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- "These ‘miracles’ that your Human priests believe to be demonstrations of the direct intervention of Gods are just spells of another kind. Aethyrically sensitive priests channel quite unwittingly elements of the Aethyr’s Winds through convoluted rituals and great faith, and then shape it with their conscious and subconscious expectations. Just as the Gods themselves are created and shaped by mortal endeavours and expectations, so are their blessings."
- —Ascribed to a lecture by Loremaster Teclis himself[3a]
Divine Magic is what collectively represents the miracles, invocations, and blessings of a given God's clergy. It also includes those chosen by deities to act as their champion in the World.
The grinding unpleasantness of life proves that the Gods exist, that they are fickle, frequently cruel, and must be placated at all costs. Miracles only further prove their existence—they are the will of the Gods, loaned to their favoured servants. Any priest might intone a blessing, rite, or spell in the hope that the Gods will answer, but in practise, only a few please the Gods enough to be granted their power. Elves might teach otherwise, but frankly, who would listen to those suspicious, haughty swine anyhow?[1a]
Regardless of what the Elves may teach, perceiving Divine Magic with the Magical Senses (such as Witchsight) shows it to be very different from Arcane Magic. When casting spells, wizards draw upon the Winds of Magic and channel them into an effect. This can be perceived with Magical Sense as the flows of magic gather, siphon, then release towards the target. Divine Magic, on the other hand, varies massively in its appearance. Sometimes a miracle is blinding for onlookers with Magical Sense, as the appropriate God or perhaps one of his servants appears to manifest in the local Aethyr; other times, the effects are barely perceptible, with nothing more than a faint, holy light surrounding the chanting priest.[1a]
In both cases, Magical Sense can also detect those who use such magic, even when they are not casting spells or chanting prayers. How this is perceived, again, varies. Where a Sigmarite may see a Jade Magister as a creature surrounded by faint tendrils of corruption, a Taalite may see the wizard as an ivy-wreathed man with a diffuse, green aura. Equally, when viewing other magic-using priests, what is perceived is changeable. A Manann worshipper may suddenly appear like the God himself, bearing a trident in his hand and a crown upon his brow. He may drip with aethyric, briny waters, and leave wet footprints wherever he walks, or he may just have a faint halo of water about his head. The results are rarely consistent, although the beliefs of the cult of the viewer seem to influence what he sees.[1a]
Ritual is an important part of cult life; however, surprisingly few of the cult rituals actually do anything miraculous.[1b]
It is believed by some magisterial commentators that all the rituals practised by the cults once held great power, but repeated errors in transcription of holy texts have weakened most to the point of being useless. The cults disagree, and believe their rituals hold power and importance far beyond simple pageantry, and that observers like the Imperial Colleges of Magic simply do not understand their older traditions.[1b]
Whatever the truth, variations of the following two rituals are known by all the cults, and many more than these still exist in long-forgotten religious tomes across the Empire.[1b]
Wrath of the Gods
As well as granting blessings to the deserving, the Gods may also inflict punishments on those who fail to show them respect or plot to harm their worshippers. A devout person who fails to keep to the deity’s strictures, or otherwise brings the faith into disrepute, will also be punished, as will characters who steal from the deity’s temples or harm the deity’s faithful.[2a][2b]
Divine punishments have varying stages, according to the enormity of the crime and the position of the errant character. Devout characters should be stripped of powers (starting with Divine Lores for Priests) or feel an otherwise oppressive hand from their deity making it clear that they have displeased. Characters who have callously disregarded a God’s will, mocked that God or His work, or who have desecrated a God’s holy places may well be smitten with a debilitating disease. The Gods are very fond of the bloody flux.[2b]
There are many ways to apologize to the Gods if they have been wronged. Their Priests administer most of them. The following list describes the more common practices of contrition:[2b]
For minor offenses, the guilty parties often have their heads bound up in sacks. They are then pushed about the bounds of the community. This is supposed to remind them of the death masks placed upon heretics before burning or beheading.[2b]
The most common form of contrition is to pay a fine. This usually takes place upon Levyday, in a public place, such as a market or standing at the temple door. The public frequently jeer or pelt the offender with vegetables until the coins are handed over. The size of the fine depends upon wealth and the nature of the offence.[2b]
An offender may be asked to offer up part, or all of his meals for a time, in an attempt to placate the God in question. If the punishment is severe, the offender will be forced to spend a month drinking only water—a sure sentence to the flux if ever there was one.[2b]
Self-flagellation or a public whipping is a favourite of many Gods. Some specify certain implements, whilst others merely demand a certain amount of “stripes”.[2b]
Tricksters and deceivers are disliked by many Cults. Merchants who give short measure, gossips, and con men are often brought to Priests for “divine punishment”. This usually involves praying over the offender whilst leeches are placed upon the tongue to “suck out” the poisonous lies.[2b]
Some wrongs have a very definite price. In backwards villages and other poor areas, where fines are not an option, certain offences have a blood tithe. The punished one must give up a certain amount of blood to the God they have wronged. Different sized chalices are used for different wrongs.[2b]
Used almost exclusively by the Sigmarite Cult, this penance requires “the hammer of justice upon the hand of crime.” The size of the Priest and the hammer vary with the level of the offence.[2b]
List of Known Blessings
Note: the following spells have been limited to fluff material only, and the translation thereof.
Petty Spells (Divine)
- Blessing of Courage
- Blessing of Fortitude
- Blessing of Healing
- Blessing of Might
- Blessing of Protection
- Blessing of Speed