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Mjoellnir

What is faith?

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Hello, after getting Blood of Martyrs I started wondering what exactly faith is in Warhammer 40k. Faith doesn't affect untouchables. So it's logical to assume that whatever faith does is warp-based. On the other hand there are no perils of the warp effects for faith. Faith powers are only open to people who believe in the Emperor as a god. Now there are a lot of interesting questions. What exactly happens if your faith in the Emperor gets shaken up? Like being innocently persecuted as a witch by other Emperor-believers, getting your hands on an original Emperor-signed copy of the Imperial Truth or spending too much time with Space Marines? Will you lose your powers along with the faith in his divinity and infallibility (if you don't rationalize everything away)? Or will it still work because you know that it works? Now that hasn't much to do with faith anymore. If it isn't obvious already I'm thinking about the background of a SoB NPC with the Denounced and Condemned background from the Radical's Handbook.gran_risa.gif

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I don't think they've ever nailed down completely what it exactly defines as on the surface its a fairly simple concept. However that said I'd say if someone stopped believing in the Emperor then they would lose acess to their faith powers, losing faith equals losing faith powers in my head anyway. For someone with pure faith to actually stop believing in the Emperor is a very big deal though as someone who can perform miracles (thats what they are!) based purely on that their faith in the god emperor is so strong isn't going to be swayed by even very good arguments or evidence and many of them if you gave them that copy of the Imperial Truth would do one of three things in my mind (likely one of these three) believe it's a trick, believe it's a test of their faith by the god emperor or if they actually believe it have a complete break down. You're talking about taking away a core belief of the person that is integral to their being, to convince someone with the pure of faith talents that the emperor is not divine would be deeply traumatic at the least.

I don't think that if a sister of battle lost her faith she'd still be able to perform these miracles but it's your game so if it sits better with you then she'll be throwing out all the divine powers she'd ever want. If she is actually just cast out thats' another thing, her faith in the Emperor is not going to be dependent on others faiths in her.

Being mistaken for a witch... it's possible and likely has happened but for someone who actually has training in dealing with witches and psykers they'd probably be able to tell with the right tests (not that they'd be using the right ones... here hold this broad sword over your head while I recant the prayer of diviniation, it'll take two days and if that sword lowers a hair it's witch burning time!).

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Back when the Ephrael Stern miniature still had her unique special rules, they stated that she could not use Acts of Faith and would not count towards the squad size when attached to a Battle Sisters unit performing an AoF.

I take this as confirmation for my personal understanding that such miracles simply require years of indoctrination and training, an almost inhuman amount of belief and utter devotion to the Imperial Creed, and that all this can easily be undone when the person in question undergoes a crisis of faith. This is not just about "being religious", it transcends common people's lip service to the point where dogma becomes fact and a person's fervor is stronger than any instinct of self-preservation or fear for pain. When a Sister's understanding of the world and her religion gets shaken, she would loose access to the benefits this had subconsciously granted her. A single shred of doubt would suffice - If you loose faith in the Emperor, how could He possibly help you? A mind thus confused cancels its own potential out.

Of course, there are other ways, too. Just because you lost your faith in the Imperium as it exists now doesn't mean you cannot still believe in the Emperor. Just that you should probably go on a holy crusade to correct all that you deem wrong. gran_risa.gif

An interesting aspect seems to be that the effects of faith are susceptible to the amount of worshippers participating in a ritual, as at least the tabletop rules take squad size into consideration when determining the results of a unit of Sisters performing an Act of Faith. I always thought this bears a remarkable resemblance to how the Orks' technology (waaagh sphere?) works. That one doesn't evoke Perils either, does it? (please correct me if I'm wrong, Orks aren't my specialty)

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Lynata said:

I always thought this bears a remarkable resemblance to how the Orks' technology (waaagh sphere?) works. That one doesn't evoke Perils either, does it? (please correct me if I'm wrong, Orks aren't my specialty)

 

IIRC, the weirdboy can blow up if there's too much WAAAGH energy and he can't channel it in some offensive power or 'keep it all in'

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Braddoc said:

IIRC, the weirdboy can blow up if there's too much WAAAGH energy and he can't channel it in some offensive power or 'keep it all in'

Indeed, I remember this from "Final Liberation", too. You had those Weirdboyz in huge yellow towers mounted on a tractor, and they could create an improvised energy shield around your forces ... or they would simply blow up from one turn to the other. :D

I always took that to be the usual orkiness, though, and not exactly a "Peril" as in "rift opens, demons appear"?

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Faith as defined is game is probably pretty hard for us to quantify since its like probably hasn't been seen in thousands of years assuming you believe your native holy texts. Battle Sisters in person are likely to be a bit 'intense' as it were. Their faith is absolute. It would probably make you or I very uncomfortable to be near them.

