Old Gods vs New Gods - How to make their magic different, suggestions welcome

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Hi Guys,

In our upcoming BWG game, there are two religious factions which are at war. One faction worships the “Old Gods” which are great corporeal manifestations of powerful nature spirits. These spirits take the form of mythical creatures such as “The Phoenix” and their domains are associated with nature (in this case, Fire, Rebirth, Destruction, Life). These spirits have a body in this world and are worshiped by mortals and the most devout receive powers related to the spirit’s domain. They are similar somewhat to animalistic titans of our own world’s myths.

The other faction comes from another land, and they worship the “True Gods” (so they believe) which are otherworldly beings associated with the human condition (Love, War, Courage, Birth, etc). They are similar to the ancient gods of our world’s myth in some ways, and seek to supplant the Old Gods as rightful rulers of the mortal realm.

Not surprisingly these factions worship differently. As such, I will be using Faith for the “True Gods” and I am trying to decide what magic system to use for worshipers of the “Old Gods”. I have considered using Spirit Binding or Summoning, but I am unsure at this point. My idea is that these followers of the Old Gods have been given these gifts to call upon the spirits by making pacts with the greater spirits. As such I am unsure if “retribution” is a proper way to limit this system in my game. I also would like these spirits to be somewhat intelligent and a bit more human in characteristic, though still enigmatic and strange. Similar perhaps to spirits in the movie “Spirited Away”.

And so I throw myself before your creative and intelligent minds, so that I might take your suggestions and thoroughly vex and amaze my players.

All suggestions welcome!


You could use Art Magic from the Magic Burner, and use spirit summoning as a descriptor for how the effect is enacted. Have Schools of Magic to represent affinities for specific types of spirits. Just an idea.

Check out the Visionary Faith of the Roden Society, found in the Monster Burner for another look at the New Gods.

I think Spirit Binding is probably the way to go, matching an Old God up to a Domain, consider how Circination fits into their ritual worship, (possibly removing–or making sacrilegious–the Prison and Fortress circles), and re-colour the ‘Spirit Strength’ to be the Old God’s attention, or lesser domain servants’ attention. Make the players be very specific how the Aid or Hinder effects are manifested in the Old God’s domain, and don’t forget that Retribution can be delayed. The Old Gods moving in incomprehensible ways adds to their oddity.

i ran a similar campaign, though our god’s mediums were different.

we used faith for both gods.

we just adjusted the faith idiom, so the old gods used faith that affected only people who prayed to them, prayers to the new gods affected everyone… clean and simple…

A while back I put together a campaign setup called Blood and Ink - the old Tradition uses Summoning Magic from the Magic Burner, while the new religion uses Faith.

If you decide to do a contrasting religious thing, it helps to have a setting one sheet to help the players get on the same page about how all that works.

Of course, that’s because I wanted a very old-world magic full of prices and blood, kind of thing, you may just want to either use Faith for both, or use Giant animals for their Gods, or as you see fit.


That is a great idea. I’ve made up a five sheet booklet with the tests (intent and tasks), skill advancement, beliefs, artha, the emotion modifications of Corruption and Ancestral Taint, new lifepaths, and traits from other Burning books (Blossoms, Jihad, and the like). I think the players would be helped greatly if I gave them the short overview on a page as well.

Faith works really well for summoning and such as well. Pick an obstacle, roll over it, and—bam—it is summoned. I’d recommend adding Blood Magic when blood sacrifice is required.

Excellent replies everyone! I have been given many ideas by your words and I am thankful.

I believe I will use Spirit Binding but change some of the specifics for the Old Gods and I will be sure to check out “Visionary Faith” for the new gods.

I will also be creating a “Setting Sheet” thanks to you Yeloson, that is an excellent idea and I appreciate you sharing your sheet with us.

Have a great holiday weekend!