Priests are the intermediaries between the mortal and the divine. Representatives of the Gods on Earth, representatives of Earth to the Gods. Being a priest means accepting some heavy responsibilities, or else you may stop being one. Of course on the plus side you get funky powers.
Ordination - Excommunication - Rites - Oaths - Divine Wrath
If you don't start play as a Priest you can only become one through roleplaying, you can't just spend experience points and decide to have joined the church. You can be made a Priest in one of two ways, by your God or by another Priest (okay, three ways, you can become an Ordained Priest of the Vitriarchs by standing in the blast radius of one of the fifth level Glass Magic spells and you can become an Ordained Priest of the Light by being the target of one of the third level Light Magic spells, but the Vitriarchs are crazy and the Light ain't much better). Either way you need to convince them that you're up to it and pay the requisite XP cost.
It's generally easier to attract the attention of a Priest than a God, but Gods can see you when you're out alone in the wilderness, and Priests can't. Generally the way it works is this: you say to a GM "I'd like to become a Priest, could you fix it for me to have something happen In Character so's I can do it". The GM replies "Sure, go do something for [Priest X]". [Priest X] sends you on a dangerous quest or two, and then you get Ordained. It simply requires a Priest with 4 Ranks of Rites to Ordain someone, so it might even be possible to be Ordained by another PC!
Occasionally you'll get Ordained completely out of the blue because you've just done something that's really attracted a God's attention (killed an ancient necromancer, accidentally seduced an Old Power, gone stark staring crazy while gazing at your own reflection, you know the drill).
Note that it is possible to be Ordained by more than one Power at a time (most likely due to Light or Glass Magic). However, this is unlikely to last for very long, as most sets of Powers don't get on terribly well and Gods tend to be fairly possessive of their Priests - woe betide the poor Priest who tries to serve two Gods at once!
Anything that can start can stop. You can stop being a priest in one of three ways. Firstly, a Priest who has 4 or more Ranks of Rites and outranks you can excommunicate you. Secondly, you can renounce your God. Thirdly, your God can renounce you.
To be excommunicated, you have to piss off a Priest who outranks you, that is to say, who has a higher Rank in the Rites skill than you do (and at least 4 Ranks). Of course, excommunicating someone is not without its own risk - Gods generally don't like Priests excommunicating those genuinely faithful to them, and casting somebody out of the church when your God's still fond of them is a good way to get renounced.
In order to renounce your God you need to consciously reject the God that you follow. Just saying "I renounce my God" doesn't necessarily cause you to renounce them, although it could make them renounce you.
Finally your God can renounce you. They will do so in any one of innumerable circumstances, generally if you do something which goes against what they stand for. Misusing Rites is a spectacularly good way of getting renounced by your God, as is throwing around some of the major spells in ways they wouldn't approve of.
I'm sorry, I mean "Rites". Rites are absolutely, definitively not "priest spells". They aren't magic at all, they're religious observations. There are a whole load of Rites in the world, most of them highly obscure and rarely practiced. I'm sticking with a few general all-purpose ones. Rites come in levels - this is the only similarity they have to spells.
Although dealing with the dead is strictly the province of the Priests of Ash, all Ordained Priests are capable of saying last rites over the dead in an emergency. Saying last rites over a dead body ensures that the soul will quickly pass on to the Burned Realm, and from there eventually to its final destination. In the world of the White City the dead are usually disposed of by cremation, nothing else is considered proper. Note that if you do kill somebody and they do not have the last rites said over them there is a small but very real chance that they will wind up haunting you.
Rites of Passage
Births, marriages, coming of age ceremonies and the like. You can do them all in your own idiosyncratic way.
You can bless somebody in the name of your God. This is mostly a roleplaying thing, but may have effects subject to GM whim. Some deities are more fun to be blessed by than others.
Know the Mind
This incredibly useful rite allows you to ask your God if they object to a course of action before you follow it. This is a good thing if you want to stay holy. Note that a Priest of the Black Flame will usually discover that using this Rite results in being told to do as they will.
This is like Blessing but more so. This rite will definitely call the attention of a God to something, it renders that thing sacred to the God. Anything messing with these things will incur the wrath of the God.
You can actually enter communication with your God. Often it won't be listening or won't want to talk, but you can ask it questions. For quick reference Old Powers usually ignore this rite, Vitriarchs usually answer but cost the supplicant a Psyche Hit as if they'd cast a Glass Magic spell. A Priest may use this Rite to request divine retribution against anybody condemned by their God, but usually the response to such a request is along the lines of "And what exactly do you think we keep you around for?".
This is the rite that makes somebody an Ordained Priest. In general you want to check that this person isn't somebody your God violently objects to, or you may find yourself renounced.
The opposite. And likewise you want to make sure this isn't a candidate for sainthood you're excommunicating, or it's renouncing time.
Speak With The Voice
You are so favoured by your God that you can make minor level decisions on their behalf. If you praise the God praises, if you condemn they condemn. Of course if your God disagrees with your decisions you're on a one way train to excommunication city. To make it abundantly clear, this Rite gives you no power over your God, they just delegate some of the things they can't be bothered with to you.
As noted on the main magic page, people may speak Binding Oaths before the Gods. If they break their Oath they may be punished by the Gods, depending on whether the Gods are paying attention (this, ultimately, will be modelled fairly accurately by whether the GMs remember to punish you or not). Even if the Gods don't punish you, you will incur their disfavour. If you're Ordained as a Priest of the Powers you swore by then you will lose your Ordained status.
Priests & Oathbreakers: Oathbreakers can be detected by a relevant Know the Mind Rite, assuming it's dedicated to the right God. If an Oathbreaker has not been punished by the Gods, a Priest can use the Communion Rite to suggest to the Gods that a bit of divine retribution is in order. As normal when calling for retribution, the usual response is "Take care of it yourself".
Oathbreakers and others may wind up getting smitten by the Gods. The effects of getting smitten vary from Power to Power but include:
Ash: For minor offences, you will be barred entry to the Burned Realm upon death. For major offences you may be struck dead at once, or condemned to eternal life (usually without eternal youth).
Blood: The Old Powers are fairly easygoing, but when you incur their wrath you incur it big time. If you're lucky you'll just get hunted down and torn to shreds by wild women.
Light: Most importantly, those who incur the wrath of the Light are never struck blind - the Light considers this a blessing. They are usually burned to some degree or other, often this leaves the subject altered on a fundamental level.
Wind: A nice easy one. Winds, hurled debris, and if they're really pissed off good old fashioned lightning bolts.
Chains: The Bound Ones are all but powerless. All mankind incurred their wrath during the Binding War; their vengeance, when it comes, will be universal.
Glass: The wrath of the Vitriarchs and the blessings of the Vitriarchs are hard to tell apart. In general they take the form of maddening visions, razor cuts and, at the most extreme end of the scale, vitrification.
Dreams: The Dream Powers, if they really exist, never smite anybody, but one who incurs the wrath of Dream may find their sleep troubled for some time to come.
Flame: Those who swear an oath to the Flame declare what is at stake should they break their word. Should they forfeit then the stake is given into the Flame's power and consumed.
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This page last updated: 3rd May 2006
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