Night's Dark Terror
There are two main religions in the Duchy (And one well-known, but small, fringe sect).
The Church of Karameikos
The Church of Karameikos was an effort to blend Traladaran religion with Thyatian; the result is not always entirely self-consistent, especially as they desired to appeal to all the races of Karameikos.
The Church of Karameikos’ most fundamental practice is that of taking responsibility for one’s ill deeds and doing penance for them. Anyone can be redeemed if they are willing to accept their own guilt and pay for it. The state of your soul at death is determined by how many of your sins you have done penance for. The problem with this is that some abuse it as a blank check to do evil things and pay for it later.
The Church’s ideal is the marriage of discipline and creativity of thought and deed, but in practice, the disciplinary aspect tends to predominate. This often leads to clashes with the various Traladaran faiths and with anyone else who deviates from the cultural norms of the Thyatian elite who currently dominate the Church. It also leads some to be willing to crusade against other faiths or lands to spread the faith.
Marriage is very sacred to the Church because mortal marriages are symbolic of the union of discipline (law) and creativity (chaos) which forms part of its philosophy. It is to be noted that many of its patron immortals are either married or in extremely long-term relationships. Divorce is highly frowned on, and adultery and pre-marital sex are seen as grave sins.
The state of one’s soul at death determines one’s fate in the everlasting life. Those who die without repenting their ill deeds sink into one of the hells, as appropriate for their greatest sin. Those who die with their soul sufficiently cleansed by repentance and penance rise to the heaven which most closely reflects their greatest virtue. The most holy of those join the ranks of the Champions who serve the Immortals.
The Church of Karameikos condemns the various divination practices of the populace of Karameikos because they believe such methods are subject to manipulation by the Fiends, and are in fact a major tool by which the Fiends tempt and destroy humanity. They also believe that they don’t work and are foolish superstitions.
The Order of the Griffon is the military wing of the Church. They provide bodyguards for the Patriarchs, guards for the major temples, and provide the manpower which the Patriarchs call on in times of war to fulfill their duties to the Duke as landholders. The Order has two branches. The Soldiers of the Griffon, who are warriors that serve the church, providing temple guards, garrisons for the fortified churches of the wilderness, and military forces to meet the feudal military duties of the Church. The Knights of the Griffon are a mixture of Knights and Clerics who perform holy quests, bodyguard the Patriarchs, and command the Soldiers of the Griffon in garrison duties and peacetime. All are at least fifth level.
The order mans a dozen or so fortified monasteries/manors built in wilderness zones, whose revenues help to fund the order and whose dangers keep it in fighting trim.
The Church of Traladara
The Church of Traladara is a venerable institution which has existed in the civilized coastlands of the country since the end of the first millennium BC. Having risen out of the Traladaran people’s unshakeable belief in the power of goodness, the heroism of Halav and his companions, and the eventual return of the Traldar people to the glory of the Golden Age, the Church is a rock-solid institutionalized arbiter of Traladaran morality. Over seventy percent of the Karameikan population subscribe to the faith of the Church, nearly all of them Traladaran.
The Church of Traladara concerns itself primarily with the behaviour and morality of its followers. Church doctrine, therefore, forbids that followers should cause harm to others or their property. Such unlawful behaviour is considered to contradict the examples of proper comport as given in the Church’s holy text, The Song of King Halav. Therefore, the Church supports punishment for said immoral acts (as these are blasphemy), in proportion to the crime – up to and including the death penalty, for heinous crimes such as murder. “As the Beast-King did slay Halav, so Halav slew him in kind,” goes a common sermon on such solemn occasion.
Other Church dogmas are supported by the Song, such as the proper behaviour of women (strong defender of the home, and supporter of men), the role of magic in Traladaran life (accepted, as was Zirchev accepted by Halav), and the responsibility of every Traladaran to fight evil in its myriad forms (including both passive and militarised resistance against invaders). The Church also serves the community by providing guidance, performing ceremonies, and supporting traditional cultural expressions, such as the Shearing.
Followers of the Church of Traladara attend a formal ceremony, which involves an elaborate ritual granting forgiveness for repented misdeeds, prayers for the ill and the dead, and readings from the Song. Such ceremonies are held once daily in Mirros, and once weekly in smaller parishes throughout the countryside. Churches are always open, however, as it is common to find a handful of faithful there, praying, at all hours.
Larger churches also typically contain three or more small shrines in niches off of the main sanctuary. These shrines are each dedicated to a particular aspect of one of the three Traladaran patron Immortals. Halav, Petra, and Zirchev each have countless aspects, as every village worships one particular to their local area. Sages believe these aspects reflect guises in which the Immortals have given aid or comfort to Their chosen over the centuries, as well as remnants of ancient Traldar Immortals. The most common aspects are given below:
Halav: Beast-Slayer; Lawgiver; the Celestial King; the Unconquerable Warrior
Petra: The Divine Mother; Sacred Healer; the Fair Warrior; the Gentle Queen
Zirchev: The Sly; Nightwalker; Elf-Friend; the Wild Huntsman
The Cult of Halav
The cult is only a few years old. Patriarch Sergyev of the Traladaran church received a vision in dreams, which told him that the Immortals had reincarnated King Halav in Stefan Karameikos.
Surprisingly enough, Sergyev was able to persuade a number of clerics of the Church of Traladara, and founded his own cult.
While the priests of the Cult are generally considered madmen, they receive clerical powers, which means that theirs is not a fake religion.
The Cult has no strict organisation. The Cult of Halav currently seems only to be in Specularum and Kelvin, and has only a very limited number of followers. It is estimated that less than 1% of the Karameikan population follows this religion.