Path of Self Reliance: Neutral
Path of Spoils: Neutral Evil
Path of Self Reliance
- Always be self sufficient. Only those who can provide for themselves will excel.
- Maintain a good reputation.
- Every favor granted is a favor you can collect.
- Be careful of greed: pigs get fat, but hogs get slaughtered
- Wrap a velvet glove around an iron hand.
- Path of spoils:*
- To the victor go the spoils.
- Generosity is for the weak.
- Covet what others have. If it isn’t yours, it ought to be!
- Success justifies the means.
- Allow no one to hold anything over you.
Each initiate of Artifice must choose one of the two paths of worship the god offers. The initiate will then stay on the path for the rest of her life. Artificians on the Path of Spoils see Artifice as a neutral evil deity, while followers of the path of Self-Reliance worship Artifice in a spirit of true neutrality.
Artificians of both paths desire to have lucrative if not rich lives. They look upon strenght, speed, and intellect as virtues that are paramount to achieving the almighty goals of acquisition. Artificians value style and charm, believing that being well liked is an asset to success. They do not lack for motivation or energy; always alert and sharp.
Self Reliant Artificans believe the way to achieve a lucrative, happy and safe life is to be a savvy business dealer. They believe that if you are good to the community, the community will be good to you, thus earning trust that leads to successful, busy commerce, as well as a good share of the finds. Spoilers believe in taking what they want. They believe preying upon those weaker than oneself is the natural order, and a fool and his money are soon parted. These worshipers tend to live riskier but more exciting lives.
Clerics of Artifice pray for their spells at sunset. Followers of both paths wear indigo to show their connection to the church. Artifice’s symbol is the dagger and his favored weapon is also the dagger. Artifice sits upon the divine wheel in opposition to Brashtamere, the god of Happiness.
The birth of the Paths
Shortly after the Day of Triumph the church of Artifice decided to change its image. Many in the church decided ti was time for Artificians to join the ranks of the gods of light and this was the golden opportunity to become respected citizens. They saw the Brashtamerians had been getting less organized over the last few years and that the number of their high priests had dwindled to a handful. With this lack of leadership Brashtamerians had been falling prey to debauchery. Many Artificians thought this was the perfect time to point out the weakness of the Brashtamere church to the Empire, thus making Artifice look like the more helpful and conscientious choice for ally.
There was hover an almost equal amount of Artificans who laughed at this idea. They thought that trying to become respectful was a waste of time. They had everything they needed and thrived as the thieves that they were. Brashtamere’s weakness was to be preyed upon just as it was, not used to gain political prowess. For with that prowess would come an honest work to maintain it, and after millennia of avoiding honest work the way Artifice intended.
The church separated into “Old Faithers” and “New Faithers” in an effort to become accepted instead of just tolerated.
The Old Faith of Artifice much deserved the reputation normally associated with a “God of Thieves”. They were rouges and criminals of the lowest caliber, hiding their association with the church. They were famous for back-alley muggings, burglary and generally illegal activities. The new Faith was the merchants and mercenaries, trying to show the “Nicer” side of Artifice. They would wear their holy symbols openly and proudly, and praise the word of Artifice to any who would listen. The Old Faith despised the New Faith, saying it was betraying the nature of their god and disrespecting the other initiates.
The rivalry turned bloody during the Time of Great Change with both sides trying to take the lives of the others. Even during the Battle of Light, Old Faithers were cutting the throats of New Faithers who fell before them. The mess of this enmity came to a head on the rooftops of Konigsburg years later, when a knight who followed an Old Faith high priest down and killed him his final Gift, in plain sight, and hung him upside down from the steeple of his church. The knight then went down to the door of the church and posted a sign that read “This church for Filthy Spoilers Only”. The death of the high priest signified the beginnings of the two paths as they are today; the Old faith became the Path of Spoils, and the New Faith became the Path of Self- Reliance.
In the last century, the two paths have become so far apart they are almost two separate churches. The path of Self-Reliance is more popular in the Northern Empire while the Path of Spoils is favored in the South, but followers of both paths can be found in both empires.
Church Structure: The cathedral for the artifice church is located in Cherbourg in the Southern Empire. The Calumbrian. He was instrumental in bringing the Artifice paths together enough to have one Cathedral. He makes biannual appearance at the Cathedral to announce and congratulate newly ascended high priests, newly anointed worshipers, and to reward those in the church who have made major accomplishments at large. The rest of the time he rarely holds formal audience and leaves the city frequently on a personal business. He has an extensive retinue of priests and worshipers that he socializes with at various upscale taverns when in town, and it is said he never turned way on Artifican that wanted to talk to him. Most believe him to follow the path of spoils but he downplays the paths and preaches tolerance, stating that all of the children of Artifice have their purpose.
Almost as powerful is Kruger Starnburg, high priest of Artifice and outspoken follower of the path of Self-Reliance. He strongly opposes the unification of the church. From his temple in Albrecht, he preaches that the paths were given to the church so that one of the two philosophies could prevail over the other in accordance with the ancient and coveted belief among all Artificans that the strong shall survive. He believes that the path of Self-Reliance is clearly winning, being that it is the path accepted by all nobility and society as good and closer to the gods of light. Kruger has a following as great as Cherboug. His following is better organized and more focused. They believe that Artifice can become a god of light. What exactly that would mean for Brashtamere, his opposite is unclear, but Kruger has been heard railing against Brashtamere and pointing out that the path of Vice has become the prevalent worship. he claims that the Brashtamere is slipping toward the darkness and may only need a push to til the balance in Artifices favor.