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Spirit Axiom
 

Design: Jasyn Jones
Design and Commentary: Ks. Jim Ogle
Commentary: Dave Haynes

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Introduction
 

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 Spirit axiom.

Spiritual Axiom
 

“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, pg. 142)

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 possible.

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 is possible.

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 becomes possible.

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 of years.

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, however.

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 the miracle.

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 so empowered.

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 of believers.

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 alike.

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 agencies.

14- More accurate prophecies are available; differences in predicted events and eventual outcomes often lie in mistaken interpretations.

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 available.

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 last indefinitely.

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 miracles.

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.

Conversion
 

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 account.

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.

Cosm
Original
Literal
Suggested
Aysle
16
13
13
Core Earth
9
9
9
Cyberpapacy
14
11
152
Land Below
17
14
123
Living Land
24
251
244
Nile Empire
17
14
145
Nippon Tech
8
8
8
Orrorsh
17
14
106
Space Gods
13
11
37
Tharkold
17
14
78
Tz’Ravok
17
14
169

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.

Updated: May 3, 2006
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