Jan 27, 2012

Religious Groups of Moragne: The Coiners

The Coiners are a relatively recent variant on the oldest and most enduring heresy in the church, Iconism. About fifty years ago, an engraver in Aemeth named Prudt claimed to have a divine vision in which he saw the Hidden God. He described him as an elderly giant with wings and rising from a throne over a mile in height, wielding a hammer and pick with which he hewed and smote raw earth to become the land of Moragne. It turned out that Prudt had been shaving coins for years, and using the excess silver and brass to mint special "holy coins" bearing a hammer and pick and baptised in a sacred oil which his disciples distributed freely amongst the poor of Moragne. This bought Prudt a lot of popularity, even though he was burnt within two years by civil authorities for heresy and debasing the coinage. Efforts to round up the heretical currency were seen as church-sanctioned theft, and led to riots in every major city north of the Vellingwood.

The pickpennies (as they are known) continue to circulate this day, though their use is frowned upon by royal and church assessors and they cannot be used to pay taxes. Prudt's disciples are still active across Moragne, though they are mainly found in the large cities and the unsettled fisc. They operate similarly to a criminal gang, stealing money, and either shaving it or melting it down to produce more pickpennies. Many peasants find it easier to conceive of the tangible, powerful god of Prudt's vision rather than the somewhat ethereal version the church proposes.

Runes:
Disorder, Earth

Common Magic:
Abacus, Armoursmith's Boon, Bludgeon, Fanaticism, Glamour, Pierce, Thunder's Voice

Divine Magic:
Bless Crops, Blessing (All Cult Skills), Cure Disease / Poison, Excommunicate, Gleam, Heal Wound, Illusion, Rain, Regenerate Limb, Sunspear

Myths:
Prudt's Vision (90%) - Behaviours: Work hard; Share everything you have, especially with the poor and unlucky; Be kind, just and decent to the faithful and potential converts, everyone else is a heretic and deserves what they get
Prudt's Life (65%) - Behaviours: Steal coins to make pickpennies, especially from nobles, churchmen and burghers; Spread the word of Prudt's holy vision; Work to undermine the false priests of the Hidden God

Cult Skills:
Combat Style (Pick and Shield), Craft (Any), Disguise, Influence, Lore (Coiners), Oratory, Pact (Coiners), Sleight, Stealth, Streetwise, Survival

Followers:

Lay Members - Anyone who receives a pickpenny and holds onto it is considered to be, at least by civil authorities, a sympathiser of the Coiners.

Proselytes - This is the lowest level at which one is truly considered, by other Coiners, to be a member of the church. A proselyte is expected to follow the laws Prudt set out in his letters to his faithful followers, mainly to work hard, to think of God in accordance with his vision, and to support and shelter those Coiners actively working to overthrow the false church. In practice, they typically blend in as hard-working members of their local community, usually in skilled trades where they will deal with cash. Their tithes are a tenth of all the coins they make in a year. They must also devote at least 1 point of POW to the Coiner's cult and swear an oath of loyalty.

Picks and Hammers - Picks are devout urban criminals, operating in almost every city and town north of Ethrikston. Hammers are rural bandits who rob travelers and provide protection to Coiner communities. Both must dedicate at least 3 points of POW to the cult, and must be skilled enough to possess at least five of the cult skills at 50% or greater, at least one of which must be the Pact skill. Picks and Hammers provide the backbone of the revolutionary and criminal network that the Coiners operate, and act as enforcers and templars for the Coiners. To become a Pick or Hammer, one must turn over at least 300 silver pieces to the Coiners in a single year.

Priests - Coiner priests are often former priests of the Church of the Hidden God, but even they must show their loyalty to the cult by serving time as either a Hammer or Pick. To reach this level, a priest must have five of the cult skills at 75% or greater, at least one of which must be the Pact skill. They must have dedicated at least 5 points of POW to the cult. Finally, they must have donated at least 750 sp to the cult in a single year for conversion into pickpennies.