Charrian Fire Worship

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Charrian Fire Worship is a polytheistic religion originating in Tyria and followed almost exclusively by the Charr species. It is also the officially recognised national religion of the United Clans of the Charr. The core beliefs centre around a group of unnamed gods who inhabited the planet before life developed, who destroyed each other and can now only visit the mortal realm in the form of fire. As of 31st August 2007 there are an estimated 4,430,520,000 adherents, all of them Charr.


The Gods of Fire

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A traditional Fire God effigy, one of the most common depictions of their mortal forms
</div>The Gods of Fire (also referred to as the Fiery Gods, the Fiery Ones, the Fire Gods or just simply the Gods), are the mysterious deities central to the beliefs of Charrian Fire Worship.

In the form of fire, the gods grant worthy beings their power in limited amounts, giving them the ability to generate heat, power technology, forge weapons and countless other abilities that they wouldn't have without the grace of the gods. How long the gods choose to remain in the mortal world depends entirely on how many offerings they receive, in the form of combustible fuels, and tending a fire is an important duty in Charrian custom even if the fire has no practical purpose. When fire get out of control, however, it is said that the gods have deemed their victims unworthy, and instead of granting them their power they instead turn it against them. Given the propensity of the Charr for keeping naked flames inside buildings which are traditionally decorated with bare, untreated wood, there are a comparatively large number of fire related accidents in Tyria, and extinguishing such a fire is not an easy decision unless it threatens to spread.

Although a polytheistic religion, there is no source which states how many of them there may be, nor are there any sources which mention any single god by name. This is unusual for a polytheistic religion, which usually have specific gods with specific powers representing specific elements or concepts. The Gods of Fire, however, all appear to have equal powers, and no single god has ever been named or attributed to any particular subject. They are all worshipped collectively and equally by the Charr.

Many Charr in the past have attempted to portray how they believe the gods may have appeared when they inhabited the planet, usually in the form of sculptures or effigies. Although no Charr claims to know what the gods looked like, there is a generally accepted form which generally takes the shape of a three-legged creature with scythe-like arms and a hunched-over head. Their jaws are usually open menacingly, and lined with sharp, curved teeth.


As with all religions, Fire Worship has its own version of events detailing the creation of life.

The Before Time

According to Charrian belief, the true form of the gods is that of a hideous, monstrous creature of enormous size and infinite power. In the Before Time there was no sun, and the mortal realm (Tyria, and later Earth) was bathed in eternal darkness. The gods used to inhabit this realm, having chosen the previously lush Crystal Desert as their homeland.

Charr believe that in this mortal form the gods used to follow traditions and rituals identical to their own, sharing their sense of honour and morality. It was during a ritual challenge that a great battle took place, using powers so utterly destructive that the mortal forms of the gods were completely annihilated and the area now known as the Crystal Desert was scorched of all life, creating the sandy desert that exists to this day. All that was left of the gods were strange crystalline shards, littered across the sand.

Without bodies, the gods began a prolonged period of self-inflicted exile - they constructed the Sun as their celestial temple, so that they could give the mortal realm the gift of light and thus allow for life to flourish. From this point on, they could only ever manifest themselves in the mortal realm in the form of fire.

The Beginning Time

With the light cast down on the Earth by the Gods of Fire, life began to flourish in the mortal realm. The crystalline shards became life, and plants began to grow. The light from the Sun heated the oceans and rain fell for the first time. Animals rose from the ashes and began to feed off the plants, and eventually each other. The mortal realm came to life.

But the Gods of Fire grew concerned that their values of honour and strength had become lost to the world. They collected together whatever fragments of crystals from the Crystal Desert they could find, and used their own intense heat to forge the Charr. These powerful beasts, forged by the gods themselves, became the guardians of the mortal realm. It would be the task of the Charr to maintain the values and traditions of the gods who came before them, to make sure that the world was an honourable place once again.

In return for loyal service, the gods decided to allow the Charr to use fire for their own ends, to build tools and create civilisation. But those Charr that were not deemed worthy would find that fire would turn against them, possibly destroying their possessions or even their life in the process.


