Paladins, judges, magistrates, lawyers, police, the oppressed
LG, LN, NG
Good, Knowledge, Law, Retribution, War
The Even-Handed, the Maimed God, the Just God
Before every criminal trial in civilized lands, good-hearted magistrates whisper prayers to Tal the Even-Handed, asking that he guide their judgements with temperance and resolve. Tal sees himself as a father figure working to craft a perfect society among the people of Larsil, whom he views as his wayward children. The pain of knowing that his mortal charges cannot hope to initiate and protect a flawless, completely just orderly existence tinges Tal’s philosophy with an undercurrent of resigned sadness.
Religious iconography depicts Tal as an ageing one-handed warrior. The so-called Maimed God lost his right hand in battle with the ravenous entity known as Kezef the Chaos Hound. Particularly radical Talan sects advocate self-mutilation among their adherents, a practice condemned by the large majority of the faithful, who nonetheless ritualistically don an off-coloured glove on their right hands to honour the Overlord.
Tal came to Larsil centuries ago in an event known as the Procession of Justice. Bursting from a gate, he led a force of 200 archons across lawless lands in an effort to pacify the region.
Tal’s actions and sacrifices during the Procession attracted the attention of the previously obscure Moriel, who joined forces with Tal. Years later, long after the Procession had ended with most of Tal’s servants banished or killed and the deity himself taking interest in Larsil at large at the expense of his initial, highly targeted campaign, Velin joined up as the Just God’s war leader. Together with Moriel, the deities became known as the Triad, by which they are still referred to this day.
Over the more than 1,600 years since his arrival, Tal has expanded his dominance over the whole of Larsil—few are those who do not know his name or the enthusiastic ideals he represents. His is a civilizing voice, urging the construction of moral and legal codes and the administration of fair justice for sentient creatures in every land. In this regard he is both progressive and regressive, representing a force for cultural development in lands with corrupt or no legal systems and representing a stern defence of the status-quo in nations with well-established codes of law.
Tal’s relatively short time on Larsil has gained him a host of enemies. He fiercely opposes deities dedicated to tyranny, evil, or lawlessness, and bears particularly enmity toward Iraxar, Tanor, Melvar, Velyemor, and Wherrs.
Reveal the truth, punish the guilty, right the wrong, and always be true and just in your actions. Uphold the law wherever you go and punish those who do wrong under the law. Keep a record of your own rulings, deeds, and decisions, for through this your errors can be corrected, your grasp on the laws of all lands will flourish, and your ability to identify lawbreakers will expand. Be vigilant in your observations and anticipations so you may detect those who plan injustices before their actions threaten law and order. Deliver vengeance to the guilty for those who cannot do it themselves.
Clergy and Temples
Commoners view Tal and his clerics as stern arbiters of justice, often missing the paternal philosophical nuances of Talan doctrine for its more obvious black-and-white teachings on the nature of morality. They tend to view Tal as something of a divine constant—they know that Tal expects fairness, good judgement, and kindness toward the innocent from his followers, and hence afford Tal’s clerics a great deal of trust.
Clerics of Tal pray for spells at dawn. In addition to numerous minor holidays, Tal’s priesthood follows a strict regimen of monthly high rituals. On the first of each month, Talans celebrate Seeing Justice, at which specially chanted prayers elicit the appearance of a white-hot war hammer that glows with heat and light. The thirteenth day brings celebration of the Maiming, at which the congregation sings loud, booming hymns as an illusionary gauntleted hand surrounded by a nimbus of burning blood appears above them.
The Talan faith appeals to those who seek to bring order to the disorderly, to punish the wicked, and to ensure that civilization prospers through a careful, fair system of justice. Theirs is a doctrine of justice through benevolent force and armed vigilance, a philosophy that makes the faith attractive to paladins and lawful fighters. Most adherents do not fight in the field, however, instead seeing to important battles in the courts as bureaucrats, judges, bailiffs, and merchants. Talans tend to view all affairs in clear-cut moral terms, preferring to see the world ordered by just laws that provide the greatest benefit to all. They tend toward intolerance, sometimes violently so, and seldom tolerate mockery, parody, or the questioning of their faith.
Clerics of Tal bring law to lawless lands, often serving as judge, jury, and executioner. Without a civilized legal code with which to guide their judgements, they often default to a doctrine roughly equivalent to “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” However, Talans prefer to err on the side of mercy, and frequently commute otherwise harsh sentences for cases in which the offender was ignorant of any wrongdoing. Such criminals usually find their names recorded in the cleric’s Book of Lawgiving, which is then shared with the nearest temples to prevent that perpetrator repeating the offence and getting off lightly. Powerful clerics frequently employ the mark of justice spell to add magical coercion to their stern lectures to convicted criminals.
In civilized lands, Talans tend to become legal experts, advising rulers, judges, or powerful merchants on the intricacies of the law and arguing cases before magistrates. They view the latter as charity, donating their (sometimes lavish) “speaking fees” to the church.
Regardless of their setting, Talans never enforce a law that can be shown to be unjust—defined by the church as out of compliance with the principles and definitions adhered to by other laws in the body of legal doctrine of which it is part. This sometimes forces Talans to support very unfair laws that are, nonetheless, just. In many such cases, Talans attempt to change the laws by working within the system. Those who break even unfair laws as a form of defiance or political dissent are nonetheless guilty, in their view, and deserve to be punished to the fullest extent the law allows.
In some cases, Talans act as agents of vengeance for those who have been wronged and who cannot afford or are no longer around to defend themselves. In such cases, when the law is so broken down as to become meaningless, clerics of Tal act openly to defy evil or corrupt forces, martyring themselves if such becomes necessary.
The well-connected, highly organized Church of Tal sponsors an extensive system of fortified temples throughout Larsil. Each subscribes to a strict set of internal rules known as the Innumerable Edicts, which seems to grow more pedantic and onerous with each passing year.
Individual temples of Tal offer lodging, fresh mounts, healing, spell aid, weapons, gear, and holy advice, as well as confession of sins, which plays an important absolving role in the faith.