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Temple of Rad

by Marco Dalmonte English translation by Gary Davies

Worshipped in: Glantri
Despite the mage princes of Glantri forbidding the spread of any type of religion or Immortal cult within the state, branding as heretics all the clerics and persecuting those not authorised by the direct permission of the Parliament*, there is within Glantri an official philosophy that all the mages follow and that to all effects can be considered the Glantrian state religion. The respectable citizens regularly frequent the temples of Rad, since within them they are encouraged to meditate and follow the practice of concentration and relaxation that aids both the memory and the spirit, a thing of certain usefulness for any spellcaster. The Philosophy of Rad is followed by these sages, and focuses them by training their minds to ponder the most abstract secrets of the universe, arriving each time to the conclusion that all the knowledge of the world itself can only be obtained through the reduction of the problems to just one answer: the Rad, the force that contains and sends out all the energy and the source of any illumination. In practice the practitioners of the philosophy are trained to perform a series of bizarre rituals (vocal and gestural) that simply serve to augment concentration and memory, and enable them to analyse with acute lucidity any problem or situation.
The Shepherds of Rad are tasked with organising the sessions of meditation and prayer, and are the guardians of the temples as well as the officials tasked by the princes of teaching the philosophy of Rad. In practice this involves mages who, thanks to the special talismans which they are given (whose secret of fabrication is jealously guarded by the caste of the shepherds), possess a greater wisdom, knowledge and perception of the universe and of its mysteries, and aid those who turn to them for counsel in exchange for an offering of money, thus collecting sufficient funds to build new temples and extend the Light of Rad. In reality the talismans are magical receptacles through which the members of the Brotherhood of the Radiance# send visions, orders and suggestions to the Shepherds, who believe instead they are hearing the “Voice of Rad”. Each brother influences the shepherds of the temples that have funded them, while Etienne d’Ambreville (founder of the first temples, a fact not known to many) controls all the others. The shepherds are absolutely loyal and obedient to any order received through the talisman, but Etienne (Rad) always controls that the other members of the brotherhood don’t exercise their powers in a dishonest manner, and punishes those who abuse this situation. Usually there are three set sessions of prayers open to all each day: at dawn, at sunset and at midday, while other private sessions are organised on request, and naturally each shepherd can enter into a trance and meditate when he feels the need (or when the Voice of Rad calls through the talisman). It is a good rule for any official who holds a public office and for all the mages to attend at least one session per day, while all the other Glantrians are invited (but not obliged) to frequent the temples at least once a week, in order to seek inner peace, tranquillity and the answers to the doubts and demands that nag them, from among the sound of a gong and choral vocalisations of the shepherds who lead the meditation, reflecting on the higher mysteries of the universe or on the commonest banalities of life.
In effect, keenly frequenting the meditation sessions (that is at least one hour a day) potenzia davvero the mnemonic abilities of the person, increasing his Intelligence by 1 point, even if the unending repetition of apparently absurd phrases and the maniac form of leading the meditation (banging his forehead on the gong at the end of each phrase) decreasing his Wisdom by 1 point. These effects just last for a day, manifesting themselves after a week of meditation and ending the moment when the subject departs from his daily meditation session.
*In 1001 AC indeed, some political transformers have approved a law that permits the practise of clerical magic in Glantri although within extremely restrictive conditions. The clerics must obtain a letter of authorisation from the ruler of the domain where they wish to practise their divine magic, and the ruler has the final word on the terms of the authorisation: imposition of taxes, type of magic permitted (merely healing etc.), expiration of the letter, and so on. The clerics are still prohibited from preaching their beliefs, despite any letter of authorisation, and merely the Parliament of the Council of Princes can grant a letter of sanction that allows a cleric to operate in the free territories of Glantri.
#The Brotherhood of the Radiance is a secret sect of Glantri to which only those that discover the existence of the magical energy that permeates Glantri and is able to channel and use it are able to approach. The Radiance emanates from the Nucleus of the Spheres, which is the remains of the FSS Beagle, that is the alien spaceship whose technology allowed the Blackmoor civilisation to quickly evolve and become a nuclear empire before the Great Rain of Fire (caused by the malfunctioning of its advanced technology) that removed it from the face of Mystara. The reactor of the Beagle was altered by the Immortals of the Sphere of Energy in order to prevent it from destroying the planet and was moved to Brun (under the territory of present day Glantri), and from that moment it was able to increase the influence of the Sphere of Energy in the universe allowing them to discover the secret of becoming Immortal without travelling one of the canonical paths.