Bells, bells, bells, bells.
One for Sariel, lost in dark and twisted halls,
One for Sephariel, thrown from highest throne.
One for the Inquisitor, trapped behind his walls,
And one for Hermits, who knows where they may roam?
~Gothic skipping rhyme
Once, long ago, the Sepharihim were responsible for creating a unified Church within the Old Empire and for destroying heresy and its evil taint wherever they found it.
They believe they have failed, and failed mightily. One look at the world as it stands, at its fractured and withering church, at the rise of other religions, at the strength of the heretical warlords and authorities in so much of what was once their Throne, and it is easy to see why.
Mankind is not rising to meet the expectations that the Testamonium and the psalms of old exalted. Instead, the world seems driven by baser instincts, vices, and disappointing weakness.
Where once the Sepharihim’s sole desire was to root out heresy in order to protect humanity from its corrupting influences, theirs is now a mission of redemption and understanding. The world has fallen far from grace; it is broken, and the only way to repair it is through atonement and investigation into the deeper truths of the soul and the world. It does little good to simply punish the sinner, that is merely a start for containment – one must determine why the sinner committed the evil they did, what the ultimate source of the wrongdoing was – so that the cause or temptation may be destroyed at its root.
Additionally, they believe there is no sin or deed too wrong to commit upon their own souls, if it means the world passes through penance and humanity survives. They already had their chance to be shepherds and guardians; now they must be true investigators and inquisitors – placing the need for truth and reparations on a grand scale far above the petty needs of their own souls. If they must be a martyr, so be it.
The Sepharihim follow the gospel path of Saint Vederick Sariel, he who was visited by Sepharian- Angel of Authority, Kings, Purity, and Prosperity – and recorded the divine plan and mission. Many of their Saint’s words have been lost, as even in the heyday of the Church during the reign of the Empire of the Throne of God on Earth, the Hexenhammer was considered too dangerous for everyone to have access to its text. As such, much of it
was lost in the Calamity, and what survives is far more fractuous than the other gospels. Many Inquisitors thus devote their lives to attempting to remake this great work- and seek out the tools by which they can fight against the Triumverati wherever they may be found.
Within Salgothic enclaves, the Sepharihim perhaps have their greatest strength and seat of power. The preservation of the Salgothic people and their enclaves is one of their greatest goals, and the Salgothic defer to the Sepharihim on most matters, respecting their religious knowledge, methods, and purpose. But the sect acknowledges amongst themselves that their work must press and persist beyond the walls of the Salgothic cities. For while the Salgothics tend these precious oases of faith, the world at large is festering and dying, and the sources of infection must be cut out. Thus, the Sepharihim themselves often break the mandated isolation of the enclaves to investigate the deeper truths of the word, to find new places of safety, and to try to discover where they- and the rest of the world- went so wrong.
Vow: Never allow your investigation to be refused.
Anoint Blessed Candle of Sepharian
Craft a candle bearing the blessings of Sepharian.
That which is born in flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. May I purify myself so that my spirit may be free of want or fear for the fruits of the flesh and able to make its own decisions.
Offering – Linen is cut into 4 strips and braided together.
Offering – An iron pot is placed above a bed of coal or charcoal and set alight.
Offering – Beeswax is placed into the pot and allowed to melt.
Act – The ends of the braid are dipped into the melted wax, lifted out to allow the clinging wax to cool before they are dipped into the wax again and again. This should slowly form two candles, connected by the linen wick in the center. While doing this, the priest performs the Liturgy, repeating the appropriate phrase as a chant until they are satisfied with the size of the candle.
Liturgy – “ “Let those whose tongues wag with the words of demons, whose lips drip with the shadows of oblivion, whose heart has been given up to evil acts, feel their power turn to ash in their mouth. Let their words wash over me without strength, without weakness, while I stand strong in your everlasting light. In Veritate.”
Offering – The candles are then covered with holy water, allowing them to cool.
Act – The Sigil of Sepharian is carved into the side of each candle.
