Suz's crap

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Suz's crap

Post by Suzthulhu » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:40 pm

Notes for the setting, wiki, etc:
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Re: Suz's crap

Post by Suzthulhu » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:12 pm

Tidhril Rispithing, Second Vizier of Aslar, had done her best to make her
temporary office and lodgings in the captured city more comfortable, more
like home. Green Hills was a quiet, provincial, landlocked Ellurian city,
and the old governmental building still reeked of the local moonshine
made from fermented celery. The costly foreign incense Tidhril had
smouldering in half a dozen places had as yet not managed to change that.
She had behung the walls with Aslarian art and built a small shrine to the
Muns in the corner; a proper Aslarian bed sat in the otherwise mostly
empty room adjacent. Settling into one of the large, cushioned chairs she
had brought in from home, she raised a glass of Garuskan rockscotch (part
of the spoils of war) to her lips in a silent and solitary toast to
Aslar's recent military victories. For Aslar now held the entire western
coast of Elluria and a vast swath of inland territory. The task on which
Tidhril had been sent hither was, indeed, to organize a new government for
the conquered territories and to begin incorporating them into Aslar
proper. Kicking off her sandals, Tidhril lowered her weary feet into a
steaming basin set on the floor--she had inspected most of the city on
foot today, which was more walking than was her wont.

"Your Excellency," whispered her secretary, who had crept in unnoticed,
"I'm sorry to interrupt your rest, but one of the persons you summoned has
arrived to speak with you."

"Which one?" inquired Tidhril, setting her rockscotch down.

"Sir Ekkelrin Maltenel," the secretary replied.

"He's rather late," the Second Vizier observed. "Still, send him in, and
pour him a glass of rockscotch." She sat up somewhat in the chair to
assume a more dignified position.

A few moments later, a Tollorian nobleman strode in, removing his large
feathered cap and holding it at his side. "Good day to you," he said with
a deep bow. "I was honored to receive your summons, dear lady, though I
would surely have felt thrice honored had I known before how comely a
creature the Second Vizier of Aslar is. Sir Ekkelrin Maltenel of Green
Hills at your service."

"The city is no longer called Green Hills," responded Tidhril. "Its
Aslarian name is Leklimithla."

"Lekli-mithla," Ekkelrin repeated carefully. "Lek-li-mith-la. I still
have much to learn of the Aslarian language--a most expressive language it
is, though, particularly when spoken by a woman of such eloquence as
yourself."

"The Kingdom of Aslar is pleased that you have chosen to cooperate with
us," said Tidhril. "Most other leaders of the Ellurian defense have
retreated inland, and, frankly, it has proven difficult for us to find
native persons to help us organize the new government of this territory.
Are you not worried that your people will consider you a traitor?"

Ekkelrin averted his eyes for a moment before replying. "Some may think
that way. But I believe differently. I feel that the future of the
Tollorian nation lies with Aslar. We have tried to rule ourselves, but
years of civil war have shown we are not very capable of doing this. Many
peoples have long lived together in harmony under Aslarian rule. Perhaps
you will do better than we have done."

"Well," said Tidhril, curling her lip, "it seems we cannot do much worse.
In any case, I am instructed to ask whether you would be willing to accept
an appointment as Governor of the Aslarian Province of West Elluria, and
to help us restore civil government, build new roads, and so forth."

Ekkelrin paused. "I--hmm. I might be willing to do so, on certain
conditions. You are right that this would mean risking a great deal for
me. If the tide of war were to turn, I could find myself an exile,
condemned for treason. But, on certain conditions...."

Tidhril sighed impatiently. "What conditions?"

"Well," replied Ekkelrin, meeting her gaze, "perhaps you might accompany
me back to my hunting lodge at Pigeon's Roost, and we might discuss things
in a more, er, leisurely, comfortable fashion. You are, no doubt, a quite
capable leader among your people, but I believe you have much to offer
besides that."

"I think our offer is generous enough as it is," Tidhril snapped. "Do
you accept it, or do you decline? If you decline, I can find someone
else who will be more agreeable."

"Oh, if that's how it is," said Ekkelrin, "I suppose I accept. The
invitation to Pigeon's Roost stands. I have no doubt you would enjoy
your visit."

"I am glad you accept this office; you'll receive further instructions."

Ekkelrin nodded. "From you directly, I hope?"

"Go now," Tidhril concluded, slouching back into her chair and taking up
her rockscotch. "I have many things to do. I'm very busy."
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Re: Suz's crap

Post by Suzthulhu » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:46 pm

Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 13:24:16 -0500
From: "David Eddings" <deddings@wam.umd.edu>
Subject: Re: BDI> Character List - Addendum

I forgot one.

Woolly the Sresar Vale Dire Sheep - When the world was young and a vengeful
creator looked upon what he had wrought and how it had been corrupted, he
wept great tears of wrath. These teardrops fell into the Sresar Vale, upon a
peaceful herd of sheep that had been grazing upon the lush grass. Their wool
became as steel, their teeth as needles and their killing instinct like that
of a shark. Blessed with their new intelligence and their new mission, the
Dire Sheep went forth and culled from Arangoth the evil and the stupid with
extreme prejudice and a half-belch, half-bleat.

There is another school of thought that Dire Sheep were put on Arangoth
by one of the Aslarian Muns as a joke while drunk off of Godweiser, but this
is dismissed as a wives tale. Nigh-unkillable and masters of accelerated
Darwinism, the Dire Sheep occupy the top of the food chain in Arangoth, and
evolve to match their prey. They are, without a doubt, the most feared of
beasts in all of Arangoth.
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Re: Suz's crap

Post by Suzthulhu » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:12 pm

Be it herewith decreed that a new monetary system is and shall be
established in the Kingdom of Arangoth. We are aware that the current
monetary system is flawed, insofar as the coinage of the realm has had no
fixed weight or value. It has come to Our attention that many
unscrupulous persons, on having prices quoted in "gold coins," for
example, have paid with extraordinarily small, lightweight coins, while
demanding coins thrice this same weight whenever payments are made to
them. We have also examined many coins in circulation and have discovered
that many "gold" and "silver" coins are in fact made of a base metal
alloy, often containing much tin and/or nickel. We therefore decree the
introduction of a new monetary system, according to which:

100 quaspins = 1 rixtle
100 rixtles = 1 lurinthoon

The banking unit known as the "Arangothian Crown" is to be deemed
equivalent to a half-rixtle or 50 quaspins. Thus:

1 quaspin = 0.02 crown
1 rixtle = 2 crowns
1 lurinthoon = 200 crowns

Coins have been minted at Hornath-ul-Marfed in the following
denominations:

Gold coins Value (bank crowns)

1. Five lurinthoon piece 1000.00
2. Two lurinthoon piece 400.00
3. Lurinthoon 200.00
4. Half lurinthoon 100.00
5. Quarter lurinthoon 50.00

Silver coins

1. Twenty rixtle piece 40.00
2. Ten rixtle piece 20.00
3. Four rixtle piece 8.00
4. Double rixtle 4.00
5. Rixtle 2.00
6. Half-rixtle or "crown" 1.00

Base-metal coins

1. Forty quaspin piece 0.80
2. Twenty quaspin piece 0.40
3. Ten quaspin piece 0.20
4. Four quaspin piece 0.08
5. Double quaspin 0.04
6. Quaspin 0.02
7. Half-quaspin 0.01

The base-metal coins portray on the obverse the Arangothian crown
surrounded by the text, abbreviated on smaller coins: ARLOK ME MENXVAN
GOSSATH UL ARANGOTH (Arlok, with Menxvan, King of Arangoth). The reverse
bears the inscription TISPAT TA GOXODELOTH (Food for the People), together
with a picture of a bundle of grain. The exceptions to this are the 40
and 20 quaspin pieces, which instead show a cart of grain.

