L5R High Fantasy Rule Rewrite
Deities and Prayers
Deities and there servants
While there are Gods and Goddesses in the world. There are more than just them that can answer the prayers of mortals. To simplify this, all beings that are able to grant blessings, curses or answer prayers will be called Deities. The most prominent of these Deities are Gods, Ancient Fae and Elemental Sovereigns.
Those that chooses to serve a deity has many different titles, for Gods and Goddesses their servants are known as Priests, Holy Warriors or Cleric’s, while those that follow Elemental Sovereigns and Ancient Fae are more commonly referred to as Shamans, Seers or Soothsayers. But in this chapter we will refer to all such followers as priests for simplicity’s sake.
Why a mortal chooses to serve a deity in such a close fashion varies between each of the faithful. Some do it for powers, other because they have found greater purpose with the deity, while some simply feel a call to serve. Regardless of reason, all priests follow their Deities tenets, and work to spread the knowledge of their deity and their faith. Through preaching their Deities word, demonstrating the wonders they bring through miracles and prayers or a myriad of different ways. The path a faithful varies for each and everyone, yet all who tread these paths walk with the mightiest of allies and bear the arms of their Deity.
No matter what kind of Deity, all have Domains. Domains are the areas of concern, interest or responsibility of a Deity. Some that they have selected themselves, others have been applied to them by mortals. Understanding what Domains a Deity has allows a mortal to adjust their behaviour to either avoid angering the Deity or to gain it’s favour. Besides evading curses or other misfortunes, knowing the Domains also grants a person a good guideline on how to act around the priesthood of that specific Deity.
While each Deities Domains may appear different, many have underlying similarities. For example, Urrvos is the god of Weapons and Igdyl is the god of Strategy, both are different. But they share a link, as both often finds use in conflicts. They’re aligned by their domains mutual connection to conflict. This is called Domain Alignment and it is used to determine if a prayer is something that a deity could manifest or if it the prayer could gain any additional bonuses. The full list of the existing Domain alignments can be found in the 1.1 Table. Prayers that are Universal are accessible by any Priest regardless of Domain Alignment.
Domain Alignment Chart 1.1
Prayers is an invocation or act that seeks to achieve a rapport between the one praying and a Deity. Prayers can be done either individually or communal and can take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words, song or rhyme. When spoken a prayer can take the form of a hymn, incantation, spoken loudly, or shouted by the person. A person that prayers might do so for the purpose of worship, asking for guidance or requesting assistance. Thus, people pray for many reasons such as personal benefit or for the sake of others.
While the common folk pray vigorously for protection from many different ailments such as disease, natural disaster or famine, most prayers are answered in an indirect manner or the effects appears subtly. But when a priests prayers for aid, the Deity can answer in a more direct fashion, often in a spectacular way. Glowing light, objects shaking, the feeling of a mighty presence close by, a brilliant aura around the priest or the deity’s symbol flashing above them. Of course a priest that offends his deity in some way will suffer far harder than other people. One way or another all priest must spends at least one hour a day rehearsing any prayers he knows and doing things that would please his deity, the exact time during the day varies between religions.
A priest can call on their deity’s power reciting a prayer and rolling Religion / one Favoured Trait’s (Prayer) beating the Prayers TN (5 + 5 x the prayers mastery level), the priest must also have a copy of their deity’s symbol present and visible, If no symbol is presence then the prayers TN is increased by an additional 10. If he succeeds then his deity grands his prayer. If he fails then his deity considers the prayer to be unneeded, but if he fails and rolls a natural one then he has angered his deity and might need to seek forgiveness. The more natural ones rolled the more angry the deity is. Exact effect is left to GM’s discretion.
When a priest prayers he must take his time and make certain to show proper respect. Thus all prayers have a casting time equal to its mastery level in complex actions. A priest can call a raise in order to reduce the casting time by one complex action per raise. How ever, this can appear very disrespectful to their deity and its not uncommon for priests that try to rush through their prayers, simply end up getting cursed instead. If a priest tries to rush his prayer then he will anger his deity if he rolls a natural one, regardless if he succeeds on the roll or not. If he rolls a natural one and fails on his roll the GM should give a hefty penalty, right after the prayer or some times later.
A priest can, in theory, invoke the powers of his deity any number of times. The divine power only halting once the Deity grows tired from answering too many Prayers. This can result in the Deity simply not answering the priest, in the best of cases or with backlash in the worst case. To represent this, each priest has a set number of Prayer Slots available to him each day, seen as the Deity’s tolerance and willingness to answer the priest prayers. The number of Prayer Slots available to him each day is equal to one Favoured Trait multiplied by his Religion Skill and to be able to invoke a Prayer a Priest must meet all the requirements listed on the Prayer. Also each time a prayer is invoked it cost an number of Slots equal to it’s Master Level, if the Priest fails the Prayer Roll the required Slots are still considered to have been used. These slots are restored every 24 hours.
Once a priest uses up all his Prayer Slots, he can still invoke prayers. But he starts to accumulate disfavour with his Deity. Every prayer cast after running out of Prayer Slots gives the Priest a number of Disfavour equal to the Prayer Master level. The Disfavour is still acquired even if the prayer fails. Whenever Disfavour is gained, consult the table bellow and if the priest reaches a new rank, apply the stated effect immediately after the Prayer resolves.
