Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Orthodox Virtues of True Communion

A true master of Communion seems nigh divine in power, but this unstoppable power comes not from their command of Communion, but their unity with it. Its will is their will, and they are a living manifestation of Communion itself.

To achieve this level of oneness requires a deep mastery of the very nature of Communion, called virtues by the True Communion philosophy. After a student has learned to Commune with the infinite cosmic, their master begins to teach them one of the virtues of True Communion. At first, such a virtue seems limiting, requiring the student to strictly control their behavior, but eventually, as their behavior perfectly aligns with a virtue, they find that their facility with Communion grows and expands and they begin to manifest miraculous abilities within themselves. This is the source of the true power of all the great masters of Communion.

The True Communion faith has splintered under the weight of oppression. Without a singular guiding figure or doctrine, most followers of Communion turn to a local temple and a local abbot for spiritual guidance. However, each temple emphasizes its preferred facet of True Communion. Mastery of a virtue is the internal, spiritual equivalent to mastering a martial art or a powerful psionic skill: no living master of Communion has mastered every Virtue, and indeed, temples disagree as to which virtues should be mastered! As such, while all True Communion faithful accept the same basic precepts, the specifics and the depth of their devotion to particular values vary greatly. This can create conflict between temples, thus far little more than hurled accusations of heresy or dogmatic literalism, but on the other hand, some devotees to True Communion believe wisdom comes from a multitude of perspectives. Modern masters often take to wandering from temple to temple, learning the unique principles found in the scattered remnants of the faith and try to weave together a better understanding of the totality of Communion through the experience.

The Rules of Virtue

A virtue resembles a Communion Oath in that it represents a required disadvantage that the character must maintain. These required behaviors are very intense, typically manifesting as a -15 point Code of Honor that describes a strict code of behavior, but other -15 point disadvantages, such as certain forms of Pacifism, extreme Sense of Duty, or Disciplines of Faith.

Aligning one’s self with a proper virtue takes at least a month of meditation and appropriate behavior, or a major quest. Truly understanding a virtue is typically a major ephiphany! Once such a virtue is gained, it is not easily lost; while a virtue can be violated, what will precisely violate a virtue is uncertain, and the practitioner often finds he can push the boundaries of his particular virtue if necessary, but if he does it too often, he’ll sense that his control over it is fading. He can attempt to strengthen his connection to Communion and restore his virtue, but once his connection to the Virtue is lost, it requires being restored from scratch, typically requiring a major quest or a month worth of dedication and focus.

Each Virtue has suggested things that one should not do, but also includes acts that the character can do to reinforce his connection and, in general, should be attempting to do when possible. If the character has Rewards of Faith, they can also act as inspiration for what sorts of acts Communion might request for them. Note that these are suggestions meant to invoke the spirit of the virtue. The intent of virtues is not strict, literal interpretation, with a player noting that he can technically get away with an act, nor a GM demanding rigid, legalistic adherence to virtues. They represent ideas that point to the true nature of the virtue.

The intent of Virtues is for both character and GM to explore what a virtue means, hence when one is gained, it should be difficult to lose. The player should be warned if his character is going to go over a line, and may negotiate with the GM as to how best to perform his desired action without violating his virtue; characters may roll Philosophy (True Communion) for inspiration, and moral intuition can always give guidance on appropriate actions to avoid violating one’s virtues. Direct and gross violations of a Virtue (an ascetic character accepting a large bribe to do something wicked, etc) and any violation that causes the character to lose access to True Communion itself will result in the loss of the virtue, though the character should be warned before the virtue is lost. When it comes to edge cases, the character should get a warning and a chance to adjust behavior, but if he chooses to act on it anyway, he should get a pass, but after three such edge violations (the “three strike” rule), he loses the virtue as per a direct and gross violation.

The Divine Virtue power modifier is worth -15% unless such a modifier is naturally considered part of the advantage already (as is the case for Blessed, Legendary Reputation, or certain Communion meta-traits); such powers, like Communion Oaths and Divine Path modifiers, are all Communion Powers, and are thus subject to any similar restrictions associated with Communion.

