Campaign of the Month: October 2010
Wyrmshadow Campaign Setting
Wyrmshadow - Religions
Draconism – Faith in Justice
The fact that Draconites call themselves an Order is not for mere aesthetic purposes. No, order is, in fact, the very basis of their faith.
Founded by remnants of the Order of Hyronius, the Order of Draconius was established by Vikter Van Drake and Fliq Nerino at the end of the Age of the Shadow. Based upon the teachings and guidance of Draconius, the deity who once walked Wyrmshadow as the human paladin of Hyronius, Sir Drogyn Martok, Draconism is a form of religious belief built upon a foundation of structure, law, discipline, and above all, justice.
The Righteous Must Be Praised With Ascension.
Those who serve in the interest of others above themselves, those who make sacrifices in the name of justice, in the name of their nations, in the name of their families, should be adored by their peers and elevated among them. Heroes must be treated as heroes. To do otherwise is akin to insulting the God of Justice himself.
The Strong Must Defend The Weak.
Those who are capable of protecting others must use that strength whenever necessary to defend those who are incapable of protecting themselves. The farmer who takes up his pitchfork in defense of his family is just as valiant in Draconius’s eyes as the trained soldier who takes up his sword in defense of the law. Valor is not dependent upon social status, but upon the willingness to do the right thing, even when it does not offer any other benefit than to aid others.
The War Must Be Fought By The Willing.
This tenet is meant to be taken in two ways. First, any war must be entered not by the wealthiest landowner for the sake of lining his coffers, but by the consensus in the interest of defense. Second, when war is called for, true Draconites should be willing to serve in defense of their families, their lands, their nations, and their god. However, no one should ever be forced to fight for a cause which he does not believe in. For those who desert war, judgment will be levied by Draconius, and weight will be given to the merit of the deserter’s position.
The Wicked Must Be Brought To Justice.
It is the solemn duty of all Draconites to ensure that all enemies of justice, all criminals, all those who would plot against the sanctity of life in Wyrmshadow must face justice. However, even more important is to remember that none of those who walk on Wyrmshadow are worthy of deciding what is or is not just without providing the accused with an opportunity to be proven innocent or guilty. The final judgment falls always to the Order of Draconius and its Judges.
The Law Must Be Upheld By All.
Nobody, no matter the title or wealth, no matter the position of authority, is above the law. Similarly, nobody is exempt from their solemn duty to uphold the law. Witnessing a crime and not reporting it is a sin in the eyes of Draconius. This fifth Great Tenet is, by far, the one that is most often overlooked, much to the chagrin of the God of Justice himself.
The five Great Tenets of Draconism include:
The Order of Draconius is the name of the religious body of priests, paladins, and others who have sworn to uphold the Word of Draconius and enforce these five Great Tenets. However, most followers of Draconism consider themselves members of the Order, and often wear the trademark silver, blue, and gold accent of the Order when they attend weekly temple services.
Ryssism – Faith in Balance
Followers of the God of Nature are determined guardians of choice, stalwart believers in freedom, and zealous lovers of liberty.
Founded by remnants of the Church of Ehlon, Ryssism was founded by Farah Gremioh at the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment. Based upon the guidance and wisdom of the God of Nature, Ryss, who once walked Wyrmshadow as the Weren Ursite Ranger, Boris Silverstem, Ryssism is a form of religious belief built upon a foundation of self-reliance, introspection, respect for nature, and above all else, freedom.
Mind Your Own Business.
Ryssites do not like others trifling in their personal affairs, and they tend not to trifle in the affairs of others. It should be noted that the “business” of family and close friends can be considered one’s own, as their interests and goals are in line with one’s own, and thus any who tamper with said interests could be considered as if they are tampering in one’s own.
Waste Not, Want Not.
There isn’t much that aggravates a Ryssite more than seeing someone kill just to kill, destroy just for the sake of destroying, or cry about what they want while they have no appreciation of all that they already have. Most Ryssites are not materialist, not interested in riches or amassing wealth or social prominence, but in merely doing “good enough” to get through life. As a result, most Ryssites life a simple life and seem to be happier with less than it would take to make others happy.
