ZEITGEIST the magic of mass faith
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  1. #1
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    Waghalter (Lvl 7)



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    the magic of mass faith

    A number of different groups explicitly draw upon the belief of followers for magical power: godhand, apotheosis, monarchy, monument of war, notorious celebrity, and probably some others I'm forgetting. Prestige and some of the Theme powers also feel related to this principle. The specificity and frequency of this deviation from standard D&D rules makes me wonder.

    All of the other rule changes (flight limits, gold vs teleportation, etc) are tied to the Aspect system, where the game world is affected by the surrounding planes. Add or remove planes --> add or remove rules.

    I propose the Theory of Zeitgeist General Relativity: All variant rules come from the Aspect system.

    Since "The Bond of Faith" is the only alteration that remains constant no matter what other planes are connected, it must be the Aspect of the game world itself.
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  2. #2
    I don't see any variation from the D+D/Fantasy Standard.
    The Rites of Monarchy of Risur are a Magical Ritual/pact with the Fey which ties some of the monarch's power to his support among the people.
    Same with the very spoilerific ritual that features in the plot it is a specific ritual which ties people into the power of supporters.
    It is a standard in D+D that at least some of the power of the Gods comes from their followers. In a world like this were the gods have so little access it makes sense that much of this power instead goes elswhere to the Fey Gods of Risur and Elfaivar which actually live within the confines of the zetigeist planatary /planar system , some of this seems to be diverted to the rulers of Risur and probabaly was to the rulers of the Eladrin empire. The clergy may well be siphoning of the power of the gods worshippers either deliberatly or just by the nature of the setup of their faith and the seperation from the actual gods.
    The rulers of Danor probably don't have any mystical powers drawn form their people as Danor is a magical dead zone.
    The leader of Ber seems to have at least some, but their rituals of kingship are new and I suspect weaker as their nation is more fractured along racial/tribal lines.
    In all versions of D+D Clerics have theoretically been able to draw power by worshipping an ideal or philosophy rather than a god , which is often ignored. I would say that this world is the opposite where worshippers believe they are calling upon the powers of a god but in most cases are drawing from an ideal rather than the seperated gods.

    Prestige has no magical connotations it is a measure of how much support among a particular community the heroes have.
    I don't recall anything from the prestige classes/themes which really stood out in this regard, but I have largely ignored the prestige classes as their abilities were a bit rubbish and except for steamsuit pilot none of my pc's were even slightly interested

    So I see no reason to conclude that there is anything special about a bond of faith particular to this setting

  3. #3
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    I really like it. On one hand, as Moreton says, most of the things you listed could be explained by "that's just standard Fantasy". On the other - no "standard Fantasy" can actually explain why these rules and rituals work. This also gives both demon race and Gidim a reason to be interested in the world

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Moreton View Post
    I don't see any variation from the D+D/Fantasy Standard.
    The Rites of Monarchy of Risur are a Magical Ritual/pact with the Fey which ties some of the monarch's power to his support among the people.
    Same with the very spoilerific ritual that features in the plot it is a specific ritual which ties people into the power of supporters.
    It is a standard in D+D that at least some of the power of the Gods comes from their followers.
    • 1E: yes; explicit link stated between worshipers and deity status
    • 2E: maybe; gods want worshipers for "mysterious" reasons.
    • 3E: not necessarily; many divine beings lack (or actively avoid) worship.
    • 4E & 5E: no; worshipers never mentioned as important.

    But even in 1E, the rules never tied game-mechanical effects directly to worshipers.

    In all versions of D+D Clerics have theoretically been able to draw power by worshipping an ideal or philosophy rather than a god , which is often ignored. I would say that this world is the opposite where worshippers believe they are calling upon the powers of a god but in most cases are drawing from an ideal rather than the seperated gods.
    In the instances I'm talking about, Zeitgeist says the power comes directly from the beliefs of the masses, not from gods or ideals.

    I don't recall anything from the prestige classes/themes which really stood out in this regard,
    The 4E Docker ability Sing Your Praises draws its power from fame, as do the entirety of the Monument of War and Notorious Celebrity prestige classes in both PF & 4E.

    Prestige has no magical connotations it is a measure of how much support among a particular community the heroes have.
    It doesn't have to be magical, it just has to fit thematically. The aspect of industry from Jiese isn't magical.

    A lot of things in Zeitgeist grant quantified capabilities based on mass devotion. It's a mechanic that pops up repeatedly. Sure, similar things are possible in other game worlds, but it's almost always background fluff with no game-mechanical effect. The frequency and crunchiness of this recurring pattern has a statistically significant difference from standard D&D.
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  5. #5
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    There is definitely something particular about belief in Zeitgeist. There may actually be no gods within the world and there may never actually have been, but what and how people believe is incredibly important to Zeitgeist. The leader in Vigil Longis - a godhand - is able to conjure an angel that is essentially his own faith made manifest. The Sacrament is something that gives form to belief. The priests of the clergy are able to defend themselves and their city with prayers. It's been a very fun thing to try to explore.

    I like not having a set mechanic on it. It leaves room for mystery. It leaves room for improvisation and unique moments. If I make a mechanic - Make a DC15 religion check to invoke a shield of faith - it lessens that a lot. But, if a character is steadfast in a belief of some sort, sometimes I may have that belief become manifest in some way small with no real answers ever coming from it.
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  6. #6
    I still really don't see it. However I say go with it if you like the idea and can make it do something in your game. Not sure if I should have posted the original post its rather negative and not helpful.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Moreton View Post
    I still really don't see it. However I say go with it if you like the idea and can make it do something in your game. Not sure if I should have posted the original post its rather negative and not helpful.
    No worries, your constructive criticism helped me clarify the idea more thoroughly.


    1. Zeitgeist has several changes from standard D&D, such as "guns and trains exist", "flight is weaker", and "there is a way to bodily invoke gods".
    2. Some of those changes can be grouped together by a shared concept along the lines of "popularity produces power".
    3. Every plane (planet) has a named Aspect that causes one or more changes, except for the game world itself.
    4. Every change is tied to an Aspect, except for those in #2 above.
    5. The exceptions in #3 and #4 above can perfectly cancel each other out, by proposing "on my little planet, fandom is magic".
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  8. #8
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    Alright, "fandom is magic" is now a title for my DM-only folder of ZG materials.
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