Greyhawk: Return to the Classic
I have decided to base the faith of Heironeous off of Eastern Orthodox; this does not mean that they were once joined with the church of Pelor. Remember that I’m not trying to affect the history of the world or the gods just simply trying to make these organizations more full colored. The Heironeian faith advocates the training of peasants to defend themselves. This makes the faith very unpopular in some kingdoms. For sacred language of the faith clerics, paladins, priests and all active members of the church will have the Language: Celestial (Heironian) this will be real life (Greek).
The half-brother and sworn enemy of Hextor, Heironeous is the son of Stern Alia, the goddess of Oeridan Culture, Motherhood, and Law. Another brother, Stratis, is mentioned in literature for the Chainmail miniatures game in Dragon Magazine #285, but he is deceased. Heironeous sponsored the apotheosis of the paladin Murlynd, and remains on very good terms with him.
In general, Heironeous considers all other gods who stand against evil to be allies, while those deities who promote suffering and evil he regards as foes. Specifically, however, he is a staunch ally of Al’Akbar, Allitur, Bahamut, Daern, Delleb, Fortubo, Johydee, Mayaheine, Murlynd, Pelor, Rao, Saint Cuthbert, Zilchus, and Zodal. His strong adherence to Law sometimes brings Heironeous into conflict with Trithereon. He finds Olidammara annoying at times, but tolerates him because of his charm and humor. Heironeous considers himself the enemy of Beltar, Bralm, Damaran, Erythnul, Hextor, Iuz, Kyuss, and Kurell, Llerg, Loth, Meyanok, Pyremius, Ralishaz, Raxivort, Syrul, Tezcatlipoca, Tharizdun, Tiamat, Tlaloc, Vara, Vecna, and Wastri.
Heironeous sees the world as a deadly place, filled with perpetual challenges and trials for those who battle for justice and defend the weak and innocent. His followers should always act with honor and chivalry, and to uphold justice. Danger is to be faced head-on, with calm and resolve. Those who defeat evil are rewarded with Glory, while those who uphold the tenets of the Arch-paladin are rewarded with Virtue. The Arch-paladin’s teachings have been codified in a chivalric code known as the Heironean Code.
The Heironean Code
The Heironean Code consists of three sets of duties:
Duty to the People. This duty stresses courage, justice, mercy, valor, protection of the weak, and faithfulness to church superiors of officer of righteous law. Duty to the Arch-paladin. This duty stresses obedience to Heironeous himself, devotion to the church, generosity, championing good against evil, putting the needs of the church and the faith above those of mortals. Duty to a Lady. This duty pertains to the concept of courtly love, devotion to one’s beloved, and respect toward all women in general.
- Be willing to make personal sacrifices in service of the precepts and people you value.
- Seek wisdom to see that courage means taking the side of truth in all matters, rather than seeking the expedient.
- Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death.
- Seek always the path of right unencumbered by bias or personal interest.
- Seek righteousness but remember to temper justice with mercy.
- Be generous in so far as your resources allow; largesse used in this way counters gluttony.
- Giving of yourself makes the path of mercy easier to discern when a difficult decision of justice is required.
- Seek excellence in all endeavors expected of a yeoman, knight, martial and otherwise, seeking strength to be used in the service of justice, rather than in personal aggrandizement.
- Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong.
- Seek always to defend your nation, your family, and those to whom you believe worthy of loyalty.
- Respect all weaknesses, and constitute yourself the defender of them.
- Be without fear in the face of your enemies.
- Believe all that the Church teaches, and observe all the Granges directions.
- Defend the Grange and the Church, she is a member of your community and you must defend her as such.
- Love the country in the which you where born, but always keep a watchful eye for tyranny, perform your duties as a countrymen if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
- Be brave and upright that God may love thee.
- Always fight against true Evil without cessation, and without mercy.
- Everywhere you go you shall always be a champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.
- Avoid covetousness like the deadly pestilence and embrace its opposite, love a person do not seek to poses them.
- Keep yourself chaste for the sake of they whom you love, promiscuity is the equivalent of lying to those you have pledged your love.
- Never knowingly strive to break up a correct love affair that someone else is engaged in.
- Be in all things polite and courteous.
- Devote yourself wholly to your love and never seek to upset them or they whom they are sworn to.
- All responsibilities of the one, become the duty of the two.
- Never harm your love in any way.
A number of holy texts are venerated by the faith of Heironeous. The best-known work is likely The Book of the Code, a four-chapter work outlining the Heironean Code and providing examples of how one is expected to follow it. Another well-known work is the Book of Penitence (also known as the Just Book), which describes the achievements of Ferrante, a legendary paladin who is now venerated as a saint by some Heironean sects.
