God Proposal: The Union

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Halls Hopper

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Post Monday, 26th January 2015, 21:45

God Proposal: The Union

Forgotten gods do not truly die. The Union is proof of this. A hundred gods who cling to the fraying edges of reality, pooling their powers to tempt new worshippers. Those brave or foolish enough to worship this mass of half-formed deities report hearing the voices of the gods that make up the Union. Each of them trying to tempt the worshipper with power, trying to get the worshipper to favour them over the other gods of the Union.

Worshippers of the Union gain piety by offering sacrifices (praying over corpses), but said piety steadily depletes over time.

If a character has at least one rank of piety with the Union, they will occassionally get a message saying they hear a flurry of voices. When this happens, they gain a temporary list of divine abilities that they may pick from. The potential divine abilities are taken at random from the lists below. The player picks the ability they want and assigns it to one of up to six slots, which correspond to piety levels 1 through 6. They may not assign an ability to a slot for which they don't have the piety level to use.

The abilities they may choose from are divided into active and passive abilities. A player may not have more than three active abilities and three passive abilities at any one time.

The player may change the ability in a slot to another one at any time (so long as they're being offered a new ability). However, each time they replace an old ability, they risk invoking the Union's wrath. This acts as a lesser version of divine retribution. The exact effects of the divine retribution in some way reflect the ability that was abandoned.

Spoiler: show
  • Boost Strength: Temporarily increase strength. [Cost: Satiation and Piety]
  • Boost Dexterity: Temporarily increase dexterity. [Cost: Satiation and Piety]
  • Boost Intelligence: Temporarily increase intelligence. [Cost: Satiation and Piety]
  • Fast Strike: Increase speed of attacks temporarily. [Cost: Piety and Exhaustion]
  • Fast Stride: Increase movement speed temporarily. [Cost: Piety and Exhaustion]
  • Fast Spell: Increase spellcasting speed temporarily. [Cost: Piety and Exhaustion]
  • Soul Shield: Temporarily negate some damage from all attacks at the cost of piety. [Cost: Satiation and Piety]
  • Status Shield: Temporarily become immune to multiple status effects. [Cost: Satiation and Piety]
  • Sanctuary Shield: Temporarily make you and enemies unable to harm each other. [Cost: Satiation and Piety]
  • Summon Minions: Summon a swarm of weak allies. [Cost: Satiation and Piety]
  • Summon Allies: Summon a small number of moderately powerful allies. [Cost: Satiation and Piety]
  • Summon Friend: Summon a single strong ally. [Cost: Satiation and Piety]
  • Smite Foe: Deal high damage to one target, may cause instant disintegration. [Cost: MP, Satiation and Piety]
  • Smite Horde: Deal damage to multiple targets, may cause slowing. [Cost: MP, Satiation and Piety]
  • Smite All: Deal low damage to all enemies in LOS, may cause fear. [Cost: MP, Satiation and Piety]
  • Unseen: Surround self with clouds of smoke temporarily. [Cost: Satiation and Piety]
  • Unheard: Increase stealth temporarily. [Cost: Satiation and Piety]
  • Unspoken: Silence a target temporarily. [Cost: Satiation and Piety]
  • Draw Health: Drain some HP from an enemy. [Cost: Satiation and Piety]
  • Draw Magic: Inflict enemy with antimagic. Replenish some MP. [Cost: Satiation and Piety]

Spoiler: show
  • Melee Master: Increase damage done by melee attacks.
  • Ranged Master: Increase damage done by ranged attacks.
  • Spell Master: Increase damage done by spells.
  • Iron Armour: Gain a slight boost to AC and GDR.
  • Iron Body: Decrease damage taken from most spells.
  • Iron Will: Gain a slight boost to Magic Resistance.
  • HP from Killing: Gain HP from killing foes.
  • MP from Killing: Gain MP from killing foes.
  • Blessing from Killing: Gain a random buff from killing foes.
  • Critical Attack: Gain a boost to attack when critically injured.
  • Critical Defence: Gain a boost to defence when critically injured.
  • Critical Spell: Gain a boost to spellcasting when critically injured.
  • Powerlust: Occasionally increase experience got from slaying foes.
  • Goldlust: Occasionally gain gold from slaying foes.
  • Bloodlust: Occassionally gain piety and satiation from slaying foes.
  • Protection from Chaos: Gain a resistance to confusion and mutation that increases with piety.
  • Protection from Undead: Gain a resistance to draining and torment that increases with piety.
  • Protection from Holy: Gain a resistance to attacks that work better on undead, evil or chaotic creatures that increases with piety.
  • Protection from Decay: Gain a resistance to corrosion, stat drain and rot that increases with piety.
  • Protection from Warping: Gain a resistance to being unwillingly slowed, blinked, teleported and banished that increases with piety.

