Brotherhood of the Burning Heart

The Brotherhood of the Burning Heart is an eclectic mix of people that desire to ignite their souls and see the world in flames. Members of the Brotherhood don't dedicate themselves to fire because of its destructive abilities, nor do they have any wish to actually burn the world. To the members of the Brotherhood, fire embodies creativity and passion. They venerate fire as raw emotion made tangible. They crave its intensity, and they wish that everyone could share this passion and emotional connection.

The organization began as a collection of bards that sought the ultimate muse. These bards collected and studied countless writings regarding inspiration and the passion to create. Despite the many similarities in theme among these sources, the bards found themselves no closer to their goal, until a fledgling minstrel named Numa noticed the overwhelming number of references to fire. Numa postulated that this was more than coincidence and began to study the fire instead of the inspirational writings. Of course, by day he continued to help his masters, but by night he gazed into the dancing flames. One day, he understood it all in a flash of inspiration. Numa now tells others that in a moment of sudden awareness, he felt a connection with the fire, that it ignited something within him - a flame that has grown larger since that epiphany.

The Brotherhood of the Burning Heart, as followers of Numa's philosophies came to be known, quickly drew other bards to its ranks, all of them hoping to feel the touch of fire on their souls. But in a very short time, people from other walks of life began asking for Numa's teachings as well. Artists of all types came first, followed by craftsmen seeking inspiration.

Numa then realized that everyone could benefit from the touch of fire. While the Brotherhood never enforced an exclusive membership policy, they never expected anyone but musicians and performers to take interest in their organization. Seeing the fire of the Brotherhood sweep into pastures previously undreamed, Numa threw its doors wide open, officially welcoming anyone who desired to join the group.

Size And Resources

For most of its life, the Brotherhood of the Burning Heart existed as little more than a club that gathered in a concert hall. As adventurers began to join the group, the Brotherhood changed. These intrepid individuals filled the Brotherhood's coffers with hard won riches. More importantly, however, the adventurers traveled far and wide, and they carried the teachings of the Brotherhood with them. Enough were taken with Numa's message that they set up their own gathering places in other cities. These emissaries spoke so eloquently about the passion of flame that they inspired new members to establish places of study and worship.

The Brotherhood now stands larger than Numa ever envisioned, and because of that, it is not a tightly managed or closely knit operation. Travelers might carry Numa's teachings throughout the countryside, but the founder never aspired to leave his city. Thus, the only thing uniting these temples is common doctrine. The temples have no regular contact with one another; there is no official charter of cooperation, no central treasury, and no real organization of any sort. Each temple is effectively its own guild with no ability to draw on the coffers of others. Temples range from small huts with only a handful of faithful and an even smaller handful of coin, to entire bardic colleges overflowing with riches.

Numa's original congregation left the concert hall long ago and now studies fire in its own temple, located just on the outskirts of town for safety reasons. A great brazier burns there continually, and at any given time, a small group of worshipers can be found gazing into its depths, searching for inspiration from the secrets of the flame.

Although individual sects of the Brotherhood vary greatly, the organization statistics in the Brotherhood of the Burning Heart sidebar represent Numa's founding sect. It has a small core for such a widespread organization, but many members find themselves stricken with wanderlust and leave Numa's temple after a time, giving him a small but constantly changing sect of regular supplicants.

Numa used to be a young bard out to prove himself, but since igniting his soul with the passion of flame, he is a changed man. While others might speak of him as enlightened, Numa is no calm, meditative monk. If anything, he is more full of passion and idealism than ever before. While it was frustration that pushed him onward in the past, now inspiration drives Numa. Whenever the muse grants him an idea, whether for a poem or a plan to expand the Brotherhood, he attacks the work that must be done, throwing himself into it with wild abandon. The intensity with which he speaks makes him an inspiring leader and a popular man.

Several factors hinder the formation of a united leadership for the Brotherhood, however. While all members of the guild agree that apathy is the enemy, and it is important to embrace passion, their doctrine offers little guidance beyond that. Thus, the Brotherhood of the Burning Heart possesses a membership filled with people who feel passionately about a host of different issues, and many of them run contrary to one another. Add to that the number of remote temples that evolve in their own doctrines, and the Brotherhood has no leadership hierarchy. Indeed, most Brotherhood gathering places have never even heard of Numa.

Because of this, the Brotherhood of the Burning Heart has only the most general of agendas, and it is decidedly neutral. Members of the guild learn to stoke their heart's fire, but receive no moral or ethical guidance in doing so. Certain temples might possess a more refined doctrine that includes these aspects, but overall the Brotherhood teaches no such lessons.

Items of the Brotherhood

Organizations of Faerûn
Lands of Faerûn