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 Does Ilmater have Flagellants?
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prototype00
Acolyte

35 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2021 :  03:32:42  Show Profile  Visit prototype00's Homepage Send prototype00 a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
I know it’s a bit of an odd question, as Loviatar seems to be more in line with that kind of practice.

But some of the Ilmatari lore seems to suggest that Painbearers might ask for a period away for their regular healing and caring duties to engage in “Sufferings” I think they were called, mortificative exercises to either make the Ilmatari more sensitive to the sufferings of others or greater understand the will of Ilmater (as mortalkind’s suffering is his suffering).

Ah, found the wiki quote:

quote:
A Suffering was a special occasion in which a priest of Ilmater willingly endured some manner of torment. From their First Suffering, an Ilmatari could go through a number of Sufferings in their life-time. For example, soon after becoming leader of the House of the Broken God, Althea the Abased underwent her First Suffering, in which she had herself bound to a rack and dragged by mules as she visited temples and shrines of Ilmater all along the Sword Coast. Whenever the mules were rested, she was beaten once and hard with a consecrated threshing flail by a non-believer.[12]


So I turn to the masters of Realmslore for some clarification. Many thanks.

Edited by - prototype00 on 03 May 2021 11:49:26

sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
10260 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2021 :  12:47:45  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, canonically, such examples exist, and some would say that they do this in order to learn how to bear suffering. I myself have found the idea of such very, very odd, and it would be a heresy within the church (but heresies DO happen) or an actual infiltration by Loviatans to turn Ilmatari by confusing them. Personally, I would suggest they follow more of a concept in which an Ilmatari might use trickery to take on the pain of someone who would be illegally tortured (maybe posing as them and allowing themselves to be captured so that the other person might escape). I would also suggest that they might work in hospitals, dentists, and barbers as something like a anesthesiologist (i.e. they might take on the pain of another so that they don't react during surgery).

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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prototype00
Acolyte

35 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2021 :  17:05:11  Show Profile  Visit prototype00's Homepage Send prototype00 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It might be a regional thing, Althea was from Calimshan.

...But she was also basically the regional head honcho of all Ilmatari and sometimes owner, only to give it away as quickly as possible to the worthiest Ilmatari painbearer, of the Tome of Torment, probably the holiest text of the faith.

She doesn't seem the sort to be either a heretic or corrupted by Loviatar (aside from the many Sufferings she took part in, she also seems to have basically been a saint, character-wise), so based on the canon, Sufferings are something an Ilmatari can legit go through and regard as a mystery of their faith?

Edit: I mean, if the faith of Ilmater has two faces, one of the caring healer and another of the zealot bent on matyrdom via the mortification and sacrifice of their flesh, I'm probably fine with that, I just want to know if the entire thing was backed up by Realmslore... it seems to be?

Edited by - prototype00 on 03 May 2021 17:11:57
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BadCatMan
Senior Scribe

Australia
380 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2021 :  04:02:00  Show Profile Send BadCatMan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Ilmatari aren't really meant to be masochists (that's a Loviatan thing) and there isn't anything in the lore about it that I've found. Yet enough examples have crept in that suggest they do willingly hurt and discomfort themselves for the faith. And certainly don't live in luxury.

There's the hair shirts:
https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Hair_shirt_of_Ilmater
https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Tome_of_Torment

And Althea's Sufferings, but she's the only one known to undergo these and they seem very high-level:
https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Althea

RA Salvatore had Ilmatari engage in self-flagellation in
Canticle, apparently a minor ritual. Maybe this is a minor Suffering.

I would imagine it's not for masochism or self-punishment, but as way to experience the suffering of others and to learn endurance and enhance pain tolerance (which tends be based on how much pain one has already endured, hence why mothers who've given birth the hard way have the highest pain tolerance). I had my monk of Ilmater meditate while her boyfriend hit her with a switch (no kink!), based on something I'd seen Buddhist monks do; the pain is less when you have mind over body.

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Edited by - BadCatMan on 05 May 2021 04:03:56
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SaMoCon
Learned Scribe

USA
336 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2021 :  12:41:10  Show Profile Send SaMoCon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It is not the act, but the reasons for the act that should matter.

Loviatans revel in pain - the infliction unto others, the affliction upon oneself, the lingering echoes of throbbing with one's heartbeat. Pain has levels of intensity that pins the sufferer in the moment and imparts a sympathetic pang upon others witnessing the experience, whether it is physical or emotional. For Loviatans, this is the ultimate act of reverence for their deity, and everything related to it are secondary goals or happy byproducts. For all intents & purposes, Loviatans treat pain like both a drug & a poison.