The Union is meant to give players the opportunity to "build" their own god. The random element of what abilities are offered to you can cause a fair bit of variation in gameplay, as you can either choose to pick an ability you're semi-interested in now, or wait for an ability you really want to come along. The option of replacing abilities is meant to prevent you from getting burdened by early choices (whilst also not invalidating the choice aspect of this deity once all slots are filled). Meanwhile the mini-retribution system is there to prevent this from being abused so that one can make sure they have the optimum set of abilities for any specific area.

The "flurry of voices" would likely come intermittently, based on XP gained. So one could not just wait it out for the abilities they want to come along. Perhaps there'd also be a mechanic to decrease the frequency of the voices based on how many abilities had been picked thus far. So that a player who'd left themselves slots free for abilities they wanted would have a greater chance of receiving them than one who loaded up all their slots straight away.

The fact that a character is not being allowed more than three passive or more than three active abilities is a way of preventing the player from either ignoring active abilities (and thus the need for training invocations) or relying entirely on active abilities (and thus putting a lot of weight into training invocations).

The list of abilities is really just a loose idea of different powers, aren't set in stone. A fair few of them were lifted from or inspired by other gods' abilities. However, such abilities would be weaker than the conterpart abilities that other gods offer.

Whilst the list of abilities offered can easily be changed, the idea behind most of the abilities should be a feeling of genericness. A sense of slightly improving existing abilities or offering something that can be done just as well (if not better) elsewhere. The reason being that if they're too powerful and a player can pick any set of abilities they want, the god immediately becomes overpowered. The "lore" justification for this is obviously that the gods are weak, vague concepts unable to assert much major influence on the world.

However, despite the individual abilities being weak, each of them are meant to serve some kind of use to somebody. Some combinations of abilities might be stronger than others, but only in the same way that some race/class combinations are more powerful than others. Though, obviously, with an increased amount of possible combinations, it would be a lot harder to balance all the abilities appropriately.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 26th January 2015, 22:04

Re: God Proposal: The Union

This reminds me of the randomly-generated gods thread.

Rather than allow revision, I'd suggest doing this in a fashion similar to Ru sacrifices; force the player to pick from one of 1-4 offerings, lock them into whatever "gift" they pick.

I'd only allow them to "reject" offered gift choices, if there were only 1-2 gift choices offered, and increase the delay between the next offered gift if rejected.

Last edited by XuaXua on Monday, 26th January 2015, 22:05, edited 2 times in total.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 26th January 2015, 22:04

Re: God Proposal: The Union

Seems kind of like the random god proposal wrapped up inside of one god, with some mechanics to give partial control over your random god. That control might end up being a bit too powerful, practically speaking: what character would give up hp on kills?

(xuaxua beat me by one minute!)

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Halls Hopper

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Post Tuesday, 27th January 2015, 00:53

Re: God Proposal: The Union

I see what you mean XuaXua.

The reasoning behind letting them be replaceable was that locking players into their choices felt like it'd push players towards a gameplan, trying to optimise their god's build right off the bat. That said, I didn't think of forcing them to only choose from the first options they got. I think that would work if the abilities offered were weighted towards the character's needs. Or if requesting a fresh batch of offered abilities was severely limited. Either way, it feels like a solid idea.

Another idea to limit the amount of repicking was to not give players choice over what filled their slots. Each new ability would just fill in the next slot along and, when all slots were filled, it would loop back and start filling them in from the beginning again, overwriting old ones.

There was also the delay on new offerings, as mentioned in my original post. You could theoretically play with the numbers so that the player only got a certain number of offerings per average game. So, whilst in theory you get to replace old abilities as much as you like, chances are you're only going to get three or four chances to do so before the world ends.

