Stone Father, He Who Endures, The Maker, Lord of Labors, Craftsmen of the Gods
|Domain||Stone, Iron, Craftsmenship, Labor, Endurance and Strength|
|Ethos||Only in hardship is strength revealed. Only by skillful labor is greatness wrought.|
|Typical Worshipers||Magrakians, laborers, craftsmen and artists.|
|Head of the Church||Proll Odarikus|
|Demographics||72% Magrakian, 11% Human (Tomarin), 6% Sybrenar, 4% Hyttar, 3% Human (Eshtari), 3% Human (Aukarian), 1% Other|
|Geographic Regions||Western and central Aggradar including Magrakor, the Iron States, the Sybren Imperium, the Trossoli Dominion and Aukaria.|
|Allied Faiths||Loosely allied with the other Ancients.|
|Holy Symbol||A stone obelisk.|
Formerly a deity of the Kytohan Empire, the worship of Bromat has survived the centuries and flourished across much of Aggradar. For much of the continent, he is the god of crafts and labor, the lord of the forge, the Great Maker. He is the ultimate stone mason, blacksmith, leather worker and laborer. He is endlessly hard working and never tires. He is skilled in all crafts from the mundane to the most exotic and he works continually to hone his skills in each craft. He extolls the virtues of hard work, fine craftsmanship and studious improvement.
To the Magrakians, however, he is much more. He is their chief god, the penultimate Magrakian, and it is in Magrakor that the church is strongest. The nature of Bromat and his teachings have been influenced by the nature of the Magrakian people.
Bromat is depicted as an immensely obese male (either magrakian or human, depending on the worshipers) dressed in flamboyant clothing and much jewelry. He is a jolly man who only sees the good in life. Music plays constantly about him and fine food appears with the wave of his hand. This ability is used frequently as Bromat is blessed with an unending appetite. He feasts on more than just food though. It is said that Bromat hungers for and devours the souls of the lazy.
Myths and Legends
The creation myth told by the faithful of Bromat will vary somewhat in details, depending on who is doing the telling. According to the teachings of magrakians themselves, in the beginning there was a great and endless void. In the void there lived many beings - gods, demons, giants. Many of these would make war upon each other. At the center of the void there was a tremendous egg made of the most beautiful crystal and within it there was light and heat and chaos and all things. This great crystalline egg shone in the darkness of the void with a brilliant green light. One day the fighting got too close to the egg. The egg was struck (some say by Guelrilath, some say by the monstrous demon he was fighting). The great crystalline egg cracked and out came pouring all things - rock and iron, tree and soil, air and water, fire and wind, lightning and thunder.
Of those things that came out of the egg, the lighter and weaker things rose up and formed the sky and all things in it. The heavier, stronger things came crashing down - mountains, rocks, forests, rivers and all we know. Bromat took all these things and forged the world. He then stone and carved the magrakians in his own image. The sybrenar he fashioned from coal and fire and clay. The hytttar he fashioned from mud and reeds. With iron he made the men of the north, with copper, the men of the south. With wood, he made the men of the east. True to their nature, each race exhibits that from which they are made - the sybrenar are dark and hide a fiery heart. The hyttar are small and fragile. The men of the north are strong, but can be bent. The men of the south are bronzed in color, but malleable. The men of the east are weak and bend like a branch in the wind.
Only the magrakians were made from stone, because Bromat loves the magrakians best of all. And this is why the magrakians are the strongest. He taught the magrakians to mine and smelt and work with metal, to cut and carve and fashion stone, to tan leather, to reap and sow, to build, to forge and to make all things. He taught them the way of the mind and heart and eye and hand. These things the magrakians taught to the other races.
The shattered fragments of the crystalline egg fell away long ago, but two remained - a large yellow shard and a small blue shard. These two continue to shine in the sky each day,a reminder of what once was.
Overview of the Church
The church of Bromat is one of the seven major religions of Aggradar. It is often encouraged by nobles and leaders because its tenets of hard work are often embraced by broad swaths of society, from peasants and farmers to craftsmen and traders. Bromat is the god of crafts and labor. He is worshiped in equal measures by skilled craftsmen, artisans, builders and common laborers. The teachings of Bromat apply equally whether one is tilling the soil, crafting a leather boot, forging a fine blade or just adding the last touch of paint to a portrait. In some regions, the faith of Bromat is intertwined with guilds of craftsmen.
Within the nation of Magrakor, Bromat is the chief god for the magrakians. For them, it is Bromat who makes the suns rise, the rains fall and the crops grow. It is Bromat who created the world, forged the mountains, made the seas and crafted the magrakians themselves. The magrakians give thanks to Bromat for their strength, their skills, their will and their land and all that it provides.
The church of Bromat is strongest in Magrakor, but it is not limited to the Magrakians. Temples and shrines to Bromat can also be found in Aukaria, Eshtar, the Sybren Imperium and the Iron States.
