Major, Minor, Alcoves, and Hives

The formal worship of Baal is confined to four locations known as major temples, minor temples, alcoves and hives.

Hives are secret locations, almost always below ground, initially used by the faithful of Baal during the Time of Chaos and the rising of Shinear, some 1,600  to 1,400 years before the Games of the Mines when the cult of Baal was outlawed.

Kerta priests still use some of the hives for purposes known only to them. The vast majority of hives have been largely abandoned and their locations lost to most, although whispers within the Temple speak of shadows creeping in hives; shadows beyond Baal's control.

Alcoves, numbering in the thousands, are small, one-room places of worship mostly in the country or in remote locations. They are used by travelers as shelters and for places of prayer.

Their architecture is almost always pentagonal (except in countries where the pentagon is accursed). The door is along the eastern side, and a small altar is set on the opposite wall. The northern side has three windows and the southern side has none. They are usually stocked with food and supplies to the left of the altar and travelers leave their thanksgiving offering in wooden boxes to the right.

Minor temples, numbering in the hundreds, are present in cities and important villages. Typically, they consist of a large hall of worship, a courtyard, living quarters for the priests, a garden and an animal enclosure. The entire area is walled and accessible through an iron gate. In most cases, no permanent guards are assigned to a minor temple because they are all within a short distance from a High Rider barrack or local forces faithful to the Temple.

A minor temple is customarily run by a first priest, who may be assisted by first and second priests, depending on the size of the temple and the population it serves.  Half of the revenues from the temple are used by the temple for maintenance, service and recruitment; the other half is sent every four weeks to the nearest major temple.

Location of the Major Temples of Baal throughout the known world

Every major temple is a complex of buildings built into a formidable fortress of seven consecutive walls leading to the temple precinct. The lay servants live in quarters located in the outer court, protected by the first and highest wall. The barracks for the High Riders are located inside the second court, while the priestly order lives in apartments adjacent to the Temple proper within the seventh wall.

A small village on its own, a major temple houses up to four thousand people, including the soldiers and their immediate families, the servants, farmers, butchers, blacksmith, etc. Beyond the first and massive gate of these fortresses, six consecutive gates link the outer court to the Hall of Preaching, and each gate is protected by two Watchers; creatures which are neither alive nor dead and who obey  only the Kerta priests. The Watchers divine the intent of those crossing their gates, and if deemed a threat to the Temple, they are dispatched to the Kerta priest and never seen again.

Each of the major temples is governed by a high priest who has under his authority several first and second priests. Not every high priest is assigned to a major temple (many of them take residence in Babylon), but those that do are titled Baal-Yod–Hand of Baal, and they alone can order another high priest to do their bidding.

Lastly, a major temple has extensive underground facilities, usually up to six levels down, and the last level is almost always reserved to the Kerta priests.

At the start of the Games of the Mines, Baal has forty major temples throughout the known land.