But any combination of these ideas could work. I can see how a lot of them would mesh up nicely. The problem is finding a balance that binds players to their choices enough to make them think long-term about their plan, but not so much that players can easily get bogged down with useless abilities.

(Ps. What's the random god thing you both mentioned? I guess, based on the fact that I've never heard of it, that it's not something that ever made it into the game.)

Swamp Slogger

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Post Tuesday, 27th January 2015, 01:29

Re: God Proposal: The Union

I think it's an interesting idea, but I worry a bit about the customization making it too powerful. Even if all the active/passive abilities are a bit weaker than the normal god abilities, having 3 passives and 3 actives that you can tailor to the precise build you want...well, I could see it as being the go-to god for most players. Especially with the ability to adapt it when new voices are heard/abilities are offered - so you could change your loadout depending on your needs at a given point in time. Imagine being able to take rCorr for slime, switch to torment resistance for Tomb/Hells, etc.

Rather than weakening the abilities severely, to avoid abuse, I'd take a route more reminiscent of Ru: tie each powerful benefit with a noteworthy negative. You suggested a minor wrath every time you switch abilities, but I doubt a weakened, fairly short-lived wrath would be enough of a deterrent, especially towards the late game.

I wonder...would it be worth to make the abilities as powerful (or nearly so) as current god abilities, but stick them with lasting wrath from the gods they refuse? Say, you get an offer from 4 gods, accept god 1's offer, and you draw wrath from the other three until another set of offers comes? Living with constant god-wrath could be a strong counterpoint to the benefits of customization. Though I suppose you'd have to make the wrath level-dependent, so that low-level players who encountered The Union wouldn't get squashed instantly. Or maybe just make it harder to join (altars only in the Abyss, for example?), similar to Jiyva?

Just trying to figure out how to make it a worthwhile choice without making it the ultimate "you get exactly what you want" build.

Tartarus Sorceror

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Post Tuesday, 27th January 2015, 02:42

Re: God Proposal: The Union

My first thought was that maybe the god should be called "the Legion" or "the Multitude" because "the Union" just makes me think you gain piety by going around getting better pay and working conditions for the orcs down in the Mines.

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continuumg, math4jedi, mechanicalmaniac, nago, Sar, XuaXua

Mines Malingerer

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Post Tuesday, 27th January 2015, 06:42

Re: God Proposal: The Union

nicolae wrote:My first thought was that maybe the god should be called "the Legion" or "the Multitude" because "the Union" just makes me think you gain piety by going around getting better pay and working conditions for the orcs down in the Mines.

When I saw the title I honestly thought it might have something to do with fighting back against the unjust divine cartel that rules over dungeon crawlers. Knowledge should be free, Sif! (Actually a god that gives you missions related to in some way messing with other gods would be pretty cool.)

Halls Hopper

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Post Tuesday, 27th January 2015, 12:46

Re: God Proposal: The Union

Hmm... Aean... looking at it now, probably six abilities could be too much. I like the idea of each new ability coming with some kind of code of behaviour that the player was forced to stick to. For example, gaining resistance to confusion, for example, means you're not allowed to enslave or confuse enemies. It would probably help it feel like you're worshipping different gods, rather than just picking from a buffet of abilities. Though, the only reason I'd be hesitant to go with that, is that the code of behaviour that corresponded to each ability would have to be very simple and intuitive, so that the player could keep track of things.

Your other suggestion of invoking the wrath of gods for rejecting their abilities is something I'm also fond of. Especially because this god was already striking me as more of a mid-to-late god, so having a drawback that would discourage lower level players from worshipping it is good in my book. My thoughts for the wrath thing is that the player would have to actively request the Union for abilities. Then they get X amount of offers, pick one, suffer the mini-wrath of the others. This way, the player can put off pissing off some of the gods just by not requesting a new ability until they think they can survive the god's wrath. Perhaps as piety increases, more abilities are offered per request, meaning they're more likely to get what they want, but the amount of divine ire also increases.

