Faith FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about the Faith of the Pantheon


How I Learned to Stop Worrying About How to Count to Thirteen

(1) What do each of the gods mean?

PETRICHOR: Land, nature and dominion, over territory, over animals!

MANGATA: Sea, sky, water and rain, wind and air, wine and ale!

LAGOMA: Seasons, positive change, healing!

GILD: Civilization, charity, industry and compassion!

LIMERANCE: Oaths, fidelity, and love, filial and romantic!

THE SENTINEL: Justice, Truth, the absolutes of Right and Wrong, laws and adherence to structures!

GLORIA: Honor, glory, battle, competition and strategy!

JAYUS: Hope, creation, art and dreams!

VELLICHOR: History, knowledge and understanding!

DEATH: The cycle of life and death, reincarnation, the sanctity of the soul!

SKALD: Free choice, free will, and owning the consequences of your actions.

AION: The World and everything in it.

TEHOM: Doubt, uncertainty, and the recognition that we are fallible.

(2) How do we worship them?

The traditions of religious worship in Arvani culture are to do works of faith. That is, in order to worship Vellichor, people become educated early in life and the Church ensures literacy in almost everyone from a very early age. Religious beliefs in the gods as virtues as opposed to entities is the gospel of the Faith, which means that the best way to serve the Church is to do things that encompass or respect those virtues.

Sacrifices are also common: we burn objects or mementos or prayers at their altars along with prayers to tell them why. There are no rules against idolatry or depictions of the gods in art, so works of religious art are also very common, especially in the shrine of Jayus but really in all of them.

From `lore Faith Q&A`: "Canticles are most popular, with songs for each of the gods' spheres and individual dominions being very common throughout the Compact. Typically services of the Faith vary from -extremely- ornate and regimented (Oathlands Orthodoxy) with a complicated litany that has carefully ordered canticles based on the service and feastday, to very very very informal in say, Thrax or Redrain, and there being strong regional differences. Arx tends to favor Oathlands Orthodoxy in the services, having a great amount of pageantry in their services, with a combination of kneeling, standing, organized and ritualized prayer, and sung canticles throughout the liturgy."

So, if you haven't been singing at church, definitely sing more. It's fun!

(3) Where do those prayers you guys say even come from?

We make them up! Almost everything about the Faith in practice has been player-created over time. Throughout the grid you will be able to find objects that are prayerbooks that have prayers that players have written, some of which have been approved by staff as thematic.

(4) What are some quick prayers that priest characters can say when asked to deliver a blessing at an event?

It's not uncommon for characters to ask a priest to do this if there happens to be one present at the event. Depending on the event, I find the best way to do this is to pick the god or gods that seems most relevant and offer them thanks / worship based on what's happening here. Examples:

"Praise Gloria for the honorable combat we are about to witness. May each combatant's sword be lifted in the spirit of competition."

"We honor Gild for the charitable contributions we are about to undertake. May Her spirit of generosity fill all our hearts."

If you really don't know, it's easiest to go: "May we walk together in the light of the Pantheon towards the virtues they embody."

(5) My favorite god is X, is this OK?

It's always okay to have personal favorites and preferences but do remember that the people of Arx worship a whole Pantheon and it's heretical to deny any of the gods. Just remember, godsworn priests are priests of all the gods!

(6) What is the common understanding of the afterlife?

Up until very the last couple of decades, there actually wasn't much common understanding of the afterlife, which can be hard for modern audiences to grok because so many western religions are so focused on it. There were vague references in theology to the Abyss or Elysium, but generally speaking the official opinion of the Faith prior to the return of the Lost Gods on the afterlife was "only the gods may know".

For the last ten years or so, the Faith has been teaching that reincarnation exists, that there is a Wheel of life and a cycle of reincarnation and rebirth, and that souls return to the Shining Lands to wait their next turn of the cycle.

(7) What changed when the Lost Gods turned up?

Midwifery and funerals were both split to Death's discipleship rather than Lagoma's (though there remains some carryover re: midwifery). A detachment of Templars known colloquially as the Late Knights began working with Death's discipleship around funerals / funeral processions. The Faith's stance grew far more hardline against slavery with the reintroduction of Skald. The Faith has spent vast sums of money and resources changing up the education of the wide populace to include the new gods. Confusion over the Lost should still be very ICly normal because characters are learning new things that their ancestors did not know and it is A-OK for people to not know stuff.

