God Mechanics

This page deals with changes to general mechanics related to gods. If you write something, please sign. This is easily done, just use the second to rightmost button in the editor row.

Unintentional Anger

I've noticed a number of different ways you can unintentionally perform an action that seems like it should anger your god, but doesn't, and some that seem like they shouldn't anger your god (since it was an accident) but does. They are mostly to do with decks and xom, and summarized below:

  1. If Xom forces a potion effect it is considered known, allowing you to anger Chei with POT_HASTE or POT_BERSERK_RAGE: xom.cc line 1214 going into potion.cc line 53
  2. If Xom forces TRANS_LICH, the good gods do not mind or note it (except for Zin, who will try to shield you from it): xom.cc line 495 going into transform.cc line 557
  1. If you draw Helix and worship Zin, Zin never minds: decks.cc line 2085 going into mutation.cc line 1175
  2. If you draw Velocity and worship Chei, you will anger chei due to a haste/swiftness effect considered known: decks.cc line 1496 going into spl-selfench.cc and potion.cc line 53
  3. If you draw Flight and worship Chei, you will anger Chei if the card swifts you: decks.cc line 1572 going into spl-selfench.cc
  4. If you draw Potion it is considered known, allowing you to anger Chei with POT_HASTE: decks.cc line 1948 going into potion.cc line 53
  5. If you draw Metamorphosis and get TRANS_LICH, the good gods do not mind or note it (except for Zin, who will try to shield you from it): decks.cc line 1795 going into transform.cc line 557
  6. If you draw Blade and it gives your weapon a brand that is unsafe for your god, it does not warn you, but it does not anger unless you use it to attack (chaos for chei due to random hasting, venom or draining or pain for TSO/good gods): decks.cc line 1884
  7. If you draw Venom or Pain and worship TSO, it is slightly inconsistent: I haven't tested, but I am told torment is uncancellable but doesn't anger, agony is cancellable but doesn't anger, and draining is cancellable but does anger: decks.cc line 1675
  8. If you draw Battlelust, it can delayed berserk you, but this berserk is considered unintentional and won't anger Chei: decks.cc line 1778

As you can see, most of these effects are to do with cards (and a few to do with xom, which incidentically is to do with the Xom card.) Currently, when you draw a card, the method in which the card has its effect does not know if it was knowingly or unintentionally drawn. In addition, for some of the above cards it is not obvious to an unspoiled player that it might do something your god dislikes (if the cards were changed to anger your god if knowingly drawn) (e.g. flight or potion). The strategy I prefer would be to make cards never anger your god immediately upon drawing (unless it lets you cancel, e.g. venom/pain), like so:

  1. If Xom makes you drink a potion, it is considered unknown
  2. If you draw Velocity, Chei intervenes and dissipates it
  3. If you draw Flight and it swifts, Chei intervenes and dissipates it
  4. If Potion would make you drink haste, Chei intervenes and turns it into water
  5. If you draw Blade and the new brand is unsafe for your god, there is a warning
  6. If you unintentionally become a lich, a good god will warn you but do nothing (maybe try to turn back faster?)
  7. If you draw Venom or Pain and it immediately uses itself, you are only warned. If it gives you the option and you go ahead anyway, then you anger your good god

I started a partial implementation of the above: http://pastebin.com/AFV4gw0U It still needs to cover blade, xom trans_lich, metamorphosis trans_lich and the blast cards which I haven't looked at yet.

Patashu 2012-04-16 14:24

Permanent gifts

Temporary/consumable gifts are generally okay. There are plans to change the book gifts for Sif and Vehumet, so I won't cover those.

This is about Trog's and Okawaru's armour and weapon gifts. They are dissatisfactory for a number of reasons:

  • Pointless acquirements make sense (scroll blown), pointless weapon/armour gifts not so much (better to have a longer timeout if we want that).
  • They provide almost no choices. Usually, a gift will be clearly superior or inferior to what you already have in this slot.
  • We have to use harder wraths because the players get to keep all those items.

There are a number of ways to improve the matter, I list four. All of these sound interesting, and several/all could be applied. (Note that we have two gifting gods and we can also make a distinction between armour and weapon gifts.)

Permanent gifts
  • Those always have the god's name as part of their name (“Okawaru's axe of Vengeance”).
  • They are removed (taken back by the god) when the god is abandoned.
  • Generating those gifts tries to walk the fine line between overpowering and actually useful. (The crucial bit. This is hard to do!)
Maybe these items can grow in pluses when you gain piety and you can only get a new one with other special properties, but without pluses when you return your old ones — andorxor 2011-10-06 13:12
Temporary gifts
  • Those are given for durations like 2000-3000 turns.
  • Retraction is announced well in advance (think 100 turns) and won't happen in combat.
  • Generating those gifts tries to give outstanding items.
Conditional gifts I: Permant -> temporary

Only the simplest approach and only for weapons here:

  • The weapon gift is permanent as long as the player never uses a different kind of weapon for attacking.
  • If he does, the gift vanishes. (Drawback: need prompt or other kind of warning to prevent accidental loss of gifts.)
Conditional gifts II: Temporary -> permanent

The idea is that special feats can make an item last longer or permanent. I see two viable approaches:

  1. Upon delivering a temporary gift, a task is announced. E.g. “May this help you to fetch the barnacled rune.” If you manage, the item becomes permanent. Ideally, the item's name reflects the challenge.
  2. Beating tough opponents has a chance of increasing duration. If duration was increased three times already, the gift becomes permanent. (Drawback: even if we don't use tension, toughness may be scummed – e.g. by leaving uniques or branch ends for that purpose. It can be circumvented by the god attaching bounties to enemies coming into view. That'd be a small scale version of the other approach.)

Piety gain

Piety for kills depending on monster threat

dpeg: Some gods (Elyvilon, Nemelex) give different messages on sacrifices, depending on whether piety was increased or not. This should be extended to the blood gods, in particular since we plan to make their piety gain rules to be less uniform. I am thinking of the face that (at least for some gods), killing rats at *** piety should be much less effective than killing hydras. The messages should reflect that. See 1835985. Here are some ideas for messages (only for sacrifices, but the same idea applies to killing):

