Our first sneak peak of our upcoming Fantasy Craft campaign is a look at the official religion of the Seven Realms of Men, The Church of the Lights of Heaven.
Church of the Lights of Heaven (organized human religion)
- Portfolio: Community; Faith; Light; Order; Purity
- Primary Deities: The Divines; Solonus, God of the Sun, Lunara, Goddess of the Moon, and Leviath, Goddess of Night.
- Secondary Deities: The twelve Celestials of the Zodiac are considered the Exarchs of the Divines.
Official Church teachings emphasize the following ethics, morals, beliefs, and ideals.
- The Divines of Light, Solonus and Lunara guide and protect humanity from the evil of their sister Leviath, Queen of the Night and her corrupt Primarch, the Hydra.
- Embrace the radiant principles of the light; Faith, Order, and Community. These qualities manifest through loyalty, honor, devotion, humility, truth, purity, and discipline.
- Reject the corrupting forces of darkness; Iniquity, Chaos, and Selfishness. Avoid the temptations of betrayal, cowardice, impiety, arrogance, deception, corruption, and decadence.
- Venerate the light of the sun, moon, and stars; although different forms of illumination; all three push back the darkness of evil and illuminate the path of righteousness.
The Church is perhaps the most visible of all human institutions. Virtually everyone considers themselves one of the Favored and at least attends High Sacrament every month (held as the sun rises and the full moon sets on the 15th day of each month). In addition to High Sacrament various rites are performed throughout the month and every day at sunrise, moonrise, midday, midnight, sunset, and moonset. At any given time most Sanctuaries (temples) are abuzz with activity. In addition to space dedicated for worship most Sanctuaries feature meditation chambers, private quarters for the Cherished, a celestial observatory, a library, underground vaults and an armory for warriors, as well as a hospital where the sick and injured can be tended to.
The Church is organized as a feudal theocracy with a strict hierarchy. The organization is headed by two Celestines, a Lord of the Sun and a Lady of the Moon. These two individuals are the supreme representatives of the Divines and leaders of the entire Church of the Lights of Heaven. The overall hierarchy is structured in the following manner.
- Celestine: Both the Lord and Lady are addressed as “Your Radiance”.
- Cardinal: Seven Cardinals (one per realm) make up the Circle of Cardinals.
- Bishop: Each Sanctuary is headed by a Bishop (most realms have four to six).
- Deacon: Fully ordained priests within the Church.
- Radiant: Employees and lay-priests of the Church.
- Favored: Members of the congregation (most humans).
There are several other important titles and positions within the Church that are not part of the governing hierarchy.
- Acolyte: Anyone training in the Seminary for a position within the Church.
- Arbitrator: Civil judges serving the realm.
- Conservator: Teachers at Church ran Conservatories.
- Exalted: Living constructs in service to the Church.
- Hallowed: Construct servants and bodyguards serving the Celestines and the Cardinals.
- Inquisitor: Investigators for the Church tasked with rooting out threats to humanity.
- Luminary: Monk-like aesthetics able to perform miracles (spell-casters).
- Templar: Holy knights tasked with protecting the Church.
- Warden: Scouts tasked with patrolling the roads between realms.
The Church teaches the following history of the religion.
Three Divine siblings created the world and the cosmos. Solonus, Lunara, and Leviath fashioned the many species of the world but men and dragons were their favored creations. Three Primarchs, elder dragons of immense power, were sent by the Divines to speak for them, teaching and guiding humanity. Absu, the Radiant Drake was sent by Solonus and taught men the warrior arts and gave them the gifts of order and law. Ishtar, the Luminous Serpent was sent by Lunara and taught men the creative arts and gave them the gifts of faith and devotion. And Tiamat, the Prismatic Hydra was sent by Leviath and taught men the social arts and gave them the gifts of community and cooperation.
For centuries dragons and men lived in harmony building the greatest empire the world had ever seen. Men praised the sun and the moon but feared the night and the dark places of the world. Leviath grew increasingly jealous of her siblings’ adoration and power and plotted against them. The Goddess of Night began sowing seeds of corruption throughout humanity and whispered lies to her Primarch, turning her against the others. Eventually Tiamat and her draconic followers betrayed humanity. The Hydra and her cult killed the other Primarchs, destroyed the Eternal City of Imperious, and turned the provinces against one another. Tiamat and her inhuman allies descended on the old empire like a plague of locusts, slaughtering all those before them. The old empire was lost and humanity nearly destroyed.
With the annihilation of the empire the forces of darkness had won and humanity stood on the brink of extinction. Only seven settlements survived the destruction but were lost without Primarchs to speak for the Divines and guide them. For decades men struggled to survive, until one winter, on the darkest night of the year, during the most brutal storm seen in centuries, a miracle occurred. The storm stopped abruptly and the clouds cleared revealing a change in the heavens. Across the night sky were scattered points of light, signs that the Divines had not abandoned humanity. Written within these points of light were the teachings of the Divines manifested as the Celestials of the Zodiac. The stars in the heavens would ensure that men would never again suffer in the utter darkness of night.