Way of the Berserk
Worship: All battlefields are considered places of worship, and temples are erected on the sites of famous battles. Altars are commonly found near military barracks. Without any formal church order, the Way of the Berserk has no regular services. When a worshipper meets a cleric, he asks for guidance.
One ritual of note among the Brothers in Blood is called the Dance of the Blade. Brothers place bladed weapons on the ground, after which a barefoot and blindfolded cleric must wildly dance among them. If the cleric can do this and remain uncut by the blades, the Brothers believe the Fearless One will guarantee the cleric victory that day. In game terms, a successful Perform (dance) check at DC 20 provides a +2 bonus to all attack and damage rolls with battle axe, greatsword, hand axe, longsword, or short sword for the Brother’s next combat within 24 hours of the dance. Naturally, since few Brothers in Blood practice their dancing skills, success in this ritual is uncommon.
Holy Symbol: Crossed swords behind a double-bladed hand axe.
Holy Days: Any day of battle is a holy day, as is the new moon (Veshemo). On this day, worshippers must sacrifice weapons or other trophies taken in battle before. If this is a warrior’s first battle, he may sacrifice weapons taken by others, but the sacrifice after the battle must be his own.
Holy Colors: Blue and red.
Holy Animal: The ferocious wolverine is the holy animal of the Brothers in Blood.
Raiment: Clerics of the Way of the Berserk are unconcerned with trivial concerns such as fashion, and have no formal uniform. They wear whatever clothing they feel is the least restrictive in battle. To indicate their faith, they wear a red linen shoulder sash that extends from their right shoulder to the left hip. For each battle survived, the wearer puts a black hash mark on his or her sash. A tiny symbol of an axe represents ten battles. These clerics take this adornment very seriously and it is never falsely marked. Fhokki Brothers in Blood who favor a traditional Fhokki lifestyle often have their sashes made from small, red links of chain, forming a chainmail sash! (Though it does look impressive, this sash has no particular value as armor.)
Followers of the faith are prohibited from cutting their hair, although grooming (such as brushing or braiding) is allowed. Having your hair cut is a violation of the faith, and no distinction is made for the act being willing or imposed.
Advancement: The Way of the Berserk has no formal church order. However, the Brothers in Blood do recognize personal achievements in battle and the loose church hierarchy is based solely on the sash described above. Therefore, a relatively low level cleric who fought in many battles may be more respected and powerful within the church than an adventuring cleric who has gained much experience in fewer battles. They have no official titles, since they have no formal church. Honorary titles include Crusher (for killing a single extraordinary opponent), Slaughterer (for attaining a victory over huge swarms of dangerous enemies) and Slayer (for killing an opponent while unarmed or at another serious disadvantage).
Sacrifices: Brothers in Blood sacrifice weapons, armor and banners of defeated foes both before and after battle.
The Way of the Berserk demands no buildings in which worshippers gather. Some followers have built shrines of their own design, and others have taken over shrines devoted to other gods. A few shrines mark the place where famous Brothers in Blood fell in battle.
The Brothers in Blood recognize no rank distinctions among themselves, so they have no leader that they all recognize. Venimok in Oloseta is probably the most famous Brother in Blood. In a frenzy of primal emotion, he once defeated a small tribe of ferocious hill giant barbarians by himself, thinking that his four dozen followers were right behind him.
|Friends and Allies:|
|The Thunderer’s Temple: “A god that is worthy of worship! If only his focus was more to the battle and less to the fury of the storms…”|
|The Order of the Passionate One: “Emotion fills the hearts and minds of all powerful people!”|
|The Temple of Strife: “Conflict breeds emotion and rage. A powerful tool to be used to create the worldly emotions…”|
|The Congregation of the Dead: “They know what death is, and can teach us of the great passage between life and death. Some of them even fought their way back from death to undeath, seeking to battle eternally. Sadly, most are unemotional drones.”|
|Foes and Enemies:|
|The Halls of the Valiant: “Calm killing is the same as cold death! They seek to eradicate evil, without understanding it first.”|
|The Hall of Oaths: “Honor be damned! Power comes from rage and winning, not truth and honor.”|
|The House of Solace: “They seek to heal the fallen and protect the weak, rather than assist the victors and become the powerful.”|
|The Temple of Armed Conflict: “They kill by rote, like a scythe clearing a field, and deserve as little respect.”|
|The Founder’s Creation: “Buildings are only as useful as the people they shelter. Spending your entire life building huts is no way to truly live!”|