  • [god] ignores your sacrifice. (no chance for piety gain)
  • [god] notices your sacrifice. (no actual piety gain, although there was a chance for piety gain)
  • [god] accepts your sacrifice. (piety gain)
  • [god] appreciates your sacrifice. (larger piety gain)
The different messages are good. But piety gain depending on monster HD or the like is meaningless from a gameplay perspective. Keep in mind, the player kills every monster encountered, and sacrifices every monster for gods that accept sacrifices. (The fraction needed for food is trivial.) So all the player sees is the total piety value of the monsters on a level. Where they got 10 total from rats and 10 from hydras, or 0 from rats and 20 from hydras, makes no difference at all. The only time varying piety for different kills/sacrifices matters, is when the relevant frequencies depend strongly on the branch. So e.g. you may wait to do the Crypt if you are thinking of switching to the TSO. But remember, here as elsewhere, if it doesn't create a decision for the player, it doesn't add anything to the game. — lemuel 2010-09-21 06:16
I hope I can meaningfully disagree. While you have a point, I would love to see blood gods (e.g. Trog, Okawaru, Makhleb) be distinguished by a piety-per-threat rule (for one of them). It would matter if it's significant: you get lots of piety for dangerous monsters and zero piety for the rest. I guess a good candidate would be Trog (thinking only in gameplay terms here, we can always put sufficient flavour on this later): if you see an early ogre, that's great! Dangerous foe → piety gain. The usual reaction of withdrawing and gaining experience elsewhere might not be the best option here. Of course, that leaves players with a decision: which monsters are so dangerous that you still better run? — dpeg 2010-09-21 11:21
What I like about piety from threat: it makes gods feel deeper, since they recognize your genuine accomplishments more; no more saving easy monsterful branches like Orc and Hive for tons of gifts or to get out of a piety slump; encourages players to take risks, though maybe not that much, unless a god took this to extreme as in the above Trog example.
What I dislike: it's hard to measure threat in a meaningful way: tension is gameable; HD means near nothing, what with slugs having more of it than Cerebov, and the such; depth is per-branch; etc.. Maybe something based on experience gained would work (interesting point: the god is less interested in kills by summons, if it even was at all in the first place), but it still feels funny, with things like mass-summoning –though easy to kill if caught early– boggarts being worth a meagre fraction of kiteable elephant slugs, though perhaps this speaks more to flaws in exp distribution than application thereof.
mrmistermonkey 2010-09-21 11:52
I believe it is not quite that bad. First of all, there is an attempt to get a better grip on Experience Value Adjustments gained for monsters. Secondly, even if the measure is somewhat off, it will still be okay in the large. It may be best to wait with such a piety rule until we feel more comfortable with the experience values, though. — dpeg 2010-09-22 00:02
Piety tracked with all gods

I'd like you to consider this idea: Piety is tracked for all gods at all times, like in POWDER. Unlike in POWDER, only one god is active at a time (the one you're worshipping). Only he/she/it can punish or reward you, and you can only use powers granted by your religion. So why bother ?

  • It would encourage switching religion. Player might want to switch to The Shining One after destroying a vault of undead.
  • Godless character who starts worshipping a god could start with piety higher than 0, if he behaved in compliance with the god's conduct. You could even list approximate piety at altars so player would get a hint if this religion is appropriate for his character.
  • In POWDER, player has to care about pleasing all gods at the same time. This is manageable only with a small set of gods, and strongly encourages spoilers. This proposal is similar, but lacks this nuisance.
  • To prevent extreme switching for top rewards, there could be a cap, so player can't have 200 piety with multiple gods simultaneously.

b0rsuk 2010-08-08 07:59

This is a great idea! We should track full piety for all gods at once, but only had stepped-down amounts to a god-changing character. This might be a much simpler implementation of the conducts proposed below. (Because we don't have to invent all these extra cases. On the other hand, piety for blood gods would generally always be positive, for anyone. A way around that would be counting all negative piety but only >1 positive piety.
To give some examples: Killing spellcasters would give Trog piety even if you don't worship him, but other kills wouldn't. (Sacrificing corpses is not possible, of course.) Using spells would trash your piety in no time. Therefore, a melee character who didn't use spells could switch to Trog with a nice piety bonus.
But matters are more complicated elsewhere: There is no way to gain or lose piety with Nemelex, for example. That might be okay, the god is indifferent to your actual lifestyle. Okawaru only has piety gain for kills, there are no preferred actions (which will be changed once we get to Okawaru.) So you'll never have bonus piety, although you might have negative starting piety if you used summons before. A similar comment applies to Fedhas: no way to gain piety in advance, but you might lose some from killing plants. The system would work well with TSO (killing undead and behaving good gets you piety), Trog, Sif Muna.
So it might be an idea to either (a) only count negative piety with gods you're not worshipping or (b) make piety gains more interesting. Aside from that, we could the accumulated negative piety to display messages when taking on the new god (as indicated below in conducts. If we use negative piety when taking on a god, it needs to be capped — a player could start out in penance, to repent for his evil ways. — dpeg 2010-08-08 11:42
Regarding having no way to gain piety with Nemelex, this isn't entirely true; deck usage could do such. — mrmistermonkey 2010-08-08 12:29
Yes, there are endless possibilities for tuning the numbers. I wonder if tracking piety loss over time would be a bad idea. Say a character has never cast a spell for 100 000 turns, and now Sif Muna hates him. For a character who wants to join Sif, a wise thing to do would be learning some magic skills first. Anyway, gods should feel more real if they don't hibernate until worshipped. — b0rsuk 2010-08-08 14:16
There is the idea of tracking conducts with all gods: this would allow for Sif to present unhappiness about your previous way of life and hope that you'll improve in the future. I believe that messages are enough to make the gods more lively. — dpeg 2010-09-21 11:21


No more altar sacrifices

See 1994107. At the moment, quite a number of gods still accept altar sacrifices: Sif Muna, TSO, Kikubaaqudgha, Okawaru, Makhleb, Trog. I suggest to completely get rid of it. It is a tedious affair in any case, and problematic for gods with decaying piety anyhow.

It should be noted that Elyvilon, Trog, Nemelex have their own, specialised offering mechanisms. If we want to keep sacrifices, we should take our cue from that:

  • TSO: praying on a square containing evil items destroys them. You pray to The Shininig One to destroy the(se) evil device(s).
  • Zin: likewise with potions of mutation and appropriate corpses. This overloads prayer somewhat, but the cases where both effects apply (i.e. you stand on a square with evil items and you are starving) are not problematic at all: let Zin simply do both. However, I think it makes more sense that TSO wants you to collect necromantic items than Zin to want you collect potions of mutations.

Of course, having to go to an altar for some singular event (weapon blessing with TSO, Lugonu, Kikubaaqudgha; donating gold with Zin) is completely acceptable.

Prayer in general

Currently, we are using the prayer command for two types of actions:

  • actual prayers to god (feeding with Zin, life saving with Elyvilon, injury mirror with Yredelemnul)
  • item offerings (corpses with Trog, Okawaru, Makhleb, all items with Nemelex)

However, the situation is not fully clear-cut:

  • prayer under Beogh generates piety by “burying” dead orcs (it's technically an item offer, but thematically a prayer)
  • Elyvilonites can offer weapons with an ability
  • Fedhasites use an ability to turn corpses into toadstools (technically an item offer, but it's an ability)

The matter is not urgent, we can leave things as they are. But the inconsistency is a bit annoying. Here are potential solutions:

  1. Have separate commands for pray and for offer. Advantages: no confusion whatsoever, and we can use both types for a god (e.g. Elyvilon). Drawback: we introduce another command. (Note that o is out of the question but sacrifice would be an option.)
  2. Reserve p for item offers and make all actual prayer effects into abilities. Advantages: consistency, and players would be more likely to remember Elyvilon's life saving. Drawbacks: the prayer command will be somewhat misnamed and we lose a bit of flavour.
  3. Keep one prayer command but introduce a prompt before going into actual prayer mode. With the current (pre-0.6) gods, that would mean prompt before praying to Elyvilon, Yredelemnul, Zin. But p would also sacrifice weapons to Elyvilon and turn corpses in sight into toadstools for Fedhasites (note that currently, players have to press two keys to do these actions). For smooth interface, pressing p in the (y/n) query should mean no.

