Re: Thief saints in Seshnela

From: Mark Galeotti <markgaleotti_at_i9NUyhwpf10oHGBRBb3m_lFTr3uchhzr-qVtvrDORuHTs-O2hW43jshJMUBymNs>
Date: Wed, 09 Jan 2008 23:18:53 -0000

Slightly OT, I'd mention that the Russian Orthodox saint St Alexis from Mythic Russia is actually based on genuine religious doctrine but also contemporary perspective:

The Redistributive Saint

Alexis was a child of rich Christian Roman stock, but he secretly yearned for a monastic life. When he heard that he was to be married, over his objections, he sneaked from his home disguised as a peasant, carrying much gold, with which to do good works. Eventually, he returned, unrecognised, to his family home, where they demonstrated their virtue by giving him alms and shelter, until just before his death he revealed himself to them and there was a joyous reconciliation. However, it is the way St Alexis began his holy career with his family's gold that has caught the imagination of many of his worshippers, who consider his example to mean that it may be permissible to take from the rich, so long as the wealth ends up in the hands of the poor. Eventually.

Abilities: Assess Value, Conceal Objects, Devotee of St Alexis or Initiate of St Alexis, Disguise, Life of St Alexis, Move Unnoticed. Virtues: Shy, Unconventional.

Affinity: Share the Wealth (Assess Need, Evade Pursuit, Forgotten Benefactor, Open Strongbox, Pass Through Door)

Secret: Seen But Unseen (With this secret, the devotee can become not invisible, but unrecognised, and in many cases ignored. He could hand his grandmother a bag of silver, and all she would register is that someone of roughly his size and build gave it to her, but she would have no real recollection of quite what he looked or sounded like. So long as the hero is not doing anything unusual, he will not attract any attention, either. For example, if a steady stream of people are passing through the city gates, the devotee will be unnoticed as he does the same – so long as he is successful in using his secret – even if a wanted felon or carrying a dead body. If people register the body at all, for example, they will just remember `a guy carrying a sack that looked like a body at first glance.' The resistance is 14, although if others are trying specifically to penetrate illusions, scan the crowd especially carefully, know the hero well or the like, they use their perception ability or relationship against the secret's rating. If the hero is doing something especially active or unusual or out of keeping with the `backdrop' then the resistance will increase, and observers get additional attempts to penetrate the magic.)

Rites & Representations: He is portrayed as man in simple robes, with open hands. His feast day is 17 March, when the rich give generously, hoping in that way to protect the rest of their possessions in the coming year.

Worshippers: Let's be honest, the most devoted worshippers are often thieves. But thieves who also want to look after their souls.

Disadvantages: There will always be some suspicions surrounding devotees of St Alexis, especially when anything goes missing. The narrator may in this case assume that the Devotee of St Alexis ability also doubles as Suspected by All.

Likewise, one Catholic take on St Nicholas:

The Godfather

Nicholas was willing to work with thieves to reform them, and thus they are sometimes known as `St Nicholas's Clerks' or the `Knights of St Nicholas,' This aspect of his cult works with thieves. Its arts have also been useful, though few would publicly admit it, when Christians have faced persecution. This aspect does not have a distinct identity; it has no special symbols or churches, only a few prayers, nor its own feast day. Its worshippers are happy to seem just like the mainstream cult's. They do not want to draw attention to themselves either because they are ashamed of their criminal past… or for some other reason.

Abilities: Devotee of St Nicholas the Redeemer or Initiate of St Nicholas the Redeemer, Know [City or Region] Underworld, Life of St Nicholas of Myra, Spot Criminal.

Virtues: Cheerful, Optimistic, Unjudgemental.

Affinity: Escape (Find Hideout, He Went Thattaway, Hide in Unexpected Place, Outrun Pursuit, Slip Bonds, There's Nobody Here)

Worshippers: Thieves past or present and those who would reform them. Disadvantages: If for any reason the worshipper's true association with this aspect becomes known, that could cause social stigma at best, serious investigation at worst.

All the best


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