Orthodox Virtues

The Orthodox Virtues represent the vision of True Communion as laid out in Traditional Keleni doctrines. They represent a deep understanding of the three Paths of True Communion, and anyone who follows Traditional Communion may cultivate these three virtues. According to lore, the Knights of Communion also followed these virtues, but may have strayed into other, newer principles, misguided (the Keleni traditionalists would say) by their alien culture. Modern Templar Chapters typically have access to no more than two Orthodox Virtues, and many have one, or even no, Orthodox Virtues.


True Communion understands that the world is no different from a dream. True Communion seeks to look past the illusion of dream and reality and look to the truths that lie beyond them. Those who wish to truly understand Communion must cast off the illusion of the real and seek to understand the true nature of the universe and the connection between all things by looking within. Thus, they must discard the pleasures of the flesh and, through weakening the flesh, gain a deeper spiritual connection with the cosmic infinite.

Ascetic Communities

Individuals, rather than communities, practice asceticism, but communities who embrace the ideals of asceticism tend to have inordinate respect for the ascetics in their midst. They may bring them just enough food to continue their meditations and venerate them as sages. They tend to look down upon gross displays of the pleasures of the flesh, and value chastity, frugality and modesty.

The Code of Asceticism

Asceticism is best represented with the Disciplines of Faith (Asceticism) disadvantage.

DO NOT keep more than you strictly need

DO NOT accumulate wealth

DO NOT indulge in physical pleasure

DO engage in lengthy meditations in remote locations

DO punish yourself for your moral failings.

The Power of Asceticism

True Exiled Master 5/level

The Path of the Exiled Master embodies the virtue of Asceticism. He masters leadership by discarding status; he finds enlightenment not in the palace or ostentatious temple, but in the quiet serenity of nature; he does not seek answers from without, but provides answers to others from within. True Exiled Master acts as Legendary Reputation (Exiled Master), is cumulative with it, and may be purchased without completing milestones, nor is it dependent on the character remaining true to Path requirements. It may be purchased up to 4 times.

Statistics: Legendary Reputation (Exiled Master; Divine Virtue +0%) [5/level]; The additional restrictions of a Virtue balance out the benefit of being able to ignore the normal restrictions of Legendary Reputation.

Repeat Petitioner 5/level

The Ascetic has a deeper connection to Communion than most others; he listens deeply to Communion and Communion responds! For each level of Repeat Petitioner, the character may call upon communion one additional time before incurring cumulative penalties for previous successful miracles. For example, a character with no Repeat Petitioner would be at -2 to invoke Communion if he had successfully invoked Communion twice that day already; while a character with Repeat Petitioner 2 would be at -0. Characters may not take more than 4 levels of Repeat Petitioner.

Statistics: Repeated Petitioner (Divine Virtue +0%) (see Pyramid #3/36 page 8).

Living Temple 68 pointts

The Ascetic needs no temple, for he is a temple. Wherever he goes, True Communion sanctity follows, and others nearby him may even benefit from his natural holiness. Treat an area around the practitioner out to 1 yard as one level higher True Communion Sanctity.

Statistics: True Communion Sanctity Enhancer (Area Effect +50%, Divine Virtue -15%)


Communion is the accumulation of all thoughts, fears and beliefs of all sapients! Those who connect deeply with Communion connect with all living beings, and as such, they must learn not to cut off the suffering of others, for the suffering of others is your own suffering. Those who cultivate the virtue of Charity have a deep and abiding compassion for all living beings. They must never deny another a request of aid, or needlessly inflict violence.

Charitable Communities

Communities that embrace Charity as a virtue tend to engage in neighborly generosity and hospitality. They will freely open their homes to visitors, do favors for one another, give liberally to the local temple, and donate to beggars. Such communities and temples often have a small crowd of beggars at the temple gates.

The Code of Charity

Charity can be represented with Sense of Duty (all sapient life) [-15], or Pacifism (Self-Defense Only), or by Code of Honor (Charity) which encompasses the following precents:

DO NOT deny any honest request for assistance

DO NOT inflict violence except for the defense of others or for the good of the community

DO keep your word

DO relieve the suffering of others

The Power of Charity

True Oathbound 5/level

The Path of the Bound Princess embodied the Virtue of Charity. Those who follow the virtue, like the Bound Princess, learn to sacrifice themselves for the sake of others and, indeed, for the sake of their entire community. True Oathbound acts as Legendary Reputation (Bound Princess), is cumulative with it, and may be purchased without completing milestones, nor is it dependent on the character remaining true to Path requirements. It may be purchased up to 4 times.

