Cleric's Divine Aid - It just isn't adding up for me

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echoota
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Cleric's Divine Aid - It just isn't adding up for me

Post by echoota » Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:59 am

So we were playing last night and our party was facing off against a horde of shades. Half the party was running away, a quarter were dying, and the last quarter were standing their ground. It was looking pretty grim.

I decided to try out the Divine Aid ability for the Cleric, both just to playtest but also it seemed like this was the moment when it would happen. I made a big speech, tied it into the events of the day and then rolled poorly.

Now, the rolling poorly isn't the issue, that just happens and there isn't any way around that. What I had issue with is how remote of a chance I had to pull off anything.

The way I see it the Divine Aid roll should ignore the previous spell casting attempts for the day for the roll. The penalty for Divine Aid is so steep that when you do it you're pretty much done for the day in terms of magical channeling, so it's unlikely to be something that a Cleric would do when they are fresh. Instead it's likely going to happen with the typical buildup of a day of adventuring is happening, and because of that typically the chance of being able to do anything, even light a candle, is going to be pretty remote because of all the penalties that have accrued.

For myself I'd see this as one of those flavorful moments where the system can really "Say Yes" to the player and clear the way for some cool and inventive effects to occur, particularly because it's kind of the apogee moment for the Cleric. If the rule was that the cleric ignores the accrued penalties for the day to make the roll, and then gets slammed with the -10 penalty, then it's something I can see really drawing out the flavor of the class.

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Re: Cleric's Divine Aid - It just isn't adding up for me

Post by smathis » Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:25 am

echoota wrote:For myself I'd see this as one of those flavorful moments where the system can really "Say Yes" to the player and clear the way for some cool and inventive effects to occur, particularly because it's kind of the apogee moment for the Cleric. If the rule was that the cleric ignores the accrued penalties for the day to make the roll, and then gets slammed with the -10 penalty, then it's something I can see really drawing out the flavor of the class.
I concur. That -10 penalty deserves something significant, IMO.

I don't know how Joseph wants to handle this but I think this is one of those things that needs some advice in the Judge's section. Maybe something along the lines of assuming that something is likely to happen. So rolling a Divine Aid check against the following table.

0-3: Nothing happens. Your deity is distant and has no interest in getting involved. Weep for you are forsaken!

4-6: The deity answers the request. But in the most destructive form imaginable. Take the request, turn it up to 11 and grab a tree trunk. Everything from an earthquake to a mile-wide tornado to burning acid rain to a plague of stinging bugs whose bites fester and rot the skin is possible. The deity is toying with its Cleric, accepting the request as a test of the deity's power but now wanting to test the Cleric's faith in return.

7-10: The deity grudgingly grants the request at one-half efficacy. Yet confronts the character in some manner (perhaps teleporting him to its plane of existence for a brief consultation that last hours in real time or by speaking through the mouth of one of the Cleric's slain victims or by possessing one of the retainers and using the retainer as its mouthpiece, leaving the retainer's lifeless shell behind when it departs). Long story short. The deity is displeased and wants to tell the Cleric about it.

11-14: A simple request is granted no questions asked. A more complicated request is granted at 1/2 efficacy. Moreover, the deity seeks to remind the Cleric of who's the boss. So the Cleric is presented with symbology indicative of the deity for the rest of the day. If the deity has an affinity for thorns, then the Cleric will find a dozen in his boot at the most inopportune time. If the deity likes cats, then cats will jump out at random points during the day to frighten or trip up the Cleric.

15-17: A simple request is granted no questions asked. For more complicated requests, Never send a Wish to do a God's job. The deity possesses the Cleric and then proceeds to wreak holy (or unholy) havoc. The deity is there to grant the Cleric's wish in the most blunt, direct and incontrovertible manner possible. If the Cleric's wish is for his childhood sweetheart to love him again, the deity will find the woman, possess her of a love of the most desperate (and potentially violent kind) and then impregnate the victim with a demi-god -- creating a slave to the Cleric incapable of any emotion but a desperate longing for the Cleric. If the Cleric's wish is to banish a horde of demons, the deity will banish them and then proceed to destroy everything it can see to prevent their return. The deity might also turn on characters with differing alignment. Best tactic in this instance, assume a worshipful, prostrate pose that is non-threatening. Deities do not understand human emotions or even the concept of mortal life. When the deity leaves, the Cleric loses 1d8 points from every attribute besides Luck, only one of which is permanent damage.

18+: Congratulations. Wish granted. This time...

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Talath
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Re: Cleric's Divine Aid - It just isn't adding up for me

Post by Talath » Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:38 pm

You missed a chance to say "The gods have abandoned you."

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Re: Cleric's Divine Aid - It just isn't adding up for me

Post by smathis » Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:28 pm

Talath wrote:You missed a chance to say "The gods have abandoned you."
Check result 0-3.

