers many Fighters, Monks and Rangers in its ranks. It also has a number of Dwarven Clerics and Paladins, though they consider themselves more agents of Kodir’s Law than priests and thus take the title of Jurisdictor (or at higher levels, Judex). A cadre of Sorcerers are kept for emergencies and are known as the Extremis.
Imperial Infitem Cult
The official state religion of the Armillian Empire is centred around the worship of Infii and Tempess as gods of fire, water and wind. Their symbol is the official Phoenix of the Empire grasping the symbol of Infii or Tempess in its claws.
SERMONS: Vary depending on the god being worshipped and the location within the Empire. For instance the mountain villages of the North-Eastern Kerrim people worship Tempess before high waterfalls and call for light snowfall and gentle winds. The great merchant sailing fleets worship on deck before each journey to bless the voyage with calm seas and clear skies. The nomadic tribes of the central desert worship Infii with pounding drums and feats of daring where young warriors leap over bonfires to prove their courage. In Infii’s Gate the worship takes place in grand ancient temples like amphitheatres open to the sky and ringed by great burning braziers where worshippers plead with Infii to hold back the desert that creeps ever closer to the city.
HOLY DAYS: Different groups have different days but two are universal – The Emperor’s birthday and the Day of the Calling that celebrates the day the Emperor was named Voice of the Gods and High Priest of the cult and it became the state religion.
ATTITUDE: The religions of the Five Cities mean little to the Empire. Their lack of respect for the Emperor and the ill-favoured worship of Gyros makes them unfit for consideration.
RANKS: All sorts of religious orders make up the Cult (including the entire Imperial military) but there are a few that are almost universal. These include the elite Sorcerers, Clerics and Paladins known as Fire, Wind and Water Warriors, the Fighters and Rogues of the Palace and Temple Guard, the Barbarians and Rangers that make up the mobile Desert Snakes units, the Bards of the various Temples - singers, players and sacred castrati and the tribal Druids and Clerics of the Desert and Grasslands.
Temple of the Balance
This mysterious religion thrives in the tunnels of GiXor, the heavily robed initiates are rumoured to include necromancers, assassins and thieves but the Temple also runs the largest free hospital in the Five Cities. Unsurprisingly it follows Olich Undivided and its symbol is both sides of the Hand of Olich.
Its sermons are unknown, but those who seek the services of the temple are usually required to perform a simple ritual involving a short trial of pain. Nothing is known about its holy days, attitude or ranks.
The Cult of GiGenera Reborn
This small cult is gaining followers in Ghalii’s Gate and the Gold Plains. They believe the disappearance of the Elves is a punishment for neglecting the worship of Genera. Their plan is to mount an expedition into the Unending Forest to restore the city of GiGenera to its former glory at which point they believe the Elves will return and bring joy and peace to the world. Their cult includes a few Druids and Rangers but most consider the cult’s ideas ridiculous. The cult’s inner circle includes a number of respectably powerful Clerics of Genera.
Makers of Wonder
This loosely run organisation claims Locus as their patron and is mainly made up of entertainers and inventors, usually, but not exclusively, Gnomes or Halflings. They see it as their mission to bring wonder and delight to the world through verse, pranks and fascinating contrivances. It’s impossible to say how big the Makers faith is – it may even rival the major religions in adherents. Illusionists, bards, rogues, acrobats, clowns, tinkerers and craftsmen have all been known to follow the precepts of the Makers of Wonder.