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Faith

Faith In Pala

Overall: People in the future don’t believe in Transcendence, with the exception of the (incredibly unpopular) Mystery Faiths. That said, people do believe in the nigh-limitless efficacy of technology, even if most towns’ tech levels are still stuck somewhere between CE 1500 and 1850, thanks to the wars, wars, and more wars. Faith is something to consider for extra flavor, and also for deepened socio-political connections. How’d you learn that skill? Oh yeah—at future-tech-church. Get wisdom, y’all.

Chatala

Also called Shatala, Chatal, Shala, this is the  gmothi paganism of Pala, very similar in general (if not in ritual names, icons, etc.) to gmothi paganism across earth. Chatala preaches joy in life, giving, family, movement (migration, nomadism). Chatala preaches avoidance of hell science, unhumans, ammon, warmachines, cities.

Chatalan texts are all songs.

The Trifold Path: Faith In The Federated Unhuman Kingdoms

The unhumans are divided between the state religion/atheism/pragmatism/ethic, Gazaarism, as well as their popular cult of the past, Technem. Most rural unhumans are (also) Carnarists (“brutes,” by their own description—pro-unhuman chauvanists), and the few Pure Ones are Nava Kaltan (“east-worshippers”). Thus, characters in the Federation are likely all Gazaarist, with a strong Technemi influence; non-Pure One unhuman characters are also likely Carnarist or, if cosmopolitan, anti-Carnarist.

Gazaarism

The official religion for all sents in the Federation of Unhuman Kingdoms, founded by Gazaar’Ou, savior of the world, freer of the unhumans, freer of the whole west of Pala… Gazaarists believe only in the visible material world and communities: They seek to build better, larger societies together. They struggle with: corruption, distribution of tasks/wealth/secrets. Etc. Think Communism among huge four-armed mutants.

The official text of the Peacemaker Union (the “Gazaarist Church”) is the Virens, the writings of Gazaar’Ou himself (think “The Communist Manifesto” written by Tom Waits). Of course, the Heresiarchs may have made some small changes over the last century… Today, no citizen really feels she knows what the original Virens said.

Ecclesiarchs within Gazaarism are called Heresy Engineers.

Technem

The popular unhuman cult of archaetech, Technem is similar to Islam in its abhorrence of icons and its literal interpretation of specific texts/past events—in this case, the events of the Rebellion and First Unhuman War, as textually interpreted by the unhuman tribal hegemony in the years after that First War. Today, Technem forms a ritual basis for all the religions of the west of Pala. Gazaarists do not argue that the Technemi priesthood is “wrong” per se, merely that it is mystical and perhaps out of date. Most Federation citizens see Gazaar’Ou as having added a very pragmatic, forward-looking stratum to the fairly rigid, history-obsessed stratum of Technem.

The primary Technemi texts are:

  • Euchromus [“Good Rust”] – a collection of incredibly old Early Tephnian data-hymns, in some ways similar to the Avestas, exalting Tephnian life during the Pax of the thousands of years between the Great [Tephnian–Laturan] War and the War For Succession
  • The Five Years – an Old Testament-style fable-filled chronicle of the Rebellion
  • The Hundred Years – a Chaucerian chronicle of the First War

Technem includes four major schools of jurisprudence:

  • Reform (various sects) – The major movement in Technem today, a happy blending of Gazaarist futurism and Technemi textual reverence. Reform Technemi priests are found in every city in the Federation.
  • First City – The sect of Rubaz and Suul. The most “pure” and conservative sect of Technem. Picture gold robes (four sleeves), tiny bronze Rubik’s cube crowns, monocle–gear eye contraptions, oil-and-breast milk holy water, etc.
  • Coastal – The sect of the Coastal Highland Territory, Faalmarsh, and Faldani-held Tuur-Appah. The most Carnarism-influenced sect, very popular with the poor Coasters, who view themselves as not having benefited from the long, bloody war in what was then Assashi and northern Faldan.
  • Indigenous – The sect of Lothay. A weird blend of Sanguinity, inverted Sanguinity, and very very old Technemi ritual. Sort of like an Armenian or Marionite Christian church.

Priests of Technem are called Exhumers.

