The Church of the Silver Flame is the state religion of Thrane. The followers of the religion are called the Purified.
- 1 History
- 2 Beliefs
- 3 Hierarchy
- 4 Similar Groups
- 5 References
The Church of the Silver Flame was founded in the early centuries of the Kingdom of Galifar by the sacrifice of a brave paladin, Tira Miron. The church's influence spread throughout the centuries, but its heart remained in Thrane. During the Last War, King Thalin declared independence in the name of spreading worship. When Thalin died, the Church stepped in to replace the monarchy with a theocracy.
The Age of Demons
However, the story of the Silver Flame does not start in 299 YK. The Overlords ruled the world during the Age of Demons. After the discovery of the Draconic Prophecy, the fiends were overthrown by the combined forces of Dragon and Couatl. However, like all immortal spirits, the fiendish overlords could not be permanently killed. Countless of immortal couatls sacrificed themselves to bind the children of Khyber, creating the Silver Flame.
The Founding of the Church
Millennia later, in 299 YK, a pillar of crimson fire erupted on the shore of Scions Sound. Dark and vile creatures crawled from the ground, and the people grew to fear and distrust each other. The Year of Blood and Fire was filled with terrible loss of life - but it was also filled with hope, as a Paladin of Dol Arrah, Tira Miron, lead a band of heroes to defeat the fiends.
In her final confrontation, Tira's celestial guide - a couatl - materialized to help her confront the nearly-free Bel Shalor. Tira watched the two epic beings struggle, but Bel Shalor prevailed. In one last act the Couatl gifted Tira with its dying power, and the paladin lept into the flaming chasm, plunging her sword into the fiend's body. A massive explosion rippled out, and the dark, crimson flame was transformed into a cool silver fire.
While Tira's body perished, her soul persisted and she became the Voice of the Flame. A new city grew around the site of Tira's sacrifice, and eventually the capital of Thrane moved from Daskaran to Flamekeep. The church was administered by a series of keepers, as listed in the table below
|Date||Keeper of the Flame|
|300–320 YK||Maliah Sharavaci|
|320–389 YK||Traelyn Ghelios|
|389–461 YK||Darmin Avaroth|
|461–524 YK||Kyra Danth|
|524–525 YK||Bec Avaroth|
|525–578 YK||Valiron Silverthorn|
|578–610 YK||Torah Ariadu|
|610–698 YK||Saren Rellek|
|698–768 YK||Jareen Imistil|
|768–825 YK||Aelyndari Valystar|
|825–860 YK||Jolan Sol|
|860–863 YK||Tzandra Corus|
|863–903 YK||Jovor Daran|
|903–936 YK||Kaith Serrain|
|937–993 YK||Lavira Tagor|
|993 YK–Present||Jaela Daran|
The church has faced four great challenges in its history - the Time of Two Keepers, Joliana's Crusade, the Silver Crusade, and the Last War.
The Time of Two Keepers
In 497 YK, a peasant woman named Melysse Miron challenged Keeper Danth for leadership of the church. Not only did she challenge the church's doctrines, but she wielded astonishing divine power, able to directly call upon the Flame like the keeper herself. Divination magic was unable to ascertain the truth, leading to a schism that lasted years. Eventually, Melysse was uncovered as the False Keeper - drawing upon the power of Bel Shalor instead of the Silver Flame - and petrified in Dreadhold. While the demon was bound by Tira's sacrifice, the Shadow in the Flame could now whisper to the faithful, disguising itself as Tira to lead them astray.
In 558 YK Queen Joliana attempted to make the Church of the Silver Flame the state religion of all of Galifar after converting during her time as Thrane's regent. A few bloody clashes almost led to civil war, but she died of mysterious and sudden circumstances during her second year of reign.
The Silver Crusade
At the start of the 9th century, Lycanthropy began to surge in Western Aundair (now known as the Eldeen Reaches). The rising tide led to Keeper Jolan Sol declaring "the curse of lycanthropy corrupted the soul itself". With this proclamation the templars of the Silver Flame launched a nearly 50-year war. This crusade ignited the Pure Flame in Aundair, a sect of the faith that is more ardent about eradicating perceived evil.
The Last War
The Last War changed everything for the church. Thalin ir'Wynarn echoed Queen Joliana's language, proclaiming a vision of a new kingdom devoted to the Silver Flame. In 914, Thalin died of old age, and a combination of popular sentiment and the political maneuvering of the Council of Cardinals led to the church gaining control over the nation of Thrane. While this has empowered the church in the world, critics say that the concerns of the state are a distraction and avenue for corruption. The Argentum are an example of this, as an organization originally intended just to contain dangerous magical items is now also trying to perform ordinary intelligence work, where the lines are blurrier.
- The Silver Flame is force of light that holds fiends at bay. Those who seek to defend the innocent from evil can draw on the power of the Flame.
