Wyrd of the Kingdoms of Kalamar
Alignment and Religion
As indicated on page 7 of the Delving Deeper Adventurer’s Handbook, an alignment is a side in the great cosmic struggle, not a personal moral code or a personality. While there are three major sides to the Great War, these are not the only possible alignments, and others may become apparent in the course of play.
Characters who choose an alignment (other than “unaligned”) have a couple of benefits. The first is that they may expect aid from others of their alignment. One who has been faithful to their alignment and has a 15 or greater Wisdom may even invoke divine aid, even if not a cleric! They also gain the ability to speak their alignment tongue. Much as Latin served as a common tongue for the Medieval Catholic priests on earth, so Lawful serves as a common tongue for the servants of Law in Tellene.
Of course, there are also drawbacks: Being aligned with one side automatically gains the enmity of the other(s). In addition, one aligned with Law (for example) is expected to provide aid to the followers and causes of Law, even to the point of spending one’s own treasure rather than seeking monetary reward. And one becomes vulnerable to certain magical effects directed against those of one’s own alignment. Many footloose adventurers prefer to remain Unalgined rather than choose sides as a result.
The descriptions below describe only the religions and cults commonly known in Pekal. Players wishing to play a character belonging to a different faith than those described should consult the Referee, as Tellene has many other groups and powers in it.
The alignment of order, civilization, and (it’s opponents claim) banality. Most civilized nations claim to be Lawful, though the truth is often more complicated. While the dictates of Law often correspond to what mortal men think of as “good,” there are of course many abuses of the Law by the unscrupulous. Nevertheless, Law is probably the “safest” alignment for mortals.
The Church of the Law is vast and well-organized, encompassing several organizations and the Powers they worship. Whether these Powers are gods in their own right or the Holy Messengers of Heaven is a subject of much debate in the Church, and one which the Powers themselves are ill-inclined to answer. In Pekal, the primary orders of the Church are:
- The Halls of the Valiant, which serve Deb’fo, the Swift Sword and Knight of the Gods. The Servants of the Swift Sword include many knights and militant clerics who have dedicated their lives to holding the line against the forces of Chaos. The Spring and Fall equinoxes are especially holy times for the Servants.
“A coward dies a thousand times, a brave man only once.”
- The Home Foundation, which uphold the teachings of Taladari the Holy Mother. The Brotherhood of Industry is active in the lives of Pekal’s farmers and crafters, and leave their monestaries and convents to take an active role in the harvests. The Brotherhood has no militant wing, but the blessing of its priests is a powerful protection for the common folk.
“All that is good in the world can be traced back to a loving family.”
“Dreams don’t build themselves.”
- The Church of Life’s Fire worships Regorike the Raiser, also called the Farmer’s Wife and the Midwife. Some believe that the Raiser is an aspect of the Holy Mother, or vice versa. Like the Brotherhood, the Friends of the Field sacrifice great time and effort at harvest-time for the benefit of the common folk. The Friends of the Fields have a great hatred for the undead, and are gifted with great power over them.
“One should be like the land and enjoy growth.”
- The Assembly of Light, the followers of Dirasep the Eternal Lantern. The Order of Light is particularly active along Pekal’s western border, aiding the Servants of the Swift Sword in protecting the people from the hobgoblins of Norga-Krangrel and against the unquiet wights who haunt the Kalokopeli Forest. On the Summer Solstice, the Order sacrifices white, yellow, and gold gems to the Lantern.
“Oh shine on me to make them see,
Such a wonderful sight in the new dawn’s light.
Rest they may, but soon comes day.
And I wish them to see your glory gleam.”
- The Parish of Love follows the teachings of Lelani, the Pure One, also called Lady Love. Though nominally part of the Church of Law, the Children of Love are often looked down on as naive in their pursuit of harmony among all beings of good will, regardless of alignment. They are known for their garden-temples and their week-long celebrations at the Spring Equinox, but also for their selfless deeds of love and peace. No Child will willingly raise a weapon against another being, and whole villages dedicated to the Parish have been known to lay down their lives rather than shed blood.
“Love thy enemy and he will become thy friend.”