The silver coins bear the royal portrait together with the same text,
ARLOK ME MENXVAN GOSSATH UL ARANGOTH. The reverse shows a mountain with a
dove sitting at its top, and bears the inscription TETHRA TIN RUTHMARNA
(Peace in Ruthmarna). The ten-rixtle piece shows the King standing in
full armor and bearing a sword. The twenty-rixtle piece is similar, but
shows the King with a Ruthmarna bandit kneeling before him. The detail on
the reverse varies depending on size: on the twenty-rixtle piece a village
can be seen on the mountainside.

The smaller gold coins have on their obverse a picture of a tower or
fortification with the inscription ARLOK APTENTROD UL FLUNBRANTH
(Arlok, Guardian of the East). The reverse shows a different weapon
(sword, axe, etc., depending on denomination) with the inscription:
SIGOVATH NE GINTELIMIL (Death to Our Enemies).

The larger gold coins (two and five lurinthoons) bear a joint portrait of
the King and Queen enthroned, with the text ARLOK GOSSATH LA MELINXA
GOSPINOTH. The reverse of the two-lurinthoon piece portrays the ruined
city of Tagrana, with merely the inscription TAGRANA. The reverse of the
five-lurinthoon piece shows the castle of Hornath-ul-Marfed with both sun
and double-moon in the sky. The inscription is: GORDONTH BEN BAN PIR (A
lantern constantly).

The denominations are clearly marked on all coins. Counterfeiting the
money of the realm shall be punished with swift death. Anyone found
clipping metal from coins of the realm shall have his or her fingers and
toes "clipped." Foreign moneys, which have long circulated in Arangoth
and caused great confusion, shall no longer be deemed legal tender. All
future tolls, duties, fines, and other official payments must be made
using this new currency. Old coins may be exchanged for the new currency
by weight and metal, with a 4% re-minting fee. The money taken in from
this fee is to go directly into a royal fund to purchase grain for
the starving poor of Drache.

Be it so decreed, me enxenimil
Arlok ul-Dorn Gossath ul Arangoth, 21.XII.469.
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Re: Suz's crap

Post by Suzthulhu » Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:06 am

Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 15:26:03 -0500 (EST)
From: Patrick Feaster <pfeaster@indiana.edu>
Subject: BDI> THE ARANGOTHIAN CALENDAR

The present year is 470. Years are dated traditionally from the founding
of the city of Tagrana on the shores of Song Deep, which was the capital
of the Kingdom of Arangoth until the Civil War of the year 405. The
Arangothian system of numbering years was adopted by several neighboring
states at a Council on Dating held on Myst Island during the reign of
King Ware "Sith" of Arangoth. In fact, the council had been arranged to
discuss a different kind of dating altogether: namely, how to coordinate
blind dates between the youths of different royal and noble families in
the region. The delegates considered this a rather thorny issue and were
eager for some easy way out. The Arangothian delegate suggested that they
interpret the topic of "dating" as instead meaning calendar reform, and in
their gratitude the other members of the conference agreed to adopt the
Arangothian year. The states involved included Rondis, Aslar, and
Elvendeep, all of which observe the same year as Arangoth. (In Elluria,
by contrast, it is presently reckoned to be the year 1000; the impact of
their Y1K on the Southlands War is presently unknown).

The months are referred to by the following names:

in Arangothian translation*
-------------- -----------
January Flunnist Morning Star
February Melxflanalat Sun's Dawn
March Bedekkakat First Seed
April Aptokenxe Rain's Hand
May Koithekkakat Second Seed
June Sendepenta Mid Year
July Melxbralkat Sun's Height
August Broxkakat Last Seed
September Sarmatgentat Hearthfire
October Sarkgibakat Frost Fall
November Melxminkalat Sun's Dusk
December Minkginist Evening Star

The days of the week are known as follows:

in Arangothian in Drache creole*
-------------- ----------------
Monday Flunhest Morndas
Tuesday Tirhest Tirdas
Wednesday Pentahest Middas
Thursday Torhest Tordas
Friday Menxhest Fredas
Saturday Lorhest Loredas
Sunday Broxhest Sundas

Jan. 1 - New Year's Day [Hest ul Gessi Sendeth]. Pickled herring and
spiced plums are traditional foods associated with this day.

Feb. 16 - SIPPAHEST* [Heart Day]: Vaguely similar to Valentine's Day,
which is two days earlier in our own mun-calendar. The "legend of the
lovers" is sung, and banquets are held in much of the kingdom. It is
traditional for males to present females with garlands of flowers, and for
females to present males with foodstuffs. There is a traditional
honey-cake called the Sippahesterpe (Heart Day Cake) often used for this
purpose.

Mar. 17** - BEDEK KAKEBDAT. [FIRST PLANTING]*. Rural holiday, when seeds
are ritually sown to symbolize the beginning of the new agricultural
season. Approximates the vernal equinox. The day has also come to be
associated with healing. The ritual planting consists of the farmer
invoking Menxvan's blessing on the seed, that it might grow. The item
buried need not be an actual seed; also, gourd seeds are often used by
those who do not ordinarily grow gourds. In urban settings, where
"planting" is not meaningful, people often buy inexpensive trinkets called
KAKEBDATGIL, which they bury or cast into the sea, lake, etc., asking that
Menxvan return the cast-off item in prosperity for the year to come. This
is also considered an auspicious day for conceiving a child, and rural
weddings are frequently timed to coincide with the holiday. A kakebdatgi
is generally a small, fired earthen ball either painted red or covered
with thin copper or silver foil. [Note: one might also buy and bury a
kakebdatgi to make a wish of some sort on other days of the year.]

Mar. 23 - Day of Renewal.* This is a day upon which wrongs of the past
year are forgiven and forgotten. An insult or blow is considered very
inappropriate on this day; it is also considered improper to deny
forgiveness to anyone who requests it on the Day of Renewal. It is also
considered appropriate on this day to have a holy person perform a ritual
cleansing on oneself and one's house. A ritual cleansing of a person
consists of thoroughly wetting the hair or top of the head with water or
oil; a ritual cleansing of a house consists of pouring water on its
threshold. Menxvanic holy men generally make the rounds of their
neighborhoods conducting these rituals on this day. In Arangothian, the
name of the holiday is not "Day of Renewal" but LATHRATHRAT, or
Purification.

Mar. 25 - OOC HOLIDAY, ANNIVERSARY OF THE FOUNDING OF THE INN, 1995.

Mar. 31 to Apr. 4 - Jester's Folly.* - A time of inversion, jesting, and
good cheer, where roles are reversed and general nonsense is permitted,
something like Mardi Gras or Carnival. April 2nd is the focal point of
the holiday, when the Procession of Fools takes place and the King
traditionally pulls a designated Fool around in an abor (i.e.,
rickshaw).

Apr. 7 - Second Planting.* - primarily rural holiday. Somewhat like the
Sakrat holiday (see July 20th), but less exuberant.

Jun. 17** - SENDEPENTAHEST. Mid-Year's Day. Sometimes also celebrated on
June 16th instead. Approximately the longest day of the year (summer
solstice). Gifts are given on this day to family and friends,
particularly gifts of food.

Jul. 10. - MERCHANTS' FESTIVAL. This is the traditional date for a major
mercantile fair, but to avoid competition many towns now stagger their
fairs and place them on different days. The customary taxes on the sale
of certain goods are lifted on this day by long-standing tradition.

