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Old 09-19-2016, 09:39 PM   #1
Gef
 
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Default [Std Magic] How have you fixed Bless?

In his interview with Douglas Cole, Sean Punch specifically mentioned the spell Bless as getting editorial attention. In my campaign, a wizard can get Wealthy casting that spell for $500 a pop, and it looks like it basically gives Higher Purpose (Everything) until you redeem it for Extra Life, and then spend another $500. Since my game's going on now and DF boxed set is months away, I'm curious how other folks adjudicate that particular spell.
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Old 09-19-2016, 10:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Std Magic] How have you fixed Bless?

When I GMed some dungeon fantasy games there was one basic standard with the group, and that was that the Cleric would always cast Bless on the group before they went off on their murder hobo spree. Whoo boy, it got to be annoying so I came up with a couple points for the group based off of a couple things.

1. Once you've made three to five important rolls (attack, defense, rolls that are marked critical for that dungeon) that succeeded only by the margin of Bless, it wears off.

2. I will always ask if you want to give up your Bless to avert some kind of danger from a trap or otherwise. Of course I might exaggerate the danger in order to convince them that it's a good idea to give it up.

3. And the canonical way, if a rolled failure critically endangers your life then the GM's special Retconmancy is utilized and the danger gets lessened or averted automatically without say so.

This has worked for me because the group I'm a part of understands that I probably won't screw them over completely.


What I would love to see, however, is for a version of Bless that works like a one time magical version of Destiny Points for buying success but keeping the current cost/time/pre-req. Makes things useful for folks and since you can't just cast it in the middle of a battle, it makes things a bit tactical on who you should keep buffing with it in the middle of a dungeon.
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Old 09-20-2016, 08:13 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Std Magic] How have you fixed Bless?

It is not only extra life, it only needs to be serious danger and in Gurps combat almost any hit, possible fall, not seeing an ambush and much much more is usually serious danger.

Thus:
Fail a defense roll->bye bye bless
Enemy rolls a critical hit on you->bye bye bless
You fail a perception roll to detect an ambush->bye bye bless
and so on.

I my game while we were still using the standard magic system bless did not last very long. Further with a 10 minute base casting time and 10 base energy cost it was definitely not "always available", also the 1 point bless will not apparently stop a danger, only help partially, so my players really wanted the 2 point bless and it is very difficult to cast in a dungeon.
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Old 09-20-2016, 08:35 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Std Magic] How have you fixed Bless?

Quote:
Originally Posted by weby View Post
it only needs to be serious danger
True. The danger need not be life-threatening, and the Bless doesn't erase the death completely (as does Extra Life). "Danger" includes most combats. (Bar brawls, no; maybe some trivial mook fights -- but even then, bad guys can get lucky. If the fight is really trivial and risk-free, you're probably not even breaking out the dice.) So, Bless will get expended quite quickly in your average dungeon crawl.

Quote:
Enemy rolls a critical hit on you->bye bye bless
The text says "a foe makes a good die roll". So it's not even limited to criticals. Good hit location might be shifted to a less vulnerable one, a good damage roll might be reduced... The only guaranteed result from a crit is "no Active Defense", so that roll isn't really all that high up on the "threatening" scale. Other rolls can be just as serious, and so just as liable to use up Bless.
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Old 09-20-2016, 08:47 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Std Magic] How have you fixed Bless?

I personally changed bless to give "destiny points" (from Impulse Buys) equal to the level, lasts until the next sunrise, and cant be cast once per day per target. It's still an awesome spell, and the characters don't leave home without it, but it's no longer THAT awesome.
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Old 09-20-2016, 09:19 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Std Magic] How have you fixed Bless?

I go the opposite way to some others and institutionalise it.

The coronation ceremony for the new king? Bless 3, ceremonial magic.

A blessing on the general before the army marches out? Bless 2.

Prayer a few days in advance of battle with the chaplain? Bless 1.

And so on. To some degree seeking blessings from the church before major ventures was a common thing and to make it part of the setting gives religion a little more meaning to the characters (one trope that annoys me in general is when divine spellcasters are the only people who seem to be religious in a fantasy setting).

Bless 1 can be cast in 10 minutes by a single priest (who then needs a lot of rest), or 100 minutes with ceremonial casting. Bless 2 is more prohibitive, requiring either 50 energy (which would probably kill the caster) or 500 minutes = 8 hours & 20 minutes = all day essentially. Bless 3 is even more demanding.

So when the king or high priest or lord commander seems unusually competent in general, now you know why. Even though my campaigns usually stick to the Template Toolkit semi-realistic “skill 14-15 is the primary skills for a risky job”… but a fantasy-Aztec Eagle Warrior with a skill of Broadsword 14 has an extra +1 (Magical Weapon Bond perk), a further +1 (balanced weapon), and then another +1 (Bless).

For a way to make the limitations of the spell meaningful I rule “your characters do not automatically know when the Bless wears off.” So unless they go through the motions of regularly checking with Analyse Magic (which if you look up the spell, is a pain to go through) or other methods with their own inconveniences* then I don't let them replace the blessing so soon after expending it – the characters don't know if the attack that missed them was the result of a favourable dice roll or the Bless being expended.

*examples would be redundant castings of Bless (uses up time and energy even if it's unnecessary), or removing other sources of magic so that a less painstaking spell can check if the Bless is still active (which could go badly if ill-timed).
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Old 09-20-2016, 11:00 AM   #7
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Default Re: [Std Magic] How have you fixed Bless?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Railstar View Post
(one trope that annoys me in general is when divine spellcasters are the only people who seem to be religious in a fantasy setting).
There's a lot of cultures that treat the spiritual as a technical field. You seek the aid of a technician of the spiritual if you have a spiritual problem, and otherwise you try not to attract attention.

I'm always amused by the parallel to adventurers showing up at the temple to buy a standardized service off a menu.
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Old 09-20-2016, 01:10 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Std Magic] How have you fixed Bless?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
There's a lot of cultures that treat the spiritual as a technical field. You seek the aid of a technician of the spiritual if you have a spiritual problem, and otherwise you try not to attract attention.

I'm always amused by the parallel to adventurers showing up at the temple to buy a standardized service off a menu.
I have a concept for a setting where Religious Ritual (Posedonian) works mostly like Computer Programing/TL7. Or maybe it's just that Computer Programming/TL7 works like an odd version of Religious Ritual.

The crux of the matter is the definition "Faith is belief in things that can not be proven.". The average RPG deity is extremely provable.
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Old 09-20-2016, 01:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Std Magic] How have you fixed Bless?

I think Discworld books have a quote about how it's hard to be an atheist in a world where gods throw rocks through their windows.
The whole faith thing is a distraction, I think. While it seems paramount to real world religions, it isn't necessary for all hypothetical religions.
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Old 09-20-2016, 02:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Std Magic] How have you fixed Bless?

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
The whole faith thing is a distraction, I think. While it seems paramount to real world religions, it isn't necessary for all hypothetical religions.
Especially if there are real, tangible effects to the religion. Disbelieving in the gods in such a world would be like disbelieving in gravity - you can do it, but unless you behave as if gravity exists, you are going to be in a world of hurt. So do the rituals and pay for the sacrifices and the gods aren't really that concerned about whether you believe or not.
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