Gyllmoulin Priesthood

Copyright Robert J Defendi for Final Redoubt Press © 2008

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion

"The natural world is a sham."

Gyllmoulin Priesthood

This is the primary Order of the Church of Gyllmoulin, the priesthood and the motive force behind the church. They affect every aspect of church conduct and every aspect of Gnomish life.

This Order is headquartered in Tirem-Ag.

<<Common Professions: Cleric, Layman/No Profession, Sage, Animist, Healer, Priest (Arms), Magician, Illusionist, Mystic, Summoner, Elementalist, Mentalist, Lay Healer, Warlock, Enchanter.

Additional Base Lists: Ceremonies, Divine Magic, Holy Element (Any), Holy Wind, Spirit Law.>>

The Saint

Not much is known about the life of Gyllmoulin, but the Gnomes have many stories and legends, almost none of them true. Even the scripture written about him are rife with inconsistencies because of the Gnomish tendency to put the lesson of the story above the facts.

Gyllmoulin was one of the Five Prophets and is worshiped by the church as the Savior of Mortality. Gnomes of the church believe that it was he who orchestrated the Sundering and led the ritual. They also believe he's the Herald.

To the Gnomes, Gyllmoulin represents the beating heart of magic at the center of the universe. His body, his life: they are all illusions. This is why none of the history and none of the people or places matter. They were all lies. Only Gyllmoulin himself is truth.

Dogma

The natural world is a sham. The earth and the sky and all the plants and animals are phantasms. Everything that see can see and touch and taste are all just smokey shapes wrapped around a flowing core of truth.

None of it is real. None of it is solid. Ask two gnomes about the reality of something they saw with their own two eyes and they both will give different answers. They would have both seen different things. It's all illusion. It's all a lie.

Only the Word is truth.

Mission

The Priesthood guides the church. In many ways they are the church. It's the role of the Priesthood to oversee not only the administration of the church, but also the souls of every Gnome in the Mortal Realm, and for the more generous of mind, every other Mortal as well.

This church is the only ones that believe in Gyllmoulin as the savior. This places a deep and powerful responsibility on their shoulders, though they never try to convert.

It is their job to expose the lies in every aspect of Mortal existence.

They are the criers of honesty for the cosmos. Everyone in the Mortal Realm has been taken in.

Not the priests of Gyllmoulin.

Membership

To join the priesthood, a person must apprentice under an existing priest, usually at a young age. He will attend years of religious training, including reading and writing. If the character can make it through the years and gain the approval of his master, he will take vows and become pinsernigh (a deacon in the church.)

To remain a member, he must adhere to the laws of the church (or at least not be caught violating them). Minor transgressions can be absolved through the process of confession, repentance, and meditation. Heavier crimes, such as disobedience of his superiors, will end in a defrocking ceremony. More flagrant crimes can end in the character being disfellowshipped or even excommunicated.

Organization

The priesthood is organized by region. At the top levels, you have mag-mel and tir-mel (dioceses and archdioceses), as described under the section on ranks in the church. Below mag-mel there are tirell (parishes), each ruled by a dwin (priest) with assistants. On a smaller level, there may wandering dwin in areas with small populations. These dwin travel from location to location, ministering to the people over a wide area. This, however, is very rare.

The biggest thing to remember about the Gyllite organization is that it can quickly become very fluid. Theoretically, the ranks of the church are set, but practically the Gnomes believe that even this is a lie. If a dwin is absent, a pinsernigh might step into his place and begin doing his duties. Assistants will often claim they are their superiors and vice-versa. They claim this is about training the underlings and teaching a greater truth. Much of the time, however, they do this for their own enjoyment (or relief).

Advancement

Advancement in the priesthood is fairly political. Dwin are promoted with an eye for administrative merit, as well as their perceived grasp of absolute truth. There is usually some talk of the dwin's inspiration, his knowledge, his holiness, but in reality, this isn't as important as him earning the good will of his superiors and showing an ability to lead within the bounds of scripture.

Also, a dwin's past insinuations into higher ranks will affect the decisions. If a dwin has frequently and successfully given a superior a break from his duties, this makes him experienced in the job. If a dwin has failed in these jobs, this will make him less likely to rise to the position.

