FANGS: Appendix D - Priest
File:FANGS-Basic Fangs Logo (small original).gifWelcome to FANGS, the Fantasy Adventure Networked Gaming System. The goal of this roleplaying system is to offer rules that allow for fun, dramatic play without losing too much realism, simple and yet elegant rules, and balanced for different styles of players who wish to game together.
 Churches & Priests
The church plays a fundamental role in most fantasy worlds, acting as an intermediary intermediary or defender between people and very real fantasy ghods, saints, angels, daemons, or spirits -- which we generically call Presences. Priests are the human emissaries of the church. Priests also act to counter and balance the power of other Presences, as well as other forms of magic.
Priest as we describe them here is a very generic term for anyone with a relationship with a Presence, whether they be a religious cleric, a monk, a nun, a shaman, or even odder relationships that are in fact a form of Priesthood such as witches and demonologists.
Priests band together with those of common faith in a number of ways, most typically known as a church or temple, but sometimes they are also known as a cult. Generically we will call any assemblage of priests a Church.
The premise behind Priest Magic is that there exist Presences which either live off of, or are incarnations of life force and magic energy (Which of these is true has been hotly debated among the intelligentsia of the worlds.) This life force and magic energy is represented in game terms by Power - PW.
The PW that Presences need are gained in a variety of ways, but easiest is through the willing sacrifice of their followers, whether they be initiates, acolytes, deacons, or full Priests. The more followers a Presence has, the more powerful it is and stronger favors it can grant. The more PW that a Priest has sacrificed to a Presence the stronger the connection is between that Presence and the Priest.
Presences may be called a ghod, saint, angel, daemon or spirit by one religion, but called the something else by another religion. However, there are two broad different kinds of Presences - Templed, and Untempled.
Templed Presences: Templed Presences are located in a specific place or places. This could be an object, a room, building, or site. In most cases Templed Presences serve and/or are served by those that serve where they are located. However, in some cases, the Priests of a Templed Presence serve to defend the world from the uncontrolled manifestation of a Presence.
Untempled Presences: Untempled Presences do manifest in a any place or location, or, as some scholars think, are templed in such a such large area such as a country, world, or universe that they can effectively manifest most anywhere.
 Relationship Between Priests & Presences
The relationship between a Priest and the Presence he serves can be very complex. Sometimes the relationship is a very personal one, or a very public one. In some cases, the relationship is quite one-sided (when it is it usually to the benefit of the Presence), for others it is mutually beneficial.
No matter who the Priests or Presences are, or the nature of their relationship, they have some common factors.
Sacrifice: There is always some form of sacrifice associated with gaining a closer relationship with a Presence. This most typically is in the form of a sacrifice of PW, however, this sacrifice could be a time, a vow, a service, or even the receipient's own blood.
Ritual: There is always some form of ritual associated with gaining a closer relationship with a Presence. Rituals will always have at least three parts, Preparation, Manifestion, and Completion.
Sacred Space: All sacrifices, rituals, spells, and ceremonies associated with a Presence must be performed in a sacred space, which may in some cases just mean a quiet undisturbed place, but more often require a consecrated place. With Templed Presences, this will be in or touching the place that the Presence is templed. With Untempled Presences, a space must be prepared for the Presence to be invited into.
Nymology & Symbology: There is always names and/or symbols associated with a Presence. Any sacrifice or ritual must use those names (in the form of chanting) and/or symbols (in the form of writing) in order to be successful.
Most churches are organized in "circles," although they are not often called such. Each circle requires an additional sacrifice of at least one additional PW, and may require some more dedication to a Presence. The innermost circles have the closest relationship with a Presence and thus the greatest power.
PW loss can be regained through normal Characteristic Training (which is extremely laborious and costly, and typically takes several months.)
 The Supporter -- Outer Circle
The Outer Circle refers to the supporters of a particular church that contribute to a a church in money, services, or kind, and may follow the tenets of a church, but have not in fact made any permanent sacrifice to a church. Typically these are called supporters of a church.
