The Tripartite God, The Thirded Lord, The Teacher, He Who Walks the Three Paths
|Domain||Mastery and harmony of body, mind and spirit.|
There are Three Paths... body, mind and spirit. And you must walk them all to find yourself.
|Typical Worshipers||According to Yntharian teachings, anyone can be a disciple.|
|Head of the Church||None.|
|Demographics||25% Human, 15% Elven, 13% Grum, 11% Dwarven, 10% Orc, 8% Ogre, 6% Saurian, 5% Sayune, 3% Phellysian, 2% Avarian, 2% Other|
|Geographic Regions||Primarily northern and eastern Ithria.|
|Holy Symbol||The symbol of Ynthar - a circle circumscribed around a triangle which is circumscribed around an inverted triangle. (See below).|
There is no deity at the center of this faith. This is a monastic philosphy more than anything else. Ynthar was the founder of the Yntharian religion, but he was a mortal man. Rather than a god, he is seen simply as the founder of the faith and the teacher of a great body of knowledge.
Myths and Legends
There are no grandiose creation myths and world shaking legends surrounding Ynthar. There are, however, many stories, most of which agree with historical records.
Overview of the Church
The Ynthar religion is one of the oldest continuous faiths in existence. The Yntharian faith is a philosophical and ethical tradition of ancient origin that teaches that every living thing has three parts - body, mind and spirit - and emphasizes the development of each and the harmony of all three. Those who follow the path of Ynthar, referred to as Ynthari monks, train and study to enhance each of these paths separately. They live ascetic lives of great focus, completely devoted to their personal training. Ynthari monks have excellent physical health, are well educated in a diverse range of topics and have tremendous will power and focus. The church of Ynthar has changed a great deal over the centuries. Today, it is one of the smaller and more obscure faiths with a much more specialized focus. This religion is sometimes referred to as the "Three Paths" and a follower is sometimes referred as he or she who "walks the three paths".
Ynthari monks are less common than priests of other churches and generally less flamboyant as well. Although they are rare, they can be found almost anywhere... in a market bazaar or travelling on a road between kingdoms. Because of this group's history, they tend to be encountered most commonly in northern and eastern Ithria. They are more rare in other regions of the world.
History and Origins
When Thull declared himself Emperor in the Third Age, he created a new calendar that began at Year 1. His rise to power effectively disbanded the Order of the Ranyku. The Order, now fragmented and scattered, had lost much of its former power. In 17 TIC, a commoner was born among the last remnants of the Ranyku, a boy who was named Ynthar. He was a gifted young man who saw facets of the Universe that others were blind to. While he was with the Ranyku, he dabbled in art and writing and poetry. Later he turned to the study of magic. He was never quite satisfied with what he found and moved from subject to subject. He studied many religions and philosophies, including that of the Ranyku, but he never found what he sought.
Eventually, an epiphany prompted he turned inward and developed his own philosophy. He created a philosophy that focused on developing and improving the body, mind and spirit separately, but in parallel. He found a quiet valley in central Ithria and there founded a small school to spread his teachings to others. Throughout his life, the school became very popular and powerful. Many came to study under him. Toward the end of his life, Ynthar had developed such mastery as to be able to accomplish feats that many considered to be miracles. Among his followers were several great wizards and with their help, Ynthar crafted three magical crystals. These three crystals were attuned to the three disciplines, one to body, one to mind and one to spirit. These crystals could magically fuse together to form a single crystal and, when so merged, even greater powers emerged. The three crystals were a symbolic representation of the entire faith and they were the most cherished objects in the religion.
Ynthar died of natural causes in 151 TIC, at the age of 134. The school continued as his pupils had become masters and they in turn taught the art to others. The school grew in size. Ceremony and protocol evolved. Before long, the school was a fortified stronghold and had the trappings of a temple and faith. Beginning in 211 TIC, construction began on three other temple like schools. One devoted to each of the three disciplines. By the time they were finished, all four schools were now referred to as temples and those who followed the teachings of Ynthar were referred to as monks. These three lesser temples were arranged geographically in a symbolic triangle, many hundreds of kilometers apart with the original temple at its center. The Temple of the Body was in the Icerock Mountains. The Temple of the Mind was in the Sentinel Mountains. And the Temple of the Spirit was in the central plains of the Irenni League. The Great Temple lay exactly in the center of the other three, on the border of Tarset territory.