(8) What prayers are common that everyone would know growing up?

There are Canticles that are known throughout the land: Canticle of Dawn (7am), Canticle of Day (1pm), Canticle of Dusk (7pm), Canticle of the Vigil(1am). These actually are used in rural areas to mark the hours, per lore time of day. (No, we haven't figured out how to fit the Lost into the clock yet. There have been meetings about this, and meetings about the triad design on our clothes. It'll probably take another century, I just work here.)

(9) If the NPCs aren't superstitious, why is religion important?

The Faith is considered the cultural glue holding the various, diverse regions of the Compact together, because it provides the moral foundation the kingdom is built upon. For example, fealty is able to be honored and trusted because everyone in the Compact shares beliefs in Limerance. In place of the gods as some sort of living beings, or a belief in magic, it becomes the virtues themselves that define belief. To be religious and devout in the context of the Faith is to strongly embody the virtues that are most honored and revered by Compact society. To worship the gods is to live in a way that best exemplifies those ideals.

The Faith is also hugely popular in the commons because it performs most of the local services that modern audiences are expecting to come from secular government. The Faith maintains the roads, takes care of the poor and the sick, shelters the children and educates the young. The Faith is the centralized authority of the Compact for most people, who will rarely if ever interact with the Crown. While players have created orgs that do some of these things secularly and have undertaken projects outside the Faith to handle some of these issues, the fact is that for centuries, ICly, the underpinnings of civilization have been handled under the aegis of the Faith, and most people simply expect the Faith to handle these things.

(10)Why can't shamans be disciples?

OOC, this was a staff call that we continue to respect in order to keep characters from essentially doing all the things, but the IC logic is as follows:

Basically, discipleship is lay advocacy: the people entrusted with doing the Sunday school teaching, greeters at church, etc., and only people who are 100% on message are going to be allowed to do this. Shamanism is not persecuted in the North specifically because a treaty was entered into permitting them to continue their worship, in part because there's nothing about shamanism that prevents people from also following the Faith of the Pantheon.

You can absolutely ICly be a disciple who believes spirits exist, but if you profess that belief in terms of worship or reverence, or are a member of a shamanist org, you will not be able to continue as a disciple.

(11) What holidays did our characters grow up doing?

"Lore holidays" has some great information about that. It's notable that Journal Day is Sunday both IC and OOC! If you ever have an idea for a feast or party please don't hesitate to run it. Any of the standard holy days can have local wrinkles or flavors, and anything that makes Faith stuff OOCly fun for us is encouraged in terms of creativity -- if you aren't sure thematically, feel free to ask!

(12) How do prodigals and religion work?

Prodigals are former Abandoned who bent the knee to the Compact, and so they fall under the expectations of everyone in the Compact: that they be or become followers of the Faith. If someone is a nobody commoner Prodigal, they don't necessarily have the same sort of oversight as a noble Prodigal, but with prejudice already against them, any Prodigal who made public declaration about not following the Faith would be subject to an even stronger amount of distrust.

For noble Prodigals, making public declaration of their support of the Faith is a requirement. If someone is not a follower of the Faith, they are not a follower of Limerance, and thus their oaths of fealty cannot be trusted. Being a follower of the Faith is a strict necessity to all nobles of the Compact, even if it is supplemented by beliefs in Shamanism for some nobles in the Northlands, and so it is especially imperative for Prodigal nobles, who already face a good amount of distrust.

In actuality, the majority of Prodigals will have grown up with some form of belief in the Pantheon of the Faith already. (See Question #11!)

(13) How do shavs and religion work?

The common, prejudicial belief is that shavs mostly worship demons and conduct blood sacrifices and generally are evil savages.

This, of course, is not true.

Per `lore shamanism roundup pt 1`:

"Pure shamanism paths that are practiced in the Northlands are very rare among Abandoned outside of it. In the Northlands, Abandoned might be say, 20 percent pure pantheon, 30 percent heretical offshoots, and 50 percent 'other' which includes shamanism, demon worship, etc. Outside the Northlands, Abandoned tribes would be about 50 percent pantheon worship either in an identical form or very close one, 45 percent some sort of heretical offshoot (ie, 'Mangata is the one true god, all blood is hers'), and 5% shamanism or other unrelated to the pantheon. Virtually all the Abandoned in Arvum outside the Northlands were originally from noble houses that practiced the Faith of the Pantheon."

