Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Communion Styles

Divine Favor can absolutely have its own traditions and cultures and techniques, and should!  Just as Catholicism has a different body of supernatural lore and power than Appalachian folk-religion, so too should Communion have a rich variety of worship and empowerment.

Communion Style Familiarity

Communion styles are just psionic styles with a greater focus on communion.  Treat them as the same, except they gain the following, should it be relevant:
  • You may acquire any non-secret learned prayer with earned points in play without having to seek instruction.
Communion styles have a greater focus on skills and perks than on powers, as miracles rarely require skills outside of Meditation, Philosophy and Religious Ritual.  Even so, we gain "Learned Prayers" as style abilities, which characters may purchase the same way they could purchase "style skills and techniques."

True Communion

"Communion" is itself a religious term... but from what religion?  The answer would be "the Jedi Order" if this was Star Wars, but it isn't.  So we have to devise our own "Jedi Order." Personally, I never liked the idea of mystic knights without first separate mystics and knights.  True Communion represents the predecessor to the Space Knight, the faith and belief from which they drew their power and understanding of Communion, making it the ur-Communion.

True Communion focuses primarily on the worthiness of its practitioner.  It believes in the extinction of self native to Ego Communion, and seeks to bring the follower "into oneness with Communion."  The character subsumes himself in service to all of sapient-kind.  Many such characters will take a different name (sufficient for Obscure True Name, were that relevant to Psi-Wars) to represent that extinction of self in service to society.  Most of a Monk of True Communion's training focuses on understanding meditation, the philosophy of communion, and in understanding Communion itself.

Once so trained, a master of True Communion has a deep relationship with Communion itself, and is able to better serve the world.  He's also an excellent master of his own psionic potential: The Way of True Communion does not teach one how to master psionics, but how to master Communion and in that greater understanding, his mastery of psionics will come (which probably explains why masters of True Communion keep saying things like "I can show you the ways of Communion" when they mean "I can train your psionic skills").

Required Skills: Expert Skill (Psionics), Meditation, Philosophy, Hidden Lore (Communion)
Learned Prayers: Confidence, Psionic Focus, Gift of the Life Force, the Tao of Communion, the Wisdom of Communion, Sense Communion, Consecrate Ground, Mastery of Ego, Dominion of Ego
Techniques: Introspection, Penance, Communion, Moral Insight, Philosophical Argument
Secret Technique: Communion Heuristics
Perks: Inner Mastery, Technique Mastery (Instrospection), Technique Mastery (Moral Insight), Stabilizing Skill (Meditation; Any Psionic Power)

Optional Traits: Will
Optional Skills: Mental Strength, Religious Ritual, Teaching

New Techniques - True Communion

Communion Heuristics: Defaults to Philosophy-6. May not exceed Philosophy.

See Heuristics, GURPS Powers: the Weird on page 6-7, except this requires Communion 4 rather than Illuminated.

The Death Cult

While researching Star Wars, I made the unfortunate mistake of subscribing to the Star Wars feed on Google+, only to be flooded with "Who would win in a fight..." polls.  For a certain (younger) segment of the Star Wars fandom, what matters most is "who is badass?" These players will most assuredly sit at your table and want to play something like a "Sith." They want to be Death on a Stick, and Dark Communion comes close to that desire, and so does the Path of Death.

So why not a practice that combines both?

This makes sense even within the setting of Psi-Wars.  Dark Communion seeks real, ultimate and selfish power, and command over death is definitely one of those forms of power.  The Mystic Tyrant himself is destined to conquer Death.  By following the Path of Death, one becomes a destroyer of all of his opponents, similar to the Rebellious Beast, "but cooler."

The Death Cult worships the power of the Path of Death as a selfish force of Dark Communion.  They seek to understand death and spread it to others (not to themselves).  This cult has powerful, religious trappings, including blood-letting, sacrifices and terrifying idols.  Training in the Death Cult results in a psychic vampire of enormous psychic power, able to destroy with a touch and to vastly self-empower.  However, the Path of Death, while accessible to Death Cultists with Dark Communion, remains a Broken Communion path: It still Corrupts those who use it, so it will slowly destroy all of those who seek to empower themselves with it.  If the Way of True Communion represents the Jedi Order, the Death Cult might represent the Sith order.

