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© 1994 by Scott Gray and Sharon Tripp. These pages may not be reproduced for profit. They may be copied, provided they are not altered and the authors' names remain attached.

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Faith, Empathy, and Will

In the world of Emeth, there is enough truth in the teachings of each of the religions and belief systems that there is no easy way for any of them to be proven or disproven. The GM will decide (and, presumably, keep secret) the actual metaphysics in his/her campaign. The rites, legends and superstitions listed here will work to varying degrees -- based upon the metaphysics decided by the GM, and perhaps on a GM judgement about the character's will and/or dedication to his/her faith.

Many of the religious rites and practices listed here (such as marriage, funerary or last rites) are merely customs or legalities. These rites are usually only considered significant if performed by religious authorities, and thus are generally only taught to them. Although a farmer could learn the marriage rites and perform a wedding ceremony, the marriage would not, in Guided areas, be deemed proper or binding, as legally the only ones who have the authority to perform a marriage are feudal lords and Guiders with rank of mentor or higher. It is possible to witness enough of these rites to learn the proper formats without formal religious training. However, such rites as banishment, cast out, sanctification or seal away must be formally taught (or learned from book reading) and may not be "picked up" without a teacher. It is unusual for someone outside of the religious hierarchy to be taught such things.

The GM may allow regular practitioners of certain religious rites bonuses in resisting demonic influence or possession, depending upon the cosmology. (In most instances a rite of faith should do nothing more effective than modify a probability -- which should always be determined secretly.)

Note that "superstitions" are basically very simple 0 skill point rites of faith which are practiced by characters who believe in a cosmology in which those rites work. If the actual cosmology which the GM runs the world by matches this, adherence to such superstitions may play a role in his/her rulings.

Absolution. This is a time-consuming ritual, which is believed to remove any guilt or sin from one confessor. The rite requires longer periods of time, and expensive herbs and wine, the greater the crime the confessor is being absolved of (and if the rite has been used more than once on the same person). Few Guiders will ever perform this rite without some sort of gift of money or property being given to the Guiders, which has led many Guiders (especially the Sorensons) to denounce this as a crass money-making scheme and no true rite.

If the GM allows absolution to work, and if the rite functions, the confessor will be considered free of the sin or crime in question. This may have some impact on demonic reactions, the use of the damnation ritual and the use of the "know secrets" power.
Culture: Guider (Diegan, Elspethain, Plegian, Tuck)
Requirements to perform: Mentor or higher rank.

Banishment. This rite drives a demon away from Emeth for a period of time ranging from a fortnight and a day to a millennia and a day (depending upon the particular demon). Banishment can be done upon a demon which has been slain, to prevent it from re-corporealizing elsewhere and continuing to wreak havoc. However, it may also be done on a conscious and unrestrained demon.

A person performing the rite of banishment may not do anything else during that time without ruining the rite; (s)he may not even defend him/herself against attack without interrupting the rite. The rite itself takes approximately ten minutes to perform, during which time the performer will be chanting, utilizing incense and other tools as appropriate. Once the demon has been banished, an hour vigil is required to finalize the banishment and keep the demon from returning.

Those who are not devout in their faith run the risk of ruining the rite and becoming a vessel through which the demon may return to the world.
Culture: Guider, Tepharan, Ikhtari
Prerequisite: None, though the Guiders will usually only teach it to others of the Guider hierarchy (Mentors or above).
Requirements to perform: None

Blessing. This rite can be used to lessen the effects of some curses. The recipient of the blessing must be of the same faith, and must be steadfast to it. Blessing also acts as a level 1 shield against curses, granting such for four hours.

Different cultures have different methods for performing this rite (spoken prayers, anointment, incense, amulets, etc.), but the purpose is the same. Most blessings take ten minutes to perform. Culture: Guider, Tepharan, Ikhtari
Requirements to perform: Mentor or higher Guider, Tepharan priest(ess), any follower of Ikhtar.

