Thursday, November 17, 2011

Good tidings, one little hazard and one new holy rite

Even though until last Tuesday I enjoyed a long holyday here in Brazil I also came back to work yesterday completely fatigued (actually exhausted would be a better condition, as I doubt that either my Strength or Dexterity scores are above 6 right now). The cause, however, is an excellent one, because this lonely GM bought his first level at a very tough class – the Husband prestige class –; all thanks to Mandy, whose support, patience and kindness to this tyrannical and cranky gamer I can’t properly express in words.  Our wedding ceremony was a simple one, but I wouldn’t want it any other way (Thank you, my love!).

Now, dealing with more practical issues (and no, I don’t intent to change this demesne’s appellation), I’m facing some technical problems of late with my eldritch devices; apparently my computer got hit by a gremlin assault of high CR… I’m using my cousin’s PC to post right now, so don’t mind if I get a little erratically with new articles.

Finally, a new divine spell.

Rite of Heavenly Pledge
Level: Cleric/oracle 3, paladin 3
Components: V, S, M, DF, L, T
Casting Time: 24 hours (see text)
Range: Touch
Effect: Binds two willing living creatures
Duration: Permanent
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No (see Text)
Rite of heavenly pledge sanctifies and binds the union of two willing creatures before the presence of the gods (or, at least, of those deities devoted to law, love, family and/or trust). Oddly, this lengthy ritual is never granted to a divine spellcaster through prayer and must be learned through study; it's usually written in Celestial (or other otherworldly language) and kept in sacred holy tomes.
Rite of heavenly pledge is usually cast in a holy and hidden chamber, where the targets and the divine caster are secluded and guarded from outside interference.
After being united by a rite of heavenly pledge, the two targets are seen as one before the gods, bound mystically.
First, they can always feel their direction in relation to each other, if on the same plane. They also have a strong empathic bond and can feel if the other is in paying, torment or any strong emotions. As a consequence, the targets have a +2 bonus on Sense Motive bonus against each other. Also, if they’re watching their beloved suffering such agony and distress, they gain a +1 morale bonus to any check made to directly rescue or save them from it. The targets of rite of heavenly pledge can treat each other as familiars for the effect of spells (allowing one target to the gain the benefits of spells cast by the other, if within 5 feet, even personal spells).
Rite of heavenly pledge can only be dispelled by break enchantment, limited wish, miracle or wish and is suspended if one of the targets dies.
Finally, there’s a third and special way for this holy spell to be broken. If one of the targets betray the trust of the pledge to the other in a strong or traumatic way (GM’s call), then this spell can be dispelled as a full-round action that automatically inflicts a bestow curse on the betrayer (no saves, although SR does apply). If one target kills another, the dead one has a much higher chance of returning as a vengeful ghost (or other similar undead).
One dangerous side-effect of rite of heavenly pledge is that if a spellcaster has access to one of the targets, he can use spells like scrying on the other (for example, as if he had a piece of the second target’s hair).
It is said among the various cults and temples aware of this ritual that if, somehow, both targets act with treachery against each other to break this pledge, they’ll be cursed by the gods (some legends even hint that creatures like lamias or lycanthropes may have originated from this old spell).
Rite of heavenly pledge is practically unknown today in most of the know world. Sages believe that the spell’s harsh requirements and severe backlash caused many troubles among human and elven nobilities (politics as usual).
Each creature can only benefit from the casting of rite of heavenly pledge once in their lives (unless the spell was originally removed by force from the targets).

Material Component: diamond dust worth 1.111 gp is sprinkled over holy water and drunk by the targets after pledging their vows.
Local Component: rite of heavenly pledge is can only be cast inside a secluded chamber of a temple dedicated to the caster’s deity with hallow spell.
Time Component: rite of heavenly pledge is can only be cast in a holyday of the patron deity.

This spell was (also) inspired in two other sources: a ritual spell from the excellent 3.0 Edition supplement Relics & Rituals and the great mini-mythology surrounding fire and marriage in the movie Krull. I was always a fan of settings that take the most common rites (like marriage, baptism and even funerals) and give to them supernatural effects in the campaign setting (like Kalamar's great rules for "divine right" for kings and dynastic rulers).