Faith and Devotion
Passion is like fire. If you use it well, it can cook for you, keep you warm and light your way. But, if it gets out of control, it will consume everything in its path. It will ruin you without hesitation.
The human spirit is mankind’s greatest strength; the fire within their soul that gives them their vigor, giving context and meaning to the events of their lives. The character’s human spirit is defined by two factors: their Devotion and their Faith, both of which will be discussed below.
Your character’s Devotion is the single most important thing in her life. It is the powerful driving force that is both her greatest strength and her greatest weakness. Your character’s Devotion helps to define their goals and can give her incredible drive and capability, but when tragedy strikes her Devotion, it can be a crushing blow.
Personal Victories and Failures
When the subject of your character’s Devotion is in play, she gains an advantage to fulfilling her Devotion. If she is able to achieve something meaningful to express her Devotion, she has achieved a Personal Victory. Personal victories help reaffirm a character’s life mission, sense of self and personal identity. Whenever a character accomplishes a Personal Victory, they lose a point of Despair and gain a Personal Achievement. Characters that have Faith in Self also lose one Depravity as they reaffirm their sense of purpose. Personal Victories only occur when the character is the direct cause of the event, not if fortune happens to make the event occur.
Achievements are always dramatic moments and important beats in a character’s personal ongoing story, and are difficult to achieve. While there is no actual limit on how many can be earned in a given Event, it’s likely that Achievements can earned no more frequently than around once per Event on average.
If the character is forced to act against their Devotion, such as being forced to harm the focus of their Love Devotion or aid the subject of their Hatred Devotion, or if their Devotion suffers significant damage or measurable setback, the character similarly experiences the pain of that loss as a Personal Failure. The character gains Despair, in an amount equal to their dots in the Faith Attribute (minimum of 1). Personal Failures occur even when it isn’t the result of the character’s action or their fault – losing the subject of one’s Love Devotion is devastating, no matter how it happened.
When a character is in pursuit of their Devotion’s Personal Victory, and once per Event a character may gain the Devoted condition.
The character is ablaze with their personal fire, able to accomplish things they didn’t know they could.
- The character gains +1 to any Skill they have at least 1 Rank in.
- If the character has Impressive Faith (ʘʘ), they add +2 Ranks to a single Skill instead.
- If the character has Great Faith (ʘʘʘ), they add +3 Ranks to a single Skill instead.
- Characters with the Zeal Skill may apply this bonus to more Skills when they become Devoted.
- Devoted can be entered once per Event unless granted by some other ability.
- Devotion may not be used to effect Actions, as they do not take place in a Scene.
Devotions are of a specific category, and for each category, specific conditions for Personal Victory or Failures are given. While the broad categories are fixed, the specific subject of a character’s Devotion can be nearly anything, so long as the Staff and the Player can agree upon what it means and when it applies.
Order Devotions – You are committed to keeping an order in power, preserving a status quo, or upholding a government and its laws. The bastion of order, you follow an authority and are righteously loyal to its cause. Your motives are unselfish although not necessarily good. You can be found placing laws above morality and weighing the value of lives on the preservation of order.
Common Devotions are Imperial Law, the Church, a specific ruling family.
Secure a new form of power for your Devotion
Successfully defended your Devotion from a tangible threat or change
Successfully removed the source of a threat to your Devotion
Your Devotion loses access to an important resource
Your faction attempted to wield authority and failed.
Chaos Devotions – You are committed to bringing down an existing entrenched power structure, destroying a status quo, or subverting an authority. Although you may follow an authority yourself, it is simply a means to an end. Your loyalty lies in your cause and although you may possess a sense of morality, your goals are destructive in nature.
Common Devotions: A ruling family, The Church, a thieves guild, an order of unjust knights.
Removed an official from their position
Drive the faction from the area
Thwart an objective of your Devotion
The authority gains a notable new form of power
The authority exercises power over you
Love Devotions – There is a person or persons that you care for more than anything else in the world. They are your world and perhaps are all you really have. It is a bond that transcends all instincts and yet feels instinctual. Perhaps you need them, or perhaps they need you, but whatever the case, you will go to the ends of the earth to help them and aid them.
Common devotions are a specific partner, family, your country.
Defended your Devotion from a deadly threat
Obtain a new official title of a strengthened bond with your Devotion.
Helped your loved one achieve one of their Personal Victories in a significant way.
Your loved one suffers a Personal Failure.
Lose a previously held official title of bond with your Devotion
The subject of your Devotion is Battered or killed.
Note: The subject of the Devotion must be relatively fixed and so a non-specific group such as “friends” is not allowed. Mutual Love Devotions do not cause cascading elation and heartbreak through Personal Victory or Defeat.
Hatred Devotions – You have become the ruiner, the bane of something or someone and you have devoted yourself to its end. The very sight or mention of it can boil your blood. Your hatred may be for revenge, or perhaps you are committed to an ideal, but whatever the reason, you walk a dark and lonely path that will end in either blood or misery.
Common devotions are heretics, specific persons, scum, sorcerers.
Be the cause of a Personal Failure for your enemy.
Caused your Devotion mental anguish or grievous harm
Your enemy achieves a Personal Victory.
You aid or show kindness to your enemy.
