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Old 02-28-2018, 03:02 AM   #11
ecz
 
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Default Re: priest and theologian

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Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
I always figured that the attractiveness of the priest/theologian talents depended almost entirely on the game world. In a setting where priests are accorded great wealth and status, those talents might be very attractive even if they imparted no magical powers. The reverse is true as well. By default, though, there's no real reason for player characters to take those talents. They are essentially highly rigorous mundane talents as David noted.

Like most long time TFT'ers, I played around with clerical magic systems. The problem is that I always wound up simulating the D&D concept of clerics. Not necessarily a bad thing, but definitely derivative.

Anyhow, while you can spruce up priest/theologian talents, you really need some conception of what the religions are and how they interact with rulers, followers, non-followers, etc. In a theocracy where priests have no special magical powers, Theologian might well be better described as "Administration" or "Bureacracy" or even "Law".

I think an easy, low footprint, tweak for priest/theologian is to give them modest positive effects on followers. For instance:

A +1 on initiative ("Brother Parvis brings God to our side").

Allow a very minor healing power (like say, a master physicker's ability to heal 1 point of damage without any tools), which could be magic or just a strong placebo effect.

Allow a prayer to grant a +1 on a particular task roll "O Lord, please grant Anselm the strength to open this barred door that he might carry out thy will..." I'd limit this to a few uses per day.

Grant a +1 reaction with any coreligionists (or anyone if the faith is particularly well respected).

Allow priests an advantage fast-talking gullible followers ("Do witches burn? What also burns...what also floats"), etc.

Provide priests with a monthly stipend, which represents donations and support.

Allow a more significant bonus (say +2) when doing something that requires willpower, as long as the priest is present to pray/encourage the figure/display the holy symbol, etc.

Etc.

The key to these "powers" is that they may be magical, or they may just be manifestations of the placebo effect. And they may be limited by the deity, or just sensibly limited by the priest (or his religious doctrine) so as to retain their novelty.
It's a reasonable approach for "lazy" GMs :-)

It can work and does not require extra rules. But the fact a Priest must spend 5 IQ points to have these small bonuses put the cleric careeer "out of the market" .

Everything is good if GM and players decide it's good, of course.

I prefer a "derivative" idea if the result improves the game and the game remains balanced.
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Old 02-28-2018, 10:32 AM   #12
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Default Re: priest and theologian

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It's a reasonable approach for "lazy" GMs :-)

It can work and does not require extra rules. But the fact a Priest must spend 5 IQ points to have these small bonuses put the cleric careeer "out of the market" .

Everything is good if GM and players decide it's good, of course.

I prefer a "derivative" idea if the result improves the game and the game remains balanced.
I think I'd allow those kinds of bonuses with the "priest" talent. I interpret "theologian" as more of "how to manage a religious bureaucracy" than an even higher power level. Indeed, if the religion in question lacks a significant hierarchy (like many protestant denominations today), "theologian" might not even be available.

As I envision it, a TFT character who wanted to be a full-time priest would probably need additional talents to lead a congregation - literacy, charisma, business sense, diplomacy, courtly graces, scholar, recognize/assess value, and/or additional languages come to mind. Theologian would allow the character to ascend to high levels of leadership in the church hierarchy.

A character who in a religious fighting order would need just priest talent and an assortment of combat skills. (You could even have an IQ8 1 point talent "Religion" that grants no powers but gives the figure familiarity with a particular faith, for rank and file members of the fighting order. I'd allow the figure to later take Priest for one more talent point).

This would be appropriate for a medieval Roman Catholic-style religion. Of course, all kinds of additional trappings can be added.
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Old 03-01-2018, 07:51 PM   #13
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Default Re: priest and theologian

I just want to put in a vote for leaving Priest and Theologian as is. The D&D Cleric is a very D&D invention, a strange ahistorical mix of vampire hunter and knight templar tropes and ubiquitous divine magic. Its resonance with fantasy literature is backwards -- things that have come since D&D have adopted some of its tropes, but things that came before don't have much that is identifiably it.

I think Clerics are great in D&D. For me, anything that pushes TFT's Priest and Theologian closer to being a D&D clone takes away from the uniqueness of TFT's treatment of religion. The Priest and Theologian talents are very worthwhile talents with social power in the game setting. I've never seen players shy away from taking them. They also allow for a much more sword & sorcery vibe to deities. Maybe there are no real gods, and priests are cultists and power players in organized religions. Maybe gods are real but are mysterious and unknowable, with many cults with diverse beliefs and internal schisms, and the lack of clerical magic makes them all the more mysterious. Maybe there are strange alien things out there (Lovecraftian things), and they may be worshipped by cultists but do not concern themselves with mortals. Maybe people just worship TFT demons.