You can't out reason it or use logic around it. To them faith is a law of the universe and won't be overcome by mere words. It protects them in certain ways all the time. Its also what lets the Sisters Dialogous pick up and read that blasphemous tome without having their mind blasted by dark powers. Its what lets the Sisters pray for bulwark against being annhilated by a traitor guard's Battle Cannon or face down a Keeper of Secrets. Its that awesome.

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I think this is a really interesting topic. I think there are two main issues, one what does it mean to have faith and two the warp.

Now first I think faith has to be understood, this is total and utter belief in the divinity of the emperor, In terms of the warhammer universe this really is total and utter devotion, I mean it has been said before in this thread, Sisters of battle utterly devoted, mind body and soul to the Emperor. I mean I can't even imagine that sort of commitment but yeah I admire it really.

Now as I was saying the Warp, well now as I remember it the warp is a realm of psychic and spiritual energy that is influenced by the real universe and in terms influences it. I mean Daemons are supposed to be the result of the collective nightmares and essentially dark thoughts of humanity. Humans like every race bar some (tau) have a presence in the warp; this is our souls in essence. When we believe in something, really believe in it with our souls and minds it manifests in the warp. So if you take a person who has forged their mind and soul so utterly in the belief in the emperor and his miracles I think yeah they would manifest in moments of like “everything or nothing” you know those moments where you are on the knife edge on whether you will survive.

I think the whole thing with what makes them different from psychic powers is really down to the guys who write the lore putting faith powers in a different vain these are powers of the soul while psychic powers to me are really a psyker using power drawn from warp. The faith powers are perhaps from the person’s soul but still in its own way magnified by the warp. Nulls/Pariahs/Blanks are not affected by either power I think simply because again if I remember from the lore they simply do not have a presence in the warp and are in essence soulless.
That’s my two cents!

 

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The emphasis on the psycic energy of the warp is a very good point. Perhaps faith works as a catalyst? Where psykers are able to connect directly to the warp, thus having much more influence and power (but simultaneously also being subject to corruption as some sort of "feedback" from the warp as well as potentially growing more arrogant with the might they could wield), faith might allow people with extremely strong convictions to indirectly manifest their burning emotions - be them hope, mercy or hate - as focal points around which the reality will be altered, without any kind of "hands on" manipulation like the psyker would do. This makes Acts of Faith much less controllable and more a matter of subconsciousness or instinct, but also foregoes the threat of a warp incursion or similar effects.

After all, was it not the emotions of the Eldar that resulted in the birth of Slaanesh?

And here's an almost heretical thought: What if all those Living Saints are born out of nigh-similar events, just on a smaller scale? At times of great need, and out of the collective emotions of the faithful? An embodiment of all the holy zeal and focused aggression, "possessing" one of the faithful and ascending her to temporary demi-godhood.

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Interesting topic.  I somewhat disagree with the viewpoint that Faith and Blind Fanaticism (or indeed any Fanaticism) are interchangeable.

They are often linked, its true.  And as an agnostic with atheist leanings, I'm not religious myself.  But so dangerous a generalisation disturbs me, even in a fictional and pulpy setting like WH40K.

Its true that a Pure Faith character confronted with the Imperial Truth might react badly, or try to rationalize it away or claim it to be a lie.  But an intelligent, driven individual could still wield Pure Faith without being forced into the trappings of the Ecclesiarchy, though such a thing is undoubtedly even more rare then Pure Faith itself.  Just look to some of the Saints...ordinary or extraordinary people, many of which have not come from Ecclesiarchal backgrounds but have risen to the occasion none-the-less.  In any event, I think its possible to be a person of Faith without succumbing to fanaticism or blinding yourself to truth.

Of course, if you decide in the game that Pure Faith is a form of psychic energy/phenomena caused by intense belief, then the above statement doesn't hold true.  In this case the energy doesn't come from the Emperor so much as it is given form by the individual's belief.  In effect, a Pure Faith character taps into a unique aspect of the warp because of his upbringing or experiences, in which case having a religious and fanatical background are almost required for Acts of Faith to be possible.  In this case the forms and methods (and possibly the way you think and feel) are the key factors in causing "miracles", which means your background, upbringing and most critically...your belief system...are vital components.

In other words, the calmly rational Faithful doesn't possess the same absolute certainty and burning passion of the fanatic necessary to power acts of Pure Faith.

Or perhaps it can be both, depending on the situation, the person and the kind of game the GM is running.

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Bladehate said:

But an intelligent, driven individual could still wield Pure Faith without being forced into the trappings of the Ecclesiarchy, though such a thing is undoubtedly even more rare then Pure Faith itself.

Well, there are the Canonesses of the various Orders, who - due to their station - are privy to some pretty nasty secrets, but are forced to adapt by the responsibility of their station, essentially sacrificing their former zeal for political schemes and power games within the ranks of the Ministorum, the Inquisition and other Imperial organization.

