Being naturally immortal, deities are loathe to put themselves in genuine peril. Though their bodies are tough, they can still be slain. And even if they can return from the dead, it is both painful and costly to suffer such a defeat. Because of this, gods have developed numerous techniques for acting in the world from a safe distance.
At the most basic level, any deity that can do so makes extensive use of remote sensing. Even a humble quasi-deity that maintains a shrine can keep tabs on the shrine, and speak to anyone on its holy ground as if it were present. Any deity with a portfolio has more potent remote sensing and remote communication abilities, and uses them to its greater advantage. Remote sensing forms the basis for many useful divine abilities.
Symbols of the Watcher
The keys of the watcher are cosmic keys that allow a god’s followers to create idols, altars, and other material goods that the god can project into, not unlike a wizard’s magic jar. The god cannot move or alter the symbol itself, but can otherwise act as if it were present. If someone casts animate object on the symbol, the deity can move freely within the confines of the animation effect.
Deities with sufficient force of personality can claim the Possess Mortal salient divine ability, allowing them to project themselves into any mortal they can sense. Unwilling subjects can resist, but if the subject is willing the deity cannot be driven out by any means.
The number of mortals that can be possessed varies based on a deity’s influence. If the deity’s local divine rank is 0, it can possess one mortal at a time. Where it is a demigod, it can can simultaneously possess up to two mortals; as a lesser deity it can possess up to five mortals, as an intermediate deity it can possess up to ten, and as a greater deity it can possess up to twenty mortals. Possessed mortals function at half the deity’s local divine rank (rounded down), and count as a remote sensing location.
Any deity with at least two divine ranks can invest essence in a servant to serve as a proxy. A proxy cannot have a divine rank of more than half the patron’s, and most deities choose to invest only enough to make a proxy of rank 0 or 1.
It costs a deity 200 points of essence to create a proxy at rank 0, and 1000 points for each subsequent rank. This expenditure counts as divine compensation, so it can reduce the deity’s effective rank as long as the proxy enjoys the deity’s blessing. The deity can end the arrangement at any time, though it can choose whether to revoke the essence or relinquish it to the servant.
No more than half the deity’s essence can be tied up in proxies, and all proxies must have a divine rank less than the deity’s. Because of the cost and complexity of maintaining proxies, most deities rarely create more than a handful of quasi-deity proxies, or a single demigod proxy. Proxies can easily develop a following of their own, even to the point of becoming “real” deities – often at the expense of their erstwhile patrons.
A proxy can choose its salient divine abilities from any of those its patron enjoys, provided it has sufficient rank and personal power to qualify. Proxies always count as free remote sensing locations for their patrons, and they may converse telepathically regardless of planar boundaries.
As much of a deity’s power is inherently local, so the power of its proxies is similarly bound. The proxy’s effective divine rank can never be greater than half the deity’s – unless they develop their own power base to make up for the shortfall in essence. Without such a hedge, even a powerful proxy can quickly find itself reduced to a quasi-deity if it wanders too far afield.
Deities with divine rank 6+ can claim the Avatar salient divine ability, which allows them to “grow” bodies that they can continually occupy and sense through. These function much like a willingly possessed mortal, but as they are crafted from the deity’s own power and planar essence, they are as permanent as the deity itself. Much like a possessed mortal, avatars function at half the deity’s local divine rank (rounded down). The number of avatars that can operate in a particular locality is limited by the deity’s effective divine rank, just like possessed mortals.
A deity whose actual body is attacked can chose to transpose with any surviving avatars as a free action.