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Here is the last article in my Karameikos series. Having already discussed and revised goblinoid tribes, societies and organisations, and history, we arrive to the topic of religions, which of course is quite well covered in the official material. So, I'll not be discussing the theology of the CoK or CoT -- these are well known -- but rather their history and organisation. The other main part of the article is about two major entropic cults: the Dark Triad (or Cult of Demons), which collects the various references to Leptar and Orcus in canon material, as well as non-canon material about the Witches of Dymrak and the Black Opal Eye; and the Gens Caelenes, the Iron Ring cult introduced in my earlier article on societies and organisations.
A brief coverage of demihuman, goblinoid, and foreign religions closes up the work.
Religions of Karameikosby Giampaolo Agosta
This chapter expands the description of the religions and cults present in Karameikos.
While the Church of Karameikos and the Church of Traladara together attract circa 95% of the human population of Karameikos, there remains a 5% of the population that either follow foreign cults (e.g., churches from Thyatis, Darokin or the Minrothad Guilds) or even darker, entropic cults.
The Church of Traladara
Circa 70% of the human population of Karameikos belongs to the Church of Traladara, the major native religion.
While its belief date back to the Traldar Age of Heroes, the church itself has been around for circa six centuries.
It has suffered several major setbacks with the Silver Purge, the holy wars, and finally the Marilenev rebellion, which all but destroyed a generation of church leaders.
The Church of Traladara worships primarily the three Great Heroes, Halav, Petra and Zirchev.
None of the three is given precedence over the other, as the church stresses the importance of cooperation and strength found in unity.
Several other Immortals are acknowledged as powerful, but remote, forces.
These are mostly the Immortals worshipped by the ancient Traldar -- Ixion, Khoronus, Djaea, Tyche, Asterius, and so on.
However, these Immortals are not generally worshipped and only theology specialists are aware of their existence, names, and rituals.
Most clerics just know that the Tarsian Twelve are powerful Immortals that were once the patron of the Traldar people, but left that role to Halav, Petra and Zirchev.
Modern Traladaran cleric associate the Tarsian Twelve with natural phenomena that are beyond the control of humans -- such as the sun, earth, and weather.
Finally, several lesser heroes are also acknowledged, and local cultural activities are held to honour them.
These may be Immortals, such as Chardastes, or simply long-gone mortal heroes or kings, such as Tarhek the Radiant or Prince Ithron.
The church activities and rituals focus on the historical events of the Song of Halav, with festivals where the battles against the Beastmen are re-enacted, and, on a smaller scale, on the spiritual needs of the worshippers.
Traladaran priests are generally down to earth, and so are their teachings -- generally, they are oriented toward tolerance, goodwill, respect of fellow humans and similar virtues.
The concept of sin is not clearly distinguished from that of crime -- in general, the Traladaran priests did act as judges in the pre-Thyatian clan system, and the modern theology closely reflects that approach, even though modern priests do not have judiciary powers.
The Church of Traladara was formed around 400 AC in the town of Marilenev, as a result of the closer interactions between the local Traladaran population and clerics from Thyatis, Harbortown and New Alphatia.
The original Traladaran cult had been much more informal, with clerics generally trained in a master-apprentice system within each major clan.
Since the Traladaran culture was orally transmitted, the priests served primarily as bards, advisers and healers to the Traladaran nobles, in many ways like the modern godi in the Northern Reaches.
Halav was the most popular patron, though Petra was also well liked by the townsfolk, and Zirchev had some following in the more remote communities.
When the Thyatian missionaries started collecting the Song of Halav, and taught the Traladaran how to write, they set the basis for the unification of the religious thought across all of Traladara.
Three main ways of thought emerged, based in the towns of Svoga (near Halag), Marilenev and Selenica.
The Selenican church was heavily influenced by its ties with the Darokin monarchy, and, while named Church of Halav, did actually retain much of the older Traldar pantheon, including Ixion, Khoronus and especially Asterius.
It quickly spread across the mountains to the northern Traladaran clans in Lugsid (modern Threshold) and Vaion (near the site of modern Penhaligon, but on the northern bank of the Shutturga).
Its coat of arms displayed per pale: azure, the moon; or, Halav proper.
The Marilenev church was more similar to the modern Church of Traladara, and was the first to bear that name.