The Death Cult replaces Philosophy with Theology.  They preach a selfish ideology that argues that injustice has filled the galaxy and that they have been choses as the assassins of the Great Devourer who lies in the center of the Galaxy to purge His galaxy of the unworthy.  Dark Communion itself will direct the user to the unworthy, which usually just means "Those the cultist believe have personally wronged him."

Required Skills: Expert Skill (Thanatology), Meditation, Theology, Religious Ritual
Psionic Skills: Aspect, Instill Fear, Mind Clouding, Mind Shield, Steal Life, Sense Life
Learned Prayers: Psionic Focus, Primordial Expertise (Death), the Tao of Hyperspace, Dark Storm, Eclipse, Inured Mind, Paths of Broken Communion, Sense Death, Corrupting Touch, Extinction of Communion
Techniques: Aura Extension (Aspect), Group Scare (Instill Fear), Indirect (Instill Fear), New Approach (Instill Fear), Exclusion (Mind Clouding), Mind Trap (Mind Shield), No Contact (Steal Life).
Perks: Alien Path (Death in Dark Communion), Blood Healing, Controllable Lifebane, Frightening Side Effects (Aspect, Steal Life, any Death Miracle), Life Force, Life Force Burn, Mind Games, Power Bond (Steal Life), Psionic Adaption (Aspect to Psychic Vampirism), Psionic Adaption (Instill Fear to Psychic Vampirism), Psionic Adaption (Mind-Clouding to Psychic Vampirism), Psionic Adaption (Mind Shield to Psychic Vampirism), Psychic Symbolism (Death; Psychic Vampirism), Rule of 17 (Steal Life), Sanctity Compensation, Secret Miracle (Inured Mind as Dark Communion Miracle), Secret Miracle (Path of Broken Communion as Dark Communion Miracle), Signature Miracle (Psychic Nova, Lesser or Greater Avatar of Death), Signature Symbol (Death: the color Red), Stabilizing Skill (Expert Skill (Thanatology), Psychic Vampirism), Symbolism Mastery (Death), Twisted Energy Compensation.

Optional Skills: Esoteric Medicine, Intimidation, Philosophy.

Ancestor Worship

Some faiths might take their worship of Communion in entirely different directions, and Ancestor Worship is one such example.  Each person, living or dead, has made their impact on Communion, and their echo remains their still.  Those who follow the path of Ancestor Worship seek to surround themselves with relics of the past.  They have shrines to the deceased, great rooms full of images depicting famed ancestors, and libraries full of the history of their own kind.  They seek to keep their bloodline pure and practice genetic profiling and eugenics to create the ideal incarnations of their most famed ancestors.  Some even go so far as to directly clone their deceased, breathing new life into them both physically and symbolically.

Ancestor Worship is focused on Ego Communion, as its adherents seek to subsume their self into the greater community of their family and bloodline.  The result of this worship are entirely new Paths, usually inspired by the archetypes, but based on specific ancestors that followed them.  That is, an ancestor might have followed, say, the Path of the Righteous Crusader and made his mark on it, but his descendants do not follow the Path of the Righteous Crusader, but the path of their ancestor.  They study their ancestor's life, they study his genetics, his symbols, and they mimic those.  In this way, they gain a symoblic connection with their ancestor.

The result of this practice are entirely new paths, unique to the specific bloodline that follows it.  To follow these paths, a character must be either literally descended from that original ancestor, or symbolically descended from that ancestor.  Thus, marrying into the right house, or being adopted with proper religious ceremony is suffucient to allow one access to these paths.  Characters use History (Bloodline) in place of Philosophy to understand the symbolism of the paths of their Ancestors.  Clones of specific ancestors might also gain access to Communion, at least for the purposes of accessing an ancestor's miracles.

