After the Storm
The Cult of Sigmar is highly organized under the Grand Theogonist, Arch Lectors and Lectors.
There are three Orders:
- The Order of the Anvil is consists of monks, with various sub-orders/communities;
- The Order of the Torch is the dominant order providing most priests to communities and with several Offices concerned with administration, internal policing and office of the holy inquisition [mechanically the inquisitorially minded priest rather than non-priest witch hunter], and a couple of sisterhoods for female initiates; and
- The Order of the Silver Hammer, being itinerants who travel fighting chaos and goblinoids, either on their own or as chaplains to imperial armies
Most Player Character initiates of Sigmar would belong to the Silver Hammer.
The Order of the Silver Hammer has two associated fraternities – not answering to it but often related and having cross-overs in membership. Unlike orders of monks and priests, the members of the following groups often do not have the same formal training in theology and may come from a wider variety of backgrounds before they find their “calling”.
- The Order of Templars of Sigmar, the Empire’s official Witch Hunter order; and
- The Ordo Malleus (daemon hunter and exorcists). There are rumours the Ordo Malleus is only the public face of a larger secret fraternity that deals with supernatural threats and is regarded as somewhat sinister (yes, they are somewhat sinister compared to the Witch Hunters).
Becoming a priest of Sigmar requires completing predecessor careers (mechanically).
In addition, it is the responsibility of a current priest to ensure the suitability of the candidate.
This screening typically has two steps:
- a thorough examination of the candidate with respect to their conduct, beliefs and associates – a recounting of their actions since becoming an initiate;
- the posting of the intended ordination publicly with a call for any who know of reasons to question the suitability of the candidate to make them known.
It should be noted that slandering members of Sigmar’s clergy is a dangerous activity and few people step forward with regard to the second matter. Normally, only another member of Sigmar’s clergy or another priesthood would take this step.
The actual ordination ritual includes burning the clothes of one’s former life and being tonsured. Before witnesses, including a higher ranking priest (the one taking personal responsibility for the candidates, the following oath is taken:
I, [name], swear on the holy hammer with all of you present as my witness, that I will uphold the laws and words of Sigmar Heldenhammer, until my final dying breath.
In practice, the ceremony is usually much more elaborate.
Ordination forges an unbreakable bond between priest and god. The priest is responsible for spreading the god’s worship, extending the god’s power and upholding the faith, as well as becoming answerable to any crimes or sins against his faith, to a far greater extent than any worshipper could be held to in normal life.
Upon being ordained, a priest may be assigned to run a temple, or assist in running one large enough to require more than one priest. They may instead be assigned to a special sub-office with particular duties that relate to the priest’s abilities.
Most priests thus become more sedentary as they have duties to attend to, unless their assignment is to a role that calls for travel. Chaplains to a Knightly Order or military unit engage in travel for example, but according to the movement of those they support. Many communities are too small to support a full time local priest and thus are served by a “circuit priest” who travels among several villages.
The most martial (Order of the Silver Hammer) continue to travel seeking out Chaos and cultists to oppose, though now also obliged to tend to more spiritual needs whenever they find them.
A priest is typically addressed as Brother or Sister, unless they hold some more particular office.
As set forth by the 4th Century Synod of Altdorf, the Church of Sigmar is lead by the Grand Theogonist who has the final word on interpreting Sigmar’s will and appoints Lectors and Arch-Lectors.
Lectors are responsible for a province whereas Arch-Lectors are responsible for a broad region incorporating provinces.
The Arch-Lector of Nuln is considered the second-most powerful figure in the church and is responsible for the Empire south of the River Stir ( Averland and Wissenland) and for Sigmarites in the Border Princes territory.
The Grand Theogonist is himself also Arch-Lector of the West.
The Grand Theogonist and two Arch-Lectors each have an electoral vote in the selection of the Emperor, giving the Church of Sigmar great weight in this process.
In addition to the eleven Lectors appointed for the current provinces one is appointed for the former-province of Westerland (more commonly called the Wasteland, site of Marienburg) and another for Altdorf itself. There are a further five Lectors without administrative duties (a PC who rose to Rank 4 in Sigmar’s faith would likely be such a Lector).
Beyond this the Grand Theogonist also appoints a wide variety of other positions within religious orders and institutions, though these appointments often represent affirmations of recommendations from the institution (e.g., a monastery’s election of abbot). These include capitulars who are charged to oversee particular sites of importance to the cult.
The position of Grand Theogonist itself is chosen by a convocation of the College of Lectors, which consists of all current Lectors and Arch-Lectors. Any ordained person holding a direct appointment of their position the Grand Theogonist and not having forfeited that appointment for any reason may be elected Grand Theogonist, though typically the position is filled by someone from with the College of Lectors.
Current Issues in the Church
The Cult of Sigmar has been heaped with gifts of gold and land by those wishing to ingratiate themselves with the influential faith and enjoys wealth and power as never before. Many now enter the priesthood seeing a career and sinecure not a calling.
Some grow concerned the laity loses respect for the Sigmar’s clergy. Meanwhile, each year, Chaos cults grow in influence and people become more fearful, sensing that beastmen and goblins are growing bolder.
The Witch Hunters grow in power as fear grows, and flagellants roam the Empire prophesying doom.
Priests of Sigmar replace First Aid and Intuition on their career skills lists with Intimidation and Leadership.