Idealism Devotions – Your calling in life is creating or preserving a single idea. You may be a man who ignores the law to preserve justice, a historian who is obsessed with her studies, or a pirate that values personal freedom. There are few who possess such rare dedication to something so abstract and ephemeral, but such things have risen to the first priority in your heart.
Common Devotions are discovery, art, freedom, justice.
Tangibly express your ideal in the world for others to see
Choose to stand by your ideal in the face of personal suffering, or the suffering of others
Taking material gain at the expense of your ideal.
The basis of your ideal is damaged by the actions of yourself or others, such as books being destroyed for Knowledge, people imprisoned for Freedom, etc.
Egotistical Devotions – Your calling is to attain true greatness. Whether it be to fulfill the expectations of others, or because a deep thirst for power, you aspire to be the very best. The most import thing in this world is achieving control over yourself and the circumstances around you, be it through wealth, skill, authority or some other avenue of greatness. You refuse to be content with your standing and only the top will satisfy you.
Common Devotions are Wealth, Political Power, Underworld Power, Magical Power, Military Power, Reputation
Gaining new kind or increased amount (approximately twice as much as the last Personal Victory) of your Devotion
Acquiring rare or unusual form of your Devotion
Permanently removing a threat to your advancement
Being cut off from your source of advancement in your Devotion
Suffering a reversal or loss of your Devotion
Characters evolve over time, and things that were once important to a less mature version of that character may cease to be so once the cruel realities of the world make their way into her life. Significant personal trauma or life changing shifts in perspective may cause the character to evolve and change her Devotion. If a character undergoes a significant event that includes either suffering the Personal Failure or experiencing what would count as a Personal Victory for the new Devotion, she may change her Devotion to it. She may realize through protecting a lover how much that relationship means to her and gain a Love Devotion, or she may similarly realize by the dismal, awful defeat by her enemy that her Hatred is all she cares about anymore.
Besides Devotion, your character’s perspective on the world will play an important role in their values and how they view the experiences of their life. Characters are divided into two broad categories, and these determine what they believe are the overarching forces at work in their life. Neither selection implies a religious perspective – a Pragmatic character can go to Church and believe in the same God as a Spiritual character, though they likely find the societal and cultural aspects of the religion’s way of life more important than whether the world was created by angels performing miracles.
Spiritual characters know that all the doings of the world are the workings of powers greater than they. Divine agencies, such as the Lord God of the Holy Church, the dark powers of the Triumvirate of Thorns, or other supernatural forces, control the outcomes of events, and a mortal being’s place in those events can be influenced by their strength of character much more than their actions. Good outcomes mean that their actions were righteous and in accordance with divine will, a reward for good service and right action. Bad outcomes mean that they are being tested to help determine his worth, or else being punished for moral failure – possibly even the attention of adversarial forces that seek their ruin. Through faith and virtue they can overcome these outcomes, and if they fail morally, things will become worse still.
This character is well aware of the power of Ritual and Prayer, and he allows them their due important place in his life. During rituals, bow your head to show your Spiritual Faith to the character performing the ritual.
Spiritual characters gain the Prayer ability once per day. The character may prepare in the method their religion dictates for success in a single specific situation or goal. This takes several forms, such as a prayer to the Lord in the Benalian Faith, or deep meditation in Aab’oran. This requires at least a few minutes of uninterrupted preparation some time before committing to the action in question.
When a future moment that same event arises that relates directly to the outcome that was the subject of the prayer, the character may enter the Devoted state, as described above.
You may only use this in one such situation at a time until new preparations are made, and only once per day. The Zeal Skill may increase the effectiveness of this ability.
Your character knows that they are responsible for their own fate, and that what happens in the world is the result of individuals taking individual actions. While there may be divine powers watching the world, what happens in it is the work of men. It is up to them to work hard, dig deep, and take responsibility for the things that happen to them if they want good outcomes. As a result, an incredible self-determination and self-reliance characterize them, and when those moments come when they are tested, this character can draw strength from their determination and resilience, finding their strength of character in the things they have chosen to build their life upon.
This character is disbelieving of the power of ritual and prayer, and skeptical that such things can have realistic impact. Pragmatic characters take No Effect from any ritual or ritual effect, good or bad, as well as any call with the Spiritual Quality. While they may take part in the social aspect of ritual and religion, they simply don’t believe in or feel any thrill of divine wonder or unholy terror at the invocations and words of those professing to commune with the divine. Pragmatic characters must declare “No Effect” when relevant to any game effect that derives directly from a ritual, including using any blessed or cursed items.
If a ritual empowers a Spiritual character or allows that character to use some kind of ability such as a Warrior Priest’s “Invoke Remulthian” ritual to strike harder, those effects can still harm or otherwise effect the Pragmatic character, as it is the Spiritual character being affected by those rituals.
Pragmatic characters lose one Depravity any time they achieve a Personal Victory.
Pragmatic characters gain the Focus ability. Once per day, Pragmatic characters may enter the Focused state for one Scene which allows them to spend Discipline vs Obey, Fear, or Insanity from any source to call Power on any Hit, Call, or Condition during that Scene. Note that Power may only be used once per Hit, Call or Condition from this source.