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Offline Zyrphath

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Valdriel
« on: September 29, 2016, 10:39:45 PM »
Valdriel the Deceiver




The Divine

Realm

Entar

Alignment

| Lawful   Good
| Neutral  Good
| Chaotic  Good
| Lawful   Neutral
| True     Neutral
| Chaotic  Neutral
| Lawful   Evil
| Neutral  Evil
| Chaotic  Evil

Spheres of Influence

Lies, Treachery, Exploit, Disharmony, Rebellion.

Persona

Valdriel is regarded by many clerics and religious scholars outside of her faith as the most enigmatic deity in Eldanar’s pantheon. Many of her actions are often seen as whimsical and even chaotic, and aligned to a certain extent with the ideals of other Dark Gods, namely Jherad and the Fallen One himself. Regarded as a highly self-serving entity that would sooner see her servants fall into eternal damnation than grant them glory if it suited her most fleeting desires, Valdriel is painted a cruel and distant queen by her detractors.

However, her priesthood now claims such views to be the product of centuries of systematic slander produced by the more zealous sectors of Entar’s widespread faiths that stems from their “unfounded belief” in the Goddess’ alleged closeness to Maedhros. This position is one that has been slowly gaining acceptance among the general population over the course of the Third Age, but the actual truth likely lies somewhere in the middle and is as complex as the Goddess herself.

Like many of her clerics, Valdriel is a seasoned master of misdirection; a chief manipulator capable of spinning endless webs of deceit and concocting—and carrying out—the most convoluted gambits and conspiracies, often involving mortals and celestials alike. Among her people it is believed that The Deceiver herself is the source of the many accusations made against her, and that she whispered them to the ears of fervid priests and bishops from Entar’s influential churches for the single purpose of eventually subverting all these libels (as has been occurring as of late throughout the land in certain circles of power) and in the process eroding the people’s faith in other Gods.

To the most apologetic religious scholars of her faith, however, The Deceiver is likely to be more than a simple propagator of lies and thus becomes a keeper of hidden truths, a guardian and patron deity of all whispered secrets, and, for this reason, an incommensurable source of knowledge. Whether this is actually true, or, as many of the detractors of her doctrine would openly argue, a propagandistic attempt at putting the Goddess under a more favourable and appealing light is today a matter of great debate.

One of Valdriel’s most popular epithets is The Great Instigator, born from the old belief that the Goddess enjoys preying the courts of princes and kings, especially during times of peace, whispering distorted truths to nobles and councillors and swaying the wills of monarchs to her every whim, spurring conflict and prompting intrigue when not fanning the very flames of war.

Very much in keeping with this belief, it’s been posited by many a cleric of Kailthis that The Deceiver was the one true victor of The Sundering and that her victory came long before the first foot-soldier of the Dark One’s army stepped on Entar’s soil; the abandonment of The Shield, they claim, can likely be attributed to Valdriel, whose whisperings may have led a considerably large number of Loriathian and Valanthian leaders to the state of overconfidence that ultimately proved their undoing when Maedhros struck on their then-new lands. And thus, they argue, the Dark Goddess should be treated as a highly dangerous and powerful force, not as innocuously as her clerics would have people believe.

Much like the Goddess’ obscure nature, accounts of Valdriel’s origins and goals are conflicting at best. Certain folk tales depict The Deceiver as an ancient spirit charged with guarding the purity of mortal hearts who ultimately failed because mortal hearts are all easily corrupted and as a result became corrupted herself. Other stories state that Valdriel was born from that very corruption, while some claim that she was in fact its source. An old legend that connects her to Maedhros speaks of her fall as a result of her toxic love for the God of Death, but her clerics often denounce this, both openly and behind closed doors.

Among her followers, canon is that Valdriel is a force as old as thought, existing even before the world itself was made, and that from her whispers lies and the very first of liars were born. The most cavalier versions of this account add an interpretation of the birth of the first liar as the primordial corruption of Maedhros, thus placing Valdriel and not the Dark One as the source of evil.

