Lovecraftian Horror God


Although the central place for design discussion is ##crawl-dev on freenode, some may find it helpful to discuss requests and suggestions here first.

dd

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Post Saturday, 18th August 2012, 09:39

Lovecraftian Horror God

Ctho-N'gthan, the Slumbering One

Ctho-N'gthan is the Ancient God who came before all the other gods. In his full strength, he is far more powerful than all the other gods. However, at the beginning of time, Zin rallied all the other gods together to fight him. They couldn't kill him, but they managed to put him to sleep for eternity. Alas, even in his slumber he is considered as powerful as any of the other gods.

Ctho-N'gthan seeks to awaken from his slumber and remake reality to his image. To this end he seeks followers who provide him with power. He appreciates when followers sacrifice items of power, and also enjoys the souls of powerful magic users, which he uses to grow his power in order to eventually wake up.


You gain piety by sacrificing: magical potions (ie. all except water, porridge, poisons, blood), wands, magical staves, scrolls, spellbooks, rods, and evokable items (orbs of energy, air elemental fan, disc of storms etc.)
You also gain piety by sacrificing corpses of magic users - the more powerful, the more piety you gain. Orc wizards give very little piety, while highlevel uniques give lots.

You lose piety every time you use a consumable item of power (ie. potion or scroll) yourself instead of sacrificing it, or eat a corpse of a magic user instead of sacrificing it. Ctho-N'gthan is disappointed in you!

If your piety falls too low, Ctho-N'gthan may punish you by inflicting you with confusion at random intervals. This could happen if your piety has been at *** and afterwards falls to -.

Abilities given:

** - strike fear: Ctho-N'gthan sends horrible images to the minds of your enemies.
- targets all enemies in your LOS and attempts to inflict them with fear. Basically the same as scroll of fear, power may vary according to your piety and/or invocation skill. Cost: 2 MP, Piety

*** - touch of madness: Ctho-N'gthan whispers with his maddening voice to the minds of your enemies.
- targets one enemy with smite-targeting (ie. any visible enemy) and inflicts confusion. Can be resisted with MR, harder to resist if you have more piety. Cost: 3 MP, Piety

**** - Ctho's abominable touch: Ctho-N'gthan makes you into his image.
- gives you a temporary mutation: horns, beastly appendige, claws, or talons. Duration is longer with higher invocation skill. Cost: Piety

***** - call horrors: Ctho-N'gthan sends horrible abominations to your aid.
- summons one of: small abomination, large abomination, ugly thing, very ugly thing. Higher piety gives chance of more powerful summons. Cost: 4 MP, Piety, Food


But there's a catch! If your piety grows over a certain treshold (which is somewhere above *****), Ctho-N'gthan gains so much power that one of his thousand eyelids starts to slowly open. This causes his horrible presence to leak towards your location, which causes madness, chaos and horror to ensue.

As long as the piety is over the treshold level, and for some 100-300 turns after it drops below it (because there's a residual effect), following effects may occur randomly:
- You may get confused
- An enemy in your sight may get confused
- A corpse in your sight may be transformed into a small or large abomination, which may or may not be friendly
- An ugly thing may appear which may or may not be friendly (maybe a very ugly thing)
- (small chance) you may receive a random mutation
- (very small chance) an enemy in your sight may be polymorphed


If you abandon Ctho-N'gthan, you get a random bad mutation (this happens always, and immediately after you renounce, but only happens once). Additionally, for a period of time you get the following effects:
- hostile small/large abominations appear randomly
- hostile (very)ugly things appear randomly
- you may get confused at random times
Last edited by dd on Monday, 20th August 2012, 18:18, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Saturday, 18th August 2012, 10:04

Re: God idea...

(Is this a serious proposal?)

