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God rules Mythic

Europe in awesome majesty, served

by the angelic hosts. For most people,
however, the majesty of the local bishop is awe-
inspiring enough, and God is served by the priests,
monks, and friars who share their communities. The
Church touches every aspect of life, and every individual
heart. Even magi in their covenants must contend with the
Church, and many trust it with the salvation of their souls.

This book provides background and rules for the Western Church
as a human institution, covering the organization of dioceses,
monastic orders, and daily devotion. It also describes the role of
women, and looks at the Knights Templar and Franciscans in
more detail. As a human institution, however, the Church
is not immune to corruption, and so this book also
discusses how some of the great orders of the

AG0296 • ISBN 1-58978-120-1

Church might fall to the Infernal. Bring the
faith of your characters to life!

AG0296 • ISBN 1-58978-120-1 • $29.95


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The Church

Authors: Richard Love (Diocese), Christian Jensen Romer (Congre- Second Round Playtesters: Christian Rosenkjaer Andersen, Pelle
gation, Rule, Corrupt), Sheila Thomas (Rule, Women, Francis- Kofod, Maria Dall Rasmussen; Jason Brennan, Elisha Campbell,
cans), Alexander White (Templars) Robert Major; Leon Bullock, Peter Ryan, Chris Barrett; Donna
Development, Editing, & Project Management: David Chart Giltrap, Malcolm Harbrow, Aaron Hicks; Nicholas Peterson, Jen-
Layout, Art Direction, & Proofreading: Michelle Nephew nafyr Peterson, Dan Byrne; Christoph Safferling, Jan Sprenger;
Additional Proofreadng: Jessica Banks Neil Taylor; Sean Winslow, John Geck; Mark Barltrop, Mark
Publisher: John Nephew Lawford, Simon Turner, David Staveley, Alex Coyne-Turner
Cover Illustration: Grey Thornberry
Cartography: Sean MacDonald
Interior Art Sources: Author Biographies
Bonnard, Camille, ed. Renaissance and Medieval Costume. Mineola,
NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 2008. Richard Love is quite pleased that he managed to write a part of
Christian Motifs & Symbols. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., this book while staying in Rome in a monastery that Pope Gregory
2009. the Great founded in the sixth century. He would like to dedicate this
Doré Gallery. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 2007. book to his partner Paula, who found our accommodation, and who
Doré’s Illustrations of the Crusades. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, thinks Richard is a sad person for bringing his laptop on holiday.
Inc., 1997. Christian Jensen Romer is a Christian by both name and creed,
Grafton, Carol Belanger, ed. 120 Great Paintings from Medieval Illumi- and is Devoted to Saint Edmund, rather ironically, as his beloved
nated Books. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 2008. father is a pagan Dane of the type who slew that glorious King and
Grafton, Carol Belanger, ed. Doré’s Dragons, Demons and Monsters. Martyr. He has studied theology for many years, and was an outspo-
Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 2006. ken voice on Richard Dawkins’ forum, where he found few hobgob-
Grafton, Carol Belanger, ed. Medieval Life Illustrations. Mineola, NY: lins or foul fiends, but many good friends. He dedicates his work on
Dover Publications, Inc., 1996. this book to all the wonderful, humane, loving, and moral atheist
Grafton, Carol Belanger, ed. Medieval Woodcut Illustrations. Mine- and agnostic folks there, and to Becky Smith for having faith in him
ola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 1999. when he doubted.
Grafton, Carol Belanger, ed. Treasury of Medieval Illustrations. Mine- Sheila Thomas is old enough to remember when Latin was used
ola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 2008. in church most of the time. She has had close encounters over the
Horne, Charles F., ed. Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. V. NY: years with nuns, monks, friars, priests, canons, and bishops but has
Selmar Hess, 1894. yet to meet a cardinal or pope. She was brought up to understand
Medieval Life and People. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., and enjoy visits to a wide range of ecclesiastical buildings, old and
2007. modern, but prefers the ones that are relevant to the Ars Magica
Menges, Jeff. A, ed. Doré’s Knights and Medieval Adventure. Mineola, period. She dedicates her work in this book to her late father, John
NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 2008. R. de Boer.
Ars Magica Fifth Edition Trade Dress: J. Scott Reeves Alexander White has an Honors degree in medieval and classi-
Publisher’s Special Thanks: Jerry Corrick & the gang at the Source. cal history and a Master of Public Policy and Management from the
University of Melbourne. In between occasionally publishing Sub
First Round Playtesters: Leon Bullock, Peter Ryan, Chris Barrett; Rosa (an Ars Magica fanmagazine), Alex works as the campaigns
Donna Giltrap, Malcolm Harbrow, Aaron Hicks; Mark Shirley, coordinator for the National Tertiary Education Union in Mel-
Camo Coffey, Andrew Walton; Neil Taylor bourne, Australia.

Ars Magica players participate in a thriving fan community by subscribing to email discussion lists (like the Berke-
ley list), compiling archives of game material (such as Project Redcap), maintaining fan-created web sites, and running
demos through Atlas Games’ Special Ops program. To learn more, visit www.atlas-games.com/ArM5. You can also
participate in discussions of Ars Magica at the official Atlas Games forums located at forum.atlas-games.com.
Copyright 2012 Trident, Inc. d/b/a Atlas Games. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this work by any means
without written permission from the publisher, except short excerpts for the purpose of reviews, is expressly prohib-
Ars Magica, Mythic Europe, and Charting New Realms of Imagination are trademarks of Trident, Inc. Order of
Hermes, Tremere, and Doissetep are trademarks of White Wolf, Inc. and are used with permission.


The Church

I. Introduction 8 Oppositional Elements.............. 16 Papal Legates............................. 31
Pilgrimage & Devotion.............. 19 The Archbishop. ......................... 31
The Church and the Divine.......... 8 Pilgrimage Destinations............ 19 Patriarch.................................... 31
The Church and Taking the Cross. ...................... 19 The Archdeacon. ....................... 32
the Order of Hermes.................... 9 Christian Mysticism.................... 19 The Dean. .................................. 32
The Western Church................... 9 Contemplative Mysticism......... 21 Clerics....................................... 32
The Church in 1220 AD............... 9 Spiritual Paths and Revelations.....21 Ordination................................ 33
The Mythic Church..................... 9 Monistic Mysticism................... 23 Rapid Ordinations......................34
Advantages of Pursuing Minor Orders............................ 34
Monistic Mysticism....................23 Doorkeeper..................................34
II. The Congregation 10 Life as a Hermit. ......................... 24 Lector..........................................34
Indulgences............................... 11 Acolyte.......................................35
Vigils & Fasting.......................... 12 III. The Diocese 25 Major Orders............................ 35
Devotion................................... 12 Sub-Deacon................................35
The Benefits of Devotion.......... 13 Clergy Characters..................... 25 Deacon.......................................35
Relics & Devotion .................... 13 Virtues and Flaws....................... 25 Priest..........................................35
The Costs of Devotion ............ 13 Senior Clergy..............................25 Canon Law................................. 35
Gaining Devotion Points.......... 14 Priest..........................................26 Canon Courts............................ 35
Seasons of personal devotion .......14 Clerk...........................................26 Secular Justice.............................35
Endowing a church, chapel, or Religious.....................................26 Canon Law Jurisdiction..............36
monastery dedicated to the saint...14 License of Absence........................26 Court Procedures.........................36
Participating in a guild Commanding Aura......................26 Punishment................................ 37
dedicated to the saint....................14 Dark Secret.................................27 Canon Law Cases...................... 37
Visiting a site associated Regular.......................................27 Shedding of Blood........................37
with the saint...............................14 Vows.......................................... 27 Marriage and Sexual Crimes.......37
Sponsoring church artworks Faith Points............................... 27 Sanctuary...................................37
associated with the saint...............14 New Seasonal Activities............ 27 Simony.......................................38
Studying the hagiographies Worship......................................27 Usury.........................................38
to meditate on the saint’s life . .......14 Good Works...............................27 Wills..........................................38
Furthering the cultus of the saint....14 Care of Souls...............................28 Upkeep of the Church..................38
Witnessing a genuine The Bishop. ................................ 28 Religious Practices......................38
miracle of the saint.......................14 The Cathedral Chapter............. 28 Tithes..........................................38
Sponsoring or participating in Election of the Bishop............... 28 Slander.......................................38
the saint’s feast day procession . ...14 In Partibus Infidelium................ 29 Sorcery and Witchcraft...............38
Pilgrimage in honor of the saint, Bishops as Feudal Lords............. 29 The Parish.................................. 38
& acquiring the pilgrimage badge .... 15 The Pope.................................... 29 The Parish Church.................... 39
Experiencing a dream or The Cardinals............................ 30 The Parish Priest....................... 39
vision from a saint.......................15 The Papal Curia........................ 30 The Liturgy.................................40
False Devotion.......................... 15 The Chancery.............................30 The Sacraments...........................40
Becoming a Saint........................ 15 Proctors......................................30 The Parish Clerk.........................40
Pilgrimages................................. 15 The Camera................................31 The Curate..................................41
The Mechanics of The Judiciary.............................31 The Chaplain..............................41
a Pilgrimage Story..................... 16 The Capellani.............................31 The Co-adjudicator.....................41

The Church
The Perambulation.................... 41 Becoming a Monk or Nun......... 52 Elizabeth of Schönau................ 78
The Benefice.............................. 41 The Rule of Saint Benedict........ 54 Visions to Come........................ 79
Benefices Held by Institutions.......43 Daily Routine.............................54 False Visions.............................. 79
Tithe...........................................43 Discipline....................................54 Priests’ Wives and Mistresses...... 80
Papal Appointments to Benefice....43 Property and Possessions.............55 Imposters.................................... 80
Rural Parishes............................ 43 Food and Drink......................... 55 Sample Characters...................... 80
Chapels.......................................43 Sleeping Arrangements.................56 Holy Maga
Private Chapels...........................43 Hospitality and Visitors..............56 (House Ex Miscellanea)............ 80
Urban Parishes.......................... 44 The Infirmary.............................56 Grog Templates......................... 83
Chapters of Canons.....................44 Work Outside the Monastery......56
Visitations.................................. 44 Monastic Roles and Positions... 56
Visitatio ad Limina.................... 45 The Abbess or Abbot...................58 VI. The Corrupt 85
Synods....................................... 45 The Prior or Prioress...................59
Ecumenical Councils................. 45 The Terrar...................................59 Storyguiding Corruption........... 85
Petitioning the Church.............. 46 The Cellarer or Cellaress..............59 Heresy and Corruption............. 86
The Petition Total..................... 46 The Bursar..................................60 Three Holy Orders. ................... 87
Acting Without Authority......... 48 The Infirmarian...........................60 The Order of Cluny. ................. 87
Appealing a Petition.................. 48 The Head of the Novitiate............60 What Makes the
Creating Game Statistics The Sacrist..................................60 Cluniacs Different?.................... 87
for a Church. ............................ 48 The Precentor..............................60 Government.................................88
Basic Church Features............... 48 The Porter...................................60 Independence................................88
Resources................................... 48 The Hostillar...............................60 Frequent Mass.............................88
Books..........................................48 The Almoner...............................60 The Liturgical Hours...................88
Enchanted Items...........................49 The Chancellor............................61 Chantries and
Relics..........................................49 The Priest....................................62 Masses for the Dead....................89
Specialists...................................49 The Religious in Your Saga........ 62 Ecclesiastical Influence.................89
Vis..............................................49 Fading Wealth............................89
Hooks and Boons...................... 50 Entering the Cluniac Order..........90
Major Church Boon: V. The Women 63 The Corrupt Cluniacs............... 91
Military Order...........................50 The Cistercians. ......................... 94
Minor Church Boon: Female Religious What Makes the
Anchorite/Anchoress....................50 in the Covenant......................... 63 Cistercians Different?................ 94
Minor Church Boon: Options for Absent Players....... 64 Solitude and Retreat....................94
Burial Rights..............................50 Nuns.......................................... 64 Manual Labor.............................94
Minor Church Boon: Chantry.....50 The Rule.................................... 66 Governance.................................95
Minor Church Boon: Characters in a Nunnery........... 67 Wealth........................................95
Chapter of Canons......................50 The Scholar................................67 Ecclesiastical Influence.................95
Minor Church Boon: The Refugee.................................68 Opposing Heresy........................95
Church School............................50 The Prisoner................................69 The Corrupt Cistercians........... 95
Major Church Hook: Corrupt......51 The Revolutionary......................69 Joachim of Flora.........................96
Major Church Hook: Heretics......51 Misbehavior.............................. 69 The Joachimites...........................96
Major Church Hook: Reports of Wayward Nuns.........71 The Cistercian Connection...........97
Jurisdiction.................................51 Canonesses................................. 72 Sample Characters.................... 97
Minor Church Hook: Beguines..................................... 72 Father Tino of Gradara...............97
Absent Rector..............................51 Beguinages of the Near Future....73 The Vallumbrosans. ................... 99
Minor Church Hook: Penitents.................................... 73 What Makes the
Incompetent Curate......................51 Recluses..................................... 74 Vallumbrosans Different?.......... 99
Minor Church Hook: Carmelite Nuns......................... 74 Papal Influence............................99
Vast Sanctuary...........................51 Anchoresses. .............................. 74 Extreme Asceticism and Silence.....99
The Anchoress’ Rule No Manual Work.......................99
(Ancrene Riwle)........................ 75 Total Retreat from the World.....100
IV. The Rule Mystics. ..................................... 76 If the Vallumbrosans
& Religious Life 52 Hildegard of Bingen.................. 77 are Corrupt.............................. 100
Marie of Oignes:
Benedictine Life.......................... 52 Beguine and Mystic................... 78

The Church
VII. The Knights Templars and the Church...........119 Templars as Treasure Hunters....122
Templar 102 Templars and the
Military Orders........................119
Creating Templar Characters.... 123
Modified Templar Virtues....... 123
Templars and Nobility...............119 Brother-Knight..........................123
The Poor Knights.................... 102 Templars and Muslims...............120 Brother-Priest............................123
The Fifth Crusade................... 103 Templars and the Brother-Sergeant........................124
Templar Endowments.............. 104 Order of Hermes........................120 New Templar Virtues.............. 124
Templars in England................ 104 Templar Characters Templar Confrere or Consoeur....124
Templars in France.................. 105 and Stories............................... 121 Templar Servant........................124
Templars in Iberia.................... 106 Templars as Crusaders............. 121 Templar Specialist......................124
Templars in Portugal.................106 Templars as Bankers Templar Administrator...............125
Templars in Aragon...................106 and Merchants......................... 121 Commander...............................125
Templars in Germany Templars as Advisors Office Holder............................125
and Eastern Europe.................. 107 and Diplomats......................... 122 Templar Prestige........................125
Templars in Italy...................... 107 Templars as Spies.................... 122 New Ability............................. 125
Templars in the Holy Land..... 108 Templars as Priests.................. 122 Organization Lore:
Templars in Acre........................108 Templars as Lords.................... 122 Knights Templar........................125
Templars in Antioch..................108 Templars as Sailors.................. 122 Sample Characters.................. 126
Templars in Greece.....................108
Other Military Orders............ 109
The Order of Calatrava
and Other Iberian Orders..........109
The Order of Saint Lazarus.......110
The Order of Saint
Thomas at Acre.........................110
Templar Organization.............. 110
Chapters and Provinces........... 111
The Provinces............................111
The General Chapter.................111
Provincial and Local Chapters....111
Running a Chapter Meeting......111
Ranks and Titles...................... 111
The Grand Master....................111
Grand Master
Peter of Montaigu.....................112
The Great Officials...................112
Confreres and Consoeurs............115
The Templar Faith................... 115
Templar Relics...........................116
Daily Life................................ 117
Military Tactics........................117
Joining the Order
of the Temple.......................... 118
The Membership Ritual.............118
Joining as a Child.....................118
The Templar Rule.................... 118
Secret Rites................................119
Relations with Outsiders......... 119

The Church

List of Inserts
II. The Congregation Some Common Christian Books...........49 VII. The Knights Templar
Example Churches................................50
Purgatory...............................................10 The Templars and the Crusades..........103
Story Seed: Templars and Scandal..........................103
The Obedient Congregation............11
IV. The Rule & Religious Life The Order Ends..................................103
Christian Death.....................................12 The Opus Dei, Divine Office................53 Papal Privileges...................................104
Example of Creating A Noteon Terms....................................53 Grand Masters of
a Devout Character..........................12 Story Seed: The Novice’s Nuptials.........53 the Temple of Solomon..................104
Patron Saints.........................................13 Monastic Gardens.................................54 English Templar Commanders............105
An Example of a Pilgrimage Story........18 Sign Language (Monastery)..................55 Story Seeds..........................................105
Experiencing Divine Ascent..................20 Story Seed: Signs in Silence..................55 Templars and Demonic
Personality Traits, Sins, and Tempers..... 20 Story Seed: Electoral Difficulties..........58 Wealth of Nations..........................106
Divine Warping and Story Seed: Story Seeds..........................................106
the Contemplative Mystic................21 Good and Faithful Servant?..............59 Story Seed: The Tomb Raiders...........109
Divine Warping and The Problem with Priors.......................59 Story Seeds..........................................110
the Monistic Mystic.........................23 Some Religious Orders..........................61 Designing a Templar Priory................111
Improving True Faith.............................23 The Grand Master...............................112
Story Seed: Independence...................113
V. The Women
III. The Diocese Arabic-Speaking Templars..................114
Story Seed: The Visitation....................64 Templar Chaplains and Petitioning.....115
Clergy as Player Characters..................26 Fontrevrault and Las Huelgas................65 Story Seed: The Miser........................115
Recommended and Required Story Seeds............................................66 TrainedGroup Combat........................117
Virtues, Flaws, and Abilities..............28 Story Seeds............................................67 Story Seed: The Unfailing Banner......117
Story Seed: The Magus Bishop.............28 Héloïse..................................................68 Calling on God’s Aid...........................117
Story Seed: The Proctor of Hermes......30 Christina of Markyate...........................69 Templar Prisons...................................117
Some Papal Officials in 1220 AD..........30 Story Seeds............................................70 Templar Saints and Festivals................118
Legates Sent to the Order of Hermes.... 30 Story Seeds............................................71 Woolen Cords.....................................119
Story Seed: A Troublesome Minster.....32 A Note on History................................72 How Much Do the Templars
Major Covenant Boon: Using an Anchoress in the Saga............74 Know About Magi?........................120
Archdeacon Agent............................32 Becoming an Anchoress in England......74 Playing a Templar Character...............121
Story Seed: The Vicar-General.............32 Story Seeds............................................75 Templar Banking, Letters
Possession and Exorcism.......................34 Some Books by Hildegard of Bingen....77 of Credit & Insurance......................121
Story Seed: A Catechumen Covenant... 35 Books by Elizabeth of Schönau.............78 Templars and the Wealthy Virtue.......123
Story Seed: The Heresy of Hermes......37 Saint Severus of Ravenna......................78 Templar Equipment.............................123
Bishops and Blood.................................37 Story Seed: Novices..............................79 Templar Ciphers..................................125
Story Seed: Hermetic Sanctuary...........38 Companion Templates..........................81 Story Seed: Stolen Cipher..................125
Relics.....................................................38 Templar Sign Language.......................126
Church Auras........................................39
VI. The Corrupt
Spells in Church....................................39 VIII. The Franciscans
Story Seed: Was There a Cluniac Order?.................88
The Reconstructed Temple...............39 Mortuary Masses...................................88 The Challenges of Francis...................128
Hermetic Magic and the Sacraments....40 The Hermit and the Devils...................89 Mendicants..........................................129
Story Seed: The Lost Priest...................40 Story Seed: Fleeing the Mob.................89 The Dominicans..................................130
Minor Covenant Boon: The Demon BaalBaruth, Preaching.............................................130
Holder of Benefices..........................42 Corrupter of Monks..........................90 Francis of Assisi...................................131
Story Seed: The Overgrown Glebe......42 The Demon Patarus...............................92 Brother Elias Bonibarone, Minister
Spells to Affect a Parish.........................42 Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153)........94 General of the Little Brothers.........133
Story Seed: A Concerned Priest............43 Story Seed: Letter of Approval: Cum Delicti.........133
Covenant Boon: Covenant Chapel.......43 The Ring of Saint Bernard................94 Story Seeds..........................................134
Modifiers to the Petition Total..............46 The Three Ages of the World...............96 Miracles of the Little Brothers.............135
Henri of Toulouse’s Petition..................47 A Note on the Illuminati.......................97 Clare of Assisi......................................137
The Petition of the Parish The Demon Jaevert...............................98 Story Seeds..........................................140
of Long Melford...............................47 The Demon Varriar.............................100 Story Seed: Forbidden Property..........142

The Church
Brother-Knight..........................126 Clare of Assisi.......................... 136 Martyrdom...............................140
Brother-Sergeant........................126 The Poor Sisters...................... 136 Academic Theology...................140
Brother-Priest............................127 Holy Tradition: Franciscans..... 137 Heresy......................................140
Joining the Tradition............... 138 Poverty.....................................140
Initiation Scripts.......................138 Ministration..............................141
VIII. The Franciscans 128 Initiation: Meditation................138 Persecution................................141
Initiation: Understanding..........138 Sample Characters.................... 141
Franciscans in the Saga. ........... 128 Initiation: Intervention...............139 Grog Templates....................... 142
Joining the Franciscans. ........... 129 Initiation: Purity.......................139 Franciscan Nun........................142
Francis’ Life & Script Variations.......................139 Franciscan Friar.......................142
Growth of the Franciscans...... 131 The Order of Hermes
Spreading the Movement........ 132 & the Franciscans..................... 139
The Franciscans Today.............. 133 Franciscans in the Future......... 139 Appendix:
Current Crises......................... 133 Leaders......................................140 Bibliography 143
Brothers and Sisters. ............... 134 Schism......................................140
Birds and Animals..................... 136 Approval...................................140

Chapter One

Welcome to The Church. This book for tremendous temporal power. If one man ors. It is also the Church that shows the
Ars Magica Fifth Edition describes the could claim to rule over all the multitu- people of Mythic Europe the route to
Western Christian Church as it exists in dinous kingdoms, cities, and villages of eternal salvation.
Mythic Europe in the year 1220 AD. Mythic Europe, that man would be the This book is intended to help and to
Christianity is without doubt the pope: the head of the Western Church. inspire your troupe to include the Church
most widespread religion in Mythic Eu- This claim is not without controversy, in your sagas. The covenant could have
rope. However, the Church also holds but it is the pope who crowns emper- an ally in the nearby parish priest, or en-
emies amongst the cathedral canons who
plot in the bishop’s court. Pious coven-
folk (and magi) may worship in the local
parish church, or travel on pilgrimages.
A nearby nunnery or monastery could be
a source of spiritual and intellectual aid
to the scholars of your covenant. Alterna-
tively, a fallen monastery could be a sul-
furous source of contagion, spewing cor-
ruption and despair into the lands about
your covenant.

The Church
and the Divine
The Church is first and foremost about
the human institution that is the Western
Christian Church. Of course, part of the
Church’s function is the organized wor-
ship of the Divine, and Realms of Power: The
Divine contains information about the Di-
vine. The Church extends the information
in that book to provide more information
about the organization of the Church and
how it influences the day-to-day lives of
the people of Mythic Europe.
Realms of Power: The Divine and The Church
complement each other, but your troupe
does not need to have access to Realms of
Power: The Divine to use or make sense of
most of the information in this book.

The Church

The Church The Western The Church is also not fixed in time,
and over the centuries it changes. The

and the Order Church

Church describes the state of the Church
in the year 1220, and if your saga follows
history, there are dramatic changes in the

of Hermes It is important to note that this book is

Church throughout the 13th century. For
example, there are ongoing struggles con-
only about the Western or Latin Church, cerning the powers of the pope over the
The Order of Hermes and the Church which is centered in Rome. It is only in bishops and secular rulers of Mythic Eu-
are both spread throughout all of Mythic the eastern peripheries of Mythic Europe rope, new orders of monks are founded,
Europe. The Order of Hermes certainly that the Eastern or Greek Church (cen- and in the early years of the 14th century
knows of the Church, and it is very likely tered in Constantinople and Jerusalem) the papacy even leaves Rome. Although
that the Church has some inkling of the has any sway. The Greek Church is similar we have provided some historical pointers,
existence of the Order of Hermes. How- in some ways to the Latin Church, as they how (and if) the Church changes through-
ever, in this book we have left it to your both derive from the religion of the late out the course of your saga is up to your
troupe to decide exactly what the Church Roman Empire, but the Greek Church is troupe, and may even depend upon the ac-
knows of the Order, and what the Church’s also quite different in many ways. tions of your characters!
attitude to the Order might be. Perhaps The reader should also note that this
the Order of Hermes is a well-kept secret, book is not about heretical interpretations
in which case there may be little more of the Church’s teachings. This book de-
than rumors circulating the papal curia. At
the other extreme, maybe the existence of
the Order is well known to the Church,
scribes the mainstream, dominant views of
the Western Church. The Mythic
with local bishops and the monastic and
military orders regularly invited to send
representatives to Tribunal meetings. Or
maybe different segments of the Church
have different ideas about what the Order
The Church The Church of Mythic Europe
is based upon the real 13th-century
of Hermes actually is.
Whatever is the case in your saga,
in 1220 AD Church, but they are not the same thing.
This is not a history book; the Church of
thinking through the implications can (if Mythic Europe is fictional and includes
you want) provide opportunity for stories. The Church is a large institution: it fictional, mythic elements that were not
For example: covers virtually all of Mythic Europe. In true of the real Church. No disrespect is
The Church we have attempted to describe intended to modern-day practitioners of
• How do the magi keep the Order of what is true for the majority of Mythic any faith.
Hermes a secret from the Church? Europe, and in fact (perhaps because of
• Does the Church consider the Order a the central authority of Rome) many
menace or an ally? aspects of the Church are surprisingly
• What does the Church think about pa- uniform. Where there is room, we have
gan magi? also noted some regional differences
• Are the magi who keep in close con- in Church practices, but in other cases
tact with Church officials interfering there has not been space to describe ev-
with the mundanes? ery local idiosyncrasy.

Chapter Two

The Congregation
The Church is not just the clergy, nor piety. For centuries almost all saints have Most people in Christendom accept
the buildings where they officiate. The been drawn from the clergy, but a few the status of the Church, yet impiety is
Church is composed of the whole body of the laity are now canonized, as the not uncommon. In some parishes where
of believers united in Christ, and the Church has accepted that even lay people the priest struggles to hold his flock’s at-
congregation is an essential element, and can aspire to extraordinary personal holi- tention, it may even be the norm. Impi-
sometimes a powerful one. In England, re- ness. The concept of purgatory, while still ety may take the form of gossiping, quar-
cent decades have seen the development ill defined in doctrine, means that an in- reling, gaming with dice, and flirting in
of churchwardens who oversee and help creasing number of people may hope to church during divine service. One can
run the Church buildings. Similar roles one day reach heaven. Even those whose imagine a parish priest with the Flaw: Dif-
are developing in Italy, France, and Ger- earthly lives have been less than exempla- ficult Underlings, who can never control
many. Congregations can also petition the ry may be saved through the saving grace his congregation.
local bishop to have an unpopular priest of Christ, and the purpose of purgatory in Such indiscipline is not usual though
removed and for visitation, where a bishop popular imagination is to refine those souls — while most districts have a village or two
tours the parishes questioning locals about not good enough for heaven, yet not bad renowned for impiety or rowdy behavior,
their priest. This provides an important enough for hell. generally throughout Western Mythic Eu-
opportunity for the laity to speak ill of, or While some clergy adopt a somewhat rope a tone of reverence and quiet attention
praise, the incumbent. In the case of se- jaundiced view of their flock’s spiritual can be found while the service is in progress,
rious problems with a priest, it is not un- potential and ultimate destination, many with relatively few nodding off to sleep or
common for the congregation to boycott members of the congregation are deeply whispering to their neighbors. A sense of
the parish church, and call on the Church concerned with the fate of their own the sacred, the real presence of God (as re-
authorities to remove and punish the of- souls. Many of the laity choose to enter a flected in the Dominion aura), and the fact
fending clergyman. monastery or convent for their last years, that sermons and the ritual provide enter-
In recent decades there has been an and others make generous bequests to the tainment and color hold most worshipers’
explosion of lay devotion and popular Church in their wills. attention fully. (Those who went on the

Human life culminates in death, and to hell. Purgatory exists outside of time, dulgences (see later) though this is not
after death with the eternal fate of the yet is somehow linked to the notion of their correct purpose.
soul. Various possibilities exist for that passing earthly time; the period that The Church has not yet formulated
soul, including heaven and hell. But souls spend in purgatory may be con- a dogmatic pronouncement on the na-
what of the possibility that a soul is not sidered in chronological terms, usually ture of purgatory. It is entirely possible
good enough for heaven, but not corrupt visualized as many decades, centuries, the concept will change, but in practice
enough to be claimed for eternal punish- or even millions of years, as the soul is the Church in Mythic Europe fully en-
ment by the devil? There therefore are cleansed before eventually being good dorses a concept that is very widespread
other options, including the limbo to enough to enter heaven. in the laity, and can be found in some
which unbaptized pagans are consigned, There are four known ways that the of the early Church writings. Many feel
and purgatory. time in Purgatory might be reduced: the testimony of ghosts who appear
Purgatory is a place of purification, by intervention by the saints, by the from purgatory to warn others of their
but the experiences the soul endures prayers of the living, by Masses said need for repentance and to appeal for
there are not of the terrible nature of the for the benefit of the departed’s soul, prayer is a strong witness to the truth of
punishment endured by souls consigned and possibly by the acquisition of in- the concept.

The Church
ill-fated Fourth Crusade sixteen years ago
were shocked by the chattering and clamor Story Seed: The Obedient Congregation
of the crowds in the Orthodox churches,
in contrast). The Church tends to look on While traveling, the characters en- repeated complaints about his inability
these problems as a personal failure by the ter a village church to attend Mass, and to maintain discipline, and near-rioting
priest, and (where they exist) the church- are surprised to find the priest less than in church. However, his congregation
wardens. After all, congregations are, like welcoming. In fact, he appears to be appears perfectly behaved, if with-
all Christians, sinners. positively worried upon seeing them. drawn and rather reticent. The church-
People generally accept the truth of It soon becomes clear that the bishop goers follow every part of his service
the Christian system, and partake in the is in the area conducting a visitation, attentively, though they do seem to
sacraments willingly (even heretics gener- and the priest is concerned that every- be led by a well-dressed fellow at the
ally aim to reform the Church, not replace thing should go well — if the charac- front, copying his every move — when
it entirely). At least once a year it is neces- ters make inquiries, they will learn he he sneezes, they all sneeze. What is go-
sary to attend Mass and take communion, is in danger of losing his benefice after ing on?
and this usually takes place on Easter Sun-
day, but most Sundays the congregation If a character has sinned, confessed, nied by repentance, contrition, and good
will gather if possible, and communion and received absolution, he may well works — that asks the saints to intervene
can be taken more often — even daily be given a penance of a year or more for mercy with God, and take on some of
if so desired. Some laity go beyond this on bread and water, and exclusion from the penance themselves.
minimum, observing all the liturgical of- church for that period. This period may Many believe that indulgences might
fices (see Chapter 4: The Rule, Liturgical be reduced by the purchase of an indul- be purchased in life to reduce the length
Offices and the Hours) either in a mon- gence — a monetary purchase accompa- of suffering in purgatory after death, but
astery or church, or even at home, when
they hear the bells ring out the hours.
Almost everyone generally accepts
the value of worship and the truth of the
Church’s claims — but the degree of con-
scientiousness they exhibit in their reli-
gious duties varies greatly. The pious are
observant, and act upon their beliefs; the
majority go through the motions happily
enough. The very impious few mock, or
fail to participate at all. Outright atheism
is extremely rare, and often a sign of subtle
demonic intervention.
So long as an individual confesses and
takes part in the sacrament of communion
once a year, and was baptized with water
in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost, he remains a Christian and is en-
titled to a Christian burial, no matter how
impious he was in life.

Often misunderstood, indulgences
are important aspects of the faith. An in-
dulgence is not a payment for remission
of sins, for that is the role of confession
and absolution and is granted by God
with a priest following the correct sacra-
ments. An indulgence simply mitigates
the length of a penance that has been de-
creed by the priest.

The Church
sisting on bread and water, and perhaps
Christian Death vegetables and beer, though local customs
and practices vary. Some areas, especially
The journey of the soul is always ghost seeking to have the remains prop- Southern Europe, fast for daylight hours
perilous, but rarely is the peril greater erly interred, and there is a strong folk only, while other fasts may involve sexual
than as death approaches. A priest belief that demons may arrive to try and abstinence as well as refraining from meat,
should absolve the sins of the dying carry the departed’s soul straight to hell. dairy products, and poultry.
with the last rites (see Chapter 3: Dio- A growing literature of manuals on how Fasting is usually a penance, though
cese, Sacraments), but it is also proper to die well are being written, in both it can be undertaken as a sign of piety. A
that the dying should meet death with Latin and the vernacular tongues. Char- fast lasts for a season and grants a +1 non-
the proper mix of resignation, piety, and acters should think carefully about mak- cumulative bonus to Petitioning a Saint
faith in God’s grace. Even when dead ing proper provision for their funerals, (see Realms of Power: the Divine, page 87). But
the peril is not over, for it is impera- and perhaps also for prayers to be said throughout the season in question, the char-
tive that the body be buried according and Masses to be sung to commemorate acter suffers from a single level of Fatigue at
to the correct rites. If a soul is denied their lives and intercede for them if they all times, owing to dietary restrictions.
Christian burial, the spirit may rise as a face purgatory after death.

Example of Creating a Devout Character Devotion

A shoemaker called Thomas with Pi- (equal to the value of the Pious trait of
Great piety is always exceptional. It
ety +2 might be Devoted to two saints. Thomas). So Thomas’ player takes De-
goes beyond the norm of what is required
He chooses Devotion: Blessed Virgin and votion: Blessed Virgin 0 (1 point) and
by the Church, and is an active pursuit of
Devotion: Saint Bartholomew. His player Saint Bartholomew 0 (1 point). Thomas
holiness as a way of life. It is represented
may not assign normal Experience Points also possesses a relic of Saint Edmund,
in the rules by the Personality Trait Pious,
to these Devotions, however. Instead, at and this grants him additional Devotion
which can be taken by any character, but
character generation his player assigns Points for the saint the relic belonged to
may also be represented by the Personal-
two Devotion Points to the Devotions in mortal life (see later).
ity Flaw of that name. Many pious people
choose to develop a particular reverence
that is not yet defined by Church dogma, the wealthy at least a pound per season. for a saint, or for an aspect of the life of
and may or may not be the case. It does As well as purchasing the indulgence, Christ, or for some aspect of the Virgin
not stop many from purchasing them with it is then necessary to spend a season in Mary. They focus their veneration, love,
that intent, rather than to reduce a pen- charitable works to demonstrate sincerity, and prayers through that entity, asking
ance, which is their proper role. Indul- perhaps resulting in experience points in a him or her (in the case of a saint or the
gences are also granted by the Church in Reputation: Piety equivalent to the seasons Blessed Virgin) to intercede with God
return for certain types of good works that of indulgence purchased, and a single tem- on the worshiper’s behalf. This process is
support the Church’s aims, like going on porary Faith Point. (See Realms of Power: The known as Devotion.
crusade or building a church. Indulgences Divine page 58 for details, but effectively a Devotions advance as an Ability, but
are used by the Church to raise money, to Faith Point can be treated as an additional do not use normal, generalized Experience
allow great building projects such as the Confidence Point). Points, instead relying on a dedicated
construction of cathedrals, and to fund form of experience points called Devo-
other good causes such as almshouses and tion Points. The two are not transferable
hospitals. An indulgence is always sold for
a specific purpose, and an attractive certifi-
Vigils & Fasting — Devotion Points may not be spent on
learning Arts and Abilities, and Experience
cate is given to mark the transaction. Points may not be used to raise Devotions.
Indulgences are often sold by wan- It is common practice for the devout to Devotions are not Abilities, and do not
dering preachers called questors. The spend the night before an important event possess Specializations.
purchase price is based on a sliding scale in prayer in a church, a practice called a At character generation a Christian
depending on what the buyer might be vigil. A Fatigue level is lost, and will not be character with a positive Piety personality
considered reasonably able to afford, and recovered until the character has made up trait may spend Devotion Points equal to
the length of the indulgence in remission a full night’s sleep, but the character gains the positive score in that trait to establish
of penance (in game mechanics best ex- one Confidence Point that may be spent Devotions. (So 3 points if he possesses the
pressed in free seasons). The poor donate the next day on a specified virtuous task. Minor Personality Flaw: Pious, and 6 for
what they feel they can afford, in most Fasting usually involves abstinence the Major Personality Flaw: Pious, other-
cases six Mythic pennies per season, and from all rich foods and alcohol, and sub- wise as the assigned score in the Personality

The Church
Trait Pious, if any. Negative scores in Pious designed to cure toothache, to ritual bless- Relics & Devotion
are irrelevant here, as an impious character ings of crops and animals, to prayers de-
does not possess Devotions.) signed to win the affections of a good
Assign a Devotion Score of 0 to a husband, find lost items, or ensure peace Possession of a relic associated with a
number of saints (or the Virgin) equal to and prosperity in a house. Many of the specific saint gives a bonus of +2 to the
a character’s positive score in the Person- rites appear almost pagan to some eyes, Devotion Total per Faith Point in the relic
ality Trait Pious (if any) — again treating but are in fact part of the normal Christian for asking for that saint’s intercession, but
the Minor Personality Flaw as a score of 3, practice. These rites are versions of invok- does so no more than once a day. Even if
and the Major Flaw as a score of 6 — and ing a saint using the normal rules, and may the character lacks a Devotion towards
then distribute the Devotion Points among involve anything from a procession of the the saint whose relic is carried, he does
them. Further Devotions may be acquired whole parish on the saint’s day, to a simple not incur the –15 penalty for invoking an
in play, usually requiring a story or signifi- prayer performed by a couple on moving unfamiliar saint and does gain the bonus
cant event related to the saint and char- into their new house. Dominion Lore may for the relic. Only one individual may use
acter. Subsequent increases or decreases in often provide a clue as to an appropriate the bonus, and he must tend or carry the
the Personality Trait Pious after the game saint to invoke, and even if the saint is relic personally. However, a relic visited in
begins have no mechanical effect on De- not a patron, the specific situation of the a shrine can be employed for the bonus if
votions, and Devotion Points are neither rite means that saint counts as appropriate the custodians agree, by intense venera-
gained nor lost through these changes. to the task in hand, and the –15 penalty tion lasting a day.
for invoking an unknown saint is not ap-
plied (Realms of Power: The Divine, page 87). Relic Bonus:
The Benefits Storyguides should design appropriate
Powers for saints to reflect local customs
(Faith Points in relic)
x 2 bonus to Devotion Total
of Devotion and hagiography. For example, if the vil-
lage church is dedicated to Saint Jerome,
The character can invoke for interces- the congregation may know of his Power
sion any saint he has at least one Devotion that pacifies wild beasts. If a young woman The Costs of Devotion
Point in a Devotion towards, regardless of wishes to be become pregnant, and leads a
whether or not the saint is the character’s white bull on a halter through the streets Devotion requires the observance
patron saint or an appropriate saint to the of Bury Saint Edmunds with the monks in the saint’s day each year — so Thomas
matter at hand. Pious characters are likely solemn possession, Saint Edmund’s power the shoemaker will be busy on the Feast
to call upon more saints with greater suc- to Bestow Fertility is appropriate. Many local of the Queen of Heaven (May 1st), and
cess, because of their established relation- saints possess the power to Bless Crops or August 24th (Saint Bartholomew’s Day),
ships with those saints. Bless Livestock, and are invoked solemnly in and most likely November 20th (Saint
Realms of Power: The Divine, page 87, in- annual festivities. Edmund’s Day). A character failing to
troduced the notion of invoking a saint,
and the Devotion scores are used as bo-
nuses in that process.
Patron Saints
Invoking a Saint:
In Realms of Power: The Divine, it is with her Son, regardless of whether he
Communication + Charm + modifiers*
suggested that characters can invoke is devoted to her or not. Her mercy and
+ a simple die vs. 15 + a simple die
a patron saint for intercession or their compassion for poor miserable sinners
Powers. The patron is often the saint allows this. It is, of course, possible to
* In this case, including the Devotion
of the local church, the saint of the be personally devoted to an aspect of
Total — that is, the score in Devotion
character’s home region, village, or pro- Mary as well.
to that saint — and the bonus from
fession, or any other saint the character Finally, anyone can invoke any
any relics of that saint (see later).
finds personally inspiring. Everyone, saint whose traditional area of interest
even the impious, can have a patron is immediately relevant to the matter
If the roll is successful, the saint uses
saint if they wish, and no Piety score at hand. Any traveler, for example, can
one of his or her Divine powers to help
is required. Devoted characters may in- call upon Saint Christopher, and it is
the character. If the roll fails, nothing hap-
voke any saint they have a Devotion to- widely believed that those who have
pens, but you may attempt the roll again
wards, though one of the saints they are seen a likeness of Saint Christopher and
the next day.
devoted to is technically their patron called upon him for mercy will not die
In addition to the sacraments, Christi-
saint — which is the player’s choice. that day upon the road. Many travelers
anity in Mythic Europe possesses a pletho-
Also, anyone can ask Mary, Queen carry an image of Saint Christopher for
ra of minor folk rituals and prayers, known
of Heaven, to intercede on his behalf this reason.
as sacramentals. These range from prayers

The Church
celebrate the festival of his saint in some Visiting a site associated seasons are spent in study. A work by the
manner will lose at least three Devotion with the saint saint counts as a hagiography for this pur-
Points, and possibly more, as the troupe pose — reading Saint Augustine’s City of
decides. The day is lost for the purposes This may include the tomb, a major God grants 5 Devotion Points per season
of seasonal activities. relic, or the martyrdom site of the saint, in Devotion: Saint Augustine (as the work
or a site associated with a great miracle of has a Quality of 10) to readers dedicated
that saint. This is worth 1 to 10 Devotion to the saint. The normal Experience Point
Gaining Devotion Points Points. If the tomb or martyrdom site is in
the character’s home town, no more than
gain for studying a text is also received.

1 point may be gained. If it requires a jour-

A character can gain Devotion Points ney that takes a season, is part of a pilgrim- Furthering the
by various activities. It is possible to gain age (a seasonal activity explained later), or cultus of the saint
Devotion Points and Experience Points in the character has to go out of his way to
the same season, and even for the same visit the shrine, then it is worth 5 points Having a candidate approved by Rome
activity; Devotion Points must be spent or more. If an entire story is based on the as an official saint on the Church calendar
on the appropriate Devotion, though, and visit to the tomb, and it is hazardous and is an example of furthering the saint’s cul-
may be used for no other purpose. requires a full season’s travel, 10 Devotion tus. The process for this kind of action is
Points may be gained. This is usually a discussed later in this book (Chapter 3: The
one-time benefit. Diocese, Petitioning the Church). Having
Seasons of personal devotion the saint recognized by the Church as
an official saint, having one of his works
Spending a season engaged in prayer Sponsoring church artworks formerly deemed heretical now accepted
and meditation at a shrine to a saint earns associated with the saint as doctrinally sound, or having a church
5 Devotion Points. The only Experience dedicated to that saint consecrated earns
Points gained are exposure in Church Lore This includes things like wall paint- Devotion Points equal to the Petitioning
or Dominion Lore or similar. ings, altars, or windows. It should usually Ease Factor.
be part of a story, and grants a number of
Devotion Points equal to the Aesthetic
Endowing a church, chapel, Quality of the final artwork. (See Art & Witnessing a genuine
or monastery dedicated Academe, page 123, for details on Aesthetic miracle of the saint
to the saint Quality.) Such stories usually revolve
around finding an artist, and getting the This can be a miracle that the charac-
Depending on the size of the insti- artwork completed. This may also result in ter personally invoked, or one for which
tution created, the number of seasons a positive reputation as a patron of the arts the character just happened to be present.
involved in setting it up, and whether a or of the Church (see Lords of Men, pages The miracle is worth 5 to 10 Devotion
story is required, the number of Devotion 25 and 63, for details). Only the best art- Points, though if a miracle of the saint is
Points gained varies from 5 to 50; the work per saint counts; multiple frescoes in used to thwart the character no benefit is
former represents a small chapel founded churches all over the region to the same gained, and he may well lose an equivalent
without a story, the latter the building saint do not continue to increase Devo- number of Devotion Points. A 10-point
of a cathedral at the center of a saga and tion, unless each is of higher quality than gain should be restricted to cases where
many stories. the last. the character’s life was saved by the inter-
vention. If the miracle was invoked trivi-
ally and without real need, the saint may
Participating in a guild Studying the hagiographies well be angered and no Devotion Points
dedicated to the saint to meditate on the saint’s life may be gained.

Many professional guilds are dedicated A hagiography is a book on a specific

to a saint, and annually observe the festival saint’s life. A season spent studying a hagi- Sponsoring or participating in
of that saint. Characters receive 3 Devo- ography that is entirely about the saint to the saint’s feast day procession
tion Points on joining the guild, and 2 each whom the character is Devoted is worth
on becoming a journeyman and a master. Devotion Points equal to Quality/2. More If participation in the procession is part
Not all guild members are pious, of course, general works on the saints that cover of a story or somehow inconveniences the
and even those who are are not necessarily many saints’ lives usually grant 1 Devotion character, such as requiring a long journey,
devoted to their guild’s saint. (See City & Point for a season of study; but even if the 1 Devotion Point is gained. If the saint is
Guild page 41, for more on guild member- book is a summa, it can grant only 1 Devo- somehow honored through a story, more
ship from a mundane perspective.) tion Point per saint, no matter how many than is usual, the character gains 1 to 5

The Church
additional Devotion Points depending on So if a faerie, magical entity, or demon was Realms of Power: The Divine, page 89.
the cost and effort involved. For example, mistakenly venerated, it might still choose Official recognition by the Church re-
if the Guild of Saint Bartholomew manag- to employ its own Powers or not, but no quires an extensive process of petitioning
es to get a position ahead of the Guild of heresy would occur. If latria — that is wor- and the full investigative process of canon-
Saint Peter in the Easter Day procession, ship reserved for God alone — was to ization (see Chapter 3: Diocese) and may
or has by far the finest decorations, an ad- occur, the results would be more serious. still prove extremely difficult to obtain. It
ditional Devotion Point is gained. Spon- Even if offered to a saint or the Blessed is worth noting that such a saint will be
soring a procession and feast (see Lords of Virgin, this kind of worship is a terrible required to use his Power to intercede on
Men: Leisure, page 46, for more on feasting) sin. If worship is offered to a demon or behalf of the faithful, in the meantime to
grants the character 1 to 5 additional De- faerie, or a magical creature, the repercus- prove his saintly status; but such powers
votion Points, depending on the cost and sions may well be dire. might occur to non-player characters,
effort that goes in to the sponsorship. leaving some doubt as to whether they are
genuine miracles of the saint.
The decision as to whether to allow
Pilgrimage in honor of
the saint, and acquiring
the pilgrimage badge
Becoming this option and the creating of a new cul-
tus in your saga is a troupe one, and should
be handled sensitively.

Pilgrimages are outlined in detail later

a Saint
in this chapter.

Experiencing a dream
One possibility is that a character
might after death be accepted as a saint
by the Church; and more importantly, be
or vision from a saint admitted to the assembly of saints by God, Pilgrimages form a very important
hence becoming a focus for Devotion. part of lay spirituality in Mythic Europe.
A character with Visions or Premoni- Such a character must have lived a life of A pilgrim sets out on a journey to a distant
tions who, during a story, experiences a exemplary piety, and died with a Personal- destination to visit a holy site or shrine.
dream or vision from a saint to whom he is ity Trait Pious of 6 or higher, with a sum On the road he faces many ordeals and
devoted gains 1 Devotion Point. of two secondary personality traits (that problems, and on arriving he offers praise
must both be on the list of traits associat- to God and requests certain blessings in
ed with the Tempers) also not less than 6. return for his onerous display of piety in
False Devotion The character must not have any personal-
ity traits associated with the sins, and must
making the journey. A pilgrimage may
not be sullied by other business, for the
die absolved of sin, having been faithful pilgrimage is its own goal and reward;
Devotion can be directed at any saint to the Church and a regular participant at pilgrimage stories must be about just that
popularly acclaimed as such, whether or Mass. Those martyred for the faith are the — the pilgrimage.
not he is officially recognized and canon- primary candidates, as are holy virgins and Pilgrims band together on the road,
ized by the Church. It is quite common those renowned for their charity and good walking armed with little more than a stout
for people to be devoted to saints not yet works. Note that it is entirely possible for pilgrim’s staff. Many die of disease or ac-
recognized by the Church because the a person to be a true saint, capable of in- cident, or never arrive at their destination
process of canonization has not begun, or terceding, yet not be recognized as such for a host of other reasons; some pilgrims
because they are only popularly venerated yet by the earthly Church. are even robbed, murdered, or sold in to
locally. Canonization is not a requirement The formal process of canonization, slavery along the way. After all, pilgrims
for someone to be in heaven and able to where the Church recognizes the per- must carry sufficient wealth to reach their
intercede, after all. Such saints can still son’s sainthood, requires that in life he goal, or beg for alms on the way. That
work miracles by their Powers. must have been associated with at least makes them a tempting target for any un-
It is unfortunately possible to be De- two genuine and impressive miracles (see scrupulous types, some of whom even join
voted to, invoke, or just venerate some- Realms of Power: The Divine, pages 60–61). pilgrims on the road, then waylay and rob
one who actually was a heretic, or aligned If these conditions are met, and the po- them in some lonely spot.
with a different realm — even the Infernal. tential saint is widely venerated — with at Robbers are not the only dangers
However, this is not as dreadful a possibili- least one major shrine and a few hundred faced, for demons also do what they can to
ty as it first sounds. Dulia — proper respect adherents in his cultus, plus at least handful prevent them achieving their pious goal.
granted to an entity, even a demon — is of people Devoted to him as a saint — he Temptation in the form of all kinds of
not worship, and neither is Devotion to a may at the troupe’s discretion be accepted pleasures, pains, and distractions will beset
saint. The saint is merely asked to inter- as a genuine minor saint, and designed the pilgrims throughout their journey.
cede on behalf of the character with God. with appropriate powers using the rules in Local authorities sometimes make

The Church
* A Supernatural Ability associated with
the Divine gained in this manner is
gained at a score of 1, and is not penal-
ized by existing Supernatural Abilities
or Arts as if it were a Magical Ability
being learned by someone with The
** A miracle should be adjudicated by a
troupe decision, in line with the mir-
acles described in Realms of Power: The
Divine, page 60.