Power

Many stories have been told about the magics that Valdriel’s priests wield; accounts of spectacular feats capable of raising the sun and erecting cities from ruins. Few folk tales even go as far as describing rituals and spells capable of bringing forth great joy to those who witness them, and indeed it has been the work of her clerics to drive the general population into believing such egregious claims.

Contrasting with the powers of other dark faiths, whose objective is generally perceived as the spreading of great destruction and disarray, The Deceiver’s magic is much subtler, though by no means less damaging. The first and most common of the powers granted to her priests involve the sphere of Illusion. Servants of Valdriel are capable of manipulating their own physical makeup by way of subterfuge and spell-craft, making themselves appear as beautiful and harmless to the unsuspecting eyes of those they prey upon. Likewise, they’re capable of putting forth images of purity, wealth and wholesomeness to ensnare the most naive of onlookers with.

Clerics of Valdriel are also said to be extremely eloquent, a trait misguidedly attributed to their great knowledge of many things, but that may well involve magical manipulation as well. They are said to be capable to turning their voices into powerful lulls, siren songs that trap even the hidden passions of men and that include lies so seemingly innocuous that they are often accepted as absolute truths.

On the other hand, servants of the Goddess are also reputed as uncanny judges of character, endowed with powers which allow them to see into the hearts and minds of mortals and hold within their grasps their deepest desires, which they then use to lure them into their favour. A true cleric of Valdriel can learn what you wish for with but a gaze, and then present it to you, for a price.

However, there is a far more dreadful side to the powers of The Deceiver’s servants. A man who earns the disfavour of one of her clerics may find their senses confounded, only to feel those things that the priest wills upon them; they may believe to be approaching a hoard of gold when they are in fact traipsing into a lair of furious beasts. They may slay their brethren while mistaking them for an enemy, or drink pure venom thinking it to be nothing but mead. This power is often used to create the illusion of feats that are often attributed to the servants of other Gods that may hold in place for a long time before the deception is finally discovered, if ever.

It is rumoured that among the mightiest of her clerics and the Va’ati, the highest, most secret echelon in Valdriel's priesthood, there are powers of illusion and enchantment so great that they may effectively scar the bodies and souls of mortal men; illusions so nightmarish and perfect that they have psychosomatic effects (A man faced by a vision of towering fire may have his skin marred with burn marks, while another thinking to be drowning may have his lungs filled with water). And there are rituals so insidious and malignant that even the clergy itself fears them, like the power to turn the hearts of men to the seductive lure of war and sinful acts, and the very loss of their wills to the whims of their highest masters.

And there are stories of magic reserved only for the Va’ati which makes them nigh invincible.  It is said that Valdriel has granted upon her highest servants the gift of immortality, subject to the lives and souls of those that serve them. As long as a Va’ati maintains the loyalty of a living soul, they may never fall prey to age and death, making it the only possible way to slay them to either turn their congregation against them or to slay them all as well. And like this, there are many other magics, terrifying as they are alluring, that come from following and propagating The Deceiver’s way.


Iconography

Avatar

There are many forms that the Dark Goddess has taken across the ages, all depictions as diverse as those who have taken it upon themselves to shape her image; but even so, throughout her iconographic history, there is one theme that remains a constant: her state of femininity. Nowadays, to the everyday common folk and Entar’s noble-borne, her image is often presented by her clergy as that of an innocent child, almost always Human when not Elven, dressed in dainty white and ruby silk, and blanketed in a halo of bright light—an image evocative of sanctity and serenity.

From the doors of her true shrines inward, however, this representation changes drastically; no longer a child in these depictions, Valdriel is instead a young adult woman of unknown race and otherworldly beauty, covered in long-flowing mantles of scarlet and violet, lavished with jewels and bedecked with a crown made out of interwoven silver serpents and flanked by a number of uraeuses, with the night sky topped by the Southern Star to her back, and an unopened black chest resting on her lap.

