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Any other bits on the Sentinel?

Question: The role here and discipleship doesn't seem as well defined as many others. So I was hoping I could get you to expound on how this Archlector and her discipleship fits in the world. These are by no means ALL meant to be answered, but just so you get the flavor of the sort of queries I have.

Whereas Mirrormasks are often lawyers, are Magistrates often disciples of the Sentinel? Does the Faith serve in any capacity of authority with the courts beyond offering the Oath of Truth to witnesses? If not, is there a separate Faith trial body? Is there any precedence or scenario wherein the Archlector of the Sentinel sits as a judge and metes out justice? Or pass on penance? Does she have any specialized responsibility akin to that of the Archscholar, or Gild's Archlector, the 13th or the others who have more established discipleships? If the Inquisition pre-dates the courts and became secular, would the Courts as the area of jurisprudence be a likely body for a new established discipleship to take hold? Is there anything you would like to see happen with the Sentinel, or a piece of lore you hoped someone would latch on to as regards the Sentinel and make more present in the game?

Answer: The Inquisition was the discipleship for the Sentinel, and since then it hasn't had a formally organized discipleship. However, this does not mean that the Faith is uninvolved in law, even aside from Mirrormasks- many magistrates are in fact godsworn, and there's not necessarily any formal separation. For example, it would not be uncommon for a seraph to act as a local judge for a domain, with the approval of the local lord, and there's nothing barring the Faith from being involved in the Courts of Arx as judges as well or prosecuting lawyers, and even magistrates that aren't godsworn tend to seek the advice of the Faith (and the Archlector of the Sentinel) for legal advice fairly routinely, as the Faith is seen as the moral arbiter of the Compact, and questions on the nature of justice and formal dogma go specifically to the Archlector of the Sentinel, the legates and the Dominus.

The Faith also sits in judgment of its own godsworn members, and holds its own courts- the Archlector is in that aspect one of the heads of internal review of the Faith and its hundreds of thousands of godsworn.

Black Reflections After Death

Question: Q: This has come up a few times and some parts answered in bits and pieces on the Info channel, but for the sake of posterity:

We know that Black Reflections are never released unless the person stipulates it in their will. From what's been said, they must then be vetted (for safety?) by the Faith. I assume the Archscholar or a Senior Scholar? Who can vet? And then they're given to the family to approve of release. (Just one person in the family? A Head of House or Voice, maybe?) What exactly are they looking for in terms of reasons to disapprove of the release? Can families decline release just because the person said embarrassing things that look bad for their house? Do the objections have to be stronger than that?

2) Another thing that comes up sometimes: Can a person indicate in their journals that they'd only like to release specific journals after death? Or release all but a few specific ones? Could they ask for their journals to be released just to a specific person? Or straight up all or nothing through the standard vetting process?

Answer: Under 'lore vellichor' there's some detail here, but there's a special senior branch of the Scholars of Vellichor that make up the Censor Librorum. Anything whose release could constitute harm in some way is flagged as 'nihil obstat' for review. While this can constitute grave secrets that could start a war or bodily harm, it can also be anything that would be purely spiteful that was written to cause harm after their death. The feeling of the Scholars Superior is that white journals are perfectly valid, trying to do so with the release of Black Journals post death is trying to use the Scholarship to attack one's enemies out of spite, and the Scholarship is under no obligation to do this. But Scholars Superior will forward on a work as 'imprimi potest' if it's possibly permissible, and the Arch Scholar will rule something is 'imprimatur' if something is dangerous but should still be seen. Purely spiteful works are usually removed immediately unless it has some other value.

2) Sure. But from an ooc perspective going through every journal by hand and slowly flagging them and turn them back is painstaking and really annoying, which is why there hasn't been many black journal dumps after people have died unless someone really makes it clear they really want to see it happen.

Choosing a new Dominus

Question: Three questions on this subject:

1) How is the Dominus usually chosen? Are we talking a Pope-style convocation with nobody leaving the room 'till it's done and the smoke and stuff?

2) How steeped in tradition is this process? Is it something that has been passed over in recent memory and everyone was fine with that? Is it generally believed that the Gods won't support anyone who becomes Dominus by any other means? Or is the 'official' way to do it less a code, and more a... guideline?

3) How are people who support the "wrong" Dominus seen? Like, say I'm just Joe Silk, I don't know much about the Faith but I want to do right by the Gods and I do my best to throw my support behind the right guy, but then the other guy wins. Am I going to Arx-hell? Have the Gods turned their back on me? Or are the repercussions I'm almost certainly going to face temporal in nature?

Answer: 1) Archlectors/Grandmasters and current Legates are called to a Convocation of the Faith, which works very much like a Catholic-style election of the Pope. The leadership of the Faith isolates itself and does not open its doors again until a new Dominus has been chosen. In the case of an Anti-Dominus, it is likely that the Anti-Dominus has chosen at least a few of these positions from followers and quietly held their own ceremony to convey legitimacy.

2) The Convocation is, theoretically, a very important tradition, and part of the grandeur and legitimacy of the Faith. However, as with any tradition, if one can make the case that those holding the traditional seats are corrupt, and gain the moral and military authority to be seen as more legitimate than those individuals, the tradition itself will not be enough to retain power. In the Crownbreaker Wars, for example, the 'legitimate' Dominus was considered a puppet of the Thrax monarchy by many, and his credibility suffered despite having technically been approved by Legates (after ones who would not approve him were thrown off a very high bridge).

3) This depends in some regard on the disposition of the winner of the power struggle, and how close a contest it is. The average Faithful commoner is rarely shamed or punished for supporting a 'wrong' Dominus; it's assumed that they were led astray. Providing monetary or military support to whoever loses is likely to have political consequences, particularly if the win is overwhelming or the winner is vengeful. In closer contests, however, the Dominus left standing may not have the power to enforce retribution on those who supported the losing side, and may seek reconciliation over punishment.