It was more influenced by Thyatian missionaries, and it was the first to adopt the brown robe as a formal clerical vestment.
Its coat of arms displayed natural, a priest argent.
The Svogan church had more influences from the neighbouring Five Shires, as well as from Harbortown -- the real power behind the throne in western Traladara at that time.
This church focused its worship on Halav alone, leaving only a lesser role to Petra and Zirchev.
It was also more militant, and in the decades between 400 and 450 AC, it raised a military order, the Knights of Halav.
Its coat of arms displayed natural, a sword or armed argent.
The three churches had slightly different beliefs and philosophies, and controlled territories allied with different powers.
Thus, they did not last long -- a cruel civil war erupted, and the Svogan Church of Halav was all but destroyed, while the Selenican church survived beyond the mountains under the Alasiyan emirs.
The modern Church of Halav in the Gulf of Hule and the Church of Olgar in Hule are direct descendants of the original Svogan Church of Halav, brought to the Savage Coast by exiled priests from the Halag region.
The Church of Traladara managed to survive through a number of other crises, including the Vampire Wars and the Marilenev Rebellion.
The rebellion brought the death of many church officials who had sided with the Marilenev against young Duke Stefan, leaving the church with few experienced leaders.
Only now is the church recovering, under the leadership of Patriarch Aleksyev Nikelnevich.
The church is led by the Patriarch of Marilenev, Aleksyev Nikelnevitch (C11), a capable, middle-aged warrior priest.
Unfortunately, there are few other experienced clerics, as the old generation priests are getting too old, and the best members of the generation of the 940 died in the conquest and rebellion.
Moreover, Sergyev's schism of 995 brought away more priests -- Sergyev himself was the second highest ranking church official, the Patriarch of Krakatos.
A crop of younger priests is being named to important positions, such as the freshly-named Bishop of Kelvin, Balahov, and the Patriarchs of Vaion (Penhaligon) and Vidrin (Vorloi).
However, the Patriarch of Luln (actually, of Halag in exile), Arkadi, has recently died of old age, and the Patriarch is looking for a suitable replacement.
Historically, the Church was organised into twelve Patriarchates (Marilenev, Vidrin, Dmitrov, Krakatos, Halavos, Vaion, Lugsid, Lumm, Halag, Ourosco, Koriszegy, and Svoga), four from each of the three original branches of the church.
In time, the see of the Patriarchs of Krakatos moved to Lazkow, the Patriarchates of Halag and Svoga were merged into a single see, and the Patriarchate of Halavos moved first to Volaga and in modern times to Kelvin.
During the Vampire Wars, the Patriarchates of Vaion, Lumm, Koriszegy, and Lugsid were all but destroyed, and have since remained vacant, or assigned as honorary titles to high-ranking priests in Specularum.
Only the Patriarchate of Vaion was re-established about twenty years ago, in Penhaligon.
There have been talks of re-establishing the Patriarchate of Lugsid in Threshold, but the loss of the Shield of Halav, the famed relic traditionally protected by the Patriarch of Lugsid, as well as the strong presence of the Church of Karameikos in Threshold still render this project infeasible.
The current status of each Patriarchate is reported in Table 1.
Table: Patriarchates of the Church of Traladara
Patriarchate Holder Vampire Wars age see Current see Marilenev Aleksyev Nikelnevich Marilenev Specularum Krakatos Vacant since 995 AC Lazkow Specularum Vidrin Tamara Iliescu Vidrin Vorloi Dmitrov Zoltan Shtolin Dmitrov Dmitrov Halavos Vassily Balahov (regent) Halavos, Volaga Kelvin Vaion Vladimir Marushka Vaion Penhaligon Lugsid (not assigned since 900 AC) Lugsid Threshold Lumm (not assigned since 721 AC) Lumm N/A Halag Vacant since 1000 AC Halag Luln Ourosco Jozsef Kazmarek Ourosco Vandevicsny Koriszegy (not assigned since 743 AC) N/A N/A Svoga (merged with Halag) Halag Luln
Below the Patriarchs, the traditional organisation only had Priests and Novices.
In modern times, Bishops have been introduced, modelled on the Church of Thyatis, to take responsibility for populated regions that are not part of one of the historical Patriarchates, such as Rugalov.