Charr believe that upon death, honourable beings will be granted access to the Sun, the celestial temple of the gods. Because they believe that all sentient beings are born inherently honourable, essentially anybody who has not committed an act of dishonour during their lifetime can gain entrance to this realm of eternal light.

Those who have improved their honour through deeds of courage, strength and sacrifice, however, may earn the right to stand at the side of the Gods of Fire themselves, joining them in great celestial battles and sharing in their infinite power. Understandably, this is something that many Charr strive towards.

Dishonoured beings are not beyond redemption in life, but if they die before redeeming themselves then they risk the judgement of the gods. The gods may give the dishonoured soul one last chance at redemption in the form of some kind of challenge, or they may administer a punishment - anything ranging from fiery torture to having their soul completely annihilated from the universe.


It is written in Charrian texts that one day the gods will be able return to the mortal realm. The Sun will go dark as the gods leave their celestial realm, and their monstrous, enormous mortal forms shall once again walk the Earth. Charr shall be granted immortality and shall rule with the gods.


Flamekeepers are the priests of the Charrian Fire Worship belief system. The ruling body, which appoints and manages Flamekeepers, dictates canon and administrates the Flame Temples across Tyria, is known as the Society of Flamekeepers and is based at an ancient stone building not far from the Reekmaaf Flame Temple in Lion's Arch. It is the duty of Flamekeepers to study the holy texts and establish canon, to spread the word of the gods, and to serve the spiritual needs of their congregations. Most Flamekeepers are appointed to one of the numerous Flame Temples located around the country, and in that capacity they are also responsible for keeping alive the flame monument there - where they earn their names.

The Grand High Flamekeeper is the spiritual leader of the Charr, most easily comparable to the Roman Catholic Pope. The Grand High Flamekeeper acts as the supreme mortal judge of honour and duty, as the voice of the gods on earth, and he is the only mortal capable of restoring the honour of a dishonoured soul, living or dead, if he deems it warranted. He is automatically assigned as the Flamekeeper responsible for maintaining the flames of the Reekmaaf Flame Temple, the largest and most spiritually important Temple in Tyria, and has the final say on any canon disputes. It is also his responsibility to speak on behalf of the entire Society of Flamekeepers. In the past they have been called upon to make laws spiritually binding by the government, most famously in the case of the Sacred Scrolls of Law, ratified in 1305 A.D. Elected by the Society of Flamekeepers as a whole, with a three-quarter majority required to be appointed, the current Grand High Flamekeeper is Verklaaw Darkclaw.


Charr must constantly be close to a flame of some sort in order to have the support of the gods. This is the primary reason why nearly all buildings in Tyria rely on flame torches or candles for illumination rather than safer electrical lighting. Many homes keep a small burning firestone statue of the gods in a dedicated worshipping room for added security.

Whenever military warbands travel anywhere, they will carry a brazier lit at a Flame Temple, which they can then use to ignite a large wooden effigy of a god whenever they set up camp at night - essentially, a portable Flame Temple. This allows them to remain close to their gods even when they are unable to access a Flame Temple. The soldiers tasked with carrying and maintaining the brazier are given the temporary title of Flamebearer, which is considered a great honour as it bestows provisional Flamekeeper powers upon them. Larger warbands, or warbands on long-term duties, will have a proper Flamekeeper accompany them on their travels, however.

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A traditional local Flame Temple, consisting of a lit brazier on a stone pedestal
</div>The main place of worship for a Charr is at a Flame Temple. These places are typically large open-air facilities, as the Charr do not believe in isolating themselves from nature during worship. Each Temple is manned by one or two Flamekeepers, whose duty it is to keep the flame burning with regular offerings of combustible fuels. Should the fire of a Flame Temple ever die, it is a sign that the gods are displeased and have abandoned the Flamekeeper responsible for its upkeep - which usually results in immediate rejection from the Society of Flamekeepers. The replacement Flamekeeper must perform a cleansing ritual on the temple before the flame can burn once again.

Older Flame Temples were traditionally little more than enormous braziers set alight atop of stone platforms, while more recent constructs have often featured massive firestone statues of the gods, or even extravagant arrays of fire-emitting chimneys or obelisks, as is the case at Reekmaaf. The type of monument used depends entirely on the era the Temple was built, the particular beliefs and culture of its local worshippers, and the style of the original architect.

