gvdammerung writes "Not an overtly religious nation, Furyondy is yet allied with the theocracy in Veluna. To an extent Furyondy lets Veluna do their praying for them, while Furyondy concentrates on the martial arts Iuz, among others, demand. Still, Furyondian faith is strong, both generally and by specific class.
Religion in Furyondy
by Glenn Vincent Dammerung (aka GVDammerung)
Furyondy has never made a great show of religion. A tolerance for religious practice has been a component of Furyondy’s belief in individual liberty and weal. At the same time, the alliance with Veluna has given Furyondians a sense that they are a religious nation. Velunese religious sentiment has been strongly felt throughout Furyondy’s history, though rarely in strictly or overtly religious terms. Veluna’s advice and alliance is that of a theocratic state. It is not necessary for Veluna to preach to Furyondy. Both nations share a similar outlook that favor’s weal and Rao. While Furyondian religious practice is uniquely its own, it is yet not so different from that of Veluna. Indeed, until Prince Thrommel disappeared, Furyondy and Veluna were prepared to join together in a union that would see the King of Furyondy rule in matters secular, while the Canon of Veluna ruled in matters spiritual.
The Worship of Rao
It would be inaccurate and overly simplistic to say that Furyondy has a dominant faith. It is accurate to say that if the worship of any deity would come close to this, it would be the worship of Rao. God of peace, reason and serenity, Rao appeals to all that is good in the Furyondian national character. Furyondy has never started a war of aggression and desires only peaceful relations with other nations, perhaps because it has known so much conflict. Furyondians also believe that reason, not passion, should guide policy. Furyondy abhors fundamentalism of any stripe as essentially ignorant and spiteful. Rao appeals to Furyondy’s best sense of itself.
What prevents a greater acceptance of Rao is the warrior spirit of Furyondy’s Oeridian founders that still quickens the nation. Rao’s emphasis on serenity can grate on Furyondy’s Oeridian nerves. While desiring peace, Furyondy is quick to defend itself or others, to oppose oppression and to make just war. This aspect of the Furyondian national character is anything but serene. Furyondians are an intensely passionate people not given to long meditations on what should be done. As one saying has it, "Others talk. Furyondy acts."
The counsel of the priests of Rao is, however, always sought and there is great reverence for Rao among all classes, even if each individual class may ultimately prefer another deity as patron in the strictest personal sense. The great Cathedrals of Rao in Chendl, Willip and Littleberg are always well attended and packed on Rao’s religious holidays.
The Worship of Heironeous
Among the noble class, the worship of Heironeous is preeminent. God of chivalry, honor, justice and valor, Heironeous represents everything the feudal nobility of Furyondy believe in, or that they say they believe in. Heironeous is the paladin’s deity and the knight’s deity. The feudal noble class enshrines the virtues of knighthood and the chivalric ideal. While Rao is worshiped in more general ways, the worship of Heironeous is very personal to his adherents in Furyondy.
As the chief deity among the noble classes, Heironeous has some lesser appeal to the lower classes. The reality of everyday life in a feudal society, even an enlightened one, leaves not so much time for the ideals Heironeous personifies. The nobles are also not so much inclined to see the peasant, yeoman or merchant classes adopt the worship of Heironeous. Furyondian nobles see themselves as holding a special place in society and the worship of Heironeous is held equally special to them. While no temple of Heironeous will turn away a non-noble worshiper, there is no attempt made to gain such followers.
The Worship of Trithereon
Trithereon is the favored deity of the peasant and yeoman classes. God of individuality, liberty and retribution, Trithereon speaks directly to the character of the Furyondian peasant and yeoman. The Furyondian love of freedom and individual liberty is nowhere better expressed than in the peasantry. In this way, Furyondy is remarkably different than many feudal realms. Furyondian peasants have hard lives but they are not oppressed. The nobility makes no attempt to oppress the lower classes, food is ample and the peasantry and yeomen would not tolerate being treated poorly. The Furyondian peasant is more than a body working a field or spinning wheel. A peasant is still a Furyondian. And no Furyondian will tolerate being oppressed. This is a unique source of Furyondy’s strength. Unlike other feudal realms that may restrict peasants’ access to arms from a fear of rebellion, Furyondian peasants are expected to bear arms and bear them well. A armed populace is a sure defense of liberty. This social compact is perhaps unique in the Flanaess and the worship of Trithereon is an expression and endorsement of the common Furyondian’s love of individuality and liberty.
At the same time, there is a darker side to the peasant mentality. Where clerics of Heironeous preach to the nobility of chivalry, the peasants’ hard life leaves little time for such niceties. A peasant is less concerned with ideas of chivalry and more concerned with retribution when he or she is wronged. Clerics of Trithereon, who preach retribution and a right thereto, understand the reality of subsistence farming. When the peasant is wronged, it is not his or her honor that is offended. The margin of the peasant’s life is such that the wrong is a affront to the peasant’s continued existence and prosperity. Retribution must be swift, sure and sufficiently effective, even brutal, to send a clear warning to the offender not to further transgress. Where a noble is refined and subtle, the peasant is simple and direct. Wrong me and I will extract my price from you.
Noble and Peasant
While there is a remarkable social cohesion in Furyondy as regards religion and respect for liberty and personal freedom, the fundamental differences in the lives of the upper and lower classes guarantee that any agreement is a only of a general kind. The nobility regards the peasantry as crude and obsessed with petty vendettas. The peasantry see the nobility as snobs, more concerned with forms than the substance of a matter. Trithereon and Heironeous mirror both the similarities and differences. It is the marvel of other nations that from such diversity grows tremendous strength. Woe be to he or she who thinks to profit from class differences. A son or daughter of Furyondy is a Furyondian first, noble or peasant.
The Worship of Pelor
Pelor is a deity whose popularity is growing among all classes. God of the sun, strength, light and healing, Pelor combines something of Rao with a more martial flavor. The Oeridian blood of Furyondy understands and appreciates strength, albeit only so long as it is not an abusive or bullying strength. The growth of the faith of Pelor has been strongly waxing for some time on this account. The role of the clerics of Pelor in the Furyondian Civil War has, however, catalyzed the growth of the church of late. In many churches of Rao, Pelor is being treated as something of a subsidiary deity - an ally of Rao. This practical alliance of faiths appears not to discomfit the clerics of either deity and reflects the popularity and close practice of the churches of Rao and Pelor in Veluna.
The Worship of Zilchus
Any discussion of religion in Furyondy cannot fail to mention the worship of Zilchus. God of merchants, the worship of Zilchus is common among that class, particularly among the notoriously penurious and usurious merchants of the Duchy of Gold Country. Outside of the southlands, however, the worship of Zilchus is frowned upon by noble and peasant alike. Sharp practices have endeared the Furyondian merchant to no one. "I thought Dyvers declared independence." "I think the Lord Mayor of Greyhawk is looking for you." These are snide remarks and asides that dog merchants, often heard, but rarely made to a merchant’s face. While merchants are recognized as a necessity and are respected for their very necessary contributions to Furyondy, there remains an ill ease with their commercial ways. "Liberty can be neither bought nor sold," sums up the suspicion of merchants. They are suspect for placing pecuniary gain above the ideals or good of the nation. Merchants must always prove themselves in Furyondy and answer an unstated question, "What won’t you sell?"