Biblyon the Great

This zine is dedicated to articles about the fantasy role-playing game Gods & Monsters, and other random musings.

Gods & Monsters Fantasy Role-Playing

Beyond here lie dragons

The Prophet is your bitch

Jerry Stratton, September 11, 2017

Jonah

In the Adventure Guide’s Handbook, I suggested that prophets might get prophet spirits when asking for other spirits, so as to be forced to use divine guidance. Afterward, I wrote:

But more than that one spirit manifestation, prophets pray for guidance every time they call new spirits. Their deity will intervene if there's a spirit that their deity wants them to have. Don't hesitate to give prophets spirits other than what the player wanted when there's a good reason from their deity's perspective. Determine one or two spirits that the character should call, and if the character doesn't call that spirit, replace one or two they did call with what they should have. Tell them this when they call the spirits, so that they know their deity has different plans for them.

All but one of the Gods & Monsters archetypes are individualistic. The warrior, the thief, the sorceror, and the monk, are, once the game starts, self-sufficient. They could have an adventure without encountering any non-player characters or creatures.

The prophet must interact with their deity or pantheon every time they request spirit types. As the Adventure Guide, you can choose to have their prayers be answered, or you can choose to have them be refused, or you can choose to alter the request. You decide how and whether their god(s) will act.

Gods & Monsters assumes that prophets are rare, and that they have a direct link to the gods—which also means that the gods have a direct link to them. In a sense, the prophet is a link between the players and the Adventure Guide. The gods don’t know everything the Guide knows, but they do have a wider view than the characters. If an adventuring group contains a prophet, and the group loses track of the objective the gods want them to follow, they can and will let their servant know.

Some game worlds will place restrictions on when and how the gods can appear. An incalcitrant or frightened prophet might choose to avoid those times and places. But there is one spirit which requires them to come to the gods: divine guidance. divine guidance must be cast in a grove or other holy place, where the gods can influence the world.

Elijah

As with most spirit manifestations, divine guidance is limited to the level and sphere of the spirit that manifests it.

But the gods are not so limited, and divine guidance brings the prophet to the attention of their god.

That is, spirits are limited to their sphere, but divine guidance opens a channel to the gods in a place where the gods are known to manifest.

If you want to play Jonah and the Whale, a great way to start is for the prophet to discover that one of their spirits is a prophet spirit. And if they refuse, for all of their spirits to be prophet spirits.

But gods can do more than provide different spirit types than the prophet requests. They can provide different manifestations than the prophet requests from the spirit type. And remember that you’re not limited to the manifestations in the book. Prophets use spirits, not manifestations; anything in that spirit’s sphere, limited by that spirit’s level, is fair game.

And if the laws of the divine allow the god to appear or manifest physically, they can do so. Most of the time they provide riddles: faith requires discernment and investigation. But they can also provide straight talk, they can provide objects—or riddles leading to objects—or companions. They can provide hindrances, or things that hinder, so as to test the prophet’s resolve. Or make manifest the god’s displeasure.

A more drastic way of getting a prophet’s attention is to destroy their holy symbol when they call up a manifestation that requires it. Destroying their holy symbol does not completely depower the prophet, but it does cut them off from many useful spirit manifestations. Seeing their holy symbol destroyed instead of successfully manifesting the expected miracle ought to cause a prophet to do a bit of soul-searching.

Nothing is expected when the gods are involved.

Spirit manifestations are the manifestation of the divine in the world. The game is Gods & Monsters, not agnosticism and monsters. If the player characters include a prophet, they can expect the gods to play a direct role in their lives.

Whether they want it or not.

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