The Spiritual System
- Spirit is the essence from which Souls are formed.
- Most sentient beings have spirits (souls); animals do not.
- Gods are very powerful spirits which receive worship from other beings.
- Gods can be divided into Pantheons, i.e. the Seal, the Sword, and the Bone.
The Treasure Trap world features a number of Gods who have traditionally been divided into three pantheons, each headed by a single God.
Gods gain power through worship and by receiving the souls of their followers upon death. To further their goals they employ priests whom they empower with spirits to give them special powers, or “miracles” (see below).
Pantheons can be broken and formed through major player action; gods which are not in a pantheon are unaligned. Gods within pantheons have an ‘opposed’ god in each other pantheon. These are listed in the Book of Faiths.
The Book of Faiths contains a complete list of gods. It is not possible to gain power from any other god, and new gods can only be created through major player action. This is exceptionally unusual.
- Priests channel the power of the gods to exert influence over their souls, and other souls.
- Priests are the most common users of spiritual power.
- Priests channel the power of their God to cast miracles.
- Priests use a Holy Symbol of their God to focus their faith.
- Priests have 5 spirit to cast miracles with each day.
- Each miracle a priest has learnt costs 1 spirit to cast.
Whilst you do not have to be a priest to wield spiritual power, this is by far the most common way of doing so. For this reason, users of spiritual power are typically referred to as “Priests”. Priests use the power of their faith to cast Miracles in the name of their God. Each Miracle has a different effect, which are listed on the Miracles page.
Necessary Priest Skills
- ‘Spiritual Favour’ determines what levels of miracles are available to you.
- Devotion determines which god you follow, and which domains are available to you.
- Miracles are bought as skills.
In order to be a priest, you must buy ranks of ‘Spiritual Favour’. This puts you in tune with the spirits of the world. This process may begin at any time, with appropriate justification, during or after character generation. This also determines what level miracles you can purchase and cast. Spiritual Favor may not be bought above your character level. This skill also grants the ability to detect spirit.
Secondly, you must buy the skill ‘Devotion’. This skill determines which god you follow, and which miracle Domains are available to you. It is only bought once, and grants a pool of 2 spirit to cast miracles with, or 5 spirit if you have spiritual skills above level 1.
Finally, you must buy some miracles to cast. They require Spiritual Favour of equal level, as well as a few other restrictions covered in the “Learning Miracles” section.
- A Holy Symbol is an icon that a priest uses to focus their faith.
- A priest must be in contact with, or openly wearing, a holy symbol of their god in order to cast miracles.
- Each god has a single, unique holy symbol.
- A holy symbol must not be functional as a weapon or body part.
In order to focus their faith and cast miracles, priests use holy symbols - a small religious icon in the shape of something specific to their God. Whilst all gods have lots of iconography, their holy symbol is a single unique glyph or image.
Example: Mallanite iconography often contains red roses, chains and iron fists. Only the chain may be used as a holy symbol of Mallan, however.
Your character may tattoo or cut a holy symbol into their body. This is unusual, but sometimes used by the extremely devout.
The holy symbols of the gods are listed in the Book of Faiths.
- Each God issues a series of Strictures (commandments) to their followers.
- Failure to obey the strictures displeases your God.
- Priests must obey these strictures.
- Lay-worshippers suffer no effects for breaking the strictures.
“Strictures” are a number of phrases that embody the God’s will and desires. Lay-worshippers (faithful who are not priests) often try to live their lives according to them.
Priests must obey the strictures of their God if they wish to be considered a priest and cast miracles. If a priest breaks the strictures, they become either “Spirit-Burned” or “Spirit-Wracked” (see below).
Lay-worshippers suffer no mechanical effects from breaking the strictures, although they may incur the ire of the priests or spirits of their God.
The Strictures are deliberately ambiguous. Often, different priests may have different interpretations of the strictures without issue.
- Priests become Spirit-Burned for minor infractions against strictures, or stretching the rules to almost breaking point.
- A spirit-burned priest loses 1 point of spirit to cast with. This is a reduction to their maximum spirit, which takes effect at the end of the event.
- A priest can be spirit-burned up to 3 times. Each additional time above the first stacks, reducing their maximum spirit by 1 further point.
- A priest can easily remove 1 spirit-burn through zealously following their God’s strictures.
- Spirit-burning is a self-reffed system.
You should spirit-burn yourself whenever your character stretches the meaning of a stricture to avoid a problem, or whenever you feel like your character is acting very close to the line of what a stricture allows.
You should remove 1 spirit-burn whenever following a stricture non-trivially inconveniences your character, or whenever you commit a notable act for your God (eg: converting an NPC of equal level; slaying a priest of an opposed God; etc). Spirit-burn can be removed by downtime actions.
