Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Priest Class

"All within the Mother Empire are of either of the Laity or the Clergy. Some of the Laity work within the Church -- they are a special class known as the Curacy. This separation of citizenry is mirrored in the Government. Only the Laity may be appointed to positions of executor in Civil or Military affairs -- the Governor and Grand Marshall at the highest levels, respectively. Only Clergy may be appointed to positions of Judge within the Parishes."
-Sister Belinda St. Rex, High Priest of Nein

JB over at B/X BLACKRAZOR posted some thoughts on the Cleric, which made me think about where the Priest Class is in terms of design in Sophia's Children. I thought this would make an interesting post on its own.

Priests, within the world of Sophia's Children, attune themselves to the Saints to acquire Prayers -- strange Abilities gifted to them by their Faith. Priests also have minor Abilities called Orisons that they can Cast at-will. Instead of Spells in a Spellbook, Priests must manage their Devotion to particular Saints -- furthering their Devotion to a particular Saint allow for increased access to that Saint's Prayer, and eventually more powerful expressions of this Prayer.

Priests undergo a strict screening process within the Mother Empire and are brought into the Church as Acolytes for their education. At the completion of their training they must pass a Test at a place called the Hall of Souls where they are Judged to be Competent enough for the Priesthood or Incompetent. Those who are Judged to be Incompetent may continue in the role of a Deacon (a minor Clergy-person less privilege than a full-clothed Priest), those who pass become Priests.

An Artistic Interpretation of the Hall of Souls 
Acolytes who return from the Hall of Souls as Priests have a Patron Saint. Indeed, the Faithful Laity will consider these Priests the very embodiment of that Saint -- much in the same way the Messiah is considered the embodiment of Sophia. This is reflected in surname of the Priest (E.G.: St. Rex, St. Alden, St. Michael).

Priests will experience their Patron in a variety of ways. For some it is a voice in their heads. Others, the Saint speaks through their mouths out loud instead of into their Mind. Some Priests actually experience their Patron as a hallucination in the environment, though this vision is only in the Mind of the Priest and the Patron cannot physically exert himself upon the world.

Each Patron has a unique Personality and Alignment -- Priests are not necessarily in complete harmony with their Patron. Also, the Patron is simply an avatar of the original Saint -- a Patron may embody the principles of the Saint, but also may not! Though tension may exist twixt a Priest and his Patron, the two personalities are bonded to one another for the Life of the Priest, so the Patron will never act this tension out maliciously.

Returning to the notion of Saints and the Prayers they gift upon the Faithful Priests. . .

Priests, by putting time and energy into a particular Saint, may increase their access to that Saint's Prayer. The initial Level of Devotion allows for a Priest to Memorize the Saint's simplest Prayer once. And, as with Magic-users, once this Memorized Prayer is Cast it is forgotten. A Priest may increase his access to Memorize multiple Castings of a Prayer by increasing his Devotion.

How does a Priest increase his Devotion? A Priest tithes his Silver to the Church and pays for ritual materials. He must also spend time in Holy Places meditating upon the Saint. In the Game System, after certain Levels of payment have been reached, the Priest raises his Level of Devotion for that particular Saint.

Here is an example straight from my draft notes:

Saint Michael the Confessor
Devotion LevelPrayer Access
1Prayer for Relief x1
2Prayer for Relief x2
3Prayer for Relief x3
4Prayer for Relief x4, Prayer for Respite x1

A Priest must Cast their Prayers through a Holy Cross -- a token of their Faith used when channeling the strange powers granted by the Hall of Souls. Once a Prayer is Cast -- as with Magic-users -- it is forgotten. A Priest may regain and rearrange his Memorized Prayers during his Upkeep -- the time between major excursions. A Priest may also utilize any fortunes gained towards the increase of his Devotions for particular Saints of his choosing.

There are several more elements that make Priests similar to and different from Magic-users that I have not elaborated on in this post. I'll be elaborating more on this Class in the future, but I am now focused on producing a cohesive set of rules for a simple playtest document.

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