If you've traveled enough you've probably seen a pilgrim's ship surrounded by the bright blue glow of a Sustain shield. Perhaps you're even lucky enough to have seen a pilgrim fend off a swarm of pirates with a Circle of Wrath. Domina grants such powers to pilgrims who establish a strong relationship with her.
There are nine known powers of Domina. The powers are categorized into five different tiers of increasing strength. A power of the first tier, such as Sustain, is useful but certainly not spectacular. In contrast, powers of the fifth tier, such as Shatter, can overcome all but the most powerful opponents.
All pilgrims have access to Sustain, the only first-tier power. As their relationship to Domina increases, they will gain access to higher tiers.
Note: Only pilgrims have access to these powers. In the core adventure, The Stars of the Pilgrim, you play a pilgrim called by Domina and have access to these powers. In other adventures, however, you may play a different character.
To gain access to the higher tiers, a pilgrim must visit a temple of the Sisters of Domina and offer up one or more items in tribute.
All items are accepted and some (like food and medicine) are appreciated by the Sisters. But Domina values certain special items and if you offer those you will strengthen your relationship to her.
For example, offering a carved prayer stone, a jewel of contemplation, or a hierolith crystal is bound to increase your relationship.
The rarer and more powerful the item, the greater the increase in relationship. Domina particularly values halo gems, CDM archives, and death cubes.
In all cases, however, the increase in relationship is cumulative. The more items you donate, the more your relationship will strengthen.
Sustain surrounds your ship with an energy shield, protecting it against all attacks. While the Sustain is up, no projectile or energy beam can harm you. Your weapons are, unfortunately, also blocked by the impenetrable shield.
Sustain lasts for a little over 16 seconds of real time.
Restore immediately replenishes your shields to full power, regardless of their current state.
If you have no shields, Restore will instead repair your armor.
Strengthen doubles the damage inflicted by all your weapons. Strengthen lasts for 20 seconds of real time.
Defend creates an impenetrable shield that protects your ship against any attack. Unlike Sustain, however, Defend allows your own weapon fire to pass through the shield.
Defend lasts for 5 seconds if you're at the third tier. Defend lasts 8 seconds at the fourth tier and almost 12 seconds at the fifth tier.
When invoked, Nebular Sight reveals all friendly and enemy stations in the system that are hidden by nebula.
Circle of Wrath creates an expanding ring of dark lightning that damages all ships in its path. Circle of Wrath does an average of 21 hit points of damage per hit.
Ingenuity temporarily grants you a fragment of Domina's vast intelligence, allowing you to improve the technology of your ship.
When invoked, you will be able to improve a random armor segment or device on your ship:
Unlike other powers, Desperate Escape need not be explicitly invoked. Whenever your ship is about to be destroyed, Desperate Escape automatically invokes a Sustain shield, giving you enough time to retreat.
Few have witnessed the awesome power of Shatter. When invoked, Shatter deploys an expanding shockwave of dark steel energy. All ships caught in its path, friendly and enemy, suffer an average of 52 hit points of damage.
Shatter is so powerful that it often pulverizes its targets, leaving no wreck behind to loot. Use this power carefully.
How do Domina's powers actually work? Commonwealth scientists have pondered this question for centuries but none have come up with a full explanation.
Domina may be a hyperintelligence, but she's not smart enough to get around Einstein's fundamental law: neither matter nor energy may travel faster than light.
Domina's consciousness, being neither matter nor energy, can travel instantaneously to touch the minds of her pilgrims.
And of course, stargates and jumpdrives create shortcuts in space without violating Einstein's laws.
But even the simplest Domina power, Sustain, requires a large quantity of energy. Where does the energy come from? It can't come all the way from the Galactic Core.
Instead, scientists believe donated items provide all of the energy and matter needed for the powers. Perhaps they are transmuted into dark matter engines able to release zero-point energies.
While scientists have not figured out all the details, they are confident that Domina is constrained by all known laws of physics.
For some that may be a disappointment. But for others, given the mysteries surrounding Domina & Oracus, it may be a relief.