The western end of the continent has been left virtually untouched by the cataclysm.
Prior to the changes, this area was left by the Republic for political reasons: It is the land of birth of the Magister and has long been under the rule of the Grand Circle of Faith.
The Republic found it expedient not to have them within the state but to have it as a friend nearby. Whilst they protected the Theocracy they also ensured that it was not part of the Republic, going so far as to maintain a border state as a buffer; the Kingdom of Elland.
The priests teach that the Theocracy was untouched by the cataclysm because the gods protected their faithful followers and once all the lands are united under the faith the gods will allow us to drive the demons out once more.
With the loss of the protection from the Republic the head of the Grand Circle of Faith, the Archimandrite, relies now upon the Kingdom and the remnants of the Republic in the Shieldlands for physical protection.
It is the job of all faithful to protect the spiritual well being of the people while others handle mundane, physical protection.
The climate of the Theocracy is quite varied due to its geographic situation. Its northern border touches the Isenford and as such the area is cold and covered in snow for a large part of the year. The central region is more temperate with rolling plains and low lying hills. As you travel south towards the borders of the Orclands, the Mountains of Fire rear up as a wall against intruders. The western edge of the land supports a number of small port towns each of which maintain a fleet to harvest the bounty of the Eismeer and patrol the waters for signs of Northland raiders.
The Winged Lion
The main symbol, found repeated around temples in the Theocracy is the Winged Lion. It is the symbol of the Magister, who had a great respect for cats. This has made feline beastkin popular in the Theocracy, particularly in Sarqand.
The Sun and the Eagle
The Moon and the Faithful Hound
The Moon is symbolic of the Mother as she lights the gloom and protects the physical form in the dark places of the world. She is also represented by the faithful hound or wolf who guards and protects with love and affection.
The Stars and the Gryphon
The star is seen as a powerful force that represents the warrior. Just as the stars are legion so to is the strength of the warrior boundless. The gryphon is seen as a powerful symbol of strength and resilience, is tied very closely to warrior worship. Temple Guards who are devotees of the Warrior often use the gryphon as a sacred symbol.
Snakes are seen in fables and scriptures as reclusive creatures, blessed by the gods with powers of wisdom and stealth. In these stories they often impart a secret or cunning plan to the hero or show her the true nature of an adversary.
It was with this that the Grand Circle of Faith have used to justify the acceptance of Lizard-Kin into civilised society, despite their horrific appearance.
The smaller cults of the Designer that exist in a few places in the Northlands and the Kingdom have taken to using this imagery to represent their belief in this lesser deity.
Worship, ceremony and dedication to faith means everything in the Theocracy.
Prayer and obedience are ingrained into the life of every citizen. They are taught from an early age that only by obeying the teachings and living a pure life through worship and sacrifice will they ascend to be with the Gods in the Afterworld when they die, and any deviation is met with stern discipline.
The people of The Theocracy tend towards the more scholarly pursuits and a significant proportion of them are employed or are heavily involved with the running upkeep and veneration of the gods and their faiths. Many are priests or acolytes working in the places of worship or grave attendants seeing to the needs of passed arch-priests or heirophants resting in their white marble tombs.
Others practice the path of the artisan or work with magics to the betterment of the Theocracy. This is particularly significant as the Magister told the people that magic was a source of great danger for them in that it was a route for the demons into their minds. The magical practitioners benefit hugely from the oversight and endorsement of the Faith although this creates a tendency to extreme conservatism.
The martial pursuits are less prevalent in the Theocracy than in the Kingdom. Each temple city maintains a small standing army of Temple Guard who are responsible for the protection of the city as well as the tombs of the dead. They form the vanguard of the city’s defense if attacks occur but these are rare due to the buffer afforded to the nation by the Kingdom and its natural borders with the sea and the impassable mountains. Historically the greatest threat has come from the north.
It is a badly kept secret that some of these senior initiates disappeared during the Night of Blood, taking forbidden holy texts with them. The arch-priests and temple guard are keen to recover these, as the ceremonies listed could potentially be perverted for evil ends
Feralian elves are seen as feral creatures with worrying views on the faith. It is very rare for these elves to be initiated and even rarer for them to rise higher than the lowliest rung in holy orders, and this could only occur in the remotest areas of the Theocracy
During his time preaching, the Magister told the people that magic without faith was a source of great danger for them as that it was a route for the demons into their minds.
