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This spell could be used to alleviate a variety of moral and ethical ailments caused by acts contrary to the ethos of their class, religion, or profession, either good versus evil, law versus chaos, or both. It could also be used to grant an opportunity to shift alignment to that of the caster. Removing the onus of misdeeds required the subject to be truly repentant and have a strong desire to set things right. Often the caster of atonement would give the subject a task, penance, or quest to complete in order to prove the subject's commitment to change. In the most serious cases, a geas could be used.
Possible applications for atonement included:
- Reversing an alignment change due to a magical effect.
- Restoring paladinhood to a knight that committed an evil act.
- Regaining the favor of an angry deity by the intercession of another priest of the same religion.
- Tempting or offering redemption to a creature to change their alignment to that of the caster.
If the subject committed the misdeed unwittingly or while under some form of compulsion, then forgiveness was usually without great price (only material goods). But if the subject knowingly and intentionally committed a transgression, then the caster of atonement had to pay a price of life experience—all the more reason to use a quest or gaes to ensure the subject was truly repentant first. The older versions of this spell did not require such a price from the caster, but also did not absolve a subject from willful misdeeds nor allow a subject to change alignments.
Casting time for the newer version of atonement was one hour; casting time for the older versions was 10 minutes. If used as an opportunity to change alignment to that of the caster, the subject had to be present for the entire ceremony and then make a choice to either switch alignments or not. Otherwise, the caster only had to touch the creature sometime during the casting of the spell.
In addition to verbal and somatic components, the priest required his or her holy symbol or divine focus and a set of prayer beads, a prayer wheel, or a book of prayers and catechisms costing at least 500 gp. For the newer version of this spell, the caster lost some life experience when interceding with their deity on behalf of an offender who willfully and deliberately acted contrary to the tenets of their faith.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (July 2003). Player's Handbook 3.5 edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 201–202. ISBN 0-7869-2886-7.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 65. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 90. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 David "Zeb" Cook (August 1989). Player's Handbook (2nd edition). (TSR, Inc.), p. 221–222. ISBN 0-88038-716-5.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 David "Zeb" Cook (April 1995). Player's Handbook 2nd edition (revised). (TSR, Inc.), p. 281. ISBN 0-7869-0329-5.
- ↑ Cook, Findley, Herring, Kubasik, Sargent, Swan (1991). Tome of Magic 2nd edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 152. ISBN 1-56076-107-5.
- ↑ Richard Baker (1996). Player's Option: Spells & Magic. (TSR, Inc), p. 186. ISBN 0-7869-0394-5.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 8.9 Gary Gygax (1978). Players Handbook 1st edition. (TSR, Inc.), p. 49. ISBN 0-9356-9601-6.