LGtC:Faction: Imperial Temple

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“I have noted that Heartlanders like myself, and assimilated Imperial Citizens of other races, tend to impersonal and formal relationships with their gods and spirits. For us, cults are first and foremost social and economic organizations. We typically think of the Eight Divines in the most abstract terms—as powerful but indifferent spirits to be propitiated, and do not think of their relationships as personal.”

—Cuseius Plecia, Reflections on Cult Worship

Faith and religion form the fundamentals of Tamrielic culture, yet there are few mortals as dedicated to their deities as the ones that serve the Imperial Temple. The citizens of Cyrodiil have always adopted the devotion of the Divines into their lifestyle; they pray at chapels, seek divine aid, and ask counsel from their priests. The ones that facilitate the Imperial beliefs are the followers and members of the Imperial Temple. Those who devote themselves to the Imperial pantheon strive to uphold the commands of the Divines, and share their faith and philosophies with the community.

Depending on the era, the Imperial Pantheon consists of either eight or nine Divines. The Third Era brought forth Talos, but worship of the Ninth Divine was outlawed in the Fourth Era with the signing of the White-Gold Concordat after the Great War with the Aldmeri Dominion.

Inside the Temple

The Imperial Temple is the combined organization of all Imperial orders dedicated to a Divine. The guild itself consists of an array of faiths, from members that serve only a single Divine, to those who worship several, or even all beings in the Imperial pantheon. Chapels, wayshrines, and many other types of religious structures fall within the Temple's sphere of influence, and each is either operated or maintained by the faithful. Every city in Cyrodiil, and the greater expansive Empire, has at least one chapel or temple dedicated to one or more Divine. These main places of worship are looked after by a Primate, who counsels and guides the public, as well as those who serve the temple. You have regular contact with the Primate that looks after your temple and generally knows your interests, goals, and strengths. If you haven't devoted yourself to a specific chapel, you can seek guidance from any Primate.

The Temple knows little authority, though you may come into contact with both militaristic and clerical leaders who communicate goals and instructions to their members. Each individual order of the Temple can have slightly different organizational structures, as each deity has different spheres and priorities. The primary source of organization is directly interpreted from the words of the Divines themselves and the Primates seek only to convey the sacred wisdom to the rest of the Temple.

The Ten Commands of the Nine Divines

1. Stendarr says: Be kind and generous to the people of Tamriel. Protect the weak, heal the sick, and give to the needy.
2. Arkay says: Honor the earth, its creatures, and the spirits, living and dead. Guard and tend the bounties of the mortal world, and do not profane the spirits of the dead.
3. Mara says: Live soberly and peacefully. Honor your parents, and preserve the peace and security of home and family.
4. Zenithar says: Work hard, and you will be rewarded. Spend wisely, and you will be comfortable. Never steal, or you will be punished.
5. Talos says: Be strong for war. Be bold against enemies and evil, and defend the people of Tamriel.
6. Kynareth says: Use Nature's gifts wisely. Respect her power, and fear her fury.
7. Dibella says: Open your heart to the noble secrets of art and love. Treasure the gifts of friendship. Seek joy and inspiration in the mysteries of love.
8. Julianos says: Know the truth. Observe the law. When in doubt, seek wisdom from the wise.
9. Akatosh says: Serve and obey your Emperor. Study the Covenants. Worship the Nine, do your duty, and heed the commands of the saints and priests.
10. The Nine say: Above all else, be good to one another.

GOALS OF THE TEMPLE

Through the words of the Divines, the Temple attempts to organize the Imperial beliefs by centralizing all of the Divines within a single pantheon. In this situation, the Temple is a tool, a mouthpiece for the gods, to guide Nirn away from evil. The Divines stand united in diversity with the sole purpose to keep Nirn as habitable as possible.

Most of the time, the faiths of each Divine go hand- in-hand with each other, so there is little reason not to work together as a whole. Moreover, the Divines are said to work together themselves, so why shouldn't their followers? Members of the faction are asked to respect the commands of the Divines as written in the sacred scriptures. One should never break these rules or risk excommunication from the Temple. At the end of the day, the Temple wants to improve the standard of living for men and mer by preventing people from worshiping daedra or generally spiraling down in sin. To spread the Temple's reach further, missionaries are sent to provinces outside of Cyrodiil. Those who are needful are to be helped and those that challenge the dedication to the Divines are to be proved wrong. The sacred orders protect all religious buildings and the scholars record and examine the Divine words. All members serve their own purpose within the Temple, for it is through the differentiation of purposes, that a united goal may be achieved; prosperity for those who put their trust in the Divines.

