Design and Commentary: Ks. Jim Ogle
Commentary: Dave Haynes
.pdf of this article.
When originally published, the Torg role-playing game
included charts for the four axioms- Magic, Social, Spirit, and
Tech. These charts covered the general path of advancement for
the axioms, but were incomplete. This is a revised and completed
“The Spirit axiom defines the level of spiritual energies
available for those powers commonly thought of as belonging to
‘the gods’, such as miracles. This spiritual energy exists even
if the axiom level is very low; the axiom merely indicates how
easily the beings of the reality can call upon their ‘gods’ for
miraculous effects and the type of effects that are possible.”
(The Revised and Expanded Torg Rulebook,
0- The world is devoid spiritually and faith
is not rewarded. There are no concepts of higher beings or afterlife.
1- Beings may begin to profess belief in religious
systems and concepts, including spiritual agencies (higher being
or beings) and mythic regions (such as a spirit world or an afterlife).
Atheism, the belief in the nonexistence of the preceding, is also
No evidence of the truth of such beliefs exists, including inspiration,
communication with the divine, or prophecy.
Religious rites may be devised, but such rites have no effect.
(Religious rites can incorporate magical or psionic effects, if
the other axioms are high enough.)
Religious communities can form, although individuals often differ
greatly on the doctrine or tenets of a faith. Religious hierarchies
may develop, depending on the Social axiom. The faith skill
2- Miracles work only for the truly faithful,
who must all have the focus and faith skills.
Even then it takes a lifetime of study and prayer to cause even
the most minor of miracles; such miracles are only possible in
the presence of a substantial number of the faithful. The focus skill
3- Spiritual energy is so low that rites take
years in order to get even the slightest effect. Miracles may be
invoked with a large number of faithful present.
4- Rites may now be effected in months instead
Prophecies (predictions of future events) become available, although
they are often obscure and difficult to interpret; most commonly,
prophecies are understood only in hindsight. Prophesying can simply
give inaccurate or incorrect results as well.
5- An “extended” community is possible
in which characters with faith but not focus may
participate in miracles performed by a character with the focus skill.
Rites are still extremely difficult and lengthy though.
Direct invocation of divine power becomes possible, but is extremely
unlikely. Even if successful, the effect will never be a visible
and direct confirmation of divine agency.
Enough spiritual energies exist to infuse life-forms with a permanent
essence (a “spirit” or “soul”). Such spirits
can be communicated with. An afterlife becomes possible, as does
reincarnation (depending on the tenets of the religion).
Rites become easier to invoke, involving weeks of effort rather
than months or years.
6- Rites may be invoked without a community of
the faithful being present, as long as the invoker has both faith and focus.
The presence of the faithful can aid the effectiveness of the miracle,
Prayers become available but usually require years of study or
training since birth to utilize properly. Powerful effects still
require the use of lengthy rites, each of which can take several
days to complete.
7- Religious symbols can be imbued with spiritual
power as a result of divine agency but not through the will of
the community; this power most often manifests itself by making
the use of spiritual power easier for the faithful.
Believers can now invoke minor miraculous effects without learning
the focus skill.
Rites are available which can be invoked in a far shorter time-
usually in a few hours.
8- Miracles which enhance the abilities of believers
become possible, but are limited in only being able to affect beings
who provide both the focus and faith values for
Some ritual lengths shorten from hours to minutes.
The spiritual energies of the cosm are powerful enough to infuse
the unliving with spirits.
9- Independent action taken by spiritual agencies
can occur but happen at the whim of the divine will, never in response
to the request of the faithful. These interventions are clear signs
of divine power.
Miracles which enhance the abilities of believers may now affect
any of the faithful.
10- The community of faithful may imbue an item
or place with spiritual power. Items (swords, talismans) may be
imbued with spiritual energy that can aid in the performance of
miracles or that allow an individual to perform a specific miracle.
These items will only work for someone of the same faith as those
who empowered the object.
11- The community of faithful may imbue an item
or place with spiritual power that will aid in the performance
of miracles or allow an individual to perform a specific miracle.
Beings without the faith skill may use the items but at
a penalty. Enemies of the faith will tend to avoid places and objects
The presence of the divine can manifest itself on a sporadic basis,
appearing as a separate being or “possessing” a worshipper.
