Divine Magic
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Divine Magic is a type of magic drawing upon the powers of the vastly powerful extradimensional entities commonly known as gods. This differs from Pact Magic in that the relationship between the entity and the spellcaster is not like that between two business partners, but like a master and his servant or follower. How precisely the relationship between the two works depends on whether the patron deity is a Greater or a Lesser God:

Greater God

In the case of Greater Gods, it seems to be sufficient for the spellcaster to have a strong and burning faith in the patron deity. Interestingly, this seems to be the case even when different divine spellcasters have widely different interpretations of the nature and dogma of their patron. Even when a particular priest has been branded an outcast and heretic by his church, he still seems to be able to cast spells as long as his faith remains unbroken. This has presented a theological conundrum for many churches, and the favored explanation is that the outcast actually receives his powers from a powerful devil or even another, hostile god in order to throw the congregation of the faithful into doubt - sometimes even without the knowledge of the spellcaster in question! There have been anecdotal hints that this might have happened in a few cases, but whether this is true in all such situations remains unverified.

Conversely, when a spellcasting follower of a Greater God loses his faith, he is no longer able to use his powers. This effect has sometimes been used by various churches to deal with perceived heretics - via interrogation (and even torture) the outcast is conditioned to believe that his god has forsaken him and his ways, and that a devil is now corrupting him by granting him powers instead. Such an approach is not always effective, as the faith of such individuals can be strong - but when it works, it removes the dilemma for the church, and once the individual in question has reaffirmed his commitment to church doctrine, he might even regain his faith - and thus, his powers.

Lesser God

Conversely, for spellcasting followers of Lesser Gods it seems to be more important whether the deity has faith in them than vice versa. Granted, most of their spellcasters are genuinely faithful, but there has been no shortage of faithless and cynics who retained their abilities as long as they did the work the deity expected of them. The precise conditions seem to vary by deity - some do expect genuine faith, while others see it as sufficient if the spellcaster just adheres to certain ethical strictures of behavior, and some do not care at all how the spellcaster abuses his powers as long as he advances the overall agenda of the deity. Furthermore, sometimes the same deity treats different spellcasting followers in different ways, punishing one harshly for tiny infractions while letting another literally get away with murder.

Usually, the offending spellcaster will be presented with inauspicious omens and dreams to warn him of his follies and to do penance. If that doesn't work, or if the transgression is particularly severe, he may lose some or all of his powers.

Divine Spellcasting Traditions

The range of divine spellcasting traditions is vast. Some codify their spells in formal rotes and prayers hard to distinguish from Scholastic Magic in their complexity, while others express them in simple, heartfelt prayers - and both seem to be equally effective. Some traditions concentrate on providing blessings to their communities and congregations, while others use their powers to aid them in combat, giving rise to traditions of paladins, holy warriors, warrior-monks, and wild-eyed invokers splitting the skies with the wrath of their gods.

If the spellcaster learns how to use his powers from one of the established traditions, then it is likely that they will express themselves in similar ways. On the other hand, if he has discovered and developed them on his own then all bets are off.

Adventure Ideas

Designer's Notes & Resources


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