Osiris

Egyptian god of nature and the dead

Osiris is the central figure in a mythological drama which has been retold in the land of Egypt for millennia. This tale centers on the murder of Osiris by his brother Set, his subsequent resurrection by his wife Isis, and the vengeance of his son Horus. While the myth varies in detail from century to century and place to place, that basic outline remains the same. The Greeks of Ægyptus worship Osiris by the name of Serapis (or Sarapis), and in the Greek cities there is actually a separate priesthood of Serapis (the characteristics of the cult are the same as the Osiris cult, however).

Because of the close association of Osiris, Isis, and Horus in this myth, the three of them are worshipped in one temple in most parts of Ægyptus. Although the three deities have separate priestly orders, the orders work in cooperation to maintain a single temple (albeit a temple with three inner sanctuaries).

Alignment: Lawful Good

Symbol: White crown

Animal: Dog

Place of Worship: Temple. Major temples in cities specifically under Osiris' protection are built on the following design: They are shaped in a large rectangle, and enclosed with high walls. The entrance is supported by two large pylons that are marked with the symbol of the god. There is a large public hall whose walls are covered with hieroglyphics depicting the story of Osiris' death and resurrection, but no image of Osiris is permitted in this hall. There is an inner sanctuary where the god's image is presented in the best available materials. As mentioned above, Osiris often shares a temple with Isis and Horus, but each god has a separate inner court. Near the temple is a cultivated garden.

Holy Days: Equinoxes (Feast, Mysteries, Sacrifice)

Goal and Purpose of the Faith: As he is worshipped in Roman Ægyptus, Osiris is primarily a savior-figure, although his agricultural and necromantic aspects have obviously not disappeared. Such a figure as Plutarch could interpret the mysteries of Osiris as explications of the most fundamental truths of the universe and human existence, but most (Egyptians and Greeks alike) who worship in Osiris' temple are there for something a little more concrete. Thus, the goal and purpose of the faith could be expressed as the universal salvation of mankind, with "salvation" understood as redemption from Fate or Fortune, and the achievement of gnostic union with the deity.

Requirements of the Priesthood

Alignment: Lawful Good, Lawful Neutral, Neutral Good, or Neutral

Minimum Ability Scores: Wisdom 11, Constitution 12. One 16+ => +5% experience; both 16+ => +10%.

Races Allowed: Only humans may be priests of Osiris. Priests may be of any gender.

Nonweapon and Weapon Proficiencies: NWPs Required: Agriculture, Religion, Ancient Languages (Ancient Egyptian reading). NWPs Suggested: Reading/Writing. Weapon Proficiencies Required: None. NWP Group Crossovers: Priest, General.

Duties and Rights of the Priest: Guidance, Marriage. Vigilance vs. the forces of Set. No extraordinary rights.

Restrictions and Limitations: Weapons Permitted: Hand axe, club, dagger, knife, quarterstaff, scythe, sickle, sword/khopesh. Armor permitted: Non-metal armor and shield, no helmets. Other Limitations: Celibacy and chastity required outside of sacred ceremonies. Must wear some white in clothing, but green tunic as well. Males must keep head shaven after reaching fourth level; females must keep hair long. Both sexes must wear head bare at all times, regardless of level. Must ceremonially bathe every day.

Spheres of Influence: Major Access to All, Creation, Divination, Necromantic, Plant. Minor Access to Healing, Protection, Sun, Weather.

Powers: Analysis and Identification of all sorts of plant life. Turn undead. At third level: pass through undergrowth as a druid.

Followers and Strongholds: At eighth level, the priest attracts these followers: One 5th-level priest, three 3rd-level priests, and six 1st-level priests (all priest of Osiris, of course); two 3rd-level specialist necromancers and four 1st-level necromancers. The order will finance half the cost of stronghold construction at 8th level.

Relations: Other Faiths: Pantheistic, no chief faith. Aristocracy: Reasonable relations with old Greek gentry, bad terms with Roman rulers. The faith often serves as a focus for Egyptian nationalism against both Greeks and Romans. People: Priestly caste. Extremely popular among Egyptians, less so (but still vital) among Greeks and Romans both. Foreign faiths: Very tolerant (by necessity) of foreign faiths.

Requirements of the Followers

Alignment: Any non-evil.

Races Allowed: Any.

Restrictions: None.


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