 The Follower -- First Circle
Becoming a follower of a Presence is to join the First Circle. The applicant first has to find a church to accept him (most will.) A full Priest performs a ceremony over him and the new follower loses 1 PW (this can also be bought during character development as an Advantage of 5 points).
The benefits of being a follower of a Presence is that you have the sanctuary and training in the Presence's church, and can, in dire need, call on the Presence for assistance (which may or may not be granted.) A follower may be a devotee of several Presences if the Presences allow it, but each would require a sacrifice of 1 PW. Followers are expected to tithe 10% of their earnings and/or services to their church. Followers of multiple gods are expected to tithe 10% of their earnings to each church.
Followers do not gain magical powers other then their connection to the Presence, however, the training available to followers can be quite valuable, including literacy, various forms of combat, etc. depending on the church.
A follower may also be required by some churches to take a Vow.
 The Initiate -- Second and Third Circles
Initiates (sometimes called acolytes or deacons, depending on the church) are of the Second and Third Circles, thus they have sacrificed 2 or 3 PW to his Presence, and may have been required to have certain minimum skills. (An Initiate of the Second Circle can also be obtained as an advantage of 10 points.)
Most churches will also require an initiate to accept a Vow. A full Priest must act as act a witness to the vow. If a Vow is broken, a curse may fall on the breaker. The curse can be as simple as the spell, but could be different based on the whim of the Presence. If the follower continues to break a promised ow, he may loose all all of the powers granted by the followers previous sacrifices to the Presence, and the curse made permanent.
The benefits of being a second-circle Initiate are very limited spells, typically minor divinition spells as Detect Evil (sense opposed Presences) and Augury (chance to get hints of the future or about a Presences will.)
A third-circle Initiate has a few more spells. These typically affect others, but not the Initiate himself. Typical spells might include ability to heal by the spell Lay on Hands (healing HP 1d4, and twice the result to SP) and Bless Other (temporary +1 to all skills).
Initiates are not accepted if they are followers of any other Presence. Once an Initiate of a Presence, an Initiate may not become the follower another Presence without first losing all of the powers granted by the Initiate's previous sacrifices. Initiates are expected to tithe 20% of their earnings to their religion.
 The Priest -- Fourth Circles & Higher
Members of the Fourth Circle or higher are considered full Priests -- thus have sacrificed 4 or more PW to a Presence, as well as fullfilled other requirements to their church, and will likely have to accept one or additional Vows.
Priests have access to many more spells (more with the number of PW sacrificed) and to advanced training. Priests are expected to tithe at least 50% their earnings and labors to their religion, of course, the members of their religion, in turn, will support a Priest with no income. High Priests of the innermost circles may be called on by to rescue followers who call on the Presence (a religion whose high Priests help the followers the most will have the most followers.)
 Calling on a Presence
The chance that a Presence or high priest will hear a followers "Call" is equal to the follower's PW -10 plus the number PW sacrifices the follower has made.
If a call is heard, the GM can play the role of a Presence if he chooses to (to positive or negative effect), or a high priest of the Presence (a player), if he wants to, can be portaled to the spot where the follower is having problems.
If the follower successfully called a Presence, he will loose at least one PW, depending on the amount of effort that the Presence had to go to serve the call. In addition, once he has successfully called a Presence and either the Presence or his priest comes to the aid of your character, he may not call on the Presence again without sacrificing additional PW.
Thus the average follower (who has sacrificed 1 PW to his Presence and has 10 PW remaining) has a Skill Check of 1 (10-10+1)in order for the Call to be heard. The average priest of the Fourth Circle (who has sacrificed 4 PW, and still has 14 PW remaining) has a Skill Check of 8 (14-10+4) for success with his Call. A high priest of the 10th circle (who has sacrificed 10 PW and has 20 PW remaining) will always be able to call on his Presence, as his Skill Check would be against a Call of 20, but he would not do so lightly as he would not be able to do so again until he gained another PW (a very difficult task that might take years.)
 Priest Magic
Compared to wizards, riests have relatively few, but useful spells. At the highest levels spells such as turn undead, resurrect, etc. may be available.