This Rite creates 2 Blessed Candles of Sepharian. Candles created in this way are activated by being lit, and once lit are considered to be used and may not be lit for mechanical effect again, even if it is not useless for the purpose of shedding light. Once lit, any person that is Faith in Higher Power may blow out, snuff, or otherwise put out the candle to gain a one-time effect:
Choose one social tree and, for a single conversation from a single target, become immune to all standard calls from that target.
Dedicate Shrine of Sepharian
Create and sanctify a shrine to the angel Sepharian.
Sepharian bless your followers, for it is their duty to guide those placed beneath them, their burden to withstand the temptations wed to power.
Focus – A slab of flat stone is placed to serve as the surface of the shrine in front of a Masterwork Representation of Sepharian.
Offering – A Contact Hopeful Faith potion is smeared upon the surface of the stone with the Priest’s bare hands.
Liturgy – “Sepharian, Lawgiver, Kingmaker, Archon of Man and Ruler of Rulers, I call to thee. I beg of thee to accept this gift of a shrine in your honor. May you see through the eyes of your likeness, and gaze into the souls of those who would supplicate themselves before you.”
Offering – The hands of the Priest are cut with a golden dagger, which is left upon the stone before the art.
Liturgy – “May you judge them justly, steer their prayers to righteous ends, and return to the path those who err. My blood I give in sacrifice, that you might know me as your servant. In Veritate!”
The Priest will now be able to conduct rituals that require a shrine of Sepharian to complete.
Any may trigger the Shrine by leaving an offering of Cleansed Triumvirati Ashes, gold beryl, a falcon’s talon, a queen bee, lightning struck wood, or a fire beetle thorax and using the Prayer ability at the Shrine of Sepharian. If triggered, the target gains a Crippling Compulsion to accomplish the task they prayed for aid in completing, and either their Faith or Resolve increases by 1. This effect ends as soon as they expend the Hopeful state gained through this use of Prayer.
Burn away the sins of the flesh.
At your heart, and in the heart of all men, burns a sacred flame. The fire of the world may burn your flesh, but you are not your flesh. You are something more, and this flame will only burn what you are not.
Focus – A fire is lit, no smaller than a torch in size.
Offering – Ergot is added to the flame, and the Liturgy spoken by the Priest as it is consumed.
Act – Permission is requested of the target, that their sins might be cleansed from their flesh.
Liturgy – “Sepharian, I bid thee bless this flame that it might burn with your divine authority. Ordain it to drive out wickedness, let it cleanse the world of that which offends thee and offends our Lord above. Let it purge the darkness of the heart, the sins of the flesh, that His servants might be pure as the day He made them. In Veritate.”
The flame is blessed with the ability to drive out Depravity, and may reduce the Depravity of a target based upon the location it is applied to. For every level of Depravity the flame removes, it applies a Maim to that location, or increases the severity of an existing Maim by one level. The Inquisitor does not gain the Depravity of Violence for harm inflicted by these flames. The Wicked flaw may be removed in this way, although twice the XP cost must still be spent and maims earned in removing a Wicked flaw cannot be reduced by anything save the Angelic Caress power.
- Greed – Eye (Head maim)
- Sloth – Feet (Leg Maim)
- Violence – Dominant Hand or Arm (Arm Maim)
- Degradation – Buttocks (Leg Maim)
- Pride – Face (Head Maim)
- Passion – Throat or Stomach (Torso Maim)
- Blasphemy – Heart (Torso Maim)
These flames have no effect on a corpse. The flames last until put out or allowed to go out naturally. If these flames are used to immolate a target found to be a follower of the Triumvirati in a Trial by Ordeal, this creates the Cleansed Triumvirati Ashes wyrd component. The cultist may cast this ritual upon themselves.
All these maims are holy maims and do not get taken away if the target dies.
Trial by Ordeal
Convince others of the guilt and innocent of heretics
No might of the flames or the swollen winds, no deadly weapon, is so much to be feared as the lust and hatred of a crowd.
Focus – No less than 3 witnesses are assembled, which may not include the target or the Priest.
