"The Things said most confidently by advanced persons to crowded audiences are generally those that are quite opposite to the fact; it is actually our truism that are untrue. Here is a case. There is a phrase of facile liberality uttered again and again at ethical societies and parliaments of religion: "the religions of earth differ in rites and forms, but they are the same in what they teach." It is false; it is the opposite of the fact. The religions of the earth do not greatly differ in rites and forms, they do greatly differ in what they teach...almost every great religion on earth works with the same external methods, with priests, scriptures, altars, sworn brotherhoods, special feasts. They agree in the mode of teaching; what they differ about is the thing to be taught. Pagan optimists and Eastern pessimists would both have temples, just as Liberals and Tories would both have newspapers. Creeds that exist to destroy each other both have scriptures, just that armies that exist to destroy each other both have guns."
- G K Chesterton, Orthodoxy
All Gods have Temples, and All Temples have Priests. These are holy men, their bodies sacred. They stand with the King, they support his rule. All Kings are foretold by miracles, but who studies and confirms these miracles but the Priests? Who asks the Deity to provide the miracles in the first place? Who tells the people and the aristocracy what their God commands? When famine comes, who is the one responsible for removing it? When plague comes, who must address it? Kings and armies are useless against the Gods, for even if soldiers could harm their God, they would not. They would throw down their arms and turn over their own commander, rather than lay a hand on their God. The Priests are the same way. It is a crime to touch the King's body without permission, but to do the same to a Priest is not only a crime, but a sin.
But you are not a Priest.
The Secret Names and Voices of God
The difference between a Priest and a Prophet is two-fold. Firstly, Priests are expected and required to sanctify themselves. All Priestly offices have restrictions. These restrictions depend on the sect and religion, but they all exist. For example, Moon Ministers of the Church of the Moon cannot sleep under a roof on a clear night, though they are permitted to have a shelter, as long as it has a roof porous enough to allow moonlight through. They can also not eat any animal that is strictly diurnal, as such beasts are favored by the Sun.
Prophets are different from this.
Priests attend to the needs of the God and the People. They serve for a lifetime. Prophets are not so special, however. Prophets are draftees into a Divine Game, where a lesser piece is promoted to the status of Divine Herald. While Priests usually come from special blood-lines or specific circumstances, the only credentials a Prophet needs is to be chosen. Prophets may serve a lifetime or for a single mission, whatever their Deity requires. They are Divine hatchetmen, fixers and trouble-shooters. For this reason, among others, Prophets are rarely raised up in a time of peace, only in times of turmoil or strife.
The other big difference between a Priest and a Prophet is the Secret Name of God. A Prophet is someone who was taught one of the Secret Names and Voices of God. For you see, Gods, when they speak to us, use an elevated dialect called the Holy Tongue, the language that they originally taught to us so we could communicate with them. It is said everyone spoke it in the past, but now is a mostly dead language, only used by the most pious of the aristocracy and the Priests. The Gods can also speak other languages though too. They seem to only speak the Holy Tongue in public, and few actually have the chance to speak with a God directly, but those that have assure us that the Gods are perfectly comfortable speaking other languages. But Gods also know another language- these are the Voices of God. Some also say that these aren't actually words at all, but the Secret Names of the Gods themselves.
The Voices of God have Power. To merely speak one is to bend reality to your whim, to alter it. When a Deity begins speaking with one of its Voices, the ground cracks, clouds boil in the sky, time stutters and momentarily reverses, and dying animals laugh as the entire universe quakes. This is why the Prophet is feared, for they were permitted to use one of a Deity's Voices.
To empower a Prophet, Prophets are loaned one of the Secret Names and Voices of God. They are then sent out into the world to do battle with the Deity's enemies, and serve as the Deity commands.
Starting HP: 1/3 of Con
FS: +2 per Prophet level
Starting Equipment: holy symbol, sword, belt of cord, tattered clothing, wild look in your eyes, a Secret Name of God
Voice of God: The Prophet may speak with one of the Voices of God. They may do this at will, but each time will incur the penalty associated with the word. At any point, the Prophet may pray to their Deity and ask for another Voice. The Deity will usually honor their request, and gift them one of their other Voices. A Prophet may only have 1 Voice at a time.