As with all things, there's a balance between the legitimacy given by tradition and cultural inertia - which is significant - and the practical result of people being willing to stab a lot of other people to get the power that they want, until they eventually run out of people who are willing to be stabbed just to stop them from having it.

Colorful Language

Question: What is the thematic view of the Faith when it comes to more colorful references to the gods? Historically we've seen characters use very creative language ("By Jayus's wrinkle-free ball sack!" or something), so what is the Faith's view of such things? What is a faithful society's view of someone using the god's names in that sort of context?

Answer: Hi there. Such 'very creative language' would be frowned upon by the Faith, with varying degrees of reaction depending on the person(s) said in front of, the place, and the occasion. Hope this helps!

Divine Favoritism

Question: Is it heretical or otherwise bad for a household to keep a shrine to the Pantheon that esteemed one God above the others? Point in case: can Grimhall have a shrine that puts Mangata on a higher altar, or on the central pedestal? Can we have a household priest/ess to maintain it?

Answer: Divine Patrons or Matrons aren't uncommon, and discipleships all highlight the god, but what is uncommon and would be considered heretical is any implication that a god is somehow better than the others. That really isn't done, as it's more about emphasizing that sphere that the god controls. "We spend our times talking about Mangata because we spend our lives on the sea" is fine and not unexpected, "Mangata is the best goddess" would strike others as heretical and weird. It should be noted that there's not specific priesthoods for the gods- while there's discipleships of lay people that venerate the worship of a specific deity, to honor rites that are about what that particular deity embodies, the godsworn priests are priests of the Pantheon. Archlectors who oversee the worship aren't really the head of a specific priestly order, they more are specialists who oversee anything that has something to do with that particular deity.

Eternal Flame-Lit Items

Question: Hi. Considering how many items there are that have been lit by the Eternal Flame -- some going back at least 3 IC years -- I'm wondering if the fire in those lanterns eventually go out? Thank you.

Answer: Items lit by the eternal flame last significantly longer than normal (from two to thirteen times as long, abouts), but do eventually go out, unlike the eternal flame itself.

Excommunicated and Charity

Question: Under excommunication, all religious rites and sanctuary are denied. Does the charity of Gild, the writing of journals to Vellichor, and the care of the Mercies pertain as well as they are Faith maintained? What of disciples or Godsworn who continue to give aid and charity to the excommunicated (this excludes any authorized to guide the excommunicated's penance)?

Answer: Excommunication is commonly used by the Faith to publically declare that a leader or other public figure is in error in the eyes of the Faith, continues to err after being warned, and then must be chastened so they might amend their error before returning to the Faith. In practical terms, the excommunicated is barred from setting foot on holy ground while they have yet to repent, however the Faith is free to interact with them in any way aside from that, and is often encouraged to do so, so they might help encourage them to repent from their error.

This does mean, however, they are barred from entering any hospital run by the Mercies of Lagoma and Knights of Solace, and are dependent on mercies being willing to leave to offer them aid. There is no condemnation of mercies doing so, as it's still a reflection of their relationship with Gild, and the same holds true for healing Abandoned (which, conversely, does have some societal condemnation, but is NOT considered explicitly treasonous, like trade with them is). The excommunicated that have been not made outlaw has no legal issue with interaction in any way, though members of the Faith do need to be careful in their interactions, as any support that would signal agreement with the heretical could find themselves similarly barred from the Faith, and for that reason most members of the Faith receive explicit permission from their seniors before interaction with the excommunicated that were punished for blasphemy.

Excommunication and Fealty

Question: I was thinking back to excommunications in game, and the big excommunication of the Great Lords, and to the RL dogma on this and whether it applies here. As they cannot swear under the Gods, obviously someone excommunicated can't make new oaths - but do existing oaths they have sworn technically count (could you just not pay debts owed? Does the person risk being declared not part of their existing fealty and pushed crownsworn at the whim of their liege? Or would it just be that they are not trusted to necessarily hold to those oaths?). Equally, one of the impacts of excommunications RL is that the Church no longer considered that the faithful had any duties of obedience to a ruler excommunicated. Now, given that temporal power rested in - as we have it in game - with local lrods with local soldiers it didn't mean much, but is that also the case here? Or is the view of excommunication that though they are outside of the Gods, their protections and the rites and swearing of the Faith, everyone else is still under that and must hold to their oaths, even to one excommunicated?

Answer: So much of law in the Compact ultimately comes down to the belief that by Limerance, someone's word will be honored and that vows before the gods are taken seriously. It's a bedrock concept that ties into fealty, and that bestows an enormous degree of power to the Faith of the Pantheon.

But it stops just short of someone being able to be declared an outlaw (literally Outside the Law) by the Faith excommunicating them.

During the early days of the Faith, in what's now the Oathlands and before the Compact existed, the Western Kingdom DID, in fact, have anyone cast out by the Faith of the Pantheon based in Sanctum functionally outlaw anyone that was excommunicated. But the power of declaring someone an outlaw was moved from the Faith to the Compact as a whole when the Compact was created by King Alar and the first highlords, and what became a tradition became firmly enshrined during the time of Lorwroth Kinsbane, as the excommunication over kinslaying was simply insufficient to convince sworn swords to break fealty. This was largely due to well meaning reforms done by the Reckoning-era Dominus Tin, who feared a powerful Faith and Crown coming into conflict after King Alar I was declared the King of the Compact, and thus said that when it came to outlawing and casting the highborn from the Compact, the Faith "should not exert itself over the Crown, lest we rule over all". That dogma has made excommunication result functionally in meaning that the Faith would not condemn someone as an oathbreaker that failed to keep their oaths to one cast out, but it also refused to -condemn- anyone that still decided to keep their oaths. That line of dogma, mostly encouraged by the Lycene faction of the Faith and their Mirrormasks, became particularly relevant during the Crusade of Shattered Mirrors, with individual seraphs taking markedly different stances on the excommunicated.

