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Church of Cortesia


I'm thinking of putting some work in on Cortesia and her church for a development proposal. Two questions come to mind:

(1) Any sources of information besides the wiki come to mind before I start? If anything has been effectively canonized in previous games, I'd happily work it in.

(2) Do I need to concurrently work on Cortessa, or are they separate enough that that can be handed at another time?

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First Post
1) Not that I know of.

2) While they are linked I think they are separate enough that you don't need to work on both at the same time.


I'm in 'collecting information' mode, and I hit upon this question: Is the Cathedral of Glass intended to be more of a temple or monument to Cortesia? It's kinda unclear as to whether it's a functional temple, much less how important (although impressive by any standard.)


First Post
I don't recall that ever being mentioned before so, ultimately, if you wish to make a statement about it somewhere go ahead. I would think it a little bit of both, though, functioning as the center of Cortesia's worship and a demonstration/monument to Cortesia's power.


Here's the first draft, incorporating as much material as I could find already in play, then fleshed out with some of my own ideas. Nothing is considered original on my part: making the year a religious cycle, for example, is a common religious feature. Comments welcome--this is not considered a voting version.


History (additional text):
Cortesia is known for her involvement in the war upon Hazagaroth, a Balor Lord. It is unclear if this happened before or after The Schism, although religious images inside the family tomb of Antonio Moretti suggest it may have been before.
see: Rodents of Unusual Size, pt 2 (www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?350153-LPF-Rodents-of-Unusual-Size-pt-2)

Appearance and Emissaries:
Cortesia is usually depicted as being clothed in flowing robes or dresses. She has a calm, soothing visage and, medium allowing, is shrouded in a nimbus of light. Images of her in battle depict her with either a sword of pure light or a physical sword that projects light. There is some scholarly discussion about which depiction is more accurate.

Worshipers and Clergy: Most of the upper members of the church (clergy) are clerics. However, Paladins and Oracles are known to exist as well.
- High Priest Gui Vinezzo. Having held the highest position in the church for some 30 years, most are of the opinion he is ready to step down or pass on. They've been saying that for some time… so far, Gui is still running the church.
- Anna Kallira - Anna is the newest healing talent of Cortesia, having talents for healing, albeit only in extended rituals, outside of her range of experience. Although generally friendly, she uses her blindness as an excuse to be wholly dependent on others.

Notable Worshipers:
- Iosef Tellus (paladin)
- Mandalo Chalybis (paladin)

Colors: Red, Gold, White

Temples, Shrines and Holy Sites
The Cathedral of Glass (Incudine) - The main Temple in Venza
Skyward (Roses D'Avorio) -the previous main Temple, still where the highest rank priests still run the religion. Noted for circular design around an open central courtyard
Tritower- A small open air shrine is here with a very small stafff, sometimes as low as one acolyte
Abondoned Temple (The Gulls): Long since abondoned, site of the Graznagul Gate (in the catacombs underneath). Temporairly rededicated to Skith, until discovered by adventurers and disrupted.
see: The Green Faerie (www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?291704-Living-Pathfinder-The-Green-Faerie)

Holy Texts:
"Dawn" is the primary holy text of Cortesia.
"The Divine Ledger" is associated with Cortessa, and viewed with a combination of contempt and scholarly interest.

Holy Symbol: A simple, stylized sun is all that is necessary for clerics to channel the power of the goddess. However, a pair of cupped hands surrounding the image of a young child constitute a secondary symbol commonly seen in church tapestries.