For example, we have the leaders of the few Orders Minoris tasked with Purity Control, collecting genetic samples of Imperial citizens, servants and warriors. One of the many secret articles of the Convocation of Nephilim, however, was a hidden agreement between the leaders of the Sororitas and the Inquisition, allowing Inquisitors and their servants to hide from these screenings. Purity Control Teams are still dispatched, yet for some reason, whenever the Sisters arrive at the installation, the Inquisitors already knew and have "cleaned house" (being away on a mission or the like). The Sororitas actually doing these tests are not aware of this, yet their commanders are, possibly because they were the ones notifying the Inquisition. Because it is dirty secrets like these that keep the Imperium running. It is perhaps ironic that a fledgling Sister, fresh from Schola indoctrination, may possess more zeal than a seasoned veteran, simply because the latter got caught in the web of politics.

"I will speak plainly, Canoness. This artifice, the doubletalk and power play surrounding every word and deed, it chafes at me. I have but one mission, and that is to bring Torris Vaun to justice. I have no wish to become ensnared in politics."
"Then I would advise you, Sister, never to allow yourself to advance beyond your current rank. I have learned to my cost that of all the challenges to the power of His Word, it is the obfuscation of those who claim to serve Him that vexes me the most... The rigour of honest battle is a welcome respite."

- Sister Superior Miriya and Canoness Galatea shortly before the Cleansing of Metis, Faith & Fire

"Mylady, this cannot be! What of Sister Ephrael? What of the promises of a fair trial?"
"Sister Ephrael is lost to us now. We ... we must look to saving ourselves. We serve the Emperor with all our faith, and with faith, there must sometimes come sacrifice."

- Canoness Ramientes after receiving a less-than-subtle threat from the Ordo Malleus, Daemonifuge

That said, even thusly "adapted" individuals still serve an important, nay, even vital function for their Order, for whilst they may have possibly lost their Pure Faith, they still care for their fellow Sisters and protect them from outside influence and harm as the younger Sororitas go about doing the Emperor's work, blinded to the ugly truth. And thus, the machine keeps on running...

It should be noted that the presence of a Canoness still confers additional Faith Points to a Sororitas army on the tabletop - yet, following my interpretation, this is actually the effect of the Canoness' presence on the collective faith of her troops, not a stronger zeal of the individual character.

 

Bladehate said:

Just look to some of the Saints...ordinary or extraordinary people, many of which have not come from Ecclesiarchal backgrounds but have risen to the occasion none-the-less.

Another irony: I am of the opinion that the higher levels of the Ecclesiarchy actually negate true faith in the same way as the upper ranks of the Sororitas do, likely even more so, and at an earlier place. The Ecclesiarchy is a hierarchy riddled with internal schisms, power plays and political schemes. It would not surprise me at all if many clerics would pay only lip service to the Emperor. Which is why ordinary clerics in the TT - and in this RPG as well - do not benefit from Acts of Faith / Faith talents.

 

Bladehate said:

In this case the energy doesn't come from the Emperor so much as it is given form by the individual's belief.  In effect, a Pure Faith character taps into a unique aspect of the warp because of his upbringing or experiences, in which case having a religious and fanatical background are almost required for Acts of Faith to be possible.  In this case the forms and methods (and possibly the way you think and feel) are the key factors in causing "miracles", which means your background, upbringing and most critically...your belief system...are vital components. In other words, the calmly rational Faithful doesn't possess the same absolute certainty and burning passion of the fanatic necessary to power acts of Pure Faith.

Exactly! That's the theory I'm currently inclined to lean to. Similar to how divine energy worked in the old Warcraft RPG (which was actually pretty good and quite grimdark in its own way, until the MMO killed the setting).

Naturally, all these things are merely my interpretations and conclusions drawn from the fluff. The actual source of miracles is more or less completely unexplained.

Which, of course, only makes it even more interesting to discuss potential explanations around here. ;)

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As others have said - this is a very interesting discussion gran_risa.gif 

Alas I do not think that I can add much to it though, except for just one thought - is the Emperor aware that belief in him is fuelling these miracles? He is (or was, depending on your point of view) the greatest every psyker and maybe able to sense the disturbances in the warp that the miracles cause. And if he can sense it, can he affect it?   

Lynata said:

 

And here's an almost heretical thought: What if all those Living Saints are born out of nigh-similar events, just on a smaller scale? At times of great need, and out of the collective emotions of the faithful? An embodiment of all the holy zeal and focused aggression, "possessing" one of the faithful and ascending her to temporary demi-godhood.

 

Lynata - that it brilliant! I could not find a place for the Living Saints in my view of how the universe worked, until now.

DW

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After thinking about it some more, I have a real problem with the explanation that its a form of warp phenomenon.  Its too close to a human version of the Orc weirdboyz, and to be honest the current psychic system encompasses all kinds of psyker events.  Even those who are less "spell casters" and more sub-conscious powerhouses (nascent psykers come to mind).  If this really is the explanation, a person of Pure Faith would be very similar to a Nascent Psyker...a person without full control or understanding of his abilities.

Also, the explanation that the Living Saints are spontaneous eruptions of human psychic energy is too close to the Orcy weirdboyz.  Its entirely plausable, has a precedent in the orcs and is a perfectly reasonable explanation...but for some reason I just find it inappropriate.

