Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saintly Saturday: St. Martin of Tours

As Theodoric pointed out yesterday, most of the world commemorates St. Martin of Tours on November 11th; however, there are pockets where his feast is kept on the 12th — which is where he appears on the Greek calendar. Therefore, those of us who like him have an excuse for celebrating two days in a row.

St. Martin was a 4th century bishop born to pagan parents. He became a catechumen (someone studying to become a Christian) at a young age. Baptized at the age of 22, he went on to become a monastic in Gaul before taking on the mantel of a bishop.

One of the most famous stories of St. Martin comes from when he was still a catechumen. He was serving in the Roman army when he saw an ill-clad beggar asking for alms. With nothing but the clothes on his back to give, the saint tore his military cloak in two and gave half to the beggar. Later that night, Jesus Christ Himself appeared to Martin, clothed in the cloak he had given the beggar.

This cloak was then kept as a relic in a sanctuary. In latin, the word cloak is cappella which is what the sanctuary came to be called. Those who took care of the sanctuary came to be called cappellani. In English, these two words form the basis from which we get the words chapel and chaplain.

Besides my own personal love and interest in St. Martin, I was also very eager to delve into his life because he informs by own understanding of Averoigne. Though Tours is outside the traditional boundaries of where Averoigne is thought to be, St. Martin nonetheless casts a very large shadow over Gaul and even over all of Western Christendom. He was instrumental in sowing the seeds that would blossom into the Western monastic tradition. Therefore, St. Martin is a figure I very much want to bring into the tapestry that is my version of Averoigne.

One easy way to do this is to simply have his cappella as a clerical magical artifact in the campaign. Indeed, there are plenty of examples of relics of saints that are pieces of clothing. I personally have seen shoes and strips of cloth used as foci for prayer and indeed a source of healing. Therefore, there are a plethora of opportunities to place unique magic items within a campaign world.

The Cloak of St. Martinus

This disheveled and apparently misused cloak has been torn in two and sown back together again; however, it radiates of magic if a Detect Magic spell is cast upon it. It is wearable by anyone, and its affects depend upon wearer's Wisdom score.

  • For those that have a penalty due to a low Wisdom, the cloak serves as a Cloak of Protection. The protection bonus is the inverse score of the Wisdom penalty. Thus, for someone with a Wisdom score of 3 (which has a penalty of -3), the cloak would have a bonus of +3.
  • For those who have a Wisdom bonus, the cloak grants bonus cleric spells: one 1st level if the bonus is +1, one 2nd level if the bonus is +2 and one 3rd level if the bonus is +3. These spells are cumulative (a Wisdom score of 18 would grant 3 spells — one each: 1st, 2nd and 3rd) and are in addition to any other bonus spells a cleric may already receive for a high Wisdom. These bonus spells are granted to anyone regardless of class and are determined randomly. The spells stay until they are used in a creative/productive manner (no casting a utility spell like Water Breathing just to get rid of it).
  • For those who have no Wisdom Bonus, the cloak allows an Augury spell to be cast once per day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How fitting it is that Remembrance Day falls on Martinmas Day, the feast of a military saint.