Consequently, magic use in the Theocracy is heavily regulated: the magically adept must pass a grueling series of tests, recitals and interrogations before being given the scroll of license from the Hierophant of Lore. Mages are always assigned to a temple, so that its priesthood guard their minds from being corrupted.
Despite these restrictions, mages benefit hugely from the oversight and endorsement of the priests, gaining access to far better materials and the library of their sect. Although this creates a tendency to extreme conservatism and experimentation or deviation from the approved list of spells.
Particularly respected senior mages, or archmages, will sometimes be assigned elven servants with magical gifts of their own. These lowly casters are supposed to help only with rituals and rarely granted approval to use any magic other than those in connection with knowledge and protection, as the elven race is seen as too untrustworthy as taught by the Magister.
Temple-sanctioned mages are held in high regard by the Janissary regiments, who often request magical assistance to bolster their forces. There, they have proved a great asset to holding the outermost borders from complete collapse against the savage campaigns of the Khanate and heretics. Such was their reputation for magical skill that some of the more aggressive Nordländer warlords adopted the practice of tearing the hearts out of Theocracy mages on site. Despite the uneasy truce that now stands, this hatred is not forgotten.
The overarching view of anyone from the Theocracy is that, of all the lands, theirs are the most beloved by the gods.
The Archimandrite is seen as the living embodiment of the Magister and the Hierophants of the Grand Circle are viewed with a barely lesser degree of awe.
Other human nations are seen as somewhat beneath the Theocracy, spiritually. The Kingdom of Elland they see as arrogant and immoral; deeply suspicious of the autonomy and political position that Elland’s elite have afforded to their so called Academy of Magic, who they see as a huge liability. Likewise, denizens of the Kingdom often view their Theocratic counterparts as heavy handed fundamentalists who persecute and over-legislate.
The Northlands have historically raided the borders and ports of the region, and despite the uneasy truce that exists because of the new enemies, old hatreds burn brightly in Tarnova, who have still not forgotten the great siege. Consequently, many in The Theocracy find it hard to hold their tongues in the presence of the Northlander heretics who used to think nothing of tearing the hearts out of their mages and priests.
The Theocracy is the centre of religion and worship in the human lands. Fashions in the temple cities lean towards the colourful and simple with symbols of the Gods boldly adorned and emblazoned for all to see as a indication of the dedication of the individual to the Divine Assembly.
Facial tattooing and religious script is often inscribed upon the skin of the denizens of this land as a further indication of religious deference and as a protection against the influence of the demonic.
In general the Theocracy has a distinctly religious and pious feel with less of the militaristic and feudal influence that is prevalent in the kingdom.
With the discovery of The Vale the Archimandrite has insisted that the Theocracy be represented in the expeditions. He has reminded King Edric that the evil forces of the demons will need to be held at bay and that Elland’s forces are not strong enough to do this on their own.
As a gesture of goodwill, the Grand Circle dispatched an expeditionary force of Janissary Soldiers, Temple Guard and several High Priests, with oversight from the Grey Vigil and a Hierophant assigned to the leader of the Northern Alliance.
This force is tasked with the set up of the Fane, and to ensure proper worship and oversight occurs in town of Gateway.
General: Persian style robes and dress, bronze and gold accessories, priestly and pious trappings and regalia. Holy script can be on seals, dress and skin.
Specific cities and soldiery.
Janissaries: Turkish Janissaries, Mamluk infantry, Achaemenid Archers, Hashashin, Haradrim.
Temple Guard: Persian Cataphracts, Magna Guard, Sarafan Warrior-Priests.
Tarnova: Carpathian culture under Ottoman Rule, Romanian/Hungarian style.
Sarqand: Parthian and Sassanid Empires; later cities on the Silk Roads, particularly Samarkand. Masks and head/face coverings, particularly for The Priesthood and wealthy.
Almitra: Rhodes, Byzantine and Turkish influences.
Kalash: Desert cultures, particularly Arabic/Bedouin.