Sunday, January 4, 2009


Black Friars (Dominicans)

The order of Friar Preachers was founded by St Dominic in the 13th Century as a new kind of religious order, not bound to secluded monasteries but traveling and living amongst the people and surviving by their donations or though earning their keep as teachers. In keeping with a famous rebuke made by St Dominic to Papal Legates, Dominicans will never ride, reject all finery and try to project an example of Christian simplicity. Instead of the stable life of the cloister, brethren would be found making their way across the country lanes of Europe, singing psalms to keep up their spirits, in danger of attack by thieves or heretics, on their way to the frontiers of Christendom and beyond. Additionally, as their reputation as teachers and theologians grew, they came increasingly to be found in the new towns of Europe and in the disputations of their universities. Because of their traditions of scholarship and the contributions of members of their order, most notably St Thomas Aquinas and Albertus Magnus, to spreading new forms of experimental science and Aristotelian thought, they were often at the centre of the great debates of their time. While St Thomas introduced a new Aristotelian form of theological thought that came to supplant the previous Augustinian Orthodoxy, a seismic shift in Christian theology, the famed but more arcane writings of Albertus Magnus, the teacher of the "Angelic Doctor", delved into the mysteries of experimental science, Astrology and even Alchemy.

However, the order had originally been conceived as having a mission to persuade heretics to recant for their errors and rejoin the church. St Dominic may have held to the belief that this could be accomplished gently, though he did burn many heretical books, but many of the leaders in the order did not share these scruples and the great Cathar heresy of the Albigensians ended violently through a Crusade by the French King. With their commitment to Church teachings and formidable intellectual abilities, the Black Friars are often known by another name, "Domini Canis" (Hounds of God) as they pursue heretics and carry out the works of the inquisition or hold other senior Church offices carrying out Papal policy or enforcing religious truces. Despite becoming important to enforcing church orthodoxy, the majority of black friars still pursue either the mendicant or teaching lives and others make different contributions to Christianity, several renowned German mystics of the last Century were Dominican, notably Meister Eckhart and St Catherine of Sienna.

Friar Mendicant


The common face of the Dominicans to the world is the Friar. He or she (there is a secondary order of Nuns) may either be found journeying though the countryside spreading teaching and spreading the faith, on official church business or teaching at a major school or university. They are famed for their learning, simplicity and powers of argument.

Skills: Theology, Persuasion, Linguistics, Athletics, Perception or Lore or Science.

Secret Masteries:

Veritas (Theology (Philosophy) Mastery) The schooling the Friar has received, combined with their keen intellect and spiritual development allows them to easily discern the untruths and deceptions in even the subtlest arguments or apprehend when the natural laws are being violated by arcane workings +1 PDL to Theology tests to resist the lies of heretics or pagans or to resist their magic (when the variants allow a Dominion (resistance) roll.

Dsiputatio (Theology (Philosophy) Grand Mastery) Black Friars have an important role in promoting orthodoxy and exposing error. The long experience of the Friar fulfilling this charge in a range of settings hones him or her to to a formidable debater. They gain +2 PDL to Persuasion (Influence roles) in any formal debate over doctrine or theology.

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