The faith of Heironeous is a very militaristic one, launching crusades against evil and championing causes. As one would expect, many soldiers, city watchmen, mercenaries, and others who make their living by the sword find themselves honoring the Archpaladin.
Priests of Heironeous often travel the world to seek out and destroy evil. Older priests often work as strategists, military instructors, or judges. The primary goal of the church is to establish a means for the common people to defend themselves. Thus the majority of the church structure is devoted to this task. They organize grounds in each city for the training of any person interested in defending themselves and their family called Granges. They start these granges in any space that they can find, decrepit barns, old taverns, preferably abandoned forts but any space that can be made available in the community. The church very rarely spends money to build a grange, they are almost always donated by the community, because the church doesn’t have the extra funds to be able to just give these fortifications to a community. Besides the practical reason it is also symbolic of the community taking the responsibility to defend itself, the church does not give you the power to defend yourself it simply shows you how. The church will devote a good deal of funds to refurbishing a space and making it suitable for its new purpose, as well as insuring that it has a full supply of weapons.
Anyone that chooses to under go the training at the Grange of Heironeous, whether they are worshipers or not, are known as Yeoman and collectively known as the Blessed. They are taught by Marshals of Heironeous. Marshals are usually clerics but they can be knights or, in very rare cases, Paladins. Marshals all go through training at the High Temple of Heironeous. Marshals start their lives inside the granges as Yeoman, how they arrived in the granges is as many and varied as the individual but all start in the granges. From the community the Marshal selects one or maybe two people to become a Yeoman-Marshal, individuals who are to go down the path to become a Marshal. If someone is chosen to become a Yeoman-Marshal then they must spend several years, until their Marshal feels they are ready, training one-on-one with their Marshal. A Yeoman-Marshal must move into the grange, once they decided they wish to go down the path that has been laid before them, and devote themselves completely to their training. Once a Marshal is satisfied that they are destined to become a Marshal then the Marshal sends word to the High Temple and the Temple reassigns the Yeoman-Marshal to a new grange. After several more years of training in this new grange with a new Marshal, again time left up to the Marshal, they are sent to the high temple to complete their training. The training in the high temple is considered some of the best military officer training in the Flanaess, and kingdoms around the Oerth try to get their heirs accepted into the academy as a point of prestige. While non-Heironians may train at the High Temple they must pay for the privilege, Yeoman-Marshals have no such obligation. Once they have completed their training Marshals may either request placement in a grange or spread the influence of Heironeous in the manner they deem most appropriate. Once one is a Marshal they have full voting privileges during a Marshals Council. Marshals Councils are traditionally convened by the High Marshal for decisions that require an official declaration by the church. On the occasion of a High Marshals death or resignation a Marshals Council is automatically convened one month after the word of their death has been declared. Any Marshal, except paladins, may become High Marshal but it requires a 2/3 majority of all present Marshals to receive the title. A High Marshal may be impeached by a simple majority of all marshals submitting their grievance in writing.
The only prevailing exception to the traditional path to becoming a Marshal is the Paladin. Since Paladins are selected directly by Heironeous they do not necessarily conform to the path laid out for all other Marshals. Once one has heard the call they are considered a Marshal in the church of Heironeous. Large numbers of paladins in the Flanaess follow Heironeous, as he himself is one. Because of this, and his utter dedication to Law and Good, paladins of Heironeous can be among the most devout people on the Material Plane. It is claimed by his church that St. Cuthbert was the first paladin in the Flanaess and that he assisted the church of Heironeous and Pelor before the Great Migrations. The church does not disagrees with the followers of St. Cuthbert but they always make sure to point out, the first mortal paladin in the Flanaess. The hero-deity Murlynd was a paladin of Heironeous, and his order of White Paladins is actually part of Heironeous’s ecclesiastical hierarchy. The order of the White Paladin is the order for paladins who have lived to retirement. Once a Paladin of Heironeous has completed his duty to the Archpaladin he is given a grange to head. If a Marshals Council is called the Order of White Paladins represent the voice of all paladins of Heironeous, as the others will most likely be to busy to attend. While other Marshals will disperse by geography, or by any political leanings they may have within the church, the Order of the White Paladin dress completely in white and seat together during the meetings. Oddly enough while their word is respected above almost any other the order typically refrains from voting during the procedures. They offer advice when asked and will speak up if they feel that the church is losing sight of itself but they rarely bring their full influence to bear. The Order feels that it is inappropriate because of the misunderstanding of so many about their relationship with the Arch-Paladin even inside the church. That speaking with the presumption of his authority is akin to lying and deception. Famously quoted by one member when one of the assembly attempted to force the order to cast their votes to break a dead lock “If you wish to know the vote of God in this matter you can ask him; as for those who are his pious servants we will not have you siding with us because it is what you think he would want you to do. Use your wisdom and ability to work through your differences, as commanded by the Code and as we all know Arch-Paladin would demand of you should you contact him.” After this exchange the order entered quite prayer for the rest of the proceedings. Saint Handraleo the Swift, another paladin, is honored by a group of Heironeans called the Order of the True Strike.