Once the Pilgrimage Target Level is

known, the storyguide selects elements
with certain Opposition Values, which
feature in the story of the pilgrimage and
are known as Oppositional Elements. Each
of these Oppositional Elements must be
overcome in order for the pilgrimage to be
successfully completed, and the destina-
tion reached.
A minor pilgrimage is one that requires
a Target Level of 18 and that occurs in a
single season, requiring a story.
A major pilgrimage is one that requires
a Target Level of 30 and that takes multi-
ple seasons, and possibly multiple stories,
to play out.
A character may attempt to lose a Sto-
some effort to protect pilgrim routes with (and can gain Major Virtues this way), or ry, General, Social Status, Supernatural,
patrols, and these routes have hostelries may just be along as useful servants. or Personality Flaw by a pilgrimage if the
where pilgrims are common guests. Mon- Having established the aim of the pil- troupe agrees it is appropriate. This could
asteries and churches often provide hos- grimage, a Pilgrimage Target Level is deter- include Infernal Flaws or Infernally aligned
pitality, as well, and pious locals may well mined, based upon the desired outcome. Supernatural Abilities if the character’s
do all they can to assist, but pilgrimage story is one of repentance and contrition.
remains a dangerous venture. Target Level: 18 General and Supernatural Virtues might be
Outcome: To gain a Minor Virtue, includ- gained by pilgrimage, again if the troupe
ing Minor Supernatural Abilities as- feels it is appropriate, but would usually
The Mechanics of sociated with the Divine*; To lose a
Minor Flaw (or Virtue, if desired); To
be aligned with the Divine realm. Some
Virtues and Flaws, such as Privileged Up-
a Pilgrimage Story remove a negative Personality Trait; bringing and Educated, for example, are
To meet a requirement of Penance (18 background Virtues not suitable for learn-
The character must have a clear aim in or 30 depending on the decree of the ing from a pilgrimage, nor does pilgrim-
undertaking the pilgrimage. There are two Ecclesiastical authorities) age grant or remove Hermetic Virtues and
types of pilgrimage, major and minor. A Flaws. Common sense and troupe discre-
minor pilgrimage is a single-session story Target Level: 30 tion should apply to whether the aim of a
that centers on events on the road or at the Outcome: To gain a Major Virtue, includ- pilgrimage is suitable.
destination. A major pilgrimage (usually to ing Major Supernatural Abilities or
the Holy Land or perhaps Rome or San- Methods and Powers Virtues associ-
tiago) takes multiple stories and more than
one season to complete and return, and in-
ated with the Divine*; To lose a Major
Flaw (or Virtue, if desired); To ask for
Oppositional Elements
volves some significant risk to the charac- a miracle**; To self-initiate in Holy
ters. The desired outcome of the pilgrim- Magic (requires True Faith); To meet The storyguide should design a sto-
age often determines whether a major or a requirement of Penance (18 or 30 ry that includes elements each pilgrim
minor pilgrimage is required. Grogs may depending on the decree of the Eccle- must personally overcome to complete
elect to fully participate in pilgrimages siastical authorities) his pilgrimage. Failure to overcome any

The Church
element results in the failure of the pil- land and native land*; Per temptation Value: +9
grimage’s aim, even if the physical desti- faced of a sort to which the charac- Oppositional Elements: Face a danger-
nation is reached. In a group consisting ter is prone to succumb; Face another ous encounter with a supernatural
of several characters all attempting to trial of faith and perseverance, as de- entity on the road; Be involved in
complete a pilgrimage, all may reach the signed by the storyguide. a shipwreck; Face distractions that
destination but only a few demonstrate make abandoning the pilgrimage a
the necessary spiritual perseverance to Value: +6 desirable option; Face another trial
gain the benefits sought. Oppositional Elements: Face dangerous of faith and perseverance, as designed
In designing the story, the storyguide mundane foes such as bandits or other by the storyguide.
should remember that a pilgrimage is an robbers; Face dangerous mundane foes
allegorical journey and a test of dedica- who are religious or political enemies; Value: +12
tion set by the Divine as much as it is a Face dangerous natural hazards such as Oppositional Elements: Face direct de-
physical journey, so the specifics of story storms, avalanches, or blizzards; Pil- monic opposition from an Infernal
Oppositional Elements should be tailored grimage involves travel in non-Chris- entity that has decided to prevent the
to the character’s goals. If a character fails tian or heretic-controlled lands*; Face character from completing the pil-
to overcome an Oppositional Element im- another trial of faith and perseverance, grimage, probably by deceit and ma-
portant to his personal goal because of an- as designed by the storyguide. nipulating others.
other character taking action to resolve it
first, then a similar Oppositional Element
should arise later in the story. Of course,
some Oppositional Elements involve the
whole group of pilgrims, for example if
a ship they travel in founders in a storm.
They will all face the danger together, but
only characters who participate in some
manner to resolve the issue can claim to
have succeeded in overcoming the Oppo-
sitional Element.
If, for example, the magus Janus sim-
ply flies the ship to shore by a mighty
spell, and none of the other characters
participate in any way, only Janus ben-
efits. The others should have a later
chance to defeat a similar peril, however,
if their inaction was only caused by lack
of opportunity to participate.
The Oppositional Elements for the
pilgrimage should have total value at least
equal to the Target Level of the Pilgrimage.

Total of Oppositional
Elements Values =
Pilgrimage Target Level

Some Oppositional Elements will be

shared by all the pilgrims in the group, while
others will be personal to one character.
Examples are below:

Value: +3
Oppositional Elements: Per season spent
on pilgrimage; Face natural hazards
such as virulent disease (see Art &
Academe, pages 45–51); Pilgrimage
involves travel in a Christian land
outside the character’s current home-

The Church
* If both of these bonuses are applicable, on pilgrimage, and confess and receive is worth mentioning this to the player, and
only the higher applies, and they only absolution for venial sins on arrival at allowing a later opportunity to remedy this
apply once for the whole pilgrimage, their destination. by a different Oppositional Element later
not per season of travel. The storyguide can prepare the story in the pilgrimage story. Pilgrimage stories
in advance, but must be willing to change should always be dramatic, and run a very
In addition, it is important that the it to reflect choices made by the players. If real risk of character death or loss, but the
characters completely avoid mortal sin a character fails an Oppositional Element it rewards are commensurately great.

An Example of a Pilgrimage Story

Boniface wants to gain the Minor need to be allocated for each character happen, including some threatening
Virtue Unaging. The troupe decides this to overcome before he can succeed in hazards, before the characters face an-
Virtue does not really represent anything his pilgrimage. other Oppositional Element.
that is likely to be bestowed by God for a That Boniface must somehow over- While crossing the Alps on a danger-
pilgrimage, so after some thought Luke, come his inner Lycanthrope seems ous track alongside a precipitous drop,
Boniface’s player, decides he would like thematically appropriate. Boniface has the weather turns foul and the characters
the Major Flaw Lycanthrope removed. confided in Chrétien, and asked him to are all in danger of falling off to their
This seems acceptable, and requires a secure him on nights of the full moon, but deaths. This is worth +6 points of Oppo-
Target Level of 30 — a major pilgrim- there will be nine of them in the course sitional Elements for a dangerous natural
age. Kevin’s character, the faithful shield of the journey. One night, perhaps while hazard. While Chrétien hides in the cart,
grog Siderius, travels with him, and de- the characters are in Rome, Chrétien will Boniface and Siderius manage to pull it
cides to make the pilgrimage in the hope face the chance to succumb to his vice of to safety, using much cleverness to get
of gaining the Major Virtue Guardian Laziness when a servant offers to bolt the across the track to safety in a pilgrims’
Angel (while Siderius is currently a grog, door to Boniface’s room for him. This is hostel high in the mountains. Siderius
Kevin intends to make him a companion an Oppositional Element of +3 for Chré- and Boniface have now have faced 33
through this story). His Pilgrimage Tar- tien — it is the kind of thing he usually points of Oppositional Elements, includ-
get Level is also 30. succumbs to, and if he does his failure ing those for the journey itself, and on
Finally, they ask Lloyd’s character, serves to remind him that Difficult Un- arriving in Jerusalem have successfully
the much-traveled monk Chrétien the derlings is something he is supposed to completed the pilgrimage. But Chrétien
Roamer, to join them, as he has relevant be overcoming, for the servant of course is still only at 9 points, far short of his
Area Lore knowledge. Chrétien hopes forgets. If Boniface escapes, and he prob- needed Total Oppositional Elements
to lose his Major Story Flaw of Difficult ably will anyway if only because some- Value, as he did not participate in the
Underlings, as he rarely manages to per- one else opens the door, Chrétien and successful resolution of the danger.
suade any of his hirelings to help him Siderius face a dangerous Supernatural Even worse befalls Chrétien, though,
carry out his schemes. Predator (the werewolf Boniface) for after arriving in an Italian port. On the
The troupe having agreed that these +9. Siderius is a True Friend to Boniface morning of the ship’s departure, Chré-
seem acceptable aims, the pilgrimage is — who should have trusted him more tien employs some porters to load his
clearly a major one. As the characters are rather than relying on Chrétien — and luggage. When it does not arrive, he
based in England, they decide to travel so by discovering the nature of the were- sets off to find it suspecting he has been
to the Holy Land by taking a ship to wolf also faces a personal crisis (worth robbed (robbers are an Oppositional
France, traveling south across the Alps +3) that in a sense reflects the Guardian Element worth +6). He fails to discov-
to Italy, then taking another ship to An- Angel motif of his story as he tries to er his errant employees, and the ship
tioch and south to Jerusalem. The jour- save his friend. departs without him. At this point, he
ney there and back will take a minimum In the morning, Boniface faces dan- meets a sea captain who explains he is
of three seasons. gerous mundane foes — the town guard sailing directly to England. Because he
Andrew (the storyguide for this (+6) — when he comes round bloodied has taken a liking to Chrétien, the cap-
story) now calculates the Oppositional in an alleyway at dawn. After this mat- tain offers him free passage home (a +9
Elements. He knows the journey will ter is successfully resolved, and Boniface Oppositional Element, being a serious
take three seasons, so that is a value of has sought atonement for his inadvertent temptation to give up the pilgrimage).
+9. The fact the characters must travel sin, Chrétien and Siderius have faced 12 Chrétien chooses to give in to tempta-
through Muslim-controlled lands to Je- points of Oppositional Elements, and tion rather than continue alone now all
rusalem gives them +6 more, for a Total Boniface 6 points worth. Chrétien has his money has been stolen, and he sets
Oppositional Elements Value of 15. 15 only overcome 9 points, however. Sev- off on the ship deciding God has sent
more points of Oppositional Elements eral minor elements of the story now the captain his way as a sign ...

The Church
Pilgrimage & Devotion the cross” and receive a free indulgence and preaching their opinions. Conflict,
of all outstanding penance, in exchange while frequent, is not inevitable, and
for promising to serve the armies of the many mystics are deeply committed to the
While on pilgrimage, characters take faith. While historically crusades aimed Church. But even Francis of Assisi faced
every opportunity to visit shrines and see at the recovery of Jerusalem from the in- difficulties before his Order was accepted
the relics and sights of the places they pass fidel, other crusades are currently being (see Chapter 8: Franciscans).
through. This is an excellent opportunity preached, and characters may choose to All mystical understandings are per-
to gain Devotion Points for characters commit to any of them. sonal and difficult for non-mystics to
who possess Devotions; even a minor pil- In 1220, crusades preached include comprehend. The mystical experience it-
grimage specifically to the saint’s shrine, the Albigensian Crusade against the Ca- self is ineffable and noetic, an inner expe-
tomb, place of martyrdom, or similar thars of Southern France (until 1229), the rience that can not readily be explained,
grants 10 Devotion Points, plus 5 per ad- Fifth Crusade that set off in 1217 and is but must be personally experienced. Mys-
ditional site visited that is relevant to that currently at Damietta in Egypt (ends in tics often have True Faith, though not
saint’s life, and up to 5 more for witnessing 1221), the Northern Crusade against the necessarily. Many mystics also have ac-
relics. So visiting the tomb of Saint James Estonians (ends in 1228), and the ongoing cess to Methods and Powers, though they
of Compostela will gain the character 10 campaigns against the Muslims of Iberia. are only sometimes members of a Holy
Devotion Points in Devotion: Saint James Someone committing to a crusade needs Tradition (see Realms of Power: The Divine),
if they possess it, and an additional 5 for to find financial support for his travel and as the mystical path is a personal process
viewing the relics of the saint there. upkeep. He receives a single temporary of development rather than a corporate
Faith Point for the commitment, and may belief structure. Some Holy Traditions
at the troupe’s discretion remove any So- include many mystics; yet not all mys-
Pilgrimage Destinations cial Status Flaw as he becomes a crusader.
Bandits, outlaws, and similar often find this
tics, or even the majority, are members of
Holy Traditions.
a useful escape from their troubles. Individual mystical paths are varied
There are several well-established pil- and personal, and there is no set order of
grimage routes that cross Mythic Europe, experiences that will be encountered in the
and books, guides, and pilgrim hostels process. (Many of the classics of system-
make these desirable routes for travelers on
a pilgrimage. There are many variations on
each route, however, and some pilgrims pre-
Christian atic mysticism that players may be familiar
with, such as the works of Saint John of
the Cross and Ignatius Loyola, are not to
fer to follow a path of their own choosing.
Among the well-known pilgrimage routes is
Mysticism be written for centuries, if ever in Mythic
Europe). Mysticism is in a sense an experi-
the Via Francigena, which runs from Canter- mental practice, and the rules offered here
bury in England through France, across the There are those in Mythic Europe reflect this. Furthermore, while Methods
Alps near Aosta, and down through Parma who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of and Powers and other Supernatural Abili-
to Tuscany before reaching Rome. Also the love of God — the mystics. Mystics ties associated with the Divine are often
well traveled is the Via Carolingia, which do not have to be spooky introverts con- increased by the practice of mysticism,
goes from Aachen in northwest Germany, templating the dim recesses of the soul, these are in fact side-effects of the path,
through Strasbourg, Basle, Como, Mantua, reclusive hermits, or cloistered religious not the primary goal. That lies outside of
Ravenna, and Assisi to Rome. such as monks and nuns. Some mystics are game mechanic concerns — union with,
Most major pilgrimages are to the ordinary laity who have achieved mystical and love of, God.
shrine of Saint James at Santiago de Com- states by dedicating themselves whole- While individual mystical paths in
postela, to Rome, or to Jerusalem and the heartedly to the quest, yet who still live Mythic Europe vary widely, there are
Holy Land. within the world and are keen to share two major strands of mystical thought.
their insights with those around them. The first we can call contemplative mys-
While mystics are clearly valued by ticism, for it deals with the mystic’s per-
the Church, claims to direct spiritual rev- sonal relationship with and identification

Taking elation of the Divine can also be a source

of error, and all too often heresy, as some
mystics find themselves moved to critique
with Christ, and her realization of her
frailty and weakness compared with the
glory of the Godhead. The mystic pas-
the Cross the Church itself. The Church therefore
regards mystics with suspicion, and some-
sionately strives to imaginatively identify
with Christ — perhaps meditating on the
times attempts are made to persuade lay Passion, imagining herself as a witness
Crusades are still preached by the mystics to join a monastery or convent at the foot of the Cross, and experienc-
Church across Mythic Europe, and popu- where they can be more carefully super- ing God’s love directly and through the
lar preachers still persuade many to “take vised, or to prevent them from teaching ministering of angels. Slowly, in a process

The Church
worm to every fiber of our bodies, iden-
Experiencing Divine Ascent tifying God with nature). The visionary
experiences of the monistic tradition often
The rules for Divine Ascent are Divine Ascent: refer to the light of the Divine in nature,
in Realms of Power: The Divine, page 63, Presence + Concentration seen as a glowing nimbus around and suf-
but the sections relevant to monistic (or Meditation) + Stress die fusing everything.
and contemplative mystics are briefly vs. Warping Score + Warping Points The danger for extreme mystics on
summarized here for convenience. gained + True Faith Score local aura this path can be to find God even in that
When a character aligned to the Di- + stress die (no botch) blighted by the Infernal, and reject the
vine realm gains 2 or more (or 1 or If the character succeeds, she is too notion of the fall and corruption of this
more for monistics who have already tied to the mundane world to temporar- broken world. Some monistic mystics
experienced Divine Ascent) Warping ily ascend to the Divine. If she fails, she entirely reject the division of the cosmos
Points from a single event, she expe- experiences Divine Ascent, which takes into the four realms, claiming Divine, Fa-
riences Divine Ascent, in much the the form of Divine Form for Contempla- erie, Infernal, and Magic are all aspects of
same way Hermetic magi experience tives and Divine Gloom for Monistics (see the ultimate reality of God misperceived
Wizard’s Twilight. Add the Warp- later). She receives a number of additional by humans, angels, and demons.
ing Points to the character’s Warping Warping Points equal to the margin by Mysticism is inherently dangerous, as
Score, and then roll: which the test was failed. personal spiritual insights outside of the
authority of the Church can lead one to

called theosis, the emulation of the exam-

ple of Christ allows the mystic to become
more and more a participant in the Di-
Personality Traits, Sins, and Tempers
vine. Yet at all times while her soul yearns Personality traits can be assigned Naïve, Overconfident, Reckless and
for union with God, the mystic accepts to two categories, Sins and Tempers, similar traits opposed to …
she is the lesser party, not identical with to help understand a character’s overall Strong, including Healthy, Pious, Selfless,
the Godhead, and that the road to God is orientation. This table first appeared in Temperate, Vigilant and similar traits.
mediated by the incarnation and sacrifice Realms of Power: The Divine, page 40. Greedy, including Gluttonous, Indul-
of God in Jesus Christ. gent, Selfish, Sickly, Weak and simi-
The dangers of extreme contemplative
Proud, including Arrogant, Haughty, lar traits opposed to …
mysticism manifest if the mystic loses sight
Rebellious, Suspicious, Vain, Hubris, Wise, including Careful, Cautious,
of the difference between herself and God,
and similar traits opposed to … Chaste, Practical, Prudent and simi-
and believes she is not just approaching
Loyal, including Dedicated, Faithful, lar traits.
the Godhead, but is actually now in some
Humble, Reliable, Trusting and Avaricious, including Ambitious, Cor-
sense God herself. By rejecting the notion
similar traits. rupt, Cunning, Deceitful, Devious
that she is a sinner and a mortal creature,
Wrathful, including Angry, Desperate, and Manipulative and similar traits
believing that by her acceptance of Divine
Spiteful, Vengeful, Violent and simi- opposed to …
grace she no longer can sin, she begins to
lar traits opposed to … Just including Even-handed, Fair, Hon-
believe anything she does is lawful. Such
Calm, including Cheerful, Hopeful, est, Honorable, Straightforward and
mystics, corrupted by the Infernal to the
ultimate in false pride — misidentification Optimistic, Patient, Peaceful and similar traits.
of the self with the Divine — are extreme- similar traits.
ly dangerous. Envious, including Cruel, Gossipy, To indicate which temper or sin a
The second type of mysticism is often Gruff, Jealous, Meddlesome and trait is associated with, you can simply
called monistic mysticism, in that central similar traits opposed to … note it afterward (e.g. Dedicated +3
to the experience is the loss of a sense of Kind, including Charitable, Compas- (Loyal) or Cruel +3 (Envious)). When
self and a discovery of a feeling of the utter sionate, Forgiving, Generous, Mer- dealing with opposing tempers or sins,
oneness of everything. Just as all creation ciful and similar traits. treat the trait’s value as negative. For
emanates from the mind of God, so identi- Slothful, including Cowardly, Cynical, example, Dedicated +3 (Loyal) means
fication with the mind of God completely Indecisive, Lazy and Shy and similar a character is Proud –3, and Cruel +3
breaks down the apparent differences be- traits opposed to … (Envious) is the same as Kind –3. Not
tween objects and persons, as all are seen Brave, including Bold, Courageous, all personality traits have to fit into this
as just aspects of a greater Divine reality. Determined, Ready, Zealous and model. It is perfectly possible to have
This tradition can readily become panenthe- similar traits. morally neutral traits, like Whimsical
istic (that is, the belief that God permeates Lustful, including Fanatical, Lecherous, +3, or Scruffy +1.
every aspect of Creation, from the lowliest

The Church
radically false (in the eyes of the Church)
conclusions, and indeed can cause one Divine Warping and the Contemplative Mystic
to reject all spiritual authority in favor
of personal experience. Such individuals Characters engaged on the path of • The character gains a Penetration
can become overwhelmingly egotistical, contemplative mysticism always experi- Bonus equal to her Warping Score,
but also intensely charismatic, and often ence Divine Form as their Divine Ascent with an additional bonus equal to
form heretical groups that are unable to Warping experience. her (True Faith Score multiplied
understand the errors in their thinking If a character who is engaged in con- by 5).
and lead others into further error and templative mysticism suffers a Warping • God’s holiness will not be profaned,
heresy. Such cults can be extremely dan- event and gains 2 or more Warping and those who do so are punished.
gerous, and soon attract demonic support Points, regardless of the cause she en- The die roll for any impious (as
and encouragement if the leader gives in ters an ecstatic condition called Divine decided by the troupe) action on
to pride, refusing every chance to repent Ascent. If the roll to avoid Ascending the part of the character must use a
and be brought back under legitimate fails, she immediately undergoes the stress die with a number of addition-
spiritual authority. dramatic changes of Divine Form, as al botch dice equal to the character’s
The two paths involve totally different theosis overcomes her and she comes to (Warping Score multiplied by 3).
ways of understanding, and are usually mu- embody more of the purity and light of Abilities or Powers that reduce the
tually incompatible. Contemplative mys- the Divine. number of botch dice are applied
ticism refines the self in the imitation of The full rules for Divine Form can be before any botch dice gained from
Christ, while monistic mysticism negates found in Realms of Power: The Divine, page 64, Divine Form.
it in the experience of ultimate oneness; but are summarized here for convenience. • If the character commits a venial
perhaps only Saint Francis of Assisi recon- Once a Divine Form Warping expe- sin she automatically suffers a Light
ciles the paradox and embraces both. rience occurs, several changes follow: wound, while a mortal sin imme-
Both forms of mysticism require the diately inflicts a Medium wound.
character to be aligned with the Divine • The character’s Warping Score to These wounds cannot be Soaked
realm. Any Warping experience she un- now always added to Magic Resis- and must be healed naturally; no
dergoes will take the form of Divine As- tance granted by True Faith if the other power — Magic, Faerie, or In-
cent, but the results will be Divine Gloom character possesses that Virtue. fernal — may repair them.
(for Monistics) or Divine Form (for Con- • The character gains a bonus to phys- • The character also becomes intense-
templatives), both of which are explained ical Soak totals equal to the Magic ly charismatic, developing a Com-
in the relevant section, later. Resistance Total divided by 5, or manding Aura. This is equivalent to
Warping divided by 5 if the charac- a Penetration 0, Range: Voice Aura
ter does not have Magic Resistance of Rightful Authority, and is continu-
Contemplative Mysticism granted by the Virtue: True Faith. ously active.

Pursuing contemplative-style mysti- is the quest for personal holiness, and the Virtuous Tempers, and would strive to
cism involves an intense form of personal the mystic must possess a positive Pious act in an appropriate manner, given that
imaginative meditation on the life and Personality Trait score. The character imitation of Christ central to the path. Of
sufferings of Christ; regular, often daily, must not have any of the Sinful Personal- course, being mortal and sinners, such be-
attendance at Mass (and especially partici- ity Traits described in Realms of Power: The havior will not be constant and unchang-
pation in the communion); and genuine Divine page 40, but you should remember ing; the character still sins, and needs to
personal repentance and abhorrence of sin. that Personality Traits can be changed repent through the Sacraments (see Chap-
The aim is to lead an exemplary, Christ- freely by the player to represent changes ter 3: Diocese).
like life, and to mold the rough clay of the in her character between stories (ArM5,
personality in imitation of him. page 18).
Mystics on this path seek to mirror The character must also be associated Spiritual Paths
God’s love, and in the process may gain with the Divine realm. Association with and Revelations
new Virtues and Flaws, or learn Supernatu- the Divine realm can come from several
ral Abilities. The mystic character is not sources: True Faith, possession of any Di- Contemplative mysticism involves a
concerned with these side effects of her vine-associated Supernatural Ability, or wholehearted devotion to a way of life
pursuit of personal holiness, but from a even the possession of Warping Points that expresses Christian love and charity,
player’s perspective they are very impor- from a Divine source. It would be expect- maintaining hope and strengthening the
tant, so mechanics are described here for ed that a character pursuing contempla- faith of others. It is not just part of a char-
the process. tive mysticism would develop Personality acter’s life, but the major focus of such, and
At the root of the contemplative path Traits in line with the ones associated with should be reflected in almost every action

The Church
experience points except exposure in
Dominion Lore.

Value: +3
Quest Components: The character ded-
icates at least one Season to preach-
ing and spreading the Gospel (one
bonus only).

Value: +6
Quest Components: The mystic un-
dertakes a minor pilgrimage to an
appropriate shrine or holy site, re-
quiring a story, and gains no other
benefit from the pilgrimage (see Pil-
grimages, earlier);
The mystic undertakes a Vow, result-
ing in a new Minor Flaw Vow;
The mystic completes a specified
Quest that requires a story, often in-
volving defeating a dangerous super-
natural adversary, protecting inno-
cents, or healing the sick.
the character takes. Subtract the character’s current score
The character performs actions called in the Personality Trait Pious from the Value: +9
a Spiritual Path to learn new Revelations. Path Total to calculate the Path Target. Quest Components: The charac-
Virtues, Methods, Powers, and Supernatu- ter spends a season risking her life
ral Abilities associated with the Divine are Path Target = preaching to heretics, pagans, or in-
usually appropriate Revelations to pursue, Path Total – score in Personality fidels, running the risk of martyrdom
but other possibilities exist; the troupe Trait Pious and requiring a story;
should decide if the goal makes sense in The character reveals serious error,
the context of the character’s spiritual de- A Supernatural Ability associated with heresy, or corruption in the local
velopment. the Divine gained in this manner is gained church and gets the Ecclesiastical au-
To develop a new Spiritual Path, de- at a score of 1, and is not penalized by ex- thorities to act to resolve it, requiring
cide what form the resulting Revelation isting Supernatural Abilities or Arts. Per- a story;
will take. The required Path Total to gain haps surprisingly, the Virtue True Faith can The mystic sacrifices personal wealth
the Revelation is as follows: never be gained by a Spiritual Path. or items of value, distributing their
Developing the Spiritual Path requires value as alms to the poor (the char-
Path Total: 15 a series of Quest Components with a total acter either loses the Wealthy Virtue,
Revelation: To discover a path to a Minor value at least equal to the Path Total for or if she does not possess that Virtue,
Holy Method, Power or Supernatural the desired Revelation. gains the Poor Flaw to represent her
Ability. new-found holy poverty);
Total Quest Component Values = The character takes the cross and par-
Path Total: 18 Path Total ticipates for at least a year in a Church
Revelation: To discover a path to a Minor -sanctioned Crusade, not necessarily
Virtue, other than the above. Example Quest Components include, in a fighting capacity, but risking her
but are not limited to: life in the process.
Path Total: 27
Revelation: To discover a path to a Major Value: +1 Having devised a Spiritual Path to the
Holy Method, Power or Supernatural Quest Components: The mystic sacri- required Revelation, the character pursues
Ability. fices a Season serving the poor or the the Path by completing enough Quest
Church in some capacity, such as by Components to equal or exceed the Path
Path Total: 30 tending the sick; Total required. Success in this process
Revelation: To discover a path to a Major ; The mystic spends a season in personal grants the Revelation to the contempla-
Virtue, other than the above. devotion, gaining one Devotion Point tive mystic.
towards a saint or the Virgin, but no

The Church
Monistic Mysticism
Divine Warping and the Monistic Mystic
The monistic mystic perceives the Characters engaged on the path of the loss of the character’s mundane
whole of nature as suffused with the Di- monistic mysticism always experience knowledge. The character must
vine, from the mystic themselves to ev- Divine Gloom as their Divine Ascent lose the same number of experience
ery drop of rain, every tiny flower, every Warping experience. points from Abilities with a mun-
mighty mountain. This radical process of If a character who is engaged in mo- dane focus, of the player’s choosing,
identification with the Godhead is a feature nistic mysticism suffers a Divine Ascent as she gained for Dominion Lore et.
of some strands of Christian mysticism, event and fails the roll to avoid Ascent, al. This process, however, may never
where rather than defining and rarefying she immediately undergoes Divine reduce the Concentration Ability.
the self as in contemplative mysticism, the Gloom. She slowly loses her knowledge • Monistic mystics are not affected by
individual mystic seeks to lose the self in and understanding of the mundane, Celestial Disorientation (see Realms
the eternal and endless reality of the Di- but excels in her comprehension of all of Power: The Divine, page 14) as easily
vine. Monism is at heart the sense that “all things Divine. as other characters. They may add
is ultimately One,” and that One is God. The full rules for Divine Gloom can their Personality Trait Pious as an
Gaining Methods, Powers, and Su- be found in Realms of Power: The Divine, additional bonus to any Overcome
pernatural Abilities are at best side effects page 63, but are summarized here for Celestial Disorientation test they
of the actual mystical tradition. Monistic convenience. are required to make.
mysticism is based around the develop- Once a Divine Gloom Warping ex- • The character is now a beacon to all
ment of Concentration as a way to focus perience occurs, several changes follow: manner of beings from the supernat-
intensely, and requires the mystic to pos- ural world: angels, demons, elemen-
sess either the Flaw Visions or the Major • Each time the character gains Warp- tals, and faeries. To these beings the
Virtue True Faith. If a character decides to ing Points from any source, she gains holy character shines like a torch in
follow this path, she must also possess a the same number of experience points the night, and draws them like bees
positive Pious Personality trait, and will be to divide between Dominion Lore and to nectar. Their reaction to the char-
subject to unusual spiritual experiences that any Holy Power, Method, or Holy acter depends on the circumstances,
come unbidden. Strangely, many mystics Supernatural Abilities she possesses. the character, and the being in ques-
of this sort appear to possess The Gift, for • The Divine Gloom also results in tion’s nature.
reasons not fully understood. The charac-
ter must also be associated with the Divine
realm, for example by having at least one
Supernatural Ability associated with that
Improving True Faith
realm. The path is usually entered follow- Gaining or raising a score in True pel any supernatural (Magical and In-
ing a Warping experience from a source Faith always requires a particularly ar- fernal) illusion or Faerie glamour, no
associated with the Divine realm. duous search for spiritual insights. It matter what its level, by spending a
The character now suffers from a may be a result of a major pilgrimage, Faith Point.
similar effect to that of the Hermetic Flaw or it may arise from many other situa- At True Faith 3, the character gains
Twilight Prone — she must test for Di- tions, but the gaining of the Virtue True double Magic Resistance against Men-
vine Ascent when only a single Warping Faith is always the result of a story and a tem spells and similar supernatural pow-
Point from any source is gained. Given troupe decision that it is appropriate to ers, and adds +6 instead of +3 to a die
the dramatic effects of the Divine Gloom the character, not just a game mechanic. roll for each Faith Point spent.
Warping experience on the mystic, this It may well occur in the context of a pil- At True Faith 5, the character ra-
can rapidly result in a very otherworldly grimage or as a result of an encounter diates an Empyreal Aura (see Realms
and yet spiritually potent character. Such with an angel, but True Faith reflects of Power: The Divine, page 12) to Voice
characters learn not by pursuing Spiritual how the character is played and dra- range, and may Temper the Aura. It in-
Paths as with Contemplatives, but from matic changes in her life. teracts with other auras according to the
their Warping experiences. Raising True Faith also has profound normal rules for Aura interaction.
effects upon the mystic. Full details and much on playing
At True Faith 2 the character gains characters with True Faith can be found
Advantages of Pursuing the Premonitions Virtue, and may dis- in Realms of Power: The Divine, pages 56–63.
Monistic Mysticism

The risks of monistic mysticism are ex- Ability — including Methods, Powers, and score rather than 4 experience points, the
treme, but there are benefits as well. First- Supernatural Abilities — gains experience usual amount granted by a season’s prac-
ly, the character, when practicing a Holy points equal to her Concentration Ability tice. So a character with Concentration 8

The Church
who spends a season practicing the Super- or Faerie Realm, and may subsequently and bridges, and hermits are not necessar-
natural Ability Sense Holy/Unholy would substitute her Dominion Lore Ability ily completely reclusive. Many hermits at-
gain 8 experience points, not the usual 4. for that (Realm) Lore Ability in any to- tend the local church, for example.
On experiencing Divine Ascent, the tal or test. She has come to recognize What marks a hermit is his choice to
character may attempt to understand the the Divine within that Realm. She may live alone, adopt celibacy, and keep the
experience and integrate a Revelation in a choose this option again on another liturgical hours outside of any formal mo-
manner similar to the way Hermetic magi occasion, so that she becomes able to nastic context. Hermits as an unregulated
attempt to understand Wizard’s Twilight. substitute Dominion Lore for both Fa- and unsupervised spiritual force are po-
erie Lore and Magic Lore; OR, tentially dangerous, especially when they
Monistic Revelation Integration: • Finally, having integrated both the the decide to engage in preaching, and some-
Intelligence + Concentration Magic and Faerie Realms into her cos- times lead others into error through their
+ stress die vs. Warping Score mological understanding, the charac- own ignorance. Popularly believed to be
+ stress die (no botch) ter may choose to do the same with especially holy and even capable of work-
the Infernal, seeing the Infernal as ing miracles, people seek out hermits to
If the test is failed, Divine Gloom occurs simply an agent of the Divine that is gain knowledge, miraculous cures, or spir-
as normal. If the roll succeeds, the charac- subservient to the Divine Will. itual edification. It can actually be fashion-
ter still experiences Divine Gloom but the able to ask advice from some hermits, and
player may also select one of the following: these unfortunates are constantly pestered
by visitors seeking assistance.
• She may choose not to lose experi-
ence from mundane Abilities, though
the character still gains the Warping
Life as The most extreme hermits are the
anchorites, who are sealed alone into a
small cell called an anchorhold that is
Points and the experience points in
her Holy Abilities; OR,
a Hermit built against the outside wall of a church.
The entrance to the cell is bricked up, and
• The character may take a new appro- food and waste is passed through a small
priate Minor Virtue if 3 or more Warp- A hermit is someone who chooses to window facing away from the church,
ing Points were gained, or Major Vir- renounce the world, and live alone observ- through which visitors can also receive
tue if 5 or more Warping Points were ing the liturgical hours as a monk would. spiritual counsel of the hermit. A second
gained — one that reflects the nature Some are mystics, most are not. The tradi- window on the wall shared by the church
of the Revelation. The first Revelation tion is in decline, and many hermits now allows the anchorite to hear Mass and re-
gained is always the Virtue Second choose to join monasteries, or are at least ceive communion.
Sight; OR, associated with a monastery; but hermits There is also an obvious connection
• If the character gains 7 or more Warp- remain a common feature of the land- between hermits and the Beguines, their
ing Points from the experience, and scape of Mythic Europe. A hermit need male equivalents Beghards, and holy wid-
succeeds in the Spiritual Integration not settle down in one place, for some are ows (see Chapter 5: Women).
test, this option may be selected. The wanderers who travel begging for alms or
character may choose either the Magic doing casual work such as repairing roads

Chapter Three

The Diocese
Mythic Europe is a patchwork of dio- whether they’re player characters or non- Senior Clergy
ceses: the Ecclesiastical territories of the player characters. This process (particu-
bishops of the Church. This chapter de- larly selecting each church’s Hooks and Major Virtue, Social Status
scribes the roles of the clergy, from parish Boons) should suggest stories where the The character is an archbishop, bish-
church to papal court. covenant may interact with the Church. op, abbot, abbess, or another senior mem-
The head of the Church is the pope ber of the Church. He has access to the
— the bishop of the diocese of Rome — resources of the Church and may have
and beneath him are the other bishops of
Mythic Europe. Their dioceses are grouped
Virtues and Flaws additional duties and powers according to
his office.
into provinces, under the jurisdiction of You may make take either the
an archbishop. Each diocese is split into Some important Virtues and Flaws Wealthy or Poor Virtue/Flaw for the
archdeaconries, and further subdivided for clergy characters are listed below. character. This does not necessarily repre-
into deaneries. Finally, beneath the deaner- You should only take one of the Senior sent the status of the character’s diocese,
ies are the individual parishes, where each Clergy, Priest, or Clerk Social Statuses instead it represents the personal wealth
priest conducts Mass for his congregation. for your character. of the character. Senior clergy can amass
There are about 800 dioceses in
Mythic Europe. In Italy there are almost
200 dioceses, many barely bigger than a
parish would be in other parts of Mythic
Europe. In England there are 21 dioceses,
around 30 in Germany, 79 in France, and
13 in Scandinavia.

Virtually every Hermetic covenant is
located in a parish, which is part of a dio-
cese. This is a fact that magi cannot avoid.
Even a covenant located within a regio
must have an entrance that lies within a
parish. Every covenant must thus some-
times interact with the local clergy.
To help decide the saga role of the lo-
cal clergy, the troupe should describe some
local churches using the Hooks and Boons
system given later in this chapter, and
create characters for a few of the priests,

The Church
License of Absence
Clergy as Player Characters
Major Virtue, General
Clergy characters are created, follow- panion of a magus who fights the This priest character has a license of
ing the standard rules in ArM5 Chapter Infernal, for example. absence that relieves him from some du-
3, as either grogs or companions: • Clergyman scribes and notaries ties. The license might be valid for only a
could be recruited to work at the few years or it could be valid indefinitely.
• Magi or covenfolk could have rela- covenant. The character has an extra free season each
tives who are clergy. • The covenant may have a chapel year, but sometimes it is expected that the
• The clergy of the nearby parishes where magi and covenfolk to wor- extra season is used for study. This Virtue
could be player characters. ship; the chaplain could be a com- is compatible with the Wealthy Virtue and
• The covenant may hold benefices. panion character. Poor Flaw. A Wealthy priest with a license
The curates it employs could form • The covenant could be built within of absence thus has the whole year free; a
a network of agents spread through- a monastery or church (possi- character can never have more than four
out the diocese or Tribunal. bly within a regio located there). free seasons in a year. A license of absence
• A priest (with a license of absence) Many of the covenant’s grogs and may only be taken by a character with the
could live in a covenant as a com- companions could be clergymen or Priest Social Status. It may not be taken by
panion character. He may be a com- other religious. Senior Clergy.

wealth by receiving the benefice of sev- You may take the Wealthy Virtue or Commanding Aura
eral offices. Indeed, it is not unusual for Poor Flaw for the character. A Wealthy
a character to receive the benefice from priest is probably wealthy because he is Free Virtue, Supernatural
various parishes scattered throughout a pluralist (see The Benefice, later). A This supernatural power is granted to
Mythic Europe. He may never even visit Poor priest probably works as a curate characters by either the pope, or the Di-
some of the dioceses in which his par- or chaplain. vine directly. It is an inherent benefit of
ishes are located, although obviously Church office.
the character needs to employ a curate The character has a power equiva-
to discharge the actual priestly duties in Clerk lent to the Hermetic spell Aura of Rightful
these remote parishes. Authority (see ArM5, page 151), but with
The character has a Reputation of lev- Minor Virtue, Social Status Voice Range; this power has no cost, and
The character has been ordained as
el 4, either good or bad, in both the local no penetration. The character also has a
a member of the clergy. Note whether
community and the Church. Magic Resistance and a Soak bonus that
your character is in major or minor orders.
You may purchase Academic Abilities for depend upon his rank in the Church. If the
Characters in major orders must be celi-
the character during character generation. character carries a relic, this Magic Resis-
bate. See ArM5, page 40, for details.
Senior clergy are subject to canon tance is added to that of the relic.
You may take Academic Abilities for
law, and must be celibate and tonsured
the character during character generation.
(if male). Note whether the character Pope: Magic Resistance 25, Soak bonus +5.
has been ordained as a deacon, priest, Cardinal, or legatus a latere: Magic Resis-
bishop, etc. Religious tance 20, Soak Bonus +4.
This replaces the version of this Social Legatus missus: Magic Resistance 15,
Status that was printed in Realms of Power: Minor Virtue, Social Status Soak Bonus +3.
The Divine, page 93. The character is a monk, a nun, a be- Archbishop: Magic Resistance 10, Soak
guine, an anchoress or anchorite, a holy Bonus +2.
hermit, or similar. You may take Academic
Priest Abilities for the character during character Papal legates are the representatives of
generation. The Wealthy Virtue and Poor the pope (see Papal Legates, later in this
Minor Virtue, Social Status Flaw are unlikely to be appropriate. chapter). If the legatus missus — a lower
The character has been ordained as Note that for a friar character you grade with limited powers — delays or
a priest of the Church; he can conduct should take the Mendicant Friar Virtue deviates from his mission, then his Com-
Mass, and is subject to canon law. Priest instead (see ArM5, page 46). Monks or- manding Aura ceases to work until he com-
is a major order and the character must be dained as priests should instead take the pletes penance. The Commanding Aura is
male, tonsured, and celibate. See ArM5 Priest Social Status. Senior monks and also lost when a legatus missus completes
page 47 for details, however, the character nuns should instead have the Senior Cler- his mission.
need not take the Minor Personality Flaw gy Social Status. Some lay rulers ordained by the pope
Vow as stated there (see Vows, later). (mostly kings and emperors) also have a

The Church
Commanding Aura. See Realms of Power: it is not compulsory. The Regular Flaw is Faith Points
The Divine, page 42. compatible with Wealthy/Poor, but a Poor
Regular character effectively has no free
seasons and may be unsuitable as a player Faith Points may be spent like Confi-
Dark Secret character. Magi can be Regular. dence Points to gain a +3 bonus to a roll,
and usually a character may only spend 1
Major Flaw, Story Faith Point on each roll. Rare characters
This Flaw (see ArM5, page 52) is ap-
propriate for a clergyman who secretly
Vows have the Virtue True Faith, which in-
creases this limit and gives additional uses
violates canon law. If his secret is discov- for Faith Points (see ArM5 page 189, and
ered he can be fined, removed from office, The Major Story Flaw Monastic Vows Realms of Power: The Divine pages 56–60).
or excommunicated. Some examples of (see ArM5, page 56) can be assigned to a Unless a character has True Faith, Faith
secrets include: character who has taken monastic or simi- Points do not automatically regenerate
lar vows, as many members of the Church when spent, they must be earned.
False Presbyter: This character works as have. Of course, as this is a Major Story
a parish priest despite not being or- Flaw it may not be taken by grog charac-
dained as one. The parishioners may
not know (or realize the significance)
ters, and it prevents other characters from
having another Story Flaw. Obviously,
New Seasonal Activities
of their “priest’s” lack of qualifications. this is an impediment to making grog
The character must have the Priest So- characters and an interesting variety of These seasonal activities may be per-
cial Status, too. other characters belonging to the Church. formed by Church characters and others.
Heretic: The character is a heretic. If a Thus, you should only take the Major Sto-
priest, then he must be careful that ry Flaw Monastic Vows for a character if
his beliefs are not discovered when his the troupe wishes to tell stories about his Worship
parish is visited. If he is a bishop, and vows; perhaps stories about the moral di-
does not repent if discovered, then the lemmas he faces, for example. If the troupe Worship is a seasonal activity (con-
pope will excommunicate him and re- doesn’t want to tell stories driven by the ducted during a free season) and is available
place him with someone else. character’s vows, then do not take the Mo- to any Christian character with access to a
Secret Wife/Husband: Despite taking a nastic Vows Story Flaw. Take a Story Flaw chapel or church. This is different than the
vow of celibacy, the character has a se- that does represent the stories you wish to normal worship of God performed by vir-
cret wife, husband, or concubine. The tell, instead. tually everyone in Mythic Europe (attend-
wife of rural priest may live with him Nonetheless, practically every Church ing Mass, religious festivals, etc). This spe-
as a “housekeeper.” The wife of a monk character has taken some kind of vow. So, cial sort of worship involves a demanding
or canon probably lives in a nearby if you want a character deeply affected by daily routine that includes fasting, prayer,
town or village. religious vows (without committing the and meditation.
Simony: The character has bought or sold troupe to a Story Flaw), then assign him Worship has a Source Quality equal to
spiritual things, such as the administer- an appropriate Personality Flaw (Chaste, the Divine Aura in the church.
ing of the Sacraments or an appoint- Dutybound, Higher Purpose, Obsessed, Experience Points from worship may
ment to a holy office. Note which or Vow) or the Flaw Regular. Alternative- normally be spent on Church Lore, Con-
of the character’s Virtues represents ly, if the character has difficulty following centration, Music, or any Supernatural
this thing; for example, a benefice his vows, you might like to assign a Flaw Ability or Art aligned to the Divine that
(Wealthy), an ordination (Priest), or a that is the opposite of one of his vows. the character already has a Score in. Note
relic (Relic). If the character’s secret is For example, the Personality Flaws Avari- that most Supernatural Abilities and the
discovered he will lose the Virtue. cious, Lecherous, or Proud could indicate Hermetic Arts are not Divine aligned.
problems with vows of poverty, chastity,
or obedience, respectively.
Regular Finally, it might be that your character Good Works
has taken vows (and from time to time the
Minor Flaw, General character’s vows may be an issue) but, in This seasonal activity is available to
The character lives according to a general, the troupe is not really interested any Christian character. He spends the
strict religious rule, which leaves little in the effect vows have on him from either season performing worthy deeds. For cler-
time for other activities. The character a story or personality perspective. In this gy, this can be a non-free season.
must spend one of his free seasons on case, just note that the character has taken Good works often involves working in
the seasonal activity of worship (see later vows, but do not assign a Virtue or Flaw to the community giving alms to the poor or
in this chapter). This is particularly suit- represent them. sick, but building a chapel or similar could
able for monk and canon characters, but count, too. Good works has a Source

The Church
of the bishop’s office are a ring and crosier
Recommended and Required (a staff topped by either a hook or cross).
Virtues, Flaws, and Abilities Creating, dividing, or suppressing a dio-
cese is the sole right of the pope.
The Pope, Cardinals, Temporal Influence, Vow.
& Archbishops Recommended Minimum Ability Scores:
Artes Liberales 1, Church Lore 3, The Cathedral Chapter
Required Virtues and Flaws: Senior Civil and Canon Law 3, Dead Lan-
Clergy; Commanding Aura, Tempo- guage: Latin 5, Theology 1.
ral Influence. The cathedral chapter is a legal corpo-
Recommended Virtues and Flaws: Mo- ration made up of the canons of the cathe-
nastic Vows; Vow. Clergy dral (see Chapters of Canons, later), and it
Recommended Minimum Ability Scores: is very influential in the governance of the
Required Virtues and Flaws: Priest or diocese. Characters who wish to petition
Artes Liberales 1, Church Lore 5,
Clerk. the bishop will often need to negotiate
Civil and Canon Law 5, Dead Lan-
Recommended Virtues and Flaws: Mo- with the cathedral canons — the clergy
guage: Latin 5, Theology 3.
nastic Vows; Regular (especially for who serve the cathedral.
canons and monks), Vow.
Bishops, Abbots, Recommended Minimum Ability Scores:
Archdeacons, Deans, Artes Liberales 1*, Church Lore 3,
Election of the Bishop
& Senior Curia Officials Civil and Canon Law 3, Dead Lan-
guage: Latin 5*, Theology 1.
Required Virtues and Flaws: Senior The bishop is elected by a simple ma-
Clergy. * There is no requirement for clergy jority, in a secret ballot, of the cathedral
Recommended Virtues and Flaws: Mo- to be literate, but many are. canons. A new bishop must be elected
nastic Vows; Regular (for abbots), within three months of his predecessor’s
death, and it is not possible for a can-
on to cast a vote by proxy. Although a
Story Seed: The Magus Bishop canon is often elected, candidates do not
need to be a member of the diocese, and
A magus at the covenant, who has his canon friends may be offended if he the pope sometimes proposes a candi-
good relations with the cathedral can- refuses, and if he is careful he could use date for an important see — the office
ons, is elected bishop. If he accepts the the bishopric to ensure smooth relations of a bishop. The candidate does not even
office he will inevitably have to defend between the Order and the Church need to be an ordained member of the
himself from charges of interference within his diocese. clergy; he will be ordained as required
with the mundane. On the other hand, upon his election.
The Third Lateran Council (1179)
decreed that a candidate for bishop must
Quality of 2 in an appropriate Ability, and Care of souls has a Source Quality of be aged at least thirty, have been born
the character also gains 1 Faith Point. 2 for the priest, in Leadership, Area Lore, in lawful wedlock, and be worthy as evi-
or Church Lore. denced by his life and learning. In game
Care of souls is similar to Tempering mechanics, this means that a character
Care of Souls an Aura (see Realms of Power: The Divine, must be literate in Latin and must usu-
page 38) and the troupe may use those ally have a positive reputation within the
This seasonal activity can be undertak- rules instead. Church. An illiterate bastard with a nega-
en by an ordained priest who leads a con- tive reputation can still be elected bishop,
gregation. He spends the season, which but this gives grounds for an election to
can be one of his non-free seasons, preach- be challenged.
ing to his congregation. For the following
year willing members of the congregation
receive a +1 bonus to activities aligned
The Bishop Elections can be challenged by ap-
pealing to the pope (see Petitioning the
Church, later). Apart from the candidate’s
with the theme of the priest’s sermons, al- The bishop is the elected head of the poor education, birth, or reputation, oth-
though a character may only benefit from diocese, and is the chief priest, judge, and er grounds for appeal include absence of
one such bonus at a time. The themes may ruler of his people. The bishop’s election some electors, people voting who were
be Loyalty, Calmness, Kindness, Bravery, is confirmed, and he is ordained, by either not entitled to, an election too soon or
Wisdom, Strength, or Justice. his archbishop or the pope. The symbols too long after the death of the previous

The Church
bishop, or candidates who had commit-
ted simony. It may take several years for
appeals to be worked through, and if the
The Pope ever, if your saga follows history, much of
Honorius III’s papacy is consumed by in-
trigue with Frederick II (whom Honorius
election is overturned the pope appoints The pope is the head of the Church and III crowns in 1220). Frederick II’s constant
a new bishop, who need not be one of the the bishop of the diocese of Rome. He is delay in departing on crusade is the prin-
original candidates. elected by a two-thirds majority of the car- ciple reason that little progress has been
In the past there has been consider- dinals, who usually elect a fellow cardinal. made towards the recovery of the Holy
able conflict over the appointment of The current pope is a Roman who was Land. Honorius III has also dealt with re-
bishops by lay lords; powerful nobles (for born as Cencio Savelli. He is an old man bellions by the Italian papal states. Even
example, the Holy Roman Emperor) may (born in the 1140s) who served the Church Rome rebelled against Honorius III, forc-
still attempt to appoint bishops. Such ap- as canon, camerlengo, chancellor, cardinal- ing him to flee from 1219 to 1220, and (if
pointments are typically overturned by deacon, and cardinal-priest. He was also your saga follows history) again in 1225
the papacy. the tutor of the current Holy Roman Em- to 1226. Despite such conflicts, Honorius
peror Frederick II. Savelli was elected pope III and his advisors usually manage to pro-
in 1216, taking the name Honorius III. ceed via diplomacy rather than war.
In Partibus Infidelium Like his predecessor, Innocent III,
Honorius III is determined to reform the
If your saga follows history, Honorius
III dies on March 18, 1227 and is succeed-
Church and recover the Holy Land. How- ed by cardinal-bishop Ugolino, who takes
If a diocese is overrun by infidel forces,
a bishop is still appointed by the pope. A
bishop whose diocese is in partibus infide-
lium has the same powers as a normal bish-
op, but lives outside his diocese. Which
functions of the diocese are able to con-
tinue in this state obviously depends upon
the attitude of the new infidel rulers.
If, in your saga, a diocese is lost to
some supernatural catastrophe, a pagan
revival, or a Muslim or Mongol invasion,
then the papacy may declare the diocese
to be in partibus infidelium.

Bishops as
Feudal Lords
In many German and Spanish dio-
ceses, and a few in France and England,
the bishop is also a baron. Controversy
is common during the election of such
bishops; the bishop is also a member of a
feudal court, and he must choose sides in
disputes between his lord and the pope.
Jurisdiction in a bishop-baron’s diocese,
and its neighbors, is complex, especially as
the borders of the barony and diocese may
not quite coincide. A bishop-baron often
has vassal knights, and just like any other
feudal lord he could be embroiled in war-
fare, which is against canon law. Typically,
a bishop-baron has the service of about 50
vassal knights, but he could have as many
as 300. See Lords of Men, pages 30–36, for
details on vassal knights.