Jul. 20. - SAKRAT UL MELX* [Sun's Rest]. Rural holiday, marking the
traditional beginning of the third planting, celebrated by dancing and
eating. Those city folk with kin in the country will want to be
absolutely certain to visit them for the Sakrat, as it is considered the
main agricultural celebration of the year. Fermented cider is drunk in
large quantities, and green clothing is favored; so is unusually revealing
clothing which might ordinarily be viewed as immoral. Many
well-known drinking songs are technically Sakrat songs.

Aug. 12. - The King's Fast, or the Fast of Ethcabar. This is a day of
fasting, originally in commemoration of the Arangothian defeat suffered in
the Nie Valley during the reign of King Ware, which took place on this
day. It is now explained as an exercise in self-discipline. Persons are
expected not to eat any food from sunset on August 11th until sunrise on
August 13th. The sick and young are exempted from this requirement. Only
plain water may be drunk during this same time. Those who do not abide by
this provision are considered undisciplined, although they are not
scorned.

Aug. 13. - The Morning Feast. Essentially, this is a large meal prepared
to break the "King's Fast" of the day before.

Sept. 1. - Genthest (pronounced Gent-hest), or Bonfire Day. Fires are
burned, and human effigies made of branches or sacks are thrown on the
fires. This is supposed to invite malevolent beings to accept the "death"
of the effigy in lieu of causing any actual persons to die during the
following season. [Note: effigies are also sometimes burned whenever
anyone is seriously ill, following a similar rationale.]

Sept. 17** - THE FEAST OF EGGS. On this day, it is traditional to feast
upon eggs or other foodstuffs (omelettes, quiches) produced from eggs.
Approximates the autumnal equinox. Eggs are also fed to the poor.

Nov. 4 - BRAKERRAT. This is an important holiday in the lives of all
young Arangothians. The November 4th following an Arangothian boy or
girl's thirteenth birthday, he or she is (separately by gender) taken to a
secret location and taught the "facts of life." After this rite of
passage, the initiate is considered an adult and can address other adults
on a first-name basis. The specific ceremonies involved are
closely-guarded secrets. The evening following the Brakerrat is the
Brakerrat Feast, celebrated conjointly after a day spent segregated by
gender. Arangothians have a certain affinity for others who celebrated
their Brakerrat in the same year (vaguely like that felt by members of,
say, the high school "Class of 1998").

Dec. 17** - GENTEGIMINK. Candlenight (approximates the winter solstice).
The days have been getting progressively shorter, and on this night people
gather inside with candles, staying awake until morning. It is still
debated whether the new year should begin on Dec. 18th or Jan. 1st. From
this point onwards, the length of the days increases.


* These names and holidays first appeared in the TALISMAN, circa early
1997.

** Note that the solstices and equinoxes occur in Arangoth five (5) days
before they do in the "mun" world.
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Re: Suz's crap

Post by Suzthulhu » Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:07 am

Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 18:13:53 -0500 (EST)
From: Patrick Feaster <pfeaster@indiana.edu>
Subject: BDI> MORE ARANGOTHIAN TRADITIONS

The civil war took place in the year 415, of course, and not 405, as in
the previous post on the Arangothian Calendar. Just trying to keep you on
your toes. Yeah, that's it. It wasn't, uh, a mistake or anything. ;)
In any case, it took place exactly fifty years before the arrival of
AngelSin in Drache, which was 1995 = 465.

Birthdays are not celebrated as in the "mun" world, and in fact little
attention is paid to them, except to note how many times one has been
alive on November 4th, the date of the Brakerrat or Rite of Passage. On
the Brakerrat of one's 13th year, one officially "comes of age" and
becomes an adult. However, it is traditional that one gives a gift to
one's mother on one's own birthday, or otherwise shows respect for her
(vaguely akin to our own "Mother's Day"). This is more particularly the
case the more well-off one is.

Arangothian youths of every social stratum have some say in choosing whom
they will marry. Among the peasantry and urban underclass there are
no additional restraints; however, among the nobility and mercantile
strata, parents exercise some control through their ability to disinherit
a child who disobeys their wishes. There are also social constraints
associated with personal honor, respectability, and so forth. It is
generally frowned upon for an individual to marry outside of his/her
social stratum, although merchants and nobles do in fact intermarry
fairly regularly.

Social norms as to acceptable behavior between the sexes during courtship
vary widely both by region and by social stratum. Among the noble and
mercantile strata, contact is officially limited to social events at which
a considerable degree of supervision is exercised. One practice is for a
girl's parents to hire a "tentripin," an older woman charged with
chaperoning her, and who is to receive a sum of money on the daughter's
successful marriage. While dancing is considered appropriate under such
conditions, kissing is most certainly not, much less anything more
imaginative. The "tentripin" is a much-detested figure, and eluding her
is a common sport among upper-class youth. Peasants and youths of the
urban underclass experience far less supervision and can get away with a
great deal more.

Engagements, however initiated, are formalized by an exchange of gifts.
The nature of these gifts varies widely; the type considered most
appropriate is a locket containing a miniature portrait, but there is a
great deal of leeway here. The "engagement ring" as such is not a
tradition, and in fact rings are avoided because wearing one implies that
one is already married. However, ideally the gift should be something one
can carry on one's person. An engagement may not be contracted prior to a
youth's Brakerrat or rite of passage, and the wedding itself should not
take place within a year of the Brakerrat. Once formalized, an engagement
cannot be broken without serious social and legal consequences.

Weddings are generally held on the property of, and at the expense of, the
parents of the groom. The most auspicious days for a wedding are deemed
to be March 16-17, i.e., the day before and the day of the Bedek Kakebdat,
or festival of the First Planting. However, other days will do quite
well.

The night before the "wedding" there is a small, informal meal,
traditionally either of chowder or boiled fish, at which the young couple,
their parents, close family friends and the officiating Menxvanic holy man
are present. At the close of this meal, the officiator leads the couple
into the middle of the room and has them announce before those present
their desire to wed each other. They are then separated until the
following morning, the idea being that the night should be reserved for
contemplation of Menxvan and prayer. In some parts of Northern and
Eastern Arangoth, the couple is blindfolded at this point. In the Sresar
Vale, there is a somewhat different custom altogether which substitutes
for the above: there is a mock "kidnapping" of the bride from her home (or
from wherever she is staying) by blood relatives of the groom.

In the morning at sunrise, the bride and groom separately undergo a
ceremonial Lathrathrat or purification and eat a traditional breakfast of
rice with currant sauce. The morning is spent donning the traditional
wedding attire and otherwise preparing for the formal events of the
afternoon. Although this attire varies somewhat from region to region, it
is always green (not white), this color being associated with prosperity
and child-bearing. Some of the more traditional features of Arangothian
ceremonial or "dressy" garb are:

(for women) -- Golden torques and ear-chains; the latter are draped over
the top of the ear, and appear to have been a fashion adopted from
Rondissian culture at some point in the past.

(for men) -- Hats with very, very large feather plumes (esp. egret or
ostrich) and robes and vests of golden brocade. Also ornamental swords.

Various guests are meanwhile admitted into the tent, hall, or room
dedicated to the wedding banquet. Musicians are also invited and begin
playing, typically on zither, drum and recorder [or rather, these are our
closest equivalents to the actual instruments used]. When all is ready,
some noise is sounded (a gong, bell, trumpet, etc.) and the bride and
groom appear from different entrances. The officiator has them reconfirm
their declarations of the night before (not oaths: merely statements of
intent), and then invites them both forward to the center of the place,
where he joins their hands. They then respectively say:

"Min an sinterbinet." = May I be your husband.
"Min an sintespenet." = May I be your wife.

The officiator then takes a wide strip of green cloth and wraps it twice*
around the necks of the couple, each time reciting:

"Minxa an." = May it be so.

While so enwrapped, the couple exchanges rings. These are found of
various matals, but the most common design depicts a serpent swallowing
its own tail, a recognized symbol of eternity.

