Bones of the Dead Eleven
Temples of Zoa
Although its primary fame comes from its reputation as a center of trade, Zoa is also the faithful heart of the Reanaaria Bay. With one religious seat and several cathedrals, it hosts an active and sincere religious community. The Clerics’ Guild has the largest membership of any of the guilds and is one of the most influential sources of power in the city.
During the city’s period of explosive growth, the spread of temples and the huge numbers they drew to their worship services caused interrupted the flow of trade, forcing the city to make laws so that each could continue unhindered by the other. The temples are restricted in their size and location, requiring all of the city’s temples beyond a certain size to be built within the Circle of the Gods.
The typical city worshipper makes a tour of the Circle of the Gods each Godday, making offerings to stave off whatever misfortune befalls the negligent in that faith’s teachings. Thus, a craftsman pays tribute to the Parish of the Prolific Coin to keep from losing all of his trade, the Home Foundation so that his wife doesn’t leave him, the Assembly of Light so that a ghoul doesn’t eat him if he stays out late, etc. Each offering might cost only a couple of coppers, but the craftsman empties his purse by the time he finishes his tour.
In addition to these main temples, lesser temples complete the Circle or are built slightly off the brick circle, ensuring that most Good faiths have at least nominal presence in the Circle. The courtyard between the temples is legally open to believers of all faiths, but those preaching the worship of evil gods might find the crowd unsympathetic.
Most religious activity during the week takes place at various smaller temples within the city. The clerics who live there operate small shrines where they live, as if they were any other tradesman; the chapel stands on the ground floor and the cleric lives above. Because of restrictions on the size of these buildings and prohibitions on their activities, none of them can grow very large. Each typically has no more than two hundred followers, of which a dozen or so might meet at a time for a brief prayer or hymn after dinner-time.
In total, these off-Circle clerics form nearly the entirety of the Clerics’ Guild, although they wield little power within that guild. They know the people, and they form strong personal bonds with their worshippers. They eat meals with them, they teach their children, and they are there to guide people through the difficult times of their lives. While the people visit the Circle of the Gods once a week to hear a sermon spoken to a thousand worshippers, they might visit a local shrine two or three times a week and have a private visit with the cleric. In times of emergency, they go first to the local shrine, only trekking to the Circle of the Gods if they need a spell beyond their neighborhood cleric’s capability. Despite their lack of political power, these clerics have a profound and immediate influence on their worshippers.
- The Parish of the Prolific Coin
- The Home Foundation
- The Parish of Love
- The Hall of Oaths
- The Assembly of Light
- The Temple of Armed Conflict
- Church of the Life’s Fire
- The Church of the Night’s Beauty
- The Temple of the Stars
- The Theatre of the Arts
- The Order of the Passionate One
- The Church of Chance
The Lesser Churches
Although the city places restrictions on the size and scale of temples outside of the Circle of the Gods, the temples do exist and some of them are almost as noteworthy as the main temples in the Circle.