Two reasons why this won't work:
1) Very very weak. The gods put this guy to sleep pretty well IMO. Basically any non-Chei non-Xom god is better than this, see below. This is coupled with an extremely slow and bad piety system.
2) Strike Fear = the same as a L4 spell and a consumable
Touch of Madness = Confusion is ubiquitous (Confusing Touch, wands, Mephitic Cloud, Alistair's Intoxication Mass Confusion, Confuse, needles of confusion...)
Ctho's Abominable Touch = So... a level 1 transmutation as a 4* invocation that costs piety???
Call Horrors = A weak version of Summon Horrible Things combined with Summon Ugly things?
All these effects are found elsewhere, and are not even uncommon. Other god abilities are unique or at least mimic abilities that are rare otherwise.
I could play a Ctho char without following Ctho (basically). God ideas need to be more creative than "I'll throw a lot of effects existing in the game together, providing they share a common theme."

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Post Saturday, 18th August 2012, 10:41

Re: God idea...

dd: Your god is motivated by something (Chtulu I guess, but I wouldn't know: never dealt with Lovecraft) -- mention that. It makes it easier for others to follow your proposals and to add proposals fitting the theme.

Regarding the god shunned by the others: that's somehow --at least in my vision-- the role of Lugonu. It'd be a lot clearer, and without need of any words thrown at the player-- if Lugonu piety was at least partially obtained by desecrating the altars to other gods (with the expected reaction: wrath of the offended gods). I really hope to see that some day in Crawl.

Regarding the god proposal itself: Unfortunately, all points of the squire are valid. Did you have a look at the god proposals on the development wiki? While some of those are pretty far out, I feel that yours is not 'transcendental' enough, for lack of a better word. In my opinion, gods should bring something really new to the table, and almost all of the current gods do.

dd

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Post Saturday, 18th August 2012, 14:38

Re: God idea...

dpeg wrote:dd: Your god is motivated by something (Chtulu I guess, but I wouldn't know: never dealt with Lovecraft) -- mention that. It makes it easier for others to follow your proposals and to add proposals fitting the theme.


It's somewhat inspired by lovecraftian horrors, but not directly borrowing from them... I think the story in the first paragraphs of my post outlines the idea and thematic framework of the god adequately.

dpeg wrote:Regarding the god shunned by the others: that's somehow --at least in my vision-- the role of Lugonu.


Then the story could be changed - maybe it's other Ancient Gods who put this god to sleep so the new gods could eventually take over and create the world, or something. It's not really an important part of the story - main point is that the god is sleeping and has been sleeping since the beginning of time, and the followers are attempting to give him the power to wake up.


cerebovssquire wrote:1) Very very weak. The gods put this guy to sleep pretty well IMO.


Valid points, however the abilities and other details I outlined here aren't set in stone for this idea - it's just things I thought of that would fit the theme. I don't know about the balance things, didn't want to overpower them from the start, so I erred on the side of underpowered... anyway if they're too weak there's plenty of room for making stronger abilities within the theme of this god.

For example, the confusion ability affect everyone in LOS instead of just one. Maybe there could be a (mass) abjuration ability? Maybe an ability to polymorph monsters? The abominable touch ability could instead of existing mutations give some weirder effects - maybe a totally new condition that grows long tentacles from your body which can deal considerable damage with reach. There could even be an ability to put monsters to sleep.

The main gameplay idea of this god would be that you'd have to control your piety and balance it - you can't just be farming for piety like with other gods, because if you get too much horrible things happen - the challenge is to keep the piety as high as possible without getting it over the treshold. But you can't let it drop too low either, because the god gets angry with you, and you'll lose your abilities. The attraction to grow your piety near the treshold would be that all(most) your abilities get stronger with piety - and of course, sometimes you might want to risk the horrible effects of your god going on a rampage because of the strength you gain in your abilities.

cerebovssquire wrote:Call Horrors = A weak version of Summon Horrible Things combined with Summon Ugly things?


It could summon lots of them at once when your piety is high enough. If the abominations/ugly things are too boring, new monsters could be created which can be only summoned by following this god - maybe things like "horrors of the deep" and such. I can draw the tiles for them ;)

Oh, and tentacled monstrosities. Fit like a glove for this god.

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Post Saturday, 18th August 2012, 19:41

Re: God idea...

dd wrote:I don't know about the balance things, didn't want to overpower them from the start, so I erred on the side of underpowered... anyway if they're too weak there's plenty of room for making stronger abilities within the theme of this god.

