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Old 04-19-2018, 11:30 AM   #41
tbeard1999
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Re: Priests and Theologians in Rick's Campaign.

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Originally Posted by Rick_Smith View Post
Hi everyone, Aramis.
If you could be more specific as to what you want to know, I'll be happy to take another crack at it.

Warm regards, Rick.
Hey Rick. I think he wants some detail on the mechanics you used to determine whether a cleric was living up to his god's expectations and suchlike. Or, was it inspired GM fiat?

I always thought a system of "faith points" might be fun. Everything a cleric does in accordance with his deity's desires would add points; everything against his deity's desires would cost points. In addition, there would be a daily reduction in faith points, so a cleric would need to consistently see to his faith. Faith points would be used to power clerical miracles or obtain benefits from the Church (like the use of a holy artifact, or the assistance of one of the Church's fighting orders). Each religion would have a list of specific things that grant or cost faith points, and there'd be a general list. Example:

General
Daily faith point loss: -1 fp
Pray and follow daily observances for 1 hour: +1 fp (max 1 per day)
Work a full day seeing to the needs of the faithful: +2 fp

Specific Faith Points for the Church of Divine Truth
Tithe $100-199 to the Church: +1 fp
Tithe $200-499 to the Church: +2 fp
Tithe $500-1000 to the Church: +3 fp
For every thousand in tithes after $1000, earn 1 fp
(Tithes are counted up each month and points awarded; tithes can be paid in money or in value - labor, goods, whatever. However, fp from tithes may not exceed NET fp earned for other acts in a given month).
Bringing a powerful non-believer to the faith: +1 to +5 depending on power
Converting 25 commoners to the faith: +1
Slay an evil (i.e., condemned by the Church) monster: +1 to +5
Perform a genuine good or selfless deed: +1 to +5
Follow your faith's requirements when doing so exposes you to serious risk of death: +3
Seriously harm a foe who has surrendered: -2
Steal from someone: -1 to -3
Cheat someone: -1 to -3
Kill a foe who has surrendered: -5
Do an assigned penance: fp equal to the cost of a particular transgression; the penance will be proportional to the transgression

Etc.

If the cleric's faith points drop to a certain level below zero and stays there for so many days in a certain period, the cleric risks excommunication and loss of powers. It should be relatively easy for the cleric to break even daily - his normal daily prayers and the like would do that. But to earn enough points for impressive miracles, the cleric would have to expend resources that are important in the game. You might allow very minor powers that don't require faith points at all.

Last edited by tbeard1999; 04-19-2018 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 04-19-2018, 12:32 PM   #42
Rick_Smith
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Coquitlam B.C.
Default Re: Priests and Theologians in Rick's Campaign.

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Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
Hey Rick. ...

I always thought a system of "faith points" might be fun. Everything a cleric does in accordance with his deity's desires would add points; everything against his deity's desires would cost points. ...
Hi Everyone, Ty.
Such a list for each god would be useful, even if the GM does not bother explicitly counting. It tells what the god thinks is important and HOW important.

Warm regards, Rick.
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Old 04-19-2018, 05:41 PM   #43
JLV
 
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Default Re: priest and theologian

That's an interesting system by Ty, and a good point by Rick. I'll be very interested to see how (or even if) Steve Jackson tackles the question of religion in the game in ITL...
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Old 04-19-2018, 07:32 PM   #44
Skarg
 
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Default Re: priest and theologian

Some computer games use such systems, for example: Ancient Domains of Mystery

(Of course, it helps to have a computer tracking your every move. And people can and do game and (ab)use the system...)
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Old 04-20-2018, 03:17 AM   #45
JLV
 
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Default Re: priest and theologian

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Some computer games use such systems, for example: Ancient Domains of Mystery

(Of course, it helps to have a computer tracking your every move. And people can and do game and (ab)use the system...)
Hmm. Thanks for including the link. That would be a HUGE thing to keep track of.

I suspect that analysis of the lists would reveal that there are basically only a few general categories that would cause changes in your "piety" that could be modified for a few specific tools/creatures. That is, killing something leads to a + X Piety Points, which would be modified by WHOM/WHAT precisely you killed (a demon, an angel, the local prince, an innocent, etc.). Similarly, desecrating something might be worth + Y basic Piety Points, and would then be modified by WHAT precisely you desecrated (an altar, a church/temple, a graveyard, etc.).

If you could break it down to say, five to ten basic "acts," modified by five to ten "elements" that would be modified by those acts, that might be a whole lot simpler to keep track of, but still give you a heck of a lot of flexibility to define religions and their nature...

