The Voodoo Variant - by Attika
VARIANT RULES FOR
Armors allowed: rags, quilt, leather, and hard leather, again all dual-purpose armors. As soon as you get to Studded Leather Armor, you are talking an armor specifically made for war, and thus not known by these Vodun adherents.
Hats: caps and skullcaps; the others are made for organized warfare.
Spells: since our practitioner of Vodun is eventually going to want to "raise zombies", he is a user of the "black" or "dark" side of Vodun magic -- a caplata, bokor, or "left-handed Vodun" sorcerer. This being the case, he/she will shun all things specifically associated with "light" and "goodness". (FYI, most Vodun practitioners are of the "white hoodoo" variety.) He'll get all the general utility spells, but any spell that causes the creation of light (TP excluded)-- be it fire, lightning, or explosion -- is shunned. So, no fire based-spells, no lighting based-spells, no Flash, no Blood Star, no Holy (represents Goodness) Bolt, no Nova, no Apocalypse. Bone Spirit is allowed.
What is left? Ah, what the Voodoo adherent excels in -- contacting spirits for protection (Mana Shield), raising the dead(Golem), and cursing others (Stone Curse)!
HOWEVER, VD players may ONLY use Stone Curse, Mana Shield, and Golem (and mostly at slevel one) when they have reached certain milestones in their training. After that they may ONLY increase them past slevel one under specific circumstances!
Remembering that our Voodoo variant is somewhat evil. He/she does NOT practice organized warfare. This being the case:
all of the "shiny" metal prefixes, so out are steel, silver,
gold, platinum, etc.,
Forbidden suffixes: of Light, of Radiance, of the Stars, of the Heavens, of the Zodiac, of Fire-damage, of Lightning-damage, Angel's, Arch-Angel's.
All the precious and semi-precious stones are allowed, as are their antecedents (so "white" is ok, even though you are a "dark" sorcerer. Even dark sorcerers dabble in white magic, and vice-versa.)
Finally, and this is IMPORTANT, these adherents of Vodun are trying to accumulate as much magical/spiritual power as they can, so NO PREFIX AND NO SUFFIX can be repeated on any two items! We'll call this the character's overall Juju (which isn't a Vodun term at all). A prefix will have a value of one, a suffix will have a value of one, and all allowed uniques (unless otherwise noted) will have a Juju value of two. Thus you'll be on the lookout for items with both allowable suffixes and prefixes, and will attempt to 'juggle' your readied arms and armor to increase your overall Juju to the greatest amount. This being the case, the VD player must pick up ALL magical items that fall on a level, and after EACH level is completed/deemed finished take the drops to Cain for identification before continuing to the next level. Once all the items are identified, the VD player must check and re-work his readied items so that his Juju is at its maximum amount. For example, a player with a prefixed ring, suffixed ring, a prefixed and suffixed amulet, prefixed hat, prefixed weapon, and a prefixed and suffixed armor would have a juju rating of 8. He/she could NOT drop to a lower overall juju rating when trying to ready a newly found item. (Note: a VD player does NOT have to "break every barrel, open every chest, or kill every foe" each level. He just must pick up and ID all finds before proceeding to the next level.)
This can end up being to the character's detriment. You might have an iron ring and a ring of the sky +2 readied (juju value of one apiece) when a hyena's ring of pain (juju value of two shows up). After identifying it at Cain's, you must ready the hyena/pain ring to increase your juju rating, and must remove (and put in your backpack)one of the other rings!
Of the Dark (and Of the Night) suffixes have juju value of two AND MUST be worn immediately if the VD player does not presently have a "of the Night" or "of the Dark" item readied. Also, they may NOT be removed once readied UNLESS and item of even greater juju shows up! Thus, you might have an iron/mind ring on (juju 2) and a white/sky ring on (juju 2) when an "of the Dark" ring shows up. If you do not already have an of the Dark item readied, YOU MUST READY THE OF THE DARK RING IMMEDIATELY. Of the -LR items "trump" non-LR items; every Voodoo Initiate is searching for them.
There are certain items with a Juju value of three, some of which can only be used during specific quests or at specific points in the VD player's training. Night and Darkness both have juju ratings of 2 in and of themselves. So a prefixed of the Night or of the Dark item would have a juju rating of 3. This makes these items very difficult to remove once they have been located and readied, so be prepared for some rough going!
Certain juju items are so powerful they can ONLY be worn at certain levels of training. Until you have killed Diablo in Normal, you may only wear "of the Night" -LR items (no "of the Dark"). You may not wear a TC either. Items with "too much juju' for the trainee to handle must be sold to Adria/Griswold. They cannot be muled or stored. If you find a second "of the Night" item in different form, keep it.
Along with -LR items, the TC and the Fool's Crest (see below) there are two items having enormous juju powers associated with them and they can ONLY be readied by High Priests and High Priestesses seeking Hougan and Mambo status (see below). They are the Torn Flesh of Souls and The Rod of Onan. (Other Voodoo initiates who come upon these items must sell them.)
