D&D 3.0: Tales from Mystara
Church of Thyatis
COAT OF ARMS: Thyatian Eagle in the middle of a circle of twelve Thyatian Immortals’ holy symbols (starting from the top, clockwise: Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Hermes and either Hestia, or Dionysus). There is also the “unified” version who has a series of immortals from different religions (starting from the top, clockwise: Vanya, Thor, Tarastia, Odin, Kagyar, Korotiku, Korys, Protius, Halav, Asterius, Valerias, and Diulanna.) that tries to represent all the different cultures and religions on the vast territories of the Thyatian Empire.
CLERGY: Clerics (50%), Priests (25%), Defenders (10%), normal humans (8%), Paladins (5%), other specialty priests (2%).
CLERGY’S ALIGNMENT: Any non-evil alignment
WORSHIPER’S ALIGNMENT: Any Although Alphaks and Thanatos are included in this list, the Church of Thyatis does not actually encourage their worship. These two Immortals are used as examples of evil and simply serve to show the fate that awaits those of evil alignment upon their death at their hands. In fact, except for mentioning them as the evil to be fought against in the Church of Thyatis, their worship is a crime punishable by death in the Empire of Thyatis and most other nations.
The clergy of the Church of Thyatis is composed mainly of clerics. Most are pantheists, but philosophers of law and neutrality are also common. Only a few chaos philosophers are present among the hierarchy. Priests (and other specialty priests) are often in charge of the ceremonies pertaining to their particular Immortal. Of course, only priests of the Immortals mentioned above, minus Priests of Alphaks and Thanatos, can join the clergy. Even non-priests (that is, normal humans) can join the order and give ceremonies to the masses.
The temples of the Church of Thyatis tend to be grand buildings since they must serve as a place of worship for many Immortals. Most can seat a couple hundred spectators during their ceremonies. They also have several other chambers which serve as shrines for each particular Immortal. Finally, chambers in the back serve as barracks for the clergy, as well as meeting rooms for discussions and planning.
All clergy of the Church of Thyatis start at the rank of initiate. Their duties include serving as messengers, preparing the temples for the ceremonies, and generally acting as servants for the higher ranking clergy. It is a life of studying and classes in the temple libraries followed by hard work and menial chores.
An initiate who has served well for three years [and about 3rdlevel. Ed.] attains the rank of priest. It is the priests of the religion which actually give the ceremonies to the people of the Thyatian Empire. Those of priest rank are also sent out on adventures to discover secrets, amass wealth for the order, and convert other cultures to their way.
A priest who performs admirably for at least 5 years [and around level 7 if possessing a character class. Ed.] becomes a curate. Curates are in charge of deciding exactly what the topics of each ceremony is to be, as well as plan what enlightenment will be taught to the people. There is a curate in charge of the ceremonies for each Immortal of the pantheon. That is, in each temple, there is one curate for Asterius, another for Diulanna, and so on. This is the highest rank any Priest (or other specialty priest) can attain within the clergy since their point of view is limited to those of their Immortal.
Finally, in charge of the entire temple is a bishop [they are usually around 9th level. Ed.]. He runs the place and has final say on what will or will not be accepted within his building. Normal humans who do not posses any divine granted powers cannot proceed above the rank of bishop.
In charge of several temples in entire areas – usually a complete dominion – are the Patriarch and Matriarch. Only Clerics [of 13th level or higher. Ed.] can attain this rank, as only they can remain unbiased when deciding how each Immortal is to be worshiped. These Patriarch advise rulers on matters of the church and can exert a lot of political power in their region.
There is no rank above Patriarch in the Church of Thyatis. As such, all the Patriarch of the order gather annually in Thyatis City to discuss and vote on the future of their religion. Traditionally, the Patriarch of Thyatis City has the power to veto any vote passed by this assembly, and in case of ties, holds the deciding vote.
The philosophies of the Church of Thyatis hold that all acts performed by mortals are recorded by the Immortals above and will be used to judge them when they pass into the afterlife. The spirits of the dead will belong to the Immortal he or she most resembled in life and will wind up serving eternity in the Outer Plane of their Immortal. This is why they describe the temperaments and homes of Alphaks and Thanatos; by seeing what awaits those of evil alignment, they hope they will change their ways. As such, good deeds will be rewarded with good deeds in the afterlife, just as bad deeds will be payed back with bad deeds.
The priests cheerfully describes the purpose, alignment, and desires of all the Thyatian Immortals so that the citizens of Thyatis can make their own choices of which Immortal to hold to heart and where they want to go when they die. Of course, since Thyatians are militant people, the Immortals Vanya, Thor, and Diulanna often receive more than their fair share of attention.
Initiate spend several hours a day studying everything known on all the Pantheon. Upon reaching the rank of priests, they are charged with spreading this knowledge to the people of Thyatis and the rest of Mystara. Most prefer to have the people come to them in their daily ceremonies at the temples, but a few adventure out into the world and try to convert other cultures.
Although not specifically stated in their doctrines, the Church of Thyatis also promotes the belief that Thyatians are the best people in the world and that all other cultures should join the Empire and become full-fledged Thyatians.
The clergy of the Church of Thyatis can often be seen roaming the streets of major Thyatian cities, preaching about making choices for one’s afterlife. Those who seem curious about their speeches are often referred to one of the temples of the order.
