The dedication ceremony forms the basis of all religious skill use. It teaches how to employ liao to gain the right meditative state to access spiritual power to influence their own soul or the souls of others. It also provides the minimum knowledge required to use spiritual bonded items including icons, priestly vestments, musical instruments, and items intended for use by lay persons such as the Dragonbone Symbol or the Pilgrim's Shield.
The ceremony itself allows you to create a spiritual connection between yourself and another character. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the strength of the connection causes a permanent change to the recipients soul - marking them with the same virtue that you are dedicated to.
It is common for a priest who is dedicated to refer to themselves as a "priest of" the virtue they are dedicated to. Not every priest is dedicated - dedication both enhances the abilities of a priest (allowing them to create virtuous auras) and restricts them (making it difficult for them to cooperate). Some priests eschew dedication, especially if they wish to explore the Way in its entirety - they are usually known specifically as Priests of the Way.
It is possible to dedicate someone who is not a priest, but it is not a widespread practice. Some lay people view being dedicated as a more persistent way to demonstrate their devotion to a virtue than a transitory anointing. While there are few practical benefits to being dedicated, devout pilgrims may feel that they receive spiritual benefits from a closer connection to a virtue.
Dedication is not to be undertaken lightly; it does not fade over time and cannot be simply renounced as it creates a persistent spiritual connection between someone and a potent spiritual concept. Indeed, it is commonly believed that even death does not remove dedication. Dedication can be "over-written" by a ceremony of equal strength, or removed by a ceremony lead by a priest who is not dedicated to a virtue.
In addition to dedicating a pilgrim's soul, there is another use, an older use for this ceremony. It is possible for a priest to use dedication while taking a dose of liao with a pilgrim to allow them both to experience a strikingly lucid dream. This vision will often include shared details and elements that are clearly influenced by the virtue of the priest performing the ceremony.
There are other methods for achieving the right meditative state, but they are significantly more expensive, time consuming, and less reliable than the use of liao.
- Requires a dose of liao and at least ten seconds appropriate roleplaying
- Requires the presence and assistance of a referee
- Requires a willing target who understands what is happening
Dedicating a character uses a dose of liao. Performing the ceremony requires at least ten seconds of appropriate roleplaying and target must be close enough to touch throughout. The target must be willing. If they are unwilling or unaware of the virtue to which they are being dedicated, the ceremony fails.
You can only dedicate someone to the virtue to which you yourself are dedicated. No known magic item allows one to circumvent this restriction (the musical instruments do not allow one to dedicate someone to a different virtue).
- The ceremony dedicates the target to your virtue
- A character can only be dedicated to a single virtue at any one time
- May be used to replace an existing dedication
- Being dedicated allows a priest to use their skills to create roleplaying effect auras of the virtue they are dedicated to
- Being dedicated determines which Synod assembly a character belongs to if they have a congregation resource
- The insight ceremony reveals details of dedication
- Orcs cannot be dedicated
Dedicating a character creates a permanent spiritual link between their soul and your virtue. They become dedicated to the same virtue that you are dedicated to. This link can be seen by anyone who use the insight skill on the target.
Dedication determines which spiritual auras a character can create using anointing, consecration and hallow. A character cannot create a virtue aura unless they are dedicated to the virtue. The strength of a dedication determines how hard it is to remove or replace.
Dedication is also crucial to the political structure of the Synod. The Synod is split into eight assemblies, one for each virtue and one for the Way for those priests who are not dedicated to a virtue. A character who owns a congregation may vote in various assemblies of the Synod, including the relevant assembly for their virtue. Anyone who changes dedication at an event should inform the civil service of the change so that they can update their records.
Although orcs are subject to the effects of auras created using liao - they cannot be dedicated to the virtues by a human using liao.
- Dedication is permanent until removed or replaced.
- A new dedication will supplant an existing dedication if it has equal or higher strength.
- The dedication skill can be used to remove an existing dedication.
Dedicating a character that is currently dedicated to a different virtue will replace that dedication, provided the strength of the new dedication at least equals the strength of the old one.
Any character with the dedication skill (including one who is not dedicated to a virtue) may attempt to remove an existing dedication rather than replacing it with a new one. In the case of a durable dedication, the ceremony must still have a strength at least equal to that of the existing dedication.
- True liao can be used in place of liao to perform the dedication ceremony.
- Dedication is required to serve as a guide priest during a true liao vision
You can use true liao in place of normal liao to perform a dedication ceremony. In this case, the dedication is still permanent, but it cannot be removed or replaced by another dedication using a ceremony that does not also include a dose of true liao. it is exceptionally rare - almost unheard of - for true liao to be used in fashion.
In addition, anyone who knows how to perform the dedication ceremony can act as a guide when someone consumes true liao. A guide priest perceives and to a degree experiences the vision, but does not exist within it. Their purpose is to help offer guidance to the person actually experiencing the vision.
- Dedicate can also be used to allow a priest to shape the oracular dreams caused by liao
- Requires one dose of liao and at least ten seconds appropriate roleplaying
- Does not involve a referee
- Requires a willing human target who understands what is happening
If a human character simply consumes a dose of liao rather than using it to power a ceremony, they experience vivid, striking dreams the next time they sleep. Dreams are known to be connected to the soul and it is possible for a priest to use the dedicate ceremony while sharing a dose of liao with the participant to shape and influence the dreams that follow. Using the skill in this way, requires a single dose of liao - which the priest and the participant must consume together. This is not a normal dedication ceremony and does not affect the character's soul - rather it influences the ensuring dreams of both characters.
The next time the pilgrim sleeps they will experience a strikingly lucid dream linked to the virtue of the priest who performed the ceremony. The dream always relates to the character's experiences and will usually include issues or problems the character is wrestling with. It feels momentous and portentous. It will often, though not always, include the figure of the priest in the dream - sometimes acting as an adviser or ally, sometimes as a protagonist. The meaning of the dream may be cryptic or clear.
Likewise, the priest will also experience a vivid dream the next time they sleep. Only very rarely will the dream be similar to the pilgrim's dream - but it will usually feature the pilgrim in some way - either they appear in the dream or the priest will dream of the problems the pilgrim is facing as if they were their own. Like the pilgrim's dream, the experience is profound and always feels oracular, even when the meaning is impossible to decipher.
The general shape of the resulting dreams is usually influenced by the virtue of the priest leading the ceremony. The kind of dreams associated with each virtue are listed on the appropriate aura pages. With appropriate roleplaying for the relevant virtue, priests of the Way who use the dedicate ceremony to influence a pilgrim's dreams may choose any appropriate Imperial virtue with which to influence their dreams.
Sharing a virtue dream in this way does not involve a referee. If either participant wishes to share the details of the dream that they have experienced with others then they are free to create the details themselves.