Faith And The Crown

Question: I wondered how exactly the members of the Faith see themselves in relation to the Crown? Is there an idea that the King was placed to rule over everything by the Gods so they are his subjects? Is it that they answer to the Gods, but the land is man's domain and so they respect and offer obedience to the laws of man in so far as they don't interfere with the laws of the Gods? Do they view themselves as allies more than subjects?

I guess what I'm burrowing down to is where does a Godsworn see themselves in relation to the King, the King's minions etc, whether we view ourselves as another (and ultimately more overarching) fealty, or whether the Faith is more there to offer the King critical advice, and act as the mouth piece of the Gods?

Answer: It is significant that the Faith are all crownsworn, and unlike most crownsworn, when they take a vow to the gods and the crown, they do take that second part seriously. This waxes and wanes through the years based on the current dominus and legates, and reached an epoch during brief shining moments with a Valardin Queen wearing the crown extremely briefly after the death of King Darius Thrax the Vowbreaker, before the oathlander was in turn assassinated by Thrax, and continued the Faith being solidly and militarily behind the Grayson-Valardin faction during the Crownbreaker wars.

In current times, the Faith militant usually sees itself as firmly in control of the Faith, but friendly towards crown institutions like the Iron Guard. Historically they've had a rivalry with the Inquisition since the Crownbreaker Wars, and have butted heads, and sometimes come into open and overt conflict particularly in times with a weak crown that didn't exert control.

So short version, yes, the Faith militant generally do see themselves as the stewards over Limerance's vows, and particularly the vows of fealty that would lead to the crown. This also leads to lords being extremely reluctant to openly oppose a liege before they have very clear and explicit backing from the Faith to do so, since no one wants to fight both their liege and the armies of the Faith at the same time.

Faith Hierarchy

Answer: Perhaps the oldest institution on Arvum, the Faith of the Pantheon has existed long before the Reckoning, and is believed to have originated out of Sanctum, the seat of House Valardin. Even today, the Faith is still dominated by most of the western houses, though officially the Faith bears no allegience to any house, and all who wear the formal robes of priests and priestesses of the Faith must become godsworn and set aside their families, vow to only serve the gods and the crown, and abstain from marriage or gaining or granting inheritance.

The hierarchy of the Faith is as follows:

The Most Holy: The Dominus of the Faith, Voice of the Pantheon and Closest To the Gods, the living embodiment of the Faith in the world. The Dominus serves for life, and acts as Seraph of Arx, with all members of the Faith ultimately answering to him (or her, in the case of a Domina). When the Dominus should die, the three legates gather in the Star Chamber of the Rectory and start the secretive process of choosing the next Dominus, involving each Archlector in turn judging the nominee's recitation of a god's tale in regards to their patron deity while overseen by the three legates. The last Archlector called is always that of the Thirteenth, who then acts as Tehom's advocate and argues the case against the nominee and why they may be ill suited.

Fathers and Mothers of the Faith: The Three Legates. The Legate of Concepts, also know as the Legate of the Shield or the Shield of the Faith, oversees the devotees of Gild, Limerance and the Sentinel, and the associated Archlectors and the Grandmaster of the Order of the Knights of Solace. The Legate of Arts, also known as the Legate of the Sword or the Sword of the Faith, oversees the devotees of Gloria, Jayus and Vellichor, with the associated Archlectors (including the Archscholar of Vellichor) and Grandmaster of the Holy Knights of the Templars. The Legate of Creation, known as the Ward of the Faith, oversees the devotees of Petrichor, Mangata and Lagoma, though they are traditionally tasked with the appointment of seraphs to parishes and have enormous sway over how tithes are collected for the Faith.

The Blessed: The Archlectors of each of the gods of the Pantheon. In theory this is a position tasked primarily with theological work and the development of worship of a specific god, but in practice most of the positions are concerned with bringing the rural discipleships that veer away from the Faith back under the auspices of the Faiths' control. Some, such as Archlector of the Sentinel, have essentially lost control of their discipleship (such as when the Inquisition, originally a faction of the Faith dedicated to the worship of the Sentinel, became a secular investigative body for the crown), while the Archscholar of Vellichor controls an entire institution in his own right. All report to their legate, save the Archlector of the Thirteenth, whom reports to the Dominus. The Grandmasters of the Templars and Knights of Solace respectively are treated as peers of the Archlectors and report to the legates or the Dominus.

Brothers and Sisters of the Faith: All godsworn typically are referred to as brothers or sisters, recognizing that they have left their families behind and now only have a family in the Faith. This includes any who have formally become priests of the Pantheon (which the majority of laity in the discipleships never do), as well as templars and knights of solace who have taken their vows. Seraphs are priests who are appointed as heads of individual parishes, which can be as minor as a seraph of a tiny village, or the Seraph of Sanctum, the seat of House Valardin and original home of the Faith- a prestige posting that is often seen as a sign that the seraph is likely to become an archlector, legate, or even the Dominus.

Children of the Faith: Any laity can join the discipleships to the different gods, which vary from institutions with a great deal of organizational control (the Scholars of Vellichor, for example) to completely informal arrangements with no oversight by the Faith whatsoever (the Drinking Discipleship of Mangata). The Templars and Knights of Solace have a great number of men-at-arms who never formally take godsworn vows and become knights, but fill their ranks and provide the Faith with military might to rival the great houses, even if it's scattered throughout the entire Compact of Arvum. While the godsworn might refer to a disciple as 'child', it is not uncommon for laity to address any disciple as a brother or sister of the Faith, even though formally they have not been inducted into the Faith of the Pantheon by taking godsworn vows.