Carnarism

Also known as the Labrys, this is the popular unhuman folk-cult of power, body, and blood. Carnarist beliefs and rituals perhaps predate Technemi ones or perhaps grew alongside them: Certainly, Carnarist shamans claim that their faith goes all the way back to the unhumans’ period of slavery in the Late Tephnian Empire. Few unhumans are “only” Carnarist, but many in the poorer central rural “growing” regions (the fern bogs and algal super-ponds where most of Pala’s food is now nurtured) are highly Carnarist, to the point of being more-Carnarist-than-Gazaarist. If another War broke out, it is not clear that these pro-unhuman chauvinists would side with the Heresiarchs and the mainstream Gazaarists, whom they see as morally corrupt and physically weak, intoxicated by money and power over the humans—whom these ultramontane Carnarists would gladly enslave.

Carnarist traditions are 99% oral. Anything they write down is written in blood.

Nava Kalto

“The Pure One Way,” practiced by the Pure Ones (the pale blue “original” unhumans of the southwestern Palan jungles) and other unhumans of that impoverished, rustic region. Nava Kalto amounts to a worship of species and body, of movement and the poetry and age and death. Nava Kaltans practice a martial art similar to (four-armed) wing chun. They often seem calmer than their Carnarist cousins, and far less concerned with material things than Technims. That said, they share those cults’ obsessions with the past: Nava Kalto preaches that the unhumans were better off before, in the Empire, which they should never have given up. Still, today Nava Kaltans are usually less political and therefore less violent than other unhumans/citizens of the Federation. Nava Kalto is called the Candidus in the Empire. [Note: In game terms, unhuman monks are disproportionately likely to be Pure Ones who practice Nava Kalto.]

If the Pure Ones write down their beliefs and secrets, they have guarded this writing well.

Sanguinity: The State Faith Of The Sasparadan Empire

The Sasparadans worship the altered-gene and nanorobot-rich Blood of the Emperor, whom they term the Sanguinarch, Blood-Ruler, Blood-King… The Blood has been passed down and “improved” for thousands and thousands of years, according to the Sanguine Clerics. Of course, heretics claim that there are several breaks in the Sanguimperial Genome and Nanome—but they are heretics! What fool will think their lies pass for truth? The faithful convene at the Blood Chapels and, in cities with a Sanguine Metropolitan, the Blood Cathedrals to hear the truth: There is one lineage back to Tephnia, to whatever was before them—to Latura, to the first humans. Not the gmothi, not the degenerates outside the Empire. One lineage, one church, one Sanguinarch… one Blood.

Most Imperial citizens are illiterate (as are most Federation citizens, though a greater percentage are illiterate in the Empire). That being said, there is an incredible wealth of theological, liturgical, and exegetic writing within the Sanguinity, all of it backed up on decaying data disks in the capital’s Library of the Last Blood. The “bible” of the Sanguinity is the Sanguineus (duh). It’s 4,444 pages long if printed on antique paper (which doesn’t exist anyway, don’t worry about it) and consists mostly of lists of Sanguinarchs, their blood relations (pun intended) and minute historical convolutions of millennia past.

There are hundreds of ecclesiarchal terms within Sanguinity. In general, professional members of the faith are called Schizotrategists.

The Human Faiths Outside The Empire

The “human” faiths can be practiced by any species, though many species (ammon, insectids, sents) are unlikely to express any “religious” tendency, at least in the sense vaguely understood by the earth-readers of 2012. The squamids, unhumans, and perhaps a very small number of orphan gmothi are the ones likely to convert to a “human” faith such as Chrisme or Grammatology. And all species understand the power of reverberation, even if few non-humans tithe to the Church or participate in its arcane, incense-heavy, voodoo/Woodstock-esque rites.

Chrisme

Worship of the tesserae-makers (whoever they were); one of the three major or modern “human” faiths; practiced by many Carvolians in the Carvolian Survivor States and the Federation. The Chrismists do not, strangely, worship the tesserae themselves, as these potent artifacts are usable by very few and often cause great harm to their users (and any standers thereby). Instead, Chrismists worship the positive power of some intelligent species to master the earth, gain knowledge, produce useful technologies… [And the last part is never stated: Disappear entirely from history soon after…]

Chrismists cannot agree on a text or group of texts (which are always called something like Chrismatic Revelation of the One True Chapel of the Forthcoming Pylon of Truthfulness, &c.); their rituals vary wildly from city to city, though their imagery does not: Chrismist rituals outwardly resemble christian ones, in some respects, because “the tessera(ct) can be unfolded into eight cubes into 3D space,” making a cross-like figure. (NOTE: The “unfolded” bronze Rubik’s cube of the visible tessera is the shadow of the invisible tesseract, the 4-dimensional “cube” that contains the data-warping/reality-crunching power of the ancients.)

