Here is the announcement Keith Done posted at the Eldoria page on Facebook two hours ago:
Considering this is PR, I'm hoping Keith won't mind me cross-posting this here.Keith Done at the Eldoria page on Facebook wrote:I'm currently updating the Encyclopedia Eldoria for Pathfinder - mainly polishing the old version and adding character classes from Pathfinder to the section that deals with where character classes fit into Eldorian society.
My main efforts for the past 2 years have been finishing the "Reliquary". This is a larger book than the EE and features detailed information about the 27 religions, plus info for 27 artifacts (one kept by each church), In addition I have created a new kind of minor magic item called charms (inspired by Gurthor's ribbons often used in campaigns). These are small items blessed by the church that are activated by certain circumstances and reliant on a person's 'belief' to make them work.
I'll post some more about Charms next week. in the meantime here's a teaser from the 'Reliquary regarding the Ormocean Religion. All entries follow a similar format:
ORMOCEA God of Law
The Law Giver, Lord of the Tranquil Hand.
A middle-aged man with steel-grey hair and a close-trimmed beard. His eyes radiate prismatic light.
95% Male, 5% Female
Elkia, Tempest, Odressi, Llan and various degrees of legal representation in other lands (eg. Daugron Priests in Y’sira who have studied Ormocean Law).
Gaidezar, 12th Day of the Second Span of the March of Light
Light grey robe trimmed with white leather. High officials wear the “Sontaara” which is a stiff elaborate headdress.
A brass disc engraved with the Balance symbol.
Associations: Ormocea (God of Law) is the husband of Esmia. Siritar (God of Paladins) is their son. Together, the three are referred to as the Holy Trinity. Ormoceans have Recognition agreements within the other religions of their House and with the House of Life and the Theydori church (only) of the House of Secrets.
Basic Goal: The maintenance of law and order and vigilance against the incursion of Undead and Demons.
Religion Trait: Lover of the Law. You have a strong belief in the righteousness of law and justice. Benefit: You receive a +1 trait bonus on saves vs. charm and compulsion spells, and may make a new save with an additional +1 bonus (for a total of +2) if directed to act against the law.
The organized worship of Ormocea that followed the Darktime is said to have been started by the prophet Samroth, who received a vision of Ormocea, appearing to him out of the west and proclaiming that law and order would soon be returned to the troubled world. Samroth was directed to go forth and pave the way for the time of the Awakening so that the faithful would be able to travel to Kalidath when the Gods depart from Enshar.
Samroth dwelled in the fertile lands south of the Porgruu Bogs; a place settled largely by the Tarkians, a barbaric people who dominated north-west Sard at this time. Communities in this region were in constant danger of being destroyed due to endless wars between chieftains who controlled various parts of Porgruu.
Samroth preached the word of Ormocea for many years and, eventually, was able to convince Balagar (one of the more powerful local warlords) to adopt Ormocea as a form of ‘luck totem’. Under Balagar’s protection, the Priesthood of Ormocea began to flourish and missionaries spread the word the Wise to other communities. Samroth went on to discover the all-important Books of Law, which provided a great amount of lost lore concerning all of the Gods; their doctrines, beliefs, rituals and incantations. The Books of Law were found when followers of Samroth excavated a site in Jasper to build a temple to Ormocea. These relics not only asserted the dominance of the Ormocean church in the centuries to come but the knowledge contained within them caused an immediate intellectual renaissance, dragging the Human tribes out of eons of barbarism.
Although the lawful society that Samroth worked toward did not eventuate in his lifetime, the Priesthood he established continued to spread the word of Ormocea after his death and brought a lasting peace to the Tarkian clans. Later, the Ormoceans played a major role in the establishment of the Kingdom of Sardell, effectively becoming the power behind the throne of Eldoria’s greatest Empire. Many scholars say that the Ormocean church achieved true greatness with its early social reforms, particularly with its code of laws that governed all, regardless of station. However the acquisition of wealth and the pursuit of political power, by individuals of the faith, eventually caused great tension between the Ormoceans and the other religions of the House of Wisdom.
By the height of the Sardellan Empire, the Ormocean church had spread its teachings and laws to most realms of Eldoria, but had done so on the back of the imperial war-machine that the church publically supported. The Ormocean Priesthood, to a great degree, abandoned all pretence at having any moral rationale in justifying its activities in obtaining political control of the far-flung outposts of the Empire. The senior clergy thirsted for same power that the nobles of the Sardellan Empire pursued, with high Priests seeking appointments as regional governors as the Empire grew. Inevitably, there was a schism within the House of Wisdom, whereby the Esmian and Siritar faiths divorced themselves from the exploits of the senior House of their group.
Many theologians have drawn an association between the moral vacuum of the Ormocean church, the collapse of the Sardellan Empire and the years of bloody civil war that followed. It is suggested that, if the hierarchy of the church had not been so politically ambitious at a time when the Empire was left with no heir, a successor could have been put forth that all the Lords of Sardell supported and the Empire would have continued.