Faith Q And A

Question: Q: "What are the cultural implications of the heads of the great houses being excommunicated from the Faith? What does Fawkuhl want, both publicly and between the lines? How should commoners and nobles be feeling about this? Are there day to day ramifications that we should be playing? This seems like a huge deal/nuclear bomb to me but I'm not sure that I'm interpreting this correctly."

A: A mix of pretty dire and surprisingly underwhelming. It's dire in the sense that theoretically, the few universal laws of the Compact and the Crown are largely derived from the Faith, with no separation of church and state and many of the deepest institutions having a relgious element, such as technically any noble marriage requires the recognition of the Faith to be seen as valid, and fealty has a religious imperative to it.

However, the Compact has grown increasingly secular in the past two centuries moving hand in hand with the near universal skepticism in the existence of magic, demons, elves, and while that is now being challenged again, the average member of the Compact just isn't particularly superstitious and simply doesn't have a very fire and brimstone take on religion. Breaking vows is considered a great cultural taboo, but it has become cultural, even though it had a religious origin, and the average soldier in the field is not going to suddenly turn against his lord because a distant Dominus of a faith the soldier pays lip service to suddenly declared his lord excommunicated. Picture that given any 10 soldiers, 7 would be extremely uncomfortable with the situation but not be particularly disloyal, 1 would be fervently religious and would be near the point of rebellion or desertion, and 2 would be extremely angry at the faith for daring to turn against their liege and might be violent against the faith. With the individual numbers being much different based on region, with the Oathlands being far more religious in terms of Faith orthodoxy, and far less in the Lyceum or Northlands.

For practical purposes, the excommunicated would be denied all religious rites or sanctuary until they repent and prostate themselves (literally or figuratively) before the Faith, but the reaction in the own Domains are probably muted, despite being dangerously tense. However, if anything further challenges their leadership, it could be disastrous.

Q: "Generally how are prayers done? Kneeling? Standing? Hand gestures? Silent? Spoken Litanies? In private or groups? And what differences are there in the worship between different gods, other then the obvious?"

A: Canticles are most popular, with songs for each of the gods' spheres and individual dominions being very common throughout the Compact. Typically services of the Faith vary from -extremely- ornate and regimented (Oathlands Orthodoxy) with a complicated litany that has carefully ordered canticles based on the service and feastday, to very very very informal in say, Thrax or Redrain, and there being strong regional differences. Arx tends to favor Oathlands Orthodoxy in the services, having a great amount of pagentry in their services, with a combination of kneeling, standing, organized and ritualized prayer, and sung canticles throughout the liturgy.

Q: "I know there is no posted list of languages for REASONS, which is fine, but several of us in the Faith would like to know if there is some liturgical language we would/should know. Thank you!"

A: No, there's not. Truthfully, there's very little like any kind of specialized cants.

Faith Support for Pravus

Question: Pax's posts about the Pravus split off mentioned the bulk of the Faith NPCs being OK with this. I just wanted to confirm my read on this really (and in the form where a yes/no would work for busy staff!). I'm guessing the vast majority of this support is obviously from the Liberal and Pragmatic branches? As Oathlands are only a plurality and not an overall majority you could get the bulk supporting you from those constituencies. And of course some Oathlands would probably see smashing Abandoned etc as so great maybe they can ignore a Lycene new Great House. I'm guessing the bulk of the Orthodox though probably have grave concerns about a new Lycene great house, which will then give what might be viewed as more liberal attitudes to Faith more say - arguably currently Lycene is Liberal, Grayson is Pragmatic, Redrain floats between Liberal/Pragmatic to Orthodox eyes given the shaman thing, Thrax floats between pragmatic and traditionalist, and then Oathlands is obviously Orthodox/Traditionalist. But, on this they are outweighed by the majority of Liberals, Pragmatics and those Orthodox content with smashing heretics with the idea you can work out the rest later. Are my assumptions roughly right?

Answer: Oathlands Orthodox has mixed feelings because yes they don't like anything that makes a more powerful Lyceum generally, but they DO like a more powerful Faith and particularly anything that attacks the Abandoned, as the Abandoned represent an ongoing threat to the Compact and the a significant percentage of Abandoned are that way due to heretical beliefs. It isn't that all that rare in the Oathlands to use 'heretic' and 'shav' almost interchangably, as it's taken for granted that those working against the Church are shavs and shavs are working against the Church. This is assuredly why the current Dominus has signaled his approval, as the current Lycene Dominus would see this as an expansionist move that the Oathlands Orthodox might tolerate, despite it being one that could dramatically increase the power of the south by essentially doubling Lycene holdings, even if it would no longer be the Lyceum in name, or a Western vs Eastern Lyceum. Aside from his regional biases, he'd look favorably upon a crusade against Saffron Abandoned, and would feel a bulwark against foreign, godless adversaries as strongly desirable, and much of the Oathlands Orthodox would sympathize with that, but past that it gets a little complicated.

As great houses go, the Oathlands and Thrax peerages have the strongest reservations, particularly Thrax because the traditionalists there have long focused raiding the Saffron as a key way of replacing thralls, by mass capture of Abandoned clans and then declaring the new thralls as paying off a war debt for rebellion against the Crown. Many of the Seraphs of the Mourning Isles are not Oathlands Orthodox at all, but in traditionalist holdings are still speaking out with grave concern about the recklessness of expansion, and specifically talking about how capturing and potentially converting this many Abandoned could introduce heresy into the Compact, and poses a grave threat by allowing dangerous shav ideas to infiltrate into the Compact. This could be very problematic for a lot of the Faith by having a number of seraphs essentially advocate genocide by implicitly suggesting that Pravus should take no prisoners in their war of conquest, a stance that would be emphatically opposed by most of the seraphs in the rest of Arvum, but split among the Oathlands Orthodox.

