The Newer Lands
Why Heresy? (translated from heavily redacted eladrin historical treatise, circa 185FV)
Factions of heretical spellcasters have been a thorn in the side of the Sevenfold Realm since it’s formation era. In most cases, more mundane kinds of rebellion can be dealt with using military troops and elites such as agents of the radiant host- even particularly resourceful rebels eventually run out of resources, or are betrayed by penitents amongst their supporters.
This is regrettably, not the case for more magically empowered heretics. The most effective heretics prove far more difficult to deal with, not only due to their magical arts, but their ability to gain influence through other factors such as regional cultural ties, heretical religious and spiritual beliefs, and their exceptional ability to violate the moral norms of society in creative and ruthless ways.
Even when speaking of magic, heretics are often what is termed as ‘impure pratictioners’, most comonly arcanists who also dabble in other sources of power, most of which are also correctly deemed heretical by the Church/State. While it is Correct to see such dabbling as an undisiplined waste of one’s efforts to perfect one’s arts, such versatility can make them unpredictable and unstable opponents.
Finally, due to their manifestation of supernatural powers, when gathering support or influencing the populace, heretics often utilise the Heretical Proof Fallacy of Supernatural Philosophy- the belief that by manifesting supernatural abilities, one proves the rightness of one’s philosophical or religious beliefs. Part intimidation and part indoctrination via spectacle, this fallacy runs directly counter to the recognised doctrine of the church, which correctly states that supernatural acts only qualiy as proof of church doctrine, and can only be safely interpreted by fallable mortal eyes through the lens of doctrine.
While the newer lands are unique due to the partial legitimisation of the Dire Heresy of Revolt, their heretics tended to operate covertly and in a minor key in most cases. Still, they are far more prevalent than any such individuals have been in the recent history of the Realm, and the loose morals and social struture of the colonies has certainly exacerbated this problem.
As a result, heretical factions are defined not only by a common set of philosophies, but by other resources they draw on, and the tactics they use to gain power.
Mystic Provincialists Provincialists focus their efforts on the traditions and philosophies native to their regions of origin, which are often described using emotive terms such as the ‘Homeland’ or ‘Motherland’. Unlike more common forms of regional seperatism and anti-hegemonic revoltists, the mystic provincialist argues for the inherent worth and merit of their ‘homeland’, often using their powers in conjunction with the Heretical Proof Fallacy of Supernatural Philosophy. Mystic Provincialists tend to be as diverse as the regions they arise from, but it is Proper to recognise that this diversity is shallow, much like the cultural trappings and other vestiges of regional identity that the Realm rightly seeks to expunge. During such purgings, Mystic Provincialists can gain exceptional influence amongst the local populace, even if the populace has been docile for some generations or even centuries prior to the purge commencing.
Some argue these eruptions are due to the purge process itself, but this conclusion has been deemed impious. Instead, inquisitorial doctrine makes note of the mesmeric powers atributed to such figures, which excite the populace to mass uprisings. Doctrin also cautions readers to fogo restraint when dealing with their followers, since such broad eruptions suggest these powers have contagious qualities- often members of a populace with no direct contact with a heretic will manifest the behaviour. It is an irony that those few mystic provincialists who survive their inevitable undoing often find mild success after fleeing from their homeland- many of them gain powerful benefactors in distant localities and operate under an assumed name for some time.
Manifest Faith Fallacy The manifest faith fallacy is an outgrowth of the Heretical Proof Fallacy of Supernatural Philosophy, which relates solely to those claiming to interpret the will of the gods, contrary to the doctrine of the church. Heretics of this sort arise most commonly amongst the faiths of the servitor gods, although the faiths of Avandra and Pelor have also suffered such heresies on occation. Central to the heresy is the claim by the heretic of having been chosen by the deity to reform the church- the heretic manifests powers, comparable to those of one of the chosen of the church, but with certain clear differences notable by inquisitors, that correctly identify them as false chosen, or renegades who have turned from the path of true faith. Proponents of the manifest faith fallacy come from a variety of backgrounds, some operating as members of the church in good standing, or finding success in other areas of society before their regrettable fall into madness. Others are of a more conventional heretical background, hailing from a lower social class, and otherwise not posessing the marks of merit. Of particular concern are renegade sects, particularly those in the colonies, which seek to divorce their worshippers from the proper doctrine of the church.