However, following the death of the Empress Taranae, who left no direct heir on the throne, the Ormoceans drew out the succession debate for nearly eight years, causing division amongst many factions. After several heated councils managed to bring the Empire to the brink of civil war, the church finally had the audacity to propose an heir of their own; a nobleman directly related to the Archbishop of the Ormocean church in Jasper. The powerbrokers walked away from the conference table and a century of bloody warfare followed. This was called the Kinstrife.
The chaos of the Kinstrife wars made it possible for the Ormocean church in Odressi to gain a more dominant role in affairs across Eldoria. Up until then, power had been firmly maintained by the temple in the Imperial capitol of Jasper but, as a result of the civil war, the Ormocean Orders throughout Sardell became fractured and the chapter in Odressi became prominent, Odressi being perceived as a neutral territory.
In the late 17th century R, Abbot Ormond Mordling was able to initiate reforms in the religion through the Congress of Odressi, stripping power from many of the senior clerics of the temples in former Sardell. In 1677R Mordling reunited the churches of the Holy Trinity and brokered a treaty that ended the Kinstrife, dividing Sardell into the lands of Sard and Elkia, giving political control of Sard to the lords allied with the Trezkillian faith and control of Elkia to the House of Wisdom.
In the following centuries there was a brief period of rivalry between the Ormocean temple in Odressi and their counterparts in Elkia but, by the 20th century R the situation had sorted itself out and the Odressi chapter of the religion emerged as the firm centre of Ormocean theology. The Ormocean church remains the most powerful religion of modern times. Despite the collapse of the Sardellan Empire, the Priesthood was able to entrench itself in many countries and attract a solid following. When Imperial troops withdrew from regions that they occupied, some countries rejected the Ormocean temples that had been established. However, few repealed the laws that the church had brought. If nothing else, the legacy of the Ormocean faith is that they have brought common laws to the realms of Eldoria.
The essential doctrine of the Ormocean church is one of creating an ordered society, by the introduction of its complex code of edicts, as laid out in the Second Book of Law. The edicts of the church promote moral values of obedience to superiors, so long as those superiors act within the defensible confines of Ormocean Law. The church promotes an attitude of compassion in most of its affairs but will readily adopt a strict and unrelenting composure with those who transgress the law and refuse to seek absolution.
Due to the complex integration and interpretation of the thousands of laws contained within the Second Book, Ormocean Priests can often come across as bureaucratic and uncaring, seeming to be more interested in getting the tiny fine-print of the law correct rather than seeing it applied in a fair and sensible manner.
A smaller but certainly important function of the church is its eternal battle against any incursion into the world of the Undead and the power of the Shadow. This is related in passages found in the First Book that describe of how Paradise was first spoiled when the Goddess Sirrith stole the Rune of Making from Phelltar and divided the loyalties of the High Lords. Ormocea cast the Pale Lady into the Prison of Shadowland and he and the followers of Ormocea have remained ever vigilant against Sirrith and her minions.
The church created a small, specialized Order, the Stormwatch, in 1165R. Their mission has been to root out evil and fight a subversive battle against those who would upset the moral foundations of Ormocean Law in society. One of the Stormwatch’s main duties has been to defend the Human realms against the incursions of the Sirrith cult, which has always had a small, but active following. The church has openly tried to have the cult ousted from Odressi, where it houses its only ‘official’ temple but the cult has always made sure no proof exists that it practices its beliefs in any other way than within the charter of the Congress of Odressi.
Behind the scenes, the Stormwatch and the cult of Sirrith trade blows, using plots and counter-plots to outguess the other. The Ormoceans strive to have the Sirrith cult proscribed, while the followers of Sirrith look for lore that will lead them to free the Queen of the Dead from her prison, so she can achieve dominion over the lands of Eldoria.
The supreme leader of the Ormocean church is the Patriarch of Odressi. The Patriarch is elected to the position for life upon the death or resignation of the former Patriarch. Beneath the Patriach are the Archbishops. Each Archbishop rules over the spiritual affairs of a specific region called a Protectorate. The Archbishop is usually based in a cathedral. Larger Protectorates are divided into smaller areas governed by bishops.
The Patriarch’s word is law but he is guided by the Council of the Wise that meets once every four years, in the weeks leading up to the Congress of Odressi. The Council is made up of the Archbishops of Odressi, Denhaven, Tempest and Quorull plus a fourth Archbishop elected by the Council for a period of six years.
The church maintains three distinct Chapters (as well as several smaller Orders). The three major Chapters are:
- The Immaculates
- The Choir
- The Justicators
The Immaculates are the heart and soul of the Ormocean church. They are the clergy who deliver sermons to the congregation, address the needs of their followers and run the routine administration of the church. They are the main section of the Ormocean faith which interacts regularly with the secular world.
