Rules for Priests Attempting to Recruit Followers
The strength of any religion is of course highly correlated with its number of followers. Jaraah is a polytheistic world, so unless the faith specifically demands followers’ sole devotion, individuals can be followers of multiple faiths (on the order of 3-5). As this is a fantasy world where divine beings routinely interact with the world by granting tangible powers to their priests and sometimes intervening directly, being a follower is not a question of believing in any particular deity. Rather, it is a question of elevating a subset of the available deities above the rest of the crowd in terms of devotional attention. Followers will routinely visit their preferred faiths’ temples, make donations, do volunteer work, pray to the deity in question, etc. One-off acts are not sufficient, but of course this is a gray area. Also, follower alignment conflicts are tolerable. At this level of religious interaction, actions speak louder than convictions. In general, no special powers are granted to followers besides any side-effects from association with a potentially large and powerful religious organization.
Priest characters can attempt to recruit followers according to the following rules.
- The potential followers must be receptive and there must be reasonable time to make an effective pitch. This is a role-playing call. It is possible to coerce people into being receptive (pray to Talkh and work on his temple or else I will beat you senseless). Again, actions speak louder than convictions. Priests of good deities could theoretically get away with coercion under the auspices of reforming a deviant population for their own betterment. Yes, this is shaky moral ground. I’m not saying it’s ok to do this, I’m just saying it happens.
- Given a receptive audience, and assuming no coercion, the DM rolls an encounter check. If the result (modified by the priest’s CHA) is “Friendly,” then the priest recruits 1d8 followers per level up to the number of people in the audience. The priest can not re-attempt to recruit any hold-outs until at least 1 month later unless some other intervention happens (priest rescues the hold-out or some such thing).
- Given a “receptive” audience under coercion, the DM rolls a morale check. If the result fails (modified by whatever abuse the priest dishes out), then the priest recruits 1d8 followers per level up to the number of people in the audience. Assuming flight is not possible, any hold-outs can be worked over again. Of course some might die in the process.
- Followers are fickle. There’s no guarantee any particular follower will stick with things over the long haul. When recruiting, the priest is almost certainly depriving another deity of followers. Similarly, existing followers, especially in a large city, will constantly be subject to the lures of other faiths.
- These rules describe only mechanical recruitment of the equivalent of religious rabble (I show up in the village and start recruiting). Players may attempt more elaborate recruiting efforts and earn bonuses to their rolls (I show up in the village, heal all the injured people, and then start recruiting).
- Recruiting powerful (either in level or social standing) characters requires efforts specifically tailored to them. Such conversions will also have more staying power.
- Priests can earn XP and even favor points (extra casting ability) if they are successful at recruiting and maintaining flocks.