The Ynthari monks, as they called themselves, enjoyed many years of peace and properity as they continued their studies and strove to achieve mastery over the three disciplines. The Ynthari monks earned a reputation as mystical warriors capable of near magical feats.
Those years of peace came to an end when the Alliance rose to power. The Purification Campaigns conducted by the Alliance Mage Lords began in 394 TIC. The Ynthari monks were seen as potential rivals and persecuted. Many of the Ynthari fought against the Alliance Mage Lords and, subsequently, most of the Ynthari monks were wiped out. The Great Temple was taken by Alliance forces. The remaining Ynthari monks fled to the lesser temples. Due to their more remote locations, the lesser temples were spared and the Alliance let them be. For many years, the Ynthari monks held on to the three lesser temples, all the while plotting and working against the Alliance. The Alliance, however, was too powerful.
When the Sundering hit, everything changed. The central plains of the Irenni League were flooded by the waters that would eventually be called the Captured Sea. The Temple of the Spirit was obliterated. One third of the Ynthari monks were killed along with it.
During the dark years that followed the Sundering, wizards were blamed for the calamity that had struck the world. Wizards in many regions were hunted and put to death. The Ynthari monks were likewise persecuted, as they were believed, by many, to be powerful wizards.
The Great War, which came soon after, scattered the remaining Ynthari monks. The two remaining temples were raided. The armies that fought in the Great War often looted such places looking for treasure, magic and slaves. In the chaos of the Great War, the three Crystals of Ynthar was stolen and their fates were unknown.
The religion of Ynthar was almost completely wiped from the face of Khoras. Those few monks who survived guarded their culture fiercely, protecting their copies of their holy book and keeping the teachings of Ynthar alive. It was a dark time for the Ynthar faith. Though greatly weakened, they endured. Several Ynthari monks continued to seek the lost crystals and tried to recapture the lost temples. They were unsuccessful.
For many centuries after the Great War, this faith was little more than an obscure cult found only in crumbling scrolls and ancient books. There were few living practitioners and the world knew little of them.
In 2207 CY, an Ynthari monk named Balydon led a small group of Ynthari monks to reclaim the ruin of the Great Temple of Ynthar. The ancient ruin, now choked with weeds and forgotten, lay in the northern foothills of the Sentinel Mountains near the Falkir Clans. Balydon and his followers began the laborious task of rebuilding the temple. It took them nearly fifty years, but they did rebuild it. The new temple was given the name Thandrimora, which means “Reborn” in ancient Ranyku. Balydon, a very old man by this time, established a council of masters. These thirteen men sent out word to other Ynthari groups and, over many years, began to organize them into a network. Slowly, the monks began to organize themselves.
Over the last five centuries, the religion of Ynthar has slowly risen from the ashes. There are now many hundreds of Ynthari monks, many of whom live and study at Thandrimora. Others venture out into the world doing the bidding of the Ynthari Council. Many disciples of Ynthar go forth into the world to seek enlightenment. Despite this resurgence, the faith of Ynthar is still one of the smallest and most obscure religions.
Now that the Great Temple of Thandrimora has been rebuilt, the monks have turned their attention to all else that was lost. First, the monks seek to retrieve the lost Crystals of Ynthar. The current whereabouts of the crystals are unknown. Many of the monks search for them endlessly. Second, the monks seek to reestablish the three lesser temples. This task is made difficult due to the location each. The Temple of the Body lies in the Rift Vale, territory claimed by the xorians. The Temple of the Mind lies deep in Coalition territory. Perhaps most difficult of all will be the Temple of the Spirit, which now lies on the sea floor, hundreds of feet beneath the waves of the Captured Sea. Some on the council propose the building of a new Temple of the Spirit. Others propose raising the old one by magic. In any case, this is a religion that has endured much and is now ready to reclaim that which it has lost.
Temples, Churches and Holy Sites
The main temple of this faith is the Great Temple of Thandrimora. It lies in the foothills of the northern Sentinel Mountains, between Khenshire and the Falkir Clans. This is the only temple of this faith. Approximately one hundred Ynthari monks live and study here. There are many other Ynthari monks elsewhere in the world. Some come to Thandrimora from time to time. Most make a pilgrimmage here at least once in there life. The three lesser temples are little more than ruins that lie in hostile territory.