Act – The Trial by Ordeal is announced to the witnesses, and the intent to determine if the target is a follower of the Triumvirate or a Priest of a heathen deity.
Offering – Some hair is cut from the target and placed in a vessel with a unit of hard liquor. The mixture is set aflame and allowed to burn freely to ash.
Act – The witnesses are invited to provide evidence of Triumvirate worship or the officiation of heathen ritual in the form of eyewitness accounts, or material evidence such as unholy texts or artifacts.
Offering – Oil is rubbed onto the hand of the target.
Act – Ashes from the bowl are taken and blown onto the hand of the target.
If the ritual is successful and the target has taken part in a Triumverati ritual in the last three events, the symbol of the Triumverati that they follow will appear in the oil on their hand. If they have taken part in the rituals of multiple Triumverati divinities in that time then multiple symbols will appear on their hand. If they are a Cultist of any non-Benalian Divinity, then the appropriate symbol appears on their hand with a number of lines beneath it indicating their Rank.
Source the Sin
Find those sins that weigh upon the soul of the Target.
But how are we to know which are those that we should fear? For those that are in service to devils are often as friendly as peaceful men are hostile, neighbourly where holy men are selfish.
Offering – A container of oil is placed before the target and prayed over, before they are aided in rubbing the oil on their face, hands, and throat.
Offering – Chalk and charcoal are mixed together in a vessel.
Liturgy – “Together we examine your soul, before the light of Sepharian, we reveal your purity, your truest self laid bare.”
Focus – The target places their hand upon the the holy text of Sepharian or at least a page covered in text from the Testimonium and swears the following, “Before the Archangel Sepharian, Archangel of Kings, Authority and Judgment, I swear that my soul is not burdened with sin nor any taint of evil. I am pure and not defiled by any contact with the Triumverate.”
Act – The powdered mixture is blown gently onto the target’s face, throat, and hands.
The mark of Sepharian appears cleanly in the powder on the target’s body for each depravity that they currently have on their soul:
- Greed – Back of Left hand
- Sloth – Chin
- Violence – Back of Right hand
- Degradation – Palm of Left hand
- Pride – Forehead
- Passion – Throat
- Blasphemy – Palm of Right hand
- Other – Either Cheek
It does not signal whether the sin is Venial, Mortal, or Deadly.
Interrogate a suspect with the authority of god at your back.
The soul does violence to itself when it does or says anything insincerely or untruly, for the world is built upon Oaths and Words.
Focus – The hand of the target is placed upon a shrine of Sepharian.
Offering – The target is bid to swear before the Archangel Sepharian, Archangel of Kings, Authority and Judgment, to tell their whole understanding of the truth in answer to whatever the Inquisitor may ask and sign their name on a sheaf of paper. The paper is burned to ash before the shrine.
Offering – The ashes are mixed with tallow in a vessel.
Offering – Holy water is added to the tallow and the target is marked with the seal of Sepharian on their forehead with the mixture while the following liturgy is repeated:
Liturgy – “Archangel of Authority, we come before you to ask you to bind this one to your will. Shine your holy light on the truth, and mark those with your judgement who do not follow the path your light reveals. In Veritate.”
If the subject lies at any point during the conversation following the rite, they gain 3 Depravity for Breaking their Sworn Oath, a Deadly Sin of Sloth. This Depravity may not be removed by any source save Atonement or Cleansing Flame, and until that Depravity is removed the target is Damned. The Damned state may be removed as normal by other Rites, but is automatically removed when the Depravity gained in this ritual is removed.
Rite of Conscription
Lend your power and authority to those who serve you.
God will not involve you in evil. In so carrying out the will of god, no act of evil can be successfully committed, being then a contradiction in terms.
Act – The target is brought to a shrine of Sepharihim.
Focus – A baptised Benalian individual knees before the Priest.
Act – The target is bid to swear under the gaze of Sepharian, “I swear never to acknowledge the authority of any being, save god or a more senior member of the Sepharihim Order.”