Holidays: The year is divided into an even progression of 4 religious holidays, based on the seasons. Taken in sequence, they represent a complete emotional cycle.
- Direction (Spring Equinox): The time of where new paths are chosen. Services are upbeat and parishioners make secret promises to themselves. Known for feelings of hope and renewal.
- Sunbeam (Summer Solstice): The longest day of the year, it is a day of festivities, gifts, song and dance. There is a religious undercurrent (and a message of looking forward to the Springs plans coming to fruition), but it is largely a big party. Services on this day are short and little more than a few songs. Associated emotions: Anticipation and Joy.
- Resolution (Fall Equinox): A time where plans come to fruition… or fail to do so. Services often include calls to the goddess for divine backing of the hopes and dreams of the congregation. Known for feelings of Accomplishment or Failure.
- Rememberance (Winter Solstice): The shortest day, a day of introspection and self-assessment. The faithful do not speak at any point during this day, and there is a special service with only music and gestures, where dealing with events with dignity becomes the theme. Known for the feelings of acceptance and release.

- The guards: A very well organized and respected guard unit protects all Cortesian properties. They are led by Anton Torelli. Other (apprentice) guards include Galin Barron and Charity. Trained almost like a military unit, Cortesia's guards form fighting phalanxes when threatened, even when in small numbers. Seasoned guards usually stand the line, while apprentice guards support them with long weapons and bows.
Note: Cortesia's guards are only allowed to carry a longsword after their apprenticeship is over. Until then, the most common weapons wielded are Shortsword, Longbow and Glaive.

- School: Education of children is available from a very early age. Although religious education is, of course, included, the Cortesian schools are well known to produce young adults proficient in a variety of subjects, including non-religious topics. Judging from the student body's wide range of socio-economic standing, it is likely some sort of subsidy is present for the poorer church members, although it is not discussed openly. The youngest 'classes' are little more than a religious day care.
Note: In rare cases, the church has basically raised children.

- Sunward: The most outwardly concerned members of the Church often find themselves allied with others of a similar interest, forming a loose-knit kinship. Little is known about them--some say they bear some kind of identifying tattoo, but nobody agrees on what it is, or where it would be found.


First Post
I'm a little confused by the phrasing of the Sunward section. Are they a group with similar interests to Cortesia with whom Cortesian followers associate (but who are not, themselves, followers)? Are the Sunward actually those outwardly concerned individuals themselves?

And, honestly, what does "outwardly concerned" mean, exactly? It sounds like a some political soft-selling of non-clergy evangelicals. The secret tattoos, though, make it seem like they *aren't* evangelical, but are maybe secretly fundamentalist, which isn't necessarily going to be the same thing. I think it might be better to just be explicit about it; you can put in information about how well / poorly known information on the Sunward might be (and / or about how much or little they want to share or expose of themselves), but I think the info text itself should be straightforward, and leave the obfuscating to whichever GM or player wants to play around with them?


I added the Sunward at the last minute, and I was rather tired at the time. (Most of the rest was based on noted I'd taken over time, so is a bit more coherent.) In retrospect, it is poorly conceived and needs to be fixed. The purpose of it is to make note of the fact that, as a major religion, the Cortesian church is likely to be, at least partially, fractured.

The basic jist of the Sunward is they believe in higher levels of engagement with the world, particularly outside of Venza. However, the odd part is that this view is one that is formented in secret, which gives a major aspect to the mainstream Cortesians not previously said: they're non-expansionist.

Another possible way of looking at it is they are kinda the skullduggery group for the church, and not on the 'approved activities' list. This might be more self-consistent with the look and feel of a major religion most people understand. A lot of people don't think in terms of roguish activity in a religious context, but it's not impossible.

I'm not sure which I like better. The basic idea or the alternate idea.


First Post
Hrm. I'm intrigued by the non-expansionist element. So Cortesia isn't seeking worshippers, or isn't interested in looking beyond Venza's borders?


Well, I was mostly analyzing a previously unrealized ramification of what I was laying out. To be more clear:

If we view the Sunward as a group that:
(a) actively engages populations outside Venza, including missionary work, and
(b) is secretive and outside of the mainstream Cortesian church on this regard,
Then we could conclude the Cortesian religion is largely a non-proselytizing/non-expansionist.

So, I'm not saying it HAS to be that way, but it would be if we took those assumptions to be true. If we don't like the result, we'd have to change the assumptions.

