Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Strange Eons: Religion

Religion (as always) is complex in Strange Eons. For though there is powerful proof of the supernatural, past marvels of mankind have created a cynicism in the common man. Many see religion as an alliance with powerful forces rather than an awe-inspiring experience. Magic, whether arcane or divine is visible, and so requires little or no faith to believe in.
It is because of this that very few people are capable of opening themselves up to the divine enough to become clerics, as a considerable amount of awe is required.
The setting of Strange Eons has many religions, from ancestor worship, reverence of powerful alien intelligences, machines or more abstract concepts. Each has many faces and foci, but only a handful actually produce clerics capable of drawing energy enough to cast spells. They are as follows:

Planetary Oracles (Clerics)
Planetary Oracles are those clerics who revere the power and majesty of their planetary life force, seeking to gain knowledge and power from this massive life-field, and to act as its spokespersons in the world of men. Whether seen as an intelligent being, or an unthinking organism, a planets homeostatic life force is slow to react and communicate, and thus it requires spokesmen and protectors.
Individual planetary cults exist all over the known worlds, communicating the demands of their world to their people, and attempting to guide their people to surviving the fickle and cruel demands of nature. Depending upon the world or region, Planetary Oracles might be found living as a village wise-person, a crazy hermit or adviser to kings.
Cleric Alignment: Any.
Domains: Any two desired, but can only select an alignment domain (such as Good) if the clerics alignment is the same.
Preferred Weapon: Dependant upon region and world. An oracle of Tethys for instance; might choose the net or trident, or perhaps a weapon made from coral or teeth.

Xenogen Cults (Alien Entities)
The alien xenogen sometimes gather cults around themselves, doling out magical energies to their followers for unknown reasons. Such clerics, though powerful, are playing with fire, as these alien beings are impossible to truly understand.
Enormous temples dedicated to one or more Xenogen have been erected, in which dwell at least one major Xenogen being. Within these temples all manner of horror take place, from human sacrifice to vast cross-species orgies of sex and mutilation. Xenogens do not often lay down rules, but rather the clerics must take careful notes to ensure how best to interpret the needs of these alien monsters.
Cleric Alignments: Any Non-Good.
Domains: Chaos, Evil, Magic.
Preferred Weapon: Tentacle (Unarmed Strike).

Machine Cults (Robot Cults)
The machines of the ancients are many, some of whom continue to maintain the artificially maintained conditions of terraformed worlds. As many such robots are busy with maintaining and protecting planetary life forces, Planetary Oracles are often drawn to work with them, becoming half-mechanics in their own right. Such specialized clerics are created as standard Clerics (or other primary divine spellcaster), but are always Lawful and called to gain proficiency in Craft (Mechanism) and Knowledge (Technology) or Knowledge (Architecture/Engineering). Some become so proficient, that they gain skill with the building and attaching or Robotic Construct Limbs (see below).

Construct limbs: One or more of the subject's limbs are replaced with artificial limbs. There are two types of construct limbs: robotic construct limb. Each type is described below.Robotic construct limb: These are wonders of magical engineering that approximate the form of the lost limb and grant the subject increased strength and/or speed. They are more often used to replace lost or irreparably damaged limbs than living ones. These limbs grant a +2 enhancement bonus to Strength (for arms) or +10 feet to base speed (for legs). If both arms or legs are replaced, the bonus is doubled. The limb is constructed of magically enhanced steel, mithral, or some combination thereof, but is rendered impervious to rust as a byproduct of its manufacture. It has hardness 15 and can withstand up to 50 hit points before being destroyed; these hit points are exclusive of the subject's normal total.Gaining mechanical limbs has a learning curve – it takes time to adjust to the new prosthetic limbs and exactly how far they can go. If the character has a new arm, he suffers a -4 penalty to all skills that require fine manipulation (Open Locks, Sleight of Hand, etc.) for a number of weeks equal to 15 minus his Int score (minimum 1 week). If the new limb is a leg, he suffers a -2 penalty to Dex-related checks and Reflex saves. A second limb of the same type also requires a time of adjustment, but it is halved (minimum 1 week).
Creation: Crafting mechanical limbs requires a DC 20 Craft (Mechanism) check and a DC 15 Knowledge (Technology) check. An arm or leg for a Medium creature costs 10,000 gp; decrease the cost by 1,000 per size below Medium, or increase it by 2,500 per size above Medium.
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I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light
-- Henry Vaughan