The Church of the Reverberation

Worship of the red crystals and their healing touch/song; one of the three major or modern “human” faiths; diffused across the human north but quite popular, especially in cities, where reverberators tend to be more common (where they can set up clinics in peace, without worrying about random mutant- or dino-attacks). Individual reverberators may or may not deal with the Church much; most tend to think of non-reverberator Churchmen are well-meaning pretenders and know-nothings. That said, they respect that the Church means to unite, heal, and console people. Life on Pala is tough, and the properties of the red crystals to knit back together the broken body and calm the troubled mind deserve to be celebrated. The Church’s collected liturgical text—translated into every language of Pala, every few years—is called Atamasco [“The Red Streaks”].

The Grammatology

Worship of language and thought; worship of these as what give life meaning and/or what literally create reality; one of the three major or modern faiths, with two competing branches; favored in Vennar, Gilspar, and large cities; the faith of the non-Imperial human intelligentsia (excepting those who are die-hard Gazaarists). There are two major sects of Grammatology (spelled Grammatologie, in Ripar and Rosavalee), which are opposed in all things, especially politics:

  • Scendeni – “There is no reality but the Word. We should exalt the Word. We should exalt reading.” Scendeni advocates a severe, Scottish sort of DIY/git-r-dun Protestantism founded upon an atheistic understanding that this is the only world; the only transcendence is that between world and Word. Scendeni temples (libraries) tend to be very community- and family-oriented. Scendeni is most popular in the lowlands of Gilspar and eastern Carvolia. “Priests” of Scendeni Grammatology are called Interpreters. The Scendeni holy book is called Obiter Diem.
  • Immani – “The world is one machine with two strata. We never quite perceive reality (stratum of war); we perceive the Word (stratum of State). Nevertheless, reality is out there. We should celebrate the Word but also be wary of it (of State). All things occur on the plane of reality but they are also refracted on the plane of the Word, which we perceive. We should exalt our own writing and seek to write a better version of reality, knowing we are fallible.” Immani is most popular in Vennar, in the huge cities, including Llamagino. Imani is closest to Gazaarism in what it preaches, a post-future Deleuzean Communism. “Priests” of Immani Grammatology are called Parecriturs. The Imani holy book is called Mutatis Machina, usually shortened to the Mutan [“The Changing”]. It’s way more upbeat and pro-creativity than Obiter. Both books use many of the same phrases, ordered differently.

The Old or Mystery Faiths

Practiced primarily in Tarwenmarch (CSS) and the extreme northeastern coast of the FUK. These are minor “human” faiths, old-feeling, the way Navo Kalto is the unhumans. Most Mystery Faithers are Tharn (“Tarwen,” in Carvolian), the pale “original” people of the northwestern coast of Pala.

  • The Tharn Mysteries – [REDACTED]. Their totem is a white eyeless elephant [elephants haven’t been around in 100 million years] dancing under a falling violet moon.
  • The Laughing Cult (Risism) – Laugh it off! Always! Life is a dream/joke. Epicurus meets Buddha meets Gallagher meets Dennis Leary, with an icing of Richard Pryor. Many human monks are Risists. Their totem is a laughing man carrying on his shoulder a red laughing monkey (eyeless/hairless) as they cross a bridge of warm orange, heatless fire.
  • The Wailing Cult (Lachrymism) – Everything sucks/is so beautiful, and ecstatic weeping is the only release. Bataille meets emo meets any Hindu god after the death of his beloved, with a splash of O.G. DnD elf. Lachrymites produce many zanni and loqs, as well as quite a few hell scientists (who leave the Cult forever). Their totem is a blue lizard with monkey hands weeping onto a field of onyx knives.

Faith outside Pala? Coming soon.

Dope-ass colorful Latin names? Here >>

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