Friday, September 9, 2016

Gods of the Fall - Divine Sacrifices

It's all fun and games until somebody loses an eye!

Odin. Tyr. Horus. Osiris. Sedna. Hephaestus.

Some gods have it rough. There are prices to be paid for knowledge, power, wisdom, or labors divine. Odin gave an eye to gain wisdom and magic. Tyr lost his hand during the binding of Fenrir. Osiris perished and lost his manhood coming back from death. Horus has given his eye for magic and perception. Hephaestus was born an ugly cripple and as a result poured himself into his skill as a smithy. Sedna's fingers are lost and become the creatures of the ocean, seals, walruses, and whales.

Sacrifice. Power. These go hand in hand in myth and legend and so too can they come together for your gods. If player and GM agree a god character may become maimed during play, or possibly even before play, with a return in the form of one or more divine shifts. The loss should be significant: more than simply an inability, the loss of an eye should represent multiple inabilities or penalties, the loss of a hand should greatly effect a warrior god (perhaps much less so a god of magic or wisdom however), while greater losses like deafness, blindness, and the loss one or both legs may make some tasks outright impossible and impose severe penalties on others.

A few possible examples and suggested penalties:
  • Loss of 1 eye
    • inability on most sighted tasks including crafting, perception (seeing), tracking, ranged attacks, speed defense rolls and the like
  • Loss of vision
    • ranged attacks are all but impossible (at least 4 levels more difficult), completely unable to read, track by sight, any kind of sighted perception, at least two levels more difficult for melee combat, crafting, speed defense and the like
  • Loss of 1 hand (or function of a hand)
    • unable to wield large/heavy classed weapons and bows of any kind, cannot dual wield or use a shield and weapon without modification of the missing limb weapon/shield to be used by the maimed character
    • Might tasks for climbing, breaking, and other manual tasks are at least 1 step more difficult
  • Loss of leg (part or whole), or significant damage to leg (lame)
    • running becomes impossible and the character is unable to move faster than immediate range each round without using an ability or aid, speed defense suffers a penalty of at least 2 levels, might tasks to climb and carry are 1 or more level more difficult
  • Loss of both legs or lower body paralysis
    • mobility is limited to a few feet a round without aid or an ability, speed defense is at least 4 levels more difficult, might tasks to climb and carry are at least 3 levels more difficult if not impossible, character cannot stand on their own
As you can see loss of limbs or sensory organs should have multiple penalties and detriments. These gods should not be blind and yet able to see and act as if sighted (a Taran cannot take a blindness sacrifice), or otherwise unhindered by their impairment. In exchange for these disabilities they will gain one or more divine shifts or possibly dominion powers in compensation. Players and GMs should work all of this out ahead of time and if the character ever regains the sacrificed body part or capability the character should lose the gained shift(s) or abilities. 

There's a lot of potential here to further customize your gods and their legend if you are willing to take a different look at your character's story. Becoming maimed during part of a divine labor makes that victory all the more important to your personal legend. Likewise being born blind or lame and overcoming those deficits on their way to godhood can help tell a powerful story of inspiration and hope in the bleak and dark setting of the Afterworld.