Spirit-burning is a self-reffed system intended to be “easy come, easy go”. Players should feel free to spirit-burn themselves, and free to remove their spirit-burn. Spirit-burn is a measure of how strict you are in obeying the strictures. If you commit a major offence, you may be spirit-wracked (see below).
- Priests become Spirit-Wracked if they break a god’s strictures.
- Spirit-wracked priests have their spirit pool reduced to 1, but may still cast miracles and use Devotion-based skills.
- Each time a spirit-wracked priest casts a miracle, they take an unblockable single to the head and chest which cannot be healed by any means.
- Spirit-wracked priests are immune to spirit-burn.
- A priest must atone for their sins if they wish to become un-spirit-wracked.
- Spirit-wracking will take effect when the priest next performs their daily prayer for spirit.
If a priest breaks the strictures of their god, then they become spirit-wracked. This usually occurs when they next pray for spirit, though in some cases it is immediate. Spirit-wracking is an extremely painful process, during which the priest loses most of their ability to cast miracles. In addition, any holy symbols the priest possesses burn white hot until removed. If the holy symbol was inscribed on a body location, that location is destroyed (as if reduced to -3 hits) over the course of 15 seconds unless the holy symbol is removed in some way first. Otherwise, the holy symbol is painful but causes no mechanical damage.
In order to become un-spirit-wracked, a priest must atone for their sins. This usually means making some major act of atonement, such as going on a quest to seek redemption. Atonement is handled by the ref team, and it is not possible to atone in downtime. The difficulty of atonement may depend on the God in question and on the severity or extent of the breaking of the strictures.
Note: Becoming spirit-wracked is sometimes self-reffing (the refs are not omniscient). If you believe that your character may have seriously broken a stricture, see a ref. Alternatively, you may choose to take the effects of a spirit-wrack immediately after you feel your character has seriously broken a stricture. In addition, if the ref team believes you have broken the strictures, they may spirit-wrack you in downtime.
- Each God grants access to miracles from a primary domain and 5 auxiliary domains. You may only learn miracles from your God’s domains.
- Miracles are bought as skills.
- Each miracle from the primary domain requires its level in Spiritual Favour, as well as all previous miracles from the primary domain.
- Each miracle in an auxiliary domain requires a miracle of the same level from the primary domain, as well as all previous miracles from the same domain.
- A character may only buy miracles from their deity’s primary domain and up to 3 of their deity’s auxiliary domains.
Each God has a list of domains they grant access to. A priest may only learn miracles from those domains. It is not possible to invent new miracles or learn miracles from other domains.
To learn a miracle, you must have enough ranks of Spiritual Favour and all previous miracles from that domain. Your primary domain miracle for each level will be granted when you buy Miraculous Power.
A priest may only learn miracles from a maximum of 4 of their God’s domains: The primary, and up to 3 auxiliaries.
- In order to cast a miracle, a priest must have a holy symbol, sufficient spirit, and speak the vocal. Miracles must call upon your God by name, with exceptions at ref consent.
- Some miracles have additional requirements; these will be listed in their descriptions.
- If you are hit whilst casting a miracle, the miracle does not fail. Miracles cannot be interrupted.
- All Miracles cost 1 spirit to cast.
- If the Miracle has a target other than yourself, you must clearly indicate who this is.
- Some touch miracles are considered ‘charge miracles’.
Most miracles only require the priest to have 1 Spirit, to speak the vocal, and to be in contact with a holy symbol of their god. Some miracles have additional requirements, such as brandishing a holy symbol or laying down ritual wards.
Once the miracle is successfully cast, the caster loses 1 Spirit regardless of whether or not the miracle affects the target.
If you take damage whilst casting a miracle, the miracle doesn’t fail and you may continue casting. However, effects which prevent movement or incapacitate the target may interrupt the casting of a miracle, depending on the requirements of the miracle. Eg: If you can’t speak, you can’t say the vocal to cast; if you are made blind then you can’t target ranged miracles; etc. In such a case, the Spirit that would have been used is not consumed. You may elect not to finish a vocal; if you do Spirit is not consumed and the miracle not cast.
Some touch miracles are able to ‘charge’ - the caster may cast them in advance, ad-libbing the vocal to extend it if necessary - and then, after casting the miracle, they have ten seconds to touch their target, at which point they should call out the name of the effect. Should the caster not touch their target, nothing happens, but the Spirit used to cast the miracle is still used.
- A priest can, at any time, voluntarily remove a miracle they previously cast: removal of the miracle requires a short incantation and costs no Spirit. The caster must be in contact with the affected character/object. Only active miracles can be removed: the effects of instant miracles (e.g. Harm II; Regeneration) cannot be removed.
