Thursday, April 30, 2015

Clerics of Order and Chaos: Designer's Notes

"Clerics of Order and Chaos" in Pyramid #3/78: Unleash Your Soul is my first published work generally anywhere (other than a couple of pieces of poetry in some really small print run publications). It was originally submitted for Pyramid #3/68: Natural Magic. This article came from one of my players (Kevin Hosford) wanting to play a holy warrior of order in a GURPS Dungeon Fantasy game I was running at the time. Essentially I just followed the format given in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 7: Clerics and expanded it to the spheres of order and chaos. The Pyramid Writer's Club was of immense help in navigating the formatting requirements for GURPS publications and I don't think I would have been able to make the leap from player to author without their help. With the tight word-counts for Pyramid, and as the reviewers found things that should be included (notably the references to Antoni Ten Monrós' "Cultists of the Elder Gods" in Pyramid #3/43: Thaumatology III), I needed to cut other things. Notably the following box:


Order and Chaos, Together at Last
Order and chaos may seem like naturally opposed forces, forever locked in cosmic battle. However, it’s also possible that the gods are fundamentally Nature aligned and work together to maintain cosmic balance. This arrangement can allow delvers who follow both to peacefully coexist in the same party. A more complex cosmology can even have Good or Nature gods of order and chaos opposing their Evil or Insane counterparts!
Are They an Axis?
In many fantasy games, inspired by Michael Moorcock’s, Eternal Champion stories, order (or law) is opposed to chaos on a moral axis orthogonal to the axis of good and evil. This article doesn’t take that view and instead includes order and chaos in the existing moral scheme described in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 7: Clerics. Order can be Nature, Good, or Evil aligned, while chaos is generally either Nature or Insane (though, more rarely, may be Good or Evil). 

The original article had a "Body of Swarm" spell for chaos clerics, which was included in the original final submission. A few months after that I was reading through Dungeon Fantasy 5: Allies (as a player was making a druid) and I noticed the spell was totally redundant with the Insect Swarm variant of Shapeshifting in that book and I sent a corrected manuscript that replaced the spell with Shapeshifting (Insect Swarm).

Body of Swarm (VH)
Change into a swarm of flying insects (like biting flies). This is a one-hex swarm that does 1 point of damage (and otherwise follows the rules for Swarms on p. B461) that flies at double the caster’s Move. The insects can pass through cracks, crawl under doors, and infiltrate anywhere that insects can.
The caster may scatter, as per the Swarm enhancement for Injury Tolerance: Diffuse on GURPS Powers p. 53.
As with Shapeshifting (GURPS Magic p. 33), clothing and armor vanish, while carried items fall to the ground. Also, as with Shapeshifting, the caster must roll versus IQ each hour or lose IQ (until he has IQ 1).
Spells may only be cast if known well enough to be cast without words or gestures and, when scattered, are cast from the caster’s current viewpoint.
When the spell is canceled, dispelled, or expires the caster manifests at the current location of his viewpoint. If the swarm is currently scattered, it must first contract to the original radius (during which time the caster must Do Nothing if the spell is no longer in effect).

Duration: 1 hour

Cost: 15 to cast. 4 to maintain.

Time to cast: 3 seconds

Prerequisite: Chaos Power Investiture 5
Jewelry in the shape of an Insect; usable only by a chaos priest, chaos warrior, or a druid. The user pays the casting cost but maintains the spell for free. It merges into the subject when cast. Energy cost to create: 3,000 ($60,000)

The final published form also cut the notes about alternate profession lenses for chaos warriors. They aren't terribly hard to derive, but for completeness:

Kill for Chaos!
From self-mutilated berserker madmen leading hordes of redcaps and chaos beasts, to laughing anarchists dancing past guards to cut a hangman’s noose, chaos warriors are a colorful lot. Use the holy warrior lens for any template (though not with non-chaos clerics or druids). Delete any Born War Leader and Higher Purpose. Add Daredevil [15] and change the Schtick (Foes slain personally do not rise as undead) to Brotherhood of Chaos. Take Trickster (12) [-15] instead of the mandatory disadvantage. Replace Esoteric Medicine with Poisons and choose from the above options for Hidden Lore. Make up any difference in points by taking less (or more) in Holy abilities.

Divine Elements:

One thing that I noticed when working on the article, is that Allies has the Good and Evil divine elements and makes them fairly essential for fleshing out a divine servitor. Clerics introduced the concept of Neutral and Insane aligned deities but didn't offer any Elements to go with them (and suggests that you build servitors without the "essential" alignment ones). I found this a bit unsatisfactory which is what inspired the Primal/Elemental Fae/Faerie Lens/Elements. It also got me thinking about some more generic Neutral and Insane Elements (and a whole bunch of other domain elements) which will probably end up being a full length article in the future.

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