Bishops also replace Patriarchs in some recently re-established sees, such as Kelvin and, until a few years ago, Penhaligon, or help the Patriarchs of sees that have grown beyond the managing of a single person, such as in Specularum.
The Church of Karameikos
The Church of Karameikos is a modern cult with roots in Thyatian theology and philosophy.
Its is the religion followed by the vast majority of Thyatian-blooded Karameikans, as well as by many Karameikans of mixed blood, and some Traladarans.
It is mainly a Lawful religion, even though its pantheon includes Immortals of all alignments.
It basically teaches that the fate of each soul in the afterlife is based on its balance of sins.
The Church provides rituals through which worshippers may free their souls from sins.
As such, the beliefs of the Church of Karameikos tend to take the form of very detailed precepts of life, with the associated penances for each violation.
In this sense, the Church is much more dogmatic than its Thyatian ancestor -- which simply mediates between Immortals and mortals, generally letting every Immortals' priesthood set its own standard and preach its own doctrine, within a general framework.
This policy was chosen by the founders to ensure a greater cohesion of the new Church, and avoid the periodic crises that affected the Church of Thyatis.
The Church of Karameikos is also bent on proselytising.
Missionary efforts have been mostly directed towards the Traladaran natives, though recently clerics are being sent to the Five Shires as well -- though, once more, with no success to report.
The major Immortal patrons recognised by the Church of Karameikos are Asterius, Pax Bellanica (Tarastia), Vanya, Valerias, Ilsundal, and Kagyar.
Ilsundal and Kagyar were chosen by the founders to appeal to the demi-human inhabitants of the Grand Duchy, though with very limited success, as the demi-humans have a very different view of religion, more related to personal or family worship than to public, ritualistic worship.
Vanya, Valerias and Tarastia were chosen as the major Thyatian Immortals -- the presence of these Immortals guarantees that the Thyatians who come to Karameikos see the Church as simply a national variant of the Church of Thyatis.
The philosophy of the church actually does not agree much with the teachings of Valerias, but the Girder-On of Weapons is so popular that the new Church could not expect much following, had it not included her.
Asterius is the personal patron of Patriarch Olliver Jowett, the leader and founder of the Church.
This Immortal is worshipped in his aspect as the patron of trade and merchants.
The Church of Karameikos is a recent creation.
Up to thirty years ago, its founders were priests of the Church of Thyatis.
They were called by Duke Stefan Karameikos to cater to the spiritual needs of the Thyatian settlers who were colonising Traladara.
Under the leadership of Patriarch Olliver Jowett, these priests decided to leave the Church of Thyatis and found a new church.
There were several reason for leaving the Church -- political ones, as Duke Stefan wanted the Church to work towards the full independence of Karameikos from Thyatis, but also philosophical and practical ones.
The Church of Thyatis was indeed prone to infighting, due to the many different Immortals and philosophies accepted, and to corruption, since position were awarded by the Emperor, the Senate, or by election rather than by the will of the Immortals.
The constant quarrels between radical followers of Ixion and Vanya might be tolerable in cosmopolitan Thyatis, but would be a fatal weakness in a frontier land like Karameikos.
Thus, Patriarch Jowett and his followers selected a smaller set of Immortals that would be looked up as models for the new church, and used their own philosophies as the one and only doctrine of the church.
Since many of Duke Stefan's followers were Kerendans or Hattians, Vanya included in the pantheon, but Ixion was left out.
The new church was very successful in converting the Thyatian colonist, most of whom had been fairly poor, if not ruined, in Thyatis, and wanted to build a new life in Karameikos, much less in converting the Traladarans.
Thus, fanatical factions developed within the Church, preaching the forced conversion of unbelievers.
Only the authority of Patriarch Jowett keeps these factions from launching a crusade against the Church of Traladara.
Unfortunately, Jowett is now old, and will not be able to keep the leadership for long.
It is impossible to say whether the moderate wing, led by Patriarch Sherlane Halaran, will be able to rebuff the extremist wing of Patriarch Alfric Oderbry.
The Church of Karameikos has many more Patriarchs and Bishops than the Church of Traladara, even though it has a much smaller number of Priests.
