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Author Topic: Gods and Philosophers  (Read 5338 times)

Posts: 7

« on: May 05, 2011, 01:31:06 AM »

This is for the fantasy world I am working on

Rule Note: I am thinking of doing this in Fudge. 'Success dice' are dice that are either blank or +.

Religious Magic

Ritual Power: Religious ‘magic’ is achieved largely by highly organized religious rituals, which involve a community. The charisma and community acceptance of the religious figure is the primary source of the effectiveness of his power, though his personal character generally need not be particularly exalted.
A common theory to explain this is that gods naturally like to help their friends and harm their enemies, thus the head priest is sanctified by virtue of his ability to instill piety in the population and to make diplomatic agreements with the gods. Another theory, sometimes considered atheistic, posits that the priest himself is able to use ritual to draw upon the psychic power of the people and harness it for certain ends.

Rituals which are clearly within the domain of the god are easier to perform, as are rituals making lesser demands.

Rule Note: The Power of the ritual is based upon the size of the community. The average Fides, Pietas of the community are added as success dice as are the Charisma, Fides and Pietas of the chief priest of the ritual.

Ritual elaborateness, involving both expenditures and stunning use of those expenditures is a major feature, its exact form varying depending on the religious traditions of the community.

Political Note: Because the prime determination of ritual power in a large community is the size and traditional piety of the masses, this means that politics and personal charisma can play a major role in setting up the most powerful  priestly and religious figures in the Cultus.

The Gods often seem to do a poor job of keeping their own house in order, though it may be added that the chief priest still does accomplish his primary duty of ‘bargainer with the gods’, so long as he has the community behind him. The size of the community is basically confined to those directly participating in the ritual, thus in order to get the power of a million people one must get them all to make a pilgrimage to the same place.

This also means that large scale religions can do serious things, but also leaves the field open for fanatics or socio-political events that create major religious shifts.
Note that an individual priest or group of priests can pray (with the group adding their average to his). This would seem to add an incredible amount of success dice! Indeed, it does, but it would seem the gods are hard bargainers. Not only is it difficult to get anything specific out of them, but they always want something in return.

•   Bonuses: In general any request for general aid with some sacrifice or devotion will be of moderate difficulty, depending on the number of persons to receive it.
•   An Answer: A request for some sort of Deus Ex Machina for a particular problem, the larger the problem the more difficult. These can be quite difficult, and generally only the most pious and charismatic individuals gain significant ones. This can come in the form of an answer to a question, a military strategy or the fortuitous appearance of a man who speaks a foreign tongue.
•   A Miracle: The town has had a poor harvest, and members of the community verge on starvation. They make a ritual sacrificing all their remaining grain in the trust that the gods will provide for them. Suddenly all the trees in town sprout nutritious berries.

This is a major divine act of blatant reality manipulation. It is hard to pull off, even in more limited forms (such as causing wet wood to burst into flames), and doing it on a large scale requires some serious pull.
Any particular religious organization or sect is labeled a ‘Cultus’. Everyone in a Cultus has a Fides and Pietas, which means his trust in the divine power and his fidelity to the divine. Depending on the nature of the religion and the society it exists in, this can vary dramatically.

Many Cultus, especially public ones, have a tradition of filial devotion and obedience to laws and customs, which means that attempts to miraculously assassinate emperors are fraught with internal contradictions. Exceptional cults do exist, but are often feared and persecuted for reasons real and imaginary. Traditions and norms also present certain difficulties, say with gods of theft or trickster gods. While often acknowledged to exist and sometimes secretly invoked they rarely develop priesthoods and it can be hard to trust in a god of subterfuge.

  • Fides: Your trust in the gods. This is related to Pietas, because it involves trust in both the faithfulness and retribution of the divine. But it also reflects other aspects, such as a general belief in the gods, that they are worthy of veneration

    Pietas:  The level of fidelity to the gods. This can mean ritual piety and keeping the laws in a more secular, public cult or it could be rituals of personal cleanliness or truthfulness. It could also just mean keeping up your side of the bargain in any divine favor-begging. Failure to keep observance of understood rules of divine fidelity will lead to a decrease in Fides.

Solfi (f. Solfia)

Wise-men who combine mystical or philosophic theories with arcane knowledge and power. They usually claim a secret knowledge or reason, perhaps of the divine or the Logos or both. What is known is that they are generally extremely well educated, somewhat occult and highly intelligent. They are often trained by others of their kind, but some seem to develop almost spontaneously. Some claim this is evidence of an ultimate god.

One thing that is known is that their philosophies often contradict one another, leaving many to wonder just what it is that makes these people.

Noteworthy Abilities and Characteristics:
Solfi are often ascetic or temperate. They usually practice some exercise, have regimented diets and obtain to some personal code or ethos. They are often brave, stalwort, honest and vigorous into old age. Naturally this tends to make them unpopular. Even those who preach doctrines of nothingness or guile tend to show these traits, which leads some to believe this is the true source of their power.

The most famous ability of the Solfi is Reason or Wisdom. By focusing their mental powers and remarkable self-control, they are able to gain an understanding of essential features in a situation or object. This can aid most pursuits in life, though their natural talents and skills often lead it into particular applications. It is able to aid in virtually any activity which involves acuity and intelligence.

Rule Note: This adds success-dice to all mental-based actions.

Posts: 7

« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2011, 01:36:28 AM »

With the Solfi I am thinking of people like Apollonius of Tyanna or the Yogi mystics who claim to gain superior powers; or Aristophanes' lampoon of Socrates in The Clouds.
Note that a person could be both a religious figure and a Solfi, though one would have to be particularly talented.

The 'official' setting is deliberately agnostic, not that characters in the game would be.

Posts: 7

« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2011, 01:44:16 AM »

Who’s a god? Who’s whose god?
What, exactly, counts as a god or a divine being is only sharply defined in some traditions. Some men while alive, and many after death, are granted a divine or exalted status; we see this in the Norse tradition of declaring great men ‘elves’ as well as in the Roman Imperial Cult. Gilgamesh was ‘2/3rds’ divine (which makes for some odd genealogy). It’s pretty much up to the character in-game to define his view of the divine, if any, but it is not uncommon to find divine men and anthropomorphic conceptions of deities.
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Posts: 17707

« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2011, 07:12:21 AM »

Hi there,

Please review the rules for posting in this forum - you are required to include a link to some kind of external document for your game, at some other website, whether it's a dedicated one for your game, or just a personal blog, or even merely a document-storage service.

This point applies to all your threads in the forum so far. Without such a link, I will have to close the threads to discussion.

Best, Ron
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