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  1. #1
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    The Five Oaths of Service

    Hi all-

    As most people here know, Khinasi wizards are legally required to abide by the Five Oaths of Service.

    How do the Khinasi regard non-Khinasi wizards? These non-Khinasi wizards do not abide by the Five Oaths, which would seemingly be at odds with the 5th oath. So what should a Khinasi wizard do when he encounters a foreign wizard who doesn't want to take the Oaths?

    -Fizz

  2. #2
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    This has come up several times in the past.

    A quick search of threads popped up the following ones (there are more but these seemd the most germaine):


    http://www.birthright.net/showthread.php?t=2299&highlight=oaths


    http://www.birthright.net/showthread.php?t=2469&highlight=oaths
    Duane Eggert

  3. #3
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    My own view is that the five oaths are recognized across Cerilia by Rournil and Avani adherants as a good idea. The oath itself, as presented in the Khinasi materials is a cultural regulation intended to strengthen this "good idea" into a requirement.

    Another good question is whether priests of Rournil (who may now multi-class freely) also take the oaths, or some form of them. It may be that the oaths are required for wizards, because Rournil has other recourse for the priesthood (like withdrawing spells, powers, or alerting inquisitors) who dabble in the arcane.

    If the historical experimentation with magic is considered, even when the Church was hostile to Hermeticim and other forms of magic, its was individual churchmen who were the most interested in the forbidden knowledge. Players can read a spell description and see, Shadow descriptors, or Necromantic schools, or other "out of bounds" things like that. On the other hand, would characters learning arcane means of combating the Shadow, know of they were studying a spell that drew power from the shadow or was using the shadow as a tool, rather than actually combating it?

    So, outside of the faith of Ruornil, and outside of Khinasi lands, what is the view of the Five Oaths? Well, we know that there is a spell, Haelyn's Wisdom that summons the spirit of a dead champion of Haelyn to advise the spellcaster with sage expertice. Is this a violation? My preference is to say that there are several schools of thought, because I like conflicts within sects. It gives allies something to argue about while the bad guys get away.
    • Yes it is using magic to contact the dead, it is abhorent and to be condemned and even opposed
    • It depends on whether the communication with the dead is acceptable under a rigorous test, that neither the spellcaster nor the dead spirit can be evil, and the sprit must come willingly. If a non-evil spellcaster summons a non-evil "champion of Haelyn" and that champion is a willing participant, than no foul. This case is unusual, most spells that communicate with the dead don't allow the dead any choice.
    • The example is a divine spell, the Oaths only binds wizards. Whatever sick practices Haelyn's priests are into are someone else's problem, and another good reason to avoid them.


    In the Rjurik Highlands adventure, Njalgrim's Doom, an ancestor of a party member contacts the party. Is anyone who communicates with the spectral scion violating the Five Oaths?
    • Yes, away you servants of Azrai, communication with the dead is an abomination, you must now atone for even asking the question.
    • Magic wasn't used to communicate, the spirit communicated of his own will. No one violated the Five Oaths.
    • The ban is really against Necromantic magic, not raising the dead or communicating with them per se. If I raise a willing party member from the dead with a Wish, I have restored his true life to him. What is forbidden is creating unlife by raising the undead, or compelling the dead to abandon their peaceful rest to serve you in word or deed.


    Call these kinds of answers, the strict responce, the legalistic responce, and the liberal responce.

    Also on this subject, I think the Rjurik hostility to arcane magic is of a kind with the Five Oaths. They've just over-generalized from specific forbidden acts to forbidding all magic. It is just as successful at preventing feuding wizards, necromancers, and sorcerous revolutionaries. The Khinasi say "magic is problem that needs to be regulated, then we can use it widely" while the Rjurik say, "magic is a problem that needs to be forbidden, then no one is tempted to break the rules."

  4. #4
    Site Moderator Sorontar's Avatar
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    dealing with the undead in my campaign

    In our campaign, our priests have alternative views towards working with the dead, depending mainly on things other than any oaths. And remember I am talking AD&D here.

