Friday, March 27, 2015

The Kryptgarten Pantheist (2nd Edition)

Religions feature prominently in my campaigns, both as a GM and a player. Many of my the characters I have played have focused on the religious elements of the worlds they were in, whether they were founding their own sex cult or playing out the experience of a Chinese thief converting to Buddhism. Likewise, much of my time as a GM is spent experimenting with the nature of deitiesconcepts like syncretism, or fantasy riffs on real-world religions. So, obviously, I get excited when the players in my games take up the torch and start having their PCs found their own religions as a way to manipulate the world around them.

What follows is one example of such. The Sunday evening party took over a small keep, recruited some settlers, built a church, and founded a weirdly lawful religion dedicated to thievery, agriculture, and cleanliness. My Saturday group then picked up and ran with the idea with a couple of PC priests of the sect after the keep's fall. 

Here is a Priest Kit for use with AD&D 2nd Edition.


Kryptgarten Pantheists

Base Requirements

  • Races: Human, Half-Human, or Hobgoblin
  • Class: Cleric
  • Ability Requirements: Dexterity 12, Wisdom 12, Charisma 12
  • Alignments: NG, TN, NE
  • Starting Cash: As Cleric

Weapon Proficiencies

Kryptgarten Pantheists carry pumice
stones as the symbol of their faith.
  • Weapon Slots: As Cleric
  • Bonus Weapon Proficiencies: none
  • Allowed Weapons: As Thief
  • Allowed Armors: Any non-metal armor. No shields.

Non-Weapon Proficiencies:

  • Non-weapon Slots: As Cleric
  • Available Categories: General, Priest, Rogue
  • Bonus Non-weapon Proficiencies: Agriculture, Humanoid Grooming, Intrigue, Modern Language (Thieves' Cant)
  • Required Proficiencies: Religion
  • Recommended Proficiencies: Alchemy, Animal Handling, Appraising, Brewing, Bureaucracy, Ceremony, Cooking, Craft Instrument (Bells), Dark Lore, Diagnostics, Direction Sense, Disguise, Engineering, Fey Lore, Forgery, Gaming, Healing, Herbalism, Information Gathering, Looting, Set Snares, Tumbling, Winemaking.
  • Forbidden Proficiencies: None.

Priest Spheres: These replace the standard spheres for the cleric class.

  • Major: All, Chaos, Combat, Creation, Divination, Plant, Protection, Summoning, Sun
  • Minor: Charm, Elemental (Earth, Water), Healing

Something is not right in Kryptgarten, or so the people of Phlan say. Day and night the black iron bells of Kryptgarten ring out from a belfry made of accursed wood, warning of dark fey creeping about the edges of the Quivering Forest. Within the priests, acolytes, and supplicants hatch strange plots and perform dark sacrifices while scouring their flesh--or so the rumors say. At night a great beast prowls, devouring unwary humanoids who would threaten the small town, mounting their heads on pikes and sending their severed hands back as a warning to their loved-ones.
The official religion in Kryptgarten is one not practiced anywhere else in the realms--collectively worshiping Mask, god of thievery and intrigue, and Chauntea, goddess of agriculture, and Grimnir, Squire of Kryptgarten as their emissary or avatar. Combining a variety of influences ranging from bits of traditional Maskarran theology, local hobgoblin dragon-worship, crazed cultists of embodied "Chaos", and the simple faith of frightened city-dwellers turned peasant farmers, the resultant church is one of order, cleanliness, and control. A church of obedience to one's liege-lord and enforcement of one's will on the world.
The core tenants of Chauntea and Mask--agriculture, intrigue, and thievery--have been re-interpreted by High Priest Grinkle as acts of domination: Enforcing one's will on nature, Enforcing one's will through politics, Enforcing one's will on the economy, and Enforcing one's will on the body through a strict regimen of cleanliness.
Local Chaunteans and Maskarrans both consider the Kryptgarten Pantheists to be heretics, but the fact that these priests are able to use powers considered unique to the two parent religions has given some local leaders of the faiths pause and held-off any official declaration of anathema.

Ceremonial Mask
There are few priests in Kryptgarten, and most of those are reformed cultists of the minor Hillsfarran godling known as the Chaos Messiah. Thus most Kryptgarten Pantheists look like disaffected youth. The strict cleanliness enforced by the Squire of Kryptgarten is taken to its true extreme by these worshippers. Their skin, where not marred by tattoos and piercings, is always smooth, hairless, and pink from regular, harsh scrubbing. Their vestments are the plain, utilitarian clothes of a farmer, but always kept pristine and free of dirt or grime of any kind.
On ceremonial occasions, Kryptgarten Pantheists wear plain brown robes, similar to those favored by druids, and hide their faces behind featureless black-iron masks, in honor of the lady Tvoja who taught them the worship of Mask. They carry pumice stones as the symbol of their faith.

Kryptgarten's is a new religion and the faithful do much stumbling along in their attempts to piece-together a viable cult, taking their cues from their liege, Grimnir, and his companions. With one hundred and fifty faithful, or at least regularly attending nominal worshipers, and the backing of many of Phlan's most prominent citizens, this small upstart of a faith is surprisingly strong. 
Daily activities of Kryptgarten Pantheists are quite varied, reflecting the needs of their new community, but include tending crops and vineyards, overseeing construction projects (especially churches, shrines, and bathhouses), lumbering the Quivering Forest, keeping the church bells ringing, enforcing Lord Grimnir's policies (especially his strictures on personal hygiene), monitoring the population for signs of disease, maintaining relations with Phlan's thieves' guild, meddling in local politics, and performing weekly sacrifices to The Beast of Kryptgarten (which involves scalping and then slowly boiling a sentient humanoid--usually captured orcs or hobgoblins from the ruins of Old Phlan).
The Pantheists perform weekly sacrifices to The Beast of Kryptgarten,
by scalping and then slowly boiling a sentient humanoid.
Special Abilities:

  • Kryptgarten Pantheists have access to the religion-specific spells of both Mask and Chauntea. Which is taken as a tacit sign of approval from those deities.
  • Kryptgarten Pantheists can cast the Cantrip wizard spell a number of times per day equal to their cleric level. This can be used to produce one of the following effects: Clean, Dust, Exterminate, Freshen, Polish, or Shine (See Wizards Spell Compendium: Appendix 1).
  • The Kryptgarten Pantheist can give a special bless to a farm’s crops. This blessing will make the land produce at 150% its normal yield. A collective field of crops can only be so blessed once a year. 
  • Kryptgarten Pantheist  have a 10% chance per level of diagnosing a disease or identifying a poison. If the Pantheist has the Herbalism non-weapon proficiency, he can brew an antidote to any poison that is properly identified. This requires a successful Herbalism check, and takes 11 rounds minus the pantheist's level (minimum 1 round). 
  • Kryptgarten Pantheists can backstab like a thief of one-half their cleric level (round up).
  • Kryptgarten Pantheists have four thieving abilities: pick pockets, move silently, hide in shadow, and climb walls. These abilities start at the base values for a thief (modified by Race, Dexterity, and Kits as normal). At each subsequent level, the pantheist gets 7 points to assign these abilities as they see fit.

Special Disadvantages:

  • Kryptgarten Pantheists use the Specialty Priest chart for experience advancement.
  • Kryptgarten Pantheists cannot Turn or Control undead.
  • A Kryptgarten Pantheist may not worship a specific deity (at least not in the normally accepted way) and does not gain any of the special benefits of belonging to a major religion. As heretics, these priests never receive the shelter, sanctuary, or financial aid normally extended by temples of like-minded religions elsewhere in the realms.