I think a better explanation and one that I will use for the PC in my campaign is that Pure Faith is truly the Emperor acting through the individual...or at least there is a fraction of the Emperor that focuses on that person and event for a brief moment.  A devout character is easier for the Emperor's consciousness to locate and act through, but if the situation is dire enough...it does not require a religious person to serve as a vessel of the Emperor's will.  And once a person has thus been marked, he or she becomes considerably easier for the Emperor to locate again, as the person's faith and psychic signature becomes easier to recognize amongst the sea of humanity.

Why must the Emperor act through an agent?  The same reason he doesn't speak directly to the High Lords of Terra, or for that matter that the Greater Chaos Powers don't just manifest in the real world and kick the collective ass of our reality straight into the warp.  Obviously entities of such power have limitations and rules (and the Emperor more then most...) that the rest of us just don't understand.  But acting through agents and proxies seems to be a pretty common limitation...

Its a bit of a catch-all explanation, and possibly not the best way to mechanically describe whatever it is that the God Emperor does...but it does mean that first "miracle" that the character performs should be almost as traumatic and life changing, even for a devout believer, as a Psyker awakening to his own power.  Obviously not traumatically in the same way...quite the opposite...but knowing for a fact that even the tiniest fraction of the God Emperor is watching over you, personally, must be both empowering and incredibly humbling for an inhabitant of the Imperium.  There should never be that certainty though...which unfortunately there is in the RPG due to its mechanics and systems...a character (player or otherwise) should never reach out his hand, lay it on another and KNOW that the Emperor will heal said individual of his ailments. 

And I think that's how I will encourage my player's Missionary/Cleric character (who is a converted Underhive Assassin that has seen too much to deny the Emperor) to view his Pure Faith:  It is not just enough to believe, to have faith...but the character in question must have some purpose in the greater scheme of things for the Emperor to take such notice.  Pure Faith is thus the heaviest of responsibilities as the character should always strive to seek the purpose that the Emperor has foreseen for him or her.  Even as he falls or fails, the duty to serve the Emperor must come before all other concerns.

That actually turned out to be quite a bit more fanatic then I first expected.  I may need to allow a bit of leeway for human weakness in there...

I really dislike pushing my players into such one-dimensional, D&D LG Paladin stereotypes in a game such as this.

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I probably wouldn't describe Pure Faith in 40k as Lawful Good - unless you argue that "good" is a matter of perception. :D

You and Traveller have raised an interesting point, though. It may well be the Emperor himself creating a "divine intervention" on behalf his faithful subjects, possibly on a subconscious level as there are too many areas where He would have to concentrate on. I rather liked the idea in the old Inquisition War novels where the Emperor's mind was described as fragmented; a puzzle of countless separate consciousnesses not unlike, but even worse than a person suffering from multiple personalities disorder, all created by having absorbed so many psychic sacrifices and seen so many things in his catatonic state. In turn, however, leading the Emperor to project a small part of His presence to multiple locations throughout the Imperium, simultaneously. And leaving Inquisitor Jaq Draco wondering if one fraction of the Emperor was even aware of what another did, or if the Emperor may be keeping secrets from Himself...

But if intensive thinking of someone really has any meaning in terms of telepathy, then zealous faith may indeed be the perfect catalyst for drawing the Emperor's psychic attention. For in the end, prayer does not only serve to focus one's emotions, but also one's thought.

As for the "human waaagh" theory: I have to admit that it took me quite a while to come to terms with it. In the end, it happened because I really like scientific explanations, so as a player I would just like to know what exactly is behind a miracle, even if it is completely different from what my character would believe. In addition to this, I guess I just like the fittingly cruel grimdark irony of the possibility that the divine miracles so cherished by the Ecclesiarchy might actually be the result of a psychic phenomenon. ;)

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Something to bear in mind, as I'm sure has been mentioned but will reiterate for completeness, Pure Faith talents do not affect Nulls (Untouchables, Pariahs, would not a Culexus by any other name be as badass?) which strongly implies that they are Warp-based. Now, my theory, taken partially from those above, is that true, utterly devoted Faith, is genetic. A certain code buried somewhere among the billion strands of a billion combinations of the 4 base pairs lies the particular sequence that links the person's mind and soul to the Emperor. Perhaps it alters the person's Warp signature such that the Emperor himself can perceive it through the Astronomicon, and to go beyond the reaches of the Emperor's will is to escape a Psychic link that forces true Faith? Perhaps that genetic key that allows the faithful can only be triggered by the pseudo-psyker's mental state, one that can only occur when devout?

