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Old 02-08-2011, 01:07 PM   #81
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Divine Favor

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Originally Posted by Peter Knutsen View Post
One minor problem would be whether it should be a D&D-shaped druid for Dungeon Fantasy, or a much more historically and mythologically authentic druid for use in serious historical fantasy. A bigger supplement could do both, but it doesn't seem that SJ Games operates that way.
I would much prefer to see druids as a real mythology, not just vegetarian spellcasters. The problem is that we have very little to go on regarding the historical druids' practices. Almost everything we know about them comes from the Romans. However, their descriptions of the druids (a secretive, superstitious cult with immoral practices) isn't much different from their descriptions of Christians.
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:09 PM   #82
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Divine Favor

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Originally Posted by Rev. Pee Kitty View Post
Anyway, don't sweat small differences too much, here. Divine Favor is a new, standalone advantage, not a worked example/ability -- which is why I didn't give an actual breakdown and statistics line for it. Think of it as "inspired by the Patron advantage with these modifiers," if you prefer. :)
I only noticed because I was trying to reverse engineer the trait to allow for lower levels of Patron, representing minor gods and limited manifestations.
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:46 PM   #83
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Divine Favor

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Originally Posted by Peter Knutsen View Post
The whole prayer thing is problematic, given that some historical or pre-historical religions had no tradition of prayer whatsoever, but instead used sacrifices (and other equally non-prayer-like rituals) to attempt to communicate with the gods.
In the context of some religions, sacrifices could modify positively the reaction roll for prayer. Anyway I was mainly concerned with the approach that you are mentioning here:

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Originally Posted by Peter Knutsen View Post
Yes.Still, it would have been nice to have rules for sacrifices that tied in with Divine Favor, for GMs who want to create ahistrical mix-and-match religions that use both prayers and sacrifices
I was mostly aiming for a fantasy approach. Still, real world religious practices sometimes were extremely complex and impossible of summarization, hence the point that I was signaling about offering links with other GURPS concepts and rules, for easing a more streamlined path for implementing extra meanings and added complexity.

On the other hand, when I think about religious sacrifices, I'm not having in mind human sacrifices -specially stressed in that way by popular fiction that many times is just vulgar and misleading. There are or were a plethora of things considered as sacrifice ("to make sacred"), without any connotation of barbarism or evilness. Also, why to sacrifice and what you get by sacrificing had different answers according to each religious tradition -and even more of one in particular religions, according to different levels of intention and meaning, some of them unknown by the "low-rank" profane practitioner. The "doctrine of sacrifice" is complex.
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Old 02-08-2011, 03:16 PM   #84
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Divine Favor

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I would much prefer to see druids as a real mythology, not just vegetarian spellcasters. The problem is that we have very little to go on regarding the historical druids' practices. Almost everything we know about them comes from the Romans. However, their descriptions of the druids (a secretive, superstitious cult with immoral practices) isn't much different from their descriptions of Christians.
As I see it, the actual problem with druids as "ecologists" and "vegetarian spellcasters" is that they have been portrayed in that distorted way by the materialistic-naturalistic mindset believed and shared by most contemporary people. Druids weren't worshiping "nature" (natura naturata), which would be just pantheism, but natura naturans, that is to say, Gods. The visible natural world, trees, plants, and other phenomena was the necessary symbolic support that shaped the Celtic world.

Here is important to not confound analogy with identity: in this case, the result of such confusion are druids "superstitiously worshiping the natural world in an idolatrous way because they weren't enough advanced for being able to understand it scientifically."

Isn't completely true that all that can be know about druids comes from the Romans, but I acknowledge that finding reliable answers in this subject isn't easy. Besides there are the stacked prejudices coming from some Roman accounts, by Christians, contemporary historians and anthropologists, and then the whole New Age and neopagan stuff, that need to be cleared altogether in first place.