I also like that they use "Law" (or better still, "Order" would be my word choice) versus "Chaos," which is maybe a better way to define religions than "good" versus "evil." Good and Evil seem to be highly subjective to a whole lot of people (one man's "terrorist" is another man's "martyr"), but if you define things in terms of order and chaos that permits everything from the heavenly hosts all the way down to the Demon Princes without too much trouble. Plus, those terms "heavenly host" and "Demon Princes" can then be applied in a relative manner. If I believe in Chaos, your Heavenly Angel is a Demonic Prince as far as I'm concerned -- and, of course, vice versa. In game design terms, that's a LOT easier to deal with (basically, they're the same kind of creature/monster statistically speaking, they just get labeled differently..."re-skinned" if you will...depending on who's looking at them...). Plus it's easy to argue both ways in the game:

"Order is good, because it provides structure an dignity to every living person while preserving public safety."

"Order is bad, because it results in a monolithic fascist police state dedicated to enforcing a set standard for 'everyone's own good,' regardless of the peoples' desires or actual needs."

"Chaos is good, because it allows the maximum of personal freedom to every individual."

"Chaos is bad, because maximum individual freedom means the power to commit any act or atrocity without any restraint, leading to total anarchy and the bloody rule of tooth and claw."

You can see how the conflict can be framed... ;-)
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Old 04-20-2018, 11:51 AM   #46
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: priest and theologian

Yeah, the accounting overhead might not be worth it. You could simplify it so that a certain minimum amount of activity is assumed - i.e., if you work part time at your faith, you get 1 fp per day; if you work full time at your faith, you get 2 fp per day. Then make a much shorter list of extraordinary one-time faith bonuses (such as large tithes, major acts of selflessness, etc.)

This would require priests to tend to their flocks, which might not be attractive to PCs. One way of addressing that would be to make major miracles available at relatively low fp cost. I'd also have a list of minor miracles that the priest can do (say) three times per day.
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Old 04-23-2018, 12:14 PM   #47
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: priest and theologian

If priest miracles are relatively easy to come by, then the system could be unbalanced. I suggest that one hedge against that is to may the high powered miracles generally benefit someone else. So instead of "God's Wrathful Smiting" that deals a 6d6+6 bolt from the heavens, have a "Holy Warrior of God" miracle that makes another person exceptionally deadly (for 2 rounds, he gets a DX bonus to hit and if he hits, does 3d+3 extra damage, things like that.

It may still be unbalanced, but the megatonnage is at least divided among the entire party (more or less).
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Old 04-23-2018, 03:48 PM   #48
JLV
 
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Default Re: priest and theologian

That's a good point, Ty. The fact of the matter is, if you make religion too powerful, it takes agency away from the players. They wind up relying on the cleric to save them from their own stupidity, and don't even give any thought to planning or whatever. After all, "good old Monky McMonkface" will pull their chestnuts out of the fire if anything goes really wrong!

Personally, I like to think of healing magic (and brewing potions) and even physicker talents as being something that is more of less the province of the religious people. That gives them a unique lane in the road, without having them be all wrathfully smiting someone all the time. Put another way, I want my religious types to be INDIRECT actors, rather than direct ones as much as possible. Sure, they can use maces or whatever weapons you want to restrict them to (or any weapon at all, if you don't follow the Gygaxian religious paradigm), to defend themselves or their immediate friends/flock, whatever. But as far as extra powers like magic go, they should have to work things very indirectly for the most part -- curses, blessings, healing, buffing (as you suggested, Ty), and so on. Not direct smiting with God-like lightning bolts and so on...
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Old 04-24-2018, 01:59 AM   #49
ak_aramis
 
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Default Re: priest and theologian

Some religious groups are genuinely all about the smiting their enemies.
The Thugee come immediately to mind.
The Jewish Zealots, as well.
The more extreme forms of Islam have spawned several, as well.
Christianity has the Knights Templar arise from its loins, too.

Warrior priests are not the provenance of fiction alone.
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Old 04-24-2018, 03:10 AM   #50
Rick_Smith
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Coquitlam B.C.
Default Priests should be healers???

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Originally Posted by JLV View Post
...
Personally, I like to think of healing magic (and brewing potions) and even physicker talents as being something that is more of less the province of the religious people. ...
Hi Everyone, JLV.
Having a healer is a needed job in an adventuring party, but it is kinda dull. I think you are missing a bet if you make the priest all about healing.

Also, lots of religions are not about healing. Thor is the god of partying and smiting. He is not a clever god, but he drank a lot and killed a lot of giants in the sagas. I would like to keep that sort of flexibility for my various religions.

As for not allowing miracles to be too powerful... just don't give over powered abilities.

The trick to making 'active clerics' fun, is to find quirky and cool rites for priests that open up roleplaying possibilities. I also usually give them one or two good combat rites so that they don't feel they've wasted attributes every time there is a fight.

Warm regards, Rick.
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