Most priests of the Church of Karameikos live in structures owned by the Church itself, and work exclusively for the Church.
Thus, there are fewer itinerant priests and even fewer village priests than in the Church of Traladara.
On the other hand, each temple of the Church of Karameikos is generally manned by more priests and novices than the typical Traladaran shrine.
Geographically, the structure of the Church mirrors the administrative organisation of the Grand Duchy of Karameikos.
Each fief is considered a Diocese, which may be the see of a Bishop or a Patriarch.
The Patriarchal or Episcopal titles, however, are not directly linked to the sees -- though there are enough Patriarchs that none of the baronial Dioceses is held by a Bishop.
Indeed, Patriarchs like Alfric Oderbry and Aleena Halaran are not attached to a specific see, having instead other positions in the church -- either as high officials (Marshals) in the Order of the Griffon, or as Vicars (overseers of a single city) or Legates (ambassadors to other nations).
The same happens for Bishops not awarded their own Diocese.
Also, some Dioceses are not truly active, especially those in Traladaran fiefs like Marilenev, Sulescu, Vandevicsny, Rugalov and Dmitrov.
The titles are still awarded to Bishops, but these priests actually reside in Specularum, mostly involved in political manoeuvres to obtain funds for missionary activities from the Duke.
In addition to the Dioceses, there are Chaplaincies, which are associated with less civilised territories under military jurisdiction.
Currently, the Order of the Griffon does not have any hall or monastery outside Specularum.
It does, however, provide military chaplains to the five keeps of Karameikos.
Any Priest-Knight of the Order of the Griffon can be assigned as Chaplain, though often this is a position reserved to Bishop-Knights.
The Cult of Halav
The Cult of Halav is a small, newer religion.
It was born in 995 AC, when Patriarch Sergyev received a vision in dreams, which told him that the Immortals had reincarnated King Halav in Stefan Karameikos.
Surprisingly enough, Sergyev was able to persuade a number of clerics of the Church of Traladara, and founded his own cult.
While the priests of the Cult are generally considered madmen, they receive clerical powers, which means that theirs is not a fake religion.
However, their powers do not mirror those of the priests of Halav, though this is not apparent.
The Cult has no strict organisation.
Patriarch Sergyev is the unchallenged leader.
Under Sergyev there are cell leaders, who are in charge of smaller or larger groups of cultists.
The Cult of Halav currently exists only in Specularum and Kelvin, and has only a very limited number of followers, less than 1\% of the Karameikan population.
The three demi-human nations of Karameikos have their own cultures, laws, and religions.
The Kingdom of Highforge is, like most dwarven and gnomish groups, very secretive about its religious practices.
The dwarves worship Kagyar, and the Gnomes worship Garal Glitterlode.
The followers of this two Immortals generally do not interfere with each other, and keep their beliefs to themselves.
The Callarii Elves follow Ilsundal and Mealiden, while the Vyalia follow Ordana and Ilsundal.
Both clans have their own Tree of Life, though the Vyalia tree resides in Thyatian territory.
Karameikan Hin are mostly clanless.
Most of them remember the legends and songs of the High Heroes, but there is no organised cult.
Few demi-human have any interest in human religions.
Those who do are seen as eccentrics, but are generally left to their own devices.
The Goblinoid Pantheon
Since Karameikan tribes are smaller than Broken Lands tribes, they generally stick with one or two Immortals at most.
As usual, worship of opposed deities often leads to feuds and even open war between neighbouring tribes.
However, the Bugbear followers of Bartziluth and the Gnoll followers of Ranivorus are divided by large expanses of Elven and Human territory, so open wars are uncommon.
Wogar is the most popular goblinoid Immortal, since there are many more goblin than goblinoids of other races.
Bartziluth, Karaash and Ranivorus follow, with Jammudaru, Yagrai and Kurtulmak having the smallest cults.
In addition to the traditional Goblinoid Immortals, several Entropic powers are worshipped, especially Orcus and Leptar.
The Dark Triad
Also known as the Temple of Evil Chaos in ancient sources, or as the Cult of Demons, the Dark Triad is a powerful force for evil in Karameikos.
This cult worships primarily Orcus, but also other Immortal Fiends, especially Leptar and Demogorgon -- together, the three Entropic form the Triad that gives the name to this cult.
