Hundreds of years in the past, when religion was a central part of the lives of the everyday person and faith as a whole was stronger and more prevalent, it was possible for religious leaders and their followers to defy and even defeat the legions of Hell with powerful prayers, blessed items, and potent exorcisms. Demons in the modern world have little to fear from the local drive-in church or apoplectic televangelist, but it is still possible to encounter people, places, or artifacts that are capable of giving even the mightiest demons pause.
Historically, churches and other holy sites were blessed when their foundations were laid, in order to render them inviolate to the forces of evil. The practice continues today, but the underlying faith that gave the blessing power is no more. Churches, graveyards, and other sites constructed within the last 200 years are not considered holy ground per se
, but older structures -- and even a rare few new ones where the worshippers truly believe -- can potentially hold a demon at bay.
Like mortals, any place of worship, be it a church, graveyard or roadside shrine, can have a Faith potential based upon the amount of real faith invested by generations of worshippers. Sites can have a Faith potential of 1-5 with the highest potential reserved for truly ancient and venerated sites, such as Manger Square in Bethlehem or the Temple of the Rock in Jerusalem. Demons with a Torment of 4 or more who try to enter such a site suffer a number of levels of lethal damage equal to the site's Faith potential each turn they remain. This damage is manifested by seared flesh or stigmata-like wounds to the hands and face. A successful Willpower roll is required each turn to remain on holy ground. If the roll fails, the demon flees the area.
Fallen with a Torment of 3 or less have rejected their demonic nature in favor of their angelic and human essence, and they may enter a holy site without injury. The few demons who have successfully accomplished this are at a loss to explain why they were not burned, but they point to it as proof that redemption is still possible.
Sacred or Blessed Items
Similar to holy ground, it is possible for the truly faithful to infuse an item with holy power sufficient to cause harm to the Fallen. Such holy items are very rare and often highly prized artifacts guarded zealously by their worshippers, though it is possible for persons of great faith to bless common items and create powerful weapons, such as holy water. Like holy ground, a sacred object can have a Faith potential of 1-5, with the highest potential reserved for truly venerated and unique objects. These items inflict a number of levels of lethal damage to a demon equal to their Faith potential each turn they are held against the demon's skin. Fallen with a Torment of 3 or less are unaffected by these items.
Blessed items are more potent examples of these objects, having been venerated with a specific purpose in mind. A mortal with a Faith potential of at least 3 is required to successfully bless an item, and such objects can possess a Faith potential of 1-5 depending on the amount of time and effort spent infusing it. As a rule of thumb, a blessed item gains one point of Faith potential per day of prayer. At the time of creation, the item is blessed to perform the function of a banishment, abjuration, or binding prayer. Blessed items only function when used by a mortal with a Faith potential of at least 1. When used, add the Faith potential of the item and the mortal wielder to determine the total dice pool for the resisted roll. Fallen with a Torment of 3 or less are unaffected by those items or the prayers associated with them.
Prayers are similar to a demon's evocations, in that they are focused uses of Faith that effect a change in reality -- specifically to banish, forbid, bind, or exorcise a Fallen.
Prayers are performed as a resisted roll between mortal and demon. The mortal's player rolls a number of dice equal to his Faith potential against the demon's Willpower. If the mortal is successful, the effects of the prayer are applied immediately. More than one mortal can combine their Faith potential to add power to a prayer. Four types of prayers can be used against the Fallen, and they can be targeted against any demon within the mortal's line of sight that has a Torment score of 4 or greater:
- Banishment: A successful prayer of banishment forces the demon to flee the area. The demon may not return to the site for a number of hours equal to her Torment score.
- Abjuration: The prayer of abjuration can be used to bar a demon from entering a given area. The prayer can cover an area in yards equal to the mortal's Faith potential (multiple mortals can combine their Faith potential to increase this area), and if successful, the demon may not enter for a number of hours equal to her Torment score.
- Binding: The prayer of binding roots the demon to the ground, trapping him as long as the mortal continues her prayer. The demon cannot move from the spot by physical or supernatural means of any kind, but he can still perform other evocations, throw things, or take other such actions. The demon remains trapped as long as the mortal is able to continue her prayer, and no further rolls are required. Stamina or Willpower rolls may be required if the mortal intends to keep up to keep up the prayer for hours, though. Blessed items empowered with this prayer continue to work only as long as the wielder brandishes the item before the demon.
- Exorcism: The prayer of exorcism is an ordeal of Faith intended to drive a demon from its mortal host. To successfully perform this prayer, the mortal must win a number of resisted rolls greater than the demon's Permanent Faith rating. One roll may be performed per hour of game time, so an exorcism performed against a demon with a permanent Faith rating of 5 would require a minimum of 5 hours to complete. If successful, the demon is forced from his mortal host and may not reenter it, forcing him to find another suitable vessel or risk being pulled back into the Abyss. Of course, the demon isn't compelled to remain in the area and be exorcised, so unless the Fallen is physically incapacitated, the exorcism is usually performed simultaneously with a prayer of binding.
Faith is different from True Faith.