Sunday, May 14, 2006

Raavnia: Part Four

artwork by jason engle; copyright alderac entertainment; used without any permission whatsoever;
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I need some help with this section.

I've written 16,000 words on Raavnia now, but the religion stuff is slowing me down.

Since no one has posted on here in over a month, perhaps someone with some interest in adding to the world can embellish what I have here.

Some really cool cults coming soon, btw.

Religion affects the daily life of nearly every citizen of Raavnia. Over 92% of all people worship Styrga, one of his manifestations, or an alternate myth of his pantheon. He is everywhere. And this is evidenced in everything. Basilicas, religious icons, blessings, speech, architecture, and two weekly services ensure the people are always aware of Styrga’s presence. This provides the church with immense sway over the populace. As a result, corrupt religious leaders are rare, but not unheard of.

Church services are conducted on the third and seventh day of each week and follow a rigid schedule. Services are administered by an acolyte, priest, bishop, archbishop, cardinal, or XXX depending on the size of the basilica in the Holy Order and by an ayatollah or XXX by the divine Brethren. Services require that a cantor be there as well, to aid in the procession. Large basilica have several attendants who help with minor functions such as the eucharist.

Services begin at sundown the previous day and adhere to the follow schedule.

Esperinos (Vespers) – Sundown, the traditional beginning of the day.
Apothipnon (Compline) – Service usually done in monasteries after the evening meal.
Orthros (Matins) – First service of the morning. Usually starts before sunrise.
Hours – 1st, 3rd, and 6th – Immediately following Orthros and before Liturgy.
The Divine Liturgy – Following the Hours. Communion is distributed.

Agripnia is the day following a fasting and is from sunup to sundown.

Daily rituals.

Church Hymns.

Benefits of the church.

More later.

Completely Stolen from the Internet

New Year's Day (Protohronia) January 1
Following a morning church ceremony presents are exchanged, and there is singing, dancing, and feasting. A special cake, called a vasilopita, is baked with a coin inside. The person who eats the piece with the coin will have a year of good luck. The traditional New Year greeting is "Kali Hronia."

Epiphany (Agia Theofania) January 6
This day is marked by blessing the waters. Around the country rivers, lakes, and oceans are blessed and holy rings immersed in them. The largest celebration is in Piraeus where a ring is thrown into the sea and young men dive to retrieve it.

Ash Monday (Koulouma)
The first day of Lent. On Ash Monday, it is traditional to go the countryside for a picnic, fly kites, and eat Lenten food.

Independence Day and the Feast of the Annunciation (Evaggelismos) March 25
On March 25, 1821 the Bishop of Patra, Germanos, began the uprising that started the War for Independence. Today it is celebrated with military parades in most major cities. Independence Day also coincides with the religious Feast of the Annunciation, so it is also a religious festival.

Labour Day/May Day (Protomayia) May 1
On this national holiday it is traditional for people to go to the countryside, have picnics, gather flowers, and make them into wreaths for their homes. Many flower festivals take place all over the country.


Fasting is an extremely important part of the Styrgan faith. It is not a short-cut to salvation, but rather an exercise of self-denial and obedience. Fasting rids the body of passion (addictions). By relying on inner will, those who believe in Styrga can accomplish great things. Through his or her struggles, a believer truly faces the reality of sin and acknowledges the starting point for genuine piety. For this reason, fasting is a fairly standard form of penance in addition to any other stricture deemed necessary by a priest.

Fasting is considered an honor and privilege by those who partake. Although it can be difficult and weigh on a person, those who cannot fast (for whatever reason), know that they are missing out on an important step in their spiritual journey. Fasting involves differing levels of abstinence depending on the day or season. It can range from a complete fast from all food and drink to abstinence from all animal products (meat, dairy, eggs, etc.), olive oil, and wine. Fasting can also include a lack of involvement in secular affairs, such as entertainment, sports, or non-subsistence hunting.

It is considered a greater sin to brag about fasting that to not participate at all. Fasting is a personal communication with Styrga and has no place in public life. If personal responsibilities make fasting difficult, it is perfectly permissible to not fast.

There are four major fastings during the year.

Winterfast is a 40-day period when wine, olive oil, and dairy are cut out of one’s diet. Winterfast ends on Winter Solstice.

