Melandihim, the Mendicant Friars

The Mendicant Friars, or the Melandihim, travel the Throne ministering to the distant and the forgotten; the poor, the marginalized, the remote, the weak, the helpless.  They live humble lives, and do not accept any form of recompense for their work.  In the past, they have been something of a firebrand for social change, especially as rallying points to organize the people against injustice or oppression.

The Friars’ message is the virtue of pilgrimage – that the journey of life is the most important thing.  It is a message of forgiveness and understanding, but also a message about progress, and is not tolerant of those who have given up on improvement, or tried to surround themselves with luxuries to achieve a life of ease.  Every failure is forgivable, if you stand up, take the next step, and do better.

The Melandihim are some of the strongest critics against groups such as the trade Guilds and the nobility, some of whom they believe have forgotten the mission of Mankind.  They have been known to incite the public to anger against these groups, for they usually have extremely large followings by other Priest’s standards, although they never advocate direct violence.  Some Priests gather great followings of flagellants, walking the countryside barefoot, making an example of their humble lives to others, while using the mortification of their own flesh as a means to make their journey even more profound.


The Seal of Melandiel


Archangel of Winds, Change, Music, Travel and Hope

Melandiel is the Messenger and Herald of the Lord

The Sanctae Viae

The Sanctae Viae is the name of both the gospel of Saint Bathier, and the modern practice of devoting one’s life, permanently, to a strict life of virtue and service to others. There are thousands of adherents to the Sanctae Viae, or simply “the path,” throughout the Throne.  Some take up the path voluntarily, often in their later years, to make use of a sort of retirement through virtuous work. Others take it up to “even out” a more self-focused life of personal advancement, after their careers or goals have concluded. Still others take it up as a form of penance – sometimes forcefully prescribed – of a life of crime, vice, and wickedness. The rites of Censure from the Church sometimes end in the censured individual taking up the Sanctae Viae as the only path forward for them in society. From many origins, one path, and those who become mendicant friars all take on the same vows.

Those who take up the Sanctae Viae swear to live a life of total poverty – they own nothing at all, including money, tools, weapons, or even food. They must rely on other people to feed them, clothe them, and house them. The friar moves from place to place taking on any odd task that anyone might require, and offers to do so for no pay or compensation. During the time of their work, and any time after, those they help traditionally agree to feed them, offer them shelter, and any other minor aid they can. It is considered a blessed act to show kindness and hospitality to a friar of the Sanctae Viae, and they typically do not want for such care so long as they continue their work.

Because of their inability to own anything, those on the path tend to be skilled at wilderness foraging and basic hunting so that they can allow the land to provide for them when there are no others to offer aid to. It is typical for one or more friars to travel from village to village in a circuit, offering their labor or other expertise, then moving on in due time.

Covenant of Poverty
The Penitent must live a life of service to others, owning no possessions of their own.

Those on the Sanctae Viae hold a special place in society, acting for the good of others, yet never accepting any material reward for their duty.  Society’s inability to fully repay their kindnesses has made friars of the Sanctae Viae almost universally trusted and beloved.  Children are taught to run to those in the robes of mendicants in emergencies, and even when not asked to undertake some task, just seeing a friar about the area tends to provoke those near to reach out to offer comfort and aid.  They are considered trustworthy witnesses in legal matters, and are even asked to officiate as impartial judges in disputes, just as Saint Bathier was. 

Of special note, however, is the way people listen when they offer criticism, or call out injustice.  The tremendous social power of the Sanctae Viae mendicant friars means that they are sacrosanct from harm, especially from those in positions of power.  Like any other devout member of the Church of Mankind, it is the responsibility of friars to call out and stop injustice and sin, but when these most humble servants do so, it tends to create a vigorous reaction in the public.  It ceases to be a matter of opinion and becomes a black and white issue of right vs wrong.  While the rebellion against a wicked ruler are celebrated in the gospel of Bathier, the same stories are cause for alarm in nobles who find themselves at odds with these modern pilgrims.  While they are meager, they are not weak.

