Monday, August 10, 2015

Devotional Domains: Powers of the Pantheons

As presaged by Cameron last week, we're going to take a quick minute to talk about the Devotional Domain today!

As I'm sure some of you recall from back in the day, the Devotional Domain was originally envisioned as being the same in structure as the other Domains, but would have different powers specific to the pantheon that a Hero's patron belonged to - that is, Egyptian, Greek, Hindu, or Norse Heroes would all have different powers, although the Domain itself would look the same otherwise for each of them. However, over time and lots of development, we started to come to the conclusion that the Devotional powers were different enough, in both mechanical effects and spiritual purpose, that they needed to deviate from the way that normal Domains work.

So we redesigned the Devotionals, and they're now unique in structure. Here's a quick sketch of what one of them looks like - future Greek Heroes, you're getting a sneak preview of some stuff because Greek is the one I have close to hand! (Don't judge the art department, they haven't made the good version of this yet so you're just getting mine.)

As you can see, things have definitely changed from the original ironclad three-lane plan! (Actually, these changes happened quite a while ago, but we didn't get to share them with you before now.)

Some things have stayed the same: there are still three distinct kinds of powers (Divinity, Ritual, and Theology), with each providing different ways for a character to relate themself to their Divine Patron's pantheon and religion. What's changed is that they are now more interrelated, with more chances for Heroes to travel between them if they want to, and more flexibility when it comes to wanting to diversify their Devotional powers. Since they are not rolled for anything (that is, you'll never make a Devotional + Ritual roll, or anything similar), they also don't follow the same everything-same-dots structure - technically, you don't need to keep track of them with dots at all, just know where you are in the tree.

We also made the decision to slightly prioritize the Divinity track. Since the Heroes are becoming more divine as they grow in power, and possibly becoming gods themselves if they make it far enough, Divinity is the central column that each Devotional set is built around, with a few more powers than on the other two tracks and a mandatory beginning there for each Hero (although they can leave it for Theology or Ritual pretty quickly if they want to).

The different tracks of the Devotional Domain have also been mechanically tweaked to be more complementary; although Heroes don't need to have all three of them, the more they have in each area, the more effective their Devotional powers will be overall. In general, the Divinity powers involve special skills and abilities that Heroes not working for this pantheon don't have access to, while the Ritual powers often buttress or increase the effectiveness of the Divinity powers, and Theology powers provide increased or more flexible resource options for using both Devotional and other Blessings. You may also notice that there are no "extra" nodes, the way there are in other Domains; the Devotionals, since they're so personal to the Hero, are about only the concept that they represent, and don't add any bonuses to the general game mechanics.

For those wondering how you get Devotional powers, there are two ways to do so! Heroes automatically gain Devotional powers as they grow in power, so over the course of their lifetime they'll get up to ten nodes for free just for being their badass selves. But if they want to get more Devotionally awesome more quickly, they can also buy nodes with Renown (although Devotional nodes are in fact the most expensive thing you can get with Renown, so save and spend wisely!).

The test games have so far enjoyed working with the effects of their Devotional Blessings; in particular, the Greek Heroes among them have enjoyed stunning success at some things and stunning failure at others, as is the hallmark of Greek myth, and the Egyptian Heroes have unsettled but ultimately helped their fellows with their spells, scrolls, and ability to transfer power. The Norse and Hindu Heroes' mechanics are a little more slow to gain steam, so they haven't done much yet, but they have very big results when they do, so we're looking forward to seeing them cut loose when the moment comes.


  1. Ok, questions (I'd gush about how much I love this afterwards when I'm not at work).

    1. Does this in fat mean that ritual and theology powers are in the core book?

    2. Do the free devotional dots come from archetypes? In that case, do all heroes start with two devotional powers, given they start with two dots in archetypes?

    3. Is that diagram a simplification or the complete Greek devotional domain? If it is, are all devotional domains similarly linear?

    P.S. I'm just going to come out and say it: the Hindu and Norse devotionals have had no spoilers yet, unlike the Greek and Egyptian. Could we please have done for them too?

    1. 1. Yeah, it does. Oops, forgot to say that that was happening. Surprise. :)
      2. Good guess!
      3. That is the complete tree as of this moment, barring any last-minute changes! And yes, they are quite linear, although less so than they used to be - once upon a time, the three tracks didn't overlap at all, and you would have had to start at the bottom for each rather than being able to travel between them.

      I'll see what we can do about some more spoilers for the less spotlighted pantheons in the future. :)

  2. Incidentally, I don't see Psyche on that tree, which is the Greek blessing that was spoiled... the plot thickens.

  3. Also, am I the only one who thinks that Devotional Domains: Powers of the Pantheons sounds awfully like an early 90s Funimation cartoon?

  4. Interesting. It's going to be neat to see how these parts fit together into a whole when everything is done.
    And I second the call for more spoilers centered around the other pantheons. [and just more spoilers in general!]

  5. So, we had an amazing series of posts last year about the Divinity Spheres, back when we thought those were all that were going in the that we know that Ritual and Theology are in as well, could we have a post on them? Also, are the core focuses of the Divinity Spheres the same (Avatara Manifestation, Gods as Symbols, Role in Ragnarok and Excellence of the Self), or have they evolved since we last heard?

    1. I'm actually working on a Devotional blog right now, so hopefully it'll answer some of your questions. :)

    2. Yay! Devotionals are pretty much my favourite part of the system so every little tidbit is eagerly awaited :D

      I'll look forward to it...any idea when it'll be out?

    3. Shooting for tomorrow. :)