- Every mortal soul can find the light. Inspire and guide others to virtuous behavior; force is a last resort.
- Listen to the Voice of the Flame; beware the deceiving whispers of the Shadow in the Flame.
At its core, the Silver Flame is an active religion that calls upon the faithful to fight evil. For the warriors of the church, this means combating the many supernatural threats present in Eberron like undead and fiends. For the ministers and friars of the church, this means leading others to be more compassionate. And for the laity, this means simply living a virtuous life.
The Hierarchy of Evil
The Purified sort evil into five categories.
- Entities of alien evil. Fiends and aberrations fall into this category, as both malevolent and foreign. While the Gatekeepers are the primary group in Khorvaire concerned with aberrations, a templar of the silver flame would absolutely recognize the threat as important.
- Entities of unnatural evil. Undead and lycanthropes are originally of Eberron, but fundamentally corrupted by malevolent forces.
- Entities of innate evil. A controversial category, this covers "monsters" like medusas, yuan-ti, and hags. These beliefs have long led to conflict between the church and the natives of Droaam.
- Those who choose evil. Evil humanoids are covered by this. Only the most zealous followers believe all evil humanoids must be put to the sword - the church broadly espouses ideals of mercy and repentance for those who choose evil.
- The evil within. The time of two keepers has highlighted the importance of staying vigilant for the whispers of the Shadow in the Flame, which seek to mislead and corrupt the purified.
- Keith Baker's commentary.
In 992 YK, Keeper Lavina Tagor called for the church to reevaluate the classification of "innate evil" and make individual evaluations for creatures historically hunted by the church. This issue is still under consideration to this day.
Zealots are faithful who forget the importance of mercy and compassion. This form of corruption is most common in Aundair, where the Silver Crusade inspired paranoia and purity testing. Aundairian zealots like to identify as Puritans and with the Pure Flame movement, taking literalist and extreme interpretations of the Voice of the Flame.
Opportunists are faithful entrusted with the authority and power in the church. Opportunists sell connections, spellcasting, and magic items. This form of corruption is most common in Breland, where pragmatism clerics maintain their faith by justifying their corruption as "for the greater good". Archierophant Ythana Morr of Sharn has been accused of this corruption, selling the services of the city's templars as common thugs.
The Tarnished are the most insidious corrupted and are a form of the Cults of the Dragon Below, serving the Shadow in the Flame. While the Tarnished appear to draw upon the silver flame in their spells, their true source of power is Bel Shalor. This form of corruption is most common in Thrane, where Bel Shalor's influence is strongest.
The Church of the Silver Flame is not exclusive with worship of the Sovereign Host. The Sovereign Host explains the fundamental forces of reality - magic, commerce, storms. By contrast, the Silver Flame is a faith solely born of fighting supernatural darkness.
Rites and Prayers
The Silver Flame is a practical religion with short, purposeful rites and prayers. A purified farmer doesn't associate a good harvest with the blessings of the flame and doesn't involve prayer in ordinary and mundane activities. Simply acting virtuously and embodying the ideals of the church is devotion enough. However, a faithful purified may pray for strength or guidance in a time of hardship or in the face of temptation to do evil.
Rites are similarly practical, oriented around purification and preventing the spread of unnatural evil. Both friend and foe are purified after death by the burning of an alchemical substance known as silverburn, which is also used in other rites. Purification rituals are also used for the sick and for those ordained into the ministry. Since the start of the theocracy, the church has also performed purification rituals on behalf of the state.
Per its name, the most common representation of the faith is the image of a flame inlaid with silver. Arrowheads are also associated with the religion. Symbolically, arrowheads represent shafts of light piercing the darkness. Practically, ranged weapons provide safety against the claws and fangs of supernatural threats while providing flexibility. Furthermore, a quiver of arrows can feature many special arrowheads at a much cheaper cost than a bag of swords.
Conflicts within Canon
The Church of the Silver Flame has been one of the most inconsistently written organizations, even within the same source. Different authors have varied on the level of zealotry within the church, choosing to play up corruption as a source of plot hooks. Furthermore, different authors have hewed closer and farther from directly modeling the Church of the Silver Flame on the Catholic Church.
The Church of the Silver Flame is broadly divided into three orders - the Order of Ministers, the Order of Templars, and the Order of Friars. The church is led by the Keeper of the Flame and the Council of Cardinals, and includes several secretive groups like Miron's Tears and The Argentum.
The Keeper of the Flame
The Keeper of the Flame is directly chosen by Tira Miron, the Voice of the Flame. The Keeper ultimately leads the Church, but delegates most authority to the Cardinals. The current keeper is Jaela Daran.
Order of Ministers
The Order of Ministers is the largest and broadest of the three orders. Outside of Thrane, the order of ministers is only charged with administering to the matters church, although many ministers still find themselves involved in local politics.