- An active miracle automatically ends if the spirit of a priest passes on after death. This does not destroy any undead the priest may have created.
- You must speak the miracle vocal loud enough for nearby people to hear.
- Vocals must be appropriate to the effect of the miracle.
- Vocals must call upon the relevant God and/or its Spirits.
- If the Miracle has a target other than yourself, you must clearly indicate who this is.
- If the miracle is a “group” miracle, the vocal must contain the name of your battlegroup (see Battlegroups, below).
- All vocals for miracles must be at least five words long.
Miracle vocals must call upon the God in question. Many Gods have a number of names or epithets; consult a Ref if you wish to use an unusual name for your chosen God.
Miracle vocals must contain at least 5 words, call upon the relevant god, and be appropriate to the miracle’s effect. The vocals are followed by an activation phrase, which clearly informs the target(s) about what has happened as a result of the miracle being cast. This will be listed in the miracle description.
For example, a possible vocal for the miracle “Befriend” could be “By the power of Cyranis, Befriend”.
For miracles which cause direct damage, the activation phrase should include a damage call at the end, as noted in the miracle description.
Example: Alexei casts Spirit Bolt. His player calls: “By the power of Bast, Spirit Bolt SPIRIT TWO.”
Note that the miracle vocal and initial part of the activation phrase are both considered IC speech, while any damage call, and other obviously OC calls such as ‘2’, are OC utterances.
When the target of a miracle is not immediately clear, it is useful to state the name of the character or player you are targeting at the end of your miracle vocal. You may need to repeat the miracle's activation phrase if they did not hear you originally; you do not need to cast the miracle again.
- A battle group is a group of people fighting with a priest, all of whom are blessed by the priest.
- A battle group contains the priest, and up to one additional person per rank of the “Battle Group” skill that the priest has.
- A battle group is named when the first additional person is added to the group by the priest, each day.
- The vocal for any “group” miracle must include the name of the battle group.
- A priest may join another priest’s battle group, and there is no limit to the number of battle groups one person may be in.
- The contents of each priest’s battle group empties at dawn. A person can be added to a battle group with a short ritual, if the group has space for an additional person.
A priest with the “Battle Group” skill can add people to their battle group with a short ritual. They then remain in the priest’s battle group until dawn, when the group empties again.
Each battle group needs a name, which should be unique to the priest. You must tell each member of your battle group this name when you add them to the battle group.
When you cast a group miracle, you must loudly and clearly mention the name of the battle group in the vocal. This informs everyone around you who takes the miracle’s effects.
One person can be in multiple battle groups, even if they’re a priest with their own battle group.
- Priests may regain spirit once per day.
- They must conduct a daily ritual observance in order to do so.
- All priests perform their ritual at dawn.
In order to regain their spirit, priests must conduct a ritual observance once per day. Each pantheon conducts the ritual at the same time: dawn. If you are time-in at dawn, you may conduct the ritual in character in order to regain spirit. It should be a short role-played religious observance appropriate to the God your character follows. You should perform the ritual in the presence of a ref.
Any miracle with a duration of longer than 5 minutes requires an investiture of spirit for its duration. You will be unable to regain that power until the first daily ritual after the effect has ended.
- Priests of the same pantheon can freely share spirit.
- Both priests must be conscious and consenting for this to work.
- The priest giving spirit must have more ranks of “Spiritual Favour” than the priest gaining spirit for this to work.
Priests of the same pantheon can freely pass spirit between them. This process is known as “power melding”, and can be performed so long as both parties are conscious and consenting.
You cannot take more spirit than the target has remaining, nor more than you are currently missing from your total.
For a power meld to work, you must touch the other priest. You must perform a short ritual stating that you are power melding with the priest giving spirit. The priest giving spirit must inform you, OC, of how much spirit they are willing to donate. The priest giving spirit must have more ranks of Spiritual Favour than you. This means that power melds can only pass spirit from someone with a higher Spiritual Favour, to someone with a lower Spiritual Favour.
Priests of gods outside a pantheon can only power meld with other priests of the same god.
- A priest can bestow a miracle on another.
This skill enables the character to give a single miracle to one other character to use as he or she sees fit. No character may bestow more than one miracle at a time. This bestowal comes with certain conditions, including requiring the beneficiary to respect the god’s strictures. See the skill list for a full description of this skill.
Mind Control Miracles
- Some gods grant the Mind Control domain. If the target of a mind control miracle falls unconscious the miracle continues to act on the target.
These effects work normally on unconscious people, though in most cases this will probably have no immediate effect. Being knocked unconscious does not break any mind control effects you are under. You are still affected when you wake up unless the duration of the miracle has ended.
