After the Storm
Morr, Lord of the Dead and Dreams, is least-often invoked of the Gods of the Empire but ultimately most fervently beseeched.
There are many tales of Morr’s first revelation, depicting him in different lights. The most popular says that when the Dark Gods tried to consume the souls of the first dead, Morr appeared to guard them and guide the dead to safety. Less pleasant tales speak of how the gods divided the world amongst themselves and Morr took the dead for his own, knowing the ultimately his would be the largest dominion. The least common story tells how Morr was originally the god of prophecy but was murdered by his brother Khaine when he told Khaine he would be hated for all eternity, but he had foreseen Khaine’s response and defeated him by taking dominion over death, and by his actions created the hope for existence after death.
The dead face greater dangers than do the living. It is Morr that protects them. Morr’s clergy help souls avoid the eternal tortures of being captured by daemonic servants of the Dark Gods, being denied rest through the necromantic blasphemy of corpse animation, or lingering in this realm and troubling the living.
Morr is not a god of death but of the Dead. His followers perform sacred rites intended to see souls swiftly and safely to his realm.
Morr is usually depicted as a tall man of detached and brooding aristocratic bearing.
The cult’s seat of greatest authority is in the city of Luccini in Tilea, though it has no single head. Luccini is simply, by tradition, where leading members of the cult hold a conclave every 10 years in which matters of doctrine and policy are settled.
Morrite clergy have little concern for the living and generally leave their temples and gardens (cemeteries) only to find the dead and bear them to a Temple of the Shroud to be prepared for burial. In this course, they also examine remains to be sure they are fit for proper burial and do not bear the taint of Chaos.
Some Morrites travel as a Speaker for the Dead. Sometimes a soul cannot pass on because a great wrong has been done and holds them to this world. If a priest of Morr encounters such a spirit, they try to discern what is holding them to the world and redress the matter. Sending the unquiet spirit to its rest is often more important to Morr’s clergy than questions of innocence of the living. As one Speaker said when fixing the noose around the hangman a ghost felt had wrongfully executed him despite the hangman’s protestations, “Morr will sort it out”.
The main orders are Augurs and the Order of the Shroud.
The major religious texts of the faith are The Book of Doorways and Songs of the Raven.
Symbols and Clothing
Morr’s servants where black robes without adornment. They wear their hair close-cropped and tend to be clean-shaven.
Morr’s symbols and omens usually involve ravens, portals, black roses, skulls and skeletons.
Morrites often keep pet ravens.
Sects and Orders
The main order is the Order of the Shroud, which oversees death rites. Their temples are always attached to Gardens of Morr and serve as sites for funerals and associated preparations.
The Order of the Shroud has a large lay association, the Mourner’s Guild. The Mourners’ Guild consists of those individuals involved in the funereal trade from undertakers to gravediggers to cemetery groundskeeper to professional mourners.
A secondary order is the Order of Augurs. They interpret visions and portents Morr sends in dreams, which often reveal dangers to the Cult or to the Empire itself. Some priests themselves are prone to such visions, these are called Seers. Truly powerful Augurs are rare and a temple with one such becomes a destination for many seeking advice. A particular type of Augur is a Doomsayer, one who travels and tells those who have not yet reached the age of ten what their doom is – though doomings are often cryptic.
Morr is also the god of dreams and some of his clergy are members of the Order of Augurs.
Though the orders focus on different aspects of Morr, there is no conflict between them.
The Order of the Shroud is also are associated with the Order of the Raven, a sect of knights who hunt undead. Hunting undead and necromancers to destroy them, their works and their unholy texts is the major reason Morrites travel.
Strictures and Customs
Cultists of Morr greet each other by moving their right hand downwards over their face, symbolic of the final closing of a corpse’s eyes.
Morrites are not interested in most of the life’s normal concerns. Their first concern is to ensure the proper disposition of the dead. They are respectful of grief and mourning. Morrites must oppose necromancers and the undead and pay heed to their dreams and omens that Morr sends. They guard graveyards against those who would despoil them for any purpose.
Priests of Morr avoid making contracts or promises to the living, as their duties to the dead must always come first. They have reputation for being stern and humourless, however this is often due to being interacted with during funerals. Among themselves, Morrites are often known for their contests at morbid limericks.
The Cult provides some comfort to the bereaved, both out of compassion and because undue attachment and failure to “let someone go” can also interfere with a soul’s passage into the afterlife.
Those that bear the taint of Chaos are cremated, despite the general aversion to cremation of the recently dead – see Why Not Cremate.
Morrite and Imperial funeral customs include practical measures to keep physical remains in their grave and a well-attended send-off for the deceased, to encourage the immaterial spirit departs this life. The act of mourning is thus very important not only to honour the dead but to protect the living.
Whenever possible, a funeral includes reciting the deceased’s accomplishments, assuring them that their deeds will be remembered, their interests served, any wrongs done them righted – essentially that there is no need to linger. Even an executed criminal will be reminded they received justice and have no cause for complaint. Paid mourners are common for this purpose, keeping up a vigil of prayer for eight days – during which time they are fed by the family of the deceased and given a small contribution.
These meals and contributions from funerals are the main attraction to becoming a professional mourner. This trade within the Mourner’s Guild which is often pursued by the retired or infirm to support themselves.
Anatomy, Autopsy, Dissection and Corpse Examiners
Morrite funeral customs mean they are opposed to the dissection or other intrusive study of remains, a stricture that is only relaxed for criminals who have themselves violated the laws protecting the dead such as those executed for grave robbing, body-snatching, denying remains proper burial or other crimes against the laws derived from respect for the dead and Morrite counsel.
Morrite concern for the peaceful rest of the dead means they support justice for the wrongly slain, as those who die wrongly and never receive justice are more likely to return as ghosts. An increasingly frequent practice at Temples of the Shroud is to maintain a position of “Corpse Examiner”. This has evolved from being certain someone is dead and that they are not a mutant or otherwise not entitled to Morr’s graces, to determining causes of death and whether foul play has been involved.
The relationship between a Corpse Examiner and local authorities varies.
Instead of Charm and Intuition skills, all priest careers of Morr may choose to have Discipline and Intimidate (note Common Rule and Houserule Reminders) as careers skills.