Dreams and Omens: God will tell you where to go and what to say in signs and visions. He may also grant you visions of the future and hints about where you should go and what you should do in dreams.
Whisper: You gain the ability to whisper one of the Secret Names of God into someone's ear, so it only affects them.
1 Free Use: You may use the Voice of God without sacrificing anything or incurring a penalty once per day.
Second Voice: You gain the ability to carry two of the Voices of God at once.
Choir of Voices: You gain the ability to speak with two Voices at once. This can result in both effects occurring, or one enhancing the other, or anything else you can get the Referee to agree to. You will need to make both of the normal sacrifices, but doubled. Ex: You needed to sacrifice a bull, so now you need to sacrifice half a herd.
1 Free Use: You may use the Voice of God without sacrificing anything or incurring a penalty an additional time per day.
Shout: You gain the ability to increase the power of your Voice, so that you can speak to a large crowd or group of people.
Third Voice: You gain the ability to carry up to three of the Secret Names of God.
The Choice: Your Deity appears before you and offers you a choice. This choice will be different for every Prophet, and will usually come either before the hour of their death or their darkest hour. Each choice depends on the Deity offering it, as well as what the Prophet might want or need. They will always be irrevocable and bring lasting change to the Prophet, as well as to the whole world.
Examples of The Choice:
1- Death comes for all men, but maybe, you are the exception? You die, but all those people you love live. Or, you live, but this action unleashes a catastrophe that causes many people you love to die, though some will survive.
2- Are a puppet of Fate? I offer you this bargain: you can either be forgotten here, today, and escape the cage prepared by Destiny, or you can walk willingly into its trap. To be trapped by Destiny is not such a bad thing, you will have anything you desire. Just know that Empires are built by men, and thus share the fate of all Men.
3- Do you desire goodness, justice, mercy? You will have an opportunity soon to see it meted out. However, if you do so, you will be hunted until you die, maybe slowly, maybe hideously, but certainly violently. Or you can keep silent, and allow the guilty to walk free. All you need do is speak up.
4- Will you be remembered forever? A child has been born near here. When this child grows up, they will surpass you in all ways, and be remembered for far longer than you. To stand against the Priest-Child is folly, for by the time they grow up, you will be too weak to stop them. So what will you do? Will you allow what you've done to be forgotten, great as it is, or will you go and silence this rival before they are old enough to resist you?
5- Do you love me? If so, hear my words and obey. There is a (city/people/king) near here that has rebelled against my authority, breaking the covenant I made with them. Go and destroy them- to the last man, woman and child. Feed me their blood and screams, then shatter their walls and build me an altar of their skulls. Or do not, but be warned, either way brings blood and pain.
6- Do you wish to be like me? If so, travel to the places you see in your dreams. There will be trials and challenges there. Pass them all, without delay or error. Grow strong and powerful, fat on glory and stolen might. Shirk not from what is necessary, for it all will be. Then, in the end, return to me, heaped in honors and challenge me. Strike me down at the end, and you will be one of US. Or, if you do not wish this fate for yourself, stand there, and I will kill you. It will painless, I promise you that.
To see what Secret Name your Deity decides to bestow upon you, roll below. You receive your first at level 1, then another at level 4 and 8.
"I am the One who bears the Word of God, and I command you to..."
Voices of God:
1- "COMBUST!" All flammable objects and people within 50' catch fire. This flame is non-magical. The Prophet also catches fire, unless they offered a sacrifice of an animal, burnt alive, to their Deity before the spoke with this Voice.
2- "Be ENHANCED!" All people and animals who hear this Voice get stronger, growing taller, stronger, and more powerful. They all increase 1 stat by 1d6 or 1d3 by 2, to a maximum of 18. This increase only lasts 1 day. The Prophet loses 1d6 from one randomly selected stat, unless they offered a sacrifice of their own skill to their Deity before they spoke with this voice. One sacrifices their own skill by imposing restrictions upon oneself- such as fighting with the off-hand or refusing to use any weapons for one day.
