Morality

 Morality

“A sheathed sword in the face of evil is tantamount to evil itself.”

Morality represents the values of the culture that a character belongs to.  When a character deviates from their culture’s norms and ideals, it creates a mental and spiritual strain.  For the majority of characters who live their lives in the Throne, the Seven Sins represents the actions that they consider taboo and harmful to the spirit.  In other cultures through the world, partially or substantially different sins are given cultural weight.  These sins are part of the indelible impact of their cultures and upbringings – even characters who do not adhere to these codes of conduct still subscribe to them.

SINKING INTO DEPRAVITY
 
When a character takes an action that violates their Morality, they earn Depravity.  Depravity measures who out of alignment a character has become with their own culture.  Depravity is marked off for the specific level of the specific Sin, and once the character has earned that Depravity, they do not earn any additional Depravity by taking the same action again.  For instance a thief who steals someone’s valuables commits Mortal Greed, which, includes Venial Greed for a total of 2 Depravity.  If the same thief were to steal again soon after, they would still just have Mortal Greed. 

Reporting Sin

When a character commits a sin, or witnesses a sin that someone else commits, you should note it on your character slip or notify Staff at the basilica so that it can be recorded.

Any character may take some sinful actions without any particular negative consequences (other than the anger of those they harmed).  Any character can take 5 Depravity and still keep their sense of identity intact – still believe that there’s still a good person somewhere in there.  Characters of high Faith Attribute are even more resolved in their convictions – they can justify more evils in service of their ideals and remain steadfast in their beliefs about the nature of right and wrong.  For every level of Faith a character has above Ordinary, they can have an additional level of Depravity.  However, once a character goes over this limit, things change.  
 
A character in this position begins to redefine what they believe to be right and wrong, what is acceptable and unacceptable, and at the same time begin to loosen the ethical bonds that keep their behavior in check.  Such characters begin to acquire Insanities to represent this change in their mental state, beginning with one appropriate Mild Insanity at the time in which their Depravity first surpasses their limit, and continue to either gain new Insanities or exacerbate existing conditions for each Depravity they gain after that.   Any Insanities that a character earns through sin will reflect the evolving nature of their personality, their guilt, or the reasons they had to sin.
 
The Seven Sins Against Mankind

Wrath

Venial

Impassioned violation of another. Undue threats and aggression.

Mortal

Intentional injury or violation of another. Killing in self-defense.

Deadly

Premeditated murder or torture.  Inflicting unusual horrors upon another.

Sloth

Venial

Telling small lies. Unnecessarily using powers when mundane solutions are available. Lies for personal benefit. 

Mortal

Abandoning your duties or breaking oaths. Refusing others help when doing so is within your means. Living a lie or double life.

Deadly

Dereliction of accepted responsibilities.

Gluttony

Venial

Becoming intoxicated by choice

Mortal

Recreational or intentional drug use.  Consuming Malefica

Deadly

Voluntary addiction to anything

Lust

Venial

Sexual behavior without proper union

Mortal

Prostitution of your body. Using sex as a tool to get your way.

Deadly

Rape and extreme sexual perversion

Vanity

Venial

Bragging of your personal ability or past accomplishments.

Mortal

Abusing your position or authority for self gain outside of the duties of your station.

Deadly

 Forcibly sacrificing someone’s life for your own gain, or letting someone die to save yourself.

Greed

Venial

Taking without asking when it will go unnoticed or unmissed. Not giving to those who ask when it is within your means.

Mortal

Stealing for personal benefit.

Deadly

Hoarding surplus in times of another’s need. Profiteering off of the desperation of others.

Heresy

Venial

Indulging in conversation with a heretic, reading heretical writings.

Mortal

Knowingly suffering a witch or heretic to live.

ETERNAL

Knowingly extending welcome, aid , or brotherhood to a heretic.  Performing rites of worship or giving prayer to a false deity – any other than The Lord.  Apostasy – turning away from the Lord or willingly taking part in the rituals of other religions.