Religiously, this could result in a realignment as much of the seraphs of more pragmatic holdings as they turn to hardliner stances that go significantly past what the Oathlands Orthodox have long pushed, and a conflict within the Oathlands Orthodox about war justifications and trying to reconcile the Gloria ideals of just war and fair treatment of foes compared to fear-driven reactionaries that strongly believe the Abandoned must be wiped out, and mass taking them as prodigals is unacceptable.

Faith Titles

Question: Q:How do titles interact with the Faith? If a knight is anointed to be a priest, does the Sir drop in deference to Brother? Do they become interchangeable, or can they be combined? Do knights need to be, in essence, re-knighted by the Faith? Does it depend if you're taking vows to be a priest vs a sworn Templar or Knight of Solace? (Are the vows different in those instances?)

A: It depends on the title. Titles that are related to a family are dropped, as becoming godsworn would no longer apply. Lord, Lady, Princess, etc would be lost because those titles represent being a noble in standing with their family, which is given up when taking the vows (though keeping the surname is not unusual). While on the other hand, becoming a knight or titles related to military service or some other kind of trade or craft are often kept, as long as the service can be applicable to the faith. Knighthood then, is recognized by the faith, and the Templars and Knights of Solace actively try to recruit knights into their ranks, though they do distinguish between being dubbed by a secular lord or by the Faith- knights of the Faith are usually termed as 'annointed knights', as the ceremony for being made a knight in the service of the faith involves ceremonial oils for each of the gods, and a vow of service to each god. Knights that become templars or knights of templars typically are annointed later, usually when they become godsworn.

Faith and Asking Questions

Question: In Theom Dogma 1, it states that asking questions - expressing doubts - is part of the worship of the Thirteenth. It is even cited as why much of the population is inherently skeptical. Yet asking questions has limits, questioning why we have a King for instance is unlikely to go over well. Where is the line on questions that go too far for the Faith, and can an example be given of something that was right on the edge? Maybe a question where the Lycene Liberalism and the Oathlands Orthodox found themselves with differing positions?

Answer: The Oathlands Orthodox emphasize faith, and believe doubt (which is a fundamental aspect of asking questions), undermines that, which is the heart of their dogmatic differences. They believe that questions should never be asked which would ever encourage one to lose faith, or intrinsic feelings of loyalty towards any form of vow or oath, such as a fealty to a king, so the Oathlands Orthodox would shy away from any questions asked that would challenge the fundamental basis for government or veneration of the gods. On the other hand, questions that look at moral ambiguity in daily struggles (such as white lies to minimize harm), they find less objectionable, since it's about moral clarity and would not attack foundational loyalty.

Faith through the Centuries

Question: What was the Faith like before the Crownbreaker Wars? Specifically worship of the Queen of Endings.(this is for clues for a PR

Answer: There's very little evidence of changes of the Faith of the Pantheon throughout the centuries, and the lack of evidence has been connected with several historical incidents. Firstly, Darius Vowbreaker sacking the Great Archive (and destroying records and accounts), executing most of the Scholarship of Vellichor, and enacting purges for any religious works that did not conform to his rule. Secondly, the Great Fire of Arx, when virutally all records were destroyed. Thirdly, the Crusade of Shattered Mirrors during the time of Marach the Apostate, when the Oathlands Orthodox rose and attempted to purge all of his writings.

Fawkuhl Valardin

Question: So, his background talks about younger sons to High Lords. But was Fawkuhl the younger (youngest?) son to Edain's grandfather or is he just young son of some distant line? Also, from what I can tell he was Legate very young (NPC wise, PCs I know get to those ranks quick of late!), is that typical for Great House ranked nobles that join the Faith, would it raise an eyebrow? Or is it more a special 'Valardin perk' given the power their family Seraph wields within the Faith? And finally - Fawkuhl's fall. Technically the Faith upheld most of his excommunications even while removing him from his position, and quietly let excommunications etc go. Do the public kind of take the simple route and lump the excommunications in with the Esera deal and go 'Well, he was clearly a bit bonkers, this was all clearly not right', or take the view that the Faith kind of let it slide so it is fine, or even that the tiend and blood sacrifice was kosher, or how do the public view the excommunications of Fawkuhl?

Answer: More Valardin centric, in that they definitely had favoritism in the faith to become a legate that young, though nobles in general are privileged as they become godsworn.

The public in the past saw excommunication as more of a -political- decision than a moral one. In that if someone is in bad standing with the faith, that really matters and they are likely not to be trusted, but if the Faith lets it go then it's generally considered right now to probably not be their business to poke at. That is just the current opinion of the populace, and subject to change.

Fealty Oaths to Commoners

Question: Lore Limerance Dogma 2 does an excellent job identifying what the fealty oaths are and certain expectations by each person (liege, bannerman, sworn sword, commoner). What typically is the expectation if care when a liege or bannerman swears to "defend my land and my people?" In terms of land, that seems general and basic enough to assume defense in times of war, defense against abandoned attacking the land . . . but defend people? Modern times can hold a variety of expectations from care to health, education, and poverty, but in terms of a fealty oath and considering under the commoners section there are mentions of abusive lords . . . what is the bare minimum expectations? The traditionalist expectations? And what has been the more progressive expectations?