The Church
under Innocent III and Honorius III. One
Story Seed: The Proctor of Hermes of their innovations is to assign many of
the highest official roles to young, capa-
Quaesitors approach a player charac- petitions from magi, presenting petitions ble sub-deacons rather than to cardinals.
ter (ideally a senior magus with the Gen- on behalf of magi to the curia, and en- If your saga follows history, the curia be-
tle Gift) and explain that they want him suring that no petitions that negatively comes increasingly powerful throughout
to act as proctor for the Order of Hermes impact on the Order are successfully the 13th century.
in the papal curia. The character will be- brought by other parties. The position
come a Quaesitor and travel to Rome. requires a magus so that he may resist
His task is to ensure smooth relations both the Commanding Aura of Church The Chancery
between the Order and the Church. He officials and any efforts of other magi to
can do this by intercepting inappropriate interfere in Church processes. The chancery controls correspon-
dence between the pope and Christen-
dom. Petitions to the papacy (see Peti-
Some Papal Officials in 1220 AD tioning the Church, later) are dealt with
by the curia, which receives up to 2,000
Vice-chancellor: Master Willelmus, sub- Penitentiarius: Tommaso da Capua, car- each year. Petitions are received and re-
deacon. He is succeeded in 1222 by dinal-priest of Saint Sabina (1216), vised into a standard form by a notary,
the notary Master Guido. appointed penitentiarius 1219. and then publicly read by the data com-
Notaries: Masters Guido, Fortis, Obizo, Auditores: Peter de Collemdio. munis. The most important are submitted
Maximus; all sub-deacons. Auditor litterarum contradictarum: to the pope. Petitions of lesser impor-
Corrector: Bandinus of Siena, deacon. Master Otto da Tonengo, subdea- tance are sent to the penitentiaria, or the
Camerlengo: Stefano di Cecanno, car- con. He is succeeded in 1225 by auditores. In any case, once a decision is
dinal-priest of Saint XII Apostoli Master Sinibaldus Fieschi (who is made, a letter is then drafted, approved
(1213), appointed camerlengo 1219. elected pope Innocent IV in 1243). by the corrector, publicly read again, and
sealed by the bullatores.
The offices in chancery are all held by
Legates Sent to the Order of Hermes clergy ordained as acolytes or higher:

Vice-Chancellor: The head of the chan-

The Church is present everywhere is, and what its attitude to the Order
cery (the office of chancellor was sup-
in Mythic Europe, and thus the papacy is, is up to your saga. In any case, it
pressed by Honorius III in 1216, con-
is aware, in some sense, of the exis- is very likely that papal legates have
centrating power with the pope).
tence of the Order of Hermes. Precise- been sent to investigate individual
Notaries: There are six notaries. Along
ly how accurate papacy’s knowledge Hermetic covenants, and perhaps even
with the vice-chancellor, they also
is, how well spread that knowledge Tribunal meetings.
take the role of the data communis.
Abbreviatores: Each notary has two or
the name Gregory IX. Ugolino (born in but during the 13th century their influence three of these assistants.
1170) is a trusted ally of Honorius III, and varies. There are three ranks of cardinals: Corrector: There are usually two correctors.
his diplomacy as papal legate is famed. Bullatores: These officials hold the papal
Cardinal-bishops: The bishops of seven seal. The seal is not applied until the
small towns near Rome (Ostia, Porto, petitioner pays a tax that meets the
The Cardinals Silva Candida, Albano, Sabina, Tuscu-
lum, and Palestrina). The pope is or-
cost of the parchment, ink, etc.

dained by a cardinal-bishop.
The cardinals are the closest advisors Cardinal-priests: There can be up to 28 Proctors
of the pope. They help him to perform his cardinal-priests.
duties in Rome and often act as his legates Cardinal-deacons: There can be up to 18 Proctors are the representatives of
elsewhere in Mythic Europe. The cardinals cardinal-deacons. bishops, nobles, or religious houses who
are appointed by the pope, and in 1220 attend the papal curia to ensure that their
come from all over Mythic Europe. There client’s interests are represented. Proctors
can be up to 53 cardinals at any one time,
but the number fluctuates throughout the
The Papal Curia present petitions on behalf of their client,
and appeal other petitions as presented.
13th century and sometimes there are as Appealed petitions are sent to the auditor
few as ten. Cardinals are usually consid- The curia is the papal court, which litterarum contradictarum for arbitration.
ered to outrank bishops and archbishops, has been both enlarged and streamlined There are four rules for proctors: proc-

The Church
tors cannot remain in office for more than boundaries between the penitentiarius Legati nati: Some archbishops carry this
two consecutive years, proctors cannot and the auditores are unclear in the title. In earlier centuries, the legati nati
keep a concubine, a client may only have 13th century. (sometimes called vicarii apostolici)
one proctor, and finally the proctor cannot Auditor litterarum contradictarum: This had geographical territories that en-
send a substitute to petition in his stead. official receives appeals to petitions. compassed several archdioceses. The
There are similar rules for proctors in the He rejects foolish appeals, and other- legatus natus supervised his subordi-
courts of lesser bishops. wise usually tries to arbitrate a com- nate archdioceses and could conse-
promise solution. crate archbishops. By 1220, the title of
legatus natus has no real power associ-
The Camera ated with it, although some archbish-
The Capellani ops still use this historic title.
The camera controls the papal financ-
es. It is directed by the camerlengo, and The capellani is the college of priests,
beneath him are a number of collectors.
The actual administrator of the treasure is
the thesaurarius.
deacons, and sub-deacons who serve in
Rome. It is organized much like any oth-
er cathedral chapter. The capellani per-
The Archbishop
The papacy does not tax churches di- form the liturgy in the Roman churches, The archbishop (or metropolitan) is a
rectly. However, since 1199 the papacy serve in the curia, and act as papal leg- bishop who also has responsibility over up
has been taxing clerics’ benefices. Ostensi- ates. The number of capellani varies; in to a dozen neighboring dioceses. An arch-
bly these taxes are levied to fight crusades, 1220 there are 70. bishop’s jurisdiction is called a province,
but they are used for other purposes, too. and nearly every diocese is part of a prov-
If your saga follows history, these taxes ince. However, there are a few dioceses
become increasingly common throughout
the 13th century and range from two per-
Papal Legates that are instead directly subject to Rome.
Such fila specialis dioceses include most
cent up to ten percent. of Scotland; Leon, Cartagena, and Burgos
Other finances arrive from the fees Papal legates are the representatives in Spain; Bamberg in Germany; and Pavia
charged for various services, and when of the pope. Legates are appointed by the and Ferrara in Northern Italy. Those dio-
a bishop or abbot is appointed he pays pope and there are several grades: ceses within the province of Rome are also
a third of his yearly income (the servitia directly subject to Rome.
communia) to the papacy. Legati a latere: These are usually selected The archbishop is ordained by, and
from among the cardinals. Legati a receives his symbol of office (the pallium)
latere represent the pope on the most from the pope or a papal legate. The pope
The Judiciary important and long-reaching missions, can raise any diocese to the rank of arch-
and there are no more than a handful at diocese, and usually each of the bishop’s
Judicial officials help the pope to make one time. They have the widest pow- successors become an archbishop, too.
rulings on disputed cases, appeals, and pe- ers of the legates, including the power The pope can also present the archbishop’s
titions are as follows. to make their own decisions that bind pallium to a simple bishop, for noted ser-
even the pope. Legati a latere some- vice to the Church. In this case, the rank
Penitentiarius: This official is a cardinal times travel with retinues of hundreds. of archbishop does not pass onto his suc-
who deals with appeals to penances, Legati missi (or nuncio): are often priests cessor and he has no provincial jurisdic-
who grants dispensations, and who or deacons appointed from the ca- tion, but he does receive the Commanding
can commute or postpone vows. He pellani, but they can be clergy from Aura supernatural power.
is also the confessor for the cardinals. anywhere in Mythic Europe. A lega-
He has up to 12 sub-penitentiarii tus missus is given a particular mission
— deputies who may be sub-deacons,
deacons, or priests.
— reprimanding a bishop, carrying
a message to a foreign court, investi-
Auditores: These officials are appointed gating a heresy, etc. He only has the
as required on a case-by-case basis powers needed for his mission, which The Latin Church has appointed pa-
from the cardinals, bishops, and the are described in letters he carries. Le- triarchs at Jerusalem, Antioch, and Con-
papal capellani as a temporary posi- gati missi may travel with a retinue, stantinople, who serve either alone or in
tion. Auditores can judge any legal but frequently only travel with a few parallel with a Greek patriarch. Although
case or petition brought to the papacy, acolytes for companions. There may it is not frequently used in the West, pa-
including those brought in person be dozens of legati missi at any one triarch is a rank between archbishop and
(rather than via letters). However, the time. Legati missi who perform well pope; many ambitious Western archbish-
pope reserves disputes over elections are sometimes rewarded with appoint- ops seek to raise themselves to the rank
to himself. The precise jurisdictional ment as a cardinal. of patriarch. If your saga follows history,

The Church

Story Seed: A Troublesome Minster The Dean

In parts of Mythic Europe, the system subordinate churches. The progress of There are two types of deans. A rural
of parishes was predated by that of min- these chapels toward parish status often dean is the head of a group of up to two
sters. A minster was a superior church, provokes resistance. dozen rural parishes called a deanery. The
which had aristocratic patronage and A chapel near the covenant, where other type of dean is the head of a chapter
ruled over a constellation of subordinate the covenfolk worship, is still trapped in of canons; he is the leader of the priests of
churches who paid it tribute. In 1220, this dependent relationship with a min- a large urban church. Chapters of canons
a few churches that were once minsters ster. The minster is attempting to reas- and their deans are discussed later.
are still referred to as such, but often the sert the payment of its tribute, and the The rural dean’s church is usually the
minster is now technically a deanery. chaplain asks the magi for assistance. oldest and largest in the deanery, and his
Former minsters usually have a large Obviously, the magi will need to be office is an unusual one as the deanery is
number (up to a dozen) of dependent careful if they get involved, as the min- a subdivision of the archdeaconry; he is
chapels, which were once the minster’s ster is rich and influential. subordinate to the archdeacon, but the
dean also represents the bishop directly.
This means that the deans may be forced
into choosing sides in the event of conflict
Major Covenant Boon: Archdeacon Agent between bishop and archdeacon. The dean
convokes meetings of the deanery clergy
The local archdeacon is an agent the covenant’s affairs, and he keeps the several times a year, and he has visitation
of the covenant. He ensures that the covenant informed on changes among rights over his subordinate parishes. Some
Church does not pry too closely into the local priests. rural deans use the title archpriest, which
dates from an earlier Church period.

the following archdioceses are raised to has a large influence over the administra-
primacies during the thirteenth century: tion of his parishes. In some dioceses, the
Mainz, Cologne, Trier, Magdeburg, and
Salzburg in Germany; Saint Andrew’s
in Scotland; Armagh in Ireland; Lund in
archdeacons have greater effective power
than the bishop.
The archdeacon must be ordained as
Scandinavia; Gniezno in Poland; Toledo a deacon. Occasionally, a priest under- In 1220, around two percent of the
and Tarragona in Spain; and Esztergom in takes the office of archdeacon, but this population are clergy, but they are not
Hungary. However, again if your saga fol- is rare. evenly distributed. In poor rural districts
lows history, the efforts of these primates There is considerable regional varia- there is just the curate and his parish clerk,
to create a new Western rank superior to tion in the number of archdeacons in a whereas in towns there might be several
an archbishop ultimately fails. diocese. For example, in Canterbury parishes each with a chapter of canons.
there is one, in Cologne there are four, in Since the 11th century, the Church in
Constance ten, in Mainz 22, in Munster Mythic Europe has emphasized that cler-
34, in Hildesheim 40. An archdeaconry ics are a separate caste, but of course, not

The Archdeacon may include anywhere between a few

hundred and few dozen parishes.
all of the clergy are as pure and pious as
the Church would claim. Clerics are born

The archdeacon, the bishop’s deputy,

has responsibility over a territorial subset
of the diocese — the archdeaconry. He is Story Seed: The Vicar-General
usually appointed by the bishop, but in
some dioceses he is elected by the can- A new bishop is elected in the dio- approaches the covenant looking for
ons of his church. Originally the arch- cese, and he is appalled at the power assistance to thwart the bishop’s plans.
deacon only advised the bishop, but over that his predecessors have allowed to He is after evidence to challenge the
the centuries more and more power has accumulate with the archdeacon. He election of the bishop, but will be
accumulated to him. In 1220, he is the creates a new office, the vicar-general, open to other suggestions, too. The
chief judge of canon law within the arch- and assigns to him the duty of hold- archdeacon is powerful, and in return
deaconry, and his court travels regularly ing a canon court that visits the rural he could promise to reduce the cov-
among his parishes. He often retains a parishes — currently the main duty enant’s tithe, or he could even assign
portion of the fines that his court impos- of the archdeacon. The archdeacon the covenant benefices.
es, and as he has the right of visitation he

The Church
to common society, most are the sons of In game terms, the examination is Rank: Acolyte
peasants, and they share all the faults of represented by comparing the character’s Civil & Canon Law Ease Factor: 6
the laity. So there are always drunks, mur- Examination Total against the appropriate
Rank: Sub-deacon
derers, usurers, gamblers, robbers, and Ease Factor for that rank:
Church Lore Ease Factor: 9
the wanton among the clergy. Indeed, in
many dioceses much of the bishop’s time Rank: Doorkeeper Rank: Deacon
and correspondence involves correcting Church Lore Ease Factor: 3 Civil & Canon Law Ease Factor: 9
wayward priests. There is a constant ten-
sion between the heavenly loftiness that Rank: Lector Rank: Priest
clergy are supposed to aspire to and their Church Lore Ease Factor: 6 Church Lore Ease Factor: 12
earthly origins.
There are two main types of clerical Rank: Exorcist: Rank: Bishop
members of the Church: those in minor Civil & Canon Law Ease Factor: 3 Ease Factor: None; bishops are elected.
orders and those in major orders. The
minor orders are doorkeeper, lector, ex-
orcist, and acolyte. The major orders are
sub-deacon, deacon, priest, and bishop.
A character progresses through each
of these grades in order: becoming a
doorkeeper, advancing to lector, and so
forth. It is not expected, however, that
everyone will progress through the en-
tire sequence. In 1220 the ranks of aco-
lyte, sub-deacon, and deacon are seen as
life-long offices, and there is no sense
that someone who lives to an old age as
a deacon has failed because he has not
become a priest.

Each step a clergyman takes through
the orders is marked by an ordination cer-
emony, and in a populous diocese there
might be 300 ordinations per year. Usually,
a person is ordained in his birth-diocese; to
be ordained elsewhere he needs the permis-
sion of the bishop of his birth-diocese.
Ordination is a seasonal activity,
with a Source Quality of 2 in either Civil
and Canon Law or Church Lore. Prior to
ordination, characters usually study the
liturgies (Church Lore) or canon (Civil
and Canon Law), and candidates for
doorkeeper are usually taught en masse
by the archdeacon.
During the ordination season, the ordi-
nand is examined by the bishop (or the del-
egated archdeacon or dean). The examina-
tion is oral and can take up to several hours;
there is no requirement for clergy to be
literate. Normally, the ordinand must travel
for the examination, or he will have to wait
until his parish receives a visitation.

The Church
Whether the Examination Total is gen- positive Reputation, by 1 Reputation “ex- Doorkeeper
erated using the character’s Church Lore perience” point).
or Civil and Canon Law Ability Score de- If the character fails his ordination ex- In the early centuries of the Church,
pends on the rank being obtained. amination by more than 6, he is not or- doorkeepers (or porters) guarded the doors
dained but he can appeal the decision (see and contents of churches. However, by
Ordination Examination Total: Petitioning the Church, later). The char- the 13th century these duties are actually
Intelligence + (Church Lore or Civil acter can also try again another season. undertaken by laymen. The office of door-
and Canon Law) + stress die If the character botches his ordination keeper is now held by young boys who
examination he can only try again if he suc- are being trained to advance further in the
If the character passes his examination, cessfully petitions the Church for permis- Church hierarchy; their role is merely to as-
he is ordained by the bishop. It is usual sion (see Petitioning the Church, later). sist the other grades during church services.
for the bishop to ordain several people at In most dioceses there is a new cohort of
once, so a successful candidate may need several dozen doorkeepers every year.
to wait a few days for other pending ex- Rapid Ordinations A doorkeeper is usually ordained in his
aminations to be conducted. early teens. At his ordination he is blessed
A character who is ordained gains Characters are usually ordained one by the bishop and receives a pair of keys.
the appropriate Social Status, and a Faith grade at a time. However, sometimes A doorkeeper often receives further edu-
Point. an ordinand is accelerated through the cation in the cathedral school (or at an-
If the character’s Ordination Exam To- grades. The main reason this happens is other large urban church), and may spend
tal is more than double the required Ease that a low-ranking clergyman (or even a his two free seasons in study (see Art & Aca-
Factor, he gains a positive Reputation layman) is elected bishop. However, even deme, page 81).
of 1 for being knowledgeable in either if a character is ordained in several grades
Church Lore or Civil and Canon Law (or at once, he gains only 1 Faith Point due
increases an existing positive Reputation, to ordination. Lector
or decreases a negative Reputation, by 1
Reputation “experience” point, see ArM5 Lectors receive a codex of lessons
page 167).
If the character’s Ordination Exam To-
Minor Orders (Church Lore Tractatus; Quality 6–8)
when ordained, and in the early Church
tal misses the required Ease Factor by less their role was to teach these lessons to the
than 6, he still “passes” his examination, The minor orders all wear tonsures and congregation. In 1220, this role has been
but gains a negative Reputation of 1 for clerical robes. They are subject to canon usurped by the higher orders (usually the
being ignorant of either Church Lore or law and may be married, although they are deacons), and the lector’s duties are in-
Civil and Canon Law (or increases an ex- expected to marry a virgin. Characters in stead ceremonial ones. There is not even a
isting negative Reputation, or decreases a minor orders must be male. requirement that a lector must be literate.
A lector is usually only a few years
older than a doorkeeper, and he usually
Possession and Exorcism continues to receive an education. Almost
all doorkeepers become lectors.
Possession by demons is a common Exorcism Total: Stress Die + Bonuses
occurrence in Mythic Europe, and exor-
cists have a special responsibility to help Any clergyman can conduct exor- Exorcist
the possessed. Rules for possession are cisms. Those who have been ordained as
given in Realms of Power: The Infernal, page exorcists receive a +1 bonus, and using At ordination, an exorcist receives
32; the demon invests a fraction of his holy water and a crucifix adds a further a scroll of exorcism rites. In the early
Infernal Might Pool in the victim (the +1 each. Exorcism is a Divine supernatu- Church, exorcists looked after those who
energumen) in order to control her. ral power and the Total is affected by the were possessed and conducted daily exor-
To perform the exorcism rite, the ex- aura in the usual way. If the energumen cisms of adults who were being prepared
orcist must spend at least 1 Confidence has Magic Resistance, it must be Penetrat-
for baptism, to clear them of any super-
(or Faith) Point and an Exorcism Total is ed by the exorcism; Penetration is calcu-
natural influences from their previous pa-
generated (each Confidence/Faith Point lated as usual (see ArM5, page 184).
gan faith. However, in 1220 adult baptism
adds +3, as usual). If the Exorcism Total A character must be literate in Latin
is rare (most characters are baptized as
equals or exceeds an Ease Factor equal to read the exorcism rite from a scroll,
infants), and so there is less need for pre-
to the number of Might Points invested however an illiterate character (who has
baptismal exorcism. In 1220, clergy are
in the energumen by the demon, then been told what to say) can still conduct
usually ordained to the grade of exorcist
the demon is exorcised. the rite.
in their late teens, and some clergy prog-
ress no further.

The Church

The acolyte is the greatest of the minor

once ordained by a laying on of hands
by another bishop, who was likewise
ordained and so forth. This chain of
Canon Law
orders, and the symbols of his office are hands reaches back in time to the dis- Canon law is based on papal decrees
an extinguished candlestick and an empty ciples (ordained by Jesus, from whom or bulls, and it is used by the Church
vessel. These symbolize the acolyte’s tra- the power of the clergy originates). The throughout Mythic Europe, although
ditional responsibilities for keeping the priests of the Church are the successors there are minor regional differences in
church’s candles lit, and for presenting of Christ’s 72 disciples, the bishops are how some decrees are interpreted. There
wine and water at the altar. A character is the successors of the 12 apostles, and are several compendiums of papal de-
not usually ordained as an acolyte until af- the pope is the successor to the chief crees, called decretals, in circulation.
ter he has reached the age of twenty. apostle, Peter. One common volume is Gratian’s Decre-
Many acolytes serve as parish clerks, A priest must be freeborn, legitimate, tum (Civil and Canon Law Summa; Level
and others perform minor duties for the sound of body and mind, sufficiently well 5, Quality 11).
Church as scribes, messengers, or distribu- educated for his office, and at least 25
tors of alms. Most Church characters en- years old. Even if he fails to meet these
countered outside of churches are acolytes
on minor missions for the diocese.
criteria, a character can still be ordained,
but he must gain a special dispensation
Canon Courts
from the bishop or the pope (see Peti-
tioning the Church, later). Dispensa- Archdeacons travel throughout their
Major Orders tions are quite readily granted, and it is
common for characters who are bastards,
jurisdiction (see Visitation, later in this
chapter) and hold court in the parishes
missing limbs, underaged, or with poor they visit. The bishop’s court is the court
Like the minor orders, the major or- eyesight to receive them. Even the bas- of appeal, and he can choose to hear
ders all wear tonsures and clerical robes. tard sons of priests can receive dispensa- other cases, too. The final court of ap-
They are also subject to canon law. The tion, although if the father was a canon peal is the papal curia. In some dioceses
major orders are celibate. then the son cannot be a member of the rural deans, and even the parish priest,
same chapter. also act as canon judges, but generally
A bishop cannot ordain a priest who the archdeacons have monopolized this
Sub-Deacon has no means of financial support. This duty. In any case, the judge employs a
usually means that a priest can only be notary (usually an acolyte or sub-deacon)
When a sub-deacon is ordained he is ordained if there is a vacant benefice, or who travels with him, keeping a record of
presented with a paten (the plate on which a if there is a vacant position as a chap- cases and judgments.
the bread is placed during Mass), and a lain or curate in the diocese; but priests
chalice by the bishop. He is also presented of noble birth sometimes have private
with a pitcher and a basin by the archdea- sources of wealth. Secular Justice
con. Sub-deacons act as parish clerks and A priest should always wear his clerical
canons. Sub-deacons also form part of the dress, even when on journeys. The most Clergy are not subject to secular jus-
retinue of senior clergy. important item of dress is his stole, which tice, so clergymen found guilty by a secu-
he receives at his ordination. lar court are passed to the bishop’s court
to be tried again. Most secular courts are
Deacon thus observed by agents of the bishop to

The symbol of the deacon’s office is a

stole, placed over the left shoulder. A dea- Story Seed: A Catechumen Covenant
con can serve as a parish clerk or a canon.
The office of archdeacon is also held by A pious pereginator (itinerant magus) on the covenfolk, and providing verbal
a deacon, as are many of the offices in a visiting the covenant is appalled at the instruction on Christianity. At the end
chapter of canons or the cathedral admin- covenant’s isolation from the Church, of the season spent as catechumens —
istration. Deacons are also found in the and he fears for the immortal souls of adults undergoing instruction in Christi-
retinue of the senior clergy. the unbaptized covenfolk. He helps the anity prior to baptism — the covenfolk
covenfolk petition the Church for assis- will travel to the nearby parish church
tance, which dispatches a pair of bright and be baptized. As baptism dispels su-
Priest young exorcists to the covenant. The pernatural effects, this may cause prob-
eager exorcists spend the season at the lems if the magi are using magic to aug-
A priest is ordained by the bishop covenant performing daily exorcisms ment or control the covenfolk.
laying hands on him. Each bishop was

The Church
fenses of both laymen and clergy. This
includes wills, church attendance, mar-
riage, sexual offenses, brawling in church
grounds, slander, usury, and breaches of
contract, although secular courts also
claim jurisdiction over some of these
offenses. In civil cases (brought by one
layman against another) there is a ten-
dency to prefer canon courts, as cases
are generally resolved more quickly and
with less cost. On the other hand, secu-
lar courts dominate criminal cases where
there is double jurisdiction. This is be-
cause canon courts have no officers to
detain suspects, nor anywhere to hold
prisoners awaiting trial.

Court Procedures

Priests, or parishioners, are summoned

to attend the canon court by a summoner
(sometimes called an apparitor). This of-
ficial may be an acolyte or sub-deacon,
but often he is a layman. In either case, the
summoner does not receive a salary, in-
stead he charges a fee to those summoned.
This arrangement is ripe for corruption,
and some accuse summoners of inventing
sins to report to the archdeacon.
A person cannot be forced, except
by papal decree, to attend a canon court
further than two days travel from his dio-
cese. This law was introduced in 1215
to resolve abuses whereby someone was
accused in a distant court and then con-
victed in his absence.
Cases are decided by the canon judge
— there is no jury — although he can be
held to account if the notary’s record indi-
cates corruption or poor decisions. There
is usually little effort to examine physical
evidence, and great weight is given to the
testimony of witnesses.
An important, controversial, procedure
of canon courts is the ritual of compurga-
ensure that clergymen receive this protec- crimes against town or lord may find him- tion. In this ritual, about a dozen witnesses
tion. Secular judges find this exasperating, self punished by a canon court, or excom- (the precise number varies) declare to the
particularly as many clergymen are subse- municated and returned to the hands of court, under oath, that the defendant is of
quently acquitted via compurgation (see secular justice. good character and incapable of the of-
Court Procedures, later). fense. If such witnesses can be found, the
However, canon law also states that defendant is acquitted. In other words,
clergymen should not, under pretext of Canon Law Jurisdiction compurgation testifies to the character of
Ecclesiastical liberty, attempt to under- the defendant rather than the facts of the
mine the authority of secular justice. So Canon law claims jurisdiction over case; this is the principle reason why secu-
a clergyman who commits very serious the religious obligations and moral of- lar courts dislike canon courts.

The Church
Bishops and Blood
The following are the usual canon law Those bishops who are also feudal pacy can also take action to correct or
punishments. Note that canon courts can- lords may have difficulty avoiding in- replace bishop-barons. However, the
not pass sentences of death or physical volvement in the shedding of blood. papacy will be cautious, as the bishop-
punishment, as clerics cannot shed blood. Confession lifts divine punishment for baron’s feudal allies may leap to his de-
Excommunication is reserved for re- this transgression, though, and the pa- fense.
peat, serious offenses, and a bishop can
excommunicate anyone in his diocese. An
excommunicate character is cursed and Canon courts can imprison characters was the Fourth Lateran Council (1215).
receives no benefit from any of the Sacra- in either a monastery or nunnery. Wealthy Clerics may not:
ments except penance, and if he dies he women who commit sexual offenses are
cannot be buried in consecrated ground. often punished like this, as are clergymen • Decree or pronounce a sentence in-
An excommunicated clergyman is also no convicted by a secular court when the volving the shedding of blood.
longer protected from secular justice. Ex- bishop decides it would be impolitic to • Carry out or be present for a punish-
communication can be lifted by the char- acquit by compurgation. Monasteries are ment involving the shedding of blood.
acter confessing, repenting, and complet- not usually very secure, and are often easy • Write or dictate letters that require
ing penance. to escape from. punishments involving the shedding
Irregularity automatically (and only) Fines are imposed when a character of blood.
affects clergy who commit grossly immoral fails to complete penance. Sometimes the • Command mercenaries, or crossbow-
crimes (mostly shedding blood). An irreg- fine is paid to the Church, but in cases men, or suchlike men of blood.
ular clergyman cannot make use of Faith where a man sins against another, the vic- • Be involved in any of the ordeals —
Points. Irregularity does not require a trial, tim receives the fine. see Realms of Power: The Divine, page 78.
or even for anyone to know of the crime, as Clergy can have their benefice sus-
this punishment is inflicted by the Divine. pended, either for short periods or per- In addition, clerics in major orders
Irregularity is lifted by confession. manently. Usually, suspension is only in- may not practice chirurgy.
Lay and clergy can receive monition flicted after the clergyman has been given
— an official warning. Even serious offens- a monition and a chance to reform.
es by the clergy (non-residence, brawling, Marriage and Sexual Crimes
and concubinage) can receive monition,
but usually only to first-time offenders.
Many crimes are punished by a public
Canon Law Cases Prostitution, casual sex, and giving
birth within the first nine months of mar-
penance. Some examples include soldiers riage are canon crimes, and men must usu-
who make military use of church buildings The following types of cases are typi- ally support bastard children as penance.
presenting their arms to the altar; clergy- cal of those a canon court might hear. Marriage between close relatives and biga-
men who argue in the church grounds my are crimes. Contraception and abortion
then standing on opposite sides of the al- are also canon crimes, but are only rarely
tar chanting the psalter at each other for a Shedding of Blood prosecuted and are not harshly punished.
day; or a parishioner who stabs another in Contraception is hard for the court to dis-
the church providing rushes to cover the Clerics are forbidden to shed blood. cover, and an unborn fetus is assumed to
church floor. The most recent reiteration of this rule have no soul. On the other hand, a magus
who sterilizes himself or others with a lon-
gevity potion has technically committed
Story Seed: The Heresy of Hermes an offense.

In parts of Mythic Europe, having a archdeacon is now suspicious of the

tonsure and demonstrating proficiency Order of Hermes and has since pried Sanctuary
in Latin is sufficient evidence of be- into the covenant’s affairs, which he
ing a clergyman. A magus accused of concludes show evidence of heresy. The church, churchyard, and cemetery
murder has thus claimed Ecclesiastical The player-covenant could probably are places of sanctuary, within which it is
protection, and then (maybe via Rego prosecute the magus for interference forbidden to spill blood or brawl. Many fu-
Mentem magic) been acquitted of the in the mundane, but dealing with the gitives from lay justice thus seek the safety
crime via compurgation. Unfortunate- archdeacon’s investigation is a more of a church. Sanctuary is granted for up
ly for the nearby player-covenant, the pressing concern. to 40 days, after which time the fugitive
should surrender to the lay authorities. In

The Church
some dioceses sanctuary is also extended Wills church or their unusual beliefs have been
to chapels. noticed and reported to the archdeacon
Disputes over the division of estates for prosecution.
can be resolved by a canon court. Some-
Simony times wills are registered in advance with
the archdeacon’s court, but many people Tithes
Simony is the buying and selling of are reluctant to do this, believing that
sacred things, which is a canon law crime. writing a will invites death. In 1220, everyone tithes a tenth of
Nonetheless ordinations, relics, benefices, their income to the Church. However, the
burial rights, and places in nunneries and canon court commonly prosecutes people
monasteries are sometimes bought and Upkeep of the Church for paying less than the court believes is
sold. When simony is identified by the due. Hermetic covenants that evade the
Church, the usual penalty for the buyer is If the archdeacon finds the church in a tithe may eventually be found out, and the
that whatever he gained is removed. The poor condition during his visitation, then magi prosecuted.
seller is fined twice the value of the trans- the priest or representatives of the congre-
action, and may be excommunicated for gation can be prosecuted.
repeat offenses. Slander
Religious Practices Since 1215, slander has been a canon of-
Usury fense. The Church’s intention is that by pro-
Laymen can be prosecuted for fail- viding legal recourse, parishioners will brawl
Charging excessive interest rates on ing to regularly attend Church festivals. less over matters of “honor.” In 1220, few
loaned money is the canon crime of usury. Clergy can also be prosecuted for failing cases have yet been heard by archdeacon
This is also a secular crime (in most dio- to fulfill their religious duties, or for he- courts, so it is unclear if this will succeed.
ceses) and is usually more effectively pros- retical practices. Pagan magi and coven-
ecuted by secular courts. folk may find that either their absence at
Sorcery and Witchcraft

Story Seed: Hermetic Sanctuary Rarely, minor cases of sorcery are

brought to the canon court. A typical
A desperate magus seeks sanctuary tively, the players might be involved penance involves wearing a white sheet
during Wizard War. Does his opponent after the fact when the Church sends a before the congregation, although can-
ignore the laws of the Church? legate to the tribunal to protest against, on courts are ambivalent about whether
The player characters could be par- fine, or excommunicate a magus who has minor sorcery (except as evidence of in-
ticipants in the Wizard War. Alterna- violated Church sanctuary. fernalism or paganism) is a crime. Seri-
ous cases of sorcery are prosecuted by
secular courts, which can impose death
as a punishment.

Relics are the remains of saints, or • The relic has a Divine Might Score
objects used by the saint, and are de-
scribed in detail in Realms of Power: The
equal to 10 x the Faith Score.
• Relics radiate an aura hostile to the
The Parish
Divine, pages 43–46. The basics are sum- Infernal, which extends a number of The parish is the main unit of Eccle-
marized here: feet equal to the relic’s Might Score. siastic administration in Mythic Europe,
Creatures with an Infernal Might and a diocese might contain between
• All relics have a Faith Score and an may only enter the aura of hostility several hundred and one thousand par-
equal number of Faith Points. if their Might Score exceeds that of ishes. The size of parishes can vary con-
• Anyone who holds the relic has a the relic, and even then, they suffer siderably, from a few acres enclosed by
Magic Resistance equal to 10 x the damage equal to the relic’s Might town walls to a tract of land several miles
Faith Score, and may spend the Faith Score each round (although this across, encompassing thousands of acres
Points as if they were Confidence may be Soaked). of farmland.
Points. The Faith Points replenish • Some relics have other supernatural
each day. powers related to the saint’s life.

The Church
The Parish Church
Church Auras
Parish life is centered around the parish Divine auras radiate from the church Area Aura Level
church, where the rector (a priest) recites altar for as far as the church bells can Large church/cathedral 5
the liturgy and conducts Masses and buri- be heard, or to the edge of the parish Typical parish church 4
als. The rites of the parish protect the pa- boundary, whichever is closer. A small Chapel 3
rishioners from supernatural peril, and the parish might be entirely covered by a Within city walls 3
priest provides a conduit to the Divine. Divine aura. The strength of the aura Within town walls 2
During construction, the parish church depends upon the distance from the al- Fields of a rural parish 1
is consecrated by the bishop and the rel- tar and the size of the church:
ics of a saint are interred beneath the al-
tar. Many churches contain other relics,
and some wealthy churches contain hun-
dreds or even thousands of relics. Wealthy Spells in Church
churches are also often decorated with
frescoes, mosaics, carvings, and statues A typical rural church has a floor nave. If it is petitioned off, the chancel
depicting saints and biblical scenes. area of about 500 square feet, but urban is a separate Room, otherwise it is also
The two critical parts of the church are churches can be much larger. For Her- part of the nave. The entire church may
the chancel and the nave. The chancel is metic magic, the nave and each floor be targeted as a Structure, and unless the
at the east end of the church, and the rear, of the tower count as separate Rooms. church is unusually large no size modi-
east wall holds the altar. This is where the Aisles and the transepts are a part of the fier is required.
priest conducts the liturgy, and the chan-
cel is often screened off from the rest of
the church. Rarely, the chancel is placed
at the west end of the church, so that the Story Seed: The Reconstructed Temple
priest may face the congregation while he
conducts the liturgy. The nave (at the west Some churches are constructed from for the magus to rebuild the temple,
end of the church) is where the congrega- stone salvaged from Roman buildings. A which his vision seems to indicate will
tion stands during Mass. The congrega- magus receives a vision that indicates form a gateway to a regio or possibly
tion is responsible for the upkeep of the how a temple of Mercury was thus bro- the Magic Realm itself. Can the magus
nave, and the priest is responsible for the ken down and rebuilt as the local ca- find a way to reclaim the temple from
upkeep of the chancel. This division of thedral. The vision is specific enough the cathedral?
responsibility sometimes means that the
two sections are rebuilt at different times
and of different materials. The chancel is in the nave, or in an aisle, that contains a ing to find a few fortified churches scat-
usually smaller than the nave, but an urban table and a chair. This is where the arch- tered throughout the countryside.
church with many canons may have a very deacon’s canon court is held. There is a considerable regional varia-
large chancel. The parish church is often constructed tion in churches. Multiple domes and cu-
Some churches include aisles, which of stone, and may be the only strongly polas are common in Italy and southern
are extensions to the nave. A large church built structure in the parish. The church France, whereas spires are more common
may have additional altars built in the east is usually kept locked and barred, and in Germany, northern France, and Eng-
walls of the aisles, each served by extra many parishioners store valuable goods land. Older churches that date to the Ro-
priests. Large churches also normally have within the church nave, although this is man Empire are usually built in the basilica
transepts. These are wings built at right technically against canon law except in style (a long, columned east-west hall)
angles to the nave, giving the church a times of enemy incursions, fires, or other with the altar in a semi-circular apse at the
cruciform footprint. Transepts may also emergencies. Parishioners often retreat to east end.
have extra altars built in their east walls. the safety of the church in times of war,
Most churches contain towers, from but most churches in Mythic Europe are
which the church bells are rung. A few
churches lack bells due to the expense
not built with the intention of defense: the
windows and entrances are too large, and
The Parish Priest
of a tower, so their Divine aura does not the walls are not thick enough. On the
extend beyond the consecrated ground of other hand, in those parts of Mythic Eu- The parish priest is the representative of
the church. Chapels do not have the right rope that are frequently wracked by war, the Church. He is usually locally born, or
to ring bells, and so usually lack a tower. fortified churches are common, and even at least from within the diocese. For a priest
Many churches have a raised platform in relatively peaceful areas it is not surpris- from further afield, finding a common lan-

The Church
Eucharist or Holy Communion). In this
Hermetic Magic and the Sacraments Sacrament, bread and wine is turned
into the body and blood of Christ.
Magi can observe the supernatural magic for three days. This is consumed by the congregation,
effects of the Sacraments, and it is com- Due to this overwhelming evidence which grants them a Faith Point each.
mon knowledge within the Order that of the Divine, most magi believe in the Every Christian must attend Mass at
the Sacraments are supernatural Divine existence of God, and many would de- least once a year at Easter.
powers. For example, a baptismal name scribe themselves as Christians. How- Marriage: Both husband and wife get a Faith
cannot be used as a Sympathetic Con- ever, even a magus who identifies him- Point from the Sacrament of marriage.
nection to aid Penetration (unlike a self as Christian would almost certainly Penance: By this Sacrament, a character
birth name), Mass does indeed change be considered by the Church to have a can be absolved of confessed sins by
simple bread and wine into something heretical view of the world, colored as completing a penance that his priest
Divine, and bodies that have received it will be by the magus’ knowledge of assigns. The character receives a spe-
Extreme Unction cannot be affected by the supernatural. cial Confidence Point that may only
be spent on the penance task. Every
Christian must confess his sins at least
guage to communicate with his congregation any effect on him, and he receives a once a year, and a character may only
can be a problem, because many languages new, baptismal name, which cannot confess to his parish priest, unless the
in Mythic Europe are spoken in dialects con- be used for magical purposes. A char- priest gives permission to confess to
fined to narrow geographic regions. acter can only be baptized once, and another. Confession is secret and is
The priest’s main tasks involve reciting any character who knows how can privately whispered to the priest, but
the liturgy, distributing alms, and caring perform a baptism, anywhere. Even a as confession boxes are not yet used, it
for the spiritual needs of his congregation. pagan may perform the rite. However, is sometimes possible for confession to
baptisms performed by an ordained be overheard.
priest also dispel any non-Divine, non- Ordination: Ordination Sacraments are
The Liturgy permanent supernatural effects that conducted by the bishop (see Clerics,
are affecting the character at the time. earlier).
The liturgy is the church service. It Additionally, baptisms conducted by a Extreme Unction: Extreme Unction, or
consists of the fasting parish priest reciting priest at a baptismal font gain the char- Last Rites, are performed just before,
the Epistle and Gospel in Latin, while it is acter a Faith Point. All parish churches or just after, a person dies. He is ab-
sung by the church choir. The priest also have baptismal fonts, but most chapels solved of all mortal sins and receives a
conducts Mass. During the liturgy the priest do not. Faith Point. In addition, his body can-
stands before the altar, facing east with his Confirmation: A character can only be not be affected by other supernatural
back to the congregation. In a large church confirmed once, which grants him a powers for three days.
he may be assisted by several clergy in lower Faith Point. The confirmation Sac-
orders, but in a rural church the priest is usu- rament can only be conducted by a
ally only assisted by his clerk. There is no bishop. Confirmation is uncommon The Parish Clerk
attempt to translate for the congregation: among the laity in 1220, but most
their role is only to gaze upon the Host (the clergy receive confirmation. The parish priest is assisted by a clerk
bread consecrated as the body of Christ). Mass: This is the most sacred and holy of (often an acolyte, sometimes a sub-dea-
the priest’s Sacraments (also called the con). The clerk helps with the liturgy,

The Sacraments

The priest conducts the Mass and the Story Seed: The Lost Priest
other Sacraments. There are seven Sacra-
ments, which are described in Realms of A priest exorcises the demons from village. The sundering of the priest’s
Power: The Divine, page 74. The Sacraments an abandoned village in his parish, after mind has driven him mad. A co-adjudi-
are supernatural powers. They do not need which he returns to his church and ap- cator is assigned to the village and he
to Penetrate to have their effect, but the pears well. Unfortunately, in the weeks quickly learns from the parishioners
participants must be willing. A character that follow the priest goes mad, until about the parish priest’s sojourn prior to
may not have more than 1 Faith Point finally he locks himself in the church his madness. The co-adjudicator seeks
from each Sacrament. tower, braying like a donkey. In fact, a help from the nearby covenant, as the
fragment of the priest’s mind is trapped magi are famed locally for their knowl-
Baptism: A character must be baptized for in an Infernal regio in the abandoned edge and wisdom.
any of the other Sacraments to have

The Church
rings the church bells, and accompanies
the priest in his travels about the parish.
The parish clerk is often selected by
the priest, but in some parishes the parish-
ioners elect him. In either case, the posi-
tion is usually held for many years, and
in some parishes has become hereditary.
There is no expectation that the parish
clerk will succeed the priest.
The parish clerk is paid a yearly
wage by the parishioners, with the ex-
act amount depending on the wealth of
the parish; a London parish clerk could
expect a wage of three or four pounds,
whereas a simple rural clerk may only
earn a dozen shillings. The clerk is a full-
time position, but he can supplement his
income by picking up small fees for writ-
ing letters for the parishioners.

The Curate

The curate fulfills the liturgical duties

of an absent parish priest, and is usually
paid only a fraction of what the benefice
is worth. The curate is often a second-rate
priest who is barely literate and has only a
poor grasp of theology.

The Chaplain

Large parishes often contain subordi-

nate churches called chapels. The priest ap-
pointed to hold Mass in the chapel is called
a chaplain (see Rural Parishes, later).

The Co-adjudicator The Perambulation is not walked (as occasionally happens).

This leads to confusion when the peram-
bulation is resumed in later years.
When the bishop learns that a par- On Rogation Day (April 25th) the As neighboring parishes walk the per-
ish priest is ill, senile, or mad he appoints priest and parishioners walk the bound- ambulation on the same day, two groups of
a co-adjudicator to perform the priest’s ary of the parish. This rowdy procession, walking parishioners may meet. Insults are
responsibilities. Sometimes (especially called the perambulation, can take many likely to be traded between the two par-
in temporary appointments) the co-ad- hours (or even a few days in a large ru- ties, and scuffles occasionally break out.
judicator is the priest of a neighboring ral parish), and there are frequent stops The perambulation is sometimes
parish, who must scurry between the at charitable households along the way walked in urban parishes too, but it is less
two parishes. The incumbent priest may for food and drink. The perambulation common.
either recognize his incapacity and will- is an opportunity for the parishioners to
ingly accept his replacement, or he may note how well crops are growing, for the
fight the presence of a co-adjudicator.
Sometimes the co-adjudicator takes ad-
clerk to assess the tithe, and for wayward
parish boundary markers to be replaced.
The Benefice
vantage of his temporary control of the The yearly perambulation creates a path
parish coffers and resources. around the perimeter of the parish, which The benefice is the income associated
can become obscured if the perambulation with a parish church. This is usually as-

The Church
• He could be in service elsewhere.
Minor Covenant Boon: Holder of Benefices The canons of the cathedral, for ex-
ample, usually hold rural benefices
The covenant is an institutional the covenant, and could even be in a within the diocese, as do the priests
holder of several parish benefices. The different diocese. On the other hand, if who serve in the private chapels of
covenant collects the benefice incomes the covenant is built within one of its important nobles.
(a Typical Source of income) and is parishes, then the congregation may be • The final (and most frequent) reason
responsible for assigning curates to mostly covenfolk. This Boon may be for non-residence is the widespread
perform Mass. The parishes need not taken multiple times. practice of a single priest holding
necessarily be geographically close to several benefices. Pluralism, as this
is called, is technically outlawed in
canon law, and arouses much hostility
Story Seed: The Overgrown Glebe within the Church. However, even
the papacy frequently engages in plu-
In rural parishes part of the ben- efice discovers that his predecessor has ralism. Some clergy (consequently
efice is a plot of land, sometimes called allowed the parish’s small glebe to be- the wealthiest) hold more than a doz-
a glebe. This is usually a plot of about come overgrown with exotic plants that en benefices, from which they collect
5 to 10 acres that the priest and his burst with exhilaratingly scented flow- total incomes of hundreds of pounds
staff personally farm. This is much the ers, buzz with bees, and are heavy with a year.
same size as the land a freehold peas- succulent fruits. However, the parishio-
ant would farm. In wealthier parishes ners also tell him frightening stories of A priest with a benefice who is resi-
the glebe could be hundreds of acres, plants moving about in the night. The dent at a covenant, or spends a lot of
and the priest can collect a substantial priest’s inquiries in the diocese lead him time adventuring with magi, might apply
income from renting it out. to the covenant, which is rumored to for a license of absence from the bishop
A priest newly assigned to a ben- house horticultural experts. (see Petitioning the Church, later, and the
Minor Virtue License of Absence, earlier).
Depending on your saga, he may need to
signed to a priest by the bishop, but some rate, earlier) to actually perform the par- find another pretext for the license and, in
benefices are assigned by archdeacons, ish duties. any case, he must arrange for a curate.
nobles, gilds, or town councils. The ideal There are three main reasons why a Two priests can exchange benefices,
parish in Mythic Europe has a single priest priest might be legitimately absent from the usual reason being a falling out be-
— the rector — who holds the benefice, his parish: tween the priest and his parishioners.
resides in the parish, and holds Mass in The exchange requires the permission of
the parish church. However, in practice • He could have leave to study in a uni- the bishop and if the benefices are in dif-
very few parishes are run like this. Most versity, to go on pilgrimage, or similar. ferent dioceses both bishops must agree.
benefices are in fact held by absent priests A leave of absence of several years for In some parts of Mythic Europe, the
who employ another priest (see The Cu- these purposes is common. bishop’s clerks act as brokers for these

Spells to Affect a Parish

If the parish is clearly defined by Size Modifier, but the diocese’s borders feud, brawls erupt in the fields, and ani-
natural or man-made boundaries, then must also be very well defined (perhaps mals flee from their masters. The parish
the entire parish may be affected using by rivers and forests) for such a spell to is paralyzed by the social breakdown,
spells that have the Boundary target. be possible. and by the end of the spell several pa-
This is rare, but if so, then participat- rishioners may have been murdered. The
ing in the yearly perambulation is an parish immediately gains a reputation for
opportunity for a magus to cast such The Great Discord being cursed, and it can take years for
spells. A rural parish of typical size re- harmony to be restored. Also, as the par-
quires a spell with a Boundary target, CrVi 55 ish animals have fled and the fields have
with a +4 Size Modifier. A typical ur- R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Boundary, been only erratically tended, it is likely
ban parish requires a Boundary target Ritual that the parish will suffer from famine
with a +1 Size Modifier. The whole parish is tainted by magic, and starvation in the following year.
An entire diocese might be affected and for the spell duration everyone in the (Base 3, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +4
by a Boundary target spell with a +7 parish suffers from the social penalties of Boundary, +4 size)
The Gift: husbands and wives bicker and

The Church
exchanges and charge a fee for their ser- Rural Parishes (a round journey of four miles). This means
vices. These fees are strongly opposed that many rural parishes have several small
by the papacy, which regards the prac- chapels (each with a priest) to serve the
tice as simony. A typical rural parish has a congrega- outlying population. It is common for the
tion of a few hundred peasants, and cov- men of a village to petition the bishop for
ers several thousand acres of countryside license to build a chapel near where they
Benefices Held by Institutions (an area a few miles across). The parish live, due to difficulty in reaching the par-
lands are often coincident with a manor ish church. Generally, bishops are sup-
It is possible and common for insti- and might encompass several villages. portive of these requests, but a chapel is
tutions such as monasteries and chapters If a parish includes the lands of several a significant cost to the local parishioners.
of canons to hold benefices; many such small manors, the parish church is usually The parishioners must pay for the chapel’s
institutions hold dozens of benefices. In constructed near the border between the construction, its upkeep, the chaplain’s sal-
this case, the institution collects the ben- manorial lands. A few enormous parishes ary, and their normal tithe to the parish.
efice and is responsible for arranging for cover up to 100,000 acres of land. Sometimes a small pension is granted to
a curate. Sometimes there are arguments over the chapel by the parish church, but this
which parish an individual field belongs is by no means guaranteed. Most chapels
to. Some farmers even owe tithe in one do not have baptismal fonts or a cemetery.
Tithe parish, but actually attend church in an- This means that the parishioners must
other. What makes matters worse is that sometimes make their way to the parish
The tithe is used to fund the benefice, some parishes are not continuous tracts church, anyway.
to pay the rector, and to keep up church of land, but composed of fragmented
buildings. In addition, a proportion is for- parcels of land encapsulated within the
warded to the bishop (or archdeacon), and borders of other parishes. Such disputes Private Chapels
another proportion is distributed to the over the jurisdiction of parishes can sim-
poor of the parish as alms. mer away for hundreds of years, but can Nobles usually worship at private cha-
Hermetic covenants are not exempt also be resolved by petitions to the bish- pels, and virtually every castle has a cha-
from the tithe, and are occasionally vis- op or pope. pel, as do many manor houses, guild halls,
ited by the parish priest and his clerk and similar places. Private chapels are not
in order to assess what the covenant’s open to the public, and the license granted
income is. Obviously, there are many Chapels by the bishop often explicitly limits their
magical schemes that magi can use to use to the members of the family or com-
avoid paying the tithe, and covenants As a rough rule, the Church accepts munity that established them. The license
that are hidden from the priest (perhaps that no peasant should need to travel more is sometimes limited to a particular period
within a regio) do not need to pay tithe. than two miles to reach a place of worship of time, too (a few years). Occasionally,
Nonetheless, most Christian magi would
prefer to pay.
Story Seed: A Concerned Priest
Papal Appointments to Benefice
Many of the covenfolk travel to a and suggests that they apply to the
nearby village to attend church. The bishop for permission to build a chapel
A character can petition the pope for parish priest is concerned at the long nearer to the covenant (see Petitioning
a benefice, who may order a bishop to journey that the covenfolk must make, the Church, later).
grant one. These requests are difficult for
the bishop to refuse, and in 1220 a number
of benefices scattered throughout Mythic
Europe are effectively controlled by the Covenant Boon: Covenant Chapel
pope. If your saga follows history, then
this trend develops rapidly throughout the A private chapel is built within (or the rest of the covenant is unaffected.
13th century: in 1050 Pope Leo IX con- very near) the covenant for the coven- The covenant must pay the salary of the
trolled no benefices outside the province folk and magi to worship at. It may be chaplain, who counts as a specialist for
of Rome, whereas by the end of the 13th a room in a tower, or a separate build- covenant expenses.
century the pope directly controlled over ing. The chapel has a Divine aura of The chapel is worth a +20 situation-
100,000 benefices (the majority in Eu- 3, which will overwhelm auras of 3 or al modifier to Loyalty, assuming that the
rope). This increase in papal power is op- less aligned to other realms. However, covenfolk are normal, Christian humans
posed by other bishops. unless the chapel has bells, the aura in (see Covenants, page 38).