An elder female relative often places a sugar-cake in the mouths of the
bride and groom, in order that their first kiss might be "sweet." Social
norms dictate that this should, indeed, be their first kiss.

The event continues with the unwrapping of the strip of green cloth and
the congratulations of the guests present. Food is served, and
dancing music commences. After the bride and groom have retired, this
music is traditionally replaced by playing on kettle-drums, rattles, and
shrill horns, the idea being that the sound should be as loud and
annoying as possible. The bride is encouraged to step across a sheathed
sword before leaving the feast, as it is believed this will result in her
bearing warrior children.

When a person dies in Arangoth, or is about to die, he or she undergoes a
Lathrathrat or purification and retires or is moved to a sacred location
until a burial can be arranged. The body is placed in a coffin painted
green (it should be apparent by now that green is a very important
symbolic color in Arangoth). The coffin is also frequently adorned with
the image of a coiled snake. This is an allusion to the fact that the
snake sheds its skin, and is thus "reborn" out of death. The coffin must
have a small opening in it somewhere, which is explained as being a hole
through which the spirit can escape. Greenery, flowers, and eggs are
often included in the coffin as additional symbols of birth and life.

Generally about four days after the death, the coffin is moved to a
burial-ground and placed into an opening in the ground. Before the coffin
is lowered, a Menxvanic holy man blows once into the spirit-hole in order
to symbolize the breath of life. The friends and relatives of the
deceased eat a meal at the cemetery in his/her memory and honor. Music is
also played while the coffin is being moved, and this is considered very
important for relaxing the spirit, which is felt to be unstable during
this period. It is considered disrespectful NOT to become intoxicated at
the funeral of a close friend or relative.

- ---
* Although there is not complete agreement on the reason behind the double
encirclement, it is sometimes explained as acknowledging the dual nature
of the universal dominion of Menxvan and Menxruk.
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Re: Suz's crap

Post by Suzthulhu » Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:29 am

Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 16:02:53 EST
From: "Pounce Goddess" <diepounce@hotmail.com>
Subject: BDI> More Arangothian Culture

In an attempt to cover some bases which were before now, well, left
barren..;) I'll offer this-

In Arangoth, same-sex relationships as such were first officially
recognized as a way to make a good marriage for a child who had no other
good matches availible, or who made the religious declaration of
"serputerbi" or "serputespin" (love-man or love-woman) that made them
legally unmarragiable to the opposite sex by their own choice and to avoid
some unwanted union in desperate cases.

The relationships themselves are largely stigma-free among native
Arangothians. Some subcultures (Palladians, I believe, and any others
players may add) have their own beliefs on the matter. The same traditions
apply in these cases of the marriage kiss supposedly being the "first kiss"
and wealthy families still have to hire the terlispin to watch over their
daughters, though more out of a principal of virtue I suppose. That being
the case, young gay men have little trouble sneaking off to behave as young
men will. There is not as much worry about this behaviour since AIDS
doesn't exist and there will be no out-of-wedlock children to worry about.
The religious declarations of "serputerbi" and "serputespin" go unused in
the current day, as parents exercise less control over their children's
marriages in this day and age, and the tribal religions upon which they were
based have died out except in remote areas.

As for marriage, the Menxvanic ritual allows for fleibility in the genders
of the participants, with the ritual itself still being the same (torques,
sugar cakes and funny hats). Some individual cultures of course have their
own stigmas against it- I believe that the Palladians have such beliefs, or
at least Father Kylus expressed something of that nature when Aieshia asked
him to marry her to two other women. The other myriad minor religions in
Drache, often practiced by one or two people could of course be more
confusing than Earth Hinduism as to what they believe and why (sidenote:Is
Menxvanic the state religion of Arlok's government, and does Drache law
currently hold any religious tolerance/intolerance within it?).

Inheritances and children are the most complicated issue, since any
homosexual couple has to seek some sort of adoption, or outside assistance
in bearing any children. There is a magical solution that involves fusing
collected essences of both parents into a holy vial and speaking sacred
prayers or spells upon it for sixty days and nights that results in a child
springing forth ("blessed-tube-babies" ;) ). That option is primarily
availible to those with money to spare for hefty donations and free time to
sit around chanting. Adopted children aren't in much trouble as far as
inheritance, except in cases where there is a blood heir (from the magical
ritual or extra-marital affairs, acknowledged or not) which can lead to a
nasty battle in the courts between the wishes of the parent and the rights
of the blood-relative. If a child is born to one member of a same-sex union
through surrogate parenting, that child is eligible to directly inherit only
that parent's property unless it is adopted by the other parent (and not
contested by any blood-children of that other parent). This makes or some
interesting legal implications indeed.

The first historical records of the precedents for the current traditions
lie in the story called "The Sithire Silad's Challenge", which will be sent
out shortly.
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Re: Suz's crap

Post by Suzthulhu » Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:40 am

Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 00:49:27 -0500
From: Dan Kaleta <stygian@mailandnews.com>
Subject: BDI> The Menxist religion

OOC note: As with so many projects in BDI, this one started with a simple
question that had no answer. I wanted to play a Menxvanic priest, and I asked
Pat Feaster if there was any information on Menxvanism. It turned out that
there was little information already developed on the topic. Taking into
account the creation myth, scattered references to Menxvanic worship
throughout old mailing list posts, and Pat Feaster's posts on Arangothian
customs, this file was built up through much brainstorming, and conversations
with a number of muns. I am indebted to you all for your help.

Throughout this document, you will notice numerous parenthetical comments
indicating places where this project can be developed more fully. Anyone
wishing to do so is more than welcome to do so, as long as they keep what has
already been developed in mind.

One last general note - Menxism is the name for the entire religious system
encompassing both Menxvan and Menxruk, while Menxvanism and Menxrukism refer
to worship of one deity or the other.

I hope you enjoy it. ))

******************************************************************************

General notes:

In the beginning there was only Menxned (All-One). There was no universe as we
understand it, since the universe is many, and there was only the One. Menxned
was the highest form of being, omniscient, omnipotent, infinite, perfect in
unity and simplicity. All things were in it, and all things came from it. As
simply as it can be put in terms of mortal understanding, Menxned WAS. Menxned
was the purest form of existence, freed of any of the limitations of finite
beings.

At a point in the distant past, Menxned divided into Menxvan (All-Good) and
Menxruk (All-Evil). The entire universe arose from this division, the Many
sprung forth from the One, the complex from the simple, the opposed from the
unified. No one knows for sure precisely why this happened, but it is believed
that Menxned became bored after eons of of a solitary, static existence, and
the tripartite division of Menxned into Menxvan, Menxruk, and the universe
occurred because of a desire for something different.

Menxvan and Menxruk are opposed to each other in all things, and have
contended with one another since their first moments of existence. In fact,
the creation of life stemmed from a desire for someone to settle one of their
quarrels. Menxvan and Menxruk are equal in strength, and try as they might,
neither can defeat the other. That is why mortals are of such importance to
them. Their actions can tip the balance in favor of one or the other. Neither
deity can be totally defeated, nor can either of them be destroyed. However,
one can gain the upper hand temporarily (whether for minutes, hours, days,
months, even years) through the actions of their followers. It is a tenet of
both Menxvanic and Menxrukic philosophy that even a single person taking the
appropriate action at the appropriate time can shift the balance toward one
deity or the other. Followers of Menxvan believe that the best way to shift
the balance in the favor of the good is to do good deeds whenever possible,
and to encourage one's fellows to do good as well. Certain extreme Menxvanic
sects have interpreted this philosophical tenet as a divine mandate for rabid
evangelization, but such sects generally do not remain in existence for very
long. The majority of Menxvanists are strongly opposed to forced religious
conversions.

