Saturday, May 06, 2006

Raavnia: Part Three

Styrga and Religion

Raavnia is monotheistic. Although it espouses more than one church, all churches worship Styrga. It has been like this since time began (or so history claims). Styrga is the god of the sky, oceans, sun, and moon. He is the embodiment of everything but the land. As the scriptures read, “He created everything with no fondness for one thing over another. He left mankind and the beasts to their fates. There shall be no favorite child and as such none of them will be spoiled. They will grow up strong and learn to depend on themselves. So it is written.”

Styrga is a fair god. He does not pass judgment, but he does not allow his followers to rest on a crutch, either. It is the role of all churches of Styrga (which are powerful in their own right), to raise competent followers who are unafraid of this life or the next. Since the followers of Styrga believe in an afterlife, what you do here influences your fate. Each church has it own theories on this, however and the scriptures are too vague to support any one belief.

Despite the even-handed nature of Styrga, the various churches have their own take on worship. One arm espouses righteousness and self-importance. Another is entrenched in ritual and has become bloated from its top-heaviness. All the while, minor churches, cults, and groups push for reform, with no real strength of conviction or support from the masses.

The two most powerful factions are The Holy Order of Styrga and The Divine Brethren, dividing the religion amongst the ritualistic and the moralistic. A third, more pragmatic, but less powerful arm also bends the word of Styrga, to serve its own aims. Named the Vazkan church, their numbers are less than 5% of the other two orders. Various cults and minor denominations (while heretical) worship Styrga as well, without truly honoring the principles of the “ministry” or the church.

The Holy Order of Styrga draws from the Holy Roman Empire and the last century of the Byzantine Pope. God is all-knowing, all-seeing, but without the church, one cannot enter heaven. The enemies of this faith, of course, are the demons of Apollyon.

The Church of the Divine Brethren draws from the earliest days of Islam, without the racial intolerance and war-like aims of the Turks and Arabs at this time. The leader of the church is the Ayatollah, who preaches morality and high standards of conduct for the faithful. Even in the face of war, the Divine Brethren refused to draw arms against the infidels who have soiled their lands. Sadly, the Ayatollah has lost ground with his followers because of this decision and many Brethren ‘cry for justice’ against the Magyars.

Vazka or the Vazkan Church has far fewer followers and even less authority and influence over the direction of the faith, yet they continue to bolster their ranks with educated theologians in their parishes. Designed around a very simple concept of letter writing, open dialog, and community involvement, the Vazkan Church promotes a higher level faith-questioning. Within a support structure, however, the faith is in peril. And in light of the present conditions in Raavnia, Vazka’s work toward enlightenment is far from over.

As the religious yoke tightens and relaxes from the various arms of the church, the nobility strive to maintain their faith, while adhering to tradition, serving the people, rebuilding their armies, and recovering from the recent war. In its own way, the church is the only thing keeping Raavnia together and the only thing stopping it from uniting as a whole.

Credo
[Borrowed from the Nicene Convocation of 315 and butchered by jim pinto]

We believe in Styrga, the All-Father, Maker of all things, living and unliving, temporal and forever, visible and invisible.

We believe in the Spirit of Styrga, the Giver of Life. And we believe in one holy order and divine church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. We honor one time each day for prayer. We forgive those who do not believe and accept those who accept Styrga. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. The gates of heaven are open to those who believe and heretics are the enemies of god.

Let Styrga grant his faithful the power to do right and wisdom to know right.

Amen.

1 comment:

Dave said...

I've noticed that the breakaway faction from the Ayatolla might need a name, because players might want to play one. My suggestion: Askere Savabym (or Savabim) which means roughly "divine conscript" in Turkish. Or if thats too complicated, just use Savabim Conscript.

I will use that name as I write up prototype classes.