The Church of Hoar is a fusion of two churches; the Church of Ass-Uraqn from Unther, and the Church of Ahorz from Calimshan and Tethyr, this fusion occurred in Chessenta and has gradually spread north to Aglarond, east to Unther, and west to the Vilhon Reach and Tethyr, subsuming the originals.
In 108 DR the Year of the Flood, the Church of Ass-Uraqn was exiled from Unther in a single month. Ass-Uraqn; one of the godkings of Unther, led his faithful followers west into Akanu and began a guerrilla war against the Untheric authorities that claimed governance over Akanu and its people.
The faithful of Ass-Uraqn were particularly numerous in the Akanul region which remained a stronghold of Ass-Uraqn right up until his disappearance in 742 DR. Ass-Uraqn’s battles with a conqueror known as The Warlord saw him displaced from the Akanul and travel to Threskel along with much of his following. His disappearance in 742 DR led to his followers founding the settlement of Mourktar.
Beginning in the 5th century Dalereckoning; during the reign of Amahl VII of the Shoon Imperium, a significant number of Tethyrian migrants (mostly magic users and their families) began moving into Akanu and the lands of Aglarond and the Wizards’ Reach (also colonies of Akanu). These migrants brought with them the worship of their own gods which is what makes modern Chessenta such an interesting mix of Faerunian and Mulho-Untheric religions.
The Tethyrian migrants settled in Chessenta and the Wizards’ Reach (and when the Reach rebelled many moved on to Threskel to escape the coming conflict). When Ass-Uraqn fled The Warlord east into the lands of Threskel, their titanic battle atop Mount Thulbane attracted the attention of many followers of Ahorz who believed their patron had returned to save them from The Warlord.
The surviving partisans of Ass-Uraqn and the followers of Ahorz worked together to establish Mourktar and built the Amphitheatre of the First Thunder in honour of their patron. The mixing of Tethyrian, Chondathan, and Untheric languages gave birth to the name Hoar and that has been accepted by both followers of Ass-Uraqn and Ahorz in Chessenta ever since. The Church of Hoar has returned to the Akanul region and converted adherents there and established it’s second temple; the Thunderous Hand of Vengeance, atop Assuran’s Tor.
Firmly established in Chessenta; with growing cults in Aglarond and Tethyr, the Church of Hoar is now looking to return in strength to Ass-Uraqn’s homeland – Unther. It is waiting until Gil-Geamesq and his rule of Unther is at its weakest so it can destabilise the region and establish a new order in honour of the old (before it was corrupted by the tyrant).
Headquarters: Amphitheatre of the First Thunder in Mourktar
Members: 197 priests, 700 affiliated members (guards, agents, etc)
Leader: High Tanar Teres Salmyr (Neutral, Human – Tethyrian, Expert 8), currently the Church of Hoar is governed from Mourktar with Teres as it’s high priest, however King Hippartes of Akanax is empowering the faithful in his city and seeks to challenge the dominance of Mourktar. Outside of Chessenta the faithful of Ahorz are disparate and leaderless after the church was outlawed during the Shoon era.
Religion: Hoar, Ass-Uraqn, Ahorz. The Church of Hoar welcomes and seeks to include all worshippers of Ahorz from the Lands of Intrigue and Ass-Uraqn from Unther. Most of the devoted faithful of Ahorz and Ass-Uraqn welcome the chance to join an established church (their own having failed centuries ago), but a few prefer to remain loners and will not convert to the new ways. Within a few centuries it is likely that all only the worship of Hoar will remain.
Secrecy: None. The worship of Hoar is open to all, and thus far has not been banned in any nation in Faerun. The Church of Hoar would like to expand into Unther, but recognizes that while Gil-Geamesq rules, they should keep their faith secret.
Symbol: A black coin over a triple thunderbolt. The Church of Hoar has fashioned this symbol to fuse the symbols of Ahorz (a coin with a two faced head on one side, held by a black hand) and the symbol of Ass-Uraqn (a lightning bolt with 3 forks pointing upwards). Thus far the fused symbol of Hoar is only known in Chessenta and Threskel.
The Church of Hoar is strictly organized in a fashion similar to the military background of the Church of Ass-Uraqn. The ranks in descending order are High Tanar, Roll of Thunder, Southern Lightning, Master of Vengeance, Storm of Justice, novices are referred to informally as raindrops but have no title other than novice. High Tanar is the high priest of the entire church, he is assisted by the Rolls of Thunder who will be appointed for each region of the church, individual temples are usually commanded by Southern Lightning.