Mexruk, of course, takes a different approach to trying to tilt the contest in
his favor. Among his favorite tactics are sending plagues and natural
disasters to destroy groups of Menxvanists; sending his followers to
infiltrate and corrupt groups and organizations, subtly working to turn them
toward the dark paths; and heaping misfortunes upon followers of Menxvan to
try to get them to renounce their faith. Menxvan, for his part, is able to
prevent or minimize much of the harm that Menxruk attempts, though not all of
it. Similarly, Menxruk can not take away all the blessings that Menxvan
bestows on his followers.

Menxvan and Menxruk will never settle their contest with one another, but they
will tire of it eventually. In the end, Menxvan and Menxruk will reunite, and
the universe as we know it will cease to exist as Menxned is reborn, and all
things become One once again.

While Menxvan and Menxruk are opposed in all things, their dominion overlaps
in many places. The Cosmos is not simply divided up between them; most things
have a dual nature and are shared by both. Each deity has their preferences:
Menxvan prefers light while Menxruk prefers darkness, Menxvan prefers order
while Menxruk prefers chaos, etc. This is not to say that Menxvan is the god
of light, or that Menxruk is the god of chaos. Many things can be good or
evil, helpful or harmful, and this is why both gods have such wide spheres of
influence. Fire can provide warmth and light, as well as cause death and
destruction. Laws can protect the people, or oppress them. As stated before,
many things are without an inherent inclination toward good or evil, and the
intent behind a particular action or event is what places it under a
particular god's dominion. The only things that can be placed directly under
either god's dominion are certain abstract concepts. For example, Menxvan is
associated with good, purity, justice, virtue, etc; Menxruk is associated with
evil, corruption, injustice, vice, etc.

Male terminology is frequently used for referring to Menxvan and Menxruk, a
custom dating back to some of the earliest stories about Menxvan and Menxruk.
These tales comes from Menxism's roots as a primitive, tribal folk religion
that portrayed both deities as anthropomorphic beings (essentially, very
powerful humans). In fact, both deities are sexless entities, or at least have
no sex in the sense that mortals do. Menxned was all things, and Menxvan and
Menxruk came forth from Menxned. Both deities contain elements of both the
masculine and the feminine, and have manifested themselves as either sex as
need or desire suited them. Interestingly, Menxvan is almost exclusively
referred to as feminine in devotions that deal with fertility and agriculture.

In general, people pray to Menxvan to bring good things, and to Menxruk to
avoid misfortune, or to bring misfortune on someone else. Menxruk is not
shunned, but rather given a certain respect even by the most devout
Menxvanists. Evil has its place in the cosmic order, and Menxruk is given at
least some minor devotion to placate him and try to convince him not to send
misfortune.

In many mythoi, gods of evil can not create, merely pervert and twist what
already exists to serve their purposes. This is not true of Menxruk. While he
prefers destruction to creation, he is more than capable of creating when he
feels the desire to do so. Similarly, Menxvan is capable of destruction, but
simply chooses not to do harm.

Menxvan and Menxruk are both quite tolerant of other faiths, as far as deities
go, and this extends down to the clergy and followers of both deities. The
theory behind this is that anyone that does good helps Menxvan, while anyone
that does evil helps Menxruk. The only followers of foreign deities that are
not welcome are followers of neutral gods that seek balance in all things (as
such individuals would work to bring the contest to a stalemate), and militant
faiths that are hostile toward other religions. Menxruk has even gone so far
as to impersonate other deities in the past to gain the devotion of certain
powerful followers of evil deities from other worlds. It should be noted,
however, that certain extreme sects (such as the now-defunct Cult of the
Silver Flame) are militantly opposed to foreigners and foreign deities, but
these people represent a small minority.

(Note: The various sects of Menxvanism are open to further development, as are
more detailed explanations of religious beliefs and practices, as well as
further stories for the religious mythology.)

Fate:

A belief in an absolute fate or destiny would presuppose the existence of
another divine entity or agency, or would presuppose a pre-agreement between
Menxvan and Menxruk over the fate of a particular mortal. Rather, both
branches of Menxism have a philosophy of self-determination, that one makes
one's own fate to a degree would make more sense here. No child is born
inherently good or evil, but rather, their upbringing and their own actions
determine who they will be. This is not to say that all things are under the
control of the person. It is freely acknowledged that there are many things
beyond the control of mortals, but it is everyone's lot in life to make the
most of what they have. Many people do, however, believe in the existence of a
limited sort of fate, and intercede with Menxvan to alter fate. Left as they
are, things will resolve themselves in a certain way. The outcome of things
under these circumstances is perceived as "fate." Intercession with higher
powers might bring them to act on one's behalf, or show one how to alter one's
own fate.

The Afterlife:

In all, there are ten levels of existence to the universe. All non-divine
beings begin life as mortals in the first level, the world of the living. The
other nine levels are known collectively as the other world, or the afterlife.
Death is the passing from the mortal realms into eternity. To a Menxvanist,
life truly is a first, temporary stage of a much longer journey.

The afterlife is sometimes colloquially referred to as the nine heavens or the
nine hells, though both names are something of a mistranslation of the
concept. The Arangothian language does not have seperate words for heaven and
hell, only degdrelth, the 'other-world.' Mortals know very little about most
of these. The first, and lowest, is the Dreamworld, which mortals visit when
they are dreaming (Dan's commentary: this is an idea expressed by many poets.
I believe that Shakespeare called sleep the counterfeit of death in one
play...I know he definitely likened death to an eternal sleep in Hamlet's
famous 'To be or not to be' soliloquy). It is to this world that mortal
spirits first gravitate when they have died in the living world. This is why
one can meet the recently deceased in dreams.

Once there, perhaps, spirits can see (in something similar to "dreaming" here)
into the second, next-highest level of the other world. One way in which the
first heaven is different from earth is that the forces of Menxvan and Menxruk
are physically disparate there, having resolved into something like two vast
empires. Thus a person might, indeed, end up in one or another "region" of the
Dreamworld. This might also be associated with the difference between dreams
and nightmares, and between dreams that correctly predict the future, and
those that deceive. People "die" in the first heaven as well, and pass on into
subsequent heavens, but little is known about these. Dying is admittedly a
rather inaccurate analogy, but the process does involve a passing from one
state of existence, and the beginning of a new existence on a new plane. It is
not known precisely what is involved in this process of transcendence, but it
apparently has something to do with strength of character and devotion to
one's deity. Few living mortals ever catch a glimpse into the higher heavens,
and those that do often can not comprehend what they see. A "holy" person in
the world of the living is perhaps one of those who is believed to be able to
dream while still living into the higher heavens, enabling contact with
powerful beings and some degree of ability to foretell things to come. Each
plane or level of the other world increases in proximity to one's deity, and
becomes increasingly dissimilar to the world of the living. In the ninth and
highest level of the other world reside very powerful beings that have
advanced that high; each ascent presumably brings greater powers over the
lower heavens and the mortal world. The ninth heaven/hell brings mortals into
the closest proximity to the deities possible. They can communicate with
Menxvan or Menxruk "face-to-face," as we talk among ourselves.

Certain beings that have ascended to the upper levels of the other world
maintain an active interest in the affairs of mortals in the world of the
living, doing what they can to help the followers of their particular deity.
These figures are sometimes mistakenly referred to as demigods, or even minor
deities by those unfamiliar with the tenets of Menxism, though neither
description is entirely accurate. They are simply figures with a closer
proximity to Mexvan or Menxruk, who can entreat the deities to intercede on
behalf of a particular mortal or group of mortals. One of the most widely
known of such benevolent intercessor figures is Gigsin, the founder of a sect
of Menxvanism widely followed in Hornath-ul-Marfed and the surrounding area.
She was the first priest to move away from the primitive forms of the
religion, and develop a more complex and philosophical theology which focuses
heavily on justice. The spot where Gigsin's house used to stand in
Hornath-ul-Marfed is now a shrine with several dedicated Menxvanic priestesses
who entreat her to bring the deity's favor upon the city and its people.