Note that some fat-fingered players like me occasionally suffer from pressing p inadvertently, easy to do since it's next to o. All of the above proposals would help with that.

A feature request at 1165 suggests to have prayer offer all corpses in LOS when applicable, like Fedhas decomposition.

A possible alternate thing here is to have the corpse sacrifice be slightly different for every god that accepts corpses. The Fedhas decomposition is great and unique, and it's possible that the other gods can get more “flavor” by having unique things that they do to corpses, some of which may have tactical advantages or disadvantages. For example, sacrificing via Trog may involve automatically being in or going into a rage, and physically tearing the corpse apart and distributing food chunks and blood around the room over the course of a couple of turns, somewhat akin to a wand disintigrate blast that only works on corpses; whereas TSO may surround the corpse with a bright halo that outlines everything in sight as per Corona, including you. Not sure if this idea should go here, or get it's own section. (added 07NOV2010)

I'd say it should get its own section, since by nature it invites people to propose ideas for the effects. — brickman 2010-11-07 19:53
Display wrath

See 2885069: There is no display of a god's anger once you have renounced the religion. This is not ideal, here are some ideas to improve matters:

  1. The religion info command ^ shows a list of angered gods, with a **** rating on how angry they are, and maybe even a description of the wrath. Advantage: ^ is what we used for religious standings. Drawback: some gods have very full ^ and ^! screens. Potential solution: Have a third screen for wrath. E.g. ^W.
  2. The new Ctrl-O screen will list all gods found in the dungeon. We can use colours to indicate various features. For example, use red and lightred to indicate wrath. This would be only two levels, but that may suffice anyway. Note that this idea can be used together with the first one.


See 2852077 for the old proposal. And see 2836499 for a good description of the problem. Note that this proposal does not deal with the question of when retribution effects occur. There are some comments in the FR about linking them to exploration and/or xp gain, so as to only kick in when the player is doing something substantial. This is fine by me, but I am addressing something which I find much more broken:

The god wraths need an overhaul. Here are the problems:

  • Currently, wrath is given by a timer. This encourages awkward play (e.g. hiding in a self-dug tunnel in Lair) — this actually happens.
  • Some wraths are so hard as to strongly discourage god switching. This is bad. We want abandonment to have noticeably bad effects but to be an option in many cases. In particular, we want wrath effects to take the player's situation into account.
  • Invocations skill sucks. For many gods there's not enough incentive to train the skill at all. Players like to turn the skill off after having just enough of it. When you switch gods, you typically go completely bankrupt. If Invocations carrying over to new god mattered, we'd see more people switching. “Inventive” gods who don't use the skill at all (Nemelex, Trog, Gold god proposal, Fedhas to lesser extent) don't help. Makhleb's passive power is so powerful I often choose the god and completely skip invocations. It's time to rethink Invocations. (I know it's not strictly about wrath, but I wanted all switching issues to be in one place. High Invo could theoretically protect a character from former god's wrath). — b0rsuk 2010-01-17 09:35
    • I agree with you, but a suggested fix for this was nixed. Wrath softening would help but doesn't cut it. The non-INV using gods need some way of getting rid of your INV skill. The semi-INV using gods (Fedhas, MAKHLEB, seriously?) need to be modified so that INV is useful and/or needed. This is I think more of a function of a deity's *powers* than wrath, so I put it in the powers section below. — drpraetor 2010-02-13 18:45

Here is the proposal: Each god's wrath comes with two parameters, severity (between 0 and 100) and wrath (couting down until the god is mollified). You can have wrath with many gods at the same time. You can have positive severity but zero wrath with a god. In effect, you have severity and wrath counters for all gods, although they'll often be zero.

Severity should be affected by

  • S1: the maximal piety reached with the god
  • S2: total time you served the god
  • S3: gifts (including blessing, good mutations)
  • S4: type of penance

As an example: if you start with a god with piety decay (e.g. Trog or Makhleb) and you run out of piety, then S1 and S2 are minimal and S4 would not increase severity. If you abandon TSO in the Abyss and go to Lugonu, then you get a hefty extra severity from S4 and possibly from S3 (if you blessed a blade, and TSO blessed daevas).

Examples for S4:

  • Forgetting the god: no additional penalty
  • Switching to another god: penalty depends on new god
  • Abandoning the god: mild additional penalty but
  • Taking on a new god can increase severity from a wrathful god. (In other words, you wouldn't gain anything by abandoning first and then taking on the new god.)

wrath should be constant per god. wrath is reduced not over time but whenever the god does something towards you. E.g. blood gods may send minions after you. This alone decreases wrath (by a fixed amount — the nastiness of the minions depends on severity) but wrath is further (and more) decreased if they actually fight you.

Here are some typical retribution effects, which would lower wrath:

  • Trog, Okawaru, etc.: kill minions sent by the god (severity affects number/type of minions sent) — this might look a bit strange at a glance: Why can Trog be mollified with killing his minions? The thematic answer is that the player took the effort to battle them. In gameplay terms, this is much less scummable than reducing wrath for only sending minions, or for minions hurting the player.
  • Trog: make already existing (and fitting) monster berserk
  • Nemelex should shuffle all decks in the universe as now; this is not related to wrath.
  • Nemelex: higher chance to draw from Oddities (severity affects chance)

We should accompany wrath effects with fitting speech. E.g. TSO would complain about blessing your blade and you running off etc.

I suggest we do the god wraths in small groups; it is not necessary to do all gods at once. Would be good to start with the most popular gods.

It is also conceivable that lowering wrath depends a bit on tension.

The proposal on Lugonu (where you get piety for corrupting altars) depends on this wrath overhaul: currently, the wraths would be too strong to allow this style early on. Here is how it should work: whenever you corrupt the altar to some god, increase the severity of that god's wrath by 10, and increase wrath by some fixed amount. Also, you cannot take on this god anymore.
Fun bit: Religious title should be “Enemy of the gods” if you corrupted at least one altar to each temple god.

  • When adding new gods (or modifying gods who have serious issues, like Kiku and Vehumet) it would be nice if there were gods with relatively mild wrath and very strict conduct - so that you absolutely *did* sin and managing sin was part of playing the God. Here are some examples:
    • Translocations. If a god gets mad when you teleport or blink, you'll still do it (beats dying!) but not as often.
    • Learning spells. If a god doesn't mind using magic but gets mad each time you change spells known (or forget spells) then, again, you'll sin occasionally.
    • Eating? You could have a god that got mad when you ate - just anything! God would probably be “good”, so could provide fantastic powers without signing up every mummy and lichecraft enthusiast.

This might be late, since the wrath changes seem to be slated for 0.8, and the decisions might already have been made, but I'll add my two cents anyway. Looking this over, it seems to me that discouraging awkward play to wait out the gods' wrath is easy: simply tie wrath to the already-existing tension system. Make the gods act to punish the player only when tension is reasonably high, and only decrement the wrath timer when this happens; strategies like hiding in the Temple to wait out practically evaporate immediately. As for wrath being too severe, discouraging god switching… I have a more elaborate proposal for that, but since it would introduce a new mechanic I'll put it in its own new section below (Crowning). — dtsund 2010-07-19 04:41

Variable God alliances

It could be interesting to allow wrath-less god switching.

