BRCS:Chapter three/Magic/Divine magic
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Proficiency in all fields of arcane magic is based upon the caster’s understanding of the flow of mebhaighl and the development of practical or intuitive techniques to tap into this power and bend it towards the caster’s end. Divine magic is rooted in faith. Proficiency in divine magic is based upon the caster’s ability to focus and channel the energies of divine beings. Faith is the lens that allows mortal souls to access and direct this power.
When preparing spells each day, a Cerilian priest enters an enlightened state where the power of their faith allows them to tap into the spiritual force of their patron deity. Through simple rituals, the priest internalizes this divine force in the form of prepared spells of their choosing. The priest who transgresses against the beliefs and obligations of their faith may have a crisis of faith. Such a crisis is self-fulfilling, for self-doubt can interfere with the cleric's ability to channel the divine energy of their patron deity. Atonements, spiritual quests, and similar trials do not placate the gods so much as serve as a trial that allows the penitent party to restore their faith.
With a few notable exceptions, Cerilian gods do not directly interfere with the mortal world. Cerilian gods neither grant nor deny specific spells to their followers on the basis of the god's opinion of their behavior. Likewise, the gods do not communicate their wishes directly to their followers – it is the role of man to strive towards spiritual perfection without the direct intervention of the gods. At best, the gods communicate to their servants indirectly, through dreams and omens.
Cerilian clerics function as described in the Player’s Handbook, with a few notable exceptions. Cerilian clerics never serve just a cause, philosophy, or abstract source of divine power. Every cleric in a BIRTHRIGHT campaign serves a specific divine power. It is simply impossible for a cleric to wield divine magic without a patron deity. A cleric may have only one patron deity at a time, but it is possible for a cleric to have a change of heart that causes them to change patron deities.
Given that most Cerilian deities are patrons of entire cultures, their religions are far broader in scope than their alignments or portfolios indicate. For example, Haelyn, the lawful good God of Justice and Noble war is the patron of the Anuirean people. Among the Anuireans, his name is invoked not only during matters of justice and war, but also during births, investitures, marriages, deaths, and nearly every other significant event in an Anuirean's life. Nesirie's blessing may be invoked to ensure an easy birth or a safe voyage, Erik called upon to aid a failing crop, or Sera called upon to bless a commercial exchange, but in Anuire, such requests almost universally call upon Haelyn as well.
Given the broad scope of their worship, Cerilian clerics are not required to be within "one step" of their deity's alignment (as is usually required as per the Player's Handbook, page 29). Instead, Cerilian clerics must share one alignment aspect with their patron. Thus Haelyn, who is lawful good, has clerics whose alignments include Lawful Good, Lawful Neutral, Lawful Evil, Neutral Good, or Chaotic Good. Cerilian deities are not concerned with alignment, per se, so much as strength of faith and adherence to their values.
This wide range of alignments complicates the politics of the churches of most Cerilian deities. Most Cerilian deities have multiple sects, usually with irreconcilable viewpoints. Schisms among each church have been at the heart of some of the bloodiest periods of Cerilian history. The gods do not seem to overtly favor one aspect of their church over another. If the gods do indeed have a preference for the values of one sect over another, their vow to remain aloof from the affairs of mankind forces them to allow man to decide how to best worship each deity. So long as a cleric believe that the actions that he undertakes is in accordance with a reasonable interpretation of the god's portfolio, then the power of their belief will allow them to draw upon the divine energy of that aspect. In terms of the granting of spells, Haelyn shows no preference to a lawful good priest of a sect that values courage, honor, and chivalry over a lawful evil priest of a sect that values strict and unflinching adherence to a set of uncompromising laws. Cerilian deities do not demand perfection; they demand only faithful pursuit of at least one aspect of their portfolio.
