Temple of Sleepless Nights
Worship: Fellows of Terror hold worship in abandoned, haunted or reputedly haunted locations. Services begin with a traditional “ghost story” and involve the consumption of proven or experimental hallucinogenic drugs created by the clerics. Subtle techniques of speech, lighting and pacing heighten the sense of fear among the worshippers.
Unholy Symbol: A face filled with terror.
Unholy Days: Unholy days are periodic and announced to the public in advance to inspire fear and nightmares. The Neverending Night takes place within the first week of each new season. On these occasions, the clerics choose from among the followers a victim to be terrified to insanity with spells and drugs. While the follower in this case is usually a captive planted in advance by the clerics, an occasional legitimate unknowing follower is taken to make sure the worshippers all know true fear.
Unholy Colors: All (multicolored).
Unholy Animal: The coal black stallion is the favored animal of the Fellows of Terror, and those who can afford and keep one often do so.
Raiment: The Temple of Sleepless Nights has no synodal vestments. All official clerical garb is liturgical in nature, and thus time-consuming to prepare. These robes are multi-hued, shifting and shimmering in color. If a cleric wears a liturgical vestment that he prepared himself, the color changes will be in accordance with his current emotional state. Aside from their robes, Fellows of Terror wear masks bearing a hideous visage.
Fellows of Terror spend much of their time trading in rumors about local dungeons and humanoid hideouts. False rumors of horrible creatures roaming the countryside are planted to frighten the populace. The Fellow steers those who appear capable of dealing with the real local threats towards red herrings and false trails to frustrate them into leaving the area, while those deemed weak and inexperienced are led to their dooms. The defeat of a party of adventurers is used to great effect to spread greater fear and concern among the weak willed community.
Advancement: Advancement is through mortal combat. Once a cleric issues a challenge to a superior, the only rule is that the survivor gains or maintains the ranking position. These combats are the center of a highly ceremonial event and open to the faith’s worshippers.
At each rank past 3rd, the Fellow can count on at least one challenge to his rank, and often more. The character must respond to the challenge within one week and must meet it within 30 days, although it is the challenger’s duty to come to the higher-ranking character’s temple.
At Rank 6 the Fellow’s stipend, usually demanded in tribute, increases to 300 gp per month.
A Fellow of rank 8 gains a bard as his second follower.
Sacrifices: The Master of Horrors requires only fear as a sacrifice. A sacrifice is confined to a cell, drugged to a state of absolute paranoia and literally scared out of his mind. Clerics do these actions repeatedly until the victim dies or is driven permanently insane. Insane victims are released as their deranged babblings help spread the fearful reputation of the Temple of Sleepless Nights.
Temples dedicated to this faith show dark, horrific images in morbid detail along their interiors. The exteriors feature gargoyles and other sculptures on the roof, along the exterior walls, and above the entrance. The entrance itself is often depicted as a gaping mouth, usually that of a serpent.
Cathedrals punctuate the terrifying aspects of their construction with permanent illusions that deftly touch each of the senses. They mix elements of the grotesque and the arabesque to shock worshippers of any background or nature. Even paladins have been known to run screaming from their inner chambers.
The faith’s holy seat lies deep within the Vohven Jungle, somewhere west of the Izhoven River. The Svimohz who live nearby obey the faith’s dictates and aid the clerics of the temple by giving warning of any intruders long before the intruders arrive. The temple is a wide stepped pyramid that rises nearly to the jungle’s canopy.
The ruling cleric is a mysterious creature known as the Mind Render. The Mind Render looks human, but his pitch-black eyes and slight aura of darkness indicate another race. He has led the faith for over a century, defending himself against attempts to take his place over 60 times in rank duels. His tenure has brought an informal order to the priesthood, an order based on personal skill and accomplishments. The Mind Render’s literal decapitation of the faith’s leadership through duels has created a homogenous, loyal following that obeys his wishes without the need for him to utter commands.
|Friends and Allies:|
|The Order of Agony: “Pain creates fear, removes hope, destroys dreams… It is more useful than most tools.”|
|The Church of the Endless Night: “They see darkness as a goal, but it can be a useful tool for creating terror in the minds of others…”|
|The Congregation of the Dead: “Death frightens all. Undeath is even more frightening…”|
|The House of Knives: “They are friends of terror… Stalking and killing without a trace, they are a force that most fear with good reason.”|
|Foes and Enemies:|
|The Face of the Free: “Freedom makes people brave, and this we cannot endure…”|
|The Assembly of Light: “Light has a withering effect on fear. Some things are better left in the dark.”|
|The Theater of the Arts: “Laughter and beauty are powerful enemies of fear. They must be eliminated.”|