Every day, at noon, ceremonies are held in the various temples of the religion. Each ceremony starts with a brief talk about all the Immortals, then proceeds onto the main topic of the day which usually deals with one Immortal in particular. The subject for the day is determined by the bishop, usually in conjunction with his curates. Since there are currently 12 Immortals in the pantheon (not including Alphaks or Thanatos), a common theme is to have an “Immortal of the month,” thereby teaching the philosophies of one Immortal for a month, then changing to another at the arrival of the new moon. Still, some bishops have other complicated schedules dividing the days evenly throughout the year in a pattern only they can see.
Finally, the Temple of Thyatis often gives special rites when a Thyatian child is born, blessing her and asking the Immortals to look after her as she grows up. The clergy members also take care of marriages ceremonies and divorce throughout the Thyatian Empire.
Holy Days and Important Ceremonies
Up until recently, the Church of Thyatis did not have any major holy days. Now, however, Wrath of the Immortals Day (Nuwmont 15th) is considered to be sacred. This day celebrates the fact that the Thyatian Pantheon proved to the world that Thyatians are the favored people of the Immortals by destroying the continent of Alphatia. The logic goes that since Thyatians are the favored people, then the Church of Thyatis must be the favored religion of the world. Wrath of the Immortals Day started in AC 1010 as a worker’s holiday but has since become a full-fledge religious event.
On Flaurmont 1, priests give a special ceremony celebrating the Day of Freedom for those Thyatian youths who have turned 21 and are now “free” from their parent’s whims.
Other days are considered important, but only to a particular Immortal, and not the entire Pantheon. Because of this, they are not considered religious holy days, but are usually celebrated by the bishops of the temples anyway. These days include the Start of Shipping Season (Va. 23; Protius), The Day of Valerias (Fe. 15, Valerias), Vanya’s Day (Sv. 8, Vanya), and Protius’ Day (Ei. 22, Protius), as well as several others.
Major Centers of Worship
The Great Thyatian Temple, located in the estates district of Thyatis City, is a immense building which can seat almost 5000 citizens. This marble building is crafted in the typical Thyatian style, with marble columns and a circular amphitheatre- styled ceremony hall. Several other buildings are attached to this hall, including the residence of Dylan Finnson, Patriarch of Thyatis City, as well as sleeping quarters for over 250 clergy members.
A few blocks down the street from the Great Thyatian Temple, one can find the Knights of the Gold Dragon Enclave. This building houses a military order dedicated to uphold the decisions taken by the Patriarchs of the Church of Thyatis. The ranks of the Knights of the Gold Dragon are composed of warriors, rogues, paladins, and crusaders. Members of this order protect the various temples of the religion, lead military expeditions as needed by the Patriarchs, and roam the Empire seeking to enlighten people about the choices they make in life. When not on a religious mission, this order acts as a mercenary band willing to perform any mission that doesn’t go against their philosophies or the church.
All applicants to the order must have both a Knight of the Gold Dragon and a clergy member of the Church of Thyatis sponsor them. Candidates are then tested, and if their combat skills are adequate [that is, if their THAC0 is 15 or better. Ed.], they are accepted into the ranks.
During their everyday lives, clergy of the Church of Thyatis are permitted to wear any clothing which suits their needs.
During ceremonies, however, a more formal dress code is enforced. Their ceremonial dress consists of a full-sleeved, floor-length blue robe. The coat of arms of the of the church is displayed prominently on the left chest. If also a member of the Knights of the Gold Dragon, their gold dragon symbol is sown unto the upper edge of the right sleeve, much as military rank insignias are often displayed.
Priests of the Church of Thyatis of all ranks except initiate also carry with them a metal scepter while in ceremonial dress. The size and color of the scepter indicates the rank in the clerical hierarchy the owner is.
The Church of Thyatis suffered many losses during the past couple of decades. About 40 years ago, when the Grand Duchy of Karameikos separated from the Empire, so to did their branch of the church ( forming the Church of Karameikos ). More recently, with the independence of Ochalea, the Pearl Islands, Helskir, and the Grand Duchy of Westrourke, the Patriarchs are fearing the complete destruction of their religion, along with the Empire. Despite their fears, the Church of Thyatis remains strong in the Pearl Islands, Helskir and Westrourke. Only Ochalea has completely abandoned the tenets of the church.
The Church has also made grounds recently. For the past 20 years, they have made inroads into the Jungle Coast, converting many of the hinterland barbarians to their beliefs. The Church of Thyatis even went as far as accepting Diulanna, their Immortal, into the Thyatian pantheon; after all, they are Thyatians now, aren’t they.
But the church seeks to expand further. At the moment, they are slowly building temples within the Republic of Darokin, using the city of Selenica as their main base of operations. Rumors also claim that the Church is seeking to reabsorb the Church of Karameikos into their fold.
As another means of regaining worshipers, the Church of Thyatis has seriously started debating about Holy Days, something which has until very recently never crossed their minds. Wrath of the Immortals Day is one such idea. At the moment, they are also debating on whether or not to make Fyrmont 19th “The Visit” an official Holy Day. This day would mark the discovery of the “Footprint of the Immortal” found in the Altan Tepes back in AC 1010, showing the world that the Immortals actually visited the Empire of Thyatis. Making the site into official Holy Ground is also high on their priority list.