Ways of Worship

see also Way List

A Way is more than religion; it is a lifestyle, a calling, a way of being. Those who Follow seek to come ever closer to the god that governs their Way — and as they do, they are granted pieces from the mantle of their god's power. They are the hands of their god within the world, serving its purposes, furthering its causes, standing against its rivals and enemies. A truly devout Follower who lives and breathes the principles of their Way may even come to the threshold of divinity in their own right and be given the opportunity to cross over.

Aspects

see also Aspect List

Anyone may worship any deity, but truly setting foot on a Way begins with Aspects. An Aspect is a simple, brief yet profound tenet that defines how a character relates to the world around them. It drives values, choices, and goals. It may shape a character's aspirations: what they seek from life, their perceptions of beauty and authority and worth, their ideals. It may determine how they relate to others: whether they draw apart, succor the helpless, scorn the weak. Two people may possess the same Aspect, yet realize it in completely different fashions — for example, one with 'Aspires to Strength' may make themselves into a valiant defender of the weak, while another may fight their way to authority and rule as a cruel despot, and a third may seek fame and glory as a renowned athlete. All of these value strength and physical fitness, but pursue very different ends in the name of that principle.

Aspects are resonances etched into the core of one's being, deeper and more fundamental than mere personality. A personality trait can be disregarded, set aside, or even trained away given enough time and effort; it can be altered by brain damage or traumatic events. An Aspect is integral and immutable. It exists on the level of the soul, cannot be ignored or contradicted, and indeed is so fundamental that most do not even conceive of acting contrarily, never mind try to do so. Once acquired, an Aspect cannot be changed in the scope of a single lifetime; it takes death and rebirth before the soul can pursue new alignments. Even with that, many people have an Aspect that is fundamental indeed, carved deeply into their soul by choices repeated across multiple incarnations.

All PCs are eligible to begin with a single Aspect, taken at the time of character creation. This is optional, but encouraged.

After creation, Aspects can only be awarded by a Moderator, and only upon player request. The player must provide four threads which showcase their character living the behaviors appropriate to the Aspect. For example, a candidate seeking "Inquiring Mind" should have threads of their character asking questions, digging up information, and otherwise pursuing understanding of something. As Aspects are high-level principles with broad applications, how affinity is demonstrated is entirely up to the player's imagination, so long as it fits the Aspect's theme.

There is no hard limit to how many Aspects one character may acquire. However, one may only take on Aspects which are mutually complementary; thus, with every Aspect one accrues, the pool of potential additions grows smaller. Because of the profound influence of Aspects upon personality, holding more Aspects also strongly constrains one's actions and values.

Abilities

see also Ability List

Abilities are fragments of divine power, blessings bestowed by gods upon their Followers. These powers are tools in a Follower's figurative toolbox, intended to facilitate their work on the god's behalf. Thus, all Abilities for a Way are informed by its core principles, and each has a specific, defined effect and scope. Some Abilities can be approximated through magic, but there is no actual relationship between the two types of power; one does not have to be a shaman or witch to possess and use an Ability, nor does having an Ability necessarily make one more capable at magic.

Abilities are acquired solely by progressing through a Way, with one Ability granted for each level of affinity.

Calls

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Note: Players are free to invent tasks for their Follower PC to be Called to. Tasks should be consistent with the principles of their Way, but because dream communications are highly subject to misinterpretation, PCs do not necessarily have to be pursuing what their god intended.

Ascension

The first blessing, an Awakening, is bestowed at the whim of a god upon someone who has attracted their attention and appears to be a good fit for their Way, already having one of the appropriate Aspects. Once one has been Awakened, they are officially a Follower. From that point on, simply praying to the god is not sufficient to progress, though it does tend to keep one in good standing. Remember, gods do not wield their own power, but rather act through their Followers. Thus, ascending to higher blessings means living the lifestyle of the Way and doing the god's work in the world, in whatever form that work takes.

Additionally, gods are able to retract their favors, although this happens rarely. Most often, retractions are made when low-level Followers (Awakened) abandon their Way, ignoring or even acting in flagrant opposition to its principles and their god's requests. High-level Followers have taken on multiple Aspects associated with their Way, and thus have considerable difficulty going against it; but such rejections are also known. Depending on the degree of betrayal, these apostates may be considered anything from disappointments to enemies of their former god — scorned by, at odds with, or even outright hunted by the Followers who used to be their brothers and sisters in faith.

Awakened

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Players may request a moderated Trial in order for their character to become Awakened. Awakening may also be awarded at staff discretion as a consequence of an appropriate Quest or Event. No character may be Awakened in more than two Ways; those Ways and their governing deities may not conflict with one other.

Aspirant

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Aspirants will receive a second Aspect appropriate for their Way, unless they already have two. They also receive a second Ability from their god.

Aspirant status can only be received by passing a moderated Trial, and will only be granted in a single Way. For a PC to attempt the Aspirant Trial, they must have at least four seasons of active RP as an Awakened, with at least eight threads spread out over that time demonstrating the character's commitment to their Way. These may include acts of reverence, proselytizing, instructing junior Followers, responding to divine Calls, performing tasks in the furtherance of their Way without formal Calls, and other such relevant scenes.

Avatar

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Avatars receive a third Aspect and Ability appropriate to their Way.

Avatar status can only be received by passing a moderated Trial. Time and thread prerequisites are the same as for an Aspirant Trial, but the threads should predominantly involve Calls or the unasked performance of similar tasks, and said tasks should be appropriate to the PC's standing (i.e. greater in scope and risk than those given to an Awakened).

Archetype

see also Deity List

Archetypes are the gods themselves, beings that exist solely as spiritual ideals, something akin to Aspects written into the collective soul of the world. PCs may not technically ascend to Archetype status; however, Aspirant characters may request an additional Trial. If the Trial is passed, staff will work with the player to create a new Archetype that 'echoes' their PC. This Archetype may either supplant the existing god of their Way or be used to create a new 'branch' faith, related but distinct. The successful PC gains no new Aspects or Abilities, but leaves a lasting impression upon the game, with ramifications that potentially affect all other Followers of their Way. Time and thread prerequisites for an Archetype Trial are the same as for an Avatar Trial.

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