The Church
philanthropic owners open private chapels community of clerics is called a chapter, canons (even the office holders) need not
to the general public, but this is hardly and its members are canons. be ordained as priests — some are only
ever done with episcopal consent. Many canons lead lives similar to acolytes in minor orders.
Private chapels sometimes lack a nave, those of monks but, unlike monks, can-
because in theory there is no congrega- ons must see to the care of the souls
tion. On the other hand, the private cha- of the lay congregation. The priestly
pel of a wealthy noble can often rival a
parish church in scale.
The owner of a private chapel is ex-
canons thus each take weekly turns to
lead the liturgy. Some chapters fol-
low a monk-like rule called the Rule of
pected to pay the salary of the chaplain Saint Augustine, and these canons are One of the duties of the bishop (which
and for the upkeep of the chapel itself. called regular or Augustinian canons (see is frequently deputized to his archdeacons
However, influential nobles can arrange Chapter 4: The Rule). Other chapters and deans) is to visit each of the parishes
for a priest with a benefice elsewhere to be of canons are more lax: the canons can within his diocese, once a year. Monaster-
granted a leave of absence to perform the eat meat, wear linen cloth, and even own ies and nunneries must also be visited, and
service in their chapel instead. private property. Most urban churches in an archbishop has visitation rights in any
Italy and southern France are served by of the parishes of his subordinate dioceses.
regular canons, but elsewhere in Mythic In addition, the Fourth Lateran Council
Urban Parishes Europe regular and secular chapters are
equally common. The similarity between
(1215) ruled that any parish with known
heretics should be visited at least twice
monasteries and chapters of regular can- a year. Most bishops also consider the
Within town there is roughly one par- ons means that it is often possible for (known) presence of a Hermetic covenant
ish church for every 300 to 400 inhabit- bishops to transform monasteries into to be a good reason for more-frequent par-
ants. Most towns thus have somewhere chapters and vice versa. ish visitation.
between one and six parishes, and very In parts of France, Germany, and Visitation is an opportunity to check
large cities (like London, Paris, Florence, northern Italy there are also chapters of up on the parish priest (in case he has
etc) have more than 100 parishes. Unlike canonesses. These are always attached to fallen into heresy), to ensure that the
rural parishes, the jurisdictions of urban and subservient to a chapter of canons. church is well maintained, and to deal
parishes are usually very precisely defined: Chapters usually range in size from six with any Church business. It is also an
they follow street or property boundaries, to a few dozen canons. Chapter offices in- opportunity for the parishioners to make
which are sometimes marked to indicate clude the following: complaints about their priest. Part of the
the parish borders. visitation is to work through a formal
In large towns, one of the churches is Provost: Historically this office was the checklist (of about 100 articles) which
likely the cathedral — the church of the head of the chapter, responsible for its examines the state of the clergy and
bishop. Usually, the cathedral is the larg- administration. The provost is assisted congregation, and the physical structure
est church in the town, and the town is the by the camerarius and cellerarius. of the church. There are regional varia-
largest within the diocese, or at least it was Dean: The dean is responsible for the dis- tions in the precise nature of the visita-
when the see was created. The bishop can cipline of the chapter, and he is the tion articles, but a popular enumeration
move to a different church (it becomes the provost’s deputy. In 1220, the office is given in Homilia Leonis (Church Lore
cathedral), and many bishops have moved of provost has disappeared from most Tractatus of Quality 8 by Pope Leo IV;
to follow the growth of population and chapters, and the chapter is headed by 847-855).
political power within the diocese. Such the dean instead. Visitation can be extremely expensive
moves are rarely made more often than Cantor: The cantor is responsible for orga- for the parish. Usually a feast is provided
once every few centuries. nizing the liturgy and the sacred rites. for the visitor’s retinue, and he may also
In large urban churches there are often Scholasticus or Chancellor: This office is claim visitation expenses from the par-
several altars. These additional altars are responsible for the church school (see ishes that he visits. Some members of the
sponsored by guilds and wealthy individu- Art & Academe, pages 81–83). Church, and the papacy itself, are very
als; the endowment pays for the benefice Custos: The custos is responsible for the uneasy about this practice and the abuses
of an extra priest who performs the liturgy church’s treasury. He is assisted by the that it encourages (claiming for visits that
at the altar. thesaurarius and sacrista. never take place, for example). The pa-
Hebdomadarius: This is the canon pacy states that the guiding principle is
whose weekly turn it is to lead the that the shepherd (the bishop) should
Chapters of Canons liturgy (he may hold one of the other avoid burdening the flock (the parish),
offices, too). and should tailor the size of his retinue
The clergy who serve an urban church according to the resources of the parish.
often live together, sharing a common The provost, dean, and hebdomadar- Consequently, the Third Lateran Coun-
table and holding common property. This ius must be ordained priests. The other cil (1179) set the following upper limits

The Church
on the size of the traveling retinue of the
senior clergy:

Archbishop: 40 to 50 horses.
Bishop: 20 to 30 horses.
Archdeacon: 5 to 7 horses.
Dean: 2 horses.

Most bishops, archdeacons, and rural

deans spend at least one season a year in
visitation. This can be one of his non-free
seasons (as visitation is one of his duties).
A season spent on visitation is worth 2 ex-
posure experience points in Church Lore,
Civil and Canon Law, Area Lore, or Ride
for the visitor and his retinue.

Visitatio ad Limina
Bishops are also required by canon law
to report, in person, to the pope every four
years on the state of their diocese. Many
bishops are reluctant to fulfill this obliga-
tion (the journey can be long, dangerous,
difficult, and uncomfortable), and need
frequent reminders of their duty. It is al-
lowable for the bishop to send an archdea-
con in his stead.

Synods Ecumenical Councils to make ready for a new crusade, to is-

sue new Church doctrines, and to con-
Synods are meetings of the clergy. Ecumenical councils are special syn- solidate the pope’s reforms of the Church
The dean, archdeacon, bishop, and arch- ods called and presided over by the pope. and canon law.
bishop all regularly convoke synods to The last Ecumenical council was called There have been twelve Ecumenical
discuss the spiritual and material needs in 1213 by Pope Innocent III and began councils: Nicaea I (325), Constantinople
of their respective jurisdictions, and the in November 1215. The council was held I (381), Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451),
meetings are usually hosted by their in Rome and was attended by more than Constantinople II (553), Constantinople
church. Most parish priests attend at least 400 bishops, the heads of the military III (680-681), Nicaea II (787), Constanti-
one synod a year, and maybe as many as orders, and over 800 abbots and deans nople IV (869), Lateran I (1123), Lateran
one a season. Noble and monastic rep- of chapters. Envoys were sent by most II (1139), Lateran III (1179), and Lateran
resentatives are often invited to synods, of the major nobles of Mythic Europe IV (1215). If your saga follows history, the
and known Hermetic covenants might be and several attended in person, but there next Ecumenical council is held in 1245 in
invited to send representatives too. The was little participation by the Greek Lyons. It is convened to excommunicate
synod itself takes a couple of days and, Church. A number of magi also attended and depose the Emperor Frederick II, and
unless a character needs to travel an ex- the council in the retinue of either lay to call a new crusade against the Saracens
traordinarily long distance, attending a or clerical dignitaries. As far as the Or- and Mongols. Another council is held in
synod does not disrupt his seasonal activ- der of Hermes is aware, these magi only Lyons in 1274; it effects a (temporary) re-
ities. Occasional absences from regional witnessed proceedings; none are known union with the Greek Church and refines
synods are willingly tolerated, but many to have interfered in the council using the rules for papal elections.
absences will be seen as possible evidence magic. The council process took about
of heretical beliefs. two weeks, and its main purposes were

The Church

Petitioning authority he has, but even a bishop must

sometimes seek the permission or help of
es that a character needs to get certain
things done.

the Church
the papacy.
The following rules can help the troupe
decide whether a character can convince
the Church to take some particular action.
The Petition Total
In Mythic Europe, the Church has a The rules can be used both for clergy and
lot of resources that your characters may also for outsiders (peasants, nobles, and The basic mechanic is to generate
want to use. Perhaps they want to borrow magi, for example) who are trying to sway a Petition Total that is compared to an
money or land, exhume a body, move a Church decisions. Ease Factor. If the Petition Total equals
church, build a new church, excommu- Petitions can form the basis of re- or exceeds the Ease Factor, then the re-
nicate an enemy, appoint an ally to the warding stories, but sometimes your quest is granted by the appropriate of-
bishopric, have a departed friend made a troupe will just be interested in whether ficers of the Church.
saint, or have a crusade declared against or not a petition to the Church is success-
their enemies. As the Church is a bureau- ful, and not want to spend a long time on Petition Church:
cracy, it can be mobilized to do all of roleplaying events peripheral to the main Petition Total vs Petition Ease Factor
these things and more. However, because story. These rules are intended to help in
the Church is a bureaucracy, it also takes such circumstances. On the other hand, The following are example Ease Fac-
time and effort to access its resources. Of if you choose to tell stories about dealing tors for petitions. The list is not exhaus-
course, the higher a character is in the with the Church, then these rules can be tive, it is merely a guide.
Church hierarchy the more independent used as a guide to the sorts of resourc-

Modifiers to the Petition Total

The following modifiers apply to some cases it may take many years for the Modifier: Variable Bonus
both a written and audience petition. character to gather all the support that he Support: The character has a positive
Some of the modifiers require the needs for a successful petition. reputation with the Church, spell
troupe to judge whether something is “sig- Modifiers are as follows, if the peti- effects that make the petition more
nificant.” Rather than provide hard rules for tion is supported by certain people or persuasive***
this, it is best for the troupe’s players to use circumstances.
their own judgment based on the circum- Modifier: Variable Penalty
stances of the petition and their saga. Modifier: +1 Support: The character has a negative
Some of the modifiers add a bonus Support: The testimony of a significant reputation with the Church
if the petition is supported by arguments number of individuals, a priest or dea-
based on Ability Scores. To determine con*, a knight**, magical evidence*** * These modifiers are not cumulative
whether the argument is successful, roll with each other; use the highest that
as follows: Modifier: +1 to +3 applies, once only.
Support: A significant donation to the ** These modifiers are not cumulative
Argument Success: Church, an argument based on Civil with each other; use the highest that
Int + Ability Score + stress die and Canon Law, an argument based applies, once only.
vs Ease Factor of 9 on Artes Liberales (Logic), an argu- *** Magical evidence includes the results
If the argument is successful, the bonus ment based on Intrigue of scrying effects that are intended
is gained. If the argument botches, subtract to show the Church it should act in
the bonus from the Petition Total; it is a Modifier: +3 a particular way (for example, InMe
penalty instead. The storyguide may mod- Support: A holy vision, a senior clergy- effects that show a character is inno-
ify the Ease Factor of this test depending man (bishop, abbot, abbess, arch- cent of a crime is magical evidence).
on the quality of the argument. deacon, etc.)*, a nobleman (baron, Spell effects to make a petition more
Some of the modifiers require the pe- count, etc.)** persuasive are spell effects (success-
tition to be supported by other characters fully) cast on the clergy who are
(a bishop, a king, etc). Gaining the sup- Modifier: +6 making decisions concerning the
port of these individuals creates opportu- Support: One or more miracles, an arch- petition (for example, ReMe effects
nities for the troupe to tell stories. Gath- bishop or higher ranked official*, a to cause the bishop to look favorably
ering this support also takes time, so in king (duke, earl, or emperor)** on a petition).

The Church
Ease Factor: 3
Petition: A marriage blessing. Henri of Toulouse’s Petition
Ease Factor: 6 One night Henri of Toulouse has • Henri then visits the court of the
Petition: Access to the parish crypt; ac- a vision in which he builds, stone by Count of Toulouse who is impressed
cess to the parish library (possibly stone, a monastery on a hill overlooking with Henri’s dedication and gives
just a single book, the missal); con- a gently winding river. Some weeks lat- his support to the project (+3 sup-
vince a priest to travel two days to er, while traveling between two towns, port of a nobleman).
administer last rites; enroll a child in Henri finds the exact location. To found • Next, Henri meets with the monks
a parish school; grant pilgrims a letter the monastery he directs his scribe to of a Benedictine monastery in Italy
of safe passage. write a petition to the papal curia. In who agree to send some of their
order to make a convincing case, Henri number to colonize the new monas-
Ease Factor: 9 needs a Petition Total of 18 or greater: tery site (+1 testimony of a signifi-
Petition: Access to the bishop’s chambers; cant number of individuals).
access to the cathedral library; act to • Henri’s scribe has a Com + Church • Finally, Henri notes in his petition
protect a local minority (such as Jews) Lore Total of 4. that the site is further than two days’
from persecution; annul a marriage • Henri is a wealthy merchant and travel from the nearest chapel, and
between common folk (given appro- can afford to pay for the construc- so the monastery chapel will serve
priate grounds); appeal an ordination tion of the monastery and to pay a travelers that pass through the re-
exam; appoint a character to a vacant generous benefice to the new abbot gion (+2 argument based on Civil
benefice; assist in a Quaesitorial inves- (which the storyguide decides is a and Canon Law).
tigation; attempt to interfere in secular +3 significant donation).
justice to show leniency to a person • Henri is interviewed by the bishop, This gives the petition a Petition
sentenced to death; commission an ex- who establishes that the original vision Total of 19, which is a convincing
tension to a cathedral; dispensation to was a holy one and also gives his sup- case. For the troupe, Henri’s attempts
reach a clerical grade despite not meet- port to the monastery (+3 holy vision; to gain all this support are opportuni-
ing one of the grade’s criteria; establish +3 support of senior clergyman). ties to tell stories.
a chapel; excommunicate a freeman or
a clergyman of a lower rank than priest;
exhume a corpse; license for absence
from a clergyman’s benefice; move a The Petition of the Parish of Long Melford
parish’s celebration of a saint’s feast day;
swap benefices with another priest. In 1220 the parishioners of Long • The parishioners testify that mov-
Melford have a late harvest, and it is ing the feasts is necessary (+1 tes-
Ease Factor: 12 obvious that faithfully observing all the timony of a significant number of
Petition: Excommunicate a magus or a scheduled religious festivals will cause individuals).
priest; move a church to a new location; the parishioners to starve over the winter. • The local knight gives his support
rent land to a Hermetic covenant. Thus, their priest writes a petition to the for the petition (+1 support of a
bishop for permission to move the saints’ knight).
Ease Factor: 15 feast days until the winter. This requires a • The priest makes the argument that
Petition: Consecrate a parish church; ex- Petition total of 9, which is met by: the parishioners will suffer over the
communicate a nobleman; interdict a winter if the feasts are not moved
town. • The priest has a Com + Church Lore (+2 argument based on Artes Libe-
Total of 5. rales (Logic)).
Ease Factor: 18
Petition: Appeal the election of a bishop;
Ease Factor: 30
establish a monastery. ficials. Even if your character is actually
Petition: Declare a deceased person a saint.
using both methods, decide which meth-
Ease Factor: 21
Ease Factor: 42 od your character is mostly using and use
Petition: Create a new diocese; crown a
Petition: Call a crusade; found a reli- that total.
king; excommunicate a bishop.
gious order.
Written Petition Total:
Ease Factor: 24 Com + Church Lore + Modifiers
Petition: Change or reform canon law There are two ways to generate a Peti-
(priests can marry, for example); inter- tion Total: one involves writing letters to Audience Petition Total:
dict an entire kingdom. Church officials, and the other depends Pre + Church Lore + Modifiers
on gaining an audience with Church of-

The Church
Note that there is no die roll added to he does not have authority for. Whether Basic Church Features
the Petition Total. this causes a problem or not depends on
Usually a character may only make whether the character’s superiors find
one petition each season. Making a peti- out, the personalities of the characters in- Every church has an altar at which the
tion does not interfere with other seasonal volved, and the particular circumstances. liturgy is conducted, and it consequently
activities. However, if the character needs has a Divine aura.
to travel to Rome, or seeks audiences with You purchase resources such as books,
Church officials elsewhere, then his trav-
els could interfere with other seasonal ac-
Appealing a Petition relics, and specialist characters with Build
tivities. Petitions are often made directly Each church has a number of Hooks.
to the papacy, where they are dealt with Your characters may appeal another Hooks create stories and also provide
by the machinery of the papal curia, but character’s successful petition. An appeal points that may be spent on Boons for
petitions with an Ease Factor of 15 or less is treated like any other petition: a Peti- the church. Boons make the church bet-
can be made to the local bishop, and those tion Total is generated, and the Ease Fac- ter. Hooks and Boons can be either ma-
with an Ease Factor of 6 or less can be tor to overturn the original petition is 3 + jor (provides or costs 3 points), or mi-
made to the local priest. the Petition Total of the original success- nor (provides or costs 1 point). Some
Your character does not need to be ful petition. Hooks and Boons can be Unknown,
literate to write letters to the Church; he If the appeal’s Petition Total is insuf- which means that the characters living
merely needs to find a scribe who can read ficient to overturn the original petition in the church are not currently aware of
and write letters on his behalf. In this case, but exceeds the original Petition Total – 3, them. Some Hooks and Boons are about
use the Com + Church Lore total of the then the papacy, or the bishop’s court, will the church and its priests, while others
scribe rather than the applicant. attempt to broker a compromise solution are about the congregation and the sur-
An audience petition is a social inter- between the parties. rounding diocese.
action so penalties for The Gift apply to You may usually choose up to 10 points
this total, but they do not apply to a writ- Ease Factor to Overturn a Petition: of Hooks for the church.
ten petition. Of course, if a magus meets Original Petition Total + 3
Church officials directly he could take the Ease Factor to Open Cathedral: The cathedral is the seat of
opportunity to cast spells to encourage of- Negotiations for Compromise: a bishop or archbishop. If that of an
ficials to make the correct decision. Original Petition Total – 3 archbishop, it has a base Divine aura
of 5 and 1000 Build Points. If that of a
If an appeal is not made in the same bishop, it has a base Divine aura of 5
Acting Without season as the original petition, then the ap-
peal has a –3 penalty to its Petition Total.
and 500 Build Points.
Monastery/Nunnery: A monastery/nun-
Authority Politically active characters keep a close nery has a base Divine Aura of 5, and
watch on the Ecclesiastical courts in order 500 build points.
A bishop (or equivalently ranked char- to rapidly appeal unfavorable decisions. Large Urban Church: This church has a
acter) may grant any petition or take any base Divine Aura of 5, and 500 build
action with an Ease Factor of up to 15 points.
without consulting his peers or superiors. Parish Church: A parish church has a
A priest (or equivalently ranked char-
acter) may grant any petition or take any
action with an Ease Factor of up to 6 with-
Creating Game base Divine Aura of 4, and 250 build
Chapel: A chapel has a base Divine Aura
out consulting his peers or superiors.
However, such decisions will not be
Statistics of 3, and 50 build points.

automatically supported if the Church hi-

erarchy is questioned later. For example,
a priest is perfectly within his rights to
for a Church Resources
grant a magus access to the parish church’s These rules allow the troupe to de-
crypt, but he will still be held to account scribe a church using Build Points, Hooks, Churches may have these resources:
if it is discovered that the magus has been and Boons in the same way that a cov-
using this access to cast unwanted spells enant can be described using these terms
on the corpses in the crypt. Therefore, (see ArM5, page 68-74). Describing the Books
priests and bishops may still seek permis- churches near the covenant helps indicate
sion for doubtful actions that are techni- how the Church may have an impact on Every church has a copy of the missal
cally within their remit. your saga. and many churches have substantial librar-
A character may also take actions that ies, which largely concern Church Lore,

The Church
Some Common Christian Books
Specialists are characters who serve the
The Bible: Summa, Theology (Level 10, ity 7). This contains instructions, Church in some limited way that does not
Quality 3); Summa, Church Lore text, and music for Mass. Each dio- require the troupe to generate an entire
(Level 3, Quality 3). See Realms of cese has a slightly different version, character sheet. Examples include teachers
Power: the Divine, page 86. (45 build which may each be treated as differ- in a cathedral school, scribes working on
points) ent tractatus. (14 build points) illuminated scripts, and stonemasons work-
The Parish Register: Treat the register as a Breviary: Tractatus, Church Lore (Qual- ing on the cathedral structure. Purchase
Summa, Area Lore: Parish (or Dio- ity 6-10). This contains instructions specialists using the same number of Build
cese) of Level 1 + 1 for every cen- for the prayers to be recited at the Points as a covenant; see ArM5, page 72.
tury of records, it has a Quality of 5. canonical hours. Breviaries designed
(5 + 3 x Level build points) for parish priests (rare in 1220) are
The Missal: Tractatus, Church Lore lower Quality than the versions used Vis
(Quality 7); Tractatus, Music (Qual- in monasteries. (6-10 build points)
Some churches control vis sources, or
have stocks of vis, which is usually taint-
Faith Score Build Point Cost
Theology, Civil and Canon Law, Area ed by the Divine (see Realms of Power: The
Lore, and Artes Liberales. Texts on other 1 1 Divine, page 69). Note that just because a
subjects can also sometimes be found. 2 3 church controls vis sources, or even has
Books cost a church the same number stocks of vis, this does not necessarily
3 6
of Build Points that they cost a covenant; mean that the clergy have any use for the
see ArM5, page 71. Note that a Bible can 4 10 vis, or are even aware of the vis.
be purchased even though it exceeds the 5 15 Churches purchase vis at the Build Point
maximum summa level limit. cost of a covenant; see ArM5, page 72.

Enchanted Items

Some churches have enchanted items

that have been donated, found, or pur-
chased from magi. However, it is unlikely
for a church to have an enchanted item that
contains more than 50 levels of effects. As
churches cannot create enchanted items, it
costs a church more Build Points to purchase
an enchanted item than it costs a covenant.

Enchanted Item Cost:

1 Build Point per Level of Effect


Practically every church contains

a number of relics. Even a poor church
should contain at least one relic interred
beneath the altar. The cost of a relic de-
pends on the Faith Score (see the chart)
and its number of powers (in addition to
the standard relic powers).

Relic Cost:
Cost for Faith Score
+ 5 Build Points per Power

The Church
Hooks and Boons ship (see Chapter 5: Women for details). the chantry Masses requires four seasons of
The presence of the anchorite/anchoress in- work each year by a priest — for example,
creases the Divine aura in the church by 1. four priests could each perform for one
Most of the Hooks and Boons in Ars season in the year. The chantry is worth a
Magica Fifth Edition (pages 72–74) and Typical Source of Income, and this Boon
in Covenants (pages 6–27) are suitable for a Minor Church Boon: may be taken multiple times.
church, although some may require inter- Burial Rights
pretation by the troupe. Some new Hooks
and Boons are provided here. The church or monastery has a large Minor Church Boon:
cemetery, and it collects a fee for con- Chapter of Canons
ducting burials. This is worth a Typical
Major Church Boon: Source of Income. Some urban parishes The church priests form a chapter of
Military Order have no cemetery due to lack of space. canons, and there are always at least half a
dozen priests within the church. They col-
The church is an outpost of one of the lectively hold a number of benefices. This
military orders, with barracks for a number Minor Church Boon: Chantry is worth a Typical Income Source.
of knights and men-at-arms.
The church or monastery collects a sub-
stantial income for reciting Masses for the Minor Church Boon:
Minor Church Boon: dead. Masses are held for the dead when a Church School
Anchorite/Anchoress person is buried, one month later, and one
year later. Wealthy characters often leave The church (usually a cathedral) has a
The church has a small cell built in it, in substantial endowments for hundreds or school attached. There are many charac-
which an anchorite (male) or anchoress (fe- even thousands of additional Masses to be ters in minor orders attached to the church
male) lives, devoting his or her life to wor- said, for the good of their soul. Reciting as either pupils or teachers.

Example Churches
Urban Parish Village Parish powers), three minor relics (Faith
Score 1). Vis Sources: 3 pawns Ani-
This parish is in one of the larger This church serves three small vil- mal (first boar of the hunt), 5 pawns
towns in the diocese. The town also has lages constructed on the edge of a for- Imaginem (mid-summer dawn light
a substantial minority of Jews who the est, which was once a nobleman’s hunt- penetrating the bell tower). (141
church canons must sometimes protect ing estate and is now used as a resource Build Points)
from persecution. The town guild master by the peasants. The church is very
is a close ally of the dean, and the guild has old and in a bad state of repair, which
sponsored its own altar in the church. makes climbing the bell tower perilous. Covenant Chapel
The decay is caused by spells cast by
The chapel is a separate building
Hooks: Urban; Protector (Jews) the lords of a faerie court, who haunt
built in a shaded glen a few minutes’ walk
Boons: Chapter of Canons, Edifice the dark places in the forest. In addi-
from the covenant tower. It was once the
(church tower), Local Ally (guild tion, perhaps due to the presence of the
site of a pagan temple. The parish clerk
master), Minority (Jews). faerie court, unless the church relics are
secretly reports to the bishop on the af-
Resources: Divine aura 5. Books: 150 carried on the perambulation the Di-
fairs of the priest.
Build Points. Relics: Two relics (Faith vine aura reduces to 3 for the following
Score 3; each with two powers), year. The curate’s cousin is the bishop
Hooks: Fallen Temple, Spies.
ten minor relics (Faith Score 1). Vis of the diocese.
Boons: Burial Rights, Seclusion.
Sources: 5 pawns Creo (sound of the
Resources: Divine Aura 3. Books: Bre-
pealing bells at Easter Mass). Spe- Hooks: Absent Rector, Crumbling, Fa-
viary (Quality 6), Missal. Relics:
cialists: 6 Canons (Church Lore 5), erie Court, Flickering Aura.
Saint’s Thigh Bone (Faith Score 3;
2 Notaries (Profession: Scribe 5), 1 Boons: Powerful Ally (bishop); Chase.
Cure Blindness power). (29 Build
Master Stonemason (Profession: Ma- Resources: Divine aura 4. Books: Bible,
son 6), 8 Churchwardens (Brawl 4). Missal, Parish Register (Level 7). Rel-
(295 Build Points) ics: one relic (Faith Score 2; with two

The Church
Major Church Hook: Corrupt Major Church Hook: Minor Church Hook:
Jurisdiction Incompetent Curate
The church priests are corrupt. The
church has an Infernal aura instead of a The church is a cathedral, archdea- The church curate is incompetent. If dis-
Divine one. If the corruption is discovered conry, or deanery, and has jurisdiction covered, the curate may be removed and the
by the archdeacon or bishop, the priests over dozens or even hundreds of subordi- church will be subject to many visitations.
will be excommunicated and replaced. nate churches. Regional synods are held at This cannot be taken for a major church.
the church at least once a year.

Major Church Hook: Heretics Minor Church Hook:

Minor Church Hook: Vast Sanctuary
The church priests have heretical be- Absent Rector
liefs. If discovered, the church is likely By custom, anyone may seek sanctu-
to be frequently visited by the archdea- The priest who collects the benefice ary within a vast area of land several miles
con, bishop, or even a papal legate. The does not live in the parish. The priest’s du- around the church (this may be the entire
priests run the risk of excommunication ties are undertaken by a curate. parish). This means that the priest is often
and even crusade. in conflict with the sheriff.

Chapter Four

The Rule & Religious Life

This chapter discusses the life of the
religious of western Mythic Europe. In
the east the religious of the Orthodox
devote oneself to prayer for both the self
and the world outside the monastery, and
to serve God.
Benedictine Life
faith follow different traditions, but even Religious houses play an important The majority of monks in western
there monasteries of the Western orders role in the world outside their walls, pro- Mythic Europe follow the Rule of Saint
can be found. viding much education and health care to Benedict. The assumption is that in your
The role of the contemplative life is the wider community, and forming centers saga the Benedictine order is neither cor-
to observe the canonical hours, a series of scholarship as well as supporting the in- rupt, nor necessarily filled with holy monks.
of services that form a regular daily cycle, digent and disabled. Instead, like any institution, it is a mix of
good and bad, saints and sinners. Depend-
ing upon the way you want to portray the
Church in your stories, you may wish to
alter this to suit your individual saga’s
themes. As most of the religious orders fol-
low variants of the Rule of Saint Benedict,
this “standard” is set out in some detail.

Becoming a
Monk or Nun
Those who wish to join a monastery
or nunnery are actively discouraged and
treated harshly for four or five days upon
their arrival, to ensure they are truly com-
mitted to the vocation. If they persist they
are admitted, and become novices. Their
clothes are kept, however, and put in stor-
age, in case they should be expelled before
taking vows.
Even a priest who wishes to join the
community must undergo the same process,
as must a noble, irrespective of rank. Monks
who seek admission are treated as guests,
and may join the monastery as long as their
previous abbot gives written permission
and the abbot of the new house consents.
In the past, children were admitted as
oblates, educated and raised within the
monastery, and on reaching maturity were
given the opportunity, if suitable, of taking
vows and becoming monks. This process
is now considered to be highly question-

The Church
able, and was outlawed by a ruling of the
Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, though A Note Story Seed:
some monasteries still have oblates. No
girl of less than six years of age should be
on Terms The Novice’s Nuptials
admitted to a nunnery, since she must be The term “religious” is the techni- The son of a friend of the covenant,
able to learn to read, write, and obey the cal term for monks and nuns. “Houses” after being disappointed in love, has run
rules; the nunnery must not be used as a in the religious sense are simply mon- away and joined a monastery. The mis-
nursery or school, expected to raise and asteries or nunneries. In the 13th cen- understanding has subsequently been
educate girls. tury, the word “convent” applies to the cleared up, his lover now wishes to mar-
Monks are expected to obey three vows body of monks (or nuns) who com- ry him, and his father is desperate to get
made on formal admission to a monastery. prise the monastery (or nunnery), and news to him. The abbot, who believes
However, after applying to join it is nec- the place where nuns live is always a the boy has a true vocation, is blocking
essary for a monk to spend one year serv- nunnery. Other terms can cause con- messages and letters. Can the characters
ing as a novice or junior monk before the fusion; for example, a “monastery” can find a way to communicate to the lad, or
vows are sworn, and during that year he can be an abbey ruled by an abbot, or a perhaps get his clothes to act as an Ar-
choose to leave the monastery if he wishes. priory ruled by a prior, but the monks cane Connection? What if he does not
In the probationary year he is not counted live and pray the same way. wish to leave the monastery?
as a full member of the community. Many
decide that the religious life (a term mean-
ing the vocation of a monk or nun) is not ing the Rule of Saint Benedict (or other and if one should err he must demonstrate
for them, and depart on good terms. applicable rule) and the will of the abbot, penitence by laying flat on the floor before
The three chief vows that are sworn as without question. It means subjecting one- all the convent, arms spread out in a cross,
solemn oaths are for chastity, poverty, and self to the discipline of the community, and and confessing his sin. Poverty means re-
obedience. These are common to almost becoming a full part of the community. nouncing any hope of inheritance, and
all religious. The vow of humility or poverty is handing over all one’s worldly goods to
The vow of obedience entails observ- a central part of the life of the religious, the house. Everything the religious use,

The Opus Dei, Divine Office

The recitation of the Divine Office for servants and lay folk. The monks 12:30 pm: A break. Monks pray or walk
— daily prayers recited at the canoni- meanwhile “break their fast” with in cloisters, and according to the
cal hours, also called the Liturgy of the their morning meal and wash. Dur- Rule “may go out for the necessities
Hours — is as follows. ing breakfast a passage from a hagi- of nature.”
ography, the psalter, or other devo- 3 pm Nones: Afternoon service provides
Midnight, Matins: Roused from sleep by tional book is read. Breakfast is bread a break from duties.
the sacristan with a bell, the monks at- or gruel plus beer or watered wine. 5 pm Vespers: The service marking the
tend the first service of the day. In the 9 am Terce: A morning service is now end of the day’s labors; the gates are
summer months this is held an hour or sung, and today’s designated chapter often locked now.
so before dawn in the original Rule of from the scriptures is read. After this, 5:30 pm: Evening meal accompanied by
Saint Benedict, and some houses cel- there is a meeting of the community readings from a devotional book.
ebrate matins an hour before dawn all in the chapel, where duties are as- 6 pm: Chapterhouse readings. The monks
year round — the practice varies. signed, disciplinary proceedings con- gather in the chapterhouse to hear to-
12:30 am: Matins ends, and the monks ducted, and other matters settled. day’s readings from the scriptures.
pray or walk in cloisters. According 9:30 am: The monks begin their daily 7 pm Compline: The evening service,
to the rule, they “may go out for the duties after which the monks retire to bed
necessities of nature.” 11 am Dinner: Monks eat very little by half past seven.
1 am Lauds: Another service, after which meat, though fish may be eaten
the monks return to bed. In the sum- sometimes. Abbots may enjoy meat The rule, while it varies by locality
mer it might be held at dawn. more frequently and also good wine, and slightly by order, and is enforced
7 am Prime: Monks are roused from bed rather than the vegetables and beer with varying degrees of rigor, provides
for another service. of the monks. The meal is eaten storyguides with a fairly good guide as
8 am: Mass for non-monks, then ablu- while the scriptures are read. to what monks will be doing and what
tions and breakfast. The monastery Midday, Sext: Back to the chapel for this limitations are upon them at any given
gates open, and Mass is celebrated service. time that characters choose to visit.

The Church
Every day apart from Sunday the monks
Monastic Gardens labor, whether copying books in the scrip-
torium, studying religious works, cleaning,
While the cloister garth is almost in- and vineyards extending beyond their cooking, repairing buildings or clothing, or
variably simple, with a lawn and pleas- boundary walls. The orchard of Llantho- working in the fields and gardens. A monk
antly scented green herbs where the ny Priory in Wales extends over twelve with whom characters seek to speak may
climate allows, and maybe one or two acres with hundreds of trees, while that be out on a journey to distribute alms, visit
trees, monasteries and nunneries lead of Saint Gall in the Alps has just thirteen the sick, or instruct a vicar, or he might be
the way in horticulture. Techniques for trees planted among the graves. in the monastery but occupied with teach-
irrigation, soil enrichment, land recla- Medicinal plants are equally im- ing duties. There is no manual labor on
mation, and grafting have been adopt- portant. These are grown in the physic Sunday, only reading and study.
ed, developed, and exploited. Emphasis garden in small beds divided by paths
is on the cultivation of plants for food, in a regular layout. A closed-off area is
for both residents and visitors, since used to grow poisonous plants. Close Discipline
self-sufficiency and hospitality are in by is the infirmary garden, which is de-
line with the Benedictine Rule. As well signed for the patients to relax; benches, Monks and nuns are expected to obey
as herbs and vegetables for the kitch- pools with decorative fish, and attrac- their superiors without hesitation as a
ens, hay, rushes, and strewing herbs are tive flowerbeds are featured. Gardens sign of their humility, and to be respect-
needed. Beehives are always kept for the for pleasure, or herbers, are attached to ful to each other. None may strike or
wax required to make the best church the guest quarters also, and there is an insult another brother, or belittle them.
candles, and for their honey, as well. area of grass close by to graze visitors’ Silence is practiced for long periods, and
An orchard of fruit and nut trees is mounts. An abbot or prior with private even when speech is allowed, jokes, gos-
frequently planted in or around a cem- rooms also has his own garden for plea- sip, and idle banter are specifically for-
etery, especially in southern countries sure and relaxation, where sweet-smell- bidden. Long silences are used to teach
where the Islamic vision of the gardens ing herbs grow alongside plants chosen discipline with respect to speech, with
of Paradise has influenced taste. Planting for their flowers, and shade is provided the right to speak conferred by the ab-
is in straight rows as formal patterns are by trees and climbing plants trained bot as a privilege. Speech may be used
favored. If there is no orchard, a few fruit over frames. Garden designs and plant- when working, and is allowed at various
trees are grown nonetheless, and vines ing schemes are often chosen for biblical specified times; at other times, monks use
are grown where the climate permits. significance; for example, twelve trees in a series of hand gestures to communicate
Rich abbeys have gardens, orchards, a row represent the apostles. with one another. This sign language is a
silent language that is not understood by
outsiders. Monks may not speak to guests
even their habits, belongs to the house, most widespread rule in Mythic Europe is and visitors, but may offer a blessing if
and personal possessions are banned. that of Saint Benedict. The rule also sets spoken to, and may inform them politely
The vow of chastity entails celibacy, no out in some detail the day-to-day cycle of of the rule.
relationships with the opposite sex, and a life in the monastery, for monks and nuns Younger monks are addressed by their
breaking of relationships with friends and live by a timetable and are deeply aware of elders as monk, as in “Monk Thomas,
families, as well. The religious enters into the passage of time. fetch the hoe,” and older monks are ad-
a completely new life and discards the old. While the rule may seem very severe, dressed as elder, as in “Elder John, please
This does not mean, however, that family it is attractive to many as an escape from tell me the way to the village.” The abbot
visits or correspondence are completely the uncertainties of life in dangerous times, is referred to by the title lord and abbot, as
discouraged, but they are subject to the and offers food, shelter, education, stabili- in “Lord Abbot Samson.” However, age is
abbot’s approval. ty, companionship, and the chance to learn counted not from birth, but from joining
The monk, on taking vows, has his and develop spiritually. It is an extremely the monastery. This reckoning is used to
head shaved leaving a ring of hair called a attractive lifestyle to many, and it has pro- determine the order of precedence among
tonsure. A nun has her hair cut short. duced a flowering of deep and fulfilling the monks at all times, but it may confuse
devotion. Monks are often very happy in visitors to see an elderly monk address a
their lot, but there are always exceptions. much younger man as “elder.”
The Rule of If a monk is commanded to perform
an impossible task, he may meekly state
Saint Benedict Daily Routine his case as to why it is beyond his pow-
ers. If the abbot insists he attempt it, then
Monks live under a rule, which lays The daily routine is marked by bells, he must endeavor to succeed and trust in
down a complex set of regulations for which summon monks to devotions and in- God to help him. No monk may question
community life. The most famous and form them of meal times and work periods. the abbot’s decision on this, or any other

The Church
matter, or attempt to defend another monk Property and Possessions to the abbot on arrival, who may distribute
by joining in his rebellion. them to the intended recipient, or to any
Pride is a deadly snare. Humility in- Monks are clothed appropriately for the other as he sees fit.
cludes humbly submitting to God’s will local climate, with two woolen robes and Any wealth owned by someone enter-
and renouncing all worldly desires, and cowls each, and a pair of sandals. These are ing the religious life should be humbly of-
breaking the rules is often a sign of pride. provided by the monastery, and repaired or fered to the abbess for the benefit of the
One in ten monks is appointed a dean of replaced as required when worn out. Also nunnery. Those who enter a nunnery after
order, responsible for keeping good order provided by the monastery are stockings, marriage must dispose of all their worldly
among his brethren. He quietly speaks to girdle, knife, pen, needle, towel, and writ- wealth before taking the veil. Those who
them if their behavior lacks in some way, ing tablet; however, a monk found keeping inherit after joining the nunnery must dis-
or reports serious offenses to the abbot. private property beyond this, especially if pose of their inheritance appropriately.
It is sinful to fail to reprove a brother or not specifically allowed to do so by the ab- No nun should have a personal ser-
sister seen to be in error. If a monk per- bot, faces severe disciplinary measures and vant, but may be helped as necessary by
sists in error after the abbot speaks with loss of all the above, leaving him naked but younger members of the community.
him privately, he is then publicly rebuked for an undergarment while he does penance.
in front of the whole monastery, and if he Curiously, the keeping of personal pets
continues thereafter, he is punished.
The usual punishment is first exclu-
is widely accepted and common — dogs,
songbirds, and even monkeys and squirrels
Food and Drink
sion from communal meals — the monk is are kept by both monks and nuns.
forced to eat alone at a later time and, as Religious may not give or receive gifts Two different types of meal are pre-
meals are social occasions, this is a severe or letters except with the abbot’s direct ap- pared, in case one meal is not liked by
penalty. A nun excluded from the commu- proval, and all gifts are taken by the porter some of the monks, so they may choose. A
nity for a transgression must reside where
the abbess says, with one other nun, until
repentant and forgiven.
If further offenses occur, or a graver
Sign Language (Monastery)
offense must be punished, then a monk is
Sign Language is a number of re- daughter houses and the parent house,
totally debarred from speaking or being
lated languages used by monks to com- where the relationship is –1, and those
spoken to, or communicating in any way
municate with each other when speech sharing a parent house (–2). Other or-
with any of the other monks, who all ig-
is forbidden. A score of 5 allows fluency ders give a penalty of –4, as the language
nore him. If this fails he may be whipped,
equivalent to a native spoken language has diverged considerably. So, for exam-
and if that is not sufficient, he is expelled
Ability, while a score of 1 represents ple, a Cistercian and a Cluniac monk are
from the monastery. Nuns and younger
simple everyday monastic terms only. only likely to be able to share very basic
boys receive more merciful sentences,
While it is usually clear that sign lan- information. Within a particular house,
including enforced fasting. If an expelled guage is being used, characters may however, the language adapts to local
monk or one who has left returns and choose to use it subtly so that it is not needs, and it can have a surprisingly rich
makes amends for his faults, he is readmit- obvious that they are speaking about vocabulary for normal situations. The
ted, even up to the third time, but thereaf- someone present. A score is in the lan- unexpected and unique may prove im-
ter he is refused entry. guage employed in a specific monastery possible to convey even if totally fluent
Nuns often argue, under the influence (or nunnery). It defaults to an Ability in — there is probably no sign language
of the devil. Quarrels must be ended as the language of other monasteries of the for “Are the guests casting spells in the
soon as possible. Anyone who injures a same order at –3, except in the case of Chapterhouse?” for example.
sister, by word or deed, must ask for par-
don. A nun who refuses to forgive must be
excluded from the community until she re-
pents. The prioress who uses harsh words Story Seed: Signs in Silence
to a nun who is at fault when correcting
her need not ask forgiveness from the nun, The characters are staying at a mon- run into a wall of silence: all around them
even if she is more severe than necessary astery where they believe an Infernalist sign language is employed, but what is
to preserve discipline, but must ask God cult may be operating. Unfortunately, being said? Can the characters manage
to forgive her. the abbot is suspicious of them because of to understand somehow, or find a way
Numerous examples of story ideas The Gift, and has imposed strict silence to communicate with the monks without
based on disciplinary problems are pre- upon the monks. (Monks may only speak spoken words, and avert disaster? The
sented in Chapter 5: The Women, Mis- to guests with the Abbot’s express per- passing of notes by monks, if observed, is
behavior, many of which are applicable to mission, anyway.) The investigation has punished as a breach of the rule.
male characters, also.

The Church
pound of bread is given per day, and three Hospitality and Visitors made payments during their working lives
meals in total, with fruits and vegetables to the monastery in return for a promise
that are in season. The job of preparing Guests are expected because many that they would receive care in their dot-
food and serving in the kitchen is rotated travelers avail themselves of monastic age. Others are simply charity cases taken
each week, so only the sick and the ab- hospitality and, by the rule, none may be in by the monks, who gladly receive dona-
bot do not have to do it. It is an unpopular turned away. They are generally invited tions toward their upkeep.
job, but is rewarded with a little extra food to meet the monks at the chapter meet- Nonetheless, a monastery always has
and drink. Those who prepare the meal ing, and be formally received by the ab- individuals knowledgeable in Medicine
eat in the kitchen after the other monks bot, who is expected to pray with them, and Chirurgery, and herbs and medicines
have finished. Children and the elderly and then exchange the kiss of peace. In are often available here.
also receive larger portions, and the sick practice only important guests are usually
get the best possible food for their condi- greeted this way; in houses on important
tions. Excess and drunkenness should be routes, there are so many guests that they Work Outside the Monastery
avoided, but alcohol is, of course, served are entirely dealt with by deputies. The
as it is throughout Mythic Europe, in the abbot invites important guests to dine Monks are often called by duties to go
form of wine or beer. Abstinence and self- with him in his quarters, unless the monks on a journey, or they may be working too
denial are expected of monks, but in Lent are fasting, when the guests eat alone. In far away to get back for one of the seven
every monk goes to the abbot and swears theory, and by the rule, the monks wash divine offices. If so, they must perform it
to give up one additional thing for the for- their guests’ feet, serving the poorest with reverently on their knees wherever they
ty days. Only the sick and the very young humility, but travelers may find the custom happen to be. Most monks know the Psal-
or old are exempt. is not always observed. ter by heart. Monks sent out on business
A reader is appointed each week to The guest quarters are situated away should always try to return the same day,
read at meals, starting on Sunday, and from the monks’ quarters, so that they do if at all possible, and should eat nothing
another monk is charged that week with not interfere in the smooth running of the outside unless specifically allowed to do so
ringing the bells that punctuate the day. monastery, and certain monks and some by their abbot.
The abbot always dines with guests servants of the monastery are assigned to If a long journey is undertaken, the
and travelers alone in his lodgings. If there look after guests, and meet their needs. other monks should pray for their absent
are no guests he may choose to invite some Other monks may not speak to guests, but brother daily, and on his return the travel-
of the brethren to eat with him, and they may offer a blessing if spoken to and may er must go to the chapel, prostrate himself,
may have the privilege of enjoying meat inform them politely of the rule that for- and give account of his sins. He may not
and superior wine. bids conversation. speak of anything he saw or heard outside
of the monastery to other monks, though
one assumes he reports fully to the abbot.
Sleeping Arrangements The Infirmary

The monks are provided with beds

arranged in dormitories. In a small mon-
Sick monks are given a room of their
own, meat with meals, baths as desired,
Monastic Roles
astery they may all share the same room, and they have another monk appointed and Positions
but in larger monasteries several dormito- to look after them while, in ideal circum-
ries, each housing ten to twenty monks, stances, everything possible is done to The monastery is a complex and com-
are provided. Each dormitory has a senior restore them to full health. Larger houses pletely self-supporting community, at least
monk appointed to keep good order. Each have an infirmary; the role of infirmarian is in theory. However, by the 13th century
monk sleeps fully dressed, but removes often unpopular, as this person eats in the the Benedictine houses often rule large es-
his eating knife to prevent any dangerous area where the sick are kept and has lim- tates gained through donations, and some
accidents. A straw mattress, a blanket, a ited contact with his fellows while looking abbots are also lords of manors and even
coverlet, and a pillow are given to each after his charges. have knights owning them feudal dues
monk, who will have that bed as his own Not all infirmaries are given over to the and military service. It is by this time com-
from then on. The abbot examines the care of the sick. Large monasteries might mon for monasteries to possess servants,
beds without warning from time to time, have a detached infirmary, where elderly, and also considerable numbers of peasants
according to the rule, to prevent personal indigent, and unhealthy individuals live who work the fields for them, giving them
goods from being concealed there. Dor- and are cared for by the monks, receiv- more time to work on copying books,
mitory inspections are common, even ing alms. In the case of the elderly whose prayer, and good works at best, and to
though the dormitory supervisors should children have now inherited their estates, spend in moral laxity and luxury at worst.
keep order. as they are no longer capable of the work Houses are very complex in their orga-
needed for sustenance, they may well have nization, and the exact titles and roles of

The Church

The Church
the change in lifestyle from one of obe-
Story Seed: Electoral Difficulties dience and extreme temperance to fine
wines, meat, and lavish entertaining must
When a great monastery, holding bishop reveals he has the right to ap- be unsettling for many new abbots, espe-
fifty knights’ service and many manors, point the abbot, and his brother is put cially as they now also have to cope with
is saddened by the death of their abbot, forward. The situation deadlocked, both a new role in the politics of the world that
the monks meet to elect a new father candidates head off to Rome to seek pa- they left many years before.
to lead them. At this point, however, pal confirmation of their claim, and the The larger nunneries are headed by the
representatives of the king or of a great monks elect their own, third candidate. abbess. In a world where, outside a cov-
noble arrive, claiming that they have One or more of the candidates wishes enant, women typically have little power
a charter dating from the endowment the covenant to lend assistance to their or authority, the abbess is an important ex-
of the monastery that allows them to cause, and threatens serious repercus- ception, and represents the most powerful
appoint the abbot. They break up the sions if subtle aid is not provided. How position a woman can attain (unless she is
chapter, and a strange, foreign monk is can the magi resolve the situation with- a strong regent for a child king). She has
presented. Shortly afterwards, the local out breaking their oaths? responsibility for the souls of the nuns in
her care above all, acting as spiritual guide
and disciplinarian, but also for their bodily
the senior religious varies between houses, bot should call all the monks before him needs. Administrative skills and financial
depending on local conditions. All mon- in the chapterhouse and explain the situa- acumen similar to those associated with
asteries, however, share certain roles like tion, then listen to their advice. Regardless Profession: Steward are useful. The ab-
abbot, and other positions generally vary of the opinions expressed, the abbot is not bess of a rich nunnery may have extensive
depending on needs. In some large monas- bound by them; he alone takes the final lands under her control, and collects rent
teries, even the most minor roles are com- decision, by which the community must from those who live on and farm it.
paratively powerful. abide. The abbot holds his role for life. It is her duty to set a good example.
The most important roles are de- The abbot is usually elected by the She should not show favoritism, and she
scribed here. Other posts exist depending whole community of monks. Electoral should not abuse her right to separate
on the circumstances of the house, and in disputes are common, and the pope is lodgings by living significantly more com-
many smaller houses the abbot or prior often called upon as final arbiter. King fortably and eating more lavishly than the
fills many positions in person. The power, John of England notoriously intervened others. She ought to handle the nunnery’s
privileges, and responsibility of each posi- in the election of the abbot of Bury Saint finances with care, and must represent
tion also vary from house to house. Edmunds in 1210, refusing to accept the the nunnery in dealings with the outside
elected abbot and claiming the right to world. She has a reputation of level 4, ei-
make the appointment himself. Such prob- ther good or bad, in both the local com-
The Abbess or Abbot lems are not uncommon. Nobles at times munity and the Church.
try to influence the decision, and it often The Abilities for an abbot or abbess
The abbot is effectively the house’s rul- proves disruptive to the order of the mon- should include Leadership. Intrigue and
er, its spiritual father, and is responsible for astery. Sometimes a bishop has the right to Church Lore are important for the abbot,
the spiritual and physical welfare of all the appoint, and this can be unpopular as well. who must protect the interests of his ab-
monks. It is a position of great responsibil- It is also not uncommon for a patron or a bey against pressures from the world out-
ity, and abbots are often extremely power- motherhouse to claim right of veto over side, and especially townsfolk and nobles
ful, even in national politics, though this the election of an abbot. who would impinge upon the abbey’s es-
varies with the wealth and influence of their On election, the new abbot effec- tates and privileges. The character prob-
monastery. Strictly speaking, the abbot is tively leaves the community of monks, ably has Folk Ken and Etiquette, perhaps
first among equals, and while his status is as and is welcomed into his new house, or specialized in nuns or monks, or, if he
head of the monastery, he is technically a even a palace, where he is expected to live has important contacts outside the walls,
servant to all. The rule is also clear that the in considerable style. He must wine and maybe in senior clergy or nobility. These
abbot must be fair and evenhanded, saying dine not only all guests but also the local Abilities are also important to an abbot
“Let him make no distinction of persons nobility, whom he often equals in status who must deal with the bishop’s visita-
in the monastery. Let him not love one and may well be related to. Great abbots tions and papal legates, as well as every
more than another, unless he finds them are princes of the Church, often as pow- passing lord who seeks hospitality, and
more exemplary in good works and obedi- erful locally as a cardinal or baron, and even kings and queens. An abbot or abbess
ence.” Although the abbot holds supreme may command a considerable number of probably has some knowledge of Theol-
authority, the monks should be consulted knights. For example, the abbot of Bury ogy and Civil and Canon Law, and may
on important matters. When a decision is St. Edmunds, Suffolk, in England, controls have Philosophiae and Dominion Lore.
required, such as if the player characters well over a hundred and fifty manors and Such a character is likely to have Temporal
make a request of the monastery, the ab- has fifty knights as vassals. The shock of Influence and Social Contacts with other

The Church
senior clergy, and with the nobility at a
level depending on his or her family back- The Problem with Priors
ground. Details of the appropriate Social
Status Virtue, Senior Clergy, are presented “It often happens that grave scan- is the superior, and can give the prior
in Chapter 2: Diocese. dals arise in monasteries out of the ap- four warnings, after which he can be
pointment of the prior; since there are disciplined, then deposed, and finally
some who, puffed up with the wicked expelled. Cunning priors sometimes
The Prior or Prioress spirit of pride and thinking themselves manage to keep the struggles going
to be second abbots, set up a despotic for years, with enough support from
A prior’s role can be hard to define. rule, foster scandals, and excite quar- the monks to paralyze the abbot and
Second in command to the abbot (except rels in the community …” prevent him disciplining them. In some
in a priory, where he is its head and the — The Rule of Saint Benedict houses, the situation becomes bad
abbot lives at the motherhouse), he deals enough that the abbot’s and prior’s fac-
with many issues of administration and su- The abbot and the prior can fall tions actually resort to brawling, even
pervises the abbey’s dealings with the out- out, but the rule is clear that the abbot in church.
side world. Often priors find themselves in
dispute with the abbot, a situation that can
lead to factions and power struggles. The that tithes are paid, that manors are proper- that supplies are obtained regularly from
prior mainly deals with relations with the ly productive, and balancing the accounts. the local market, or are sent directly to
nearby towns, provisioning, and adminis- It is also a job that provides excellent op- the nunnery, and may send agents to the
tration, while the abbot deals with internal portunities for the avaricious to steal from nearest fair to obtain imported wines and
matters, as well as politics and important the monastery, and build up a tremendous other specialties if the nunnery is rich. As
outside affairs. It is usual for a prior to be personal fortune. Relatively few monks well as dealing with day-to-day matters in
appointed by either the abbot, the patron, are likely to have the relevant Abilities the kitchens, this role for a monastery may
or the motherhouse, from among the best — Profession: Terrar, Profession: Reeve, involve organizing the work of monks in
monks in the monastery. Large houses may Profession: Steward, or similar, as well as a the kitchen garden and orchard, while for
have a sub-prior as his deputy, and even a good knowledge of Civil and Canon Law, a nunnery this requires supervision of lay-
third prior as the sub-prior’s assistant. and in some regions Common Law, as well men working for the nunnery. For a large
Players should pick from the same as Leadership, Intrigue, and Folk Ken at a establishment, the cellarer must deal with
range of Abilities for an abbot or abbess. minimum. Therefore, very often the role of those who run the farms owned by the
The appropriate Social Status Virtue is Re- terrar — effectively the prior’s lawyer and monastery, and is often responsible for
ligious, unless the prior is unusually pow- accountant — must be given to an employ- collecting produce and tithes from the
erful and influential, when Senior Clergy ee; finding an honest, educated employee monastery’s farms and manors. Most ab-
may be more suitable. who can resist temptation is very hard, beys include their own vineyards or brew
however. Magi may even find themselves houses, plus a mill. Locals are often ex-
approached with an eye to filling the posi- pected to grind their corn at the monas-
The Terrar tion, if they have a reputation for honesty. tery mill and pay fees, and are prosecuted
for possession of querns (hand mills), as by
The terrar is the monastery’s land agent, a secular lord.
responsible for estates and lands. Nunner- The Cellarer or Cellaress The rule states that humility and obe-
ies are rarely rich enough to require one. dience to the abbot are the desired traits
If no suitably skilled monk is available, a The cellarer or cellaress is respon- in a cellarer, yet cellarers are often ac-
professional layperson is employed in this sible for everything concerning provision cused of corruption, and especially secret
capacity. It is a demanding job, ensuring of food and drink. She has to make sure gluttony or drunkenness; in some cases
this accusation may be true. However,
many a cellarer has managed to bribe, in-
Story Seed: Good and Faithful Servant? trigue, and gain influence by secretly giv-
ing extra food and drink to individuals he
A friend of the covenant is employed is a very large sum of silver missing from wishes to curry favor with; such actions,
as terrar at a large Benedictine monastery this year’s accounts. It becomes clear which corrupt others, are more danger-
nearby. He is honest, friendly, and curi- that the terrar’s wife had been doing ous than mere thievery.
ously naive and gullible, but he seems almost all the work for years, with her This character will benefit from Abili-
to do an excellent job. One day he is husband as the public face. Is she guilty ties such as Bargain, Folk Ken, and Profes-
seized by men acting on command of of the theft? Or has someone else taken sion: Cellaress. A cellaress character with
the abbot, when it becomes clear there the money, and if so, who and why? Premonitions (unexpected visitors) could
be entertaining.

