Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Monks of Rayism

Here is another secret about Rayism. The monks of Rayism are in direct conflict with OP and Min/max characters. They are neutral and about balance. OP and Min/Max characters can POTENTIALLY be a determent to WORLD BUILDS. Especially, if you are a homebrew!

As a budding DM, you will eventually experience a player who wants to have a huge metal dragon, with world-destroying fire breath and a staff of doom +15 of Thor. They will argue with the DM until they are blue in the face, three hours have gone by, and your players have left for to go out for a long dinner. It is easy for everyone involved if you AGREE TO GIVE THEM EVERYTHING THEY WANT!

A quick story:

Once upon a time, there was a new player that I will call Toby. Toby wanted to draw up his first character. He decided that he wanted to be a very special first level character. Toby wanted his human fighter to have super human strength and over-powered weapons. Toby argued and whined with the Dm. The Dm got mad. The DM said, "Your wish list is unlimited! You can't have all that! You are a first level character!"

"Why not?" asked Toby. "I can have unlimited wishing if I want."

As the Dm geared up to continue yelling, there was a moment of inspiration. Toby was correct. There was no reason why that first level character could not have unlimited wishes. There was no reason his character could not have everything the player wanted.

The Dm smiled. "Alright, Toby. You get it all. Everything you want. Draw up your character. You get whatever you want in addition your character has been granted the gift of unlimited wishes."

Toby about pooped his pants from glee!

Now, from the viewpoint of the Dm. Here's the secret. Toby got what he THOUGHT was powerful weapons. But Toby's character was cursed from the start. His character only BELIEVED he was powerful. Any time this character tried to fight, I rolled the dice to make a show, then relayed that his character failed, every hit, every saves throw, every spell, Everything this character did was a failure...except for the power of wishing. Everything this character wished for he received. Only not in the way he wanted.

The player eventually figured out that he couldn't really do anything successfully, except make wishes. He stopped trying to use weapons or spells and tried to use wishing for every battle. Then one day, he made a wish to get out of a boss battle. It was an outside battle. The character wished and anvils rained from the sky. So, his allies and his enemies were fighting each other and dodging anvils. Many did not survive that day. Toby did. But then, nobody wanted to travel with his character anymore. Toby, eventually, stopped playing that character and rolled up a new one without complaint.

Look, you are the DM. This is YOUR world. What the DM giveth, the DM may take away, inhibit, curse, prevent, and destroy. It is up to you to get smart and creative to find ways to balance out the ego of the character and thus, the player. Rayism is one of those ways.

For example, a player has drawn up a Super Saiyan barbarian. This Supersayan has managed to get a hold of Mjollnir. You didn't mean for it just did. How on earth are you, the DM, going to balance out the character and teach a lesson to deflate the ego of the player? Well, a monk of Ray comes along. He successfully touch attacks the correct chakra, now the Super Saiyan no longer has the ability to go Super Saiyan because the Ki is blocked. Problem solved.

Now, imagine that the character and the player regret some action and agrees to work together? Not only can the monk of Ray unblock the Super Saiyan but also now can do a friendly touch attack to instantly power up the Super Saiyan. 0 to 9,000 in a simple touch attack that took one free action game time. KA-fricken-boom!

The thing about the monks is that they will not become involved with something like that unless it goes out of balance. Conversely, the monks will create conflict on purpose if the balance goes in the opposite direction as well. A world with no conflict is a world that is in stagnation, which is unhealthy to the proper flow of the cosmic mythos.

This is why the monks are in constant conflict with Lawful Good, Lawful Evil, and Chaotic Evil alignments. And yet, when the world is unbalanced, these are the same alignment orders who seek out the help of the monks. Lawful Good and Chaotic Evil for obvious reasons. Lawful Evil becuase that alignment relies on the manipulation of an order, codes, or law. If these laws or codes change, many Lawful Evil characters run the risk of losing power and/or wealth. Lawful Evil characters do not want things to change as much as a Lawful Good character does not. (Becuase in the opinion of an LG character the system may be flawed but it's a good that kinda sounds familiar doesn't it?)

So whether I am talking about a player manipulating the codes and loopholes of the game or a politician seeking power and/or wealth in a  real life government, doesn't really make much of a difference. We don't want these things to change, even when it becomes unbalanced because we ALL run the risk of losing something that is an advantage or beneficial (in our opinion) Even if that benefit or advantage doesn't exist. This action is a removal of hope.

In reality, most people cannot tell the difference between hope and false hope. Mostly because Hope is both true and false at the same time. The Monks discovered a long time ago, that Coin's Edge relies on the removal of Hope, both true and false. Coin's Edge requires the caster of the coin not to care either way about the result of the outcome and that either result is acceptable without doubt or question.

This is called "Absurd Existentialism" because this makes every person, a god-like character without the ability to use the godlike power. This makes the Monks of Rayism "the Absurd Hero." The Absurd Hero understands that there is no meaning to the universe and is content about it. He knows that he will fail. But eventually, he will succeed at something. It won't usually be the thing he wanted, but it is something, we just don't know what.

The Monks of Rayism understand that the idea of power and/or wealth means success is a twisted perception. It isn't a lie. Currency only has the value another person or group puts in it. Power only exists if it is given by another person or group. The Monks reject power and wealth to stay in the knowledge that these are, literally, priceless things. A million gold means nothing to a wealthy and powerful person. Whereas, a single copper piece to a beggar can change the world.

In the Brief History of the Temple of Rayism, I discussed how Rayism came to be. The Brotherhood of Balance became arrogant in their dealings with other orders and societies. When the Temple of Rayism came about, the elders did not forget their past. The elders understood that their followers are at daily risk of becoming arrogant, over confident, and assholes in general. In order to combat this idea, monks and followers are challenged to travel, network, and generally, explore their world. They are expected to face rejection and fail as equally as they are to find success and acceptance. In the end, neither of these things should change the core of the individual.

