Purity Seals

"Purity Seals: devotional scripts and declarations of the bearer's sanctity, many sisters wear purity seals to further protect them from the taint of the impure and the sinful. In the course of her duties, a Sister my bear witness to the most terribly of sights and so, the more purity seals born, the more of such horrors she has had to endure. Each seal is a benediction against the forces of disorder, warpcraft, and mutation, a plea to the Emperor for deliverance from evil."

Witchhunter’s Codex, pg 19

It is the lot of the Adeptus Terra, the Ecclesiarchy and the Inquisition to work tirelessly to protect humanity form its legion enemies; enemies who have the power to destroy not only the bodies of those who stand against them but their minds and souls. Many a young and idealistic servant sets foot on the path of duty only to find it slowly darkens into the road of corruption.

The Emperor, in His wisdom, knows even faith is not always enough and so grants his priests the ability to bless His servants so that they may face the darkness with His light at their side.

Any bishop has sufficient standing within the Cult of the Emperor to create the physical benedictions known as Purity Seals; strips of parchment, carefully inscribed with prayers to the Emperor or His saints, anointed in holy oils and unguents and affixed with wax coloured with the pure blood of martyred pilgrims. Purity Seals guard those who wear them, strengthening their faith and driving off those who would lead them into darkness.

Purity Seals can be thought of as armour for the soul. Acolytes have a long way to travel before they reach the point where they might become Interrogators and then Inquisitors themselves.

Without this armour, especially for those in the retinue of an Ordo Malleus inquisitor, few would last long before corruption or insanity took them.

For most characters the Willpower test made to resist these forces is only passed around a third of the time. Purity Seals add bonuses similar to other types of equipment - between 5% and 20% - to the various rolls made against mental and spiritual trauma, boosting the average character's pass rate to nearer 50%. Not much, and by no means an infallible defence, but every Malignancy, Mutation and disorder that can be avoided is one victory denied the enemies of mankind, one more stretch that the character can remain on the road.

Wearing Purity Seals

Seals can be attached to clothing, armour or weapons. The location is not important. What matters is that the Purity Seal is displayed prominently, for it is not the way of the Emperor to hide His power from those he opposes. Purity Seals have no power unless they are displayed as symbols of faith, clear for all to see.

Regardless of a Purity Seal's type, GMs may grant wearers of these symbols of faith a 10% bonus to Fellowship-based rolls among the Ecclesiarchy and suitably fervent Imperial subjects.

Only those with faith can benefit from the wearing of a Purity Seal. Unless the character has either Common Lore (Imperial Creed) or Scholastic Lore (Imperial Creed), the seals they wear remain empty of power.

Those of exceptional faith find Purity Seals are even more potent. Any character with the Unshakeable Faith Talent increases the quality of seals they wear by one step (Common to Good, Good to Excellent). Excellent quality seals are unchanged.

Aegis Seals

The most common forms of Purity Seal are Aegis Seals, which protect the wearer from outside influence.

Aegis Seals vary in what level of protection they provide. Just as with other equipment, both Good and Excellent versions of these seals can be made, although they are generally restricted to servants who have proved their worth to the Empire. Most seals grant a +5% bonus to a specific test. Increase this to +10% for Good quality seals and to +15% for rare Excellent quality ones. Purity Seals with other types of benefits include the effects of higher qualities in their descriptions.

Poor quality seals can also be found. Mostly they are the work of charlatans or clerics who skimped on the necessary ritual ingredients. Poor quality seals are effectively Charms, providing no other in-game benefit to the wearer.

Cowardice Seal (Speravi In Te, Imperator) - Scarce / 75 Thrones

A seal commonly worn by those who must take to the Imperium's many battlefields to fight in the Emperor's name, it grants +5% to Willpower Tests to avoid the effects of Pinning.

Fear Seal (vs. Aliens/The Warp/Psychic Powers) (Fides Validus) – Scarce / 100 Thrones (3 Varieties)

The most common seal is said to draw the Emperor's gaze towards the wearer. Bathed in His glory, his faith is strengthened and he stands firm against all who would oppose him. The wearer gains +5% to Willpower rolls to resist Fear caused by one of the Imperium's three major enemies. The Fides Validus Xenos seal protects against Fear-causing aliens, the Fides Validus Daemonica protects against Fear from warp and daemonic sources and the Fides Validus Hereticus protects against Fear-inducing psychic powers and particularly horrific mutants.

Seduction Seal (Per Orbem Terrarum) - Scarce / 100 Thrones

The High Gothic of this seal begins “From Holy Terra, benited Earthly Sphere, did Man set forth, and only to that dominion shall his allegiance flow...” Wearers are protected against the sweet words of corruption, gaining +5% on Willpower and Scrutiny rolls to resist the false charms and seductive lies of Mankind's enemies.