In particular, gods could have an “alliance” network (randomly generated graph, in a way to be determined), and allow you to “hop” between them.

Each “hop” would carry a penalty, so switching between distant gods would carry heavier penalties.

Penalties could be a piety hit, perhaps also allowing negative piety, or maybe something to be determined.

God wrath is eternal

I suggest to remove the penance timer. Instead, once you abandon a god, you're in penance with the god for the rest of the game. The chance of god wrath would decrease gradually, but slowly enough to make waiting not really attractive. I think simply knowing that you can't wait it out completely would discourage waiting nicely. — rob 2010-06-01 00:39

And i will make switching very unattractive — andorxor 2010-06-01 10:30

Wrath from multiple gods (flavor)

This proposal is inspired by POWDER. It doesn't fix anything, it's just for flavor. In POWDER, player is constantly judged by all gods. He may receive a reward or punishment from any god at any time, unless he's an atheist (and choosing no god on level up has such harsh penalties that it's very rarely worth it). This results in a much more lively and believable gods, but unfortunately causes bigger complexity.

One particularly amusing thing is one god protecting you from wrath of another one. As long as you are in good standing with that god, he'll protect a large fraction of punishments. Occasionaly, an angry god “punches through” the protection with words “Don't look to god_name to protect you !”

There is a way to simulate that, a limited approach. When player leaves a god, he would be subject to punishments from:

  • his former god
  • enemies of that god

So if I abandon Sif Muna, Trog may punish you with words “Don't look to Sif Muna to protect you !”. It would imply that all the while Sif was intimidating Trog. Aside from flavor, it would have a minor benefit of making god wraths less predictable.

b0rsuk 2011-06-29 14:18


We should track as many conducts as possible. This is not just related to gods, but has immediate advantages there. Most of them are pure flavour, but it's fully worth it — our gods will look much less like machines! Here are some uses:

  • Greeting when taking on a new god. As an example, if you take on TSO with a history of poison weapons and spells, the TSO would say, “You have to change your ways, mortal!”. Whereas a new follower with a clean record (by TSO's standards) would get “You have always followed the true path.”
  • Expanding on this, there could be gameplay effects. E.g. after a life of cannibalism and self-mutating, Zin might simply not accept you anymore. This could be interesting (also gameplay-wise) but as usual, I would start with the flavour-only effect.
  • The orb run: I think we all agree that the player gets the orb for his own (twisted) reason and not for some god. However, it would be completely okay to assume that the gods watch the spectacle — it should be a major incident in the dungeon. Obviously, the god you currently worship would be proud of you, and express that with messages. However, the other gods could express their envy in messages or even effects. And for that, it'd be ideal if the gods who hate your lifestyle would act most.
  • Whenever you come near some altar, there could be a (chance for a) message of that god. This message should depend on what the god thinks of you.
  • At some point, we will have monsters (especially uniques) who follow gods.
  • For player gods, should these ever go in.
  • When a player wins or dies, we could use the conduct to hand out special titles, a la “farming”. E.g. “reckless” etc.

Here are ideas for conducts — these should be simply counted. Weighting of conducts (e.g. how much is one cannibalistic act worth to Zin vs reading a spellbook to Trog should be addressed somewhere else, the counters should be raw and unmodified):

  • reading spellbooks
  • burning or otherwise destroying spellbooks
  • casting spells (count each use)
  • practising necromancy
  • cannibalism
  • attacking neutrals
  • attacking fleeing monsters
  • pacifism - did the charatacer attack anything themselves? — blue_anna 2010-09-19 15:22
    • This one is too minor. Note that the other conducts are numerical (e.g. how many times did you eat your own species) rather than binary (did you ever eat your own species?). So it would amount to tracking number of kills, which is perhaps too general. — dpeg 2010-09-19 21:58
  • wandering - did the character ever move without autoexplore? — blue_anna 2010-09-19 15:22
    • This is a conduct in an interface sense. We don't want to track that. — dpeg 2010-09-19 21:58
  • deliberately mutating yourself
  • killing plants
  • pacifying monsters
  • switching from one god to another
  • using holy wrath
  • using pain or torment
  • using slaves or summons
  • killing orcs
  • using orcish gear
  • destroying orcish idols
  • killing slimes
  • using poison/curare
  • following [god] (count turns or total piety)
  • being fast
  • using haste, berserk
  • rot: all hit points that rotted away.
  • paralyse: count each turn paralysed.
  • money: add money spent somehow.
  • glow: add up all glow
  • fly: count each turn levitating/flying
  • curse: count each turn with cursed gear (1/item)
  • stats: track player choices for Int, Dex, Str
  • allies 1: track all allies ever had
  • allies 2: track angered allies
  • allies 3: track killed allies
  • track average tension (as a measure of risk)
  • track portal vaults offered; and missed

This list is incomplete. Additions welcome!

I am against using these conducts for anything involving gameplay. They should be flavour/interest/record only. Otherwise you have to care too much when playing. — ahyangyi 2010-02-23 14:00



The gods should beckon the player, by giving speech lines when you are near an altar. This should be all about messages: These messages should take Conducts into account. If you are a terrible specimen to some god, you'd hear taunts or advice rather than advertisement. Chance for messages higher if you have no god. Gods could make promises (not always truthful, especially for the evil ones), about why you should dedicate yourself to them and/or their cause. These lines should also give a rough indication what the god is about (battle, slaves, magic etc.)

If you are not an orc, Beogh doesn't talk to you, or is not understandable. He could still, of course, explain your inferiority to you. And taunt you for using orcish items. The original proposal called for level-wide messages but I am against that. The only exception I could see if for Beogh altars speaking to orcs on a level-wide basis.

The good gods won't try to convert you from other good gods.

Here are some lines that could be used:

  • E: Do not fear harm.Spread peace, my child.Words are mightier than blades.
  • L: You would make a great agent of corruption.
  • K: I teach the dark arts.
  • N: Do you believe in fate?It's all in the cards!The planets are in alignment for conversion.
  • O: Only heroes under my banner become kings.Live by the sword, die by the sword.
  • S: Knowledge is power and I can grant you the knowledge.I can open the gates to the forbidden library.
  • T: Release your inner beast!
  • TSO: Let my light shine your way.A holy aura is the mark of the worthy.Join the crusade against evil!
  • V: My followers are always feared.Do you want to be a disciple of destruction|annihilation?
  • X: I have yet to be called boring.Everyone wants a teddybear. — [random subject] [random predicate] [random object]
  • Y: Why fight death? Join me.Let armies of slaves build your mausoleum.
These are very nice! Here's an additional Lugonu line: Submit to me.. in the end, everything will. I think Lugonu should be bitter and resentful. The line above is too admiring of the player in that sense.

How about Come roar with me! for Trog?