Such manifestations are temporary and can only occur in the presence
12- Independent action taken by spiritual agencies
can occur on a sporadic basis. Such action includes the existence
of locations or items which are capable of performing miracles.
Such miracles only affect the community of the faithful.
Beings whose nature is intrinsically spiritual may exist. Typically,
such beings can invoke miracles far easier than others.
Evidence of divine power readily available to the faithful and
a routine part of their lives.
13- Independent action taken by spiritual agencies
occurs on a regular basis, including the existence of locations
or items which are capable of performing perpetual miracles. These
perpetual miracles provide their own focus and faith totals,
meaning that their effects will work on anyone, not just on the
community of believers.
The presence of the divine may manifest before believers and non-believers
Portals to mythic regions (frequently a pocket dimension or macrodimension)
may occur spontaneously, without the request of the faithful. Such
portals are transitory and occur only at the instigation of spiritual
14- More accurate prophecies are available; differences
in predicted events and eventual outcomes often lie in mistaken
Servants of the divine may be empowered with spiritual energy.
Such servants can work miracles directly, as if they were the divine
(e.g., without the need for faith or focus checks).
Enemies of the faith will go to great lengths to avoid such individuals.
15- Direct invocation of divine power that provides
undeniable evidence of the existence of the divine is possible
but still extremely difficult. Nonbelievers who did not witness
such an event can still dismiss it.
“Paradise” or other mythic regions are now accessible
to mortals. Travel to mythic regions requires a rite.
16- Religious power courses through the cosm
with such regularity that specific training is not needed to create
miracles, though those trained in the rites of the religion can
draw on the power of their faith with more reliability. Characters
with the focus skill may attempt any miracle
allowed by their mythos, though any miraculous effects they haven’t
learned are more difficult.
Divinely powered beings (“angels”, “demons”,
etc.) may exist as physical beings.
17- The laity may create miracles without the focus skill.
The power of the community is so strong that a gathering automatically
provides a minimal focus for the miracle. The laity must
still receive training in all the proper procedures in order to
invoke the miracle.
18- Miracles are plentiful, and the spiritual
power is enough to lower the difficulty of all focus processes
for the faithful. Miracles with reduced difficulty values have
their axiom requirements increased by the effect.
19- The spiritual power in the cosm is plentiful
enough to reduce some lengthy and complex rites down to prayers.
Miracles that provide irrefutable proof of the existence of the
divine are possible.
20- Divine invocations become easier and more
Divinely granted immortality is possible.
21- Permanent portals to mythic regions may exist,
created by spiritual agencies.
The divine may now manifest itself directly, but temporarily,
as a physical presence.
22- All prayers become available to the laity
without need for the focus skill, though this is more
difficult. Even one layperson may invoke a prayer. Calling for
a miracle without the focus skill is much more difficult.
The manifestation of a divine power as a physical being can now
23- All rites are now available as prayers (and
vice versa). Priests may choose which form to use when calling
for the miracle. Rites generally take longer, but are less difficult
(or more effective).
Laity may now invoke any miracle without need for the focus skill.
24- One mythos becomes dominant. Miracles for
all other mythos increase in difficulty. Miracles and invocations
performed by beings who follow an enemy mythos
are contradictions. This includes an atheist’s ability to negate
miracles. Independent action by the entities of an enemy mythos
cease to occur.
25- All mythos other than the
dominant one are now contradictions. Independent action by the
entities of any non-dominant mythos cease to occur.
26- Use of the focus skill becomes irrelevant-
only faith adds are needed to request divine invocations.
27- All enemies of the dominant
mythos have no spiritual power. Miracles may not be performed at
all by followers of an enemy mythos. Atheists are unable to negate
28- The dominant mythos become supreme; no other
mythos has access to spiritual powers, miracles may not be performed
at all by followers of other mythos.
All miracles become invocations; the laity may call for nearly
anything they wish (consonant with the mythos). Such invocations
are frequently successful. Understanding of the spiritual nature
of the cosm is intuitive in all people.
29- The spiritual energies of a cosm are potent
enough to affect the physical structure of the cosm, including
pocket dimensions or fringe realities, and remake them in accordance
with the beliefs of the religion. Physical laws of the cosm may
change, geological and archaeological evidence will be altered
or eliminated, and the biology of life forms may be transformed.