3- "Become like DIAMOND!" All people and animals who hear this Voice grow strong and hard to kill, gaining 1d6 FS per the Prophet's level, even if they ordinarily have none. This FS lasts only 1 day, then fades. The Prophet loses an equivalent amount of FS gained, unless they offered a sacrifice of their own flesh to the Deity by taking 1d6 damage willingly.
4- "PERISH!" One person or animals who hear this Voice, must save or die. The Prophet must also save or die, unless they offered a sacrifice of myrrh or frankincense to their Deity before they spoke with the Voice.
5- "SPEAK!" All people and animals who hear this Voice gain the ability to speak for 1 day. This doesn't make them smarter, but it does give them the ability to speak. Expect the trees to slowly murmur to themselves and your pack animals to whine about why you have them carry such heavy things, and how much harder it is to carry gold than bundles of wheat. The strangest effect is on people, who will suddenly find themselves being very honest, and saying what they really want to, unless they are very careful. The Prophet cannot speak for a day after using this Voice, unless they offer a sacrifice of a song to their Deity before using this Voice.
6- "Speak the TRUTH!" All people and animals who hear this Voice are unable to lie for 1 day. The Prophet cannot lie either during this time, unless they offered a sacrifice of a repentant heart to their Deity before using this Voice.
7- "Be LIBERATED!" All people, animals and objects that hear this Voice are set free from bondage. Cattle escape their pens, doors fly open, chains unlock, slaves are emancipated, those who are trapped are freed, and etc. Those freed can be re-captured and placed back into bondage once the Voice has been spoken, mortals are always free to disobey God, but for now, they are free. The Prophet is magically bonded to one person during this time, and must obey their orders under compulsion, unless they offered a sacrifice of a slave to their Deity before using this Voice.
8- "LOVE!" All people and animals who hear this Voice are filled with great love for all others who hear this Voice for 1 day, and for the time being, cannot lift their hands in violence against each others. These feelings fade in time, but odds are the memories of that day will be so strong that even after, those affected with regard each other as kinsmen. The Prophet does not feel this fraternity and brotherhood, unless they offered a sacrifice of a love letter to their Deity before using this Voice.
9- "HATE!" All people and animals who hear this Voice are filled with great scorn for all others who hear this Voice for 1 day. These feelings fade in time, but the effect is so strong that the memories will likely forever alter your perception of those around you. The Prophet feels the same hatred for all as well, unless they offered a sacrifice of their hatred toward a foe to their Deity before using this Voice.
10- "Raise your hands and do VIOLENCE upon your brother!" All people and animals who hear this Voice must save or immediately begin attacking the person closest to them. Those who fail their save will spare no one, not friends, relatives, or even parents or children. All those who pass their save still feel this urge, but can resist it, temporarily. This effect persists until everyone feeling it is dead, or one of the affected is prevented from attacking someone for at least 1 minute. The Prophet feels the same violent urges and automatically fails their save, unless they swore to their Deity they would not kill anyone for some period of the time (Prophet's discretion) before using this Voice.
11- "BLIGHT!" All people, plants and animals who hear this Voice must save or immediately contract a wasting disease. This disease kills crops, small animals and weakened people with no save (Referee's Discretion). The Prophet also contracts this wasting disease, unless they take make a vow to fast for the entire day (or longer) before their Deity.
12- "CUT!" One object or person within sight of the Prophet is cut. If a person is selected, they must save. On a success, they only take [The Prophet's level]d6 in damage. On a failure, they are cut in half and instantly killed, assuming such a wound would kill them (Referee's Discretion). The Prophet also takes 1d6 damage from a cut that opens along their body, unless they sacrificed one of their weapons to their Deity before using this Voice.
13- "SUBMIT!" All people and animals who hear this Voice must save. On a failure, for 1 day, they cannot disobey any form of legal and traditional authority. The Prophet is likewise bound, unless they swear a vow before their Deity to visit their parents and present them with gifts.