Imperial Temple Characters

Alignment: Lawful, mostly good
Suggested Classes: Crusader, monk, priest
You might enjoy playing a character who serves the Temple if one or more of the following statements are true:
• You truly wish to improve life on Nirn.
• You never turn down the opportunity to help others.
• You submit yourself to a greater good.

JOINING THE TEMPLE

New initiates that join the Temple have proven themselves to be faithful and respect the rules laid forth by the Divines. Those who are unable to repent for their past transgressions, are seen to be unable to guide others into the faith, and are usually turned away. You possess an ambition to serve either one or more Divines within the Temple. How you choose to serve your god is up to you, whether from your own initiatives or from the guidance of the Primate that leads over your temple. As an initiate in the Imperial Temple, you spend much of your time interpreting and carrying out the will of the Divines. Temples of the Divines are social communes that provide for the greater community while also serving themselves. You are expected to be willing to cooperate with other members of the temple, for the temple itself is built on cooperation. Your role in the temple is often determined by the Primate who portrays the Divine’s mission and aligns it with your talents. Your Primate helps you understand the greater will of the Divines and the duties you are to uphold. Those who are willing to give their entire life to serve a Divine will find themselves to be either a militaristic or a clerical member.

MILITANT ROLES

Those who want to protect the faith with force need to be tempered and wise with the weapons they wield in their gods' names. If you are a crusader, fighter, ranger, or warden (usually from the Conclave of Battle) your place in the guild will likely be a militant one. Each divine order has their own militant arm, but unlike the Imperial Legion or other knightly groups, these orders aren’t structured with an absolute hierarchy. While there are commanders that provide direction to these members, your aspirations and capabilities usually determine your role.

CLERICAL ROLES

If you are a bard (from the College of Divines), priest, or mage (perhaps of the School of Restoration), you might be drawn to the clerical roles of the Temple. These initiates are curious and spend their time studying the Divine mysteries and counseling other members. You might choose to study and discover the truths of the Divines, or act as an evangelical, carrying the messages of the religious leaders.

HOW DO I FIT IN?

As a member of the Temple, you may find yourself in numerous situations where your faith will cause you to be at odds with those around you. Being a person of belief can be difficult when surrounded by less than ethical rogues and thieves. Doing good is often the course of action a member of the Imperial Temple will set about doing, but there are times when righteous indignation is merited. Protecting the innocent may call you to arms, guarding places of worship, or being called from on high for a holy quest. A life of faith and adventure may not always go harmoniously, as moral quandaries will arise. Being placed in such situations will undoubtedly push you to your limits. Some will say your faith is being tested, others will claim your beliefs hold you back from doing what must be done. And there are those who will tell you there is no absolute, but all is morally subjective and grey. In these cases, you must seek to rely on the tenets or disciplines of your faith for guidance, or attempt to commune with the Divines yourself. But with this comes the grace of wisdom. Often, your council will be relied upon to temper the flames of passion, and to show mercy upon the unjust. While others will seek to be brash, you will strive for understanding. Your lot in life will be the role often seen as the peacekeeper and moral guide. Your influence could very well be the deciding factor between well-intentioned adventurers and those who would fall astray into darker paths.

AN IMPERIAL TEMPLE PARTY

A party that is only made up by members of the Imperial Temple might be sent on missionary expeditions to other Tamrielic provinces. A more combat-oriented party, made up of fighters, crusaders, or rangers, might be asked to clear out daedric cults, protect the faithful or keep the Divine's peace. Knowledgeable characters, such as bards, mages, and priests, might uncover ancient secrets of the faith. Monks and rangers can fill in stealth roles and wardens and priests can provide healing and support.

Rank and Renown

The Imperial Temple doesn’t have as rigid of a hierarchy as some other guilds, as members of the Temple are encouraged to provide for others, rather than themselves. Primates fill the major leadership roles, whereas most others fill roles based on their skills and time-proven faith. Many members of the Temple are content providing for their communities as initiates, spreading the word and helping others, which means the majority of your colleagues never leave this role. Personal prestige is not a common drive of motivation, but those who gain renown within the guild are rewarded with special roles. Regardless of your renown or role, members of the Temple don’t earn salaries, but they are provided for. Every member of the Imperial Temple can live in any associated chapel, temple, or order at the equivalent of a modest lifestyle.

TEMPLE GUILD SPELLS

Prerequisite: Spellcasting or Night Magic class feature

For you, the spells on the Temple Guild Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class. (If you are a multiclass character with multiple spell lists, these spells are added to all of them.)

