Endura Rite
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Basic Information

The Endura was a form of ritual suicide associated with the Cathars. In their world view, the physical flesh was an evil imperfection of the spiritual realm one could attain after death. Therefore, suicide and assisted suicide were not deemed crimes - but instead a noble way to meet the end of a long life. The Endura was typically entwined with the Consolamentum, a quasi-monastic dedication to poverty, humility, chastity, etc. Basically, a person on their deathbed could seek redemption and absolution by committing their remaining hours to religious work and starving themselves.

This is one of many traditions and opinions that lead to conflict between the Cathars and the Catholic Church that ended in the Albigensian Crusade.

One interpretation of the Voynich Manuscript is that it encodes the details of the Endura in a coded format that wouldn't get the Cathar practioner in trouble. This is a controversial interpretation, though, as it oddly conflates Catharism with worship of Isis. See the wikipedia page on the Voynich Manuscript for more information.


Game and Story Use

  • Between their views on suicide, and their views on procreation, it's perhaps not surprising the Cathars didn't prove the more resilient party in their conflict with the Pope. Just sayin' - not trying to diss anyone, but it's hard to propagate a meme over generations when you teach that suicide is okay and reproduction isn't.
    • But an alternate history where the Cathars triumphed (or at least survived) could make for an interesting setting. Their political and religious views would be deemed pretty liberal in today's world, and downright shocking in the Dark Ages.
      • On the other hand, though, the Cathars would need to have done things differently to have succeeded, or survived. Maybe they used massive amounts of evangelism, or maybe they developed a looser view on procreation.
  • Vampire - The Masquerade has Catharism as a variant Morality Path. Perhaps Endura is actually a reference to the Embrace. (Probably worth noting, though, that the Path of Cathari presented in the old Players Guide To The Sabbat is a bizarre perversion of actual Cathar beliefs, sort of post-Catharism bordering on anti-Catharism.)
    • In other urban fantasy settings, the Endura could be a form of magic used to ascend to a higher plane of existence that your players wouldn't be terribly interested in having their characters try. Your decision as GM as to whether it actually works.
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