The new gods (Jiyva, Cheibriados, Fedash):
I think Jiyva could be silent.. not use words, perhaps emote in some way.
Cheibriados: I can help you to slow down.How about a change of pace?
Fedhas: The cycle of life is eternal.evktalo 2009-12-05 14:51
I like all of these new god mechanics, but here are a few more god lines.

Kiku: Death comes for all but those who master it.
Chei: Take it easy.It's easy to relax when you have all the time in the world.

PS: I like the “agent of corruption” line ;) — petato 2009-12-06 18:29
Beckoning is “flavour only”, or so seems to me. Perhaps it would be interesting to push it a bit further. When the player is close to an altar, the god in question could
  1. Tempt the player to switch religion. Trog: “You would enjoy bloodshed with this!” You see a shimmering executioner's axe floating above the altar of Trog.
  2. Try to convert the player with speech (as above).
  3. Ignore/berate player, speech only.
  4. Actively discourage the player from approaching the altar (summons, miscasts, teleportation, making a shaft under the player…).

> From these, tempting with gifts needs the most attention. If desired, it would need to be

  • impossible to abuse (switching religions often to hoard gifts/favours).
  • really tempting - stuff better than aquirement. Based on current/found equipment possibly. Okawaru: you call these rags a cloak? THIS is a cloak! Join me, and it's yours!

> Mechanism proposal: each time the player finds an altar, conduct is checked and behaviour of the god towards the player is determined. The better the conduct, the more chance the god will try to encourage the player to join him. Often if good conduct, sometimes if neutral, rarely if bad (good gods might have a better chance to offer a chance to repent). The behaviour determined is a long-term thing. Won't be checked again anytime soon (a timer counts 10k turns between checks maybe?), so no scumming altars until god offers a gift. Exception might be made if conduct greatly improves or gets worse since last check.

If god decides to tempt, the player has a limited time in which he can accept (100 turns max, possibly less). If the player refuses, the god won't try to tempt again for a long time (the same 10k turns?) and not guaranteed that he'll ever try again. If player accepts, he gets what the god offered and switches religion. His previous god is upset. (normal wrath or maybe something extra?)
Some additional notes:

* Gods shouldn't keep players away in the early game and definitely not in the Temple.

  • Gods might tempt players in the early game, and in the Temple also (2 or 3 on average in the Temple). Makes for interesting decisions if a god the player planned on taking offers nothing, but some of the others have interesting propositions.
  • The gifts should be influenced by player's level. No exec axe on D:2, sorry.
  • If a player gets bribed into a religion and then switches again, god should be extra angry. The quicker the player switched, the angrier the deity.
  • It might be beneficial to turn the Temple into a one-time portal. Prevents going there every 10k turns looking for gifts, also makes altars found elsewhere more relevant.
  • There might be problems with some gods to generate gifts. As I see it, each one should have at least a few different possibilities, so that even if the god tempts, there are no guaranteed items. Also, items should be thematic. No problems with Trog, Oka, Sif. Xom is fine too, he does whatever he wants. Others are harder. Some might have summons as an option, but I don't think they are tempting enough. Regular items might be good enough for early game (!healing/hw from Ely, !cure mut from Zin, something orcish from Beogh, etc. ). Maybe randarts based on relevant items for more high-end gifts (rMut from Zin, regen from Ely, randart weapons of holy wrath (TSO), pain (Yred), distortion (Lugonu)). — qui 2010-02-08 17:17

Random effects

The gods would greatly profit from doing random things every once in a while. This includes messages if they are fitting comments but also gameplay-relevant effects. “Fitting” is defined using tension. The effects should be rare enough so that the player can never count on them. For the more spectacular ones, chances should less than once per game. Their point is to make the gods look less like slot machines. Here are some ideas:

  • TSO: smite a monster who killed a holy monster, e.g. a daeva.
  • B: smite a monster who killed some high-ranking orc (the attacker could be you!).
  • B: give boosts to orc bands including high priests or Saint Roka.
  • C: slow down an already fast monster which hasted itself.
  • E: when Zin or TSO save the character's life, this could sometimes be attributed to Elyvilon
  • M: send demons on his own
  • M: abjure hostile demons, if the player's Makhleb piety is good enough
  • T: berserk fitting allies of the player
  • T: send berserk minion on his own against a very good spellcaster
  • T: rain books (to be burned by the player — this allows for many more Brothers, if done right)
  • X: uses lots of tension already!
  • Z: rarely prevents an outside mutation attempt (i.e. by a monster) if you follow Elyvilon or TSO
  • TSO: for pious followers of Zin and Elyvilon, TSO may sometimes ward off demons

Interactive Altars

You might be able to interact with the gods in various ways.

Your own god's altars
  • Prayer at your altar could have a chance of a different effect than prayer elsewhere. Some gods already do this.
    • This should be limited to one-off things like gifts, such as not to encourage tedious repeated backtracking to altars. — mrmistermonkey 2010-09-19 18:03
      • Yes. I don't think anything but special speech is needed/desired. — dpeg 2010-09-19 21:58
  • Extended worship at an altar (praying several times within a certain time constraint of each other) might offer a slightly higher boon to the player.
    • Pray at an altar repeatedly to get more boon? Or do you mean like toting corpses back to the altar (nethack) and sacrificing them all at once? — mrmistermonkey 2010-09-19 18:03
    • No, that encourages a lot of tedium (because player don't know when to stop) for a little flavour gain. The latter can also be obtained by special speech when doing things at/near an altar. — dpeg 2010-09-19 21:58
  • Offerings at your altar could have a chance of an effect. Some gods already do this.
    • Altar sacrificing is a horrible and tedious mechanic (kill things, tote corpses back to altar, repeat, in the case of a blood god) from Nethack and I am glad they are gone. If there are still any left, as indicated by the above, I'd be glad if those were removed somehow, too. — mrmistermonkey 2010-09-19 18:03
    • We have been removing these effects. Is one still left? (TSO perhaps?) I don't think we want them. — dpeg 2010-09-19 21:58
  • Killing a creature in LOS of your altar might have a higher chance of piety gain, if you gain piety from killing. Likewise destroying weapons in los of the altar for Ely, etc.
    • Tote enemies/weapons back to altar, destroy them all, repeat? Please no. — mrmistermonkey 2010-09-19 18:03
    • Like mrmistermonkey, I am against it. — dpeg 2010-09-19 21:58
Other gods' altars
  • Allowing players to desecrate an altar might bring higher piety (if unaligned to player's god) but risk retaliation from the owning god.
    • This is that Lugonu proposal's gimmick, and if it is implemented, should remain such, in my opinion. — mrmistermonkey 2010-09-19 18:03
    • Yes. The basic plan is that the gods accept each other on a basic level, even if they hate what some specific gods stands for. In some sense, it is a competition for followers, moreso with antagonistic gods. (Compare with the Greek pantheon, for example.) Lugonu will stand outside of this group and support altar destruction, which makes her a much worse entity that Sif in the eyes of Trog. (Trog just stands for a different approach to life; Lugonu stands for a different divine system.) — dpeg 2010-09-19 21:58
  • Killing a creature aligned to an altar that is in LOS might bring the wrath of that god. Especially if that creature is a priest.