Temple guards and most other affiliated members are outside the strict hierarchy, but agents (assassins, saboteurs, dissidents, etc) are given a special title, the Hands of Fate which is equal in rank to Southern Lightning and able to co-opt the services of just about any of the faithful they may encounter.
Dogma / Motivation / Goals
The Church of Hoar has merged the dogmas of Ass-Uraqn and Ahorz, preaching that the law should be obeyed and justice upheld, but when the law and justice fails, that is when the people turn to Hoar to obtain measured justice for themselves. The followers of Hoar follow the principle of an eye for an eye, violence will meet violence, poverty will be the result of greed, lies will be extinguished by the truth.
The Church of Hoar seeks to spread these teachings across Faerun, and to subsume the worship of Ahorz and Ass-Uraqn in the process, re-establishing the church in Calimshan’s former territories and in Unther’s.
Individual priests of Hoar are motivated to deal vengeance on behalf of others because of some past injustice done to themselves or out of a strong sense of justice. A priest of Hoar is supposed to be a champion of the weak and the downtrodden, ensuring that those who commit wrongs against the defenceless will be punished, no matter how powerful the wrongdoer is.
Most of the daily activities of the clergy of Hoar is spent listening to people that come to them with disputes against another. In Mourktar and Akanax these parishioners (or prospective laity) come to the temple or the courts (which the church jointly oversees with the True Church of Bane) seeking resolution to disputes or justice against those who have wronged them. Such disputes and accusations are weighed by appointed councils and a punishment is decided. Outside of Mourktar and Akanax, the clergy of Hoar are often free roaming preachers who deal summary justice on the spot without reference or review to the other clergy of Hoar.
Membership / Recruiting
The Church of Hoar typically recruits most of its clergy members from those who have been wronged, and the perpetrators unpunished. These are usually people from the lowest ranks of society, former slaves, impoverished citizens, but occasionally a merchant or nobleman will lose everything due to the machinations of others and feel a desire to gain revenge for himself and others.
Anyone who expresses a desire to serve the Church of Hoar is welcomed, their years of service as a novice allow superiors to measure their sense of justice and this determines whether and how far they will progress within the church.
Followers of Ahorz (and more rarely Ass-Uraqn) are immediately offered an appropriate place within the church hierarchy, providing they are willing to conform to the dogma of the new church.
The Hands of Fate (special agents) are sometimes recruited from other sources for their specialized skills (where such skills are required and current members do not possess them), these include assassins, pickpockets, saboteurs, dissidents, spies, etc. Potential candidates are carefully vetted to make sure they can and will conform to their new sponsors, those who prove false find themselves without the patronage of the Church of Hoar and marked for vengeance against their false deeds.
Since the church and much of its power is centred upon Mourktar, the Church of Hoar’s major ally is King Theris and the people of Mourktar itself, but rather surprisingly an alliance of convenience has existed since the founding of Mourktar and the Church of Hoar with the True Church of Bane.
The Church of Hoar and the True Church of Bane exist in a competitive harmony within Mourktar, both working together to ensure a stable rule with justice for all, and keeping away the tyrannical Gil-Geamesq, or the corrupt politics of Chessenta. The True Church of Bane preaches that a strong ruler with absolute power is the only way for a lawful society to survive, they support and enforce a strict code of laws, and their affiliated military orders provide security for Mourktar against its enemies. The Church of Hoar likewise supports the justice of King Theris, which although harsh on lawbreakers is uniformly harsh, and supplies additional justice for those that escape the law.
This alliance is fruitful in times of conflict; during Mourktar’s rebellion against Unther, the forces of both churches fought side by side against the masate of Unther. In times of peace both churches compete to gain power over the other. Currently the Church of Hoar and the True Church of Bane are becoming antagonistic and hostile as King Theris approaches the end of his life without an heir and both churches seek to control as much power in Mourktar as possible before his passing.
The Whispers of Hoar: The Church of Hoar has a hundred agents in Chessenta dealing out summary justice to those wrongdoers; known as the Hands of Fate, these agents inflict injury and death to murderers and violent thugs, spread misinformation (or the truth) and sabotage business dealings against the greedy and the powerful, steal from thieves, and bring fugitives to justice.
The most famous and accomplished of these Hands of Fate are the Whispers of Hoar, otherwise known as the Three Thunders. They are a team of the most well trained assassins and saboteurs in the entire Church of Hoar, and are sent to deal with the strongest of injustices and deal with the most dangerous wrongdoers. Currently the Whispers of Hoar are trying to infiltrate into Unther and bring down Gil-Geamesq and his Ul’Aen.
