The religion of Aranthaes is centered around the worship of an ancient draconic being, a (now) benevolent goddess of wealth, trade and protection, who formed the city millennia ago after herself transforming into a good and kind deity.

Originally a feared Demoness, the story of Lady Bune’s journey from evil to goodness is pivotal in the religion’s teachings of redemption and rebirth.

Her followers believe that by worshipping her and following her teachings, they will be blessed with financial prosperity and safety from harm, something that has real physicality with the gift of The Mother’s Bounty.

Verily, in days of old, e’er the founding of the great city Aranthaes, there did roam a mighty and dreadful dragon known as Bune, a she-devil from the abyss. She was a creature of great might and terror, with riches and gold surpassing measure, feared by all who dwelt in the land. Her name alone did make even the stoutest of warriors tremble.

And so it came to pass that one day, Bune descended from the skies and alighted in a small village at the edge of a vast forest. The villagers were sore afraid and fled in all directions, but one young maiden named Elara stood fast. She approached the dragon with a comely voice, and to the surprise of all, Bune did not strike. Instead, she listened as Elara spoke to her, and the two began a strange and unlikely friendship.
Book of Bune 1:14-15

The Pillars of Faith

The Church of the Mother has four key pillars:

Trade: As a wealth goddess, being engaged in trade and commerce is treated as being a sacred duty. Her followers are encouraged to be enterprising, to start and grow businesses and to always engage in business dealings with honesty and integrity.

Community: The religion of Lady Bune emphasizes the importance of community and mutual support among its followers. Members are expected to help one another in times of need, something they can do by building personal, family and community wealth.

Protection: Lady Bune is revered as a protector, and her followers believe that she will keep them safe from harm, both physical and financial. To enjoy her protection, members should protect others. Each member is responsible for trying to ensure that harm will not befall others in their family or community group.

Offerings: Followers of the religion regularly make offerings to Lady Bune, to appease her and earn her favor. Most homes have a small altar dedicated to the draconic goddess and offerings are made through devotion and ritual, self sacrifices, giving food and money to those less fortunate, and other acts of charity. (See the Gift of Plenty)

These four pillars are reflected in the daily practices of Lady Bune’s followers, including offerings made at her temples, participation in trade and commerce, and acts of charity towards fellow worshipers.

Lady Bune is against traits such as greed, selfishness, and vanity, as they go against the principles of balance and harmony that she advocates.

She also opposes actions that harm others or cause damage and suffering, as these upset the natural balance of the world. Lady Bune believes in the idea of personal responsibility and accountability, and encourages her followers to take ownership of their actions and decisions. Additionally, she stresses the importance of community and working towards the greater good, rather than solely pursuing individual interests.

Church of the Mother Hierarchy

Overall, the hierarchy of the Church of the Mother is designed to ensure that Lady Bune’s teachings are followed and her followers are guided towards wealth and prosperity. Each level of the hierarchy plays a vital role in achieving these goals, from the ultimate authority of Lady Bune herself to the devoted followers who work tirelessly to spread her word, her blessings and her bounty among the people of Aranthaes.

Top Tier
Lady Bune aka Mother Dragon: The Goddess central to Aranthean life, Lady Bune is the ultimate authority and divine being worshiped and beloved by almost all of the city. She is the guiding light who shapes and has shaped the teachings and beliefs of the church and founded the city of Aranthaes thousands of years ago, with an ultimate goal to lead her children to build a land of peace, equality, compassion, prosperity and wealth.

Universally loved by her followers for her generosity in their lives, while some deities may be distant and aloof, Lady Bune is actively involved in the wellbeing of her devout and improving their quality of life.

Holy Mother: A central figure in Aranthean history and scripture, Holy Mother has become a proxy for Lady Bune in the mortal world, her voice accepted as the voice of Lady Bune.

