Hello everyone! I’m Kyle and I’ve been slinging dice since before I was crawling. Earthdawn has always held a special place in my heart and I’ve been working with FASA since 2014. I am one of the creators, writers, and runners for the Legends of Barsaive campaign and I try to never pass up a good convention.
Passion Worship in the Western Kingdoms
As a collaborator on the upcoming Elven Nations, I’ve had the opportunity to put myself in the shoes of the haughty elven nobles of Sereatha and their neighboring kingdoms. The Western Kingdoms (or the Gwydenro as they call themselves) share a history with the Wyrm Wood, but have a culture all their own prior to swearing their allegiance to Queen Melyora. Queen Failla and Queen Alachia both hailed from the mysterious land, seeming to rise through the ranks from nothing.
The western nobles have to contend with the chaotic wilds of Pelsaari to the north and the ashen Wastes to the south. Everywhere I looked there was more to say about this expansive land. Sadly, there are only so many pages available in a sourcebook, and some information had to be left on the cutting room floor. For my first blog post , I thought we could review one of these cut sections and look at how the elven nobility pays homage to its Passions.
The city-state-like kingdoms of the Gwydenro cleave towards traditional values. For the most part, they believe strongly in the Wheel and the Journey and hold those who can follow such a stringent path in high regard. These beliefs are pervasive, but they do not overshadow the idea of the questor. The most respected are those who manage to follow both their personal Journey and serve the respective Passion of their Path. These people are known as the Beletre or “the Passionate.” As the Beletre work their way around the Wheel, they find themselves in service to the five Passions associated with the five Paths.
Astendar: Affiliated with the Path of Travelers, the Passion of beauty has an abundance of worshippers on and off the Wheel. In the Western Kingdoms it is believed that even the most practical and common objects should be works of art. The Spire of Inspiration in Sereatha contains Astendar’s largest congregation in the Gwydenro and all craftsmen from the region dream of being granted entrance.
Chorrolis: The Passion of Trade and Desire is respected and feared by courts of the Western Kingdoms. While aspiring to rise above one’s station is admired, it is far more common for the elves of Court to fall from grace. For this reason, Chorrolis is a Passion more often appeased than revered. The Trisrora ranelle, one of Sereatha’s three founding families, are an exception to this belief. They support the Spire of Ambition in the capital and ensure that shipping in the bay of Tyrnvir runs smoothly.
Dis: Some believe the complexities that make up the rituals of the elven Courts are a sure sign of the bureaucratic madness associated with this Mad Passion. This is not the case, however, and the Passion is seen as having fallen from grace at some point during the Scourge. Increased Theran presence in the trading hub of Caelshara has increased the acceptability of Dis worship (and owning slaves) in that kingdom, but elsewhere the practice continues to be frowned upon.
Floranuus: Throughout the Western Kingdoms, Floranuus is respected for his influence in energy and motion. The Passion is associated with the Path of Scholars and revered by many young Elementalists with a drive for learning and understanding. Outside of these Scholars, Floranuus’s followers are few and far between. The Spire of Unification in Sereatha was constructed in this Passion’s honor and the famed Learner’s Guild uses the area as their base of operations.
Garlen: Nearly every home in the Gwydenro has a small shrine to Garlen above its hearth. The Passion revered in private and is believed to see after the well being of the immediate family. Garlen is less associated with healing amongst the people of the Western Kingdoms, with much of that honor falling on Jaspree. Few in the Western Kingdoms dedicate their lives to Garlen, although a large shrine to the Passion stands in Aiqua on the fringe of the Wastes.
Jaspree: Jaspree is tremendously important to the Namegivers of the Gwydenro. The Passion has a close tie to Oak Heart and the legend of the First Elf. Jaspree is tied to the Path of Sages, his influence over growth is believed to include literal growth as well as natural healing and personal growth through experience. While many craftsmen revere Astendar, they also desire to create objects that are one with nature and at home in Jaspree’s realm. The Spire of Life in Sereatha is a prime example of the unity between nature and society, and the hospital within reminds the people that Jaspree cares for his children.
Lochost: There is little love for Lochost in the Western Kingdom. The Kingdoms are held together by Lew Teyrn, their oaths of service, and the idea of acting entirely free and independent is alien to those struggling to survive together. As Theran influence grows in the west, agitators of Lochost become more common, but slavery in the Gwydenro remains illegal and there is little to rally followers of the Passion of freedom.
Mynbruje: The Passion of justice is tied to the Path of Lords. The Path of Lords is the pinnacle of achievement and marks the last stop on one’s Journey before passing into the Shining Citadel. Mynbruje’s relationship with this distant goal cause him to be seen as an overarching guide in many courtly matters. It is rare to find a Namegiver entirely dedicated to Mynbruje; few elves manage to reach the Path of Lords and the common folk are typically more concerned with survival than lofty ideals. The Swords of Justice, believed to have been started millennia ago by the Passion himself, operate throughout the Gwydenro. Today, the Swords act as guides, sheriffs, and judges throughout the Gwydenro’s untamed wilds.
Raggok: The Mad Passion of vengeance and jealousy has proven a difficult influence to root out of many courts. Amongst the nobility of any kingdom there are those who have fallen out of favor, and many find the call of Raggok too tempting to ignore. One must keep their worship of Raggok a secret, but it is all too easy to conceal acts of vengeance behind the veneer of justice. It is believed those who have fallen to Raggok’s sway are doomed to destroy themselves, though they may bring their kingdom down around them.
Thystonius: The Passion of strength and valor is widely revered in the Gwydenro. His association with the Path of Warriors, the first Path along the Wheel, has many naïve youths performing acts in his name. While shrines to Thystonius are found throughout the Gwydenro, they are rarely the most opulent or well respected. The Knights of the Crimson Spire are the only official organization dedicated to the Passion, and their large number of standing Warriors are typically more interested in the respectable position than in acts of worship.
Upandal: For a nation on the mend, the Passion of building and construction has surprisingly little influence. For years, nearly half of Sereatha has been under active construction, yet few of these projects have a shrine to Upandal on site. Skilled craftsmen in the Gwydenro rarely revere the act of building itself, and instead see the project’s beauty or the project’s unity with nature as paramount. Worship of Upandal is in many ways like that of Chorrolis, with the meager goal of appeasement. To anger Upandal is to ensure construction delays and injured workmen.
Vestrial: The Mad Passion of manipulation and deceit certainly has influence amongst the noble courts. Prior to the Scourge, this Passion was revered as highly as Jaspree or Mynbruje, but the Passion’s fall from grace has seen his supporters flee to the shadows. There is a small but growing movement amongst the Escalanas family that believes that Vestrial’s status as a Mad Passion is just a complex trick and the Passion is involved in a scheme to save his fallen brothers. But even in Escalanas ruled kingdoms, worship of Vestrial is disgraceful at best and more than likely to end in exile.