In short, outside the Northlands, some form of worship of the Pantheon (either very close to the Faith or a heretical offshoot) is common to 95% of Abandoned, an overwhelming majority. In the Northlands, about 50% are some form of worship of the Pantheon. So in truth, it is very common for Abandoned to worship the Pantheon in some form, particularly outside the Northlands. Shamanism is not a "default" religion of Abandoned tribes, and it should, in fact, be very rare in most regions of Arvum.

(14) What the heck is a legate?

`Lore faith hierarchy` has the nuts and bolts of the Faith's IC structure. The Dominus is the head honcho and each Legate officiates over a Triad: Concepts, Arts, Creation, and the Lost.

The Legates are also the Voices of the Faith, which means they act as plenipotentiaries for the Dominus.

Each Legate has their own specific area. The Legate of Creation is the Ward of the Faith and is responsible for determining the assignment of seraphs throughout Arvum. The Legate of Concepts is the Shield of the Faith, the supervision of some of the largest discipleships of the Faith and the principle reviewer of the largest treaties. The Legate of Arts is the Sword of the Faith but this is a title only. The Legate of Arts is NOT a Sword in the way a house Sword would be and is not expected to be a capable duelist or a holder of the Faith's honor by in that way (don't worry if this confused you, it's come up a fair amount). The Legate of the Lost is the Shepherd of the Faith, and responsible for missionary work and the protection of all those who might otherwise be overlooked.

(15) Which discipleships are biggest?

The three largest discipleships are the Scholars and the two orders of the Faith Militant, the Knights of Solace and the Holy Knights of the Temple (Templars). While most discipleships are only made up of non-Godsworn members and are led by the Archlector, to keep control of and manage these large discipleships there are Godsworn members within these groups. In the case of the Faith Militant, each discipleship also has a dedicated Godsworn leader other than the Archlector, namely the Grandmasters.

Per 'lore Mercy of Lagoma', the Mercies are also very large - possibly the largest single discipleship because there are local chapters all over Arvum that do not necessarily adhere to the central organization of the Arx discipleship.

(16) Which shrines have ROOFS?

See `lore shrine roofs`! Don't worry, we'll get there eventually.

(17) What do godsworn even do all day?

Lead services, perform rites and rituals, offer counsel to people seeking guidance, delegate tasks to disciples. Being a godsworn priest is a fulltime job and there is always something a priest can be doing - if you ever feel lost about what your character could be doing, remember that there are shrines for every god to which a priest is sworn and there could be a rite, or service, or a congregant in need of help, at any of them on any given day!

(18) What do disciples do?

Each discipleship has tasks that it assigns their lay members to do. Some are simple labors, like sweeping floors, cleaning windows, greeting and handing out prayer books at services, teaching classes to children or leading discussion circles. Others are more specialized, like Mercies who specialize in medicine, Harlequins who midwife or volunteer in the cemetery park, or Solace disciples who help at the Tragedy. If you don't know what type of chores or tasks your discipleship will give you as a volunteer, here are some fun ideas:

PETRICHOR: leaf raking, feeding the animals, harvest aids during the season

MANGATA: brewing beer for the shrine, maintaining the lighthouse, keeping the shrine clean, keeping weather records for the port of Arx

LAGOMA: raking ashes, cleaning the shrine, updating the rotating decor in the shrine, medical service and nursing at the House of Solace

JAYUS: works of art and craftsmanship for the shrine or the Faith, passion plays and musical performances

LIMERANCE: legal advice, relationship counseling, wedding planning, shrine cleanup, event cleanup and (per Ilvin) ensuring the shrine has fresh-baked cookies

GILD: support services for the Knights of Solace, aiding at the Tragedy, helping with faith charity works, keeping the shrine clean and pretty

VELLICHOR: study and academic writing, copyist work, circulation of news, logging the minutes of public meetings of note (I'm pretty sure every event log on the public page is a scholar taking copious notes so whenever you crystal skull meta you're giving a npc telepathy).

THE SENTINEL: clerical work for the courts, lay advocacy, legal theory and discussion, legal advice, service at trial on behalf of the Faith, service at trial by combat on behalf of the Faith

GLORIA: military service or support for the templars, service at trial by combat on behalf of the Faith

DEATH: keeping the candles in the shrine lit, cleaning the shrine, groundskeeping at the cemetery, midwifery, early parenting aid, grief counseling

SKALD: keeping the shrine clean, helping counsel others about choices, humanitarian efforts at aid to refugees from slavery

TEHOM: exercising the contrarian principle where needful, legal representation, keeping all those mirrors in the shrine clean

(19) What can't disciples do?