She is the highest-ranking member of the church, a figurehead, responsible for interpreting and passing on Lady Bune’s will and teachings to her followers. She oversees the overall operations of the church and is a link between the church, the city council and it’s laws, her approval and signature required to pass legislation and wider plans for the city. Holy Mother is elected by a church council of elders and chosen from ordinary members of the church. The current Holy Mother is Isabeja Rures, a loyal follower of Lady Bune chosen for her strong faith, purity of heart and charisma.

Verily the years passed and Bune began to change. Her heart grew soft, and she wearied of the destruction and terror she had wrought upon the land. With the guidance of Elara, the first Holy Mother (Bune’s blessings be upon Her), Bune began to transform, to loose the wickedness deep within her and become a force for good in the world.

More time passed, and as becomes all mortals, the Holy Mother grew old and turned to dust. Bune withdrew to the forest and was gone for more than 10 thousand days and 10 thousand nights. The people did send out many parties to find her, but she was never found. It was written in the scrolls of the elders of a great and benevolent dragon and the maiden she loved. The tales of Holy Mother and her ‘Lady Bune’ were passed down from generation to generation, mother to daughter and father to son.
Book of Bune 1:16-17

Second Tier
Defenders of the Mother: The Defenders of the Mother are a non-military offshoot of the City Guard, a faith-based police formed to ensure that the generosity enshrined in Lady Bune’s teachings translates into charitable works to help the neediest in the city, and that support for the faith continues to flourish. They are responsible for enforcing the tenets of the faith for collection and distribution of The Gift of Plenty, the church’s redistribution of wealth from the richest pockets to those with the least.

The Defenders are under the overall command of cleric Rilith Jol’gonas and include many different specialized battalions, including a protection unit made up of three erinyes, tasked with guarding and protecting Holy Mother.

Third Tier
Mother’s Children: Devout followers of Lady Bune who have dedicated their lives to serving the church and its teachings. They are responsible for spreading Lady Bune’s word throughout Aranthas and beyond, and they work tirelessly to help others find prosperity and wealth.

At last, Lady Bune emerged from her long seclusion, a changed creature. No longer was she the fearsome she-devil of old, but a wise Goddess of love and mercy. She came to the people of the land and imparted to them the teachings of Elara, Holy Mother (Bune’s blessings be upon Her), and her own ancient knowledge of prosperity and abundance.

Under Lady Bune’s guidance, the people of the land did flourish and grew strong. They built a great and noble city, called Aranthaes. The city did become a beacon of hope and prosperity, drawing people from all corners of the world to bask in the light of Lady Bune’s teachings. It did become a city where all beings could live free from judgement and as one, enemy with enemy, friend with friend. And Lady Bune did smile.
Book of Bune 1:19-20

Lady Bune’s Teachings in Practice

The Church and Entrepreneurship
Lady Bune’s teachings strongly emphasize the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation in creating wealth and prosperity for and within the community. Building wealth and helping money flow through the community is seen as being a holy act.

As a practical element, Lady Bune’s church offers lessons in business and trade. These lessons aim to provide all citizens in poorer areas of the city with the knowledge, skills, and tools they need to create and grow a trade or business.

The church will gift money and equipment to citizens enrolled in these programs and assign merchants or related business people as mentors.

The Gift of Plenty
According to the teachings of Lady Bune, it is the responsibility of the wealthy to give back to their community. This act of charity is known as “The Gift of Plenty,” and it is expected that those who have been blessed with financial abundance should share a portion of their wealth with those who are in need.

As for the amount that should be given, Lady Bune’s teachings encourage generosity and suggest that the amount given should be in proportion to one’s means. For some, this may be a small percentage of their wealth, while for others, it may be a larger amount.

It is important to remember that The Gift of Plenty is not simply a matter of charity, but also of community building and strengthening. By sharing our resources and supporting those in need, we create a more equitable and compassionate society, one that reflects the values and teachings of Lady Bune.

City merchants regularly try to find ways to avoid giving their share of wealth to the poor. Some may hide their wealth or lie about their income to pay less than what they are due. Others may attempt to bribe officials to look the other way or claim that they have already given enough to charity. Lady Bune’s teachings emphasize the importance of honesty and fairness, and those who attempt to cheat the system will be seen as violating those principles.