Reward and Punishment

Dwin are typically rewarded or punished with their duties (at least until a defrocking is necessary). Dwin are rewarded with rich and prestigious tirell or positions. Since all tithes go first through the hands of the controlling priest, this has a great impact on his standard of living. Duties can be punishments by the same token. Difficult and violent tirell, as well as rotten duties and difficult tasks all serve as punishments. Beyond this, of course, a dwin may be defrocked, disfellowshipped, or even excommunicated, should the crime be heinous enough.

A unique punishment among this church only comes to those who can cast spells. For these dwin, their superiors can cast them into "the oubliette." Inside the oubliette, the dwin are more than just trapped, they are also cut off from the natural flows of magic, regardless of its source. These dead zones cause the dwin incredible distress, and locking one inside for more than a month has been known to cause insanity. It's one thing to have never been able to see or touch the truth, but to have had it and then lose it . . . most Gnomes find this concept unbearable.

The Flock

Every Gnome who believes in the church is a member of the congregations of this Order (including those who just sort of entertain the idea). It takes nothing more to be the member of a congregation than occasional attendance and an ability to avoid excommunication. (This doesn't mean the person needs to adhere to the Church's beliefs, just that they don't get caught defying the Church, such as preaching against church truths.)

A Gnome can have a loose view on what it means to attend church. Although most Gnomes attend at least once a month, if only for the show, others can go months without attending, while still feeling like they are active members in the church.

Truth is, after all, what you make of it.

Clergy

Not every member of the priesthood has made it to level of dwin (at least not for more than the occasional afternoon). There are many pinsernigh, even in preaching and other dwin-like roles. Others serve in administrative and academic positions. These pinsernigh can be most any age, as many members of the priesthood are happy to never take their priestly vows. That doesn't stop them from claiming to be dwin when the urge suits them. As long as they don't take this too far, no one minds.

There are almost always dwin handy when a member of the order needs to see the clergy. At its core, this order's entire purpose is to create clergy.

Magic

The Gyllites believe that magic is the only true expression of truth. Even an illusion can tell no lies, as it's more true than words or actions. It is fueled by magic, and that magic is the truest thing in the world. All forms of magic are practiced by the church, just as many forms are practiced by the flocks. While one must be a member of the clergy to be taught divine spells, there is no rule stating that clergy members must pursue that form of magic.

The idea of denying magic from Mortals is an abomination to the Gnomes. They might understand stripping a priest of his power when he's banished from the church, but those can still pursue other schools (and certainly some slip through the cracks and make it out into the public with their original powers.)

Locales

Dwin are found in buildings and burrows great an small, (though many have an open-air worship area). A village temple might be little better than a shallow place in among the hills, while city temples grow in style and beauty to large underground delvings, up to full cathedrals with magical caverns and large above-ground spires.

But dwin aren't restricted to dedicated buildings (they are lies, after all). Many buildings have a chapel of their own, castles and palaces, for instance, and these might well have more prestige than a large city church. On top of that, it's likely that many Gnomes will hold services outside or in strange locations, should the urge take them.

The order is based in Tirem-Ag, in the city of Mendannis.

Family Life

The church places little importance on the family status of the priests. Some marry, others don't. The Gnomes are an independent people and they wouldn't stand for having some guy in a big hat telling them what they should or shouldn't do in their family life.

Factions

The Gnomes develop wildly different factions that can mutate even during a single debate. Factions are a part of Gnomish life and characters will sometimes take a stand on one side or another, just to experience arguing it. They don't need to believe what they are saying to enjoy the fight.

Politics

Gnomish politics are heated, but usually civil affairs. While Gnomes might hate one another violently during an argument, they can become fast allies as soon as the factions shift and flow around the topics.

Spotting a Dwin of Gyllmoulin

Dwin are typically easy to spot, as they wear their vestments almost all the time. Their square-topped hats are uncommon elsewhere in Gnomish society, and their over-robes are fairly distinctive.

Typical Usage

A typical dwin is friendly and outgoing. He will run you in circles while talking, and when the mood takes him, set up argument after argument to brome the innate deception of reality.

Atypical Usage

A reserved dwin would be an unusual choice. One that had faith in the nitty gritty, would be another, as would a dwin who was, by other race's standards, completely honest.