14- "Be ENTOMBED!" One person or object within sight of the Prophet is buried alive in whatever material is nearby. This material is usually earth, but if you were on a beach, it could be sand, or in a quarry, gravel, or etc. The Prophet is then forced to must listen to the sounds the person or object makes until they die or escape the Earth, unless they buried one of their valuable possessions earlier and offered it to the Deity.
15- "MEND!" One person or object within sight of the Prophet instantly fixes itself, restored to pristine condition. If this is a person, they are instantly healed of all injury, their clothes are cleaned and mended, and they regenerate any missing body parts. This cannot resurrect a Dead person, but it can restore a corpse to perfect condition, as if the person just died seconds ago. The Prophet, if healing someone, is subjected to whatever wounds they might have had, unless they sacrificied a newborn baby or animal to their Deity before using this Voice.
16- "Face DOOM!" When using this Voice, the Prophet may target one person, along with any number of their family, friends, employees or associates. The Prophet must then describe what will happen to that person and all the others mentioned. Those people are instantly condemned to that fate as a curse. The Prophet will condemn themselves to a similar ironic fate, unless they offer their name to their Deity as a sacrifice before using the Voice.
17- "SLEEP!" All people and animals who hear this Voice must save or fall into a deep sleep. They can be roused from this sleep by loud noises, being slapped, or anything else very disruptive. The Prophet falls into a similar sleep and cannot be roused for 1d8 hours, unless they swear a vow to not sleep (or take any long rests) for the next day and night before their Deity before using this Voice.
18- "CLEAR!" When this Voice is used, hurricane force winds blast into the space around the Prophet, clearing any contamination, smoke, dust, or anything that could obscure the space. The Prophet has the air sucked out of their lungs by this and must spend a few minutes gasping for breath, unless they sacrificed a pair of birds to their Deity before using this Voice.
19- "Be PROTECTED!" One person or object is protected from all damage for a number of minutes equal to the Prophet's level. However, during this time, they cannot take any action to harm anyone directly, though they can do anything else. The Prophet also takes half of the damage the person or object being protected would, unless the Prophet sacrifices a piece of armor to their Deity before using this Voice.
20- "FILL!" One person or object is suddenly filled up. This can be used to fill a person's stomach, meaning they have no need for food, or to fill a container with any substance the Prophet desires. It can also be used to fill a person with any substance the Prophet desires, doing anywhere from 1d6 to 1d6*[The Prophet's level] damage, depending on what substance the Prophet chooses (Referee's Discretion). The Prophet also has their mouth become filled with whatever substance they choose, unless they make a vow to sacrifice an equal amount of material to their Deity at a later date.
21- "EMPTY!" One person or object is suddenly emptied. This can be used to make a person hungry, or to empty them of all fluids. If the latter is chosen, they will expire rapidly, unless given immediate fluids and treatment. The Prophet also becomes desperately thirsty and gets -4 to do anything until they drink some water and sit down for a few minutes, unless they sacrificed a skin of wine to their Deity before using this Voice.
22- "Be PARDONED!" One person, animal or object is spared from destruction. For the rest of the day, all damage directed against it is reflected back at the agent responsible for the damage. The thing being protected must take no action to respond aggressively or attack, otherwise the protection immediately ends. The thing being protected knows this. The Prophet is recognized by all as the source of this Pardon, unless the Prophet declares publicly that justice is not for men to decide, but it belongs to God.
23- "HIDE!" One person or object is concealed from all eyes. It cannot be seen, heard or perceived in any way until the Prophet wills it so, or if it is a person, it takes an action to make itself seen. The Prophet is also blinded for this duration, unless they offered their face to their Deity as a sacrifice before using this Voice.
24- "BIND!" Two objects, people, or one of each are bound together permanently. These bonds can be legal, physical, or psychic, depending on the Prophet's will. These bonds persist until the Prophet wills them to be dissolved. During the time these bonds are intact, the Prophet must make an identical bond with an identical type between themselves and a similar counterpart, unless the Prophet swears a vow to get married to the person their Deity chooses for them before using this Voice.