Answer: The common understanding that is that 'defend my land and my people' is considered a single thing, as in, 'defending my land from attack' implicitly means to defend everyone living there from attack. Quality of life is not considered, just by actors attempting to do violence upon them. The way a leader could be considered an oathbreaker would be if they ceded towns and let everyone inside be slaughtered in a fit of pique, because they were upset at villagers or the like. It would be exceedingly rare. A handful of more progressive peers see it as their responsibility to provide for a higher quality of life, and see it as part of their oaths, but that's an extreme minority opinion. Most of the peerage thinks it reflects well upon a leader to be a caring leader, but virtually none think it is a religious obligation to be.

Guest Right & Sanctuary

Question: We know how guest right and sanctuary is enacted and why both are held sacred (even to a point of conflict and wars for breaking either). But what determines when guest right or sanctuary is lifted? If a host or priest declares guest right, can only the host or priest rescind? Can anyone else determine what was offered can be lifted as the offering was ill given? I ask since consecrated ground remains holy such as a shrine and to draw blood in that sanctuary breaks that religious concept. Even if a priest was removed, the shrine remains a place of sanctuary. So in terms of guest right, does it remain regardless? Any expirations?

Answer: Guest Right and Sanctuary are similar but not precisely the same thing.

Guest Right, while considered sacred and tied to religion, has the more secular understanding of guest right is a host saying on their honor that while someone is a guest in their home, they will be protected from violence. This is a matter of honor of host, but this culturally varies from region to region in the Compact. In all of them, the understanding is once a guest is accepted into one's home, the host cannot harm them, and the host cannot consciously allow them to come to harm. How formal the recognition varies:
Visitors in the Oathlands very formally typically taking a pledge to be a good guest and respecting the authority of the host under their roof, and the host formally accepting them as a guest and saying they will come to no harm while staying on their honor.
In the Lyceum, it's typically seen as when the guest first accepts and drinks wine.
In Redrain, there is no formality at all, and brawls are NOT considered a violation of guest right, and violations are seen if someone takes non-accidental permanent injury.
Thrax is similar in formality to the Oathlands, with the emphasis being on the honor of one's house, and how their conduct reflects upon their family's honor. One of the most common causes for being disowned and cast out of a noble family in the Mourning Isles is by being a bad guest and embarrassing one's family, and 'accidents' tend to happen to embarrassing family members.
For Grayson and its vassals, its not particularly formal, but civility is expected, and being a bad guest or bad host tends to make the peerage stop taking the person seriously and consider them unreliable.

In all cases, once someone is taken as a guest, they are not to be harmed and to be protected from harm until they leave. HOWEVER, it is uniformally recognized that a host can always demand someone leave, even if doing so would put them in harm's way. It's still frowned upon if a host took someone in under guest right and then kicked them out once their enemies laid siege to their castle, but it does happen (it's considered cowardly, but NOT breaking guest right). But throwing someone out is not considered the same thing as revoking guest right, which is done in very specific circumstances- if a guest has done harm to another guest (and broken it themselves) and the definition of 'harm' there varies from fealty to fealty, or if the guest is seen to have taken guest right under false pretenses (a spy, a traitor, etc). Those cases are very rare, and considered to be specific offenses that most hosts would tend to defer to a seraph for clarification rather than risk a violation. Far simpler for hosts to just throw someone out that's being a problem, than to essentially have a trial and execute someone for their crimes.

Sanctuary is different, as that is about holy ground that has a prohibition from violence, and also visitors asking for protection. The former is always assumed- it's forbidden to spill blood on holy ground save in its defense, or the defense of the people on the grounds. Executions are not performed on holy ground. If someone flees onto holy ground guarded by templars, and requests sanctuary, it is much like the Church extending them guest right, but with the understanding that the church will not revoke it or banish them until and unless the church formally holds its own trials. This is something the faith VERY rarely breaks, because it also reinforces their power. They simply don't turn people over for trial for crimes, they try them themselves, come to their own judgements, and if necessary that person can live out their lives under protection of the Faith of the Pantheon (and typically become godsworn).

So for sanctuary, walking on holy ground (such as the great cathedral or shrines) protects someone from violence, but to avoid eviction they must formally request (and be granted) sanctuary by the Seraph of that consecrated place, or one empowered to speak for her.

Journal Practicalities

Question: How are White and Black Reflections recorded from a practical standpoint? There seems to be a prevailing thought that dictation to Godsworn Scholars at the Archive is common for both Whites and Blacks. Can people write entries at their own leisure at home and come to the Archives to submit them? Do Scholars make official copies on Vellichorian Vellum for the Archives, which would mean that Black Reflections are still all read by one person for the purpose of copying even if they weren't dictated? Is the process/standard different for Whites vs Blacks? Are you happy with yourself that you've now made me feel awkward typing Whites and Blacks a lot? THANKS.

Answer: People can and do write their own and submit them. Black journals that are written and submitted often are not read -until- the person's death. Dictation is extremely popular though, and those black journals are the ones that are reviewed at time of entry by the Scholars of Vellichor's Censor Librorum

Oathlands Orthodox and Tehom

Question: Can you talk about how the Oathlands and Oathlands Orthodox actually engage (or don't) with Tehom from a practical standpoint? Do they acknowledge that there are 13 gods? How does that come through in their practices?

Answer: Covered a bit in the dogma files but essentially they acknowledge the 13th exists, they just disagree with its doctrinal importance in that the 13th is seen as the importance of skepticism and critical evaluation of all beliefs, including the faith, and a lot of the Oathland Orthodox thinks that is over emphasized to the point where it undermines Faith. For most of the Oathlands Orthodox, it is a matter of degree, and many of the Orthodox think that the Mirrormasks as a discipleship aren't really necessary at all, as doubt should not be used as a tool to erode the support for the Faith of the Pantheon itself. Basically, while skepticism is important to a point, they see its dogma as inherently flawed.