Act – The target is bid to swear to the Covenant of Sepharian, “Never shall I allow our investigation to be refused.”
Act – The target is bid to swear to always obey a higher member of the Sepharihim order.
Focus – As they swear obedience, a branding iron bearing the Seal of Sepharian, heated in Cleansing Flames is applied to the target.
The target becomes a Prosecutor, a Rank 0 member of the Inquisition. They immediately lose membership in all Organizations and become a member of the Inquisition Organization.
So long as their brand is visible and they have no Depravity related to breaking their oaths, they have a single refresh of Fear once per combat Rest or Conversation as appropriate to the scene. If the Prosecutor is Ordained as a Sepharihim cultists, they lose this benefit.
Guardian of the Mind
Remove external influences
And with all our hearts we desired and still desire to lead you back to the unity of the Church of Mankind and to drive out from your heart the said foul heresy, so that we may save your soul from destruction.
Offering – A leonem is placed against the limbs of the target and held fast.
Offering – It is then bound to the target by a bandage with words of prayer to Sepharian inked upon it.
Liturgy – The target is forced to kneel beside the Priest as they shout, “We come before you unclean representatives of man, tainted by forces beyond our ken. We ask for cleansing, oh Sepharian, and for your eyes to be turned upon us!”
Offering – An small fire is lit and an herb with the purgative quality is tossed upon it.
Liturgy – “Sepharian, Archangel of Authority, I place this vessel before you. May you fill it with the strength of your power, with your light, and with your holy will. May all other influences be chased away by the power of your holy truth, and may this vessel be free of those who command it. In Veritate!”
Offering – Holy Water is poured upon the target.
If the target is currently possessed, the invading influence is thrust out of their mind. This can also be used to clear out a possession, Lazarine influence from a shambleman, or to get rid of a current Obey command that an individual is under.
Writ of Absolution
Absolve a sinful act from depravity in advance.
I knew the rain would come after the thunder.
Offering – A sheaf of paper and a writing kit are gathered by the Priest.
Act – The exact nature of the sin the Priest is condoning is written upon the paper, as is the name of the individual allowed to commit this sin (which must be a baptised Benalian), the date upon which it is to be committed, and the reason the sin is in the interest of the Benalian Faith & god. This may only include one sin, and it must take place before the next sunset or sunrise, whichever next occurs.
Offering – Gold shavings are mixed with beeswax.
Offering – The parchment is signed with the Priest’s full holy title and name, and the seal of Sepharim is pressed into the beeswax beside the signature.
Offering – The wax seal is anointed with Holy Water, and a kiss placed upon it before the writ is presented to the individual named in the text.
So long as the events involving the sin or sins line up with the description in the Writ, the character’s depravity threshold is increased by the level of the sin for the remainder of the event. This ritual can include the breaking of a Covenant or an incident of use of Corrupted Paladin powers, although any such act still causes any other negative repercussions of performing the act, such as the loss of rituals or dark empyria to be locked in place. This rite may only be used once per event per target. The cultist may cast this ritual upon themselves.
Symbol of Kings
Bring forth an artifact of your strength
Benalus, vested with the great power of kingship, resolved to move the city toward his truth with an act of teaching. His golden raiments serving not as armor, but as a reminder of his duty, and a symbol of authority.
Act – The Priest is stripped to a simple, humble garment before a Shrine of Sepharian and the body cleansed of all impurities.
Offering – Gold shavings are placed in a small simple bowl.
Offering – The Priest kneels before the bowl, the deeds they have done for the Church of Mankind recited. One vial of holy water is placed into the bowl for each two deeds recited. No less than three vials of holy water may be used in this way.
Act – The Priest’s head is placed against the ground as they beg Saint Sariel for their guidance in the Priest’s service to God and the Church of Mankind. They remain there for long moments until they feel they have earned the blessing of the Saint before reaching into the bowl.
If the ritual is successful, the bowl will contain a golden ring at the bottom of it. This ring allows the cutlist it is tied to to spend Hope to call “Divine Resist” against arcane or ritual effects.
