Greymoria's core worshipers call themselves the Children of the Dark Mother, but this is usually shortened into the "Children".
"Children" refers to both Greymoria's primary worshipers and it refers to creatures created by Greymoria. Understandably, this can be quite confusing. Usually, in Scarterran conversation, Greymoria's worshipers are simply called "the Children" and Greymoria's monsters are usually called "Greymoria's Children." Among our own circles, in formal situations we clergy tend tend to refer to the mortal races that Greymoria beget as 'Legacy Progeny'. Among the Legacy Progeny, they tend to call us 'The Adopted' if they are being polite, and a wide variety of unpleasant names if they are not being polite. -Glynnis, Swynfaredian Priestess of GreymoriaRegardless of their origin or what you call them, Greymoria is often feared by the general populace but seldom loved, and most of Greymoria's Children live on the fringes of mainstream society.
With a few major exceptions such as Swynfaredia and Kahdisteria, Greymoria affiliated temples receive few if any voluntary donations from the general populace and have even fewer wealthy donors among the upper classes. Thus, the Children need alternate means of gaining income.
Some Children have mundane day jobs, but not many. Day jobs tend to take a lot of time. Children are generally expected to use most of their free time studying and training to improve their magical skills. Many of the Children’s detractors joke that “the Children are so focused on magical studies that they cannot do simple mundane tasks such as tying their own shoes, children indeed.” Unsurprisingly most Children in need of coin try to sell their magical skills. Most Children are mercenaries to the core, selling their magical services to anyone with gold or reagents and not asking too many questions.
Greymoria's Children tend to pinch every copper piece as hard as they can. Greymoria has more secret temples than public temples. Public temples are rarely very lavish and secret temples even less so. There are not a lot of Children in Scarterra so most Children are accustomed to operating solo, it’s not uncommon for a Child of Greymoria to go for months at a time before meeting another Child of Greymoria. This forces most Children learn to be self-sufficient with regards to finding solutions to their daly expenses.
British Library digitised image from page 28 of "Proverbial Philosophy in four series; by British Library Public Domain
Besides selling their own magical services directly, the Children are very prolific crafters of magical items, especially potions. Sometimes, they will even do this legally. A great many Children turn their magical talents to criminal enterprises. On the more legitimate side of things, in areas where Greymoria worship is more tolerated, Children can sell their services above board as magical tutors or advisors.
Greymoria is probably the least worshiped deity of all the Nine on Scarterra. In general, most Scarterrans are horrified by Greymoria’s actions during the the Divine Rebellion and this is part of the basis of most commoners fears of necromancy. Most Scarterrans are horrified by necromancy, and necromancy is hardly the only type of magic that scares normal people. The schools of Transmutation and Enchantment are just as frightening in their own way. Any hostile magic is scary and Greymoria is the literal personification of hostile magic, to say nothing of how poorly regarded Greymoria's monstrous children are. Even cultures that value arcane magic highly often try to sweep Greymoria’s association with arcane magic under the rug.
The Dark Elf Nation of Kahdisteria is the only civilized nation on Scarterra that has Greymoria as their divine patron. The government is secular but Greymoria’s priesthood is very influential because Kahdisteria relies on arcane magic to keep their slaves in line and to protect their borders from outside threats.
To say the Children are often mistrusted is an understatement. They often find themselves at odds with secular authorities and the rest of the Nine's priesthoods. Their traditional allies are the Testers Stewards, and Masks, but even then relations are not warm, and the various parties tend to see each other as allies of convenience at best. Some Greymoria worship is restricted to her holy days or only within the Nonagon. The majority of Greymoria’s temples are secret temples. Even if Greymoria is tolerated in an area, her Children often maintain a public temple in the public Nonagon for show and maintain a secret “real” temple elsewhere.
In the land of Swynfaredia, Greymoria is in the middle of the pack for divine prestige. The fact that Greymoria is worshiped publicly on a regular basis is pretty impressive all things considered. The sorcerer elites there do not want to rub their Greymoria association in the peasants’ faces, but they don’t want to sweep Greymoria under the rug either.