I do, however, lean strongly towards agreeing with Lynata's views on the birth of saints, the concentration of the Faith of billions in times of strife to save them all, but perhaps slightly different, and simply further and supernatural proof of Newton's Third Law. The actions of cults, and non-believers, the surging of Chaotic energies and the very fabric of reality twisting beneath the claws of Daemons would send echoes, waves rippling through the fabric of the plane of Souls, and in the midst of all this turbulence that corrupts and maddens so many, at some point the waves may cancel each other out and form a tiny speck of peace and tranquility only made possible by the extremity of the turbulence. From that speck of perfect is the soul of a Saint born as an equal and opposite reaction to the strife of the galaxy.

Just yet another perspective.

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If it is a matter of biology, it would strike me less as a special trait but more like the norm, for Acts of Faith are too embedded into entire organizations which draw their members at random (-> Sororitas) without screening for this particular genetic sequence. In other words, it would have to be present in the overwhelming majority of mankind either way. Now, this does not seem inconceivable, keeping in mind that humanity as a race seems to be one step before psychic mastery, with psykers as the next evolutionary step and the Emperor as a prime example of this development. A latent susceptibility - for which Pure Faith may serve as some sort of catalyst, enabling a direct connection to Him on Earth - would exist in almost everyone. It just takes special means (-> religious zeal) to "trigger" this subconscious beacon.

PS: I do like that description of Living Saints as "Anti-Daemons". ;)

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Woah, I spend a day painting Deathwatch Marines and this thread explodes. :D Thanks for all the feedback.

I have to admit my first theory concerning faith was that it was a special kind of Emperor-powered sorcery,  but that falls out because of the lack of perils of the warp. Even if you reach out to the Emperor there is still enough in the warp that will try to bite you. I thought of the Wagh field too, but I wasn't sure if the concept still existed in fluff (after checking out the Weirdboy description it definitely does). There are some similarities, but also some differences. For example the Waagh grows stronger the more Orkz you gather. Orks don't have to roll any dice to confirm their miracles (Orky tech works, red vunz go fasta etc.). Humans have to roll and interestingly there are acts of faith that work better the fewer faithful you have.

Concerning the influence of knowledge on faith I guess that's partly covered under the corruption point threshold for faith powers (even though I can't find it in BoM at the moment). Still, it's anything but easy to determine what exactly makes them tick.

Lynata said:

Exactly! That's the theory I'm currently inclined to lean to. Similar to how divine energy worked in the old Warcraft RPG (which was actually pretty good and quite grimdark in its own way, until the MMO killed the setting).

Hehe, you know TDE and the original WarCraft RPG? We have to compare our RPG shelves some time, I have a feeling they look pretty similar. :D The interesting thing about the system in WarCraft was that theoretically (and they later did that in WoW with the Scarlet Crusade) you could use your divine magic while blatantly violating the rules of your religion, as long as you manage to rationalize it. In Dark Heresy you have a corruption threshold which is absolute like the alignment restrictions in D&D (well, now Pathfinder).

 

 

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Mjoellnir said:

Concerning the influence of knowledge on faith I guess that's partly covered under the corruption point threshold for faith powers (even though I can't find it in BoM at the moment).

That's because it doesn't exist for BoM Faith rules. Whether that was a mistake or if they intentionally "dumbed down" Faith remains to be seen. :(

 

 

Mjoellnir said:

Hehe, you know TDE and the original WarCraft RPG? We have to compare our RPG shelves some time, I have a feeling they look pretty similar. :D The interesting thing about the system in WarCraft was that theoretically (and they later did that in WoW with the Scarlet Crusade) you could use your divine magic while blatantly violating the rules of your religion, as long as you manage to rationalize it. In Dark Heresy you have a corruption threshold which is absolute like the alignment restrictions in D&D (well, now Pathfinder).

Aye, the Warcraft RPG had some very interesting ideas. Arcane magic was addictive, causing people to get corrupted. And faith was pretty much controlled solely by one's own conscience, enabling paladins and clerics of the Light to do evil things for the greater good as long as they believed it had to be done. I thought the Crusade was pretty cool and had lots of interesting (and tragic!) characters. Too bad it was apparently deemed unfit for what is now a black-vs-white scenario with way too much modern thinking, missing internal strife, prejudice and any shades of grey. It's even more of a kick in the face that the new faction of whiteknights seems to emulate the true Crusade in all but their gritty realism, stealing their their militaristic style, their territories, their glory and even their names. The setting had a lot of potential, once...

As for my RPG shelf - in addition to Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, Warcraft and lots(!) of TDE, I have two Myranor books, some Shadowrun stuff, Star Wars (d20 and saga edition) and a couple random d20 books (three sourcebooks for drow*, realm management rules from Fields of Blood, etc) ... oh, and an old copy of the cyberpunk Bubblegum Crisis RPG I managed to pick up on e-bay. Awesome setting, very classy. Ah, and I also have the WFRP Tome of Corruption - potentially quite useful for 40k as well.

I dread the day I have to move again, for all these books weigh a ton!

(*: I actually only picked those up because I had a drow character for years, played on both an UO shard and, after that, an NWN persistent world - good times...)

