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Author Topic: A Question of Faith and Timing  (Read 1815 times)
Luke
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« on: November 18, 2003, 04:26:55 PM »

So my roommate Rik, Dro and I were we up late watching some bad sci-fi the other night and brainstorming some notes for BW.

One thing that Rik and I discussed was the major whiff factor involving Faith in BW. While the mechanic is very powerful and very free form, it all too often involves great roleplay and a complete whiff on the dice.

We realized that the best way to mitigate this was to reverse the order of play in Faith. Rather than "pray and roll", change Faith to roll and pray.

The priest/faithful player announces he wants to invoke a prayer. He privately rolls the dice and notes the number of successes against the possible results described in the Burning Wheel. Then he decides what the appropriate prayer is for that number of successes and what exactly the effect of the miracle is.

The one mechanical drawback for this is the difficulty in judging these Faith tests for the purposes of advancement.  Without having the ability attempting to meet a mark, advancement becomes problematic.

thoughts?
-L
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taepoong
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2003, 10:52:35 AM »

Having played a faithful burner, I don't see a problem with the way it stands now. Sometimes you fail, sometimes you succeed. With your suggestion, the only time there is failure is if the faithful fails to roll any successes. Since most faithful have at least a B4 faith and the roll is open-ended, whiffs shouldn't be that common.

I've always felt that speaking a great prayer before rolling the dice should reduce the Obstacle or something. I feel that having proper, written prayers should also make it easier. Just like a spell versus an abstraction.
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Luke
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2003, 11:30:10 AM »

A viable counterpoint.

Let's look at some numbers. Your priest—whom you play less than your sorcerer—has a Faith of B7 and often has help from the faithful around him. 8 open-ended dice with the most basic prayer being Ob 3. Of course he rarely fails.

I've been demoing a priest with a Faith of B5 during the many of the cons we've attended. (I think you played him once when we were in Northport.) Against a minimum Ob 3 he more often fails than succeeds, creating a massive whiff factor. His player is the most often jeered at and made fun of because of his "incompetence". The player usually roleplays well and offers a prayer for all to hear, and then fails miserably. Which got me thinking.

I confess, I am adamantly against reducing obstacles for prayers at all. This may seem strange given my agrument, but I think they are too easy as it is. I would be more willing to grant bonus dice for "good prayers." However, in this case, I am wary. I don't like the GM having subjective control over this matter of what is worth dice and what isn't.

I was thinking about changing the order of Faith play so that the priest player could roll privately --consult the gods as it were-- and then interpret the miracle for us! Lending him a bit more control, a little mystery and a lot loss buffoonery. I don't necessarily want more successful, high-end prayers going off all the time. What I want is the ability for the priest player to have a bit more control over the mystery of Faith.

-L
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LordSmerf
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2003, 12:05:20 PM »

I subscribe to the idea that not meeting your Obstacle doesn't nessecarily indicate a failed attempt.  Instead, complications can arise.  Some of the more powerful miracles wouldn't work well with this idea so i offer this alternative.

Post Roll a character can increase the number of successes by tacking on a Vow.  Or something similar.  The bigger the difference that must be made up the more serious the Vow.  You could, if you wished, disallow more than doubling the number of successes rolled...

Just a thought.

Thomas
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Luke
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« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2003, 04:54:28 PM »

So I like your "Pleading with God" mechanic, Thomas. I've been thinking about it, and it would work.

Say... [switching into rules voice] Priests who have failed in their direct attempt to divine a miracle from God may offer up binding vows. These vows amount to conditions which the priest is willing to abide by in order to insure success of his prayers.

Such vows may grant the priest one extra success on a Faith test. They are binding and must contain stipulations for fulfillment and failure to fulfill.

[ahem]
How's that sound for starters?
Riff on it...
-L
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LordSmerf
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« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2003, 09:00:30 AM »

That's pretty much what i was thinking, or perhaps that a "failed" test instead of providing the solution itself provides a little something helpful.  Sorry, the gods are not interested in healing that mortal wound since you only got 8 successes, however there just "happens" to be a world renowned doctor in the area...

You don't get the effect directly, but the potential for that effect is there...  I don't know how well that would work with all the different Priest stuff though.

Back to supplementary Vows.  Either allow multiple Vows for multiple bonuses or perhaps have a sliding scale of Vow "severity" or something where the more successes you need the more serious the Vow.  In order to prevent abuse you might want to consider some sort of penalty to all Faith tests based on unfulfilled Vows.

I'm thinking something like "You need 5 more successes?  I hope your Vowing to convert an entire nation, or end a war or something."  And then the penalty based on the quantity not the severity of unfulfilled Vows.  "You still haven't converted that country, +1 Obstacle to all Faith checks" or "You still haven't given $100 to the poor (for that +1 Success earlier) +1 Ob to all Faith tests."

What do you think?

Thomas
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Luke
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« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2003, 09:25:51 AM »

Quote from: LordSmerf
That's pretty much what i was thinking, or perhaps that a "failed" test instead of providing the solution itself provides a little something helpful.  Sorry, the gods are not interested in healing that mortal wound since you only got 8 successes, however there just "happens" to be a world renowned doctor in the area...


that's funny, that's kind of what i pictured a successful test to be. But you're right, it feels fine for a "missed by one" type scenario.

The vows sound perfectly workable, too. The danger here is that I am NOT trying to make prayers more effective. They are plenty powerful as it is. What I want is for the priest to be better able to control the what and when of his failure. I'd like a little mystery and power back in the game for Senor Padre!

-L

edit:
Oh... what if Vows were an attribute like Grief? Oh......... What if you could add successes as needed, but such  "vows" counted toward tests toward your, erm, Vows? And once you reached 10 either something mysterious happens and you disappear or its off to the nunnery to atone...
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LordSmerf
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« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2003, 10:02:40 AM »

Interesting.  Something that comes to my mind is the idea that you can boost your successes (or lower Ob, same thing really) differently based on the god you serve.  Some gods might allow you to sacrifice of you body (deal yourself wounds) in order for a bonus, while others might require Vows of service and the like.

I understand what you're saying about power levels, but with stuff like Faith i feel that a character should be able to accomplish pretty much anything, if they're willing to pay the price (which should be extreme).

As for a Vow stat, i don't know.  It seems kind of clunky since Priests would now have Faith and Vows (two more stats than anyone else.)  Also, i don't see any correlation between the number of Vows and "something mysterious" happening...  Maybe i just don't understand the direction you're going here.

Thomas
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taepoong
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« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2003, 11:08:06 AM »

First, here are the Vow rules I came up with a while ago:
http://www.burningwheel.org/html/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=24
They support the notion that different dieties or aspects of faith grant different powers and require different Vows.

Second, a Vow stat sounds off. Vows should be voluntary and reserved only for the most devout or most desperate. Every priest should not be required to have a vow. I am unsure what a Vow Stat would represent, but you should only be able to have one Vow at a time. Being able to have more will be over-balanced. A vow is more similar to a trait than anything else.
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LordSmerf
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« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2003, 01:00:33 PM »

Here's something that struck me the other day: Sacrifices.

If you want to add some more oomph to a Supplication simply toss in a sacrifice.  Item investment (using Fate points) seems to lend itself well to this idea, but i wouldn't limit sacrifices to just that.  Essentially allow some mechanic where you get a bonus based on the personal value of something to a character.  "This sword has been in your family for generations and you have come to truly treasure it?  Sacrifice it for -5 Ob."  "You're willing to give up your wife for this goal?  -15 Ob."  "You're going to sacrifice this rock you found on the ground?  The gods are angered +2 Ob."

I don't know, seems cool to me.

Thomas
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