Author Topic: Faith of Belenus - Roleplay Resources  (Read 4111 times)

DM Macabre

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Faith of Belenus - Roleplay Resources
« on: August 27, 2008, 09:08:34 AM »
Faith of Belenus


Quote
In Tepest, Belenus is revered as the god of gods. He is viewed as the organizer of their ranks, and without him, the world we know today would not have existed. In some tales, he is the prime creator, while in others he created our world by combining the singular creations of the gods into acoherent whole. He is also considered to be the god who cares most about humans and who is their greatest ally in the struggle against the fey. All Tepestani worship him, and each community has at least a small temple devoted to him.
Brigantia and Manannan mac Lir are described as brother and sister by the Tepestani. They are Belenus’ best friends among the gods, his frequent collaborators in matters of Creation, and the other two main deities in the Tepestani faith. Brigantia is considered to be Belenus‘ consort, and she is a goddess of the wild forests and beasts, as well as the domesticated animals and cultivated fields. She is also said to bless hardworking artisans. Manannan mac Lir is the master of all lakes and rivers, as well as the creatures that dwell within them. These deities are honored by all Tepestani on their holy days and are actively worshipped by some farmers, fishers, hunters and artisans.
In Tepest, Lugh, Daghda and Diancecht are considered dark and somewhat simpleminded reflections of Belenus, Brigantia and Manannan mac Lir. They are cast as the creators of the fey and are therefore seen as the patrons of these enemies of mortals. This patronage is not attributed to malice, but rather to a misguided love for their dangerously flawed creations. Lugh is the god of the moon and arcane (and fey) magic, while his consort Daghda is the mistress of wild growing weeds and untamed wilderness. She is also a fertility goddess, and women call for her blessing when seeking to become pregnant. (In other cultures, Daghda is portrayed as male.) Her brother Diancecht has a nebulous position in so far as he is called upon when the Tepestani wish to cure or protect themselves of illnesses or to ensure a healthy childbirth for a woman. Diancecht is credited with creating all illnesses in the world, but he is not thought of as evil like a god with his portfolio might be in most faiths. Instead, he is merely misguided. He is credited with being the only one of the trio who is trying to make amends for the mistakes he visited upon the world; hence, although he created illnesses, he is also the one who is most adept at curing mortals.
These three deities are typically only honored on their holy days or in services held with specific intentions in mind. Some shrines and temples dedicated to Belenus also reserve a small corner for Diancecht so he can be called upon easily. As is the case with most cultures, the Tepestani don't so much worship the evil gods as they desperately attempt to placate them. The relationship the Tepestani have with Arawn (another figure seen in some cultures as male rather than female)
and Morrigan „ goddesses of death and conflict respectively „ are what one might expect. They are not worshipped, but honored with occasional sacrifices designed to keep the unnatural creatures of Autumn from plaguing communities.
Finally, there is Math Mathonwy. The Tepestani almost universally ignore him, and in so they mirror the gods in their tales, except in certain funeral rites for Outlanders who die within Tepest.
These rites are intended to call upon Math Mathonwy's mercy so that he doesn't cause the deceased evil person (because all Outlanders are by default considered evil) to return as one of Winter‘s Children but instead remain peacefully in the ground.