Always go for overpowered, IMO, it's easier to nerf a cool idea than buff up a boring one.

For example, the confusion ability affect everyone in LOS instead of just one. Maybe there could be a (mass) abjuration ability? Maybe an ability to polymorph monsters? The abominable touch ability could instead of existing mutations give some weirder effects - maybe a totally new condition that grows long tentacles from your body which can deal considerable damage with reach. There could even be an ability to put monsters to sleep.

Those are all still existing spells, though -- Mass Confusion, Mass Abjuration, Polymorph Other, Beastly Appendage, Ensorcelled Hibernation. Your god is a decent Hex/Tmut randbook away from obsolescence. I like the idea of a Lovecraftian horror god but this god isn't really horrifying.

dd wrote:The main gameplay idea of this god would be that you'd have to control your piety and balance it - you can't just be farming for piety like with other gods, because if you get too much horrible things happen - the challenge is to keep the piety as high as possible without getting it over the treshold.

Piety gain is with sacrifice, which is entirely voluntary. You don't really have to worry about the threshold much; as soon as you hit five stars, just stop sacrificing things. There aren't any powers over five stars anyway.

If piety steadily increased, and you had to sacrifice to lower it down to managable levels, that might make an interesting twist (or not). Higher piety means the god is more Awake and can give you more power, but in exchange for more risk and chaos.

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Tiber

dd

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Post Saturday, 18th August 2012, 20:07

Re: God idea...

Thanks for the feedback. I'll think about this and see if I can manage a revised suggestion for this god.

nicolae wrote:If piety steadily increased, and you had to sacrifice to lower it down to managable levels, that might make an interesting twist


That does sound interesting, actually. I'll have to think about it.

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Post Saturday, 18th August 2012, 21:23

Re: God idea...

With Nicolae's suggestions, he actually made the whole thing sound kind of cool. I would have to suggest that if you're going for the whole C'thulu thing, the abilities should be powerful but double-edged, and rely much less on vanilla confusion. C'thulu, or Ctho-N'gthan, does not care about you. I'm thinking things like summoning eldritch tentacles that attack anyone and anything, or an "alien geometry" ability that cause walls to hurt everyone for a limited time.

As for the high-piety bad effects, I'm thinking of Eternal Darkness. Turn all the enemies invisible (and SInv won't help). Make monsters come into view looking like other monsters (like mesmerize, only you don't know you're mesmerized!). Maybe at high power reality just stops working like it's supposed to (all weapons now have reaching, enjoy!, AC acts like EV and EV acts like AC, elemental magic now does the opposite type of damage).

I wouldn't think about a god proposal so much as strong vs. weak; I think you should think about what new things your god would actually bring to the game first and foremost.

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Post Saturday, 18th August 2012, 21:56

Re: God idea...

Tiber wrote:With Nicolae's suggestions, he actually made the whole thing sound kind of cool. I would have to suggest that if you're going for the whole C'thulu thing, the abilities should be powerful but double-edged, and rely much less on vanilla confusion.

One idea: an effect that exposes creatures in LoS to the horrors of the endless oblivion beyond the stars; instead of mere confusion, upon realizing the utter indifference and horror of the cold universe, creatures of humanoid or higher intelligence will attempt to kill themselves, battering themselves with their weapons, blinding themselves running into clouds, or hurling themselves into the nearest deep water or lava. There's a chance that priests may renounce their gods, upon realizing that even the gods of mortals are powerless and impotent in the face of eternity. (It is very important to cram as much Lovecraftian verbiage as possible into the descriptions, I think.)

Another one I had was that your body becomes a malign gateway: an eldritch tentacle is anchored at your location and follows you around, with your player doll changed to a person-shaped outline of distant stars.

I also like the "alien geometry" idea, and having it trigger by being near walls is neat.

There's an old idea on the devwiki for a god where, instead of piety, you can sacrifice some MaxHP and exchange it for a variable called Pact, which can be then used to "purchase" various abilities, which might suit a god who demands sacrifice. (Some powers may require other costs, like losing MaxMP or part of a stat, taking on a bizarre mutation, or even sacrificing an eyeball or hand, with various associated penalties.)

