I know what you’re thinking.
What would a cold, uncaring God who despises the weak and pleading possibly want to do for some scrummy exile, weak enough to get caught and exiled in the first place? He doesn’t even do anything for the free folk who respects his name!
Well, good reader, let me fill you in on a little theory of mine.
…Or just skip to the gameplay benefits if you don’t care for lore
The lore stuff.
For those of you who played AoC, you might remember the PVP cimmerian borderlands or “clan castle zone” called Lacheish plains. It was home to Clan Lacheish, and a wide, rich plain with rivers and bordering mountains. Very cimmerian, i loved the place. The lore of it was also quite interesting, as the settlement of Lacheish was in the south of the plains near a lake bearing the same name, BUT, in the middle of the plains to the north of them was a dominating feature of the landscape. Crom’s Rock.
It was not just a simple hill or rock formation, but an old and deep impact crater from a meteor.
*As i understood the lore of Lacheish, the village of the Clan used to be right there at crom’s rock, until one of the clan made the fatal mistake of praying to Crom. As Crom was (as he often and still is) battling it out with his nemesis Ymir, he was not happy to be disturbed by the sheepling whimpers of a mortal. From the top of his mountain, he reached up into the black void amongst the stars, grabbed a rock, and hurled it at the weak man, sending a flaming ball of rock and molten metal into their village, killing nearly everyone. *
As you enter the Lacheish plains many many years later, you meet the remnants of lacheish in the south and as you’re obviously a brave and fearless explorer, you venture into the crater and find exquisite metals, which i assume were brought there by Crom’s own wrath.
Now, in case you haven’t connected the dots just yet, Crom hurls star metal. He also battles Ymir all the time because why not. Frost giants being the sons of Ymir and only spawning in the north of the exiled lands where the star metal meteors land is (to me) a great nod by Joel to this old lore.
I might be wrong and it’s a complete coincidence, but i stand by my theory! They could have been very accurate by accident, who knows!
Now, any cunning cimmerian (or other) worth his or her salt would know the benefits of being both strong and devious, shrewd and cunning. They’re not mindless barbarians as other races would like to portray them, they’re descendants of atlanteans after all, with their riddle of steel.
There would perhaps be room for someone to take great risk to harness Crom’s destructive power for their own game, and in Crom’s eyes if his wrath is summoned by trick that leaves his “worshipper” with a net gain, is he still doomed, or is he tolerated by the great mean god?
Let’s get to some possible implementations for how a few boons for the Crom religion might work.
We all know the “strength given at birth” thing, but there’s actually no strength there at all when you start the game as a cromite. I’d suggest changing that, giving a character a growing boon to either strength, grit, vitality or survival that starts as just a +1, but by endgame becomes a +3. Not much, i know, but if you forego all other religions you will at least be rewarded a little bit. This buff ofcourse disappears the moment you subscribe to any of the games other religions, and maybe even transforms into a curse, a “weakling” mark that you have to suffer for some time, or even fills your purge bar.
There’s no real need for anything more than something small like that, but everyone seems to want some kind of avatar-style thing to use at the endgame. With lore in mind though we can forget an avatar of crom coming down to help you, just accept the fact that if you even try to ask for such a thing, he’s gonna hurl a whole lot of meteors down until you and your base is nothing but dust, like the Lacheish clan. But, in there is where you might get some reward if you are cunning. Lets say you’re raiding your favourite enemy, you’re about to die in a glorious last stand, and with only death in store for you, you reveal your last trick - an amulet to Crom that you went through hell and high water to make and conceal. You grab it in your fist, you break it, knowing this gesture of attention from the God on the mountain will surely incur his wrath without any reservation. As you breathe your last in the limb-cluttered bloodbath you’ve caused, with some thrall’s spear coming closer to finish you off, you hear the roar of Crom’s flaming ball of fury come diving down like a fighterplane on fire, brightening the sky and deafening your puny mortal ears as crom’s bunker-busting rock crashes through nine layers of carefully built castle and crushes the approaching enemy under three tons of priceless metal where you previously stood. As you’re a man or woman of main-protagonist survivability however, you manage to dodge and run away juuuust fast enough to avoid the rock yourself. You can now laugh in the face of death, and stand proud infront of the mountain god and say you tricked him, your risk paid off and you stand the victor of a slaughter in your own name. Glorious!
-At least until Thic8oi, the newest member in your clan calls a bunkerbuster down on your own base by mistake, 3 days later.
So, in short;
A boon to ONE of the following stats acting as your “inborn” potential. Strength,grit, or survival,starting at +1 at level 1 and gradually rising to +3 at level 60.
Choose ANY other religion during the course of the game and it is immediately removed, maybe even incurring a penalty of some kind.
An endgame “weapon” that is high risk, unpredictable, unsafe and a one-shot bunkerbuster meteor that leaves a (relatively small) hole if any building is above your head when you summon it.
Run a little too slow, and you’re canned meat. Run fast enough, and you might just survive and reap the spoils of your shrewd plan.