Should a ring be made again in the future, the same deeds that the Priest recited in a prior rite may not be used again.
Deal hersey a blow with the light of god
The fields made barren, the calf felled by pest, the sword made dull, so does the stain of the heretic spread the communion of expiation; veneration in fire and by the letting of blood, the heretic brought low.
Act – The item or target of a Triumverati ritual is brought before the Shrine of Sepahrian and bound so they may not escape.
Focus – A Leonem is placed at each cardinal point of the compass from the target widdershins, beginning with North.
Offering – The Priest stands at the North and places a sheet of white linen on the ground, proclaiming, “Lurien! Archangel of Dreams, of the Moon, and of Death, stand with me against the darkness beyond even death.”
Offering – The Priest stands in the West, and places a lump of charcoal upon the ground, proclaiming, “Mithriel! Archangel of Terror, of Fire, of Storms, and of Battle, help me hold fast the line against evil.”
Offering – The Priest stands in the South, and places a Night Malefic Essence upon the ground, proclaiming, “Nuraniel! Archangel of Innocence, Protection, and Redemption, protect my faith and keep my will strong.”
Offering – The Priest stands in the East, and places silver shavings upon the ground, proclaiming, “Sepharian! Archangel of Purity, of Prosperity, of Authority, guide my hands to drive out the evil that I bring before you!”
Liturgy – The Priest’s hand is placed upon the target and it is exclaimed, “Deus Regnat Exultet Terra, Fiat Justitia!”
If the ritual that was cast on the target was Triumverati in nature and is of the same level as the Priest or below, it is broken and the target is free of its effect. If the ritual that was cast on the target was Triumverati in nature but of a higher level than the cultist, then the effect is weakened- at staff discretion.
This ritual does not work on effects that are not Triumverati in nature.
Remove or enforce an obligation on an individual.
Just as your words justify and exonerate you, so too do your own words condemn you more surely and thoroughly than an accuser’s finger.
Offering – A rare stone is destroyed before the target, crushed beneath the Priest’s heel.
Focus – The pointer and pinky finger of the Priest’s dominant hand are thrust at the target, their middle finger, ring finger, and thumb grasping the cord of a silver leonem.
Liturgy – “God invests Sepharian alone with His authority, that he might judge all oaths and oathbreakers. He sees you now, and will judge you on the day of your final breath. I am his conduit, chose to speak in his name on earth, to judge your oaths and integrity in life. I charge you to [avow/abjure] this oath, that you might [keep/be free of] it until you meet the Judge of Souls.”
Act – The oath in question is spoken.
Liturgy – “The chains of obligation now [bind you/are lifted]. Give thanks to god for his mercy. In Veritate.”
Avow: The target is bound to do or not do a specific thing, and it is added to their Honor Code as an additional tenet for the rest of the event. Additionally, if they break said oath, they are guilty of Deadly Sloth in addition to the effects of breaking an Honor Code. This does not require the subject to agree to be bound by said oath.
Abjure: The target becomes unbound of an oath they have sworn or have had placed upon them within game. They can now act against it without gaining Deadly Sloth. This does not apply to flaws such as Honor Code tenets.
Oils of Benediction
Bless a vial of oils to bolster your allies or destroy your foes.
Let your faith be the oil that stokes the cleansing fires of absolution to even greater heights.
Offering – A bed of coal or charcoal is set alight by the Priest.
Offering – A pot is then filled with Holy Water and brought to a boil.
Offering – Fine Meat is added to the pot by the Priest.
Liturgy – “Sepharian, Archangel of Kings, Arbiter of the Final Word, I call to thee. I beseech thee to wash this unction of its earthly taint, and instill in it the essence of your judgement. Let it wash doubt from the minds of your faithful, and wickedness from the flesh of your enemies. Let it be your burning blade in the darkness, and trust in me, your vessel, to wield it. In Veritate.”
Act – The Liturgy is spoken once every seven minutes, until it has been said seven times.
Focus – The oils that have risen to the top are collected in three glass vials.
