The Shaaljin monks (Modern: Zhaolmin monks) were a religious sect of ultra-pacifists in the I.C.E. Age who were devoutly opposed to any disruption of the natural world. Their temple was far to the west of the Seolfar Strake (Seoltang: "Journey To Strike Silver"), beyond the geyser of Galtoth (Seoltang: "Bitter Mountain"), on an isle called the Feorich which meant "far away isolated" island. It was the northwestern edge of Claedesbrim Bay (Seoltang: "Foggy Edge of Sea"), but did not exist as a location in GemStone III. The Shaaljin monks existed in the background, and as an NPC that wandered around town.
These worshippers of the goddess Shaaljin were unworldly monks who were extremely adherent to the ideals of asceticism. They refused all materialism and pleasure in the pursuit of spiritual perfection. The principle was to always allow nature to proceed uninterrupted, no matter what was happening around them. They would ignore essentially everyone, unless criticizing them for disrupting tranquility. For this reason they were both generally admired and scorned as irritating by locals. When faced with arguments they will silently rebuke the offender with serenity, and will not react to any chaos around them. They will continue to act as though they are not noticing anything happening.
In the splintering of a rival sect led by Dom Kifis in 6031 Third Era, one old monk allowed himself to be killed, dying a bloody death without resisting. They stomped hudvaark eggs and squabs, smashing and destroying things, until finally giving up at the unrelenting silence to their loud one-sided arguments. The Shaaljin monks continued on as though nothing had happened.
The Temple of Shaaljin
The Temple of Shaaljin was built on the remote island containing Feortoth mountain. Feortoth simply means "far away isolated mountain" in Seoltang, which like many Seoltang-Common conjunctions is redundant. The temple was an octagon with four wooden doors at the compass points, overgrowing with vines with no decorations whatsoever. The floor was nothing more than packed dirt from years of walking over it. In the interior was a locked trunk with a sleep trap that holds all of the magical items the monks have gathered over the years. Since all magical effects are inherently disruptive of nature, it is forbidden and must be sealed away forever.
The Destroyers of Galtoth
The Destroyers of Galtoth were a renegade offshoot of the Shaaljin who decided the doctrine was exactly backwards. Their leader Dom Kifis had a vision, while he was very bored and light-headed from hunger, of the goddess Shaaljin arguing with a mighty escort named Ruusak. Ruusak was a raging god who "stormed and blustered", arguing that all life exists only by destroying something else, and that peace cannot come to the world until the mountains themselves were cast down and the world reduced to a featureless sphere. Shaaljin supposedly wept until she melted into tears and disappeared into the sea, with Ruusak screaming in triumph and calling upon all to join him in destruction.
Their religion was such that all of nature must be destroyed, with their every action dedicated to ruination. They were zealously focused on the destruction of their own mountain. They destroyed most of the magical artifacts in the Shaaljin temple before they left to settle their own cult. Galtoth is considerably more dangerous due to its frothing geysers, the extensive traps that have been set everywhere, and their constant attempts to tunnel through and collapse the foundations of the mountain. They considered the eating of life, whether plant or meat, to be the most complete form of destruction. However, it was incidental to destroying the land, upon which life lives.
The Destroyers spent their days smashing whatever they could find, or throwing it into a geyser with a pool of sulfuric acid. However, they also try to block the geysers which must also be destroyed, ironically making other geysers form. Some bang rocks together until they are sand, throwing the sand into the Bay. Others cut down trees, or cause boulders to crash down the mountain, with cheering whenever one falls into the sea. This was the greatest triumph.
The only thing they have all agreed to not destroy (other than themselves) by common consent, out of practical necessity, is the hot spring in the volcanic tube where they shelter at night. They would not necessarily try to kill you if you were willing to destroy everything with them. While they began with only three members, they would convert wrecked sailors under threat of death, and presumably anyone exiled from Kelfour's Landing for severe crimes who landed on their island. They wildly celebrate the birth or conversion of all new Destroyers, recognizing that living Destroyers are far more useful than dead fellow worshippers.
- A placid monk (NPC)
Behind the Scenes
There is still a Shaaljin monk represented in the Temple in Wehnimer's Landing. They are now called Zhaolmin monks, though they have no practical presence.
[Temple, Chapel] Two pillars frame a simple chapel. Followers of the land's many religions offer prayers here, each to their own gods. On a pine pew a Zhaolmin monk in tattered robes sits beside a solitary elf softly intoning an ancient chant. In front of the pews, you see an unadorned altar. You also see a scorched white arch, a seared black arch, a blackened and curved arch and a battered ebony door. Obvious exits: out The monk replenishes the supply of candles in the offering box. From across the room the monk puts a finger to his lips and makes a "Sssshhh!" sound. He then looks around and apologizes to people for disturbing their devotions. The worried looking monk bustles up to the elf and whispers something into the elf's ear.