Being a priest without a congregation

My character has reached a stage where he is considering becoming a priest of ambition, but owns a military unit atm due to the Grendel raid, and will probably own a business again (peak league). How does that work and does anyone have any advice on being a new priest and being one without a congregation.

Thanks :grin:

There are basically three “kinds” of priest in Empire:

  • Someone who has religious skills
  • Someone who fills the social role of a priest
  • Someone who has a congregation

Somewhat unhelpfully, all 3 of these get referred to as a “priest”. Some priests only cover one of these - some cover more than 1, possibly all 3. That’s all completely fine!

The main thing about not having a congregation is that you’ll have to buy or trade for your own Liao to use any religious skills, and that you can’t directly take part in the political side of the religion game (as you have no votes in the Synod). However, that doesn’t stop you trying to meddle in other ways if you do want to be involved in politics.

If you aren’t too fussed about the politics, there’s still plenty of roleplaying opportunity in being a priest of Ambition who gives spiritual advice, or who makes careful use of religious skills to create auras to influence people.

Buying Liao, in my limited experience, is either really easy (some people end up with Liao they can’t use and want to ditch it) or nigh-impossible (some people either quickly spend their Liao or save it for a mandate they’re trying to complete).

You may also want to look at the Bishop archetype and think about whether it would start to apply to your character or not. Even if it doesn’t, you might find bits in there that appeal to you (although the default assumption of the page is that Bishops have congregations).


A priest is not just there to use religious skills and take part in the synod, they are also there to give advice to anyone who needs it. If you aren’t good at advice then maybe look into just being the holy presence in something. Some ritualist may want a priest to make sure what they are doing wouldn’t make them sorcerers. An army may want encouragement before a battle. Maybe see if you can say a few words just before your cartel goes into battle. It is not just about what you can do, it is about the position of respect it gives you to must people. A general may never need to interact with a trader or a ritualist may never need to interact with a soldier but most people will probably need to interact with a priest at one point or another simply because of how much religion is woven into the empire.

I suggest you try and make contacts with various priests to help you. If everyone recognises you as a priest then it will be fine. It would probably also be a good idea to make contact with traders who may be able to sell you liao if you want to use any of the priest skills.

I think as long as you have a good explanation for it, you should find that no one questions it.You could make up an amusing story that your congregation have gone off to fight and that they are part of your army but then they all die in battle so you no longer feel fit to lead a congregation as you feel responsible. Then you can go on a spiritual journey to make your self feel able to take a congregation again, this may never actually happen but if you have the goal to do it, then at least you are showing ambition. It could be that you just feel owning a business is a better way of showing ambition and you believe as a priest you must be an exemplar. If you choose this I think you will need to look for a goal of some kind to back this up.

I hope this is what you need and it helps.

I am in the same boat, having given up my Congregation for a military unit at the end of E3 for political reasons (which turned out to be great because of the opportunity with the Grendel at E4).

It means I no longer attend National Assembly meetings, but I am still welcome at my Assembly meeting even as a non-voting priest. That’s just fine with me.

My previous character was a Pilgrim of Ambition (i.e. she had no priest skills and no congregation but was Dedicated to a virtue); she couldn’t vote on anything but was an active part of the Ambition assembly and had a lot of fun there.

It’s about game access, really.

Congregation grants you the ability to:

  • vote on Empire Synod politics
  • vote on National Assembly politics
  • be given liao

Priest skills allow you to

  • perform priestly ceremonies

Anyone can offer advice on the Virtues and call themselves a priest but they are likely to be taken more seriously if they have either a Congregation or have taken Dedicate as a skill.

Usually most Virtue Assemblies allow non-voting priests and people who are not priests to participate, although they may ask them to not participate in certain things (I wasn’t allowed to read a text once on the grounds I wasn’t a priest and hadn’t had the priestly training to handle the heresy within. It was good game.).

Go be the best Bishop you can. As a Leaguish priest of Ambition, have a reason for what you do and play it hard. You’ll be fine. :slight_smile:


Congregation also gives you thelegal rights of Witness, Clemency and Sanctuary, which have got me a lot of game.

So if you want to be a Virtue Defence Lawyer, that’s also a solid pick.


thank you :grin:

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Thank you, I have an slightly weird reason why im becoming a priest but it should be interesting :grin:

a virtue defence lawyer hay… now that sounds interesting

No problem. May your endeavours be prosperous.