Friday, 12 June 2015

Talismans for the Faithful

After having only a single Cleric in my group for a while, suddenly I have four.
A TPK will do that to a group.

One of them, after a couple of sessions, wanted to know if he could differentiate his guy by giving his converts of his Crossbow God some sort of bonus with crossbows.
And so, talismans.

A Cleric can create talismans from second level onwards.
The power of a God's talisman is chosen by the Cleric’s player. It should be specific, conditional and related to their god. Mechanical benefits will not exceed a +1 bonus.
The God of Thieves might grant a bonus to hiding in shadows, for instance, or the God of Light might give a benefit to AC when standing in direct sunlight.

To gain the benefits of a talisman the bearer shalt have no other gods before the Cleric's deity. They must convert to the Cleric's religion and follow any holy strictures thereof. It is the Cleric's player who has final say on whether a character has been living up to their god's standards enough to benefit from a talisman.
A character who converts to another deity may never again benefit from the talisman of their former religion, even if they convert back later. The gods will not be mocked.

Talismans can be created only on a Sunday.
To create a talisman, simply cast Bless on a holy symbol of your god in a place sacred to them.
The value of the holy symbol and the quality of the altar do not matter, only that the Cleric believes in it.
A Cleric of the Moon could enact an opulent ritual with a finely crafted half-moon diamond necklace blessed at the lunar cathedral of the Moon Goddess, or a simple ritual blessing a crudely worked moonstone under the night sky, or anything in between.
The talisman's powers last until the morning of the following Sunday.

A cleric can, of course, benefit from his deity's own talisman.

The idea here is to allow Clerics to be a bit more unique, and give benefits to party members who convert to their god.

Making talisman-crafting a Sunday-only activity is meant to encourage parties to have a day of rest while the Cleric blesses a bunch of talismans. This amuses me.
Making talisman-crafting reliant on the Bless spell means that Clerics can only make as many talismans as they have spell slots. The higher level the Cleric, the more of their flock can benefit from their holy gifts.
The week-long time limit is to make sure that Clerics won't just stockpile these suckers, and means they'll run out of juice after a while when the Cleric is dead.

Having multiple Clerics means that they might compete for converts! This also amuses me.

The intention behind characters never benefiting from a talisman ever again if they swap gods is to encourage faith.
But mainly, if I'm honest, it's to forestall the inevitable bit where someone tries to deck themselves out in five holy charms and swap gods on the fly to get the best benefits.

Currently in my game I have the following depending on who's shown up today -
Crossbow God: +1 to hit with Crossbows
God of Darkness: +1 to hit when in the dark
Mushroom God: +1 vs fungus-related saves
and another Cleric who hasn't decided on his god but has decided that his talisman makes his censer-mace warm enough to heat incense.


  1. I rather like this, but I'd probably make an adjustment for my own game: I'd get rid of some busywork by having a given cleric's talismans powered by actually sacrificing a Bless-equivalent spell slot (alternately: decreeing that there's a Talisman spell that must be put into a slot, but sits there taking up psychic/spiritual real estate to work rather than being cast). The cleric can act as the conduit for, say, one talisman per level (or two levels, or whatever), and simply needs a blessing ceremony to consecrate a new one after gaining a level or after an old one is destroyed. The power fades after the cleric's death - within a day, maybe, or after 1 day/level, depending on your campaign.

    1. Sounds like you're swapping busywork for paperwork!
      Let me know how it goes if you use it.