Required Skills: History (Bloodline), Meditation
Techniques: Communion, Symbolic (Path) Lore,
Perks: Alien Paths (Any to Communion), Beloved Aberrant (Clone), Secret Miracles (Commune with Dead), Secret Path (Bloodline Paths), Signature Symbolism (Bloodline), Skill Adaption (History (Bloodline) replaces Philosophy for understanding Path symbolism), Symbolism Mastery (Any path)

Optional Skills: Architecture, Biology, Connoisseur (Places of Power, Relics),Biology, Electronics Operation (Medical), Expert Skill (Thanatology), Heraldry, Religious Ritual

Dougal Ran - A sample new path

The General by Ninjatic


As with all paths, following the Path of Dougal Ran requires an additional -5% pact modifier “Disciplines of Faith (Ritualism)”, representing how the character must spend every moment of his life carefully engaging in the symbolism of the Righteous Crusader.

Furthermore, the descendant of Dougal Ran must have a Sense of Duty (Nation) worth -10 points.


  • Color: Vermillion
  • Regalia: The crest of the House of Ran; armor; A shoulder-cape; The mark of Tyrian nobility.
  • Tools: a vibro-blade; a battle-scarred capital- or dreadnought-class warship, a battle standard.
  • Locations: a battlefield for a sanctioned war
  • Opposing Path: Thanatos (Broken Communion) and anyone from the House of Alexia: Dougal Ran was a Righteous Crusader, thus faces the same limitation.  He was slain in battle with House Alexia, and thus their symbolism is especially powerful against him.


  • As a youth, before the age of 20, Dougal Ran had commanded his first soldiers and won his first battle.  He carried a vibro-blade and a battle-standard into victory, and gained a scar across his eye.  Those who will follow his path must also win a great battle while under the age of 20, while carrying a battle standard and gaining a scar on their face.
  • When the House Ran conquered Tyria from the Alexian dynasty, the House took their alien royalty as their slaves and prisoners.  Dougal fell in love with one of the alien nobles, freed her and married her.  His descendents carry the mark of this alien heritage to this day.  Those who will follow his path must enslave, then free, then marry an attractive, and noble, member of the opposite sex, who belongs to a different race than their own.
  • Dougal Ran was chosen over his elder brother to rule the House of Ran.  Upon his coronation day, his brother assassinated him in open court, and started a war that tore the House of Ran apart, where it remains divided to this day.  Those who follow the Path of Dougal Ran must gain a promotion over another, less worthy but more traditional member of the House.  Their sudden death after this event is optional... but common!

Associated Talents

Born Warleader: [5/level] (Lesser Primordial Expertise). Found in GURPS Power-Ups 3: Talents, on page 12 (and various other places).

Intuitive Statesmen: [10/level] (Greater Primordial Expertise). Found in GURPS Power-Ups 3: Talents, on page 11.

Associated Powers

Reaction Required: Neutral
Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Communion 6, Legendary Reputation (Dougal Ran) 1
Learned Prayer Cost: 5 points

As stoicism on page 10 of Divine Favor, except instead of requiring constant concentration, once this prayer has been invoked, it costs the character 1 fatigue per minute to maintain it. He may pay this cost out of his Energy Reserves (Psionic).

Statistics: Immunity to Pain (Divine: Path -15%, costs 1 fatigue -5%) [24]

Guide My Hand
Reaction Required: Good
Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Communion 8, Legendary Reputation (Dougal Ran) 2
Learned Prayer Cost: 8 points

As Guide My Hand (Pyramid #3-36, page 12) but with the additional Path modifier. This reflects the Dougal Ran's's aptitude with all weapons! Remember, Weapon Masters have exceptional defaults!

Statistics: Weapon Master (All; Divine, Path -15%) [39]

Reaction Required: Neutral
Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Communion 6, Legendary Reputation (Dougal Ran) 1
Learned Prayer Cost: 5 points

Things can always get worse around Dougal Ran, and he always seems to profit from it. After making this prayer, something terribly destructive always shortly happens, usually an expansion of the damage Dougal Ran has already caused. The rule of thumb for this miracle is that it can only make things worse, except for Dougal Ran, who freely profits from it.

Statistics: Serendipity (Wishing +100%, Divine, Path -25%, Aspect “Only wishes that directly result in greater mayhem or collateral damage” -20%) [24]

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