Fires of the Faithful
Helpful Information for Roleplaying
EDITOR’S NOTE: The purpose of this place is to collect general ideas and information that would probably be known to players in the Protectorate of Maras. It will be filled, of course, with broad generalizations about what members of the Protectorate might think. Even this is handy though, since it will give you something to react against.
It should go without saying, but remember that your character is not required to hold any of these beliefs.
General Views of Protectorate Citizens
People are raised on the idea of self-sacrifice for the betterment of the whole. (Think Vulcans: The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.) This attitude doesn’t just apply in religious settings, but filters through down into daily life. Generally, they are conservative, trusting that the society they have built works on their behalf and on behalf of their loved ones. If everyone does his best, and Serves when Called, things will go better than if people dash off doing whatever they want. You may not always get exactly what you want, but on balance life is better for more people.
Religious viewpoints run a wide gamut, ranging from “I’ll go if, Called, but I’d really rather not,” to, “Man! I can’t wait to be a zombie! Or maybe I’ll get chopped up as crop fertilizer! Cool!” Attitudes towards the Church itself are wide-ranging as well. Some have complete faith in the organization while some trust their religion, but not the members of the Church.
Politically, most view nobles with a degree of distrust. Only rarely do the nobility do anything positive when they come in contact with regular citizens. Getting mixed up in a noble’s plans is likely to get you involved in some crime, crazy plot or just get your family Called to Service a little sooner than you expected. Many hold the view that the Church protects it’s people from the depredations of the nobility—who knows what might happen if they were allowed to run amok!
Most would not be particularly ambitious, since rising rapidly might draw undue attention from the Church or the Nobility, and get you Called to Service, or embroiled in political machinations. Such attention can cause risk to your immediate loved ones, and with the focus on protecting your loved ones, this wouldn’t be appealing.
Fatalism wouldn’t be consuming, but many would have at least a mild streak of it. It doesn’t take much for the idea, “Even if I die today, I can still Serve,” to develop into, “It doesn’t really matter what I do today—I can still Serve.”
Open rebellion isn’t part of the normal character. However, the people aren’t passive sheep. In fact, they are often very agreeable about whatever course of action they’re asked to pursue. Their degree of true agreement can be assessed in how many difficulties keep them from immediately following that course. The list of excuses that a citizen can come up with for avoiding doing something he doesn’t agree with is truly staggering. The usual way to get out of doing a distasteful task is not to refuse, but to stall, delay and generally frustrate the asker (agreeing to do it all the while) until eventually he or she gives up and asks someone else to do it.
General Views of Disgruntled Protectorate Citizens
Oddly enough, disgruntled citizens are likely to be more selfish and disagreeable in general. This makes them ideal to be PC’s.
Disgruntled citizens are likely to subscribe to one or more of the heresies detailed in the description of the Church of Maras, but they may have a unique reason. Because disgruntled citizens tend to be of far more variety, I’ll try to address some common thought threads instead.
“It ain’t natural.” Whether it’s a natural disgust for rotting, festering corpses that has been allowed to grow, or whether they’ve heard that the Protectorate is the only country that uses zombies, some citizens just don’t like zombies. They’d be careful about voicing the opinion, but there’s something about it that just doesn’t sit well with them.
“The debt to Maras was paid long ago.” Some citizens don’t feel like their life is being directly saved by Maras, and paying a debt that was incurred by nameless, faceless people hundreds of years ago doesn’t seem reasonable.
“Zombies are fine…but I sure don’t wanna be one.” Some people aren’t as repulsed by zombies as others, but they’ve seen that plenty of people don’t ever have to be raised or get involved in any sort of active Call to Service. They may just silently hope to not have their body raised, or they may try to actively avoid service by leaving the country or hiring the services of a Charcoal Burner.
“The Church ain’t what it used to be!” Some people look at the widely-reported whispers of corruption within the Church, and feel that it’s position is no longer merited. They may actively support the faith, but the Church itself is held in less regard. The tendency of the Church to cover up cases of priestly corruption does little to disuade these disgruntled citizens.
“The Church Called my (family member) to Serve and I didn’t like it.” Sons, fathers, daughters, mothers, distant cousins—whatever. Despite being raised to think of society as a whole, some people still have selfish impulses when beloved friends or relatives are Called to Service, whether in the Church or as a zombie. The reasons for not liking this can be incredibly varied, ranging from thinking it was a political Calling, to Church corruption, to just not liking it when it hit close to home.
(More expansion to follow.)
General Views of Protectorate Clergy
What Does “Called to Service” Really Mean?
This is a term that encompasses everything from the original Call of being raised as a zombie in times of crisis, to being Called to a special duty. It can include just having your body set aside to be used as fertilizer for crops in lean times, or being available to be raised, even if you aren’t needed immediately. You might be Called to become a lay brother of the Church, a temple guard, or perform some other work for the Church. You could also be Called to become an acolyte, monk or anything in the religious hierarchy of the Church.
Although some priests have tried to apply the Call even more widely, suggesting that the Mistress would give them insight about how others should go about their daily lives, this still meets with a degree of resistance. It’s hard to get a peasant to understand why he should leave the northern fiels his family has lived on for centuries because some priest thinks he should be a dock worker in Aplistia. This doesn’t mean it isn’t tried, and open rebellion isn’t the normal tactic of refusal for a citizen.
Differences Between North and South
These differences are primarily held by the nobility, but the concepts do trickle down to the populace at large.
The Protectorate was once (eons ago) ruled by Sorceror Kings. The nobles of the north still hearken back to those ancients, and occasionally heretical practice of magic is taken up by bored nobles. The Church works dilligently to stamp out any practice of magic. Additionally, the north has long borne the brunt of the orc raids, and have still frequently see the price paid to keep the Protectorate safe. They feel like they bear an unfair share of the burden of protecting the country. Northern nobles feel superior to the “domesticated” nobles of the south, and generally look down upon them.
The southern nobles quickly grew comfortable as the orc raids more rarely made it into their portion of the country. They were more secure, and admired the protection that the Church of Maras had brought to the region, but may have become more insulated to the true level of committment that keeping the lands safe required. Southern theologians, who were vociferously opposed to magic, gained much influence in the early Church and helped have it declared a heretical practice. The southern nobles don’t trust the northern ones, as they have a long history of practicing magic. The last purge of northern magicians occurred only about 10 years ago, giving evidence that they are an untrustworthy group of heretics. Southern nobles feel superior to the “barbaric” nobles of the north and generally look down upon them.