Saturday, June 7, 2014

Book of ACKSalted Deeds II: Design Decisions

Having laid out the intended structure of my religion revision, I now find myself at the tricky bit - implementation.  I have a few concerns that I definitely need to keep in mind throughout this process.
    • How difficult should it be to work minor miracles?  And at what cost should they usually come?  On the high end, what can a character with an 18 Piety and a bunch of vows make happen, and how often?  On the low end, can a character with 3 Piety even have a chance of successful prayer without vows?  Does prayer's efficacy or scope scale with level?  What should the probability distribution on success look like?  
      • 2d6, reaction roll style?  Problem: small modifiers rapidly dominate the die-randomness.
      • Or d20xd6, RL&L-table style?  Problem: need lots of table entries, d20 split into groups of 5 is not very granular and is also dominated by die-randomness.  That might be desirable for pentulant Classical-type deities, though.  What goes on the d6 edge of things, though?
      • Something else, like 2d10?  Gives a bit more modifier-space than 2d6, without the extreme swinginess of a d20.  Strongly tends to the mean, though.  d12+d8 flattens the middle range, but doesn't change much beyond that.  I dunno man, coming up with good probability distributions is hard when you're not exactly sure what you're looking for.
    • Prayer Spam, particularly as it interacts with henchmen and domains.  If you're the guy with 3 Piety, but you have a henchman with 18 Piety, can you get him to pray in your stead?  What about at 14th level, when he's basically the pope?  Should prayer frequency be a per-player resource, as it is assumed that henchman prayers are ultimately for the player's benefit?
    • How does the Divine Power subsystem interact with the new system?  What about item creation?
      • Divine power can be burned to provide a bonus to prayer rolls, or just to increase the scope of the results?  I actually sort of like the idea that divine power is the only significant way to scale up miracles - it makes conversion / expansion and temple-building a priority for anyone planning to make regular use of prayer.  Also provides an explanation for heresies and rivalries within a church - priests compete with each other for influence over the flock, and heresies tend to bring the doctrine closer in-line with what the flock wants to believe in order to win them over.
        • And as long as you keep your vows, heresy's A-OK in the deity's book.
      • Divine item creation is superseded by receiving magic items as gifts from deity as a result of high prayer roll?  (Athena's shield, Hades' helm, and Hermes' shoes, Nethack granting spellbooks on prayer, ...)
    • Sacrifice quantities.  I desire to make sacrifice difficult to game, in that a major / high-effectiveness sacrifice should actually cost the PC something fairly dear.  Fortunately, deities know things and can avoid accepting gamed sacrifices, but it's a hard thing to nail down and provide guidelines to players.  Maybe use the Standards of Living table and the bribery rules as a starting point?

1 comment:

Timothy Vaughan said...

A high piety henchman is probably dangerous. Their loyalty is almost certainly more to their deity than it is to you. You could have piety modify loyalty rolls as levels are gained, representing your henchman being called to another life by their god.

As far as party resources go, I'd do prayers per god. Thor knows we're on the same team. If he already said no to me, he'd probably become angry if I had you ask for the same thing.

Sacrifice can also just be difficult. In Nethack this is accomplished by having to drag heavy corpses to altars, which carries with it its own set of dangers. You could set an XP value threshold (monster must have been _this_ hard to kill to score you brownie points). Sacrifice could also just grant Divine Power, rather than having to track circumstantial bonuses. This would make it kind of like the Wizard's XP/Monster Parts thing.

As far as prayer rolls and difficulty, I'd look at the thief hijinks table. Different tasks have different difficulties, fail by some threshold = badness. Consult another table for badness. Just come up with some good guidelines for difficulties: CLW on 10+, Neutralize Poison on 16+, etc.

Also, Vows and Oaths could grant you some daily allowance of Divine Power if you want to unify some of these mechanics.