Religion in Tolrea

A variety of gods and goddesses is worshiped in the world of Tolrea, although a significant portion of mortals instead revere their ancestors, nature spirits, or some other non-divine supernatural power, and although there are several quasi-religious spiritual and philosophical movements which also draw in devotees. The most widespread of these movements are detailed in the sections below, as well. The links lead to more detailed articles on each topic.

Divine Worship

One of the most common forms of spirituality in Tolrea is the worship of a god, goddess, or pantheon, whether through the mediation of a clergy or directly. It remains unknown in Tolrea whether the gods truly exist; the faithful think so, and point to the abilities of clerics and other divine spellcasters as evidence of this, but skeptics point out that magic is at best poorly understood, and that the few individuals who harness divine energy may draw their powers from another source entirely. The debate is unlikely to conclude anytime soon, since even the faithful agree that the only way to see one of the gods is to visit his or her home, and that this is only possible for those who have died and gone to their eternal rest. Of the several belief systems falling into this general category, some of the most important are the Celestial...

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Druids and Druidic Sects

Druids are commonplace in the world of Tolrea, especially in rural and wilderness areas, where they commune with the forces of the natural world and safeguard it against the damages which are often wrought by humanoid creatures' activities. Many druids also serve as protectors of humanoid creatures who are unprepared to deal with the perils which can rise out of the wilds to strike at them. The druids of Tolrea are not a unified force, but instead have split into a variety of different factions which pursue a variety of different goals, sometimes in concert with one another and sometimes at cross purposes. A druidic sect may include hundreds of druids, or may incorporate only a handful; most include no more than a few dozen members. All druidic sects are religious in character, often subscribing to animistic and totemic belief systems. Others search for hints of the divine in the...

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Ancestor Worship

By far the most common spiritual practice not tied to any formal religion is the custom of ancestor worship. The veneration of one's deceased ancestors is especially common in lands populated with humans, half-orcs, half-elves, halflings, orcs, goblinoids, and other relatively short-lived races. The usual form of ancestor worship is to pour libations upon the grave site of the deceased, or to burn incense or spicy foods as offerings in a household shrine. The efficacy of these practices is measurable, since magical travel into the Ethereal Plane (or through it into the Spirit World) reveals that the deceased frequently remain present, fixed to the locations of their graves or familial homes, for extended periods of time when regular offerings and prayers are directed to them. This is in sharp contrast to the deceased of cultures that do not venerate the dead—in such cultures, it is uncommon for the spirit of...

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Animism, Shamanism, and Totemism

One of the most common spiritualities in Tolrea, aside from organized religion, is the veneration of nature sprits. Animism is actually widespread; it's a commonplace for bargemen on the Mereflow River to address the current itself, especially during foul weather or when the river is running full because of melting snow in the mountains surrounding Merethrone. Animistic practice and belief is tied as closely to reality as formal religion—perhaps more so, since the Spirit World is eternally present in the wilderness. Mages and druids who espouse animist beliefs are especially common, and the most knowledgeable among them are skilled in magic which can open portals between the Spirit World and the mortal realm, allowing them to call all manner of creatures, from fey to genies, to their service. Totemism is a variation on animism, and consists of the belief that the spirit of an animal or monster can serve as...

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Martial Arts, Monks, and Monasticism

As it appears in the campaign world of Tolrea, the monk class of the Dungeons and Dragons v.3.5 Core Rules might be described more precisely as a class for unarmed martial artists. Not all monks of the kind who inhabit monasteries are members of the monk class, and not all members of the monk class are monastic in character. Semantics aside, though, most of Tolrea's oldest styles of unarmed martial arts originated and are practiced in communities of fighting monks. The Mereflow Valley's elves, dwarves, gnomes, and halflings have no monastic traditions to speak of, although there have been members of all four races who have undertaken the study of the martial arts as practiced by various teachers who have entered the region since its colonization by the human-dominated Aureshan Empire. Monastic traditions of the martial arts do exist for all four of these races in other parts of the world. Most...

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