25- "GROW!" One animal or person grows, either to maturity, or increases a size category, Prophet's choice. It doesn't mature emotionally or mentally. The Prophet then goes down a size category or 1d20 years in age, Prophet's choice, unless they sacrifice a set of clothes or a toy from childhood to the Deity before using this Voice.
26- "RECALL!" One person recalls all the thing's they've ever forgotten or is immediately teleported to their birthplace, Prophet's Choice. The Prophet then gains an irresistible compulsion to return home as soon as feasibly possible, unless they sacrifice a cherished memory to their Deity.
27- "Face IMPRISONMENT!" One person or animal is imprisoned in a cell constructed of nearby materials and designed to be inescapable by them. They will remain their for as long the Prophet or the Prophet's deity thinks they should remain there. The cell is virtually inescapable from the inside, but could still be destroyed from the outside. The Prophet is also cursed to be locked up in the immediate future after using this Voice, unless they spend the next day in prayer, doing nothing else but prayer and worship.
28- "Be BLINDED!" One person or animal is immediately blinded, permanently. The Prophet is also temporarily blinded, unless they sacrifice an animal or person that cannot see to their Deity before they use this Voice. If they do not do this, they are blinded for 1d6 days, with the d6 exploding on a 6.
29- "be EXPELLED!" One substance, entity, person or animal is expelled from a designated area that the Prophet is in or can see. This can be used to banish a person from a location, banish an Outsider from someone's body or from this universe, drive poison or disease from someone's body, or anything else the Prophet can think of (Referee's Discretion). The Prophet is also expelled from this location post-haste, unless they have gone and introduced themselves to the local authority before using this Voice.
30- "become MUTE!" One person the Prophet can see cannot speak for as long as the Prophet decides. During this time, the Prophet can only say up to three words at a time, unless they sacrifice a book or scroll to their Deity before using this Voice.
31- "Be SILENT!" For 50' around the Prophet, nothing can make any sound for a number of minutes equal to the Prophet's level. During this time, the Prophet glows in the dark, unless they sacrifice a musical instrument to their Deity before using this Voice.
32- "To suffer PAIN!" One person or animal the Prophet can see is struck with terrible, hideous agony for up to a number of minutes equal to the Prophet's level. The Prophet is struck with similar pain during this time, getting -4 to any rolls, unless they whip themselves raw and offer their blood to their Deity before using this Voice.
33- "To be STRUCK!" One person or animal immediately makes an attack against another person, object or animal of the Prophet's choice. The Prophet must then make an attack against a randomly selected target, unless the Prophet sacrificed a weapon to their Deity earlier.
34- "TO REPENT!" One person throws themselves at the feet of the Prophet and begins confessing all of their sins. The Prophet must then spill their own sins to anyone nearby, unless they told them all to the Deity before using this Voice.
35- "To face HELLFIRE!" All fires within sight of the Prophet become Hellfire. The flames then begin moving toward the Prophet, seeking to devour them, unless the Prophet froze or drowned an animal or person, then offered it to their Deity as a sacrifice before using this Voice.
36- "To FREEZE!" One person, animal or object the Prophet can see becomes encased in ice. The Prophet then begins to suffer from a mild case of hypothermia, getting -4 to do anything, unless they sacrificed a warm cloak or some furs to their Deity before using this Voice.
37- "To DEFORM!" One person or animal within sight of the Prophet mutates horribly. The Prophet then develops a random mutation, unless they sacrificed a perfect specimen, animal or otherwise, to their Deity before using this Voice.
38- "To be AFRAID!" All who stand against the Prophet and can see them must save or have terrible fear struck into their hearts. This fear persists for one day, or until they no longer have a reason to fear the Prophet. The Prophet's companions are filled with the same fear as well, unless the Prophet anointed them with oil and perfume and asked their Deity to protect the Prophet's companions as well before using this Voice.
39- "To WITHER!" All people and animals who hear this Voice lose 1d6 points from 1 random stat or 2 from 1d3 stats they choose. The Prophet is not affected, and everyone will seek to target them as the source of their weakness, unless the Prophet fasts for 1 day before using this Voice.
