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.
The unworldly monks were extremely adherent to ascetism, refusing all materialism and pleasure in the pursuit of spiritual perfection. The principle was that of always allowing nature to proceed uninterrupted, no matter what was happening around them. They would ignore essentially everyone unless criticizing them for being disruptive of tranquility. For this reason they were both generally admired or scorned as irritating by locals.
The Temple of Shaaljin
The Temple of Shaaljin was built on the remote island containing Feortoth mountain. It 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 god Ruusak required 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 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.
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.
- 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.