Favor & Union
Four-Part Holy Staff
Four ancient pieces of wood, broken and bound together by three pieces of silver-ish chain. The staves are nothing to look at on their own, and well-worn after millennia of neglect and handling.
from the prophet Zechariah, chapter 11….
4 Thus said the Lord my God: “Become shepherd of the flock doomed to slaughter. 5 Those who buy them slaughter them and go unpunished, and those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the Lord, I have become rich,’ and their own shepherds have no pity on them. 6 For I will no longer have pity on the inhabitants of this land, declares the Lord. Behold, I will cause each of them to fall into the hand of his neighbor, and each into the hand of his king, and they shall crush the land, and I will deliver none from their hand.”
7 So I became the shepherd of the flock doomed to be slaughtered by the sheep traders. And I took two staffs, one I named Favor, the other I named Union. And I tended the sheep. 8 In one month I destroyed the three shepherds. But I became impatient with them, and they also detested me. 9 So I said, “I will not be your shepherd. What is to die, let it die. What is to be destroyed, let it be destroyed. And let those who are left devour the flesh of one another.” 10 And I took my staff Favor, and I broke it, annulling the covenant that I had made with all the peoples. 11 So it was annulled on that day, and the sheep traders, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the Lord. 12 Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13 Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord, to the potter. 14 Then I broke my second staff Union, annulling the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
15 Then the Lord said to me, “Take once more the equipment of a foolish shepherd. 16 For behold, I am raising up in the land a shepherd who does not care for those being destroyed, or seek the young or heal the maimed or nourish the healthy, but devours the flesh of the fat ones, tearing off even their hoofs.
“Woe to my worthless shepherd,
who deserts the flock!
May the sword strike his arm
and his right eye!
Let his arm be wholly withered,
his right eye utterly blinded!”
After the days of the Babylonian captivity, when Israel came home, the prophet Zechariah warned his people of the cost of faithlessness, prophesying that the Messiah would be betrayed by them for 30 pieces of silver, the cost of a slave in Abraham’s day. The staves that he carried and used as object lessons were real enough, but ended up in the storerooms of the temple, discarded bits of broken wood. But in 70 AD, when the city of Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, the early church managed to steal away these relics that they saw foreshadowed the suffering of the Messiah and God’s displeasure.
It soon became apparent that in the hands of the faithful the two staves had power, but only if both halves were wielded. Broken Favor, wielded against the Lord’s enemies, showed His disfavor, doing incredible damage against the enemies of the church, while broken Union could create disunity, driving away the heathen when wielded together. The two staves ended up in opposite sides of the world, possessed by the Roman and Byzantine churches respectively. All of that changed just a few years ago, however, when mysterious patronages and a series of random encounters allowed the staves to be brought together. Someone (no one can seem to remember who) saw the staves connected together as a large flail-like weapon, granting the wielder the powers of both staves. And then the staves were sent to the middle of nowhere, to a young struggling firebrand of a priest named Mykal who was knee-deep into exposing the biggest cover-up the church had ever seen….
*The staff allows the wielder to channel True Faith and such effects as the merit Fist of God thru the staves. It does STR +3 bashing (difficulty 7 to wield), and can be concealed in a cloak. Against the supernatural it does lethal damage, but does aggravated damage against evil supernatural enemies.
*The wielder may roll Wits+Faith(+2) and spend a willpower point to banish the supernatural. Evil creatures must spend a point of willpower and roll willpower; success allows them to remain, while failure forces them to flee. A tie paralyzes them. Non-evil supernatural creatures are only paralyzed (but must still spend a point of willpower to remain in the area.)
The definition of “evil” is a bit subjective, but guidelines follow:
Vampires – generally vampires high on Humanity or Heaven are considered non-evil, while most others are considered “evil”. Baali are always considered evil, and take double damage from the staves. They also must spend 2 WP to keep from fleeing.
Werewolves – most werewolves are not considered evil if they are peaceful with humanity, while those antagonistic to humanity (and all Wyrm infected) are “evil”.
Mages – Generally not evil, except Nephandi are always evil.
Wraiths and Risen – Spectres are evil and wraiths are not. Curiously, the staves have no effect on Ferrymen at all.
Fae – Seelie are not generally considered evil and Unseelie are.
Cathayans – Generally evil unless a good Hun rating on a positive aspect road.
The Reborn – Most mummies are not evil; Bane Mummies always are.
Demons are always evil.
As for the semi-supernatural, like ghouls and sorcerers and the like, they are almost always treated as mortals. The exception are the D’habi and any “wyrm-tainted” individuals. Treat D’habi as normal Humanity vampires (risking lethal damage and paralysis).