It is not a good idea for an acolyte or priest to sacrifice too much PW to his Presence, as the PW remaining acts as the conduit of the Presence's power (i.e. spells) to the priest. The chance that a spell is successful is equal to an acolyte's PW (or a full priest's PWx2) less the circle of the spell. Thus a character who started with a PW of 12, and sacrifices 2 PW to become an acolyte, would have an effective skill of 10 for the acolyte spells of the second circle (12 PW - 2nd Circle = 10). A character who started with a PW of 14, and sacrifices 4 PW to be a full priest and now has 10 PW, may successfully perform simple acolyte spells (of the second circle) with a skill of 18, and simple priest spells (of the fourth circle) with a skill of 16.
A priest's spells, however, unlike a wizard's spells, may be cast again and again. If a priest is truly blessed (has good dice rolls), the priest could heal thousands of people.
However, should the priest fails he loses the favor of the Presence (for that spell) until he has a chance to meditate and pray to the Presence (usually a hour of Prayer.)
If the priest fumbles, he earns the disfavor of his Presence (for ALL spells), and must perform a day of Vigil to restore them. Since an acolyte has less chance to succeed, he will fumble more, thus be unable to use priestly magic as much as a priest can even though the basic spell powers are the same.
If a priest has a special success, the effect of the spell is more pronounced. If the Priest has a critical success, the effect of the spell is same as that of a special success, but in addition, the Priest has a chance of increasing his ability in that spell with an immediate Experience Check as per the skill advancement rules. If the Experience Check succeeds, the priest may immediately use his increased skill. There is no way for a priest to gain skill in priest spell without increasing PW or through a critical success with that skill - he may not learn, practice or study to increase his skill.
 Ceremony Spells
 Basic Ceremonies
There are two fundamental 'spells' that all initiates and priests know, called Prayer and Vigil. These are ceremonies that are used to refresh the priests spells after failure or fumble. These 'spells' have no circle and thus no circle penalty, however, the skill in these ceremonies may not be improved with critical successes like other priest spells.
- Prayer -- This is the first ceremony spell an initiate learns, and takes 10 minutes to perform. Prayer is a simple ceremony, whose sacrifice is time, sacred space is a quiet space, and the ritual preparation is kneeling, ritual manifestation is meditation and prayer while holding a sacred symbol or text, and ritual completion is standing. At the end of the time, an acolyte rolls an Attribute Check against PW/2, a priest rolls vs. his full PW. If successful, he gets his spells back (except those he lost due to a fumble.) A failure of a Prayer means the priest must try again. A fumble means that the priest will have to perform a Vigil before getting his spells back.
- Vigil -- This is the second ceremony spell an acolyte learns. Vigil is a more complex ceremony then Prayer and it takes 1 day to perform. Its primary sacrifice is time (though other services or payment may be required before entering the sacred space), the sacred space must be in a sanctified or consecrated place, and the ritual is preparation is entering the sacred space, manifestation a number of chants and prayers while holding or creating sacred symbols and texts, and completion is leaving the sacred space. At the end of the time, if an acolyte rolls an Attribute Check against PW/2, or a priest rolls under his full PW, he gets all of his spells back. A failure of a Vigil means the priest must try again. A fumble means that the priest may have to perform a quest or some other penance to a High Priest to get his spells restored.
 Advanced Ceremonies:
There are other, more advanced ceremony spells available only to Priests. Typically they allow the Priest on behalf of his Presence to witness, accept a sacrifice, or consecrate a space. They each work in a similar fashion as Prayers and Vigils, but circle penalties do apply, and the skill may be improved by critical successes like other priest spells.
- Bestow Follower (3rd Circle) -- Allows the an Initiate or Priest to accept the sacrifice of a prospective follower. Requires a sanctified space and takes as long as a Prayer.
- Sanctify Space (3rd Circle) -- Bless the ground for the distance of a single pace (3') so that simple ceremonies may be performed -- all who stand on sanctified ground may add +2 to any dice rolls, and evil creatures must subtract +2. Evil creatures and Presences opposed to the Priest will have a difficult time crossing edges of a sanctified space and must roll an Attribute Check vs PW. Can be cumulative with Bless/Curse, but only one sanctify per space. Sanctify takes as long as a Prayer to perform for each space, and only lasts a day.