Etc.

In any case, there are a lot of games out there with clerical magic baked in such that throwing it out throws the whole system out of whack. My TFT games have included plenty of religions and religious characters (both NPCs and PCs), and the absence of clerical magic is something that has set those campaigns apart from our D&D games. It's part of what gives TFT its own feel.
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Old 03-04-2018, 03:34 PM   #14
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Default Re: priest and theologian

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Originally Posted by rwforest View Post
I just want to put in a vote for leaving Priest and Theologian as is. The D&D Cleric is a very D&D invention, a strange ahistorical mix of vampire hunter and knight templar tropes and ubiquitous divine magic. Its resonance with fantasy literature is backwards -- things that have come since D&D have adopted some of its tropes, but things that came before don't have much that is identifiably it.
It's not too far from the Norse Godi nor the Celtic Druids - both of whom were priest-magicians.

Nor is it too far from the pre-christian middle-eastern vizeer type, tho' more commonly an evil one in the translated literature, and thus not suited as PCs.

It's only in the judeo-christian settings where priests are not also seen as magic users.
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Old 03-04-2018, 07:31 PM   #15
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Default Re: priest and theologian

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Originally Posted by rwforest View Post
I just want to put in a vote for leaving Priest and Theologian as is. The D&D Cleric is a very D&D invention, a strange ahistorical mix of vampire hunter and knight templar tropes and ubiquitous divine magic. Its resonance with fantasy literature is backwards -- things that have come since D&D have adopted some of its tropes, but things that came before don't have much that is identifiably it.

I think Clerics are great in D&D. For me, anything that pushes TFT's Priest and Theologian closer to being a D&D clone takes away from the uniqueness of TFT's treatment of religion. The Priest and Theologian talents are very worthwhile talents with social power in the game setting. I've never seen players shy away from taking them. They also allow for a much more sword & sorcery vibe to deities. Maybe there are no real gods, and priests are cultists and power players in organized religions. Maybe gods are real but are mysterious and unknowable, with many cults with diverse beliefs and internal schisms, and the lack of clerical magic makes them all the more mysterious. Maybe there are strange alien things out there (Lovecraftian things), and they may be worshipped by cultists but do not concern themselves with mortals. Maybe people just worship TFT demons.

Etc.

In any case, there are a lot of games out there with clerical magic baked in such that throwing it out throws the whole system out of whack. My TFT games have included plenty of religions and religious characters (both NPCs and PCs), and the absence of clerical magic is something that has set those campaigns apart from our D&D games. It's part of what gives TFT its own feel.
Brilliant Post - I couldn't agree more.

Last edited by Jim Kane; 03-05-2018 at 01:16 AM. Reason: Self-edited eradication of secondary and non-contributory extraneous verbiage of dubious value
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Old 03-06-2018, 07:17 AM   #16
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Default Re: priest and theologian

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Originally Posted by rwforest View Post
I just want to put in a vote for leaving Priest and Theologian as is. The D&D Cleric is a very D&D invention, a strange ahistorical mix of vampire hunter and knight templar tropes and ubiquitous divine magic. Its resonance with fantasy literature is backwards -- things that have come since D&D have adopted some of its tropes, but things that came before don't have much that is identifiably it.

I think Clerics are great in D&D. For me, anything that pushes TFT's Priest and Theologian closer to being a D&D clone takes away from the uniqueness of TFT's treatment of religion. The Priest and Theologian talents are very worthwhile talents with social power in the game setting. I've never seen players shy away from taking them. They also allow for a much more sword & sorcery vibe to deities. Maybe there are no real gods, and priests are cultists and power players in organized religions. Maybe gods are real but are mysterious and unknowable, with many cults with diverse beliefs and internal schisms, and the lack of clerical magic makes them all the more mysterious. Maybe there are strange alien things out there (Lovecraftian things), and they may be worshipped by cultists but do not concern themselves with mortals. Maybe people just worship TFT demons.

Etc.

