Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dungeon Dressing: Shrine

According to Emmerline’s Taxonomy, a shrine is a space dedicated to the veneration of a specific god, which, unlike a temple, has no permanent attendants. A shrine may be any size, but a small chamber, niche, or cairn is most common, though. Given the chaotic nature of many dungeon environments, it's a significant feat for a shrine to avoid vandalization for any period of time.

A popular shrine may have the protection and patronage of the surrounding denizens, even where these denizens are enemies to one another. This may be particularly true where the shrine offers some benefit, magical or otherwise. In some cases a shrine is considered neutral ground, though in others, it may be fought over as a valuable possession. Lit candles or recent offerings are a clear sign of regular patronage.

An unmolested shrine in a heavily trafficked dungeon area may also be a sign that the local population share the same religion or, more likely, that the shrine has a powerful protector nearby, possibly on a deeper level of the dungeon. A few shrines protect themselves from desecration via trap, curse, illusion, or teleportation. Some beneficial good shrines are able to disguise themselves, being visible only to good-inclined individuals.

Some races have characteristic shrines. Grey Mountain Gnolls, for example, leave noisome memorials wherever they travel as a means of marking their dominance.

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