His temples in the Trossoli Dominion have been razed. The sarthak lords who rule there now do not allow their slaves to worship. However, a few hyttar do continue to worship other gods, including Bromat, secretly in hidden shrines.
Only in the east is Bromat not worshiped. Like all gods, he is outlawed in the Theocracy. Only the Chaddamar are worshiped there. And as for distant Vaul and Sarid, some religious scholars believe that the vaullians and saridians are simply too intellectual for the likes of Bromat.
History and Origins
The history of the church of Bromat is fairly well documented. Religious scholars have records showing a deity named Bremyt the Maker was worshiped during the time of the Han Empire and this religion gradually shifted to a Bromat, god of crafts and labor, which was worshiped widely in the Kytohan Empire.
After the Sundering and the World Storm, craftsmen were in high demand to rebuild and because of this they survived and travelled a great deal. The province of Eckmar, ruled by the town of Adakon, was known for its many craftsmen and the church of Bromat was strongest here. Over several generations following the world storm, the people of Adakon and its province migrated to the river valley of what is now Magrakor and took their religion with them.The people evolved into the magrakians of today and the particular version of the Bromat religion has shifted to incorporate many magrakian characteristics. Many of the central tenets of the faith have endured. Obviously, the sundering of the star has worked its way into the creation myths of Bromat over the last few thousand years.
Within Magrakor, the goals of the church revolve around the strength and preservation of the Magrakian people and their culture.
Outside of Magrakor, the goals of the faith are focused more on craft and advancement… advancement of lore in specific crafts, but also the advancement of the individual in his or her chosen craft.
Temples, Churches and Holy Sites
Both within Magrakor and in other lands, temples of Bromat tend to be massive, stout structures built almost entirely of large stone blocks. They have thick walls, massive support columns, arches and domes. They are impressive structures that give the impression that they can withstand anything. The doors are equally impressive, usually built of solid iron and six inches thick, swinging open on massive hinges. Indeed, a temple of Bromat could withstand a siege by itself.
The floorplan is arrayed around a large central amphitheater, which is itself built around a central altar and stone statue of Bromat. The central statue is typically three to four meters tall. Tiered stone benches surround the central altar. During mass, the priest walks around the altar addressing the faithful who are seated in every direction. This central chamber is often quite tall and there will be two or three levels of balconies as well.
Smaller chambers, conference rooms and private quarters branch off from hallways radiating out from the central chamber. The main temple of Bromat is located in Okslad, capital city of Magrakor.
Bromat temples may not be as beautiful as some cathedrals used by other faiths, but they are not completely lacking in ornamentation. Stone and metal and leather combine to add beauty and strength to every object. Sophisticated scroll work and stone carvings grace most columns, corners and edges. The statue of Bromat is accented with gold and silver and gems. Beautiful tapestries, decorative candles and incense smoke add a great deal of color to the surroundings.
Almost all Magrakians worship Bromat. Outside of Magrakor, Bromat is worshiped by skilled artistans, craftsmen and laborers in several neighboring nations – Tomarin blacksmiths, Aukaria carpenters, Eshtari coppersmiths and hyttar weavers all pray and sacrifice to great Bromat. Farmers pray to Bromat that their aging plow will last another season. Miners sacrifice to Bromat that they may find another rich vein of ore. Diggers and builders sing chants to Bromat to rhythmically sychronize motions and tools. Ship builders bless a new ship in the name of Bromat.
Allied and Opposed Faiths
Bromat is loosely allied with the other Ancients as they all have a shared history. Bromat is seen as the "craftsman of the gods". The church of Bromat has no serious enemies.
In the tales told by the priests, Bromat happily does any work required and expects hard work from the faithful. Bromat tests his followers constantly be putting obstacles and problems in their way. A worshiper of Bromat is expected to tackle each challenge with joy in their heart. For the faithful of Bromat, every day is a trial and Bromat is watching
The four tools of labor – the mind, the heart, the eye and the hand - are important aspects of the faith. It is often said that with these four, one is truly never without a tool and one can achieve anything, create anything.
There is a common magrakian saying... "be like stone". This saying originates with Bromat. To "be like stone" is to be strong, to endure, to be true to one's origins.
Patience is another aspect of the faith. With unending patience does one practice a skill until it is mastered. With unending patience does one work on a craft, slowly, going over every meticulous detail, until it is perfect. Only with patience is a true work of art crafted.
The teachings of Bromat apply equally regardless of what the craft is. One can be weaving a basket, forging an axe, building a stone wall, tilling a field, baking a brick or carving a piece of wood. All crafts are the same. It matters not. Work is work. It should be noted that this religion concerns itself primarily with things that are done with the hands. Planting, reaping, weaving, cutting, hammering, carving, building – these are the foundation of the faith. The faith is focused on work that results in a thing that can be touched and admired.