In any case, there are a lot of games out there with clerical magic baked in such that throwing it out throws the whole system out of whack. My TFT games have included plenty of religions and religious characters (both NPCs and PCs), and the absence of clerical magic is something that has set those campaigns apart from our D&D games. It's part of what gives TFT its own feel.
very good, but while I may have a different opinion based upon my direct experience ( never seen a player spending 3/5 points for these semi-useless talents giving basically nothing) I point the fact that I do not suggest to change the rules adding the divine magic sub-system as I did in my games. I could even agree about the fact that it is not strictly necessary create another kind of magic with divine spells and other, I just asked how you GM/players have played the priest/theologian talent lacking any detail in the rules.

Thanks for all answers
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Old 03-06-2018, 11:48 AM   #17
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Default Re: priest and theologian

We handled Priests very differently.

Our problems:
1. no in-combat healing
2. ST used to cast spells

Our solutions:
1. Priest talent is a prerequisite for new Healing spells. Spell's effects were relatively weak but cheap, most with 1 hex range. However, failing a cast roll meant the Priest could cast NO further healing spells until they got right with their God(s), i.e. performed a time-consuming ritual. Priests were also given "talent spells": Turn Undead (works like you'd expect) & Bless (party buff) so there was a reason to take the talent even if you didn't want to build a full-on cleric.

2. Broke out HPs from ST and created a "mana" pool to power spells. (But the "stat bloat" issue is off-topic so I'll leave it at that.)

Theologian got a blanket +1 to cast any of the new Priest spells. We also added some Priest-only combat and support spells, but again, that's another discussion.

Cheers.
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Old 03-06-2018, 01:34 PM   #18
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Default Re: priest and theologian

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Originally Posted by Jackal View Post
We handled Priests very differently.

Our problems:
1. no in-combat healing
2. ST used to cast spells

Our solutions:
1. Priest talent is a prerequisite for new Healing spells. Spell's effects were relatively weak but cheap, most with 1 hex range. However, failing a cast roll meant the Priest could cast NO further healing spells until they got right with their God(s), i.e. performed a time-consuming ritual. Priests were also given "talent spells": Turn Undead (works like you'd expect) & Bless (party buff) so there was a reason to take the talent even if you didn't want to build a full-on cleric.

2. Broke out HPs from ST and created a "mana" pool to power spells. (But the "stat bloat" issue is off-topic so I'll leave it at that.)

Theologian got a blanket +1 to cast any of the new Priest spells. We also added some Priest-only combat and support spells, but again, that's another discussion.

Cheers.
This seems like a pretty interesting approach. I'd love to hear more details of how you all did it.
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Old 03-06-2018, 04:00 PM   #19
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Default Re: priest and theologian

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This seems like a pretty interesting approach. I'd love to hear more details of how you all did it.
I would love to show you -- but it turned into a full-fledged TFT OSR. Over 60k words at last count. Not sure I can do it in a forum post.

The weird thing is, all that follows had ZERO impact on Melee & Wizard rules beyond character gen. Completely seamless.

But you asked for it, so:

(tl;dr: wonky OSR rules are wonky ... arrgh, wall of text! my eyes!)

Bottom line: we created a hard distinction between attributes (ST, DX, IQ) measuring capabilities, and pools (hit points, mana, etc.) measuring a character's state at a moment in time.

Attributes are fixed, pools grow with levels and are depleted & replenished over time.
(We also added EN, PE & LK attributes -- Endurance, Personality & Luck -- to make converting DCC RPG and other OSR scenarios easier: turns out, doing so gave us more flexibility, too: they play a part in setting pool upperbounds, below.)

Characters get better at doing stuff not by adding to attributes but by "learning" talents that grant bonuses to a spell or weapon or talent, etc.

There are five pools all told: HP, Honor (works like Sanity in CoC), Morale (as in miniatures rules) and two mana pools: a Knowledge pool used to cast spells, and a Training pool used to learn spells and talents.

The pools replenish at different rates: Knowledge pool, for instance, replenishes very quickly. Honor lost might never be regained -- or regained only after acting like Conan at the bar, or Fafhrd keening for days, or the Grey Mouser pimping his hut. (This gets back to Dave Arneson's stipulation in Blackmoor that XP is never granted until after all the gold is spent!)

OK, that's an over-simplification of what we did, and way more text than y'all should have to read. My apologies if you got this far!

- Jack
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Old 03-06-2018, 04:47 PM   #20
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Default Re: priest and theologian

That's quite interesting. Thanks for sharing!
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