The Church
The Bursar Virtue and its associated Herbalism Ability areas, can usually waken the porter and
and Profession: Apothecary. She has per- ask for hospitality. Some monasteries have
In smaller houses one person often fills mission from the abbess to cultivate useful notoriously deaf porters, who seem to take
the roles of both cellarer and terrar. This is herbs within the nunnery grounds, and to pleasure in not admitting latecomers.
the bursar, who is responsible for both es- leave the nunnery periodically to purchase The porteress has the responsibility of
tate management and keeping the monas- or collect those she cannot grow. making sure no person or thing enters or
tery stores and accounts. In larger houses, leaves the nunnery that should not. She
where both those positions exist, the bursar knows if gifts arrive for a particular nun,
is an official charged with keeping the mon- The Head of the Novitiate and makes sure they are used for the com-
astery’s internal accounts, and maintaining mon good.
good order concerning stores for the build- The head of the novitiate in a nun-
ings, vestments, and ritual supplies. nery has responsibility for women and girls
preparing to take religious vows. A similar The Hostillar
post exists for monks. Useful Abilities in-
The Infirmarian clude Awareness and Folk Ken to monitor This monk is in charge of the guest
novices’ behavior, as well as Teaching and house and visitors’ welfare. As such, this
The infirmarian looks after the sick the subjects she needs to teach, particularly is the individual who the player characters
and elderly, and also looks after the gen- Church Lore, Latin, and Artes Liberales. will most often deal with, and the hostillar
eral health of the monks or nuns, including is not bound by the rules of silence com-
bloodletting and maintaining a suitable regi- mon to other monks. In many ways, the
men if he has the necessary knowledge. The The Sacrist personality of the hostillar at a particular
infirmarian is often isolated by these duties monastery comes to define the personal-
from the other monks, and so is required The sacrist is responsible for vestments, ity of that establishment to travelers on
to eat alone and remain with the patients, candles, incense, and other elements of the roads. An abbot wishing to discour-
missing the hours and chapter meetings as church ceremonies, and the upkeep of the age lengthy visits or weary travelers seek-
required. Smaller monasteries may rotate church and chapels. The sacrist has access ing shelter might appoint the most rude,
the role, and ones that appoint a special- to the sacred host and consecrated wine, abrupt, sly, bitter, or otherwise unpleasant
ist infirmarian usually provide him with a and is accused sometimes of selling it to individual he can to this task, and instruct
weekly assistant or two drawn from a rota. individuals willing to pay, for nefarious him to refuse all requests that can be re-
The infirmarian frequently travels to purposes. Such a grave sin must be very fused within the bounds of hospitality. As
purchase supplies, gather herbs, and con- uncommon, if it occurs at all. most visitors do not know the rule, and
sult with other medical men outside the are not aware they are supposed to dine
monastery. Some take the opportunity to with the abbot, they easily can be kept in
sin on those visits. Some others, wearied The Precentor the guest quarters, watched constantly by
by hours of dealing with the sick, the old, servants, and kept from prying into the se-
and the feeble, become bitter and lacking This monk is responsible for the provi- crets of the monastery. In other houses the
in Christian love, developing an unfeeling sion of music and chants. He requires Abil- hostillar is friendly, hospitality is lavish,
hardness and business-like bedside manner. ities in Music, Church Lore, and Teaching and visitors are treated well. Visitors with
In a monastery, the infirmarian should as a minimum for his duties. Rumors of The Gift will, however, provoke suspicion
have the Abilities Chirurgy and Medicine. precentors leading monks in bawdy songs whatever the hostillar is like.
In a nunnery, she should have the Ability or blasphemous parodies of the Mass are
Chirurgy and may have picked up a little surely untrue.
knowledge of Medicine from her books or The Almoner
tuition; however, unless she has a very un-
usual background story, she will not have The Porter One monk has responsibility for dis-
acquired any formal education in medicine tribution of surplus food, and sometimes
at a university (see Art & Academe, page 52). The porter’s job is to answer the door, other goods, to those who come begging
An infirmarian almost certainly has to call at any time of day or night. The rule says at the gate. Since this monk has a good
on apothecaries and more-skilled doctors of him, “Let a wise old man be placed at reason to interact with those from out-
from time to time. In a large establishment, the door of the monastery, one who knows side, he can be a useful point of contact.
he may have underlings and hence a Leader- how to take and give an answer, and whose Beggars go to nunneries too, although, to
ship score, and any may pass on his knowl- mature age doth not permit him to stray keep clamor away from the door, the nun-
edge and develop his Teaching Ability. about.” Although the main gates are locked nery should not distribute alms to the poor
The herbalist will have a very different every night, and townsfolk, pilgrims, and at the nunnery; if possible, arrangements
lifestyle than the herbwife (see Art & Aca- casual visitors not admitted, honest trav- are made for any surplus to be given away
deme, page 55), but she has the Herbalism elers seeking shelter, especially in remote through the nunnery’s benefactors.

The Church
The Chancellor in a monastery somewhere. If it was pur- of a book to the scriptorium for copying
chased, then stored and forgotten, it may usually suffices.
The chancellor is the librarian, and be of use; but if it is a copy it is unlikely to Two types of chronicle found in mon-
also oversees the scriptorium and acquires be of any use, as the scribe lacked Magic astery libraries are of particular interest to
and arranges copying of books for the Theory, rendering the book worthless. magi. Miracula contain ghost stories of
monastery. Monks do not just copy Bibles, Consulting historical records for clues, those returning from purgatory to warn
Psalters, and other religious books, and charters for a legal case, or the many other others, and miracles of the saints, espe-
many monasteries contain books of great books in the monastery library requires cially the local saints celebrated in that
interest to magi. In fact, monks tend to first the permission of the abbot, and then house. They are read by the devout to
copy any ancient book they find, and the an interview with the chancellor, who will foster Devotion (see Chapter 2: Congre-
occasional lost Hermetic work might exist negotiate the terms of the access. A loan gation, Devotion), but are also useful for

Some Religious Orders

Traditionally, all monastic founda- en monastic vows and live according to nuns, sharing a church with a wall divid-
tions, whether for men or women, fol- the Rule of Saint Augustine. They enjoy ing them. Lay brothers toil in the fields,
lowed the Rule of Saint Benedict or that excellent relations with many bishops, and conditions are hard. Recently some
of Saint Augustine. During the 12th cen- as they form the staff of many cathe- monks have appealed to the pope, who
tury, the number of religious foundations drals in the Italian peninsula, Bavaria, ruled in favor of Gilbert’s austere rules,
grew dramatically. While many took the and Provence, but they can be found but since the death of Gilbert in 1190
conventional line, several alternatives to much further afield. They are well liked things have become more relaxed. Saint
the traditional rules became available. The for the generosity of their alms-giving Gilbert was canonized in 1202, and his
Cistercians did not officially acknowledge to the poor. saint’s day is celebrated on February 4th.
nunneries in their order until 1213 (and
if your saga follows history, will try to
stop any more women joining them in Carthusians Premonstratensians
1228). Some communities of religious
women ran without adherence to any of The Carthusians follow the Statutes Founded by Saint Norbert with 12
the officially recognized rules but, at the of Saint Bruno rather than the Rule of disciples, these 13 monks were to cre-
Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, the pope Benedict, and the order consists of both ate one of the great orders of the Rhine,
obliged all such institutions to formally monks and nuns. Monasteries and nun- and were instrumental in converting the
adopt one of the existing, approved rules. neries consist of individual cells within Wends. Following the Rule of Augus-
The Augustinian Rule was fashionable at a larger complex, with an emphasis on tine, the order was initially composed
the time, so was taken up by some. A few personal devotions and strict withdrawal of both nuns and monks, but since 1198
communities are as yet undecided. from the world, and the life is far more has closed the nunneries and only admits
While the Cluniacs, Cistercians, and austere and less communal than in the monks. They do not own land, but work
Vallumbrosans are detailed in Chapter 6: other orders. The monks only gather for as hired laborers in exchange for food
The Corrupt, and the Benedictines are holy office in the monastery church, but and goods. This money is used to sup-
discussed in detail in this chapter, Myth- they cultivate land and perform manual port the community, and each evening
ic Europe has many other orders varying labor together to support their commu- the surplus is distributed to the poor at
in size. The mendicant orders of friars nities. Carthusian houses are closed to the almshouse of the monastery.
are discussed in Chapter 8: The Francis- outsiders, and do not have pilgrim hos-
cans, the military orders in Chapter 9: tels or encourage visitors. They practice
complete silence, and all necessary com- Trinitarians
The Templars.
munication is by sign language.
Known as the Red Friars for the
color of their habit, the Trinitarians were
Augustinian Canons
Gilbertines founded in 1198 in France for the pur-
The majority of Augustinian can- pose of rescuing and ransoming Christian
ons, known as Black Canons for the Found only in England, the Gilber- captives. One third of their income is set
color of their habits, can be found in tines were founded in 1130 at Sempring- aside to ransom Christians who have fall-
cathedral chapters. They are regular ham, Lincolnshire. Their distinctive en into captivity, and they also perform
clergy performing the usual priestly and habit is black with a white cowl, and as a educational and hospital duties in the re-
administrative functions, who have tak- double order they have both monks and gions around each of their houses.

The Church
research into past events. Another type ed monk may seem unlikely to have more A small monastery might have four
of book, the mirabilia, contains stories of than one free season outside the monas- to six monks, a large one over a hundred,
faeries and magical and unusual natural tery each year, unless on a pilgrimage. but both have a huge impact on the local
phenomena, signs, and wonders. Books of The religious can and do leave their economy, as monasteries are often also pil-
this kind are a research resource that may houses, and many of the roles performed grimage centers. In addition, approximate-
provide clues in many stories. by the religious require extensive interac- ly a quarter of the parish churches in Eng-
tion with the wider world. In some large land are the responsibility of a monastery.
abbeys, for example, the prior has a town- In such a case, the monastery appoints a
The Priest house where he lives just outside the ab- priest, called a “vicar,” to administer the
bey walls, as his responsibility is the rela- parish on behalf of the monastery. The
Many abbots are ordained as priests, on tionship between abbey and town. Terrars vicar is paid a wage, and the monastery re-
election if not before, but not all. In mon- are constantly traveling around the abbey’s ceives the tithe, which frequently leads to
asteries where there is no ordained priest, manors, and chancellors may visit a cove- abuses. The bishops retain right of visita-
a clergyman must be retained to celebrate nant to seek rare books or ask advice on an tion, and may offer to try to improve the
Mass. In many Benedictine monasteries unusual manuscript. Even ordinary monks wages of the vicars and condition of the
one brother is ordained and performs this trek across the fields to work, or are sent churches, but abbots can prove as intransi-
role, but receives no special privileges. A out into the community to tend the sick, gent and neglectful as any other absentee
nunnery also has a priest who celebrates gather herbs, or distribute alms. As such, landlord, so long as the tithes keep com-
Mass and takes confession; he is one of the monks are a common sight around town ing in.
few men who can enter the guarded con- and countryside, and while they often Even if the magi have no direct con-
fines of the women’s world. remain silent in the monastery, they may nection with a monastery town, or with
talk freely as required for their duties and land owned by a monastery, and their local
for common courtesy while on the road. church is not appropriated to a monastery,
Secondly, it is easy to underestimate they will still probably stay at a number of

The Religious the sheer importance of religious in terms

of wealth and power. Benedictine abbeys
owe knightly service to feudal overlords,
Religious Houses. When moving around
the countryside, where inns and accom-
modation can be sparse, it is customary to
in Your Saga and hold many manors. Many a knight
character may have an abbot as a direct
seek shelter and hospitality at a local mon-
astery, and offer a small donation in the
liege lord. A huge amount of land is tak- morning for the night’s accommodation.
An obvious question is why would en up in manorial farms. In 1220 there Any characters who set out on a journey
anyone want to play a religious in a saga, are just under seven hundred monaster- are likely to spend a considerable amount
and how do they feature in stories, given ies in England, with 12,500 monks; it is of time in monasteries, and will find the
that they live in enclosed communities, estimated that one fifth of the nation’s porters and hostillars an excellent source
and have retreated from the world? wealth is in monastic hands, and monas- of local news and geographical informa-
Playing a religious as a companion may ticism is equally important across West- tion gleaned from other travelers.
prove a challenge, as even the most trust- ern Mythic Europe.

Chapter Five

The Women
When it comes to the roles of female nant suitable for her cell. In most dioceses, Monastic Vows Story Flaw is probably
characters in a saga, troupes have total free- permission from the bishop is necessary suitable for all female religious characters
dom to decide for themselves how closely in both these cases; a Petition Ease Fac- trying to live correctly in a covenant. The
they want to abide by the conventions of tor of 9 is appropriate. If a player character exception is if the covenant itself is in a
medieval society. Historically, options for nun wants to live at a covenant, or indeed, nunnery, beguinage, or cell; this concept
women in the Church in 1220 are restrict- anywhere outside a nunnery, the Petition is exemplified by the covenant of Cunfin,
ed, of course; troupes playing in the canon Ease Factor is 12 and senior clergy from which hides in a regio at a Cistercian mon-
version of Mythic Europe, or wanting other dioceses are likely to question the astery in the Champagne region of France
even closer similarities with real history, situation if it comes to their notice. The (see The Lion and the Lily, page 106).
are limited to the characters described in
this chapter. However, Ars Magica Fifth
Edition, pages 220–222, sets out a range
of saga types with different degrees of his-
torical research. If you want nuns with an
active social life outside the nunnery, or
women priests, then go ahead.
The troupe must also decide how strict-
ly the characters enforce the detailed rules
governing the lives of women religious. The
rules outlined here are a digest of typical
regulations which, if held to strictly on all
counts, could make life more difficult and
restricted for characters than many players
would find entertaining. So again, modifi-
cation by the troupe is encouraged.
Remember that player characters are un-
usual, often exceptional, people; strong and
influential female religious characters are
entirely appropriate in this context. See the
details on Hildegard of Bingen later in this
chapter for an example of such a character.

Female Religious
in the Covenant
A player character may live in a cov-
enant as a female religious if she is a be-
guine or penitent. She may also do so as an
anchoress if there is a church at the cove-

The Church
The bishop or his appointed deputy er, as the Church authorities will seek her choress would notice eventually. Visitors
will want to visit the character periodi- out in order to return her to a nunnery. to the anchoress could carry verbal mes-
cally, usually once a year. If the covenant sages, though, with predictable possibili-
is not on good terms with the local senior ties for error in repeating them.
clergy, this is an opportunity for some anx-
ious days for the characters. If the covenant
Options for
is hidden or otherwise hard to reach, the Absent Players
bishop will certainly cause trouble. What
the bishop believes the nun’s home to be
depends on the details of the particular
The enclosed lives of most female re-
ligious characters, and some of the men,
saga setting, of course. The nature of the does not mean that characters like them The life of a nun is in many ways
covenant may well be secret, so that as far cannot be used in stories. Such a character very similar to that of a monk, following
as the diocese is concerned, the religious would be suitable for a player who wants to the Rule of Saint Benedict or one of the
character is living with a group of scholars be part of a saga but lives too far away to more recent derivations (see Chapter 4:
or perhaps in an unusual village. participate in game sessions in person. The The Rule and Religious Life), although
A player character in a covenant, wheth- character could interact with the others by the rules concerning enclosure are usually
er grog, companion, Mythic Companion, or correspondence, if some way can be found more strictly enforced for women. Many
maga, may adopt the lifestyle of a religious for letters to pass to and fro with sufficient nuns are forbidden to step outside the
without taking formal vows, but the Social speed and reliability. This might be by nunnery and may not receive visitors with-
Status reflecting the character’s situation means of a servant at the nunnery who has out permission. This suits many of them
cannot then be Religious. The character is reason to meet someone from the covenant well, especially the most pious, who are
likely to experience considerable difficulties regularly, perhaps at the local market, to eager to put worldly things behind them
in adhering to her chosen way of life, and exchange letters. The enclosed character and devote themselves to a life of prayer
should take Flaws to reflect this. The reac- might let down letters in a basket from a and service to God. Others may welcome
tion of the other inhabitants to the behavior window to a young person from the cov- seclusion because there is something out-
and ideas of this character should generate enant, who is sent every other afternoon to side the walls that they fear, such as an
stories. The Living Covenant character Isa- wait an hour in case the basket appears. If unwelcome arranged marriage or a violent
belle the Beautiful could be modified, with the character’s communications are impor- husband. Life in a nunnery is just about the
very few changes, to be such a character tant enough, and the covenant can afford only honorable alternative to marriage for
(see the Atlas Games website). it, a box could be enchanted with a suitable women, unless they find an opportunity to
Characters who previously lived the Rego Animal spell to transport a parchment join a covenant.
life of a religious might join a covenant as put inside it; although discovery of such a Nuns are almost exclusively women
a place of refuge. An example is the Cu- device would undoubtedly cause difficult from the higher social classes, and it has
rious Nun from Realms of Power: The Divine, questions to be asked, both by the Church been this way for several hundred years.
page 95, who brings several useful Abilities and by the Quaesitores. Her family gives a sizable donation to the
to the covenant. An educated nun could The enclosed character, if an anchor- nunnery when a nun takes up residence
prove a valuable teacher of Artes Libera- ess, is less restricted, since she can legiti- there, so only the richer families can af-
les and Latin for children in a covenant, mately talk with visitors and pass things ford this. A few nuns are from wealthy
particularly young apprentices, and her through the window of her sealed cell. merchant families, but most come from
knowledge of Church Lore could help the A letter tucked under some vegetables or the nobility, even royalty. If the woman
covenant in its relations with the Church. slipped inside a book could be passed un- or girl has entered the nunnery while on
Harboring a runaway nun is risky, howev- observed, although the servants of an an- good terms with her family and other peo-
ple from the same social sphere, her social
contacts can continue to be of use to her
Story Seed: The Visitation and those she lives with. They can also be
a source of disturbance. A woman from a
The covenant is home to a beguine tual well-being, which includes asking mercantile family may find life difficult,
or anchoress character. The local bishop about where she attends Mass and who for example, when the other nuns look
must be kept unaware of the magi and her confessor is. If the character visited is down on her family background and treat
the nature of the community where the an anchoress, the visitor must be satisfied her more like a servant than a peer.
beguine dwells; or, if the bishop knows about the cell she occupies. Meanwhile, Within the nunnery, a holy sister has
of and is accepting of the covenant, a the rest of the community must con- greater freedom than most women in cer-
substitute is sent because the bishop is ceal any hint of magic and the Order of tain restricted ways. She is very likely to
unwell. He expects to talk with the be- Hermes from the inquisitive visitor and be taught to read and write in Latin and
guine character about her work and spiri- his retinue for the three days of his visit. the local language, if she cannot do this
already. She is probably encouraged to

The Church
develop craft skills including needlework,
cookery, and horticulture, and may learn Fontrevrault and Las Huelgas
to deal with accounts or to tend the sick.
Nuns elevated to positions of responsibil- These are examples of the richest, In 1220, the abbess, Berthe, has been in
ity may have more power and freedom to most influential nunneries. charge for two years.
run their own lives than most single wom- Robert of Arbrissel, a charismatic A daughter establishment was set up
en could ever hope for, and the abbess of ascetic hermit and preacher, founded in Amesbury, England by Henry II, and
the greatest nunneries can expect to be in the Abbey of Fontrevrault in the For- richly endowed. It soon grew to house
frequent correspondence with bishops and est of Bart, Anjou, in 1100. He gathered dozens of nuns, more than one chaplain,
even the pope. about him both men and women in such and numerous lay workers, and to control
Some of this freedom is under pressure numbers that before long the scattered extensive lands with many livestock.
from the Church. In earlier times, nunner- hermitages had developed into sepa- The daughter of Henry II and Elea-
ies were all founded by royalty or the nobil- rate houses for monks and nuns, and for nor of Aquitaine, also named Eleanor,
ity for their relations and friends, and these groups of lay men and women who did married Alfonso VIII of Castile and they
founding families had control over who most of the work, as well as a home for founded a nunnery at Las Huelgas near
could enter the nunnery and who would repentant prostitutes and a leper colony. Burgos in 1187, putting their daughter
run it, often appointing family members to The community follows the Rule of in charge. In 1220, their daughter Con-
the senior posts. Such patronage directly Saint Benedict. Robert insisted that the stance is abbess; she is a very powerful
influenced the social, political, and eco- foundation should continue to house woman, ruling the richest nunnery un-
nomic standing of the nunnery. In recent both sexes and be headed by a widow der the Cistercian Rule. The abbess and
years, the Church has been trying to get as abbess. During the 12th century, prioress are permitted to preach, hear
control by ensuring that the local bishop the foundation attracted a great many confessions, and administer sacraments;
chooses the abbess on the grounds of piety people, and before long the royal family Pope Innocent III tried to stop them by
and leadership ability, rather than because of Aquitaine and Anjou was involved. writing to the local bishop in December
of her temporal influence or social contacts, Henry II and Richard I, kings of Eng- 1210, to little avail. Many royal family
but the funds for the nunneries still largely land, were interred here, and Eleanor of members have become nuns here, and
come from royal and noble sponsors. At Aquitaine spent the last ten years of her it has become the burial place for the
times, this can create a conflict of loyalties life here and was buried here in 1204. royal family.
in the nunnery, or a religious house can find
itself a pawn in a struggle for supremacy
between officials of Church and state. The source of income adopted in some nunner- to give this up for the sake of ministering
nuns often select and propose a candidate ies is taking in boarders, but this can be a to a nunnery; this is particularly marked in
for abbess or prioress, but the bishop has to severe threat to decorum and cause all sorts the Cistercian and Premonstratensian or-
give his approval for the appointment and of problems. In extreme cases — through ders. Most of the old double foundations
may pick someone else of his own choos- bad luck, incompetence, or sin — nuns are — a monastery and nunnery built close to-
ing, which can upset the inhabitants of the reduced to begging by appeal to royalty, gether — are closed now, because the bish-
nunnery and its patrons. nobility, highly placed Ecclesiastics and, if ops felt them unsuitable or God brought
A small nunnery might have only three they know of any, covenants. If such ap- about their end. For example, that at Cold-
or four professed nuns, while a medium- peals fail, nuns may be forced to beg in the ingham was burned down on account of
sized one typically houses twenty. Nunner- marketplaces and churches. vanity among the nuns, and excessive fa-
ies are almost invariably poor compared to In addition to requiring men as labor- miliarity between the monks and nuns.
monasteries. The annual income per head ers, and perhaps a steward, nunneries need Reading the word of God, recitation
may be as low as 10% to 15% of that for priests to say Mass and hear confessions, of the psalms, and praying are the prime
a monastery of comparable status, and is acting as chaplains (the situation in the duties of nuns, so all have some familiarity
hardly ever over 50%. Benefactors prefer Castillian dioceses of Burgos and Palencia with Latin and most can read and write.
to donate to a monastery where there are is an exception; see the insert on Fontrev- Coming from noble families, many were
priests who will celebrate Mass for their rault and Las Huelgas). They also need educated to some degree before leaving
souls when they die. Financial difficulties clerics educated in Church Lore and The- home; tuition in Latin, reading, and writ-
also arise from the limitations for nuns ology to act as spiritual advisors. A small ing is provided to any novices who require
regarding hard manual labor, so they are nunnery typically calls on the services of it. Rarely, a nunnery provides some educa-
much less able than monks to generate in- the local parish priest, but many have their tion to girls who are not intending to take
come for themselves. A nunnery is also far own resident, secular priest (i.e. one not up the veil.
less likely than a monastery to own a relic, belonging to a religious order) as chaplain, In addition to the traditional nunner-
and its library is usually considerably small- living close to, but not inside, the nunnery. ies, where prayer and contemplation are
er and less likely to own rare books unless Men who enter a monastery for the com- meant to be the center of the inhabitants’
there have been authors living there. One munal religious life are generally reluctant lives, there are also religious foundations

The Church
for women where care of the sick in a gen- The Rule the daily life of a nun that are particular
eral hospital or in a leper community is to women.
their purpose in life. In these places, much The first regulations drawn up specifi-
of the work is likely to be undertaken by Life in a nunnery generally follows cally for nuns were by Caesarius of Arles
laywomen attached to the nunnery, who the same pattern as that in a monastery; in the early sixth century, using the ear-
often come from the poorer groups in so- see Chapter 4: The Rule and Religious lier writings of Saint Augustine and John
ciety. A place in this type of establishment Life for details of the offices that structure Cassian as inspiration. These were based
may be the closest a pious woman from a the day, and the general style of life lived closely on the rules for monastic life, and
family outside the nobility can get to be- according to the rule. This section cov- were adopted and adapted for many nun-
coming a nun. ers regulations and practices that govern neries across Europe in the centuries to
follow. They are so restrictive and pre-
scriptive that there is plenty of scope for
Story Seeds stories based on real or apparent transgres-
sion. The major difference from the rules
Appealing to the Bishop Cheap Education for men is the emphasis on enclosure and
“stability;” that is, remaining in the nun-
A nun is unhappy in her nunnery A nunnery near the covenant is nery where a nun took her vows. In the
and contacts someone at the covenant hard up and decides to offer elementary stricter cases, the nun is forbidden from
for help in persuading the bishop to au- schooling in Artes Liberales and Latin ever leaving the nunnery and is warned
thorize her transfer. to girls for a very moderate fee. Does against entering any building, even a
Or, a nun is selected by the bishop the covenant take advantage of the of- church, where a door to the world outside
for a senior role in a nunnery on the far fer? If they do, how do they handle the is visible. The bishop may give permission
side of the diocese, and she asks for help situation when a pupil talks about un- for a nun to transfer from one nunnery to
to avoid the transfer without bringing usual things she has seen or heard about another in rare circumstances, for example
any disgrace or disapproval upon her. at home? What about when senior visit- when appointing a new abbess from an-
ing clergy investigate, and try to close other location.
the school? Nuns may not choose their work, but
Personnel Matters must do the tasks given by their superiors;
only the abbess and prioress are excused
The abbess or prioress or porteress, Communal Life the daily chores. If possible, work with
who is sympathetic to the covenant, or wool and cloth in the nunnery should be
to at least one person important to the A nun with links to the covenant or sufficient to supply all the needs for cloth-
covenant, is moved elsewhere, promot- to a player character is punished for a ing. Permission from the abbess must be
ed, retired, or dies. Can the player char- moderate transgression, either deserv- obtained before starting any private work,
acters influence the choice of successor? edly or in error. She is put under the and no one may take in washing, sewing,
How do they win over or otherwise vigilant eye of a strict nun who notices, mending, or dyeing from outsiders. Cloth-
cope with the new appointee? forbids, and reports anything unusual. ing and bedding should be un-bleached
This includes the sending or receiving and un-dyed. Nothing, even in the ora-
of messages and the possession of any- tory, should be embroidered. Ornamenta-
Vocation thing personal. What if the unfortunate tion other than simple crosses should be
nun talks in her sleep? avoided; plaques and paintings are forbid-
One of the young female servants at
the covenant decides she has a religious den, also.
vocation and announces she is going Works of Charity To keep sleep at bay during vigils,
to ask to be taken on as a novice. Do light work is encouraged, of a sort that will
player characters try to dissuade her, The prioress at a nunnery friendly not distract the mind from the readings.
or prevent her? She might appeal to a to the covenant asks a player character Anyone who does get sleepy must stand.
priest for help if they do. If the covenant from the covenant to distribute alms Nuns must not talk at table, but must listen
helps her in her endeavor, providing the on its behalf. Will the character ac- attentively to readings then meditate upon
required donation may be a challenge. cept, or seek a suitable substitute? Can them. In need, signs may be used to com-
What if she takes and donates some- the character find somewhere other municate. The nun is urged to avoid oaths
thing that is valuable covenant property, than the covenant itself as the focal and curses, nor should she speak loudly.
perhaps by mistake? This may be a mi- point for distribution, rather than en- Conversation should not take place dur-
nor enchanted item, something she is so courage a stream of poor people visit- ing work unless unavoidable and, while
used to that she does not think of it as ing the magi? working, the nuns should listen to suitable
appearing strange to outsiders. readings, meditate on God’s word, or pray
silently. All nuns should spend the first

The Church
two hours of the day reading.
There must be no desire to look at- Story Seeds
tractive. If any men are seen, the nuns
must not look on them immodestly and Too Late agree to help, how much disturbance will
all must guard each other’s modesty. Men they cause, stirring up trouble between
must not be admitted to the enclosed A lady who has failed to find a hus- the covenant and the nunnery? If a maga
area, apart from the bishop, the sponsor band because she was too proud to ac- agrees to help, can she avoid upsetting
of the nunnery, priest, deacon, subdea- cept the advances of any of those who the Quaesitores? And what happens
con, and one or two readers. If the spon- showed interest, or one who was too when a demon takes the opportunity to
sor is admitted, the abbess or an alterna- cold, coy, or teasing and put off men by help bring about a serious sin?
tive respectable witness must accompany her behavior, has been in the nunnery
him. If men must be employed for build- long enough to recognize her error. All
ing or repair works, the abbess must ap- through her time as a novice, she thought The Gifted Nun
prove them. Women who are not nuns or she would manage very well despite her
A traveling Redcap is obliged, by foul
do not belong to the nunnery community poor vocation but, some time after tak-
weather or accident, to seek hospitality
may not enter. The abbess may meet call- ing her vows, she realized that she was
at a small nunnery; or perhaps a member
ers in the parlor with two or three nuns mistaken. She takes every opportunity
of the covenant visits the nunnery to talk
in attendance. Banquets must not be pro- she can contrive to speak with visitors
to a contact there, or to consult a book.
vided for anyone except, very rarely, for to the nunnery, begging for their help to
While there, they observe a young nun
a benefactress or visiting holy woman. A appeal to the bishop for release from the
sitting on a stone step eating a crust of
nun may speak with a female relative in way of life she now detests. She refuses
bread and a bowl of pottage, while her
the presence of a superior. A nun may not any plan that involves escape without all
sisters are eating together in the refecto-
be godmother to anyone. the necessary permissions.
ry. It soon becomes obvious to the visitor
that the girl has The Gift and could be a
The Frustrated Lover valuable apprentice. Getting into conver-
Characters in a Nunnery sation with her is not easy, owing to both
A man comes to the covenant be- the rule and the attitude of the prioress
cause he has heard that there are some toward the unfortunate girl. Can the visi-
All nuns have taken vows of poverty, tor persuade the prioress to allow a con-
very clever scholars there, or perhaps he
chastity, and obedience. Characters will versation? If the girl has a real vocation, it
knows one of the grogs. He seeks help to
normally only take the Monastic Vows is hard to convince her of any advantage
get inside a nunnery to be with his be-
Story Flaw if some highly unusual circum- in leaving the nunnery. In contrast, the
loved, who has been shut up there against
stance means they are living away from the prioress would be glad to be rid of her,
her will. Her family does not approve of
religious community, in an environment but a wealthy family put her there and the
her relationship with him, because he is
where keeping those vows is a struggle the younger son in a relatively poor noble prioress cannot risk offending them. Can
and stories develop from this. The other family and unlikely to come into any sig- a compromise be reached? And how will
women living in a nunnery —lay sisters, nificant inheritance. Are any of the cov- the nunnery and the covenant deal with
novices, and, in some, ladies who have enant inhabitants soft hearted, or willing the bishop when he finds out, and tries to
retired from the world outside — do not to help him for other reasons? If the grogs return the nun to the cloistered life?
take these vows. The Minor Flaw Regular
is often appropriate for nuns.
Most nuns come from a noble family, brewing, and horticulture necessary to of the nunnery and bring valuable, but
so Privileged Upbringing is a common provide food and drink are probably all in sometimes unsettling, experience of the
Virtue. Artes Liberales, Latin, and Church the hands of lay helpers, but a smaller nun- world outside, as well as money to sup-
Lore are the Abilities expected of all nun nery may require the sisters to carry out port the sisters.
characters, even if only at a low level; these tasks themselves.
some suitable background detail is needed It is not unusual for a widowed woman
to explain why a character lacks any one of to take up residence in a nunnery rather The Scholar
these. Noble women usually learn needle- than marry again. She might pick one she
crafts as they grow up, so most nuns have has family links with, one she has sup- As a nun, a woman has more oppor-
Craft skills in one or more of embroidery, ported over the years, or she may choose tunities for education than in any other
seamstress, and perhaps even lace mak- to found a new one. In some instances common calling. Many come from a Privi-
ing. The Ability to spin wool is also very this is under pressure from her offspring leged Background, and enter the nunnery
common. There are other practical skills or other members of the family, who want with Artes Liberales and maybe one or two
that are important to the nunnery, as well. her out of the way. Some, but not all, take other Academic Abilities. A scholarly nun
In large, richer foundations the cooking, vows eventually. They share in the life may have Virtues that enhance her learn-

The Church
The Refugee

There are quite a few unhappy lov-

ers in nunneries. A girl who sees the man
she loves marrying another or becoming a
monk or priest, or who is prevented by her
family from accepting her preferred suitor,
can see life in the nunnery as her only op-
tion. Stories abound concerning women
taking the veil to avoid an unpleasant ar-
ranged marriage. A married woman who
finds her husband violent or his immediate
family unbearable can enter a nunnery as
the only honorable escape. A girl who sees
her mother’s marriage as unhappy may
choose the nunnery rather than risk simi-
lar treatment at the hands of a husband.
If a nobleman is defeated in battle, the
noble women of his household often choose
to take refuge in a nunnery to avoid harsh
treatment by the victor. Sometimes a wom-
an enters a nunnery because her husband
decides to become a monk. Once there,
she may decide to take vows after a suitable
period in the novitiate. Such a woman may
struggle since she arrives with an unsound
vocation, and she probably suffers from a
reluctance to be there compounded by an-
ger and resentment. She brings knowledge
of the world outside, which is of interest to
those enclosed before they had a chance to
ing, particularly Apt Student and Book Also see the section headed Mystics learn about men and running a household.
Learner. She is encouraged to spend time for details on Hildegard of Bingen, for an Such a woman could be a very unsettling
in reading the Bible and other holy books, example of a female character famed as influence in a nunnery, and an interesting
and to contemplate their contents. She a scholar. character to play.
may find the nunnery’s own collection of
books very quickly exhausted, and be keen
to borrow from other collections — even Héloïse
from a covenant library, if she finds out
that one exists. She may also compose Héloïse is the most famous ex- God but for love of her husband. How-
books, either writing them herself or, at ample of the disappointed lover as a ever, as time passed her relationship
least as often, dictating to a scribe. nun. Canon Fulbert of Notre Dame with God deepened. While continuing
There are, across Mythic Europe, a set in motion a tragic love affair when her intellectual interests, she worked
number of scholarly nuns with prolific he engaged a tutor for his niece Hé- hard to be the best nun she could, first
correspondence. In designing such a char- loïse. The tutor, Peter Abelard, was a as prioress at Argenteuil then as abbess
acter, first decide what the primary nature highly regarded scholar in the young of the Paraclete. Through letters, she ar-
of her correspondence is to be. She may University of Paris, while Héloïse was gued skillfully with Abelard about how
meddle in Church or lay politics through an intelligent young woman who loved the Benedictine Rule should be adjusted
letters to family members, or she may have learning. When a child was born and to suit women.
a good reputation such that senior clergy their secret marriage was discovered, Abelard died more than twenty
or nobility seek out her advice. Assign Abelard was sent away, disgraced and years before Héloïse. Her last wish to
suitable Reputations and make sure she has mutilated, to live in a monastery. He, in her nuns was that she be finally laid to
appropriate scores in the relevant Abilities, turn, persuaded Héloïse that she must rest in the same tomb as her husband,
whether it is Canon Law, Dominion Lore, become a nun. and on her burial his corpse was seen to
or Church Lore. She is very likely to have Initially she agreed, not for love of reach out to embrace hers.
a good score in Intrigue.

The Church
The Prisoner
Christina of Markyate
Some women live in a nunnery because
they were put there by their families, with- Christina’s story provides ideas for and accepted the betrothal.
out regard to lack of vocation or piety. This use in the background of a character The pair were married, but Christi-
can happen because the girl is too expen- who takes refuge in a nunnery, or for a na refused to have any physical contact
sive to marry off, or is a social embarrass- story about such a character. with Burthred. All attempts at persuasion
ment in some way — perhaps on account Towards the end of the 11th cen- failed, despite isolating the girl from
of deformity, mental deficiency, or a super- tury, a daughter was born to a noble contact with any clergy and filling her
natural gift or The Gift itself. If the family family of Anglo-Saxon lineage in Hunt- life with worldly pleasures, until eventu-
can afford a sufficiently generous endow- ingdon, England. The girl accompanied ally her parents arranged for Burthred to
ment, a poor nunnery is likely to take in her parents on a visit to the shrine of hide in Christina’s bedroom. She greet-
a girl with even The Blatant Gift. The life the martyr Saint Alban, where the holy ed him as a brother and kept him talking
of any Gifted girl in a nunnery is difficult, monks made a great impression on her; all night. Burthred was mocked for this
unless she has the Gentle Gift Virtue, as she vowed to follow the life of a reli- and, goaded by her parents and others,
she will be distrusted and shunned, picked gious herself and remain a virgin. agreed to try again. This time he was
on for unpleasant duties, and often blamed Her family had other ideas, though, determined to play his role as husband,
and punished through no fault of her own. and arranged a betrothal to Burthred. but Christina concealed herself behind
In some ancient noble families, it has Christina refused to have anything to the bed hangings and, with God’s grace,
become traditional for some of its women do with the young man, claiming her remained hidden.
to enter a nunnery; one of the daughters, vow of virginity. Her parents tried nag- Christina’s father sought support
for example, might be obliged to take up ging, bribes of rich gifts, and threats. from the prior at the local abbey to per-
an inherited senior position in a nunnery They enlisted Christina’s best friend to suade his daughter, but the bishop ruled
where the family is a sponsor. In some cir- try flattery, and convince her of the joys that her vow of chastity prevented him
cumstances, it is also possible to prevent a of being mistress of her own affluent or anyone else from forcing her to ac-
woman from inheriting wealth by making household. Eventually Christina gave in cept the marriage.
her take the veil as a nun, which explains
a few reluctant nuns. Some noblewomen
are sent to a nunnery because the men re- ple-Minded characters or those with cer- provide a storyguide with some ideas.
sponsible for them have been defeated in tain Social Handicaps might be marriage- Since the percentage of nuns without a true
battle, so that support for their defeated able if they are attractive and/or wealthy; vocation to the religious life is higher than
lord cannot rally around them. Defeat in but once wed, a husband may send his found among monks, it is hardly surpris-
law, bankruptcy, or a falling-out with a unpleasant wife to live in a nunnery, just to ing that there is more bad behavior among
king can also put a noblewoman behind get her out of his way. the inhabitants of nunneries. Demons take
nunnery walls. Illegitimate daughters of every opportunity they can, but it is the
nobles and senior clergy are likely to be Tempters (Realms of Power: The Infernal, pages
put in the nuns’ care at a very early age, The Revolutionary 43–44) who are busiest in a nunnery, using
and often have no option but to take the people with no real commitment to the re-
veil before they understand the implica- There are new spiritual movements ligious life as willing and unwilling tools to
tions. And her family might put a woman growing across Europe, some tending to- spread sin. They assail the devout by play-
into a nunnery against her will because she wards the heretical and others seeking to ing on any wavering of confidence in their
has fallen for an unsuitable suitor. revive the ways of the earliest days of the faith or in their calling to religious life.
Characters should have some signifi- Church. A woman or girl with new ideas They tempt those with any sort of power
cant reason for their situation, if unwill- can be a very unsettling influence in a to abuse it. See Realms of Power: The Infernal,
ingly placed in a nunnery; this includes nunnery, whether her ideas are orthodox pages 20–24, for the background and game
a substantial number of the Virtues and or not. The strongest such development treatment of sin and temptation.
Flaws. A character with Plagued by Su- is the followers of Francis, as described in Minor infringements like being late to
pernatural Entity, Supernatural Nuisance, detail in Chapter 8: The Franciscans. chapel, speaking when silence is in force,
Faerie Friend, or Ghostly Warder can be and eating something forbidden during a
too much trouble for their families. Strong period of fasting or abstinence from meat
Faerie Blood and Giant Blood can result in
an unnatural appearance just as off-putting
Misbehavior are common. Being absent without leave
is more serious, as is being absent with
to a potential husband as Crippled, Dis- permission but for invalid reasons. Valid
figured, and Hunchback. A nunnery might Entertaining story opportunities are reasons for being outside the nunnery
take some persuading to accept a young easy to find in breaking the rules and flout- walls, after permission has been obtained,
girl who is Tainted with Evil, though. Sim- ing authority, and the following should include collecting rent from tenants who

The Church
failed to bring payment, buying essentials means to circumvent these restrictions has incest since, spiritually, a monk and priest
when delivery could not be arranged, vis- to deal with her own conscience whether are, respectively, brother and father to the
iting sick relatives, and attending a family she is caught or not. nun. Where the regime is lax, a nun can
wedding or funeral. Some nuns have an If the rules are followed, the only op- quite easily contrive to get to know men
amazing variety of close relatives with un- portunity that a nun has for private con- who enter the nunnery to deliver messages
usually poor health, requiring their clois- versation with a man is when she makes or goods, those who carry out work in the
tered relation to step outside the nunnery confession of her sins to a priest. It is not garden or on the buildings, and so on. It is
and visit them frequently. A nun outside very unusual for a priest to be tempted by almost always much harder to create an op-
on a justifiable errand should not been one of the nuns, either because she unwit- portunity to be alone together, but it hap-
seen in idle conversation, or talking to a tingly engages his attention or because the pens and pregnancy is hard to conceal.
peddler about ribbons, or quaffing ale in nun makes overtures. In a more lax nun- It is Church policy to avoid scandal by
the marketplace, nor should she enter nery, a nun can find occasions to flirt with keeping such things secret as far as pos-
anyone’s home to be sociable. Ideally, a other clerics — perhaps the deacons or sible, so lapses are often known of only
nun should only go outside with a trusted scribes who accompany the bishop on his within the nunnery. If the mother sur-
companion nun. A nun who uses devious visitation. Sex with male religious is called vives childbirth, she must confess and is
punished, but not usually severely. She is
welcomed back into the community once
Story Seeds her penance is complete. The punishment
may simply be to always take the last place
Forbidden Love that the nun will agree to terminate the when the nuns are seated, or to lead a pro-
pregnancy, either by magical or mun- cession to the chapel one Sunday wearing
A young nun entered the nunnery dane means, but she might be persuad- a white gown and no veil, or to fast three
with enthusiasm at the age of 11 but able. More likely, she wants assurance days a week, or to be confined to the inner
now, nearing 16 years of age, she feels that her child will be taken in by the part of the nunnery for a year. She is typi-
attracted by news of fine clothes, good covenant and cared for there. She asks cally prohibited from holding any position
food, dancing, and so on that she hears for regular news of the child, but the ab- of responsibility within the nunnery. If the
from the women who entered the nun- bess will forbid this if she finds out. The news does get out, punishments for the
nery after enjoying several decades of nun then asks the covenant to help her nun’s lover can be harsh, particularly if he
life outside. The abbess is strict, so the leave the nunnery and join her child. is unrepentant; both Church and state treat
young nun has had very little contact the violation of a bride of Christ very seri-
with men since she was a child. Guests ously. He might well be made an example
Up until now, the nun’s confessor of, perhaps being made to wear a simple
was an elderly priest with failing eye- The abbess, who is the youngest tunic only and, with bare head and feet,
sight. This has meant that her Curse of daughter of a noble family, has had no stand at the church door every Sunday for
Venus has so far been hidden owing to option but to allow her aunt to take up a season carrying a heavy lighted candle.
lack of opportunity. But the priest’s re- lodgings in the small guest quarters close Or he might be clad in the same way, then
placement is a much younger man, who to the entrance gate of the nunnery. The be beaten with sticks around the church
struggles with the temptation offered by aunt pays more than enough to cover and through the marketplace on several
the attractive nun. How this story plays the cost of food for herself and her two holy days. The fate of the child is usually
out depends on the details of each of the female servants, but she receives many to be sent out for adoption, but sometimes
protagonists. If one of the two admits to visitors who come accompanied by their one might be raised within the nunnery.
the attraction, the other may accept or own attendants. How can the nunnery Nuns with power over others can be
reject the approach. If they do some- accommodate and feed so many? tempted to abuse it. The distance between
thing about it, can they find opportuni- Some of the extra guests and their exerting discipline for the good of the souls
ties to spend time alone together, and followers are male. A few of the nuns of those for whom she has responsibility,
can they contrive to keep the liaison are attracted by the sounds and smells and wielding power for the thrill of control-
secret? The abbess will arrange for the of high living and jollity coming from ling others or for sadistic pleasure is small
priest to be replaced by a more suitable the guest quarters, and find a way to ob- and easily exploited by Tempters. Nuns who
elderly man if she finds out, and will serve. Soon they are in contact with the have control of resources can choose to give
require the nun to repent, confess, and men. Can their more-strict sisters stop so much away as alms that her sisters are left
take her punishment. them before more harm is done? in dire need, to keep the best for herself,
If love takes its course, the nun be- And what do the nuns do when the to show favoritism, or to spend communal
comes desperate about her unborn child bishop’s visitation is due, and the guest funds on fine clothes and jewels for herself
and somehow a message reaches the quarters are required for him and his and entertainments for her guests.
covenant, asking for help. It is unlikely entourage? It is usually easy for a nun to get per-
mission from her superiors for a visit to the