Ship at Sea (public domain) by Edward Moran
The rulers Elven Empire rely heavily on Wizardry, and they maintain a very rigid proscribed worship of Greymoria, but most Children find this patronizing and see through the elven princes thinly veiled distaste for them. Most Children considered the elites of the Elven Empire to be enemies despite the Elven Empire actually giving Greymoria's Children for freedom of expression than most other nations of similar size. Uskala has Scarterra’s largest and most prestigious magic school in their capital and they almost never mention Greymoria or involve Greymoria's Children in running the school. This is galling to the Children, but there isn’t much they can do about it.
Greymoria worship is more common among uncivilized folk, but even then Greymoria is not very popular. A great many barbaric people distrust arcane magic in general or they distrust Greymoria specifically. Greymoria has created a lot of races of monsters and humanoids but most of these creatures have rebelled against Greymoria treating them like expendable weapons.
The Children have some very impressive public temples in Uskala, but these temples are mere paper dragons. The Children did help establish the Uskalan Magic School, but once the school was running smoothly, King Drosst gradually pushed out the Children and made the school into a secular worshop to mold state-friendly wizards.
Tenets of Faith
-Love Greymoria above all others for without her nothing would exist. -Punish those who do not love Greymoria. -Encourage the spread of arcane arts for this will glorify Greymoria. Beyond agreeing ont hese three basic tenets, the Children have a lot of differing interpretations on how best to carry out the will of the Dark Mother.
Many, if most priesthoods in Scarterra give a lot of weight and deference towards spell-casting ability when deciding who to promote to higher ranks, but Greymoria is the only deity in Scarterra that has zero recognized clergy without spell-casting ability.
Since most Greymoria temples are essentially autonomous they can select new recruits however they see fit. Some Children like to induct new members as children, some prefer inducting adults. As one might expect, the Children of the Dark Mother are very harsh task masters and demanding teachers. Sometimes recruits who are deemed failures are simply released back where they came from, sometimes they are killed. The later in a student’s education the student fails, the less likely he is to survive. To their credit, those who survive their training and are inducted as full priests or priestesses are very potent spell-casters, among the most powerful in the world. The Children have very few dabblers in their ranks. Many of Greymoria's dabblers style themselves as holy warriors or assassins. They focus their limited magical studies on things that would help them enhance their mundane skills at killing. Greymoria has sponsored a lot of theurgists and mages who are not priests but are devout worshipers nonetheless. About one-in-four Greymoria theurgists do not bother joining the priesthood formally. For every mage who takes up the cloth and becomes a full priest or priestess, there are two or three mages moderately sympathetic to Greymoria worship, but with no desire to become full priests or priestesses. Greymoria has almost as many favored souls as she has anointed, but they don’t interact with each other very often. Most of Greymoria’s anointed are found among humans and demi-humans and most of Greymoria’s favored souls are found among the so-called monstrous races, but there are numerous exceptions for both. About half of Greymoria’s favored souls pop up among groups that still worship her heavily and the other half pop up in groups that have lost faith. These favored souls try to endorse old-school Greymoria revivals and this often works, at least in the short term.
Greymoria is the magic goddess, so her representatives on the mortal plane are expected to be able to command magic power. About half of Greymoria’s priests and priestesses are anointed or favored souls, the other half are mages of some kind. About one in ten Children aspire to be able to use cast divine and arcane magic. While respected for their devotion, most dual casters do not rise very high in the ranks. It takes a lot of training to learn the basics of either type of magic. Most dual casters routinely get schooled by conventional mages or theurgists in magical duels. Conventional wisdom is in the time it takes to be a mediocre mage and a mediocre theurgist you can become a legendary caster by focusing on a single field of study.
Ranks and TitlesRank among the Children is pretty simple in theory if not always in practice. Rank is based more or an ability to get useful things done rather than on seniority or networking though both these things play a part, and those with great magical power have an easier time ascending the ranks than those with minor magical power. Initiate: A perspective priest or priestess who has yet to attain a single dot of magic ability. Neophyte: A perspective priest or priestess who has just begun to show their first rudiments of magical ability. If a full priest or priestess is called a neophyte, this term is usually intended as an insult to one’s abilities. Acolyte: A full member of Greymoria’s priesthood. Adeptus: Honorific term for one of Greymoria’s Children who has attained at least three dots of at least three forms of magic. Master: Honorific term for one of Greymoria’s Children who has attained five dot magic in at least one form of magic. Completionist: Polite Honorific for one of Greymoria’s Children studying divine and arcane magic. Master Completionists are rare but they are given great respect. Double Dabbler: Derogatory term for one of Greymoria’s Children studying divine and arcane magic. Mystic Blade: Polite honorific for one of Greymoria’s Children who focuses on developing his or her mundane martial skills above his or her magic. Master Mystic Blades are rare but they are given great respect. Dabbler Warrior: Somewhat derogatory term for one of Greymoria’s Children who focuses on developing his or her mundane martial skills above his or her magic.
