Path of Inspiration
|Path of Inspiration|
|Portfolio||Community, Enlightenment, Wisdom|
|Domains||Community, Law, Meditation
Divine Mind Mantles: Communication, Law, Mental Power
|Home Plane||Dal Quor|
The Path of Inspiration is a religion from the Eberron setting of Dungeons & Dragons, native to the mysterious continent of Sarlona. Detailed in Secrets of Sarlona, it is the state religion of the nation of Riedra, and secretly a tool of control; its leaders, the Inspired, are actually mortal dupes of the Quori, outsiders native to Dal Quor, the Plane of Dreams, who seek to manipulate the mortal races out of a belief that by forcing all mortals to think and dream in one way, they can perpetuate the current state of Dal Quor for all eternity. It is essentially the "evil counterpart" to the Path of Light, relying heavily on propaganda and indoctrination to render its believers pliant.
For a Riedran, work is worship, and life itself is an act of devotion. According to the Path of Inspiration, dedicated and hard-working souls ascend a ladder of spiritual evolution over the course of many lifetimes, traveling from beast, to nonhuman, to human, to changeling, to Chosen, to the il-altas — the “great spirits” that cannot be perceived in this world, but that continue to guide lesser beings by acting through the Inspired. A follower of the Path should embrace the life he is given and learn the lessons he is meant to learn from it, resisting the temptation to rise above his station or change his lot in life.
For the Inspired, this system accomplishes many ends. It encourages citizens not to question their roles in life — spiritual advancement is the goal, and only by following the path set forth by the il-altas (as announced by the Inspired) can such advancement be attained. It also allows the Inspired to fail without shattering their status in the eyes of the people. The Inspired are mortal vessels of godlike beings, not actual gods, and any defeats or setbacks are the fault of the vessel. Finally, it contains just enough truth to weaken any attempts to expose the true nature of the quori. The Riedrans know that their rulers are possessed by outsiders, and using banishment to drive out the possessing spirit proves nothing aside from the fact that the exorcist is a foul being to challenge the noble il-altas. Since most Riedrans fear or at least distrust magic, they are unlikely to accept the evidence provided by detect evil or similar spells.
Riedrans are warned to beware of the altavars, spirits that have fallen off the Path of Inspiration. These beings suffer eternal torment and assuage their pain by corrupting and torturing others. The precepts of the Path teach that the “gods” worshiped by other cultures are in fact altavars, and that these dark spirits are also the source of arcane magic. As a result, Riedrans are taught to fear and despise arcanists and priests of other religions.
No temples have been erected to the Path of Inspiration; the holiest sites are the palaces of the Inspired and the hanbalani. On days of celebration, people often gather around the nearest monolith to join their thoughts (in the process, unwittingly channeling more of their spiritual energy to Dal Quor). Priests of the Path of Inspiration are usually experts, charged with maintaining discipline and morale among the people of their communities. Only the most loyal priests are entrusted with divine magic.
Inspired can’t actually grant spells, but they can certainly eliminate clerics whose devotion to the state is in question. As a result, true Riedran clerics and adepts are usually trusted envoys of the Inspired, often working with the military or the Thousand Eyes.
To emphasize the fact that Eberron is a place where there is no concrete truth about the gods, playing a faithful believer of the Path of Inspiration is allowed. "Secrets of Sarlona" states that, despite its origins, the belief itself is not evil, and its clerics and divine minds draw on power independently of the Inspired and the Dreaming Dark. Exactly where they get their mojo from is left a mystery. Perhaps spells of the Riedran cleric are drawn from the magical energy of the Dragon Above. Maybe the power flows from the raw faith of millions of Riedrans. It could be that the il-altas truly exist, unbeknownst to the Inspired. For most Riedrans, the Path of Inspiration is inseparable from their country as a whole, and the source of its power is Riedra.
The Dreaming Dark - Faith of the Quori
|Domains||Law, Evil, Shadow
Divine Mind Mantles: Law, Evil, Light & Darkness, Corruption & Madness
|Home Plane||Dal Quor|
Despite their role in the Path of Inspiration, the Quori themselves don't believe a word of it. They know better, after all. Instead, their piety and devotion is directed to a mysterious force that resides at the center of Dal Quor, giving the entire plane its life and its shape. This is the Quor Tarai, the spirit of the age, and the age it has created is a nightmare. The quori are the children of the Quor Tarai, and they call their creator il-Lashtavar (the Darkness that Dreams, or the Dreaming Dark). However, as much as they love and worship it, the quori also fear it; their studies have determined that the Quor Tarai changes at different intervals, and when it changes, the fundamental nature of Dal Quor, and of the quori themselves, is altered in the process. All but immortal, this idea of ceasing to be themselves absolutely terrifies every single quori - save for the tiny majority who embraced it, and became the creators of the kalashtar. Everything they have done in influencing Eberron ever since has been based on their fanatical devotion to the idea that if they can control the minds of all mortals, they can preserve the Quor Tarai in its present state forever.
At present, the faithful of il-Lashtavar are split into different sects. Some argue that what they have done to secure Sarlona through the Path of Inspiration is sufficient for their purposes, and will guarantee that the Quor Tarai never changes. Others argue that only when the Path of Inspiration dominates the entire world of Eberron can they be assured of their eternity.