The Church
nunnery by female members of her family.
It is harder to get permission for a visit by Story Seeds
male relations; but all the nuns come from
the same high strata in society, and most New Foundations Infernal, page 43; Nitibus on page 56 in the
have contacts among the nobility and cler- same book could be used) is waiting for
gy through whom pressure can be applied, Someone plans to found a new nun- her to commit a mortal sin. Help from the
so such visits are by no means impossible. nery not far from the covenant, or too covenant is needed to find out what hap-
Noble visitors also come with attendants, close to an important vis source. Whether pened, and then to rescue her.
who may be male or female. Sometimes it is a wealthy religious foundation spon-
they bring horses and dogs, too, all re- soring a sister-house, or a member of the
quiring accommodation, sustenance, and nobility endowing a new one for personal Suspicious Mixtures
entertainment. Only the larger abbeys can reasons, the covenant has a problem.
During the bishop’s visitation, he is
easily deal with visitors on this scale, hav-
accompanied by a learned monk who
ing extensive guest quarters separate from
the enclosed part of the foundation. In ad- Power Play takes a great interest in the nunnery’s
herbalist. While discussing with her
dition to being a drain on the resources of
In the nunnery most closely associat- the best treatments for this and that ail-
the nunnery, secular visitors can be a ma-
ed with the player characters, a conflict ment, he comes across some ingredients
jor disruption to routine and a dangerous
builds up gradually between the abbess and concoctions in her collection that
distraction from work and prayer, luring
(or prioress, if it is a small or subsid- he thinks are very suspicious. He finds
the nuns into spending time on worldly
iary establishment) and an older noble a paste of camphor and cumin, a sticky
concerns and reminding them of what
widow who has come to live there. The mix of ginger, lemon peel, and honey,
they have cut themselves off from.
newcomer is pious enough, but she is some dried rose petals mixed with cin-
Note that sins involving vanity, greed,
used to having servants at her command namon, a compound of saffron and or-
and lust are less serious than pride, while
and to running her own household. In- chid pulp, and some cloves mixed with
apostasy is the worst sin of all. A nun who
fernal intervention fans the flames and marigold petals. He recognizes the first
tries to give up her place in the nunnery
soon it looks as if the conflict will either three as treatments for impotence and
and return to the world outside is guilty of
come to the attention of the Church the other two as stimulants designed to
a grave offense, and every means will be
authorities, or else the widow’s influen- induce lust. If he says anything, though,
used to return her to the cloister. A cov-
tial family will step in. Any intervention he is going to have to explain how he
enant may well be asked to use its special- knows so much about such things. If he
risks exposing links between the nun-
ized resources to track down the escapee, challenges the herbalist, can she con-
nery and the covenant that will bring
find her, bring her back, and make her stay. vince him that she knows of these only
the covenant unwelcome attention from
This probably poses ethical difficulties for as innocent remedies, perhaps for the
Church, state, and the Quaesitores.
some of the magi, but turning down the sort of female problems she must not
request from a powerful or particularly discuss with a man? Perhaps the herbal-
useful abbess or bishop could have un- Bad Prayer ist is totally clear of blame and her ap-
pleasant consequences. A recaptured fugi- prentice or assistant made the mixtures.
tive who is unrepentant is usually put in A priest hears a woman’s confession,
solitary confinement in a nunnery. and is horrified to find that she has been
When the bishop discovers a nunnery fervently praying that her husband and Brides of Christ
where many of the nuns are living sinful his mother take ill and die so she would
lives, and the misdemeanors have caused be left free to enter a nunnery. A demon Having given up any thought of a
public scandal, the nunnery is closed. The hears of the desire and steps in to offer human husband, nuns see themselves as
inhabitants are usually sent separately to live a bargain. brides of Christ. A Twilight-addled ma-
in other, trusted nunneries where they can gus arranges for a nun to be kidnapped
repent and return to a correct way of living. and brought to his laboratory, where he
Gone Missing intends to exploit the holy connection
that marriage creates between husband
One morning a nun goes missing from and wife to use the nun as an Arcane
Reports of Wayward Nuns her place in the chapel. Unhappy with Connection to God. The nun could be
her lot, she has been cursing everyone a player character, or someone from a
and everything that had to do with her nunnery where the player characters
Contrasting sets of written records
enforced way of life. Finally, a demon ap- have a contact, such that they are called
provide examples of misdemeanors on
peared and agreed to take her away. The upon to carry out a rescue.
the part of nuns. Bishops are required
demon, a Tempter (see Realms of Power: The
to make visitations every few years to
check on each nunnery. Their reports

The Church
from such visits include details of faults
found in administration and behavior, A Note on History
with the measures taken to correct them
also documented. In 1220, the beguine movement is likely to be a much more attractive op-
In the secular sphere, the exploits of very much in its infancy; there are few tion for player characters in troupes
misbehaving nuns are equally noted. Edu- adherents and these are only in a small not intent on historical accuracy, and
cated people write instructive verses and region of Flanders. Because they have so information presented here covers
stories about them, with a moral attached. so much more freedom than women the movement in its slightly later, more
Jongleurs and goliards report the same living in an enclosed order, they are developed state.
things, but in the form of poems, songs, or
stories for entertainment. Sometimes they
emphasize the plight of the nun enclosed
against her will, drawing out the sympathy
Augustinian Rule. Most live in commu-
nity, but some live independently; either Beguines
of the audience, while at other times they way, they are usually urban. In general,
give a bawdy account of sexual activity. they are less severe and strict in their During the early 13th century, a new
Verses like this are so common that the poverty than Benedictines, and are al- way of life for pious women grew up in
reprobate nun is a character type known lowed to own some personal property. the area of northern France, Flanders, and
to everyone. Their chief interest is the recitation of parts of Germany, where there were far
the Divine Office each day, but they are more daughters of the nobility than could
more likely than nuns to interact with find suitable husbands. These women —
the surrounding populace, and may serve who could not marry, were forbidden to

Canonesses them by nursing the sick and educating

the young who are not destined to join
their ranks.
work in any trade, and did not want to
cut themselves off from society — found
a new way to live, dedicating themselves
Like a nun, a canoness takes vows For canonesses, use the guidance on to prayer and good works. This approach
of chastity and obedience and lives ac- nuns as characters and the ways to use has since attracted many who cannot af-
cording to a religious rule, usually the such characters in stories. ford to enter a nunnery or cannot find
a place in one, yet still wish to follow
the religious life, and the movement is
spreading fast.
Some call these women beguines, al-
though that name was pejorative at first
so others prefer to call them simply “holy
women.” In contrast to nuns, they do not
take formal vows so may leave the commu-
nity at any time. To be accepted as a be-
guine, a woman must promise to be chaste
for as long as she is part of the commu-
nity, but she does not have to relinquish
her right to own property. It is not unusual
for a woman to live as a beguine for a few
years and then to leave to marry. As a re-
spectable way for a single woman to leave
the parental home, without committing
herself to a life as a nun, it attracts some
independent spirits. Some married wom-
en, interested in the beguine way of life,
convince their husband to adopt celibacy
so that the pair live chastely, following the
beguine lifestyle; the name used for a man
living this way is beghard. Sometimes af-
fluent families send their daughters to live
with the beguines for a while to learn man-
ners and domestic skills.
Some beguines remain living in their
families, others live alone, and yet others

The Church
live together with like-minded women; beguines are looked on favorably by the Penitents
the home of such a group is known as Church authorities on account of their
a beguinage. At first, when the move- chastity, good works, and prayer. How-
ment began in the previous century, the ever some of them are teaching, writing, Not long ago, swept up by a similar
Church took no official notice, but that and even preaching, which brings them sentiment, women in northern Italy be-
soon changed. As with nuns, the Church into conflict with Church authority. They gan living as penitents, and the move-
keeps a close eye on the beguines and use the language of those around them in ment is spreading fast. It began among
the local bishop must give his approval preference to Latin, which upsets Church the ruling classes as an urban interpreta-
before a beguinage is established. The leaders. Many of them have an intense tion of the eremitic life. In contrast to
beguinage is an urban establishment, devotion to the holy eucharist and desire the beguines, the emphasis is on peni-
usually housing just a few women. The holy communion as often as every week, tence, and they take up the religious life
women work to support themselves, and which is viewed as very disturbing since with the intention of permanency. At
to have enough left over to give alms. the custom among most religious is to first, the movement accepted only mar-
Often they work at spinning and weav- partake just a few times annually. Such ried and widowed women, but now it is
ing; this can put them into conflict with devotion leads some beguines along the beginning to allow others. The essential
the trade guilds, since the beguines avoid path to mysticism (see later), and some feature of their life is following tradi-
guild control over buying and selling and of them slide into heresy through lack of tional personal penitential practices,
do not require new recruits to serve a close spiritual guidance. including lengthy fasts and dressing in
formal trade apprenticeship. To counter sackcloth and ashes. They hold property
this, the women emphasize their spiritu- in common in small groups, but lack any
ality and try to only do sufficient work to
meet their basic needs and support their
Beguinages of organization, unlike beguines. Also un-
like beguines, they remain at a distance
charitable activities. the Near Future from society and do not engage in work
Each individual community, to suit lo- or trade.
cal circumstances, agrees to the rules gov- A very substantial beguinage — such These women are known as biz-
erning the life of a beguine. As many grow as that of Saint Elizabeth in Ghent — zoca (plural bizzoche) in north Italy and
up around holy individuals who settled grows, if your saga follows history, to oc- Provence, but as pinzocheri in central
close to hospitals and leper colonies, ser- cupy a plot of land encircled by ditches Italy (and continentes in Latin). Typi-
vice to these is often an important part of and a wall within which are a church, a cally, they live in small groups or in their
the beguine’s life. Many beguines support cemetery, a small hospital for the inhab- own homes, closely linked to a specific
themselves by manual labor, for example itants, and homes. There are numerous church. They need permission from that
taking in washing; in the larger commu- houses in the enclosure, where the women church and the local bishop to set up
nities, the mistress of work supervises this live in small groups and each has a small their community, but there is no formal
activity. As they are not confined within garden. The women have little personal hierarchy within the group and no need
the beguinage, they often go out to visit property, just their clothing, a bed, and a for anyone other than the members of
the sick, although they need to be care- chest. There are two chaplains resident. the community to decide who may be
ful since tending men risks accusations of One woman, called the principal mistress, admitted. Recently, penitent communi-
improper behavior. is selected to be in charge of the begui- ties are settling on lands donated by ur-
They start and end the day by gather- nage; her position is reviewed annually. ban nobles and burgesses where, by not
ing together in the church for prayer, and She appoints the women who are respon- having an oratory, they remain outside
hear Mass every morning before they go sible for each of the houses in the com- Church control. Their supporters seek
to work. While they work, they maintain munity. Any woman wishing to absent forgiveness for their sins by providing for
silence as far as possible, unless one or two herself from the beguinage for more than the holy women who pray for them, but
of them recite psalms or prayers aloud. an hour or so needs her permission, and may also be using them for social or po-
Their diet is simple, as is their clothing; must go with companions, so each can litical advantage.
there is no fixed habit but, within the watch the other. The principal mistress In years to come, if your saga fol-
larger groups, all tend to wear the same in must give her permission for anyone join- lows history, women alone or in small
order to avoid distinctions. ing the community and for any building groups live as beguines or penitents in
Beguines rely on the local parish or demolition work. She also has the duty most countries of mainland Western and
priests to say Mass and hear their con- to correct any member who breaks the Southern Europe.
fessions; although in some instances, in rules. Punishment in extreme cases may The Social Status Virtue Religious is
towns and cities where there are numer- involve transfer to a different beguinage correct for characters of this type; how-
ous churches, the link between beguines or expulsion. With care, it might just be ever, most are illiterate. Players may take
and any specific priest is less fixed than possible for a covenant to hide inside one the Flaw Ability Block: Academic to cover
the Church likes, because it makes it of the larger beguinages. this situation.
harder to monitor their activities. Most

The Church
Carmelite Nuns
Using an Anchoress in the Saga
An anchoress can live in a village bend and break it — and then have to The Order of Our Lady of Mount
closely linked to a covenant, or, with make their confession and excuses. Carmel (or Carmelite Order) is a religious
care, can be located actually in a cove- A covenant may have contacts with order, which originated from groups of
nant. And unlike cloistered religious, she an anchoress in town who is something hermits living in the Holy Land, on the
can interact with a wide range of people of a busybody or gossip, or the covenant slopes of Mount Carmel. There are nu-
through her window and act through may support an anchoress to teach the merous caves there, around the site of the
intermediaries, particularly her own younger children, and to pray for cov- well that was used by the prophet Elijah.
servants. Two different players might enant members. In 1220, the group is well established there
enjoy taking the roles of anchoress and This can be a good choice of char- and lives under a rule approved by the pa-
servant to develop stories through their acter type for someone who wants to pal legate in Jerusalem. Its members devote
relationship. It may well be more fun if be involved as a player character in a themselves to solitude, penance, prayer,
they do not adhere too strictly to the saga but is living away and will partici- and contemplation. Originally all men, a
ideal rule, but find entertaining ways to pate by email. few women find themselves drawn to the
same style of life. The women are likely to
be found in the most remote caves, living
in total poverty and seclusion. If your saga
Becoming an Anchoress in England follows history, the rule followed by the
Carmelite hermits receives papal approval
Before being allowed to take up the of burning incense. She stands and is in 1226. The hermits move from the Holy
enclosed life of an anchoress, a woman presented with two lighted candles, one Land in 1238 to settle in Cyprus and Sic-
in England requires permission form representing love of God and the other ily, reach England in 1240, and establish a
the local bishop, who has a duty to test love of one’s neighbor. Readings from settlement in southern France in 1244.
her vocation. When he is convinced, scripture and a psalm follow, then the
a special ceremony is performed. The two candles are placed on the altar and
candidate enters the church and pros- Mass is celebrated. After Mass, the cler-

trates herself at the western end, oppo- gy recite the psalms for the dead while
site the altar. Two clerks stand over her the candidate is led to her cell. There
and recite a litany. She is blessed by the she is sprinkled with dust before enter-
sprinkling of holy water and the smoke ing, and the door is closed behind her. The life of an anchoress is more closely
linked to society than that of a nun, while
still being enclosed to a significant degree,
Recluses will pray for them. Their isolation and
chosen lifestyle make such characters
and is a highly respected mode of life. It is
governed by rules, but many of them are
hard to incorporate into a saga. They are optional. It is suitable for the woman who
Holy hermits are not rare, although probably most useful as occasional non- has a vocation to the religious life but who
they are not often female. Women living player characters. does not want to be entirely cut off from
alone in remote places may be suspect- A pious woman with The Gift may the world. It is typically only open to the
ed of being hedge magicians, cunning find the life of a holy hermit to be a good more wealthy, but an anchoress has female
women, or witches, and may have to try option, and a maga with no inclination servants who also follow the rules and
to prove themselves otherwise. There is to piety but with The Blatant Gift may routines of religious life, so the role of ser-
a growing tendency among Church au- find the hermit life suitable. A character vant to an anchoress is a choice available
thorities to disapprove of women living of this sort can be a useful choice for a to poorer women. Prior to taking up resi-
in this way, so a hermit character may storyguide who wants to run a player dence in her cell, an anchoress may have
come under pressure from nobility or character just once in a while. Another lived as a nun, but this is not usual. Once
clergy to enter a nunnery. It is not at all possibility is for the isolated maga to be installed as an anchoress, the woman’s for-
unusual for a woman ostensibly living in a shared character who is a specialist in mer life is irrelevant, and she is equally re-
solitude to be accompanied by a female something the player characters are weak spected whether a widow or a virgin.
servant or two, especially if the woman in, and who might step in from time to Many anchoresses’ cells are attached
concerned is from a noble family; these time to help out in stories of a particular to a church, built onto the side or end of
still count as hermits. A holy hermit sort, when she can be played by a mem- the building in such a way that the anchor-
probably gets gifts of food from the peo- ber of the troupe whose own magus is not ess has a window that gives her a view of
ple living in the vicinity, who hope she involved in the story. the altar. Less often, a cell may be attached

The Church
to a nunnery or stand alone. There is usu- it does not become a habit or less than She should not keep an animal other than
ally a window giving onto the street, and special, and make a full confession before a cat, so she is not distracted from prayer
a door through which her servants come each occasion. by concern for the animal. She must not
and go. The anchoress may eat twice a day on buy and sell things, nor look after any-
Sundays and every day from Easter until thing for anyone.
the feast of the Holy Cross (the 14th of The anchoress should dress simply in
The Anchoress’ Rule September), except on Fridays, Ember
days, and during vigils. On those days
plain, warm clothing. She should not do
penance in coarse cloth or by flagella-
(Ancrene Riwle) and throughout Advent she should avoid tion of any sort unless advised so by her
white food. She ought to fast on all other confessor. She may work with a needle to
The Ancrene Riwle was written in days apart from Sundays. When fasting, mend church vestments and the clothing
England during the early 13th century for she should avoid meat and fat unless ill, of the poor, and to clothe herself and her
a group of three anchoresses. It is based but fasting should not be taken to excess servants. She may not send or receive let-
heavily on the rules that govern monks and she must only limit herself to bread ters without permission.
and nuns, but differs to suit the circum- and water if instructed by the priest. The anchoress should gently correct
stances of an anchoress in general and The anchoress must live on alms, and faults in the behavior of her servants, im-
allows for individual variations under the take only what she needs. She should posing penances if need be, and should
guidance of the woman’s confessor. The provide for her servant and may eat with work to maintain harmony between them.
primary requirements of obedience, chas- women or children who work for her, but She should sometimes read to her servants,
tity, and permanence of abode remain. not with a man. She should only ask for to instruct them. She should be more gen-
The rule warns against making other something when her need is very great. erous with food, drink, and clothing to her
vows, for example with regard to fasting,
dress, or times of prayer, because of the
danger of breaking such a vow. Instead, it
recommends only acting as if such vows
Story Seeds
have been made. By adopting some of the
Defying the Bishop home than usual when an archdeacon, or
rules in play, a character becomes distinc- maybe even a papal legate, passes by her
tively religious. Three young women live together as cell with a small retinue and, on a whim,
The window through which the an- penitents in a house near the city wall, stops to speak with her. Can the servant
choress interacts with the world outside provided for them by a merchant grown maintain an adequate deception for the
should be small and covered with a black rich on trade in fine fabrics. When their duration of the visit and allay any suspi-
cloth, on which there is a white cross on sponsor finds himself in dispute with the cions? How does she explain the long
both sides. If anyone comes to the win- bishop, the women come under pressure absence of her “servant,” who ought to
dow, the servant should first find out who from the Church to abandon their pres- be outside providing refreshment to the
it is, so the anchoress can avoid contact ent home and move in with another pen- retinue while the “anchoress” talks at the
with unsuitable callers. If it is a priest, she itent community on the other side of the window with the important visitor?
should sit still and silent and listen to him. city. Under normal circumstances, they
She should not speak long with anyone may be able to agree to go along with
without a suitable witness; her servant of- the proposal, even though they know Menagerie
ten takes this role. She should never speak there will be personality conflicts if the
to anyone through the window that gives Tired of walking to the farm every
groups are forced together in this way.
onto the church. The servant may go out- day to collect milk, the anchoress’ ser-
However, these penitents are actually a
side to entertain a visitor who is dear to vant persuades the farmer to give a cow,
Jerbiton maga with her two servants.
the anchoress, in her stead. which is put to graze on the common
The anchoress should refrain from land close to the church where the cell
speech on a Friday, and more often in Ad- Unexpected Visitation is. Before long, the anchoress has ac-
vent and Lent, but may say a little to her quired two more cows, four goats, three
servant, and speak briefly to anyone who An anchoress player character, or pigs, and a small dog that lives in the
has traveled far to speak with her. She one closely associated with the cov- cell with her. The servant spends much
should not preach to, give counsel to, or enant, uses disguise (mundane or magi- of her time tending the livestock. The
take advice from any man, but she may cally assisted) to change places with her local populace increase their donations
converse with women. These rules are fre- servant and go out. She does not usually to feed the animals as well as the an-
quently ignored. stray more than 15 minutes’ walk from choress and her servant. Then someone,
The Riwle suggests that the anchoress her cell, but the unexpected may lure perhaps the priest himself, passes a com-
limit herself to receiving holy communion her further. One day she is further from plaint to the bishop.
15 times a year, on certain feast days, so

The Church
servants than to herself. read, should recite the Lord’s Prayer and vants so she always has a companion. The
There are rules to govern the anchor- the Hail Mary. one who goes out should not be young
ess’ servants, too. The servants must be They must have the anchoress’ leave and pretty, should stay away as short a
always attentive to their mistress and be to give or receive anything. They are for- time as possible, and minimize her inter-
obedient, unless that would lead to sin. bidden from admitting a man into the an- action with other people. Servants should
They must take care not to disturb their choress’ cell and should be careful in their not carry news or gossip to or from the an-
mistress’ prayer and contemplation. They own interactions with men, not gazing on chorhold, but many are inclined to.
must behave demurely and dress modestly a man nor embracing one, even a relative. An anchoress may have unusual means
and plainly. They should pray at the same If someone has to go out to obtain of leaving her cell, and might be able to
hours as their mistress and, if they cannot food, the anchoress should have two ser- get away with it, if she is careful, although
she will have to deal with her conscience.
She may, for example, have an enchant-
ed item that allows her to leave her cell
through a wall, or the means to use Leap
of Homecoming to reach another loca-
tion, and later return to the cell. Perhaps
one unique cell contains access to a regio
where the anchoress can work and explore
without technically leaving her cell; this
could suit a pious maga.

Among religious women, gifts of
prophecy and visions are sometimes a
blessing and sometimes an affliction. Such
people can be found in nunneries or liv-
ing in seclusion. They are not easy to live
with, but their intimate link with God
earns them the care and respect of those
around them. The mystical state is gener-
ally understood to be a form of prayer. It
is commonly believed that God gives such
gifts to those who live most closely accord-
ing to his commandments, and are seen to
show humility, penitence, and great love.
However, it is hard to prove whether this
way of life is the cause or the result of
profound mystical religious experiences,
which impart direct personal knowledge
of God. See Chapter 2: Congregation,
Christian Mysticism for more information
on mystics and their lives, and for rules
governing mysticism in play.
In most case, the experiences of a re-
ligious mystic are covered by the Visions
Flaw. Religious and pious characters in this
category almost always interpret their vi-
sion as coming from God, whatever its ori-
gin. For a few characters, their visions de-
rive from True Faith with the Major Virtue
and Supernatural Power of Understand-
ing and its associated Supernatural Abil-

The Church
ity Understanding, which requires that
the character also have the Major Virtue Some Books by Hildegard of Bingen
and Supernatural Method of Meditation
(Realms of Power: The Divine, pages 34, 36, Know The Ways Of The Lord (Scivias) Trac- medicinae) Summa, Philosophiae (nat-
37, and 54). tatus, Theology (Quality 13) ural philosophy) 2 and Medicine 3
In the 12th century and early 13th The Book Of Life’s Merits (Liber Vitae Merito- (Quality 13)
century, more mystics live in Germany and rum) Tractatus, Philosophiae (moral Symphony Of The Harmony Of Celestial Rev-
Flanders than elsewhere, and they usually philosophy) and Theology (Qual- elations (Symphonia Armoniae Celestium
live in nunneries. In other places, there ity 13) Revelationum) Tractatus, Artes Libera-
are a few mystics among the beguines and Book Of Divine Works (Liber Divinorum les (astronomy, music) (Quality 13)
anchoresses as well. If the local bishop is Operum) Summa, Philosophiae Unknown Letters (Litterae Ignotae) And Un-
convinced that a nun’s mystical experi- (metaphysics) 2 and Theology 5 known Language (Lingua Ignota) Two
ences are genuinely of divine origin, the (Quality 13) tractatus, Dominion Lore (Quality
nun gains a Reputation as a mystic, which Physica or Book of Simple Medicine (Liber 2), possibly also Enigmatic Wisdom
is likely to spread rapidly throughout the simplicis medicinae) Tractatus, Phi-
local diocese. If the content of the visions losophiae (natural philosophy) and Note that the high quality of most
touches on points of theology, it is usual Medicine (Quality 13) of her writings applies to the original
that the pope must also be convinced that Causes And Cures (Causae Et Curae) or Book books only, and that copies may well
the revelations come from God. Mystics of Compound Medicine (Liber compositae have lower Quality.
with the most profound visions may be
commanded by God in their visions to
write them down, or they may choose when Hildegard was fifteen. When Jutta was very widely known in the following
to do so for themselves, or be told by a died in 1136, Hildegard was elected in her years, when she was abbess at Ruperts-
superior to record their experiences or place as the teacher of the nuns. She then berg, near Bingen on the Rhine, where
dictate them to another. Once recorded, talked about her mystical experiences only she moved in 1150, and then at Eibingen
they may be disseminated and the mystic’s with Volmar, a monk who was her tutor on the other side of the river, where she
reputation be carried further afield. until, in 1141, she was instructed to write founded a nunnery in 1165.
it all down. This command came to her in She was so highly regarded that she
an intense mystical experience in which was able to speak with authority as a
Hildegard of Bingen she gained a sudden and clear understand-
ing of the Bible. At first the burden of this
preacher, despite being female, and she
was allowed to travel. She made four tours
knowledge, and the command to write, to preach through the area drained by the
Hildegard, who died in 1179 in the overwhelmed her and she became ill. But middle and upper Rhine and its tributar-
Rhineland, was a renowned mystic dur- after a while, with the help of Volmar and ies — the Main, Neckar and Mosel. Char-
ing her lifetime and in 1220 is known and a nun called Richildis acting as secretary, acters may well meet some of those who
honored throughout Mythic Europe for she began to record her visions. By the heard her and were inspired by her. She
her visions and also for her scholarship. end of her life, she had produced three was known to a few magi, in particular
Characters may want to study her writings books recording her visions and explain- some members of House Jerbiton, and it
and could meet people who knew her per- ing them with reference to the Bible. The is rumored that she was adopted into their
sonally. Many describe her as having had books are beautifully illustrated by artists ranks despite being unGifted, although
an “overpowering, electrifying presence,” who worked under her close supervision, there is no known formal record of that
although this may derive as much from her to ensure the representations of her vi- within the Order.
reputation as her personal Presence. sions were as accurate as possible. As well as being a pre-eminent mystic,
She was the tenth of her parents’ chil- Hildegard was always adamant that Hildegard was also a scholar and artist.
dren, so they promised her to the Church. her insights into the mind of God and the She wrote commentaries upon the gospels
It became apparent very early on that she wonders of his world derived entirely from and on the Rule of Saint Benedict, and
had a special relationship with God, but divine inspiration; she was only the weak, she wrote the lives of two saints. She also
she kept her earliest visions secret. At the fearful channel through which God chose wrote poetry and plays, including Play of
age of eight she was sent to live with an to communicate. She claimed that the airy the Virtues (Ordo Virtutum), a morality play
anchoress named Jutta, who taught her humor was particularly strong within her, with music designed for the nuns to per-
the rudiments of reading and writing. For and that this made her unusually receptive form. Music was a source of joy to her, and
many years, Jutta was the only person to the Holy Spirit. The truth of the visions she composed at least 70 pieces of music,
with whom she shared what she learned recorded in her book Scivias was accepted including hymns with innovative vocal
in her visions. Hildegard and Jutta joined by the archbishop of Mainz and then, lines (some collected in the book Sym-
the community of nuns at the Benedictine when Bernard of Clairvaux gave his sup- phony of the Harmony of Celestial Revelations).
abbey at Disibodenberg, in the Rhineland, port, by Pope Eugenius III. Her reputation She was skilled in herbalism and medicine:

The Church
Elizabeth of Schönau
Books by Elizabeth of Schönau
Books Of Visions (Libri Visionem) Tractatus, Revelations Of The Sacred Company Of Vir- Elizabeth was born in 1129 near Bonn
Theology, Quality 6 gins At Cologne (Revelatio De Sacro Ex- to a family with strong connections with
The Book Of God’s Way (Liber Viarum Dei) ercitu Virginum Coloniensium) Tractatus, the Church, went to live in a Benedic-
Summa, Church Lore 4 (Quality 7) Dominion Lore, Quality 6 tine nunnery in Schönau at the age of
12, and took her vows a few years later.
Her mystical experiences, which began
her book on the subject includes her un- worked together, looking after the lepers in 1152, were usually inspired by partici-
derstanding of the flow of the blood, re- in the hospital at Willambrouk in Brabant. pation in a religious service or listening
production, headaches, faints, frenzy, and In 1207, with her husband’s agreement, to readings from the Bible or the life of
obsession. Her writings on natural history Marie retreated from the world to live in a saint. In her visions, Christ, his mother
include studies of the elements, minerals, complete poverty in a cell close to an Au- Mary, an angel, or the saint of the day
plants, birds, and animals, with reference gustinian priory at Oignes. There she did appeared to instruct her about the read-
to healing properties, and all in the con- manual work and spent the rest of her time ings and liturgy, or she saw scenes from
text of the microcosm and the macro- in prayer. the life of Christ or the saints that she
cosm (see Art & Academe for more on these The Holy Spirit inspired her to cry, had heard about.
subjects). In addition, she had a profuse enraptured, whenever she gazed upon She corresponded with Abbess Hil-
correspondence with popes, members of a crucifix. She conversed frequently degard in Bingen and, like her, wrote of
the nobility including the Holy Roman with her guardian angel and Saint John her visions, producing her Books of Visions
Emperor Frederick I and King Henry II of the Evangelist. Her mystical visions are in three volumes. Elizabeth had help from
England, and senior clergy including Ber- well known in the area around the nun- her brother Egbert with the later reports.
nard of Clairvaux and the pope, mainly to nery where she lived, and characters may Separating the insights gained by the nun
give advice. meet people able to tell them about her. in her visions from the ideas added by her
A few writings in Hildegard’s own Study of her mystical visions could ben- brother is not easy in the first volume. It
hand — her Unknown Letters and Unknown efit characters seeking insight into the is even harder in the other two books,
Language — are in a script of her own Divine, but hers are not written down so which contain reports of what Elizabeth
devising and use complex constructions, can only be studied by talking with those saw and heard when she put questions
novel words, and abbreviations, which who knew her. However, one of her spe- posed by her brother and his abbot to her
makes them hard to read. Characters will cial gifts was Divinely inspired insight mystical teachers.
be better off with copies made using con- into the heart and soul of those who The Church has not tested the valid-
ventional script and vocabulary, if they consulted her, such that she discovered ity of these visions as yet, because, unlike
can find any. Some members of House their major temptations and secrets; this Hildegard’s, they do not deal with theol-
Criamon have been working to decipher may make those with the most valuable ogy; the Church authorities might call on
these, in expectation of finding there a information the least willing to discuss religious player characters to help if such
link between the Divine and the Enigma. Marie’s visions. examination was called for. Elizabeth
A community of lay religious women wrote other books, including The Book of
grew up around her at Oignes, and Marie God’s Way; this writing includes warnings
Marie of Oignes: died there in 1213. and instruction to laity and clergy at all

Beguine and Mystic

Saint Severus of Ravenna
Marie was one of the founders of the
beguine movement, and her story may Severus was a married archbishop marriage was clearly entirely accept-
provide inspiration for a beguine charac- who lived in the fourth century. He is able to God because the archbishop
ter’s background, or her visions might fea- a saint that a married priest or priest’s was chosen directly by him, signaled
ture in a story. wife might well call on for support by the sending of a dove to settle on
Marie was born in Nivelles, Brabant (see Realms of Power: The Divine, page his head not just once, which was all
in 1176. Her wealthy parents arranged a 87). Severus was married to Vincentia that was necessary to indicate who
marriage for her to a very eligible young and they had a daughter, Innocentia, should have the post, but three times.
man when she was 14 years old, even before his election to the post of arch- The family stayed together until death
though she had expressed a desire to en- bishop of Ravenna. At that time, cleri- and all three share the same grave,
ter a nunnery. She persuaded her husband cal wives were common and had the ti- which could be a place of pilgrimage
that they would remain celibate and live tle of presbyteria or sacerdotissa. The for a married priest or his wife.
a life of poverty and service. At first they

The Church
levels, and at all stages of life, against
sins of hypocrisy, heresy, avarice, and so Story Seed: Novices
on. Copies of her Revelations of the Sacred
Company of Virgins at Cologne are available A well-dressed, mature woman ap- and restraint, they reveal themselves in
in many monastic libraries. It concerns proaches the nunnery to ask if they are the dormitory after a few nights have
Saint Ursula, a fourth century English willing to take in three girls as novic- passed without a successful seduction.
princess, and her companions who were es. Her story is that she is a widowed Demonic help should enable them to
martyred in Cologne and whose bones noblewoman fallen on hard times since keep this up for quite a while if the
were discovered there in 1155. There her husband died, and these three are nuns do not let on, and if the “novic-
were a great number of bones and ev- her charges, daughters of herself and es” can cope with the long periods of
ery establishment that obtained a relic her deceased sister. The girls say all prayer in chapel, but their time will be
wanted a copy of the book containing the right things to support this, and up when a pregnancy is detected. Un-
conversations between the martyrs and profess a strong desire to devote their less something is done to remove them
Elizabeth, to support the authenticity of lives to God. In fact, the three girls are before then, the young men leave once
the remains. Investigation can probably nothing of the sort, but are boys dis- all the nuns have betrayed their vows,
prove these visions false. guised with help from the demon that at which point the demon stops help-
is masquerading as the older woman ing them, its job done.
(a Spirit of Deceit, see Realms of Power: Note that, if the nunnery closest
Visions to Come The Infernal, page 38). The “novices”
aim to maintain the disguise as long
to the covenant is rich and has rel-
ics, and has a Dominion aura strong
as possible, only dropping it when enough to keep the demon outside, it
If your saga follows history, mystics they have contrived to be alone with will attempt to enlist the help of play-
soon become more common. There are a nun and persuaded her to commit a er characters to introduce the three
some who, in 1220, are young children. serious sin. However, lacking patience potential novices.
Hildegard’s mystical visions started when
she was only three years of age, so it would
not be surprising if some these little ones with a Dominion aura, Hermetic investi- as understanding or insight. Feeling a
were also having mystical religious experi- gation by a maga can prove quite a chal- little alarmed, she prays and the aura in-
ences. Characters may encounter the likes lenge, and a magus would find it consid- fluences her understanding of the words
of Zita and Malfalla of Portugal, who are erably harder. she utters. She believes she has had a
infants in 1220; Hadewijch of Antwerp, Someone might pretend to have re- divine mystical experience and makes
who is a child still in 1220 but so overcome ligious visions in order to gain attention, haste to tell a priest all about it. Does he
by her intense love of God that she feels perhaps to get out of a difficult situation believe her, and if he does, what does he
she will die of love without his strength to by making themselves seem a danger best do? Eventually any reputation she gained
support her; or Mechthild of Magdeburg, sent away, or to appear more important. as a mystic fades if she never has another
who was born in 1210 and starts having Also, people can delude themselves. In insight. Does she fake it to retain atten-
her visions in 1222, with direct experience such cases, members of a covenant may tion? Can she return to the same Magic
of the Holy Spirit. be called upon to find out what is really aura? This may be particularly hard if her
going on. Does the strange novice really “vision” has led her to enter a nunnery.
have mystical visions, is she just trying What do the magi do when they find out
False Visions to avoid getting up to pray at night and
dawn, or does she have The Gift? What
about the aura?
The fae may also be inclined to give
about characters who have visions that illusory substance to characters and in-
Given the slightest chance, a Spirit are nothing at all to do with the Divine? cidents they find out about, for instance
of Deceit delights in giving people false A nun who starts to have visions probably when they overhear someone praying
visions (see Realms of Power: The Infernal, finds her community determined to con- aloud or reciting a psalm or parable.
page 38). It can be very difficult to prove sider the experience a religious one, and The person who witnesses an illusion
whether or not a particular mystical ex- she will have a hard job convincing them will very likely claim to have seen a vi-
perience is genuinely divine. The task otherwise. She may well opt not to make sion. What does the Church do when
usually falls to the local bishop; if there the attempt if she can endure the conse- the apparently mystical experience is
is a degree of understanding between a quences, but what can she honestly say if reported? How do the fae respond, if a
bishop and a covenant or an individual examined by the bishop? group of clergy turn up in one of their
member of the Order of Hermes, he Take as example the case of a young favorite spots determined to pray for a
may well request discreet assistance. If woman out gathering firewood in an an- vision themselves?
the person under investigation is a nun cient forest, who stumbles into a Magic
confined within an enclosed community aura aligned with Intellego manifesting

The Church

Priests’ Wives A large parish probably has clerics in

minor orders to assist the priest, and also
months afterwards, in 1188.
Characters may know something of the

and Mistresses
laymen with special responsibilities. A dea- legend of “Saint Joan,” said to have held
con or sub-deacon should be unmarried, the papacy as Pope John VIII for two and
but a married man who promises complete a half years in the mid-ninth century. The
sexual abstinence can be admitted to these story tells how a girl was disguised as a man
In 1123, at the First Lateran Council, orders, and his wife has a position within by her lover, and traveled to Athens with
Pope Calistus II decreed that clerical mar- the local church. Other Church assistants him. There she maintained the deception
riages were invalid. The ruling was widely provide opportunities for female charac- and began to study. Her scholarship took
ignored, so in 1139, under Pope Innocent ters, as well; for example, a sacristan can her to Rome, where her learning was so ad-
II, the Second Lateran Council confirmed be a married layman, and the wife of such mired that she was appointed to the curia
the previous council’s decree. In 1215, a person could be a suitable choice for a and before long nominated as pope. Then
Pope Innocent III’s Fourth Lateran Council female character intended to be closely she became pregnant. The child was born
reinforced it. Nevertheless, in a great many involved with the day-to-day running of unexpectedly while Joan was taking part in
places, and not all of those remote from the the parish while married, in an area where a religious procession, so the secret was out.
bishops’ power centers, there are priests married priests are inappropriate. See Some say the child was a girl and survived,
with wives or “hearth-mates.” Acknowl- Realms of Power: The Divine, pages 81–82 for while all versions say that Joan was killed. No
edging this fact, the Holy Roman Emperor examples of clerics in minor orders who written reports of a female pope are known
Frederick II made a ruling that the offspring can have wives. to exist, though, and the Church considers it
of clerical marriages be provided for from a recently-made-up folk tale. The story was
their parents’ estates. This is because one initiated about 100 years ago by a demon
of the greatest fears is that Church prop- who is eager to aid characters ready to stir
erty should fall into the hands of a priest’s
family, that their support should become
a burden to the Church, and that money
Imposters up trouble on the basis of the story.
A female character desiring to take up
the religious life as a man might pray for
donated to the Church should be used for A woman may pretend to be a man aid to Saint Eugenia, an early Roman mar-
support of a priest’s family. Saint Paul’s rec- in order to get access to positions in the tyr who, legend has it, took on men’s cloth-
ommendation that a priest without a wife is Church that are denied to women. She ing to escape persecution and went on to
better able to give his attention to God is, may want to enter a monastery for pious became an abbot. If Divine help is not of-
for many, of secondary importance here. or impious reasons, for example. Without fered, Infernal help might well be; demons
If your saga follows history, disap- supernatural aid of some sort, it is highly will make it easier for women to pretend
proval of priests’ wives and mistresses unlikely that a woman could masquerade to be men, and vice versa. Men pretending
grows much stronger soon. Troupes with as a male for long enough to obtain the to be women in order to get inside a nun-
a female player character who lives with education necessary to become a priest, or nery are a popular topic for bawdy songs.
a priest should decide whether the priest to keep her disguise well enough to survive A character able to Gender Shift (an In-
and his wife consider themselves to be the close communal life of a monastery. fernal Minor Supernatural Tainted Virtue,
living under valid vows of marriage, or However, in very unusual circumstances, see Realms of Power: The Infernal, page 85) can
whether they believe themselves to be in or with supernatural assistance, anything play it both ways, of course.
a sinful relationship. Either way, they also along these lines is possible.
should decide whether or not the union is The life of Saint Hildegund may pro-
a Dark Secret, to be used to fuel stories. vide inspiration. When Hildegund was 12
It is perfectly reasonable to say that the
local populace knows about the relation-
ship and see nothing wrong or odd in it,
years old, her father decided to take her
with him on a pilgrimage to the Holy
Land. He decided she would be safer in
Sample Characters
treating the couple just like any other disguise, so dressed her as a boy and called These stats are provided to help inte-
married couple. But in all but the more re- her Joseph. Her father died during the ear- grate female religious into your saga.
mote areas, it is probable that the bishop ly stages of the return journey and entrust-
opposes the union and may well attempt ed the care of “Joseph” to a fellow traveler,
to separate the couple, and he will prob- who robbed her and abandoned her on
ably punish both. Lesser senior clergy and the coast of Palestine. She maintained the Holy Maga
religious may disapprove, but many accept disguise and worked her way back to Ger-
it as normal for a priest to have a female many. A few years later, after several ad- (House Ex Miscellanea)
companion. In Wales and many parts of ventures, an elderly female recluse advised
England, for example, it is not uncommon her to enter the Cistercian monastery of Characteristics: Int +3, Per +2, Pre –1,
for a priest to have a wife and to pass the Schönau as a lay brother. The deception Com 0, Str 0, Sta +2, Dex –2, Qik –1
care of the parish to a son. was not discovered until she died a few Size: 0

The Church
Age: 31 (30) (Realms of Power: The Divine, page 34–37). It As a player character, this character
Decrepitude: 0 is only since the death of her parens that is suitable for a player who is not always
Warping Score: 3 (3) she has learned anything about the normal available, or for an alpha storyguide.
Confidence: 1 (3) Hermetic Arts; she is very dubious about The character can be customized with
Virtues and Flaws: The Gift; Hermetic the rightness of using them and has learned 60 points of spells.
Maga; Holy Magic, Meditation, Puri- very few spells. She has little to do with the
ty, Transcendence, Quiet Magic (×2); Order but is not antagonistic towards other
Blatant Gift, Necessary Condition magi. She would like eventually to turn
(Sign of the Cross), Weak Magic Re- more of them towards Holy Magic, but has Companion Templates
sistance (when unaware of the caster), not yet decided on the best approach. The
Flawed Parma Magica (Vim), Pious, maga may develop further in Holy Magic The following female companions are
Weak Magic, Weak Parens and help the covenant in dealings with the suitable for Ars Magica sagas.
Personality Traits: Pious +3, Patient +2, Divine and Infernal. She may become active
Reclusive +1 as an advocate for Holy Magic, or develop
Reputations: Fearsome (local children) 3, a keener interest in traditional Hermetic Mystic Nun
Holy hermit (local peasants) 2, Hedge magic. The troupe could also tell the story
Wizard (Rhine Tribunal) 3 of her loss of Holy Magic, gradual devel- Characteristics: Int +1, Per +2, Pre –2, Com
Combat: opment as a normal maga, and integration +3, Str –1, Sta +2, Dex –1, Qik –1
Dodge: Init –1, Atk n/a, Def –1, Dam n/a into the wider Order of Hermes. Size: –1
Soak: +2
Fatigue Levels: OK, 0, –1, –3, –5,
Wound Penalties: –1 (1–5), –3 (6–10), –5
(11–16), Incapacitated (16–20), Dead
Abilities: Home Woodlands Area Lore 4
(places of refuge), Artes Liberales 3
(logic), Awareness 3 (animals), Church
Lore 1 (prayer), Code of Hermes 1
(mundane relations), Concentration
2 (when meditating), Dominion Lore
1 (angels), Finesse 1 (Mentem), Folk
Ken 3 (peasants), German 5 (persua-
sion), Guile 1 (excuses), Holy Magic
4 (meditation), Latin 4 (composi-
tion), Meditation 4 (in silence), Parma
Magica 1 (Intellego), Philosophiae 1
(Ceremonial magic), Purity 5 (cold),
Theology 2 (biblical knowledge),
Transcendence 4 (3) (resist aging)
Arts: Cr 2, In 2, Mu 0, Pe 0, Re 2, An 2,
Aq 0, Au 0, Co 3, He 0, Ig 0, Im 0, Me
3, Te 0, Vi 0
Encumbrance: 0 (0)
Spells Known:
Bind Wound (CrCo 10) +7
Touch of the Pearls (InAq 5) +4
Sight of the Transparent Motive (InMe 10) +7
Circle of Beast Warding (ReAn 5) +6

The Holy Maga was taken as an ap-

prentice at the age of 12 by an elderly holy
hermit of House Ex Miscellanea, who initi-
ated her into Holy Magic (Realms of Power:
The Divine, page 34). Her training was dedi-
cated to the Holy Powers and Methods

The Church
Age: 23 (23) theologians have studied, plus numerous weed from the rock pools; she was only
Decrepitude: 0 other minor experiences and visions. nine years old at the time. Her piety de-
Warping Score: 0 (0) The nun is also starting to earn a repu- veloped strongly under the angel’s care.
Confidence: 1 (3) tation as a correspondent, and exchanges When she was 12 years of age, Nolwenn
Virtues and Flaws: Religious; Privileged letters with clergymen and with people she announced to her family that she wanted
Upbringing, Puissant Concentration, knows from her early days as the younger to be known as Anne, in honor of the
Social Contacts (diocesan clergy), So- daughter of a noble family. mother of the mother of God, a saint
cial Contacts (local nobility), True Faith This character can be developed much revered in that part of the country.
(Faith Score: 1, Faith Points: 3); Pious with up to 2 more points of both Flaws She knew that she lacked the wealth and
(Major); Ability Block (Athletic), Abil- and Virtues. status needed to enter a nunnery so, un-
ity Block (Martial), Disfigured (birth- der her angel’s guidance, she left her par-
mark on face), Small Frame, Visions ents’ home at the age of 19 to take up the
Personality Traits: Pious +6, Scholarly Anne, a Holy Hermit contemplative life in a woodland cave not
+2, Spontaneous +2 far from her home village. The villagers
Reputations: Mystic (home diocese) 2 Characteristics: Int +1, Per +2, Pre +1, still bring food for her regularly, and she
Combat: Com +1, Str –1, Sta +2, Dex –1, Qik 0 prays for them.
Dodge: Init –1, Atk n/a, Def –1, Dam n/a Size: –1 Anne has taken no formal religious
Soak: +2 Age: 28 (28) vows, and only one personal vow to God
Fatigue Levels: OK, 0, –1, –3, –5, Decrepitude: 0 that she will live in poverty, owning nothing
Unconscious Warping Score: 0 (0) she does not truly need. The angel reminds
Wound Penalties: –1 (1–4), –3 (5–8), –5 Confidence: 1 (3) her if she is ever tempted to take or keep
(9–12), Incapacitated (13–16), Dead Virtues and Flaws: Religious; Guardian something superfluous. In keeping with her
(17+) Angel (Soak: +5, Magic Resistance: inclinations, she lives chastely and spends
Abilities: [Area 1] Lore 3 (people), [Area 15), Strong-Willed; Missing Eye, Poor most of her time in prayer or contempla-
2] Lore 2 (people), Artes Liberales 3 Eyesight, Small Frame, Visions, Vow tion of the lives of Jesus and the saints.
(composition), Awareness 2 (birds), (Poverty) Although she lives as a recluse, she is
Church Lore 2 (people), Concentra- Personality Traits: Compassionate +1, not Reclusive according to the Flaw. She
tion 4 (meditation), Etiquette 3 (nobil- Disciplined +2, Reclusive +3 is pleased to receive the occasional visi-
ity), Folk Ken 2 (women), German 5 Reputations: Dedicated (Christians) 1 tor, unless they appear to be wasting her
(poetry), Latin 5 (lives of the saints), Combat: time. Her help usually takes the form of a
Meditation 3 (adoration of the Blessed Dodge: Init +0, Atk n/a, Def –3, Dam n/a sympathetic ear and the promise to pray
Sacrament), Music 2 (church music), Soak: +2 for anyone she feels needs it. Sometimes
Profession: Scribe 2 (legibility), Un- Fatigue Levels: OK, 0, –1, –3, –5, she finds that she has discovered some-
derstanding 3 (visions of Heaven) Unconscious thing of help to one of her callers in a
Encumbrance: 0 (0) Wound Penalties: –1 (1–4), –3 (5–8), –5 recent dream.
(9–12), Incapacitated (13–16), Dead This character can be developed with
The nun entered the nunnery at the age (17+) up to 5 more points of Flaws and Virtues.
of 11, and, as a novice, was taught Latin Abilities: Awareness 4 (people), Breton
and Artes Liberales. When she reached pu- 5 (peasant chatter), Brittany Lore 4
berty, she was frightened and spent a night (home village), Charm 2 (fisherfolk), Imposter
praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Concentration 5 (prayer), Craft: Sea-
In the early hours of that morning, she had weed Preparation 2 (for food), Church Characteristics: Int +2, Per 0, Pre +3,
her first mystical experience. She described Lore 1, Etiquette 1 (fisherfolk), Folk Com +2, Str –1, Sta 0, Dex 0, Qik –1
it as a perfect white dove surrounded by Ken 4 (fisherfolk), Leadership 3 (chil- Size: 0
a golden glow, which flew down to hover dren), Survival 4 (woodlands), Swim 2 Age: 22 (22)
over her head. She has no idea how long it (seawater), Stealth 3 (in woodlands) Decrepitude: 0
stayed, or whether anyone else could have Encumbrance: 0 (0) Warping Score: 0 (0)
seen it. She fainted, but when she came Confidence: 1 (3)
around she was immediately inspired to Nolwenn grew up on the far western Virtues and Flaws: Religious; Affinity
write a verse about the gifts of the Holy coast of Finistere, a village where most with Charm, Gender Shift, Improved
Spirit. This verse was proclaimed by the made their livelihood from fishing and Characteristics, Privileged Upbring-
abbess as a true insight into the nature of harvesting the copious seaweed, which ing; Ability Block (Martial), Impious
God; when she showed it to the bishop, he was dried for use as fuel, fertilizer, and Friend, Incomprehensible, Motion
agreed. Since then, this nun has had half food for animals and people. Her Guard- Sickness, Reckless
a dozen more significant mystical experi- ian Angel began to talk with her one day Personality Traits: Reckless +3, Selfish
ences that inspired her to write verses that while she was out alone gathering sea- +2, Lecherous +1

The Church
Combat: Grog Templates distracted if someone passes close by. She
Dodge: Init –1, Atk n/a, Def +2, Dam n/a sometimes uses lies to persuade people to
Fist: Init –1, Atk +3, Def +2, Dam –1 tell her gossip, especially secrets, and then
Kick: Init –1, Atk +3, Def +1, Dam +2 Female grogs such as these may also fit is filled with remorse and does penance.
Soak: 0 well into your saga. This character could be used in occa-
Fatigue Levels: OK, 0, –1, –3, –5, Uncon- sional stories, and could be run by a player
scious who is not always available.
Wound Penalties: –1 (1–5), –3 (6–10), –5 Anchoress
(11–15), Incapacitated (16–20), Dead
(20+) Characteristics: Int +1, Per +1, Pre –1, Com Beguine
Abilities: Artes Liberales 3 (reading), +3, Str –1, Sta +2, Dex –1, Qik –1
Athletics 3 (climbing), Awareness 3 Size: 0 Characteristics: Int 0, Per +1, Pre +1, Com
(women), Benedictines Lore 1 (nuns), Age: 32 (32) +1, Str –1, Sta 0, Dex +1, Qik +1
Bargain 2 (for favors), Carouse 2 Decrepitude: 0 Size: 0
(jokes), Charm 5 (seduction), Brawl 2 Warping Score: 0 (0) Age: 23 (23)
(wrestling), Etiquette 2 (nobility), Folk Confidence: 1 (3) Decrepitude: 0
Ken 2 (girls), Guile 3 (lies), Intrigue 2 Virtues and Flaws: Religious; Gossip, Premo- Warping Score: 0 (0)
(plotting), Latin 2 (impudence), Music nitions; Busybody, Lame, Palsied Hands Confidence: 1 (3)
1 (chant), Nunnery Lore 3 (weakness- Personality Traits: Meddlesome +2, So- Virtues and Flaws: Religious; Social Con-
es), Original Home Area Lore 2 (wom- ciable +2, Pious +1 tacts (noble women in town), Social
en), Provençal 5 (lies), Ride 1 (staying Reputations: Dedicated (Christians) 2, Contacts (merchants’ wives in town);
on), Stealth 2 (move silently) Meddler (young people) 1, Gossip (lo- Continence, Fragile Constitution,
cal townswomen) 3 Weak Characteristics
Born into a minor noble family, the Im- Devotions: Blessed Virgin Mary (Mother Personality Traits: Careful +1, Depend-
poster was never much interested in study of Mercy) 0 (1 dp) able +1, Generous +2
as a boy, but picked up a bit of reading Soak: +2 Soak: 0
and writing. He was far more interested in Fatigue Levels: OK, 0, –1, –3, –5, Fatigue Levels: OK, 0, –1, –3, –5,
exploring alone and became very familiar Unconscious Unconscious
with the surrounding area. Once in his Wound Penalties: –1 (1–5), –3 (6–10), –5 Wound Penalties: –1 (1–5), –3 (6–10), –5
teens, he became interested in girls to the (11–15), Incapacitated (16–20), Dead (11–15), Incapacitated (16–20), Dead
exclusion of almost everything else. A de- (21+) (21+)
mon noticed this and sent a minor demon Abilities: [Area 1] Lore 3 (people), [Area Abilities: [Area] Lore 3 (home town),
to become a special friend who always 2] Lore 4 (family histories), Aware- Artes Liberales 2 (reading aloud),
encouraged any sinful thoughts. Through ness 4 (secrets), Charm 2 (women), Awareness 2 (textiles), Bargain 1 (for
this demon, the lad was given the ability Church Lore 2 (calendar), Concentra- food), Beguines Lore 2 (in home
to change gender. The demon friend has tion 1 (conversation), Craft: Spinning town), Carouse 1 (anecdotes), Craft:
persuaded the young man to spend most 3 (working while talking), Etiquette Seamstress 2 (linen), Craft: Lacemak-
of his time as a female, and has helped 2 (townsfolk), Folk Ken 5 (women), ing 3 (borders), Charm 2 (clergy),
him obtain a place as a novice in a sizable Francien 5 (conversation), Guile 3 Church Lore 2 (saints), Concentration
nunnery. There he bides his time, ready to (lies), Intrigue 4 (gossip), Premoni- 3 (prayer), Etiquette 1 (nobility), Folk
spread corruption. The Imposter has so far tions 2 (visitors) Ken 2 (merchants), Flemish 5 (conver-
done well enough as a novice to avoid de- sation), Latin 3 (prayer)
tection. He is often in trouble for breaking The anchoress spends far more time
the rules in minor ways, but so far charm at her window that she ought, and chat- The beguine lives in one of the Flemish
and lies have gotten him out of trouble. ters with anyone who is passing by. She towns that thrives on trade in textiles. She
With the help of his demon friend, he is has one female servant, who she sends was befriended by the head of the local be-
accumulating quite a bit of knowledge out for gossip and information more of- guines when, at the age of 15, she sought
about the novices and nuns most likely to ten than for food or firewood. She tries refuge with the pious ladies to avoid an un-
succumb to temptation. He also knows the to play matchmaker among the young welcome arranged marriage. While she is
times and places to hide in the nunnery, people, which they generally resent. She pious, she is also sociable and spends rather
and the less-obvious ways in and out. is very knowledgeable about the Church’s more time than she ought to in conversa-
See Realms of Power: The Infernal, pages year and always knows when she should tion with the younger well-to-do women
85 and 89 for details on the tainted Vir- fast and abstain from meat, which saint is of the town; she has many contacts among
tues and Flaws. This character can be de- being celebrated on which day, and which the merchants’ wives and the minor nobil-
veloped with up to 5 more points of Flaws prayers and Bible readings are appropriate. ity. She works within her beguine house-
and Virtues. She tries to pray accordingly, but is easily hold on lace-making and sewing.