The Defenders of the Mother enforce this practice, ensuring that the wealthy are contributing to the well-being of the less fortunate in the community. The approach tends to be more focused on education and guidance rather than punishment, with the Defenders seeking to inspire a sense of charity and compassion in the wealthy citizens, encouraging them to see the value in giving back to their community. They would also provide resources and support to help facilitate this practice, such as organizing charitable events or connecting wealthy individuals with organizations that serve the poor.

Showing Devotion

Lady Bune’s teachings and the city’s religion is so ingrained in society that simply living and thriving in the city can be seen as a form of devotion. Most households will contain an altar devoted to Lady Bune and devotional parks, gardens, fountains and temples can be found throughout the city.

Lady Bune’s chants may be repeated under low voice during any task where the devotee seeks her assistance, her prayer is said upon awakening and before sleep – and popular turns of phrase are a daily reminder of just how devoted the city is to it’s founding deity.

Devotional Chants in Bune’s Ancient Tongue:

Whell mehlan avage Bune tasa
This is said to evoke the deity and bring her protective presence to influence events around the speaker.

Eshara Bune kethanna thalas
This is said to please Lady Bune as a verbal offering where no altar or temple is close to hand.

Othaelia nethariel Bune velchesar
This chant’s meaning is lost to time, but Lady Bune’s followers say it attracts wealth and prosperity to their undertakings.

Lady Bune’s Prayer:
O Lady Bune, merciful and wise,
We come before you with humble eyes.
Guide us on the path of wealth and success,
Grant us your strength and your cleverness.
Bless us with your prosperity and grace,
And let us prosper in every place.
May our ventures be fruitful and true,
And in all we do, may it honor you.

Common Phrases
“The Mother will provide”
The most common phrase in Aranthaes, it is used as a greeting, a farewell, if someone is hoping for an outcome or speaking about something they wish may come to pass. It’s used in times of worry or doubt as hope, and in times of happiness and joy, as thanks. Adventurers will hear this phrase all day, every day and it is always appreciated when the adventure replies with the same. (The Mother providing – in practice)

“Mother’s wisdom guide your words”
A phrase used when someone is about to say something important, or as a light reprimand if someone is speaking out of turn, or uncharitably about an other.

“May the wealth of the Dragon be upon you”
A phrase used when wishing someone prosperity or good fortune.

“Bune’s Bounty”
A common toast during a meal or when giving thanks for an unexpected gift.

Teaching Through Parables

Much of Lady Bune’s teachings are relayed as parables and they’re a very popular form of entertainment in Aranthaes, with charismatic clerics from the Defenders of the Mother going from alehouse to alehouse, setting up at markets, or providing picnics with parables in the city’s parks.

The Book of Bune contains hundreds of parables covering every conceivable situation and application of Lady Bune’s teachings.

The following are some popular examples and give a good grounding in the overall theme they contain.

