Enlightened Creatures (Divine Magic and You)

There are so many ways to show magic in your game. It can be a sterile element that functions consistently and is easily measured or it can be alien and dangerous to handle since it has a will of its own. I always assumed Arcane magic in D&D is the more elemental model of magic and Divine magic filled the living school of thought.

With the death of the gods in my campaign world it allowed me to explore the freeing of divine magic into the world. I always imagined that divine magic was found intrinsically in living things, but the power it provided was locked by the gods for their own purposes. Without those locks in place the magic was free for the living thing to use or for other beings to manipulate. The resulting classification of creatures and magical effects could be used in any kind of campaign setting not just ones where the gods are dead or are too lazy to maintain control of divine magic.

Flood of Magic

With every living thing now having access to magic I needed an easy way to differentiate living things that were able to manifest the magic and those without the ability to do so. After a few hours I landed on calling living things who harness the divine magic as ‘enlightened’. From there I could begin imagining enlightened plants, animals, and players/npcs.

Enlightened Creatures

I’ve had a lot of fun with magical animals in my game. Yes, a Saber-Toothed Tiger is pretty cool, but I gave one a zone of truth that radiated from it. I made sure to give the tiger piercing eyes that seem to gaze into your soul. Not only was the tiger a status symbol for the chieftain to terrify guests, but a useful tool for making sure they don’t lie to him.

It is a rather simple formula I use to create these creatures too. I just grab an interesting beast (or other type of creature, but beasts don’t get enough love in my opinion) and give it the ability to cast a non-damaging spell. I try to avoid spells that deal damage for balance reasons, plus they tend to make the creatures seem more mysterious and alien. The last thing I do is give the creature a unique physical trait that may tip the players off that the creature is more than a sack of hit points.

Enlightened Plants

I made an entire article on how to make plants more useful in your game, and this is a great way to justify any of those changes and effects. I also love describing these plants. I fill my world with bioluminescent flowers, glittering grasses, pulsing vines, and dancing leaves. Having every color and shape at my disposal is quite freeing when creating environments.

Enlightened Players?

What about clerics!? I hear the guy in the back yelling. Well, they are still in the game. Divine magic is free not dead. Clerics and Paladins can harness their own divine magic that flows within them while Druids and Rangers have figured out a way to manipulate the living magic in the world around them. I just allow the flavor of their will to determine the cleric’s divine domain. Players of a cleric can either take on a more warlock feel with a patron god, or they can don a more sorcerous role becoming will casters.

Anyway I hope you found the mental gymnastics to justify divine magic interesting and useful. If nothing else I hope I presented a different way of looking at divine magic.