In ancient times, Demogorgon was the primary focus of the cult, but since the great lycanthropic plagues, the Orcus faction has gained the upper hand.
The other Immortal Fiends are seldom worshipped, but are still part of the cult's pantheon.
The origins of the Dark Triad are lost in the depths of time.
The Temple of Evil Chaos already existed in the heroic age of the Traldar.
At that time, Demogorgon was the unchallenged leader of the pantheon, but was largely ineffectual in undermining the Tarsian Twelve.
Thus, other Entropic Immortals took the initiative, leading the Gnollish hordes to the lands of Traldar.
The cult barely survived the Beastman war, and was reduced to individual witches and the occasional isolated village of entropic cultists.
Then, Orcus came, set on becoming Halav's nemesis.
First, he sent his pawns, the Witches of Dymrak, to recruit a great hobgoblin king, Leptar, securing many goblinoid clans to the cause of Evil Chaos.
Leptar succeeded in his goals to a great extent, joining the cult pantheon as an Immortal, and leading to the modern Dark Triad.
Then, Orcus engineered the theft of the Black Opal Eye and the corruption of the magician Trinkla, reducing the power of the Seer of the Lake of Lost Dreams.
However, his plan was for a short time foiled by the Alphatian-trained, Thyatian-born wizard Elyas, who became the new Seer and recovered the Eye.
Orcus sent the three witches, Karelena, Solorena and Trilena, to kill Elyas.
They succeeded, but Elyas was able to bind the spirits of the three witches, and the Black Opal Eye was lost.
The Dark Prince then brought the lycanthropes, who desired revenge for the Silver Purge, into the cult, making it easier for the cultists to survive in the dangerous wildernesses of Traladara.
The influx of lycanthropes in the cult brought not only the werewolf's hardiness, ferocity and survival skills, but, perhaps more importantly, the devil swine's ability to control and manipulate others.
As the dust of the Traladaran Wars settled down, the cult was able to infiltrate the towns.
Vaion especially fell to the cult, leading to the corruption of the Monastery on the Hill, and the rise of Queen Elendorath during the Vampire Wars.
In the end, the Cult of Demons was defeated, Vaion was destroyed and the Monastery on the Hill razed.
The cult itself, however, survived -- in the werewolf lairs of the Wufwolde hills and the Cruth Lowlands, in the goblinoid holdings in the Caves of Chaos, and in the dread forest of Dymrak.
The Cult of Demons is a chaotic organisation -- almost a contradiction in terms.
Personal power and pacts with the Immortal patrons rather than hierarchy drive the cultists, making it difficult to eradicate, as not even the most powerful members have control over the whole structure.
On the other hand, the organisation suffers from infighting, conflicting personal agenda, and lack of communication.
The Cult of Demons is stronger in eastern Karameikos, especially in the Altan Tepee mountains, the Wufwolde hills and the Dymrak Forest.
The main strength of the Dark Triad is in their numerous, powerful pawns, including the following:
- The green dragon Argos the Worrier. From his lair under the Rugalov River, Argos controls several goblin tribes and a number of lesser dragons. In spite of his power, the dragon is exceedingly careful, as if his secret allegiance to Orcus was exposed, all other dragon kings would team up against him.
- The Witches of Dymrak. These nine mysterious witches have been around for almost two millennia, plotting and scheming -- often furthering Orcus' goals, other times their own. The witches control several strong goblin clans, but have a powerful enemy in the Seer of the Lake of Lost Dreams.
- The Gambler. The devil swine known only as The Gambler is a travelling agent of the Dark Triad.
- Several werewolf clans in the Wufwolde Hills and the Cruth Lowlands. The werewolf priest, Kalkask, leads the Cult of Demons in the Wufwolde hills.
- Ilyana Penhaligon. This warrior woman, the half-sister of Lady Arteris and self-proclaimed "Queen of Vaion", is dominated by the spirit of Elendorath, the old Queen of Vaion, who was herself a cultist of Orcus. The evil priest, Bernal, acts as her adviser. Ilyana has recruited a number of mercenaries, both human and goblinoid.
- Elwyn the Ardent. A former priestess of the Church of Karameikos, Elwyn is now devoted to Leptar, and is the driving force behind the resurrection of the Cult of Demons in the area between Penhaligon and Threshold.
