D&D Next Scriptures
Generally speaking, scriptures are a holy text of some kind. Some faiths have only a singular text, upheld as most important. Others have many of them. There are many kinds of scriptures:
- Canons: Canons are regulatory and organizational, usually bodies of law or other codes of behavior that generally indicate how one is to behave and how a church is to be run.
- Hierographs: Thorougly esoteric in their expression, hierographs are books that express central mysteries of a faith. They are often steeped in deep metaphor and often incomprehensible to those who are not initiates of that faith.
- Histories: These books detail the historical events around the founding of the church and what has happened to it since. Often filled with tales of the great works of important church figures.
- Hymnals: Songbooks dedicated to the glory of the church's deity, hymnals usually contain music sung as worship.
- Liturgicals: Prayer books and sutras, litanicals contain a variety of prayers, methods of meditation and other active rituals, usually intended for performance by the individual.
- Letters: Collections of letters written to and by important figures of the church.
- Manual: The holy text also includes discussion of practical skills of some manner. Such books are most often associated with craftsmanship of some kind, but there are also books on forestry, gardening, public speaking, torture and many other "practical" skills.
- Prophecies: The recorded words of seers and prophets aligned with the church.
- Sacred Poetry/Tales: Often presented in the form of epic poetry, these texts not only tell the important tales of the faith, but also use them as teaching opportunities for the faithful.
- Sermons: The teachings of important figures - not just their thoughts on matters (those would be Testaments), but literally the lessons they taught their followers.
- Spellbook: Some faiths that include wizards in among their clergy utilize their holy books to record arcane magics of particular importance to the faith's practice. This designation is only used for those that contain arcane magic - most of the holy books listed here have the prayers for clerical magic in them.
- Testaments: Testaments are the writings of important church figures over the year. In some testaments, they are simply priests expounding on their understandings; in others, they are believed to be relating the very words or desires of their deity.
- Tome: These books also count as tomes (books that aid in knowledge of the world) for some aspect other than Religion (as all scriptures count as Religion tomes).
Many scriptures are combinations of these. The Analects of the Harp are technically letters, as they are the correspondence between an ancient patriarch of Milil's faith, but they are also sacred poetry/tales, for most of the content of those letters were discussions of the deeds of Milil's heroes. It is also used as a hymnal, for many of those pieces of verse were set to music that is retained by the Mililan church.
- The Codicil of White: Liturgical, Spellbook. A white-bound tome detailing the holy rites of Auril's priesthood, the Codicil contains the prayers taught to Auril's clerics. Additionally, because there are a handful of wizards among Auril's clergy, the Codicil is also known to contain mage spells, all detailing a variety of cold- and ice-based arcane magics within the second half of the book as well. Though rare, they are often sold to wizards of Auril's faithful.
- The Icedawn Syllabus: Canon. A canon that describes the basic tenets of Auril's faith, the Icedawn Syllabus is commonly found not just in temples of Auril, but in the rare lay followers who worship her as well. One of its best-known passages reads:
- Self reliance is your only ally. Society, community, family—these fallacies stif le the pursuit of one’s own happiness. Warmth and companionship are weaknesses of the flesh, leading to sloth and gluttony. Harden your body yet remain swift on your feet. Embrace your cold-hearted nature and demand respect of your inferiors. These are the tenets of the Storm-bringer, carried aloft by chill winds. Heed these principles and you could come to know the Frostmaiden’s caress.
Tome of Universal Harmony
Hierograph. The holiest book of the Deneirrath faith, the Tome of Universal Harmony is a prime example of a divinely-powered hierograph. To an outsider reading the book, it seems merely a book filled with analects, fragmented histories and advice, portions of songs and is altogether bewildering. To the clergy of Deneir, however, reading the Tome allows them to hear the Song of Universal Harmony, the holy nuances behind the simple words on the pages before the reader, a melody sung by ancient voices.
The song is sweet and melancholy, a song of living and dying, of salvation and damnation, of power infinite and of limited matter, of sunrise and sunsets, beginnings and endings. It is sung with voices harmonizing the music of the spheres, and is a song without ending.
Readers must be careful, however, not permitting themselves to be lost in the song - many have died by becoming so, found dead lying across the open book. Those who become lost often do so seeking the Song of Deneir, the harmony that is the true essence of Deneir, hidden beneath and within the Song of Universal Harmony.
A newly initiated priest of Deneir is permitted to read the preamble of the Tome, to see if he can hear the Song itself. It is a test of the new priest's faith and rightness for the priesthood. The memory of this limited snatch of the song - called the Acolyte's Melody - is what grants young clerics access to their spells, and as they gain access to new ones, it seems to grow in their memory, unfolding like a blossom eternally. Priests are expected to occasionally return to the temples where the Tome is kept, to read it again in light of new experiences.
There are other experiences to be had in the Song of course, and there are stories of the tome granting the ability for readers to view the "auroras" of those around them (luminous displays that grant understanding of a person's emotions and personality), "prevision" (a form of prophecy) and even "affinity," the ability for the reader to shapechange into an animal that is representative of who the priest is.