Sinners

According to the Church’s doctrine, so-called Venial sins, or forgivable sins, are sins of conscience, convenience or passion that, while blemishing the soul, do not necessarily sever one from the Lord and Heaven.  Venial sins add 1 Depravity.  Mortal sins, worth 2 Depravity, are sins which kill the soul.  While one labors under a moral sin, their soul is considered to be “dead” and, should they die unatoned and without Last Rites, their fate is to be damned to Hell for eternity.  Lastly, Deadly sins, which grant 3 Depravity, are seen as yet worse than mortal sins, for the bearers of Deadly sins are thought to make others unclean by their association, and those who are known to wear Deadly Sins are not to be trusted or associated with lest that person’s wickedness come to bring wickedness into your life as well.

REDEMPTION
 
Removing Depravity can be accomplished through a process of reconciliation.  Characters of Spiritual Faith recover through formal repentance, as officiated by a Priest of their religion through ritual atonement.  Upon completing the task laid out by the Priest during the confession, any and all Depravity that was gained by the act being atoned for is immediately removed.  One should note however, that this means that the Depravity gained from that specific act is lost, not that Depravity equal to the sin level is lost.  For instance, if a character had 2 Wrath, and then committed murder, they would have Wrath 3.  If they atoned for the murder, they would then return where they were before – Wrath 2, not down to Wrath 0.  This means that a life of sin may take many atonements to reduce Depravity even a little, clearing every recorded sin one at a time.
 
Characters of Pragmatic Faith do not ordinarily seek atonement from a Priest through confession, (though they may sometimes), and instead work through their actions and rectify their deeds with their sense of self.  When a Pragmatic character earns a Personal Victory, they may reaffirm their sense of self and purpose, and they lose 1 Depravity of their choice.
 
 

Other WAYS

To their discontent, not all characters observe the doctrines of the Church of Mankind.  In lands unconverted by the Throne, different views of Morality still hold sway.  By default, the above Sins apply, but some characters work differently.

Rimelanders

The Rimelanders of the far north of the country of Njordr are in open rebellion against the Throne and refuse to give up their dreaded Old Gods of the North.  Rimelanders (those characters who take the Rimelander Njord Perk) do not use the Heresy Sin.  Instead they abhor Cowardice.  Cowardice represents the Njord culture’s natural bias for heroic action and great deeds, and its taboo against valuing one’s life over one’s legend.  Because of the nature of the Rimelander’s relationship with their bellicose Old Gods, who they do not worship but instead live in the dark shadow of, performing their official rituals and becoming a Wise One is considered to be an act of ultimate groveling, and is considered the most severe form of Cowardice.

Rimelander culture puts a very different emphasis on manliness and womanliness than the cultures of the Throne do, and women are not naturally expected to live up to the same standards as men are.  Consequently, female Rimelanders never earn Cowardice Sins or suffer Depravity from them.  This also means that, culturally, the work of being a Wise One of the Old Gods falls almost solely on women, and the dark arts of intercession between man and God are a woman’s realm.

COWARDICE

lesser

Refusing a direct challenge to fight

Classic
Running away from a fight

Heinous
Groveling or begging to save your own life.  Performing a Ritual of the Old Gods

Rimelanders treat Sinning itself very differently.  The real Sin is against one’s own legendary reputation.  While they acknowledge the existence of the vices of Sin, it is curiously seen as somewhat laudable to Sin as a mark of power and will – until it isn’t.  When their drinking, fighting or stealing gets the better of them, and they become more menace than hero to those around them, their Sins are called out by their fellows. 

Rimelanders do not earn Depravity for sinning until another person directly calls them out for it.  At that time, they immediately earn the Depravity for the Sin they are called out for, if they indeed are guilty of it.  A Rimelander who calls them out loses one of their own Depravity immediately for calling them out.  The one who was called out can immediately issue the Challenge against their accusor, and if they win, they remove the Depravity they just gained.

