Trying out the Deities and Demigods rules

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Trying out the Deities and Demigods rules

Post by willpell » Thu Jul 28, 2016 7:00 pm

With a list of 330 gods to fill out before my Whiteleaf setting is complete, I feel I have exhausted the possibilities of the normal gods rules to generate new concepts; though statting out the gods is contrary to my principles, I also think it could provide the inspiration I need, and so I am attempting to comprehend this ultra-complex rules set. For starters, I am going to work up a single demigod, using a very abstruse and self-limited concept that is suitable for Divine Rank 0 or 1, based on an idea I had last night during my first session as a 5E DM. We'll see where it goes from there. Not having the Dei&Demi book on me at the moment, the rules will have to wait, but I want to write up the backstory of the god while I'm thinking of it.

(PS - The format of this thread is such that responses are welcome. It's a brainstorming lab, not an encyclopedia.)

The subject of our experiment is a god who is equally suitable for Whiteleaf or for the Forgotten Realms (two settings that normally don't resemble each other much); his name is Throssyl, and he is the god of Vengeance Against The Vengeful. Throssyl's story begins with the death of his mortal self in a tenement fire; his blackened corpse rose from the grave as a Revenant, driven to avenge his own demise by hunting the person which the forces of Fate designated as responsible for killing him. Come to find out, when Throssyl caught up with his quarry, he found it to be another revenant, who was continuing to doggedly pursue her own murderer, some villain whose identity is unimportant to the story. When they confronted each other, and the other revenant found Throssyl was competent enough to stop her from simply ignoring him and continuing on her own pursuit - was indeed more powerful than her, specifically to enable him to defeat her - the other called upon her deity for aid - Hoar, the god of Retribution. Hoar manifested at the site of the confrontation, and expressed dissatisfaction that his follower had proved unable to avenge herself, let alone had destroyed innocent lives in the process; he personally captured the original malefactor and destroyed him, causing the other revenant to deanimate as her purpose had been fulfilled. This should have also made Throssyl return to the grave, but instead, he claimed that his vendetta was now against Hoar himself, and thereby ascended to godhood (albeit not to godhood greater than Hoar, which is why Hoar still exists). Seeking aid against the other god, Throssyl sought out the greater deity Tyr, who governs Justice rather than Retribution and is a long-standing rival of Hoar; Tyr, however, proved equally unsatisfying to Throssyl, and he now demanded vengeance upon both of these flawed patrons to the vengeful. Seeing that he could not best even the lesser of these older gods through brute force - and would certainly cause too much collateral damage if he tried - Throssyl withdrew to begin building his cult, teaching a dogma which condemned both Tyrist and Hoaran practices in favor of teaching a third path.

Throssyl's faith is based on the concept that violent retribution creates a self-perpetuating cycle of victimhood; he thusly serves as a patron to the most responsible of Avenger paladins and the like. Upholding a doctrine of unintended consequences and a somewhat superstitious view of serendipity, the small but rapidly growing Thrawssulan faith focuses primarily on gathering information, determined to delay action until the question of a target's guilt is settled without possibility of doubt, and also to learning their habits well enough that they can be struck at an ideal time, preventing the battle from spiralling out of control, as the one which originally created Throssyl did. As the patron of revenants, Throssyl does not hold these entities to as strict a standard as his living worshippers; they have limited time and faculties with which to pursue their single-minded aim, and so he endeavors to watch over them and guide their flailing efforts, helping to ensure that their existence settles old tragedies without creating new ones.