Prominent paladins of Heironeous include Artur Jakartai, Belvor IV, and Karistyne.
The church of Heironeous is supported by numerous religious-military orders, some of which can trace their origins back to the church armies of the Great Kingdom (though none swear allegiance to the Malachite Throne or its successors today). Prominent examples include the Order of the Shining Sword, the Brotherhood of the Lance Unbroken, and the Copper Crusaders.
The Holy Order of the Supernal Topaz Defenders, or the Topaz Order for short, is an organization of Heironean clerics, paladins, fighters, fighter/clerics, and monks dedicated to purging the world of evil, aberrant races such illithids, beholders, grell, aboleths, and neogi. Their emblem is a brilliant yellow topaz on a field of cobalt blue.
Although this is uncommon, there are also orders of Heironean fighting-monks. The most famous is the Order of the Glory Everlasting, led by a former nobleman named Luther. The Order of the Glory Everlasting is dedicated to the preservation of Oeridian culture and the destruction of an order of Hextorian monks called the Brotherhood of the Gray Hand.
The most famous group of Heironean knights, however, are the Knights of Holy Shielding.
Knightly Heironean Orders:
- The Vigilant Order of the Bolt
- The Order of the Chalice
- The Order of the Copper Crusaders
- The Righteous Order of the Glory Everlasting
- The Pious Knights of Holy Shielding
- The Brotherhood of the Lance Unbroken
- The Sacred Order of the Plate
- The Order of the Protecting Fist
- The Holy Order of the Righteous Scales
- The Sacred Brotherhood of the Shining Sword
- The Holy Order of the Supernal Topaz Defenders
- The Order of the True Strike
- The Sacred Order of the White Paladins – Retired Paladins Only
The church of Heironeous also blesses the knightly orders of almost all Good governments in the Flanaess. Many Paladins will join one of these orders as well as a Heironean order to make it easier for them to deal with secular governments.
Temples, chapels, and shrines to Heironeous can be found throughout the Flanaess. There are almost no temples, sanctums or granges still standing from when the church was still paying for sights of worship to be built. The current practice is to have a community donate a sight to the church and then the church maintains it. In certain rare cases the church will devote funds to construction but these are exceptions. Heironeous’ church is the favored state religion of Nyrond and the Shield Lands, and his faith is also strong in Bissel, Furyondy, Gran March, the Free City of Irongate, Keoland, Sterich, and the Duchy of Urnst. Notable houses of worship include the Sanctum of Heironeous in Greyhawk City, as well as a chapel at Diamond Lake. The Kingdom of Thalland was once a major center of Heironeous’ faith; but since the building of the Great High Tempel in Pale, a gift of friendship by the church of Pelor, that has been the offical head of the faith.
There are several temples to Heironeous in Chendl, but the most prominent one is called the Spire of Glory, whose Marshal is Glorylord Marshal Gaeraeth Heldenster.
The Shield Reclaimed is a great cathedral in Critwall. It has only just begun to be rebuilt after being destroyed by the forces of Iuz during the Greyhawk Wars. Its Marshal is Hero of the First Rank Marshal Roderick Docamald.
Heironeous’ temples are decorated with blue and silver trappings, and often scenes of Heironeous triumphant in stained glass or tapistry.
Heironean services and holy texts are all in the Old Oeridian language (real life Greek). Services to Heironeous include triumphant battle hymns, offerings to copper statues of the god, and the sharing of hearty, strengthening foods such as meat, full-bodied red wine (in moderation), and spiced, stewed, kara-fruit. These servuses are usally held on Godsday. The most unique features of the church of Heironeous is the Exchange of Blows and the weekly grange night. The Arch-paladin teaches that all should be ready to fight against evil, thus whenever a member of the faithful enters a new city they are taught to make their way to the nearest grange to where they will be staying. Once there they are put onto the grange rolls so that the Marshal has an idea of whom they can summon and what kind of force they will muster if necessary; as part of checking in the Marshal tests the new arrivals combat prowess. This ritual of beating each other up has been seen by some as rather barbaric but it is a deeply important act to all Heironians. Grange night is every Starday and is when Yeoman and all faithful train in the granges.