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Lynata said:

That's because it doesn't exist for BoM Faith rules. Whether that was a mistake or if they intentionally "dumbed down" Faith remains to be seen. :(

Hmmmm, wouldn't that actually fit your view of it being similar to divine magic in WarCraft? You can use faith as long as you believe you're right. After all the nice thing about radicals is that they don't realize how corrupted they become.

 

Lynata said:

Aye, the Warcraft RPG had some very interesting ideas. Arcane magic was addictive, causing people to get corrupted. And faith was pretty much controlled solely by one's own conscience, enabling paladins and clerics of the Light to do evil things for the greater good as long as they believed it had to be done. I thought the Crusade was pretty cool and had lots of interesting (and tragic!) characters. Too bad it was apparently deemed unfit for what is now a black-vs-white scenario with way too much modern thinking, missing internal strife, prejudice and any shades of grey. It's even more of a kick in the face that the new faction of whiteknights seems to emulate the true Crusade in all but their gritty realism, stealing their their militaristic style, their territories, their glory and even their names. The setting had a lot of potential, once...

Yeah, High Elves were born addicted and the rules for corruption in Magic and Mayhem were incredibly evil (and depended on the school of spells you used most). But that's unimportant if you want a lot of customers. I think I never met anyone who really knew a lot about the setting and only a few who were interested. I left the game before my favourite dragonflight became raid fodder. 

Lynata said:

As for my RPG shelf - in addition to Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, Warcraft and lots(!) of TDE, I have two Myranor books, some Shadowrun stuff, Star Wars (d20 and saga edition) and a couple random d20 books (three sourcebooks for drow*, realm management rules from Fields of Blood, etc) ... oh, and an old copy of the cyberpunk Bubblegum Crisis RPG I managed to pick up on e-bay. Awesome setting, very classy. Ah, and I also have the WFRP Tome of Corruption - potentially quite useful for 40k as well.

I have Rogue Trader, Deathwatch, Dark Heresy, lots of TDE from the last two editions, I think all but one Myranor books, three Shadowrun (never really got into that), Mouse Guard (fun little system), D&D (3rd, 3.5 and 4th, but I stopped with that), Pathfinder, Star Wars D20 and almost everything of Saga Edition, Babylon 5, Star Trek from Decipher, the original WarCraft RPG and the WoW RPG.

Lynata said:

I dread the day I have to move again, for all these books weigh a ton!

I moved one and a half year ago, that was a pain. :D

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Concerning Faith and Psyniscience, Nulls and Psychic Phenomena.

Faith is definitely a manifestation of psychic energy for more direct powers such as Soul Storm, but might be less obviously so for "minor" miracles.  For that reason, even though it doesn't expressly state it, I think I would allow Psyniscience a chance to detect Faith.  Probably with some hefty penalties versus more subtle powers because of the nature of the thing, but if Nulls are immune to manifestations of Faith, then such manifestations should generally obey some of the same rules as the rest of the psychic system.  I would argue that many of the faith powers are very difficult to gauge, and could easily be missed even by a Psyker actively searching for it, though obvious exceptions do exist.

So, why don't Faith powers cause Psychic Phenomenon?  In my opinion, its because they are granted by the Emperor...and if there is one guy able to Fetter his Psy-Rating and still cause miracles I think it would probably be him...

I've not read the Inquisition War trilogy that Lynata brings up, but I've heard the idea before.  I'm not sure that I want to make the Emperor outright fragmented and possibly contradictory (that's giving too much info to the players tbh), but his actions and motivations should remain mysterious and unfathomable...even to the most devout of the Faithful.  His abilities, his motivations, his grand designs and his limitations are all far beyond the scope of what any one person can ever understand, except in the most broad of generalizations.

And I think that's a playable basis for Faith and a system of Faith powers that I can live with.  A player may deem it necessary to "use" a miracle...but for the character in-game it isn't a conscious choice...he feels the power of the Emperor fill him, and serves as a conduit for His power.  It is and should be a deeply spiritual and religious experience, every time.

Its easy to lose sight of that when you sit with the mechanics and read over the coldly laid out effects of various Faith Powers.  Its easy to slip into a "well, I cast my fireball at the orcs" mentality when dealing with Faith Powers, and to a lesser extent Psychic Powers, when you only relate to the facts in the books.  As a GM I prefer to add a little more flavour to my "magic", and I feel its important to take those few seconds to describe how it must feel to use Psychic powers so that my players get a greater depth to such activities.  I take pride in the fact that my group's psykers (I have 2) often choose to forego the use of their powers because dipping their minds into the currents of the warp is just too risky...even though the players know logically that doubles (we're using the RT system now) is the only way to cause phenomena, and even phenomena only causes Perils 1/4th of the time.  That respect for the dangers of the warp is something I feel that I've had a hand in creating, and I'd like to get a feel for how I want to present Faith Powers to engender a similar emotional/mental reaction in my recently converted Assassin/Missionary (we did a "soft" reset when we converted from DH to RT).

This thread has really helped crystallize my concept of Faith in my game so thanks for that Mjoellnir and participants!