Cast out. This rite forces a foreign spirit to leave the body. This will only force a spirit out if there are two spirits in the same vessel; if a creature has possessed a previously uninhabited form, cast out will have no effect. The creature will become corporeal if it can, returning to its own plane if it cannot.
Culture: Guider, Tepharan
Prerequisite: Usually not taught outside of religious hierarchy; rank of Mentor or higher/Priest(ess) is generally required.
Requirements to perform: None

Cleansing. This rite is sort of an anti-absolution. It helps strengthen the target's mind to make it less likely that (s)he will ever make that sort of mistake again! Whereas confession relies on the confessor to carry out the penance of his/her own, this is a penance enforced by the Guiders, for truly heinous sins (such as the Heresy of West Garithia, or talking during the sermon).
Culture: Guider (Sorensons)
Prerequisite: Confession
Requirements to perform: None, but usually performed by mentor or higher.
Skill points: 12

Confession [sect]. Knowledge of the appropriate forms and procedures for hearing confession, and of the appropriate penances for particular acts. This skill is learned for the particular sect that the Mentor belongs to; Sorenson confession is quite different from Elspethain confession.

Confession does not free the confessor from guilt (in the manner that absolution is believed to), but it is considered to "lessen" the level of guilt, and to serve as proof that the person is repentant.
Culture: Guider (except for the Chosen sect)
Requirements to perform: Mentor or higher of an appropriate sect (any sect but the Chosen)

Confirmation. This is a rite to confirm one's faith in the Way. Confirmation is a Guider practice. Tepharites who choose to, use their general oath-giving ceremony to confirm their faith.
Culture: Guider
Requirements to perform: Mentor or higher

Consult scripture. This is skill in finding relevant scriptural advice on a given topic. It is similar to a research ability, but one which applies only to knowledge of the Tepharat.
Culture: Tepharan
Prerequisite: None for a Tepharite; a non-Tepharite should have research (Other culture: Tepharan faith)
Requirements to perform: Access to a copy of the Tepharat

Funeral rites. The funeral service gives family and friends a chance to say goodbye. The rite itself is meant to prevent the corruption of the corpse by evil magics or demons, preventing the body from ever being raised as undead. The standard funeral rite in both the Guided nations and Uruk involves burial; however, funeral pyres are sometimes used. Funeral boats are common in the northern reaches of the Guided nations, and in Jodd.
Culture: Guider, Tepharan
Requirements to perform: Mentor or higher/anyone

Heal quickly. Adds one additional point to overnight healing. Stackable, though in some campaigns the GM might limit how many times this may be taken.

Heroic endurance. Allows the character to, once per day, ignore pain as though (s)he had one step greater of the ignore wounds ability. A character with ignore light wounds could, with use of this skill, ignore moderate wounds; a character with ignore moderate wounds could ignore heavy wounds; and a character with ignore heavy wounds could ignore a severe wound. This is only for the purpose of performing one action -- one use of empathic healing or magery, one final strike at an enemy, etc. A person at zero fatigue due to wounds will not regain his/her fatigue through use of this skill.

Immediately after performing the action, the character acts as though (s)he were at one wound level lower for ten minutes.

Example: Lord Sigrun was just about to fire his blunderbuss when an LC wearing a white headband came up to Greg (the player of Sigrun) out of game and told him his gun misfires, doing 9 points of body damage to him. Lord Sigrun has the "ignore heavy wounds" ability. When his blunderbuss misfired, he was severely wounded. As he crawled toward town for help, he saw Martin. Martin, whom Lord Sigrun had paid to clean his blunderbuss...
Using his heroic endurance skill, Lord Sigrun summoned all the strength left within him and lunged for Martin, catching him from behind in a choke hold in an attempt to strangle the hapless private. However, after doing only "subdue 1 choke hold", Sigrun dropped one wound level lower from the exertion, which put him at unconsciousness for the next ten minutes.