That's just a loose idea. But I think it's a good way to stop the god from becoming a no-brainer if it forces players to put off worshipping it initially, whilst also making it so a player must survive divine bombardment before they can appreciate their new abilities. Though, the fact that the wrath would be temporary, means that if a player survived it, they'd still have managed to succeed at the whole "get what you want thing", so maybe it would be best to implement this with the idea that once you've made your choices, you're stuck to them.

Also... nicolae, Zindamnit, now I can't unsee the whole Trade Union reference now. And it's making me really want to design a god that forces enemies to fill out paperwork before they're allowed to attack me. Though, in all seriousness, I did also have the feeling that the Union felt a bit way unfantasy-like. Perhaps that was subconsciously why? I know I considered calling it the Union of Forgotten Gods. Or the Union of Malformation. Or the Union of Dammerung. Or something like that evoked a more fantastical feeling. But... yeah... I couldn't come up with anythig that sounded cool enough.

Dungeon Master

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Post Tuesday, 27th January 2015, 13:44

Re: God Proposal: The Union

BobIsDead wrote:(Ps. What's the random god thing you both mentioned? I guess, based on the fact that I've never heard of it, that it's not something that ever made it into the game.)
Dev wiki link.

The idea is not dead, in fact there has been one attempt to get started. It is a lot of work, though. Mark, the developer of Ultima Ratio Regum) keeps sending me emails about how this concept ought to be implemented :)

If anyone wants to discuss this, probably best to make a new thread, not to derail this one about a proper god.

Mines Malingerer

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Post Tuesday, 27th January 2015, 22:19

Re: God Proposal: The Union

Why not make it were all of the current gods will randomly minor to moderately wrath you as you worship "The Union" because they fear being replaced or having more challengers. You could spin it as all of the "defeated gods" ala Roman Zeus vs Chronos type of things or the "old gods" ala like paganism.

Spider Stomper

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Post Wednesday, 28th January 2015, 06:44

Re: God Proposal: The Union

ragnarokchu wrote:Why not make it were all of the current gods will randomly minor to moderately wrath you as you worship "The Union" because they fear being replaced or having more challengers. You could spin it as all of the "defeated gods" ala Roman Zeus vs Chronos type of things or the "old gods" ala like paganism.

Current god wrath doesn't really have minor to moderate penalties, as far as I'm aware. You could make it give wrath as if your XL was lower, but that only affects wrath that summons things.

So at that point you'd be fiddling with the wrath of every single other god just for a feature on this god, and any changes to their wrath for other reasons would indirectly affect The Union. That just sounds like a headache, though admittedly a god where you hear hundreds of voices in your head is probably a headache to begin with.

Halls Hopper

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Post Friday, 30th January 2015, 10:56

Re: God Proposal: The Union


Alright, so the way I see it, there are three directions this proposal can be taken in, each with possible variations.

The Union of Stability
Spoiler: show
The idea here is for there to be less chaos and shifting in terms of abilities. When their piety is high enough to give them a free slot, they are able to listen to the flury of voices. Upon doing so, they are offered four or so abilities. They must accept one of them. They can put off to listening to the flurry of voices if they wish to, but they must pick one of the abilities once its offered.

Once chosen, the ability can not be changed. Even if they leave the Union and come back to it later, they are still forced to stick to the abilities they picked. Because of this, the abilities they are offered are always strongly weighted towards what they are most likely to want or need, based on their build.

It makes the player think long-term about their decisions, right from the start. However, due to the options being weighted towards what they're likely to need, they're not going to be overwhelmed by choices. It also creates diversity in gameplay, as the player isn't guaranteed the option of creating the exact same build each time.

Conduct: Additionally, conduct can be added into this. Each ability comes with a related code of behaviour. Breaking that conduct might invoke the corresponding god's wrath and disable their ability for a while. However, beggers can't be choosers and, no matter how often conduct is broken, a god won't excommunicate a player.

Active/Passive: As the player has little choice over what abilities are offered to them, must stick more rigidly to them, doing away with the set ratio of active to passive abilities is very tempting. Especially considering that, if a mechanic really is needed for balance purposes, whether a player is offered mostly active or passive abilities can be weighted into the equation for determining what abilities they're offered.