Disfavour is removed slowly, one point each day. Sacrifices of a Deity’s favoured objects can be used to remove one additional Disfavour. Other acts of worship can also remove Disfavour, exactly what and how much is left up to the Game Master discretion. If the Priest gains any additional Disfavour when he has Disfavour remaining, he adds all Disfavour he already had, starting him on a higher amount. As such a priest that constantly ends up on the Disfavour table will find his Deity becoming harder and harder to invoke.
It’s a common practice among the faithful to pray together. It also makes it easier to call upon the power of their deity. When two or more priests decide to pray together they receive one free raise towards additional effects for every additional person above one. However if one of the priest’s fail their Religion / Favoured Trait (Prayer) roll then all the free raises are lost, but those that succeeds on their roll still succeed. The penalties gained from a high Disfavour score is applied to every participate when doing a Communal Prayer.
|1||The TN of all Prayers is increased by 3.|
|5||The Priest no longer receive the benefits from his Prayer Emphasis when invoking prayers. Prayers with a Mastery Level of 1, 2 or 3 gives one more Disfavour.|
|10||The Priest can no longer take advantage of any Alignment bonuses he would normally receive.|
|13||The TN of all Prayers is increased from 3 to 5.|
|15||If the priest has any Divine Advantages or Boons that was granted by his Deity, he looses them temporarily as long has he has 15 or more Disfavour.|
|17||The Duration of all Prayers is halved, rounded up.|
|20||The TN of all Prayers is increased from 5 to 7.|
|23||The Priest will only recover half of his total amount of Prayer Slots as long as he has 23 or more Disfavour. Prayers with a Mastery Level of 1, 2 or 3 gives one more Disfavour, this stacks with the previous increase.|
|25||The Priest must immediately after rolling his prayer roll, make a Fear Check against a Fear rating equal to the Prayers Master Level. If he fails the roll by 15 or more he cannot cast any more prayers for the rest of the day, as he feels the fury of his Deity. If the Priest fails the Fear roll but not by 15, he still fails to invoke the prayer and suffers all normal penalties gained from failing a Fear Check.|
|27||The TN of all Prayers is increased from 7 to 10.|
|30||Any Prayers currently active that was invoked by the priest immediately ends and the Priest cannot recover any Prayer Slots as long as he has 30 or more Disfavour.|
|35+||The priest can not invoke any more Prayers until he loses all the Disfavour he has acquired.|
Obtaining new Prayers
There are no proper right way to pray, but over the century’s the faithful has found that certain prayers allow them to more easily gain succour from their god. These prayer are written down in various scrolls or books and if a priest wants to learn a new prayer he must ether travel to a temple, shrine or another place of worship and request access to there archive. In the event that a priest’s request is denied by the temple leader, the priest is expected to respect the head priest’s decision and not push the issue. If the priest is granted permission to learn the prayer, he must spend some days within the temples library. For any new prayer, a priest must spend at least two days times the prayers mastery level dedicated only to his studies, with few other duties or tasks. Upon completion of his studies, the priest has learnt enough and made a few copies of the prayer to take with him to rehears.
If a priest wishes to make a completely new prayer he must spend the prayers mastery level times twelve hours working on it. Once the studies are complete the priest must test his prayer and see if it is pleasing to his deity. He does this by rolling a Religion / the prayers required trait (Prayer) against a TN of 10 + 10 x the prayers mastery level. If he succeeds then his deity considers the prayer worthy and he can now use it. If he fails then the prayer is useless in it’s current form and either needs to be scrapped or reworked. Reworking a prayer takes only half the normal time, but if it fails again there is a chance of a curse or some other misfortunes, of course the prayer must be remade from the ground up. Any new successful prayers that a priest makes are required to be shared with any temple that shares his Deity the priest comes across.
The descriptions of individual Prayer contain the following information:
Mastery Level: This indicates the Mastery Level of the Prayer. It determines the difficulty of the Prayer roll required to invoke the Prayer, learning the prayer ot making a completely new prayer.
Range: This indicates the maximum possible distance the Prayer’s effect can reach. The notation Personal indicates that the prayer originates from the priest and affects an area described in the Area of Effect descriptor.
Area of Effect: This describes either the area that the effect covers, or the target of the prayer (if it specifically targets something). The notation Self indicates that the effect is limited to the priest.
Duration: This describes how long the prayer lasts, either in rounds or by a specific time interval. Instantaneous indicates that the prayer happens in an instant, with no duration beyond its immediate effect.
Requirement: This describes what is necessary, if any, to have in order to cast the prayer, it could be the favoured weapon or a sacred object to one’s deity, proper attire, a sacrifice (sacrifices are always used up regardless of the prayers out come), a specific way or praying or consumption of a holy substance. For each missing requirement the TN is increased by 5. If it has an alignment requirement then the priests must be a follower of a Deity who has at least one of the required alignments, otherwise the spell will be unavailable to him. If there’s no listed requirement then none is required.
Alignment Bonuses: If the priests deity has one or more of the required alignment’s then the priest receives a bonus on their prayer of his choice for each additional alignment that is listed beyond the first one required to use the prayer. For example, if a priest of Gaia makes use of a prayer with the requirement that the Deity has either Knowledge, Creation or Protection alignment. He would receive two alignment bonuses of his choice because Gaia exceeds the requirement by two. The priest can pick the same bonus more than once.