Saturday, January 12, 2019

All That Praises Heaven

The sound of sandals on soft dirt precedes the adventurer’s entrance into the pitch dark chamber. The light of the torch cowers from the darkness of the chamber like a scared child. For the past hour, the party of three had been pursuing a mysterious person who seemed to be made out of incense smoke. They were hoping to ask the person for directions out of the dungeon, they had been horribly lost for longer than they had been pursuing the mysterious man. The three hadn’t let the catacombs stop them, and they certainly wouldn’t let a dark and dank chamber stop them now. The light soon revealed the walls made of packed dirt, the ceiling with several strange potted plants hanging from iron chains, and a large statue of a twisted worm god. A true eyesore, the statue almost looks like it is shifting and squirming in the dim light's presence. The smoke person disappears into the statue, a groveling voice forms inside the depths of the party’s heads. “Would one of you like to pray?”

The other night my players encountered an opportunity for one of them to become an awakened acolyte to a deity, the situation was similar to the one above. I had really been trying to test out my new rules for using inherent magic (the stuff that sorcerers have, where they were just born with magic) and rules for possible cleric pseudoclasses. Basically, it works like this:

  • Every acolyte has a list of miracles given to them, these are one-sentence magical abilities that the acolyte can use at will. Miracles only cost a standard action in combat, although there may be grave consequences later. These should typically be pretty broad to allow for clever problem-solving.
  • There are three types of miracles, minor miracles, middling miracles, and major miracles.
  • When an acolyte wants to use a miracle, they do a miracle roll:
    • For a minor miracle, the acolyte rolls 1D6.
    • For a middling miracle, the acolyte rolls 2D6.
    • For a major miracle, the acolyte rolls 3D6.
  • An acolyte keeps track of all of their miracle rolls, adding it onto previous miracle rolls they have made in the past day.
  • Every acolyte has a miracle limit of 8 + 1D6. The GM keeps the miracle limit of the acolyte a secret.
  • Once the sum of the acolyte's miracle rolls is equal to or higher than their miracle limit, a awful omen occurs. This terrible omen is rolled on a table.
  • An acolyte subtracts 2D6 from their miracle roll sum every time they rest in a settlement. It is recommended that the GM rerolls the miracle limit for the acolyte during this time of rest.
  • An acolyte can subtract 1D6 from their miracle roll sum with an appropriate act of worship once per day.

So that's it. It's a lot of bullet-points, but it's pretty much just an adaptation of one of my previous posts with scaling added to it. Anyway, here are three deities that your players can get into a weird relationship with:

Dhotin, Grand God of Rot, Worms, and Smelly Things
(Bogdan Rezunenko)
Dhotin is a deity, worshiped by acolytes who title themselves The Graven. The Graven can be seen performing seances in graveyards while wearing dead people's clothes. It is considered to be an offering to Dhotin when somebody is buried alive. It is also rumored that the buried will come back within nine months as an acolyte. Dhotin is believed to be able to be communicated with if you sleep within an open grave, or generally just sleeping next to lots of dead and rotting things.

Minor Miracles of Dhotin:
  • Summon a slimy ball of worms in any place that you can see.
  • Make plants or organic tissue you are touching rot away at concerningly quick speeds.
  • Create any smell you want, from anywhere you can see.
Middling Miracles of Dhotin:
  • Make somebody puke worms and rotting organs until they succeed at a STR check.
  • Summon a human-sized worm horror, with 1D6 extra worm appendages.
Major Miracles of Dhotin:
  • Cause a hamlet's dead to rise as worm-ridden horrors! 
D6
Awful Omens Of Dhotin
1
A ball of worms is growing inside of your new womb. Tonight they will claw their way out of any orifice they can find before slinking off into the darkness. Not before they give you slimy kisses.
2
One of your magical belongings is rotting away, it has one more use before it explodes into a cloud of hallucinogenic spores.
3
For the next week, you smell like the most awful thing to ever exist. You think you smell great, but other people actively have to pass WIL saves to interact with you without gagging or puking. This scent may be somewhat flammable.
4
You take on the appearance of a rotting corpse. You are completely fine, but people will shriek in terror as you skip through the streets.
5
One of your appendages turns into a sentient worm. It obeys most commands, but the GM can, three times per session, make the worm disobey in a rude fashion, if it does not pass a WIL save. The worm can fight, but it is still attached to you.
6
Your cuts begin opening up and a weird black rot begins leaking out of them. This black ichor is adhesive, and seems to never run out. Make a STR save to keep this stuff inside of you. On a success, one of your appendages is very sticky and barely movable. On a failure, you continue expanding outwards, soon reaching your allies and enemies.

Joy by bobmeatbag
The Fool, Avatar of Avarice, Dreams, and Screams
(Bobmeatbag)
The Fool is a deity, worshiped by acolytes who title themselves The Fools. The Fools believe that humanity shall one day come to ruin by a cataclysmic event of incompetence. They also believe that if they commit themselves to The Fool, they will be able to just be observers instead of victims of this ludicrous apocalypse. Dedicating oneself to The Fool requires silly frills, creepy masks, and boundless optimism. The Fool is believed to be appeased by making people laugh while they die or experience great pain. The Fool can be communicated with by awfully vivid dreams that cause damage to the psyche and horrible trauma.