- Other goblinoid tribes. The ancient Temple of Evil Chaos still survives in the Caves of Chaos, near the Castellan's Keep, and attracts a number of orcish and goblin tribes. Also, the dungeons of the Monastery on the Hill are still home to goblinoid cultists.
The Gens Celaenes
This fractious cult is based in Fort Doom, and finds most of its adepts among the members of the Iron Ring.
It is a Thyatianized version of the cult of Kala, which the Iron Ring clerics have taken up in Jaibul.
Table 2: The Iron Ring Pantheon
Sindhi name Standard name Meaning of Sindhi name Thyatian name Kala Hel "The Black" Celaene Mahavasha Masauwu "Great Spirit" Magnanimus Jammudaru Jammudaru "Killer in revenge" Antiphon Bhajyagwan Loki "The Veiled One" Aphantos, Farbautides (rarely) Bhrsharadha Brissard "He who prospers through violence" Hybristes
The Iron Ring imported from its primary trading partner, Jaibul, a number of dark gods, including Hel, Masauwu, Jammudaru, Loki and Brissard.
The Iron Ring cultists rarely use the Sindhi names for the various Immortals, using instead the Thyatian names listed in Table 2.
The cultists refer to themself as the Gens Celaenes, that is the "House of Black Goddess".
The Iron Ring was formed when a branch of the Shadow Hand, the largest Thyatian Thieves' Guild, moved in to Halag in 973 AC.
At that time, the Black Eagle was facing the opposition of a local Thieves' Guild, an organisation similar to Specularum's Veiled Society.
He turned therefore to his court wizard for help in dealing with these stealthy enemies, who had already tried thrice to assassinate him.
The wizard, one Lucius Pamphilion, decided it was best to use thieves to catch thieves.
His own shady past gave him the right contacts, and he was able to persuade a high ranking Shadow Hand guildsman, Lamacus, who had made several powerful enemies within the guild, to move in Fort Doom with his followers, where they would enjoy the Baron's protection in return for taking care of the local thieves.
Within three years, the newly formed group, not yet known as the Iron Ring, got rid of the local opposition with the help of Pamphilion and his apprentices.
However, there was little left for them to do -- they could not steal from the rich, since the Baron had reduced the Traladarans to poverty, nor they could take over the protection racket from their Traladaran predecessors, since the Baron was already squeezing the local merchants dry.
Then, one of Pamphilion's apprentices had a brilliant idea -- the Black Eagle's rule was raising more and more discontent among the local population.
While the Baron seized as many political opponents as he could, his dungeons were getting full of them.
So the wizard proposed to Von Hendricks to let the unemployed thieves dispose of the prisoners.
This led to the formation of the modern Iron Ring, as former Ierendi pirates joined in to provide the means to transport the prisoners to Jaibul, the prime market for slaves. Thyatis was originally avoided due to the enmity between the Shadow Hand and Lamacus.
Some of the most regular customers of the Iron Ring were the priests of Kala, Bhrsharadha and Mahavasha.
As the slave traffic became the most important source of revenue for the Iron Ring, some members started converting to the cult of these Immortals, especially Bhrsharadha.
By 980 AC, the influx of political prisoner was down to levels insufficient to support the market request for slaves.
So, the Iron Ring leadership, which, after the death of Lamacus, was composed of former apprentices of both Lamacus and Pamphilion, had to expand their business outside the Black Eagle Barony.
The Iron Ring was now structured in two layers: the Masters, leaders of the organisation, and the Reavers, some of whom served under the Masters in Fort Doom, while others, more experienced, served as contacts in the various Karameikan towns or as travelling agents.
Reavers were in charge of procuring new slaves by kidnapping travellers, foreigners, or other people who would not raise much trouble on their sudden disappearance.
Contacts were established with goblinoid tribes such as the Vileraider Bugbears to provide further slaves and manage the secret transfers of slaves across the country.
Meanwhile, the Reavers started working in the business of assassination as well as kidnapping rich people in order to exact a ransom.
The last major change to the Iron Ring structure came when Bargle the Infamous slew old Lucius Pamphilion and took his place as court wizard of the Black Eagle.