To Aldaron and Kailthis’ faithful, nonetheless, her image has remained a static reflection of her deception: a crone wrapped in bedraggled robes and sitting in the darkness, often holding a mirror that reflects a world opposed to her reality (in some paintings, the mirror has been replaced by a cobweb spreading into the dark from a ball of yarn held in her hands).

Symbols

An eye eclipsing a sun, a snake, a spider, a mirror.

Colors

Red-violet and lavender.

Sacred Objects

Priests of Valdriel often wear masks and cloaks to many of their inner religious ceremonies; due to their capacity to conceal the true nature and identity of a person, these objects are considered sacred, and some are said to be key components to illusionary magics. Certain scents and fragrances that can be used to mislead the senses and induce hallucinations are also regarded as holy, and thus, the plants and minerals used to concoct them are treated as sacred elements by proxy.

Ancient mirrors, especially those that reflect distorted images, are frequently found hanging from the walls of Valdriel’s true temples and are said to reveal to the eyes of those to look upon them the hidden truths that the Goddess keeps about man; it is considered a great honour to be allowed to stand before these large glass panels, as they are believed to hold great insight and transmit Valdriel’s secret knowledge of the world through their twisted reflections. Smaller, portable versions of these relics are often carried by travelling priests of The Deceiver.

But there also specific objects that the Shaat’rayhi and sometimes some of the Daah’yali revere and secretly covet. Among these there is a especially popular artefact called The Eye of Valdriel: a mystical jewel, often an amethyst, though in some tales it is described as a lavender pearl, engraved with one of Valdriel’s most prominent symbols, the eye eclipsing the sun, and rumoured to be capable of trapping the minds of those who look upon it and turn even the strongest-willed men into servile drones. Snakes and spiders, as animals associated with the Goddess, are also considered holy.

And legend tells of a powerful set of artefacts known as The Blasphemous Arks, which are themselves said to hold secret relics within them; according to the stories, these objects predate the First Age and are said to have been made by Valdriel’s most powerful servants, old Va’ati and Avatars, to conceal the greatest of The Deceiver’s treasures and bring them to Entar after the Divine War. These arks are believed to exude an aura of holiness that can fool even the seasoned clerics of Aldaron and Kailthis into believing them to be sacred gifts from their Gods, and they are in fact said to have been given to servants of the High Gods to bring to the new land under the guise of sanctity. Many of them, it is told, are still guarded by these churches, unaware of what it is that they are truly keeping.

Sacred Texts

There are thousands of texts regarded by historians and scholars as scriptures of the church of Valdriel scattered throughout Entar, quite a few of them found in private libraries and in the archives of religious organizations. However, save for a few rare exceptions, most of these writings are in truth elaborate works of fiction produced by Valdriel’s own clerics as a way to drive the secular and ecclesiastic authorities from the true mysteries of the Goddess’ faith.

No true texts containing dogmas or teachings from the church of Valdriel are written in common; they are all written in Va’ati, and almost all of them are still in possession of The Deceiver’s clergy. Among the more prominent ones is a compilation of ancient chants known as The Psalms of the Distorted Truth. They are the written words of the Va’ati of the past, and it is said that when uttered they reveal great mysteries; in order words, the texts hold actual power (a strong belief among Clerics of Valdriel is that the Va’ati language can gain power by itself when uttered by a high cleric).

But the most sacred of the scriptures is called The Book of Deceptions: an ancient journal brought from the East and said to be as old as the church itself. In it the entire history of Valdriel’s faith is coded all the way to present times, even though the book has no writer. It is a self-written, self-updating record of every single historic event involving The Deceiver and her disciples, and for this reason it is very well-protected, as it holds secrets that may destroy the church if revealed. The book is always moving throughout the land and only the Va’ati themselves know its location at any given time.


