Why is there no potion for piety/Invocations?


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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 17:46

Why is there no potion for piety/Invocations?

This is not a request for an item but rather seeking an explanation for why such an obvious item was rejected previously, to help me understand game design better. The two sorts of situations I can see where a potion that improved your god abilities would apply are: I'd like to use this emergency ability (Sanctuary, Go to Abyss, Shadow Form, Grand Finale, even stuff like Slouch or BIA) that I've not grown into yet; I have a dangerous foe and I'd like to get more power for this god ability I want to use on it (Smite, Major Destruction, Heal Other, Banish, Disaster Area, etc.) So what's bad about this sort of consumable?
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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 17:50

Re: Why is there no potion for piety/Invocations?

Why would you add a potion for piety/invocations?

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 19:59

Re: Why is there no potion for piety/Invocations?

I see why you think it could be useful, or the situations in which you might like that bump of piety. I'd guess that the lack of such potions comes down to three elements, though:

1. Flavor

Yes, there's always a flavor element, even if flavor is meant to take a backseat to gameplay. Why are gods giving you piety for drinking a potion? Especially gods with non-traditional piety systems (say, Ru). Or would it only work for a limited subset of gods? I could see it existing as an ego (and working like Faith), since X god might like if you adorned your armor with symbols of praise or something, or even as an evocable-style item (faster piety gain because you're praying/meditating/whatever, but also X disadvantage), but the potion is kinda odd.

2. Design

How is this meant to work? An experience-potion style could work, but if it's enough to make a difference ability-wise, it's a truly massive power boost. Especially if it works for gods with harder- or more-costly-to-obtain piety. The alternative is a temporary-piety style arrangement, which would require some reworking of the piety system to introduce "temporary piety." And how is this temporary piety going to play out - do you gain X piety for Y turns? What happens if you spend piety during that time? Is it taken just from the temporary piety, or is there any cost to your real piety? Given that we don't have a precise number readout for piety, can a player tell when they'll be spending non-temporary piety?

3. Development and Balancing

How does all this interact with gameplay? Gods gain piety at different rates, and offer gifts and abilities at different rates for a reason. Imagine being able to say, join Kiku, clear a level, pop a potion of piety, receive two randart spellbooks and the Necronomicon, and then immediately abandon Kiku for whichever god you actually wanted. Or if you're taking the temporary piety route, does that not count towards things like gifts? That'd really make for a lot more work. A number of gods offer piety-gated rewards like this. At the very least, you'd get TSO's and Lugonu's and Kiku's branding, weird (or no) interactions with Gozag, mutations/mutation removal with Jiyva, books from Kiku and Sif, cards from Nemelex, gear from Okawaru and Trog, spells from Vehumet, allies from Yred, and mutation removal from Zin.

Does this effectively neuter the threat from god-wrath, since you can effectively (or literally, depending on the style of the potion) instantly have high piety with your new god? Are these going to be rare potions (reducing the value of adding them) or common potions (making them incredibly overpowered unless the piety boost is very minor)?

Does this make them effectively "potions of invincibility" for low-to-mid-level characters? In any one of a thousand scenarios, you can turn a situation to guaranteed victory (or at least survival) better than any combination of other potions. You have anything from Usk's tele-kill to Ru's or Qaz's screen-clearing, to Zin's sanctuary. Alternatively, if the invocations-dependent abilities don't receive a corresponding increase in invocations skill along with the potion, does this make this a potion that's insanely overpowered for some gods, and pathetically weak for others?


My overall reading is this:
Best-case scenario it's a sizable bit of work and a balancing nightmare for a very small (and not necessarily beneficial) addition to the game. Worst-case scenario it's a ton of work, and literally impossible to balance because of how the gods and abilities were designed, and how they were meant to interact with the dungeon layout and piety system. Either way, it kinda fails the development cost-gameplay benefit test.

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 20:01

Re: Why is there no potion for piety/Invocations?

duvessa wrote:Why would you add a potion for piety/invocations?

Good question. I see that I wrote above about why I would use one, but that is indeed different from why I would add one. I guess I'd say that since might and brilliance exist, this seems similar enough to those to include as well.
Won (26): Ce, DD, Dg, Ds, Dr, Gr, Gh, Ha, HE, HO, Ko, Mf, Mi, oldOg, Sp, Tr, Vp, VS; Fi, Gl, Mo, Hu, As, Be, AK, En, Cj, FE, IE, EE, Ar; Beo, Dith, Fed, Goz, Kiku, Lug, Makh, Nem, Oka, Pak, Trog, Veh

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 21:27

Re: Why is there no potion for piety/Invocations?

What I'm trying to nudge at here is that asking questions like "what's bad about this sort of consumable?", or explaining why the consumable wouldn't be bad or out of place, is not a sufficient rationale for adding a new consumable. The standard for adding a new feature should be higher than "the feature isn't obviously bad". If you're going to add a new feature it should be something that clearly improves the game. If you can't articulate why a feature would improve the game, you probably shouldn't add it.

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 21:31

Re: Why is there no potion for piety/Invocations?

Well, potion of piety is arguably better than amulet of piety, is it good enough reason to add it?
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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 23:56

Re: Why is there no potion for piety/Invocations?

duvessa wrote:What I'm trying to nudge at here is that asking questions like "what's bad about this sort of consumable?", or explaining why the consumable wouldn't be bad or out of place, is not a sufficient rationale for adding a new consumable. The standard for adding a new feature should be higher than "the feature isn't obviously bad". If you're going to add a new feature it should be something that clearly improves the game. If you can't articulate why a feature would improve the game, you probably shouldn't add it.

I think your one-sentence counter-question did accomplish what you wanted it to. I wasn't thinking very far beyond why I wanted the item in this particular situation. I phrased the question the way I did because I knew it was a bad idea (otherwise it likely would have been done already) but wasn't sure why. Both yours and aeon's answers helped he by showing me that gameplay consequences aren't quite the same thing as game design consequences. So thank you both.
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Post Friday, 22nd September 2017, 08:55

Re: Why is there no potion for piety/Invocations?

This could be a side-effect of degeneration. Like when slowing was turned into treeform, which has good and bad to it. The obvious problem is how common degeneration is. There probably are more I haven't thought of. But a consumable that allows you momentarily access to god abilities in exchange for stat drain would ask you to make some choices.
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Post Friday, 22nd September 2017, 10:02

Re: Why is there no potion for piety/Invocations?

I think it would be 'obviously bad'.

I'd either quaff it immediately, especially early, which is a straight up power boost, or I'd carry it around for emergencies, adding to my inventory woes. No thanks!
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Post Sunday, 24th September 2017, 05:38

Re: Why is there no potion for piety/Invocations?

duvessa wrote:What I'm trying to nudge at here is that asking questions like "what's bad about this sort of consumable?", or explaining why the consumable wouldn't be bad or out of place, is not a sufficient rationale for adding a new consumable. The standard for adding a new feature should be higher than "the feature isn't obviously bad". If you're going to add a new feature it should be something that clearly improves the game. If you can't articulate why a feature would improve the game, you probably shouldn't add it.

That being said, a feature being obviously bad should mean you don't add it to the game.
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