Temples are monasteries where Orders of militant monks practice their spirituality and try to reach enlightenment. Each Temple is lead by a triumvirate of elder monks who have distinguished themselves throughout their life through one fashion or another. The Orders share the beliefs that enlightenment can be achieved through living your life according to various, if differing methods. They do encourage their monks to visit other temples to converse, learn, and compete with others. There are occasionally conflicts but it is usually decided through competition or talking. They consider each other friendly rivals. Each “branch” of Order tends to have 2-3 larger complexes (Temples) hidden away somewhere.
The Orders as a whole try to stay out of political conflicts. Some temples have mercenary groups that they hire out for a high fee on occasion. If a group tries to strong arm any of the temples, they call in the other temples for reinforcement. The temples are all ‘hidden.’ Outsiders are welcomed to visit/trade/study at the temple if they can find it. The temples also tend to be in strong defensive positions, using the natural terrain and permanent structures suited to their fighting styles.
People who have located the temple are asked to keep it a secret except in dire needs such as for medical need or safety. Hints to the location as well as markers are encouraged. Outsiders are welcomed but will always have a monk or two as their escort while at the temple. Outsiders are often asked to help with the chores around the Temple if they are staying for any length of time.
Each temple has various methods to make money and are known for various skills or trades. The Temples will often send a small group of monks to trade every now and then to get items that they cannot make and to get news from the outside world. All temples are self sufficient with gardens and well regulated hunting methods if hunting is used.
Relations in temples are generally rather relaxed. Some take vows of chastity while others find relationships just a different method to reach enlightenment. In most cases, relationships are allowed between any members who have reached adulthood (16 years) and encouraged to not produce any children until they reach an Instructor rank. Marriage is not a tradition that the temples officially observe, but if any children result from a relationship, the participants are required to be the primary caretakers until the child is old enough to formally join the order. Gender roles do not officially exist within the order, but men typically take care of heavy labor and marital matters, while women often are in charge of teaching the younglings as well as many temple chores. Elders are allowed from either gender.
All sentient races are able to join or visit the Order assuming they can abide by the rules and do not pose any risks to the Order or members.
If there are magic users that belong to a temple they tend to favor spells that fit their element and combat style. Every temple has their own form of hand to hand combat as well as their take on weapon combat. While the various temples are known for specific styles of fighting, it is by no means the only way that sect of Temple fights. The monks are encouraged to train their body as well as their mind and spirituality.