Great Lent is also 40-days and

Great Lent which consists of the 6 weeks (40 Days) preceding Palm Sunday, and Great Week (Holy Week) which precedes Pascha (Easter).

Prophet’s Fast



Almsgiving is the charitable giving of goods to those in need. Along with prayer and fasting, it is considered an important component of one’s spiritual faith to be generous of both time and of coin (or food). Almsgiving is particularly important while fasting, when the faithful is expected to share his or her monetary gains. On the third day of fasting is it customary to give food or a blanket to the needy.

Bragging about one’s charity is rude and sinful.


While there are hundreds of saints in church, only three are given high distinction. Bethesda, Cyril, and Methodius.

Translated into other languages.

Brought the religion to the orcs and elves.


Dave said...

Although I havent posted, I have been keeping up. I've been bitten by the Oblivion bug.

As for advice, I think I would just plow through the Religion section, ignoring mistakes and inconsistencies the first time through. It can be fixed later.

The problem with religion is that most of it occurs behind the scenes in an RPG. As a player I'll be looking for crunch and seeing a horde of fluff.

Other than than, I want to help with research and brainstorming, and I will, except that it's 1am and I've been up too long. I have these next couple of days off though, so I feel comfortable promising to look things over more closely, and post more later.

Dave said...

Okay, I'm back and ready to contribute. I have put some thought into this world so far and have decided that you are working from the outside (the world) toward the specific (the characters). It may be useful to turn this around and work from the adventurers outward.

Since I have some time the next couple days I'll try to work on some stuff using that as a philosophy.

I was going through the EN World free stuff catalog and bumped into the 24 hour RPG. We'll see what comes out of my 48hour RPG that can be used for Raavnia or my own modest campaign world.

jim pinto said...

Religion isn't going to be fluff in Raavnia. It's part of the world and part of the role-playing process. Over 90% of the people believe in Styrga.

But if you read what I've typed so far, you can see that I'm cranking through it as fast as I can.

I'm busy through the end of the month, so one more update before June 1st.

jim pinto said...

Dave -

I've been working from both ends, actually, only the last 8 posts have been big picture (easier for me to write when I don't have time).

But I don't think that's a problem. The point of this exercise was to show new ways of generating themes; getting inspiration from an unlikely source and following that trend wherever it takes you, not rejecting an idea just because it doesn't mesh with your paradigm.

The dictionary is neutral and forces you to pull plots into your game that you might normally ignore.

On that note. I think Raavnia has made its point. I'm going to write about 50 pages for it altogether (I'm half way there now). And pull it altogether. Then I'll add new races and character classes and magic and feats.

I'm going to do the Theme out the letter D before then, and then I'm done.

I'll jump to a different letter, later, when we start builing something new.

Perhaps a japanese rpg.

Anyway. Thanks for all the notes.

Dave said...

Most of my time in the two days went to pumping out my basement unfortunately. I did write up a few items that were really too much crunch. I'm just looking for ways to contribute other than research.

What I want in my own campaign are "levels" of magic effectiveness. Certain spells and abilities are just one item and once you have it you are effective with that item against any level character, especially those without levels in Wizard.

The worst culprits are detection spells and scrying.

Unfortunately fixing the problem goes beyond the scope of a houserule and into a wholesale modification of the rules.

Anyhow, summer usually means an RPG slowdown for me. I'll be running my WLD game still, I think we're about 3 months or less from done. The party has just entered Region N and one of them hit 17th level.

After that I'll be back to being a player in the next campaign.

jim pinto said...

I won't be dealing with magic in Raavnia until the "crunch" is done. I'm running a 12-hour game memorial weekend at my local con, set in Raavnia and I'm just now getting the first 30 pages laid into Indesign CS 2.

It looks good. Definately a new design choice for me visually. Although, without an art budget, I can't really make it fit the world thematically. It will look clean, though.

Once it's done, I'll post it to lulu and people can print copies for themselves.

I hope to post the map soon, as well.

But, again. My time gets better after the con.

Anyone in the Los Angeles area should consider showing up for the game (May 27, 11am to 11pm, LAX Westin).

Thanks for the notes, Dave.