One of my players has asked to play a Blessed character in my new Deadlands Reloaded campaign, following the Shinto faith. As written, Blessed characters have to follow the beliefs of their religion or suffer from penalties to their use of powers, including temporary and in the worst cases permanent loss of access.

Mechanically this is represented as a list of minor, major and mortal sins, the committing of which leads to an appropriate penalty to their ability to use their powers. For the Christian faith, the list of sins suggested is as follows:

  • Minor - Taking the Lord’s name in vain, getting drunk, lying, refusing aid to those in need, envying another’s possessions.
  • Major - Theft, turning away from those in dire need, failing to take communion (for a Catholic).
  • Mortal - Adultery, killing other than in self-defense, blasphemy (denial of faith).

I am having trouble fitting Shintoism into this template as I understand that its beliefs do not define sins as something carried out by the person, instead regarding them as external things that the person has to carry out purification rituals to avoid the build up of.

An alternate approach would be to use the mechanics introduced for Voodooists where they have to complete rituals for a certain amount of time each day. This would emphasise the ritualistic nature of the faith, but again the fit is not quite right.

In summary - how can I mechanically represent the way the Shinto faith works for a Blessed character in Deadlands Reloaded?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is the mechanic or the story aspect of this more important to your player? \$\endgroup\$ – Joshua Aslan Smith Nov 1 '13 at 17:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ It is the mechanical aspect that is important, as for Blessed, the sins are the main balancing factor when compared to other arcane backgrounds in the setting. With respect to @kravaros, this is why I have emphasised the desire for a mechanical representation within the given setting and system. This is not something that the religion site would be able to assist with. \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Nov 1 '13 at 17:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Why not ask the player to come up with this and submit it to you or the group for approval? \$\endgroup\$ – okeefe Nov 1 '13 at 18:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @okeefe because they are new to the system and don't have a good enough understanding of how the mechanics work \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Nov 1 '13 at 19:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Phil I would still ask them this exact same question and work through an answer together. \$\endgroup\$ – okeefe Nov 1 '13 at 20:32

You mentioned that the purification rituals are important, but that the rituals for Voodism doesn't quite fit (you didn't say why, but I'm guessing it's because it is mandatory each night?). How about instead using the ritual requirements from Arcane Background (Shamanism)? The rituals are completely optional, but the more days you spend without performing your purification rituals, the greater penalty you have to all Arcane Skill rolls and the longer it takes to regain power points (because you're building up impurities). Adjust the times and durations as you see fit; maybe it only takes half an hour to do the ritual and no penalties happen until after three days. If you do make it less restrictive though, you'll need to balance it out.

Going with what others have posted and my own understanding of Shinto (not firsthand), you could also create a more traditional list of sins based around the ideas of preserving harmony with humans and nature as well as respecting the kami. So sins might be:

  • Minor Fighting in a place of natural beauty
  • Major Not making regular offerings to the kami, entering a private place without permission (i.e. trespassing)
  • Mortal Killing when not in self-defense

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