This skill is not stackable.
Skill points: 36 (half cost with empathy benefit)

Last rites. This rite is performed on the vanishing spirit, to cleanse it and give it a proper farewell before it passes. Some mentors (though not Chosen or Sorenson mentors) believe that this rite protects the spirit of the deceased until it passes on to Verlien.
Culture: Guider, Tepharan
Requirements to perform: Mentor or higher/anyone

Locating stick. The native people of Uruk have developed a tradition which, they claim, allows simple divinations. A person trained in using the locating stick is fairly able to determine the location of a particular thing or substance looked for. To use the method, a pine branch must be placed upright and left overnight in a natural setting away from human sight, during which time the person using the stick must carry several pine needles taken from the stick, and ponder the location of one particular item or class of item. It is said that the stick will point towards the nearest example of the object pondered.

OOG, to use the stick, after placing the stick upright ingame, tell the GM what item is being sought, and where the stick is. If this system of divination actually works in his/her campaign under the conditions present, the GM will move the stick so that it points in what the GM considers to be the most reasonable direction. Culture: Urukian Prerequisite: Character is of Urukian local background, or has Research (Other culture: Uruk) ability. Skill points: 42

Marriage rites. This encompasses both the forms and procedures used in the ritual and the beliefs relating to Guider marriage. The marriage ceremony is a practice of the Guided nations; although many Tepharan nations have the institution of marriage, it is dealt with through the oath giving ceremony.
Culture: Guider
Requirements to perform: Religious or political authority

Meditation. A person who is faithful and upright, and performs this rite daily, is believed to be less susceptible to ailment than others. The meditation takes fifteen minutes and must be performed every day. The rite can be performed either with incense, or a ritual bathing. The ritual will, if performed by a person "faithful and upright" (and the GM decides that this ritual works) reduce the odds of the character contracting a disease or infection by 5%.
Culture: Tephar, Ikhtari

Oath giving. This rite deals with formal vows exchanged between people. This is a Tepharan ritual used for any pledges which the pledgee wishes sanctioned by the church. Confirmation and marriage could be done by this means. It is also used for treaties, trade agreements, etc. The frequency of formal oaths and what they are used for varies greatly between cultures, and usually correlates to the power of the church in a given region.
Culture: Tepharan
Requirements to perform: Tepharan priest(ess)

Prayers for luck. The character must take on vows relevant to the prayer -- fasting when praying for a good harvest so the orphans won't starve, for instance. The prayer cannot be for something selfish, and the vow must be strictly adhered to.
Culture: Ikhtari
Requirements to perform: None

Sanctification. By sanctifying a place, a character is preventing the likelihood of demons being able to enter it. Sanctification may only be done successfully by the most faithful and pure characters (GM's discretion), though the sanctified area may be maintained by most generally faithful characters. In order for the area to become/remain sanctified, the persons involved in its creation/upkeep must be sincere.

Sanctification may only be done in "places of power" -- usually the GM will limit the number of appropriate areas. Sanctification is not an obvious thing -- people can not tell whether or not a sanctification worked/is still existent.

Sanctified areas may be desanctified by several means, such as creatures or humans with special powers to do so, or blatant acts of disrespect by the maintainers of the sanctified ground.
Culture: Guider, Tepharan

Seal away. A person versed in this rite who performs a banishment has the option of, during the hour vigil, capturing bits of the demon's power in a seal or sigil. If the demon does later return from banishment, it will return weakened, unless/until the seal is destroyed.

The seal usually takes the form of a stone or metal statuette, though it can take other forms (as approved by the GM).
Culture: Tepharan, Ikhtari
Prerequisite: Banishment; the rite is seldom taught to anyone outside of the Tepharan or Ikhtari faiths.