- Witness Vow (4th Circle) -- Allows the Priest to accept the vow of a follower. Requires a sanctified space and takes as long as a Prayer. If the Vow is broken, a curse may fall on the breaker. The curse can be as simple as the spell, but could be different based on the whim of the Presence. If the follower continues to break a promised vow, he may loose all all of the powers granted by the followers previous sacrifices to the Presence, and the curse made permanent.
- Dedicate Initiate (4th Circle) -- Allows a Priest to accept the sacrifice of a follower allowing them to become an Initiate, or the sacrifice of a 2nd circle Initiate to the 3rd Circle. Requires a sanctified space and takes as long as a Vigil.
- Consecrate Priest (4th Circle) -- Allows an initiate to sacrifice to become a Priest, or a Priest to sacrifice for a higher circle. Requires at least 1 Priest of a higher circle to accept the sacrifice, or the number of Priests of that circle (i.e. 7 Priests of the 7th Circle could dedicate a 7th Circle Priest to 8th) Requires a space consecrated by a Priest of a circle 1 higher then that of the Priest being dedicated (i.e. the space must at least be consecrated by a Priest of 5th circle to dedicate a 4th Circle Priest to 5th) or, rarely, some other holy place to the Presence. A Consecration takes as long as a Vigil.
- Consecrate Space (4th Circle) -- Bless the ground for the distance of a single pace (3') so that advanced ceremonies may be performed -- all who stand on sanctified ground may add +2 to any dice rolls. In addition, all who stand there may subtract the caster's Circle to any rolls against them by evil creatures or an opposed Presence, and add the same for any rolls against the opposition. Evil creatures and Presences opposed to the Priest will have a difficult time crossing edges of a sanctified space and must roll an Attribute Check vs PW. Can be cumulative with Bless/Curse, but not with Sanctify. There many be only one sanctify per space. Consecration is a long ceremony and takes a day to perform for each space. Consecrating a space takes as long as a vigil, must be renewed yearly, but only takes as long as a Prayer to renew.
 Other Spells
Not all Presences will offer these spells to their Initiates and Priests. These spells are oriented towards those offered in churches of the world of Alvatia. Other spells are possible depending on the Presences whimsy, and most spells have a reverse forms that may be used by darker Presences.
All spells require at least a token form of sacrifice, a sacred space, require a chant and/or symbology to perform, and a ritual that will have phases of preparation, manifestation, and completion. All will either take as much time to perform as a Prayer or as long as a Vigil.
Spellname (minimum IN) Description
- Augury (2nd Circle) -- Allows the caster to commune with his Presence in order to determine a possible future, or get some idea of the will of his Presence. Requires a sanctified space and takes as long as a Vigil.
- Detect Evil (2nd Circle) -- Detects the presence of evil of an opposed Presence. May be done anywhere and takes as long as a Prayer.
- Bless Other (3rd Circle) -- Ads a bonus of +2 to all skill rolls of recipient, until the recipient fails a roll. A priest may not bless himself. A single person can only have one bless or curse at a time active. A successful Bless will cancel a curse, but will require another successful Bless before the Bless is active. May be done anywhere and takes as long as a Prayer.
- Protection Other from Evil (3rd Circle) -- Protects those within sight of the caster against most forms of magic, undead or evil beings, etc. by adding +2 from dice rolls of PCs against undead or evil beings, and subtracting -2 to dice rolls of undead or evil beings. Can be cumulative with Bless/Curse. May be done anywhere and takes as long as a Prayer.
- Lay-On-Hands (3rd Circle) -- Adds 1 to HP, 1d4 to SP. A Priest may not lay-on-hands himself. May be done anywhere and takes as long as a Prayer.
- Light (3rd Circle) -- Same as Magic Spell "Glow", but is usually a different color. 1 torch power, 1 hour. May be done anywhere and takes as long as a Prayer.
- Remove Fear (3th Circle) -- Causes those in sight of the caster to be immune to terror, so that they can fight evil. May be done anywhere and takes as long as a Prayer.
