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Sacred Oath spell - Punishement for breaking your word?

posted Jan 14, 2013 19:22:33 by bluefenix42
I'm designing a spell that may get used on my players sometime soon - "Sacred Oath". It's supposed to be a theistic spell where the targets swear something in the name of the caster's deity, and are magically punished if they ever break their word. Agreeing to the oath is completely voluntary, so this isn't intended to be used offensively.

What kind of punishment might be appropriate? I was considering something like reducing the oath-breaker's POW score, but I'm not sure if that's too harsh.

Also, would it make sense for the spell to provide a benefit designed to make it easier to keep your oath? What kind of bonus or benefit might be appropriate?
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5 replies
PeteNash said Jan 14, 2013 20:03:21
I would suggest penalties be either personally harmful or publicly shaming.

1) Stopping the oath breaker from regenerating Magic Points
2) Reducing the oath breaker's Devotional Pool to zero
3) Blasting them from above
4) Sending a divine agent (spirit, harpy, fury, etc) to plague them
5) Inflicting an unwashable stigmata upon their face, demonstrating their falseness
6) Inflicting a terrible odour on their person (always smell like pig slurry)
7) Wrack them with terrible pain once per day, every dusk or dawn
8) Make every meal taste like faeces
9) Force every word they utter to be the absolute, damning truth
10) Place a cloud of biting flies to constantly follow them

Personally I wouldn't give a benefit for keeping an oath, since the oath probably incorporates some sort of positive effect in the first place - i.e. it guarantees a high level of trust. But I'm a bastard GM. ;)
jjwdrake said Jan 14, 2013 22:46:34
I designed an Oath spell for my MRQII/Legend campaign called Covenant that was a divine (Miracle) spell. Its effect was to seal a deal as an enchantment, with one of the participants (or a third party) providing a spell that would trigger with the transgressor as the target if the covenant were broken. Otherwise put, each key clause of the covenant is an enchanting condition. I like this stuff. Ended up being the root of a cult - The Covenanters, of violent revolutionaries used to ensure the absolute silence and discretion of its members,
Skoll said Jan 15, 2013 07:44:41
In an old RQ2 campaign, PC's need to swear an oath. They swear the oath by certain things, and breaking the oath would cause those things to fail them at key moments. So for example, you swear the oath by the weapons in your hand, and if you break the oath, your weapon breaks in a fight against a great foe.
RangerDan said Jan 15, 2013 10:10:05
Regarding benefits of the oath, if you want to give one:

Determine the 'magical strength' of the Oath (perhaps the Devotion of the casting priest?).
The Oath could becomes a kind temporary passion, and could be used to reinforce or replace skills at appropriate moments. I.e. the warrior could roll his Oath score instead of Willpower to resist the magic of the evil sorceror he is oathbound to kill.
DanTrue said Jan 15, 2013 10:18:16
I wouldn't have the oath penalty as a fixed part of the spell, but rather as a part of the oath:

"I swear to do blablabla, may lightning strike me if I am untrue to my word"

This way, it is customizable. The oath taker and oath keeper decide on a punishment, which might be steeped in cult tradition or might be a new one. Some cults might block access to their god or lower POW. More sinister cults might write the oath down on a piece of lead sheet to be carried, and should the oath be broken the lead sheet will melt of its own accord and bind to the oathbreakers skin, marking him forever in pain and shame.

- Dan
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