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Skip Navigation LinksHigh Fantasy HERO>Content>Magic>Magic Systems>Adeptology>Urzadrek


Adeptology System Adepts Adept Package Deals
Variant: Volomancy Variant: Thanomancy Variant: Urzadrek
Sample Urzali: Shevinan Thurisis
VARIANT: Adeptology Magic System
To use this variant Magic System, simply use the Adeptology document in its entirety with the exception of sections that have been "overridden" by this document, as indicated in the section headers below.
NOTE: Practitioners of Urzadrek (ER-ZAH-dreck) are called Urzali (ER-ZAH-LEE) collectively, or Urzal (ER-zahl) singularly.
Urzadrek is a form of Divine Magic based on ancestor worship. The heroes, rulers, and notables of past millennia, as well as some mythological or aggregate characters, have been "deified", which is to say they have been added to the catalogue of "deities" known as the Roll of Urzed.
There are over 1300 such "deities" on the Roll of Urzed, though the vast majority are regarded as being lesser or minor entries. This number grows a little every century as new "deities" are identified and added to the list. Most "deities" are regional, some are even the purview of individual powerful families. An individual person is probably only aware of a relative handful of "deities", but the most important dozen or so are generally well known.
MODIFY: Means to Power
The general rules given in the Means to Power section of Adeptology apply to Urzadrek, but with the following alterations.
Urzadrek requires a custom Talent called "Magical Adept (Urzadrek)" that can only be taken at Character Creation to allow access to the Magic System. This is described more fully under Restrictions below.
A character with the Magical Adept (Urzadrek) Talent can at any point in their careers join the priesthood and start purchasing an Adeptology Variable Power Pool defined as follows.
  • 0 Phase Change (+1)
  • No Skill Roll Required (+1)
  • Only Divine Magic (-1/2)
  • Variable Limitation (-1/2; each Spell must take -1 of Limitations from Extra Time, Gestures, Incantation, Limited Range, Increased Endurance in any combination at a MINIMUM)
  • All Divine Spells Must Take "Only In Accordance With Religious Beliefs"; (-1/2)
  • Spells May Not Have Any Other Limitations
  • All Spells Must Cost END
    • (Spells may cost END only to Activate where allowed)
Control Cost per 10 Pool = 6 Real Points
Total Cost per 10 Pool = 16 Real Points
Each Urzali must have a KS: Roll of Urzed and PS: Urzali Skill, which represent their knowledge of the religion, and their understanding of how their priesthood works respectively.
In addition to their Magic, some Urzali also have some unusual abilities stemming from their faith.
Some, but not all, Urzali are able to Turn Undead. The following is an example of such an ability:
Turn Undead: +50 PRE Only To Make PRE Attacks (-1), Only vs. Undead Creatures (-1), Full Phase, Delayed Phase (-3/4), Limited Effect (-1), Only Usable While In Good Standing With Faith (can't be removed; -1/4)
Real Cost: 10 Points; +5 PRE for 1 point
NOTE: Fantasy HERO for 5th Edition page 107-108 gives rules for how to use PRE to Turn Undead.
Some Urzali seem to receive special protection from the deities of the Rolls of Urzed.
Divine Favor: 2 Levels of Combat Luck (6 PD/ 6 ED); Only Usable While In Good Standing With Faith (can't be removed; -1/4)
Real Cost: 10 Points
Some Urzali are protected from mental interference by the deities of the Rolls of Urzed.
Unshakeable Faith: +10 Mental Defense
Real Cost: 10 Points
Some Urzali are protected from physical  interference by the deities of the Rolls of Urzed.
Refusal: +10 Power Defense
Real Cost: 10 Points
Some Urzali are able to channel one or more of the deities of the Roll of Urzed so directly that they are able to speak with the voice of one of the deities from time to time, having a great effect on mere mortals.
