Material Sacrifice
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Basic Information

A material sacrifice is the third pillar of the sacrificial triad, along with its partners human and animal sacrifice and is - traditionally - the least of the three. Whilst the other two involve the destruction of life in gift or payment to the supernatural, this involves the destruction or consecration of inanimate objects. As usual with sacrifices, the value of the offering is traditionally proportionate to its power - some recipients may be concerned with the cash value, others with the sentimental value to the giver … and matching the offering to the recipient may be very important1.

Traditionally sacrificed goods will be put beyond use in a manner appropriate to their nature and to the power to which they are to be gifted - they may be thrown into a body of water, burned, buried or simply placed in the sanctuary of a holy place, never to be touched again. There is also the potential for an appropriate form of sacrifice to be consumed during an act of worship - offerings of food, drink or drugs might be consumed thyestai fashion by a congregation and the burning of incense during worship would also be entirely normal. Less perishable things might be actively destroyed or cast away.

In some cultures funerary practices and/or Day of the Dead celebrations may include what are effectively sacrifices made to the deceased with the intent that they will be transformed into things of equal value in the spirit world. These may end up as grave goods, which are also known as treasure to people prepared to desecrate graves in search of it.

Service may also count as a material sacrifice - worship itself, or the performance of some task in line with the recipient's objectives.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Shamanistic cultures probably do a lot of this - small powers are likely to work for small payments.
  • A culture that consecrates significant amounts of valuable material and then leaves it lying about may attract thieves … which may or may not include PCs.
    • Of course, robbing deities is often a really bad idea.
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