The Church of Hoar has inherited the enmity of the followers of Ass-Uraqn and Ahorz. For the followers of Ahorz, their greatest enemies; the Shoon dynasty, have long since perished, but Ass-Uraqn’s enemies are still alive and nearby.
Gil-Geamesq and Ram-Manu were responsible for exiling Ass-Uraqn from Unther, and for that his followers seek vengeance (after all, how could the faithful of Ass-Uraqn let an injustice against their divine patron go unpunished). The Church of Hoar has attempted to infiltrate Unther for many years, but the absolute power of Gil-Geamesq and Unther’s harsh society has always prevented the long term survival of sleeper agents and cults within Unther.
Since the rebellion of Messemprar, the Church of Hoar has sent a number of agents into Unther, including three of its greatest assassins; the Whispers of Hoar. These agents are to fan the flames of unrest in wider Unther by meting out justice to the elite of Unther (especially if that involves assassinating officials in Unther’s government).
Teres Salmyr (Neutral, Human – Mulan, Expert 8): Teres Salmyr is the reigning high priest of the Church of Hoar, ruling over the greatest temple of Hoar in Faerun; the Amphitheatre of the First Thunder. Teres is a venerable priest, equally skilled with magic, blade, and diplomacy, and wise enough to realize that time and fate see to most wrongdoers with or without the intervention of Hoar.
Thunder (Neutral, Human – Mulan, Expert 7): Known only as Thunder, this Hand of Fate is one of the three members of the elite Whispers of Hoar. He is an expert is saboteur, pickpocket, and agent of destruction, he is renowned for being able to bring down an entire building, or gain entry to an air tight strongbox made of fused stone. His primary use is to gain entry to buildings, disable defences, and then cause as much damage to surroundings as possible.
Lightning (Evil, Human – Turami, Warrior 8): Known as Lightning, this Hand of Fate is one of the three members of the elite Whispers of Hoar. He is an expert in almost any weapon and specializes in killing targets quickly and quietly. Lightning is the assassin of the group, his murderous tendencies are moderated by the other members of the Whispers of Hoar, who keep him adhering to the dogma of Hoar.
Wind (Neutral, Human – Mulan, Expert 8): Wind is the diplomatic expert of the Whispers of Hoar. His job is to acquire contacts and sympathisers when the Whispers move into a new area, and if necessary provide a human distraction to cover whatever the other Whispers may be doing to reach the target. Wind is by no means defenceless, his skill at deceit and misinformation have brought as many targets low as Lightning’s blades.
Sphere of Influence
Chessenta: The land of Chessenta is rife with corruption and injustice, and the clergy of Hoar acquire many faithful by dealing justice to those to powerful for the law to punish.
Akanax: Akanax is home to the second temple of Hoar; the Thunderous Hand of Vengeance. King Hippartes of Akanax has encouraged the growth of the Church of Hoar in his city, but is influencing their more martial tendencies to his own advantage and has gained a prominent position in the church itself. King Hippartes hopes to advance his position in the Church of Hoar and use that organization against his enemies.
Threskel: The birthplace of the Church of Hoar, Mourktar was founded in part by followers of Ass-Uraqn who merged with Tethyrian migrants to form the Church of Hoar.
Mourktar: The greatest temple of Hoar is located in Mourktar; the Amphitheatre of the First Thunder. The Church of Hoar is jointly in charge of the courts in Mourktar and provides forces to the defence of the city, it is one of the most powerful organisations in the city along with the True Church of Bane.
The Church of Hoar has two powerful patrons, the rulers of the cities of Mourktar and Akanax. Through the patronage of these kings; as well as the support and adoration of the commonfolk they spend most of their time assisting, the Church of Hoar has grown rich and powerful in these cities.
The ancient knowledge and traditions of the followers of Ass-Uraqn, and the magical legacies he left behind have given the Church of Hoar a number of powerful items to assist its faithful clergy if needed.
The Hand of Fate: This cloak is worn by the Hands of Fate wear to conceal their identities and activities, for it is the Hands that most often have need of these magical items crafted by Ass-Uraqn and his children to protect themselves following his exile from Unther.
Whenever the wearer is struck by a weapon (destroying the garment), he in turn is struck by a forceful blow (1d20+1 Attack check) that if successful deals 1d6 Bludgeoning damage to the combatant that struck the blow (providing he is adjacent to the wearer).
Enhancement Level: +1
Magical Properties: Impact (x1); Uses (recharging); Activation (Destruction); Target (opponent).