The first step in learning Divine Magic is to join a religion that worships the deity whose magic the character wants to learn.
Religions can range in size from a handful of worshippers to millions of adherents. They teach their members Personal Magic associated with the god and provide temples where worshippers can learn Divine Magic directly from their deity. They have rules for and expectations of their worshippers, and anyone found wanting is expelled from the comfort and support of the religion.
Religions take one of two forms, Pantheon or Dedicated.
Pantheon religions are the worship of many gods, and such groups of gods usually have a ruling deity. Worshippers of this kind of religion usually get a little bit of magic from each of the deities.
Dedicated religions are the worship of one particular deity. The deity may be associated with one or more pantheons and may provide some magic to worshippers of these pantheons, but dedicated religions focus on the individual deity and all its myths and mysteries. As a result, worshippers get the full range of magic that the deity knows.
Characters may be members, at any rank, of both a Pantheon religion and a Dedicated religion of one of the associated deities.
Each religion description uses the following format.
Name of the Deity or Religion: The name that the religion is commonly known by, usually the name of the deity that it worships.
Short description: This short description briefly covers the religion’s mythology and its current place in the world.
Type of religion: Pantheon or Dedicated.
Scale of worship: This is the type and size of the religion. Great Deities are worshipped by millions and known across the entire world. Major Deities are important in a specific region and have hundreds of thousands of worshippers. Minor Deities are usually the minor members of a religious pantheon, appealing to a small group of specialist worshippers. Hero Religions worship dead heroes and heroines whose deeds and magic powers live on after their death.
Worshippers: The type of people who typically make up the religion’s membership.
Worshipper duties: This is what the god and religion expect of its members. Break these rules and expect expulsion. On the other hand, follow these rules and promote them to others and the character will advance in the religion’s hierarchy.
Religious skills: These are skills favoured by the religion’s patron deity and taught to its worshippers by its Priestesses/Priests.
Religious magic: A religion’s spells are usually made up of Personal Magic and the Divine Magic that the religion teaches. Both types are available if appropriate to the god’s sphere of influence.
For example, A war god is likely to teach Weapon Enhance (Personal Magic) and Berserk rather than Healing spells.
Special benefits: Any bonuses to skill use or other special abilities or advantages that a worshipper gains by being a member of the religion.
Growth and Worshipper Duties
Each religion has a set of worshipper duties which represent the religion’s objectives in the world.
When a character does an action that fulfils one of the worshipper duties, they gain one growth for a minor action and up to three points for a major act.
When a character takes an action that goes against one of the worshipper duties, they lose between one and three growth points, depending on the grievousness of their transgression. If they have no growth points left, then they start to lose points of magnitude learnt from the religion as a penance, on a one to one basis. The player may choose which spells to lose, but they must be ones that they have learnt from the religion, and Divine Magic is lost before Personal Magic spells.
If the offending character has no growth points or spells to lose, then they are excommunicated from the religion and may never join it again.
There are four ranks of religion membership: Lay Members, Initiates, Priests and Holy Warriors.
Lay members are normal worshippers of the religion, who self-identify as members of that religion. They regularly attend the temple on holy days and do their best to uphold the duties of the religion. In return, the religion protects them as best it can, and its Priest and Initiates cast magic on their behalf.
Benefits of Being a Lay Member
Personal Magic: Lay members cannot learn Divine Magic, although, for a fee, represented by spending growth points, they may learn low magnitude (no more than magnitude 2) Personal Magic spells if known to the religion.
Protection: Officials of the religion do their best to protect lay members. Religious spell casters will cast magic on their behalf at no cost.
Requirements: To be considered a Lay Member of a Religion, the character must broadly uphold the worshipper duties of the religion and have the appropriate Religion skill at least 20%.
Initiates are worshippers who have dedicated their lives to the creed of the religion and have taken part in a formal initiation ceremony to initiate them into the inner mysteries of the religion. They are expected to actively live the lifestyle that their religion promotes, and learn the religion’s mysteries. They are an example to the lay members and in smaller settlements, such as rural villages, they often take the role of the Priest in leading services on holy days at the local shrine.
Requirements: The relevant Religion skill must be a minimum of 40%, and an Initiate must have one of the religion’s skills at a minimum of 25%. Also, the character must spend two growth points on becoming initiated. An initiate must uphold the religion’s worshipper duties.
Benefits of Being an Initiate
Learn Personal Magic: Initiates can learn any Personal Magic spell the religion teaches at unlimited magnitude.
Learn Divine Magic: Initiates may learn any Divine Magic spell available to the religion up to magnitude 2.
Protection: As lay members; plus they get free lodging or use of any buildings that the religion owns. Great religions will often have lodging houses, especially for travelling initiates.
These people are the living embodiment of their faith, instructed by their deity to be its living representatives in the mortal world. They lead the services for their temple on holy days and are leaders in their community.
Requirements: To become a Priest, a character must have the Religion skill and two of the religion’s associated skills at a minimum of 75%; there must also be a vacancy in the temple hierarchy, or the new Priest be willing to become a missionary and establish a new temple. Besides all this, the player must pay five growth points.