Use of Items

Some items are permitted for their ongoing use, such as basic clothing, a walking stick, and some tools of worship.  It is common, though not required, for penitent friars to extend their vows of poverty into the practice of higher asceticism and masochism, using flagellation, cilices, or other devices to inflict discomfort, pain or even injury for religious reasons. 

Many Acts of Service require the use of some tool on behalf of their beneficiary in order to accomplish the task, and this is permitted, so long as their use is strictly transient and to immediate use.  It has even happened that friars have been given weapons and asked to defend the weak against some urgent matter, and this too is permitted by the path, but they must relinquish all such implements immediately once the task is done.

As a general rule, personal objects that are left untagged, such as shoes, clothes, eye-glasses, cup and cutlery, are permissible to own long-term.  Items that have the [Penitence] tag are also permissible.

The Virtue of Pilgrimage

Sanctae Viae, that is, the Gospel of St. Bathier’s pilgrimages through Capacionne and Gotha, tells the story of a simple monk, after hearing the voice of Melandiel in music upon the wind, travels while making common cause with the meek and downtrodden that she encountered.  As she joined their lives to give them aid, her work led her ever toward the cause of their troubles – the unjust ruler that used their lives to enrich himself.  In challenging this ruler, the baron of what would now be a small province of Capacionne, she taught the disunified folk how to find their own dignity in how they treat one another.  

The serfs made common cause to help one another, and met the material demands of their ruler, but were punished by him for the pride in which they performed it.  Bathier traveled to that ruler’s master, taking with her many followers who wanted to assist her, and to make their voices heard in grievance.   After many stops and gathering more followers, her procession arrived at the court of a that region’s petty king, 
who offered her the power to rule over the lands she gathered her followers from, if she would but stop preaching.  She refused this, and though sentenced to exile, her followers exiled themselves with her and began a new march to the distant Imperial capital of Fenristadt.  By the time she arrived in the capital, her movement had gathered great renown, and while the Emperor first refused to see her, below the palace in the streets of the city, she and her followers preached.  In the gospels final act, the Emperor is forced to admit not just Bathier, but at least a thousand pilgrims – the palace halls crowded with beggars, craftsmen, farmers and drovers, all the common folk of the realm.  Through their sheer numbers they could have deposed the Emperor, but demanded only his justice and reforms to the oversight of the behavior of nobility toward the common.  In the final chapter, Bathier disperses the crowds, and continues her travels elsewhere.

This holy account is useful not just for its historical value, which gives great insight into the state of the early Throne of her time, but a distinct philosophical and theological contribution, as well.  Bathier taught that not only are there Sins, as described by Benalus in sermons and recorded in the covenants of the Testimonium, but also Virtues. Mankind can not only be merely free of wickedness but also work positively and progressively to create holiness that had a quality completely unlike the mere absence of Sin.  Benalus teaches that Mankind is pure in its native state, but Bathier expands that that same pure note can be played more loudly, can harmonize and resonate with others, and make something pure, yet more.  She outlined the Seven Virtues, all of which center around spending one’s life in service to others, and in so doing, rising higher rather than merely refusing to fall.

The Melandihim

The relationship to Saint Bathier is of particular interest, and those who emulate her in the form of the Sanctae Viae sometimes take on the title of Melandihim.  The Melandihim Order, such as it is, is unusual in the Church because it accepts no criteria for membership at all.  The Melandihim are more of an emergent social movement than a formal religious sect, and friars sometimes may use the title when they require a more formal air.  Furthermore, unlike every other order, there are no formal rules for the gaining of rank, and thus any of them can claim to be a Bishop or some other rank, should a one be required.  The group reaction to such a claim seals whether the friar in question has earned the trust enough to use the title for their purpose.  Other Priests of Mankind tend to take claims of membership in the Melandihim, and relevant rank, seriously.  It is typical to invite local Melandihim to participate in Convocation, perform rites of atonement, and other religious matters just like Priests of other orders.