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Re: Trying out the Deities and Demigods rules

Post by timemrick » Sat Jul 30, 2016 5:05 am

I wish you the best of luck in attempting to make some use of the divine power rules from Deities & Demigods! I own the book, and have read the "Deities Defined" chapter exactly once. I share your dislike of statting up gods, and found the divine stat blocks in this book to be the most overwrought, undigestible confections of crunch in all of 3e (or any edition). I loved and ran 3.0/3.5 for over 10 years, until my group finally switched to Pathfinder, so I have a pretty high crunch tolerance. But we never played anywhere near the level where I would ever have any use for such detailed god stats. I've pretty much only used the book for the chapter on pantheons, the parts of the divine profiles that clerics need to know, and the new domains.
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Re: Trying out the Deities and Demigods rules

Post by rabindranath72 » Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:10 am

timemrick wrote:I wish you the best of luck in attempting to make some use of the divine power rules from Deities & Demigods! I own the book, and have read the "Deities Defined" chapter exactly once. I share your dislike of statting up gods, and found the divine stat blocks in this book to be the most overwrought, undigestible confections of crunch in all of 3e (or any edition). I loved and ran 3.0/3.5 for over 10 years, until my group finally switched to Pathfinder, so I have a pretty high crunch tolerance. But we never played anywhere near the level where I would ever have any use for such detailed god stats. I've pretty much only used the book for the chapter on pantheons, the parts of the divine profiles that clerics need to know, and the new domains.
Same here. In the end I sold the book as it was just taking space. A wasted opportunity (much like the Epic Level Handbook, really.)

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Re: Trying out the Deities and Demigods rules

Post by willpell » Mon Aug 15, 2016 8:56 pm

Alright, here goes nothing. There is only a single example of a Rank 1 deity in the book, other than possibly in the Avatar sections which I didn't look at (and there are no Rank 0s; oddly, there are also no rank 2s, although every other number is accounted for); I will therefore be looking at Imhotep a lot for precedent as I build Throssyl. One major hole in the rules is that Dei&Demi states that "most" gods are 20-HD Outsiders in addition to having probably 40 class levels, but there's little clear indication of when this should and shouldn't be true; Imhotep and Hercules lack Outsider HD "as an ascended mortal", but St. Cuthbert is also supposed to be an ascended mortal and he has these HD, so it's very unclear. Since Vecna is another example of one who lacks these HD, and is undead, I'm making the revenant-born Throssyl likewise lack them (I was considering using a Salient Divine Ability to make him not-actually-undead, like Nerull, but Throssyl gets only one of these and I didn't want to waste it, even though I didn't have a lot of great ideas what to take), but it's very uncertain how either decision will inconvenience me in the creation process.

Pretty much every god, with the exceptions of the dragons Bahamut (I typed Baphomet there for a second; boy would that be a different universe), Tiamat, and Apep, has twenty levels each in two different classes; I figure you're probably just supposed to pick them based on flavor and not worry too much about how exactly it works (I have a hard time believing that Boccob survived an adventuring career as a Mystic Theurge during his youth, without even the benefit of that actual prestige class to make up for splitting Wizard and Cleric levels). Throssyl is inspired by the Oath of Vengeance Paladin in 5E rules, but as a 3E deity he cannot be a Paladin without being Good (or possibly Evil, if you use the variant "anti-paladins" in Unearthed Arcana), so we'll instead make him a Ranger 20 along with something else (I might go Cleric, but this feels somehow wrong to me, and also has mechanical implications I wished to avoid; Fighter is the other likely choice, although Throssyl's very philosophical nature makes this seem like a bad fit). Actually, now I remember the plan - it's to use the variant Avenger prestige class (waiving the story prerequisite usually associated with it). I might throw in some levels of Monk, just because I'd imagine Throssyl rules over those who have nothing but their own hands with which to fight against their oppressors. Since Imhotep has only 20 character levels in a single class, I'll start Throssyl off with 30 - he's a bit more interesting IMO, but should not be drastically more powerful, and already has the advantage of being Undead.

Home Plane: Material Plane
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Cleric Alignments: Lawful Good, Lawful Neutral, Neutral Good, True Neutral. (I'm not attempting to fit this into the usual rules for cleric alignment, which don't really apply on Whiteleaf anyway, and I'm pretty sure exceptions like this abound in Forgotten Realms.)
Portfolio: Vengeance against the vengeful, cycles of revenge and the futility thereof, the doctrine of unanticipated consequences, fire, revenants, accidents, plans gone awry.
Domains: Law, Fire, Retribution
Favored Weapon: Battleaxe. Throssyl often wields carefully controlled fire as a weapon, but when necessary he swings his hand-and-a-half-sized axe "Spiralling" in wide, seemingly careless arcs, applying Superior Expertise to maximize his AC. The attacks usually miss, but their intent is not to inflict damage so much as to seem frighteningly wild and dangerous, alluding to the way that violence often cuts a wide arc through the world, destroying much besides its intended target.

