Again I'd like to thank Tom Harrison, Erik Mona, and many authors of the Living Greyhawk community for the inspiration for my articles on Dimre. I also would like to apologize for the delay in getting out part three, and the next Hero-God warlock patrons as I moved last week. I finally am unpacked enough to start diving back into my articles.
While the Theocracy of Dimre has been able to weather several storms through luck, and force of arms, the High Canon does not let the kingdom grow lax. War is inevitable in its future, and the High Canon does all that he can to prepare his country for it. All citizens receive some form of weapons training every year for two weeks, and every able-bodied citizen serves in a militia for a year once they turn 18. Each citizen has either a bow or spear at home for use when the reserves are called up.
High Canon Winuid is currently making plans for the day the current cold war heats up again. His plans are reactionary, however, and depend on the actions of the larger powers such as Furyondy and the hordes of Iuz acting first. The long term goals of the High Canon are not commonly known. Still, rumors speak of possibly reclaiming the territory lost around the Rift Canyon in 300 CY to the Free Lords from the Bandit Kingdoms. As the story goes, since the Fee Lords that had claimed the land are now gone or scattered by the Iuzians, he could claim them in the name of Dimre without any objects from their neighbors.
Regardless of the theory, if a large scale war against Iuz breaks out once more, Dimre intends to join the fray. High Canon Winuid realizes that the safety of Dimre depends on counterbalances to Iuz. If another war were to erupt and Iuz was successful. In that case, High Canon Winuid knows that their nonaggression pact will be worthless. Iuz will seek his revenge for the previous losses suffered at the hands of the Dimreans. Because of this, High Canon Winuid is prepared to join in the next war against Iuz to ensure Dimre's survival.
Dimre has always been a destination for refugees and followers of the True Path. Still, no one was ready for the flood of refugees that came into Dimre from the Bandit kingdoms and Tenh during the Greyhawk Wars. These refugees were not turned away, but instead, many were rounded up and placed in camps. For an orderly kingdom, Dimre could not have thousands of refugees roaming around, which could cause trouble. These efforts were short-lived as the priests of the theocracy and the militias were soon locked in combat with an Iuzian horde. With no one to stop them, many refugees slipped into cities and towns unaccounted for, while others passed through on their way to the Phostwood.
Before the Iuzian attack, the militias were able to round up a large number of able-bodied types and press them into service at the battle of Schloss Hill. But once the war was over, the High Canon Winuid turned his attention to getting the kingdom back in order. The first step was locating as many of the refugees as possible and sending them to Krostenburg. Those deemed as threats were rounded up and given a choice, leave Dimre or be burned alive. Those who wished to stay had to either accept Pholtus as their only god and become citizens or move to Krostenburg where they must stay so long as they lived in Dimre.
The most unusual and controversial refugees that made their way to Dimre was a large band of hobgoblins that had once been a part of the Horned Society. Priests reminded the militia that first came in contact with them that the guiding light of Pholtus must be offered to everyone. The priest approached the hobgoblins by himself, and much to the surprise of the militiamen watching, he succeeded in swaying them over to joining them and worshiping Pholtus.
The hobgoblins, led by a minor War Chief named Karstalf, we used to an orderly, even strict form of government from their time serving in the Horned Society. Dimre, with its rigged code of laws and guidelines, appealed to them, and the band was given lands along the border as their domain to guard.
Of course, this caused a stir of controversy and unease among the general populace, an unease that was quickly quashed. The priests of the Masak reminded their citizens, sometimes roughly, that all races are the same in the eyes of Pholtus, so long as they accept his guidance. Since the acceptance of the hobgoblins, they have become some of the most loyal and devoted troops in the militias.
Dimre has long had a policy of separating the believers from the non-believers within their kingdom. Followers of the True Path are allowed to live wherever they wish, work whatever job they chose, and own land and property, while non-believers can not. Those who are not believers and enter the kingdom are monitored and forced to live in Krostenburg.
Krostenburg was a melting pot even before Dimre became an independent theocracy. The earls established it as a hub of commerce and trade within the earldom, and the city retained this designation after the province changed to a theocracy. In addition to business and commerce, the processing centers for accepting new converts into the faith were established there. Krostenburg became the only place in Dimre that welcomed visitors from anywhere in the Flanaess.