Friars typically wear a simple brown or white robe with a scapular of either white, grey or black.  Because of the Sanctae Viae’s tradition of personal purification, it is tradition on the Sanctae Viae to wear a scapular of a color representing one’s progress along the path.  Those who took up the path for reasons of atonements for a wicked life wear black until all of their sins have been atoned.  Those who complete that effort usually wear grey until they feel that personal flaws or entanglements that might lead them back to sin, such as a harsh temper, addictions, wicked friends, or other dangers have been overcome.  Finally, a friar who feels they have reached peace and can reliably walk the path on behalf of others – taking those they meet further through their own virtue – wear the white scapular.  Like all aspects of the path, the specific choices are personal to the pilgrim.

Any person who has taken the vows of the Sanctae Viae may perform the Rituals of the High Canon.
(See High Canon)

Acts of Service

Acts of Service are the most central feature to life on the path.  While obedience to the vow of poverty is often enough that a friar must continually work to survive, mere survival as a hermit is insufficient to progress upon one’s personal pilgrimage.  

Acts of Service can take on many forms.  Cleaning a public or personal place, preparing and serving food, offering a personal connection during a an emotional crisis, and many more.  Acts of Service can be any heartfelt action that delivers real benefit where nothing is asked for or expected in return.  Initially, Acts of Service convey no benefit other than the obvious, but Blessings, discussed below, may add additional effects.  If the friar can grant multiple effects, they can do so with any Act of Service.

Acts of Service can also take the form of “helping the community,” in other words, the game itself.  Collecting trash and taking its bags to a dumpster,  collecting and washing dishes, setting out lanterns to improve visibility, site clean-up as the Event closes, and other such tasks can usually be counted as Acts of Service with Staff approval.

The Blessings of Pilgrimage

Among the devout, there have been proportionally higher reported ratios of sacred blessings in mendicant friars.  While certainly some tales are aggrandizing of the heroic sacrifices of friars, bystanders to some events claim that they felt an overwhelming sense of awe and fellowship when interacting with them, while others have watched as wild animals knelt at their feet. 

Whenever a Friar on the Sanctae Viae finishes an entire Event having performed at least seven Acts of Service, not broken their vow of poverty to own nothing, and currently under atonement for any Depravity earned since entering the Sanctae Viae, they gain a Pilgrimage Achievement.  As a Friar progresses along their personal journey, they are able to achieve moments of personal growth and enlightenment that help them shed the worst parts of themselves and their pasts.  Pilgrimage Achievements may be spent exactly as Personal Achievements for the purpose of removing existing Character Flaws.  Removing these Flaws still requires story justification, but the costs can be paid with Pilgrimage Achievements instead.  Furthermore, these can be spent on behalf of other characters to help them remove their own Character Flaws.

Whenever a Pilgrimage Achievement is earned, the Friar gains a Blessing of Melandiel.  These blessings function like special Character Perks.


Blessing of The Unbowed

The friar’s uses of Nerve and Discipline gain Power when Injured or Battered.


The friar may show intense emotion to briefly use Authority. Authority lasts so long as the extreme emotional state is roleplayed, and there is no pause or stop in speaking. 

BLESSING OF The Vigilant

The friar is warned of danger while they rest  Gain the Light Sleeper Perk

BLESSING OF The Defender

Defending another from significant danger counts as an Act of Service.


The friar may call Remove Trauma from a person benefiting from their Act of Service.



When speaking to someone presenting as fancier than you, gain Power on Social Skills.

BLESSING OF The Castigator

When you actively and continuously call out an Organization for their (or an Agent’s) misdeeds in a public space, they must stop you (whether by force or persuasion) or lose 1 Influence every five hours. Additional active participants to this protest divide this time requirement to a minimum of 30 minutes. 


If the friar is killed, their killer will be harshly punished with Divine Providence.


The friar may beg for their life while cowering on their knees.  When they do this, they may call Obey: “Don’t hurt me” once per would-be assailant.

BLESSING OF The Scapegoat

When not observed, the Friar may use the abilities from Finesse 4: Infiltration to escape from bondage.

BLESSING OF The Firebrand

After describing in conversation an ongoing instance of a sin that the friar wishes to oppose they may call “Spiritual Obey: Follow me to oppose this!” and then immediately attempt to take action against it.


BLESSING OF The Flagellant

When the friar becomes Battered from Healthy, they may lose 1 Depravity they gained this Event.


