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    Cuthbert, Not As Old As You Think
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    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 07, 2004
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    From: Mt. Smolderac

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    Wed Jan 31, 2007 8:38 pm  
    Cuthbert, Not As Old As You Think

    I've been thinking about St. Cuthbert lately, mainly thanks to Sam's article on him in OJ20. I also recently broke down and got an old copy of the 1e DMG. I was kind of surprised when I was reading the entry on the Mace in the artifacts section. I've emphasized the bit that surprised me -

    "This weapon is said to be that actually used by the Venerable Saint Cuthbert of the Cudgel when he demonstrated the folly of error to the unbeliever. Over THE DECADES SINCE THEN, holy relics of the Saint himself have been encased within the Mace to give this arm of lawful good a +5 bonus for both hitting and damage as well as disruption effects. "

    Decades!? Accepting this as accurate, and being stick-up-the-**** precise about what someone would mean when they use the word "decades" in that passage, I think you can reasonably argue that at the most Cuthbert would have died/ascended/whatever-saints-do a maximum of 199 years before 576 CY, which gives us a date of 377 CY.

    If you look at dating for how long his Church has been around I haven't found anything yet that says this can't be so. In fact the rise of Cuthbertism seems to have peaked, or at least really hit its stride in the early 400's and spread pretty widely since then.

    The only really tough sticking point to this theory is this bit in the LGG p. 182-

    "St. Cuthbert may have once been a mortal man as his worshipers claim, but if so it was long ago and from an unknown people."

    The "unknown people" part you could still work with, especially when you consider some of the theories about his unoerthly origin put forth in this article - http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=1189

    However, "long ago" doesn't leave much wiggle room.
    Forum Moderator

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    Wed Jan 31, 2007 9:29 pm  
    Re: Cuthbert, Not As Old As You Think

    smillan_31 wrote:
    "This weapon is said to be that actually used by the Venerable Saint Cuthbert of the Cudgel when he demonstrated the folly of error to the unbeliever. Over THE DECADES SINCE THEN, holy relics of the Saint himself have been encased within the Mace to give this arm of lawful good a +5 bonus for both hitting and damage as well as disruption effects. "
    Hmmm. Holy relics of the saint have been ENCASED in the Mace? That part grabs me. One meaning of relic is, "a part of the body of a saint, martyr, or other sacred person preserved as worthy of veneration." The mace then becomes a Reliquary in addtion to a weapon. The Mace is essentially a mobile shrine to the Saint. Just a thought.
    GreySage

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    Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:18 pm  

    Dragon Magazine #100 (which is of dubious canonical status) implies that St. Cuthbert "rose to his exalted station" maybe a few decades or so less than 640 years ago (pages 46 and 54). What "his exalted station" is isn't clear - it could be divinity, but it could also have been the year he rose to the status of a lesser god, or perhaps it's when he became canonized as a living saint. It's conceivable, even accepting this account, that he lived as a non-divine being for many centuries after that. He could have spent most of his existence as a quasi-deity, perhaps until he helped imprison Iuz. Or he could have been a god centuries before.

    Also, if we accept generic 3e material, there's this:

    "For humans, relatively recent historical events function as myths and legends. Human children might quiver at the story of St. Cuthbert and the dragon, for example, and pass it to their offspring in turn... Some older dragons have firsthand knowledge of St. Cuthbert's battle against the dragon." - Races of Destiny, page 20.

    That would fit fairly well with the 640 years figure, but 199 years would seem a little short if only older dragons remember St. Cuthbert's battle.

