Church of the Silver Flame
|Church of the Silver Flame|
A flame drawn on silver, or carved into a silver object
|Portfolio||Purity, light, redemption, self-sacrifice, just war.|
|Domains||3E: Exorcism, Good, Inquisition, Law, Protection, Purification
4E: Hope, Justice, Protection
5E: Life, Light, War
|Worshippers||Paladins, most inhabitants of Thrane|
The Church of the Silver Flame is the "youngest" religion of Khorvaire in the Dungeons & Dragons setting of Eberron. Whilst it's been around for many years, with the deity-like force it worships - the actual Silver Flame - have been forged by the couatls during the Age of Demons, it's still younger as an organization than the Sovereign Host. Whilst the Purified, as its adherents call themselves, are a powerful force for good, the church has been wracked with controversy, due to a tendency towards very Lawful Stupid behavior.
Worshipers join the flame, strengthening it, upon death. This doesn't sound great, but it's superior to everyone else on Eberron who go to the realm of the dead, lose themselves and gradually fade from existance. This makes the church reluctant to resurrect worshipers and all recorded resurrection of non-worshipers has been a result of bribery.
- 1 History of the Silver Flame
- 2 History of the Church
- 3 Dogma
- 4 The Shadow in the Flame
- 5 Variant Sects and Heresies
- 6 Meta-History
History of the Silver Flame
The Silver Flame was created during the Age of Demons, when the couatl race collectively pooled their souls to create an abstract entity of goodness and law powerful enough to bind away any demon, even the mighty Overlords who ruled the world at that time.
History of the Church
The Church of the Silver Flame was founded in the year 299 YK, when a female human paladin named Tira Miron gave her life to merge with the Silver Flame and, by doing so, seal away one of those Overlords named Bel Shalor, who still tries to subvert his prison as "The Shadow in the Flame". After this act, Tira became able to communicate with mortals as "The Voice of the Silver Flame", and mortals began worshipping the Silver Flame.
They famously purged just about all the lycanthropes on Eberron, on the grounds that something was causing them all to turn evil, there are like twelve moons orbiting the planet so there’s a full one every few days, and that the spells that cure lycanthropy all require the subject to pass a save, which they can always choose to fail. This led to the Church not realizing there were ways to cure lycanthropy for much of the Purge, to say nothing of the many shifters that got accidentally killed in the process. And, lest you feel too sorry for them, let there be no bones about the fact that these were lycanthropes, and very few of them were helpless victims unable to defend themselves.
It probably did more good than harm, especially since at the tail end they did start curing the remorseful instead of killing them, but it's still seen as a big black mark on the church's history. The festival celebrating their win is traditionally tempered with sermons about the ways in which they went too far and did things they shouldn't.
Their current leader is Jaela Daran, the Keeper of the Flame, a.k.a. the Lolipope. She is basically a mixture of the Pope and the Dalai Llama, and she is a genuinely kind-but-forceful and talented ruler, despite also being eleven years old. She is the highest-level person in the world at the start of any given campaign (Vol technically beats her for pure CR, but Vol has templates) so long as she is actually within the confines of her seat of power. She is also defended by the lovably-ugly dragonhound Skarajoven, who is basically her cuddly family dog right down to suddenly turning murderously protective if someone threatens her safety.
While many of her counselors are not the same kind of saintly heroine she is, Jaela is presently leading her church in the right direction, barring any adventure paths or party shenanigans.
Burn the corruption and taint of evil from all Eberron. Other gods have begun the creation, but it is the Silver Flame, by searing wickedness and darkness from their imperfect world, that must complete it.
Just from the outset of this quote, your first impression would be to assume that these guys are a bunch of smite-everything self-righteous fanatics who see everything else, from twisted monstrosities like the Quori to some orcs whose only crime is just not being human, as bad and wrong for not being as pure as they are. This particular stereotype doesn't earn the Church many favors, though those disenfranchised with the Host's interest in upholding monotony over making waves do find interest.
However it should also be known that just purging things for no reason won't help a society from repeating those mistakes. It also requires building a foundation upon which fosters the growth of the coveted purity. This is the sort of reasoning that allows non-combatant followers of the Silver Flame to operate without mandating that they take a side-job in committing genocides.
