Friday, September 12, 2014

Working through the Ketsueki Empire, Part III -- Appeasing the Senmen Kami

It is said that the Suizei priesthood of the Ketsueki Empire has cataloged ten million spirits that are venerate, individually. From the brooding, god-like guardian dragons said to sleep under sea, earth, volcano and even Tsuki, the moon, to the capricious mononoke that spoils sake and hides your waragi, the senmen kami are considered holy such that even the least of them may have a shrine or portion of a temple dedicated to them.

The problem comes when a Suizei cleric faces a "monster" during the course of some adventure. The majority of the monsters in Ketsueki are actually physical manifestations of some venerated spirit. It may be a yokai of the dead, tortured by events during its life or a guardian spirit enraged by the theft of its charge. Regardless, the cleric ends up squaring off against, what is considered to the priesthood, a holy entity. This is not only a sin, but could get the cleric cut off from his or her source of power.

To add to the confusion, there are "unholy" spirits devoted to the goddess Zentai, a dragon goddess brought by Urgil invaders in the distant past and straight-up monsters sprung from the loins of the Beast with Ten Million Heads. Even the priests of outlander faiths are consider unholy.

So, instead of turning every encounter into a gamble between XP and deity disapproval, the cleric must be able to first identify what type of spirit/monster the party is facing, and then have some mitigation other than combat to resolve the situation should the "monster" prove to be some kami that the cleric venerates.

DCC RPG has done a great job in giving clerics a niche within the spirit world. Though wizards must treat with and appease otherworldly entities in order to gain power, clerics are so closely tied to their gods that any infraction results in disapproval, eventually. But, with that risk comes a powerful set of rituals that allows the cleric to further the aims of the deity by healing those that are closely aligned with the deity's aims and driving away or destroying creatures that are against those aims.

For the purposes of the Suizei priesthood, similar rituals can also serve to identify the nature of a creature and/or spirit and to either turn or calm that spirit or drive it away, depending on its nature and the cleric's power.

Identify Spirit
To identify a spirit, the cleric must be within 30' of the creature or possessed item, and must perform a ritual that takes one full round to execute. Mechanically, the cleric rolls a standard Spell Check adding his or her Luck bonus to the roll. The result of the spell check provides the cleric with the essential nature of the creature faced (based on the HD of the creature). Venerated spirits/creatures are those that originate from the Senmen Kami or the Guardian Dragons. Unholy spirits/creatures are those that originate from outlander gods, such as Zentai, the Nemelian pantheon, the Beast with Ten Million Heads and the like. Unaligned creatures are everything from the mundane (i.e. determining that a strange cat is just a strange cat and not a bakeneko) to various supernatural creatures that are not necessarily inhabited by the kami or spirits of outlander gods.

NOTE: If the ritual is successfully cast (i.e. the cleric's Spell Check is 12 or more), but the cleric did not roll high enough to determine the creature's nature, this is not considered a failure and does not incur deity disapproval or increase disapproval range).

Spell Check Venerated Unaligned Unholy
1-11 Failure Failure Failure
12-13 3 HD 2 HD 1 HD
14-19 5 HD 4 HD 3 HD
20-21 7 HD 6 HD 5 HD
22-23 9 HD 8 HD 7 HD
24-26 11 HD 10 HD 9 HD
27+ Any Any 11 HD

Appease Spirit
When a spirit is determined to either be a venerated kami or an unaligned supernatural creature, the cleric can attempt to drive the creature away, calm it, or even charm it. This ritual uses a modified version of the Turn Unholy mechanic. Spirits that are unholy may be turned using the standard Turn Unholy chart in the DCC RPG core rules.

Venerated Unaligned Range Charm 1-2 HD 2-3 HD 4-5 HD 6-7 HD 8-10 HD 10-12 HD
1-11 1-12 - - NE NE NE NE NE NE
12-13 13-14 30' - D1 NE NE NE NE NE
14-17 15-18 30' - D1d3+CL NE NE NE NE NE
18-19 19-22 30' - D1d4+CL D1 NE NE NE NE
20-23 23-25 60' - D1d6+CL D1d3+CL D1 NE NE NE
24-27 26-28 60' 1 D1d8+CL; C1d4 (no save) D1d4+CL D1d3+CL D1 NE NE
28-29 29-30 60' 1d3 D2d6+CL; C1d4 (no save) D1d6+CL D1d4+CL D1d3+CL D1 NE
30-31 31-32 120' 1d4 B1d8+CL (no save) D1d8+CL; C1d4 (no save) D1d6+CL D1d4+CL D1d3+CL D1
32+ 33+ 240' 1d6 B2d6+CL (no save) D2d6+CL; C1d4 (no save) D1d8+CL; C1d4 (no save) D1d6+CL D1d4+CL D1d3+CL

NE = No Effect

D = Driven Away. Creatures up to this HD are driven away in the quantity indicated. This may manifest as a possessing spirit going "dormant" or a creature being physically driven away from the area. The affected spirit(s) receive a Will saving throw (DC = Spell Check) or it must stay 30' away from the cleric and cannot attack any in his or her presence for 3d10 minutes. Such creatures may be treated with, though any such actions suffer a -4 to the Personality check.

C = Calmed. Creatures are driven away and are calmed. This is as driven away, but the cleric suffers no personality check when dealing with the creature. Calmed is a permanent state, unless other factors cause the creature to become hostile.

B = Banished. Creatures of the indicated hit dice and number are driven away from a locale, permanently. This can affect a space the size of a small castle. Banished creatures must permanently stay 120' from the cleric and/or the object or place once inhabited. Banished creatures are also calmed and may be treated with. The cleric can willingly allow the creature back to a banished locale or allow the creature to approach his or her person.

If a cleric achieves a "Charmed" effect, the number of creatures/spirits charmed indicated are of the lowest HD of a mixed group of spirits. Charmed spirits are affected as per the Charm Person spell at the 18-19 result (no save), however, the condition is not permanent. The spirit serves the cleric for 1d3+CL days. After this time, the spirit can decide whether to stay in the cleric's service or not. A cleric can have a number of spirits in his or her service equal to the cleric's caster level + personality modifier. Any spirits in excess of this number are considered Calmed and Banished.