Early gifts

We want to encourage players to switch gods. Apart from lowering wrath effects (see above), this could be done by gods giving a helping hand to new worshippers. These need not be item gifts, other ideas are conceivable:

  • S: if you have no Spellcasting skill, then al incoming experience is used for Spellcasting until you have it
  • Z: remove a bad mutation right upon reaching * piety
  • E: tell you what potions of healing and heal wounds are if you don't know yet
  • TSO: gives a shield if you don't have one yet (using stash tracker). For the good gods, only use the first one — no gifts when switching from one good god to another one.
  • L: already does this, by leaving Abyss ability!
  • N: already does this, by early granted deck!
  • T: not needed, you get ability to berserk soon enough.
  • Y: there could be a non-standard slave (i.e. not a zombie), even if weak (e.g. some imp).

Powers (comprehensive)

The powers of each deity should ideally be...
  • Cohesive in theme. This is really critical for fun, believability and suspension of disbelief.
  • Incoherent in strategy. Put another way, if one deity is always-best-for-any-necromancer, than this is boring for 2 reasons
    • Every necromancer will want to choose this deity
    • No-one who isn't going all-necromancer will want to choose this deity

So this is boring and we want to avoid it by having each deity benefit multiple strategies and playstyles to some degree - although obviously some gods will still be better than others for a given playstyle.

  • Cohesive in mechanics. That is, a deity shouldn't require some skills for some powers which are useless for other powers and so forth.
  • Useful! It is neither achievable nor desirable to balance each deity against “no deity at all”. This doesn't mean that deities cannot or should not have associated disadvantages, just that they need to be very-good *on balance* or no-one will worship them.
Types of powers, broad discussion
  • Invocations. This is a major draw of all the “Invoker” deities including B,C,E,F,J,M,O,TSO,(T),Y and Z!
    • Invocations should either be quite powerful (and cost a lot of piety), or cost little or no piety and be fairly cheap. Middle-rung invocations (such as greater destruction) seldom end up used, although this may be more psychological than rooted in gameplay considerations.
    • The invocations should probably be concentrated on one or two branches of magic, in so far as they are similar to spells.
      • Rather, gods and their power should be skew to existing styles. In particular, god powers should not recycle existing effects, be they potions or spells! — dpeg 2010-02-08 19:37
      • I certainly agree there, with a few exceptions (Trog should clearly give berserk, and Yred should definitely give animate dead, for example.) It would be nice if the Makhleb summoning powers were somehow differentiated from summon demons. — drpraetor 2010-02-09 02:07
    • (Note revised proposal below) A deity should either use the INV skill - in which case the passive benefits should be INV dependent! - or not use the INV skill at all. Having only a few of the powers depend on INV (especially if they are ancillary to the main benefit of the God, or only weakly INV dependent, as is the case with Sif) is “incohesive in mechanics”.
  • Gifts of permanent utility. These are the primary draw of O and S. There are a variety of game-balance issues associated with these, but again this may be largely psychological.
    • A deity that gives nice presents will almost always be preferred over a deity that gives you powers which are actually better.
    • Even the *chance* of nice presents will be viewed as very powerful, and will draw followers to a deity.
      • Perhaps more gods should be giving gifts? Right now gods either give nothing, which is boring, or give the same type of things all the time, which is boring too. Not to mention those with fixed gifts. A god giving gifts when he likes to and what he wants to (a bit Xom-like, but more or less thematic for each god) would feel much more “godly” and less like a “slot machine”. — qui 2010-03-14 03:16
        • Gods should only do what's appropriate for that god - giving gods shared abilities like gifts “just because” is what's going to make things boring, not having gods offer varied effects that may not include gifts at all. How are randomized gifts not the very definition of “slot machine,” anyway? Not that randomized items aren't fine for some gods, but it's also fine that others give predictable or guaranteed items, give items that are influenced by the player, or don't give any items. The idea that giftless gods are inherently boring is ridiculous anyway - Okawaru's boring despite (read: because of) effectively being nothing but gifts, and Ely wouldn't automatically become more interesting with handouts. — og17 2010-03-14 04:49
          • Constant, predictable gifts are definition of “slot machine”. Randomized (not sure if, when or what you'll get) are not. I'm definitely not suggesting for every god to be giving regular, predictable gifts. But I think they might sometimes throw something at you, just because. More for flavour, and definitely not as something to build your strategy around. Also, I'm not claiming that any god is boring because of gifts or because of lack of gifts. I'm just suggesting that some more unpredictability in the gift department would positively enhance worshiping experience. — qui 2010-03-14 14:51
            • I'd like to go to your casino. But what was meant by “gods either give nothing, which is boring?” — og17 2010-03-14 22:12
              • It seems I didn't make myself clear, so I'll try to clarify. And by boring I don't mean the god in general, just the giving part. No gifts - you're getting nothing and you know it - boring. Fixed gifts - you know what you're getting - boring, no suspense at all. Constant, predictable gifts - a bit better, but still, getting them all the time makes them seem cheap and the god becomes a “slot machine”. Xom-like giving - hey, now that's interesting, I'm actually being surprised by divine gifts! — qui 2010-03-18 21:42
  • Gifts of temporary utility. This is N's big trick, of course. This is easier to balance than a gift of permanent utility, but the game is not infinite in length so it's also easy to go overboard the other direction and make temporary gifts far too powerful.
  • Followers and pets. B does this, and in various incarnations J,T and Y have done so as well. Completely independent of a summoning invocation, a deity may just up and give you followers.
    • This is a cool and (given the game has summoners in it) fairly easy power to *balance*, but responds very selectively to thematic appropriateness.
    • An invocation to summon followers is almost essential, because otherwise the AI and interface are such that they will be lost and never found.
    • I would like to warn against using allies/summons everywhere. They can be very useful and bring a lot of flavour, but we should resist the tempation to equip every god with summons. — dpeg 2010-02-08 19:37
    • Allies/summons for a new deity are better the more different they are from existing deity summons. — drpraetor 2010-02-09 02:07
      • The problem here is how limited monster behavior generally is. I'm a fan of Fedhas's mushrooms and spores because they're fundamentally different than most everything else, but there's not a lot of other creatures that stand out. Sure, you can select “different” allies by just looking through monsters and picking out ones with desired spells, but that's not nearly as interesting. — og17 2010-03-14 22:24
  • Beneficial intrinsics and Bennies. B, C, M, T and Z all give powers/direct rewards that either encourage a particular behavior (generally with some kind of numerical boost) or protect you in certain circumstances.
    • Piety gain can be viewed as a benny, but healing/MP restoration and a direct boost (increase in power level, duration, etc.) will tend to have a much bigger impact on player behavior.
Preclude call to reform
  • Fixing mechanical dissonace in INV:
    • M: Some people go Makhleb just for the healing for kills and never train Invocations? I think this is dumb, except for a Makhleb summoner. But, to prevent this, we raise the formula for the gain somewhat, and then except with frequency INV/(10+INV) we cap the gain at 1DINV (or something similar.) This can apply to V's very similar power as well.
    • N,T: The “sage” card, when drawn by a Nemelex worshipper, also reduces your INV skill by 0.1 and returns the XP to your pool? Other similar effects on other cards could be used to avoid punishing N converts for having INV. For that matter, Trog converts could gain a similar benefit for shedding all their magic skills.
    • S: It has been proposed that Sif Muna should train spellcasting somehow when you join up - instead, Sif's free-MP power should be available at level 0, and should be driven off of (and train) spellcasting instead of INV. The amnesia power should be replaced with a piety-dependent bonus on maximum spell levels known. I'd also suggest that the free-MP power should probably contaminate you instead of making you hungry.
    • V: Already makes no use of INV, and half-measures are bad. Either make all V powers INV-dependent, or avoid using INV in any V based calculation.
  • I absolutely disagree. There is no reason to have all gods use Invocation; much rather, this proposal will destroy some gods and leave us with a lot of work to repair them. Won't come. — dpeg 2010-02-08 19:37
  • Fair enough, but can we agree that if a deity uses INV at all, then they should use it enough to really benefit from it? Currently, Sif and Kiku are both kinda a cheat, although Kiku is in a state of flux. Generally speaking, spellcaster deities don't want to be INV dependent because spellcasters already have *magic powers* and care very little about being given extra spells by their deity which require an entirely new skill arc. — drpraetor 2010-02-09 02:07
  • Yes, of course, we agree on that. — dpeg 2010-02-09 18:11
  • Might go without saying, but it's fine if any god makes use of invocations as long as it offers something that can't be duplicated by spells. “Caster god” shouldn't be a concern here. Invocations is a single skill, the worst it demands from a caster is a more focused spell selection. — og17 2010-03-14 22:12
Brainstorming for new powers, powers to move
  • There are a host of RFE's with good ideas, which need to be assembled here and commented-upon.
  • Sif's hunger-for-MP power always struck me as problematic, for two reasons. 1) It makes Mummies and Licheform casters cum in their bandages. Sif Muna should not be queen of the undead. 2) It makes gluttonous gourmand's very happy. Sif Muna should not be patron of cannibalism. My suggestion above is that Sif can keep the power but that it makes magic contamination instead, and trains spellcasting. The existing hunger-for-MP power (or hunger for other stuff, really) would be a good thematic fit for a god of gluttony. Or move it to Kiku, who'd be much more competitive with this killer-app combo to lichform. This power is of benefit to spellcasters, and of great benefit to spellcasters who are carnivorous or non-hungering.
  • Reduced magic contamination. No deity presently does this. As a power, it is of benefit to spellcasters, and of tremendous benefit to crusaders, who haste themselves a lot and thus end up more contaminated.
  • Gifts of ammunition, potions and/or scrolls. No deity presently does this, but care should be given not to step on NX's toes. These can either be of a fixed range of types (so an artificer God could legitimately give scrolls of recharging as gifts) or semi-random (for a God of archery, alchemy and heroic poetry, respectively.)
  • Lay eggs in corpses. Fedhas and the various necromancer Gods already make use of corpses, so this is covered game mechanically, but *thematically* it is not. Obviously, wasps are the obvious answer here. This power is of relatively little benefit to necromancers or summoners.
  • Enslave souls of the slain. This gives you ps of various level when killing humanoids (presumably not all the time). This is of pretty universal and equivalent benefit, although of less interest to summoners or necromancers oddly-enough. While a cool power, a deity who provided this would need additional ways to distinguish itself from Y and K, since Necromancy is becoming a crowded hobby.
  • Resist Slow intrinsic. Now that the *amulet* of resist slow is gone, a deity can do the same thing and it is much easier to balance.
  • Mess with your spells. This is only sort-of a power, but a deity who changed what spells you knew in some fashion (capricious or directed or a mix of the two) would be interesting - and distinct from Sif, who just gives you books.
  • Alleviate the penalty associated with armoured casting. This is actually of *more* significance now that high Armour skill reduces the penalty somewhat; as Armoured casting is more generally viable, a deity who further improves this is more viable as well.
  • Wand totin'. There was a suggestion that you could quiver (or otherwise secondarily equip) wands and then shoot them at the same time you did other things. I like this power a lot, but it needs a cohesive deity to give it a home.
  • Give you something to do with unavailable slots. I really like transmuters so this a big issue for me - in the late game, forms with missing slots are just not viable. A deity could give you tattoos, or custom powers that depended on what you melded into a slot… a lot of possibilities here. A tattoo deity would also be nice for kenku, spriggans, etc.
  • Interesting ways to manage monster fear. Another great one for an evil deity.
  • Interfere with enemy spellcasters. A deity who hates (say) summoners would both forbid you from summoning (as a conduct) and cause monsters to fail when they tried to cast summoning spells near you! It would be kinda cool if Trog did this for all spellcasters. This is a significant coding challenge, however, since the miscast code does not presently support monster miscasts at all.
  • Cast through catastrophic cast failure. A deity who let you both succeed in casting spells (presumably more often) but also inflicted miscasts on you would be fun. Probably would need other really nice powers to avoid being even worse than Xom in terms of randomly splatting you.
  • Money! You can throw coins at people, okay, but you can also have a deity that provides more things to spend money on. Even a god that just spawned X additional shops for you would be pretty sweet.
  • Spellcasting hunger reduction. If given to Vehumet, it would really promote casting high-level spells before it's wise. Which fits Vehumet very well. b0rsuk