The Church
She does not have any particular long- Warping Score: 0 (0) Irish 5 (giving advice), Stealth 1 (vil-
term plans, but is unlikely to spend the Virtues and Flaws: Craftswoman; Strong- lages), Swim 2 (very cold water)
rest of her life in the beguine community. Willed, Clear Thinker; Offensive to Encumbrance: 0 (0)
If the right opportunity, perhaps a suitable Animals, Soft-Hearted
husband, comes along, she will leave as Personality Traits: Careful +2, Cheerful This character is suitable for use in an
long as her mentor approves. +1, Practical +1 area where the rules preventing a priest
While with the beguines, she is a play- Combat: from having any family and marrying have
er character with useful contacts in town, Dodge: Init –1, Atk n/a, Def +2, Dam n/a not yet been applied. She is designed to
who can go places and obtain information Fist: Init –1, Atk +3, Def +1, Dam +0 be a practical housewife and useful to her
that could be helpful to a covenant. If she Kick: Init –2, Atk +3, Def +0, Dam +3 husband in tending his parishioners, which
leaves, her relationship with her mentor Soak: 0 should allow her to be drawn into most
might change sufficiently to make it sen- Fatigue Levels: OK, 0, –1, –3, –3, stories concerning him and the people liv-
sible to substitute an alternate Flaw. If cir- Unconscious ing round about. Many local women see
cumstances are right, she will abandon her Wound Penalties: –1 (1–5), –3 (6–10), –5 her as the ideal confidante, and she is their
temporary vow of chastity, and so that too (11–15), Incapacitated (16–20), Dead first port of call if in any trouble.
should be replaced. Her Social Status will (21+) This character can have another Minor
change as well. Abilities: [Home area] Lore 4 (people), Flaw and with it, another Minor Virtue.
Athletics 3 (long walks), Awareness If this character lives in an area where
3 (people with worries), Bargain 2 her status as the wife of a priest is scan-
Priest’s Wife (food), Brawl 2 (dodge), Carouse 1 dalous, then she needs to take the Dark
(singing), Charm 2 (authority figures), Secret Flaw (and consequently be Com-
Characteristics: Int 0, Per +2, Pre +2, Church Lore 2 (festivals), Craft: Ale- panion level and play a significant part in
Com +1, Str 0, Sta 0, Dex +1, Qik –1 wife 2 (taste), Craft: Baking 2 (bread), stories). Her role in the parish, under these
Size: 0 Craft: Cookery 3 (potage), Etiquette 2 circumstances, may be similar but must re-
Age: 28 (28) (clergy), Folk Ken 3 (women), Guile main clandestine.
Decrepitude: 0 2 (fast-talk), Housewife 5 (comfort),

Chapter Six

The Corrupt
“Not long after, Saint Guthlac being
awake in his cell between his hours of
this chapter, however, means something
far more insidious — the wiles of Satan, Storyguiding
prayer, he discerned all his cell to be full of and the Infernal realm’s attempt to tarnish
black troops of unclean spirits. They crept the bride of Christ, the Church, by se-
in under the door, also through chinks and ducing her to sin. A corrupt order is one
holes, and coming both through the earth that has become institutionally corrupt-
and from the sky filled the air, as it were, ed, and rather than serving the armies Telling stories about corruption in
with dark clouds ...” of God now fights alongside the forces the Church is a chance to bring suspense,
– Life of Saint Guthlac of hell in the great war for the souls of creeping horror, and shocking revelations
Mythic Europe. in to your saga. Mythic Europe is filled with
Where does the devil try hardest to
spread corruption? Nowhere is the spiri-
tual battle stronger than amid the nuns
and monks of Mythic Europe, whose
righteousness and piety prevail against
the lures of this world. There the agents
of the Infernal prowl constantly, seeking
a way to enter in and to lead these ser-
vants of God to damnation. The role of
the religious in education, preaching, and
support to communities makes them pow-
erful soldiers of God, yet they are just as
powerful a force for damnation, if turned
from the love of God and allowed to
bring destruction to the souls they tend.
Monks and nuns in Mythic Europe face
a constant spiritual battle against tempta-
tion — temptation that often takes on a
tangible form, for many demons prize the
corruption of a holy soul above all else.
Heresy, the lure of the cardinal sins, and
false spirituality are the weapons of the
Infernal in this battle.
Corruption can take many forms. Hu-
man vice and profligacy are by far the
most common; most monastic orders and
Church institutions unknowingly harbor
individuals prone to vice and human error.
Heresy and ignorance are not uncommon,
either; folk beliefs exist that the Church
authorities look askance at, though many
practices founded in popular piety and
local custom are simply accepted without
much theological scrutiny. Corruption in

The Church
monasteries and nunneries; who knows larly associated with monastic corruption rifice in particular are not common motifs
what secrets lurk behind their walls? Such — such as abuse of children, sexual abuse, in this context, and many of our modern
stories can contain much interest, but un- nunneries as brothels, and monks tortur- ideas of Satanism are equally inappropri-
fortunately have the potential to lead to ing innocents in secret crypts — are not ate as deeply anachronistic. A great deal
real world upset among players who may actually in keeping with the 13th century; of valuable insight into medieval concepts
have strongly held religious beliefs. Some many of these are modern or 19th century of the demonic can be found in the invalu-
players may hold strong opinions about anti-clericalist motifs. By avoiding these able Realms of Power: The Infernal, but if one
the medieval Church, or the contempo- anachronistic themes, and instead drawing recalls that demons are concerned with
rary Catholic Church, and it is important upon older folklore, much potential upset corrupting souls, not with drinking blood
to avoid allowing such feelings to cause may be avoided. The story of a monk and and slaying indiscriminately, it is easy to
bad feeling at the gaming table. Com- nun eloping and being pursued by Church think of strategies that might create con-
mon sense, tact, and sensitivity are called officials, or a lax and gluttonous abbot flict, deprave the innocent, and magnify
for, and above all a willingness to actually who oppresses his peasants and monks, human vices.
check one’s personal prejudices, and rise are favorites of the era. Another intriguing Stories about corruption should be ul-
above them. A useful tip is to cut off any motif is monasteries that are not what they timately stories about moral choices that
discussion of real religion at the gaming appear to be, but hide which holy or magi- present opportunities for temptation, and
table, and agree to discuss it later, rather cal secrets. Some monasteries, like Cunfin the lure of worldly gain, at the expense
than allow a game to be sidetracked and in the Normandy Tribunal, even conceal of a character’s soul. Evil can be explicit,
feelings hurt. This is a fantasy game, and covenants of the Order of Hermes (The but the story will be stronger if the evil
the Church of Mythic Europe is not the Lion and the Lily, page 106). can appear sympathetic or appealing, and
real Church of our own history. When it comes to the corruption, if the characters are forced to make choic-
So why tell stories about corrupt again it is wise to avoid modern clichés es, and to resist temptation, until they
monks? The idea of a corrupt order was drawn from horror movies and novels. see the hand of the Infernal behind the
a common one in 13th-century folklore, The pentagram is a symbol of the five events. Ultimately evil in Mythic Europe
where stories of monkish vice are com- wounds of Christ, though certainly used in is never attractive — Ars Magica is not
mon. Some notions that today are popu- magical practices. Animal and human sac- film noir, and when the situation is fully
understood, evil should be shocking, dis-
gusting, and offensive.

Heresy and Corruption

One particular area of difficulty for
storyguides is heresy, something that
lies at the heart of many medieval Infer-
nal plots. Given that the major mono-
theisms of Judaism, Christianity, and
Islam all contain Divine truth in Mythic
Europe, even where to human reason
they appear to be in conflict (see Realms
of Power: The Dominion for a discussion of
this), it may seem strange that certain
ideas are deeply wrong and spiritually
damaging. Again, storyguides should be
sensitive here, and must decide which
ideas are so wrong that they actually en-
danger a character’s soul and cross the
line in to Infernalism.
The important concept is “where there
is truth, there is error.” Demons work in
two ways. Firstly, they lead people to
commit sin by making them resigned to
the prospect of hell, or by making them
deny the possibility of hell. Secondly, de-
mons try to subtly pervert the truth, and

The Church
lead people into beliefs that are mistaken, though, sacrilege and blasphemy usually stands completely independent of the dio-
and hence into wrong behavior that will follow. The desecration or abuse of the cese and local church.
eventually corrupt them into the service holy generally causes strong reactions in Freed from both local Ecclesiastical
of hell — heresy is an important part of Mythic Europe, and is a way in which the and temporal authority, the monastery
that process. Exactly which heresies are Infernal swiftly gains in power. looked inwards, becoming a powerful force
Infernally inspired, however, is hard to for spiritual rebirth and the purity of the
judge; some pious people can hold erro- ascetic ideal. Perhaps such freedom from
neous ideas that are not severe enough in normal channels of authority is dangerous,
their ramifications to lead those who ac-
cept them to hell. A wrong teaching only
becomes Infernal when it leads people
Three Holy and tempted the new order to pride, but
for the next two centuries the abbey of
Cluny stood as a light to the world, send-
directly to sinful behavior, and hence to
damnation. Being wrong about a religious
Orders ing out monks filled with reforming zeal
and determined to cleanse monasteries of
precept in itself is not enough — it must corruption, moral laxity, and violations of
lead to actual evil actions, and lead others In this section three of the religious the austerity of the Benedictine Rule.
to the same. orders of Mythic Europe are briefly pre- By its example, Cluny was to touch
There are many heresies in Mythic sented in more detail, with details of how almost every religious house in western
Europe, some ancient and some quite re- the observance of the rule and the cul- Mythic Europe, making others examine
cent. Most heretics are simply theologians ture of their monasteries varies from the the fidelity of their community’s adher-
who have made errors, postulating ideas Benedictine norms presented in Chapter ence to the rule they espoused. The pa-
that are incorrect for their religion, or 4: The Rule. Each of the groups is pro- pacy, seeing the achievements of Cluny,
who have been found by their faith to be vided as an example of a potentially cor- sent monks from this model house out
in error following a ruling on a particular rupt order, with information on the nature to other monasteries, and it is a tribute
matter. The Christian Church does not of the corruption, the demonic influences to the zeal of those early “missionary
execute heretics; those guilty of heresy, underlying the order’s corruption, and reformers” that they often succeeded in
however, are frequently handed over by suggestions for using this order as cor- bringing high ideals and reforming zeal
the Church to the state, which does often rupt in your saga. Even if the order is not to their new homes.
execute heretics in accordance with the corrupt in your saga, this material will al- Because of this perceived purity, Cluny
laws of that land. This subtle distinction low you to represent them. Other orders was popular with the Church authorities
may prove little comfort to those who are discussed in Chapter 4: The Rule and and lay folk, and therefore received a
refuse to recant their errors and who are Chapter 8: The Franciscans. The military great deal of support and many financial
sentenced to be burned. orders of warrior monks are discussed in bequests and endowments. The fashion-
Most heretics are quite unaware they Chapter 7: The Templars. able nature of the Cluniac order provided
are heretics. Ignorance is the problem, the seeds of its downfall, though, for by
not deliberate refusal of Divine truth. the mid-12th century Cluniac houses were
Some are absolutely certain the Church often as rich if not richer than Benedictine
is incorrect on a given matter, and seek
to reform the Church. Others merely
think for themselves, and through weak
The Order houses, and newer reforming movements
dedicated to poverty and ascetic rigor
(such as the Cistercians) had developed,
understanding of a doctrine have drawn
the wrong conclusions. The vast majority
of Cluny and become more popular. The Cluniacs,
long seen as expressing the best of the re-
of medieval heretics are faithful members forming movement in monasticism, are in
of the Church who have strayed into er- The order of Cluny began as a move- 1220 perceived by many as decadent and
ror, or who wish to reform the Church or ment within the Benedictine Order in the lax, perhaps with some justification.
dispute a particular matter of doctrine. 10th century. The Burgundian monastery
The only large-scale alternative Church of Cluny imposed a strict interpretation
to arise through heresy is the religious
institutions of Catharism. Once again, it
of the Rule of Saint Benedict, at a time of
widespread popular perception of monks
What Makes the
is important to stress that by no means as lax, venal, and corrupt. Cluny’s founder, Cluniacs Different?
are all heretics allied with the Infernal; the Duke of Aquitaine, chose not to ex-
indeed, the majority probably serve the ercise the usual influence that nobles who As the austerity and rigor of the early
Dominion, and a person with True Faith established religious houses expected to Cluniac communities have softened with
may quite often be guilty of heresy. Her- maintain, instead making the new monas- years and wealth, Cluny has developed
esy is a disagreement with the Church on tery free from secular authority and subject a strong tradition, or feel, of its own. In
earth, not necessarily with the Divine. only to the pope. The pope approved this several ways it varies from its Benedictine
Where heresy is genuinely Infernal, arrangement, and the monastery therefore parent, and the rule has been modified.

The Church
owing fealty only to their parent house
Was There a Cluniac Order? and Cluny itself. Visitations are conducted
by the Abbot of Cluny, or his appointed
Technically, the answer is no, there century it has developed so far from its delegate, but they are extremely infre-
is no such thing as the Cluniac order. Benedictine roots as to be popularly re- quent, and decades may pass between any
All Cluny houses follow the Rule of garded as, and in real terms effectively kind of formal visit from Cluny.
Saint Benedict, and wear the same black be, an independent order. Answering
robes as are worn by many Benedictines, only through its own feudal-like struc-
though reputedly of better cloth. Cluny ture to the Abbot of Cluny, 13th-centu- Frequent Mass
is a movement within the Benedictines, ry characters will speak of the “Cluniacs”
not a separate order, but in the 13th or “Order of Cluny” quite naturally. The frequent, indeed often several
times daily, celebration of the Mass is one
of the most noted features of the Cluniacs,
and the Masses are celebrated in settings,
Mortuary Masses that is liturgical frameworks, with an opu-
lence unknown almost anywhere outside
The term mortuary Mass can mean for a man or woman still living, he will of the order. The Mass is as different from
any Mass for the remembrance of the die. Such an activity is classified there- Mass at a local church as a cathedral choir
dead, that is a requiem Mass, but the fore as murder, but some corrupt priests is from workers singing in the fields, and
term is also used in a far more sinister are known to perform the Infernal rite the setting (words, music, and format of
way in Mythic Europe. It is widely be- (as a blasphemous perversion of a holy the holy rite) is designed to evoke won-
lieved that if a funeral Mass is celebrated rite is Infernal) in exchange for money. der and awe, not aid comprehension. With
the priest elevating the host behind a rood
screen, it is possible that terrible profana-
Government usual duties of abbot and prior in one per- tion of the body and blood of Christ is
son, reduces the possibility of factionalism occurring, and that the Mass celebrated
The Cluniacs are governed in a man- or disobedience and maintains his absolute daily is actually a black Mass, a perversion
ner reminiscent of the feudal system. At authority over the monks. of the holiest Sacrament. Unlike Benedic-
the top is the Abbot of Cluny, who holds Abbots (or priors) of Cluniac houses are tine monasteries, almost all Cluniac monks
supreme power. In each Cluniac monas- not elected as in Benedictine monasteries, are encouraged to be ordained as priests
tery the abbot (or prior) has a very strong but are appointed either by Cluny itself, or so they can celebrate Mass, perhaps so
control and imposes his authority more in some cases by the mother house. the corruption can be more widespread.
than in many Benedictine houses. Another possibility is that the deliber-
Cluny is the mother house of the en- ate corruption of the Mass is very subtle,
tire order, but monks from Cluny depart- Independence concealed within the unusual setting and
ed and either reformed existing monas- ornate ritual that marks the order, and that
teries, or founded new houses, and those Whereas religious houses are subject the heretical elements would only be ap-
houses then swore “vassalage” to Cluny, to the Ecclesiastical oversight of and visita- parent to someone with a high score in the
becoming daughter houses and adopting tion by the bishop of the diocese in which Theology Ability, studying the rite. How-
the Cluniac culture. They in turn sent they are located, the Cluniac houses are an ever, given the length of time the corrup-
out monks (often in small groups of four) exception. The right of Cluny to answer tion has existed, if the Cluniacs are the
who founded new cells, which in time to the papacy was later conferred upon corrupt order, then such perversions must
grew into priories or abbeys, which in the daughter houses, and so the Cluniacs be very subtle and effectively hidden from
turn founded their own daughter houses. stand outside of the Ecclesiastical struc- visitors most of the time.
An annual payment is made from each ture, with very limited supervision. Even
daughter house to the mother house, and papal legates are by a bull of 1098 forbid-
the mother house supports and assists the den to intervene in or examine a Cluniac The Liturgical Hours
daughter, often by sending more monks House without direct papal instruction.
to expand the community. Secular authority is weak as well. The liturgical hours are also cel-
It is an oddity of the Cluniacs that the Claims of patrons of monastic houses be- ebrated with a great deal more liturgical
abbots of many of the smaller houses, in- yond prayers and spiritual blessings, es- complexity and splendor than is normal in
cluding all the Cluniac houses in England, pecially claims to privilege or influence, Benedictine communities. An atmosphere
take the title prior rather than abbot. This are fiercely resisted, as is any attempt to of devotion and ritual wonder is evoked,
is a show of modesty, abbot being reserved tax the monks. Cluniac houses stand apart and it is entirely possible, again, that
for the Abbot of Cluny and the largest from local temporal politics. As such, they these services could be corrupted sub-
houses. The prior also, by combining the are in an extremely privileged position, tly, to denigrate what they are properly

The Church
intended to exalt; take as example some that Cluniacs suggest might speed their tained an affection for and sympathy to-
of the parodies of the Mass performed by progress through purgatory, or help them wards the Cluniac order. The order is also
the clerical students called the Goliards, when facing judgment. Firstly prayers popular with the papacy, and as a result
to protest the failure of the crusades and should be said for their souls, and sec- Cluniac abbots can wield additional influ-
financial abuses by the Church. Visitors ondly Mass must be celebrated for them as ence when petitioning the Church. Gain-
with excellent Ecclesiastical Latin and a frequently as possible. Finally, alms should ing the favor of a Cluniac prior or abbot
good knowledge of Church Lore might be given in their name to the poor. As gives a +1 bonus to totals for Petitioning
well spot strange features of these ser- more and more Masses for the dead need the Church (see Chapter 3: The Diocese)
vices, if such exist. Whereas Benedictine to be said, special chapels called chantries over and above the usual bonuses.
services are usually thirty minutes, the are constructed where the monks can cel-
Cluniac version takes a full hour, pushing ebrate the Masses, and an endless stream
back other duties. Manual labor is per- of devotions on behalf of the departed are Fading Wealth
formed by hired servants so as to allow offered up.
the monks the time to dedicate to prayer, The Cluniac emphasis on the dead The abbeys and priories of the Clu-
the offices, and celebrating Masses. resulted in the order sponsoring the Fes- niacs were in the past extremely wealthy,
tival of All Souls on November 2nd, when and that wealth is displayed in their mag-
the dead are remembered and prayers said nificent buildings, ceremonial vestments,
Chantries and for souls in purgatory. Introduced around and altar goods. The Cluniac houses are
Masses for the Dead 1030, it is part of the liturgical calendar often decorated with somber memorials
across western Mythic Europe. of the dead, scenes of judgment, even the
If there is one thing Cluny in the 13th three corpse kings who remind worship-
century is most associated with in the pers that even the greatest must come to
popular mind, it is the dead. From early in Ecclesiastical Influence the equality of the grave — but they are
the order’s history, Cluny has been asso- beautifully decorated. The early chest
ciated with prayer for souls in purgatory, A large number of Abbots of Cluny tombs that in some cases have the artis-
even, it is believed, plucking some from were later to become bishops, and yet re- tic innovation of the dead depicted upon
the very verge of being consigned to hell-
fire through timely intervention. The daily
Masses are almost always requiem Masses, The Hermit and the Devils
said in memory of the departed, and Clu-
niac monks ordained (as a majority are) as A Sicilian hermit was high on the ny, who in response created the Feast
priests often officiate at funerals. In most slopes of Mount Etna one day when he of All Souls on the 2nd of November to
Cluniac abbeys books of miracula — ghost heard voices from within the fiery vol- save even more souls from the pains of
stories and miracles of saints — are to be cano. Climbing up he peered over the purgatory. Shortly thereafter the ghost
found, recounting local proofs of the eter- top, to see a group of demons loung- of Pope Benedict, saved from purgatory
nal world. Another type of work, the mi- ing around below, moaning and com- himself by the intervention of Cluny,
rabilia, contains stories of faeries, magical plaining. The hermit heard the demons’ appeared at the abbey to grant his
and unusual natural phenomena, signs and explanation for their discomfiture; so blessing and authority to the festival.
wonders; Cluniac abbeys in particular are many souls were being snatched from The festival is a Christian one, but per-
associated with these miracles, which hap- them and purgatory by prayers, alms, versely this day the Dominion is weaker
pen here more often than in most places in and Masses, leaving them with too few than usual; Infernal auras increase in
Mythic Europe, presumably because of the to torment for their tastes. The hermit strength by one, and some of the dead
spiritual strength of the order. Ghosts are rushed to tell Odilo, fifth Abbot of Clu- walk once more.
seen in dreams and visions, or appear be-
fore the monks at night to plead for prayer,
and many a harrowing tale is told by the
monks of how a ghost came before them Story Seed: Fleeing the Mob
to tell of the pains of purgatory, or worse
still, the relentless torment of hellfire. A Jewish friend of the covenant is leave them hiding in the crypt of a
The Cluniac wealth accumulates forced to flee after his house is attacked town church. Many powerful men are
through the practice of saying Mass and by an angry mob. Not knowing even heavily in debt to him, but the abbot
prayers and distributing alms on behalf the accusations against him, he flees of the local monastery has been mak-
of the departed. Widows, widowers, be- to the covenant, but his persecutors ing threats recently, and he is more in
reaved families, and the deceased them- are not far behind. His family failed debt than anyone. Can the characters
selves through their wills make generous to escape, and he has been forced to save their friend?
financial provision for the three things

The Church
their lids, not as they were in life but as owing to their habit of hiring servants to Entering the Cluniac Order
a skeleton or shroud-wrapped corpse, perform many duties, and building large
are finely sculpted and bedecked with churches and chapels that they then have For a novice to be accepted into a
funereal flowers. Exotic incenses, fine to maintain. There has been a reduction Cluniac house, he is expected to journey
stained glass, and jeweled books in large, in the number of Masses said for the to Cluny, and there spend a year to absorb
well-stocked libraries may surprise even dead, not the least because the declining the Cluniac culture and explore his voca-
visitors used to the riches of many Bene- number of monks makes it hard to meet tion. All Cluniacs are expected to journey
dictine houses. The difference is that in their existing obligations. Other monastic to Cluny before taking their vows, or as
Cluniac monasteries the fixtures and fit- orders like the Cistercians, and more re- has been the case for over a century ow-
tings are lavish, not the monks’ lifestyles cently mendicant friars of the Franciscan, ing to the historically large number of
— though they are definitely more com- Dominican, and Carmelite orders, are at- postulants, to journey to Cluny after their
fortable than strict Benedictine houses or tracting much of the money that used to vows have been taken to affirm them.
Cistercian establishments. Yet in 1220 the come to the Cluniacs. A large number of Not all Cluniac monks manage to achieve
Cluniacs are in economic disorder, with houses are heavily in debt, in particular to even this lesser goal, but it remains the
costs higher than those of other orders Jewish moneylenders. ideal. The novices are not allowed to fully

The Demon BaalBaruth, Corrupter of Monks

Order: Spirits of Deceit all judgment and believes a specific logical and scriptural argument for
Infernal Might: 25 lie (as long as it is passable) until whatever point he is trying to prove.
Characteristics: Int 0, Per 0, Pre +1, Com presented with evidence to the con- After reasoned consideration, a suc-
+3, Str +3, Sta +4, Dex +3, Qik +2 trary. An Intelligence roll against an cessful Intelligence + Theology roll
Size: 0 Ease Factor of 6 is allowed to resist against an Ease Factor of 9 reveals
Confidence Score: 1 (3) the effect. the doctrine to be false, with the first
Personality Traits: Trustworthy –5, De- Obsession, 1 to 3 points, Init –5, Vim: roll allowed a day after the effect was
ceitful +6 Blasphemy, Sacrilege. used, and further rolls permitted ev-
Reputations: Creator of Heresies 7 Coagulation, 3 points, Init –1, Corpus: ery subsequent month. It is also pos-
Hierarchy: 7 BaalBaruth may take on a physical sible for someone else to explain the
Combat: body in 25 rounds of manifestation, error to the victim, effectively mak-
Dodge: Init +2, Attack n/a, Defense +6, or may dissolve with a round of ing the roll on the victim’s behalf.
Damage n/a concentration. Weakness: (Vulnerability) A cross
Fist: Init +2, Attack +6, Defense +5, Forked Tongue of the Serpent, 3 points, Init causes a light wound by being pre-
Damage +3 –1, Mentem: The target believes any sented towards this demon, or a
Soak: +4 lie, no matter how preposterous, un- medium wound if he is struck with
Fatigue Levels: OK, 0, –1, –3, –5, til he relates that lie to someone else. it, so powerful is BaalBaruth’s hatred
Unconscious At this point he realizes how ridicu- of the symbol. A relic of the True
Wound Penalties: –1 (1–5), –3 (6–10), lous the falsehood sounds, and the Cross could banish him back to hell
–5 (11–15), Incapacitated (16–20), demonic Power is broken. An Intel- for centuries.
Dead (21+) ligence roll against an Ease Factor of Vis: 5 pawns Mentem
Abilities: Brawl 3 (dodge), Charm 4 9 also reveals the lie to be false, with Appearance: In his natural form, and if
(flatter monks), Civil & Canon Law the first roll allowed an hour after the perceived by Second Sight, BaalBa-
6 (heresy), Ceremony 5 (leading), effect was used, and further rolls per- ruth appears as a great black serpent.
Church Lore 5 (politics), Guile 9 mitted every subsequent hour. If he manifests physically he always
(heresy), Organization Lore: Clu- The Serpent’s Oracle, 2 points, Init –3, takes another form, though — a
niacs 8 (personalities), Teaching 5 Vim: The demon can duplicate the creature with the legs and wings of
(false doctrine) effect of any non-ritual Intellego a very scruffy blackbird, the torso of
Powers: spell for the cost of 2 Might Points. a muscular man, and the head of a
Change Form, 0 points, Init 0, Corpus: Can It may also gain a morsel of future beautiful woman with long flowing
take on the form of a human between knowledge, understanding the most black hair, but with a crocodile-like
Size –2 and Size +2. Through long immediate consequences of any one snout. Needless to say, BaalBaruth
familiarity can adopt the form of the future action. rarely manifests in this particular
Abbot of Cluny almost perfectly. Confound the Truth, 5 points, Init 0, Men- form unless he intends to destroy
Trust of the Innocent, 1 point, Init –1, Men- tem: This power allows the demon to his enemies.
tem: The target of this effect loses create a perfectly convincing theo-

The Church
participate, being barred from chapter
meetings and often eating separately and
performing menial tasks and manual labor
until they have taken their full vows, at
which time they are welcomed fully in to
the life of the community.

The Corrupt Cluniacs

If Cluny is the corrupt order in your
saga, then the downfall of one of the holi-
est orders of the religious is complete, and
a major victory has been achieved for the
Infernal. Because of the order’s standing
outside of local diocesan and noble spon-
sors’ control, and the distance of papal
authority from the many Cluniac houses,
they are able to run their own affairs; once
supernatural evil became established it
would have been very hard for them to be
discovered and purified. The authoritarian
structure of Cluny adds to this risk; if the
Cluniacs have fallen to the Infernal, the
Infernal has powerful strongholds across
western Mythic Europe. accept if it was not for the fact that ac- he openly burned crosses, which Peter
If the Cluniacs are corrupt the prob- counts and examples abound.” This rise in preached were nothing but a cruel in-
lem is deeply rooted, and goes back to the number of the living dead causes the strument of torture and a bizarre way to
the development of the cult of the dead rise in the Order of Hermes of the Ex Mis- commemorate the Christ slain upon one.
and emphasis on purgatory, damnation, cellanea tradition known as the Donatores Denying the value of the Sacraments and
and decomposition that marked the order Requietis Aeternae. The Cluniacs, masters the physical nature of Jesus Christ, Peter
from the time of Odilo, the fifth Abbot of of the rites of the dead, are frequently gathered both popular support and Eccle-
Cluny. At that time the vision of purgatory called upon to say Mass to keep the dead siastical condemnation.
granted to a hermit is said to have led to content, and speed unhappy souls towards The great reforming Cluniac abbot,
the increasing emphasis on celebrating the their final destination; but if they are cor- the head of the order Peter the Venerable,
office for the dead daily, and the construc- rupt they were partly responsible for this led the Cluniacs in the counter-offensive,
tion of chantries. With their eyes so firmly sudden rise in the horrors of the tomb preaching orthodoxy to counter the here-
fixed on the agonies of the next life, and walking the night. sy; but in the process many Cluniacs were
the strong likelihood of damnation or at One of the oldest heresies is the belief exposed to the corrupting beliefs. Peter
best centuries of torment in purgatory be- it is better to be a prince in hell than a the Venerable recorded Peter of Bruyes’
fore final acceptance into heaven, a small peasant in heaven, and this is the prom- beliefs: “The good deeds of the living can-
number of monks began to wonder if there ise that has corrupted the Cluniacs. See- not profit the dead, because translated
might be a better option. ing the endless vistas of the cruelty and from this life their merits cannot be in-
As apparitions increased in number, horror of death before them every day, a creased or diminished, for beyond this life
and the dead were seen more and more, group of Cluniacs began to question right there is no longer place for merits, only
both as apparitions and rending the flesh doctrine. In the 12th century a defrocked for retribution.” The challenge to the Clu-
of the living, many monks suffered a cri- priest named Peter of Bruyes preached a niacs and their endless round of requiem
sis of faith. At the end of the 12th century heretical doctrine, claiming that baptism Masses was plain, and some Cluniacs felt
the chronicler William of Newbugh was should be for adults only, that only the there was truth in the heretical doctrine.
able to write, “The cadavers of the dead, New Testament gospels were Divinely How could one know if the prayers of the
borne by I know not what spirit, leave inspired and the rest of the Bible was living actually helped the dead?
their tombs to wander among the living, the work of men alone, and that the true Henry of Lausanne was one of the
terrorizing them and destroying them, Church consisted of the body of believ- doubters. He was a Cluniac monk who
before returning to their tombs that open ers. He derided church buildings, and, was expelled from the order for teach-
for them. This fact would be difficult to most sensationally, held bonfires where ing Peter of Bruyes’ heretical views — the

The Church
Petrobrusian heresy. And yet his own be- tempted. Two parties of Cluniacs, with a ry is now well known in Mythic Europe —
liefs — known as the Henrician heresy — few brave and devout noble supporters, including the horrors the knight encoun-
were to flourish for some time, spreading secretly set out for the two places where a tered, and his final escape from purgatory
among Cluniac houses despite the best physical transition to the realm of purgato- after piously resisting all temptations and
efforts of Bernard of Clairvaux and Pe- ry was known to be possible. One, already crying out to God and the saints.
ter the Venerable. Little is known of the mentioned, was the volcano Mount Etna, The monk, Gobert of Eze, had a dif-
actual content of those beliefs, but if in and the other was the place known as Saint ferent experience. Having escaped pur-
your saga the Cluniacs are corrupt, then Patrick’s Purgatory, in Ireland. Both parties gatory driven mad by what he had seen,
the Henricianism of the 1140s marks the successfully discovered the entrance to the tortured and confused by evil spirits he
moment when corruption overwhelmed regions and physically entered purgatory, lacked the will or faith to resist, he sought
the order; after Peter the Venerable the or so they believed, and while none of the out a necromancer who taught him sorcer-
whole order fell as the head rotted. Clu- Mount Etna party returned to the lands of ous arts. His hope was to control the dead
ny, Henry’s original home, was the first the living, two of the party who went to who followed him, crying out to him to
monastery corrupted. Ireland did return. save them. On his return a few years later
Faced with the challenge of proving The two, a knight and a monk, had to Cluny, he called together the monks
the fates of the dead were affected by been separated soon after their entry to who had expressed doubts and told them
the prayers of the living, there were just purgatory. The knight Owein told his tale Henricianism was false, but he also told
two options. One was to physically enter to Henry of Satlrey, and he in turn told them of the horrors he had seen, and that
purgatory, and this was the first option at- Marie of France, who versified it. The sto- the necromantic arts would demonstrate

The Demon Patarus

Order: Accusers leave the victim wondering if he is sincere friend, for the duration of
Infernal Might: 15 going mad. one month. An Intelligence stress
Characteristics: Int +1, Per +1, Pre +2, Obsession, 1 to 3 points, Init –5, Vim: roll against an Ease Factor of 9 is al-
Com +1, Str +2, Sta +3, Dex +2, Qik Obedience, Masochism. lowed if the friend asks the target to
+1 Betrayal of the Heart, 2 points, Init 0, Men- act against his best interests, or com-
Size: 0 tem: Patarus can see into the hearts mit a mortal sin, and this breaks the
Confidence Score: 1 (3) of mankind and draw forth their most Power’s effect if successful, though
Personality Traits: Cruel +6, Cowardly secret thoughts — people’s fears and the victim may still not realize he was
+3, Rebellious +2 sins. Each use of this Power reveals to under a Power’s influence before.
Reputations: Servant of BaalBaruth 1 the demon one fact about the target Weakness: Protected Group: those per-
Hierarchy: 1 that the target would never admit. sonally dedicated to Saint Benedict
Combat: Truly holy people may be immune to of Nursia, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux,
Dodge: Init +5, Attack n/a, Defense +9, this power if they have no secrets, no or Saint Basil the Great, with a posi-
Damage n/a matter how petty. tive score in Devotion, are immune
Soak: +5 Whispers Behind the Back, 2 points, Init 0, to all Patarus’ powers.
Fatigue Levels: OK, 0, –1, –3, –5, Mentem: Just as the spell Pains of the Vis: 3 pawns Mentem
Unconscious Perpetual Worry, this power gives the Appearance: If materialized, he appears
Wound Penalties: –1 (1–5), –3 (6–10), victim a nagging, painful emotion as a thin monk dressed in Cluniac
–5 (11–15), Incapacitated (16–20), linked to his secret sins — a recur- garb, with pale features drawn tight
Dead (21+) rent sense of anxiety that his secret as if consumed by a secret guilt. Two
Abilities: Brawl 3 (dodge), Church Lore will be uncovered and a suspicion lumps on his head mark his small
2 (politics), Guile 4 (gossip), Intrigue that everyone already knows it, and goat-like horns, and his tongue is
(Church) 2 is talking about the target behind his that of a serpent, his voice a whining
Powers: back. This Power lasts for a month. wail. Patarus, like all of BaalBaruth’s
To Sin in Dreams, 1 point, Init –1, Mentem: Coagulation, 3 points, Init –1, Corpus: servants, hates his master and plots
Changes the victim’s memories of a May take on a physical body in 25 to replace him at the first oppor-
period of up to two hours, always in rounds of manifestation, or may dis- tunity, but his fear of his demonic
a destructive and unpleasant way, to solve with a round of concentration. master is too great at the moment.
lead the victim to believe he commit- Your One True Friend, 3 points, Init –1, He serves his abbot unwillingly, and
ted a mortal sin or similar. The effect Mentem: Causes the victim to trust only through fear of punishment
disappears at daybreak or sunset, re- one authority figure and everything from BaalBaruth.
vealing the memory as false, but may he says, regarding him as a true and

The Church
the truth of his assertion. When an impi- their point. Also, the Cluniacs have an Another practice is that of binding
ous noble died and was brought to Cluny, uncanny ability to see unconfessed sins; into objects the ghosts of those who have
he and his followers deliberately cor- this is in fact the Whispers Behind the Back made the mistake of trusting the order,
rupted the funeral rites to deny the man power of their Infernal allies of the Order which are then used in a number of ways.
Christian burial. This terrible sin attracted of Accusers. The aim of the Cluniac order One thing that the prior of Thetford,
demonic attention, and their necromantic is to strengthen its own position, and by England is experimenting with is binding
rite worked, for that night the shade of inculcating a terrible fear of death, ter- the spirits of those who have annoyed
the count stood before them and swore to ror of judgment, and feeling of despair, him into murals that depict their lives.
serve them, as the very devils would serve not to evoke piety but rather a false reli- This allows the painting to occasionally
them after their deaths. ance upon indulgences and support of the display a certain eerie quality of anima-
It was thus that the houses of God Church militant (in the form of the Clu- tion, with the spirit’s torment pleasingly
were turned into houses of the worm, and niacs) rather than genuine repentance and visible, and also allows the mural to
the Cluniacs came to begin to corrupt the turning to God and his holy Sacraments. watch over a certain area. (See Realms
liturgy and to adore Satan in the hope of A common trick is for a Cluniac confessor of Power: The Infernal, page 117.) In other
rewards and power in the world to come. to claim no confession is needed, as he can cases the effigies on tombs have been
As the Cistercian order was growing in see the secrets of the sinner’s heart. Subtly enchanted by binding the spirits of the
popularity and the money supply of the perverting Christian doctrine and encour- husband and wife depicted, and their
Cluniacs dwindled, there was a strong aging wrong belief, the ultimate betrayal metal or stone effigies can magically be
feeling that God had turned his back on is the provision of perverted Sacraments, animated to deal with intruders. (This ef-
the Cluniacs; now more and more of the for while the correct Sacrament performed fect uses a particularly unpleasant variant
monks of Cluny were corrupted by false by even a totally corrupt priest would still of Virgil’s magic, an ancient tradition de-
teaching (for Ability Corruption see Realms be efficacious and of the Divine, the Clu- scribed in Rival Magic on pages 47 – 74,
of Power: The Infernal, page 91). niacs deliberately use sacrilegious rites. combined with Spirit Binding in a black
The strong hierarchical nature of the Those administered last rites by one of the and horrible experiment.) Others are less
Cluniacs has allowed monks to move to corrupt Cluniacs often walk the earth as fortunate, their spirits bound into keys,
monasteries and corrupt them in sequence, ghosts, and are bound by their treacher- rings, or even doors, to serve the whims
with those who resist or show horror being ous confessor to serve him in the afterlife, of the monks. The monks are not driven
quietly eliminated. This would still prove or delivered to the awaiting demons who by mindless sadism, but by a desire to en-
impossible, were it not for the strong de- throng around. hance their status in hell by clearly show-
monic support provided by BaalBaruth, a The Cluniacs have subtly altered a ing their “demonic” qualities in life. They
duke of hell, who supervises the plan and number of rites, including the Mass, into are also extremely careful to never allow
whose particular delight is the corruption blasphemous inversions that count as Pro- any attempt to corrupt the burial of any
of monks. He has assigned a great army faning the Holy, and create Infernal vis. person who might be in any way holy,
of deceivers to work for and control the (See Realms of Power: The Infernal, page 96 or have died with their sins shriven, lest
monks of Cluny, and furthermore has even for details.) While a relatively small num- God visit his vengeance upon them.
supplied the True Names of some of his ber of Cluniacs is directly involved in the A small number of monks remain who
rivals in hell to allow the demon-evoking sorcerous binding of demons and necro- are completely innocent, pious, and strug-
Goetia of the monks to more effectively mantic horrors, the ghosts and demons gling to reform the order, fully aware that
control them, or so he claims. The truth they control have given them power over something is terribly wrong, but isolated
may be rather different, but the demons the whole order, and almost all abbots are and frightened. With the absolute author-
come when bidden, and cringe and fawn now members of the conspiracy. The rest ity of the abbot guaranteed by the rule,
before the sorcerous monks. of the monks — the majority — are cor- very few manage any kind of trouble,
The corrupt Cluniacs have Favored rupted by the Infernal auras that increas- and bishops and even papal legates have
Abilities of the Goetic Arts of Ablating, ingly are growing up within the houses, no way of investigating claims, even ter-
Binding, Commanding, and Summoning. and are giving in to minor vices, sins of rible ones of black Masses, demon wor-
A few also possess the Supernatural Abil- the flesh, and especially impiety. The ship, and the walking dead. Those who
ity: Corruption, which they use to good abbots usually keep the auras tarnished are obviously incorruptible and danger-
effect to spread their evil. (See Realms of as Debauched Auras (Realms of Power: The ous are either sent to Cluny, and vanish or
Power: The Infernal, pages 114–120 for in- Infernal, page 14) to allow the maximum die there, or are sent into exile in one of
formation on Goetia.) ease in corrupting those who might offer the small cells where three or four monks
The usual methods of the Cluniacs are resistance if they understood the horrific live far from the rest of the order in some
to persuade certain sinners of wealth or truth. As most abbots have a demon of unhealthy backwater.
worldly influence that their only chance the Order of Accusers ready to use Whis- Discovering the nature of the Cluniac
of salvation lies in supporting the Cluniacs pers Behind the Back to discover those who corruption, if it exists in your saga, may be
financially and politically; they produce might resist dark secrets, not many can easier than convincing the papacy of the
ghostly apparitions if need be to prove hold out for long. terrible truth.

The Church

The Cistercians possible, in wilderness areas, and working

manually while observing the Rule of Saint
Benedict strictly, the order is widely seen as
What Makes the
Cistercians Different?
The Cistercians were, like the Clu- exemplary in its piety and the devotion of
niacs, born out of a reforming zeal and a its monks. Ironically, this support has led The Cistercians split off from the
wish to return to the original Rule of Saint to the donation of considerable wealth, reforming Cluniacs when they became
Benedict, strictly enforced. At the end of and the inevitable reproaches from the la- too lax and lost their reforming zeal. Un-
the 11th century, a group of French monks ity; they often now regard the new orders less noted, the Cistercians are closer to
from various abbeys left their houses. All of mendicant friars as the reforming, pious, the Benedictine ideal, following the rule
had been involved in reform, and all had and genuinely spiritual groups, complaining as closely as possible and not adopting
found that the Cluniac order was too lax about fat and avaricious Cistercian monks. the unique features of the Cluniac order
and decadent, and filled with sinful behav- The Cistercians enjoy excellent rela- despite their origins in that movement.
ior. These monks of good birth and edu- tions with the Knights Templar, and a A small point, but one worth noting, is
cation formed a community of their own number of other military orders. This in- that the Cistercians wear white and are
at Cîteaux, dedicating it on March 21st, fluence and friendship comes about partly known as the “White Monks,” whereas
1098 — the Feast of Saint Benedict. through the efforts of one very important the Benedictines and Cluniacs are called
The Cistercians took off at an incred- Cistercian, Bernard of Clairvaux, because the “Black Monks.”
ible rate, and by 1220 have 400 monasteries of his and the order’s efforts in preaching
across Europe. Preferring to build, where the Second Crusade.
Solitude and Retreat

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153) Cistercian houses are often built in

beautiful wilderness settings, far from hu-
Saint Bernard, the founding abbot of was later known), he was involved in man habitation and away from the bustle
Clairvaux Abbey in Burgundy, was one ending a papal schism, and he acted as a of the towns. Moorland, isolated valleys,
of the greatest Church leaders, domi- negotiator between England and France. and forest clearings all have Cistercian
nating Mythic Europe in the first half of His strong will, pugnacious nature, and houses, and a traveler lost in some bleak
the 12th century. He was born in 1090 towering intellect allowed him to domi- place might suddenly stumble upon a
and entered the abbey of Cîteaux in nate those around him. He preached the paradise of ordered fields, well-tended
1112, bringing thirty young nobles with Second Crusade, worked hard for the flocks, irrigation, and verdant vineyards,
him, including four of his brothers. An- military orders, and raised vast armies. and then the reassuring sight of the great
other brother and his father joined him In his last years. he rose from his sickbed walls and tower of a Cistercian abbey.
later. Bernard’s Mythic Presence and and went into the Rhineland to defend The Cistercians do not run schools or
astonishing writing ability drew many the Jews against a savage persecution. provide the welfare services that are as-
to Clairvaux and the other Cistercian He finally died in 1154, though he was sociated with other orders, being instead
monasteries. He defended the Cister- physically frail for most of his life. He focused on their own spiritual retreat
cians against the Cluniac order (show- was canonized in 1173, and his feast day from the world. Some whisper they hide
ing little of the diplomacy for which he is August 20th. secrets in their isolation.

Manual Labor
Story Seed: The Ring of Saint Bernard
Many Cistercians are illiterate, and
Many stories circulate about how The knowledgeable might wonder if the formal study and learning are not stressed
the Templars gave Bernard the personal ring of Solomon refers to Ars Notoria as much as in other orders. Instead, hard
seal ring of Solomon, which they had (Realms of Power: The Divine, page 97), or physical manual labor takes up most of a
found under the temple in Jerusalem. even if the ring allowed the summoning Cistercian’s day, whether it is working in
Some rumours claim that one of his as- of Architechtus (Realms of Power: The Infer- the fields or on one of the huge but simple
sistants stole the ring, and used it to raise nal, page 66). There are legends attached abbey churches that they build with their
monasteries and great abbey churches to a number of Cistercian houses claim- own hands. The Cistercians are very inter-
all over Europe on behalf of the order ing they were built for a noble using ested in new methods in agriculture, and
by commanding demons, but Bernard sorcery to bind demons, but afterwards particularly in rearing sheep. The monks
rebuked him and the devil claimed the he repented and gave the building over work in the fields of the abbey farms,
unfortunate man. Such romances have to the order to save his soul. Sometimes though they are beginning to employ lay
nothing to do with history, or do they? folk tales contain much truth. workers to help out, giving rise to monas-
tery villages that are growing into towns.

The Church
Adopting the principle “to work is to pray,”
Cistercians focus their devotion through
these efforts. Stories about demons raising
their monasteries overnight are probably a
tribute to their ingenuity and hard work,
and the magnificent abbey churches they
have constructed.


