Thursday, 18 January 2018

Fifty Religious Progressions

As it says on the tin, Fifty Religious Progressions. They will later be subdivided into times of day.  Some are flavourful; some have a definite mechanical impact.

Setting (nominally) suggests a Rome-analogue which somehow maintained pagan civic rites into the heights of High Medieval Christianity taking in the odd inflection from Renaissance/Reformation religious turmoil. Other doctrines/practices may appear. This should be somewhat applicable across settings- take what you want to take.

In terms of use, this is supposed to be offer a vision of a vast city, not quite predicable for any player in the events that take place in its streets (be they clerical or natives of the city - or both).

1. The fourteen-foot diameter great gilt sun wheel is rolled slowly along an avenue.  Get out of the way, or risk the consequences.
2.  Anchorites cry out prayers from their ox-drawn Porta-hermitage.
3. The Priests of Plenty, in multicoloured robes, scatter coins and sweetmeats from the back of their palanquin.
4. The Priests of Chance. in mismatched robes, scatter a number of packages from the back of their  palanquin. Some packages contain coins and sweetmeats; many do not.
5. A procession of the Penitential Guard, with thick heavy shields chained to their arms.
6. At speed, several dragon-cultists canter along the street, waving torches and shouting in joy.
7. Several heavily armed members of the dragon cult escort a cartful of treasure for their hoard.
8. The Sacred Geese are carried upon cushions along the avenues of the city. They look distinctly smug.
9. At dawn, the singing mendicants enter the city; by local traditions and their own Code, they must be gone by sundown. Many will quietly check into a hostel just outside the city bounds.
10. A sacrificial bull, with floral garlands and gilded horns is carefully prodded along towards its destination. It seems to enjoy the attention.
11. In the first light of day, several pale, panting young men burst forth from the overnight trials in the Legionaries' Mystery Lodge.
12. Volunteer work gangs drag a vast new obelisk to the Monolith Fields.
13. The Divine Crocodile is coaxed into motion, in what promises to be a terribly long day. Jewelled rings decorate its hide.
14. Priests flank the Banners and Totems of the Warrior Societies as they are taken to be blessed in the assembly fields by the river.
15. A Bishop personally wields a great two-handed aspergilium to scatter water from St. Agnes' Fountain.
16. Each city parish makes a slow, methodical procession along the bounds of their parish, accompanied by cult banners and choirs. When two parish priests meet, the etiquette gets complex.
17. The street is splashed with sweet vinegar for the passage of the Icon of the Mother.
18. The street is cleared of undesirables, untouchables and foulnesses by the temple lictors before the Thrice-Blessed Prince can pass.
19. The street is cleared of men (or indeed, males of all types) by the Matrons of the Vestal Escort before the Hearth Nuns can pass.
20. Chanting ecstatics of the Thousand Names whirl past.
21. Thickly painted and heavily bewigged coryphees of the Mother Ungit trot down the street. The crowd parts in fear.
22. At sundown, when the streets begin to empty, the lepers gradually make their way to the leper chapel outside the inner walls. A dull bell announces their passage. A heavily veiled municipal apothecary tracks their progress.
23. It is the Church's Day of Awakening! Temple bells sound, echoed by a thousand gongs from the homes of the city.
24. Icons of the Sky-Fathers are carried delicately aloft by stilt-walkers.
25. Lay brothers collect bundles of wood for the Season-end bonfire tomorrow night.
26. A mobile lectern trundles down an avenue, a bass-voiced preacher clutching to the bouncing rostrum.
27. Five Vast Braziers of the Sacred Flame, mounted on handcarts, fill a narrow road with incense fumes.
28. That night a torch-lit procession of the Guild of St. Lorcan treads the boulevards of the artisan's quarter.
29. Cover your face! The statue of the Mother of Tears passes this way! Cover your face!
30. An oppressive silence at midnight blankets a hushed procession to the silent vaults of the Ancestor Kings.
31. With mirth, the selected young folk of the city go quickly to decorate the branches of the Silver Tree.
32. With gravity, the selected elders of the city go slowly to water the roots of the Silver Tree with river water, wine and milk.
33. Burghers, Magistrates and Conscript Fathers march from the Moot to the Shrine of the Foundation, to pray for the good of the city in the coming legal year.
34. The Sisters of Mercy distribute bread to the needy. The needy are watched carefully and policed discreetly by the Sororital Wardens.
35. Clerics draw blessed runes on the flag stones in coloured chalks. These are not to be disturbed until the procession tomorrow; to do so is the sign of the unbeliever or criminal.
36. Weary veterans trudge to the Baths to undergo the Purification Rituals.
37. At each junction of the Central Way, a different segment of a mystery play. The citizens troop past taking in the colourful renditions of Holy Writ.
38. A bonfire of the vanities is led by a charismatic priest. Explain that amulet about your neck! Does it have a valid purpose? Could that purpose be recreated in less decadent materials or methods?
39. Several bishops bless the crowds en route to what promises to be a most vexed synod. Adherents of rival doctrines pace the streets nearby, ready to defend their position by such means as they think suitable.
40. Noon, and a high-profile wedding party leaves the Cathedral. Admiring glances take in white horses, elaborate frocks and hired muscle clearing the way for the carriages.
41. This night is the Vigil of The Sacred Light. There will be an extravagant expenditure of candle-wax and lamp oil on the streets and homes of the city; many will parade with their own ornate lanterns.
42. A gang breaks of from a great crowd of children to accost you and chastise you. Why have you not paid them homage? Surely today is the Feast of the Innocents?
43. A long line of farmers, conspicuous in rustic gear, filter through the streets to present offerings at the Ecclesiastical Granaries.
44. The funeral of a prominent citizen; the mob parts for mantled mourners.
45. From the Basilica comes the reliquary under heavy escort. The gentleman over there can give you a full pedigree of its provenance, attesting that it is quite genuine.
46. It must be pilgrimage season. Travellers clog the hostelries, and the processional way is impassable.
47. Under the watchful eye of the Prefect of Discipline, two heretics formally recant their past misdeeds from inside mobile cages.
48. The masked Confraternity of the Blessed Rack advance, bearing a float on their shoulders.
49. The Order of St. Tancred processes from their commandary towards the Cathedral, armour glinting in the noonday sun. Drawn blades in their presence are anathema.
50. A King from a far-off Kingdom (practically a barbarian) comes to pray at the altars of the City. His tongue is strange, as is his dress; but his escort is imposing and they bear themselves with a certain barbaric splendour. Naturally, they shall be spreading largesse.

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