Taras writes "The Imperial Orthodox Church stands as the richest, most powerful, and largest of the Pholtine churches that rose to prominence with the Aerdi. Read on, and learn more of the heresy of Monotheistic Aerdy.
Author: Taras Guarhoth (email@example.com)
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
Imperial Orthodox Church
Location: Aerdi Imperium (based in Mentray, Medegia)
High Priest: Pontiff Spidasa of House Garasteth, Holy
Censor of Medegia
Holy Book: The Book of Arnd (Medegian Version)
Symbol: The Imperial Aerdi Sunburst done in electrum
The Imperial Orthodox Church is the official faith of the Aerdi
Imperium. The Holy Censor of Medegia is one of the chief advisors
of the Overking, and crowns each new Overking. As the official
faith of the Imperium, the Imperial Orthodox Church enjoys a number
of benefits, including lands, taxes, and titles of nobility for
it’s leadership. The Imperial Orthodox Church has enjoyed
this position since before the founding of the Aerdi Imperium
in 1CY, leading many to believe that it’s leaders have gotten
greedy and slothful.
History: Officially, the Imperial Orthodox Church was
founded in to 1CY with the crowning of the first Overking, although,
in reality, it existed long before that, as the Orthodox Church
of the Aerdy. At the height of the Imperium, the Imperial Orthodox
Church held the feifs of Voll, Almor, Medegia, and the Pale. With
the rebellion of Ferrond, the first major schism formed within
the Church, as the newly crowned King Thrommel I effictevly removed
the Imperial Orthodox Church from control of the clergy within
the lands of Ferrond, including the lands of Voll. Eventually,
the Church in those lands completely seperated, and became the
Royal Orthodox Church of Ferrond (which later broke into several
separate churches). The second major schism came when the junior
branch of House Rax defected from the Imperium, taking Nyrond
with them. The Church itself suffered a split at this time, as
the Nyrondese nobles began to purge the Church in their territory
of those still loyal to Aerdy. This led the Pale to rebel against
Nyrond, and further split the Church. Almor remains a special
case, for while it never officially split from the Imperial Orthodox
Church, it remains completely autonomous in the wake of the Nyrondese
split. Today, the Imperial Orthodox Church, while still the largest
of the Pholtine churches in existence, is no longer the monolithic
entity that it once was.
The Imperial Orthodox Church
Clergy: Specialty Priests
Clergy’s Align.: Any non-Chaotic
The clergy of the Imperial Orthodox Church is composed of specialty
priests, who are either devoted to Pholtus himself or belong to
one of the various orders devoted to one or more of the saints.
The specialty priest given below is only intended for those who
are not members of these orders devoted to the saints, which is
where the non-lawful members of the clergy can be found.
All members of the clergy gain Religion (Oeridian) and Languages
(Aerdi) as bonus proficiencies. Those not part of a particular
order gain Etiquette as a bonus proficiency as well. Different
orders of the Church will be detailed later, as well as their
Dogma: There is but one god, Pholtus. His will is to
be followed. Those who serve him well will gain a place by his
side in the afterlife. Those who do not serve him will be consigned
to the clutches of the Reaper. Pholtus led his chosen people,
the Aerdi, out of the terrors of the Twin Cataclysms, though the
guidance of his prophet, Arnd. It was Pholtus who guided the first
Overkings to build an empire. By following the will of the most
holy Pholtus, the Aerdi will remain the greatest of peoples in
the Flanaess. He led the Aerdi to victory, and will ensure that
the Aerdi remain victorious as long as they continue to follow
Day-to-Day Activities: The Imperial Orthodox Church
runs a number of monasteries around the Aerdi Imperium, as well
as orphanages and missions. In addition, the Church is responsible
for the governing of the fief of Medegia. A number of smaller
clerical fiefs exist within the bounds of the Aerdi Imperium,
located within larger fiefs, such as the Bone March or South Province.
The clergy of the church typically spends their days administering
the clerical lands of the Imperium, caring for those at their
missions and orphanages, dealing with the public (and preaching
to them) at their cathedrials and churches, or working the lands
of the monastaries. Other activities carred on include copying
of manuscripts (typically books important to the faith), performing
special ceremonies for the faithful, and drilling the clerical
troops and staffing the courts of the Imperium.
Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Every Godsday, the faithful
(and some of the semi-faithful) gather in the cathedrials and
chapels of the Imperial Orthodox Church to worsip in the morning.
The following is a sampling of some of the important holy days
of the church. This is NOT an exhaustive list. Nearly every day
has some significance to the Church, although many of these are
of minor importance.
The Day of Remembrance (Readying 1) - observed in remembrance
of those who have fallen in the service of the Church. Typically,
solemn ceremonies are held in cemeteries, often involving sorrowful
The Day of Cleansing (Flocktime 15) - on this day, the
faithful of the Church are expected to repent of their sins.
The Festival of the Blinding Light (Wealsun 1-4) - a time
of revelry and feasting. Worship services are conducted each day
at noon, followed by a large feast.
Midsummer’s Day (Richfest 4) - after worship services
at noon, the rest of this day is typically spent relaxing with
family and friends. The grounds of most church lands are open
to the public on this day. It is expected that the day will be
spent in quiet contemplation of the teachings of the Church.
