Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A to Z Challenge: B is for Blackimus Prime

Jarlsburg is a medieval fantasy city of my creation that is the location of for Pathfinder and DnD Next games I have run in the past.  This A to Z is my effort to better introduce others to the locale and continue to flesh it out while the game is on hiatus.

The worship of Blackimus Prime has been solely cultivated by the bard, Elron, the Prime's first and foremost disciple.  Elron began spreading his gospel nearly two decades ago throughout the nations near the Twin Rivers.  The bard claimed that Blackimus Prime fell from the sky one night, while Elron was camping and that his god dictated the gospel over the course of three days and nights before be ready to move on to the next world.

While Elron has roamed the Twin Rivers region, arguably he has found his greatest success in recruiting followers for the Prime in the city of Jarlsburg, which has become a de facto capital for the God of Empowerment.

The Prime's teachings emphasize fellowship, abandoning the material world, and freeing oneself from the bond's of fear, sadly this often seems to lead the followers into leaving their families, forcing many to view it as an insidious cult.

Accusations of being a cult are often compounded by the the majority of the membership choosing to wear violet britches and smocks with black hoods.  The style draws a great deal of attention to their membership and has led many to call them Black Hoods.

Blackimus Prime's clergy are distinguished by carrying small bucklers and are referred to as Black Shields.  While the public's opinion of the faith is mixed at best, several Shields have distinguished themselves in service to the Night Watch.

And while the Prime's role in the celestial order is still disputed he does grant his Clergy spells and the ability to repel undead.

Elron and his clergy have purchased nearly a dozen homes of varying size throughout the city and have established them as refuges for the Prime's followers.

It is rumored that the clergy encourage their membership to partake in "medicines" to aid in their worship of the Prime.  This rumor is rooted in the raid of a refuge recently by Ironcloaks.  While many of those staying there seemed to be under the influence of something, no charges were made due to the revelation that Commisioner Malta (a high ranking political position in the City Watch) is also a Shaman of the Prime.

Elron's gospel describes Blackimus Prime as a titanic golem who defends the downtrodden and leads
them to personal empowerment and to uphold justice.  While it seems that the faith reaches out to the disenfranchised, often it at by all appearances that many of the members maintain their faith for years and are dedicated at helping those less fortunate.

The Church of Blackimus Prime is a complex and still evolving phenomenon and while high level mortal members may have unrevealed plans, most of the Black Hoods and Black Shields simply feel they have been called by the Prime to empower unfortunate souls in need of a helping hand.

And even the most powerful member of the faith isn't fully aware of Elron's ultimate goals.


So Blackimus Prime was created when one of my players made a Cleric in DnD Next and I asked what god he served.  Blackimus Prime was the answer.  His symbol was a mahogany shield and the faith seemed like an interesting subject to examine.  Sadly, the player evoked some racist overtones to his character and before I could deal with it, another player dueled him to the death (I say this because I was away from the table dealing with a subplot when the whole thing happened).  After some conversations with both players, the grouped moved on and the Cleric's player was content to make someone else.  However, I found the idea an interesting parallel, at least peripherally, to Scientology (and timely since a temple had just opened a few blocks from my store).

While the Prime's followers were highly scrutinized after the Ironcloak's found many members seemingly under mind altering drugs and the dead PC Cleric's sister began plotting revenge on his killer, I was also prepared to show positive points to the faith.

My goal was to let each individual player drawer their own conclusion to Blackimus Prime, since that is how I try to respect other's beliefs.  As a Christian who is Catholic, I see the good and the bad of what my heritage brings to my life and have no interest in providing answers, just asking questions.

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