Followers

Favor

The clergy of Valdriel professes that The Deceiver smiles upon all mortal races and that she welcomes them into her fold with nothing but love, and while in the past these declarations made laughingstocks out her priests, today there are many, especially among the downtrodden, forsaken masses of society, who believe this message to be a true one.

The beggars and the pariahs, whom the hardships of life have forced to take on the path of illegality, are all favoured by the Goddess; pickpockets, prestidigitators and con artists are the object of Valdriel’s blessings, and many of them use her and her faith as a moral waiver for their actions. Phrases like, “Is it the will of the Goddess that I survive by whatever means necessary,” or “It is Her judgement that I should act upon others as they have acted upon me,” and similar justifications are often heard from these groups  of people. What Valdriel favours in them, however, is not their resolve to live on, but their inherent fallibility.

The morally broken are the ones that draw her interest, and among them the most common are the have-nots, spawned by society’s cesspools, but they are not by far the only ones. Great conspirators, schemers and backstabbers, those that harm and trick others without compunction, and those of a self-serving nature are all objects of her focus. Traitors, fratricides and the adulterous she takes under her wing, often enabling their unfaithful pursuits. But there is one kind of heart that she favours more than all others; that of those who have turned their backs on their faith: the apostates.

Renouncing one’s beliefs opens the door to Valdriel’s lure, and she coddles these traitors more than any others, especially when their renunciation is personal and undisclosed. To her, these are her greatest assets; like sleepers they remain in place, uttering empty chants and prayers to a God that is no longer theirs while from the dark undoing the labour of their former faith. Rumours speak of betrayers in every temple, and even a handful sitting on high clerical seats of power, whose sole task is to spread blasphemy and heresy for The Deceiver while protected by her aegis. 

Disfavor

A voracious seeker and nurturer of moral malleability and overall wickedness, Valdriel is, therefore, a great denouncer of the fair virtues of men. The love that her followers claim she professes for all mortals, of kindness and honesty and endless compassion, is in fact an object of her loathing. Altruism, which clashes with the ideals of individualistic thinking attached to the concepts of treachery and deceit, inflames the Goddess and often incurs her divine wrath.

More than those that stand against uttering lies, Valdriel holds those that seek to unravel them in great contempt. Diviners, Seers, Dream Interpreters and the likes that thwart her concealment of the truth are known to be singled out and labelled charlatans by Valdriel’s own at every chance they get, only to then establish themselves as supposed true sources of clarity among communities and further spread their misleading message. Likewise, those that offer good counsel during times of crisis, often crippling the Goddess’ work of deception, are actively defamed and accused as traitors by her agents.

The priesthoods of Aldaron and Faelyn, which uphold ideals of justice and mercy, are often the object of her attacks; but few can incur the Goddess’ full vengeful ire like the servants of her divine foil: the unshakable clerics of the God Kailthis.

Incorruptibility runs counter to The Deceiver’s sphere of influence and is therefore anathema to Valdriel, who has sought to undermine Kailthis’ faith since the time of his ascension to godhood; his clergy has, however, proven remarkably resilient to her continued attempts at twisting their beliefs, so instead she has resorted to more insidious tactics through the work of her servants. Wherever priests of Kailthis go, Valdriel’s agents will surely follow, seeking to pervert whatever his followers have created. Occasionally they succeed.

But even beyond incorruptibility, there is one thing that Valdriel truly detests, and it is the search for redemption.

Those who once lied, cheated and manipulated, but have since renounced their ways and seek to make a amends, are said to only experience hardship on their quests to vindicate themselves on account of nothing but the will of Valdriel. She turns hearts to stone and words to daggers and makes redemption as unattainable as immortality for these men.

In the end, however, only a handful of people have ever been smitten by the Goddess. Valdriel believes corruption of the heart to be an inescapable ill to all mortals, so even those that seek to right their wrongs may yet fall prey to her whisperings and once again turn to deceit. Bringing down figures of great moral righteousness in this fashion that will in turn sway others into the same path is to The Deceiver a grand victory in her struggle for the purity of mortal souls.

