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On the religions of the Flanaess: Trithereon
Posted on Fri, January 18, 2008 by Dongul
CruelSummerLord writes ""Freedom is the right of all goodly beings. And yet, it is in the nature of many humans and their allied races to form communities. It is that relation of an individual to his community, and the necessities of defending the freedom of both, that our lord concerns himself with." - Jaanzidur Euroz-Slayer, Matriarch of Trithereon, replying to questions posed by her students.

On the religions of the Flanaess: Trithereon
By: CruelSummerLord

TRITHEREON

Domains: Individuality, Liberty, Self-Defense, Retribution
Home Plane: Olympus
Alignment: Chaotically good
Alignment of Clergy: Chaotically good, neutrally good, chaotically neutral, or truly neutral.
Alignment of Worshippers: Any ethically neutral or chaotic. Trithereon is most commonly worshipped by humans, but also by some halflings, elves, and fairy-folk, who appreciate his emphasis on individual liberty and defense of freedom.

History and Relationships
Trithereon was born in the Age of Legends after the imprisonment of the Dark Lord, born and trained as a warrior. He immediately proved restless and combative, becoming angered at those innocent creatures of good that were suffering at the hands of the gods of evil and their creations. Some of his fellow gods of good saw the young warrior’s potential and gifted him with powerful magical weapons to carry on in his battles. Through his skill and courage, Trithereon gained much admiration and gratitude among mortals for his battles on their behalf.

Ever a lone wolf, Trithereon preferred to act alone, or with the assistance of Ca’rolk the Lizard, Nemoud the Hound, and Harrus the Falcon, three creatures he had rescued from the powers of evil and who repaid him by joining his crusade against evil. Deeply affected by the enslavement and suffering he witnessed, Trithereon became as passionate a defender of freedom as of goodness itself, and he soon became fiercely critical of even those gods of good he viewed as too oppressive or strict towards their followers and their people. As the gods began to be worshipped by mortal followers in return for the granting of divine favors, Trithereon instructed his followers to defend not only kindness and compassion, but also freedom.

As such, Trithereon counts among his major allies Corellon Larethian, Kord, Llerg, Wenta, Olidammara, Phaulkon, Norebo, Titania, Eachthingern, Solonor Thelandira, and Fenmarel Masterine, all for their free, independent natures and/or their vigilance against the forces of evil. His major enemies include Gruumsh, Maglubiyet and the other humanoid gods, Incabulos, Nerull, Erythnul, Pyremius, Wastri, Hextor, Heironeous, St. Cuthbert, Rao, Pholtus, Zodal, Moradin, Clangeddin Silverbeard and Gaerdal Ironhand, for either their cruelty, malice and oppressiveness against humans, demihumans and other goodly folk, or their strict and oppressive nature, in the case of the gods of good. He also dislikes mercantile gods such as Zilchus for their roles in the slave trade, which is one of the richest sources of trade in the Flanaess.

Teachings:
Trithereon’s clerics teach that all humans, demihumans and related races have the same basic and equal rights and freedoms. Each person can and should be able to live their own lives as they see fit, without prejudice or sanction, so long as they do not violate the rights or freedoms of others. Communities and groups exist for people to pool their resources and cooperate in actions they could not accomplish themselves, and individuals are free to associate with, join or leave a given community as they wish. Church doctrine also warns against those who would seek to simply live off the hard work of the community, contributing nothing themselves in return. These parasitic folk can be expelled from the community. If one expects to benefit from a community, they should also expect to contribute to its well-being.

While people can and do form countries with central ruling authorities, these have authority only so long as the people accept them as legitimate; without this support from the people, the government has no rightful authority. As such, it is the duty of all rulers, if they seek power or leadership over others, must continually prove that they are worthy of the trust put in them by the people.

Nevertheless, in an imperfect world, there will be those who seek to oppress and enslave their fellows. Therefore, one must be ready to take up arms if needed to defend one’s freedom from those who would take it away, and it is the duty of the Trithereonite, especially the clergyman and sympathetic adventurers, to defend the weak from these oppressors, and to lend succor and support to those who require it. Oppressive authority can be just as much of a threat as the rampaging goblin or giant, and the church also warns followers to be vigilant against internal social rot as well as the threat posed by dangerous outsiders.

The virtues of the Trithereonean faith include passion, initiative, honesty in word and deed, following one’s own path in life, decisiveness, contributing to the greater community in which one lives through charity and compassion for other members of the community, and defending the freedom of others.

The sins of the Trithereonean faith include blind submission and obedience to authority, using one’s power to oppress ore restrict others when their choices do not infringe on others, dishonesty, sloth and living off the hard work of others without contributing to the community one has chosen to live in, and standing by and permitting tyranny and oppression to go on without resistance.