40- "To be PURIFIED!" One person, object or animal is purified and made holy. This Voice removes all poison and disease, but can also undo spiritual contamination, such as curses and spiritual corruption. The Prophet will inherit the corruption removed from this, unless the Prophet doused themselves in ashes and smeared mud on themselves before using this Voice.
41- "be POLLUTED!" One person, object or animal is given over to wicked spirits, who pollute and degrade it, poisoning and riddling it with cancers and disease. This is usually fatal, but not immediately. Any deaths causes by this word will be long and slow, and cannot be cured except by a Deity of equal or greater strength, or the original Prophet dispelling the sickness. The Prophet also comes down with a minor form of sickness for 1d6 days, giving them -1d4 to do anything, unless they sacrifice a diseased animal or person to their Deity before using this Voice.
42- "be CRUSHED!" One person, animal or object is slowly squeezed, taking 1d6 damage per round for a number of rounds equal to the Prophet's level. The Prophet then takes 1d6 damage per round the Creature was squeezed, unless the Prophet immediately sacrifices a creature with a number of HD equal to the one that was squeezed after using this Voice.
43- "be DUPLICATED!" One object, person or animal the Prophet can see is duplicated. If the object is person, this is an alternative self from a parallel universe. The Prophet loses one object of roughly equivalent value, unless they dedicate the copied object, or convince it to dedicate itself, to their Deity right after this Voice.
44- "CLOSE!" One object or person that is open, such as if they are speaking or bleeding, is shut. The Prophet then cannot speak for the rest of the day, unless they spend the rest of the day singing the praises of their Deity.
45- "VANISH!" One person the Prophet touches vanishes, teleporting to where the Deity feels they would be most suited. The Prophet is cursed to vanish similarly in 1d6 days, unless they immediately begin traveling to a location their Deity describes to them.
46- "Suffer a STORM!" At the Prophet's command, a bolt of lightning comes down from Heaven and strikes one person. This does 8d6 lightning damage. The Prophet also takes 2d6 lightning damage as well, unless they've consulted their Deity for permission, then made an offering to the Princes of the Upper Air, in exchange for protection.
47- "Be filled with LIGHT!" A brilliant light engulfs the Prophet, illuminating everything around them. This light changes size depending on the situation. At all times, it is equal to natural sunlight, and as such, it damages Undead and drives Slimes and Oozes away. During this time, all enemies who are vulnerable get the idea that if they kill the Prophet, the light will go out, unless the Prophet builds an enormous source of light for their Deity and watches over it for at least a day before using this Voice.
48- "To be given over to DARKNESS!" A divine darkness spreads from the Prophet, filling the space around them, or up to 100' around them. This darkness extinguishes all fires within its expanse and suppresses all magical light. A magical light of 4 spellcasting dice or stronger will pierce this darkness or natural sunlight. This darkness is also impenetrable even to dark-piercing sight. During this time, the Prophet is also blind, unless they sacrifice a nocturnal creature to their Deity before using this Voice.
49- "DESCEND!" One person the Prophet touches begins descending. Their wounds begin to leak blackish ichor, and small horns began to grow from their forehead. The beds of their fingernails bring forth hooked claws, and they start to grow taller. Their claws do 1d6 damage and they gain the ability to throw balls of purple fire that do 1d8 magic damage. They also gain the ability to climb walls and sheer surfaces with ease. This transformation lasts for 4*[The Prophet's level] minutes, then fades, leaving the person mortal once more. During this time the Prophet cannot speak with any of the Voices of God, unless they choose to end the person's transformation early.
50- "ASCEND!" One person the Prophet touches begins ascending. The regain 1d6*[The Prophet's level] HP, their blood turns golden and they are wrapped in soft, radiant white light. They grow a pair of stainless wings, and gain a fly speed. All their weapons count as magic for the duration. They may also touch anyone, and cause them to heal 1d6 HP and cure any blindness, deafness, or any disease, except for what the Prophet's Deity will forbid then from curing. This transformation lasts for 4*[The Prophet's level] minutes, then fades, leaving the person mortal once more. During this time the Prophet cannot speak with any of the Voices of God, unless they choose to end the person's transformation early.