Friday, 27 September 2013

Monotheism in Legend/RQ6

Now as every Gloranthaphile knows the western part of Genertela is full of Monotheists, people who believe in some variety or other of the one Invisible God whose existence was first deduced by Malkion, the First Man. I'd like to use this type of cult in Legend and RQ6, but just giving monotheist priests sorcery to play with, as they did in the MRQII Second Age material, doesn't feel right. I like the idea that Western cultures do things differently. While in Central Genertela there is magical and spiritual anarchy, in the West they are far more organised, with professional priests providing all the blessings anyone would need far more skillfully and with more oomph than the amateur practitioners of the barbarian lands.

Here is my suggestion as to how to handle it. In the notes below I will be using the terms Grimoire and Manipulation, the Legend skills, but for RQ6 just substitute the Invoke and Shaping.

Blessings (and Curses)

Monotheist communities are built around their churches. Ordinary worshipers donate magical power to magical professionals, Liturgists, to cast special sorcery spells that benefit the whole community called Blessings. These are very weak when used by just one person, but when a whole congregation gets together they can benefit many people across a wide area. The holy books of such religions are full of blessings (though in many religions the lowest clergy will learn a few by rote) and most will have a few proper sorcery spells as well. Most blessings are beneficial, but some religions also have curses, attacking spells that focus the ire of a whole congregation on one target.

To cast a Blessing the Liturgist uses his Grimoire (Holy Book) skill, just as would any other sorcery spell, and can boost its power using Manipulation as usual. But with a Blessing he can also add the Faith of his congregation to the Manipulation (see below).

Blessings last a lot longer than ordinary sorcery, 1 hour per POW point of the caster, not 1 minute, and can only be cast on people carrying the right holy symbol and the faith of the recipient can also affect the potency  of the blessing. Curses also have the extended duration, but can usually be cast on anyone.

Faith and the Chain of Reverence

A Liturgist leading a congregation adds 10% of his worshipers Grimoire skill in the appropriate book to his/her manipulation; this is their Faith score.

Father Umphred has Grimoire (Abiding Book) 60% and Manipulation 50%, but with his congregation of 10 souls each with Grimoire (Abiding Book) 30% praying along with him he adds 3x10=+30 Faith, giving him 50+30 = 80% Manipulation to apply to the blessing, enabling him to affect more people for longer.

In a Monotheist cult there are almost always several layers of clergy. A second tier cleric gets the benefit of half the Faith gathered by his subordinates, plus their Faith, and this can be transmitted across any distance.

Deacon Anslem is in charge of Father Umphred and two other clergy of like ability with similar congregations, He gets 30 x 3 (for the ordinary worshippers) x 0.5 + 6 x 3 (for the Liturgists' faith) = 45 + 18 = +63 Faith to his Manipulation skill. He reports to Bishop Cleeve, who gets half the Faith each of his Deacons gather added together, plus their Faith, the Archbishop above him gets the half the faith all his subordinate Bishops gather, and through the Archbishops the Ecclesiarch wields the Faith of a whole nation. 

Faith can only be applied to casting Blessings, it won't work on normal sorcery. At any given time most worshippers will have the benefits of at least one Blessing and there may well be further blessings on his village, guild, town or fields, regularly renewed in weekly services.

Mana TO Heaven

The magic points to power these mighty Blessings also come from the faithful. The only spell taught to ordinary worshipers by most monotheistic churches is Venerate.

Venerate
Sorcery, Concentration
Can only be cast while holding a holy symbol, this spell transfers magic points up the Chain of Veneration; from Worshiper to Liturgist, from Liturgist to Deacon (or whatever the title of the next higher ranked clergy is), from Deacon to Bishop and so on, and from the highest clergyman to the Invisible God itself. It takes 1 hour plus 15 minutes per magic point transferred to cast, the magic points are stored in the recipient's holy symbol, and it has no range limit. The maximum transfer per day is 1 mp per 10% Grimoire skill. A worshiper many miles away can make his private devotions and the magic points will be moved to his ecclesiastic superior. Occasionally the spell is used to move magic points back down the Chain. A congregation might send a dozen or more magic points to their Liturgist, who may then bless a member of his community, perhaps far away fighting a war, with these magic points for their personal holy symbol, if it has the capacity to absorb them. Magic points can never be passed horizontally to another person of the same standing in the church or sect.

