Zin the Lawgiver 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.
- 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 which will be distributed as you gain experience. You'll also receive an indication of what Zin's opinion towards you will be once the piety is fully distributed.
- 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 and drinking potions of beneficial mutation.
- 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.
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. Passive. No piety cost.
- Zin may protect you from the effects of Hell's mystical force. The chance also increases with Piety. Passive. No piety cost.
- Zin may protect you from mutation at a (Piety/2)% chance. Passive. No piety cost.
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 which to read from (e.g. whether to use Ablutions or Anathema on a skeleton). Recite takes three turns, during which you can move, fight, and evoke; anything that interrupts your speaking (potions, scrolls, spells, shouting, or using a breath weapon) will cancel the Recite status. 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, poisoning, 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-walled prison around an enemy, pushing away monsters adjacent to the target (if applicable). Duration depends on invocations skill. Strong monsters may break themselves out (chance for jailbreak depends on monster's HD). 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. So long as you remain within the radius of Sanctuary, no enemies can attack you (this protection extends to your allies, as well). If you or one of your allies attacks, Sanctuary is instantly dispelled and Zin considers it an evil act. Costs 7 MP, 150-300 Food, and 15-23 Piety.
In addition to preventing enemy attacks, you enjoy the following effects from Sanctuary:
- 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.
- Magical contamination discharges are greatly reduced.
- Hell's mystical force will not strike you; any previous effects will linger, however.
- Blood is cleaned from tiles.
Piety level ******: "Bringer of Law"
- Cure All Mutations - Immediately removes all mutations from your character, both good and bad. Can only be used once per game. No piety cost.
- 20% chance: If possible, remove 1-7 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. random insects, arachnids, 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 often give you tools to help you deal more damage, allies to fight for you, or protection from damage. Zin works through more subtle means: giving monsters 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, either to attack or disable their foes. On the other hand, Zin is not ideal for pure casters, since he provides no MP regen and spells interrupt Recite. Furthermore, Zin's strict dietary restrictions make the problem of spell hunger somewhat more difficult in branches with few animals. Pure melee combatants who eschew the use of magic entirely may also get less benefit from Zin than they would with more aggressive gods, and will receive little benefit from his intelligence boost.
As far as species go, a strong aptitude in Invocations, good melee aptitudes, and some way of compensating for Zin's dietary restrictions are optimal, though only trolls are likely to have difficulty staving off starvation.
That being said, characters who worship the Shining One or Elyvilon may find it extremely worthwhile to switch to Zin for a brief time in the end game. Switching to Zin from a good god while at full piety will start you at nearly full piety with Zin, meaning that you need only donate half your gold and kill a handful of monsters before unlocking the ability to cure all of your mutations. This is a small price to pay for a character who's had a rough time in the extended end game. You may then immediately switch back to your old god with no penalty and with most of your original piety intact.
In spite of the fact that Zin abhors chaos, Recite produces a variety of random effects, with results ranging from the spectacular (turning a roomful of monsters into pillars of salt!) to nigh-useless (an illuminated brimstone fiend is hardly taken care of). Nevertheless, it has no cost to the player, and is able to affect a number of enemies whose magic resistance or outright magic immunity render them normally immune to negative status effects. When used properly, it can severely weaken the opposition, allowing you to mop up in safety. This is particularly true for characters who rely on stabbing, as many of the status effects Zin inflicts render enemies vulnerable to sneak attacks.
Although it's critical that you don't neglect Zin's other abilities, you should make sure to use Recite often. Due to the cooldown which follows each use, however, you may want to hold back on using it if you expect a crowd of victims to enter your line of sight soon. Waking up groups of enemies and luring them to a safe one-tile corridor is often ideal. For stabbers, waiting until you are nearly in melee range to begin reciting may be a good idea, but it really is a matter for your own discretion. Recite often and learn what works. In dire straits, you can quaff a potion of restore abilities to reset your breath counter, allowing you to Recite again almost immediately.
When fighting multiple types of opponents, or facing opponents that fall under multiple categories Zin hates, you will be forced to select a book to read from. Choose the book that handles the threat you're most concerned about; Apostates may not affect the swarm of summoned low-level demons, but it is very capable of disabling the dangerous priest who summoned them.
Recite's list of effects grows along with your Invocations skill and your piety, but weak effects are always possible. Monsters resist it based on their hit dice; as such, knowing which dangerous foes have low HD is critical to making intelligent choices with Recite. Monsters with very high HD, such as hell sentinels and liches, are much less likely to be affected, but will still take the full impact of the Recitation if it should overcome their HD. Surprisingly vulnerable opponents include:
- Hellion (7 HD)
- Tormentor (7 HD)
- Mummy priest (10 HD)
- Shadow demon (10 HD)
- Executioner (12 HD)
- Curse skull (13 HD)
- Balrug (14 HD)
- Curse toe (14 HD)
- Ghoul (14 HD)
- Murray (14 HD)
- Reaper (14 HD)
- Geryon (15 HD)
- Greater mummy (15 HD)
- Dispater (16 HD)
- Gloorx Vloq (16 HD)
- Asmodeus (17 HD)
- Mnoleg (17 HD)
- Ereshkigal (18 HD)
- Khufu (18 HD)
- Mara (18 HD)
Tips & Tricks
- If you plan on worshiping Zin, but find an early altar to Elyvilon or the Shining One, consider joining their religion: they won't mind the later switch to Zin, give you some starting piety, and may allow you to start training Invocations.
- 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, plague shamblers, death drakes, Jorgrun). The stat boost also makes you more effective in melee combat and spell casting, much like a universal (but smaller) version of Okawaru's Heroism. Just don't expect Vitalisation's slight nutrition gain to keep you well-fed, and although it's cheap, mind your piety.
- 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).
- Vitalisation doesn't actually give you the poison resistance you'd need to consume poisonous chunks. It simply prevents you from acquiring the poison status effect; you will still take full damage from sources of direct poison damage like Poison Arrow or Poisonous Cloud, but not from Venom Bolt or Sting.
- 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.
In 0.14 Vitalisation will grant poison resistance, and Zin won't mind when you allow your sentient allies to die.
Before 0.13, Recite had a 3-turn delay instead of a 3-turn duration, essentially paralyzing the player while he hoped Zin did something. Also, the priest background was removed since Zin is not a very appealing god early on.