A ordeal question

I have a player that is creating a new cult. We are thinking of blood letting as a initiation ordeal to take the supplicant as near death as possible with the result of getting one decrepitude point and one season of recovery. This would both be appropiate for the cult (based on a old earth goddess cult) and the virtue given.

My question is how to value this ordeal?
In 4ht ed a decrepitude point was a -2 flaw but a character could take 10 decrepitude before dying.
In 5th ed ther is no such flaw and a character can only take 5 decrepitude before dying.

So I'm thinking of making this a major ordeal but I,m not sure. What is the forums voice on the matter?

/Michael Geller

A magus risking death (wounds of any kind are no joke in 5th ed.) certainly wouldn't consider such an ordeal minor, even if done voluntarily. IMO of course.

I'd say that sounds like a major ordeal, myself. Permanent harm, risk of death and enormous degree of trust all add up to something very special. That said, it's also got the potential to be a very cool story event.

Out of interest, what virtue is being initiated?

I am pretty sure it would take more than a season to recover from that kind of ordeal.

As others have mentioned, if you are truly draining them to within an inch of thier lives then risk of death is very, very real. I would be probably opt for a system where they make some kind of stamina or soak roll. If they fail they are incapacitated, succeed they have heavy wounds, and botch they die. Such a proceedure would surely involve a number of botch dice.

Of course, you could always make the blood-letting a bit less harsh, taking only a token amount - which would surely be considerably safer.

My point being, such a proceedure seems to carry a great risk of death, rather than a permanent disabling feature such as could be represented by decripitude.

Well, if he wants to make it more permanent the decrepitude sounds OK to me. From a descriptive point of view, it can represent him donning part of his life force to Mother Earth, and so he gets a decrepitud epoint: no matter how healthy he gets again, part of his Life Force has been drained from him in the mystical ritual. reads extremely magical and life-changing to me! :smiley: Cool ordeal.

Otherwise it is an "OK, if I roll 2-9 I get no drawback from this ordeal" which sounds cheap to me.

Ordeals are supposed to scar the very essence of the character, so the decrepitude point sounds about right.

And it is Major for sure :slight_smile:

I am curious as well about what is being initiated. Life linked magic? Ctonic Magic? Affinity with Terram?


Thanks for all input.

I'll go with making this a major ordeal.

Some more background.
The player group have found a abandoned (kind of) subterranean temple in a regio in the covenants salt mine. The covenant is a reestablished covenant of a failed one that mysteriously disappeared a 80 years ago and is located deep in Russia. The temple is dedicated to Mati-Syra-Zemlya and has been abandoned since the Hun invasion in the 400 century. There are still residents in the temple but those are no longer human, they have been transformed into creatures of magic. The goddess is a magic being and since there have not been any cult 800 years she have not been transformed into a fairie. The magi of the covenant saw this a potential to many thing but the first thing on the schedule was to be allowed to mine salt and vis from the mine without need to fighting the goddess undead guards. So they have been questing in fairie to find information about the dead cult both to be allowed to reopen the mind and to create a mystery cult with a real magic goddess (I’m using a lot of material from the Bear and the Dragon and some of my players have played a lot in Glorantha so they have ideas of marrying “their” goddess to Thousand Caves “Hermes” creating a new magic cult.
The have found out the old Mati-Syra-Zemlya cult was based on fertility and harvest rituals, the first a spring based ecstatic feast with bloodletting (empowering the earth) and the second with sacrifice (giving some parts back) of livestock, produce and gems. So the covenant magi is in the process to create a new mysteries cult and we are looking into spirit magic (inscription on the soul/spirit familiar) and dream magic as possible mysteries to be initiated into by the sleeping goddess. Spirit magic looks very appropriated since there already a kind of living ghost tradition (with reanimation of there on dead body added to it).
At the moment we are in the design phase of this new cult and will be so for a while. The cult should have some dark element since it’s about a old earth goddess but not being completely chtonic. Blood is a other essential part as is fertility and the possibility to “join” the goddess in the magic realm.

/Michael Geller