Fading Suns and Flaming Heresies
Unlike psychic powers, theurgy rituals do not have paths; characters simply learn the individual rituals at their required levels and do not need to buy a lower level first.
Since theurgy is more restrictive in its use (requiring liturgy, gestures, prayer, etc..) and less flexible, it tends to have a bit more bang for its buck per level than psychic powers. It lasts longer also (average one span, but some are instant); see the power description for each ritual. Unlike psychics, theurgists may not extend the range and duration, or add more targets, by spending Wyrd points.
Rituals have one or more of the following three components used during the casting (not duration) of the rite:
• Liturgy (L): Words must be spoken. Some rites call for long orations, others for a simple prayer.
• Gestures (G): Symbols and signs must be traced in the air or on the object of the ritual. This could be a simple cross or a complex rune.
• Prayer (P): The priest must meditate for the rite. This can be a short moment of concentration or an hours-long trance.
A ritual can be performed without its components, but the theurgist suffers a -3 penalty to his goal roll. (Thus, an Eskatonic priest can still use liturgical or gestural theurgy when bound and gagged.)
Vestments can add to the goal roll of certain theurgy rites. Below are some vestments and the types of theurgy rites in which they are effective. When used in a rite in which it is effective, a vestment will add +1 to the goal roll. Extra vestments can be used for more bonuses; add +1 for every two additional vestments.
Official Church vestments, blessed and properly prepared, are made theurgically potent with the Sanctification or Consecration rites.
|Vestment||Type of Rite|
|Miter (Rank 4+)||Wisdom (Divine Revelation, Tongues of Babel)|
|Crosier (Rank 3+)||Command, Leadership (Devotional Liturgy, Exorcism)|
|Robes||Protection (Armor of the Pancreator)|
|Censor||Cleansing (Cleansing, Consecration)|
|Jumpgate Cross||Morale, Avert (Dispersing the Darkness, Fearsome Majesty)|
|Water||Healing (Laying on of Hands, Healing Hand of Saint Amalthea)|
|Rosary Bead||Concentration, Meditation (Righteous Assignation of Penance, Righteous Fervor)|
Some holy relics or vestments can hold Wyrd or allow the wielder to perform a rite she has not learned. Anything can be a relic, as long as it was involved in some faithful task in the past (consecrating it for its theurgic task). Some effects are:
• Wyrd Tabernacle: The relic may act as a Wyrd pool, storing Wyrd points. These points may be extracted and used each roll by the wielder with a Faith + Focus roll; the maximum which may be used is equal to the victory points. Once these points have been used, the Tabernacle must be recharged with Wyrd from a willing sacrificer (one point per point expended). This requires a ceremony and a Theurgy + Focus roll; the maximum that may be stored during that ceremony is equal to the victory points. Such tabernacles are created with the 8th level Eskatonic rite of Investiture.
• Saint’s Lore: The relic is invested with one or more theurgy rituals, usable by anyone wielding the relic. These relics are very rare, for the only known method of investing objects with ritual lore is by miracle; the object was invariably the former possession of a saint, whose deeds were so faithful and memorable that the object still remembers them and can repeat them. A Saint’s Lore relic can be combined with a Wyrd Tabernacle. The required amount of Wyrd points for the rite must still be spent by the wielder. As an example, a finger bone of Saint Rasmussen might have Avert Evil (Level Three) and Devotion (Level One).
• Article of Faith: This type of relic can aid the faithful in their ritual tasks. Like a vestment, this relic adds to a character’s goal roll when performing a ritual. It is specific to a certain ritual (such as rosary beads which aid Second Sight). To gain the bonus, the character must hold the article during performance of the rite. Such articles are created with the 8th level Sanctification rite.
Casting Multiple Rituals
A person can potentially be under the spell of multiple rites per turn. In other words, a Brother Battle could cast upon himself Soul’s Vessel, Armor of the Pancreator, Liturgy of the Wrathful Host and Smiting Hand. However, each rite after the first costs one extra Wyrd point to cast. In addition, casting so many powers upon oneself is vain act; each extra rite increases the chance of gaining Hubris should a casting fail miserably.
Every time a theurgist fumbles a theurgy rite casting roll, he must roll Theurgy + Focus or else gain a level of Hubris. Casting multiple rites enacts penalties on this roll:
Each rite thereafter adds an additional -2 penalty.
A theurgist may cancel any of his active rites anytime he chooses with but a gesture.
Rites targeted against a person’s will provide an exception to this rule, such as the Avestite Sting of Conscience. If these rites are not successfully contested, they affect the target regardless of the number of rituals active upon him. They are not counted against a person’s active rites and do not necessarily cost extra Wyrd points or add to the chance of gaining Hubris. If their effects contradict active rituals, they are deemed to take precedence and dampen the first rite (which still lasts for its duration, but may not take effect until the invasive rite’s duration is over).
Some rites will compete and offset each other. For instance, a Brother Battle under the spell of Soul’s Vessel adds three to any rolls involving athletic feats. If an Avestite casts Tortures of the Damned upon him, the Brother would still gain his +3 bonus, but it would be offset by the painful wound penalties enacted by the Avestite rite.
Religion is a group activity; so are its rituals. While theurgy is usually cast by a single priest, many priests can band together to increase the effectiveness of their rites.
When one or more priests joins together in a rite, use the following guidelines:
• One theurgist is designated the rite leader while all others are participants. Theurgists can only actively participate in rituals they each already know. Thus, if two priests join in casting a Prophet’s Holy Blessing rite, each must already have learned the rite.
• There is no limit to the number of theurges who can join in a single rite. However, gamemasters should use common sense before packing a room full of theurges — such spiritual experts are not common in the first place, and when two or more get together there is no guarantee that they will know the same rites.
• Members of different sects can sometimes learn the same ritual. However, methods of casting may differ from sect to sect. If a rite has participants of multiple sects (even if it’s just one Amalthean among two Eskatonics), reduce all participants’ goal numbers by one.
• Group rites can extend the range and/or number of targets that the rite may affect. Choose only ONE of the following options before resolving the casting roll:
The number of targets which the rite affects can be doubled with each participant. If two priests cast a rite which is normally effective only against a single target, it can now affect two targets. If three priests are involved, it can affect three targets. If the rite normally affects five people, 10 can be affected with one additional rite participant, 20 with a third, and so on. The Wyrd cost increases by one per extra target added.
The range of the rite can be increased with each participant in the rite. Refer to the Distance listing in the Psychic Powers Chart: each participant raises the rite by one level. For example, a “touch” ranged rite may be raised to “sight” with the addition of one participant, or to one kilometer with three participants, and so on. The Wyrd cost increases by one per distance level gained.
If the ritecasters desire to increase the range AND the number of targets, then EACH rite participant (including the rite leader) must spend one additional Wyrd point.
• The rite participants can donate as much or as little Wyrd to fuel the power as they desire. For instance, the rite leader may spend 1 Wyrd to activate the power, while one of the participants spends 2 to extend the range. Such expenditures can be done in any combination desired. However, those participants who don’t contribute their fare share of energy may be reprimanded later.
• Each participant makes her casting roll and applies any victory points to the rite leader’s goal number (as per normal complementary skill rolls). This may raise the rite leader’s goal number above 20; use the Excessive Goal Numbers Chart.
Only the rite leader’s roll is used to determine the success or failure of the rite itself. Participant failures do not adversely affect the rite leader’s casting, but any critical failure will automatically cause the rite to fail (additional ill effects can be levied at the gamemaster’s discretion).