    There's also the possibility that the DMG quote only refers to the time that St. Cuthbert stopped wielding the mace himself, either losing it or lending it out some decades ago. It doesn't actually say he stopped using it after he became a god, does it? If we accept Dragon #100 as canon, 640 years (presumedly before 576 CY, so that would be -63 CY) is the date where he hid away his mace (in a museum on Earth; yes, it's that adventure), and he "rose to his exalted station" some time after that.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:12 pm  

    Yeah, I considered that his mortal life might have been a good deal longer ago and the "decades" refers to when he was taking a direct hand on Oerth in his godly form, maybe when he was giving the rumored aid to Zagig in imprisoning Iuz. That makes even more sense because I think anything over 100 years is stretching things as regards the use of "decades." More likely he or his avatar was demonstrating the folly of error to the unbelievers in the early 500's.
    This would also account for the particular enmity of Iuz. The only thing that bothers me is the bit about the relics being added to the mace, though that could easily have happened when the faithful got their hands on the Mace. It would be weird to have your god walking amongst you and saying to him "Hey, we've got your leg bone in my church back home." Weirder stuff happens on Oerth though.
    Regarding the "long ago" reference in the LGG I guess 640 years would be "long ago" to the majority of humans. I'm assuming "from an unknown people" refers to his mortal form. Maybe he appeared in the central Flanaess around -70 or so from some unknown land and started preaching.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:20 pm  

    "This weapon is said to be that actually used by the Venerable Saint Cuthbert of the Cudgel when he demonstrated the folly of error to the unbeliever. Over THE DECADES SINCE THEN, holy relics of the Saint himself have been encased within the Mace to give this arm of lawful good a +5 bonus for both hitting and damage as well as disruption effects. "

    I think you misconstrue the meaning of the sentences, but the sentences are badly structured anyways. Change the passage to read thusly:

    "This weapon is said to be that actually used by the Venerable Saint Cuthbert of the Cudgel when he demonstrated the folly of error to the unbeliever. Over the decades since Cuthbert used the mace, holy relics of the Saint himself have been encased within the Mace to give this arm of lawful good a +5 bonus for both hitting and damage as well as disruption effects."

    So, within decades of Cuthbert actually having used the mace(i.e. when he was alive and cruising along in the mortal realm whacking recalcitrant heathens), bits of him or other things associated with him(either can be relics) have been placed within the mace, and so Cuthbert is not newer than was thought.
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Feb 01, 2007 5:47 am  

    I like how Cebrion is interpreting the passage. It also fits better IMO if Cuthbert is older than a few hundred years.

    As we consider how a human trancends to Sainthood and eventually to Godhood, I like the idea of the Saint becoming an outsider. He or she would be advanced significantly IMO, but would nonetheless share many abilities with the other servants of the other realms.

    So, how does this work. I see two tracks (though there may be others), ascencion by the action of a deity, or ascencion by the taking of power. Cuthbert, having been a Saint of something, seems to conform to the first. Vecna could be an example of the second.

    Thoughts?
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Thu Feb 01, 2007 8:33 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    "This weapon is said to be that actually used by the Venerable Saint Cuthbert of the Cudgel when he demonstrated the folly of error to the unbeliever. Over THE DECADES SINCE THEN, holy relics of the Saint himself have been encased within the Mace to give this arm of lawful good a +5 bonus for both hitting and damage as well as disruption effects. "

    I think you misconstrue the meaning of the sentences, but the sentences are badly structured anyways. Change the passage to read thusly:

    "This weapon is said to be that actually used by the Venerable Saint Cuthbert of the Cudgel when he demonstrated the folly of error to the unbeliever. Over the decades since Cuthbert used the mace, holy relics of the Saint himself have been encased within the Mace to give this arm of lawful good a +5 bonus for both hitting and damage as well as disruption effects."

    So, within decades of Cuthbert actually having used the mace(i.e. when he was alive and cruising along in the mortal realm whacking recalcitrant heathens), bits of him or other things associated with him(either can be relics) have been placed within the mace, and so Cuthbert is not newer than was thought.



    I don't think it's a case of me misconstruing what Gygax wrote in the 1e DMG any more than it is later writers either ignoring or not reading closely enough the material they're expanding on. So now we're stuck with trying to hammer together a bunch of conflicting statements that all fall under the umbrella of canon. But then those writers probably weren't taking it as seriously as alot of us seem to Wink .