That which does not result in a physical object is not considered work. Singing, dancing, composing, writing, poetry, story telling - these things are for festivals and faires and worship. Such things are to be shared at day's end, after the work is done, among friends.
The magrakians see themselves as strongest of all the races, but they also take pride in using their strength for good. Crafting and building are seen as good and worthwhile. But strength should also be used to protect the weak. It is often said in this faith... what good is strength if it serves no purpose?
The great book of Bromat is called the Kesh’maug, which translates as “The Enduring Word”. It is also sometimes referred to colloquially as The Book of Labors. There are only a few hundred copies in existence. Like all things magrakian, a copy of this book is made to last. A typical copy of the Kesh’maug will be a heavy and ponderous tome, bound in iron and brass and boiled leather. A single temple copy will be immensely heavy with a cover so thick and durable that it would withstand repeated sword blows. The pages within would be of the finest and thickest vellum, yellowed with age. The copy of the Kesh’maug held at the central temple in Okslad is said to have an outer cover fashioned from dragon hide and armored in dragon scales.
In addition to the book, it is common for temples of Bromat to have lines of scripture from the Kesh’maug carved into the stone walls of the temple. In this way, the walls of the temple become a living copy of the book. It is said that the great temple of Okslad contains every line of scripture somewhere within the walls of the building.
The stone obelisk is the central holy symbol of the faith. The statue of Bromat wears an obelisk shaped pendant around his neck. The shape of the obelisk is also subtly worked into various aspects of the faith – the architecture of the temple, the robes and armor of the priests, the tools and weapons of the faithful and so on. Each believer also wears an obelisk pendant around their neck.
The obelisk has four sides and this is significant as well. The four sides relate to the four tools of labor – the mind, the eye, the heart and the hand. It is often said that with these four tools, one can achieve anything, create anything.
The faithful gather once each week at temple to worship. Such weekly gatherings last for several hours. In addition to sermons and stories, the gatherings of this faith are known for thunderous noise. Voices are raised in song, along with huge drums and horns that shake the very ground. There are many songs and musical pieces that are well known and played often. The faithful believe that they are singing to Bromat to seek his favor, but Bromat is half deaf from centuries before the forge and so the faithful must make a great deal of noise to draw his attention.
The weekly gathering also includes the Chanting. The Chanting involves all the priests and faithful closing their eyes and chanting ritualistic prayers to Bromat. Such chanting is done in a very slow and low voice. To outsiders, it sounds like a thousand voices murmuring in a low, monotonous drone. This droning chant will continue for as much as a half hour. It is more than a prayer... it is a meditation and an expression of infinite patience. It is a chance for one to be one with the stone around them and to be one with Bromat. The Chant can seem strange and unending to outsiders.
The Blessing of the Elements is a ritualized demonstration that is invoked during many sermons and stories. It involves a priest casting the four elements at the stone statue of Bromat. He blows air at the statue and then declares that "Air cannot conquer stone". He then throws water at the statue and observes that "Water cannot conquer stone". He then takes a drink of strong ale and, with a hand held torch, spits fire at the statue. "Fire" he says, "cannot conquer stone". Finally, he takes a common rock and strikes the stone statue letting the sound of the sharp impact echo about the vast chamber. "Only stone is strong" the priest will loudly declare and this line is repeated by the gathered faithful. "Be like stone".
Bromat's Day is the sixth day of the sixth month. It is a time of feasting and festivals.
Overview of the Clergy
The priests of Bromat have many ranks, denoted by different types of stone. Only males may serve Bromat. Rank and seniority decides who has authority in any given situation.
The garb of a Bromat priest is plain and functional. Typically this involves deep hooded robes of grey. They each wear a simple leather satchel at their side. It is also a custom for priests of Bromat to wear an headband of various types. Each is fashioned by the priest by his own hand. Younger priests fashion simple headbands from leather and copper. Older priests wear iron headbands. The oldest and most advanced priests wear elaborate headbands of stone and iron and precious gems.
Often senior members will give junior members various tasks or chores simply to test their endurance. Such tests may be practical (such as polishing the temple floors) or ridiculous (carrying a stone about all day). Discipline usually involves repetitive chores or chants.
The priests of Bromat tend to the needs of the community through many means: they tend to the sick, they counsel the troubled, they conduct prayer sessions, hold weekly mass and lead by example. Bromat churches hold council with all members to debate theology, teach, share ideas and discuss important events of the day. All priests, regardless of seniority, attend and have an equal chance to speak. Often, these meetings will be open to the public.
Bromat priests have many spells and special abilities. Their powers grow throughout the years as they continue to serve Bromat. Some of their abilities include the following:
This website was last updated September 26, 2018. Copyright 1990-2018 David M. Roomes.