I want to take a minute and address Faith and how its used with the Entreat Boon base use of skill under Pneuma. If you view prayers and rituals as formalized ways to essentially empower the word of your divinity, then Entreat Boon is doing the same thing just in a raw, wild way. Entreat Boon requires nothing formal other than entreating your deity for intercession, to act in some manner contingent on your desire or need. Its also never without strings. Using it means owing your deity in some manner – expect for them to demand recompense in way commensurate with their personality and needs.
The example in the book under the Pneuma skill talks about Khronen calling on his deity to raise his fallen companions. Khronen's need or the intercession he desired was for the resurrection of his companions. The GM ruled the act took all but 1 Faith from Khronen and only raised one of them. This constitutes but one example. It goes further on to say you can use Faith to smite another being or beings, such as undead, opposed followers or the peace and benign old lady crossing the street. Depends on your god there, I supposed, on what's right and what's not. Additionally, you could use it to surmount an obstacle, succeed at a goal or just take you from the jaws of death before they close around you. Another use might be to lay a geas on someone, call on the heavenly host for your deity or even upon your deity!
Entreat Boon was meant to be open ended. I realize that may discomfort some GMs. Those not uncomfortable may need a little guidance. Anything open ended is tough to gauge equitably each time its used. I've constructed a chart to help guide your adjudication of Entreat Boon. Perhaps the key point to prevent its abuse is heeding the requirement that no boon is granted without strings. And not only on the person who calls for the boon but very likely for those who benefit from it.
Key points to keep in mind when judging whether an Entreat Boon will be answered:
- Fits with the personality of the deity?
- Aligned with the entreating person's religious tenets?
- Relevant and fitting to the situation?
The most important question is whether it fits with your god's personality. Would they fulfill it? If a boon to raise someone from the dead was asked for by a Megalon follower, and that person died valiantly, in battle, for a great cause, would it be fulfilled? Probably, no, more like definitely not! Megalon endorses such an end. The need would indeed have to be great and then would be followed by one or geas, questions and other requirements.
Does the boon align with the tenets of the religion? This one is pretty easy to determine. You can entreat a boon contrary or infringing on a tenet but definitely expect a Transgression of Dogma roll at a minimum.
Entreating a boon should be relevant and fitting. You are calling directly on your deity or one of its avatars to meet some need. You are also doing it directly, informally, effectively calling the boss on his personal phone while he's potentially in the middle of a meeting. Not all bosses (or gods in this case) take that well. Some won't even respond unless the situation is correct. For example, the way I run Megalon is he will typically not grant an entreated boon unless its right before, during, or after a battle, conflict or melee. He's not listening and it takes double, yes, double the Faith to get him to do so. The other deities are just as quixotic at times and have similar conditions. I find this adds to the game and cuts down on abuse even further. Still, that's how I play it. I'd encourage you to do the same, if you like the elements it adds to role playing. If you don't, then don't. It does add a little bookkeeping that you may not want to track. Another part of fitting is the god's capability to answer the boon. Asking Borsala, the King of the Sea, to create a lightning storm is going to be difficult. Not that he can't create one, because as a deity he can, but nowhere as well as the Boreas or any of the multitude of deities for whom storms, wind and such is a part of their religious portfolio. It will cost more Faith to fulfill such an effect.
The rule of thumb here is, no matter what boon is entreated, it must meet at least two of the three requirements of it will fail. If it does then the following rules come into effect to determine the cost of the Entreat Boon.
- Prayer or ritual within the divine domain costs 1 Faith per OP; those outside cost 2 Faith per OP. This is in addition to any Faith required normally by the prayer or ritual.
- To counter or oppose a spell, ritual, mental power or like force that uses OP, use a 1 Faith per OP cost.
- Secret has a cumulative Faith cost per skill tier required. Proficient secrets cost 1 Faith, Trained secrets cost 3 Faith (1 + 2), Experienced cost 6 Faith and so forth, up to 28 Faith at Legendary. Secrets not normally used by one of the religion cost double.