Oaths and Succession

Question: How are successions handled in regards to oaths? The assumption being as outlined in "lore oaths" under Oaths Section that the noble family members, any vassals, and knights say their vows to the new House leader. And the new House leader would also make a vow to the liege lord (example Marquis to the Duke). And all this in front of a Godsworn.

If new vows are done for each succession, is the ceremony done off-camera or handwaved by assuming all in that House are ok with new leader?

Answer: This is part of what will be discussed tonight. Thematically it would be something done in front of Godsworn - and we can handle it off-camera as long as everyone involved is ok with the way things are. But there's no ambiguity there, and it's not a casual thing - the Godsworn would have been there to recognize it and witness it being done.

Originator of the Lycene Tradition

Question: So, Alor Valardin I think is recognised as a father figure in the Oathlands Orthodoxy - I'm presuming the Lycene Liberalism has a figure other than say Marach (though maybe they do say Marach just to be brats!) as a founding father, if anyone at all? Is that known? I suppose while I'm here I should ask whether there is a Grayson Pragmatist founder, or whether that was just an evolution of once you had the two 'hardline' groups in the debate, the Pragmatism emerged to encompass the rest organically.

Answer: Duchess Julietta Velenosa, the Mirror Mask, for certain. Most consider her a myth, as exact geneology has been lost, but was one of the first post-Reckoning Archduchesses following Procella Pravus.

Ransoming Prisoners of War

Question: Poor memory has conflicting sides of how the Faith views ransoming prisoners of war. Has this been acceptable once upon a time, especially with nobles? Or is this akin to treating people as property (economic value) and thereby being akin to thralldom/slavery/etc?

Answer: It does happen, it's not really equated with thralldom as usually it's seen as a charge in the expense of sheltering and guarding prisoners of war, and they aren't being forced to work in captivity (though someone that does force prisoners to work hard labor would be condemned). Mostly it's seen as a civilized alternative to mass executions and taking no prisoners.

Reincarnation and the Sentinel

Question: The theology 2 file says "The Faither holds that the most virtuous after death may ascen to sit by the side of the gods in Elysia, the most wicked may be pulled down to the Abyss, and the others may be pulled into the Shining Lands to grant wisdom to those that follow..."

I assume it is by Sentinel's judgment which goes where. But with the addition of the Queen of Endings, it appears the actual in-game canon is that the Faith acknowledges reincarnation and the Wheel, even if this is at odds with the lore file.

My question is, given this, does the Faith still have a place for the Sentinel in the after death experience in terms of being judged on the basis of virtue and wickedness? Does this play a role in reincarnation? Or is the Faith still more or less mum on reincarnation as a whole and it's still doctrine that "we go by the will of the gods"?

Answer: So the current theological belief is that the gods and abyss are allegorical concepts, therefore judgement would be based on common mores, rather than an action by an entity.

Rite of Gloria

Question: What is a Rite of Gloria?

What forms of combat are appropriate for a Rite of Gloria? Duels? Unarmed duels? Tournaments? Grand melees? Jousts?

What sort of forms should be observed in the rite?

Is there anything that would be inappropriate to do in a Rite of Gloria?

Answer: The Rite of Gloria is specific and apart from all other duels, as it is a highly ceremonial duel between two combatants as an offering to duelists. It has a very different tenor than Champion honor duels, with a degree of expected gravitas. Typically, either the duelists or a representative sings the Canticle of Gloria before the start, and both duelists then give an individualized prayer for what Gloria means to them. The duels typically are not to first blood, but until concession/yield, and are explicitly non-lethal. It is considered extraordinarily shameful and sacriligeous to accidentally kill an opponent in the Rite of Gloria, and at least one apostasy has resulted when a combatant was found to have used the Rite as an opportunity to murder a rival and denied quarter.

The Rite of Gloria is frequently used by templars to train, and is part of their devotionals to the goddess.

Shrine Roofs

Question: Can someone please resolve the single most contentious question plaguing the Faith today? Which shrines have roofs?

Answer: Beats me the fun of aphantasia is never thinking of things like that really, so I guess... Not Petrichor, not Jayus, not Lagoma, not Skald, not Gloria, not Limerance, not Mangata, Maybe Gild, Maybe The Sentinel. Maybe Tehom Definitely Vellichor and Death.

Shrine of the Lost Roof

Question: Does Aion's shrine have a roof? Please say yes. It's gonna ruin my brain if it doesn't have a roof

Answer: Sure, it can have a roof.

Silent Reflections

Question: Q: What infractions, exactly, lead to becoming a Silent Reflection in the Faith (i.e. having your tongue and hand cut off, and being sentenced to humble service)? 'Help Vellichor' suggests that it's an exclusive punishment for Scholars revealing black journals or otherwise breaking the sanctity of the Archive. But 'help Tehom' suggests that it can be a punishment for any dire infraction against the Faith by the Faithful, including heresy. I'd think that the latter would be more likely, but it'd be nice to have clarification. As a secondary question, about how many Silent Reflections are there at any time in the Arx areas?

A: Heresy can cover the infraction, for a specific case- betraying an oath to the gods by word, which could also mean willfully and maliciously speaking falsehoods and presenting it as dogma to justify actions. This does fall under malfeasance on the part of local seraphs and their godsworn, who might willfully misrepresent their religious authority for personal gain at the cost of the Faith as a whole and their parish. In other words, a Seraph found guilty of misusing church funds and misrepresenting that, and lying to the rest of the Faith, and justifying it falsely, could be guilty of heresy by breaking their oaths to the gods, while one argunig possibly heretical beliefs may not be, as it's a harder call if oaths are being violated. Nearly all Silent Reflections were Godsworn, and relatively few come from Arx itself (generally just the scholars trying to personally benefit from black journals and being caught), with most of the few dozen in Arx being churchmen who commited crimes against the Faith that specifically broke their oaths. Allowing sanctuary to be broken for one granted protection of the Faith, embezzling church funds, willfully concealing information from the Faith on Faith matters for personal gain. Offenses that constitute a grave betrayal of trust of the faith in a way that would also potentially destroy the trust of the faithful in the church.