Speaking on a smaller scale, the monks of Rayism are much like nurse practitioners/Reiki masters. Monks will realign chakras for healing. They will also administer first aid and minor ailments and injuries that most major temples won't handle. For example, simple fevers, constipation/diarrhea, appetite issues, headaches/migraines, mild skin conditions, and other minor afflictions that plague the peasants who can't afford expensive clerics or healing potions.

In addition, because of their neutral alignments, they are often called to be independent witnesses to marriages, business and political negotiations, and many other legal or spiritual matters that require a witness of some kind.  The monk's impartial nature is a blessing and a curse to rich and/or powerful figures. The Monks do not care about the status of a particular person or persons. The monks can't be bribed or coerced with money or influence. So, it is not common for wealthy and/or powerful community figures to frequent the Temple, unless they want or need something. The monks are very aware of this. They do not care.

The Temple of Ray doesn't hold currency. Most Temples are, in reality, very poor. They take donations of resources rather than gold. And they are adept at trading for what they need. In the event of large currency donations, the elder monks will disperse that between buying supplies or using the funds for public welfare efforts.

To clarify, Monks of Rayism do not perform marriages, write contracts, or do baptisms. They will arbitrate. Monks of Rayism are often called to be Arbitrators for many reasons for many cultures and peoples. The Monks take this function very seriously.

The Temple of Ray likes to break the stereotype that true neutral characters or organizations do not get involved or care.  It is possible and necessary for True Neutral characters and organizations to be involved with the world, albeit in a mostly indirect way.

Some unknown Gods of Tarkazia

Here is a list of unique gods of Tarkazia.

The God of Hangovers: His head hurts and doesn't remember his name. Most people just call him, "Oh, God" Or "Sonovabeetch!" If his head cleared up he would go find the God of Wine and kick his ass. His true form is an Aztec Rabbit,  Macuil Tochtli  (Five Rabbit)

The Fashion Gods: Twins. Asuli [ah-sue-lee] (brother) and Astarte [as-tar-teh] (sister). very rarely seen outside of each other's company, but always with an entourage, called the Goon Squad. They enter rooms like walking the runway. And when making an entrance, they are alway preceded by the same theme song, Fashion, by David Bowie. In Tarkazia, there are the actual fashion police. But they don't resort to physical violence. They usually resort to social pressure. If that doesn't work, the clerics will pray for you so as to receive a better sense of fashion. They know that fashion sense is a matter of taste and are usually quite flexible.  Being a derelict is a legitimate sense of fashion as much as grunge, battlefield, or hawt culture. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And that is exactly what will happen to those who critically fail their diplomacy checks if dealing with the twins. The twins will summon 1d6 beholders to devour you.

The God of Dreams: Kaz the God of dreams. Pretty self-explanatory. Some things to consider: Time Travel is always possible in dreams. Kaz will often send dream visions and messages to followers of many faiths from many other gods. They use him as a divine telephone service. Kaz doesn't "appear" to anyone and if he did, you wouldn't know it. IF he appears, he often changes his form to fit the dreamer. (It's so that they will listen.)

The God of Sex: Samson. He is an orc with an extremely large...well. His myth is that was cursed by an old girlfriend. She happened to be an efficient black witch. Dramatic story short: He says they were broke up. She says they were taking a break, but not broken up. He was seeing a bunch of other girls. And well, instead of killing or maiming Samson, because she still loved him, She endowed him with the biggest organ she could muster. She thought that no person their right mind would ever lay with him again. However, she was wrong. Another curious god came along and experimented with Samson. Being pleased with her encounter, she granted the Orc a higher Charisma score. It became way too easy to convince the ladies that he was awesome in the sack. After a week of binging, He discovered a burning sensation when urinating. Seeing a cleric, he was told that he had contracted a few STD's. Samson went forth to find a cure. He found one. And is now immune to everything. His epic tale is a little too risky for this Blog.

The Raven: The only other divine physical presence on Tarkazia (aside from Clara) The only thing known about the Raven is that she is a powerful Vampire, who was as good as the alignment tree could offer. Before her, no one had considered that Vampires could be beneficial to the world (if they could find some control over the hunger that drives them) Her realm is a safe zone for those who seek sanctuary from the zealots of the Lawful Good gods. She is one of the last remnants of the Final Cataclysm and is a hero who helped save Tarkazia from the World Eater.

Delbin The God of Madness: This Person is Sheograth type madness including the blood thirsty parts. He is a Kender who contracted vampirism. He is very dangerous. Delbin has a jacket of infinite pockets. Delbin has control of interdimensional pocket space. This is why when a character tries to pull anything from a bag of holding, a flat box, or portable hole, there is no guarantee what will come out even if that character has owned the pockets space and put things inside that space. (Okay, so kind of like the wizard character in the D&D cartoon from the 80s. He never pulled anything "useful" from his hat. Which is a running gag, making that character almost completely useless in the cartoon)  Ray is the only character in the Tarkazian universe that did not complain or curse when Delbin threw him a stuffed Snoopy doll. Instead, Ray got excited and used the "useless" item in a creative way. This excited Delbin, who was used to laughing at characters that didn't get what they wanted and reacted badly. Delbin has since blessed Ray with some weird version of creative and chaotic luck, that no person has yet been able to explain. Delbin, when combined with the purple, can be a very dangerous and epic thing to introduce into a quest line or campaign.

That's all I can think of at the moment. I am sure there are some that are missing. The list grows over time.