- Heal (4th Circle) -- Adds 1d4 to HP, 1d8 to SP. May be done anywhere and takes as long as a Prayer.
- Protection Self from Evil (4th Circle) -- Protects the caster against most forms of magic, undead or evil beings, etc. by adding +2 from dice rolls of PCs against undead or evil beings, and subtracting -2 to dice rolls of undead or evil beings. Can be cumulative with Bless/Curse. May be done anywhere and takes as long as a Prayer.
- See Vows (4th Circle) -- Allows the Priest to see how closely someone has been following their Vows. May be done anywhere and takes as long as a Prayer.
- Bless Self (5th Circle) -- Adds +2 from to all dice rolls of the priest, until the caster fails a roll. A single person can only have one bless or curse at a time active. A successful Bless will cancel a curse, but will require another successful Bless before the Bless is active. May be done anywhere and takes as long as a Prayer.
- Curse Other (5th Circle) -- Makes the target less successful by the giving them a penalty of -2 to all rolls, until the target has a special success, or the targed is Blessed. A single person can only have one bless or curse at a time active. May be done anywhere and takes as long as a Prayer.
- Benison Other (5th Circle) -- Same as Bless Other, but lasts until a fumble. Requires a sanctified space and takes as long as a Prayer.
- Purify (5th Circle) -- Cleans, purifies, or destroys poisonous substances. May require a sanctified space and takes as long as a Prayer.
- Benison Self (6th Circle) -- Same as Bless Self, but lasts until a fumble. Requires a sanctified space and takes as long as a Prayer.
- Cure Disease (6th Circle) -- Cures a disease, but does not heal. Requires a sanctified space and takes as long as a Vigil.
- Fear (7th Circle) -- Causes a small group of non-intelligent beings (with a total IN up to the PW of the caster) to feel fear, or a single intelligent being. May be done anywhere and takes as long as a Prayer.
- Dispel (7th Circle) -- Removes the effects of a magic spell on an item or person. In some cases, it can destroy an enchanted item, but in most cases blunts its magic. Because of its great power, requires a consecrated space and takes as long as a Vigil.
- Permanent Curse (8th Circle) -- Same as Curse Other, however lasts until the enemy has a critical success. May be done anywhere and takes as long as a Prayer.
- Call Lighting (9th Circle) -- Calls lighting down on a target. May be done anywhere and takes as long as a Prayer. The actual effect might be something besides Lightning, such as fire or a falling rock, depending on the actual Presence invoked.
- Exhalted Healing (9th Circle) -- It can heal even the deepest wounds. Because of its great power, Exhalted Healing requires a consecrated space and takes as long as a Vigil.
- Restore Physique (10th Circle) -- This spell restores a bodies physical condition back to normal, i.e. any ST, CO, DX, or AP permanently lost will be restored back to normal. Because of its great power, requires a consecrated space and takes as long as a Vigil.
- Restore Mind (10th Circle) -- This spell enables the Priest to restore a person's mental condition back to normal, i.e. a psycholigical Disadvantage, or any IN permanently lost. Because of its great power, Restore Mind requires a consecrated space and takes as long as a Vigil.
- Regeneration (11th Circle) -- This spell allows the Priest to regenerate a portion of a person's body. Restore Mind requires a holy place or temple and takes as long as a Vigil.
- Resurrection (13th Circle) -- This spell may only be a rumor, but it allows the caster to restore a soul to a dead body. Resurrection requires a holy place or temple and can take many hours or days to perform.
 Recruiting & Conversion
It is in a priest's interest to 'convert' other people toward his Presence. Each PW that is sacrificed to a Presence allows the Presence to survive, and to grant spells to its priests.
For the GM, we recommend all the initial Presences will start out with varying amounts of PW, ranging from 800 to 2000 points, which will be unknown to the players. A Presence can grant spells up to the circle of their PW divided by 200. Thus, a Presence with a PW of 1000 can grant spells up to the Fifth Circle. The more points a Presence has, the more spells can be granted to priests of the Presence at higher PW sacrifice levels. This encourages the priests to go out and "convert" new followers for a particular Presence. A Presence whose priests can resurrect would probably have to have over 2000 PW points, meaning the priests will have to do some recruiting.
