Covenant of Heroes
Covenant is run by three major Organizations, and by a plethora of minor groups. Each of the three current Founders, the living gods of Covenant, have extended their individual patronage to a different organization, and it is these three groups which are the major actors in Covenant. These Organizations reflected their Founder’s strengths and aspirations, and are responsible for a specific aspect of Covenant’s functionality. Heroes wishing to work for one of these Organizations are generally drawn to the approach the Founder that they most closely resemble.
Keys of Covenant
Each of the Organizations has its own bureaucracy and politics but they all use the same symbol to denote authority: a large stylized key, wrought in precious metals and typically carried around the neck. Following Covenant’s numeric tradition, there are 3 Golden Keys (held by the Founders), and then 9 Silver Keys and 27 Bronze Keys, split evenly among the three Organizations.
The Keys themselves serve a purpose beyond signaling influence – each Key affords the bearer a certain level of power and access within Covenant. It is rumored that Bronze Keys can pass through solid matter, and that Silver and Gold Keys are even more substantially more powerful artifacts.
Religion in Covenant
Freedom of religion is a central tenet in the laws of Covenant, enforced without any irony by the Priests of the Church. Any citizen of the city may worship whatever deity they wish, so long as their observances of religious rituals does not break any of Covenant’s other laws. Natives to the city refer to the gods of traditional religions brought in by off-worlders as “dead gods”, contrasting them with the “live gods” of the city, the Founders.
There are shrines to these dead gods all over the Wards of the city, usually placed together in large temples and cared for by the Church. Within one of these temples, it would not be uncommon to find altars to competing gods, and there are frequently religious disagreements between pilgrims to these temples. However, most off-worlders quickly become acclimated to the casual religious climate of Covenant and over time, most cease to become offended. Each temple is built in more or less the same fashion, and conspicuously lacks any shrines to the “living gods” of Covenant. There is generally an image of the Dragon Above on the ceiling, the sigil of the Mind Among on the door, and the wrapped shroud of the Shadow Below in the center of the floor of the main hall, but beyond that, no worship of the Founders is performed within the temples.
Some say that Covenant is beyond the reach of the “dead gods”, while other argue that they have merely chosen to leave the city alone for now. Whatever the case, few miracles are reported, and most citizens have accepted that the Founders play a more active role in their lives than the distant gods above ever did. Commoners in Covenant generally pay respect to all three Founders, and might even pray to them when appropriate, but it is rare to see outright worship or adoration.
To make the transition easier, each of the “living gods” has taken on significant aspects of the most deities seen in other planes. For example, the Mind Among espouses some of the goals and desires of Oghma, Ioun, and Correllon, to name a few. Likewise, the Dragon Above is exceedingly similar to Erathis in some ways, and to Bahamut in others. In spite of this, many devout worshipers still clearly follow their personal deity, and not its associated Founder.
The exception to the nonchalant attitude of the Founders is their categorical objection to divine manifestations. Whether through prayer, force of will, or ritual, angels and similar exarchs of the “dead gods” occasionally attempt to appear on Covenant. Their presence is considered extremely disruptive by the Church, and unauthorized extra-planar entities are immediately banished and any citizens attempting to summon them are arrested. While prayer is acceptable, people are strongly discouraged from attempting to contact their gods or any other extra-planar creatures in any way, a law zealously enforced by the Church.