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Author Topic: Divine Magic on Gothic Earth  (Read 3466 times)


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Divine Magic on Gothic Earth
« on: August 07, 2022, 06:00:50 PM »
Divine Magic on Gothic Earth

While we previously used various third party D20 system sources to detail the game mechanics of Gothic Earth's religions, these were at times inaccurate or contradicting. These sources are no longer considered valid. This thread therefore aims to revise and streamline the rules for divine casters from the Masque of the Red Death setting.

Gothic Earth, not Earth
While the Masque of the Red Death setting draws inspiration from the real world, it makes no pretense of being a faithful representation of it. Always remember that clerics of any of Gothic Earth's religions within our server are not meant to be accurate portrayals of their real life counterparts. That being said, it is our commitment as a community to be mindful of people's religious beliefs in regards to real life religion as this can be a very sensitive topic. If you elect to play a believer in one of Gothic Earth's religions, you have a responsibility to portray the faith in a respectful manner. Harmful stereotypes will not be tolerated.

Divine magic on Gothic Earth
Divine magic works very differently on Gothic Earth. The Red Death tainted all forms of magic and notably prevents all connections between priests and their gods. This goes beyond not feeling the presence of their god, it also prevents priests and their ilk from receiving any divine powers or spellcasting abilities from their deity. To some the silence of the gods means that they are either dead or purposefully left the world to its own devices. The truth is a matter of philosophical debate no one will ever elucidate.

Divine spells on Gothic Earth are cast, not necessarily out of religious fervor, but through the practice of Mysticism. It is a practice fraught with danger as it requires to commune with spirits that may, or not, be malevolent. This leaves mystics susceptible to corruption and the possibility of becoming a minion of the Red Death. All forms of magic are notoriously unreliable and may backfire on the caster in horrible ways. As such, magic of all kind is feared and vilified by the vast majority of the population. It is cautiously practiced only in secret. Mystic is its own class in the Masque of the Red Death setting and isn't supported on this server. Clerics originating from that setting are not considered mystics and would not have been able to cast spells while on Gothic Earth. On the other hand, Voodan and shamanism are considered forms of mysticism and their practitioners can cast spells and use powers while on Gothic Earth. They seldom do so as it remains extremely perilous to cast magic.

Discovering divine magic once on Ravenloft
Another important point to understand is that the obfuscation of the communications between gods and priests left the latter without clear directions. This is further complicated by the fact that priests do not receive powers from their gods to confirm whether they still have their blessings or not. For a very long time people have been left to interpret the scriptures of their faiths on their own, thus leading to multiple, and at times, contradicting interpretations. Myriads of factions now exist, each led by charismatic figures with their own agendas. This has caused countless issues from religious schisms to holy wars. Priests (as in the title, not a character class) of any Gothic Earth religions may therefore be of any alignment, but not all of them would gain divine powers once on Ravenloft.

The alignment rule still applies. To acquire spell powers once on Ravenloft, a divine caster must have an alignment that is within one rank of their patron deity's alignment and must reasonably uphold the core tenets of their faith.

Gothic Earth divine casters fulfilling all the requirements should not realize right away that they are now granted spell powers. They are not affected by the sense of loneliness clerics of other settings experience entering the Mists as their connection to their gods was already severed and the Dark Powers still limit it. There is no clear rule as to how or when this revelation occurs. You are invited to take a roleplay approach to this, since it is left at the player's discretion. Consider the impact on your character of suddenly being able to perform miracles.

The paradox of religions on Gothic Earth and their counterparts in the Multiverse
From a setting point of view, the Red Death has been on Gothic Earth since around 2700 B.C.E. and has increasingly been cutting off the world from the rest of the D&D Multiverse since then. Technically speaking, very few religions would actually have had the time to develop before the Red Death effectively severed the connection between the faithful and their deities. This begs the question: how would religions develop, after the arrival of the Red Death, similarly both on Gothic Earth and in the rest of the Multiverse? There is no definitive answer to this paradox. Perhaps these deities just found an indirect way to influence the world, or perhaps the faiths of people on Gothic Earth first gave substance to their divine essences before some of them made themselves known in other worlds. No one knows, and it would not be something people would realize anyway. Gothic Earth divine casters whose faith is pure that find themselves in the Mists of Ravenloft will get their spell powers.

Another such paradox concerns the Aztec pantheon. In the D&D multiverse it is recognized as a standard pantheon of gods. On Gothic Earth though, the ancient Aztec deities are neither dead, nor are they gods. They are actually monsters of great and unfathomable powers. Though to mortals the difference is moot. What else would people call monstrous beings with such fantastic powers? What else could decimate an entire civilization? Gothic Earth clerics of Aztec gods would not know the difference, and the veil cast by the Dark Powers will provide them with no revelation of their nature. In effect, both Aztec clerics of Gothic Earth and from elsewhere in the Multiverse finding themselves in Ravenloft receive the same clerical powers regardless of the actual source.

About the Cthulhu Mythos
Although dormant at this time, the Great Old Ones are considered as having been present on Gothic Earth eons prior to the arrival of the Red Death. Secretive cultist cells are scattered across the world. A Gothic Earth cleric may therefore pick one of the Great Old Ones as its patron deity.

Faiths of Gothic Earth
With the exception of the Abrahamic religions for which we use our own version and the Gothic Earth Voodan for which we use the rules from Green Ronin's Skull & Bones, Gothic Earth religions are limited to those that have been published in proper D&D sources. Clerics from Gothic Earth may therefore be of the following faiths:
« Last Edit: February 19, 2024, 08:16:32 AM by MAB77 »
Best Regards!

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