A choice for role playing games portraying Druids could be to follow the mythological models, which can be done with GURPS Magic + Thaumatology (already published, starting with GURPS Celtic Myth) or with the Powers approach, too. Naturally, this results in very powerful personages. Concerning historical druids' spiritual or magical practices, I wouldn't bother at all with such perspective, but others can be interested in taking a set of assumptions; in both senses, a resource like this can be useful.
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Old 02-08-2011, 04:30 PM   #85
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Divine Favor

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Hmm, good question. Off the top of my head, that's basically the equivalent of moving down the Patron list -- that is, you're slowly moving from "true god" to "limited manifestation of a true god" to "limited manifestation of a minor god" when it comes to power level. (. . .)
I'm thinking that this way of "diminishing the true god" could be a viable approach, too, for breaking down the "monotheistic" "One God" to the "multiple gods" according to the so-called "polytheism": a "plurality of non-absolute gods" in pantheons that would be sharing the divine power in different measures.

Think about "the whole divine pantheon" as a compartmentalized equivalent of "the One God" (1). Each one of these "gods" could have a limit in the scope of the miracles that he can grant to their human or creatural agents, because none of such "gods" would be completely proprietary of the power nor of the "divinity" -which in "polytheistic" contexts isn't usually portrayed at all, remaining as something completely impersonal and unknown, utterly esoteric.

In the sense of that different aspects of the "divinity" (2), aspects that are perfectly integrated in itself but not so much -or even not at all- in the existential, outwardly domain, they -the seemingly "different gods"- can actually offer the appearance of clashes of interests (3). Here is important again to take in consideration the god/s' agendas, too, for finding or justifying the reasons of such seeming clashes.



(1) According to this, having "multiple pantheons" in a given world or setting a la AD&D Deities and Demigods makes no sense —but however it makes sense under a different, more particular, point of view, linked to the dunamis of specific, different cultures.

(2) Which is beyond any quantitative measure, so it can be symbolically expressed in a "monotheistic" -individual- or a "polytheistic" -plural- way, but essentially it's always the same under different appearances, phenomena and social structures.

(3) <<We have indicated in another part the recognizable parallel in any representation of the mystery of Saint George and the Dragon: the opponents, that had been friends, and perhaps even brothers, in the "dressing room" (in the other world), appear in the setting (of this world) as mortal enemies, but they are friends again when return to the darkness of which they emerged in first place. Thus also, in the Egyptian mythology, Horus and Seth are at the same time friends and enemies.>> (Extract from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Indra and Namuci, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Speculum Vol. 19, No. 1 (Jan., 1944), pp. 104-125, Medieval Academy of America.)
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:01 PM   #86
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Divine Favor

On the point of sacrifices and Divine Favor, consider taking the Sacrifice Bonuses from Thaumatology p.246 and applying them to Divine Favor's Activation roll. Indeed, an enterprising GM who wants to blur the line between Divine Favor and magic could perhaps apply the Significant Dates modifiers that immediately follow the aforementioned Sacrifice Bonuses; likewise, it might be possible to adapt the Sanctity rules from Thaumatology for use with Divine Favor.

On the point of "realistic" druids: I'm not sure that I'd want a supplement dedicated entirely to them. What I would like to see would be a Thaumatology supplement dedicated to Path/Book Magical Styles, with various historical religious/spiritual/magical belief systems getting write-ups: in essence, something that is to magical belief systems as Martial Arts is to fighting styles. In terms of a Powers supplement that deals with druids, the closest that I'd want to get to that would be a supplement that is to the Nature power source/modifier as Psionic Powers is to the Psionic power source/modifier. Historical druid-based material could be incorporated to add depth and keep it from being too much of a walking stereotype; but I'd want the core idea to remain centered around the Nature power source as outlined in Powers.
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:17 PM   #87
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Divine Favor

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Limited Manifestation: For whatever reason, your god cannot bring His full power to bear on our material plane. For game purposes, this caps the maximum effective reaction that you can roll and the strength of the learned prayers you can obtain. Limited Manifestation, Very Good is -20%; Good is -40%; and Neutral is -60%. This limitation only applies to the cost of Divine Favor -- not to any learned prayers!
It should also increase the level required to purchase a given learned prayer, because of the way they are priced. Makes sense too, since a minor god might be less willing to share his somewhat more limited powers.