Some remnants of the original form of the cosm may survive, but
these are rare.
Accurate prophecies are available. Both in precision and clarity,
such predictions are highly dependable.
30- A pure cosm, a cosm in which all aspects
of the dominant mythos are literally true. No event occurs contradictory
to the articles of the local faith.
Because the axiom chart has been altered, conversion notes are
necessary. The following charts allows gamemasters to convert Spirit
axiom ratings from the old axiom to the new axiom. It lists two
values, a literal conversion, which maintains the old Social rating
as much as possible, and a “suggested” rating, which
modifies the Social axiom of the cosm to take certain factors into
In some cases, the Spirit ratings listed in the official Torg material
were off from what the given cosm should have. The suggested rating
reflects my opinion on what value would better represent the cosm.
Gamemasters should also be aware that the entries on the chart
have been reorganized, making a pure conversion impossible. The
remodulation of the chart will also tend to lower the Spirit axiom
of realities, even if they have exactly the same relative power.
In Torg, many cosms ended up with the exact same Spirit
rating, 17. This clumping was the result of the underdeveloped
Spirit axiom. Many of these realities should have their Spirit
axiom rating changed, if only to increase the variety of available
axioms. Gamemasters are encouraged, whenever they see a Spirit
17 cosm, to bump it up or down as they feel appropriate.
1“One mythos becomes dominant” is
at a higher axiom than it was in Torg.
2The Cyberpapacy’s Spirit axiom
should be much higher than it is. A cosm with such an overwhelming
religious focus should have an axiom greater than an 11. The value
of 15 allows for the faithful to access the GodNet. Also, the Spirit
axiom of the GodNet should be higher than that of the cosm itself,
a 16. Along with the changes to the Magic axiom, this means that
angels, demons, and other spiritual creatures can dwell in the
GodNet, and be summoned to the cosm.
3The Land Below is an example of one
of the “straight 17” cosms. A 12 allows intrinsically
spiritual beings, and excludes nothing of the original reality.
4This allows the Living Land to have
many religions, while keeping each powerful. Instead of Lanala
being the only god worshipped, many other faiths can exist (although
Lanala is still the goddess of the eidenos, and thus her religion
is most prominent).
The stalangers and benthe may have a different faith, as might
the insectoid Ustanah. In such a Living Land, Rec Stalek could
be a far more potent force. In fact, Baruk Kaah could be a worshipper
of a dominant Rec Stalek, and the Lanala-worshipping eidenos may
be the minority religion.
5Another “17”, the Nile
Empire’s Spirit axiom is very appropriate. A 14 allows powerful
servants of the deities, something the Nile officially has already.
6Orrorsh’s Spirit axiom is supposed
to support the existence of “Horrors”, but a World Law
does that better. Especially since, in Storm Knights,
Orrorsh is a parasitical reality, so only consists of World Laws.
A 10 is a rating no other cosm has, plus it lessens the power of
the Sacellum’s God. Since Orrorsh was originally a Victorian
cosm, a 10 is a better fit.
7A big change for the Space Gods,
one that removes their “Apieros” religion. Instead of
spirituality, the Akashans concentrate on their Social-oriented
philosophies. A powerful Spirit axiom isn’t necessarily appropriate
to the Star Sphere anyway. The Tech-and-Social outlook better reflects
a “sci-fi” reality. This change also involves removing
the Space Gods World Law of Religious Compatibility.
8Tharkold is a munchkin cosm. It has
the second highest Tech, a high Magic, and a “17” Spirit.
The cosm, as written, isn’t particularly Spirit oriented,
save for the “demons.” Tharkoldu, however, are magical
demons, not Spirit demons. The Spirit axiom of Tharkold needs to
be lower. This better fits the genre, and nerfs the too-powerful
technodemons. Technohorrors are supported by the Magic axiom.
For those using my revised Tharkoldu World Laws, then religion
is far more important. In such cases, the Spirit can be a 16, while
the Magic axiom lingers at a 12. Technohorrors are supported by
the Spirit axiom.
9Tz’Ravok is a Spirit-oriented
cosm; all sentient beings worship Ravok. A 16 better represents
the spiritual focus of the cosm. The cosm’s other axioms
are fairly low, so a 16 isn’t unbalancing.
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