The Chaplains of the Chambers
The Chaplains are a globe-spanning guild of historians and antiquarians, charged with seeking out evidence of ancient cultures and bringing as much knowledge of their civilizations as possible back to modern memory. Unlike many other treasure hunters or adventurers that dungeon delve, they are actually a branch of clergy operating directly under clerics to the twin gods Enoatra and Erinarn. Most Chaplains hold a priest title and are considered such (if lower-ranking than the clerics), though their actual class is usually bard or rogue. Secular hires might be contracted for specific specialities but, generally speaking, to join the guild is to also join the church.
Any race that values history and its careful extraction are welcome into the ranks. Elves and dwarves are well respected, though both tend to focus on their own ancestors rather than the forgotten ones. Humans and half-elves comprise most of the membership. The twin gods’ obsession with culture tends towards stereotyping, which can filter down to their religious leaders and thus misjudge prospective candidates. Thankfully while the clerics are often stationed at remote dungeons for lifetime appointments, their Chaplains have one foot firmly in the secular (usually in a well-trod boot) and so attempt to guide a more grounded approach whenever higher ranking priests aren’t micromanaging.
The signature Chaplain outfit is a white adventure shirt that hangs down robe-like to around the calves, coupled with khaki and supple leather panels in various shades of brown; leggings of various lengths are often worn underneath. The colors have purpose: the white represents the ghosts and skeletons Erinarn seeks out, while the brown reflects the rotting wood, tarnished metal and collapsed earth covering Enoatra’s antiquities.
This garb is often coupled with an armored coat when defense is needed, though without combat training those bards cannot easily cast spells until they shrug it off. It is common for these outfits to have two or three small satchels to hold specialized tools or protect ancient finds.
Members are almost always bards with the archaeologist archetype, which replaces the normal music abilities with roguish trapfinding. The half that worship Enoatra may prestige into divine assessor, and the half that follows Erinarn may prestige into agent of the grave (without the evil pre-requisites or connotations), though certainly some archaeologists choose not to prestige at all. Any class with favored enemies may choose “tomb raiders” if they desire, as these are the only true enemies of the church.
There are three types of magic associated with the Chambers. The first are spells involving healing or aid, as despite being bards they are considered priests. The second involve any spell that helps in the pursuit of safe exploration, largely by seeing and preventing terrain and trap hazards.
Finally, specialized spells pertain to which of the brother gods a Chaplain follows. Those under Enoatra can often interact with or sedate golems and similar ancient constructs, while their brethren under Erinarn can do the same with ancient undead. Note that in both cases, damaging spells are incredibly rare as they see that as a form of destroying history: they instead prefer to sequester or evade such hostile enemies and alert the twin gods to their need for succor, usually after an expedition is complete and any historical finds are safe. At that point specialized teams deactivate or lay to rest any enemy hopefully according to what’s known of their past religious rites, though this can sometimes cause legal difficulties with modern authorities.
Any of these spells cast by a Chaplain of the Chambers count as being divine, though arcane failure and any other stipulations still apply. These bards simply harness the same magic their clerics do through a more scholarly method. Individual members might also display any number of spells or spell-like abilities from other sources.
As most of their members are bards, rapiers and whips tend to be the most powerful of the free options. The former focuses on piercing thrusts so the wild swings of slashing or bludgeoning weapons don’t accidentally damage ancient walls, and if they somehow jab them anyway, then any potential damage is minimized. Whips are nonlethal so can rarely damage ruins unless they’re intended to, and feel requisite for any archaeologist worth their salt. The machete is also popular, being essentially a shortsword with a baked in Survival bonus, though it requires training in battle that they more often spend in study. Primitive replicas of stone and/or bone are often used for ceremonial purposes, though the Chaplains are more practical than the clerics they operate under, and see the value in modern materials during an actual expedition.
Practices and Beliefs
As with all followers of the twin gods, the Chaplains of the Chambers believe that the buddy system (one from each religion) is the key to success. Besides being symbolic it simply makes for good, practical advice when exploring distant locations. Everybody needs help now and again, and if someone is unable to quickly rescue their partner, then protocol dictates that they’re fully allowed to reach a settlement where they might enlist or hire aid.
Eventually, the main goal of any Chaplain is to restore ancient dungeons to their former glory: a museum empty of monsters that can be freely wandered by the public for free, with the clerics acting more as docents than protectors. Of course this only extends to ruins of past civilizations, particularly those with no living descendents already entrusted to their care, and not the mad fever dreams of would-be liches or the trapped tombs of past merchant lords. A site must have anthropological significance as well as archaeological.
Current Chaplains of the Chambers in the Lands Unknown
Sonya Merton, sent to survey what’s left of Conriston’s Quay.
Jalana Amblecrown, her recently assigned partner, though it is unknown if she’s fled the guild or her god along with her post.