Interaction with Outsiders:

Trithereon’s clerics can commonly be found preaching on street corners haranguing passerby, extolling the virtues of freedom and initiative. They can often be found using their powers in defending the poor and weak from the domination of criminals and street gangs in the cities, or orcs and monsters in the wilds, also preaching to these same people they defend, singing the values of Trithereon and encouraging, but not forcing, conversions in return for services. Trithereonites will typically perform marriages, blessings, exorcisms, counseling, and other ceremonies for those who cannot obtain religious aid anywhere else; they will marry youths who wish to marry but whose union is opposed by their parents, or bless those sick and poor who otherwise hold to no god and have access to no other cleric.

At the same time, more activist priests can commonly be found preaching against policies and institutions they view as tyrannical and oppressive. Brothels may be opposed for their oppression of women, slave merchants may be opposed for restricting the freedom of the people they sell, government policy controlling who may and may not learn magic may be opposed for restricting learning, knowledge deemed dangerous or treasonous by the authorities may be taken and redistributed by the followers of Trithereon to interested parties.

Because of these activities, the church of Trithereon is among the faiths most abhorred by the various governments of the Flanaess, to the point where it is barred in Northern Aerdy, Ahlissa, Dyvers, the Gran March, the Horned Empire, Iuz, the Pale, Perrenland, and Rel Astra. It finds the most acceptance in Furyondy, Keoland, Ratik, the Shield Lands, Sunndi and the Yeomanry, with more chaotic and less morally-inclined radical sects prospering in some parts of the Bandit Kingdoms. The faith’s most prominent temples are found in Greyhawk, Marner, Littleberg and Gorsend in Furyondy, Pitchfield, Rookroost and Niole Dra. In all other lands, the faith is otherwise unknown or too small to merit mention.

Variant Sects:

Considerable debate exists within different sects of the church over the duties of the individual to the community versus the freedom of the individual to do what he wishes. Some clerics believe that those with great power have a responsibility to contribute to the community they live in, and that they are oppressive if they do not do so, while others insist that these wealthy and powerful people have their own rights as well, and should not be forced to do something they do not. In a free world, there are bound to be inequalities, and to rigidly dictate a person’s communal duties will infringe upon their freedoms.

Some of the fiercest debate between sects of the church occurs on the nature of the clergy’s relationship with the government of any given community they dwell in. As with other activist faiths, such as those of St. Cuthbert, there are those Trithereonites who argue that there exist threats in the form of murdering orcs, foul bandits, conquering giants, and deadly monsters to be fought to defend the freedom and prosperity of the people, without inviting unnecessary trouble with the ruling authorities.

More radical clergy accuse their brethren of tolerating tyranny and oppression on behalf of the ruling classes, particularly in lands, such as Greyhawk and Nyrond, that are not given over entirely to evil but yet permit slavery in some form or another, racism, or cutthroat mercantile policies. Their more moderate clergy reply that inviting too much trouble by making unnecessary enemies who would otherwise have let them be, and that their rigidity and inflexibility risks itself infringing on the freedom of others, and alienating potential allies and friends.

Trithereonites have often found themselves in opposition with one another when different groups support two conflcting parties. Oeridian humans or dwarves, who may have displaced the Flan or the elves of a given land and then settled homes and lands of their own. Those that support the victims of displacement may rightly state that the rights of these people have been displaced, and that they are entitled to return to it. Those who support the descendants of those who now live in the land may ask where they are supposed to go, and if they should be made to suffer for the sins of the fathers? These types of moral quandaries have been known to affect many a follower of Trithereon, where the freedoms and morals of individuals are known to clash.

Adventuring Clergy:
In keeping with the freedom of choice espoused by the faith, followers of Trithereon may wear whatever armor they wish in combat and are generally permitted to wield whatever weapons they please, although clubs, spears and swords are favored and considered signs of prestige in the faith, as these are the weapons the god himself is said to wield in battle. They may also associate with demihumans freely. However, travel to lands where Trithereon is unknown is considered a sin, unless the cleric’s aims are to spread the worship of Trithereon and liberate those suffering from tyranny and oppression, or to otherwise accomplish their goals.

Trithereon is said to favor those of his clerics who actively struggle against the forces of evil and tyranny by fighting and defeating them, or who contribute to the betterment of their community by aiding the sick and the poor both by defending them from their oppressors and by sharing Trithereon’s gifts with them, as well as offering them material aid. Clerics must tithe fifty percent of all the treasure they acquire to these ends, although those who adhere to Trithereon’s faith or no faith at all should take priority over those who belong to another religion."
 
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