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Mjoellnir said:

Hmmmm, wouldn't that actually fit your view of it being similar to divine magic in WarCraft? You can use faith as long as you believe you're right. After all the nice thing about radicals is that they don't realize how corrupted they become.
Well, yes and no... I guess it is important to keep in mind there's two kinds of "corruption". The simple twisting of ideas (-> Scarlet Crusade), and a tangible taint on someone's soul. Only the latter would be the Corruption Points from Dark Heresy, and whilst they can and often do lead to similar effects, the end result will be more drastic, affecting not only a character's modus operandi but ultimately also his personality, motivations and, in the end, his allegiance.

This duality actually existed in the Warcraft setting as well. Undead couldn't wield the Holy Light, even if they fervently believed in its principles, leading to the interesting situation that good undead clerics (the few that exist) were unable to channel divine power, whereas you had living paladins smiting innocent people with the power of Good, simply because their consciousness was able to justify it for the greater good. The cause of this was that undeath was a form of corruption, and the Light would react violently on it, regardless of the individual's actual personality. When the paladins tried to cure still living victims affected by the plague of undeath, their healing powers burned them alive. Grimdark.
Same thing with the high elves and the draenei. Both had paladins and clerics, but when they became infected with Fel Energy (blood elves / broken), they found themselves unable to call upon the Light anymore.

In terms of 40k, I tend to associate Corruption Points with a palpable nudge of the character towards the Ruinous Powers. An example: The Sororitas relic "Blade of Admonition" (which has now received rules in BoM) is able to show a person's true face, leading to it being used in the pursuit of truth and the exposure of heretics. In DH, this works by the wielder of the Blade being able to "read" a person's Corruption Points. In other words, someone with Corruption Points will have his reflection in the blade distorted into something ugly.

I see purity as a necessary element to achieve this special state that is required for Acts of Faith. And last but not least it is also useful for balancing, for Faith powers can be pretty strong (though I tend to think that some in BoM are too weak, whereas others are just OP) and Sororitas characters get access to pretty powerful equipment. A strict regime with lots of restrictions placed on such a character does not only seem fitting from a background PoV but also to partially offset these advantages. Sororitas characters with Corruption Points feel almost like a contradiction to me - there's a reason why so few of them fell to the lure of Chaos. ;)

Also I have to admit that I have a hard time actually thinking of any kind of "twisted ideas" that would not run counter to the dogma of Imperial Creed. With all the genetic purges and the torture/burning of suspected heretics and the suppression of mutant populations, the Ecclesiarchy and the Sororitas are already so grimdark that it would seem hard to find a niche that would be even more evil without violating the cornerstones of their faith.

 

PS: I think you win when it comes to our shelves. Sounds like a lot more books than I currently own, though they already take up 1/6 of my three-door-cabinet. ;)

And I have to agree with Bladehate, this topic is very interesting. Thanks to everyone involved!

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Lynata said:

Well, yes and no... I guess it is important to keep in mind there's two kinds of "corruption". The simple twisting of ideas (-> Scarlet Crusade), and a tangible taint on someone's soul. Only the latter would be the Corruption Points from Dark Heresy, and whilst they can and often do lead to similar effects, the end result will be more drastic, affecting not only a character's modus operandi but ultimately also his personality, motivations and, in the end, his allegiance.

I think the rules in Dark Heresy are a bit unspecific in that regard. You can get corruption by being scared by a demon, "witnessing dread rituals" and "Blasphemous Lore: Knowledge itself can corrupt, and the study of certain tomes, pict-logs and even some debased artwork can cause Corruption in the viewer."

 

Lynata said:

This duality actually existed in the Warcraft setting as well. Undead couldn't wield the Holy Light, even if they fervently believed in its principles, leading to the interesting situation that good undead clerics (the few that exist) were unable to channel divine power, whereas you had living paladins smiting innocent people with the power of Good, simply because their consciousness was able to justify it for the greater good. The cause of this was that undeath was a form of corruption, and the Light would react violently on it, regardless of the individual's actual personality. When the paladins tried to cure still living victims affected by the plague of undeath, their healing powers burned them alive. Grimdark.
  Same thing with the high elves and the draenei. Both had paladins and clerics, but when they became infected with Fel Energy (blood elves / broken), they found themselves unable to call upon the Light anymore.

Yeah, it was a pretty interesting take on the old positive/negative energy of D&D, with the Undead discovering the Shadow. In WoW one of the GMs rationalized the undead priests using healing spells with them "cauterizing" wounds......

Lynata said:

In terms of 40k, I tend to associate Corruption Points with a palpable nudge of the character towards the Ruinous Powers. An example: The Sororitas relic "Blade of Admonition" (which has now received rules in BoM) is able to show a person's true face, leading to it being used in the pursuit of truth and the exposure of heretics. In DH, this works by the wielder of the Blade being able to "read" a person's Corruption Points. In other words, someone with Corruption Points will have his reflection in the blade distorted into something ugly.