Classes: Urban Ranger 20 / Avenger 10
Type and Size: Medium-size Undead (Deathless might be a better fit if the DM agrees that it suits Revenants)
Divine Rank: 1
Hit Dice: 30d12 (if rebuilt as non-undead, would have 20d8+10d6, but would add a Constitution modifier to each one). As a deity, Throssyl receives maximized hit dice, giving him 360 HP.
Abilities: STR 30, DEX 20, INT 13, WIS 19, CHA 40. As an undead (or deathless) creature, Throssyl has no Constitution score. Whatever Throssyl's original ability scores were, his thirty character levels have given him seven +1 bonuses; Imhotep only got five, and he had Int of 43 and no stats lower than 24, so I officially have no idea what to do here; I'm just going to match the prerequisites of all his feats and such, and assign whatever numbers I feel like elsewhere. For instance, he certainly ought to have more Charisma than Imhotep, so I'll give him a nice round 40 in that, and he seems like as a revenant, he should be horribly strong but a little slow, so we'll do 20 Dex and 30 Strength.
Armor Class: 34 (+5 Dexterity, +1 divine, +10 deflection, wears enchanted +5 Studded Leather for an additional +8 AC)
Initiative: +5
Speed: 60 ft.
Saves: Fort 15, Ref 20, Will 19 (+15 epic bonus to each of these). As an undead creature, Throssyl is immune to any effect which requires a Fortitude save, unless it works on objects or is harmless.
Feats: Expertise, Superior Expertise, Monkey Grip, Weapon Focus (battleaxe), 13, 16, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, Eyes in the Back of Your Head, Forge Ring. May create any magic item worth up to 4500 GP based on spells he knows, needing no feat but otherwise following all standard rules for item creation. When creating a Ring this way, he completes it in half the time while paying half the required gold and XP.
Skill Ranks: Disguise 4, Hide 8, Move Silently 8, Disable Device 1, choose additional skills by spending 141 ranger skill points and 49 avenger skill points (see the link above for the avenger skill list). +1 divine bonus to all skill rolls. May automatically perform any action related to his portfolio which has a DC of 15 or less as a free action, up to twice per round. (An example provided for this ability is forging longswords, though this is suitable for a deity of war, which Throssyl is not. I like that you have to actually have the physical forge, even though producing the swords takes less time than picking up a hammer or stepping on a bellows.) For example, using Disable Device, he could rig a wagon wheel to fall off, and would not need any time to accomplish this. (I don't feel like mathing out exactly what his maximum skill ranks are and then figuring out to what proportion he invests in every skill that might suit a revenge-focused character.)
Base Attack Bonus: +27. Apply a +1 divine bonus and a +15 epic bonus to every attack Throssyl makes.
Attacks: Battleaxe (held in two hands), +43/+38/+33/+28 melee, 1d8+10 slashing per hit. Throssyl often applies Superior Expertise to apply as much as a -27 penalty to all its attacks, gaining the resulting number as a bonus to Armor Class; this results in attacks of +16/+11/+6/+1. If deprived of the use of one hand, his damage is decreased to 1d8+7.
Special Attacks:
Special Qualities: Damage reduction, spell resistance 33, +1 divine bonus to all ability checks, caster level checks, and turning checks.
Divine Immunities: Cannot be polymorphed, petrified, or otherwise altered in form except by its own abilities. Not subject to ability damage, ability drain, or energy drain. Immune to mind-altering effects. Immune to acid, cold, and electricity. Resistance to fire 6 (presumably he's okay with the fact that fire still hurts him almost as much as anybody else, given how he died and thus apotheosized). Does not age and cannot die of natural causes; need not eat, sleep, or breathe.
Salient Divine Abilities: Wound Enemy (on a successful hit, any weapon wielded by Throssyl bleeds for 1d6 additional damage per round, cumulative for additional wounds, until the target receives magical healing or a DC 16 Heal check). As a deity of the consequences of revenge, Throssyl inflicts painful and continuous wounds which will inevitably destroy their target, if it remains single-mindedly focused on attacking others and neglects to repair the damage inflicted upon it.
