Thursday, April 26, 2012

Expeditions of Amazing Adventure: the esoteric monasteries of the Etholician Monks

This religious order is a prominent player in the political structure of Etholita, and their various temples scatter the densely wooded region. The order comprises of followers of Sehanine and is known for their generosity. The Etholician monks open many of their grounds to the weary and needy, offering protection against the elements and their expertise in the medicinal arts if needed.

Their openness and willingness to offer aid has raised ire with some the ruling nobility of Etholita. The country has always had a strained relationship with its neighbors, especially the Kormerrian barbarian tribes that lead frequent raids. The order has offered aid to the wounded of both warring sides if asked, and many times have been requested by foreign parties to act as arbitrators in political disputes with Etholita. The monks are known for their fairness and impartiality, and at times have even ruled against the very state that houses their monasteries in legal disputes.

The monks themselves avoid bloodshed whenever possible. However, they do train with simple weapons favoring the club and staff. Their martial prowess in unarmed combat is renowned, and much of a monk’s daily routine is designed to focus their minds and bodies into formidable weapons.

The constant accompaniment of dogs is another characteristic of their order. The common presence of large mastiffs can be observed as these dogs appear to have free reign within the monastery grounds. These are not spoiled beasts however, despite the occasional frolicking of young pups among the common halls. The dogs are well disciplined and follow their master’s command with resolute obedience. It is rumored that brigands or humanoids foolhardy enough to raid the order have not only met the martial might of the monks but also the savage fury of their beast companions.

From their deeds to their effective command of the martial arts, the monks have established themselves as a major player in the politics of Etholita. This brings some worry with the land's nobles, while a few would even admit to desiring the order be abolished completely (such talk however is a topic of secret council).

It is such tension with the order that has likely lead to some of the more astounding rumors regarding the monks. Some claim that the order is cursed. Their oldest members are afflicted with a horrible disease that transforms them into beasts. The reverence of the moon is a secret admission of their affinity with lycanthropy.

It is immensely uncommon to come across werebeasts in Etholita, however it does not keep the circulation of such rumors falling among commoners. Some will swear the many dogs that are devout companions to the order are actually monks themselves which have succumbed to the long standing curse. The monks in their benevolence open their hearts and temples to these animals in hopes to bring them peace.

The Etholician monks respond to these rumors with much mirth and deny any truth to such astounding tales. Yet some nobles would clearly find such evidence immensely valuable to strengthening their position in Etholita. The order, while committing many charitable acts, would find their supporters wary of the practice of such magics, and likely erode the standing of their order from the very commoners they aid.