Adventure Trove: Pact Magic 101
What most games call clerics or priests I call adepts. The reason for this is a concept I first saw in an older TSR setting. Namely, you could use divine magic without the direct guidance and devotion to a god. If you studied the principles of divine magic you could cast spells using the power of the universe itself. Since The Seven Realms has multiple planes, many of which are brimming with magical power, I give players the option to be tied to a spiritual entity, or one of these planes.
The planes specifically interact with the mortal realm, so it’s not the same as in some settings where you talk about the World of the Dead and you can never go there. So the idea is that there are priests and there are adepts. Adepts specifically make a pact via ritual and meditative study, with an entity (god, demigod, demon or something other) or a plane. They learn how to channel that power into effects, but there are two major ways to do that.
Firstly you can learn skills which allow you to perform rites, which function similarly to sorcery spells. The main differences between rites and spells is that there is no backlash associated with rites and the TNs are set. If you learn a rite, it is always the same, every time. You might get a slightly better effect if you earn extra successes on it, and you can expand the effect to multiple targets by modifying your casting attempt.
However, a sorcery spell often has specific effects which get greater as Power increases. There is no way to increase the “power” of a rite. Even when you earn extra successes, sometimes the benefit is more power, (within limits) and sometimes the benefit is more duration, or a different benefit which affects breadth.
Also, pact magic can be resisted by an act of will, but rather than lowering the caster’s successes or affecting the outcome of the spell by degrees, the caster must beat their TN and get as many or more successes than the target’s resistance roll. This works much like using advanced maneuvers in combat. So for pact magic, the rite either works or it doesn’t. It isn’t like resisting a spell where you lower the power of the spell with your successes.
The second way to channel this power is to ask for intercession. Yes, pact adepts can “pray for a miracle” whenever they want to. It is resolved much like any other plea for help and the character has no say in what manifests out of it. The benefit here is that when an intercession occurs it is truly deus ex machina. The effects are often total, powerful, and unmistakable.
To illustrate the difference, an adept can heal a small group (up to 20) with the Divine Healing rite if they modify it heavily, and no matter how many successes the character earns when invoking the rite they can’t heal all damage done to the targets. An intercession can heal all the grievously wounded and dying members of an army and all those healed will be completely healed.
The more the character relies on this connection to a higher power, the harder it is to invoke until a suitable time has passed. Specifically further attempts to ask for intercession during the same day garners a cumulative dice penalty.