The Manticore and the Mouse
Once, a mighty manticore was flying through the forest when he saw a tiny mouse scurrying along the ground. The manticore swooped down, intending to make a meal of the mouse. But the mouse looked up at the manticore and said, “Please, spare me! I may be small, but I can help you in ways you cannot imagine.” The manticore was curious and asked the mouse to explain. The mouse said, “I know the ways of this forest like the back of my paw. If you spare me, I will show you where to find the greatest treasures and the tastiest prey.” The manticore, impressed by the mouse’s bravery, spared his life and accepted his offer. From then on, the manticore and the mouse were the closest of friends, and the manticore never forgot that even the smallest creature can offer great wisdom.
Book of Bune 9:19
The Dragon and the Kobolds
Once, a great dragon was flying through the mountains when he came upon a group of kobolds. The kobolds trembled in fear at the sight of the dragon, knowing that he could easily destroy them. But the dragon spoke to the kobolds and said, “Do not be afraid, little ones. I am not here to harm you. Instead, I have come to offer you a gift.” The kobolds were surprised but curious, and the dragon continued, “I have been blessed with great wealth and treasure, and I have more than I could ever need. But I know that you have nothing, and I want to share my blessings with you. Take what you need, and use it to better your lives.” The kobolds were amazed at the dragon’s generosity and gratefully accepted his gift. From that day on, the kobolds and the dragon were friends, and the dragon knew that his wealth was meaningless without the love and gratitude of those around him.
Book of Bune 9:22
The Golden Dragon and the Greedy Merchant
Once, a greedy merchant came across a golden dragon who was resting by a riverbank. The dragon asked the merchant, “What brings you to this place?” The merchant replied, “I am on my way to the market to sell my goods and make a fortune.” The dragon said, “Why do you seek wealth so fervently? Wealth is like the wind, it can come and go in an instant. Instead, seek to help those in need and the wealth you seek will come to you naturally.” The merchant scoffed and continued on his way. Later that day, the merchant was robbed of all his goods. Distraught and penniless, he realized the dragon’s words were true. He resolved to change his ways and give back to the community, and soon his fortune began to grow once more.
Book of Bune 9:25
The Beggar and the Banker
One day, a wealthy banker was walking through the streets of Aranthaes when he came across a beggar. The banker asked the beggar, “Why do you only beg for scraps? With my wealth, I could give you a fortune.” The beggar replied, “I am content with what I have. You, on the other hand, are never satisfied with what you have. Your wealth consumes you and leads you down a dark path.” The banker was taken aback by the beggar’s wisdom and realized the truth in his words. From that day on, the banker resolved to use his wealth to help others, and he found that he was happier and more fulfilled than ever before.
Book of Bune 9:31
The Ogre and the Gold Coins
In the ancient forest, there lived an ogre who had amassed a great hoard of gold coins. He would spend hours upon hours counting his coins and admiring his wealth, often refusing to share any of it with others. One day, Lady Bune appeared before the ogre and asked him why he hoarded his wealth so greedily. The ogre replied, “I earned this gold through hard work and determination, and I won’t let anyone take it from me!” Lady Bune smiled and said, “But have you considered the joy you could bring to others if you used your wealth to help them? Imagine the happiness you could bring to those who are struggling.” The ogre pondered this and realized that Lady Bune was right. He began to give away his gold to those in need, and he found that the joy he brought to others was far greater than the pleasure he had previously found in hoarding his wealth.
Book of Bune 9:40
The Dragon’s Hoard
In a far-off land, there was a mighty dragon who had amassed a great hoard of treasure. The people of the nearby villages lived in fear of the dragon and would offer tribute to him in the hopes that he wouldn’t attack them. However, one day, Lady Bune appeared to the dragon and asked him why he needed so much treasure. The dragon replied, “It is my hoard, and I will protect it with all my might. It is what makes me powerful and feared.” Lady Bune replied, “But what good is power and fear if you have no friends or allies? What good is treasure if you never share it with anyone?” The dragon considered her words and realized that he had been living a lonely and unfulfilled life. He decided to share his treasure with the nearby villages and to use his strength to protect them rather than to scare them. As a result, the dragon became a beloved protector of the people, and his hoard became a symbol of his generosity rather than his greed.
Book of Bune 9:43

The following popular parables emphasize the importance of generosity, the dangers of greed, and the need to focus our efforts on what is most productive. They show how Lady Bune’s teachings can lead to a rich and fulfilling life.

