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    Canonfire :: View topic - (Un)Holy water...faith specific?
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    (Un)Holy water...faith specific?
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    GreySage

    Joined: Sep 09, 2009
    Posts: 2461
    From: SW WA state (Highvale)

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    Sun Sep 19, 2021 11:02 am  
    (Un)Holy water...faith specific?

    Greetings All,

    Been a while since I posted another infamous Lanthorn query. This is not a 2e specific question, but open to all editions. It's more of a philosophical question, but feel free to infuse 'game mechanics' into your answer if you so desire.

    Wondering about the flexibility of using Holy Water and Unholy Water (as a spell component) between and among faiths. Which of the following aspects do you support (or add your own if not included):

    1) Holy Water and Unholy Water is faith specific, meaning that holy (and unholy) water created by a cleric of Trithereon, Pelor, Hextor, Iuz, etc. can ONLY be used by members of that faith, and nobody else.

    2) Such water can be used ONLY by clerics sharing the same overall alignment ethos, meaning a LG cleric of Heironeous can ALSO use holy water created by a LG cleric of Pholtus or St Cuthbert, but NOT NG Pelor or CG Trithereon (and vice versa). The same rules apply to members of Neutral and Evil faiths as well (ex: LE clerics of Hextor can use only LE-created unholy water, etc).

    3) Holy and unholy water is permitted between any and all Good faiths, Neutral faiths, and Evil faiths. So "Good" holy water can be used by ANY cleric of Goodness but NOT Neutrals and Evils. The same rules apply to Neutrals and Evils in turn. This is the MOST flexible interpretation.

    Thoughts and perspectives MOST welcome!

    -Lanthorn
    Encyclopedia Greyhawkaniac

    Joined: May 29, 2018
    Posts: 1465


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    Sun Sep 19, 2021 11:53 am  
    Re: (Un)Holy water...faith specific?

    Lanthorn wrote:
    Greetings All,

    Been a while since I posted another infamous Lanthorn query. This is not a 2e specific question, but open to all editions. It's more of a philosophical question, but feel free to infuse 'game mechanics' into your answer if you so desire.

    Wondering about the flexibility of using Holy Water and Unholy Water (as a spell component) between and among faiths. Which of the following aspects do you support (or add your own if not included):

    1) Holy Water and Unholy Water is faith specific, meaning that holy (and unholy) water created by a cleric of Trithereon, Pelor, Hextor, Iuz, etc. can ONLY be used by members of that faith, and nobody else.

    2) Such water can be used ONLY by clerics sharing the same overall alignment ethos, meaning a LG cleric of Heironeous can ALSO use holy water created by a LG cleric of Pholtus or St Cuthbert, but NOT NG Pelor or CG Trithereon (and vice versa). The same rules apply to members of Neutral and Evil faiths as well (ex: LE clerics of Hextor can use only LE-created unholy water, etc).

    3) Holy and unholy water is permitted between any and all Good faiths, Neutral faiths, and Evil faiths. So "Good" holy water can be used by ANY cleric of Goodness but NOT Neutrals and Evils. The same rules apply to Neutrals and Evils in turn. This is the MOST flexible interpretation.

    Thoughts and perspectives MOST welcome!

    -Lanthorn


    I'd Say holy water is an enchanted item which can be used by anyone that the cleric deems worthy of its use. It also works as a bane against the enchanting cleric see's as an enemy to their faith.
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
    Posts: 2599
    From: LG Dyvers

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    Sun Sep 19, 2021 6:44 pm  

    My take isn't exactly any of the above mentioned options.

    First, I do agree with Jason's point that (Un)Holy Water is a magical item once created, albeit divine in nature rather than arcane.

    Since it is a non-sentient magic item, it should be usable by anyone that picks it up. Not only can any person sharing an alignment with the caster throw a vial of (Un)Holy Water for effect, but any person with even a radically different alignment can do so. This works just as it would for a +1 magical sword that could be wielded by a person of any alignment.

    I would rule that a cleric may only use (Un)Holy Water created by themselves or another member of their specific faith as a material component of a divinely granted spell. (A cleric of Pelor couldn't use a vial of Unholy Water claimed as a share of treasure looted from the cleric of Lolth the party defeated who created it.)

    Also, based on a character's level, I may rule that touching a vial of (Un)Holy Water of a differing alignment has a chance of 'polluting' the magic item, rendering it inert. I would base that chance on 9th level, since that is the level that one of the editions says a PC begins to radiate their alignment 100% of the time in a manner detectable by Detect Alignment spells. I haven't bothered to figure out any more of the specifics, though as it hasn't really come up in my campaign.

    SirXaris
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    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3208
    From: Michigan

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    Sun Sep 19, 2021 8:08 pm  
    Re: (Un)Holy water...faith specific?

    Lanthorn wrote:
    1) Holy Water and Unholy Water is faith specific, meaning that holy (and unholy) water created by a cleric of Trithereon, Pelor, Hextor, Iuz, etc. can ONLY be used by members of that faith, and nobody else.


    If holy water harms undead regardless of their faith, then clerics can use it regardless of their faith, unless the description of the spell states otherwise (some spell descriptions do state this).
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 26, 2002
    Posts: 456
    From: Canada

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    Sun Sep 26, 2021 7:36 pm  

    I'd choose option #3, but with the caveat that most clerics will prefer to use holy water generated by their own faiths. If possible, if they acquire any holy or unholy water from another faith, they would likely take it to a temple or shrine of their own deity and re-consecrate/desecrate it with their own deity's power. This would probably vary by deity-gods like Rao and Pelor probably wouldn't care about using another faith's holy water, but the likes of St. Cuthbert and Pholtus certainly would.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3807
    From: So. Cal

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    Mon Sep 27, 2021 3:33 am  

    #3 for me. Ultimately, for weal or woe is what matters.

    Source will matter to some, but there wouldn't be any effect in game mechanics terms - a Pholtan priest "forced" to make use of a vial of holy water inscribed with the symbol of St. Cuthbert would undoubtedly set himself a personal penance for using so blasphemous an item (even if in service to Pholtus). rolleyes Laughing
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    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3208
    From: Michigan

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    Mon Sep 27, 2021 10:14 pm  

    The spell draw upon holy might from 2nd edition's Tome of Magic specified that the holy water used in the spell had to be blessed by a high priest of the character's faith, but doesn't specify that the high priest has to have created the holy water to begin with. The spell unceasing vigilance of the holy sentinel requires a drop of holy water, but makes no restriction on where it came from.

    Per The Complete Priest's Handbook, creating holy water requires at least three priests working in concert, casting create water, protection from evil, and purify food and drink simultaneously after praying for an hour. It doesn't actually require them all to be of the same faith. In theory, three priests of three different gods could create holy water simultaneously, if they were in a temple dedicated to all three gods, or perhaps even if they weren't.

    Then, of course, there's the question of what a "faith" is. I'll argue that a faith isn't the same thing as a god. A faith (for example, the Suloise Pantheon, or the Old Church of Perrenland) can include dedication to multiple gods. A single god can also be the patron of multiple, mutually hostile sects, as is the case with the Exalted Faith and True Faith of Al'Akbar.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 05, 2020
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    Mon Sep 27, 2021 10:57 pm  

    SirXaris wrote:
    My take isn't exactly any of the above mentioned options.

    First, I do agree with Jason's point that (Un)Holy Water is a magical item once created, albeit divine in nature rather than arcane.

    Since it is a non-sentient magic item, it should be usable by anyone that picks it up.


    Yes - the basic effect (e.g. vs ubdead) works for anyone.

    As a cleric spell component... depends on what the specific spell or faith requires IMO.
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