Elves cannot advance as clerics except under the most unusual of circumstances. The elves can call upon the forces inherent in wood and water, field and air, but have never worshiped deities. They are aware that the gods of Deismaar existed and that new gods were created, but they do not pay homage to them. Particularly after their deception and betrayal by Azrai, the elves have been adamant in their refusal to worship human gods. To the elves, spiritual development is the responsibility of the individual and not based upon the judgment of external powers.
Like clerics, Cerilian druids receive their spells through their faith in a patron deity. In Cerilia, all druids are priests of Erik, the god of nature and the hunt. Although all druids are priests of Erik, not all priests of Erik are druids. Erik also accepts clerical followers and the schism between the style of worship favored by the nomadic druids and the city-bound clerics of Erik is particularly vast.
The powerful natural magic of the druid is based in the same lore as that of the ranger, but is greatly magnified through also channeling of divine power of Erik. Thus elves, who are adamant in their refusal to worship human gods, cannot advance as druids except under the most unusual of circumstances.
Cerilian clerics function as described in the Player’s Handbook, with the exceptions noted in the class description in Chapter One. Cerilian paladins never serve just a cause, philosophy, or abstract source of divine power. Every paladin in a BIRTHRIGHT campaign serves a specific divine power. It is simply impossible for a paladin to wield divine magic without a divine connection to a patron deity. Only four Cerilian deities accept Paladins: Avani, Cuiraécen, Haelyn, and Nesirie. A paladin may have only one patron deity at a time, but it is possible for a paladin to have a change of heart that causes them to change patron deities. Some Cerilian paladins are allowed to multiclass without loosing the privilege of later continuing their advancement as paladins. These favored multi-classes are presented in the description of each deity.
The divine powers of the ranger class differ significantly from the spell casting abilities of clerics. Rangers are bound very closely to nature, able to become practically one with it, and are able to tap into the very wellsprings of the earth to power their spells. The source of such a ranger's abilities is not a deity, but the divine essence of the earth itself.
In order to prepare their spells, rangers must meditate in a natural setting. Their fundamental understanding of nature and each living things role within nature is the faith that provides rangers the focus necessary to channel the energy used to prepare their spells. Rangers draw their power from the divine essence of the earth itself, the heart spring of power that is the source of mebhaighl. Rangers do not shape or harness mebhaighl, but their powers are rooted in the same source.
Elves have a profound link with nature that makes them particularly fine rangers. The forces of the earth itself, however powerful, lack the contained focus of the divine powers accessed by clerics. Thus, ranger spells are significantly different from (and often much weaker than) clerical spells.
Resurrection is a rare occurrence in Cerilia. Although it is certainly possible to Raise Dead, most clerics are loath to do so. Firstly, death is assumed to be the providence of the gods. Only in the most unusual circumstances (and for the greater good) would most clerics choose to interfere with the will of the gods and rip a soul from its place of earned reward or punishment.
Secondly, when a scion dies, the vital energy of their bloodline is released at the moment of their death and absorbed by those nearby. A resurrected character's bloodline is gone forever. They have no bloodline score and are not a scion. They can certainly attempt to gain a new bloodline through investiture or bloodtheft, but their original bloodline can never be restored.
Lastly, when a regent dies, their domain passes to their heir (or becomes uncontrolled if they have no designated heir). The resurrected character is no longer a regent. Another now claims the gold and regency of the domain that they once held. History has shown that resurrecting a scion often leads to tragic events as the resurrected party is tempted to engage in bloodtheft to reclaim a birthright they feel is rightfully theirs. In order to reclaim their domain, a resurrected regent would need to somehow obtain a bloodline and re-invest their old realm from its current regent (their heir).
The potential for internecine war is not taken lightly in Cerilia (particularly in Anuire) and thus most churches (including the church of Haelyn) have dire prohibitions against the resurrection of regent characters. Likewise many churches forbid the use of resurrection magic on philosophical grounds. Most sects of Erik and Belinik, for example, perceive death as part of the natural order, albeit from different perspectives.