Initiate of Mysteries
Some devoted worshipers of a god are content to join the rank-and-file priesthood, while others join obscure sects or orders (like the Guardians of the Nine, above). You feel the call of your patron deity deeply, though— so deeply that you want to bask in every glory and revelation your god has to offer. Over time, you’ll learn secrets scarcely imaginable to more ordinary worshipers. You’ll grow ever closer to understanding the very mind of the god you worship. And perhaps most importantly, you’ll ascend through the religious hierarchy to a place where the rank-and-file worshipers may start venerating you.
There’s a sect or order analogous to the initiate of mysteries within each of Thule’s organized religions, though it goes by different names in different faiths (see below). There’s a parallel structure for PCs who worship the Forest Gods (often druids) as well.
Key Identity: Human, cleric, druid.
Though your divine power grows as an initiate, the biggest benefit of becoming an Initiate of Mysteries is the rise through the temple hierarchy. The major temples in a given city-state are among its most active power brokers, and you can put some of that power to work for you. Over time, you’ll even gain followers— rather fanatic ones!—of your own.
Initiates in the World
Other worshipers of your deity are generally im- pressed that you’re an Initiate of Mysteries—if they’re well-versed enough in the religious hierarchy to know that you’re among the chosen ones. The reflected glory of your patron deity can be a powerful induce- ment to good behavior. Eventually, they’ll treat you as a living saint. Anyone who wants to diminish your deity might decide to start with you, though. Nothing scandaliz- es the temple-goers like an Initiate of Mysteries who falls from grace. Rival faiths and hidden sects within your own religion will embarrass you or disrupt your efforts if they can. And in the more hierarchical religions, you might eventually develop rivalries with other initiates as you each seek to become the “most favored” of your god.
Personalising the Initiates
Each of the organized religions associated with the Nine Powers has its own version of the Initiate of Mysteries; larger faiths have more initiates, of course. Here are three examples.
The priesthood of Ishtar has had “Initiates of Mysteries” for centuries, and this narrative takes its name from that sect. You are a charismatic beacon of love and luck, and what is “luck” but a low-level manifestation of fate itself? You seek rarefied plea- sures to be sure, but you’re also keen for the chance to keep ugliness and cruelty out of the world.
You are one of Tarhun’s “Harbingers,” a group of warrior-priests that are destined to ride ahead of the Storm to End All Storms in a battle at the end of time. You’ll be asked to prove yourself as an initiate in battle time and time again. Remember, Tarhun adores valor over everything else—better to be brave- ly defeated than to be a cowardly victor.
You’re climbing a hierarchy within Set’s temples known as the “Serpentis Ladder,” and you don’t even learn what the next stage of the hierarchy is like until you’ve attained the one before. Each of Set’s tests is a pop quiz, but you pride yourself on your adaptability. You can slither into whatever form your patron desires if it gains you one more rung on the Serpentis Ladder.
You are eager to prove to your god and your fellow worshipers that you are the chosen one, the very paragon of your patron deity’s virtues here on Thule. As you ascend the priestly hierarchy, the many wonders of the divine world are revealed to you. Most initiates of mysteries are clerics, but even those who aren’t are still devoted to a chosen deity.
D&D 5th Edition
Skill Bonuses (1st level): You are trained in Religion, as well as one additional skill related to your god’s portfolio: Athletics (Tarhun), Deception (Ishtar), History (Nergal), Insight (Asura), Intimida- tion (Tiamat), Medicine (Kishar), Persuasion (Mithra), Stealth (Set), or Survival (Herum).
Healing Blessing (1st level): You can use an action to heal yourself or another with a touch. You can heal hit points equal to three times your character level per day, and need not use all of your blessing at once. (For example, at 5th level, you could heal three times, restoring 4, 8, and 3 hit points). If the recipient is someone other than you, the recipient also gains the bene t of a resistance spell.
Inner Circle (6th level): You are initiated into the senior priesthood of your temple. All subordinates in your temple hierarchy follow your orders. Priests and adherents from other temples that share your deity regard you as an authority figure or honoured guest and do their best to accommodate your requests. If an interaction skill check is necessary to influence your fellow priests or worshipers, you gain tactical advantage on the check.
Keeper of the Shrine (10th level): Worshipers of your god raise funds to build a shrine to your deity— and to you. They consult with you on its location and construction, though they possess only ordinary building techniques and craftsmanship. e shrine, once completed, can serve as a “home base” for you. While there, you have a reasonable expectation of safety, insofar as anyplace in Thule can be considered “safe.” You gain a company of bodyguards; half are priests, and half are legionaries (see page 79). At 15th level, your followers improve to knights.
Skill Bonuses (1st level): You gain a +2 bonus to Knowledge (religion) checks, as well as to two skills of your choice related to your god’s portfolio. Examples include:
- Heal, Nature, or Survival checks in the wilderness if you worship the Forest Gods.
- Diplomacy, Insight, or Streetwise checks if you worship Ishtar.
- Diplomacy, History, or Intimidate checks if you worship Mithra.
- Bluff, Stealth, or Thievery checks if you worship Set.
Healing Blessing (1st level): You can spend a hero point to heal yourself or an ally within touch range. The amount of hit points healed is equal to 4 + 1⁄2 your level + your Wisdom modifier. After you’ve used this ability, you can’t use it again until you’ve had 10 minutes of rest.
Hero points you spend to perform a healing blessing are not permanently expended, and are regained at the end of the day.
One with My God (6th level): Once per day you can spend 10 minutes in prayer to regain the use of a spell you’ve cast that day. The spell can be of up to the second-highest level you can cast.
Keeper of the Shrine (10th level): Worshipers of your god raise funds to build a shrine to your deity— and to you. They consult with you on its location and construction, though they possess only ordinary building techniques and craftsmanship. The shrine, once completed, can serve as a “home base” for you. While there, you have a reasonable expectation of safety, insofar as anyplace in Thule can be considered “safe.” Some worshippers even stay with the shrine as guards (see Followers under narrative benefits).