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Once practiced actively by Humans and the ancestors of all the Kin of Man, now Shamanism is only practiced by primitive Kin of Beasts, such as the Arktos and Meerin, and occasionally some remote Borean or Farrian tribes.
Shamanism teaches a respect for the natural world and the place of people in it, as well as each person’s proper place in society. While it does allow for certain forms of meritorious progression, largely one’s role in society and fate in life is predetermined, especially by one’s ancestry.
Becoming a Shaman requires demonstrating one or more of the supernatural abilities granted by attunement with the natural world (represented by the Shamanism Power. In game terms, this requires Status 1 (or higher—note that most tribal societies rarely include individuals above Status 3, and almost never above 5), Naturalist (IQ-H) at IQ or higher, Naturalist (Per-A) at Per or higher, and Discipline of Faith [-10]. Specifically, Shamans are expected to:
- Actively prevent any undeserved or deceitfully accomplished (and promote any truly deserved or honorably earned) change in Status in their community, by any means neccessary.
- Examples: A widow who murdered her husband must be found out so that she may not advance socially through his death. Likewise, a younger brother must not use corruption to prevent his elder from inheriting his birthright. An elder craftsman who leaves his business to an exceptionally virtuous apprentice instead of greedy, lazy family must be allowed to do so.
- Actively prevent any serious or permanent damage to the environment or the community by either or by misfortune.
- Examples: Logging is neccessary, but so much that it threatens to consume the forest must be prevented. Predators must hunt, and will sometimes take unwary travelers, but those which learn to hunt men exclusively or snatch infants from their cradles must be destroyed. Men should not seek to domesticate animals too fully.
The Pantheon of Man
The overwhelming majority of the Kin of Man revere one or more of a set of eight divinities. Legends say that these are the eight greatest heroes from the dark time at the end of the reign of the Dragons, and that these mighty men and women were deified by their great deeds in uplifting the human race from oppressed savagery to civilization.
Not all races of man revere the entire pantheon, and most have a slant towards one or more divinities in particular. Humans, for example, favor Gerrex but reverance varies wildly among different professions. The worship of the Eight is strongly seasonal, the holidays of certain festivals and points in the harvest cycle being dedicated to one or the other.
Among the temples of the Eight, the ranks of clergy follow the same pattern:
- Religious Rank 0 = “Layperson”, member of the “Laity” (no Clerical Investment)
- Religious Rank 0 = Initiate
- Religious Rank 1 = Novice
- Religious Rank 2 = Acolyte
- Religious Rank 3 = Priest / Priestess
- Religious Rank 4 = Cleric / Cleress
- Religious Rank 5 = Arch-Cleric / Arch-Cleress
- Religious Rank 6 = Patriarch / Matriarch
- Religious Rank 7 = Maester / Maestress
- Religious Rank 8 = Varies by Church (see each entry)
All Ranks from Initiate on up require the Discipline of Faith disadvantage and Clerical Investment. See each deity’s entry for details on the Disciplines required for each church.
Lay Priests & Priestesses are ineligible for the Power Investiture advantage, and one’s level of Power Investiture cannot exceed one’s Religious Rank… but is not limited in any other way (see the Holy Magic entry for details.
In practice, most churches are bottom-heavy; there are fewer and fewer individuals of the higher Ranks as one steps up the scale.
Gerrex, The First
Ruler of the Eight and god of Authority, Nobility, Victory, Competition, and Excellence.
Atra, The Mother
Consort to Gerrex and goddess of Love, Birth, Mercy, Hope, and Healing.
Alastin, The Teller
Loremaster of the Eight and god of Art, Music, Poetry, History, and Lore
Kagithra, The Elder
Consort to Alastin and goddess of Tradition, Nature, Weather, Time and the Aged
Bellator, The Warrior
Guardsman of the Eight and god of War, Combat, Duty, Service, Anger, and Preparedness
Viaton, The Traveller
Messenger of the Eight and god of Journeys, the Harvest, Adventure, Commerce, and Rogues
Ustiel, The Teacher
Consort to Viaton and goddess of Knowledge, Language, Teaching, Sorcery, and Science
Obiton, The Reaper
Consort to Bellator and goddess of Death, Endings, Resolution, and Justice
Not favored openly by many (perhaps some extremely morbid Farrian or Urian clans), and the only deity without a day of the week dedicated to her—because the bell tolls for someone every day, somewhere…