Benefits of being a Priest
Ransom: The religion will pay the ransom if a priest is captured, or make all reasonable attempts to rescue them.
Learning Personal Magic & Divine Magic: A priest may learn all the inner secrets of their religion (this means all available magic at unlimited magnitude). They may also get Divine Magic spells available only to their rank if such spells are listed for the religion.
Allied Spirit: Upon becoming a Priest, the character gains an Allied Spirit. An Allied Spirit is a spirit associated with the deity who is willing to work with one of their mortal worshippers to further the aims of the religion. The Allied Spirit is usually bound in either an animal or an item, sacred to the religion.
If the vessel the spirit lives in, item or animal, is destroyed, then the Allied Spirit returns to its home plane of existence and then returns when a new animal or item is prepared for it.
In the case where Allied Spirit has its magic points reduced to zero, i.e. destroyed, in service, a new Allied Spirit is assigned to the Priest/Priestess.
An Allied Spirit starts with an INT of 2D6+6 and a POW of 3D6 and knows 6 points of Personal Magic and 3 points of Divine Magic known to the religion. The spirit can see immaterial and invisible spirits, alerting its master to their presence in a twenty-metre range. An Allied Spirit is in permanent Mind Link with its master, with a range equal to its POW x5 in meters.
An Allied Spirit has whatever physical characteristics that its host animal or item has.
Allied Spirits are advanced like player characters, by spending growth points from their Priest’s total.
Holy Warriors who protect the temples and worshippers of their religion. Not all religions have Holy Warriors, especially those religions dedicated to peace, but where they do, these warriors ceaselessly crusade to protect the faithful and punish the religion’s enemies.
The minimum requirement to become a Holy Warrior is to have Religion of at least 50% and a combat skill of at least 75%. Besides this, the player must pay five growth points.
Requirements: Uphold the worshipper duties unfailingly. As the religion’s warriors, take up arms against any aggressor who attacks its worshippers or the religion’s temples.
Benefits of being a Holy Warrior
Holy Arms and Armour: When someone becomes a Holy Warrior they are gifted a specially consecrated weapon, that gives them a bonus when fighting to defend fellow worshippers, religious temples, and when attacking enemies of their faith. This bonus is usually +20% to the appropriate weapon skill and double damage when fighting for their religion. All damage done by such weapons is considered magical.
They also gain armour, which is magically blessed by the religion’s deity. Usually, this is at least double the normal AP of the armour type used, and it may have additional powers depending on the deity.
Learn Personal Magic & Divine Magic: Holy Warriors may learn all the spells available to the religion as Initiates.
Learn Special Divine Magic: Holy Warriors may get additional Divine Magic spells that further enhance their ability to fight on behalf of the religion, at unlimited magnitude. These specific spells are listed for the Holy Warrior. Otherwise, they get the listed divine Magic at a maximum of 2 magnitude.
Ransom: Holy Warriors are incredibly useful to the religion they belong to, which will always pay any ransom or make a rescue attempt if a Holy Warrior is ever captured.
Usually, a character cannot be both a Priest and a Holy Warrior. Both are precise roles within the religion which are quite demanding on the character’s time. Some religions may have more martially inclined Priestesses/Priests, which combine the functions and abilities of the Priest with that of a Holy Warrior.
The Universal Earth Mother Religion
The Goddess is the all-embracing and loving Earth Mother worshipped throughout the world. Some people believe that she is the world itself. She is the source of all nature’s bounty, which clothes and feeds humanity, but also has a savage side that expresses itself in hurricanes, tidal waves and other natural disasters.
Type of Religion: Dedicated Religion (Great Deity).
Scale of Worship: Worldwide.
Worshippers: The religion is made up of people and creatures who live off the land. In civilised areas, these are the peasants who farm the land and the woodsmen who hunt and gather in the forests. Found wherever creatures have an acknowledged connection with nature.
Worshipper duties: Respect the Earth. Don’t foul or pollute the environment. Don’t take more from the world than it can regenerate. Do not needlessly kill or over hunt animals.
Religious skills: Healing, Nature Lore, Resilience.
Personal Magic: Heal, Protection.
Divine Magic: All Common spells + Absorption, Berserk, Heal Body.
Special Benefits: Any member of this religion gains a +20% bonus to their Nature Lore, due to their connection to Nature, which they gain through their relationship with the Earth Mother.
The Earth Mother Priestess
These matrons represent the divine Earth Mother at the religion’s rituals, and she speaks through them.
Earth Mothers usually bind their Allied Spirits into animals local to their temples, such as cows in urban areas, or foxes and bears in mountain areas. If a suitable animal is not available, branches taken from local trees and fashioned into an Earth Wand are satisfactory.
Due to the nature of the religion, most priestesses are female, but very rarely a male with a strong feminine side will meet the requirements.
Holy Warriors, The Axe Maidens
These fierce female warriors protect the holy sites of the Earth Mother and extract retribution against the violators of the earth.