 Magic Resistance
Technically, living beings resist Priest Magic as they do Wizard Magic, however, it is against the Presence's PW, so for practical purposes, Priest Magic cannot be resisted except with a critical Resistance roll. Even this doesn't work if the GM rolls a critical (assuming a 25 Skill level) for the Presence.
 Alvatia Priest Magic
Any RPG magic system fundementally depends on the world view that the GM has in mind. This section covers how Priest magic works in the world of "Alvatia".
 Religious Background
The general "background" religion for Alvatia is the Hierarchy of Saints. An essentially pantheistic religion, the Hierarchy has no acknowledged central organization (although some saints' churches might wish otherwise). There are powerful Saints, worshipped by many inhabitants; and there are minor saints, whose followers are members of a small region or particular profession.
Among the peasants, there is much ancient custom, belief and lore which comes close to being a separate religion.
 Presences of Alvatia
Saints -- Most Priests in Alvatia are followers of churches dedicated to various saints. In particular, St. Carmund, St. Eva, St. Rhys are popular. These saints of Alvatia are considered untempled, however, there are many saints that are specific to a particular site and have few followers beyond.
Angels & Archangels -- In the past, some great miracles of the saints have resulted in the manifestation of angels or even archangels. Some Priests have claimed that they pray directly to angels, however, knowledge of this practice is unknown.
The High Lord / The All-Father -- All of the saints and angels are said to be servants of a higher Presence, sometimes called the High Lord (by more heirarchical churches) or the All-Father (by less heirarchical churches.) However, no priest is dedicated only to the High Lord/All-Father, instead they are dedicated to one of his minions.
The Lady / The All-Mother -- Most churches and saints do not speak of the Lord's Lady, or of the All-Mother. Some see the Lady as just the feminine manifestation of the High Lord, others see her as a lesser companion of the High Lord. A few see her as opposed to the masculine powers of the High Lord. In any case, there are no known priestesses dedicated to the Lady, but some minions such as St. Eva are closely associated with her.
 Priests & Other Magics
In the largest cities, the "Art and Mystery of Alchemy" has been practiced for only the last ten years or so. This body of knowledge was first brought to Alvatia by scholars from Voland. Alchemists do not claim any "mystic calling" or supernatural talent -- just the benefit of thousands of years of study in natural philosophy.
Most churches and Priests tolerate Alchemy, as they tolerate most forms of Science and Engineering, however, most churches are concerned that Alchemy can lead to other, more vile practices.
Alchemist must take care that all proprieties are taken care of as they are always under the watchful eyes of the Priests. They resent this.
A few Suthrian immigrants to Alvatia practice Artifice -- the creation of objects (or even buildings) by magical means, or which channel Power themselves. Not much in known in Alvatia academic circles about how this is done.
Most churches and Priests tolerate Artificers, as they tolerate most forms of Science and Engineering. However, they are more worried about about Artificers then they are of Alchemists as they fear that the ultimate goal of Artificers might be life itself, which would be a sacrilige.
Like Alchemists, Artificers must take care that all proprieties are taken care of as they are always under the watchful eyes of the Priests. Worse, as recent immigrants from Suthria, they are politically vulnerable.
In some cities and counties of Alvatia, Wizardy itself is legal, though some acts of Wizardry are not. However, even tolerant Priests frown down upon Wizards as they believe that they take on to themselves the power of the Presences that is not meant for mortal kind.
In turn Wizards find most Priests to be obnoxious and sanctimonious. Many feel that the sacrifices made by a Priest to to a Presence is a repugnant act just short of necromancy. In addition, most are saddened that Priests seem unable to see the true reality and beauty of the world around them.
Relations are usually worse, as in most counties these practices may be used as evidence of Sorcery or even Necromancy and thus prosecuted as a crime against the church. Certain Priests of St. Carmund, in particular, have taken the vow "Thou shall not suffer a witch to live" and actively seek out to destroy any Wizard, Sorcerer, or Necromancer they can identify.