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Re: Cleric's Divine Aid - It just isn't adding up for me

Post by Coffeedragon » Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:36 am

ROFLMAO :mrgreen: - Smathis, that was brilliant! Even if that doesn't make it into the final product I will be using your table in my game :lol:

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Re: Cleric's Divine Aid - It just isn't adding up for me

Post by moes1980 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:45 pm

I thought the -10 only applied to further attempts to cast devine aid for the day, not for casting other cleric spells that day, or did I misread it?

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Re: Cleric's Divine Aid - It just isn't adding up for me

Post by smathis » Thu Jun 23, 2011 5:02 am

moes1980 wrote:I thought the -10 only applied to further attempts to cast devine aid for the day, not for casting other cleric spells that day, or did I misread it?
Yep. It says...
page 23 wrote:This extraordinary act imparts a cumulative -10 penalty to future spell checks.
So it's all spells that day.

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Re: Cleric's Divine Aid - It just isn't adding up for me

Post by meinvt » Thu Jun 23, 2011 6:13 am

moes1980 wrote:I thought the -10 only applied to further attempts to cast devine aid for the day, not for casting other cleric spells that day, or did I misread it?
Moes, you are correct.

[On edit: Actually not, it is a modifier to any spell attempts. I apparently didn't read that closely the first time.]

The problem is that by the time you are beseeching your deity for aid you have probably attempted to solve things yourself and are getting desperate. That means you likely already have a -6 or more on your spell checks. At this point, attempting to reach the deity for aid by a level 2 cleric with 15 personality will on averaged result in a roll of 7-8 and at best a roll of 16. Subsequently you will have a -16 on your rolls, so you are done for the day.

I'm not convinced this is a problem, but that is the concern. It all depends on what the 'typical' result should be if you ask for aid and roll well, and if you ask for aid and roll poorly, and how much that should depend on your prior use of clerical power that day.
Last edited by meinvt on Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cleric's Divine Aid - It just isn't adding up for me

Post by smathis » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:05 am

meinvt wrote:Moes, you are correct.
Wha? The beta rules say it's a -10 to future "spell" checks. Not future "divine aid" attempts.

So it's like a Cleric casting a 10th level spell.

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Re: Cleric's Divine Aid - It just isn't adding up for me

Post by meinvt » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:11 am

Oops, I totally misread what was written. What I read was correct... I guess I'll edit my post to point out the problem.

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Re: Cleric's Divine Aid - It just isn't adding up for me

Post by smathis » Thu Jun 23, 2011 5:34 pm

meinvt wrote:Oops, I totally misread what was written. What I read was correct... I guess I'll edit my post to point out the problem.
No big.

Divine Aid, IMO, is one of those things that needs seriously more bang for its buck. As well as seriously more dramatic results on a bad roll. Hence the chart thingy.

It's equivalent, in mojo, to a 10th level spell. Yet, if I roll somewhere in the ballpark of 9-15, I can blow out a candle. And if I roll around a 15-20, I can cast a 4th-5th level D&D Wizard spell. Huh? :shock:

Clerics in DCC are better in EVERY way than most other versions of D&D, IMO. Except this one.

Embrace the chart. And tremble at the power of the gods!

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Re: Cleric's Divine Aid - It just isn't adding up for me

Post by moes1980 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:37 pm

I see. Yeah, its ok to have that big of a neg mod if it will do something crazy awsome. But I guess, with the way it is now, it would only be a last ditch effort and, as it has been pointed out, be hard to pull of with -5 or 6 from casting that day. That might be ok, just means that only higher level characters have a decent chanch of their diety showig up to save his butt.

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Re: Cleric's Divine Aid - It just isn't adding up for me

Post by finarvyn » Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:22 am

Divine Aid has some of the same issues as Luck rolls, etc.

How do you design something like this which:
1. Is powerful enough to save yourself in a dire situation
2. Is easy enough to accomplish so that you don't fail the critical die roll in that dire situation
3. Is impossible to overuse

In other words, we need a mechanic in place where a character can make a big impact in a critical spot in the story but not one where a character just gets really powerful because he can do it every day or each game session.

It has to be hard to do, but not impossible. It has to have some dire consequences but not worse than the situation you're being saved from. It has to be special.
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Re: Cleric's Divine Aid - It just isn't adding up for me

Post by smathis » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:28 am

finarvyn wrote:It has to be hard to do, but not impossible. It has to have some dire consequences but not worse than the situation you're being saved from. It has to be special.
I think the chart does that. It could use tweaking here and there but what's noticeable is that:

1) There's a very limited chance of getting a "nothing happens, now take your -10 like a man" result
2) Sometimes the Cleric gets part of what they wanted. Or the deity doesn't completely understand what they wanted. Or the deity sort of understands and goes a little too far in trying to meet the Cleric's request.

As written, Divine Aid lacks all of that.

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