Divine Speech: +35 PRE Only To Make PRE Attacks (-1), Full Phase, Delayed Phase (-3/4), Required Skill Roll (KS: Roll of Urzed; -1/2), Only Usable While In Good Standing With Faith (can't be removed; -1/4)
Real Cost: 10 Points
MODIFY: Restrictions
The general rules given in the Restrictions section of Adeptology apply to Urzadrek, but with the following alterations.
As mentioned above a Urzali must take a Magical Adept Talent at Character Creation.
An Urzali is born attuned to the spiritual forces of the Urzedrek religion. This ability may only be taken at character creation.
Magical Adept (Urzadrek) Cost: 5 Points
MODIFY: Available Spells
Urzadrek use the "Divine Adept" restriction on available Powers, repeated here for convenience:
Divine Adepts may only use up to half their total Active Point maximum for Spells based on Attack, Body-Affecting, Movement, and Size Powers.
Divine Adepts may not build any Spells based on FTL, or any Special Power.
Spells built with any Stop Sign Power require prior GM Permission on a case by case basis (and GM's are encouraged to heavily restrict or effectively forbid the use of such powerful destabilizing effects in a Cosmic VPP).
Divine Adepts may use the full Active Points of their VPP for Spells based on all other types of Powers.
Example: Yendosh has 60 Pool in his Urzadrek VPP allowing him to cast Adjustment, Defense, Mental, Sense-Affecting, and Sensory Powers (that are not also Special, Attack, Body-Affecting, Movment, or Size Powers) with up to 60 Active Points.
He may only use Spells involving any Attack, Body Affecting, Movement, or Size Power (if they are not also Special Powers) if they have 30 Active Points or less.
He may not use any Spell built with FTL, or any Special Power like Duplication. He must have the GM's prior express permission to use any Spell built on a Stop Sign Power like Transform, EDM, Desolidification, or Clairsentience.
Details of the Organization
Urzali are born naturally attuned to the spiritual power of their peoples ancestor worship and are able to tap into the collective unconsciousness it represents to create Magical Effects appropriate to the beliefs of the faithful. Urzadrek is pantheistic, and Urzali represent all the dieties of the Roll of Urzed.
The Magic of the Urzali is believed to come from attracting the attention of various "deities" to intercede in matters of interest to them, based upon the dogma surrounding each "deities" addition to the Roll of Urzed and the things that "deity" is believed to be concerned with. Urzali incantations take the form of calling on specific "deities" to intercede via whatever Spell Effect the Urzali is trying to cast, and many of their SFX take the form of spectral entities manifesting.
Urzali congregate in large step-sided ziggurats called Anurzedak (ahn-UR-zeh-DOCK), with a large distinctive square loop rising from the top. The Anurzedak are traditionally built aligned along the meridian of the sun on midsummer's day, and the courtyard to the west of the ziggurat usually has some form of a solstice measurement worked into its design.
Whatever stone is locally available is used to construct the ziggurats, with more concern being given to consistency of material than to some overriding aesthetic. Most ziggurats include at least one level underground, where the actual residences of the priesthood and other practical requirements of habitation are located. In locations where that is not practical, a smaller ziggurat housing such facilities is constructed to the north of the main ziggurat and connected via a covered corridor at ground level. The ziggurats are usually enclosed in a walled off square enclave.
The top Urzali in an Anurzedak is called a Anurza (ahn-UR-zah) and effectively rules that Anurzedak by the issuance of edicts, within the confines of edicts issued at a higher level than them and of course the customarily accepted dogma of the religion as a whole.
In communities where Urzadrek is the principal or at least a significant religion, they also have significant regional political clout, for the faithful look to the local Anurza as their spiritual guide and are definitely influenced by their edicts.
The following Rank Perks differentiate levels of authority within the Urzali. Given in the description of each Rank is the typical size of Urzadrek VPP, as well as the typical levels of the KS: Roll of Urzed and PS: Urzali Skills of Urzali at that Rank. However these are just typical ranges; a Neophyte with a large VPP, or a Under Priest with a KS: Roll of Urzed +4, or an Elder Priest with a small VPP are all very possible.
