GURPS Glorantha: Magic (Heroforming)

by Charlie

HeroForming

Heroforming is the process by which a magically powerful individual becomes a channel for a divine[1] entity, and in some cases becomes entirely inhabited by it. In gross terms, Heroforming is accomplished when a mundane individual acts so like a divine being that he manifests it into the material world.

In general, a hero may attempt to assume the identity of one of three classes of being, as listed below. The categories so listed are general guidelines for the GM to create his own, and each cult will have its own identities available to it; see the cult write-up for details on the abilities granted by the heroformed identity, on the rituals necessary to achieve it, and on the behavior required to maintain it.

  1. A god: (-8)
    1. Attribute Modifiers: Increases two by +8 and two by +6
    2. Secondary Characteristics: Increases one by +8 and one by +6
    3. Advantages: Provides four advantages
    4. Disadvantages: Inflicts two disadvantages
    5. Skills: Provides ten skills/spells at 24 or at +8, whichever is higher
  2. Demigod: (-4)
    1. Attribute Modifiers: Increases two by +4 and two by +2
    2. Secondary Characteristics: Increases one by +4 and one by +2
    3. Advantages: Provides two advantages
    4. Disadvantages: Inflicts one disadvantage
    5. Skills: Provides five skills at 22 or at +6, whichever is higher
  3. An ancestor: (+0)
    1. Attribute Modifiers: Increases two by +2
    2. Secondary Characteristics: Increases one by +2
    3. Advantages: Provides one realistic/non-cinematic advantages
    4. Disadvantages: Inflicts one disadvantage
    5. Skills: Provides two skills at 18

A heroform is knowledge of how to channel the divine energy through a hero’s person and as such is represented as a skill which can be improved like any other. For a hero to activate it requires a successful Religious Ritual skill test followed by a test of the heroform skill that the hero is attempting to adopt.

These rules use a ancestor heroform as a baseline, and also assume that a hero has sufficient time to prepare and complete his ritual, and has the appropriate regalia to support his heroform. Each element missing of the latter two imposes an additional -4 penalty (cumulative) to both his Religious Ritual and heroform skill roll.

Heroforming is a fatiguing process, and requires one Fatigue Point (FP) to maintain each minute it is in effect.

Heroforming is also a risky process, and requires that the hero continue to act in a manner in accordance with the divine identity. Each time the hero fails to do so, he loses one FP and must succeed at a heroform skill roll or fall out of the heroform, suffer 1d of additional fatigue, and be Stunned.

If a hero is heroformed during combat, he loses one additional FP when combat fatigue is normally lost. The hero also loses one FP each time he takes damage, and must make a heroform skill roll with a negative penalty equal to the amount of damage taken. On a successful roll the hero maintains the heroform; if he fails he falls out of the heroform, suffers 1d of additional fatigue, and is Stunned for one round.

[1] In this context, the term divine refers only to a being which has a permanent presence in the Gloranthan Otherworld, rather than a god.

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