God Interaction

I'm new to this but I had a crazy idea that I want to share. Gods interacting with each other through the player. For example, let's say a player is a piety follower of Kikubaaqudgha, or Makhleb. The good gods would take notice of you and rarely send something to try and hinder your progress for evil. Like if you are a max follower of an evil god, TSO might summon a Daeva to try and kill you, but you god would also do something to try and protect you. If you were a level * piety though, the other gods would take no notice of you. This would only be between the 3 Good gods(TSO, E, Z) and the 3 evil gods(Y, Kiku, M. It would add some more flavor and make it a little more interesting.

Another Idea I had, was a constant relationship with all the gods. Lets say you follow X god, but you do something the Y god either really loves or really hates. Your piety with him/her would be affected accordingly. So no matter who you worship, killing really evil things has a chance to make TSO like you a bit more, and Learning high level spells would (perhaps) make Sif like you a little bit more. This effect would only happen on certain main piety actions. This would also help with the whole switching god problem. — saikano0 2010-03-04 00:55

+1, Sorta.
A lot of other roguelikes (Adom and Incursion, at least) support a piety relationship with more than one God.
It would be cool, certainly, to have more complex religion/politics.
But the source doesn't support it. It's a lot of coding/testing/etc. for what is, in fact, a relatively minor schtick. It's neat, but just not compelling.

drpraetor 2010-03-04 05:12

I think it can work with relatively small and well defined number of gods. POWDER does that, and it still rewards spoilers. Crawl gods are neither few nor well defined, so it would be hard to predict and remember when you're about to annoy a god. b0rsuk