The Faithful

There are two faces to the church of Valdriel: one that is shown outward to the world from the gates of their temples, and one that is secret, seen only within their walls.

To the outside world, Valdriel’s clergy serves only few purposes related to the alleged stigmas attached to their doctrine; over the years, the priests of the Goddess have managed to subvert a great many of these folkloric beliefs about their faith, in particular those which paint them all liars and shrewd manipulators, while turning such skills toward a arguably nobler use: the separation of lies from the truth.

While the practice is uncommon and not widely-accepted, is it known that in certain locations law enforcement authorities have requested such services as aid in the interrogation of criminals from members of the church of Valdriel, and while it could be claimed that it runs counter to their creed, clerics of the Goddess often accept and perform these duties with great diligence; of course, it may be argued that the priests’ true objective may well be to impede the labour of justice rather than collaborate, but such declarations are now usually regarded as attempts at undermining the work of The Deceiver’s servants out of zeal.

A few high nobles are also known to maintain at least one cleric of the Goddess in their courts for purposes related to those for which law enforcement officials seek their services, though in these cases their task is more of an advisory position, aiding the Lord in question in determining how much loyalty is he truly retaining from certain members of their respective court.

This type of advisory practice has become unusually frequent among magistrates from distant areas where control, oversight and observance of legal precepts tends to grow lax; this, in line with their services as interrogators for law enforcement authorities, allows clerics of Valdriel to exert a greater deal of influence over judiciary procedures than their detractors would claim that they should.

The true nature of the deception of the church of Valdriel, however, runs far deeper.

The Great Temple of The Goddess in Elenion is regarded by Entar as the Mecca of Valdriel’s religion; a lavish cathedral built almost like a monument at the centre of an elliptical piazza encircled by marble colonnades all topped by various statues of the Deceiver, here depicted as a child and sitting in various positions over a nest of laurels and looking towards the sun’s placement in accordance with each hour of the day. The main structure of the temple is crowned by golden spires that flank a central dome, its golden doors are rich with pictorial art, and, like the rest of the façade and its surrounding area, they are maintained in pristine condition by an order of designated caretakers.

Aesthetics, however, grow increasingly austere as one goes inside. There are no windows of any kind or light inlets in the temple’s façade, so, save for a few poorly distributed chandeliers, there isn’t much light in the structure’s interior. No pews can be found within its central nave and within its concourse there is but one altar with a statue of a childlike Valdriel rising before it.

Clerics of the Goddess argue that this lack of lavishness in the temple’s interior obeys to certain tenets of their doctrine, which require complete devotion and separation from any kind of material wealth or showiness within their places of reflexion. And indeed, it is to their joy that many historians and officials along with the vast majority of Entar have all been fooled by such a lukewarm explanation.

The true church of Valdriel, her clerics remark among themselves with some glee, has no more presence in Elenion than a nest of roaches. The so-called Great Temple is to them nothing but a testament to the gullibility of men. The true Temple of Valdriel, it is said, lies hidden by a thousand enchantments in a remote location that to changes with every dawn; some days it is guarded by mountains while others it is flanked by forests, and it is filled with so much wealth and shine that it could make a royal court look like a peasant’s table.  The only way to enter it is through keys handed to their ordained priests that only they may use and that disappear when touched by others.

In the hierarchic structure of the church of Valdriel, no words from the common tongue are ever used; instead, their clergy speaks a tongue crafted by the Goddess and passed down by the highest of her priests. This tongue is known as Va’ati, a word meaning “whispering truths”, which references not only their belief that only Valdriel speaks the truth (In Va’ati, Valdriel’s true name is Va'él-driel, which translates as “the Almighty source of all truth”), but also states the role of her arch clerics as speakers of this truth who have taken the term Va’ati as their official designation within the hierarchy.