Disciples cannot conduct any sort of rites or official services. They could lead a prayer group as a layperson, but they cannot conduct a formal Faith service. They also cannot question the official word of any Godsworn priest in regards to matters of the Faith and Faith canon.

(20) Where can priests live?

Priests can live:

  • in the Rectory. Your priest character may have a room already in the Rectory but if they don't, you can ask for one!
  • on Legate Row. The Faith holds a number of buildings around the Rectory with apartments that priests and guests of the Faith can use.
  • wherever they want! If you want to get a room at one of the taverns on grid or just live someplace else, your Faith salary will probably support that. Come back to the Rectory for lunch sometimes, though. We got great food here.

(21) What are the Orthodoxy, Pragmatism and Liberalism to the Faith?

These are the three strands (or traditions) of doctrine within the Faith - the Oathlands Orthodoxy, the Grayson Pragmatism and the Lycene Liberalism. Rather than different faiths, or even different branches of the same faith, these are differing styles of worship and dogmatic belief within the one Faith of the Pantheon. Each thinks their way is best, but they all work together for the betterment of the Faith.

The Oathlands Orthodoxy is the oldest of these groups, and is prevalent in the Oathlands - the traditional heart of the Faith. It is also the most common doctrine within the Faith’s Godsworn. It is especially powerful within the Faith Militant. The Orthodoxy is much more traditionalist, their style of worship tends to be more ostentatious and ritualised, and they tend to be the most hardlined against matters outside of the Faith (such as Shamanism, though this is tolerated). They are often the most resistant to change.

The Grayson Pragmatism, also known as the Arvani Traditional, is the most common tradition amongst the lay people of the Faith. It blends the demands of the Gods’ dogma with the practicalities of the Compact and the competing interests. Within the Faith this often means they advocate a balanced approach, and have sought to curtail the excesses of Orthodox zeal and Liberal contarians, intent on preserving the Faith and finding a way to welcome as many as it can to it.

The Lycene Liberalism, archaically referred to as Marachian Reformed, are based around a position that the ideals of the Gods can only ever be understood through understanding of their reflections - you cannot understand Gloria’s call to honourable rule without understanding tyranny. To do good, to be kind, the Liberalism understands the need sometimes to sometimes cross the line - to be dishonest if it serves the greater good. There is mutual distrust between the Lycene Liberalism and the Oathlands Orthodoxy. The Orthodox see the Liberalism as verging on scandalous by their willingness to break what the Orthodoxy views as strict moral norms, while the Liberalism tends to view the Orthodoxy as inflexible and thus failing to fully understand the Gods.

See also: lore theology 1

(22) Do the Oathlands Orthodoxy worship Tehom?

Short answer, yes. Long answer? The style of worship of Tehom varies a lot between the traditions and areas of the Faith. The Lycene style is very open worship of Tehom and questioning of all things - no subject is taboo, as questioning reveals new truths and makes things stronger. For the Orthodoxy, to question key parts of society is to weaken them and so it considers that the Tehomic questioning nature should only be put to questions of personal value, rather than larger social rules or theological underpinnings. To question with Tehom whether you are your best self is seen as fine for the Orthodoxy, to question why the Dominus is granted such authority in the Faith is not.

The Orthodox worship of Tehom also stands in contrast to its other forms of worship. While the Orthodoxy is normally the most ostentatious, the most public and most grandiose of the traditions, when it comes to Tehom this worship tends to be private and personal. You find very few Mirrormasks in the Oathlands for this reason, as most would ask the questions of themselves in private than wish to question themselves in public, aware that again public questions may become public doubt and disrupt order.

(23) What’s with Skald, the Queen of Endings, and Aion anyway?

The Triad of the Lost was rediscovered by PCs on camera during the first Season of Arx (lore season 1 recap). Because of that, there's a lot of information ICly on the grid that you can find or ask other characters about -- but these are also the gods that it absolutely makes sense for a character to not know about! (It's also pretty unlikely that your character knew anything about these before they were rediscovered!)

(24) What if I do it wrong?!

First of all: Don’t worry! If it is an OOC confusion, there will never be any IC repercussions for that. If it is minor, you can play it off as a misunderstanding, and if it is something major then we can always retcon those things. Arx has a really forgiving policy here, designed to encourage people to engage with what can be a really deep and rich theme without worrying too much.

