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Playing a follow of Jesus in the Occult Underground.
AVATAR: THE CHRISTIAN
What do you think of when you hear the word “Christian?” Do you think of narrow-minded individuals who won’t so much as look at a non-Christian movie or listen to a non-Christian radio station? Or self-righteous snobs who turn their noses up at women who are unwed and pregnant or at teenagers who dress in black? Or fanatics who participate in hateful speeches, violent protests, and even outright murders against anyone or anything that doesn’t conform to their legalistic views?
A few of these people might just be poor souls whose faith is so weak they feel the need to protect their shaky paradigm by either secluding themselves from the rest of the world or by trying to force the world to change to accommodate their own comfort level. For the most part, though, these sorts of cliquish zealots aren’t Christians at all. Sure, they may check off the box on a survey, or attend church, but that that doesn’t make them followers of Jesus. For them, Christianity is just a means to an end – their own self-gratification. They could just as easily have chosen belong to the Nazis, or the local football team, or the gold medallion frequent fliers program, or any group that would make them feel like they were more important than everyone else.
A true Christian is different. He understands that there are always two conflicting forces at work within everyone – the Flesh and the Spirit. The only goal of the Flesh is to indulge itself with whatever makes it happy; if it’s in a situation were it can’t be happy, it either fights to change the situation to serve its own needs, or flees the situation entirely so it can be happy elsewhere. The Spirit, on the other hand, wants to live according to the will of God, to love God and other people more than it loves itself.
Sadly, many “Christians” – whether they are simply too young in their faith, or self-deluded into thinking they are serving God, or are outright imposters – are still trapped by their Flesh, indulging themselves with self-righteousness and either fighting to impose their legalism on the rest of society or shunning the world around them.
But you are not like that. Perhaps you once were, in the early days of your faith, but by the grace of God you have moved beyond the petty concerns of the Flesh. Now your goal is to be a good example of Jesus by showing people the love of God, and you have been given the power to do so through the Holy Spirit.
And those in the Underground need to be shown a little love, not by walking around and shouting hellfire and brimstone in their faces, but by tending to their debilitating fears, overpowering obsessions, and wounded souls.
Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love God and to love your neighbor. Going against these two principles is taboo.
You show love to God by trusting Him instead of other sources of power. In the Occult Underground, this primarily means you can’t use magick – no Adept skills, no rituals, no artifacts, nothing. Trusting in magick is trusting in your own power, or in the power of other gods or spirits or cosmic forces or what have you, and doing so breaks your taboo.
You show love to your neighbor by being a good witness. A good witness doesn’t mean just handing out religious pamphlets on a street corner – though that can certainly be part of it. In the end, being a good witness is (a) showing love to others, even if it means making things more difficult on yourself to do so, and (b) noticeably linking your love for others to your love for God. In a way, this is the easier of the two taboos to break. First, when given the opportunity to do something loving for someone, you need to do it. Second, you need to find some way to make sure the credit goes to God and not yourself.
Example: You decide to give a donation to a local charity. If you make a big deal of it, if you “advertise” what you are doing in order to get thanks or praise, this is breaking taboo. If instead you give the donation anonymously, and sign the note with something like “In Jesus’ Name” or with a Jesus-fish symbol or some such, then this is fine.
The cross or crucifix, and the Bible are of course the most common. The traditional garb of a Catholic priest, or a Jesus-fish symbol might serve as well. Animals associated with the Christian are the white dove, the sacrificial lamb, and the kingly lion.
The writers of the four Gosepls – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
SUSPECTED AVATARS IN HISTORY:
Hard to say…the best Christian avatars tend to go unnoticed.
1%–50%: THE WITNESS
Jesus said to go and make disciples of all nations. But how do you do that?
First, you need to have the Paradigm: Christian skill. Every Christian avatar is required to purchase this skill…in fact, your Avatar skill can never be more than twice your Paradigm skill. Period.