Hard Reset: Another option is to allow the player to start over. Perhaps leaving and coming back really does reset the abilities you've picked. Perhaps at maximum piety, you can pray at the Union's altar to completely reset piety and abilities picked. It's just an option. It might seem overpowered, but if one is allowed to change gods mid-game, it seems unfair to not allow one to try the same with the Union. Though, naturally, there'd need to be a large penalty for doing this.

The Union of Protracted Pauses
Spoiler: show
The idea here is to give players the option of changing some of their chosen abilities in the later game, whilst also limiting the extent to which they can do that, all whilst using the same basic mechanics. The flurry of voices is only heard based on an XP-based timer, which gets longer and longer each time a new ability is picked.

A player can listen to the voices, choose what ability to pick, or wait for the flurry of voices to go away. If they do the latter, the timer does not go up, but is reset nonetheless. If they choose the former, the timer is reset and goes up slightly, meaning they'll have to wait longer for the next flurry of voices to come along. The amount of time that must be waited inceases exponentially, meaning that eventually the next flurry of voices will be so far off that the player will likely never hear it again.

In doing so, the player gets to pick which abilities they want, and perhaps even change some of them at a later point. However, there is a strong limitation on how much this can be done. It is also a small benefit to those playing the extended endgame, as they're likely to get the most flurries of voices.

Conduct: On top of this, each god could offer their own conduct that the player must abide by. This conduct would be appropriate to what ability the god offers. If the player broke it, they'd suffer divine retribution or perhaps would find the god leaving them.

No Delaying: Instead of giving the player the ability to listen to the flurry of voices when they chose to, they could instead be forced to decide whether to accept or reject the abilities offered straight away. It would prevent the player from putting off making decisions until it was more convenient (they'd explored more, cleared out an area, etc.), would also prevent them from accidentally missing out on picking a new ability due to the flurry of voices timing out.

The Union of Very Angry Gods
Spoiler: show
The idea here is to create more consequences for sticking with the Union. For example, everytime the player chooses to listen to the flurry of voices, they must pick one god to listen to and reject the rest. This causes them to suffer the wrath of all the rejected gods. At first, this is not much, as there are only a few gods offering them abilities. But the more abilities they accept, the more gods clamour for their attention, and the harsher the wrath of the gods is, all of them hurling their own form of divine retribution at the player.

Furthermore, the gods that the player does worship are also an angry bunch. They each have their own conduct that the player must abide by, will punish or reject the player for breaking those codes. Players could also abandon old gods they no longer wanted, though would invoke their wrath in doing so.

All this is meant to come together to make the Union more difficult to deal with. Whilst the ability to change abilities over time, each time a player does so, they suffer a greater and greater wrath. The main problem with this, though, comes from when player becomes powerful enough to semi-easily resist the effects of divine retribution. However, the conduct will go some way to stop any one combination of abilities from being too overpowered.

Scaling Retribution: Instead of increasing the amount of voices they hear each time they change abilities, an alternative way of going about it could be to make the strength of the divine retribution could scale with the character's level instead. This could be difficult to implement for a wide variety of different gods, but it might be better than getting to the point where a player is offered potentially upwards of a dozen different abilities each time they choose to listen to the voices.

The stability one is the most straight-forward one. It moves away from the whole "chaotic mass of squabbling gods" thing and feels more like some form of deitic socialism is going on between them. My only problem with it is that once you've picked your last ability, there's no more voices to hear, though this might just be a personal thing rather than an actual problem with the design.

The protracted pauses one is more or less the original suggestion. I'm becoming less partial to it over time, as the other two options seem to be more colourful and purer realisations of the concept. However, on the plus side, it does offer some of the benefits of both systems, it just has their weaknesses as well.

The very angry gods one is probably the hardest to implement. However, it does give something that the others lack, and that something is consequences. Sure, there might be a conduct system for the others, but this system takes it even further and makes requesting more power dangerous.

As for what one is the best, I'm still not sure. I've been playing around with how each one would work, the strengths and weaknesses of them, but am still on the fence about things. What do you guys think? What one seems the most fun and interesting?
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Snake Sneak

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Post Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 21:33

Re: God Proposal: The Union

Just dropping by to say that I love the fluff. Not sure how it would work in a balanced way in the crunch, but I love the fluff.

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