    Avani spellsword (fire mage/fighter) - The Oaths are very important. He just burnt down half a tavern trying to capture/eliminate an Oath breaker. He claimed that he just *knew* (ie. spidersense told him) that she had been a naughty mage. However, he doesn't hold anyone else to the Oaths but those who have sworn them.

    Rjurik druid (my character) - Doesn't mind receiving the wisdom of the dead and respecting them. Hence, "Talk with Dead" has been cast a few times. However, he has vehmently opposed any raising/animation of the dead into undead. This approach was chosen because of 1) the Grove's domains and 2) the cultural apporach to the dead.

    Sera priest/thief (private investigator kit) - This priest loves creating his own undead, much to the dislike of other party members. This is rather strange, given his kit, but I guess you could say that finding good bodies to animate is opportunistic, which is very Sera.

    Cuirecean "paladin" (not quite sure what she is, but she is a priest who does more fighting than priesty things) - Since none of the party can turn undead, we were very happy when we came across a mace that can do precisely that. We gave it to this "paladin" and she has quite happily wiped out a lot of undead for us. The thing is though that the mace was found in the ruins of an Avani/Basaïa temple, so every time she turns she says "In the name of Cuirecean with the blessing of Avani". And yes, the church of Avani approved her keeping the mace and she wields it with destruction only for the undead. Turn=change, which is good for Cuirecean I guess.

    Sorontar
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  5. #5
    Senior Member ploesch's Avatar
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    IMO, it comes down to the individual.

    These may be bad examples:
    A lawful good Khinasi Wizard may decide that anyone that doesn't take the vows needs to either take them, or stop fiddling with the arcane forces. If they don't comply, they need to be destroyed.

    A Chaotic Good or any neutral aligned wizard might be a little more inclined to take each individul on their own merits, and only seek to destroy those that don't follow the spirit of the oaths.

    Chaotic or lawful evil wizards probably wouldn't take the oaths themselves. If they did, then they would likely view anyone that didn't as a true villain that needs to be destroyed.

    In the end, I think that as a game master, you can take allot of license with how Wizards that take the oath react to those that don't, and vice-versa. Keep in mind the alignment, and general attitude of the person involved to determine their reaction, like you would in any RP situation.

    That's just my opinion though, I tend to be more free wheeling.
    When you play the game of thrones you win or you die.
    George R. R. Martin - A song of Ice and Fire

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    Senior Member Jaleela's Avatar
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    In our campaign, it is only found in the Khinasi lands. Worship of Ruornil is not as widespread in Anuire as it might be elsewhere, medore being the exception rather than the rule.

    I am not 100% certain how the Khinasi would view visiting magic users or Realm Wizards of exceptional capability who visit the area.

    It's an interesting question.

    Didn't someone write something similar for Anuire? I think it was a secret society, maybe a home grown module where MUs were summoned by a dream and had to join the society or like the Temple of Rilni, be hunted down.

  7. #7
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    I like what we came up with in the BRCS for paladins of Avani:


    Code of Conduct: Paladins of Avani follow a Code of Conduct and they lose all class abilities if they ever fail to defend places of learning or to protect Avani’s people against those who would use magic against them. They also must respect legitimate authority and not act chaotically or without fore thought. All paladins of Avani know the Five Oaths of Service that the Khinasi require to be taken by all capable of casting true magic. They maintain and keep to these oaths as a point of honor, even though they do not undergo the same rituals that those taking them do. They are frequently used as hunters of those who refuse to take them but don’t hold other nationalities to the same standards since they are considered less civilized and knowing than are the Khinasi. These are the basic codes of conduct for Paladins of Avani, individual sects have varying interpretations of them and any paladin belonging to one will adjust his code of conduct to reflect that interpretation.

    They substitute Smite Chaos for Smite Evil as a class ability that works exactly the same except that it applies to chaotic creatures vice evil ones.

    Paladins of Avani may freely multiclass as a magician or wizard but not both, without losing their ability to advance as a paladin.

    Even though this is paladin specific it can be extrapolated to other individuals too. IMO this reflects a cultural perspective and also works to help "quantify" how the oaths are perceived.

    Now this should in no way exclude a "personal interpretation". Evil characters are much more likely to interpret this in the way that most benefits themselves while good characters are more likely to take a broader viewpoint.
    Duane Eggert

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