The Two Merchants
Once, there were two merchants who sold similar goods in the same market. One was very successful and grew wealthy, while the other struggled to make ends meet. One day, the poor merchant asked the wealthy one for advice. The wealthy merchant replied, “My secret is simple. I always give a portion of my earnings to those in need. The more I give, the more I receive in return.” The poor merchant followed this advice and soon found himself enjoying the same success as the wealthy merchant.
Book of Bune 9:56
The Greedy King
A king was known for his greed and love of wealth. One day, a poor woman came to him asking for help to feed her starving children. The king refused, saying that he had no time for such matters. Later that night, the king had a dream in which Lady Bune appeared to him and warned him of the dangers of greed. The next day, the king had a change of heart and began to give generously to those in need. He found that by giving to others, he became a happier and more fulfilled person.
Book of Bune 9:57
The Seed
A farmer went to plant his fields with the hope of a bountiful harvest. He carefully selected the best seeds, and prepared the soil. As he was planting, he came across a patch of barren ground, where nothing would grow. He tried to force the seeds into the ground, but they would not take root. Frustrated, he went to Lady Bune and asked for her help. She replied, “You cannot force wealth to grow where it will not take root. Focus your efforts on the fertile soil, and your harvest will be abundant.”
Book of Bune 9:59

Religious Schooling

The Church of the Mother offers free schooling for the poor as part of their teachings of charity and community service. The schools are typically run by members of the church, including retired adventurers and former merchants who have pledged their lives to Lady Bune’s service.

Alongside Lady Bune’s scriptures, these schools offer basic education in reading, writing, and arithmetic, as well as vocational training in trades such as carpentry, blacksmithing, and farming. The church believes that education is a path to upward mobility and encourages its members to use their skills and knowledge to help their communities prosper.

The Church’s Stance on Other Religions

The Church of the Mother has a relatively tolerant and open-minded approach to other religions. While they do not actively seek to convert followers of other faiths, they welcome all who seek refuge in the Mother’s embrace.

Many citizens of Aranthaes who follow Lady Bune will also worship one or more other deities, however favor is always given to the Mother Dragon.

Lady Bune’s teachings say that all gods and goddesses have their own unique qualities and are worthy of respect. They state that diversity and understanding are key to achieving harmony and balance in the world. However, Bune’s writing does not condone practices or beliefs that go against the religion’s core values of compassion and empathy.

Overall, the Church of the Mother seeks to create a world where all people can coexist peacefully and without fear of persecution or discrimination, a system upon which Aranthaes was founded, and why it is home to so many races.

Factions Within the Church

Whilst all of Lady Bune’s teachings contained within the Book of Bune are considered sacrosanct, there are elements of the Book where important detail is sparse, none more so than the details of the city’s founding – and this has led to some factions developing within the religion’s many scholars.

The consensus belief is that on returning from her period of self-exile after the death of Elara, Lady Bune selected a small group of the area’s sparse population, chosen for their particular skills, and with this group of 4 tiefling families, a community of disciples was formed. This community is considered the seed that became Aranthaes.

But some historians and religious scholars claim this to have no basis in any fact. Through the study of ancient burial sites, these scholars have theorized that the ancient population of the region was made up almost wholly of humans, with scattered orc and elf communities. Their theory is Lady Bune lay with some of these original peoples and the products of these unions were what became the true born tiefling families.

Still considered heretical by many in the church, these studies were recently given a far greater standing when the current Holy Mother Isabeja Rures, declared in a high council meeting that this theory should be given church funds for further research – seconded by Rilith Jol’gonas, head of the Defenders of the Mother.

Opposition to the Church

The principal opposition to the Church of the Mother comes from wealthy merchants who do not wish to make the charitable donations expected of believers.

Some members of the merchant elite classes view the church’s teachings as a threat to their holding onto their hard-fought wealth and status, and as a result, they work in the shadows to oppose the church’s influence and presence in Aranthaes.

These opponents often seek to undermine the church’s authority through political maneuvering, using their wealth and influence to sway public opinion against the church. They may also spread rumors and propaganda to discredit the church and its leaders, painting them as greedy and corrupt. This is most apparent in the anonymous but well funded populist ‘Free Aranthaes’ movement, campaigning to separate Church and government through printed papers dropped around Aranthaes Wynds.

Free Aranthaes supporters, who are typically poorer and lower-class citizens have started saying “Aranthaes will provide” as opposed to the traditional “The Mother will provide” greeting, as instructed by these pamphlets.

Despite this opposition, the Church of the Mother continues to maintain a near universal presence in Aranthaes and remains the foundation of the city.