A curious reader sent me a question about Eden’s clerics that I did not think about before and so haven’t really answered anywhere else. This is a problem of knowing your setting too well, it becomes hard to convey the information other people want to know. It’s a similar malady to novelists – I’m in the room with my characters, and I have to guide you through it, but I might be saying too little because I can see things too clearly for my own good. So yeah, please don’t hesitate to ask these sorts of questions. It’s a big help.
The question was about the attire of Eden clerics. As the reader noted, in my story A Punishment Ill Fit, Frederick the iomadi cleric is spoken of as being a Cleric who has “earned his robe.” The reader thinks this suggests a certain hierarchy and it does indeed suggest it. However, not all churches in Eden support the same hierarchical dress and iconography. The church structures in Eden are anything but unified. The Cardinal Light church, Frederick’s, follows Arcline and Inunkuru and is a major church – but it isn’t the major church of either of these two Spirits because there’s just no such thing. There are powerful churches, but except in the Theocracy of Sargasso, there’s no most powerful church structure in any of the “religious branches.”
However, the hierarchy mentioned works like this:
•Prior to actually becoming a cleric, a trainee is dressed in a sleeveless shirt (typically of a noticeable color, like blue or red) and short pants. These aren’t clerics yet, and in D&D 4e this would be either a character who joined a church as an act of MULTICLASSING into Cleric and is thus considered a lowly cleric in that sense and receiving training and investiture now, or an NPC who’s training to be a real Cleric. A PC Cleric always begins in the second stage because there’s no pre-game in D&D 4e.
•Normal clerics are, like Frederick, dressed in a long-sleeved robe over their clothes. The robes come in different styles, Frederick’s is spread open at the center, and he ties it closed with a cloth belt. He wears his “trainee” clothes beneath the robe as undergarments. He also has a strand of prayer beads for a holy symbol, and a bag where the beads go. He puts his hand into and shakes the bag (and therefore the beads) as part of prayer.
•I hesitate to say paragon tier, because it is very possible to have exceptions, but at paragon tier, a Cleric earns a colored high-collared shirt to wear under their robe. The collar would stick out of the robe’s neck hole and be a visible mark of rank. This tells other Clerics that you are deserving of respect and also allows you to become a spiritual mentor to those of lesser rank.
•I again hesitate to mention a tier, because there’s already a visible counter-example in the story (Canon Lisvarde) but epic tier Clerics wear a cassock of whatever color they like best and a little skull cap. Lisvarde doesn’t wear the hat, but she’s a very special case. A PC could also be a very special case and do something so amazing they earn this rank before Epic Tier.
•Canon is a very special rank. There is a paragon path for it, which is based on the principle that Player Characters can generally achieve whatever it is they want in the world by completing quests and thus gaining levels over everyone else, so they earn this rank through getting the levels to take that paragon path.
However, Frederick wouln’t be considered Canon even if he exhibited the powers, because there’s already a Canon at his church, Lisvarde, and she currently holds that rank. In a normal game, this doesn’t really matter unless you want it to matter, but for my story that’s how I wanted it to go. Regardless of tier or previous rank, a Canon wears a cassock just like an Epic Cleric would.
Paladins, on the other hand, would have a more military sort of ranking system (this can differ from organization to organization as said above). They all have cassocks of muted colors as common wear to visibly separate them from the lower ranked clerics with which they commonly mingle, and from the higher ranked cleric’s brighter-colored cassocks. This is why Nienna wears one in the story, but if I were to assign her a military rank it would probably be some higher form of private, because she doesn’t really lead anything, she gets sent to places, but she also isn’t a fresh recruit, she’s been a Paladin for some time now.
Hope that clears that up and thanks to the reader for this question. Please don’t hesitate to ask more questions of this sort.
Currently working on: Spirit Hunter Ranger (powers done, working on paragon path), Cleric of Eden (adding powers, a destiny and one more paragon path), Feats of Eden (adding and removing things). And a special surprise also.