Inside of Thrane, the Order of Ministers also act as the government - performing not only local governance but judicial functions. While ministers are on balance better educated and more invested directly in the people's needs than the local rulers of other nations, they still sometimes find themselves caught between the duties of faith and the duties of governance.
Structurally, the Order of Ministers makes up the majority of the top levels of the church's hierarchy, privileged with purely bureacratic duties.
Order of Templars
The Order of Templars is the militant arm of the church, historically charged with protecting the innocent from evil. Whether a vampire, witch, or fiend, the Knights Templar have destroyed or imprisoned countless threats. Templars are supposed to protect all innocents regardless of whether a local town pays many tithes to the church, although corrupt opportunists sometimes extort communities.
The Last War merged the Templars of Thrane and the Army of Thrane, causing issues for the order's legitimacy. Even today, a regiment of Thranish knights may have issues pursuing supernatural threats across borders as local authorities question if they're serving the mission of the church or the state. Templars in other nations found their loyalty questioned whether they chose to serve in their nation's armies or not. While the templars broadly have no higher titles than "Prefect", the Thranish army does include higher ranks such as Sacrosanct (Major) and Argent (Colonel). Outside of Thrane, Prefects fall under the command and control of their archbishop and work in tandem with the local bishop.
Order of Friars
Charged with wandering the world and spreading the light of faith, the Order of Friars is the least hierarchical of the Church's three orders. While Friars never lead cities or regions, some rare few friars have made the jump to the Council of Cardinals.
Pilgrims are the initiate rank of the order and below all other ranks in the church. While not required to perform missionary work, pilgrims do lead by example and represent the faith.
Friars travel Khorvaire, attempting to convert new followers to the Silver Flame. Furthermore, Friars are typically trained in investigation, acting as the eyes of the church to report instances of supernatural evil such as cults or possessions.
Council of Cardinals
The Council of Cardinals stands above the other orders in the church, administering to the broad concerns of the faith. Cardinals primarily attend to bureaucratic concerns, with many of them having spent the past 84 years running a nation. Cardinals are nominated and elected by existing cardinals, leading to the majority coming from the Order of Ministers.
The Diet of Cardinals are chosen by the Keeper of the Flame, although new Keepers rarely remove cardinals from the diet. The true governing body of both the Church and Thrane, the Diet collectively makes decisions on behalf of both. It is currently led by High Cardinal Krozen.
A variety of sources refer to "orders" besides the ones listed above, usually to add in a new style of magic or fighting. These orders should be understood to exist within the above hierarchy, most commonly within the Order of Templars. Some may span across two or three of the primary orders in the church, promoting cooperation across the siloes of the church hierarchy.
- The Ghaash'kala orcs of the Demon Wastes have served the Silver Flame for millennia, guarding Khorvaire from demonic invasion.
- Serpent cults directly venerate living couatl. Their leaders often become Shulassakar. Historically, the nation of Khalesh was led by a serpent cult.
- The Lizardfolk of Q'barra have dreams directed by the Silver Flame to guard against Masvirik's influence.
- Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook (5th edition). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 296. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
- Keith Baker, Jeremy Crawford, & James Wyatt (2019). Eberron: Rising from the Last War. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 141. ISBN 0786966890.
- James Wyatt and Keith Baker (2009). Eberron Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 245–248. ISBN 0-7869-5099-4.
- Keith Baker, Bill Slavicsek, & James Wyatt (2004). Eberron Campaign Setting. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 67–68, 206, 229–230. ISBN 0-7869-3274-0.
- Bill Slavicsek, David Noonan, and Christopher Perkins (2005). Five Nations. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3690-8.
- Keith Baker and Jason Bulmahn (June 2006). “Dreadhold: Eberron's Inescapable Island Prison”. Dragon #344 (Paizo Publishing).
- Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, Ari Marmell, & C.A. Suleiman (2006). Faiths of Eberron. (Wizards of the Coast), p. ?. ISBN 0-7869-3934-6.
- Keith Baker, Jeremy Crawford, & James Wyatt (2019). Eberron: Rising from the Last War. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 144. ISBN 0786966890.
- Church of the Silver Flame, Part 1. Keith Baker (November 15th, 2004). Wizards of the Coast
- Keith Baker (2020). Exploring Eberron. (Dungeon Masters Guild), pp. 52–56.
- Church of the Silver Flame, Part 2. Keith Baker (November 22nd, 2004). Wizards of the Coast
- James Wyatt, Keith Baker, Luke Johnson, Steven Brown (2006). Player's Guide to Eberron. (Wizards of the Coast), p. ?. ISBN 0-7869-3912-5.
- James Wyatt, Wolfgang Baur, Ari Marmell (2007). The Forge of War. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-4153-7.
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