By far the most popular modern variety is that of a large firestone effigy of the (imagined) mortal form of the gods, which is then set alight. The government has placed smaller statues made of firestone in various public and military buildings, to allow the people who work there to remain as close to the gods as possible.


When a male and a female Charr develop their spiritual relationship far enough, and assuming that the male has received the permission of the female's father or legal guardian, they may wish to become 'life joined' during a ceremony at a Flame Temple.

The bulk of the ceremony involves the male and the female expressing their feelings and desires for each other, in front of the congregation, the Flame Keeper, and most importantly of all, the Fiery Gods. It is their hope that by demonstrating their passion for each other that the Fiery Gods will grant them the strength to ensure the success of their life joining. Flame Keepers will symbolically declare that the Fiery Gods have heard their roars of passion and approved. As a symbol of this divine support, each shall be branded, usually on the upper chest or lower arm, with the pack crest of the other using a brand heated in the fires of the Flame Temple itself. This is a considerably painful procedure, however by enduring it they not only symbolise the support of the gods, but also the lengths they are willing to go to in order to remain together.

With the branding completed, the duty of protecting the female is legally passed over to her new life mate, and their respective packs become 'allied' or merged together. Due to the importance of family in Charr society, this in itself is a major step for everybody involved, not just the couple. A Charr male with a large number of life mates can be the focal point of a particularly large unity of packs, and if ten or more packs are united by a single male it legally becomes classified as a tribe, under his leadership. Establishing a new tribe is rare, but highly sought after as it brings with it great honour - and historically speaking, power. It should be noted at this point that if either the male or female no longer wish to be with their respective life mate, their unity is dissolved and their packs are no longer allied, but it is quite rare for this to happen. It should also be noted that this pack unity is not dissolved should one of the mates die, unless one was killed by the other in a dishonourable fashion. They remain united forever, unless one of the mates specifically states that they wish to end their relationship.

If this is the first life mate the male has, it is customary for the female to move in to his pack's house with him, however it is perfectly acceptable for the male to move in to her pack house, as their families are essentially merged. If the male should take a second mate, however, it is expected for him to establish his own pack house for them to dwell in - a new generational home, in other words.

In legal terms the Charrian marriage is recognised without the need for paperwork to be submitted - so long as it was performed by a registered Flame Keeper, at a sanctified Flame Temple, their marriage automatically becomes legally binding the moment the branding ritual is complete.

Burial rituals

Charr burial ceremonies are exclusively based upon cremation. The corpse of a fallen warrior is referred to as an empty shell, and it is believed that the soul becomes trapped inside the corpse upon death. The only way to release the soul, so that it may begin its journey to the celestial temple of the gods, is to use the power of the gods themselves - fire - to destroy the corpse.

Traditional ceremonies involve the body being laid on a slab of stone, and carried from the fallen Charr's home, through the streets of his home town, to his local Flame Temple. Along the way, relatives, friends, neighbours and even adversaries will bear witness to the exposed corpse, paying their respects to the spirit trapped within before it departs the mortal world forever.

Upon arriving at the Flame Temple, only the fallen Charr's closest friends and relatives may attend, although opponents who wish to settle their differences in these final moments may also join. The Flamekeeper uses a blade to cut away a square of the Charr's fur which is then presented to the closest living male pack member for the sake of posterity. Many packs sew the fur squares of their dead relatives together in a patchwork monument to passed generations, and the fur squares of particularly honourable Charr may even end up on display in a museum.

Once this has been completed, the corpse is doused with flammable oils and set alight using a flame from the temple itself. Witnesses must remain with the corpse until it is sufficiently destroyed to allow the spirit to escape. Once this is completed, the charred remains are disposed of in any manner, as they are no longer important. Most packs host a celebration afterwards at their homes to commemorate the honourable deeds of their fallen pack member.

The corpses of especially dishonourable Charr, such as pup murderers, may be buried without being burned. This is the ultimate punishment, as many Charr consider it comparable to being buried alive, only the soul will never be released from the torment by death.