Ynthar is one of the few religions that is widely open and accepting of everyone. One's race, gender, social status and history mean nothing here. All are welcome to join and devote themselves to the study of Ynthar's teachings. It is because of this openness that disciples of Ynthar represent a wide range of Ithrian races.
Allied and Opposed Faiths
The philosophy of Ynthar is a way of conducting one's life, but is itself neither good nor evil. Followers from many different backgrounds choose to follow the Ynthar way. As such, the faith of Ynthar is allied with no other religions and opposed to no other religions.
This teaches of this faith are based upon one central idea... that every living creature has three parts: body, mind and spirit. The body is flesh and bone, heart and muscle. The mind is the sum of all the creature's knowledge, memory and experience. The third part, spirit, is more elusive and difficult to define. It is the spiritual energy inherent in all living things. It is the essence of the creature. It is the spark of life that makes all people unique. It is a tiny glow connected to the field of magic. This is the central philosophy of the Yntharian religion.
Each of the three "parts" - body, mind and spirit - is known in Yntharian lore as a Discipline. A follower of Ynthar studies and works to enhance these three disciplines. Followers concentrate their studies in one discipline at a time. Many centuries ago, when all four temples thrived, followers would move from temple to temple as their studies change. A follower achieves the rank of Master only upon learning and mastering all three separate disciplines and unifying them harmoniously. Throughout history, there have been many Yntharian masters. However, to date, no one has been able to achieve many of the near miraculous things that Ynthar was reported to have accomplished.
Yntharian followers are skilled in the ways of magic, for magic is a central part of their faith and their teachings. Every follower learns spells as does any other wizard. However, their faith has a very philosophical approach to magic. For them, it is an artform and a deeply personal reflection of the self. The way one casts magic says a great deal about who the caster is as a person. This extends to the type of magics learned and the choice of spells.
Yntharian magic is based on a set of glyphs, much like a spell coding system. Yntharian glyphs are based on the ancient ranyku system.
The teachings of Ynthar are compiled in a book called the Yntharakan, an ancient Ranyku word meaning literally “The Way of Ynthar”. There have been many copies of this book throughout history. Many were lost, stolen or destroyed during the Purification Campaigns and the Great War. Despite this, many copies have survived. Several magnificent copies are held at the Great Temple of Thandrimora. Many Ynthari masters will make a copy of the Yntharakan for themselves and keep it with them.
The symbol of Ynthar is an ancient glyph that was created by Ynthar himself ages ago. It is a geometric design consisting of a circle circumscribed around a triangle which is circumscribed around an inverted triangle. The circle represents the body, the triangle represents the mind and the inverted triangle represents the spirit. Because mind and spirit are so closely linked they share a similar symbol, but because they are opposite in many ways, one is inverted. The symbol embedded within a symbol parallels a similar relationship between spirit within mind within body. Whole books have been written about the layers of symbolism inherent in this deceptively simple glyph.
A common practice among the faithful is the Three Day Cycle. Adherents study each discipline for one day and then begin again. The first day is completely devoted to physical training. This includes exercise, weapons practice, running, swiming, yoga, martial arts and gymnastics. The second day is devoted to study, intellectual pursuits and magic. This always involves reading. It may also involve visiting a local library, solving puzzles and riddles, magical research and engaging in discussion with learned scholars. The third day is spent meditating and in deep contemplation. This day may also include resolving problems, confronting fears, honoring the past, planning for the future, trying something new, fasting, feasting or anything else. This third day, the "spirit day", is a deeply personal day and it may take many different forms.
There are two holy days that Ynthari monks observe.
The first is called the Awakening and it occurs on the eighth day of Landthrive. This commemorates the day that Ynthar had the first of his epiphanies and began to form his own philosophy, that of the Three Paths. This holy day is marked by abstention from all work, doubt, worry and fear. It is a day of feasting and fellowship and personal reflection. Those who practice the Three Day Cycle will skip a day to observe this celebration. It is a considered lucky to begin an endeavor on this day. It is also tradition to give a gift to a stranger, often anonymously. Both of these customs reflect aspects of the faith - that on this day Ynthar began his greatest journey and that he gave his teachings to the world as a gift.