The Tepestani Inquisition
The most visible and most powerful religious institution in Tepest is Belenus‘s Inquisition. Overall, this group of militant priests and lay people has good intentions and is trying to do what it genuinely believes to be Belenus‘ will: saving the world by destroying the fey attempting to corrupt and ultimately destroy it. However, these priests and lay people are operating from a foundation of ignorance, and as time goes on this ignorance will only grow. They believe that everything related to fey is inherently corrupting, therefore studying the fey can only corrupt the would-be scholar. They distrust direct evidence and rely instead upon their own suppositions, existing folklore and forced confessions. The knowledge of their enemies displayed by the  experts among Belenus‘ Inquisitors make even the most wildly speculative screeds penned by
Rudolf van Richten in his more emotional moments look like intellectual brilliance. Only one Inquisitor I dealt with makes any serious effort to record and organize what information the Inquisition does collect about its foes. Wyan has created several books he intends to serve as guides to the Inquisitors and second only to the wisdom of Belenus himself. His chief assistant, Finn, is dubious about this effort, but Wyan insists that his books are the only safe way for Inquisitors to learn. Simplistic descriptions of fey, what the Inquisition thinks are their habits, and an equal mix of baseless folklore and practical application of priestly magic to uncover fey abound. With diagrams and illustrations of fairy stool patterns and the most effective methods of forcibly extracting confessions from suspects and the convicted, Wyan‘s books resemble picture book versions of Van Richten Guides. I had to suppress a smile every now and then, especially when I encountered particularly blatant ignorant conclusions (such as the fact that dryads hibernate in winter, so this is the time when they should be sought and destroyed). I suspect these books are about as complicated as the simpleminded
Tepestani are able to wrap their minds around.
Trials don‘t usually begin with Wyan‘s clumsy attempts at scholarship. When an Inquisitor uncovers some bit of gossip that indicates someone is in league with the fey, and the inquisitor deems the claim credible (purely a judgment call), he has the accused rounded up and imprisoned in preparation for trial. The Inquisitor then collects evidence against the accused. Evidence ranges from anomalies that the Inquisitor observes in areas where the accused would spend a lot of his time „ such as an abundance of fairy stools to tales regarding the accused from every wagging tongue in town. Observations and anecdotes are carefully recorded in the Inquisitor‘s ledger book. No timetable is set for the investigation, but it usually takes a week. The Inquisitor is, of course, supposed to be impartial, but there‘s nothing in place to ensure that impartiality, and I suspect that more than just a few Inquisitors have used their positions to settle scores against old loves, rivals or anyone they just don‘t like. During the investigation, other folk are free to act as the advocate of the accused. They investigate on their own, gathering evidence in the accused‘s defense, but leaping too eagerly to the defense of one under suspicion may also lead one to fall under similar suspicion. Friends of the accused will often scrape a few coins together and hire independent investigators „ folks from a distant village, or even foreign adventurers in other words, folks who can more safely run for the hills if the tide turns against them. Meanwhile, the accused is pressured to confess to his crimes, which often involves torture, but the tastes of individual Inquisitors differ. Confessions are drawn so the Inquisition can expand its knowledge base of the fey‘s methods. Once a confession is extracted from the suspect, the Inquisitor takes all his findings and the full text of any confession to Wyan. Wyan compares the findings to all known facts about fey and discusses other explanations with the presenting Inquisitor and other leading priests of Belenus. He also usually has the accused brought before him so that he may question him or her personally. This process can take anywhere from a few hours to several days. At the end, Wyan decides whether the suspect will be tried or set free.
When the Inquisition tries a suspect, at least three of its members act as judges. Trials are typically held in the community that is home to the accused, and usually two of the three judges are local Inquisitors, with the third being a ranking member. It‘s not uncommon for one judge to over shadow completely the other two, and this is definitely the case in trials presided over by Finn or Hanton, two Inquisitors almost equal to Wyan in the power and respect they command. All evidence is presented before the judges, just as it was presented to Wyan, even if he is one of the presiding judges. The inquisition presents an accuser, and either the accused or his advocate
presents a defense. Prosecuting evidence generally consists of little more than gossip or the rants of prior accused undergoing torture, but such hearsay is often damning. However, if evidence is presented that clearly proves the accused to be innocent, he or she usually does get off.


Rulings and results boil down to one of four possibilities:

The accused is innocent.
Doesn't happen often, but it does happen. The accused is free to rejoin society and is openly accepted. If resentful over their treatment, those accused generally keep
their mouths shut.

The accused is bheicht faoihk raíocht (bewitched)
The accused did the deed for which he is charged, but he was ensorcelled by the fey. (This is the sentence that Wyan passed upon his own daughter several years back.) The bewitched are not in control of their actions and thus not responsible. The bewitched are generally chastised, given light punishments, but ultimately
allowed to return to their lives. They forever after are viewed with suspicion, however, as they are proven to be susceptible to fey seduction. The upside is that the accused gets to live. To obtain a bewitched ruling, it‘s pretty much inevitable that the actual guilty party must be brought to light. It‘s thus highly advantageous to find and defeat the fey responsible before the trial, or, failing that, to finger someone else.

The accused is a fealltóir (feyconsort)
A fey consort is a mortal who has been seduced „ who willingly serves the fey and has thus turned to evil. If a fey consort is found guilty, and if it has not yet been done, a full confession is extracted, by torture if necessary. That done, the despised traitor to humanity is swiftly executed by whatever means is most convenient „ hanging, stoning or drowning. The Tepestani bury the corpses of those so executed at crossroads, believing that doing so prevents the guilty spirit from finding its way home.

The accused is actually one of the fey (a true fey, a hag, and so forth): a creature of darkness.
To achieve this ruling, the Inquisition needs to prove that the accused has supernatural powers. Any creature with innate spell-like abilities is pretty much guilty, and if you're a wizard who casts a noticeable spell in town, you will have a hard time proving that it‘s not something you can do at will. The fey are forced to confess, as above, and are then burned at the stake. Although the Tepestani truly despise the fey, they burn these folk not out of malice but necessity. The Inquisitors know (rather, they are relatively sure) that the fey cannot truly die, so they use the flames to utterly destroy the fey‘s body, praying that this will prevent it from ever returning. Does it work? Who knows? Tales I collected from bards seemed to indicate that a rushlight haunting the community has followed several such gruesome executions, but the Inquisitors have successfully destroyed each evil fire spirit shortly after it appeared. Whether vengeful ghosts of the wrongfully executed or disembodied souls of immortal fey, one cannot dispute that some of the executions have troubling aftermaths for the Inquisitors and their flocks.

Worship Domains: Tepest, Shadowlands, Forlorn
Symbol: Golden Sunburst
Alignment: NG
Cleric Alignment: NG, LN, TN
Domains: Fire, Good, Sun
Favoured Weapon: Sickle

Source: Ravenloft Gazetteer V, Ravenloft Gazetteer I
« Last Edit: October 31, 2008, 07:44:14 PM by EO »

currently I run:
-: Curse of the Wolf :-
-: The Curse of von Zeklos :-

EO

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Re: Faith of Belenus - Roleplay Resources
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2018, 01:41:41 PM »
Sayings

Quote from: Shadowborn
No man is so pure that he throws not a shadow when Belenus gazes upon him.

Holy Texts

Quote from: Shadowborn
Libram of Belenus
Book of Radiance