An abbey is a fratery the members of which live together in a common residence. Often such frateries own significant property, and have formal membership qualifications, probationary periods for novice members, and a formal hierarchy of ranks. Almost always they have at least an ostensible religious or devotional purpose.

The leader of such an abbey is an abbot.

Archaic Period

Archaic abbeys are uncommon, small, and of no great wealth. They usually occupy lands and properties donated by wealthy members of times past, and few can afford to live on their rents. Members depend on private means and on selling their services. Abbeys of mercenaries are not unknown, but most commonly abbeys derive their income from their control of a famous sanctuary, or by marketing the services of their members as priests, oracles, surgeons, healers, physicians, shamans, dreamers, and so on.

House Azure was already established in the Archaic Period, its members earning livings as teachers, scribes, and librarians, and by charging fees for access to the abbey library.

Classical Period

By the Classical Period, abbeys have begun to occupy unclaimed land in the mountains and swamps, and to subsist on rents. The members can live lives of ease, or devote themselves to mysticism, religion, science, and scholarship. Membership of an abbey is a valuable privilege, and positions can be sold, awarded to promising candidates, or given in exchange for mighty oaths. Some abbeys are very rich, exert substantial influence in regional politics, and are a significant military power on the local scale. Their residences are often strongly fortified. In the political paralysis of the reign of Regikhord IV, they pay no taxes. They contribute significantly to turmoil and disorder, constantly at strife with neighbouring squires, and sometimes actively opposing the rule of krites and episkopoi.

Decadent Period

In the Decadent Period abbeys are often practically sovereign enclaves within Gehennum. They have a great deal of military power, especially in alliances, and exist in uneasy truces with the episkopoi, who have other concerns, and are content to leave the abbeys alone if they will remain quiet.

Notable abbeys

Copyright © 1991 by Brett Evill. All rights reserved.