The Church of the Maker is the most common faith in Dwarfkind; focusing on the adoration of the Dwarven progenitor God and becoming a worthy soul for Him. In some echelons of Travaki society, being a Chosen of this Faith is not merely encouraged but a required fact of life.
For many Iron Dwarves, the Church of the Maker is a refinement of the more primal and war-like Creeds and Cults of the Maker that the Stone Clans follow.
The Runed Pillars that hold up the Hall of the Maker in Malak Travak tell of the coming of the first God. Among his Pantheon…
“He was the first and the greatest; among Gods and Totems, He was lesser to no one and rival to none.
In the darkness of the beginning, it was the Maker that wrought radiant light unto the heavens and burning stone amidst the stony depths. He shaped a world of perfection for he and his ilk to reside; of brightness and flame that stretched across all of creation. “
Even the dross, the dregs and the waste of his work was nigh perfection as well; thus was the shadowed, chaotic plane of Underworld wrought: a fell reflection of all that was good and true within the Overworld that the Maker had made. The Underworld drew darksome powers and shadowy spirits that desired no part of the Overworld’s radiance. And then Wyrm and her Totemic ilk crept into the Underworld and made it their own. They did not toil, they did not create; they merely stole and made mock of the Maker’s labor.
The war between the Maker and Wyrm thundered and quaked both worlds until the very end: the treacherous Wyrm was slain and her children were bound within the mighty Vaults of the Underworld.
When the Maker saw the destruction that Wyrm’s war had wrought, the vast stretches of wretched desolation and the Gods devoured by the insatiable Dragon-Empress, He mourned the loss of so much and set his tools to work. He used the brightness of the Overworld, the shadows of the Underworld and the aether between worlds to fashion a new land, one wholly different from the chaotic realms of the Underworld and the perfect order of the Overworld. It would have form, unlike the shapeless Aether, from the titanic body of the fallen Wyrm, it would have life.
Some life would be as simple as the elements, such as the trees of the surface and the mushrooms of the deeps. Other forms of life were little better, possessed of cunning and movement; bears and gryphons, fish and eagles. Some of these creatures were more intelligent than others, but they were all lesser creatures: they could not dream, nor think, nor fathom a Maker. They could not create as their creator had done.
From shattered shards of Wyrm’s bones, which he also used to create mountains, the Maker shaped the “Dugh aurun reften”. He gifted his Favored Children with an aspect of his form, a portion of his strength and a splinter of his brilliance. And no other creation that he made then or thereafter became their rival.
Even when the Sundering Sin had wiped the Maker’s True Name from the minds of all the First-born, the resilience, the strength and the wisdom that He imbued them with won through and through.
The Travaki of the Iron Kingdom believe that the Race of Dwarves are possessed of a body (a physical component) and a soul (a spiritual component). When a Dwarf dies, his or her soul leaves the body behind to rot and returns to the Maker in the Overworld. However, only those with souls and wills worthy of His divine presence are able to survive the journey. The unworthy are sinners whose spirits are cracked and sundered, their pieces falling and dissipating in the oblivion beyond life to be feasted upon by Demons and other fell powers.
To harden one’s soul against the ravages of the Maker’s Crucible, a Dwarf must be a creature as implacable and ordered as the stones and the bones they were forged from. The Church decrees that only a Dwarf that is Chosen by the Maker and holds true to his Commandments may ascend to his Kingdom.
According to the Runestones of Nalim, the Final Reckoning will occur in the end of days. When the forge of Midworld sputters out and cold reigns upon a lifeless land, Wyrm, her children and the Daemon will rise up once more from their remains and destroy the world in their rampage.
Only the faithful will be saved by the Maker, who will smite his enemies and take up the worthy to live in Overworld for the remainder of eternity.
View of Magic:
The Church of the Maker regards Sorcery and Witchery as a deadly flirtation with Wyrm’s powers. The various cults of Sorcery derive their magic from the Maker’s enemies: from death, demons and shadow. Meanwhile, Witches and Adepts use the chaotic forces of the Totems and attempt to attune their souls to it without the tempering disciple that Faith provides. Such paths end only in corruption and in the weakening of one’s soul when his or her Crucible is to be undertaken.
The virtuous, say the Maker’s Chosen, use only Faith as their magic. The magic of Priests corrupt not the souls of the Chosen and in fact, make them whole and bolster them for their time of passing.
Naturally, those beyond the Church of the Maker have a more practical view of magic, in its application and in its users. Priests of the Maker may be regarded as the most respectable, but there are Guilds aplenty that can find great use in the elemental power and neutrality of Witches as well as the fell might and deadliness of Sorcerers.
The Church of the Maker
The Dwarves of the Iron Kingdom hold their Maker to be a God of Craftsmanship, of Knowledge, of Mending, of Perfection and of Order. He is called the Shaper of Souls, the Forger of the First-born, the Bane of Dragons and the Maker of All Things.
The Maker is often depicted as a Dwarf with a thick eyebrows, a hooked nose and a great bushy beard. At his side is usually a hammer and an anvil although some of the walls in the Hall of the Maker depict him with other crafting tools or even with other objects (such as a Tome or a Brewer’s Flask)
Symbol: The Symbol of the Maker is of a Black hammer, wreathed in Gold, Orange and Red Flame that symbolizes both his destructive wrath and the fires of creation.