(Gigsin is by no means the only such figure, and this is another area open to
development.)

Worship of Menxvan and Menxruk:

(The structure and hierarchy of organized Menxvan worship is open to
development. Perhaps it is governed by a council of the leaders of the largest
sects in the kingdom. Or perhaps it isn't. This is something that will need to
be worked out in the future.)

As both deities have such wide spheres of influence, there are a variety of
Menxvanic and Menxrukic sects, and a wide variety of worship. (This has a lot
of potential here for player innovation.) Menxvan worship in rural areas tends
to focus more on nature and fertility aspects due to importance of
agriculture. In contrast, Menxvanic worship in urban areas tends to be more
philosphical and intellectual, overall more complex than many of the folkish
rural sects. The varying sects can take widely different philosophies and
approaches toward the same subject. For example, on the subject of warfare,
sects can vary in philosophy from militaristic to pacifistic, or any stance in
between.

Worship of Menxruk is much more disorganized, and individualized, with little
in the way of a formal theology. Large gatherings of Menxrukists would be a
glaring target for Menxvanic warriors. Indeed, worship of Menxruk need not
take any specific form. Cannibalism, human sacrifice, blood drinking, and
bacchic orgies are common among sects claiming loyalty to Menxruk, but there
are other, more subtle ways to do Menxruk's will. Menxruk accepts blatant
atrocities as acts of devotion, though he prefers subtlety. Such overt acts
are merely a distraction from the true source of evil, and intended to be as
much. True evil is darker, more mysterious, and more difficult to track down.
The worst mischiefs are done out of sight by Menxruk's more insidious agents
while the heroes of the land are off battling obvious foes. The surest way to
destroy something is not through brute force, but rather by corrupting it.
Even the strongest, purest things things will rot and fall apart if
infiltrated by perverting influences.

Symbology: There are a variety of symbols that have become associated with
Menxvan over the years. The color green is a very important symbolic color,
representing life, prosperity, and fertility. Serpent imagery is also common,
especially of a serpent swallowing its tail. (See Pat Feaster's file on
Arangothian customs and note the uses of both serpent imagery and the color
green in weddings and funerals) Third, the sun is also a symbol associated
with Menxvan, due to the ancient creation myth.(q.v. Pat Feaster's etiological
story). Finally, the character in the Arangothian alphabet that stands for the
letter V (first letter of van, the word for good) is also used a symbol,
though this is a fairly recent development. It is frequently used in religious
jewelry, carved into stone in religious sites, or used in combination with
other symbols. In addition, there are a number of other religious symbols;
these are infrequently used, or associated only with particular rituals or
holidays.

As mentioned above, green is an important color in Menxvanic worship. Typical
garb for performing religious rituals is a green robe, often with accents of
other colors depending on the type of ceremony (white for purifications, black
for funerals, etc). There is considerable variation in the priestly
accoutrements among the various sects. (Modes of dress for particular sects is
open to development).

(Symbolism and modes of worship for Menxruk are open to development)

The priesthood:

It is equally possible for men and women to become servants of Menxvan or
Menxruk. (The specifics of the religious training are open for development).
There are two major divisions of the Menxvanic priesthood: priests and
priestesses, and holy men and holy women. Both receive the same religious
training, and both have the same spiritual authority to perform religious
ceremonies and rituals. The simple difference is that priests and priestesses
are associated with one of the various temples throughout the land, while holy
men and women are not. Holy men and women are wanderers, travelling throughout
the kingdom, and even into other lands, to minister to people not within
travelling distance of a temple. They perform an invaluable service in remote,
rural areas, or in foreign lands with Menxvan-worshipping populations. Priests
are allowed to marry and have children. In some sects, priests are expected to
have a family, in others, staying single may be seen as a more virtuous
calling, devoting oneself completely to Menxvan as it were.

Temples:

Temples originally started out as an appropriately purified place where
rituals can take place without the possibility of corruption. In the earliest
days, they were simply caves or small huts, but they have evolved over the
years into larger buildings devoted entirely to religious purproses, and
sometimes entire complexes of buildings. Some temples have been built on sites
associated with close communion with the other world, and others are
repositories of relics, such as the mortal remains, or important possessions
of particularly holy individuals. This is thought to make it more likely that
the prayers of those within the temple are more likely to receive the
intercession of Menxvan.

In addition, the temples also serve as repositories of knowledge and history,
containing accounts of the deeds of the faithful, and the collected teachings
of particularly holy people, to be passed on for the edification of the
people. In many areas, temples are the only source of education available.
Menxvanic temples will teach literacy and basic mathematics to any person,
provided that they are willing to work in the service of the temple for the
duration of their studies.

Temples also serve the function of hospitals in many areas of the kingdom,
housing the sick, the injured, and the dying. Menxvanic priests are well
versed in the arts of medicine and healing, and a number of them are also
versed in the ways of magical healing. (We would like to develop a 'native'
system of clerical magic, rather than simply borrow one from existing fantasy
settings. Those wishing to help are welcome to do so, though instantaneous
healings of severe wounds and resurrections should probably be avoided in such
a system.)

(The layout of temples is open to development, but share several
characteristics. First, they all contain an altar (vilkalathar), on which
coffins are placed during funeral services, and on which symbolic sacrifices
to Menxvan are placed during various rituals. Secondly, there is a pool or
basin holding the water used for purifications. Third, there should be a place
for singers and musicians, since music is very important during funerals. See
Pat Feaster's file on Arangothian customs for more information. The particular
details of various religious rituals is open to development, though it should
be kept in mind that ritual purifications are a significant part of many
Menxvanic rituals. Temples also have a role in the Brakerrat, the ceremony by
which a child becomes an adult in Arangothian society, though the exact nature
of the Brakerrat has not been determined yet.)

- ----------------------------------------------------------------------

- --Dan
The man behind Stygian, Lucius, Marcion, Erethek, Valakhar, Radzok, Tiburon, and Edwin
http://www.blkdragon.com/merchant.html
New submissions always welcome
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Re: Suz's crap

Post by Suzthulhu » Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:41 am

OOC note: Like the file on Menxvanism, this one grew out of an innocent enough
conversation. I happened to mention that I was interested in playing a
Menxvanic paladin or priest, and Pat Feaster suggested that perhaps it might
be better to develop an Arangothian alternative to the paladin, since paladins
are specific to AD&D settings. From that simple suggestion, the Templars were
born. This file is the result of my collaberation with Dave Eddings, and it is
still very much a work in progress. The list of powers is by no means
complete; rather, it is but an example of the disciplines that a Templar can
call upon. Our intention is to have a much longer list, to allow for a wide
variety of Templar types. Anyone wishing to add powers is welcome to do so, as
long as they keep with the spirit of what has already been developed (ie,
powers that draw on the templar's discipline and conditioning). We would also
like to keep the parallels to AD&D paladins to a minimum. That being said,
almost anything else is up for grabs.

In addition, the history of the Templars needs to be developed, the
information on their strongholds needs to be fleshed out more, and perhaps
even more strongholds need to be added. More information on their training,
their code of honor, and their place in Arangothian society is also needed.
Anyone wishing to help work on this project should get in touch with either
Dave or me.

