Stuff and Nonsense

From: Nick Brooke (100270.337@CompuServe.COM)
Date: Sun 16 May 1993 - 18:36:37 EEST

for Rob Mace:

> Kill and eat all ducks in sight:
> If you are going to do this, why have them in the first place?

If you keep hold of the heads (which don't taste too good anyway), it's a great tax dodge for characters living in Lunar-occupied Sartar, which is the only place you're likely to meet ducks anyway.

Loskalm and McCarthy:

One more thing. Look at the Regional Activity table for Loskalm. Down at the bottom:

RARE EVENTS o Infamy perpetrated nearby: Prophet of the Nameless Man

   is sought for hanging by all citizens.

Looks to me like a symptom of a healthy society. In the UK, politicians and police call this kind of thing "Neighbourhood Watch Schemes" or "Active Citizenship." Still, I'm sure the lynch-mobs always get the right man... (After all, their hearts are pure).

I'd have thought that if you were living in an integrated society which has a witch-hunting mentality at the lowest (popular) level, you'd find the formal institutions of the witch-hunt (show-trials, inquisitors, loyalty oaths, persecution of non-conformists) in existence at a higher level.

Or don't you want to weed out the enemies of our Hrestoli Faith?

for Paul Reilly:

> What about spells like Bless Crops that you only want to use once a
> year anyway? Does this one require a Ceremony roll? If so there is
> still some benefit in getting your priestess to do it.

Yeah, Bless Crops should be a Ceremony Ritual spell, shouldn't it? Having it "instant" makes the spring fertility festival into rather a slapdash affair; if you have to take hours or days to get it right, you have much more fun sowing your seed, etc. I'll put this into my next RQ4 suggestions. Thanks for raising the question: I'd assumed before that it was a Ceremony without bothering to check the rules...

> What do you hate about POW gains? Some of the problems I see
> could be addressed without major changes.

I hate POW gain rolls because -- if played by the rules -- they hand out a disproportionate reward for what is usually a one-off, insignificant or flukey action on the part of a player character. I'd prefer to play them as something like the SAN Regained rewards from Call of Cthulhu -- at the end of any adventure, the GM can hand out points of POW based on what the characters *achieved* in the eyes of the gods, the spirits and the world. Otherwise, it's wide-open to the "let's get a tick in every weapon skill every week" effect, only more so (because more gain results). Players will cast the odd offensive spell purely to get a POW gain check; the chance of success at this is then very random; the amount of gain also depends on the luck of the dice.

Now, as Oliver knows, I am generally in favour of rolling for increases rather than taking flat-rate "+3.5%" handouts. But for something as important as the spiritual development of a character to be regulated by a rather naff set of rules that make it breath-takingly chancy whether you get more reward for defeating enemy demons or spiritual arm-wrestling in your own temple, I'd prefer to see some GM fiat and discretion. Especially in awarding points of POW for furthering cult aims, regardless of whether you had to fight a spirit combat or zap a foe while doing so...

Is anyone out there *honestly* happy with the current rules? Have you *never* seen them being abused by players, or felt they produce peculiar results? (If so, I'd say you were very fortunate!).

Oh, these objections apply equally to the existing characteristic training rules: you spend months training, only to flush it all down the Great Sink if you fluff one percentile roll at the end of it. The two systems should be re-thought in tandem, ironing out other anomolies (like no chance of INT gain through studying, and no characteristic losses for major wounds). I've already suggested something like Pendragon's "+1 to any characteristic every year," and may dig this out and write it up for the Daily one of these weeks.

> The best solution I can see here is to make Priest an occupation
> that requires a bit more, and reduce the power of Acolytes...

Nothing wrong with that. I've always felt that "Acolytes" should be what we usually call "tough initiates" -- the guys who work for their cult most of the time, and intend eventually to become Rune Lords or Priests or whatever. They ought to get better Rune magic access (like the seasonal renewability, or whatever) while they are dedicating themselves to cult service. These benefits are lost (temporarily, perhaps) if they then take time out to work for their clan or city or tribe or whoever.

Acolytes are the guys who follow Priests and Lords on their cult duties, always dress in cult gear and colours, aspire to own Rune-metal armour and weapons, agonise about their religious obligations, learn Orlanthi "Poetry," and voluntarily assume additional geases. Some cults will have loads of them (those grimly determined warrior cults in particular); others will do without, or assign them different roles (farmer-cults might have village acolytes rather than priests or priestesses to tend the shrine). But it's a pro-tem position: to remain an acolyte, you have to spend your time working solely for the cult. You can't take a break while retaining the magical (and social) benefits, though you'll get them back when you pick up your tasks again. And *nobody* who wants to keep their family and friends can give up 100% of their time to God...

So: Initiates with annual use of Rune magic (renewed at High Holy Days only). Acolytes as an in-between step, seasonal Rune magic (renewed at Holy Days), but only if they're working full-time for the cult that season.  Rune Lords with seasonal Rune Magic, otherwise unchanged. Rune Priests possibly with tougher entrance requirements: for one, they might have to have 5 points of Rune magic that's "useful to the cult" rather than "useful in the game"; say, one point each of Worship, Sanctify, Spellteaching, Divination, and Initiation (a basic portfolio for most working priests)? Then they too would have seasonal use of Rune Magic, perhaps with the option of taking days off to pray for faster return (as at present in RQ3).

Hey, and let's abolish the mechanical "Test of Holiness" (POWx3% roll) while we're about it!

Comments welcome, as always. If you think I'm lurching onto RQ4 ground, that's because I got damn' all feedback from those guys when I sent a huge packet of stuff out there last September (because I wasn't on the Net? Well, others here in the UK had the same dispiriting experience...), and would like to see what other RQers think of my suggestions at first hand.

Mind you, a debating board for RQ4 *only* looks like a neat idea, and gets my backing. Which is *probably* enough to put them off doing it at all...


Role-Playing, not Rule-Playing or Roll-Playing!

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