|Prophecies of Kalistrade|
|Type||Religious / Philosophical|
|Leader||High Prophet Kelldor|
|Goals||Amassing personal wealth|
|Scope||Regional (Inner Sea)|
|Members||Merchants and tradesmen|
|Images of Kalistocrats|
Source: Campaign Setting, pg(s). 177
This article might have further canon details available on.
- See also: Prophet of Kalistrade
The Prophecies of Kalistrade are a series of dream-records written by an eccentric mystic during the early days of the Age of Enthronement. They stress the benefits of a strict regimen of self-denial and promote the accumulation of wealth over all other pursuits. These teachings and predictions are followed as a pseudo-religion, most prominently in the nation of Druma. A follower of this philosophy is known as a Kalistocrat or prophet, although the latter is a slang term, and the adjective is Kalistocratic.
Tenets and dogma
Believers adorn themselves exclusively in white robes and wear full-length gloves to prevent contact with those who do not also follow the philosophy. Additionally, they practice sexual and dietary prohibitions. Followers of the Prophecies believe that their sacrifices will bring them personal wealth and success later in life, and that those who do not achieve such greatness have broken one of the many teachings of the philosophy.
Most followers are atheist, and unlike followers of deistic faiths, practitioners of the Prophesies of Kalistrade seem to be unaffected by the death of Aroden, and see this as proof that their way of life is superior. To them, Aroden's death is evidence that gods can die, while traditions and ways of thinking can not be killed. And in a way, they might be correct, as the continual economic expansion of Druma speaks to the successes of their way of life.
Goals and prohibitions
Kalistocrats pursue wealth above all else, and do so by following several tenets:
- Conserve resources: A Kalistocrat never exhausts their resources. This is evident, for instance, in the lumber industry of Macridi, which selectively harvests only a few rare trees per day and preserves most of the Palakar Forest.
- Wear white: A Kalistocrat wears primarily white garments, though high-ranking members often show their wealth in jewelry and finery.
- Avoid charity: A Kalistocrat gives money only to those who have earned it. They prefer indentured servants with 1-year terms over slaves, as they can ultimately profit from both the servant's labor and their repayment of the loan.
- Avoid material comforts: A Kalistocrat avoids many basic comforts, even when they can easily afford them. This includes a strict diet that abstains from several kinds of meat.
- Avoid physical contact: A Kalistocrat avoids all physical contact with other people. Their outfits include full-length gloves (including a version that magically repels others) and full-body robes to avoid unintentional contact. They avoid most sexual activity and abstain from tattoos.
- Be lawful and neutral: A Kalistocrat lawfully follows the Prophecies and remains neutral in all dealings—not out of fairness, but rather because legal systems provide tools for accumulating and retaining wealth. Using the law for profit without violating it is an honorable act among Kalistocrats.
- Exploit agreements: A Kalistocrat seeks to take advantage of loopholes in contracts and other legal agreements without technically violating any rules.
- Outwit superiors for profit: A Kalistocrat feels rewarded when able to exploit a more experienced or faithful prophet for profit.
New members are always welcomed into the fold, and no racial, gender, or financial barriers stand in the way of anyone beginning his or her walk down the straight and narrow path to enlightenment. If one can adhere to the philosophy's strictures and thus amass personal wealth, they are welcome in the Kalistrade, and by extension, the nation of Druma. Despite this inclusiveness, the upper echelons of the faith are only open the humans, although this has not stopped many other races, particularly dwarves and tieflings, from following its teachings. The philosophy has also become increasingly popular for refugees fleeing Cheliax and Isger. Most new converts gain their first introduction to the Prophecies in the Drumish city of Twingate on Lake Encarthan, a tent city where thousands spend anywhere from a week to multiple years seeking greater enlightenment.
Following their philosophy of prominently displayed wealth and success, prophets who choose familiars prefer impressively rare or extravagant creatures. This often results in colorful birds and reptiles, such as parrots, peacocks, snakes, and lizards, decked in opulent accessories. Several also include carbuncles in their entourages.
Rituals of death
Much as the accumulation of wealth is a Kalistocrat's goal in life, their wealth plays a large role in their death. One of the greatest secrets of the faith, only known to proven Kalistocrats, is that devout followers of the Prophecies of Kalistrade never undergo judgement. The faith's hundreds of restrictions constitute a lifelong purification that culminates in self-mummification at the end of life. Throughout the years, a Kalistocrat gradually consumes trace amounts of precious metals and binds them to themselves following Kalistrade's teachings. On their deathbed, the Kalistocrat conducts an occult ritual that pumps their body with molten metals from their wealth that displaces bodily fluids, preserving the body as a facsimile. The ritual is always lethal, after which the soul does not depart to the Boneyard but creates a mindscape—whose size corresponds to the wealth sacrificed—as the Kalistocrat's custom, eternal afterlife. In the process, others can voluntarily bind themselves to the Kalistocrat to join them in the afterlife.
These Kalistocrats are preserved in several mausoleums across Druma, including the Golden Ossuary in Kerse. Those who know of the secret keep it quiet, in order to avoid attracting looters and Pharasmins.
Hour of Victory
Followers of the Prophecies believe in a time in the not too distant future, when they will use their amassed wealth to create enough leverage to "own" the world. This ownership will bestow a type of immortality upon all true believers. The fact that other prophecies have failed to occur in the Age of Lost Omens does not bother adherents of this philosophy. They claim that theirs is a secular prophecy unaffected by the magical disruptions brought on by the death of Aroden, and will simply occur once the faithful acquire enough capital.
The Prophecies of Kalistrade is not an exclusive faith and allows its adherents to worship deities whose tenets do not conflict with those of the Prophecies. Kalistocrats find they have much in common with the church of the god of merchants and civilization, Abadar, and either worship him or envy his wealth; Abadarans largely return the favour to Kalistocrats. The Kalistocrats' transformative goals align with the self-perfection as taught by Irori, although many Irorans interpret this as heresy. Although Torag endorses cunning and diligence, the dwarven pantheon reminds Drumish humans of the long years of dwarven rule, making these deities unpopular. Those who seek money at all costs usually turn to Asmodeus or Mammon, most of the time forever drifting away from the Prophecies of Kalistrade in the process.
Deities that promote larceny, like Norgorber and Besmara, are anathema to Kalistocrats and often target them (and citizens of Druma in general) in their crimes. Kalistocrats who know of their religion's secret afterlife are wary around Pharasma, dissuading them from prying too deep. Pharasma herself undoubtedly knows, but it is unclear why she has not condemned Druma and the Kalistocrats.
The Mercenary League is the private mercenary force Kalistocrats use to protect themselves and, more importantly, their possessions. Known for their ruthlessness, extensive training, and lavish equipment, these black-clad men-at-arms protect their charges with a fervor seldom found outside of golems. Their numbers draw heavily from followers of the Prophecies who, due to their circumstances of birth or talent, are unable to successfully climb the ladder of wealth accumulation. Some see them as unnecessarily violent or even sociopathic in their treatment of opponents, but the truth is that they are completely without morals when following orders; they simply choose tactics that produce the most efficient outcomes.
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