Shamans do not use the ceremonies and rituals of the Priesthood, but instead cajole and persuade untempled spirits join and partner with them. Shamans generally see Priests as servants of greater spirits, rather then be partners with them, but in general they do respect Priests as they would respect any other kind of servant of a greater spirit.
Priests either see Shamans as primitive or lesser Priests and ignore them, or as Sorcerers deserving to be squashed -- it depends of the church they serve. St. Carmund is against spirits or daemons of any nature, so are quite opposed to Shamanism. Priests of Churches that themselves make use of lesser spirits as servants are more tolerant.
Sorcery is in a sense a intersection of priesthood and wizardry. It deals with the summoning and compulsion of spirits, demons, and otherworldly things. Sorcerers use variations of the ceremonies and rituals of the Priesthood to capture (i.e. temple) various daemons and spirits and have them do the Sorcerer's will to empower Wizardy type spells.
Nobody is really too comfortable with sorcerers, especially as most 'known' Sorcerers are usually excommunicated priests from the Hierarchy of Saints. Most all priests consider Sorcery a most vile and corrupt version of worship, almost a form a Necromancy, and are violently opposed to its practice.
Sorcerers consider Priests to be weak, as they are servants of greater daemons rather then being their true masters.
Necromancy is a corrupt form of Sorcery. Necromancers intend to speak with the dead, control the dead, and ultimately to conquer Death itself. They are known to sacrifice PW (typically WITHOUT the permission of the sacrifice) to an Presence, or to bind and control a living being, or to animate the dead.
The knowledge of Necromancy most often comes from the churches; most Necromancers are former (or corrupted current) priests. Others have stolen texts from shrines or monasteries. They are, of course, totally outlawed everywhere in Alvatia; however, one or two nobles have found it useful to hide some necromancers for "interrogations" of slain enemies.
All alchemists, artificers, shamans, wizards, and even sorcerers consider Necromancy to be to most vile and anathematic practice of magic of all, and most will go to any measure to capture and bring a Necromancer to justice.
Priests, in particular those of St. Carmund, claim to be the most vowed enemies of those suspected of Necromancy. However, as many high circle spells and rituals of the priesthood edge against Necromancy (in particular the 13th circle spell of ressurection) many priests find that they the difference between their magic and that of the Necromancer to be quite narrow.
 Priest Magic Inspirations
My inspirations for this priest magic system come from a variety of sources: from SF&F fiction, from some paper role-playing systems, and from books on various rituals that I have among pagan sources.
The inspiration for the style and feel of the priest magic system is Paksenarion series by Elizabeth Moon and in particular a prequel called Surrender None; The Legacy of Gird. What is unique is how the author has used Saints in a D&D'ish world rather than pagan gods. In fact, I use the storyline of the prequel story of St. Gird almost verbatim as the story of St. Rhys.
I also find the rituals of the Deryni series by Katherine Kurtz very powerful, and fit in well with the Paksenarrion style as it also refers to saints. In particular, the ritual in Deryni Rising for investing the king's power, and the rituals for dedicating a bishop in St. Camber to be useful. I also find the use of invoking the archangels (Gabriel, Michael, Rapheal, and Uriel) as aspects of the four elements in a pagan style ritual appealing, as well as the use of latin. There is a wonderful book called Deryni Magic that details much about the magic system, though I don't use the psionics part.
As inspiration for the two-sides of St. Eva is a SF novel Wrapt in Crystal by Shinn in which there are two drastically different convents, one that celebrates the brighter sides of life, the other nurtures the seedier side of life.
The ideas around "templing" of gods comes from God Stalk by P.C. Hodgell, which opens on the 'Feast of the Dead Gods' in which all the small gods of the world walk around free (sort of a halloween <img width=15 height=15 src="D.%20FANGS%20Priest%20Magic_files/image001.gif" alt=wink>
Role-Playing Game Inspirations
Probably the biggest influence among RPGs is from RuneQuest? and how they handle cults. In runequest you "sacrifice" POW to become an initiate of a cult, and that gives you the ability to get the cult to teach you minor magics. You can later qualify to become a rune priest, and then have access to higher magics.