Offering – The vials are sealed with a cork, and the corks coated in beeswax.
Act – The Seal of Sepharian is carved into the wax.
This rite creates three Oils of Benediction, each in their own vial. Oils blessed in this manner may serve two different purposes and may be used in other rituals.
Anoint: Any who have the Seal of Sepharian drawn on their forehead with the oil gain +2 Resolve for a maximum of 3 for a number of hours equal to the Priest ranks of the Inquisitor who created it.
Ignis: The use of oils can anoint a melee weapon and be set alight. The flame will burn for one combat scene, and will not damage the weapon that lights it. This
The Root of All Evil
Find another through his minions
“Flectere si nequeo superos, Achaeronta movebo.”
Act – The target is brought to an empty field in the middle of the night. Six torches, lanterns, or candles are lit and placed around the target.
Focus – A Leonem is placed within a bowl in front of the target.
Offering – The hand of the Priest is cut, their blood allowed to drip into the bowl to cover the Leonem, praying as they take a wound.
Act – The symbol of Sepharian is drawn upon the forehead of the target.
Liturgy – “As Benalus commanded his armies, and god his angels, so too does Seraphian commands you, speak, and tell me of they who you follow!”
The cultist issues a Divine Obey: “Tell me which priest you follow” which the Target must answer. If the Priest then writes this name upon the Leonem, it will pull in the direction of the named Priest until the next sunset.
Create a Protection against Evil
They are the enemies of the human race: rational in mind, but reasoning without words; subtle in wickedness, eager to hurt; ever fertile in fresh deceptions, they change the perceptions and befoul the emotions of men, they confound the watchful, and in dreams disturb the sleeping.
Offering – Cleansed Triumvirati Ashes are collected by the Priest in a vessel.
Offering – The Blood of a Virgin is combined into the vessel.
Offering – The contents of the vessel are poured into a crucible, and combined with gold.
Focus – Metalworking Professional Tools are used to forge the offerings together into a pendant in the shape of a Seal of Sepharian. (Requires Metalworking 1)
Liturgy – “Sepharian, I call to you to bless this shield of faith. May it protect he who wields it against the corruption of god’s enemies, and defend them in the name of the Lord our god. In Veritate.”
Offering – The pendant is quenched in Holy Water.
Any person that is Faith in Higher Power that wears the Rosarius is warded against spells and damnations. They are immune to the Damnation state, and any non-Benalian rites that include them as a target take an amount of Vulgarity equal to the Rank of the Inquisitor that made it. Further, they may call Divine Armor against a spell that targets them or the Rosarius once per Rest up to seven times before the Rosarius shatters. The Rosarius may act as any kind of Leonem in any other Rite without inciting Vulgarity.
Take on a new vow to do that which others cannot do
One should bear in mind that, just as the same medicine is not applicable to all the members of the body, but there are various and distinct salves for each separate member, so too should the means by which we impact and cleanse the world be different and varied, for ultimately all is in service to god.
Offering – The Priest anoints themself with Oils of Benediction in the shape of the Seal of Sepharian.
Offering– The Priest’s hand is placed atop the Holy Writ of the relevant order before the text is set aflame.
Liturgy – “Sepharian stands judge of all men who pass from this world, and of god’s chosen priests upon the earth most of all. Yet, it is a judge’s place to consider all things that might affect the actions of man. We are all imperfect men, in an imperfect land, living in imperfect times. Such is it that some departures from the path might be forgiven. In Veritate.”
Act – The Vow of the relevant Order is named, and sworn to be followed for a single month.
If this ritual is successful, the Sepharihim Priest may immediately perform a single ritual from a different order of the Benelian faith as if they were sworn to that order themselves. If they break that vow, not only do they gain 3 Depravity for Breaking their Sworn Oath, a Deadly Sin of Sloth, but this Depravity may not be removed by any source save Atonement or Cleansing Flame. Until that Depravity is removed, the target is Damned. The Damned state may be removed as normal by other Rites, but is automatically removed when the Depravity gained in this ritual is removed.