- The Order of Thought, though not technically part of the Church, is definitively sided with the Law. The disciples of Lokalas, called the Seekers of Sagacity, study philosophy, riddles, and koans as means to expand the mind, and gather on the equinoxes to engage in riddling contests. The Seekers are non-violent as a rule, preferring a battle of wits to that of steel, but are nevertheless trained in physical disciplines for self-defense.
A greeting: “What can you teach me?”
This alignment is not simply a middle ground between Law and Chaos, but is the alignment of nature, Faerie, and those nomadic tribes that dwell on the outskirts of civilization. Neutral beings can be capricious and may never let go of a grudge, but they are not inimical to human life as the servants of Chaos are. Those of the Balance sometimes refers to themselves as the Children of the Moons, those of Law as the Children of the Sun, and those of Chaos as the Children of Darkness.
Though Pekal still claims to be a Lawful nation, its alignment with the elves and the withdrawal of the Church from the capital of Bet Rogala leaves many of its allies wondering just where its loyalty lies. Many of its people have taken to worshiping the Faerie Kings, including,
- Hokalas, the Riftmaster, called Halobrendar by the Elves. According to legend, Hokalas was the first great Sage of the Art called magic, who taught the weaving of spells to the sons of men. His disciples, called the Keyholders, believe that magic is a finite resource in the world that may be depleted by incautious use; indeed, they point to the fading of the Elves from their former glory as proof. When Diadolai is new or full, Keyholders often sacrifice magical items to release their magic back into the world and thus maintain the Balance.
“Magic used wisely is there when needed.”
- Albabrilia the Great Huntress, called Kalenadil by the Kalamarans, is said to eternally hunt the White Stag within the Kalalali Forest. It is said that she slays any man of Tellene who dares to witness her hunt without mercy, but that she also guides the arrows and spears of those who invoke her. When Veshemo is full, one may seek her favor by sacrificing game brought down by a single gold or silver arrow.
“Patience is a virtue for which all should aim.”
- The Night Watchman, Manassi, is the Lord of Dreams and Cats. The Dream Weavers who serve him are aloof, but do actively encourage others to pursue their dreams, both metaphorically and literally. They can often be found in meditation, sleep, or a drugged stupor seeking prophetic visions from the Imparter of Inspiration. In the Spring, they hold the Feast of the Cat to share their dreams and visions.
“Life is an illusion that your dreams can change.”
The Lords of Chaos constantly seek to destroy Law and civilization, and possibly all Creation, so that they may rule the formless Entropy that remains. The powers of Chaos are more swift to respond to entreaty than those of Law or Balance, but they are fickle and capricious, and their favor comes at a high price sooner or later. Cults to the Lord of Chaos are forbidden in Pekal (though of course many operate secretly) with one exception:
- Landobalaen, Old Lucky, is venerated as the Master of Stealth among the Elves. His worship is found in the taking of great risk, whether for a good cause or for simple lark is immaterial. It is believed that his favor waxes and wanes along with Diadolai, the Elven Moon, and a whole cult has arisen in Bet Rogala in the form of an organized Thieves’ Guild. Fortunately, those who worship Risk are not not given to organization, and the King of the Dice is a fickle Power, letting many of his followers fall to their doom at a whim.
“Better to regret something you have done than something you have not.”
In addition, many beings, such as most thieves, have no particular loyalty to any alignment. They may invoke or placate the Powers at (perceived) need, but in general are motivated by self-interest, which may or may not include interest in one’s friends. Such unaligned individuals are not affected by magic directed against a particular alignment, nor do they automatically inherit the enemies and grudges of an alignment—but neither do they gain the benefits of an alignment tongue or other protection given the servants of the Great Powers of the world.
There are of course unaligned organizations which serve only their own interests. One common to all the Vast Empire and the Young Kingdoms is:
- The Parish of the Prolific Coin, who worship money, commerce, and entrepreneurialism above all else. These Profiteers sacrifice a tithe of their profits to the Parish each year in the early winter in return for the extensive contacts and favored status their association brings. There are rumors that the Parish has a hidden temple in which more wealth than even the Emperor of Kalamar has ever seen is stored.
“Let the buyer beware.”