Aerea

Goddess of LAW Through the Domination of Bestial Instincts.

Beliefs

This religion promotes the belief that females, unlike males, are best able to control and harness their destructive and bestial instincts. Aerians believe that there was a Golden Age of Matriarchy (a peaceful, cultivated age of reason) where society was ruled by women, but which was later destroyed by the rise of patriarchy. This rise of patriarchy (or the Age of Iron, as Aerians refer to it) came about because the women rulers relaxed their vigilance; they let the more primal emotions be released un-channeled by their peoples. The rulers allowed themselves to be seduced by the short-term gratification of pleasures at the expense of hard-won more lasting understandings. Aerians believe that the fall of the Golden Age was a test from their Goddess. An opportunity for redemption. Worshippers strive to bring about the return of the Golden Age.

Both sexes worship Aerea, but only women are allowed into the church's religious and political hierarchy.

The cult colors are rust (representing iron–the metal of patriarchy) surmounted by bands of gold (symbolizing the Age of Gold). Male initiates wear torcs of iron which symbolize recognition of their responsibility for bringing about the Age of Iron. Females wear a golden ankh (the symbol of the Magna Mater). The cult weapons are longbows, flails, and two-sword fighting.

Worshippers believe in the tenet of absolute and uncompromising honesty and so are often used as arbiters. A worshipper will be loath to lie or dissemble and, if she swears in the name of Aerea, she will not lie even at the risk of death. If the truth would harm those she cares for or her temple, an Aerea worshipper will choose silence. Stories of the devout whom have suffered through torture or execution rather than lie or speak damaging truths are a major portion of the liturgical fables.

CHAOS, which exalts the uncontrolled aspects of man's nature, is antithetical to the cult. Lay members of Aerea deal with worshippers of CHAOS gods easily enough, but initiates (especially priests and holy fighters) will often refuse the company of those who are initiates of CHAOS. If necessity forces them to travel with adherents of CHAOS, they will work to persuade them to the cause of LAW.

Followers

A lay member is any who has been baptized and renamed in the Mother's holy waters and sight. Lay members tithe 10-20% of their income to the Church; initiates 20-50% of their income.

Both lay members and initiates can receive special training in combat-associated skills (Grapple, Punch, Head Butt, First Aid, Ride, Swim) at 50% of cost, +15% chance of success and 75% of cost and +1 to success for Strength, Dexterity, or Fitness training. Lay members save versus CHAOS spells (Wrath, illusion, etc.) at +1 and initiates at +2. Lay and initiate members both, free, the spell Detect Chaos.

To become an initiate, a lay member of good standing must demonstrate the ability to harness, control, and direct her animal instincts. This can be done in a number of fashions: mortification of the flesh and will, deep studies of the liturgy, challenging CHAOS etc. Often the Church requires a quest or undertaking from the supplicant.

Initiate worshippers (because of the rage felt regarding the fall of the Golden Age) can go into a LAW Rage, when fighting a forces of CHAOS. This rage is a manifestation of the control with which they can wield their darker side. When entering a Rage, an initiate can focus actions with near complete mastery, allowing an amazing precision of thought, movement, and action. A person in a LAW Rage feels a great exhilaration at the ability to control her bestial instincts—to prove her mastery of herself and become a vessel of the Golden Age. The effect is to add +2 to hit and damage on all attacks, +5% critical and +1 to initiative per level after when initiateship was received. The chance of initiating this Rage is 18% a level. After a LAW Rage, an Aerea worshipper risks exhaustion. The worshipper must save versus Resistance on 4d6 or lose 50% of her evasion points. Initiates also receive a +3 to saving throws against fear. When fighting two-sword, initiates reduce the negatives for the on and off hand by one. Spell casters casting LAWful (Hold, Wall of Ice, Wall of Stone, Spiritual Hammer, etc.) spells outside LAW Rage get +1 on initiative and damage or +25% for beneficial effects. If they cast CHAOS based spells (Wall of fire, Regenerate, Wrath) the spells are +1 for saving throw and -1 on damage or -25% for beneficial effects

Many cults, LAWful included, feel antipathy towards this religion as it threatens the male dominated order. Worshippers are sometimes forced into altercations to defend the honor of their religion.

There are numerous villages and fortifications controlled by Aerians throughout the Crescent Lands. The largest temple is in Aereolus, with a major training center in the Og’am Woods (about 200 miles east of Monarch of the Mines, in the GloomRim mountains).

Aerea Holy Days

MAJOR
12th of each month Mother's Tears (baptismal day)
April 20th Mother's Wrath (end of the Golden Age, last day of the old calendar year)
October 27th LAW's Challenge (day penultimate to CHAOS day)
MINOR
11th of each month Sister Day (celebration of Big Sister at full phase, which represents the mid-point in a woman's menstrual cycle)

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