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Post Sunday, 19th August 2012, 01:16

Re: God idea...

Yes, Pact looks good in the theme.

About another property the God could have that is not very frequent in the game (and non-existing as spell or ranged): a kind of antimagic.

Specifically:

Suck magic: Pay some MP, something else (hp?, confusion?), GAIN piety and suppress for at least two turns the magic ability of a smite-targeted creature. Given the flavour below, we could even imagine that it is permanent, but the cost should then be huge, maybe minus one or a few maxMP.

You act as the eyes of the God to prey upon a still alive magic user. You gain the piety of he corresponding magic corpse (maybe twice). Since you channel It, you are badly exposed to the infinite horrors… The natural thing seems then an effect iike confusion, but I feel it would almost nullify the effectiveness. I'd go for a HP cost, even if I have some trouble "flavouring" it. Among other things, it then also makes a bigger difference with antimagic brand.
Or, like suggested above, maxMP cost and permanent effect. It would basically trivialize quite a few very dangerous monsters, so the cost should be up there too.

dd

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Post Sunday, 19th August 2012, 05:15

Re: God idea...

Really good ideas here guys. I really like some of these...

As for the high-piety bad effects, I'm thinking of Eternal Darkness. Turn all the enemies invisible (and SInv won't help). Make monsters come into view looking like other monsters (like mesmerize, only you don't know you're mesmerized!). Maybe at high power reality just stops working like it's supposed to (all weapons now have reaching, enjoy!, AC acts like EV and EV acts like AC, elemental magic now does the opposite type of damage).


That sounds great. But the piety mechanism still needs to be re-evaluated...

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Post Monday, 20th August 2012, 13:34

Re: God idea...

dd: The original idea of pact is *constant piety*. In other words, piety goes up if you pay for it (with your own blood), and never goes down.

It's a concept for piety I really like. It was set up for an ally-style god (in particularly, but not just, summons). Would surely also work with other themes. The advantage of allies is that it's easier to part with HP :)

By the way, your thread title ("God idea...") is abysmal. Please change it to something meaningful.

dd

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Post Monday, 20th August 2012, 18:18

Re: Lovecraftian Horror God

Changed.
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Post Monday, 20th August 2012, 19:38

Re: God idea...

dpeg wrote:dd: The original idea of pact is *constant piety*. In other words, piety goes up if you pay for it (with your own blood), and never goes down.

It's a concept for piety I really like. It was set up for an ally-style god (in particularly, but not just, summons). Would surely also work with other themes. The advantage of allies is that it's easier to part with HP :)



I think that a nice fit with an ally-style god would be the ability to polymorph foes into ugly things or abominations to fight to your side, or whichever other kind of horrifid beings, maybe coming out from inside your enemies. The allies should be short lived as a summon. Don't know if this is too similar to Jiyva, but Jiyva indeed is such a kind of Lovecraftian horror god.
An option complementary to the former is to polymorph beings into lesser critters to deal with.

Another theme not necessarily related to but appealing anyway is the concept of a god which wants to reborn in the physical world and uses an acolyte -you- to achieve it, so you are becoming one with your god as some uncanny avatar.
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Post Thursday, 23rd August 2012, 10:12

Re: Lovecraftian Horror God

I like the idea of a God where maximum piety is actually a bad thing - would be unique as Gods go and coudl be an interesting challenge to balance increasing power with increasing risk as greater piety and powers increase the risk of your God's awakening doing something truly horrible

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Post Thursday, 23rd August 2012, 10:18

Re: Lovecraftian Horror God

molari wrote:I like the idea of a God where maximum piety is actually a bad thing - would be unique as Gods go and coudl be an interesting challenge to balance increasing power with increasing risk as greater piety and powers increase the risk of your God's awakening doing something truly horrible

Players would just have to spam low-cost harmless abilities, which is uncool. If there are none, the god would become too troublesome to actually worship IMO
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Post Thursday, 23rd August 2012, 10:52

Re: Lovecraftian Horror God

molari wrote:I like the idea of a God where maximum piety is actually a bad thing

I fear this would result in a tedious piety micro-management to stay at an optimal level. Doesn't sound very fun.
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Post Friday, 24th August 2012, 03:11

Re: Lovecraftian Horror God

Some new ideas, partly for theme, partly to avoid micro-management.