Rank is awarded based a combination of mystical power, dogmatic adherence, age, and especially inter-religion politics. Many Enza achieved their status via political maneuver rather than spiritual attunement. Also within each Rank, while each Urzali of that Rank are theoretically equal, individuals wield widely different authority based upon their clout within the priesthood.
NOTE: Joining the priesthood in the middle of a campaign can take a character out of play for several years of game time (at least) as they rise up the Ranks of the priesthood sufficiently to be allowed enough independence to be viable as a PC. Thus, it is far better to start a character as a Under Priest, Priest, or perhaps Senior Priest rather than attempt to progress into it during play.
Cost Rank Description
1 Neophyte
New to the priesthood, Neophytes usually have between 0 and 10 Pool in their VPP and their KS: Roll of Urzed and PS: Urzali skills are typically one point familiarities. Their duties mostly entail doing a variety of tasks that more senior priests don't want to be bothered with. They rarely leave their Anurzedak unless accompanying more senior priests.
2 Junior Priest
Past their initial induction and knowledgeable in the basics of the priesthood, Junior Priests usually have between 10 and 20 Pool in their VPP and their KS: Roll of Urzed and PS: Urzali skills are typically full skills. They usually take on tasks dealing with the community surrounding their Anurzedak.
3 Under Priest
Competent in the ways of the priesthood and trusted to take on important tasks, Under Priests usually have between 20 and 50 Pool in their VPP and they typically have around a +1 in their KS: Roll of Urzed Skill. They usually are active as missionaries, or in supporting enclaves of the faithful that don't have an established Anurzedak.
4 Priest
Experienced in concerns both spiritual and worldly, Priests usually have between 50 and 70 Pool in their VPP and they typically have around a +2 in their KS: Roll of Urzed Skill and a +1 in their PS: Urzali Skill. They are often responsible for a small or new Anurzedak, but in larger Anurzedaks they serve as assistants to Senior or Elder Priests.
Some Priests are members of a special group called Urvaza (UR-VOZ-ah), which are described below.
5 Senior Priest
Rising in power in the priesthood, Senior Priests usually have between 70 and 90 Pool in their VPP and they typically have around a +3 in their KS: Roll of Urzed Skill and a +2 in their PS: Urzali Skill. They are typically responsible for a mid sized or growing Anurzedak, but in the major centers of the religion they serve as assistants to Elder Priests.
Some Senior Priests are members of a special group called Urvaza (UR-VOZ-ah), which are described below.
6 Elder Priest
Having risen to the very top echelon of the religion, Elder Priests usually have between 90 and 120 Pool in their VPP and they typically have around a +4 in their KS: Roll of Urzed Skill and a +2 in their PS: Urzali Skill. They are usually responsible for a large Anurzedak, but in the largest centers of the religion there are usually several Elder Priests who administer jointly.
+1 Head Priest
As noted previously, the Head Priest of an Anurzedak is called an Anurza. This Status is a +1 point Perk.
+1 Entrusted Priest
Some Priests and Senior Priests are members of a special group called Urvaza (UR-VOZ-ah) and are entrusted as the temporal agents of the heads of the priesthood. They pursue special concerns and missions on behalf of a group of Enza.
Urvasa have some key privileges, including immunity to the edicts and command of local Anurzas; they are selected by at least a quorum of three Enza. This Status is a +1 point Perk.
NOTE: An Urzali cannot be both an Anurza and a Urvaza at the same time.
Use in the World of San'Dora
Urzadrek is the religion, and an integral part of the social structure, of the Empire of Zadesh in my campaign setting of San'Dora . I genericized it somewhat in the above write up to make it somewhat reusable for others, but the basic ideas represented are consistent with how it is used in my campaign.
One of the primary guiding principals behind the San'Dora setting is to include as many competing systems of Magic as possible, and to tie those Magic Systems directly into the history of the world and its peoples.
