A Primer: Holy Sites and Consecrated Ground

Generally speaking, high and low mana areas for Mystic characters are measured by the number of local worshippers. The closest correspondent to high mana areas for Mystic and Witch trade characters alike are holy sites and consecrated ground; while the divine version of the low mana area can be so severe that not even a similar deity can be found to intercede for the character in the absence of his own deity.

Holy sites are sites that a given deity has claimed as his own holy ground – similar to Mount Olympus, Apollo’s oracle at Delphi, Mount Sinai and Mecca. Holy sites are very rare. No deity should possess more than one, MAYBE two. A deity may manifest any appearance he chooses upon a holy site, and may wield essentially unlimited power there. In game terms, power equal in POT to the total number of worshippers he has in the gameworld, and with equal skill. The deity’s manifestation in these cases are as insubstantial as any visual illusion if attacked, immune to any and all attempts at harming it, though it can move and act as any other material person. No act the deity does not like may be committed in his holy site, no magick he does not allow.

Holy sites are not the best places to try and profane, for if the deity is truly offended, he may strike back at any time, even waiting to hurl his power at the MOST inconvenient time. Once one has trespassed on a holy site one has that bond of resonance with it, and time does not work for the gods the way it does for mortals. Once there, a mortal is always there, range for revenge irrelevant to the god even after departing.

Consecrated ground is that ground sanctified and dedicated to a specific deity by his faithful worshippers. This should be standard practice when the foundations of all churches or temples of the GM’s world are laid, regardless of the religion. All temples should be consecrated ground for the Mystics of the deity to which it is dedicated. This should also extend to all official temple burial grounds administered by the religion, as well, for the dedication and consecration is what keeps the dead from rising again (or at least inhibits them). That is why churchyards can be seen to have been so commonly used as cemeteries.

Like holy sites, the deity may also manifest in an area consecrated to Him. Upon consecrated ground, the god’s manifestation is limited to no greater than the POT of the consecration of the foundation, plus the number in the congregation currently possessed of and using that facility, in both POT and SL. Here, however, unless the deity wishes to confront a character and whatever company he is keeping (rather than communicating in a dream or some such), He must generally first be provoked to appear – the deity’s principles, the tenets of his religion must be violated in some way, the building somehow violated or profaned, before he may manifest, unlike holy sites.

As mentioned, the distribution of the power and influence of the Mystic’s or Witch’s deity can vary. Some deities may be bound only to the cities, as Christianity was in its beginnings, or to the specific cities that the deity patronizes, as the Greek deities, Athena to the city of Athens, Hera in the city of Argos, Poseidon in the city of Corinth.

The GM may consider the areas where the various gods or groups of gods hold sway as making up vast international communities of deities. In the areas where their religions and therefore their influences do not overlap, the GM may allow deities of similar mien and sphere of influence limited access to their Mystics when they are out of their specific domain, either by proxy through a related deity (provided the Mystic acknowledges and pays homage to the source of his divine aid, and his deity at home is not TOO jealous a one), or through cooperation between the two deities.

At worst, the character’s deity will have no worshippers at all in the area where the Mystic is located, with not even a deity of similar sphere of influence to intercede on behalf of the god who can no longer reach him.

The Effects of Civilization on

the Ambience for Druid & Witch Mana

As long as Witch and Druid (any) characters remain in the wilderlands, regardless of where they go, the all-encompassing elemental nature of the mana their Arts rely upon remains evident. Far from the madding crowds, it lies always immediately at their fingertips. There is life in even the most desolate of environments. Normal standards of high- and low-mana areas do not apply to them.

While they can benefit from high-mana areas in the same manner as any Wizard, the normal penalties of low-mana areas do not apply to them.

For Witches this is supplemented by the presence of worshippers following the Green Lords and the Olde Ways in the manner described for Mystics, above.

Low-mana areas are similarly irrelevant to Mystics.

For the purposes of all Druids and also Witches, the filthy dens of the races of men all count as low-mana areas. The greater the population, the greater the corruption of the natural world and the more difficult works of magick depending upon Nature’s power becomes, most specifically in a town, village or even settlement, within precincts that are dedicated to public buildings and facilities, businesses and residences. These penalties arise from a sense of place too well defined and beaten into the earth, from the mass of dead brick and stone buildings, dead hewn timber, the cast-off filth of the residents, and the emotional refuse of the people who have claimed the town or city as their home.

Those modifiers should not necessarily be applied when the character is located in an isolated country citadel, castle, or manor, or in any dependent village with a population of 50 or less. These modifiers are applicable to larger villages and towns, and especially walled ones in particular, especially those built on the Roman model, in which the streets are not only paved but laid out in strict a grid.

The table following shows the degree by which the mana of Nature has been pushed away from such locations.

Village/Town Setting Ambience
Casting in a village or hamlet with population of: (d5)
less than 50 (—)
50 to 100 -1 to 5
100 to 500 -6 to 10
500 to 1,000 -11 to 15
Casting in a city or town with population of: (d10)
1,000 to 5,000 -16 to 25
5,000 to 10,000 -26 to 35
10,000 to 20,000 -36 to 45
20,000 to 30,000 -46 to 55
30,000 to 40,000 -56 to 65
40,000 to 60,000 -66 to 75
60,000 to 100,000 -76 to 85
100,000+ -86 to 95

The “(—)” entry for small villages indicates that the established settlement is small enough and sufficiently rural by nature that the Ambience throughout will be the same as that found in the surrounding countryside, levying no penalty.

Up to a population of 1,000 the internal setting of the village or town is still sufficiently rural for some of the power of Nature to seep through. Indeed, for those of greater talent, the penalties applied in some villages or hamlets may not even count as “low-mana”, when the ranges that count for such are adjusted according to MGA, as previously defined.

Penalties levied for these settings should always be eased outside their walls, or at the nearer edges of the surrounding dependent fields that provide their food (GM’s discretion), at a rate of roughly 1 point per yard of distance.