Now, as a matter of whether it's a good idea or not, it's worth noting that not all religions actively proselytize in the real world. However, with Christianity and Islam being definitively proselytizing religions, it is the 'norm' for people to view religion that way in many parts of the world.

However, exception abound. Classic Hindu, for example, does not proselytize. (Some Hindu versions do, however.) Zoroastrianism simply does not--it doesn't even accept converts. Etc. There are a lot of factors that go into it a religion's outlook in this regard, such as the idea of religion being exclusive, which is often fueled by the view the religion in question is the only true religion.

Anyway, I don't want to belabor it too much--I was just pointing out a possible conclusion if we accept the premises.


I'm bringing this up again to get it done, but with one edit to the original proposal:

Remove the section on Sunward. It is a little confusing. Replace with a much simpler statement that the Church of Cortesia has a generally local feel, but some members are more outwardly concerned.


First Post
Remove the section on Sunward. It is a little confusing. Replace with a much simpler statement that the Church of Cortesia has a generally local feel, but some members are more outwardly concerned.

I like what you have done but I agree with removing the Sunward section. I'm also not sure it really needs to be replaced with anything. 'Generally local, but some outwardly concerned' (my paraphrase) still has a vague yes-no dichotomy to it. I think I agree with jkason that it would be better if whatever you are trying to get at were stated boldly. How about something like: 'The majority of the Cortesian clergy are concerned solely with overseeing the religious, political, and community life of Venzans and have little interest in those not blessed by being born Venzan. There is a small group, however, who have taken it as their mandate to establish chantries, chapels, and chapterhouses wherever Venzan feet have trod [in direct competition with Cortessan proselytizing].'

Despite having written the above I'm not sure it should be included either. It seems to me that this sort of division is ideal for inclusion in the Cortesia/Cortessa schism, i.e. the non-expansionist Cortesians vs. the expansionistic, proselytize through trade Cortessans. (The end, in brackets, was added after the rest as a possible modification).

A few other random thoughts I've had:
* It seems to me that Tritower, originally established as a colony of Venza would have a larger temple to Cortesia than a shrine with a small staff unless there was some event that indicated otherwise.
* I'd like to see some descriptive iconography included. We have the two faces of Cortesia in pre-schism iconography but I think we should have a more current depiction of the goddess: a woman in flowing robes seated in a throne-like chair holding two babes, longsword propped against one arm of the chair and a hound at her feet.
* Although not previously determined it seems the Metropolitan of Venza, the temples' representative and advisor to the Grand Council, would be a Cortesian.
* I'd like to see an expansion of the saints like Saint Ulthar.
* Typical view of the Cortessans by Cortesian clergy?


I'll see what I can do. The entire issue of expansionism I am trying to convey is that there is a *majority* view of being non-expansionist, and that status quo is basically the official doctrine.

As for Tritower, I felt like I was being brave by saying there was even so much as a shrine there, and now it's perhaps too little. Seemed like an awful busy place with three local religions there already. Hmmm. Perhaps recent events will change it to a larger presence?


First Post
I get that and I like that the Cortesians are non-expansionist. I guess I was trying to push the 'Why?' (Why is it non-expansionist? Why is there a group contrary to the official doctrine (aside from normal human contrariness)? Why is there such a small presence of Cortesians in Tritower?) and, perhaps, my answers to those questions. None of my mental wanderings need to be included those were just the things that popped into my head as I was re-reading what you've compiled and written, which, by the way, is very good.


I'll see what I can do to incorporate as much of these ideas after I have the next adventure ready. It's definitely on the to-do list.

I guess the reason I hadn't thought about the issue of why the Cortesian religion is non-expansionist is somewhat of a classical view--for a long time in human history, it is my understanding that most religions were non-expansionist. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) Of course, expansionist religions, particularly those spreading by the power of the sword, became most widely spread. Just the same, I can give it some thought, but it's not a far stretch for a home/hearth/community goddess to be mostly focused on local affairs, IMO. OTOH, Cortessia can logically be thought to have a more cross-community interest with the value placed on trade.

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