The Choir are devoted to the maintenance of the articles of Ormocean Law. Each cathedral (and some of the larger areas administered by bishops) will have at least one Priest who acts as the Choir. His responsibility will be to keep an effective and easily accessible legal reference library and to be able to recite word-for word, the contents of any of the books and articles kept there. This is quite a remarkable feat considering that the standard library maintained by a Choir consists of a set of the Three Books of Law and 366 volumes of additional statutes and precedents derived from judicial rulings over the past 650 years (as ratified by the Council of the Wise)
The Choir often work closely with the Chapter of the Justicators whenever a high level Audit (judicial hearing) is held. Followers of the Order of Justicators administer Ormocean Law throughout the many Human countries that have adopted the Ormocean legal system after being conquered or becoming an ally of the Sardellan Empire. Although Justicators are usually devotees of the Ormocean church there are many secular Justicators in countries where the faith is not as strong but Ormocean Law is still the accepted means of dealing with disputes.
As acolytes, Justicators study law under the tutelage of the Choir and, upon obtaining an acceptable level of competency; they are given a posting to maintain the law in a designated community within an Ormocean Protectorate. They are responsible for arbitrating a wide range of claims and grievances, ranging from mercantile transactions to petty theft. Their decision on any issue is final unless an affected party opts to have the dispute taken to an Ormocean Audit (a higher court). In doing so, the person who requested an Audit hearing had better be sure of their case as they can be served with large fines and even imprisonment for wasting the time of the court.
Justicators do not handle matters that involve the loss of life. In these cases, they will undertake an initial investigation and detain any necessary suspects, but this information is automatically handed over to an Audit to preside over. Justicators usually work hand-in-hand with the local militia or town guard in order to make arrests. In regional areas, where these resources are not often available, a novice paladin may be seconded from one of the Ormocean Chapters to serve the Justicator for a set period.
The highest position that a Justicator can attain is that of a Truth-Seer, a magistrate who serves on a Supreme Audit. A Supreme Audit is made up of three senior Justicators who have served the church for more than twenty years and have sat on a minimum of five Audit hearings. While a normal Audit usually addresses criminal cases and appeals from rulings by Jusicators, Supreme Audits are reserved for hearings involving the clergy and nobility.
All Ormocean Priests wear vestments that are a light grey in color. A novice’s attire is quite plain, consisting of a woolen alb and cincture of brass links. When ordained as a Priest, the alb has white leather trim about the shoulders, sleeves and hem.
Archbishops wear a stiff leather mitre called a ‘sontarra’ and a chausible, with a white satin stole. The stole often has motifs of the church and offices achieved by the archbishop emblazoned upon it. The Patriarch wears a costume similar to an Archbishop, augmented by a decorative cope, embroidered with a representation of the Three Books of Law.
The holy symbol of the Ormocean church is an amulet, commonly made of brass and inscribed with a rune of balance or a picture of a set of scales. Senior members of the clergy often have silver or gold holy symbols.
Ormocean temples are reminiscent of the Greek Pantheon, having huge columns supporting the roof and surrounding a closed nave. The nave is an open area and has no seating for the congregation (except for pews set in niches in the walls for the elderly or infirm). The choir contains the altar and a raised pulpit and is usually divided from the nave by a low wooden partition. Statues depicting Ormocea are not common; instead, the central altar-piece is a large balance.
Priests who serve and administer the temple have accommodation and work areas located in buildings close to the main structure, often in complexes beneath the temple.
The most notable ritual of the Ormocean church is called Deathwatch. The church is obsessed with guarding against the incursion of the Undead. When a member of the faithful dies, a remembrance service is given at a location provided by the family of the deceased (most often the family home). This service commences at sundown and is followed by a formal meal. After the meal, the invited guests depart but a small group remains to sit an all-night vigil over the body with the Priest who gave the service. The group is often made up of members of the immediate family but can also include close friends.
The Priest will place various wards about the area to prevent any spirits or demons from possessing the body. At dawn a person employed by the Priest will dress as the Goddess Sirrith and command the corpse to rise and enter her service. In larger cities the role of Sirrith is played by an actor from a local group of players. Ormocean funeral services are a major source of income to Bardic conservatories across Eldoria. However, relatives and friends can also portray Sirrith at Deathwatch and it is considered an honor to be asked to play the role.
Ormocea created two Uushai, the twins Maedrannis and Maedrah. Maedrannis appears as a middle-aged angel, robed in white. He is epitome of righteousness and will not tolerate injustice or the breaking of the Laws of Ormocea. Maedrah, his sister, is more chaotic in nature and is prone to ‘bending’ the Law in order to receive a result, so long as the cause is not aligned to evil. The two Uushai represent the balance that is associated with their deity. They are the ‘yin and yang’ of Ormocea.