Friday, 20 February 2015

Church of Issek calendar

This calendar uses the list of saints found in the wonderful 5th issue of 'Brave the Labyrinth' which I found recently, having seen a review at Tenkar's Tavern. I'm just using the names, and fitting them to my own campaign. I'm not, unfortunately, porting the entirety of the Church of Law and Order (what I know of it) from Amherth, because aspects of it don't fit my campaign background, but it was a great list of saints just at the point that I needed something of the kind.

So, I've taken the saints and added them to those of my 'Church of Issek' that already exist - according to DDG, Issek's avatars are all people being tortured on the rack, so the saints on this list are all martyrs for the faith. I've already included 'St Cuthbert' and 'St Carmichael' (who are mentioned in B1 as the patrons of the Clerics Tassit and Dohram, respectively), and assimilated to them the Sts 'Keth' and 'Mikael' of the BtL list, then added the 'St Giles' featured in the AD&D/Dragon Warriors scenario 'A Box of Old Bones', from WD71.This means, with the rest of the list from BtL that there are now 48 saints; easy enough to roll a d4 and a d12 to randomly-select a saint, though perhaps if I'd remembered about St Carmichael earlier, I could have just added Cuthbert, Carmichael and Giles to the 47 saints on the list and got a nice even 50 (I was so excited about producing the first calendar I forgot St Carmicheal and went for 48).

I will have some things to think about with my mushing together of the pretty Christian background of 'Box of Old Bones' with the info I have for the Cult of Issek though. In DDG, clerics of Issek are described as 'bald and wearing red loincloths'. I'm assuming this is just the male clerics, though female clerics are listed as existing. Perhaps I should take it as written and have shaven-headed female clerics in loincloths too. I think, however, that this mode of dress is probably environment-dependant. Issek is a god of the deserts in the Lankhmar stories, and my adventures are not, at the moment, set in any deserts. I assume that in cooler or wetter climes, clerics wear robes (perhaps with their red loincloths underneath).

Googling 'red robes', I came across the following images that seem sound enough for male and female clerics of Issek:

Male cleric from: - at least he is pretty much bald.

Female clerics from: - at least, the image directs there on a google search but I'm damned if I can find it.

Anyway, for the moment they're going to be my stand-ins for priests/monks/priestesses/nuns/other general clerics of Issek.

As for the list, I've decided that all saints described as 'of somewhere' will be from outside of the Grand Duchy. That gives me some locations for the cult and its martyrs outside the GD to start playing with. Why did Luwagen of Castel become the patron of artists? Perhaps he was an illustrator of manuscripts, a quiet but talented monk martyred for his faith when pagans attacked his monastery. Or, perhaps in some dangerous city where the cult of Issek is persecuted, he published woodcuts showing the ruler as a demon, and was found guilty of sedition. I think I'm going to have fun inventing bits of the history of the cult and the lands where it exists.

I think this may feature as the liturgical calendar of the Abbey of Osterlin from 'A Box of Old Bones'. It's one of the major influences on how I see the Cult of Issek having developed - whatever was the case back in the day, when Issek was a wandering desert prophet who was tortured to death, these days the Church of Issek is a rich and powerful organisation, not entirely dissimilar to the Christian Church in the early Middle Ages of Europe. So, why not monks, an abbey and squabbling about relics (which events are the background to 'A Box of Old Bones')? I long ago located Osterlin itself barely more than a day's journey from Threshold, down towards Kelvin on a tributary of the main river in the Grand Duchy. I'm assuming that the PCs will visit it at some point and see what adventures they can have there - maybe even the events from the scenario, but whenever they turn up I'll have some idea of the point in the liturgical year and at least a notion of what might be happening.

So, here is a Church of Issek calendar, applicable to all years (at least, applicable to the Grand Duchy - other regions may revere some different saints or use different months of course):

1 – Winter Solstice & New Year: Offerings to Issek
3 – Feast of St Klaus
17 – Feast of St Gregor of Carech
20 – Feast of St James

1 – Feast of St Josep
11 – Feast of St Ronnad of the Flagon
20 – Feast of St Wallis of the Hood
27 – Feast of St Margaret of Calesto
29 – Feast of St Bando

21 – Feast of St Sha-Un of Corrland
24 – Feast of St Aleena the Beautiful
30 – Feast of St Pater of Willemsburg

13 – Feast of St Valen of Vay
23 – Feast of St Beatrix

5 – Feast of  St Mari of Galask
23 – Feast of St Leandra the Lady of Blossoms
24 – Feast of St Clarissa the Wild

(Month of the Twins)
23 – Feast of St Kristoff

(Midsummer – 5 days)
3 – Feast of St Lucilla the Kind (Summer Solstice)

7 – Feast of St Luwagen of Castel
9 – Feast of St Mincival
23 – Feast of St Carmichael (St Mikael the Victor)

8 – Feast of St Timhart of Paratime
24 – Feast of St Meschil the Prophet
27 – Feast of St Garan
30 – Feast of St Cuthbert (St Keth)

4 – Feast of Sts Poul of the Shield and Tara the Sailor
13 – Feast of St Seth
30 – Feast of St Emiliana the Red

6 – Feast of St Harald of Plenty
13 – Feast of St Raymont
21 – Feast of St Walden

5 – Feast of St Jon of Naponek
10 – Feast of St Callor
18 – Feast of St Brandon the Navigator
26 – Feast of St Johanna

7 – Feast of St Alfar
14 – Feast of St Giles

I fudged a few of these - I wanted St Klaus (patron of winter joy) to be in winter, St Leandra (patron of flowers and growth) to be in spring (ish) and St Harald (patron of plentiful harvest) to be at least close to harvest. So I held these in 'reserve' and when I got a winter, spring or autumn result, I assumed it was these saints. Their festivals fall on (I think) 24th December, 13th May and 28th September by our calendar, which isn't too bad I think. I also swapped Sts Seth and Raymont so that it was Raymont (symbol, sword and scales) who was in the 'month of the Balance'. But otherwise, they're pretty much as they fell. There's one double-day: Maiden 4th (27th August by our calendar) is the Feasts of St Poul 'of the Shield' and St Tara 'the Sailor'. Which is fair enough, I guess, especially if one of them is a local saint whose feast-day then was overtaken by a more famous saint from out-of-town. Maybe they were at opposite ends of whatever the Nehwo-Mystarian equivalent of 'Christendom' is ('Issekendom'?). Or perhaps they were martyred on the same day, even in the same event?

I can't help thinking that the Church has been deliberately placing its saints to take over pagan festivals - I mean, the old 'Maiden-month' is sacred to the goddess Tas. Now St Emiliana the Red has given a feast day on 30th Maiden (which is also the autumnal equinox)? Obviously the Church trying to claim that the whole month is about their female saint. But, no, that one was a lucky random determination.

I tried googling 'St Emiliana the Red ' but got lots of pictures of bottles of red wine. Sadly, only pictures. So I googled 'Red Saint' and the first thing I found was this:

Emiliana the very sexy red saint has rapidly become my favourite. Now I'm going to have to come up with a reason why she was martyred for Issek.

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