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Old 03-20-2023, 04:20 PM   #21
Join Date: Jun 2022
Default Re: Forbidden Magic, Fantasy Religions, and other Thoughts

Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
If Power Investiture exists, there must be a real deity (or equivalent being) providing it, otherwise it's Magery.
False. This situation is exactly what the 'etc' was for in this sentence: "A deity – god, demon lord, great spirit, cosmic power, etc. – has empowered you to cast “clerical” spells."

The only differences between RAW Power Investiture and Magery (mechanically speaking) is that PI has a restricted spell list, spells have an altered prerequisite chain (usually being levels of PI rather than anything else, however that is not set in stone), and PI has different ways of removing or depowering it.

Originally Posted by Arith Winterfell View Post
Hmm. What about the priesthood and the power of collective faith granting that investment of power into an individual?
Perfectly adequate. However as the removal should tend to be delayed and would (generally) require those who can cast the depowering ritual to do so (and presumably have reason to do so), PI should cost more.

How much more? Eh.... depends on your world.

However, if you are also requiring Religious Rank to access higher levels of Power Investiture, for instance the character gains the Rank and has a new empowering ritual as part of the rank increase ceremony, then I wouldn't increase the price at all.
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Old 03-20-2023, 06:53 PM   #22
Arith Winterfell
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Indiana, United States
Default Re: Forbidden Magic, Fantasy Religions, and other Thoughts

Yes, as some here have already noted.

I actually really like the idea Winged Kagouti suggested, with PI starting a its highest level with its highest religious rank, then PI diminishes as it is bestowed on progressively lower ranks. So Religious Rank is intertwined with PI as PI is bestowed ritually by a priest with a higher rank. Each circle you ascend, gives one an initiation to a ritual that grants one increased level of PI.

Now comes one good question about the start of the whole thing then. I imagined the earliest founders were especially holy men and women whose access to divine spells resulted from very strong belief in them by the people. But perhaps not.

But to borrow a bit more from the Fear & Hunger video game, perhaps the earliest founders were people who embarked on an epic quest for enlightenment and attained a portion of cosmic power as a result. In Fear & Hunger, *spoilers* humans could become gods by sitting upon a golden throne in the hidden lost city of the gods. The trouble is, these human gods would eventually tire and get replaced. And as gods existed outside of time and space, their time as divinities gets rewritten and replaced with a new timeline. It's a neat concept, though I'm not sure I want to go that way fully.

That said, I find the very idea of socially constructed magically powered religions that lack direct cosmic guidance to be something really interesting.

Another idea that I'm playing with is perhaps it starts with wizards. Ancient wizards who were powerful enough to get people to believe they were god-kings. As a result these first human-based religions were a result of these early wizards accessing shared belief as a new power source. They didn't become literal gods, but socially and politically were that in ancient times. In turn their power changed them, allowing them to pass down their power to successors who became the first high priests who carried on their religion passing the spark down the generations.

Yet another third idea I'm playing with, goes back to the pre-human old gods. Perhaps the first human-based religions started when certain humans quested and stole a portion of that cosmic power (not becoming true gods), but founding their religions based on their ideals opposed to the cruelty of the inhuman old gods.

Then an extension of that. Perhaps holding on to that cosmic power is ultimately corruptive (metaphorically and physically) as the human body isn't meant to hold that kind of power directly. So highest ranking priests pass their power down to the next in line on their death. PI secretly becomes part of a training hierarchy. It not only spreads the power around a little bit, but prepares the next in line to progressively handle more and more cosmic energy with each step up the ladder. With the highest ranking priest passing on and keeping the secret original source of the power (and the lack of real human gods) for the good of the people with the passing of a "sacred" spark.

This is turning into some really interesting world building!
"To handle a language skillfully is to practice a kind of evocative sorcery."
~ Charles Baudelaire
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Old 03-20-2023, 06:58 PM   #23
ehrbar's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default Re: Forbidden Magic, Fantasy Religions, and other Thoughts

Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Not all churches will go along with such things.

In early Christianity, there was a belief called Donatism. It held that if you were faced with martyrdom for your faith, and accepted it, and then were saved, you had proved your faith and thus were automatically a priest—in effect, you were a living saint. It was declared a heresy.
That's not how I recall it. What the Donatists held was that if someone was faced with martyrdom for the faith, and instead buckled under, they were now severed from the Church, and could never in the future perform valid sacraments or exercise teaching authority. The mainline Church initially simply held that the repentant could be restored fully to the Church, and thus repentant priests and bishops were valid priests and bishops.

Later Augustine, reacting to the Donatists, developed the whole idea that the spiritual state of the minister of the sacrament didn't matter, because the sacrament was from God.
Steven E. Ehrbar

GURPS Technomancer resources. Including The Renegade Mage's Unofficial GURPS Magic Spell Errata, last updated July 7th, 2023.
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Old 03-20-2023, 08:12 PM   #24
David Johnston2
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: Forbidden Magic, Fantasy Religions, and other Thoughts

Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
The core issue with systems like this is probably how much alignment of belief is required, and how do you judge it. With an actual god, it's easy, the god decides, but anything else and the issue of what happens to heretics (or lunatics) is more open.

Suppose a sincere believer in the Good God follows all his commandments without flaw in all cases whatsoever. But is also delusionally certain girl children with red hair are demonic witches and faithfully follow his command not to suffer them to live. Can he draw on this pool to cast "divine" spells in general? What about when specifically slaughtering a demonic witch? Why or why not?
That would of course depend on the capabilities of the power source in question. Polytheistic RPG gods are not likely to be omniscient although they are likely to be aware of their empowered priests and prayers directed to them. So if one of his victims prays to the god, or a sane priest sees what he's doing so it isn't filtered through the madman's delusions, the god pulls his rogue priest's ticket.
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