The performing of the Atonement ritual counts as an Act of Service

BLESSING OF The Immaculate

The friar may call No Effect to any call the Poison Quality or any Intoxicant they consume.


The effect of the Miserable condition changes to the following:  The friar enters a state of ecstatic bliss.  They gain the Severe Delusion: “Weak physical flesh is irrelevant.  Only spiritual health has value.”    The Friar increases their Faith by one level, up to a maximum of Great Faith.

BLESSING OF The Venesector

When a friar uses a Cilice or Scourge to cause themselves to Bleed, they may immediately call Nerve or Discipline.


BLESSING OF The Chastener

The friar may verbally castigate a person for a sin they witness them do.  They may call Spiritual Obey: Take Despair once per incident.


The Friar may call Spiritual Obey: Accept this Atonement once per Scene.

BLESSING OF The Harrower

When a person denies Atonement, the Friar may call Spiritual Obey: Take Trauma


If someone asks you for advice on a personal matter and they do as you suggest, they may remove 1 Despair.

BLESSING OF The Wanderer

Anyone using the Investigate Action does not get any information that would be revealed by Streetwise levels 4 or 5


BLESSING OF The Gracious

Once per Scene, if someone does the friar a kindness without being asked to, the friar may call Inspire on them.

BLESSING OF The Advocate

When the friar has five or more people accompanying them and supporting their goal, they may call Obey: “Let Us Pass’ or Obey: “Believe we belong here” once each on characters they encounter trying to impede their objective.


The friar may call No Effect on attacks from animals provided they do them no harm either.  They may also call No Effect on Game Effects with Animal-related Qualities, such as “Bird Strike.”

BLESSING OF The Shepherd

The friar may call Obey: “Help me” once per Scene while performing an Act of Service.


Performing a sermon at convocation counts as an Act of Service for the friar.

BLESSING OF The Caretaker

The friar may Remove Miserable from a person benefiting from their Act of Service.


The friar may not be Cursed by any other source.


BLESSING OF The Wanderer

The friar may travel without Risk with their group and don’t require Travel Rations.

BLESSING OF The Hearthlight

The place the friar sleeps is is resistant to malefic.  Malefic wishing to enter must resist Sacred Obey: Creatures Do Not Enter.  This should be tagged on the door.

The Blessing of the Glossolalia

The friar can understand the general intent of spoken communication of a human and pantomime basic ideas back in an understandable way.  Language Techniques are no longer Rare.

BLESSING OF The Trustworthy

The friar may call Obey: “Take of Bond of trust towards me” on one person benefiting from an Act of Service.

Blessing of The Vivifier

The friar may Remove Exhaustion from a person benefiting from their Act of Service.


Blessing of the Dove

The friar may give Comfort to a person benefiting from their Act of Service.

Blessing of the Beacon

The friar may give Inspired to a person benefiting from their Act of Service.

Blessing of the Upflifter

The friar may Remove Despair from a person benefiting from their Act of Service.

Blessing of the Sodalis

Whenever the friar grants a secondary benefit by performing an Act of Service, the friar also gains the same benefit.

Blessing of the Saint

If the friar has already completed the seven required Acts of Service, once per Wvent, after performing an Act of Service for someone with a personal scene with them, the friar may grant them a Personal Victory.

Leaving the Path

Taking up the Sanctae Viae is typically a lifelong commitment. At the minimum, breaking the vows of the Sanctae Viae, like breaking any vow, constitutes Mortal Sloth, but moreover, those that abandon their commitment to their life of charity are seen poorly, or at least with pity, by their former peers.  While some leave the path flagrantly, taking up a life of plenty, greed, and debauchery, most who leave it simply realize they don’t have the spiritual stamina for it, and return to a typical life.

In any case, those who end their travels on the Sanctae Viae lose touch with the spiritual rigor that they once had, and soon after, any Blessings of Melandiel that they were experiencing.  If they took up the path as part of a probation, it is likely that the law or whatever authority that placed them there will catch up with them as soon as it is learned.  Finally, while Flaws removed through walking the Sanctae Viae do not automatically return, what was buried sometimes has a way of finding its way back into the lives of those who have elected to live a less holy life.