Strength of will. Grants one level of innate warding versus mind control (charm, vampyric control, sleep, etc.). This ability is dependent upon the character upholding his/her faith -- new tags are given each event, and are not given if the GM feels that the character has been unfaithful to his/her beliefs. Stackable up to three times.
Prerequisite: Faithful to beliefs (GM's discretion)

Tarot reading by dream. The most elaborate rite of tarot reading involves the pondering a question for a full day before drawing the cards. Advanced sages and fortunetellers claim to have perfected the technique of meditations, so that the tarot gives accurate information each time. To use the tarot, a particular question is asked and the deck is shuffled. The deck must then be stored away for at least one half day, in a place where no mortal can see the deck. At the end of that time, the first five cards should be played. The particular cards are said to hold especial relevance to the question. Most practitioners of this form of tarot reading believe that using it too frequently will reduce the validity of the reading.

OOG, to use the deck, after shuffling and hiding the deck ingame, bring the deck to logistics and tell the GM what the question was. The GM will reshuffle the deck and, if this system of tarot reading actually works in his/her campaign under the conditions present, the GM will stack the deck so that the first five cards are, in his/her opinion, the most relevant cards in the deck. If this system does not work in the GMs campaign, it will be shuffled randomly; if it only partially works, (s)he may pseudo-randomize (say, choosing 10 appropriate cards and randomly selecting 5 of those cards to stack the deck with).

Decks are usually standard tarot decks, although specially made decks are sometimes used. When a non-standard deck is used, it generally will have 22, 56 or 78 cards total. No cards may be duplicates.
Culture: Gypsy
Prerequisite: Character is of Gypsy background, or has Research (Other culture: Gypsy) ability.

Transfer wounds. The fleshshaper is able to force a channel to function in the reverse of empathic healing; instead of granting the target the fleshshaper's health points, the fleshshaper is able to take the target's. This is always done in a one to one ratio.

In order to use this skill, the fleshshaper must first open the channel, which (s)he may then use at any time in the future. This is a long process, taking approximately one hour, and is extremely painful for the victim. As with other fleshshaping rituals, the victim must be conscious when the link is created.

The victim will remain alive but will not function at greater than severe wounds regardless of wound level. If the victim has any health problems (infection, perhaps lycanthropy) there is a chance that the fleshshaper will also gain these through use of this skill upon the character, at the GM's discretion. The victim may be healed or otherwise treated, but remains effectively severely wounded, and the channel will remain open. Only points which the victim gains from overnight healing may be used by the fleshshaper when transferring wounds (though overnight healing may be increased for this purpose, through the use of healing salves).

In some campaigns, at the GM's discretion, the victim of this ritual may be able to have the channel closed if an appropriate rite of faith is performed properly on him/her. If the channel is closed, the victim's wound level may again rise above severely wounded.

Each fleshshaper may only perform one fleshshaping ritual per week. Opening the channel counts as one use of a fleshshaping ritual. The actual transference of wounds does not count against the one use of fleshshaping per week.
Prerequisite: Fleshshaping, level 2 healing
Skill points: 24

Unheroic endurance. By torturing a conscious person to death over the course of an hour, the fleshshaper is able to raise a person's ability to ignore wounds by one level for a period of three months.

By using multiple victims over time the fleshshaper may stack levels of ignore wounds, potentially allowing him/herself or another to ignore fatal wounds. (Note that there is no ignore unconsciousness level; it goes from ignore severe wounds to ignore fatal wounds.) A character capable of ignoring fatal wounds does not automatically fall unconscious at zero or negative health; (s)he may continue as though unwounded during the death count, but will die at the end of the death count if (s)he has not been treated.

Each fleshshaper may only perform one fleshshaping ritual per week. Using this ritual counts as one use of a fleshshaping ritual.

Wrack with pain. The fleshshaper may use this skill upon anyone who has ever received the benefits of his/her fleshshaping (extra health, extra ignore wounds, etc.). The fleshshaper can, whenever (s)he is in the presence of such a person, activate this skill. The target is kept effectively at severe wounds for as long as the fleshshaper continues to remain in the victim's presence and maintain the effect, regardless of any ignore wounds skill, pain relievers, cast through pain, or other such effects. Only one target may be effected at a time. The fleshshaper may perform other actions while using this skill.

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