Anyone that wishes to play a Templar is free to do so: this is an addition to
the setting for all RPers to use if they wish to do so. It is our intention,
however, to keep the Templars from becoming an IC-controlled group. For that
reason, the High Patriarch and the Lord Templar will remain NPCs. In addition,
if anyone would like to play a Templar Patriarch or Matriarch, we ask that you
check with the channel ops about it first. As with my last post, I hope that
everyone enjoys, this. :)


******************************************************************************

Templars of Menxvan:
(Vilkatirenair ul Menxvan)

The Templars are an order of Menxvanic Knights, dedicated to defending the
Menxvanic faith, protecting Menxvan's followers, as well as guarding Menxvan's
temples, shrines, and other holy sites. Traditionally, they have also been
dedicated supporters of the Arangothian monarchs, and have formed an elite
corps in the Arangothian armies in times of war.

The symbol of the Templars is a green serpent swallowing its tail, surrounded
by a sunburst, with a sword in the center. The Templars display this symbol on
their armor, or wear a pendant around their neck when unarmored.

Military Leader: Lord Templar Lithstrop ul-Tarin Illyrian
Spiritual Leader: High Patriarch Galforin

Forts:

Sonkorath village: Religious education, basic education, basic arms training.
Cadre of Templar Mentors, generally experienced and 'over the hill' templars.
One forty man detachment of Templars besides, and the students. Monastery.

Shiskwa: Advanced arms training and unit drilling, horsemanship. Four forty
man detachments of Templars in Training, one detachment of trainers, and one
active duty detachment. Small Fort. Shiskwa is actually outside of Arangoth,
located on the lands of the Menxvan-worshipping Hoshk tribe in Kahlahra. The
rough lands of Kahlahra are a proving ground for young Templars, where they
learn the ways of the celebrated Templar endurance, as well as learn
horsemanship from renowned Khalar horsemen. In return for spiritual guidance
from the Templars, the Hoshk have a longstanding practice of donating horses
to the Templars as offerings to Menxvan.

Castle of Gessihorna: Last fully manned outpost of the Templars of Menxvan.
Ten forty-man detachments, garrison of four detachments. Large Castle.

Millabratel: Situated at the crossroads that connects Drache, Arania, and the
Sresar Vale, the town of Millabratel contains the only remaining significant
outpost for the Templars in the southern part of the kingdom. The Menxvanic
Temple complex at Millabratel is located in the center of the city, where the
three roads converge. Millabratel boasts a full forty man detachment, as well
as several students, though students do not long remain at Millabratel before
being sent north to Sonkorath and Shiskwa. Each of the other Menxvanic temples
in the southern half of Arangoth has at least one templar (as many as five in
the case of larger Temples), though all the Templars in Transadariania,
Arania, and the Sresar Vale report to the Patriarch of Millabratel. Aside from
its strategic location, Millabratel has remained an important center for the
Templars because it is a repository for several important relics, including
the original copy of the Book of Metrarin, a set of spiritual meditative
exercises which is essential in mastering the Templars' ability to commune
with ancestral spirits.

Code of conduct:

All Templars are swear eternal loyalty to Menxvan, and vow to protect his
followers and his temples. Furthermore, they are dedicated to spread the
teachings of Menxvan as far as possible, and teach by example. Templars
realize that they are looked up to by most people, and strive to be role
models for those around them. Humility is also a particularly stressed virtue,
as arrogance makes it easy to slip from the Templar's path.

Structure of the Templars:

Military Structure:

Initiate ( Gessiod )- This is the lowest tier of the military organization of
the Templars, and the rank at which all Templars begin their service to the
order. Military Initiates are generally new recruits, or those who have yet to
be tested in actual combat. Initiates are technically not allowed to call
themselves Templars, but rather refer to themselves as Initiates in the Order
of Templars.

Templar (Vilkatire) - This is the rank of the majority of the Templars,
Spiritual Initiates, as well as High Templars. This rank is reserved for
veteran Templars that have proven themselves in the field. Though it is rare
to find a High Templar ranked as an Initiate, the promotion to Templar must be
earned, and is not given away for any reason. Battle counts as facing off
against a real opponent outside the safety of the strongholds, whether the
battle be a physical fight, or simply standing up for someone's rights in a
case of injustice.

Mentor (Sethrod Vilkatire) - These are the officers of the Templars, and serve
as both leaders and teachers to their subordinates. A standard forty man
detachment of Templars is usually divided into four squads of ten, with a
Mentor at the head of each squad. Spiritual Initiates are just as likely to
become Mentors as High Templars.

Knight Templar (Gemarind Vilkatire) - Knight Templars serve as the commanding
officer of a forty man detachment, and are always selected from High Templars
that have reached the rank of Sustainer or higher.

Lord Templar (Vorfon Vilkatire) - Only one Templar holds this rank at any
time, as this is the supreme militarly leader of the order. The Lord Templar
is given full discretion to choose the appropriate course of action in all
military matters which concern the Templars, and is also responsible for
making sure that young Templars receive the proper training at the various
strongholds. The Lord Templar is elected by a meeting of all the Patriarchs
and Matriarchs in council, and serves until death or retirement.

Spiritual Structure:

Initiate (Gessiod) - Initiates are rank and file Templars. Though devoted to
Menxvan and defending the faith, they simply do not possess combination of
gifts that allow one to progess further on the path of spiritual
enlightenment. Initiates are for the most part ordinary people, though
underestimating a Templar in battle is generally a mistake that most opponents
do not live long enough to make twice.

Acolyte (Bathrad Vilkatire)- This is the first level of the ranks of the High
Templars (Sith Vilkatirel). Advancing beyond the Initiate state requires
measuring up to very exacting standards of physical, mental, and spiritual
discipline. It is strength of body, strength of mind, and strength of faith
that allow Templars to call upon their unique gifts. Many of the Templars'
special skills require the Templar to enter a meditative state, focusing the
will, and opening the mind to receive Menxvan's favors. Only a few individuals
can walk this path, and fewer still can remain upon it without slipping.
Acolytes are just beginning to learn the ways of the High Templars, still
learning to harness the supernatural-seeming powers of the Templars, and
making their first contact with ancestral spirits.

Sustainer (Golthratire Vilkatira) - As a Templar gains experience in the
Templar disciplines and has sustained the intense, disciplined devotion
necessary to follow the Templar ways, he or she is awarded the honored rank of
Sustainers. Many of the Templars' special skills require the Templar to enter
a meditative state, focusing the will, and opening the mind to receive
Menxvan's favors. Sustainers have become adept at this, and command a wider
array of abilities than Acolytes. Sustainers also commune with the other world
more frequently, and begin reaching beyond the lowest levels into worlds that
only a few have ever seen.

Master (Apettod Vilkatire) - As the name implies, attainment of this rank is
reserved to experienced Templars that have mastered the Templar disciplines,
and can commune with spirits of legendary beings. All High Templars are
mystics and visonaries at least to some degree, having a very strong
connection to the otherworldly, but Masters can open their minds to higher
levels of the afterlife that would drive ordinary people insane. For this
reason, many people find the presence of a Master intimidating, as they seem
to look through one, rather than at one. Spending any length of time in their
presence will make it apparent that their senses reach beyond the ordinary,
into something that most people can only guess the nature of. Masters serve as
teachers and spiritual parents to the Templars, guiding them on the path to
spiritual enlightenment.

Patriarch/Matriarch (Sithapsi/Sithnerre Vilkatire)- The spiritual leaders of
the Templars, Patriarchs represent the zenith of the Templar disciplines. Each
Templar stronghold is led by a Patriarch or Matriarch, who provides guidance
and instruction to even the Masters. Patriarchs rarely leave the temples to
take the field of battle, only doing so in times of great peril. Though
Patriarchs and Matriarchs are often advanced in years (rarely younger than
fifty), they are still more than a match for a score of ordinary soldiers.