Instead of killing the Iron Ring wizards, he helped them in disposing of the non-magic using Masters, and in establishing a further division between lesser and greater Masters.
The newly established leaders of the Iron Ring, working on Bargle's recommendation, started investigating into magical occurrences, old artifacts and treasures all over the nation.
To this end, clerical help was now needed, and so were bodyguards.
The Iron Ring itself had many fighters, but they were all needed to keep the flow of slaves, and to keep track of their goblinoid allies, lest they started pocketing slaves from the caravans.
So, the Masters turned to the Jaibul priesthoods.
They offered favourable trading conditions in exchange for the training of priests, chosen among the Reavers of the Iron Ring, as well as knowledge of the hypnotic techniques developed by the priests of Bhajyagwan and Mahavasha.
Armed with this knowledge, the Masters went on to create their perfect tools -- the mind washed warriors known as the Hounds of the Iron Rings.
Nowadays, low-level priests of the five primary Jaibulite Immortals are quite common in the ranks of the Iron Ring Reavers.
While these priests serve the Iron Ring, they also advance the agenda of the Jaibul priests -- and therefore of their allies from the Hulean Temple of Chaos.
In Karameikos, the Gens Celaenes is part of the Iron Ring organisation, and shares its hierarchy and leadership.
However, the priests also answer to the high priests of Kala in Jaibul.
Since these leaders are so distant, and the Iron Ring Masters appear to support the Jaibul priests, the issue of double loyalties has not yet arisen.
Priests of this Sindhi cult often serve as support staff for the Iron Ring Masters or as liaisons with several goblinoid tribes allied to the Iron Ring.
Many lesser priests are also employed to "program" animated corpses used as guards or to select and mind wash prospective Hounds.
This cult is gaining some following among the most evil goblinoids that serve the Black Eagle Baron or work with the Iron Ring.
Other Powers and Religions
A few other powers are worshipped in Karameikos, thought these cults are generally followed only by a few individuals.
Nyx is worshipped by a few humanoids (the Dark Web tribe under the Zargash mountains), as well as by a few Nosferatu, "grey" necromancers, witches and other odd individuals.
However, several major underground temples of Nyx are hidden in various locations under Karameikos.
These are actually ruins of the Taymor civilisation, and several contain sleeping undead servants of this Entropic power.
Like Nyx, Thanatos was the focus of much worship during the Taymoran Age.
Often, ancient temples to Thanatos are easy to confuse with those to Nyx, since few people are familiar with the esoteric Taymor symbology, and the underground temples have been abandoned for centuries.
One such error led the Count of Koriszegy to his tragic end -- what he thought an altar of Nyx had actually been the focus of bloody rituals of Thanatos, and his attempts to contact the first Immortal attracted the attention of the Grim Reaper, who cursed Koriszegy and destroyed his county.
Followers of Alphaks are fairly rare in this part of the world.
Alphaks is worshipped by the Temple of Evil Chaos, but is not part of the Dark Triad.
His major foray in Traladara happened two centuries ago, when he gained the allegiance of Morphail Gorevich-Woszlany, a wizard and noble in the Moor in north-eastern Traladara.
Morphail, however, was defeated and forced into exile by his enemies, and was never especially useful in establishing a strong cult of Alphaks.
Nowadays, some followers of Alphaks of Thyatian origin are found in Fort Doom and in Specularum, and a tribe of Hobgoblins has been converted to the worship of the Roaring Fiend.
Several shrines to foreign Immortals and cults are found in the Foreign Quarter of Specularum.
These include the Eternal Truth, Minrothism, Augrism, the Church of Thyatis and the Church of Darokin.
These shrines mostly serve the foreign communities, or act as embassies for the churches to the Karameikan government.
A. Allston, GAZ1: The Grand Duchy of Karameikos
G. Gygax, B2 Keep on the Borderlands
D. Niles, B5 Horror on the Hills
J. Bambra, G. Morris and P. Gallagher, B10 Night's Dark Terror
C. Sargent, B12 The Queen's Harvest
D. Brown, Church of Traladara Hierarchy
F. Defferrari, Dhrom Dhum Speaks
Håvard, The Witches of Dymrak
Håvard, Mighty Argos
Håvard, The Seer of the Lake of Lost Dreams
S. Wilson, Karameikan Timeline