I've been fascinated when reading through a number of pagan books about how Christianity has co-opted a number of pagan rituals and practices. I have attempted to do do more of the same, turning interesting pagan ideas into pseudo-saint/angel references.
 Advance FANGS Notes on Priest Magic
Prayer (2nd Circle) -- Prayer is a simple ceremony, whose sacrifice is time, sacred space is a quiet space, and the ritual preparation is kneeling, ritual manifestation is meditation and prayer while holding a sacred symbol or text, and ritual completion is standing. Prayer takes time to perform (30 - PW times 20 less skill divided by Circle in seconds i.e. a 2nd Circle initiate of PW 10 would typically take 200 seconds to do a Prayer, a 100% skilled 8th Circle Priest of PW 20 might be able to pray in as little as 13 seconds.) At the end of the time, if an Initiate or Priest rolls a percentage under his PW plus circle plus skill he gets his spells back (unless he lost them due to a fumble, in which case he must do a Vigil not a Prayer.)
Vigil (2nd Circle) -- Its primary sacrifice is time (though other services or payment may be required before entering the sacred space), the sacred space must be in a sanctified or consecrated place, and the ritual is preparation is entering the sacred space, manifestation a number of chants and prayers while holding or creating sacred symbols and texts, and completion is leaving the sacred space. A Vigil take a long time to perform (30 - PW times 100 less skill x4 divided by Circle in seconds i.e. a 2nd Circle initiate of PW 10 would typically take 2000 seconds to do a Vigil, a 100% skilled 8th Circle Priest of PW 20 might be able to pray in as little as 400 seconds.) At the end of the time, if Initiate or Priest rolls under his PW plus circle plus skill, he gets all of his spells back. A failure of a Vigil means the Priest must try again. A fumble means that the Priest may have to perform a quest, accept a another vow, or pay some other penance to a higher circle Priest to get his spells restored. A critical success will allow the Priest to have a chance to increase his skill in Vigil, and thus both increasing the chance of success of a vigil and lowers the time it takes to perform a vigil.
Absences: One theory is that opposed to Presences are beings that we call Absenses, but often called demons, devils, or evil spirits. Absences sometimes pose as a ghod or beneficial spirit, but unlike Presences, they have no ability to do anything but take. They will attempt to absorb and kill all life and every Presence in order to survive, so they are fought by both Priests and their Presences alike.
Absences are rumored to be corrupt Presences that refused to fade away as their PW was reduced to nothing, and instead, have become negative PW entities and antithetical to all things that have PW. One thing is known, the Absences appetites can only grow, or they die. Thus binding or templing an Absence will eventually kill it, as they have no way to grow. This creates a paradoxical problem for inner circle Priests -- in order to destroy Absences they must learn skills similar to that Sorcery that they abhor.
 Other Alvatian Magics
Deep in the woods, among hermits and seldom-visited farmers, there are still some few who follow the "Way of the Path". This is a shamanistic tradition inherited from the original inhabitants of the land; followers of the Path can be maddeningly vague and ethereal when dispensing wisdom. These mystics do not have any organization; local peasants might call them "Wise Women" or men, "hermits", "crazies" or other ignorant names. There are a few strange folk deep in some mountain valleys, speaking a different language; these may be the source of this lore. (Actually, I see the shamanistic traditions coming from the original peoples of the islands, which have some survivors in the deep valleys of the mountains, and some descendents in serfdom.)
The "Old Magic" or "hedge magic" is commonest among the peasantry; it is a non-literate, non-academic, unorganized system. The details of Old Magic vary from place to place, and are enmeshed in local custom and superstition; it is sometimes confused with the "Way of the Path" (as the Meldunic people have no fixed name for either). Much of its emphasis is on protection and healing. The Old Magic also includes much herb lore and other "folk remedies." Folk who practice this are looked down on as "rustic," or even (at times and places) condemned as heretics possessing the "Evil Eye;" the church of Saint Carmund is particularly active in this. Practitioners are known as witches, warlocks, or just "wise" women or men.