Domain

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A Domain is a facet of reality over which a god may exert divine control. Which domains a god can naturally expand into are chosen at character creation, though if he gains followers of a domain other than his chosen domains, it becomes a Synthetic Domain. Many actions a god performs related to his domains are supernaturally successful.

Domains lie on the same tiered hierarchy as gods, which means there are Major Domains, Medium Domains, and Minor Domains, each of which is obtainable by gods of the same tier (see Mortal Bias for more about the hierarchy). A god can create miracles from any of his domains on his tier (e.g. a minor god can create miracles from his minor domains).

Contents

Purview

When a player chooses a domain for his god character, he and the Meta-Deity agree what falls under that domain, and the player chooses a word or short phrase to reference it. A domain and its purview are entirely personal affairs for the god in question.

For example, consider two gods of war. The first god is very aggressive, so under his definition falls any violent physical action, but battles of wits and other abstract fights are beyond his power. The second, however, favors more contests of strength, skill, and intellect, and so only certain violent physical actions are included under his domain, but he also has power over battles of wits and the like. These gods have an overlap to their domains, but the domains are still different, and they reflect the different natures of the characters. (In theory, this difference in personality would manifest in the myths and cults of mortals surrounding these deities, though this need not be the case.)

In this way, the moniker for a domain is simply a mnemonic for the player and MD to remember the long and complicated discussions had and decisions made about the character's domain, rather than the full definition of the domain itself.

Examples

At this point, a natural question is "So what are the domains prescribed by the Core Rules?" The answer: there aren't any. As described above, what constitutes a particular domain is so game- and especially character-specific that a definitive listing and description of domains would highly restrict the creative freedom the game is specifically built to enhance. Therefore, instead we simply give examples and leave it up for the players and MD of particular games to hammer out the details.

In these examples, we use two NPCs from Game:Alpha, namely Dr. Jonas Quinn (a.k.a. Epistopheles) and Nathan Long (a.k.a. Trident).

Minor Domains

  • Epistopheles: Abstract Thought and Mystical Travel

Some of Epistopheles' minor domains include Abstract Thought and Mystical Travel. Abstract Thought is defined as any process that requires sapience, so contemplating one's future and counting fall in its purview. Epistopheles has miracles that allow him to communicate telepathically, erase specific memories from a mortal's mind, or bless a mortal to understand the next concept explained to him visually (by diagrams or pictures).

Mystical Travel is any type of long-distance movement (i.e. several miles or more) that uses magical spells. So magic flight is not covered, as it is neither long distance nor spell-based, but many teleportation and gate-creation spells are. His miracles for this domain include those that can teleport a mortal and open a gate between distant locations (including other planes).

  • Trident: Ocean Travel and Ocean Weather

So far Trident has focused on open water far from land, so his minor domains reflect this. Both Ocean Travel and Ocean Weather are only applicable for locations with absolutely no solid, dry ground, so even the ocean surrounding islands is excluded. Within Ocean Travel, Trident can expedite or hinder transcontinental expeditions using just ocean currents, or he can summon and dismiss local storms. Even though hurricanes would fall under Ocean Weather, the manipulation, creation, or dismissal of a phenomenon so large falls easily under medium or major miracle power, so Trident will have to drop more Mortal Bias before he has access to this level of divine power.

Medium Domains

  • Epistopheles: Thought and Spell Augmentation

At the medium level, Abstract Thought expands into Thought, which includes everything under Abstract Thought in addition to more primal feelings, urges, and instincts experienced by non-sapient beings, such as dogs and bees. Spell Augmentation allows Epistopheles to make miracle variants of any existing spell from mortal magic. Drawing on source magic from Dungeons & Dragons, Epistopheles can alter the Endure Elements spell to allow only protection from hot environments, but extend the temperature range up to 1000°F.

  • Trident: Open Oceans

The domains of Ocean Travel and Ocean Weather combine into "Open Oceans," where Trident can affect all aspects of oceans that are far from dry land. In addition to the powers under Ocean Travel, Open Oceans allows Trident to control the sea creatures that inhabit the region, or he can make divine alterations to the way the oceans flow that defies the laws of physics, sculpting hills and valleys out of it as if it were solid.