    I do like Rasgon's thinking on this more than anything else so far, which does fit with what Cebrion said, but we're all just making educated guesses here with very little evidence to back us up.

    The earliest hard canon evidence we have that there was a Church of St. Cuthbert is around 428 CY when the Church came to prominence in Verbobonc. Granted, Cuthbert would have to have been alive some decades before that but a cult of an immensely popular saint could easily rise to prominence within a decade after his ascension/death and he could have been catapulted to intermediate deity status in the century and a half since then due to his struggles with Iuz and becoming one of the most popular deities, depending on how you think gods increase/decrease in power.
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:52 am  

    I'll still go with my version of Cuthbert in OJ 20.
    Happy
    GreySage

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    Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:32 pm  

    smillan_31 wrote:
    The earliest hard canon evidence we have that there was a Church of St. Cuthbert is around 428 CY when the Church came to prominence in Verbobonc.


    I found earlier! The "All for a Hat" scenario in Treasures of Greyhawk:

    "The temple is searching for a great relic of the faith, the original chapeaux worn by Herkluth, a priest who originally spread the word of St. Cuthbert to the Duchy of Urnst. It lies on an altar, in the ruins of a temple where Herkluth was buried."

    And, on the next page:

    "The temple to St. Cuthbert fell into ruins over 300 years ago, and Herkluth himself was buried here over 500 years ago."

    Of course, it was actually the Kingdom of Urnst back then (perhaps Herkluth was martyred by the Maure), but we know what they meant. The question then becomes why the people of Verbobonc resisted conversion to He of the Cudgel for so much longer than the Urnstans did. Lack of charismatic evangelists? Some theological breakthrough or crucial alliance with the church of Rao during the early 400s? Bad feelings due to ancient actions committed by Cuthbert himself in that area? Perhaps the church of Pholtus was exceptionally strong there, but some scandal caused them to weaken then, giving the Cuthbertites an opportunity to make inroads.

    Or, of course, maybe they weren't popular in Urnst at all back then. Maybe it was just that one temple, which fell into ruin with nothing replacing it.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Thu Feb 01, 2007 8:37 pm  

    Okay, I've been rip-fu'd. Embarassed I concede my heretical point. Smile

    I had assumed that Herkluth was something the Duchy Triad came up with. I had also thought that Cuthbert's popularity in the Duchy was something that had come about with the LGG. Hmmm... interesting.
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:47 am  

    Complete aside - do we know that Urnst was a kingdom pre-Aerdi occupation?

    I thought there was mention of a Senatorial structure in LGG? Not to say that's incompatible with a monarchy (see the early Roman Empire and apparently, the Suel Imperium) of course. I assume that the Maure tried to mirror the old government structure of their homeland before the Aerdi stomped in and feudalised the whole thing?

    P.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:49 am  

    That's essentialy correct. First there was a "loose coalition of nobles" led by the Maure and then a formal senate. Republican Rome sounds like a good model. The name Urnst was that of a "founding Suel house." I suppose they mean the founding of the Suel Empire. Aren't there some references to a senate or republican form of gov't in an old Dragon article?
    GreySage

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    Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:50 pm  

    Woesinger wrote:
    Complete aside - do we know that Urnst was a kingdom pre-Aerdi occupation?


    The Adventure Begins called it a "slightly tyrannical kingdom" [p. 55], but that's a good point - they seem to have been a kingdom without a king, ruled instead by a loose coalition of nobles that was later organized into a senate.

    We can assume "kingdom" was used in the generic sense of "nation." Republic of Urnst might be a better name.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:06 pm  

    So what about the "unknown people" line from the LGG? Anyone have any theories other than that he was St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne somehow transported from Earth?
    GreySage

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    Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:49 pm  

    smillan_31 wrote:
    So what about the "unknown people" line from the LGG? Anyone have any theories other than that he was St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne somehow transported from Earth?