Antiproceduralists These heretics are notable for their deliberate philosophy of rejecting the will of the gods in the most direct sense. Drawing from more legimiate schools of magical thought, the antiproceduralists argue that all recognised magical and indeed, mundane actions are procedures designed by the gods for the use of mortals and hence, to their mind, inherently opressive. Distinct from legimiate schools, antiproceduralists agressivly oppose the use of these ‘procedures’, seeing their use as a voluntary submission to the will of the gods, and a perptuation of the god’s plan for the world. In seeking to cast off these percieved chains, the antiprocedualists adopt truly bizzare approaches, including the pursuit of heretical magical traditions from beyond the Realm.
These heretics vary in the intensive of their philosophies- some simply reject exsiting magical theory, or other common trappings of life like conventional social norms and styles of dress. Others take a more focused and experimental approach, for instance a sect might seek out or even invent new languages which they juge free of the influence of the gods. More extreme antiproceduralists reject even the most basic qualities of life, embracing deliberatly irrational world views, conducting heavy self-mutilation, or seeking means to trascend basic concepts of being, like physical form, temporal causality, or sentient thought. Many antiproceduralists simply destroy themselves or their followers in their experiments, but some stumble upon truly dangerous and heretical arts. Even more moderate antiproceduralists deliberatly seek out heretical magics, since they deem these as less likely to be tainted by the influence of the gods.
Chimerism Chimerism is a heretical offshoot thought to have been influenced by antiprocedualism, although some claim it simply shares a common philosophical ancestor. Put simply, chimerists seek to turn themselves or their victims into monsters. While some chimmerists are clearly insane or simply enjoy the power or sensations their manipulations cause, many chimerists believe that by ending their humanity or trascending their mortality, they end the control the gods have over them. The arguments in favour of this bizzare view are varied, but they boil down to a simple post-gnostic fallacy- the monsters and supernatural beasts of the world, though rare, clearly exist, and ‘clearly do not follow the will of the gods, as laid out by church doctrine (sic)’.
This misunderstanding of church doctrine leads many heretics to various paths, but Chimerists take a truly extreme view, concluding that the plans of the gods must not pertain to the monsterous beasts of the world, and hence, if one wishes to escape the ‘opression’ of the gods, one can do so simply by becoming such an ambomination.
Chimerists reject the notion of the afterlife, and indeed, use the long-lived and arguably immortal nature of many monsterous creatures as proof of their assertion- if one is not a mortal in the conventional sense, one is not ruled by the laws of the gods, including death. Despite often being wildly mentally unstable, successful chimerists are highly pragmatic and materialistic, and work hard to gain the money, patronage, and other resources they need to continue their experimentation- primarily life subjects, both monsterous creatures to study, and normal mortals to experiment upon. Their grasp of subjects like anatomy and alchemy tends to be exceptional, and they often sell their services to powerful or wealthy figures who seek treatments of rare maladies, or other alterations of their gods-given physical forms. While chimerists usually serve their masters effectivly, there are many who give into the temptation to give their benefactors more ‘help’ than they paid for. While some chimerists use necromancy and attmept to become undead, most see this as a dead end with too many drawbacks.
Spiral Conspiracies The spiral conspiracies are a diverse group of sects that split off from the broader spiral tower traditions. They are distinct from the broader faction because they posit various concealed truths about the nature of existence. While most such sects are harmless and posit truths beyond any pratical aplication, some reach conclusions that are either inherently heretical, or result in outcomes deemed destructive to the common good and the plan of the gods. As a result, even benign spiral sects tend to conceal their conclusions, and work covertly to broaden the support for their view of the hidden universal truths they espouse. These conspiracies can work in secret for years, gathering support from diverse sources, before taking action in line with their beliefs. Again, the esoteric and distant nature of these theories means that these actions often pass without negative ffect, or even any notice by the comunity, or authorities. But in rare cases, the goals of the spiral conspiracies can be dire, indeed. Some even argue that other heretical factions such as the antiproceduralists began life as a spiral conspiracy.