Statistics: Legendary Reputation (Bound Princess; Divine Virtue +0%) [5/level]; The additional restrictions of a Virtue balance out the benefit of being able to ignore the normal restrictions of Legendary Reputation.

Know the Heart 29 points

The character learns to connect with others on a deeper level. They can sense the emotional state of anyone in their presence and automatically gain a +3 to Detect Lies and Psychology rolls, which helps them differentiate an honest request from a dishonest one, and to know what sort of aid someone needs. The saint may also intuitively detect lies when it comes to those who make requests for assistance; even if the character lacks the Detect Lies skill, she may roll against IQ+3 for this one purpose.

Statistics: Empathy (Cosmic, no Die Roll Needed +100%; Divine Virtue -15%) [28] + One Task Wonder (Detect Lies for requests of assistance only) [1].

Sense the Flock 10 points

Those with the Virtue of Charity intuitively know where they are needed. For them, the pain of others is like a lance through their mind. They can intuitively sense the state of a community faithful to True Communion as a whole, including threats to that community, whether it be to their sense of community, or an existential threat (such their enslavement or the deaths of many). Exactly what constitutes a community is ultimately up to the GM, but this can extend all the way up to “all followers of Communion,” or to something as small as a local temple and its adherents. At the same time, the community senses the state of the practitioner as well, and will intuitively know if they need help.

Statistics: Sense of Faith (see Pyramid #3/78 page 7)


Communion discriminates between those who belong, and those who do not. Communion adheres to laws and traditions and uses those laws and traditions to bolster and protect communities. Those who violate those laws must be cast out. Those who embrace the Virtue of Justice understand the need for law and embody it. They sacrifice their own will in service to their community in protecting them from those who would undermine them, from without or from within.

Just Communities

Communities that embrace justice tend to have a deep appreciation for the law. They honor and obey the law set out by their local government (and if that is deemed oppressive, the laws given by the temple) and they expect others to do the same. If they violate the law, they accept the judgement of a rightful judge (again, the local government or the temple), and they expect others to do the same. Such communities, at their extreme, can become very legalistic, often engaging in law-as-ritual, and can be brutal in their judgments of law breakers (especially if combined with Asceticism).

The Code of Justice

Justice is best represented by Honesty or Code of Honor (Justice) which has the following tenets:

DO NOT violate the law

DO NOT harm the innocent

DO protect the innocent from harm

DO bring lawbreakers to justice

The punishment must fit the crime.

The Power of Justice

True Righteous Crusader 5/level

The Path of the Righteous embodies the virtue of Justice. He senses sin, and uses his supreme mastery of warfare to destroy those who would harm the innocent and to hold up the law, and is ultimately willing to die for the code he believes in. True Righteous Crusader acts as Legendary Reputation (Righteous Crusader), is cumulative with it, and may be purchased without completing milestones, nor is it dependent on the character remaining true to Path requirements. It may be purchased up to 4 times.

Statistics: Legendary Reputation (Righteous Crusader; Divine Virtue +0%) [5/level]; The additional restrictions of a Virtue balance out the benefit of being able to ignore the normal restrictions of Legendary Reputation.

Demon Hunter 28 points

Those who will serve the Virtue of Justice must willingly enter unholy domains to root out and slay the wicked. The saint of Justice is less affected by the blasphemies of Dark or Broken Communion and can enter areas sacred to them with less fear. Treat all such areas, with a reach out to one yard around the character, as one sanctity level lower.

Statistics: Sanctity Damper (Dark Communion; Area Effect +50%; Divine Virtue -15%) [14] + Sanctity Damper (Broken Communion; Area Effect +50%; Divine Virtue -15%) [14]

Holy Warrior 8 points

The practitioner becomes the living embodiment of divine wrath against abominations in the eyes of Communion. The character’s very touch or the stroke of his weapon become anathema to those whom True Communion has the capacity to destroy. The character’s touch or attacks with a melee weapon count as “a Communion Miracle” for the purpose of vulnerabilities. This explicitly counts as “mundane countermeasures” for ghosts, and it allows the Holy Warrior to kill any character with any form of Unkillable that True Communion can defeat.

Statistics: Holy Touch (see Pyramid #3/78 page 7)

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