Inherent benefits of religions in Shadow World?

One of the ideas I’ve been playing around with are bestowed abilities from a characters God. Channeling spells are already premised on the idea that a God imparts powers to a Priest; and we use a mechanism called “Invocation” that allows a player to beseech their god for aid but I’m thinking of something different from those.

The idea is that a player (or Priest only) receives a part of their God’s aspect. Maybe this happens at a certain level or some other benchmark but the ability is imbued in the player and reflects their God’s nature. A Priest of a God of Luck might get a bonus to RR’s. A follower of a God of Fire gets a bonus vs Fire attacks, or is immune to natural heat and fire.

Of course many of these abilities are already encoded in Spell Law or BASiL, so it might be cool to think outside the box and have a power that isn’t already a spell. Since I already wrote specific spell lists for all the Shadow World gods, I’m finding it difficult to come up with some other inherent benefit. I’m also hesitant to grant powers at certain levels: this smacks of AD&D and I try to make my game as level-less as possible.

One method I may employ is imparting a benefit to any player (not just Priests) based on their ranks in the “Prayer” skill. I already use the Prayer skill for the SCR, Invocation and a general proxy for “religiosity” so using it as a measure for a god imparted bennie works as well. The rational being that as a player dedicates themselves to their god (measured by Prayer) they are able to tap into or connect in a way that transfers some base power.

Because religion & gods are inextricably linked to fantasy RPG’s, spell casting and Shadow World, I put a lot of energy into building it into the game play. I was recently re-watching Game of Thrones and liked how the followers of the Lord of Light were able to ignite their weapons in combat. That adds atmosphere to the game! I’m going through the various Orhanian Gods and trying to come up with an appropriate ability. I’m not worried about balance; some Gods may not impart anything while others may offer frivolous abilities (followers of Kieron can cleanse themselves from alcohol/drunkeness ).

If you have any ideas for the Orhanian gods, please comment!

8 Replies to “Inherent benefits of religions in Shadow World?”

  1. – Followers of Kuor get increasingly less bothered by the weather. With 1 rank in Prayer rain does not get into their eyes, with 5 ranks their socks dry faster, with 10 ranks they are never under the place strucked by lightning.
    – Followers of Eissa are increasingly resistant to getting sick by interacting with those already afflicted by a disease.
    – Followers of Iorak get reduced damage from fumbling when crafting (be it spell or skill). “Those blisters will be gone in a week, don’t worry!”
    – Followers of Valris find constellations faster when looking up at the sky, and maybe have better luck when looking for stuff in libraries.
    – Followers of Iloura start noticing they get less and less hurt by flower spines and wandering predators tend to leave them alone.
    – Followers of Phaon don’t get that many sprains when practicing sports.

  2. Making it an inherent ability might cause some balance issues. An alternative way would be to give each of the Cleric/Priest spell lists a first level spell that produces the benefit, which would be permanent unless the caster renounced the God as his/her patron. So for example, the first level spell on one of the lists for the Priest of Phaon (Cleric) might be the one that gives a permanent bonus versus fire attacks, and the bonus is permanent so long as the priest continues to worship the god. You might even require him to pray at least once a day/week/month to continue gaining this benefit (which would allow the God to judge how his cleric has been upholding the faith over the last day/week/month).

    1. Thanks Hurin. On a tangent…what is balance? Is it the the effort to create equivalency using a system of assigned values or just the basic concept of “fairness”–whatever that might mean? Obviously the RMU process brings up balance a lot and it’s assumed that we all agree on the general principle but reading peoples thread posts it’s pretty clear that balance is quite different among participants.

  3. Another alternative is modifying a spell on a relevant base list to be caster only, no pp cost – similar to some of the mentalism spells in RMSS. Reskin them as prayers that give the priest the blessing for whatever task they are going to undertake that is directly related to the god. I use something similar in my shaman base list where the first level spell costs no pp but is required to be cast prior to every spell. It results in an illusion giving the caster an aspect of the totem animal for the duration of the spell(varied based on spell level, a second level spell may only make the shamans eyes look like his wolf totem a tenth level may show a ghostly overlay of a wolf covering the shaman).

    1. I like that too, but wanted a mechanism that worked for non-channeler casters as well. So while channeling casters absolutely need to take “prayer” skill for successful SCR, non-casters don’t. So why would they? For one, if they ever wanted to try “invoking” they would need a prayer skill bonus to have a remote chance of success…and…for a non-caster that chose to spend DP’s in prayer they would eventually be rewarded for that devotion.

  4. Could you do something that is not an explicit power in its own right but plays with the special effects or manifestation of their gods power. So a priest with Light Ways but a worshipper of Kuor the light effects ripple and refract as if the light is passing through water. Followers of Iloura produce lights that are green tinted and multi-hued.

    Each spell they have has its visible effects dictated by the gods aspect but it doesn’t change the mechanics at the table.

    1. That’s pretty good. Since I already have god specific lists for SW I’m going to review and maybe add some more specifics along those lines rather than apply a “God Style” to generic lists. Thanks!

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