Edit: Or from the flipside: A minor god is going to be more responsive to his smaller flock, even if he isn't any more willing to give a lot of them the power to call down pillars of flame.
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:58 AM   #88
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Divine Favor

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It should also increase the level required to purchase a given learned prayer, because of the way they are priced. Makes sense too, since a minor god might be less willing to share his somewhat more limited powers.
Yes, of course. I just realized that I didn't say this explicitly because it was an obvious part of the change . . .to me. But that doesn't mean it's obvious to everyone who didn't write the darn system. Sorry. :)

To be clear: Any change to the cost of Divine Favor is going to alter (only) the Learned Prerequisite line of the learned prayers. But it's really a simple rule: The total cost (in the Statistics line, down at the bottom) of any learned prayer you want to buy must be less than or equal to the cost of your Divine Favor advantage.

For example, say you use the limitation Peter asked for, above, and buy Divine Favor 8 (Limited Manifestation, Good, -40%) [27]. The limitation means you can only learn minor blessings and major blessings -- but also the base cost of any learned prayer cannot exceed 27 points. Thus, you could learn Traveler's Blessing, but not Walk on the Water.

This is why I wouldn't mess with its cost in my games. As said earlier: Yes, you can adapt Divine Favor to do anything you'd like, because it's GURPS! But IMO, the most elegant thing about Divine Favor is its simplicity. You buy a level of power, and then you buy prayers of the same level or less -- dead easy. As written, even the most mathophobic player could pick it up, read through it, and happily build a paragon character.
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:53 AM   #89
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Divine Favor

I use multiplicative modifiers in my games. This makes the Learned Prayers, in most cases, cheaper compared to what's listed. Should I change the power level of these learned prayers or should I make them more costly so that they can remain where they are?
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Old 02-10-2011, 04:41 AM   #90
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Divine Favor

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To that I answer, "It's built with GURPS!" That is, it can be adapted to anything. :)
Of course. I was just wondering if there was a simple way to do it, which you provided.


The other way one might wish to modify Divine Favor is to have it be for a god with a limited portfolio, e.g. a fire god, instead of for a monotheistic omnipotent god. And the in-between case, where the Divine Favor is with an entire pantheon of gods (or two entire panthons for a Norse priest), but where the character has an especially good (or bad!) relationship with one (or a few) members of the pantheon, so that he's - somehow - better off getting those kinds of miracles, than other kinds.

Any suggestions for how to do that? From RPK or from others...?

Some it can perhaps be done by simply Limiting the 5 CP/level bonus to the reaction roll, in the sidebar on page 5, but as usual I'm quite unhappy with Aspected -20%. I'm buying Divine Favor 8 with the entire Aeir and Vanir pantheons, and on top of that I pay 4 CP/lvl for a better reaction roll from Loki (i.e. when petitioning for anything that falls under one of his portfolios), when instead I could pay 5 CP/lvl for a reaction roll bonus regardless of which god I petition. Uh... guess which of those two options I'l be choosing every single time.

Likewise, how should divine animosity play in? Say Sif unhappy with me because I'm a fan of Loki, so petitions to Sif result in a reaction roll penalty. A reaction roll penalty for a very minor god could be abusive, but it is a valid question to ask (a serious answer might be -1 CP for a -3 penalty to Sif reaction rolls). And it could instead be a major god, like Thor (for the same reasons). So a plus to Loki costs... how much? And a penalty to Thor...?

And what if gods have overlapping portfolios? Is the character free to choose which god to petition, in such cases?


And how to modify Divine Favor if it is for a one limited portfolio god? Would -20% or so be reasonable for a typical multiple-portfolio god, as seen in historical Indo-European mythologies, and -40% for a god from D&D-land with one portfolio only?
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