Witchcraft Seal (Tutela Obviam Veneficus) - Rare / 250 Thrones

Much sought after by those who must face down psykers who refuse their duty to face either sanctioning or holy sacrifice at the feet of the Emperor's throne, this seal grants +5% to any test to resist psychic powers.

Dark Knowledge Seal (Sancta Eruditio) - Rare / 250 Thrones

It is the duty of some to fight Mankind's enemies not on the battlefield but in the depths of dusty librariums. The Sancta Eruditio seal girds their souls as they seek to discover the weaknesses of those who would destroy them. Wearers may test Willpower to reduce the number of Corruption Points inflicted by reading corrupting tomes by 1 for common Seals or 2 for Good or Excellent seals. Only Excellent quality Purity Seals can reduce the number of points received below 1.

Corruption Seal (Dignare, Domine) - Rare / 250 Thrones

The Emperor's own cult has vouchsafed the character's purity. The character may test Willpower to reduce the number of Corruption Points inflicted by Warp Shock by 1 for common Seals or 2 for Good or Excellent seals. Only Excellent quality Purity Seals can reduce the number of points received below 1.

Mutation Seal (Humanus Statua Aeternum) - Rare / 250 Thrones (8 Varieties)

The image of man is perfect. In mutation lies corruption. This seal locks the form of the wearer, making them more resistant to mutation. There is one version of this seal for each statistic, each granting the wearer +5% when testing that Characteristic to resist mutation due to accrued Corruption Points. Wearing any version of this Purity Seal provides +5% to resist mutation from other sources (exposure to the Warp, daemonic powers, and so on).

Malignancy Seal (Ad Dexteram Imperatorum) - Rare / 250 Thrones

By putting his fate in the hands of the Emperor, the wearer protects himself from others who would manipulate his being. He gains a +5% bonus on Malignancy rolls.

Meaningless Death Seal (De Mortalitate, Gloriae) - Rare / 250 Thrones

A martyr's death is the greatest gift a servant can bestow upon his Emperor. Wearers of this Purity Seal have accepted that their life is but a small sacrifice to ask for the ceaseless wars against Humanity's enemies. Instead of burning a Fate Point to survive death, the wearer of this seal may burn one to ensure he takes his enemies with him. Whether it means he lives a few more moments, allowing him to set his lasgun's power pack to self-destruct or crash his vehicle into the ranks of this enemies, or whether the enemies will suffer misfortune in less direct ways, the character's life will not have been given in vain. Good quality seals of this type allow the martyr to take down many more enemies, inflicting around ten times the casualties. Excellent quality seals are truly awesome. The Emperor himself seems to intercede, punishing with just and furious wrath those who would take from him a valued servant.

Custodia Seals

For some the Emperor's blessings come too late. When darkness has already laid a hand upon a once-trusted servant of the Imperium, there are only two courses: the pyre or a Custodia Seal.

This rare version of the Purity Seal has had the divine power within it inverted so that the taint within the wearer is held in check, incarcerated by the blessed power of the Lord of Man.

Only available to those in whom the Imperium has invested too much to lose or who must walk further on their path for the greater good of Mankind, Custodia Seals reduce the effects of Madness, Malignancy and Mutation... but at great cost.

Custodia Seals cannot be bought. They are reserved for the greatest and most valuable servants of the Imperium - Inquisitors, Sisters of Battle, Space Marines, and others who fight on the front lines of Mankind's constant war against degeneration and corruption. And once applied, must be worn prominently every hour of the day and night or their power fades.

The application of Custodia Seals does not mean that the taint to soul, body or mind has been removed, merely turned inwards, which, in the the long term can prove almost as much of a burden as the original malady. At the end of each week, a character wearing one or more of these seals should make a Willpower Test with a -5% penalty for each Custodia Seal he wears after the first. Treat a failure as a failed Mental Trauma roll (see p234).

Malignancy Seal (Custodia Fleumaticus) - Very Rare

Exposure to the Warp and the foul entities that spring forth from that realm can corrupt the soul of a man, giving them strange drives and debauched habits. The application of this Custodia Purity Seal counteracts a Malignancy inflicted upon a character. While worn the Malignancy has no hold over the character. They automatically succeed in any rolls to resist it's influence and any losses caused by the Malignancy are returned.

Madness Seal (Custodia Colericus) - Very Rare

For maladies of the mind, the Custodia Colericus seal must be applied, each seal preventing the manifestation of one Mental Disorder. More potent Disorders can be dangerous to channel inwards with a Custodia Seal. Double the Mental Trauma penalty for seals masking Severe Disorders; triple the penalty for Acute Disorders.

Mutation Seal (Custodia Sanguineus) - Very Rare

A single Mutation caused by exposure to daemons and the Warp is contained by this seal. Provided the Mutation is one this seal can counteract (see below), the wearer immediately reverts to their previous state while it is displayed.

The Sanguinias is more limited than other Custodia Seals. Its powers only affect Mutations that are mental (From Beyond, Possession, mental or social Characteristic changes). Physical changes are not affected.