  • Gods in Crawl need to maintain a stable modicum of power within the game. That is, changes to gods should not make one god drastically more or less powerful than others.
  • Gods should be at least somewhat useful at the spectrum of character levels. This does not mean that every god should have powers useful to every situation. It means that a level 7 character who just found the Orcish Mines should get some kind of benefit from a god at that general level, and a level 26 character invading Zot 5 should also get some kind of benefit from the same god at that general level.
  • Gods should be fairly narrowly focused. No god should be useful in every single situation, because this dis-incentivizes other aspects of developing a well-rounded character. It also ensures that choosing gods stays more interesting.
  • Gods should not gradually increase in power over the course of game development unless this is a deliberate game design decision. Having gods increase in power over time can drastically penalize Demigods, or other potentially godless characters. This means that proposals to add an ability to an otherwise balanced god need to also take away something else for balance. This is a particularly tough problem to deal with, because the nature of many projects easily allows this to happen. It happens in government (budget shortfalls, anyone), and it has happened in Crawl already. In some cases, the increases in power have been justified, but this has created the current situation in the game where Demigods from the original Linley's Crawl were fairly strong, and now are fairly weak. This effect also makes the game easier to win, which is probably not a desired effect. Examples of gods which have become more powerful (justified or not) over the course of development include: Yredelemnul, Trog, Zin, and The Shining One, while none of them have become weaker.
    • Power creep is always a problem and I am not saying that we're resistant to it, but I believe we're generally aware of it. Also note that a god being well designed (or not) is almost completely independent of the god's power. In every single case, it is very easy to make gods arbitrarily strong/weak simply be changing some numbers. In particular, adding or removing abilities does not mean much (on the power level) by itself. I disagree that Trog got stronger: the old version had Might and 0.6 removes the amulet of resist slow. We essentially screwed up Zin: the god is highly underpowered early on, but is strong enough in the late game (switching from Elyvilon or TSO to Zin, for example). I don't see why new Zin (used late) is necessarily stronger or weaker than old Zin. Yredelemnul was modified in a very constrained manner (prayer, final ability, gifts); I don't believe the god is overpowered due to this (if at all, it's the gifts). TSO is very strong, but we have been nerfing that good for several versions (the Flame and the daevas have been nerfed). You also don't mention that Okawaru was directly nerfed (the old god had Minor Healing), as was Vehumet (the old god had Channeling). — dpeg 2010-03-13 22:43


The idea of this mechanic is to create the possibility of a playstyle where players can switch gods a few times over the course of a game, but not profit too much from any one god if they do so.

As it currently stands, players' initial choice of god is very important; they stand to gain quite a lot from choosing the right deity, while if they choose the wrong one, the wrath can be game-endingly bad (depending on which god we're considering). I propose to make this less important, by making god worship a two stage process:

  • Initially, when the player first takes on a god, he or she is just an ordinary worshipper of the god. He'll receive a watered-down version of the abilities granted by said god, and potentially some relatively weak god gifts. It should still be worth taking on the god, but the benefits won't be as good as they are currently, at least at first.
  • Eventually, in addition to attaining high piety, the player will fulfill some requirement that the god has for the player to be 'crowned' as a high priest/avatar/something; when this happens, the player can choose to return to the god's altar and pray once more. What the requirement is might vary from god to god; you might be unable to crown until you get your first rune, or until you clear the Crypt. Doing so will allow him or her to use the deity's powers at their full, current strength, get excellent god gifts, and so forth.

Why wouldn't a player choose to be crowned? My proposal is that as long as a player chooses not to be crowned, the wrath for abandonment will be fairly mild, perhaps on the order of a nasty mutation or two. In being crowned, though, the player character swears a lifetime of service to the god; said god will be exceptionally angry if he should shirk this duty, and will punish him severely; so severely that this wrath could easily result in the player's death.

I think this could be interesting, if done right. Consider Sif Muna, as an example: before a Sif Munite is crowned, Sif might only gift books with spells up to level 4 or 5, with anything above being given only rarely, if at all. An assassin-type character who only wants a good shot at finding a book with Ensorcelled Hibernation might be able to take Sif Muna on for a while, get a few lesser god gifts and maybe be able to use a weakened form of Channel Energy, and eventually leave for, say, Okawaru. By contrast, a pure spellcaster who intends to blast through the endgame with Ice Storm and Necromutation would probably need to be crowned in order to get the greater god gifts, and also need to be crowned for Channel Energy to be powerful enough to keep casting those spells. Makhleb might only give Greater Servants to crowned followers, or be able to guarantee that they can get them friendly. And so forth.

Some other thoughts:

  • Another possible benefit to this system is that if an idea for a god is considered interesting and useful for the late game, but too overpowered for the early game, the ability could still be added to the god but made unavailable until crowning, with the crowning requirement being such that early game characters can't easily fulfill it.
  • Some of the gods (TSO, Kiku, Lugonu, Zin) already have once-per-game events involving altars. Under this proposal, those might be special gifts given at the moment of crowning.
  • I'm not sure how this would work for conversion between the good gods. Maybe only let the player be crowned by one of them at most? Additionally, I might think followers of Xom should probably not be given the ability to crown.

Thoughts, comments, criticism? Is this idea simply too crazy to use? — dtsund 2010-07-19 04:41

Why not let characters be triple-crowned, if they're persistent enough? Of course, if they stray from the Three, they get triple-smited! Also, if someone survives Xom long enough to get crowned, I'd say they deserve something for their trouble! — mental_mouse 2010-12-01 03:36
On triple-crowning, this is with the good gods, right? Do you mean to say that you should be able to have benefits from all of them at the same time as long as you do some ridiculous switching around and piety grinding? If this is the case, I must say that this is a bad idea. On Xom, he is easily survivable, plenty powerful (though he could stand to be a bit less annoying with stat drain (and more annoying with other, preferably meaningful, things)), and enabling scumming him for a crowning gift would be ridiculous. Remember, Xom is not meant to be on par with the other gods; think of him as just for fun, or a challenge game. Oh, and, Xom's piety mechanics don't even support crowning. — mrmistermonkey 2010-12-01 04:39
I neglected to mention so earlier, but from my understanding, crowning is very nice, and I like it. — mrmistermonkey 2010-12-01 04:39
Crowning is pretty slick. +1 — tgw 2010-12-01 04:50
Like it. If you did it you might want a second ecumenical temple (the ecumenical cathedral?)— rfholloway 2011-07-29 16:50
The idea has merits, but I would simplify it a bit.
On terminology: I'd rather use something along sanctify, hallow, bless, baptise (e.g. baptised in blood for Trog/Makhleb) than crown. Firstly, we avoid overlap with Nethack; secondly, crowning is a wordly activity whereas we are talking about a religious one.
On mechanics: I don't like the idea of having to come up with a third set of god effects for every diety (right now we have god powers, and wrath; with the proposal, we'd sit at god powers, restricted pre-crowning powers, wrath effects). Restricting gifts is simple enough, but I don't like gifts themselves. What about simply capping piety at ***** instead? If there are gods where you are happy with never reaching full piety, then we should take that as an invitation to fix them.
I like the idea that there should be a procedure (or ritual or ordeal) to unlock the final part. — dpeg 2011-07-31 14:18
On terminology: I suggest anoint, the almost exact equivalent of crown in religious contexts. — grimm 2011-12-15 07:17
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