There are copies of the Tome in the Master's Library (an unknown location accessed by the Reading Room in the southern Earthfast Mountains), in the shrine to Deneir in Candlekeep, the Vault of the Sages in Silverymoon, the Edificant Library in the Snowflake Mountains, the artifact museums of Calimshan and Twilight Hall in Berdusk. These are all sites of pilgrimage for the faithful of Deneir, particularly for those newly-initiated clergy.
Other Deneirrath Scripture
- A Scrivener's Scriptures: Hierograph, Manual (Calligraphy). A very well-known holy scripture of the Church of Deneir, the Scrivener's Scriptures is a practical manual to fine calligraphy, and one of the best-regarded in that field, secular or otherwise. But its anonymous author (said to have been an early High Librarian of the faith) also uses the techniques of calligraphy as a metaphor to explore the spiritual strictures and adonitions of the faith.
- Testaments from the Master's Library: Letters, Sermons, Testaments. A massive collection of some twenty-three slim books, the Testaments are collections of sermons and writings from the wisest Deneirrath who have ever served the Lord of Glyphs at the Master's Library. Its sayings are often quoted by librarians among the faithful.
- The Eye & Candle: Canon, Liturgical. A book only generally available to the priesthood of Deneir, the Eye & Candle relates entirely to the functioning of Deneirrath churches and sanctuaries, discussing how each shall function and what rites are to be performed therein. There are six books in the series, each one dealing with a different topic: Of Abbeys which describes monasteries; Of Cathedra which describes temples; Of Sancta which describes shrines; Of Bibliotheca which describes libraries; Of Chapterhouses which describes paladin chapterhouses of the faith; and Of Itinerants which describes the functions of those priests who wander.
- Canticles of High Librarian Arudmar: Hymnal, Prophecies. The visions of the High Librarian of Silverymoon's Vault of the Sages of his time, the Canticles contain the prophecies Arudmar (called "the Longing") rendered into song. He believed it was the best way to ensure that not only were the visions not forgotten, but he felt that the arrangements revealed truths in his visions that mere prose or verse could not. To this day, many of the hymns of the Deneirrath church still derive from these Canticles.
- The Ink-Wrought Wisdoms: Letters, Sermons, Testaments, Tome. A great collection of many books, the Wisdoms are gatherings of letters, sermons and testaments culled from the finest writing of the church's history. They are made up of the writings of clergy, monks and lay worshippers throughout history, and are notable in that they continue to be written to this day. It is Deneirrath custom to submit the works of one's fellows to the Master's Library throughout the year. Once a decade, the monk-librarians who are appointed the title of "wisdom-keepers" gather the best and wisest of the writings and publish a new addition to the collection, copying these books and seeing them sent to major Deneirrath centers and persons.
- Antiquities of the Quill: Histories, Tome. A look at the founding of the church of Deneir and the events of history. Though it does focus on the church of Deneir, the historians who have contributed to the Antiquities have always been very thorough, adding great detail about the history of the world around the church as well. New editions of the Antiquities are frequently released every fifty years or so by the Deneirrath of Candlekeep; in 1325 DR, the twelfth edition of the Antiquities was released.
- The Grimoire of Illuminations: Spellbook, Tome. Both a spellbook and arcane treatise, the Grimoire of Illuminations examines how the Arts of wizardly magic are best put to use in the service of Deneir, and the hand the Lord of All Glyphs plays in the maintenance of Mystra's Weave. The book has been considered close to heresy by some Mystrans and Deneirrath before, as it suggests that Deneir properly belongs both among the Gods of Knowledge and among the Gods of Magic, but neither Mystra nor Deneir themselves have repudiated what lies within it when consulted via oracle, and so it remains part of the church's roster of lore.
- Tome of Torment: Hierograph. The holiest book of the Ilmatari Church. It is a singular artifact, the possession of which is a mark of great favor for the temple of Ilmatar that possesses it.
- The Dialectics of Suffering: Canon, History, Liturgical. A large collection of thirteen holy books, the Dialectics are in the possession of every known temple and monastery of Ilmater. Study of the Dialectics are essential to every priest of the Crying God, and many chant its passages while in the grips of exalted suffering (ascetic practices meant to unlock a holy ecstasy). It is from the Dialectics that Ilmatari clerics learn their essential spells.
- Book of the Holy Scourge: Sacred Poetry. A rare tome filled with poetry exalting suffering and the endurance of pain, its scriptures are said to contain a spell that summons ghostly scourges to lash at a cleric's foes.
- The Gospel of Saernclaws: Canon, Manual. The holy decrees of Garmos Saernclaws, a respected holy servant of Malar, detailing the proper behaviors of priests of the Great Hunter. It is also filled with fine lore for hunters, detailing tracking, trapping and skinning in liturgical terms. Its best-known decree reads:
- The Hunt must be clean. If disease or affliction is visited on hunters by a beast, clergy of Malar must do all they can to root out and exterminate the taint, that bloodlines and beasts in the wild remain always strong.
- X: x. x