Friday Review: As the Gods Demand
Since I got this 'zine in stock earlier in the week I wanted to go ahead and do a quick mini-review/readthrough. Written by Charles Ferguson-Avery, the author of the acclaimed Into the Wyrd and Wild, it is the first physical product I've gotten from the recently completed Zine Month 2022.
It's a 24-page, staplebound, A5 'zine, with color cover and black and white interior art. It doesn't waste any time or space, but jumps right in with a single page explaining how to use the 'zine. The basic thrust is that it removes the cleric class and provides a set of rules and guidelines to allow anyone to harvest divine power, not by gaining levels but by performing the proper feats and sacrifices. It's written to be system neutral, and Ferguson-Avery states it can be used for more modern systems like Pathfinder and 5e as well as older games.
The next two pages describe the basic mechanics for the level-less cleric: miracles are the spell-like actions the character can take, and these are powered by spending Favor and conducting Rites. Following this section are seven gods and demons, each given a two-page spread that describes their worship, required initiation rites, miracles they grant, rites that must be performed, etc.
After the gods are a few pages of miscellaneous notes: other potential ways of earning Favor, that individual gods may or may not grant and a handful of monsters and stat blocks. The final three pages cover how mortals may ascend to godhood as well as create divine magical items and relics.
It's a cool little 'zine, well-written and beautifully illustrated, with some interesting ideas. Clerics, like thieves, have always occupied a weird space in OSR gaming, and the typical approach to trying something different, that I'm aware of, is to eliminate clerics and add their spells to the magic-user spell list. This proposes something different, something more appropriate for running either a low-magic or darker fantasy setting.