Tenants of the War God
The War God is commonly worshipped by soldiers, marauders, and barbarians and given various names and guises. The religion’s tenants are strictly enforced and heterodox ideas are quickly stamped out by fellow clerics.
Basic Teachings: Strength through Struggle
The War God’s worshippers are taught by his clerics that all strength in this world comes through struggle. Without struggle, anything gained by an individual is worthless and of no value. There are several fables and parables used to prove this point such as the Prince’s Hollow Rule, The Titled Man of Rags, and the Commoner Who Made Dragons Kneel.
Prince’s Hollow Rule
This fable is told in several forms but typically shows the son of a king whom, after the king’s death, succeeded him. He had not done anything to earn this kingdom but be named by the king, who had conquered the land himself, as successor. The prince had led a spoiled life learning history, philosophy, and medicine but knew little of his kingdom, its people, or statecraft. His rule was terrible and the people came to view him with ridicule. Finally, a general of his army proclaimed himself king and killed and usurped the prince whose body was embalmed and put into a jester’s suit so that all could laugh at him forever. The moral of the story is that having not put any effort into gaining the kingdom, the kingdom was taken from the prince by one who had.
The Titled Man of Rags
This fable involves a man who started life as a courtier to a king. He loved to pay compliments and flatter those in power. Those whom he flattered loved his company and showered on him gold and titles. The gold he wasted on drink and company and flaunted the titles to those beneath him. Later in life there was a war; those who had bestowed on him the titles were ransomed and thrown out of power. They had no more gold to give and his compliments fell on deaf ears. His gold squandered on temporary things, he soon became a beggar in the street trying to earn enough gold begging to buy his daily bread. The moral is to never rely on others for your greatness but on your own sweat and labor. It also holds the moral of never squandering your money on frivolous things.
The Commoner Who Made Dragons Kneel
Unlike the other fables this one ends slightly happier. This parable is told only in the Confederation. It involves a commoner who is brought up as a hunter and great archer. He becomes a mercenary and makes a habit of killing those who insult him and intimidating others into doing what he says. He begins conquering land and presses all of the men into one army under his command. He leads from the middle and uses a great bow and horn to lead his men and kill his enemies. Finally, a dragon hears of him and sets out with his army to face the hunter. The hunter leads the dragon, who is always shown as arrogant and stupid, and his army into a trap. The hunter kills him and uses his wingbone to craft a special bow called Skyfall. He tans the skin and creates a great arrow-proof tarp which his armies march underneath while they siege Hoard-Holds. His power becomes so great that three dragons rise to meet him with their armies. Blowing his great horn he leads his armies against the combined might of the dragon’s. With Skyfall, he wounds all three and finally they surrender and pay him tribute to move on. The moral is that through unfettered strength, no power can stop a man’s will.
Unlike many religions, the church organization does not revolve around temples, monasteries,and universities. Rather, those who are members of the church typically will hold positions in militaries, bandit groups, or be weapons traffickers. The hierarchy is typically a secret though membership in the church is not. Because of the decentralised nature of the group a cleric is typically assigned to a unit and regiment. A cleric knows who initiated him and his fellows and probably who initiated his superior but not more. They use a system of signs and symbols to identify themselves in order to recognize distant members of the church.
The War God’s church is plagued by members of the gods of farming, peace, motherhood, and is frowned on by religions who view their gods as exclusively legitimate and view the War God’s followers as pirates and bellicose maniacs.