For "divine" magic that has a very different flavor from most RPG games, yet
seems more like magic as defined in the real world or literature, I can only
recommend emulating Hero Quest's systems.
For example, for "deistic" magic, which would encompass most of what I
think's being evoked here, each diety would simply have a number of
Affinities that the player could take as Aspects. In Hero Quest, with a
devoted character, these can then produce what's called "Feats" which
translate into specific powers. Outside of that, the Aspect can be used to
"improvise" any effect that relates to it with a small penalty - for FATE,
I'd suggest this as a rationalization for the use of a reroll or using the
Thus, if the character was involved in a religion with some God of War, they
might have available to them Combat, Strength, and Toughness. Another war
God might have Mobility, Skill, and Tactics. Whatever best exemplifies the
God's personality, etc. The player simply takes these as Aspects, with
appropriate Skills underneath to represent actual skills or magical feats
learned from the Affinity.
So a character worshipping the "strong" war god above could use their Combat
Affinity to generate some magic effect in combat that would translate as a
re-roll for the character. Or, if say they relied on their Swordsmanship
skill a lot, and lost their sword, they might be able to use the Combat
Affinity to pick up a spear and use that at the level of the Affinity. Or,
maybe, under the strength Affinity the character has a "Smite with Fists"
feat that allows him to smash an opponent as though he had a weapon
(eliminating the opponent's "Superior weaponry" bonus, or giving you one in
a fistfight). In another situation a "Turn Blow with Flesh" feat under
Toughness could be important.
The fun part, is, of course, that the player can probably be enlisted to
come up with some of this stuff, ensuring that they're interested in their
For Animism (shamen, etc), the character takes Spirits as NPC Aspects in
some fashion to represent the spirit's association with the character.
For "Wizardry", the monothesistic religion that exists alongside these
others, you take adherence to some order devoted to some saint, or become an
Adept who studies particular Grimoires. These Aspects then have particular
spells beneath them related to the Aspect that the character can develop as
One thing that I really like is that these abilities are, to an extent,
divorced from occupations. That is, one can learn divine Affinities and
feats if they are warriors, or merchant's whatever. Making "paladin"
characters or any sort of combination natural. Sure one can be a priest of
the religion, but that gives it's own set of skills to the character in
addition to whatever magic they learn from it. Priests probably have better
access to learning, but any character with the right explanation can have
the magic associated with the religion. Some religions might restrict
learning learning magic to priests - but that's on a case by case basis.
Again, each religion is customized. Some religions wouldn't have priests at
all (think gods of merchants, or thieves, etc).
This is a very simplified explanation of the system, and if you know Hero
Quest better, you can implement it in a more detailed fashion. But it gives
you an idea of how you can make religious magic seem more devoted to the
particular religions. One thing that I always found backwards was the idea
that "clerics" all had the same spells more or less, no matter what god they
worshipped. The HQ system assumes that every religion has only the abilities
that make sense for the god in question, and are tailored directly to that
god (spirit, saint, whathaveyou). Which I can't help but feel is eminently
superior to the old "cleric" model. So I can only recommend looking into
this sort of implementation for FATE.
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