Progressive Devotion

From: Michael Schwartz <mschwartz_at_...>
Date: Thu, 2 Nov 2000 18:03:51 -0500

I have been toying with the following as a variant rule for my own HERO WARS games. While it will not suit many styles of play, in my mind it better simulates the gradual process of and the requirements for a hero becoming initiated into the deeper mysteries of his or her deity. "Devotion" in this case refers to one's relationship with one's deity or pantheon: it is the mechanical measure within the rules of a hero's piety and good standing with his or her gods. As an ability, Devotion may be increased with Hero Points as normal.

Heroes begin as initiates, with Devotion, their god's affinities, and any other abilities as granted by the Magic keyword at 17. Heroes who are initiates of more than one deity have the primary Magic keyword abilities at 17, and the secondary Magic keyword abilities at 13. As a hero develops further understanding of and rapport with his or her deity, he or she must not only increase his or her affinities but Devotion as well. Becoming a devotee requires more of an expenditure than three Hero Points; it represents the hero becoming committed to the ideal of his or her god. It is also a prerequisite for entry into the priesthood.

If a hero achieves 10W2 in both his or her god's affinities and Devotion
(also possibly that god's "virtues", depending on how demanding you want
the requirements; a prospective Orlanth Adventurous devotee must then also be Generous, Brave, Just, etc. to qualify a la "PenDragon Pass"), he or she may *then* spent three Hero Points (six if his or her consecration into the mysteries is not played out during the game session) and gains all the status, privileges and responsibilities of a devotee. He or she also gains the god's secret at 12 and may enhance it further with additional Hero Points. The hero may now acquire feats (no longer subject to the improvisational modifer) for one Hero Point each. Optionally the hero may be granted one feat in each affinity for no cost.

The advantage of playing out the hero's deeper initiation is simply this: the carry-over may give the hero a windfall of Hero Points to spend on his or her affinities, Devotion or newly-acquired secret (depending on the Narrator's interpretation of the devotion heroquest). Alas, the disadvantage is that the hero may *fail* the heroquest and lose faith
(Devotion), his or her access to the god's magic (affinities) or, in
extreme circumstances, his or her life. I advocate playing it out, but there are reasons why a player may not desire that (ill fortune with the die rolls being the main).

Thoughts? Opinions?

Michael Schwartz mschwartz_at_... Ann Arbor, MI USA

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