There are also a lot of things where there is no single ‘right way’ - the Faith traditions, regional variations, these all allow for lots of different styles of prayer so you don’t need to worry about matching others word for word.

It's super important to remember that Arx is an original theme and every single one of us who rps here had to learn it. We work together to play in this world, and we should absolutely be forgiving of each other's errors. Faith lore can be complex, but that doesn't mean you have to be at sea.

(25) How do I advance in the Faith?

There are a few ways that a godsworn can grow their career. Leadership positions in powerful discipleships (Archlectors) is the most traditional way for a godsworn character to seek to advance. It's a supervisory role with a lot of contact with the public and there is a direct line of promotion from an Archlector to a Legate.

Outside of Arx, priests can also accumulate significant personal power by being assigned as a seraph to a large or powerful domain and developing political connections there - the Seraph of Sanctum is the most powerful voice in Orthodoxy, for example, and seraphs in other large or important locales can also amass influence and political strength both within and outside of the Faith. The King's personal seraph, the Palace Seraph, is a role that could potentially bring great sway to a priest character (and a role that has stood vacant for some years).

It's notable that the Dominus is presently a common born Arx native -- the Faith is one of the only ways that commoners can amass power and succeed to wealth and political sway on their own merits.

In RP terms, some of these positions are based outside of Arx and wouldn't be a viable option for PCs who wish to remain active. However, Archlectors, Legates, and the Palace Seraph are all positions based in Arx that are viable for PCs.

(26) Godsworn - what should I wear? Does it matter? What should I avoid wearing? Does it matter?

Godsworn can wear ultimately whatever they want. Lore godsworn fashion does indicate that sometimes godsworn wear priest's tabards over their other clothes. Flowing robes are a traditional look but are not required.

If a priest characters wants to get really fashionable and represent the Faith by modeling pretty clothes and jewelry with high level materials, please feel free to ask the Faith for money from the coffers to pay for this. It's part of a noble's duty to wear pretty clothes and look the part, and there's a degree to which the social standing of the Faith is connected to their finery as well.

Gold and white are common colors. Aeterna is especially common for robes, especially for Mercies, because blood doesn't stain it.

(27) If Godsworn - can you petition for equipment (armor/weapon) if needed and who does that petition go to? Yes you can, and please do. Ask the Faith Voices or Dominus about this, or if you are part of the Faith Militant, you can ask them too! We will habitually buy up to rubicund/exotic for people.

(28) What is the best way to contact Godsworn or higher for IC requests such as marriage contract approval? - Can any Godsworn sign off on it?

Any Godsworn can sign off on a marriage contract. Traditionally this is under the auspices of the Legate of Concepts but any priest can do it, per the ruling of the present Dominus (and the present Dominus's player). I don't want to slow down anyone's RP with this kind of thing, and the types of marriage contract issue that the Faith would refuse to sign are as follows:

  • A party to the marriage is nonconsenting. This is against the rules, don't do it!
  • The marriage contract represents a conflict of oaths of the kind that risks a war. If houses have agreed to something that would put the parties into a conflict of oaths, the Faith will step in. Most often I've seen this when players are really conflicted about "letting" PCs leave their house and want to retain their services for something. Let them go to their new home!
  • The vast majority of contracts are OK. If you ever aren't sure whether it's OK or not, ask! We can put our heads together about it. If something feels thematically odd, it's often better to ask first before moving forward.

As far as who to ask about your marriage contract - any priest can do it, just pick one and ask. Petition technically should work but sometimes we're bad about checking. If you're ever not sure, just ask Aureth or a Legate and they'll either direct you to someone or just do it themselves.

(29) Are there donations associated with a Godsworn doing something (blessing, marriage, contract approval, etc) and are they set ‘fee’ donations?

Houses should always be donating when they are asking the Faith for stuff. It gives them prestige and it gives us prestige. Making large donations to the Faith is good for you and for the orphans. There is no set fee schedule - it comes down to how much you feel is appropriate for your thing. It's really a judgment call dependent on the individual situation. My favorite is honestly when a gift has IC flavor - like when you give us econ and explain that it's a donation of 1000 gallons of maple syrup from your holding. Feel free to have fun with it. A lack of a donation may ICly be perceived as an insult but no one would ever, ever be an OOC jerk about it.