Ilmatari, by contrast, endure pain as a means to something better for the sufferer. The pain of the sick & grievously injured is what one suffers as part of the natural healing process. The pain of punishments & slavery must be carried by one who must strive to shake free a captor's shackles. The agony of torture one must bear to survive & see an oppressor's end. Ilmatari see pain as an unpleasant or dangerous obstacles to achieving something better than one's current lot in life.

That is my take on this matter.

Make the best use of the system that's there, then modify the mechanics that don't allow you to have the fun you are looking for.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
10260 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2021 :  13:23:33  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Going on what I was saying in the above about them working in hospitals kind of like an anesthesiologist... obviously this could be a magic spell, but it seems like it might be better if it were a magic item. Something like a "biting rod" which you bite down on while someone else bites down on the partner rod. All pain, feeblemindedness, nausea, delirium, hallucinations, exhaustion, shock, etc... felt by the one person might then be felt by the other. More powerful items might free up the mouth so that the person could talk and simply be like a gem that you put on their forehead or somesuch. While the sensations might be passed, the actual hit point damage, etc... should remain with the original, and thus the combat usefulness of these items becomes much more limited.

Obviously, Loviatans and interrogators might LOVE to get ahold of these items and pervert their use for torturing individuals without killing them. Recovering these lost items might be a holy quest for members of the church and they might guard them zealously. For instance, any clergyman employing such tools might be specifically guarded by paladins and priests of the church.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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PattPlays
Learned Scribe

298 Posts

Posted - 06 May 2021 :  02:50:08  Show Profile  Visit PattPlays's Homepage Send PattPlays a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Going on what I was saying in the above about them working in hospitals kind of like an anesthesiologist... obviously this could be a magic spell, but it seems like it might be better if it were a magic item. Something like a "biting rod" which you bite down on while someone else bites down on the partner rod. All pain, feeblemindedness, nausea, delirium, hallucinations, exhaustion, shock, etc... felt by the one person might then be felt by the other. More powerful items might free up the mouth so that the person could talk and simply be like a gem that you put on their forehead or somesuch. While the sensations might be passed, the actual hit point damage, etc... should remain with the original, and thus the combat usefulness of these items becomes much more limited.

Obviously, Loviatans and interrogators might LOVE to get ahold of these items and pervert their use for torturing individuals without killing them. Recovering these lost items might be a holy quest for members of the church and they might guard them zealously. For instance, any clergyman employing such tools might be specifically guarded by paladins and priests of the church.



Holy artefacts you say? What a lovely twist for the end-treasure of a dungeon- a magical item with balanced downside that isn't a curse. Putting yourself through incapacitation for some 5th level or higher spell-casting benefit sounds fun for players.

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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
10260 Posts

Posted - 06 May 2021 :  12:44:05  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by PattPlays

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Going on what I was saying in the above about them working in hospitals kind of like an anesthesiologist... obviously this could be a magic spell, but it seems like it might be better if it were a magic item. Something like a "biting rod" which you bite down on while someone else bites down on the partner rod. All pain, feeblemindedness, nausea, delirium, hallucinations, exhaustion, shock, etc... felt by the one person might then be felt by the other. More powerful items might free up the mouth so that the person could talk and simply be like a gem that you put on their forehead or somesuch. While the sensations might be passed, the actual hit point damage, etc... should remain with the original, and thus the combat usefulness of these items becomes much more limited.

Obviously, Loviatans and interrogators might LOVE to get ahold of these items and pervert their use for torturing individuals without killing them. Recovering these lost items might be a holy quest for members of the church and they might guard them zealously. For instance, any clergyman employing such tools might be specifically guarded by paladins and priests of the church.



Holy artefacts you say? What a lovely twist for the end-treasure of a dungeon- a magical item with balanced downside that isn't a curse. Putting yourself through incapacitation for some 5th level or higher spell-casting benefit sounds fun for players.



Players in return may acquire the interest of a Loviatan cult who knew that whoever they got it from had this item. They may want it to torture the King's personal servant without leaving marks. So, they use magic to hold the servant, place a biting rod in his mouth and in the mouth of a goblin, and then torture the goblin literally to death and feed the remains to their pet giant owl (who have poor sense of smell and eat skunks).