Required Combat skill: Close Combat at 75%
Holy Weapon: Axes of any type +20% and double damage vs. Religion enemies.
Holy Armour: Red woad. This mixture of the blood of the religion’s enemies and the blessed earth is taken from a holy site, such as the consecrated grounds of an Earth Mother temple, gives a +20% to Dodge rolls and 6 AP.
Special Divine Magic: Axe Maidens can learn the spells of Earth Scream, Shield, True Axe.
Area 10m Magnitude 2 Duration 15 Resist Persistence.
When cast the Axe Maiden makes a blood-curdling scream at a group of enemies. If they are within the area of the spell’s effect, they make a Persistence test or run away from the Axe Maiden in terror for the duration of the spell.
Through walking the Path of Divine Magic, establishing a relationship with one or more deities or supernatural guardians of the religions that they follow, high ranking Priests and Holy Warriors can undergo a magical process called Ascension, becoming immortal and joining the deities in the Houses of the Holy.
There are two types of Ascended.
- Ascended Immortal. A guardian of the religion that they were part of in life. They join the Pantheon- becoming a guardian that can be called upon by worshippers.
- Ascended Deity. A deity in their own right who may or may not be worshipped as part of a pantheon or as a dedicated religion.
To become an Ascended Immortal.
- Religion (Own) at 100%.
- POW at maximum (21 for humans).
- Ten points of the religion’s Divine Magic.
- Pay a growth cost of ten points.
To become an Ascended Deity.
- Religion (Own) at 100%.
- POW at maximum (21 for humans).
- One or more Religion (other) at 100%, to understand wider implications of immortality.
- Ten points of the Religion’s Divine magic.
- Pay a growth cost of twenty points.
Other Story Requirements
As well as these requirements to reach certain numerical scores, there are also more subjective story requirements. Ascended characters are expected to be shining examples of their religion. They have undergone one or more Mythic Journeys (see the spell of the same name) to explore the Divine Other Worlds and understand myths
It might be because of this that a character never reaches the lofty levels of the Ascended because they do not meet the story requirements.
The Powers of the Ascended
Ascended Immortals and Deities both have the following powers.
- The ability to grow Power beyond the normal maximum (21 for humans).
- Immortality; if killed, they return to a safe place in the Houses of the Holy.
- Immune to disease and poison and mind control spells, like Befuddle, Madness or Fear.
- Their worshippers may learn any personal magic or Divine Magic spell that the character knows.
- Also, Ascended Deities may create new Divine Magic spells based upon their actions in play for ten growth per point of spell.
Like Transcended Sorcerers, Ascension is the pinnacle and ultimate goal of a character’s career. While it may be fun to play an Ascended character for a couple of Quests, such characters are usually retired after that.
Summary of Religion Ranks
|Rank||Minimum Religion (+other requirements)||Growth Cost||Benefits|
|Lay member||20 %||0||Learn spells from the religion’s Personal Magic at magnitude 1-2.|
Learn spells from the religion’s Personal Magic at unlimited magnitude.
Learn spells from the religion’s Divine at magnitude 1-2.
Religion pays ransom if captured.
Learn spells from the Personal Magic and Divine Magic at unlimited magnitude.
Religion pays ransom if captured.
Gain the religion’s Allied Spirit.
|Holy Warrior||50% (75% in Weapon Skill)||5||
Learn spells from the religion’s Personal Magic at unlimited magnitude.
Learn spells from the religion’s Divine Magic at magnitude 1-2.
The character learns special Divine Magic at unlimited magnitude.
The religion pays ransom if captured.
Gain the religion’s Weapon and Armour.
|Ascended Immortal||100% (+100% in two of the Religion’s skills. POW 21)||10||Achieves immortality and joins the deities in the Houses of the Holy, becoming a member of the Pantheon that they worship.|
|Ascended Deity||100 % (+ 100% in two of the religion’s skills and two Religion (Other) skills, POW 21+)||20||Achieves immortality and joins the deities in the Houses of the Holy, becoming a distinct deity in their own right.|
Asking the Deities for Answers
A very powerful ability of all characters who are members of a religion is the ability to seek answers from the deities that they follow. Guidance from a religion’s deities is available in two forms.
Using the Divination spell that is available to all Initiates and Priests as a common Divine Magic spell.
By praying at a temple and Asking for Divine Guidance before going on a Quest.
Divination is the more direct and powerful method and can be called upon multiple times during a Quest, as long as the character has the spell memorised. It can also be called upon by non-player Priests who have a positive relationship with the character.
Asking for Divine Guidance is very limited and can often be even vaguer than Divination.
It can only be done once per Quest, usually in the preparation phase of the Quest.
The character must pray at a temple or shrine of a religion that the character is a member of.
They must make a successful Religion skill test. Otherwise, complete silence ensues.
If the test is successful, the deity may only answer in the form of hints and vague symbolic suggestions.
It’s useful if the Referee has a table of random answers – a sort of rumour table of the Gods – pre-written as part of their Quest preparation. Alternatively, a quick bullet point list of what the Deities of a particular temple can tell their worshippers about a Quest from their own bias can be made.