Rodorsceaft: Pillar of Heaven
The Church of the Holy Light
Organization dedicated to the Way of the Light. State religion of the Solarian Empire and prominent in Syrexium, the Church has almost no influence elsewhere in the world.
The Church is structured in a distinct worldwide hierarchy; the Paladin-King of Solaria is the titular head of the church, presiding over the Praetors. The Praetors, in turn, direct the Deacons, who direct the Anchorites, the body of the priesthood. Anchorites may elevate Vicars and Acolytes, the laity and clergy respectively.
The Church of the Holy Light has a great deal of iconography associated with it; different archetypical figures are used to represent the cardinal virtues. The most common icons used are a radiant sun, a shining, winged abstraction of Samael, and the ever-burning Flame of Samael.
The origins of the Church are derived from the distant kingdom of Caladan, a society of humans known for its charity and hospitality towards its neighbors and for its intense cultural focus on communion with the Upper Planes. The Way of the Light derives from that long-ago time and has changed little in over a thousand years. The Church, itself, dates from the days after the Demon War, when the Solarian Empire was on the rise and Samael was providing his guidance.
As the Empire spread, so did the Church, and in all that time, its fundamental purpose has not changed: to provide community and support to those who walk in the Light, and to provide teaching, support and succor to those who actively seek to beat back the darkness in the world.
Enemies and Allies
Within the Solarian Remnant, the Church enjoys high authority. As such, it has the support of the full weight of the Solarian Guard and the Paladin-King himself; while few would be foolish enough to actively make the Church into an enemy, the many powerful criminal organizations within the Remnant do view it is as hurdle and spend not-inconsiderable effort to keep it out of their affairs.
As the Empire receded, the Church’s ways and teachings were largely relegated into obscurity; as such, farther afield, the Church has little influence and few enemies because of it. Most towns that still have a Church presence work to keep that presence, as the Church does provide some valuable community services.
Anyone of good alignment is welcome to join the Church of the Holy Light. Membership is free, though members are gently encouraged to tithe a small portion of their income to contribute towards church expenses. The Anchorites do not live ostentatious lives; while their vestments and sacred tools are beautiful and of high quality, the clergy themselves are required to live humbly.
Within the area still controlled by Solaria, Church membership is mandatory, though this is largely lip-service. Elsewhere, membership is small, erratic and composed almost entirely of human and hob. As an egalitarian organization, though, the members of the Church are as likely to be nobles as they are to be serfs.
|Criterion||Affiliation Score Modifier|
|5 – 9 ranks in Knowledge (Religion), Heal or Diplomacy||+1 per skill|
|10 or more ranks in Knowledge (Religion), Heal or Diplomacy||+2 per skill|
|Will save bonus +10 or higher||+1|
|Wisdom score 20 or higher||+1|
|Can cast heal||+3|
|Other Divine feat||+1 per feat|
|Is a favored soul of Samael||+5+1/2 class levels|
|Is a paladin||+10+1/2 character levels+1 per paladin tier|
|Destroys a CR 8 or higher undead or evil outsider||+1/4 creature’s CR|
|Reclaims a holy site from evil||+6|
|Aids the less fortunate with own funds||+1/500g expended|
|Converts a new member||+1|
|Goes on a minimum half-year mission to spread the word||+1|
|Associates with undead or evil outsiders||-5|
|Loses benefit of any Divine feat||-5|
Titles, Benefits and Duties
To gain a new rank in the Church of the Holy Light requires nothing special for ranks 0-2; after that, a special ordination ceremony must be performed by a member of higher rank. This ceremony is paid for by the Church, but it is expected that the newly-elevated member will either recoup the cost through tithing or will work it off through service to the Church (i.e. either by undertaking quests on the Church’s behalf or by serving as clergy).
|Rank||Affiliation Score||Title: Benefits and Duties|
|0||6 or lower||None.|
|1||7 – 12||Novice: Tithe 5% of income to the Church; entitled to meals and shelter at any branch of the Church|
|2||13 – 20||Vicar: Tithe 10% of income to the Church; may receive 1st- and 2nd-level spells cast for no cost; +2 to Diplomacy checks when dealing with any lower-ranked members of the Church|
|3||21 – 28||Acolyte: Tithe 15% of income to the Church; either assist with worship or perform quests or duties for the Church; gain a +2 sacred bonus on all saves|
|4||29 – 35||Anchorite:|
|5||36 – 45||Deacon:|