The Alpinist Religion concerns those who are members of the Alpine Temple. Alpinists are an offshoot of the ancient Church of Cranda, which originated with the Arminian tribes of Slobovia, Cranda, Northworthy and other early Upper Apollonia states. The followers of the Alpine Temple worship the great philosopher Arktela, whose teachings and meditations were gathered in the Book of Observations and passed down from generation to generation. Arktela herself was an early priestess of Cranda who was active as a missionary and traveled across much of northeastern Apollonia. She was canonized as a saint after her death, whereupon small temples began to arise based on her teachings. These eventually morphed into the Alpine Temple of today.
Around 1996 ASC the Arminian state was undergoing a period of tumult. Internal politics and clashes between various royal houses were quickly dividing the nation. The Church of Cranda, which had originally been centered in Kloss, was struggling to retain adherents. In recent years the church had been seen as increasingly decadent, driving the growing poor class away. The priestess Arktela, herself only twenty-something, became disillusioned with the strict doctrine of the church and so travelled south into the rural frontier of Edelweiss. Here she saw firsthand the deplorable state which the poor had fallen to. Starvation and disease were rampant. She quickly helped to establish free hospitals in Trappsbruck to care for the sick and elderly. It was these missionary efforts that gained her the first score of followers.
After several years of traveling around the southern frontier regions establishing hospitals, Arktela became further disillusioned by the church as she saw the robed hierarchy become more and more decadent while the masses wallowed in poverty. Disgusted, she disavowed the church and gathered a large number of loyal followers. Leading them into the eastern hills of Glacei she constructed a mission atop a tall peak and began to write the now-infamous Book of Observations.
In the book she began to write down her daily observations of life in the countryside. From small anecdotes to descriptive essays. And with these observations Arktela also described many moral imperatives. As the number of observations grew, the book became a philosophy unto itself that emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice, kindness, and sincerity. She espoused the well-known principle "Do not do unto others what you do not want done to yourself". Arktela brought these teachings to her followers, who further disseminated them among the local population. As her writings increased in number, so too did the number of followers, which soon gave birth to the Alpine Temple.
Arktela's writings were gradually gathered and compiled into a single volume which became known as the Book of Observations. This tome has become the sacred text of the Alpine Temple. Since the death of Arktela her adherents have utilized the book to continue her teachings of morality and humanity. Unlike other mainstream religions, the Alpine Temple does not actively recruit followers or converts. Instead it relies solely on word-of-mouth, preferring to be recognized by its deeds and actions rather than persuasion. For this reason the religion has found a great deal of popularity, and is the state religion of Lac Glacei; although it has not spread far beyond the boundaries of the Grand Duchy. The Alpine Church maintains a cordial if somewhat standoffish relationship with the Church of Cranda, given their past history as opposing religions. But the modernization of the Crandish church in recent times has worked to soften and bridge this relationship so that the two entities are more often seen working in conjunction for the benefit of humanity.