But the players also learn that the Monastery of the Yellow Rose in Damara will offer their services to restore a dead party member for free to anyone who brings them one of these magic items.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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keftiu
Senior Scribe

600 Posts

Posted - 06 May 2021 :  23:08:22  Show Profile Send keftiu a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Flagellation is pointless suffering, IMO; it feels like the antithesis of Ilmatari belief to me.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34915 Posts

Posted - 07 May 2021 :  01:49:36  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by keftiu

Flagellation is pointless suffering, IMO; it feels like the antithesis of Ilmatari belief to me.



I don't really see it as something the mainstream church would accept, but I could see it being something of a heresy within the church. If you assume there's a finite amount of pain and suffering in the world, then you can keep some of it from others by inflicting on yourself.

Note that I am not making that argument myself, I'm saying I could see a misguided person in Ilmater's priesthood making that argument.

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PattPlays
Learned Scribe

298 Posts

Posted - 07 May 2021 :  03:26:43  Show Profile  Visit PattPlays's Homepage Send PattPlays a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by keftiu

Flagellation is pointless suffering, IMO; it feels like the antithesis of Ilmatari belief to me.


I'm sure an Ilmatari follower's brain could rationalize that 'life contains pointless suffering and we can give it meaning by applying it to understanding' yada yada, making Good wisdom from Neutral suffering.

:The world's greatest OOTA fan/critic: :"Powder kegs within powder kegs!": :Meta-Dimensional Cheese: :Why is the Wand of Orcus just back?: :We still don't know the nature of Souls and the Positive Energy Plane: :PC on profile, Aldritch Elpyptrat Maxinfield: :Helljumpers, Bungie.net: :Rock Hard Gladiator, RIP Fluidanim, RIP Pluto: :IRC lives:


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SaMoCon
Learned Scribe

USA
336 Posts

Posted - 07 May 2021 :  10:09:49  Show Profile Send SaMoCon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by keftiu

Flagellation is pointless suffering, IMO; it feels like the antithesis of Ilmatari belief to me.

I disagree with this opinion.

An Ilmatari employing this practice is not doing so JUST to induce pain but to open oneself to a greater understanding of a deity that not only is continuously wracked by pain but is willing to bear more if that would allow succor for one more mortal wretch. This is as much an affirmation of the sacrifices Ilmater makes as it is a token gesture of emulation by the Ilmatari. A RW observation I have made of people is the sympathetic bonds they form from having suffered similar levels of pain and the empathetic feelings that develop from those whom have suffered egregious amounts of pain to those currently in great amounts of pain. I see parallels of this observation in self-flagellation of Ilmatari to heighten their awareness to the misery of others. This is not a new statement (the OP said as much at the top of this scroll).

What is new to this scroll is mentioning what reaction these fictional people in the FR have to pain. How many of us actually think about the grievous wounds that the PCs & NPCs alike suffer in the FR & the games being run in that setting? For example, dragon fire that burns away all but 1 HP of a PC is the equivalent of burns to 90%+ of the body that would land a RW person in the intensive care unit for months where the can still die from sepsis & pain-induced shock, in the FR has little effect on the PC in performing any task immediately after emerging from the flames that its healthy self could perform, and will be recovered as if nothing happened in a matter of days without the use of magic or medicine. This bologna reinforces the attitude that PCs & NPCs alike register pain at the same level of perception that they register viewing color - yeah, it's there, but it doesn't have any meaning or impact for the perceiving characters. We know this notion is a steaming pile left by cattle because we expect visceral experiences of the RW, like pain, are mirrored in the FR. In the RW we all know people have differing reactions to pain that may be out of character or wholly unexpected in either stoically bearing or pathetically crumbling under the hurt. Why I am bringing this up is to bring this scroll to the awareness that not everyone who thinks they can handle pain (like aspiring or rising Ilmatari) can actually withstand increasing amounts or prolonged exposure to pain without having prior experience. The Sufferings may be monitored & survivable benchmarks within the church to ensure that their members actually can do what will be expected of them or if what they may be asked to endure is too much.

Make the best use of the system that's there, then modify the mechanics that don't allow you to have the fun you are looking for.
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TomCosta
Forgotten Realms Designer

USA
756 Posts

Posted - 07 May 2021 :  16:55:32  Show Profile Send TomCosta a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just like their are real Christian flagellants that aren't bad people, I can easily see Ilmatari doing the same. Experiencing pain so they understand that of others or be more in tune with their god, not because they enjoy it, but so they understand and can steel themselves for the trials to come. Alternately, I could see them doing so believing that by doing so they are mystically taking on the suffering that someone else might otherwise get. I don't think it would necessarily be a big part of the faith, but it wouldn't surprise me to see a well accepted sect that does so. Nevertheless, I would not recommend this practice ;-)
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