Minor Miracles of The Fool:
  • Conjure sounds of either screaming laughter or screaming pain from anywhere you can see, attempts at human voices sound distorted.
  • Make a creature within sight of you outwardly burst into uncontrollable and frenzied joy until they pass a WIL save.
  • Make one person hallucinate, it is very obvious that this is a hallucination to any intelligent creature.
Middling Miracles of The Fool:
  • Cause your WIL's worth of people you know to have vivid dreams of your description tonight.
  • Cause half of your WIL's worth of people to burst out into an uncontrollable frenzy driven by greed at something of your choice.
Major Miracles of The Fool:
  • Create a hamlet-sized patch of nightmarish dreamscape terrain for your WIL's worth of minutes, times 5. 
D6
Awful Omens Of The Fool
1
Your lungs fill up with a harmless amount of blood. Whenever you talk for the next week, it is followed by a steady stream of blood falling out of your mouth.
2
One of your magical belongings begins laughing hysterically. It is terribly audible, and won’t stop until you either trash it (in which it might seek revenge) or tell it a joke that you find hilarious.
3
You feel your face shift and change, it is now a horrifying ivory mask that you can only sort-of see out of. A terrible caricature of yourself. Your face remains like this until you pry the mask off with extreme force.
4
You begin laughing hysterically until you cough up your lung, which is now made of silver. This lung is very valuable if sold, but you can barely talk now.
5
You feel something implant itself inside of your throat. You feel fine, but three times per session the GM may make you scream with pain or laughter if you do not pass a WIL save.
6
You see faces like masks in the dark, their eyes nail you down with hysterical determination. They want to take you to meet The Fool at long last. Nobody else can see the faces, and they likely won’t believe you. You know that they will only consume you when you are alone. Don’t be that.

I got 99 problems and all of them's being happy by sharpieboss
Mother, Goddess of Fertility, Womanhood, and Milk (sharpieboss)
Mother is a deity, worshiped by a group of acolytes who call themselves Favored Children. The Favored Children can often be seen doing what most of society considers "witchcraft". They can also be seen being midwives, without the parents knowing that they are part of the Favored Children. Many of the Favored Children are extremely practiced in midwifery, although they have several rituals to perform while delivering that ensures that the baby lives a life where Mother is very present. They even believe that these rituals will change how the baby looks and behaves later in life. The mother can be communicated with by anointing yourself with milk and submerging yourself in the mess.

Minor Miracles of Mother:
  • Do milk-related activities, such as making a floor slick with milk or summoning a gallon of milk out of midair.
  • Make somebody you can touch experience labor pains.
  • Summon a baby, it disappears into another dimension in 10 minutes.
Middling Miracles of Mother:
  • Make somebody puke milk and random birthing organs until they succeed at a STR check.
  • Summon a dog-sized baby, it is helpful and sentient.
Major Miracles of Mother:
  • Mutate your WIL's worth of people to mutate into abhorrent forms of femininity.
D6
Awful Omens From Mother
1
You feel lightheaded as your blood turns to milk, you immediately pass out. You will wake up later, but you occasionally need to be “juiced” to prevent more situations like this from happening.
2
All of your gold turns to milk. All your milk turns to gold.
3
You begin to sweat milk, everything feels moist. For the next half week, when you use magic items they instead shoot a stream of milk.
4
You gain a permanent mutation related to femininity and womanhood, GM decides.
5
At the beginning night of every week you wake up to the sound of crying, you hold a newborn baby. No amount of precautions can prevent this.
6
You begin swelling and filling with milk, gaining lots of weight as your flesh tears at the seams from pressure. Make a STR save to keep it in. On a success, you gain lots of weight and make weird sloshing sounds. On a failure, you explode into a flurry of milk, dealing 2D6 damage to everybody close to you. In your fleshy mess lies a baby, this will grow up to be you soon enough.

Of course, there are many ways that this houserule can be modified to your liking:
  • Add more miracles! The ones I list are pretty limited because I'm going to bed soon, although I'm just gonna pass it off as leaving room for you guys to add ideas.
  • Change miracle limits. I have only tested this so much, and the highest miracle my acolyte player has used is a middling miracle because they are too afraid to use major miracles. If you have more of a low magic game (which I have), make the miracle limits lower so that major miracles almost inevitably result in horrible consequences. If you like players to indulge in madness, make the miracle limit higher. I'm not the boss of you.
  • You don't have 3D6 with you? Just make it so that minor miracle rolls take only 1D6, middling miracle rolls take 1D8, and major miracle rolls take 1D12.
  • If you want some sort of level progression with deities, make it so that upon every level the player chooses either minor, middling, or major miracles. Then they roll 1D6. If this result is higher than the current amount of miracles they have, they gain a new miracle in that category.
  • If the acolyte in question cast a minor miracle that resulted in a bad omen, they roll 2D6 on the awful omen table associated with their deity, and take the lowest result. If the acolyte cast a middling miracle, they roll 1D6 as normal on the awful omen table. If the acolyte cast a major miracle, they roll 2D6 on the awful omen table and take the highest result. This ensures that massive fuckups are truly massive, and just casting minor miracles doesn't result in terrible oblivion.
I really like these rules, they are simple enough and I can pretty much just hand out a small slip of paper with their deity and give it to them. This should give players a good temptation to use their weird powers they just got until they get a bad roll and things go awry. You just need to remember that being an acolyte to a deity is an important event, and divinity should be given out sparingly. 

Oh yeah, and if you were wondering about my awful omen tables, here's the format:
D6
Awful Omens
1-3
Weird, but not quite that bad yet and likely temporary or at least solvable soon.
4-5
A weird and detrimental long term effect.
6
Imminent death to you and possibly those dearest to you.

3 comments:

  1. First thought - rather than having 8 + 1d6 as the miracle limit, have a hard miracle limit (you'll have to do the maths to make it all equal) but it starts with 1d6 in it each morning.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well, that's proper terrifying.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is AWESOMELY CREEPY! Love it!

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