- Costs 1 Faith per 25 TD to succeed or fail at a particular conflict, question, action. To overcome a TD 75, would require 3 Faith. To overcome a TD 200 would cost 8 Faith. The same applies if you are using a boon to meet a requirement, such as having such and such amount of Channel skill ranks to channel a spirit or to qualify is some manner. The TD becomes the requirement value you need and the Faith requirement from that.
- Oppositions of Faith require an equal amount of Faith to counter. So, if your foe uses 8 Faith for an effect, it costs you the same amount if you try to counter it.
- For actions or situations not so easily covered, where you are opposing, contrasting, measuring, damaging and such situations, use the person's Faith Pool as the value and require a Pneuma check. For example, a Shagrath Saint wishing to dismiss some summon minions of the Silver Lady, would use their APT as his opposing value (they are not a spell effect but were truly brought here), dividing their APT by his Faith Pool to determine the Faith required to dismiss them and make a Pneuma check versus their MD. The same Shagrath Saint wishing to slay his opponent, would use their HP divided by his Faith Pool but would need to make a Pneuma check versus their MD to succeed.
Duration of boons vary. However, if the duration is not defined, use 1 minute per F/FP where appropriate. The GM may vary this amount as necessary.
All boons have a cost. Potentially even boons that are not fulfilled. As a rule of thumb, if you entreat a boon, you will have an associated request back from your god. The most common outcome of a boon is a geas. Geas are a requirement to act or not act, and is usually identified with a particular tenet of the god's religion. Geas usually are some form of action, inaction, service, travel, or restriction. They have a defined start and end time and are generally pretty broad and flexible. For example, an action geas might be to salute all male priests when met for the next three months or to not turn down any request for aid, no matter how nefarious or impossible. Inaction is the opposite: to take no action of some sort, such as to not lift your hand in violence or to not eat cheese. Service is easy and typical: go feed the poor for 21 nights, extinguish all flames in the town every night. A travel geas might be to seek out the high priest of a far away temple before the year ends or to take a pilgrimage. Restrictions are exactly that. They are more stringent than inaction and always mean a form of loss. Geas typically lead to a Crisis of Faith at some point and especially if failed.
Quests are more restrictive than Geas. They have a penalty for failure, usually a stiff one. Crisis of Faith while performing the quest are frequent and regular.
Vows are exactly as they sound and well covered in the book. Any vows required for a boon are as permanent as any other you take up. They are equal to your tenets/dogma and can only be lifted by your deity.
Priests and Witch Hunters can make 1 Faith boons without suffering any requirements back. Paladins can make 2-Faith boons without requirements and Saints 4-Faith boons. Subtract these values from any greater Faith amounts to determine requirements otherwise. Any one else with Faith that can Entreat Boon always suffers some requirement back. Use the following method to determine the requirements:
- Divide the amount of Faith expended by 6. This number equals the amount of Major quests or Vows, or a combination of the two, that must be undertaken.
- If not divisable by 6, then divide by 5. This number equals the amount of Medium quests that must be undertaken.
- If not divisable by 5, then divide by 4. This number equals the amount of Minor quests that must be undertaken.
- Any remaining Faith points are taken one for one as Geas.
Example: Khronin, a Paladin of Heldore expends 12 Faith to resurrect a companion. Using the above rules, he subtracts 2 from 12, since Paladins make up to 2-Faith boons without requirements. With a 10 Faith expenditure, he uses the first rule, dividing by 6. That comes up with 1, so he must undertake one Major Quest or take on a Vow. The second rule doesn't apply since it comes up negative. The third rule, however, does so Khronin also has a Minor quest to complete as well.
Aglend, a Saint, performs the same act. In her case, she has a 12 – 4 or 8 Faith expenditure. She still gets a Major Quest or new Vow but only has two Geas to worry about instead of a minor quest.