Festival of Hope (Ready’Reat 7) - this is a traditional
day of atonement for all the petty sins committed in the previous
year by the clergy. This is usually accomplished through extra
vigilance in the care of the destitute.
Major Temple: The Imperial Orthodox Church has cathedrals
and chapels throughout the lands of Aerdy, and even some lands
that have broken from the Great Kingdom. The grandest cathedrals
are those located in the large cities of Aerdy, with the greatest
among them found in Mentray, Rauxes, and Rel Astra. Mentray holds
an extensive set of impressive and exquisite cathedrals, monastaries,
and other institutions. It is here that the Imperial Orthodox
Church’s bureaucracy has it’s headquarters, where judges
are appointed, doctrine decided upon, and the other affairs of
the church run. Second only to Mentray, the cathedral in Rauxes
is truly a work of art. It is here that Overkings are crowned
within it’s cavernous sanctuary, and the bodies of fallen
Overkings lie in state before their burial. Rel Astra, oldest
and greatest of the Aerdi cities, was once the headquarters of
the Orthodox Church of the Aerdy. As such, impressive, ancient
cathedrals stand in the center of the city, many still bearing
the silvery disk symbol from before the crowning of Nasran of
Cranden in 1CY. Collected in these places is an impressive array
of artwork, manuscripts, and precious metals and gems, all the
result of the many centuries of the church’s domination of
the faith of the people of Aerdy.
Affiliated Orders: The Imperial Orthodox Church has
a number of orders within it, devoted to various saints of the
church. Among these are aroders devoted to St. Hextor, St. Hieroneous,
St. Zilchus, and the other important powers of the Aerdi.
Priestly Vestments: Priests of the Imperial Orthodox
Church wear robes of pure white when conducting their ceremonies,
with gold or silver trim to denote status within the church. Silver
is used on the robes of Abbots, Bishops, and other minor leaders
among the church. Gold is used on the robes of the high ranking
clergy, including Archbishops, the Prelate of Almor, the Holy
Censor, and the Cardinals who head the bureaucracy. In addition,
the holy symbol held by the clergymen is modified by the priest’s
position in the church. Abbots have a crescent moon etched in
the center of the sunburst. Bishops have the same crescent moon,
although it is made of gold and inset into the electrum starburst.
The symbol used by Archbishops is the same as the one used by
bishops, although the tips of the sunburst are also made of gold.
Cardinals have a smaller coppery sunburst inset into the center
of the larger electrum sunburst. The Prelate of Almor has a copper
battlement inset across a platinum disk, while the Holy Censor
bears the golden sea-lion of Medegia inset in a platinum disk
trimmed about it’s edges with gold. Priests in the fief of
Almor will have a battlement etched across the silvery disk, to
denote their separate hierarchy, while those in the See of Medegia
will have their symbols trimmed about the edge in gold. Judges
of the Sessions have a twin scale symbol done in copper inset
into the silver disk of their holy symbol, while the three Primes,
the chief justices of Aerdy, who has his symbol trimmed in copper.
The various other orders of the church often have their own modifications
to the symbols used by their priests, as well.
Adventuring Garb: There is no set dress code for priests,
although most tend to favor the heavier armors, with a sunburst
symbol etched or inlaid in the breastplate, identical to the one
they use in their ceremonies.
Hierarchy: The Holy Censor is the head of the Imperial
Orthodox Church. Directly beneath him are the Archbishops, Cardinals,
and (in theory) the Prelate of Almor (who heads his own hierarchy
of Archbishops and Cardinals). The Archbishops oversee various
regions, from the size of fiefs (such as Ratik or the Bone March)
to portions of fiefs (typically major cities, such as Rel Astra
and Pontylver). Below the Archbishops, Bishops administer smaller
portions of the Archbishop’s region. Abbots are below the
Bishops, and administer individual monastaries, cathedrals, or
small tracts of land. Cardinals, who answer only to the Holy Censor,
administer the bureaucracy of the church, and choose the next
Holy Censor, with the approval of the Overking in Rauxes.
Priests of the Imperial Orthodox Church
(Specialty Priests of Pholtus)
Requirements: Wisdom 12 or Charisma 12
Prime Req.: Wisdom
Alignment: Any non-Chaotic (usually lawful)
Weapons: Any blunt
Armor: Any (plate preferred)
Major Spheres: All, Combat, Divination, Guardian, Healing,
Law, Necromantic, Protection, Sun
Minor Spheres: Charm, Summoning, War, Wards
Magic Items: As a Cleric
Required Proficiencies: Read/Write (Aerdi)
Bonus Proficiencies: Religion (Oeridian), Language (Aerdi),
Turn Undead: Yes
The clergy is open to all races, although only humans, half-elves,
and (rarely) half-orcs can rise to the rank of Archbishop, be
appointed as Judges of the Sessions, or become Cardinals. Only
full humans can become head of one of the major clerical fiefs.
At first level, the priest gains a +1 to all saves vs. enchantment/charm
and fear spells and effects.
At third level, the priest can cast Dispel Darkness once per day.
At fifth level, the priest can cast Glow once per day.
At ninth level, the priest can cast Reflect once per day.
At eleventh level, the priest can cast Holy Word once per day.
Note: Aerdy, Almor, Medegia, Pholtus, Second Edition"