House of Vice
Worship: Services often take place underground in cities or towns, provided that the ground allows for such subterranean construction. Temples of the House of Vice are little more than brothels.
In addition to the brothels and temples common to urban communities, small shrines (usually maintained by one or two priests) stand along likely resting places of long wilderness trails. Such shrines might lie near the mid point of a trail, or near a source of clean water, or at an oasis. At these places, the priests can more easily seduce the weary and lonely traveler.
Worship involves pampering, extravagance and decadence. Instead of standing on a crowded floor, worshippers lie on silken pillows or sofas, fed and fanned by attractive slaves. The impassioned exhortations of other priesthoods are replaced by soft cooing and gentle suggestions. Sometimes the lead cleric is entirely absent – a poignant testimony to the sloth encouraged by The Vicelord.
Unholy Symbol: Varies regionally. Two of the more popular symbols are an image of a male boar wearing a crown and a pure white pearl impaled on a brown spike.
Unholy Days: Official holy days vary by specific temple. One holiday revered by most temples is the Dance of the Decadent, which starts out as a civilized social affair and winds up as a writhing orgy. Since worshippers and non-worshippers alike are allowed to come and go as they please, these scandalous events are well attended. At subtle cues from the lead cleric, prominent worshippers signal an increase in the debauchery by removing items of clothing. The most timid guests leave when the shoes come off, but faithful worshippers stay until it has all gone.
The unholiest day for this perverted religion is the first day of Autumn. On this day, above all others, the Vicelords continuously engage in all possible vices. Any local festival that presents the opportunity for large scale carousing on the part of the masses becomes an unholy day for the Vicelords. If the festival is in the honor of another deity, the Vicelords will seek to pollute the festival through their depraved antics.
Unholy Colors: Brown.
Unholy Animal: The male boar symbolizes the filthiness and sloth of the Vicelords.
Raiment: The clerics of the House of Vice enjoy being naked – a lot. They are required to keep their entire bodies, even their eyebrows, completely shaved. When they are dressed, which is to say not very often, they wear simple brown togas and rarely wear footwear unless traveling. They also wear bronze skullcaps that double as bowls for eating and drinking.
Advancement: Advancement is granted by superiors, supposedly for meritorious acts and number of converts. Underlings are generally forced to serve their superiors in all ways. However, since the House of Vice has no formal church doctrine, each local chapterhouse has its own traditions and customs regarding the rate of advancement, duties and titles.
Sacrifices: Young virgins, male or female, are defiled, and then converted or murdered. New converts are sought after continuously. Clerics of other religions are the Ravisher’s preferred targets.
Temples of the House of Vice are multi-storied underground structures with a large and comfortable worship area full of sofas, divans and pillows. From here, the faithful may meet with prostitutes owned by or voluntarily in the service of the faith and retire to private rooms located on other floors. Worshippers of the vice of sloth lie within the temple grounds indefinitely, unless some emergency rousts them from their place. The temple grounds include huge kitchens for the preparation or gluttonous feasts.
Cathedrals are similar in design, except larger and more elaborate. They feature interior pools or fountains. They typically feature superior systems for providing air and light for their worshippers. The carnal pleases available in the cathedrals extend to exotic outsiders and cater to illegal or immoral tastes.
The faith’s seat lies in Bet Kalamar — evidence, some say, of that empire’s corruption (ignoring the fact that the Parish of Love maintains its seat two blocks away). Odd-shaped, the building is a mishmash of at least three different architectural styles from Kalamar’s history, showing its growth in its inconsistent design. The L-shaped building rests directly against one of the city’s large aqueducts, a situation that makes many residents uneasy with worry about what the clerics might be doing to the city’s water.
Vicelord Feranis has kept his position for years, despite his complete nonchalance about his power and disregard for the faith’s forms (such as they are). He is grooming a successor, Elana Wurono, who spent four years trapped on the astral plane after a magical mishap. Wurono’s perversions are subtle and many members of the clergy fail to appreciate them. Her hauteur and decadence make her an excellent leader for the faith, however, and in that capacity, she outstrips her mentor.
|Friends and Allies:|
|The Church of Confusion: “Such fun fellows! They are always poking fun at someone…”|
|The Temple of Sleepless Nights: “They really know how to enjoy themselves. Not always what I would think of as fun, but seem happy nonetheless.”|
|The Order of the Passionate One: “Such emotional freedom! They understand the power of fully immersing oneself in an experience, and the dangers of moderation.”_|
|Foes and Enemies:|
|The Home Foundation: “Our greatest foes – seekers of calm who embrace romance and industry as though they were virtues and not sins.”|
|The Fraternal Order of Aptitude: “They are so cold and calculating, they seek only knowledge, and have never felt anything but boredom.”|
|The Hall of Oaths: “Their truth is a falsehood, for they keep their inner desires private, not unleashing them as they should.”|
|The Church of the Life’s Fire: “Life should be a search for new experiences, and not a path of development. To spend your life in an attempt to become greater, up until the day you die, is pointless – and no fun at all."|
|The Parish of Love: “Love is what old women feel for their cats, not what real men feel for their lovers.”|