Don’t Start Fights That Don’t Need Starting.
Ryssites aren’t afraid of combat, but they are also uninterested in seeking out conflict when there are other ways to resolve a problem. For example, a Ryssite would rather let a thief get away with a paltry sum of gold than take the “poor bastard’s” head off. It is only money, after all. However, if that money was to pay for something important, or if the thief caused personal harm to the Ryssite in the course of the theft, the fight is deemed necessary, which brings us to the fourth Great Tenet of Ryssism.
Show No Mercy To Those Who Would Show None To You.
Ryssites tend to be terrible people to have as enemies. This Tenet is an extension of the Mantra: “Survival of the Fittest”. If a person has wronged the Ryssite enough to provoke a fight, then the Ryssite is inclined to do whatever is in his or her power to put a permanent end to the threat this person has caused. If it was merely a theft, then the Ryssite may leave the thief naked and alone in the woods with a warning never to show his face again. If it was a more serious offense, the Ryssite would feel no guilt in ending the perpetrator’s life. To their reckoning, if that person was meant to survive, he shouldn’t have crossed the Ryssite to begin with.
Don’t Let Anyone Boss You Around.
This last Great Tenet is what puts Ryssism at odds with Draconism, as the two seem to negate one another. However, according to Farah Gremioh, the founder of Ryssism, nothing about this tenet gives the Ryssite free reign to commit criminal acts against others, as the first Tenet precludes that. This Tenet essentially declares that the Ryssite will not be made subject to arbitrary policies from random people who he or she has never met and will never know. To Ryssites, laws and rules are constructs of desperation by citified bureaucrats and politicians. The real world that the Ryssites live in only requires the Five Great Tenets of Ryssism to survive.
The five Great Tenets of Ryssism include:
Ryssites do not have formal temples, nor do they gather on specific times or in specific manners to worship. There are priests, but they do not sit in rectories or gather flocks of followers. They walk the hard earth and traverse the deep forests, swim the waters and climb the mountains, just like everyone else. For Ryssites, the whole of Wyrmshadow is their temple, and the great, open skies above are their shrine to the God of Nature.
Veilism – Faith in Death
Followers of the God of Death are very, very few. Death, for millennia, has been equated with conceptual evil, and thus far more are inclined to fear the God of Death than are inclined to worship him as their chosen deity.
The only formal devotees to Veil are not members of a church or other such religious body. They gather not to lavish their god with praise or ask their god’s favor. Though some claim to be Veilites merely for the notoriety brought on by such claims, and still others cling to Veilism as a false pretext for their murderous natures, true Veilites follow the path of the Redemptive Vale.
Prior to the return of the Shadow Knight, Silas Vale was known to current Veilites as the Malignant Vale. At that time, though Silas Vale did indeed have love and devotion for his god, the then God of Death, Nerhul, his faith was twisted, his understanding of his god’s purpose and desires warped by Vale’s deceptive puppet-master, the archdemon Testament. However, when Vale returned to life over two decades later, he was known to current Veilites as the Redemptive Vale. At this time, Silas understood the true nature of the God of Death, its neutrality, its compassion, and its utter necessity. As Silas Vale transcended his mortal coil and took on the role of the God of Death, he became Veil, and a devotion to the Redemptive Vale’s teachings began to foster a small, yet vocal following.
Unlike Ryssism and Draconism, Veilism does not have a list of tenets attached to it. Rather, anything that controverts the natural process of death, such as necromancy and the wanton murder of the innocent, would be considered a sin worthy of Veil’s attention, and the Veilite’s as well. There are two main sects of Veilism: The Black Wing Sect and the Death’s Scythe Sect. The Black Wings oversee every graveyard and cemetery in all of Wyrmshadow. The Death’s Scythe Sect travel the width and breadth of Wyrmshadow in pursuit of those who would defile Veil’s covenant and disrupt the natural process of death.