The Commandments of the Masak are still enforced here, but there are some variations, such as nonbelievers being allowed to mix with believers of the True Path. Weapons beside personal daggers are not allowed to be carried in Krostenburg, but weapons are not confiscated. The worship of other gods is permitted, but not in the open. All ceremonies must be conducted within one of the public shrines provided for the public.
When you enter Dimre, and again when you enter Krostenburg, you are given a list of the laws that must be followed and obeyed along with pamphlets about the glory of Pholtus and the wonders of the True Path. Anyone that breaks these laws is subject to the punishments as outlined in the pages of the Commandments of the Masak. This even includes the Iuzian emissary Quarzknot and his contingent of troops.
Just outside the walls of Krostenburg is a camp where the contingent of Iuzian troops agreed upon in the nonaggression treaty stay. They are not allowed out of their camp, and all of their provisions are provided for them. While his troops are stationed outside of Krostenburg, Emissary Quarzknot, and his sixteen half-ogre body-guards, have rooms in the holiest place in Dimre, the Alabaster halls of the Masak in Falscheit.
The presence of Iuzian troops caused quite an uproar when the general populace of Krostenburg was informed about it. The uproar died quickly after a dozen of the Iuzians were burned alive for break the Commandments of the Masak without retaliation. The Iuzian troops even learned quickly what not to do for fear of the penalties of breaking specific laws.
The Commandments of the Masak
The Masak, as the main temple and center of administration for the theocracy is called, was erected in 350 CY by order of the then High Canon Sagmered. The structure is massive, and simple in design while also doubling as a fortress in Falscheit. In addition to building a new temple, the laws of the True Path were codified into a single tome called, the Commandments of the Masak, and distributed throughout Dimre. The laws and rules of the religion were well known to the priests of the faith, but this was the first time that they were made available to all citizens of Dimre.
The Commandments are firm but surprisingly fair. Most punishments for breaking these laws are fines and short term forced labor for the theocracy. However, some crimes are considered crimes against the state, or treason, which has only one punishment, being burned alive. Below is a list of treasonous crimes within Dimre.
There are exceptions to all the Commandments of the Masak, but these exceptions can only be given by word of a Canon member of the Council of Masak. The Council of Masak is the ruling body of Dimre after the High Canon. An example of a standing exception is regarding the Militia of Dimre having the right to bear arms and use them against anyone in defense of the theocracy.
The Church and its Hierarchy in Dimre
Dimre is a theocracy and ruled by the head of the church of the True Path, the High Canon. Directly below the High Canon is the Council of Masak, a body of nine priests with the rank of Canon. Below them, are the priests that run most of the day to day business of the theocracy, the Rectors and the Curates. Each settlement of more than 50 citizens will have a Curate that lives among them. Larger villages and towns will have a Rector and two to three Curates. Krostenburg has it's own Canon, the Canon of Krostenburg, The city also has two dozen Rectors and fifty Curates under his command. Falscheit being the capital, and the home of the Masak has a constantly fluctuating and a large number of Rectors and Curates.
To become a priest requires one year of indoctrination into the faith. Rectors are chosen from among the Curates after at least four years of service. Canons are elected by the Council of Masak when a position opens and is approved by the High Canon. The position of High Canon is elected by the Council of Masak from among its own members.
Customs of the True Path mirror those customs found in the Theocracy of the Pale, except the dress of the priests who wear contrasting white and black robes as a symbol of their acceptance of all peoples and races so long as they follow the True Path.
While the priests are taught the use of weapons and armor, the bulk of the priests that serve the Masak are acolytes and have little or no ability to cast divine magic. The ability to cast and work divine magic is a requirement to advance to Rector's status.
The military arm of the church is the Templars of Dimre. Members of the order are chosen from the ranks of the Curates that show promises. They are trained for one year, at which time they undergo a series of tests that they must pass to be taken into the order. Those who do not pass return to being a Curate of the faith. Members of the order are not required to be able to work divine magic. The order generally has anywhere from one to two hundred members, but there is no set number that the order is required to have.