Indeed, the best thing a follower of the Flame can do is live a good, moral life, doing their best to make the world a better place and refine themselves into their best selves, so that upon death, all that is best in them merges with and strengthens the Flame, hastening the day when the Shadow is not merely caged but banished and the great work of remaking Eberron can begin.
Notably, it is not an explicitly racist religion, and the mixed orc, human, and half-orc tribes that defend the Demon Wastes worship the Silver Flame, and there is evidence that the ancient civilization of scalykind also once revered something very like the modern Flame.
The Shadow in the Flame
The Overlord, Bel Shalor, whom the Flame sealed away, is not idle in his prison.
There are the subtle plots: the work of the Lords of Dust, the equivalent of the Keeper of the Flame the church locks up in Magic Alcatraz, the cults of those who give into temptations of lust and power. And then, there are the even subtler plots.
The thing is, Bel Shalor can whisper lies through the flame. It's not something the higher ups in the church communicate to everyone, though they do warn that the Flame's guidance can be hard to understand, but just as the paladin and the coatl speak to their worshippers, so too can he whisper lies and half-truths into their ears.
When he was free, Bel Shalor's greatest strength and skillset was corrupting good people into doing horrible things, tempting them with the idea that they were acting for the greater good, that the ends justify the means, that it'll all turn out alright in the end, and hey, better to betray the whole world than the whole world betray you, right? And he presently uses those skills to try to destroy his prison and spread his influence over all of Eberron.
As the Church of the Silver Flame is just the most recent incarnation of the faith in the Silver Flame, there are many faiths that actually worship the flame, though these are often just categorized as sects of the church.
The Ghost Guardian orcs of the Demon Wastes see it as a duty to keep the horrors within away from the outside world, and worship the Kalok Shash, the Binding Flame, that draws the souls of the dead to keep darkness and evil at bay. Many of course see the similarities between their beliefs and those of the church and the orcs, though the purified say that they just have a skewed and inaccurate view of it. Others refuse to accept that a screaming orc barbarian and human paladin in shining armor technically worship the same deity.
An order of knights known for their strict standards on purity and morality, and an emphasis on self-sacrifice.
Order of the Radiant Flame
An order of mystics, seeking to spiritually become one with the flame while still alive. Mainly spend their time contemplating the mysteries of the cosmos in their monasteries and shrines.
The umbrella term for all the faiths based on couatls and the Silver Flame that predate the church. Their name comes from the fact that they and the church have a shared serpent/couatl theme. Currently the only known serpent cult is active within the shulassakar city of Krezent.
Servants of the Pure Flame
The "Puritans" are your standard extremists/fundamentalists with emphasis on the letter of the law, forced conversion, and purging heretics and enemies of the faith. Mainly centered in Aundair, they actually have some political power in Thrane and the College of Cardinals. Their leader is also a Lawful Evil powermonger who has a passion for burning witches at the stake.
The Stormreach Church
The result of failed missionary expeditions to Xen'drik. They were declared heretics because they opposed the theocracy in Thrane, and changed their teachings from the mainline due to exposure to the local legends and unconventional worshippers of the Silver Flame joining the church. One of their members is also a member of the shulassakar serpent cult, and even one of their Inquisitors was a Lord of Dust!
The accusations of heresy were not wholly exaggerated is what we're getting at here.
The biggest of heresies in the church, these are those who worship the overlord trapped within the Silver Flame. Sometimes they do this intentionally, but mainly they get corrupted by the Shadow in the Flame, as it promises them riches and immortality in exchange for services rendered, or lures them into doing great evil while making them think they're following the Greater Good. They actually almost gained control over the church in 497 YK, before other sects found out they were demon worshippers.
The Church first appeared in the original Eberron campaign setting splatbook for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition. It was subsequently fleshed out in the splatbook "Faiths of Eberron" for the same edition, and the vast repository of its lore comes from that book. It then reappeared in the Eberron player's campaign guides for Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, and was mentioned in brief in the Player's Handbook for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition as well as earning a mention in the pseudo-official Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron.
|The Faiths of Eberron|
| Blood of Vol - Church of the Silver Flame - Cults of the Dragon Below - The Dark Six|
Drow Faiths - The Druidic Sects - Path of Inspiration - Path of Light - Seren Dragon Cults
The Sovereign Host - Thir - The Undying Court - Warforged Mysteries - Other Faiths of Eberron