Also, though juju and mana are related they are NOT the same thing. Suppose you have a raven's (+15) ring of skill(+8dex) on -- juju rating of 2. Then a Dragon's ring (+55 mana) shows up! Sorry, the juju rating of a prefixed item without a suffix is one, and although it would nearly quadruple your mana, it would actually LOWER your juju rating and so you cannot replace the raven's/skill with the Dragon's.
Forbidden Shrines: Cryptic, Divine, Eldritch, Fascinating, Glimmering, Holy, Ornate, Sacred. Magical Shrines are also forbidden to all Housis(Initiates). Religious and Spiritual Shrines are allowed as the Vodun-initiate recognizes himself to be the practitioner of a religion and that he is spiritual. The others either increase light/goodness or decrease mana (related to juju) and so would be shunned.
Uniques are allowed as long as they follow the above guidelines with only a few exceptions. Immolator may not be used. The Fool?s Crest (although based on a helm) is allowed under the rules below. The Rod of Onan is allowed under the rules below also. The Rainbow Cloak may be used.
You may interact with all the townsfolk for any purpose, but buying yellow potions is forbidden. Remember when interacting with Adria, you must check ALL her wares, looking for "spirit signs" (again, see below).
There are four stages
a Voodoo players must go through in order to reach the highest Voodoo
In addition to the standard rules, the initiate is denied (in ALL FORMS) the spells Mana Shield and Golem. (So, no Magical Shrines for this player.) The initiate must repeat Church runs (any/all levels) until an "of the Night" suffixed item shows up. At that point the initiate may venture to deeper dungeon levels. Unique items will be considered to be "Of the Night" if -LR is 20%, and "of the Dark" if -LR is 40%. You should NOT ready another "of the -LR" item if it has the same rating as one already being worn. And items with "too much juju" or too great a -LR for a Housis to use must be sold to Griswold or Adria, they cannot be stored.
A Housis may have the spell Stone Curse but only at slevel ONE. The first book of Stone Curse they read must be FOUND, it cannot be purchased from Adria! The Housis is also on the lookout for The Fool's Crest (cannot be a gift from another player), an item of great juju! For the Housis, the Fool's Crest has a juju value of three -- once found, it must replace any hat presently being worn, even if the hat presently readied hat is also of juju value three and is "of the Night". If this thing happens the VDHO must go back and repeat Church runs until another, non-hat "of the Night" item shows up.
As a Housis you are especially looking for items that have loas (lesser spirits) from the physical realm attached to them, i.e. of the tiger, of the lion, of the wolf, etc. Remember, only ONE such juju item of a specific Loa may be readied at a time!
When the Housis has ALL of the following: an item of the Night readied, a Fool?s Crest readied, and Stone Curse at spell level one, if ANY of the these items show up at any time in the game in any form (i.e., a staff/scroll of stone curse drops, Adria tries to sell you a second book of SC, another of the night item drops) then this is a sign from the spirit world ("spirit sign") that the Housis is to test his power. He must seek out and try to destroy Diablo. If he destroys Diablo he goes on to his next stage of training and the Fool's Crest drops in juju value to 2. If he fails, he continues fighting in the dungeon to try to gain power, realizing if the spirit world sends him a spirit sign, he must test himself again.
ii.) The BABALAOS,
a step beyond HOUSIS, marked as VDBA.
The VDBA may use the spell Mana Shield. The first mana shield book must be FOUND, not purchased from Adria. He may read no more than ONE book MS while a Babalaos. The VDBA player is also on the lookout for a Thinking Cap(it cannot be a gift from another player). For the VDBA, the Thinking Cap has a juju rating of 3 and immediately replaces whatever headgear the VDBA player is wearing, even if this replaces an of the dark or of the night hat. If the VDBA player loses their of the Dark/Night item, they must return to and repeat Church runs until they find another, or used stored Dark/Night items to fill their readied items.
When the Babalaos has ALL of the following: an item of the Night readied, an item of the Dark readied, a Thinking Cap readied, Mana Shield at spell level one, if ANY of the these items show up at any time in the game in any form (i.e., a staff /scroll of MS drops, Adria tries to sell you a second book of MS, a Magical Shrine (!) shows up, another of the Dark item drops, another TC drops), then this is a sign from the spirit world that the Babalaos must test his power. He must seek out and destroy Diablo. If he destroys Diablo, he goes on to his next stage of training and the TC drops in juju value to 2. If he fails, he continues fighting in the dungeon to try to gain power, realizing if the spirit world sends him a sign, he must test himself again. If the TC gets destroyed along the way, he continues on toward Diablo regardless.
iii.) The HIGH
PRIEST/HIGH PRIESTESS, a step beyond BABALAOS, marked as VDHP
The VDHP must repeat
Hell Church runs until a third item that decreases light radius shows
up. At this point, the item must immediately be readied-- as long as it
does not replace one of the other two -LR items readied, and the VDHP
may go to deeper levels of the dungeon. (Note: this last item must be
in addition to your of the night and of the dark items and cannot replace
The VDHP player is also on the lookout for a Torn Flesh of Souls. For the VDHP, the TFOS is of IMMENSE power has a juju rating of 3 and immediately replaces whatever body armor the VDHP player has on, even if this replaces a -LR item. If the VDHP player loses a Dark/Night/-LR item, he must return to and repeat Church runs until he finds another.