- - Generally, Templar training takes place within the confines of the various
Templar strongholds throughout the lands. Templars prefer to train new
Initiates from as early an age as possible, though they will not turn away a
promising applicant on the basis of age. There have been several cases
throughout history of individuals harnassing the Templar disciplines without
having received any formal training. This is sometimes the case in descendents
of famous Templars who are unaware of their heritage, or children whose
parents do not wish them to follow the ways of the Templars. In these rare
instances, the individual is visited in his or her sleep by ancestral spirits
who teach the Templar disciplines through dreams. If the individual in
question takes heed of the instruction and practices it, her or she may very
well develop abilities equivalent to that of an Acolyte without setting foot
within a Templar stronghold. Almost all of these individuals eventually seek
out the Templars to advance their training.


Templar Abilities:

Note: Not all Templars can use all the abilities listed below. Learning and
mastering these abilities is part of the process of training and progession
within the order. Those higher in the hierarchy have access to more abilities,
and can use them to a degree not possible by lesser Templars.

All Templars, including Initiates have the following abilities:

- - Holy Endurance - This abilitiy, which allows Templars to ignore pain and/or
fatigue is one of the primary reasons for Templars' almost legendary
toughness, and has led to the expression "Templars stop fighting when their
hearts stop beating."

- - Holy Fast - Another mind over body discipline, this discipline allows the
Templar to alter his or her own metabolism to a degree, making the absorption
of nutrition from food and drink much more efficient, as well as dramatically
increasing the efficiency of the body's use of water and nutrients. This
permits Templars to survive for long periods of time on very little food and
drink. This has obvious advantages for spending long periods in the
wilderness, as well as during sieges in times of war. Attempting to use Holy
Endurance simultaneously with this power is extremely dangerous for a Templar,
and should not be tried (though some still do in desperate situations).

The following abilities can only be learned by High Templars:

- - Healing Trance - This meditative trance focuses all of the Templar's
energies inward, acclerating the natural healing processes of the body,
sometimes cutting convalescence from injuries or illness in half. This
requires all of a Templar's concentration, so the Templar can not use any
other abilities simultaneously, nor can he or she engage in strenuous
activity. As this intense concentration lowers one's awareness of the outside
world, this is a power that is generally not used unless the Templar is in a
place of relative safety.

- - Dreamwalk - (see Pat's notes on the structure on the Menxvanic afterlife) As
mentioned before, Templars have a strong connection to the otherworldly, and
can even enter the Dreamworld, the first level of the other world to commune
with the spirits of the recently deceased at night. A Templar can also seek
out the mind of any other sleeping Templar and establish contact to hold short
conversations. Use of this power is taxing, so conversations are usually kept
as brief as possible, lest both Templars awaken in the morning feeling as if
they had not slept at all. This is used primarily to communicate urgent
messages to Templars in distant strongholds rapidly, yet another factor that
makes the Templars a very formidable force in times of war.

- - Succor - The most powerful of Menxvan's favors to his Templars is the
ability to draw on the abilities of ancestors in time of need. Templars can
commune with the spirits of their ancestors to benefit from their knowledge,
seek their counsel for advice in times of need, and even draw on skills that
they may not themselves possess. For example, a Templar may wish to call on
the skill of an ancestor that was a bladesmith to guide his hands, and give
him the knowledge to forge a sword. More powerful Templars can make contact
with higher planes of the other world, and seek out more legendary ancestors
to aid them. This by no means a simple process. The Templar must know which
ancestor he or she wishes to contact beforehand, then must embark on a
spiritual journey to find that ancestor in a meditative vision. The Templar
must then convince the ancestor in question of the need for that spirit's aid.
The spirits are people with needs and motivations of their own, not simply
servants, so proper respect for them must be shown. They can and will refuse
to intervene in matters they find frivolous. No Templar can benefit from the
assistance of more than one ancestral spirit at once, nor can the same spirit
aid more than one Templar at a time.

- - "Invisibility" - The Templar can make himself invisible to one person at a
time. The affected person simply believes that they see only empty space when
the Templar stands. This effect is maintained only as long as the Templar
concentrates on making that person not see them. Use of this power is almost
impossible against someone who is looking at the Templar, as it is extremely
difficult to convince that person that the Templar is not really there.

- - Second Sight - This discipline literally allows Templars to see with their
mind instead of their eyes. Acolytes can only see the mental auras of sentient
beings (which can be immensely useful when fighting in dark or smoke-filled
areas), while Masters of the discipline can use it as a replacement for ocular
vision. Nimpe Ul-Alathar, for example, was able to lead her troops into battle
during the Sherken War despite being blind from birth. Those experienced with
the use of this discipline can gather a great deal of information from
observing a person using the Second Sight. Such things as approximate age,
sex, race, and general emotional state can be easily discerned (which is
useful in seeing through illusions). Some Templars can even tell if two people
are related simply by looking for similarities in the psychic auras.

- - Warrior's Instinct - While engaged in combat, this ability allows Templars
to alter their perception of time, making it seem as if everything is moving
in slow motion, thus giving Templars more time to anticipate and respond to
their opponents' attacks. This power becomes even more deadly under the
command of a Master Templar, as it actually accelerates the Templar's
reflexes. Comparatively speaking, the Templar feels as if he or she is moving
and reacting normally against a host of slow-moving opponents.

- - Communicate with Undead - The Templar ability to commune with the spirits of
the dead extends to the spirits of sentient undead beings. When using this
ability, the Templar can keep an undead creature at bay and prevent it from
attacking. Furthermore, the Templar can engage the undead creature in
conversation about the details of that creature's life and death. This is
generally used to ascertain how to lay a wandering spirit to rest and send it
on to the afterlife where it belongs. Certain powerful undead (liches in
particular) that entered the state of undeath willingly are immune to this
ability.

- - Empathic Bond - Most common among the Khalar-born Templars, this discipline
allows a Templar to form a permanent link with his or her preferred mount.
This greatly increases a Templar's ability to train and control a mount,
making possible truly spectacular feats of horsemanship (or the handling of
any other mount). In addition to being able to communicate with the mount
almost as if it were a person, the Templar may also communicate it at a
distance, summoning it when needed, or giving it instructions when it carried
another rider. A Templar can be bonded to only one mount at a time, and the
death of a bonded mount is often a traumatic experience for the Templar.

- - Sight to the Blinded - This power is not literally what its name might
imply, but it is a potent ability nonetheless. Through logic and reasoning, a
Templar of Menxvan can eventually break the effects of a charming enchantment
upon the subject addressed. The Templar must speak to the charmed person alone
and for a length of time that reflects the power of the charm to break the
enchantment.

- - Stand as a Rock - With this particular ability, used famously by the Lord
Templar Illurst in his last stand, a Templar is able to stay upright through
all manner of blows. Regardless of what it might be, spell, blow or something
else, one cannot move the Templar unless the Templar wishes to. However, for
the Templar to properly use this power, they must stand completely still and
not move. Once they have moved of their own free will, the power ceases.
Formations of similarly skilled High Templars in times past were known to
ferociously hold themselves in shield wall formations against many times their
number with this ability.

- -In addition, the Templars' excellent physical conditioning and iron
discipline allows them to continue active military service long after ordinary
knights would have left their arms and armor behind. There have been instances
in the past of certain Templars (this includes Initiates, as well as High
Templars) continuing their service in the order well into their seventies
before retiring.

- ----------------------------------------------------------------------

- --Dan
The man behind Stygian, Lucius, Marcion, Erethek, Valakhar, Radzok, Tiburon, and Edwin
http://www.blkdragon.com/merchant.html
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Re: Suz's crap

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