Jan 30, 2012

The Holy Universal Church of the Revelation in Moragne

I decided to do fantasy Catholicism right when I created Moragne. Rather than a pantheon of Greco-Norse pastiches with pseudo-Catholic trappings, I decided to create an all-encompassing, monotheistic church that resembles Catholicism (theologically, it's actually quite similar to medieval Islam as well) without being quite identical to it. This was part of my overall goal to create a high fantasy medieval Europe setting, something I thought MRQII really lacked (Deus Vult was really low fantasy, and just a bit too historical for my tastes).

Most of the population of Moragne are modestly pious members of the Revelation Church (RC). This is the national branch of the religion, the leaders of which answer to the Pope in Bithistia far to the south-east. The church is about 1215 years old, and worships the Hidden God, who it claims is the creator of the world and the ultimate source of magic, but who does not manifest or interfere directly in the world. The church claims a messiah named Barnabas discovered the existence of the Hidden God, spoke with It to discover Its true wishes for Its creation, and then was killed by an ancient empire (the Raenil Empire) after teaching a few disciples what he had learnt. The Hidden God has not spoken directly to anyone since, though occasional miracles, omens, and angelic visits occur.

The church collects its teachings in a holy book called the Aleuthia, a collection of prophecies, stories, gospels about Barnabas’ life, and correspondence from the early church fathers who took over from him. Most copies in Moragne are written in Church Thernish or Raenil, which only a few people read.

This organisation represents the main body of the church, and is compatible with membership in its various
sects.

Runes: 
Infinity, Magic, Mastery

Common Magic: 
Bearing Witness, Countermagic, Demoralise, Detect Infidels and Apostates, Detect Magic, Fate, Heal, Light, Protection, Second Sight, Skybolt, Thunder’s Voice

Divine Magic: 
Bless Crops, Blessing, Consecrate, Cure Disease / Poison, Dismiss Magic, Excommunicate, Exorcism, Fear, Heal Wound, Lightning Strike, Regenerate Limb, Shield

Myths:
Commandments of the Aleuthia (50%): Don’t Lie, Don’t Steal, Don’t Murder; Show Mercy and Kindness to Everyone; Don’t Worship Idols or Images of God; Only Worship God

Teachings of the Church Fathers (60%): Lying to and Killing Heretics and Infidels is Fine; Confess Your Sins Regularly, Tithe to the Church, Don’t Rebel Against Your Superiors; Spread the Faith, Defer to the Church on Religious Issues

Cult Skills: 
Influence, Insight, Language (Any), Lore (Theology: Hidden God), Meditation, Oratory, Pact (Hidden God), Persistence, Sing, Teaching

Followers:

Lay Members – Legally, everyone in Moragne is a member of the Revelation Church. Lay members have been baptised, are required to attend confession at least once a year, to obey the spiritual commands of the church and are expected to donate generously to the upkeep of their local church. Lay followers may learn cult common magic spells up to magnitude 3 and the cult skills by paying full price.

Canons / Curates / Vicars / Sextons / Oblates (Initiate) – These low-ranking ecclesiastical offices can be obtained either by paying 1200 silver pence to the local bishop or by demonstration of merit to the priest responsible for a parish, who may award them at his discretion. The candidate must have five or more of the cult skills at 30% or more, two of which must be Lore (Theology: Hidden God) and Pact (Hidden God) and must swear to obey his superiors within the church. Anyone of this rank or higher in the church has the right to be tried in ecclesiastical court instead of civil court for any crimes they may commit. They may learn cult common magic spells up to any magnitude, cult divine magic spells up to the Initiate level and all cult skills from the church.

Priest (Acolyte) – Most members of the clergy are priests. Most are assigned to specific parishes, manors or bishoprics and their responsibilities vary widely based on the assignment. To become a priest, one must have read the Aleuthia and must either pay 7200 silver pence or demonstrate one’s merit to a local bishop. The demonstration requires the candidate to have five or more of the cult’s skills at 50%, two of which must be Lore (Theology: Hidden God) and Pact (Hidden God). Priests are entitled to officiate at any sacrament, to be safe from violence unless they attack first, to be tried in ecclesiastical court for any crimes they commit, to be ransomed if captured in war, and to be given shelter and aid by any fellow priest when reasonable. They must remain celibate, eschew violence against their fellow believers, work for the good of the church, and obey the orders of their superiors in the church. Priests may learn cult common magic spells up to any magnitude at half the normal price, cult divine magic spells up to the Acolyte level at full price and all cult skills at half the normal price. Priests and churchmen of higher rank cannot be legally compelled to pay any taxes or tolls (the church as a whole pays a yearly lump sum to the king instead). 

Bishops / Arch-Bishops / Cardinals (Rune Priest) – These are ascending ecclesiastical ranks, but the level of miraculous power is equal between all three. To become a bishop requires a payment of 240,000 pence, to become an arch-bishop requires a payment of 480,000 pence, and to become a cardinal requires 2,400,000 pence paid to the College of Cardinals in Bithistia. Otherwise, a candidate must possess the Influence, Oratory, Persistence, Lore (Theology: Hidden God), and Pact (Hidden God) skills at 85% or higher and must convince a high official of the church (either a cardinal or the Pope himself) to award them the office for great service. Officers of the church are considered gentlemen regardless of the circumstances of their birth. 

They will be given a territory as their special jurisdiction with the right to income from it both for personal enrichment and the betterment of the church’s prospects. Officers of the church may learn all cult skills and any cult common magic spells to any magnitude for free, and all cult divine magic spells up to Rune Priest level at half price.

Confessor / Servant of God – Any individual who has the Lore (Theology: Hidden God) and Pact (Hidden God) skills at 100% and is in communion with the Revelation Church is may be personally recognised by the Pope as a “Confessor” or “Servant of God” and is treated as a living saint. The individual is above all temporal authority, and may learn any cult skill, cult common magic spell or cult divine magic spell for free. All members of the church are to assist them in any non-sinful way they require.