Granted Divine Powers
The three favored spheres for Greymoria affiliated divine spellcasters are Crafts, Hexing, and Necromancy. Divination is the most popular sphere among the Children from those three. About half of the Children's priests, priestesse, and holy warriors are divine casters and about half are arcane casters. Arcane casters affiliated with the Children cast their magic the exact same way secular arcane casters do. Divination, Illusion Necromancy, Transmutation are all very popular among the Children's arcane spell caster but no school of magic is shunned or neglected. The Children are equally likely to specialize in advancing a specific lore or school of magic to a high level as they are to seeking a jack-of-all-trades approach to magic, and there is no social stigma attached to either strategy.
IndependentsA majority of Greymoria's Children claim to be faction-less. Some do this because they do not want to avoid becoming too specialized. Others want to avoid the factional enemies of the groups. Other independent Children want to play the various factions against each other. Whether they admit or not, most independent Children are sympathetic with the goals and methods of at least one of the major factions. Other times, informal factions arise temporarily and a cult of personality for a specific charismatic priest or priestess.
Advocates, aka Monster Lovers
Greymoria is called the Mother of Monsters for a reason and some Children choose to focus primarily on dealing with monsters. They are often called "The Progeny's Aegis" by their supporters, and their detractors call them "Monster wranglers" (among other less savory nicknames). The polite neutral term for the faction is, "the Advocates". The Advocates operate as middlemen between Greymoria's priests and priestesses in the civilized world of Scarterra and Greymoria's sapient monster children in the remote Scarterra wilderness or the depths of Scarnoctis.
The Bearers of the Book are a new but rapidly increasing faction within the Children. The Bearers are dedicated to spreading the study of wizardry throughout Scarterra, especially . More controversially, they endorse a kinder gentler approach to spreading Greymoria worship than most Children are accustomed to doing.
The Bridge Builders are one of the many nicknames for followers of controversial idea that periodically pops up over the centuries, only to have all it's supporters purged. Then the idea resurgences again generations later under a new name. Their goal is to de-stigmatize necromancy and teach the living to appreciate the contributions that undead can bring to society. Something even many necromancers are opposed to doing.
The Custodians of Kismet Heritage are a formal faction within the Children with a mission to ensure the safety and prosperity of all sorcerers and sorceresses and to "encourage" those with sorcery to not lose sight of their Greymoria as their ultimate benefactor. This faction is often considered synomous with the nationalistic Swynfaredian Children and this caused some resentment among some Children both inside and outside of Swynfaredia.
Unlike the Swynfaredia, where the Children are a political player. The Kahdisterian Children are the political player in their home. The dark elves of Kahdisteria are the only large nation in all of Scarterra that acknowledges Greymoria as their main divine patron. Greymoria's Children are used to be the scrappy underdogs, so many are jealous and resentful of the Kahdisterian Children for being part of "the System" and many Children say that centuries of sitting in thier posh temples has made them soft and lazy. For their part, the Kahdisterian Children claim to have the purest and most ancient form of Greymoria worship and the other Children are backwards and primitive by comparison, and all that tension and conflict is before racism is factored in.
The Thaumaturge Covenant is a semi-formal cult within the Children that works to aid and support Greymoria affiliated Warlocks while at the same time marginalizing, curtailing, or even outright slaying Warlocks outside of Greymoria's perview.
Children of SpiteGreymoria is infamous for being constantly seeking revenge for imagined or exaggerated slights against her. This reputation has extended to her Children, but most of her followers generally only carry out acts of spite or malice against the most egregious offenders against Greymoria, and they usually try to do so quietly, often quietly disappearing their enemies. The Children of Spite are not a true faction, they don't have icons or meetings. The title is a nickname for Greymoria's followers who focus heavily on acting as agents of Greymoria's wrath. They also tend to leave behind dramatic and macabre calling cards.
Related Ranks & Titles