Because Adeptology is such a powerful form of Magic, being based on effectively Cosmic VPPs, that I wanted to place some restrictions on its availability within the setting. Also, being such a potent form of Magic, it definitely should have a major impact on the history of the setting.
Once a great empire ruled what are now the southern expanses of the Danoshorvas continent and the northern parts of the Ullushorvas continent (and some lands that are now deep below the sea), and was populated by large group of Human kind. This Empire was originally called Aran-Osh, but eventually this morphed into Aranash, and it's people were called the Aranashi.
During the Ages of Legend, the Aranashi built their Empire by bartering with otherworldly powers and over time were altered by this congress with external powers. After the raising of the Caul, the Aranashi were split; the southern, civilized lands remained mostly together and eventually becoming the Empire of Zha'iir, but the more remote northern Aranashi drifted apart from their roots, spreading out and managing to survive by becoming subsistence farmers; eventually the formed into what would come to be known as the Undari and the Zadeshi over several thousand years.
The Aranashi are unique among the races of San'Dora in that some of their number have the potential to be Adepts. This potential is a by product of the alterations that were made to the Aranashi long ago by external powers, and exists in all of them, but takes different forms among the various subgroups of Aranashi.
Thus, the entire system of Adeptology and all of it's variants is tied directly to a sub race of humanity called Aranashi in the setting.
I also added some other distinctions to make the Aranashi stand out from baseline humanity; primarily in the form of a separate Race Package. They are small and spindly and have a distinctive yellowish skin tone, but are also quick and witty on average.
The Aranashi have proven to be adept Empire builders over many millennia and in several regions. 
The ancient Empire of Zha'iir on the southern continent has been in fluctuation since the Caul was raised many millennia ago, but has had eras of resurgence; however the Empire has been fractured into many successor states (but is still remembered) for over a thousand years now. Zha'iirian Adepts are Volomancers.
The Undari were shaped into a grim Empire long ago by the first of the Thanomancers, based on a massive population of poor commoners and a ruling elite of Thanomancers and their military pawns. The Thanomancers ruled by promulgating a false religion in the form of a death cult, and used many of their common subjects as human sacrifices to power their Magic. They ruled unopposed for millennia until the Machtig arrived on the continent and destroyed the Undari capital, slaying all the Thanomancers and their guards that didnt flee. This touched off a rebellion that spread across the Undari Empire like a wild fire as the oppressed commoners rose up to crush their rulers. However, ever since the Empire was shattered into many petty, weak splinter states. Undari Adepts are usually Thanomancers, but some are Volomancers. In the modern era Thanomancers must practice their Magic secretly or suffer the death penalty.
All Zadeshi people in the modern day belong to the Empire of Zadesh, located on the eastern side of the Dursha Mountains on the Danoshorvas Continent. The Empire of Zadesh is a caste based and highly structured culture, and is also extremely expansionary. In modern times they have annexed three Undari nations; Akosa, Famor, and Arvanis and were only stopped from taking more by a chance meeting with a Herodi-led horde of Machtig raiding from the Vold. In the current age, this is the most dominant group of Aranashi, growing in to their strength and trying to annex as many of the Undari splinter states as possible. The Zadeshi practice the ancestor worship of the Roll of Urzed, and Urzadrek is the state religion. Zadeshi Adepts are either Urzadrek, or more rarely Volomancers.
The Urzadrek religion is tightly coupled with the ruling caste of Zadesh; originally there was but a single fishing village known as Zed, and it's people practiced a primitive form of ancestor worship. A powerful priest of this proto-Urzedic religion earned the religion converts in other nearby villages, and temporal power followed to the chief of the village simultaneously. Ever since those humble early beginnings, the expansion of the Zadeshi Empire has been preceeded by the expansion of the Urzadrek religion. The head priests of the religion are always among the most influential advisors of the ruling elite, and in many ways the leaders of the religion is often the tail that wags the dog.