(Read more about the Challenge)

The Shariqyn

The Shariqyn desert culture respects community and individual enlightenment.  Shariqyn adhere to most of the same moral view that the Throne does, observing the same first six sins, but does not proscribe against Heresy, as their primary religion, the Aa’boran, does not have heresies or rejected schools of thought.  Instead, Shariqyn value the path toward personal enlightenment and understanding in the form of attempting to achieve atma, a perfect version of themselves.  Shariqyn abhor Hubris, the rejection of the will to progress toward a better self.
 

Spiritual Shariqyn who violate their morality seek atonement through a water fasting rite overseen by a Magus, the priests of their culture.  The highest of their Magi, the Sahirim water mages, undergo special training and sacred rites before reaching the levels of perfection and closeness to atma that they have attained in order to get their power.  Because of this, Sahirim never commit Hubris sins or take Depravity for them, even if they do the actions.

The Shariqyn people are divided on this issue, and there are, in fact, two sects of Shariqyn that follow different branches of the Aa’boran.  The Sahirim are the highest ranking of the Aa’boran Biraq, while the more traditional view, the Aa’boran Tariq, views sorcery as wicked.

Hubris

Lesser

Refusing to patiently hear the advise or opinion of anyone who offers it

Classic
Disrespecting or insulting the values of other cultures than your own

Heinous
Making a pact with or using powers that are supernatural in nature, including the use of arcane sorcery

Some Shariqyn have converted to the ways of the Throne and follow the Church of Mankind.  These so-called Desert Lions, (Shariqyn who take the Shar’Aslan Perk) do not observe the Hubris sin, and use the Heresy sin as normal, though they may harbor vestigial cultural habits around it.

The Old Ways of Vecatra

The ancient World Goddess Vecatra has been all but stamped out.  Once, in the Age of Heroes, her cults, like a thousand others, could be found in every corner of the world, some say worshiped even by Elves, but now all that remains is a sad remnant of those long-passed days.  With the coming of Benalus, the Eschaton, and the founding of the Throne, the Church has systematically eradicated all of the old religions, but stubborn Vecatra clings to life, her ways surviving in isolated pockets.  

Rural families in isolated communities, especially in Dunland where her cult center was once located, but also in many other places the world over, still raise their children with the old words.  They teach the ancient stories, and practice the ancient values.  The Sins these pagans care for are entirely different than the Seven Sins of modern society.  They focus on the Circle, a tight-knit in-group of only those people that they have selected as their own, such as their family, their tribe, their clan, or their band.  These groups were once quite large, but are now usually just a few people, those holdouts, and others of their ways that they can find in the world.  What outsiders do doesn’t matter, and what happens to them doesn’t matter.

The Seven Sins Against The World

BIAS

Lesser

Taking sides in the affairs of outsiders

Classic

Adding your efforts to one side int he affairs of outsiders

Heinous

Swearing allegiance to an outsider or their groups

Violation

Lesser

Succumbing to Fear of the Night

Classic

Violating the Natural law

Heinous

Assisting the holy men or women of other gods

Artifice

Lesser

Taking up a home in a settled community

Classic

Using money as currency

Deadly

Displaying and flaunting signs of wealth and status; Allowing gross disruption of the natural world

Disloyalty

Lesser

Creating a problem that affects the Circle

Classic

Refusing to assist a member of your Circle

Heinous

Abandoning or betraying a member of your Circle

Submission

Lesser

Submitting to the authority of someone other than the leader of your Circle

Classic

Failing to answer an insult in kind within one Chapter.

Heinous

 Refusing the submission of another to your authority.

Innovation

Lesser

Failing to participate in a Folkwise celebration

Classic

Utilizing new technology or sorcery (Engineering, Firearms, Arcane Magic)

Heinous

Refusing to take part in a Rite of Vecatra

Weakness

Lesser

Failing at something you set out to do.

Classic

Begging assistance from people outside your Circle

Heinous

Being Downed or rendered helpless