Major Domains

  • Epistopheles: Knowledge and Magic

At the top of the hierarchy, all of Epistopheles' divine focuses culminate at the acquisition and processing of knowledge and the manipulation of the forces governing reality. This hearkens back to his scientific roots.

The Knowledge domain encompasses not only information that can be known, but also the systematic acquisition and processing of that knowledge. In effect, the domain could also be called "Science," but "Knowledge" better stresses the importance of the information itself and less the particular algorithm of its acquisition that the term "Science" implies.

The Magic domain encompasses actions that manipulate the forces of reality, potentially and most likely as a result of information gathered and processed under the Knowledge domain, and can be potentially duplicated by mortals. Specifically this means taking energies and processes that already exist and partially or totally changing them to act differently. For example, if mortal wizards can turn lead into gold, the Magic domain can change the gold back into lead, or change the lead into fish. These effects could potentially be duplicated by enough mortal study and experimentation.

  • Trident: Seas

What Nathan really is as a god can be easily summarized under a single major domain. Under the Seas domain, Trident has complete dominion over natural bodies of water. What constitutes natural? Any body of water not purposefully produced by a being with the Divine Spark. This includes the obvious oceans, harbors, lakes, and streams, but also rain puddles and weather patterns over any oceans.

Basically, if it happens on, above, below, in, or near a natural body of water, it's covered under "Seas."

Domain Points

Domain Points represent the power a god has obtained from mortal worship. The maximum number of Domain Points (DP) is determined by Mortal Bias the base system (discussed below).

To obtain any Domain Points, the god must have a minimum number of followers (as determined by the MD), but once he has surpassed this minimum, points are distributed proportionally to the god's mythos. This means the more people believe he is the god of a particular domain, the more ease of use and power he has for that domain, and this is represented by Domain Points. For example, a god with mortal bias 11 may have the domains of illusions and chance. If 60% of his believers associate him primarily with illusions and 40% associate him with chance, then the god would have 12 DP in illusions and 8 DP in chance.

With each domain comes a Domain Stat depending on both the domain and the base system. The more DP a god has in a domain, the more its respective domain stat is modified.

World of Darkness

If your game uses the World of Darkness base system, Domain Points yield automatic successes to any roll for magical or divine actions attempted in the relevant domain. The number of domain points by mortal bias is given by the formula:

Max DP = (21 - MB) * 2

These follow according to the Fibonacci sequence starting at DP1=F2:

DP1 DP2 DP3 DP4 DP5 DP6 DP7 DP8 DP9 DP10 DP11 DP12 DP13 DP14 DP15 DP16 DP17 DP18 DP19 DP20 ...
1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 89 144 233 377 610 987 1597 2584 4181 6765 10946 ...

Obviously, very quickly the results of miracles can reach far beyond mortal abilities, and this progression strongly benefits low-MB gods who take the time to carefully structure their worshipers' cults, myths, and beliefs.

Additionally, a player may choose either any single Attribute or a Skill to serve as the domain stat for each of his god's domains. Attributes are boosted by 1 for every 3 DP in domains related to them, and skills are increased by 1 for every 2 DP.

Deities Streamlined

The maximum number of domain points follows this formula:

Max DP = (21 - MB) * 3

When a god casts a miracle in a domain with domain points, they add to the result of their roll the number in the table below.

DP1 DP2 DP3 DP4 DP5 DP6 DP7 DP8 DP9 DP10 DP11 DP12 DP13 DP14 DP15 DP16 DP17 DP18 DP19 DP20 ...
1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 89 144 233 377 610 987 1597 2584 4181 6765 10946 ...

Synthetic Domain

A Synthetic Domain is a domain the god did not select at character creation, but in which he nonetheless has worshipers. While (normal) domains are fixed, synthetic domains are fluid and dependent only upon the god's worshipers. A god gains all of the bonuses of Domain Points in a synthetic domain that a domain normally gives, but he cannot create miracles in a synthetic domain (see Divine Wonderworking).

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