The second holy day is called Last Day and it is a day of mourning. This commemorates Ynthar's death and it is observed on the last day of Spellebb. It is a day of deep personal reflection, mediatation and quiet solitude.
There can be no doubt that the most treasured artifacts of this faith are the lost Crystals of Ynthar. Each of these crystals is, by itself, a powerful enchanted object. However, when united, these three merge into a single crystalline talisman of tremendous power. The three crystals are each unique. The first crystal, known as the Orb of Blood, is 20 cm diameter crystal sphere. It is quite heavy, red in color and appears to have a reddish-orange glow continually churning about inside of it. The second crystal, known as the Mind Shard, is a three sided pyramid, 17 cm on a side. It is a deep emerald color and likewise illuminated from within by a churning pattern of energy. The third and final crystal, known as the Essence Crystal, is a small pyramid, shaped exactly as the Mind Shard, but only 10 cm on a side and deep blue in color.All three crystals can be fitted together. Although they are solid, upon a command they will physically merge into a united crystalline mass. When fit together, the three crystals form a three dimensional version of the symbol of Ynthar. When fitted in this manner, the whole takes on abilities and functions that the individual crystals lacked.
Overview of the Clergy
Those who follow this faith are known as Ynthari monks, or sometimes simply, the Ynthari. Ynthari monks often live minimalist lives, focused on their studies and training. There are four distinct ranks:
Initiates are new members who have come to learn the mysterious ways of the Ynthari. These are usually young men and women who come to the Great Temple of Thandrimora to join the faith. They live and work at the temple performing a variety of menial tasks and basic labor... everything from scrubbing floors to guard duty. It is an unglamorous life. Most initiaties serve two to three years at the temple before being selected as an apprentice. While serving, initiates learn many of the foundation teachings of the faith. They train physically and attend classes. Beyond the benefits of their basic training, the initiates have no special abilities.
Once an initiate has proven their worth with several years of service, they may be chosen by one of the monks to serve as an apprentice. Each monk is expected to take on an apprentice and teach them all that they know. An apprentice will accompany his mentor every day for several years. They travel together, sharing meals, lodging and their adventures. The apprentice serves his mentor in all work. Over several years, the apprentice begins the serious training toward becoming a monk. Apprentices quickly become capable fighters with above average strength and speed. They are well schooled in a several topics and have learned two or three spells. In addition, the apprentice begins to learn the deeper mysterious of Ynthar. This includes energy sense (the ability to sense life forms nearby), empathy (sensing emotional states in others) and danger sense (the ability to perceive danger a split second before it strikes).
Eventually an apprentice is promoted to the status of monk. Ynthari monks enjoy a reputation as fierce martial warriors... experts at unarmed combat and a wide variety of weapons. They are schooled in a wide variety of topics and capable of several useful spells. Monks have a variety of special abilities including: telekinesis (moving small objects by mental control), telepathy (a limited ability to sense thoughts in others), precognition (sensing events before they happen) and a stronger connection to the field of magic allowing them to detect enchanted objects, nearby spell use and living creatures at a distance.
Many monks travel the world, exploring and adventuring, only rare, if ever, coming back to the temple. There are several dozen monks, however, who live and work at the temple permanently. These monks serve the council of masters, perform missions for the temple, oversee the initiates and see to the day to day operations of the temple.
After decades of learning, training and progression, an ynthari monk may be promoted to the status of master. There are currently only seventeen masters in the entire faith. Because of the small number and their near mythical abilities, they are shrouded in mystery. Despite their advanced age, masters are capable of remarkable feats of strength and speed. They are experts in a wide range of fields and skills. They have an broad arsenal of powerful spells. Their special abilities include strong telekinesis and can lift heavy objects at range. They are so attuned to the field of magic that they feel the most trivial ripples of energy, sensing living creatures and minor magicks at great range. They can also read minds and communicate telepathically.
The council of masters rule the faith. They make all decisions, decide promotions, send monks out on missions for the faith, teach classes and debate matters amongst each other.
This website was last updated September 26, 2018. Copyright 1990-2018 David M. Roomes.