Heironians destroy their bodies after death, primarily as a precaution against undead, but have no specific religious commandments about the disposal of a body. The respect to the dead is paid by the collection of their holy symbol. The church of Heironeous has many rituals and beliefs that set them apart from other faiths but none more so then the internment of the holy symbol. When one of the blessid dies their holy symbol is collected and their name is inscribed on the back. It is then the responsibility of a loved one, comrade, fellow worshiper, or good samaritan to present the holy symbol to the high temple as well as a written account of how they died and one act of piety, either in spreading good or fighting evil, during their life. The holy symbol is then placed into the racks in the High Temple and their acts recorded into the Great Rolls. The only members of the blessed that do not go into the racks are the High Marshals who led the church during time of war; otherwise every yeoman, marshal, and paladin is filed by date of death into the racks.
The Tests of Valor
Before advancing in rank, Yeomens-Marshal of Heironeous must clearly demonstrate their bravery, honor, and sense of justice. The exact nature of these tests varies, but they are revealed through prayer and divinely-inspired visions. They can range from tests of fortitude that can be completed within the temple to crusades against the forces of evil.
The church of Heironeous celebrates only a few major holy days, which usually mark the anniversaries of great battles, significant triumphs over evil, and visitations by the Archpaladin.
Communion is observed on the 10th of Sunsebb. It is a day of quiet introspection. The Day of Just Rebellion. This holy day, held late in Coldeven, commemorates the battles fought to free the Flanaess from the oppressive rule of the Occluded Empire of Vecna.
The Feast of Edoira. An interfaith celebration exclusive to the Domain of Greyhawk, Heironeans join Pelorians, Raoans, followers of St. Cuthbert in observing this holy day, which occurs on the 4th of Growfest.
Fortnight’s Feast. This two-week event lasts from late Wealsun to early Reaping, and celebrates the victories of the Heironean armies of the Kingdom of Aerdy over Nyrondal cavalry during the Battle of a Fortnight’s Length.
Justday, held on the 20th of Coldeven, is a time when each worshipper of Heironeous is expected to right some injustice. This can range from apologizing for minor misdeeds to attempting to liberate the Wild Coast from the Empire of Turrosh Mak. It commemorates the eradication of Holy Army of Herionius during the Dark Age.
Newmass, celebrated on the first day of Fireseek, is when Heironeans celebrate the new year. They spend it reflecting on the past year and giving one another gifts.
St. Ferrante’s Day is observed on the last day of Patchwall. The likeness of Ferrante is paraded about, candy is thrown at children, and much food is consumed.
Valormight. Held on one of the last days in Ready’reat, this holy day predates the founding of the Great Kingdom. Valormight commemorates a ten-month war in which Heironean forces are said to have been outnumbered six to one by Hextorians, yet still managed to confine the Hextorians to the lands east of the Flanmi River. This is regarded as the final victory over the forces evil ending the Dark ages.
Myths and legends
Heironeous and his half-brother Hextor were both born to Stern Alia, called the Shield Mother, goddess of Oeridian Culture, Motherhood, and Law. Alia had many lovers, and was often out visiting them even after the births of her sons. When Heironeous was born, his skin was anointed with a special salve called meersalm that made him virtually invulnerable. Hextor was not given this salve, and as a result he was always weaker in battle than his brother.
Even so, at first the brothers were not enemies, though their differing temperaments gradually became clear. When Savnok, a servant of the brothers, stole the armor of Stern Alia and used its power to set up a dictatorship in the mortal world, Hextor’s instinct was to hide Savnok’s body (after he had killed him with one of his mother’s arrows), put the weapons and armor back, and pretend nothing had happened. Heironeous’ instincts were to tell the truth to his mother and face the consequences, but his desire to protect his weaker brother caused him to uncomfortably acquiesce to the scheme.
As they grew older, their opposite natures made them rivals. Frustrated at his relative weakness, Hextor made a bargain with the Lords of Evil, gaining two new pairs of arms grafted on to his torso. From then on, he and Heironeous were equals in combat.
The Chalice of Heironeous
What is probably the nadir of their rivalry is told in a secret myth known only to the highest echelons of the Order of the Chalice, a branch of the knights of Heironeous. Most believe the Chalice to be a powerful relic of Heironeous’s faith somehow lost to Dispater. The masters of the order, the Lightning Councilors, know that the Chalice of Heironeous is actually the daughter of Heironeous, a young goddess-angel kidnapped by Hextor and given over to Dispater in order to shirk responsibility for his deed. The Order of the Chalice was founded over a thousand years ago in order to find a way to rescue the Chalice and reunite her with her father.