Like the Cluniac houses, the Cister-

cians stand independent of the local di-
ocesan structure, owing allegiance to the
papacy. A strong system of visitation is,
however, in place, with each daughter
house being visited annually and thor-
oughly inspected by the abbot of the
motherhouse. Unlike the Cluniac order,
the government of the Cistercians is not
hierarchical. Instead, the abbots gather
at Cîteaux every autumn for the annual
chapter meeting, where policy decisions
are made and conduct and disciplinary
hearings are held. Presided over by the
abbot of Cîteaux, in many ways this re-
sembles a Hermetic Tribunal, being an al-
most democratic occasion with opinions
freely offered. There is a even a sort of
“Peripheral Code,” in the statutes agreed
to by the chapter, which are written up
in the Institutiones Capituli Generalis of 1203.
The chapter meeting in recent years has
become fractious, with factions develop-
ing over how certain aspects of the rule
and the statutes should be interpreted;
the unity of purpose that marked the ear-
ly Cistercians has been lost. decoration. They have a simple elegance, Opposing Heresy
though, far from the decoration favored
by the Cluniacs. While the Dominican friars are gain-
Wealth ing dominance in this field, the Cistercian
monks have always been important in the
Ironically, given the criticisms of lux- Ecclesiastical Influence fight against heresy, leaving their monas-
ury brought against the other orders by teries to preach to the laity about error and
the Cistercians in their initial reforming As well as Saint Bernard, Saint Mala- heresy. They play a vital role in opposing
zeal, the sheer hard work and agricultural chy of Armagh, Saint Almeric, and Saint the Cathar heresy in the Languedoc, and
prowess of the order has brought them Stephen the founder (all canonized saints), continue to collect and read questionable
huge wealth. The English Cistercians’ the Cistercians have produced two popes books in order to root out heresies.
large flocks of sheep are proving highly and a score of bishops and archbishops by
profitable as a source of prized woolen 1220. They are currently in favor with the
cloth, but with economic success have
come accusations of luxury and corrup-
papacy, such that they have a considerable
influence when petitioning the Church;
The Corrupt Cistercians
tion. The order shows few outwards signs gaining the favor of a Cistercian abbot
of the wealth, for Cistercian abbeys are gives a +3 bonus to totals for Petitioning The Cistercians, with their retreat
magnificent yet extremely austere, often the Church (See Chapter 3: The Diocese) from the world, rapidly increasing wealth,
being whitewashed and almost devoid of over and above the usual bonuses. and powerful friends in the military orders,

The Church
Europe reads holy scripture on a number
The Three Ages of the World of levels, including the literal, spiritual,
typological (foreshadowing later events),
Joachim of Flora taught that God Divine light and wisdom of the Holy and allegorical, Joachim’s conclusions may
dealt with the world in three dispensa- Spirit. The Church has become degen- be contentious but his method of Biblical
tions, or ages. The first age was that of erate and corrupt, and the age to come interpretation is not necessarily so.
God the Father, and was marked by the will sweep it away and be ruled by a Joachim’s fame goes far beyond those
Jewish Law and the covenant with Abra- spiritual order of the just, who appear to who have read his three books. Richard
ham, Moses, and the prophets. That age be monastic. the Lionheart was fascinated by him, and
passed with the coming of Jesus Christ, It is hardly surprising that the Church before setting out on the Third Crusade
which ushered in the age of the Son viewed Joachim with suspicion, but giv- planned to consult him about the end
when the Gospel and the Church ruled en his immense charisma and clear de- times. According to Roger of Howden,
over man. Now, however, the end of votion, he gained an immense following Richard was informed that Saladin was not
that age is almost upon the world, and among the educated and uneducated the Antichrist, but the sixth of seven great
in these end times the birth pangs of alike of Mythic Europe. For more on his persecutors of the Church, and it was
the new age can be discerned. The next theology, see Realms of Power: The Infernal, Richard’s destiny to drive Saladin from the
age will be the Age of the Spirit, where page 133, though note that only certain Holy Land and retake Jerusalem. If so, it
spiritual illumination will fall upon men Trinitarian teachings were condemned was a failed prophecy.
and women who have no need of the by the Fourth Lateran Council, not all
Church, for they will be guided by the of his teachings as implied there.
The Joachimites

are perhaps ideal candidates for the cor- tercians refused to accept Joachim and his In the twenty years since Joachim’s
rupt order of monks, not the least because monks; while his admirers say the rejec- death, his followers have become known
they are known for their role in fighting tion was due to the poverty of the abbey, as Joachimites, and many have adopted
heresy and Infernal influence. Who better his denigrators claim it was owing to his even stranger beliefs, such as those of the
to corrupt than the Church’s watchdog? If ideas that were, even then, heretical. The infamous Brethren of the Free Spirit. Many
in your saga it is the Cistercian order that truth appears to be that the Cistercians did believe that a future pope will come from
is corrupt, it is likely recent, the indirect receive Joachim, but have since attempted their own ranks, though some believed he
result of the Blessed Joachim of Flora. to distance themselves from him. would be from the Franciscans, and this
After petitioning the pope to be re- pope’s death would bring in the age of the
lieved of his duties, Joachim set about writ- final Antichrist. Others see the Emperor
Joachim of Flora ing the three books that were to make him Frederick II as clearly the final Antichrist,
famous. The Church was hesitant to en- while yet others regard Saladin as the one
Joachim was a young man from Nor- dorse Joachim’s teachings until the books prophesied. The most dangerous group
man Sicily whose father held high office had been fully studied, but good relations are those who believe that a pope will be
in the royal court there. As a young man with Popes Urban III and Clement III al- the actual Antichrist, and the Church the
he chose to undertake a pilgrimage to the lowed him to complete his work largely whore of Babylon, which is clearly Rome.
Holy Land, and while there was caught up unsupervised. In 1200 he completed his Some of these claim to have received ob-
in a terrible tragedy, the nature of which task, dying before his books could be for- scure prophecies attributed to the great
he never revealed. Fortunate to escape mally read for orthodoxy by Pope Innocent Irish Cistercian Saint Malachy, but no
with his life, he retreated to Mount Tabor, III. The Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 such prophecies are officially recognized
site of the transfiguration of Christ, where was to condemn certain of his Trinitarian or known, even in the writings of his close
he meditated for forty days and forty formulations, including his famous idea of friend Saint Bernard of Clairvaux.
nights during the Lent season. During that the three ages of the world, but most of his All of the interpretations of these “proph-
time a Divine light came upon him, and theology is still considered perfectly or- ecies” agree on two things: that Joachim was
he felt he could clearly understand the se- thodox. (If your saga follows history, more in receipt of Divine illumination (his follow-
crets of the scriptures. Convinced of his will be condemned in 1255, largely as a re- ers are often called illuminated ones, or il-
authority he returned to Italy where he be- sult of fervent disciples laying claim to his luminati), and that the end of the age will
gan to preach, drawing crowds. When the name but not his actual beliefs.) come about in 1260. Many expect the Bib-
Church intervened to stop his unauthor- Joachim has come to be popularly lical prophecies of the Revelation of Saint
ized preaching, he immediately entered regarded as a prophet, though in fact he John the Divine to play out in the last days,
the abbey of Corazzo in Calabria, taking always denied that calling, claiming the and information on running a saga where
the Cistercian habit, and he was ordained nature of his divine illumination was actu- the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse roam
a priest in 1168. Though he rose to the ally a clear understanding of the myster- Mythic Europe can be found in Realms of
position of abbot, some say that the Cis- ies of scripture. As the Church in Mythic Power: The Infernal, page 128.

The Church
The Cistercian Connection There are three degrees of initiation A few of them have noted the similarity
into the group, though these are not formal in name between Joachim’s first monastery,
Given their strong involvement in ranks as in a mystery cult. The lowest group Corrazo, and Chorazon, the city where it
opposing heresy, the Cistercians from is those monks who have been exposed to is traditionally held the Antichrist will be
the beginning took a great deal of inter- the teachings of Joachim, accept the idea born. It was this fact that first alerted Tino
est in the writings of Joachim of Flora. It of the coming end of the age, and believe to the realization that Joachim was an An-
was a Cistercian abbot, Tino of Gradara, that the institutional Church is corrupt. tichrist; in a manner typical of the man, he
who first became fascinated. As he read Many are fervent disciples of the second immediately took the idea on board and
the books for the papal inquiry in 1200, group, who comprise those who have had adjusted his theology to fit. Some of his
Tino became illuminated, suddenly seeing a mystical illumination, and who have ex- disciples have now performed the black
clearly the truth of the words, and receiv- perienced visions and prophecies of events pilgrimage to the ruins of Chorazon in the
ing the gift of prophecy. As a boy, Tino to come. This group has already cast off Holy Land, seeking spiritual visions, and
had been rescued from a group of Infernal the shackles of the Church’s teaching, and have received further revelations support-
heretics, but in his sudden revelation of feels liberated enough to break their vows, ing their new beliefs. Recently they have
Divine truth Tino came to see that in fact scorn the symbols of Ecclesiastical office, been instructed that the disciples of Saint
the heretics had been truly free, fully par- and work towards the end of the age and Francis, the Franciscan Friars, should be
ticipating in the Divine grace of the Age ushering in of the Age of the Spirit. They recruited subtly into the plan, and some
of the Spirit to come. It was not sin that secretly commit venial sins to demonstrate tentative connections have been made.
bound mankind, but fear of sin, for grace their freedom and state of grace.
abounds and therefore the more one sins, Finally there is the inner circle, who
the more grace there can be, and the more
of God’s spirit infuses the world. Further-
meet in the castle of a sympathetic noble
at Saint Croix in the Dordogne each year
Sample Characters
more, he realized that he was of God, and before general chapter in the autumn.
God dwelt in him, and that the distinction Here they celebrate the most obscene The following character stats are pro-
between God and himself was a false one. rites, deliberately indulging in horrific vided to help storyguides integrate a cor-
This realization of his own Godhood led orgies of mortal sin to demonstrate their rupt Cistercian order in their saga.
to a series of explosive mystical experi- complete liberation from sin and eternal
ences, in the course of which he came to state of grace brought about by gnosis
realize the Divine within everything. — secret wisdom. They receive “spiritual Father Tino of Gradara
Far from rejecting the world as corrupt, gifts” — the Maleficia taught by their Un-
Tino teaches that one should celebrate it holy Tradition. The inner circle alone cel- Characteristics: Int 0, Per –2 (1), Pre 0,
and recognize the Divine immanence — ebrate Lucifer as light bringer, and believe Com +2, Str –3 (2), Sta –3 (2), Dex –2
the presence of God in everything, even that the Antichrist will be a Divine figure (1), Qik –4 (3)
base things. He set up a chamber pot on who will liberate the world by ushering Age: 86
the altar and praised it, and when that pro- away the decadent and stagnant era of the Decrepitude: 3 (6)
voked no negative reaction from God, but Church. Their belief is that disobedience Warping Score: 5 (2)
rather another set of Divine revelations, was man’s original virtue; this inner circle Confidence Score: 4 (8)
he realized he must find more converts to of some twenty abbots and a few nobles Virtues and Flaws: Diabolist; Senior Cler-
bring about the realization of the escha- are a genuinely dangerous group, willing gy; Ceremony, Debauchery, Diablerie,
ton — the end of the age — by bring God worshippers of the devil, believing him to Educated, Enticer of Multitudes, Great
more fully into the world of matter — the be a servant of God. They do not, how- Communication x 2, Improved Char-
process of immanentization. ever, regard themselves as Infernalists or acteristics, Incantation, Inspirational,
So this is Tino’s goal, to immanen- demon worshippers in any sense; they see Psychomachia; Corrupted Abilities,
tize the eschaton and bring about the their liberation from morality and embrace Diabolic Past, Dark Secret (Infernal-
end times, along with a new utopian age of sin as a sign of their own spiritual libera- ist), (False) Visions, Palsied Hands,
of love and peace ruled over by his order tion and godliness. Plagued by Supernatural Entity,
of spiritual mystics, the Illuminati, which
is hidden within the Cistercian order. In
the twenty years since he began he has A Note on the Illuminati
made astonishing progress, far more than
even he could have predicted, in convert- The term illuminati historically de- Adam Weishaupt’s Bavarian Illuminati,
ing abbots and hence houses all over the rives from the followers of Joachim of or Nesta Webster’s paranoid writings,
Cistercian order to his beliefs. Hundreds Flora. If players in your saga are likely it is probably better to use the term
of monks are now loyal to his ideals, and to link it with later connotations and Joachimite, or the slightly anachronistic
many are receiving confirmatory secret vi- uses, such as modern conspiracy theory, term Brethren of the Free Spirit.
sions and revelations of their own.

The Church

The Demon Jaevert

Order: Duke of the Deluders (Watchers) of light, radiating peace and good- Delusion 1 or 5 points, Init +3, Imaginem:
Infernal Might: 40 will. He often appears in this form to Jaevert can create elaborate illusions.
Characteristics: Int 0, Per +1 , Pre +2, impart false prophecies. A minor illusion that affects an Indi-
Com +1, Str +5, Sta +5, Dex +5, The Wordless Conversation, 0 points, Init 0, vidual amount of material (such as
Qik +5 Mentem: Jaevert may speak directly the demon himself) costs 1 point, a
Size: +3 in to the mind of any creature who larger illusion that fills a room costs
Confidence Score: 2 (6) he can see (assuming Magic Resis- 5 points. These visions always have a
Personality Traits: Credible +3, Sly +2 tance is penetrated), and may choose flaw, however (they smell wrong, can
Reputations: Duke of False Millenni- to hear any verbal or mental response only be seen by one target, etc.).
ums 7 that the target may make. Corrupted Knowledge, 2 points, Init –3,
Hierarchy: 7 Coagulation, 3 points, Init –1, Corpus: Jae- Mentem: When Jaevert spends a sea-
Virtues and Flaws: Corruption, Good vert may take on a physical body in 25 son teaching an Ability (of any kind,
Teacher, Noncombatant, Puissant rounds of manifestation, or may dis- including Supernatural), he uses this
Guile, Puissant Church Lore. solve with a round of concentration. Power to corrupt the knowledge he
Combat: Duplicate the Magi’s Transmutation, vari- teaches so he grants the Flaw Cor-
Dodge: Init +5, Attack n/a, Defense +9, able points, Init +1, variable Form: rupted. The Power only inflicts the
Damage n/a Jaevert can duplicate any Hermetic Flaw if the character being schooled
Soak: +5 Muto spell, at the cost of one point of acquires an increase in an Ability
Fatigue Levels: OK, 0, –1, –3, –5, Might per Magnitude, up to level 40. score because of the teaching of the
Unconscious He may not duplicate Ritual effects. demon. Those affected by this Power
Wound Penalties: –1 (1–8), –3 (9–13), Duplicate the Magi’s Control, variable points, soon learn they get greater rewards
–5 (14–18), Incapacitated (19–23), Init +1, variable Form: Jaevert can if they use their Ability for selfish or
Dead (24+) duplicate any Hermetic Rego spell, sinful purposes.
Abilities: Brawl 3 (dodge), Church Lore at the cost of one point of Might per Weakness: Protected Group (those who
(eschatology) 8 +2, Ceremony 6, Magnitude, up to level 40. He may can actually see the future, such as
Debauchery 8, Guile 7+2 (prophe- not duplicate Ritual effects. those with premonitions).
cies), Incantation 7, Infernal Lore 6 Duplicate the Magi’s Perception, variable points, Vis: 8 pawns Imaginem
(politics), Intrigue 4 (Church), Mag- Init +1, variable Form: Jaevert can du- Appearance: Jaevert, if somehow per-
ic Lore 4 (prophecy), Psychomachia plicate any Hermetic Intellego spell, ceived, appears as a featureless
6, Theology (end times) 8, Teaching, at the cost of one point of Might per black giant torn out of space, the
(corrupt abilities) 6 Magnitude, up to level 40. He may darkness pierced only by hundreds
Powers: not duplicate Ritual effects. of burning eyes staring out from the
Angel of Light, 2 points, Init 0, Imaginem: Obsession, 1 to 3 points, Init –5, Vim: eerie silhouette.
Jaevert may appear as a shining angel Spiritual Pride, Enthusiasm

Witch Marks. (eschatology), Latin 5 (Rituals), Living Tino’s greatest method of recruitment
Personality Traits: Inspiring +3, Spiritual Language: Italian 5 (preaching), Orga- of brothers into his secret group within
+2, Charming +1 nization Lore: Cistercians 8 (person- the Cistercians has been Corruption, an
Reputations: Saint to be (Church) 3 alities), Penetration 4, Psychomachia Ability described in Realms of Power: The In-
Soak: –3 6, Teaching 5 (Infernal Abilities) fernal, page 91. His books are A Commentary
Fatigue Levels: OK, 0, –1, –3, –5, Vituperation Scars: When preaching, on Isaiah and Jeremiah, a corrupt tractatus on
Unconscious Tino’s face takes on a soft, bland look, Theology, and Expositio Sybillae et Merlini,
Wound Penalties: –1 (1–5), –3 (6–10), –5 and his visage dimly radiates a light a work that claims to discuss the ancient
(11–15), Incapacitated (16–20), Dead not unlike that of the moon. When prophecies of the sibyls and Merlin, but
(21+) he’s sitting still his robes move about which is actually a corrupt summa on
Abilities: Awareness (strangers) 1, Artes as if vermin were creeping around un- Church Lore, designed to subtly influence
Liberales 5 (grammar), Charm 2 (per- der them. He has a sweet odor associ- the reader towards Tino’s position. These
suade), Civil & Canon Law 2 (heresy), ated with him, but to those with True books are widely copied and distributed
Ceremony 5 (debauchery), Debauch- Faith it smells sickly sweet, like decay- within the order, though the author re-
ery 9, Diablerie 6, Church Lore 5 ing meat. His demonic advisor tries mains anonymous.
(politics), Corrupted Dominion Lore 3 to ensure no one that holy gets close The demon behind this elaborate
(angels), Incantation 6, Infernal Lore 4 enough to notice, though. deception is Jaevert, Duke of the False

The Church
Millennium. Jaevert does not create these tremely ascetic, some would say masoch- curia are the recipients of a petition, add
heresies, but for centuries wherever a istic. This has given them a tremendous +5 to the total in addition to the normal
false prophet has announced the end, reputation as spiritual supermen, though bonus for the support of an abbot. This
Jaevert has gained influence and meddled from the beginning there has also been popularity with the papacy may go a long
to ensure false doctrines are taught, false controversy and rumors of something way towards explaining the unpopularity
hopes are raised, and then they’re dashed wrong with the order. of the order and suspicions voiced about
resulting in cynicism and loss of faith. He them by other religious and clergy.
often appears to prophets and visionaries
in the guise of an angel of light, leading
them into corruption and ultimate despair
What Makes the Extreme Asceticism and Silence
and damnation. Vallumbrosans Different?
Vallumbrosans may own no property
The Vallumbrosan order is quite dis- at all; their poverty is total, apart from
tinct in many ways, but like the other or- their clothing and sandals that are, of

The ders discussed in this chapter, it is based

upon the Rule of Saint Benedict. The
differences and unique points are briefly
course, the property of the order. Silence
is enforced at all times, and even sign lan-
guage kept to the minimum. Those who
Vallumbrosans outlined here. The most visible aspects
are their tawny brown habits and that
break the harsh disciplinary code can
expect flogging, and self-flagellation is
Vallumbrosans are never encountered practiced as an ascetic mortification of the
One of the smaller orders in Mythic outside their monasteries, apart from ab- flesh. The monks survive on the minimum
Europe, the Vallumbrosans can be found bots who are found occasionally wher- of food and sleep, and only the hardiest
in the Tribunals of Rome, Iberia, Proven- ever the pope is. can last for long under this regime.
cal, Normandy, Rhine and the Greater
Alps, but the majority of their monaster-
ies are on the Italian peninsula. Founded Papal Influence No Manual Work
in the early 11th century, the name derives
from “shadowy valley,” Vallombrosa, the Whereas Cluniacs and Cistercians The monks are completed dedicated
motherhouse that is located in the moun- have Ecclesiastical Influence, which adds to prayer and devotions, and are forbid-
tains twenty miles from Florence. to totals when Petitioning the Church den to perform any manual work. A class
Saint John Gualbert was the founder, (See Chapter 3: The Diocese), the Val- of lay brothers who perform the farming
and his story is well known. When one of lumbrosan order has always had a strong and other required labor are needed, and
his relatives was murdered, he set out to influence on the papacy. If the papacy or they live alongside the monastery but do
avenge the death by slaying the killer, and
came across the man in an alleyway. Even
as he raised his sword to strike, the murder-
er flung himself in to the dirt in the form of
a cross, and pleaded for mercy in the name
of Christ. Saint John put his sword down,
and let the man go. He walked home
troubled, and on the way stopped in to a
church to pray. As he prayed, the cruci-
fix bowed its head and he realized he had
done the correct thing. From that moment
on his life was changed, and he chose to
enter a monastery.
As with most successful new monastic
orders, the Vallumbrosans were reacting
against the laxity of Benedictine life, and
were far more austere and strict in their ap-
plication of the rule. So much so, in fact,
that they failed to attract many novices,
and it was only after the original severity
was slightly tempered that the Vallum-
brosans began to found new monasteries
and spread. The order appeals to the ex-

The Church
not take the vows. There are a few Vallum- brothers will put up guests on the monks’ that certain prominent Churchmen were
brosan nuns, but they live in a dwelling behalf, outside the monastery walls. buying and selling Ecclesiastical positions
outside the monastery, and their primary Communication with friends and families — the sin of simony. An anti-corruption
duties are to cook and do other work for is severely discouraged. party formed, and the monks of Vallom-
the monks of the adjacent monastery. brosa headed it, led by one monk named
Peter. Fighting broke out between the two

Total Retreat If the Vallumbrosans factions, and the Vallumbrosan monastery

of San Silvi was burned down. Since that
from the World are Corrupt time fires have been a common problem
for houses of this order, and some sus-
Vallumbrosans are a rigorously en- It may be tempting to have the Vallum- pect a curse, yet in fact such fires are usu-
closed order, who never leave their mon- brosans as the corrupt order, simply be- ally started by novices breaking under the
asteries under any circumstances. The cause they are a small group whose secre- strain.
only exception is that the abbots travel tive ways do attract controversy, and who When the Bishop Peter Mezzobarbo
about on monastic business, and often are unpopular in some clerical circles. This demanded his accusers face trial, Saint
can be found around the papal court. is rooted in events in the second half of Robert — the founder of the order — or-
Even the lay brothers are excluded from the 11th century, which are probably little dered the monk Peter to face trial by or-
the chapter and chapel of the full monks, known 150 years later, unless the charac- deal. Peter passed completely unscathed
who live lives of almost total seclusion. ters research the history of the order. In through a huge bonfire, and the case was
Visitors are discouraged and no guest the middle of the 11th century a scandal decided in the monks’ favor. From that
quarters are provided, though the lay erupted in Florence when it became clear day forward, Peter became known as Peter

The Demon Varriar

Order: Lord of the Avengers of Evil Obedience, Masochism number of points of damage equal
Infernal Might: 35 Coagulation, 3 points, Init –1, Corpus: Var- to a simple die plus the sum total of
Characteristics: Int 0, Per 0, Pre +1, riar may take on a physical body in 25 all his sinful Personality Traits, ig-
Com +3, Str +3, Sta +5 , Dex +3, rounds of manifestation, or may dis- noring negative signs as necessary.
Qik +2 solve with a round of concentration. The Soak Total for this damage is a
Size: +4 Stealing the Cowl, 3 points, Init 0, Corpus: stress die + Stamina. The physical
Confidence Score: 1 (3) May take on the appearance, once manifestation of this power is a lash
Personality Traits: Merciful -3, Relent- physical (see Coagulation earlier), of from the demon’s whip, and he must
less +5, Passionless +4 a person whom Varriar has authority be materialized to perform this, but
Reputations: Torturer of Monks 5, Pact over, such as a monk or abbot. Note no Combat Total is required.
Signer 4. that Varriar never directly lies, so he Weakness: The demon suffers from the
Hierarchy: 6 will never claim to be this person Weakness: Compulsive; he must
Virtues and Flaws: Piercing Gaze, outright. Being a demon, Varriar lies count objects scattered in his path.
Tough. all the time — it is just that his lies More than one monk has been saved
Combat: are subtle and indirect, not blatant. by a broken string of prayer beads
Whip: Init +5, Attack +10 Defense +9, The corrupt Vallumbrosan abbots forcing Varriar to collect each and
Damage +4 have all sworn fealty to Varriar, so every fallen bead, while the monk
Soak: +8 he has authority over their monks for made good his escape.
Fatigue Levels: OK, 0, –1, –3, –5, the purposes of this Power. Vim: 7 pawns of Mentem, in whip.
Unconscious Punish the Sinner, 5 points, Init +3, Cor- Appearance: Varriar appears in his true
Wound Penalties: –1 (1–9), –3 (10–18), pus: Varriar can inflict wounds upon form as a huge angel fifteen feet tall,
–5 (19–27), Incapacitated (28–36), a target that are commensurate with made of burning blue flame and red-
Dead (37+) the victim’s level of sin. If the tar- hot chains, with immense fiery wings
Abilities: Awareness 4 (guilt), Brawl 5 get has committed a mortal sin for and piercing black eyes. He carries a
(whip), Civil & Canon Law 5 (The which he has not atoned, then he whip and is accompanied by an over-
Rule of Saint Benedict), Infernal Lore suffers a Heavy wound. If he has powering smell of strong church in-
6 (politics), Philosophiae 4 (ethics), an unrepented venal sin on his con- cense, but tinged with an exotic scent
Theology 6 (sin) science, then he suffers a Medium that somehow brings up associations
Powers: wound. A victim with no outstand- of guilty scenes from the past.
Obsession, 1 to 3 points, Init –5, Vim: ing sin on his conscience suffers a

The Church
Igneus, and the bishop was ashamed and hunger, cold, and fatigue, until their will deception is Varriar, Lord of Discipline.
confessed to his sin. finally snaps. Then and only then are they When passing in human form he dresses as
If the Vallumbrosans are corrupt, they offered the chance to sign a pact with the a Vallumbrosan abbot and uses the name
are a group of diabolists — individuals devil, and become diabolists. Those who Abbot Curtaigne.
who have signed pacts with the devil in do are granted a new Virtue or loss of a Abbot Curtaigne moves freely among
exchange for worldly power. Such indi- Flaw, sometimes several depending on how the order’s houses, but his influence extends
viduals are not given to extreme asceticism well they bargain, and join the happy life far beyond. Wherever he can promote
— quite the opposite — but investigations of the community of lay brothers. Within masochism and false pride in suffering in
of the inside of a Vallumbrosan monastery a few months they are free to leave if they monks, and in every monastery where just
will find them to be just as austere and ter- wish, and seek their fortune in the wider spiritual authority is replaced with sadism
rifyingly disciplined and devout as rumor world, but most stay in the debauched and brutality, Varriar can be found, often
claims. community that serves the monastery. If in human form as a visiting guest, subtly
The reality is that the lay brothers and they leave, they have seven years to find encouraging these horrors. Note that Var-
nuns who serve the monastery are the real someone else to sign the pact, or they die, riar is determined that none should die as
diabolists, and the monks within the con- their soul claimed by hell. If they succeed, a result of privation and the torturous pen-
fines of the monastery are genuinely pious they earn another seven years’ grace, and ances inflicted, as that would make them
monks — with the single exception of the more Virtues representing Infernal favor. martyrs to the faith. Rather, Varriar always
abbot, who is actually a diabolist work- (Rules for generating diabolist characters aims to break the monks’ spirit, and cause
ing for the demons. Once incarcerated in and diabolic pacts can be found in Realms them to curse God and rebel.
the monastery the monks undergo terrible of Power: The Infernal, page 94.)
privations, meaningless tasks, and dreadful The demon behind this elaborate

Chapter Seven

The Knights Templar

The Poor Knights of the Temple of has over 7,000 knights, brother-sergeants, pious monks, bankers, builders of temples
Solomon are a group of warrior monks officials, and priests, and more than 800 and fortresses, diplomats and advisors,
whose pledge to defend Christendom castles, preceptories, and chapterhouses. merchants and land-owners, and defend-
has led them to become one of the most They stand above lay and clerical author- ers of the Holy Land.
powerful orders in Mythic Europe. In the ity alike, answering to the pope alone. In This chapter details the history and
13th century, the Order of the Temple Mythic Europe, the Knights Templar are organization of the Poor Knights, and ad-
vice on how to play a Templar character. It
also provides some guidelines on adapting
the information to play members of other
military orders.

The Poor
The story of the Templars begins in Je-
rusalem, following the Holy City’s bloody
capture. Nine knights led by Hugh of
Payns and Godfrey of St-Omer proposed
a community of knights to protect the pil-
grims traveling to the Christian sites in the
Latin kingdoms.
In 1119, the nine knights took their
vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience
before the Patriarch of Jerusalem. The
King of Jerusalem granted them living
quarters on the southern edge of Temple
Mount — the site known as “Templum Sa-
lomonis,” or the Temple of Solomon. From
this they derived their name: the Poor
Knights of the Temple of Solomon.
The Poor Knights came under power-
ful patronage. In 1125 the order was the
recipient of boons and gifts from many
European magnates, and four years later
at the Council of Troyes they officially
received their rule. Many present at Troy-
es saw the order as a means to revitalize
Christendom, while others saw the Poor
Knights as the defenders of the Holy

The Church
Land. The influential Bernard of Clairvaux
was instrumental in gaining the Templar’s Templars and Scandal
acceptance by laity and Churchmen alike.
Pope Innocent II issued a papal bull The Templars are unique among the drinking, especially when compared
of privileges in 1136, which declared the monastic orders in being free of scan- with the scandals that beset other or-
Templars be “regarded especially as part dal. The strict discipline and rule of the ders, such as the Dominicans, Francis-
of God’s knighthood.” This bull, known Templars means that most infractions cans, Teutons, and Hospitallers. Simi-
as the Omne datum optimum, established the and complaints are heard and dealt with larly, there are no scandals regarding
new Knights Templar as exempt from all internally. They are relatively free of homosexuality, as there were with the
authority except that of the papacy itself, rumors of womanizing, gambling, and Hospitallers and other monastic orders.
as well as giving them the right to have
their own priesthood.
The Order Ends
The Fifth Crusade If your saga follows history, the fess to heresy and blasphemy. In 1312,
Templars continue to grow in power, the pope dissolves the Knights Templar;
influence, prestige, and wealth through- most brothers join other crusading or-
The Fifth Crusade began in 1217 and
out the 13th century and very early ders or become monks.
ends 1221. Its main target is Egypt, the
14th, until 1307. In that year, the French Of course, Mythic Europe’s future is
seat of Muslim power in the Middle East.
king arrests all Templars in his domain, not written in stone, and the fate of the
It was not until after Innocent III’s
and subsequently many Templars con- Knights Templar is by no means certain.
death in 1216 that his constant planning
for this crusade was realized. Honorius
III directed the two grand masters of the crusaders captured the city, ignoring the ing apart, and the few remaining crusader
Templars and Hospitallers to meet with sultan’s offer to give up Jerusalem in return strongholds in Palestine are under increased
the crusade leaders, Andrew of Hungary for peace. The offer was refused on the ad- pressure. Money is running low and German
and Leopold of Austria. vice of the Templars, who stated that Jeru- forces have not yet arrived. In July 1220, a
In 1218, the assembled armies sailed salem could not be held without possession delegation of Templars and Hospitallers
from Acre to Damietta. A year later, after of the lands south of the Holy City. carries Pope Honorius III’s financial contri-
the death of the Templar Grand Master, the By 1220, the crusade is in danger of fall- bution to the Fifth Crusade from Rome.

The Templars and the Crusades

The Templars were one of three also saw the Templars work closely with Hospitallers advised the crusade leaders,
major standing crusading armies, which the crusade leaders. After the humiliat- and even supported the subjugation of
came to the aid of the Christian rulers of ing loss at the Battle of Hattin and the the Byzantine Empire. After the capture
the Holy Land, and later aided Christian subsequent loss of Jerusalem, the Tem- of Constantinople, the Templars took
kings’ efforts to recapture Jerusalem. plars and Hospitallers augmented the part in the subjugation of Greece that
crusader kings’ troops. Grand Master ended in 1210.
Robert of Sabloel was raised to that
The Second position by King Richard of England,
and Third Crusades after which the Templars purchased the The Albigensian Crusade
recently conquered island of Cyprus
In the Second and Third Crusades, from the king (they sold the island a The Templars have not been active-
the Templars took leading roles. The few years later to Guy of Lusignan, the ly involved in the Albigensian Crusade
Second Crusade (1147 – 1149) saw the erstwhile King of Jerusalem and vassal (1209 – 1229); throughout the conflict
Poor Knights granted the right by Pope of King Richard). they have maintained effective neutral-
Eugenius to wear the red crusading cross ity. Fighting heretics is not a duty of the
over their hearts. The crusade leaders Templars. In fact, both Cathars and cru-
relied heavily on their advice, and by The Fourth Crusade saders at times were aided and shielded
the time King Louis of France reached in Templar houses. Neither the pope
Antioch they had effectively taken over The Templars were only marginally nor Simon of Montefort, the crusade
command of the crusade altogether. involved in the notorious Fourth Crusade leader, petitioned the Poor Knights for
The Third Crusade (1187 – 1192) (1202 – 1204); a few senior Templars and assistance against the Cathars.

The Church
also a common practice in other religious
Papal Privileges orders). The Templars then receive some
or all of his property, bury the lord in their
In 1139, Pope Innocent II issued the dained by any bishop. church, and have their brother-priests say
bull Omne datum optimum: • The pope lays down the procedure prayers for his soul.
for the admittance of priests to the Donations are made by all kinds of
• The order may keep the booty it Templar order. people from all walks of life — from a few
captures from Muslims. • The brothers may build oratories coins, small parcels of land, a horse, or ar-
• The order’s rule of life under the wherever they live, and they can mor, to tracts of land, holdings, farms, and
master is confirmed. hear Divine Office there; those who even villages, as well as tax exemptions.
• The brothers may elect their mas- die as brothers of the order can be
ter without interference from any- buried there.
one else.
• The customs and observances of the
• These papal privileges and protec-
tion extend to cover their household
Templars in England
order cannot be infringed upon or and servants.
changed except by the master and Since the first visit by Hugh of Payns
with the consent of the wiser part of In 1144, Pope Celestine II proclaimed to London in 1128, the Templars have
the chapter of brothers. the Milites Templi, describing the Templars had a chapterhouse in London. The order
• The brothers should not give oaths as defenders of pilgrims and comparing received the patronage of powerful and
of loyalty or homage or any oaths to them to the Maccabees. He granted influential lords. They were entrusted
anyone outside the order. remission of one seventh of the pen- with maintaining several castles for Hen-
• They need not pay tithes on the ance of anyone who joins the order, and ry II during marriage negotiations, and
produce of their own lands. urged bishops and archbishops to collect successfully persuaded Thomas Becket to
• Those priests who stay a year and money for the Poor Knights. Celestine accept the Constitutions of Clarendon.
are approved of by the brothers may also granted the Templars the authority Under King John, the Templar Com-
take the profession of the order, to collect donations from churches, vil- mander Aymeric of St. Maur was personal
swearing to obey the master, and lages, or cities under interdict. envoy for the king. Aymeric advised King
remain in the order. They will have Pope Eugenius III built upon this, John during his dispute with the pope,
the same support and clothes as the with Milites Dei in 1145, clarifying the and advised him to sign the Magna Carta
brothers except for their priestly rights granted to the Templars relating at Runnymede.
vestments. They are only respon- to the authority of Templar clergy. This In 1220, the Templars continue to
sible for “care of souls” as far as the papal ruling states that brother-priests hold a prominent position in the court of
order requests. They are not to be must be properly ordained and have King Henry III. While the kingdom is ef-
subject to anyone outside the order. permission from their bishop to join fectively ruled by regents, the Templars
• The order can have its clergy or- the Templars. continue to maintain the king’s treasury,
oversee his navy, and act as the king’s
almoner (official responsible for distrib-
Templar Endowments tates, both upon gaining membership and
upon their deaths.
uting charitable donations to the poor).
They have also recently lent the crown a
Indeed, it is common in Mythic Eu- great deal of money, to help stabilize the
The Templars have a grand history rope for a dying noble to “give” himself to rule of the young king. The influential Ay-
of endowments from the lords of Mythic the order in the last few days of his life, meric has been replaced by Alan Marcell,
Europe, and rapidly became one of the so as to do penance for his sins (this was who is one of the king’s chief military and
wealthiest organizations in the West. From
the mid-1100s, the Templars developed an
extensive network of property. Grand Masters of the Temple of Solomon
Since the Council of Troyes, kings,
dukes, and barons have donated vast sums Hugh of Payns (1119-1136) Arnold of Torroja (1180-1184)
of money, large tracts of land, and precious Robert of Craon (1136-1149) Gérard of Ridefort (1185-1189)
goods to the Knights Templar. Those who Everard of Barres (1149-1152) – retired Robert of Sabloel (1191-1193)
join the ranks of the Poor Knights are re- Bernard of Trémélay (1152-1153) Gilbert Erail (1194-1200)
quired to swear an oath of poverty and Andrew of Montbard (1153-1156) Philip of Plessiez (1201-1209)
hand over all their worldly possessions to Bertrand of Blanquefort (1156-1169) William of Chartres (1210-1219)
the order. Confreres and consoeurs (asso- Philip of Nablus (1169-1171) – retired Peter of Montaigu (1219-1232)
ciate brothers and sisters of the order) also Odo of Saint-Amand (1171-1179)
hand over significant portions of their es-

The Church
order; King Philip thus likewise has signif-
English Templar Commanders icant influence over the French Templars
and is effectively able to appoint Templars
Richard of Hastings (1160-1171) Thomas Beard (1200-1200) to senior posts across his domain. The
Richard Mallebeench (1172-1180) Aymeric of St. Maur (1200-1220) Templars act as treasurers to other great
Geoffrey Fitz Stephen (1180-1185) Alan Marcell (1220-1229) nobles across France.
William of Newenham (1185-1200) The Templars, particularly the many
brother-sergeants, are a part of the growing
class of literati taking over the administra-
diplomatic advisors. Aymeric continues in will act as treasurer to the French Crown tion of the royal government. The Templars
a senior role with the Templars elsewhere until his death in 1227. are seen as loyal, godly, honest, and lacking
in Europe. Many of the most senior Templars in self-interest, not to mention possessing
The English province of the order are personal friends of the king and other marvelous military skills. In France, they act
holds land throughout England — in Es- lords, and were vassals prior to joining the almost as an arm of the royal government.
sex, Kent, Warwickshire, Worcestershire,
Shropshire, Oxfordshire, Cornwall, Lin-
colnshire, and Yorkshire — and in most
cases the landholdings are extensive. In Story Seeds
England, the Templars divide their hold-
ings into revenue districts called baillia, The Templars’ Helper about this, and once the Quaesitors
discover his plans, they worry that se-
with each governed by its own local com-
The Templar delegation sent from crets of the Order of Hermes could
mander. The English Master is based in
Pope Honorius believes there to be no end up with the Templars. His former
London at the New Temple.
way they can win the Fifth Crusade covenant-mates, so as to avoid sanction
In the future (if your saga follows his-
without gaining a significant advantage for interfering with mundanes, seek out
tory), the Templars gradually fall out of fa-
over their Muslim enemies. They know the assistance of the players’ characters
vor with King Henry III, and by the 1250s
that the sultan of Egypt commands to retrieve the magical items they see as
they are replaced in most of their positions
the services of supernatural beings and rightfully theirs.
by Hospitallers, who are generally seen as
the mysterious sorcerors who bind Does the Code of Hermes recognize
more educated and better administrators.
them. Acting on the orders of Brother the archmage’s decision? As a confrater,
Haimard, treasurer of the Paris Temple, is he now a mundane? Under the Code,
the Templar delegation is authorized do his magical belongings still belong
Templars in France to seek out magical aid and bring it to to him, or are they now the property of
Egypt to assist the crusaders. the Templars?
The Templar commander in charge
The Templars in France are at the
of the delegation, Brother Oliver of
centers of power, and own and administer
Paderborn, approaches the players’ The Enchanted Mill
huge swathes of land and garrison enor-
covenant for assistance, offering great
mous castles. In Paris, the Temple acts as Before he retired, the former Eng-
rewards for cooperation and magic that
the official treasury of King Philip II, tak- lish Commander Aymeric of St. Maur
will defeat the sultan. Will the charac-
ing in receipts of taxation and organizing ordered the construction of a new, mas-
ters assist the Templars, either person-
payments to officials, soldiers, and so on, sive mill in London. Now it is nearing
ally or with magical items, and what of
as well as storing important documents, completion in record time, and when
the Code?
such as treaties and wills. When he is in constructed will be one of the largest
Paris, the king and his family often prefer sources of wealth for the Poor Knights.
to stay in rooms at the Paris Temple. For The Hermetic Confrater For the past year, Templars and their
more information about the Paris Tem- servants have been seen trekking around
ple, see The Lion and the Lily, page 80. A once-powerful archmage of the England’s mythic sites, many of which
One the most senior advisors to King Order of Hermes, approaching Final are seasonal vis sources, and many seem
Philip is Brother Haimard, the treasurer Twilight, decides to become a Templar to have been harvested, possibly by
of the French Templars, and treasurer to confrater. In doing so he hands over his the Templars. Have the Templars dis-
the French Crown. The Templars relay enormous Hermetic wealth to the Poor covered a way to sense and use vis to
news and information to the King from Knights, including his vast magical li- help in the construction of their mill,
the brother-knights across France. Brother brary, enchanted items, and land. or are they being assisted? Rumor has
Haimard, if your saga follows the course of The covenant (which could be the it that one covenant’s vis sources have
history, will execute the wills of both King player’s covenant) is less than happy remained untouched.
Philip and Queen Ingebourg in 1222, and

The Church
Templars continue to receive many gifts
Templars and Demonic Wealth of Nations of land and other resources. There are
major Templar fortresses in Soure, Pom-
The great stores of wealth protected some protection thanks to the Domin- bal, and Tomar.
by the Templars are an ideal source of ion that shrouds their preceptories, as If your saga follows history, in the
stolen wealth for the demonic False Gods well as intervention by patron saints and near future there will be an attempt by
(see Realms of Power: The Infernal, page 37). guardian angels. The relics that are often Afonso, Count of Boulogne, to over-
While Templar storehouses are often stored alongside mundane treasurers also throw King Sancho II (1223-1245).
targets of the False Gods, they receive ward against greedy demons. The Templar commander of Portugal,
Brother Martim Martins, a childhood
friend of Sancho, will support the king.
They administer many castles on behalf of gal. The Templars were actively involved This support will cost the order dearly,
the king and other great nobles, typically in military operations, assisting in assaults as Afonso’s rebellion is successful, and by
in trust or when a fort is disputed between on Muslim-held towns. The Portuguese 1301 they lose their rights over Idanha
heirs or rivals, and periodically act as inter- Templars established their main chapter- and Salvaterra.
mediaries between warring nobles in France, house in the castle Cera above the town
with the authority of the king. Tomar, which they themselves founded. In
1170, the Templars received the right to Templars in Aragon
keep one-third of all land they could ac-
Templars in Iberia quire and settle.
In 1220, the Templars remain very
In Aragon, the Templars have been
present since 1130, supporting Ramon
close to the Christian rulers of Portu- Berengeur II, Count of Barcelona and
The Templars have been involved in gal, with many of the lords considering Marquis of Provence. Ramon himself be-
the Christian Reconquista of the Iberian themselves “brothers,” and some even came a confrere of the Templars, and gave
Peninsula since the Second Crusade, when possessing associate membership of the the Poor Knights the castle of Granyena.
Christians in Iberia used the opportunity to order. This, of course, means that the Other lords in the area made donations,
attack and depose their Muslim rivals, and
begin repopulating the area under Christian
rule. In addition to supporting the Recon-
quista with direct military aid, the Templars
Story Seeds
aid the local Iberian nobles by colonizing
marginal lands too dangerous or risky to Stolen Wealth plots to create other forms of wealth
— grain and cloth — to sell at the fairs
be developed by the lords themselves. The
After an Infernalist makes a deal with of France. All he needs is a Hermetic
Templars build or expand fortifications in
a powerful False God for untold wealth, supplier of magically created crops,
these areas, and attract settlers and farm-
a Templar priory near the troupe’s cov- cotton, and wool. He is unlikely to re-
ers into areas under great risk of attack by
enant finds that all of its treasures have gard the Code as a good excuse for not
Muslim raiders and other bandits. Despite
been stolen. Unsurprisingly, the local helping him.
their many domains, the Templars are not
commander suspects that he has been
present in the Iberian Peninsula in great
robbed by the covenant. Can the char-
numbers. Their real strength is their abil-
acters convince the commander that Aiding the Reconquista
ity to mobilize at a moment’s notice and re-
they are innocent, and can they assist
main in the field for a long time, unlike the The Templars in Iberia are on a near-
him in locating the true villain?
secular nobles in the region, who struggle constant war footing, and are slowly
to field an army for more than forty days or building a fleet to combat the presence
during harvest time. The Greed of Haimard of pirates. Stephen of Belmonte hears
Iberia is notable for having a large num- that Hermetic magic could be greatly
ber of sisters and consoeurs (female associ- Brother Hairmard is well aware of advantageous in his crusade effort, and
ate members) housed in Catalonia, where the existence of the Order of Hermes sends out a team of brother-knights and
they enjoy extensive property rights. (although not of its inner workings) sergeants to find Hermetic magi. He
and knows that Hermetic magic is ca- wants magical weapons and ships. If
pable of producing enormous quanti- your troupe’s characters refuse to help,
Templars in Portugal ties of material wealth. He is also famil- they may soon find their less-scrupulous
iar with the concept of devaluing gold Hermetic rivals assisted by the political
The earliest donation in Iberia of land and other precious metal. However, he clout and wealth of Templars.
and castles to the Templars was in Portu-

The Church
including the castle of Barberà. These do- (and other religious orders). The Templars area. Some of the Templar chapels are
nations were made primarily to convince have long received exemption from pay- starting to become sites visited by pil-
the Templars to actively support the lords ing royal dues, denying Frederick II a great grims, and most of the Templar chapter-
militarily and to enforce the law in danger- deal of income. houses in Italy are attractively decorated
ous border areas. After the death of King Many Christian lords in areas such with frescos depicting victories in the
Alfonso I, the Templars received great as Lower Silesia, Poland, and Eastern crusades, aspects of Templar daily life,
swathes of land and resources — enough Germany also give donations to the or images from saints’ lives. Additionally,
for them to afford to be militarily involved Templars, but they have no real military many of the churches throughout Italy re-
in Barcelona-Aragon. ceive funding from the Templars for reno-
The Templars in Aragon are entitled vations and repairs. These great Templar
to a tenth of all rents, a fifth of the booty churches possess vast agricultural estates.
from every expedition, a fifth of the land If your saga follows history, by the 1250s
captured from Muslims, and numerous and 1260s the Templars start to become
castles including Monzón and Montjoy. prominent in the flagellant movement (a
They also play a prominent role in advis- movement of pious Christians who be-
ing the king, and nominally form a part of lieved that the Last Judgement was nigh
the king’s army. The various Templar com- and purged themselves of sin by publicly
manders are typically related to the great weeping and flagellating themselves), led
lords of the area, and Templars sit on most by papal chamberlain and Templar Broth-
noble advisory councils. er Bonvicino.
If your saga follows history, under Most of the major naval cities in Italy
King James I of Aragon (1213–1276), the house a Templar commandery, where they
Poor Knights, Hospitallers, and native — like the other crusading orders — as-
military orders play a vital role in the at- sist pilgrims, recruit soldiers, and funnel
tempts to capture the Balearic Islands of supplies to the Holy Land. In cities such
Majorca and Minorca, and in Valencia. as Venice, Messina, Bari, Taranto, and Ge-
Although the Templar and Hospitaller noa, the Templars own mercantile interests
masters sit on James’ private advisory and provide loans to merchant families. In
council, the Templar commander, Ste- the past they have done deals with mer-
phen of Belmonte, is far less close to King chant princes who have relationships with
James than the Hospitaller commander, Muslim traders, especially those in Egypt.
Hugh of Forcalquier. Since the start of the Fifth Crusade such
trades have ceased.
presence in these areas in 1220. In the The Templar commanders in Italy of-
Templars in Germany next few decades, should your saga fol-
low history, the Templars follow the
ten become embroiled in local disputes,
especially those involving the pope.
and Eastern Europe Teutons into Eastern Europe, establish- They are very prominent in the papal
ing preceptories and fortresses in Bo- court, advising the pope on a range of
The Templars’ role in Germany and hemia and Moravia at Templeštejn and military, financial, and diplomatic mat-
the pagan lands of Eastern Europe is at its Čejkovice, Prussia at Tempelburg and ters. Senior Templar commanders in Italy
formative stage. The order has only just Łuków, as well as Hungary at Esztergom are starting to intervene in Ecclesiastical
acquired its first significant holdings in and Egyházasfalu. Their main role will politics, undermining hostile or critical
Germany, in Thuringia and Austria, due to be to protect Christian colonizers, who bishops and cardinals in favor of their
the patronage of those lords who partici- start to settle the great primeval forests own supporters.
pated in the crusades. The Templars also of Hungary, Poland and Russia. Over A Templar representative is stationed
received some donations from the emper- these years, the Teutons are both allies at the papal curia in Rome semi-perma-
or, Frederick II Hohenstaufen, although and rivals. nently, and he actively intervenes with
not enough for the order to establish itself the pope in the interests of the order.
in the emperor’s territories. Debate is occurring at the general chap-
Relations with Frederick are generally
cordial, despite the emperor’s deteriorat-
Templars in Italy ter as to whether the Templars should
station a permanent ambassador with
ing relations with the pope. Nevertheless, the pope.
there is conflict in the Emperor’s lands in In central Italy, the Templars are par-
Sicily, where he is attempting to reclaim ticularly well established, possessing over
royal lands possessed by the Poor Knights twenty churches and preceptories in the

The Church
Templars in Poor Knights are key military advisors to throne of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The
the King of Jerusalem and the other Latin Templars’ closeness to the Angevins puts
the Holy Land lords of the Holy Land. them in conflict with the Lusignan fam-
They regularly engage in their own ily, which rules Cyprus. They also regu-
Since the recapture of Jerusalem by military actions and raids. Most of the larly interfere in succession disputes with
Saladin, the Poor Knights have lost most Templar raids are offensive in nature, crusader lords and other Christian king-
of their holdings in the Holy Land. Nev- rather than defensive, their object be- doms, especially Armenia.
ertheless, they have chapterhouses in all ing to capture animals, people, and other
major towns in the crusader states, and oc- booty that can be turned into wealth
cupy many fortresses. Many of the castles (such as ransom). Templars in Acre
that they control in the Holy Land were Apart from Acre and Antioch, the
given or sold to them because the Chris- other significant Templar property in the The port of Acre, on the bay of Haifa,
tian lord did not have the resources to gar- Holy Land is Cyprus, where the Templars is the center of Templar power and the loca-
rison it himself. have owned large parts of the island since tion of their central chapterhouse. The Tem-
In the Holy Land the Poor Knights it was captured by King Richard. plars have forts and properties in the lands
work closely with the area’s Christian The Templars are embroiled in the surrounding Acre, as well as many interests
rulers — especially the King of Jerusa- dispute between the Angevin and Lu- within the city, including at the shipyards.
lem and the new Prince of Antioch. The signan families, both of whom claim the Acre became the home of the Templars after
the loss of Jerusalem and the city’s capture
by King Richard. Acre is also the base of
most of the other crusading orders, includ-
ing the Hospitallers and the Order of Saint
Lazarus. The bishop of Acre, James of Vitry
(1216-1228), is a close ally.
The Templar castle in Acre is home to
the grand master, the commander of the
land of Jerusalem and the other great offi-
cers of the order. All of the order’s records,
as well as its many grand relics, are stored
here. For more information on Acre, see
City and Guild, page 34.

Templars in Antioch

In 1219 Bohemond, Count of Trip-

oli, reclaimed the city of Antioch after
a protracted dispute with Leon of Ar-
menia. Leon had in 1211 declared war
on the Templars, after a decades-long
succession conflict between the Poor
Knights and the kingdom of Armenia.
The war continued for two years, as the
Templars tried to capture and recapture
castles along the coast. The Templars
currently support Bohemond, who is
still in dispute with the Armenians. The
Armenians are themselves supported by
the Hospitallers.

Templars in Greece

The Templars have only recently ar-

rived in the Latin kingdoms of Greece,
and although they nominally defend

The Church
the Latin rulers of Greece, they largely
act as free agents. There are only a few Story Seed: The Tomb Raiders
Templar preceptories in Greece, with
provinces in each of the Latin kingdoms. Troupes whose sagas are located in Kingdoms has a special team lead by
Their presence is largely due to the new the Tribunal of Thebes may find that Stephan of Tusculum, a ruthless Tem-
Latin lords of Greece granting them characters who seek out long-lost trea- plar brother-sergeant on the lookout
great estates and benefits; they have sent surers in ruined Hellenic temples are for any and all mystic and Divine rel-
representatives to these places to defend racing not only against rival Seekers, ics. Stephan is an expert on the occult,
their interests. but also a team of tomb-raiding Tem- and has many contacts across Greece
Overall, the area is not one of great plars. The commander of the Latin and the Levant.
concern for the Templars, and they
have little time for Latin Christian dis-
putes with Greek Christians. The local from France and French-speaking Eng- Most Teutons come from the ministe-
commander is seriously giving thought land. However, their renown is growing riales class — the unfree knights bound to
to selling back a lot of the land to lo- in France, and by 1220 they are starting the German king. Although many of these
cal Greeks, rather than incur ill will over to rival the Templars in recruitment and people are wealthy and influential, they
their occupation. donations. The Hospitallers’ activities lack many freedoms and are not considered
closely resemble the Templars’ — they to be of noble birth. Joining the Teutons is
participated in the crusades, protected the seen as a way to gain de facto noble sta-
Other Military Orders Holy Land, and have the same papal and
other privileges as the Poor Knights.
tus. By the 13th century, the Teutons have
become a staple of the crusading move-
The Templa