Unfortunately it's not that easy. There are so many ways to get corruption points. If a demon with a fear rating scares the crap out of you, you suffer corruption. I don't really see how it brings you closer to chaos... Corruption is generally a difficult mechanic. I tried to make corruption rules for Eldar and failed miserably. On the one hand they are supposed to be incredibly easy to corrupt. On the other hand the paths seem to be a great way to protect themselves, and corsairs and rangers can even live a long time without them. It's crazy to try finding a balance between them being easily corrupted, ways to protect themselves and their life-span.

Lynata said:

I see purity as a necessary element to achieve this special state that is required for Acts of Faith. And last but not least it is also useful for balancing, for Faith powers can be pretty strong (though I tend to think that some in BoM are too weak, whereas others are just OP) and Sororitas characters get access to pretty powerful equipment. A strict regime with lots of restrictions placed on such a character does not only seem fitting from a background PoV but also to partially offset these advantages. Sororitas characters with Corruption Points feel almost like a contradiction to me - there's a reason why so few of them fell to the lure of Chaos. ;)

Well, the Sororitas at least have a proposed rule for balancing them. Making them Repentias when they hit 40 corruption points, taking away all that shiny gear and the way to advance further in anything but lawnmower. Personally I'm not a that big friend of this kind of restriction, I would prefer them starting at a higher rank. A condition that takes away a lot of the powers of a class makes it far to easy to screw it.

Lynata said:

Also I have to admit that I have a hard time actually thinking of any kind of "twisted ideas" that would not run counter to the dogma of Imperial Creed. With all the genetic purges and the torture/burning of suspected heretics and the suppression of mutant populations, the Ecclesiarchy and the Sororitas are already so grimdark that it would seem hard to find a niche that would be even more evil without violating the cornerstones of their faith.

That it runs counter to the dogma of the Imperial Creed doesn't matter. The Scarlet Crusade purging a whole village because the people there could maybe become undead has nothing to do with the three virtues. (Okay, maybe tenacity.) Interestingly the Forsaken Priest alternate rank from the Radical's Handbook loses all Pure Faith-based talents, so it doesn't work, but there are clerics who believe that to serve the Emperor they have to become sorcerers.

Lynata said:

PS: I think you win when it comes to our shelves. Sounds like a lot more books than I currently own, though they already take up 1/6 of my three-door-cabinet. ;)

It wasn't a contest, I just wanted to know which RPGs we share.gui%C3%B1o.gif

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Mjoellnir said:

Yeah, it was a pretty interesting take on the old positive/negative energy of D&D, with the Undead discovering the Shadow. In WoW one of the GMs rationalized the undead priests using healing spells with them "cauterizing" wounds......

Yeah ... no comment. There's too much silly stuff by now, sadly. :/

 

Mjoellnir said:

Unfortunately it's not that easy. There are so many ways to get corruption points. If a demon with a fear rating scares the crap out of you, you suffer corruption. I don't really see how it brings you closer to chaos...

Hmm, wasn't that Insanity Points? If it really was CP, you could maybe argue that Fear is a path to the Dark Side  (gran_risa.gif), exposing the human soul to something terrible and eating away its resolve, thus making it more vulnerable for Chaos to gain a foothold. I'm sure there are many servants of Chaos who merely ended up there because they gave in to such feelings.

But still ... I'd have to re-read where you can get Corruption from; quite possible that this distinction is not as easy as I thought it was. Which would be a shame, for this makes it hard to explain certain effects. Get scared enough and you grow a tentacle? Hmmh.

 

Mjoellnir said:

Personally I'm not a that big friend of this kind of restriction, I would prefer them starting at a higher rank. A condition that takes away a lot of the powers of a class makes it far to easy to screw it.

Given that the Sororitas are supposed to be the pinnacles of purity, I liked that rule in the IH. The Sisters are all about strict rules and codes of conduct - players who dislike this idea would be advised to roll another career, for they would likely miss an "appropriate" (from my personal PoV) depiction of a Sororitas character. This doesn't really lessen the fun you can have as a Sister, it's just that they're not really suited to be played like an everyday person. Same goes for Marines (unless you play the special snowflake Space Wolves :P). And regarding Corruption gains in the normal field of work, a Sisterhood character has sufficient ways to avoid it. At least I think so... (time will tell - currently on rank 3 with my first one)

As far as "starting at a higher rank" is concerned, I'm actually working on some sort of compromise between BoM's equipment and AoF as well as IH's Novice ranks. I do agree that it feels as if they were introduced too soon. They feel more like R5-12 rather than R1-8.

Mjoellnir said:

but there are clerics who believe that to serve the Emperor they have to become sorcerers

Do those get Pure Faith? *blinks* This could of course have an interesting impact on the whole idea on whether these miracles are the result of psychic phenomena.

 

Mjoellnir said:

It wasn't a contest, I just wanted to know which RPGs we share.gui%C3%B1o.gif

That's how I took it - no worries. ;)

 

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