As usual, having the Paradigm: Christian skill gives you a permanent failed notch in Self. The benefit of this skill is that it either helps to protect you from failed Helplessness stress checks (by understanding that God is always in control – see pages 42-43 in the 2nd edition UA rulebook) or from Supernatural stress checks (by understanding that the world is a battleground filled with angels and demons and sorcerers and miracles – see pages 254-255 in the 2nd edition UA rulebook). Choose the kind of stress your paradigm will defend against.
Second, you can pass your understanding of God on to others. By spending at least fifteen minutes to half an hour explaining your faith, you can roll against your Avatar skill. If you succeed, those you are speaking with can – if they choose to – accept what you are saying as the truth. Anyone who willingly (and it has to be willingly) accepts your successful witnessing gains the following benefits:
1. The listener receives a free Paradigm: Christian skill that is equal to half of your own (rounded down). If the listener already had another Paradigm skill, that skill is lost and is replaced with this new one, and takes a permanent failed Self notch (if he already had failed Self notches, one of them simply becomes permanent). The “permanent” notch from the old Paradigm skill is now only a temporary one. If the listener already had a Christian paradigm skill at a lower level, his skill is raised to match half of your own (you have essentially bolstered his faith and understanding).
2. The listener’s new world view helps him to make sense of all that has happened to him in the past. Just this once, the listener can retroactively roll his new Paradigm: Christian skill for each and every failed stress notch he has, no matter what category they’re in. Each success erases that notch. Obviously, the permanent Self notch cannot be erased, as it’s the cost of having the Christian paradigm.
3. The listener receives a free Avatar: Christian skill of 1%, which will increase at 1% for each week that he does not violate his taboos, up to 11% (as detailed on page 169 in the 2nd edition UA rulebook), at which point it can be raised through experience points as per usual. If the new convert already had another Avatar skill, that skill is lost and is replaced with this new one. Now, that’s not to say that someone can’t believe in Jesus and also be a Demagogue or Messenger or what have you, but to benefit from your witnessing the listener must accept the new Avatar: Christian skill of 1%
For the first few months (until the new Avatar: Christian skill reaches 11%), these benefits are considered to be only temporary. During this time, should the new convert break too many taboos and his Avatar skill drops to 0%, then the Paradigm: Christian skill is lost (but the failed notches he got to erase with that one-time retroactive skill check remain erased). If he had a non-Christian Paradigm skill before, it does NOT come back on its own – the convert’s world view was too shaken by the experience, and he doesn’t know what to believe quite yet – but can be repurchased with experience points. If he had a Christian paradigm skill before, the skill drops back to its previous level. Once the Avatar: Christian skill reaches 11%, the new Paradigm: Christian skill is permanent, even if the Avatar skill is lost.
Note that listeners who already have the Avatar: Christian skill will not benefit from hearing you witness…unless their own Paradigm: Christian skill is less than half of your own and thus is improved in the process.
Jesus said that a man cannot have two masters – either you are serving God or serving something else. But what if you are being forced to serve something else? That’s where this channel comes in.
If you are being influenced or controlled by magick, either mentally or emotionally, you can roll against your Avatar to snap out of it.
Note that this was previously described as a skill called Pray, mentioned for Father Carrillo on page 255 of the 2nd edition UA rulebook…which probably means the Father is an Avatar himself.
In the Bible, the disciples of Jesus found that they could banish supernatural forces from their presence.
By rolling against your Avatar, magick and other unnatural powers become nullified in your presence. For you and for anyone and anything you are close enough to reach out and touch (though you don’t actually have to make physical contact if you don’t want to), such powers simply fail. This has three important effects:
1. Assuming you make your roll, you are protected from spells, rituals, demonic influences, and the like. You must roll for each power you are defending against.
2. Those immediately around you can be protected as well…within limits. You must make a separate roll for each person that is near you, though there is no limit to the number of rolls you can make in a single turn (of course, there is a limit to the number of people who can crowd around you). However, if that person has an Adept skill or and Avatar skill (other than Christian), your own skill is cut in half when rolling to protect that individual.
3. If you make your roll, artifacts fail to function in your presence.
If your Avatar skill is also your Obsession skill, potential cherries for this channel are that spells used against you backfire on their casters, or artifacts near you crumble into dust.