Many Mutations resist surgical (or cruder) methods of removal, growing back regardless of what actions their host takes to rid themselves of their curse. Wearing a Custodia Sanguinias seal prevents such Mutations from growing back when removed. Of course, finding surgeons capable of performing the more extreme mutantodectomies is probably an adventure in itself.

Receiving Purity Seals

The rites and techniques used to make common Purity Seals are known to most ranking clerics but the secrets to manufacturing the more esoteric protections are jealously guarded. Selling benedictions is an important source of revenue for the Imperial Cult. Money gained from Purity Seals funds missions and new buildings, bringing prestige to the bishop who spends it. The ability to create these blessings shows that Emporer's light shines upon the creator, bringing prestige many are unwilling to share.

In game terms, this means that Purity Seals have a rarity just as other items do, as well as a price that must be donated to the cult. Finding a particular type of Seal requires an Inquiry roll,with a bonus if the seeker has a relevent Peer Talent. Peer (Adeptus Arbites) grants +10%, Peer (Inquisistion) or Peer (Adeptus Astartes) grants +20% and Peer (Ecclesiarchy) grants +30%.

Each seal is crafted to protect the soul of whoever will wear it. They cannot be transferred between characters. And if the blessed wax affixing the seal is ever broken, not only is the protection of the seal destroyed, but there are those who whisper that the Emperor himself becomes displeased, withdrawing his favour from the servant who failed to protect his benediction.

As well as a source of revenue, Purity Seals are an important political tool for the Cult of the Emperor. Many tread lightly so they do not anger the Ecclesiarchy and have access to these potent boons denied. Many others find themselves travelling far from home or fighting enemies who are not their own as payment for receiving the rarer types of seal. At the very least, they must spend long periods being ritualy cleansed, fasting, and, for particularly potent seals, performing pilgrimages.

Men declared excommunicado by the Eclessiarchy or the Inquisition are unfit to wear the Emperor's seals. Although being excommunicated does not prevent existing seals working, clerics who know of the declaration will refuse to create Purity Seals for such characters and many will see it as their holy duty to slay those who do not immediately cast off their symbols of purity and seek atonement for their sins.

Sages are undecided on how or why Purity Seals function. Many point to the fact that they require a knowledge of the Imperial Creed as proof that they are merely psychosomatic. Of course, the Ecclesiarchy argue strongly to the contrary. According to clerics, Purity Selas are both manifest proof of the Emperor's power and of the Cults rightful position as guardians of his worship. To those who wear them, it matters little. They work - or at least they are believed to work - and that's the only fact needed.

Talents

Rite of Purity

Prerequisites: Peer (Eclessiarchy), Trade (Copyist), Scholastic Lore (Imperial Creed)

This Talent is available to clerics of Confessor or Exorcist rank, allowing them to craft Aegis Seals. Crafting a purity seal is a draining business. It takes three full days of devotions and half the seal's cost in raw ingredients to create a Common quality seal of Scarce rarity. Both rarity and quality increase this time. Rare seals double and Vary Rare ones quadruple the number days spent on its preparation.

Only characters possessing Scholastic Lore 50 or more can make Good Quality seals, which take three times as long to fashion. Excellent quality seals require Scholastic Lore 60 or more and take ten times as long.

So a Very Rare Aegis Seal of Best Quality would take 120 days (3 x 4 = 12 days for the Rarity, x 10 for the Quality). Obviously few clerics are willing to give up such long periods to the manufacture of Purity Seals except for the most worthy (or well-paying) of causes.

When first taking this Talent, a character learns how to make all the Scarce quality seals. Taking it again allows the character to choose two Rare types of Purity Seal to add to his repertoire.

Confession Binding

Prerequisites: Rite of Purity, Forbidden Lore (Daemonology or Warp)

Available at Heirophant and Redemptionist rank, this talent grants powerful clerics the ability to invert Purity Seals, trapping away taint that has already manifested upon a valued servant of the Imperium. The process is long, arduous, and not without risk to the cleric, who may be corrupted themselves after hearing a full confession from the tainted character. Even if completed successfully, it not sure to contain the subject's corruption indefinitely.

It takes three days of constant prayer, purification, mortification of the corrupted one's flesh and frank confession for the cleric to apply this seal. At the end of the three days, the cleric must make Willpower Tests. Failure means he has been corrupted himself by the experience. He gains a number of corruption Points equal to the tens digit of his charges Corruption Points (minimum one).

Good and Excellent quality Custodia Seals can be made but are more dangerous for the cleric. The number of points gained on failing the Willpower Test at the end of Binding period is doubled for a Good seal and tripled for an Excellent one. Good seals require nine days of purging, Excellent ones thirty days.

The advantages are Wearers of better quality seals find the darkness better contained and so only suffer a -3% penalty to their Mental Trauma roll for Good seals and only a -1% penalty for Excellent ones.