    My assumption is that many different peoples take credit for him. Worshipers of Pholtus claim St. Cuthbert was once a follower of their god, raised to divinity by the Blinding Light but later betraying its principles. Worshipers of Rao claim that St. Cuthbert was once a follower of their patron, representing the "common sense" aspect of Rao's wisdom. Even Lendor's faithful might stake a claim. There are a number of sites claiming to be the birthplace of St. Cuthbert - in Veluna, Verbobonc, the Wild Coast, the Shield Lands. Some say he was an ancient Oeridian hero before the Migrations, some say he was a reformer among the ancient Suel, some say he was an acolyte of Al'Akbar, some claim he was a Flan warrior-priest who helped purge the northern Sheldomar of diabolists, and some claim he was a cleric during the early days of the Kingdom of Aerdy.

    It's not that he suddenly appeared speaking an unknown language and wearing strange garb (although that's a possibility as well), but that his origins are disputed and the Saint himself has elected not to speak on the matter to his followers.

    It's also a possibility that, like Mayaheine later on, he's an immigrant from another world.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sun Feb 04, 2007 9:15 pm  

    Smillan,

    I was the one who worked on the canonical references that the Duchy of Urnst Triad used in the early history of the entity that was called Urnst.

    First, the Urnst senate was not created until the founding of the old capital Seltaren (there is no published canon for its founding date).

    This meant we needed to distinguish pre-Seltaren Urnst vs. post Seltaren Urnst.

    I coined the term, Urnst Dominion to encapsulate the period of a loose coalition of nobles and the Urnst Republic to mark the time of the Senate. The Duchy of Urnst and the splitting off of the County was the end of the Senate.

    Anyway, you will find that much of the early history that the Duchy of Urnst is based off what canon sources we could find thanks to Russ Taylor and myself.

    Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus

    smillan_31 wrote:
    That's essentialy correct. First there was a "loose coalition of nobles" led by the Maure and then a formal senate. Republican Rome sounds like a good model. The name Urnst was that of a "founding Suel house." I suppose they mean the founding of the Suel Empire. Aren't there some references to a senate or republican form of gov't in an old Dragon article?
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:57 pm  

    smillan_31: "This weapon is said to be that actually used by the Venerable Saint Cuthbert of the Cudgel when he demonstrated the folly of error to the unbeliever. Over THE DECADES SINCE THEN, holy relics of the Saint himself have been encased within the Mace to give this arm of lawful good a +5 bonus for both hitting and damage as well as disruption effects."

    As an ascended mortal, Cuthbert very likely didn't go straight to Intermediate Godhood. Perhaps he attained Sainthood (and thus becoming a hero/quasi-deity) about 640 years ago as Rasgon stated. He became a demi-god around the time of Herkluth and the temple building of Urnst. As the Great Kingdom broke apart, there would have been ample proselytyzing grounds. Cuthberites are perhaps the most evangelical of faiths, and quickly grew as they helpec bring order to the chaos of the new kingdoms. Cuthbert rose to true godhood as a lesser and then intermediate god relatively recently. As true gods generally no longer walk the Oerth without some type of celestial consent, it is only relatively recently that Cuthbert stopped using his cudgel.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:20 am  

    There is nothing in the 1e entry TMK that states explicitly that these decades ago refers to Cuthbert's time as a mortal. It could be a time when came down from the heavens to mete out some cudgely law and order. It mentions unbelievers, but fails to specify what they disbelieved. Maybe they disbelieved in the Saint himself and he was setting them straight with a crack to the noggin.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:27 am  

    smillan_31 wrote:
    Okay, I've been rip-fu'd. Embarassed I concede my heretical point. Smile

    I had assumed that Herkluth was something the Duchy Triad came up with. I had also thought that Cuthbert's popularity in the Duchy was something that had come about with the LGG. Hmmm... interesting.


    I know. I am sometimes amazed that the other Triads know anything about canon at all. (I say "other" because I am one.) :)
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