Adventure Trove: Pact Magic 102
Mechanically, casting pact magic is fairly different to sorcery, but there are similarities. There exist a limited number of common rites which all adepts have immediate access to, and there are 3 skills which govern the use of those groups of rites: blessing, smiting and exorcism. When a pact adept begins casting a rite or asks for an intercession the first step is taking on the Godhead. This is an AC 0 action which provides the adept with a tangible benefit (a small bonus to all Perception based tests), and must be concentrated upon (with the same penalties as for sorcerers maintaining concentration duration spells). The only drawback is that the adept suffers 2 extra damage while this is going on because the euphoric feeling overrides their pain response and reflexes, but on the bright side their penalties due to wounds are one less).
The character then makes a roll to enact the rite. The aspect (or attribute) that governs the roll depends upon the source. Most gods and demons favor a specific aspect. For example, a god of learning will favor Reason, while a god of fertility will often favor Condition, the aspect associated with hard work. Most planar pacts use Presence (which means their adepts are often slightly less capable than their more finely aspected brethren because raising an attribute requires devoting advancement to both aspects underneath it.)
This is more than made up for in versatility. Gods are associated with specific fields of expertise or domains of power. They rarely step outside of these except to produce general miracles for their follower’s direct benefit. I.e you can get your fields blessed by a priest of the fertility god, or you can go to the priest of your patron god, perhaps a god of fortune, and have him bless everything that touches your life. However, a priest of a god of war or civil order isn’t going to help you much with your crops. The adepts of planes can ask for miracles in line with the theme of the plane, which is often much less narrow.
All rites have set TNs based on how much power they require. If sorcery is hero versus self, pact magic is hero versus environment. This carries over into the way targets resist pact magic. The adept must overcome both the difficulty and the target’s resistance test (which is always a simple opposed roll) but if he does so his rite is wholly effective. Characters cannot resist the effects of intercessions at all. This is in sharp contrast to sorcery, where an unwilling target’s resistance either causes the sorcerer to miss, or lowers the spell’s power.
Adepts differ again from sorcerers in that they do not need to have a minimum skill to attempt a rite. They have access to their full complement of rites from the start, and while skill ranks help produce the magic, they do not govern access in the same way. Each skill governs 3 rites, so all adepts have access to 9 basic rites once they gain the Pact, there are unique rites as well which are only taught to members of certain churches, cults and ethos.
Just as with spells, rites are written so that they can generally be interpreted fairly broadly. There might be a need for six or more enhancement spells in another fantasy game, but that is handled by a single rite in this game.
AC: 8 TN: 2
This rite can be used to apply a blessing to a character or an object which lasts for the duration of the scene. A character so affected becomes blessed with competence or luck, gaining a +1D bonus on one roll of their choice per round for the duration of the scene. Extra successes achieved when performing this ritual often gift the character with the bonus over longer time periods, although the GM is the arbiter of what occurs in such a situation. Objects blessed provide a bonus every time they are used, but the bonus is limited to a specific situation. For example, the adept can specify +1D to Weapons skill when making Fast Strikes, or +1D to Discipline skill when resisting fear or making morale checks. They are not blanket bonuses to everything such an object can be involved in.
So while sorcery is set up as a hunt for knowledge in varying styles, pact magic is much more the reliable power which can be reinterpreted to remain useful in most situations, however it isn’t as powerful. The intercession component offers both cases for further role-playing, as well as unbridled power through invoking entities and major forces.