The Va’ati stand at the pinnacle of their church, they are the ultimate interpreters of Valdriel’s faith and their word is considered dogma by the clergy; their power within the church is immense, spanning across entire kingdoms in some cases, where they act like shadow regents of the land, often undermining the official government’s power if they haven’t seized it already. The Va’ati are generally revered by younger members of the church, but feared by the seniors as they know of the terrible magics that they wield; there have been stories of Va’ati surpassing the power of Valdriel’s Avatars, while others designate them as Avatars themselves.

Directly below the Va’ati, whose number is at a handful, stands a much larger group of high priests known as the Daah’yali (trans. “False Prophets or Seers”), who fulfil in Valdriel’s church a role similar to that of bishops. Their task consists of overseeing all matters of the church within the large cities and capitals of Entar. The largest of Valdriel’s temples within a given metropolitan area is often run by a Daah’yal. Beyond their administrative role and passing down the decrees and doctrines of the Va’ati, the Daah’yali have often a high involvement in a city’s politics, regularly attending court and occasionally serving as advisors to nobles.

The Inyil’ali (trans. “Masters or Guides of Secrets”) serve as lower priests, running smaller temples within the areas controlled by the Daah’yali when ordained, and they’re often the highest authority of the church among smaller communities such as villages in a kingdom’s rural areas. However, the Inyil’ali also have the choice to distance themselves from the work of the temples and travel the land after ordination as wandering clerics. Many female Inyil’ali choose this path, and it is these travelling priests who are often following after Kaithlis’ servants. Inyil’ali are known to pass themselves off as soothsayers, healers and even priests from other faiths, driving unsuspecting villagers into heresy through feats of deception.

Following their first year of ordination—sometimes two or three years if the cleric chose to travel—the Inyil’al is summoned to the presence of the Daah’yal and assigned a pupil known as a Shaat’rayh (trans. “Follower”). Their role is roughly the same as that of an acolyte freshly initiated in the path of the faith of The Deceiver. The daily chores, such as the maintaining of the temples, are assigned to the Shaat’rayhi, which they must carry out along with their instruction in the doctrine; if the Inyil’al is a traveller, the Shaat’rayh must travel with them and assist them in all their tasks.

The church of Valdriel is subject to a very rigid chain of command, determined by both age and tutelage. Even when a Shaat’rayh is ordained as an Inyil’al, they are still regarded as lower in rank than their master and all those Inyil’ali that surpass them in age. In the same vein, a cleric may not move up in the hierarchy beyond the Inyil’al position as long as their master does not. The only exception to this rule is the Va’ati, who are said to be chosen by Valdriel herself and have all equal power in theory (in practice, the Va’ati with the largest influence is treated as the de facto head of the church). Some priests argue that this system is in place solely for the purpose of fermenting betrayal within the church, but others claim that it secures a certain amount of loyalty within the priesthood. 

Prominence

Nowadays there are many who look upon the Faith in Valdriel with mistrusting eyes at best; however, in great part due to the work of her priests, many of these views have been relegated to the elderly, the members of other religious castes and scattered noblemen throughout Entar. To the general population, particularly the larger, impoverished masses, Valdriel and her followers are no longer associated with many of the stigmas attached to them by history, and their religion has been slowly but surely gaining momentum in many circles, making it the most widely accepted of the dark faiths; in fact, among a few, it is no longer regarded as a dark faith at all, put side by side with the likes of Xanthe, Talos and Hirin’s cults.


Quote

“I laced my heart with doublespeak
And all my misgivings have disappeared
It helps to keep my conscience clean
The end justifies the means
But still I am careful of all which I hear.”

