Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Prayers of Ways and Means (Shrine Procedure)

 Sometimes, when I'm writing up a shrine or other location where PCs might encounter the image of a divine figure of some sort, I feel like I want a standard procedure to handle any attempts to gain the favor of that divinity. So, here is basically what I end up reinventing every time.

  1. When the PCs interact with a shrine, make a reaction roll, using all the normal bonuses and penalties. Add an additional +1 if a PC is a cleric of the divinity or an allied divinity, and -1 if they're profane before the divinity. Extra -2 if the interaction that causes the reaction roll takes the form of robbing or breaking the shrine. You can infer from these relatively minor bonuses and penalties that divinities are fickle.
  2. On a negative roll, consult the divinity's d6 Means Table and apply an immediate penalty. Save vs spell or be cursed, summon a hostile animal, whatever makes sense. On a positive roll, give the party a d6 Orison Die. On a more neutral roll, err on the side of the divinity's personality-- did they make an offering? Might the divinity slam into their minds and make them promise to do something for it? That kind of thing.
  3. You can only have 1 Orison Die in your party at once, and it goes away after a week if you haven't used it. To expend the die, pray to the divinity for help with a specific problem and roll on the Means Table. Whatever the means, it will be conjured with the intent of helping you with that problem. If you pray for help doing something that would offend the Divinity, treat it as a negative reaction roll.
A divinity's Means Table will be a combination of concrete and abstract. 

Example Means:
1. Snakes
2. Mercy
3. Blindness
4. Temperance
5. Knives 
6. Healers

Imagine you have prayed to a divinity with this table, asking for help convincing a cruel king to let you into his city. The divinity is not insulted by this request, and you roll a "1". Perhaps this summons a giant snake you can use to threaten the king with. It could be that you didn't want to risk threatening a powerful man, and the help you've received could potentially make things worse. Imagine instead that you are trying to reach a high ledge and don't know how you will do so. Your friend suggests spending the Orison Die, but you think about it and decide that many of the means on the table aren't likely to be all that useful. You've just exercised judgement.

Here's three more example Means Tables. As an added bonus, the varied tools in a divinity's tool belt are a good way to remind you to design less one-note gods, if that's the kind of thing you're into.

1. Writing
2. Birth
3. Deafness
4. Endurance
5. Grandparents
6. Boats

1. Sun ray
2. Arrows
3. Horse
4. Messengers
5. Funeral
6. Distrust

1. Mice
2. Pit
3. Barbituate
4. Doctors
5. Plenty
6. Call of the Void


  1. I really appreciate the means tables (As well as the procedure). It really feels like you could invent a whole deity with just a good means table.

  2. Thank you both for your kind words