Temple Guild Spells
Spell Level Spells
Cantrip light, spare the dying
1st bless, cure wounds
2nd branding smite, lesser restoration
3rd beacon of hope, spirit guardians
4th banishment, divination
5th dispel evil and good, Stendarr's Aura

ACOLYTE

Prerequisite: Renown 3 or higher with the Imperial Temple

As an acolyte of the Imperial Temple, you have proven your devotion to the Divines through your service to the guild and the community. You have been noted to be dedicated and reliable by your Primate or by other members of the Temple. You will now perform additional tasks within the temple, such as collecting alms, counseling the public, and assisting Chanters and Grand Chanters with their services.

PALADIN (SPECIAL ROLE)

Prerequisite: Renown 3 or higher with the Imperial Temple

You have chosen to dedicate your life to protect others. Those that have taken a militant role within the guild are adopted as protectors of the faith in the name of a specific Divine or the Temple in general. You gain proficiency in one skill of your choice from persuasion or intimidation, or with land vehicles. If you are already proficient in these skills, you can choose any skill from your class list instead. In this role, you are expected to act on behalf of your temple, providing protection for those who need it or fending off dangerous foes. While on missions for the temple you have a lot of independence, but when you return, you teach and train others.

SAVANT (SPECIAL ROLE)

Prerequisite: Renown 3 or higher with the Imperial Temple

As a seeker of knowledge who has followed a clerical role in the Temple, you choose to devote yourself to the study of sacred texts. You use your specialized knowledge to teach others so that they can better understand the prophecies and will of the Divines. You gain proficiency in one skill of your choice from religion, history, or performance. If you are already proficient in these skills, you can choose any skill from your class list instead. When acting as a savant in the Temple, you assist with teachings and research, and you might be given tasks to discover lost antiquities or relics of the Divines.

DISCIPLE

Prerequisite: Renown 10 or higher with the Imperial Temple

You have spent much of your time living your life according to Divine beliefs and have felt the sacred connection yourself. This heightened connection can be felt during rituals, and any temporary features granted to you by praying at wayshrines now last until you finish a long rest, rather than a short rest. As a disciple, you provide additional counseling to the public, including mediation and teaching, and you have started to perform rites and ceremonies. Your position in the Temple gives you access to superior food and lodging, the equivalent of a comfortable lifestyle.

GRAND CHANTER

Prerequisite: Renown 25 or higher with the Imperial Temple

Although most of the roles within the Imperial Temple are not defined by a hierarchy, as a Grand Chanter you have become knowledgeable in the ways of the Divines and are now a key part of ceremonies. Grand Chanters lead rites that invoke blessings of the Divines and teach others in the Temple and the greater communities about their divine will. The rites are assisted by the less experienced clergy.

As a Grand Chanter, you can call on the assistance of 1d4 acolytes to help with these rituals, just as you once did in your early days with the Temple. You also have an important voice in decision making with the Temple, and you are expected to offer advice and opinions to the Primate when requested. Additionally, as Grand Chanter, you learn one cantrip of your choice from the priest spell list. Wisdom is your spellcasting attribute for it.

PRIMATE

Prerequisite: Renown 50 or higher with the Imperial Temple

You are a truly devoted and respected member of the Divine Temple after all your service, and you are now ready to take on the role as the Primate of a temple. New temples are rarely built, so you will likely need to wait for a current Primate to retire (one way or another) before a position exists for you. As Primate, you have access to 4d10 acolytes that can assist you with ceremonies and services around the Temple and the nearby communities. They will also assist you on missions of your own devising. Additionally, your devotion to the Temple appears to have been noticed by the Divines themselves. As part of a long rest, you can cast the commune spell without expending magicka. Once you use this feature, you can’t do so again for one month.

Your position in the Temple gives you access to the best food and lodging, the equivalent of a wealthy lifestyle.

ENEMIES AND ALLIES

The Imperial Temple seeks to unite all of the Empire under the worship of the Divines. Because of this, the guilds of Tamriel rarely oppose the Imperial Temple openly, but there are always those who seek to dismantle it from the shadows. Certain Daedric Princes will take every opportunity to harm the Divine faith or to hurt its followers. Such has been the case with Mehrunes Dagon against Akatosh throughout the Eras, but the Temple does its best to protect its followers from these corrupting influences. There are others who carry a bitter resentment for the Temple and its adherents. Numerous cults take particular issue with specific gods. Necromancers have a long-standing umbrage with Arkay as his influence shields the dead from necromantic magic. Daedric summoners revile the Vigilants of Stendarr for their fervent enmity towards the denizens of Oblivion. Other guilds do their best to keep on good terms with the Imperial Temple, as they can be dedicated allies in times of need. The Temple can provide boons and restorative magic, which makes them highly valued to any community.