—Translation of a Va’ati incantation, unearthed from a grave in the year 12th of the Second Age


Credits

  • Original Concept and Write-up: Zivilyn & Malygos
  • Revised Edition: Zyrphath & Davin
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Offline Zyrphath

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Re: Valdriel
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2016, 10:44:43 PM »
Immediate issues:

  • Remove Xanthe from prominence.
  • The priesthood names are referenced before they are explained. Either restructure or avoid using those names so early on.
  • The keys that disappear and her sacred shrine being at a new location every dawn is a slightly too much in HR2.0. We're looking for a way to tone this down without removing too much of the original concept's mysticism.
  • Can we un-verbosify the document a little? Length is not an inherently bad trait, but for the library revision we've tried to err on the shorter side whenever possible to keep things easy to read and maintain.
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Offline Ladrian

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Re: Valdriel
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2016, 10:15:54 PM »
Well, as you know, I've been writing a priest of Hers truly, so I have a couple of (hopefully productive) ideas to throw your way!

First, regarding your immediate issues:

  • Remove Xanthe from prominence.
  • The priesthood names are referenced before they are explained. Either restructure or avoid using those names so early on.
  • The keys that disappear and her sacred shrine being at a new location every dawn is a slightly too much in HR2.0. We're looking for a way to tone this down without removing too much of the original concept's mysticism.
  • Can we un-verbosify the document a little? Length is not an inherently bad trait, but for the library revision we've tried to err on the shorter side whenever possible to keep things easy to read and maintain.
· Just take his name off the write-up? Or maybe mention that she's likened to neutral deities in general, rather than calling them out by name.
· I think this would be easily solved replacing them or comparing them with generic titles (acolytes, lower priests, higher priests/bishops and heads of church, for example).
· We spoke a bit about this, and I've had a couple of thoughts since. It's a convoluted and confusing matter, so I'll PM them to you when we've a minute.
· Not sure how to help you here.  As a roleplayer, I definitely enjoy having more information to write my character, but maybe you could summarize it by focusing on the write-up's main elements.


And here's a couple of observations of my own:

· I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the idea that age grants you rank within the hierarchy. I would understand senioririty, since it's based on actual experience and accomplishments, but it strikes me as very odd for a lawful evil organization to have such a random rule. It puts the shorter lived races at a massive disadvantage versus the older ones, particularly elves.

Not being able to surpass your master is already a restrictive rule that makes up for interesting dynamics. I really don't think this rule adds anything to the priesthood (and frankly, I think it would've caused a lot of revolt early on, enough for it to have been obsolete for a long time, considering the nature of these people). I would suggest status being more dependent of senioririty and/or influence.

· I would also suggest that apprentices are taken in twos, or at least that the option exists for priests to induct them in this manner. In my opinion this would serve several purposes during their training, particularly due to its social nature, fomenting both team-work and rivalry between them. It would also make matters of succession all that more interesting, and it would certainly help grant the master more security, and maybe even loyalty. Not to mention it would help engross their ranks.

· Finally, and this is more a question than a suggestion, how are initiates inducted into the true faith? What determines who's worthy of becoming a Shaat'rayh and who isn't? Are people who come seeking to join the fake faith kept around to reinforce her image, or are they simply rejected?

I suppose their ability to 'peer into people's hearts' through faith magic would help them finding suitable candidates for the priesthood, but my questions still stand.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2016, 10:18:42 PM by Ladrian »

Offline Davin Ragal

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Re: Valdriel
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2016, 08:01:41 PM »
My two cents, as Zyr is closer to this, and a better responder:

Generalize the affiliation away from Xanthe towards the neutral gods (at least certain ones).

When Zyr says "un-verbosify", he means make it more concise.  Its no secret that we are re-writing and re-structuring the library, and it is for a good reason.  Generally we want concise and trim documents that still tell a rich story for two reasons.  The old library was daunting to a new user, both because of the structure and the depth of content of some articles.  It was also difficult for a staff member to navigate and present detailed info when reviewing etc.  Also we want user to have more control in shaping the world, that is to say, we want large scale plots to shape the world in such a way that the fundamental information in the library will change.  This is simpler to do when we do not have to dig through pages of info on a single article.

I agree with your point on the age hierarchy, especially given the different racial aging.