91%-98%: ARMOR OF GOD
The Bible tells Christians to put on the armor of God.
Any time you would take damage, whether through magic or conventional weapons or simple accidents (if there are such things as “accidents”), roll against your Avatar skill. If you succeed, the damage you take is either the sum of the dice, or what the damage would normally be, whichever is lower.
As with any other Avatar, there can only be one godwalker at any given time. With the Christian, though, a rising Avatar cannot become a godwalker through violence or by trying to make the current godwalker break a taboo. This would go against everything that had gotten his skill to 98% in the first place, and would be breaking a taboo.
A Christian godwalker can voluntarily pass his status on to a chosen successor – a transition which either takes place immediately or upon the godwalker’s death, depending on the benefactor’s choice.
On the other hand, if a Christian godwalker breaks a taboo or dies unexpectedly, all of the existing Avatars who are at 98% instinctively come together and vote on who the new godwalker will be. Whoever gets the most votes wins…and the only rule is you can’t vote for yourself.
No Christian godwalker ever tries to Ascend. To do so would mean that Avatar thinks he would make a better Jesus than Jesus, and as such would be an anathema to his very Archetype.
Joel Emerson | profile | Mar 04, 09 | 1:37 pm
the problem with this avatar is that archetypes are not based on what something really is so much as how people perceive it. The common opinion of Christians (among non-Christians at least) is very different from what you are describing here. I would suggest two avatars this one being the "True Christian" and the other being the "Christian" who is the closed minded, intolerant fanatic.
vagina = fun! | profile | Mar 05, 09 | 11:22 am
Of course by that logic, there should be two avatars for all of the major religions (Hindu, Islam, Buddhism & Judaism). And then there is the problem that different sects of each religion would likely not agree on what attributes a "True follower" would have. I guess an easy way to settle the problem would be to start by figuring out who the current godhead is for each religion and work backwards to see what he would want as his channels.
vagina = fun! | profile | Mar 05, 09 | 11:41 am
Joel Emerson | profile | Mar 05, 09 | 8:24 pm
Its an interesting idea, but the thing with archetypes is that they need to work cross-culturally. The Mother, the Trickster, the True King, etc. can all be found in various cultures through the world. The Christian, however, is not. Perhaps it should be broadened into "The Believer","The Religious Adherent"or "The Pious One" so it could cover the entire spectrum of faiths and broaden the archetype into not merely what it means to be Christian, but rather what it means to be a religious person in general.
Asarelah | profile | Mar 05, 09 | 8:46 pm
I like the idea of having a single avatar to cover all devout people and perhaps another one to cover the nut bag, religious fanatics. It has two problems:
vagina = fun! | profile | Mar 09, 09 | 5:47 pm
Needless to say, I vote for Jesus.
Joel Emerson | profile | Mar 09, 09 | 7:03 pm
Maybe the godwalker of The Believer would experience their vision of the Statosphere in terms of their religion and regard the other archetypes as angels or spirits or other mythic beings, depending on their cultural background. Or perhaps the Believer would only be able ascend unconsciously.
Asarelah | profile | Mar 09, 09 | 11:01 pm
My choice of name would be Disciple as in one of the twelve, the first Christians.
I would choose something like "The faithful" or "True believer". Who the godhead is matters because it would both determine what powers they have and who could channel the avatar. If Jesus is the godhead, then Muslims and Buddhists (and other religions) cannot channel the avatar which makes it specific to Christianity and thus not cross-cultural.
vagina = fun! | profile | Mar 10, 09 | 1:24 pm
Maybe the identity of the godhead is determined by who ascends? After all, this is a humancentric cosmos, consensual reality and all that...
Asarelah | profile | Mar 10, 09 | 1:46 pm
I think there should be at least two versions of this, and two Godwalkers. One who is more or less as you describe, and another who is more the snoody, holier-than-thou kind.
It might be interesting to have Jesus go through the house of renunciation, replaced by the more modern view, and have a campaign revolve around the PC's trying to dethrone the new guy and possibly get the old Jesus back in the statosphere.
Galen | profile | Oct 07, 09 | 12:39 pm