When the High Priest has ALL of the following: an item of the night, an item of the dark, a third -LR item, a TFOS, and Golem at slevel one, if any of these items shows up at any time in the game in any form (see above), then this is a sign from the spirit world and the High Priest/Priestess must test his power. He must seek out and destroy Diablo. If he destroys Diablo, he goes on to his final stage of training and the TFOS drops in juju value to 2. If he fails, he continues fighting in the dungeon to try to gain power, realizing if the spirit world sends him a sign, he must test himself again.
iv.) The HOUGAN
(male) or MAMBO(female) -- marked as VDH or VDM. You may only mark yourself
in this manner AFTER you have defeated Hell/Hell Diablo in the prescribed
SC may be increased to slevel 4. MS may be increased to slevel 3. Golem may be increased to slevel 2.
You are on the lookout
for a Rod of Onan (yes, a warstaff; juju rating 2). When you locate it,
As quickly as possible, locate the Pentagram on 15. It needs to be active, so you'll have to kill Lazarus.
At this point, return
to town, repair all items, recharge the Rod of Onan to full capacity,
Diablo is a creature of great juju, and is a Loa in his own right -- he is able to raise creatures from the dead who THEN can raise creatures from the dead themselves! (i.e., King Leoric).
You must prove that you are also a Loa of no small importance yourself. You must defeat Diablo alone using only raised dead to aid you. You may NOT engage Diablo in melee combat -- all damage done him must be through your Zombie (Golem). In this manner you will prove that you are the greater Loa, since your mere Zombie (the Golem) defeated this lesser Loa (Diablo).
You may clear as much or as little of sixteen as you wish, but you MUST kill Diablo WITHOUT returning to town for any reason (so use those 48 big blues wisely!). If you accidentally return to town, you may start a new game to try again, but that attempt is over. If you fail in your attempt, you must pack and exit the game. You may try again in another game, but you may not return to and try to destroy Diablo in that game.
If you succeed, you've proven yourself a Loa of no small consequence, and have earned the highest ranking of High Priest/Priestess called Hougan (male) or Mambo (female). Congratulations, and whew!
Now you might say,
of course there isn't, it's just people's superstitious beliefs and fears
No, I mean there is NO SUCH THING as Voodoo.
When Hollywood caught
wind of a some strange acts being performed in ritualistic settings by
certain Haitians in the 1930's(?), they simply read the most sensationalist
reports coming out of the region, took it all at face value, and then
added (What! Hollywood _making things up?_ No!) some even stranger things
to it to make it as violent, frightening, and perverse as they could.
They called it Voodoo. This word did not exist on the face of the Earth until Hollywood created it.
It was loosely based on a regional religion being practiced at that time called Vodun. But Vodun has no voodoo dolls, no cannibalism, no sexual orgies, no . . . well, you get the picture. (Ah, it DOES have Zombies though.)
So, there really is NO SUCH THING as Voodoo, except to describe a sub-class of Hollywood films or a set of Western misconceptions regarding Vodun.
That said, this gives the creation of this Variant a bit of latitude. It was be generally based off the Vodun religion (especially as practiced in 18th Century Dahomey), referred to the practitioners of a splinter sect of the same in 18th century Haiti, and then I added in some Hollywood Voodoo just for playability.
Historical Notes: Adherents of Vodun (a.k.a. Vodoun, Voudou, Sevi Lwa) claim that its ancestral roots can be traced back in Africa over 10,000 years. Translations of the Fon word Vodun are "spirit" or "god", and spirits are central in their worship. Various spirits are contacted through rituals in order to gain favor or protection; in turn, humans provide nourishment to the Loas (Congolese for the spirit pantheon of Vodun) that possess them.
Present day Vodun and the sects of Vodun practiced in the Western Hemisphere can trace their central beliefs to the Yoruba people living in Western Africa. Slaves from this area brought with them to the New World the tenets of the belief system. The Yoruba Vodun tradition includes belief in a chief god (Olorun) who authorizes a lesser God (Obatala) to create the Earth and all in it. Later, the two gods battle, bringing discord to both the Earth and the spirits inhabiting it.
There are literally hundreds of lesser gods or spirits known as Loas (lwas, laws) who also inhabit the Earth. They mostly represent forces of nature or emotion or power, although exceptionally powerful Hougans and Mambos can be regarded as Loas after their deaths, and can be sought out by initiates! The ability to contact certain Loas preferentially over others is considered to be an inherited trait, so certain families/clans/persons are tied to certain Loas.
This being the case, I've included some names of Loas in case you wish to claim them as your character's personal loa and wish to indicate it by making your character's name a derivative of the Loa's.
Agwe, Aida Wedo, Ayza, Baka, Dambala, Erinle, Ezili, Mawu Lisa, Ogou Balanjo, Ogun, Oko, Osun, Sango, Yemanja, and Zaka.
*As an interesting side-note, Vodun is presently the official state religion of the nation of Benin.
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