Faith and the Divine in Genoa

The following ideas reflect the influence of the Divine in Genoa.

The Relics of Genoa

The Bones of San Giovanni di Battista

The most prized relic of the city is the bones of it’s patron saint, St John the Baptist. Carried in procession around the city of his feast day since its recovery during the First Crusade, these relics are frequently used to invoke the saint’s aid in times of external strife.

The headless bones have a Faith score of 4, giving them 4 Faith points and a Divine Might of 40, usable by both Christians and Muslims. In addition to the usual powers of holy relics the remains may be used to invoke the Saintly Powers Resist Temptation and The Faithful Made Whole.

The Holy Basin

A hexagonal shaped plate of green hued crystal, the sacro catino was claimed from the mosque of Caesarea in 1101 in lieu of a large sum of money. Initially believed to be emerald, this eighteen inch diameter object rests on display in the cathedral and is revered in Genoa as the Holy Chalice use at the Last Supper. As there are numerous competitors for the actual cup used by Jesus, unless the relic has been replicated by God the basin may actually be a fake, depending on your Saga’s needs.

If an authentic relic, the plate is a Christian relic with a Faith Score of 3 and a Divine Might of 30. It can be used to invoke the Tomorrow’s Bounty Saintly power. See Realms of Power: the Divine (Revised Edition), pages 43 to 46 and page 88 for further details.

If fake, the plate may still be magical but aligned to a different supernatural Realm. If Faerie aligned, the basin may be the External Vis object of a powerful Faerie jinni or a variant of a Bottle of Solomon (see The Cradle and the Crescent). Alternatively, if aligned to the Magic Realm, the plate may be a prison containing a malevolent elemental or Infernal jinni, entrapped by the lost magics of King Solomon.

Story Seed: the Broken Basin

The holy chalice, mishandled by a young priest while being cleaned, falls to the floor and breaks into multiple pieces, revealing it to be a fake made from an unusual form of Libyan glass rather than precious emerald. Fearing the wrath of the currently absent archbishop, the cleric approaches one of the player companions, hoping the magi can rapidly construct a replica before their master returns from an inspection of his rural Ligurian estates.

Constructing a replica of the plate to fool the archbishop may be easy enough using Hermetic magic, at least until the prelate tries to invoke its magical powers, but what has happened to the original emerald artifact? Searching for the original plate may lead the magi to North Africa, looking for the craftsman that constructed the fake. Alternatively, the clues may point to Pisa or Venice, revealing that enemies of Genoa with a motive to steal such an important symbol of the city’s power.

Ugo the Hospitaller

Although not yet sanctified in 1220, Ugo is still regarded as a very holy man by contemporaries. Tales of his miracles have begun to spread outside the commune and word has reached both his superiors within the Order of the Hospital and the cardinals of the papal court. A thin man of small frame, Ugo lives a simple life of prayer and service, sleeping on rough planks in his hair shirt and eschewing the finery of his brother knights.

Ugo is both a Hospitaller Priest and a Holy Companion from the holy tradition of Ascetics. His powers and attributed miracles have specific focus involving water and include creating fountains, saving ships from foundering and turning water into excellent wine. If your Saga follows history, Ugo dies in 1233 and is buried in his own chapel, which becomes the site of numerous miraculous cures.

Depending on the morality of the actions of the magi involved in Genoa, Ugo may be a valuable ally or a persistent and recurring opponent. Relatively protected from Hermetic magic by his True Faith and sheltered by his prominent position within the Hospitallers, he is widely respected by the people of the commune and rousing his ire may create a difficult dilemma for the local magi. 

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