At each level of the church there is a minimum required commitment of magic points per day or per week; worshipers usually have to provide 1 per week, though they often give more, Liturgists have quotas they must pass on to their superiors, and so on up the Chain of Veneration.

Holy Symbols

Different churches use their own unique form of holy symbol; many western ones go for Malkion's Holy Triangle in simple wood or a fancy precious metal job on the end of a staff for Bishops, the Lunar Cerise Church uses Moon runes of various kinds etc. but they all work the same. Each symbol stores magic points, amount varying, for one week. Magic points can only be put into a symbol by Veneration, and you can't transfer points to your own magic symbol. You cannot use a holy symbol that is not of the prescribed form for your sect.

Dedicate Holy Symbol
Sorcery, Autonomous
A ritual of variable length depending on how many magic points you want the maximum stored in a particular symbol to be. The simplest symbols, those worn by the laity, aren't meant to store mps at all, just to act as a conduit for mp to be passed up to the clergy and to enable the worshipper to receive blessings and take a few minutes to do, the whopping great golden jobs carried by Ecclesiarchs were prayed over for days by teams of Bishops and Archbishops. The maximum power storage capacity is one point per 10% combined Grimoire skill of the enchanting clergy and takes one hour per mp capacity to dedicate and costs 5 mp per point capacity. The enchantment process cannot be paused once started, though a group of clergy can work in shifts for the really powerful ones. The magic points stored in a holy symbol may be used for anything, not just Blessings.

Sorcerers and Wizards

An independent Sorcerer has only his own power to draw on, with maybe a few apprentices or assistants lending a hand, but a Wizard, a sorcerer who is also a liturgist in a monotheistic religion, can use his holy symbol to help power his spells. The disadvantage of being a Wizard is that as a clergyman you might find yourself with a church full of peasants to look after, the Churches often have serious restrictions on what spells you can use and you have to clutter up your brain with Blessings, which still take 1 INT point to remember.

Many wizardly orders have peasant liturgists to handle the casting of blessings and the accumulation of magic points from the laity, which are then passed on to a Wizard through his holy symbol to do something useful with. The peasants living on the orders lands and ministered to by their liturgists do not usually mind as long as the Order is a responsible landlord and blesses their crops and protects them from harm, but there are sometimes grumblings. On the other hand peasants on lands owned by certain nobles wish their landlord was a spiritually inclined Wizard who merely asked for their souls and not a greedy noble who took their food and goods to blow on feasts and tournaments.

The Western Caste System

In theory only those born into the Zzaburi (wizard) caste can cast spells, but this is usually held not to include Blessings so Liturgists of other castes do exist. They are not allowed to learn sorcery spells though, even if they are in the holy book (and The Abiding Book allegedly contains enough information, albeit encoded, to cast all known spells). Many lower caste Liturgists are nigh illiterate in any case and only know their few Blessings by rote.

The typical member of the Dronar peasant caste will know very little magic, or ought to know very little magic. Hardline churches like the Rokari regard all magic use by non-clergy, even weedy folk magic charms, as vile and evil Witchcraft. Other sects like the Hrestoli Idealists allow a few folk magics, if they are taught by a trade guild. In practice a peasant will know one or two common magic spells to a low level, and his priest won't be too bothered by it. There are underground religions practiced all over the west involving isolated shamen and occasionally theistic priests with small groups of followers. Needless to say these are prime targets for the local Inquisition.

Horals, the Soldier Caste, are likewise limited in their magic. They will know only folk magic and receive blessings and sorcery from their chaplains.

Zzaburi, as noted above, will know real sorcery spells, and are often bound by oaths never to use folk magic, or are so hoity toity about the pathetic little charms of the peasantry they won't lower themselves to use them.

Talars, the Nobles, are also theoretically banned from using any magic, but again often do, knowing folk magic charms passed down through their ancestors. They will also have plenty of personal chaplains on hand to cast magic for them and, depending on the region and sect, possibly sorcerers and wizards in the household as well.