Under this god, you gain piety as time passes. At low piety, this is very slow, but the rate increases with higher piety. Whenever you use an ability, you wake him up just a little bit more. You can pray at any time to increase piety. Invocations do not improve effectiveness for any of these skills. However, all skills gain power and success rate with higher piety.

When sacrificing items to reduce piety, piety decays in a manner similar to poison. It does not decay instantly, but has a chance to decay every X number of turns, and has a chance to make the effect expire. Sacrificing better items is sort of like deeper poison. This is so it feels more thematic; like it feels like you're trying to coerce the god back to sleep, rather than just insert item, reduce piety. There's no tension in that.

Abilities:
Passive: When confused, you have a chance of gaining might, haste, agility, or brilliance. You can also still cast spells, though aim is random, much like firing arrows. Summons may also spawn confused (to close a loophole where you just summon while confused and let them take care of it).
...... (0 stars) - Inspiration (1 MP, Food, Gain Piety ) : Gives a boost to several random skills, but has a chance to confuse you. Raises more skills with higher piety.
*..... (1 star) - Brain Drain ( 3 MP, Food, Gain piety ) : Drains a monsters intelligence, and heals you. Smite-targeted. In game terms, this works like the anti-magic brand, and affects things like how long a monster remembers you when you run away. No effect on undead, but works on demons, with reduced effect.
**.... (2 stars) - Dimension Veil ( 4 MP, Food, Gain Piety ) : Blurs the line between worlds, and hides you from sight. Functionally identical to invisibility, but works even on monsters with SInv. However, you don't get any stabbing bonus.
***... (3 stars) - Shadow Protector (4 MP, Food, Gain Piety ) : A monster who dwells within your shadow attacks anything nearby. Every turn, attacks 1 adjacent unit, possibly even a friendly unit, with a chaos-branded attack.
****.. (4 stars) - Alien Geometry ( 3 MP, Food, Gain Piety) : Walls deal damage to adjacent units, including you, similar to call forest or slime walls.
*****. (5 stars) - Otherworldly Vision (5 MP, Food, Gain Piety) : Has a strong chance to confuse, mesmerize, cause fear, or paralyze everything in sight. Confuses you, and may drain int.
****** (6 stars) - Remaking (8 MP, Food, Gain Piety) : Allows you to take on a form reminiscent of Ctho himself. Features increased health, regen, multiple tentacle attacks, etc. Drains int.

I'm not 100% on all of these abilities; a lot of it's just brainstorming. I really like some of them though, like brain drain and alien geometry, and it sets up the mechanics and progression well. This revised concept sort of tempts you into greater power, making it incredibly easy to try and grind piety quickly when the situation goes bad. But it can quickly go out of control, trading problems further on for a quick-fix right now. And confusion being something you actually might want seems fun to me, though the benefits of it may need to be tweaked. The downsides of having high piety would still need to be elaborated on as well.

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dd

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Post Friday, 24th August 2012, 05:19

Re: Lovecraftian Horror God

Tiber, great post there - keep the ideas coming! I like your proposed piety mechanism, except that it seems a bit counterintuitive to lose piety from sacrifices... I wonder if there could be a better alternative for that.

What if instead using consumable items decreases piety? The chunks of lost piety would need to be significant, and there might also need to be some second option for getting rid of excess piety... maybe eating chunks of meat or something. This way, when the going gets too dangerous, you'd have to choose whether you try to tough it out or use some items to lower the piety back to safer levels...

I think dpeg's "pact" idea is also interesting, but I'm not sure how well it could be matched with the idea of dangerous high-piety levels...

galehar wrote:
molari wrote:I like the idea of a God where maximum piety is actually a bad thing

I fear this would result in a tedious piety micro-management to stay at an optimal level. Doesn't sound very fun.


