Zin is a God for those focused on inner strength. Followers must remain pure of body and soul, refraining from unholy, evil, unclean or chaotic magic; the use of mutations and the consumption of intelligent beings' flesh. They may preach to or imprison the unenlightened, and can ultimately gain a divine refuge. Zin values selflessness, demanding a tithe of 1/10 of all gold gained, preferably followed by donations of more. Zin's followers can safely convert to Elyvilon and the Shining One.
Demigods may not worship Zin or any other deity.
- Zin takes a 10% tithe every time you pick up gold, unless you're already at max piety. This tithe counts remainders (e.g., if you pick up two piles of 15 gold one after the other, Zin will take 1 gold piece from the first and 2 from the second). However, Zin knows if you try to save gold piles before converting to him ("Zin is a bit unhappy you did not bring this gold earlier."), and the tithe has a reduced effect in the Orcish Mines and on gold acquired. Paying a tithe has a chance to increase piety based on its size.
- Similarly, praying at Zin's altar will donate half your gold, granting a chunk of piety over a few hundred turns. You'll also receive an indication of Zin's favour towards you.
- Upon conversion, Zin takes some gold, but this provides more piety than a regular donation.
- Killing the spawn of chaos has a chance to grant piety. See the list of chaotic monsters and abilities for more details.
Zin dislikes it (i.e. piety loss) when:
- You drink blood from a potion of blood or a potion of coagulated blood.
- You attack neutral monsters.
- You allow sentient allies to die.
- You deliberately mutate yourself. This includes deliberately making yourself glow.
- You or your allies attack monsters in a sanctuary.
Zin strongly dislikes it (i.e. penance) when:
- You perform cannibalism.
- You desecrate holy remains.
- You use Necromancy. Casting Necromutation instead causes excommunication.
- You use unholy magic or items.
- You attack non-hostile holy beings.
- You or your allies kill non-hostile holy beings.
- You attack allies.
- You polymorph monsters.
- You use unclean or chaotic magic or items.
- You eat the flesh of sentient beings.
Zin will forgive accidental transgressions (i.e. performing a forbidden action via an unidentified item) but only once.
On average, your piety will decay naturally by 1 every 340 turns.
Piety level -: "Anchorite"
- Zin may protect you from a fatal instance of damage. The chance increases with Piety. (Costs Piety)
- Zin may protect you from the effects of Hell's mystical force. The chance also increases with Piety. (Costs nothing)
- Zin may protect you from mutation at a (Piety/2)% chance. (Costs nothing)
Piety level *: "Apologist"
- Recite - Preaches a verse from one of the four books of the Axioms of Law:
- Abominations, which harshly deals with chaotic monsters: chance to cause bleeding, to smite, to illuminate, to sear their flesh or to turn them into pillars of salt.
- Ablutions, which punishes unclean monsters and walking corpses: chance to cause bleeding, to smite, to cause rot, to illuminate, to cast holy word, or to turn them into pillars of salt.
- Apostates, which applies to unbelievers and heretics (i.e. monsters who worship a god other than Zin, such as orcs of Beogh): chance to put to sleep, to daze, to confuse, to fear, and to paralyze unbelievers, while heretics may suffer bleeding, smiting, blindness, muteness, illumination, paralysis, madness, and dumbness.
- Anathema, which combats demons and undead: chance to daze, to confuse, to fear, to illuminate, to cast holy word or to turn them into pillars of salt.
If multiple books could apply, you are allowed to choose. (e.g. whether to use Ablutions or Anathema on a skeleton.) Recite takes 3 turns, during which you are helpless. The effect of Recite is more powerful with higher piety and Invocations; stronger effects only occur at high power, but there's always a chance of weaker effects (or even no effect at all). (Costs Breath.)
Piety level **: "Pious"
- Vitalisation - Protects you from sickness, nausea, poison, confusion, petrification, rot and stat drain while active, and boosts all your stats by Invocations/3. Gives a small amount of nutrition, but won't go past Full. (Costs 1-2 Piety.)
Piety level ***: "Devout"
- Imprison - Temporarily creates a silver wall prison, similar to a Tomb card, around an enemy. After the imprisonment is over the monster gets Recited. Imprison can only be used on monsters which are susceptible to Recite. (Costs 5 MP, 125-250 Food, and 4-6 Piety.)
Piety level ****: "Orthodox"
- No new abilities.
Piety level *****: "Immaculate"
- Sanctuary - Creates a stationary Sanctuary with a radius and duration dependent on your Invocations skill, centered on yourself. Its radius will decrease as its duration runs out. Sanctuary is instantly dispelled if you or one of your allies attacks. While in Sanctuary, you receive these benefits (costing 7 MP, 150-300 Food, and 15-23 Piety):
- Blood is cleaned from tiles.
- Traps are revealed.
- Clouds dissipate.
- Your allies are recalled and protected against Abjuration.