Commandments: The dictum of the Maker demands thusly of his Chosen:
- Know thy Maker- Remember He that made you from Flame, from Bone and from Stone; always keep him in your thoughts.
- Keep His Order – beware Passion, Theft and the Sundering Sin, Chaos! Keep to your Oaths and keep your Mind and your Heart as Ordered as Stone itself.
- Follow His Aspect – as the Maker did labor and create, so must you engage in industry and build objects and projects of beauty and utility.
- Love thine Blood – love and respect your companions, your family your King and your Church, for the Maker loves not a traitor nor an oath-breaker. If these should come to conflict, then your God should go before your King, your King before your family, etc.
- Remember the First-born – Within each day and each night that passes lies the opportunity to advance the cause of the Dwarven Race and regain the glory that was lost.
Spells: The damaging spells of the Maker’s Priests inflict Fire damage.
Sphere Access: Priests of the Maker’s Church gain access to the Spheres below. Furthermore, they may learn the Servitor, Cleric and Harbinger skills of these Spheres as well, thereby gaining access to the spells of that Sphere.
The Chosen of a local Maker’s Temple can always find guidance, solace, healing and knowledge from that Temple’s Priests. It is because of this devotion to the people that the Church manages to retain a wealth of support from the Travaki of the Iron City. In addition to the hearts of the Iron Dwarves, the Church of the Maker also boasts of a veritable army of protectors and a massive amount of wealth.
The foundation of the Church’s power lies in their influence over the people of Malak Travak. Those who enjoy the Church’s services tithe their local Temple, either in coin, in goods or in services. Likewise, those that wish for the Maker’s blessing in their birth, coming of age, marriage, funeral and other rites, would do well to involve the Church and to grant them a small donation for their efforts. This means that the Church of the Maker can sell their products and services at a rate that rivals even the guilds in affordability.
The Church of the Maker is also deeply entrenched in the life of the common Iron Dwarf. Those who cannot afford a personal tutor find their education within the halls of the Temple, where they are taught the fundamentals of their faith as well as the history of the Dwarven people; similarly, those who seek uncommon information often turn to the local Temple first before they turn to the more expensive Guilds.
Those educated by the Church who impress their teachers are given a chance to join the clergy. Because being a part of the clergy involves a greater chance at leadership, salvation and personal glory, many of those invited accept the offer.
The organization of the Maker’s Church is an eleven tiered one. Only those with a Rune have any amount of authority. Their authority is challenged by a Runed-Priest of a greater tier (e.g. a Ninth-Rune is better than a Tenth-Rune; a third-Rune is better than a seventh-Rune). The authority of two or more Priests of the same Rune is determined by seniority. Naturally, a Priest of the First-Rune is considered to be infallible and unchallengeable.
10th Rune – Harbinger Captain of the Maker
9th Rune – Harbinger-Lord of the Temple
8th Rune – Harbinger-Bishop of the District
These first three Runes are positions of regional stewardship. The Harbinger-Captain is the steward of a small group of Chosen. The Harbinger-Lord is in charge of a Temple’s governance and maintenance while a Harbinger-Bishop is charged with the welfare of an entire district.
7th Rune – Blessed Chanter of the Maker’s Word
6th Rune – Blessed Hammer of the Maker’s Army
5th Rune – Blessed Hand of the Seeh
4th Rune – Blessed Eye of the First-Rune
These four Runes are positions of landless servitude. However, these are positions of glory and great influence, overshadowing even those held by the Runes of stewardship. The Chanter is a messenger and herald for the Church itself. The Hammer is a high-ranking officer in the Maker’s army while the Hand and Eye are positions that serve directly under the orders of the Seeh and the First-Rune, respectively.
3rd Rune – Harbinger-General of the Maker’s Army
2nd Rune – Rune Bearer of the Seeh
1st Rune – Hierophant of the First-Rune
These last three Runes are positions of regional leadership. The Harbinger-Generals lead the protectors and the crusaders of the Maker’s Church under the direction of the Rune-Bearers of the Seeh. The Hierophant of the First-Rune is a position of ultimate authority vacated only by death and replaced only by one of the Rune-Bearers by vote.
The current Hierophant of the First Rune is Barduc Flameforge, an ancient Dwarf who has seen the rise and fall of Kings, Clans and Guilds. Barduc’s beard reaches the floor in his length and his movements are rigid because of his age and his stony form.
Almost never found outside of his room or the chamber of the Seeh, Barduc allows his Rune-bearers and his Eyes to do almost all of his work for him. It is believed that his attendants will one day find him in bed completely petrified and given to the stone – on that day, it is very likely that his son, Hadrec, will take his place as “First-Rune”. Hadrec is beloved of the Iron Kingdom and has a strong influence over the Seeh. Currently, Hadrec serves as the Church’s main liaison to the court of the Runed King and has worked closely with the King for several civic projects, the most recent of which is the beautification of the western outer walls of Malak Travak.