Not necessarily... what if there isn't a set treshold for awakening, and instead it would be a probabilistic event - the higher your piety grows, the higher the chance of awakening your god? This would prevent players from trying to keep the piety at any set level - instead they'd have to assess the risk of any given piety level and figure out whether the gained power is worth it.

Also, the awakening wouldn't have to be a singular effect - there could be different levels of awakenings, the chances of each happening being dependent on the piety level.
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Post Friday, 24th August 2012, 09:57

Re: Lovecraftian Horror God

dd wrote:what if there isn't a set treshold for awakening, and instead it would be a probabilistic event - the higher your piety grows, the higher the chance of awakening your god? This would prevent players from trying to keep the piety at any set level - instead they'd have to assess the risk of any given piety level and figure out whether the gained power is worth it.

Also, the awakening wouldn't have to be a singular effect - there could be different levels of awakenings, the chances of each happening being dependent on the piety level.


This sounds like alot of fun - would be an interesting mechanic to have to carefully consider your religion. As piety increases, Ctho-N'gthan approaches a wakeful state and its horrible dreams begin to manifest. As you gain power, you also find the dungeon becoming a more dangerous place - until at full piety you're all but an avatar of the slumbering one - walking through his twisted nightmares.

also - might I use this opportunity to suggest that Ctho-N'gthan's altars be described as "non-euclidean" (or possibly cyclopean)?

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Post Friday, 24th August 2012, 10:04

Re: Lovecraftian Horror God

dd wrote:Tiber, great post there - keep the ideas coming! I like your proposed piety mechanism, except that it seems a bit counterintuitive to lose piety from sacrifices... I wonder if there could be a better alternative for that.

What if instead using consumable items decreases piety? The chunks of lost piety would need to be significant, and there might also need to be some second option for getting rid of excess piety... maybe eating chunks of meat or something. This way, when the going gets too dangerous, you'd have to choose whether you try to tough it out or use some items to lower the piety back to safer levels...


I was referring to the idea earlier where you had to sacrifice useful items, similar to nemelex, by the way. Sorry, I thought that was clear. Though, maybe if you had to sacrifice something about your character, that would be interesting too (though the powers would really have to be great to be worth that).

dd

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Post Friday, 24th August 2012, 17:43

Re: Lovecraftian Horror God

Tiber wrote:
dd wrote:Tiber, great post there - keep the ideas coming! I like your proposed piety mechanism, except that it seems a bit counterintuitive to lose piety from sacrifices... I wonder if there could be a better alternative for that.

What if instead using consumable items decreases piety? The chunks of lost piety would need to be significant, and there might also need to be some second option for getting rid of excess piety... maybe eating chunks of meat or something. This way, when the going gets too dangerous, you'd have to choose whether you try to tough it out or use some items to lower the piety back to safer levels...


I was referring to the idea earlier where you had to sacrifice useful items, similar to nemelex, by the way. Sorry, I thought that was clear. Though, maybe if you had to sacrifice something about your character, that would be interesting too (though the powers would really have to be great to be worth that).


Kind of like how deep dwarves can sacrifice mp to recharge wands... that could work, if it were carefully balanced.
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Post Monday, 3rd September 2012, 09:02

Re: Lovecraftian Horror God

dd wrote:
I think dpeg's "pact" idea is also interesting, but I'm not sure how well it could be matched with the idea of dangerous high-piety levels...

galehar wrote:
molari wrote:I like the idea of a God where maximum piety is actually a bad thing

I fear this would result in a tedious piety micro-management to stay at an optimal level. Doesn't sound very fun.


Not necessarily... what if there isn't a set treshold for awakening, and instead it would be a probabilistic event - the higher your piety grows, the higher the chance of awakening your god? This would prevent players from trying to keep the piety at any set level - instead they'd have to assess the risk of any given piety level and figure out whether the gained power is worth it.

Also, the awakening wouldn't have to be a singular effect - there could be different levels of awakenings, the chances of each happening being dependent on the piety level.


A set of plagues affecting the dungeon from time to time would fit good as well as a theme: water into lava, earthquakes and holes, swarms, illness ... a dangerous environment to everybody including you, risky but can be useful.
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