- Some people channel the spirit in their own soul to influence others. This is called spiritualism.
- Some priests are also spiritualists.
- Spiritualism doesn’t require a holy symbol.
- The spiritualism skills, are those that require “Spiritual Favour”, but don’t require “Devotion”.
- Spiritualism is used in 5 main ways: Detection; Martial Spirit; Blessings; Curses; and Laying to Rest.
Laying to Rest
- It is known that when a person dies, their soul generally lingers in the body for hours, days, or even longer before drifting on. “Laying to rest” is a short ritual performed over the body of the deceased which sends it to a deity.
- All spiritualists with the skill can lay souls to rest in the name of the Balance, Oblivion, or any Death God.
- All priests may additionally lay souls to rest in the name of their deity.
- To lay someone to rest, you must perform a short rite over the body of the dead.
- This ritual sends the soul to the named destination.
It is known that when a person dies, their soul generally lingers in the body for hours, days, or even longer, before drifting off to Oblivion. “Laying to rest” is a short ritual performed over the body of the deceased which sends their soul, instead, to a deity.
The ritual to lay a soul to rest must include the words “I lay you to rest in the name of _____”. If this ritual is interrupted, it must be started again.
Spiritualists may lay anyone to rest, attempting to send the soul on to the declared destination. In the case of the Death Gods, it’s assumed that they send the faithful on to their chosen God, if they share a pantheon.
If the rite is successful, the soul immediately leaves the body. Once this occurs, certain abilities no longer work on the target. In addition, the body cannot be raised as an undead.
- The first 2 ranks of Martial Spirit use spiritualism to assist priests with casting miracles, and don’t assist spiritualism.
- The 3rd rank allows spiritualists to empower spiritual weapons.
- A spiritualist may spiritually empower a flawless weapon.
- A spiritually empowered weapon deals spirit damage.
The first rank of Martial Spirit allows priests to deliver charges of touch miracles with weapons. The maximum weapon size this can be done with increases with Spiritual Favour.
The second rank of Martial Spirit allows priests to cast miracles while both hands are busy using weapons and shields.
Spiritually empowered weapons are attuned to the priest who empowers them. A priest may only empower one such weapon at a time, and the weapon in question must be of flawless quality. The weapon deals spirit damage and becomes immune to magical item destruction (e.g. the “Shatter” spell).
Empowered weapons require an additional ‘empowerment’ lammy to be attached to the weapon phys-rep.
Bless and Curse
- Blessings and Curses are spiritual powers that provide a positive or negative effect: either granting minor protection for a day, or increasing damage taken.
- Blessings use the positive aspects of the spiritualist’s soul, curses use the negative. As such, it is impossible for a spiritualist to have the ability to both bless and curse people.
- Final Blessing and Dying Curse are advanced techniques that use the shock of death to bestow almost permanent effects.
- A spiritualist may not bless or curse themselves.
- A person may only be affected by one bless and one curse at a time. With blessings, they may choose whether to keep or replace the old one. With curses, Dying Curse trumps all, and older Dying Curses beat newer ones.
A spiritualist may use the power of their own soul to protect people or hinder them. This is known as blessing and cursing, respectively. Blessing usually involves celebrating someone’s virtues and encouraging them to continue. Cursing usually involves loudly denouncing someone and charging them to change their ways.
Blessings provide spiritual protection to the person receiving them. This provides 1 point of spirit armour, and is restored after 5 minutes of rest out of combat for the rest of the day.
Curses amplify incoming damage on the target. The cursed individual takes an extra point of damage the next time that they are injured.
A character can perform a number of blessings equal to their rank in Bless each day. A character can perform a number of curses equal to their rank in Curse every 5 minutes.
If you’ve learnt the skills for Final Blessing or Dying Curse, then when you die, your soul may later appear to another character for a short time, during which you may bless or curse people. Blessing or Cursing people in this way is permanent, so long as they follow a stricture or have yet to complete a task. You should talk to the refs to decide on what this stricture or task should be.
A good example of Final Blessing would be Obi-wan Kenobi talking to Luke after death, encouraging him to follow the Force. A good example of Dying Curse would be Jacob Marley appearing to Scrooge, tasking him to change his ways before it’s too late.
Life Drain (sometimes known OC as Level Drain) is a spiritual attack used by certain types of undead, which can also occur as a side effect of some miracles and geomantic rituals.
The effect of this is that the target immediately loses 1 hit from each location, which cannot be healed, and deals 1 degree less damage.
When the character next wakes up, they have lost the last 60XP that they earned, losing all skills in those 60XP. Unspent XP is lost before spent XP. The other effects of Life Drain are removed.
The effects of multiple Life Drains are cumulative, and may eventually kill a character if they are reduced to below 1st level.