Question: Just to explore this topic for people! How do the variety of sins rank according to the gods? Oathbreaking, kinslaying, worshipping other gods (shamanism), etc? What are considered major sins? Is envy and pride, for example, considered sins? Complete with an info log:

[Info] Gian: So, in the hierarchy of sins, breaking an oath before Limerance is worse than kinslaying, right?
[Info] Hellfrog: I mean, maybe according to the gods. Probably not from a perspective of "am I going to prison forever"
[Info] Aislin: I feel like breaking the oath will get you seen as dishonorable and like, you might have concern for your soul. I feel like kinslaying, depending on the circumstances, might get you, you know... actually /executed/.
[Info] Gian: Well, so would any murder, though.
[Info] Hellfrog: Right, Aislin.
[Info] Gian: Any extra special stigma for killing famiky?
[Info] Calliope: Depends on your family, right?
[Info] Cristoph admits that I have been going on the assumption that lying is generally viewed as super bad, from a religion point of view. Given the quasi Zoroastrianism influence.
[Info] Hellfrog: Not legally.
[Info] Hellfrog: Socially? Sure.
[Info] Hellfrog: Lying, but more the breaking of your word, of your oath.
[Info] Gian: Cool. Just checking, thanks.
[Info] Cristoph nods. I figure that lies are sort of a mild version of that though, with actual oath breaking SUPER BAD above that?
[Info] Sylvie throws onto board for future preservation! :)
[Info] Sylvie: I don't think lying is considered a sin. Lyceum lies all the time (taken with a grain of salt, please), but doesn't oathbreak.
[Info] Sylvie: Or if it is-- I have been playing wrong.
[Info] Cristoph: Lyceum take on the faith is not the same as Oathlands take on the faith though neccessarily.
[Info] Sylvie: Yeah.
[Info] Orazio: Lying would seem to be an offence to the Sentinel, being that he's the god of Truth and all.
[Info] Hellfrog: lying is a sin, but lying is a sin in almost all religions, right? It's not the sort of sin that gets you kicked out of your faith or your tongue ripped out.
[Info] Cristoph has been working on the assumption that telling a lie, for a genuinely religious and orthodox person, is definitely the kind of thing you think 'Gah, I need to actually repent and make amends for this or else I endanger my soul a fair bit'.
[Info] Sylvie: idk, is lying a sin in all religions. I am horrible at religions.
[Info] Calliope was just thinking the same thing Sylvie.
[Info] Orazio: Yeah. Just because something's a sin doesn't mean there's a lot of a punishment that you're going to face secularly, and even talking to a priest might get you, "You should try and do better," not "Burn in the Abyss!"

Solace and Sanctuary

Question: This is very much a technical theological point, and the outcome is practically the same. The House of Solace and other healing places run by the Mercies and Solace, obviously these are holy places and come under the Petrichorian notion of Sanctuary but do they also come under the Sanctuary of Silver in a more permanent form than maybe we see in its invocation in the field? Is it offending two gods? Secondly, if this is the case, does this have any impact on sanctuary? Is there functional differences between Petrichorian Sanctuary and the Gildian notion of Sanctuary of Silver? Finally as an extra credit, are threats of violence or attempted violence breaches, or is that going to depend on the path of Faith? Lycene I imagine would see crime in the act, Orthodox more to intent?

Answer: There's no practical differences save that typically which god is mentioned first when consecrating the area, which in terms of faith dogma could be interpreted as primacy over the consecrated area with sanctuary. Aside from that, no functional differences.

Typically threats are seen as boorish and a crass breach, but threats of implicit violence are never answered with violence itself by the Faith until it is clearly imminent and other attempts to pause it have been taken. Lycene interpretations are more about the letter, while Orthodox about the spirit and more strict, but in both forms you still have a Faith with a powerful aversion to spilling blood on hallowed ground unless all other measures have been exhausted. Someone that murdered an individual and broke sanctuary could be summarily executed, but even that is generally performed outside of Sanctuary itself, to avoid further desecration, but defending Sanctuary is always permissible.

Tehom's altar

Question: Clue 330, "The Marachian Heresy," says that Marach "raised the great altar of Tehom in the shrine of the Thirteenth." The Shrine of the Thirteenth, however, says that "the altar supposedly far predates the founding of the city of Arx." I know the "supposedly" means that the clue SHOULD have priority (and of course it could be older than Arx and brought there by Marach, though that seems unlikely given the wording), but given Aion's altar I want to make sure that it's actually correct, and that the altar definitively was brought to Arx by Marach during his Dominate. Dominus-ship. Thanks! P.S. What is the reign of a Dominus called and if it is not already established can I please suggest "Dominate"

Answer: Unclear. Some scholars believe that Marach did not have the altar forged, but it was brought into the shrine and is significantly older, which would imply that it does predate the founding of Arx.


Question: Has there -ever- been an example of someone that has distinguished themselves in some way after becoming a Silent Reflection? If the idea is to re-earn the gods' favour for the next life, has anyone taken that to heart and actively atoned ?

Answer: Yes, but they very carefully don't use the name of the Silent Reflection, as they have given that up by what they have become. One Silent Reflection led a group of scholars out of the city safely through the bottom tunnels during King Darius' purge. Their identity was never known, but they saved hundreds of scholars and thousands of works that would have been destroyed.