- Monsters may be scared away.
- Undead and demons are subject to Holy Word, which slows, damages, and scares them.
- You repel missiles.
- Magical contamination discharges are greatly reduced.
- Hell's mystical force will not strike you; any previous effects will linger, however.
- Cure All Mutations. Free, but one time use per game. Followers do not gain this ability immediately after obtaining Immaculate status.
Piety level ******: "Bringer of Law"
- No new abilities.
- 20% chance: If possible, remove of up to seven random good mutations. Otherwise, reroll from the remaining options.
- 30% chance: Summons either (1d3 + XL/10) hostile angels (more likely if you are high level) or a swarm of "creeping doom" i.e. insects, scorpions, spiders, and worms.
- 20% chance: Recites the Axioms of Law at you, inflicting confusion, sleep or paralysis (equal chance of each).
- 20% chance: Halves your current nutrition level.
- 10% chance: Makes an extremely loud noise at your current position.
Zin is not as straightforward as other gods, who, most of the time, give you tools to help you deal more damage or protect you from damage. Zin, on the other hand, works through more subtle means: inflicting on monster various status effects (Recite and Imprison) while protecting you from the same and buffing your stats (Vitalisation, protection from chaos).
This means that the characters best suited for Zin worship are those who have multiple tools at their disposal to deal with monsters and who enjoy a large boost to all stats: in other words, melee hybrids who can fight toe-to-toe and who also use magic, such as skalds. On the other hand, Zin is not ideal for pure casters, since he provides no MP regen and Recite makes you immobile for three turns, which could prove disastrous for a physically weak character. Furthermore, Zin's strict dietary restrictions exacerbate the problem of spell hunger. Pure melee combatants who eschew the use of magic entirely will also have trouble with Zin since he provides no means of healing or summons. This makes large-scale attrition battles against groups of monsters or summoners dangerous.
As far species go, a strong aptitude in Invocations, good melee aptitudes, and some way of compensating for Zin's dietary restrictions are optimal: this marks Hill Orcs as the species best suited for Zin worship... which is ironic since they are the only ones who cannot begin the game worshipping him.
Considering Zin abhors chaos, Recite has pretty random effects, with results ranging from the spectacular (turning a roomful of monsters into pillars of salt!) to nigh-useless (an illuminated Pit Fiend is hardly taken care of). Nevertheless, when properly used, it can severely weaken the opposition and allow you to mop up.
Knowing when to use Recite is key. Since it takes three turns to cast during which you are helpless, you want to avoid casting it when surrounded by dangerous foes, but you do want to affect as many monsters as soon as possible, due to Recite's breath cooldown. Waking up groups of monsters and retreating in a one-tile corridor is optimal. Furthermore, in a group fight, pick the book that will affect the most dangerous enemies in the group: Apostates rarely is the right choice unless you need to kill dangerous priests you can't reach.
Recite's effects grow in potential with Invocations and piety, and monsters resist it based on their hit dice; as such, dangerous foes with low HD (e.g. executioners with 12 HD) are particularly vulnerable, but you won't be bringing those with higher HD (e.g. ancient liches with 27 HD) to their knees with your voice alone.
Tips and tricks
- Priests begin the game with very weak equipment; and Recite, even with a few levels in Invocations, is not powerful enough to guarantee your safety in the early game. Consider starting the game with another background, such as Fighter, Gladiator, or Monk, and converting at an altar to Zin.
- Along the same vein, if you do not start the game worshipping Zin but find an early altar to Elyvilon or the Shining One, do join their religion: they won't mind the later switch to Zin and may allow you to start training Invocations earlier (though that's somewhat unlikely for the Shining One, barring a very late Zin altar).
- Vitalisation boosts all your stats and makes you immune to nearly every negative status you could incur, but it won't cure them, so cast it preemptively as soon as you encounter an enemy that can inflict some nasty effects on you (e.g. early adders, rotting hulks, death drakes). The stats boost also makes you much more effective in melee combat. Just don't expect Vitalisation's slight nutrition gain to keep you well-fed.
- If you want to identify a bunch of potions by quaffing them, cast Vitalisation first. It will protect you from most negative effects, save mutation (which Zin may shield you from based on your piety).
- While Vitalisation will prevent nausea from eating contaminated meat, its poison resistance is not enough to let you eat poisonous chunks of meat.
- Imprison is best used when you're faced with a couple of powerful monsters at once. Imprison one, then finish off its friend before Imprison is over. Or run.
- Sanctuary is one of the most powerful emergency abilities in the game (up there with Cheibriados's Step From Time and Elyvilon's Divine Protection). Use it when you're surrounded and the situation is quickly going pear-shaped, though make sure you have an escape route too, since otherwise Sanctuary will only delay the inevitable. Note that you can't recast Sanctuary while you already have one still active, and that it costs a hefty 15 piety to invoke.