Domain Powers: 1/day as a supernatural ability, deal maximum damage on one attack against a creature which harmed you in combat within the previous round. +1 caster level for Lawful spells. Turn or Destroy water creatures as a good cleric turns undead, and Rebuke, Command, or Bolster fire creatures as an evil cleric rebukes undead, each 13 times per day as supernatural abilities.
Spell-Like Abilities: May use all spells of the Fire, Law, and Retribution domains at will. Caster level 11, saving throw DC 21+effective spell level.
Ranger Spells/Day: 3 each of levels 1 through 4. May spontaneously cast any cleric or ranger spell (or a domain spell, if this is somehow preferable to an SLA of the same spell) using these slots. May also grant these spells to any mortal who prays to him, or may withhold such spells as a free action (I have no idea what they mean by this in the text).
Portfolio Awareness: Throssyl is automatically aware of any occurrence within the world where at least one thousand persons are currently being affected by an act or campaign of revenge (blood feuds, vendettas, "going postal", and the like). He knows only that such an occurrence is happening, not any details about it (until he uses Remote Sensing to view the scene). Being an unusual sort of deity who opposes his own portfolio as much as he supports it, whether Throssyl bestows his blessings upon such an act or intervenes to stop it will depend a great deal on the particulars, although the sheer scale involved tends to make him opposed by default to the perpetrators (who are often on both sides of a conflict of this size).
Divine Senses: May sense anything within 1 mile of self or viewpoints, as if within touching distance. May maintain two Remote Sensing viewpoints besides own location, each of which must be a worshipper, holy site, or other sacred object or locale, a place where his name or title was spoken within the past hour, or a location where a portfolio-related event has occurred. (This sensing ability may be blocked by any other deity of rank 1 or greater; deities of any rank may block at most two locations besides their own.)
Divine Aura: As an extraordinary mind-affecting ability, Throssyl may project an aura of fear, resolve, or fascination to a distance of 10 feet around himself. Affected targets may Will save at DC 21 to resist the effect. May reduce or restore the radius of this effect as a free action, and may exempt his worshippers and/or all Lawful Neutral beings (though he would likely never do the latter, as he does not perceive all Lawful beings as allied to himself - he cares about which laws they are following and how, not just that they aren't Chaotic) as another free action.
Communication: May understand, speak, and read any language, including nonverbal ones, and may speak directly to any individual within one mile of himself, as well as within one mile of any two locations which are sacred to his faith or contain likenesses of him. This communication may be audible or telepathic; in the former case, it may seem to issue from any source, other than a locale or object similarly dedicated to a different deity with divine rank above 0. May conduct three simultaneous conversations in this fashion.
Godly Realm: Regardless of whether it is on the Material Plane or not, Throssyl's divine realm has a radius of 100 feet. (Real estate prices apparently do not improve in the afterlife.) Within this radius, Throssyl may set any temperature between -20 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and create scents and sounds (but not intelligible speech or harmful sound) as preferred. He cannot construct buildings, alter the landscape, or the like in this realm, except through his own efforts (including magic). May alter these conditions as a standard action, which occurs gradually over the course of 10 minutes. (So you can forge two longswords in an eyeblink, but you still need to take about four seconds to adjust the air conditioning. Makes perfect sense.)

Okay, I think that's about as much sense as I'm going to be able to make of this monstrosity at the moment. I'll see if I can get around to finishing up his skills and feats later on; I won't need to carry around my physical Dei&Demi book to do that, although I will likely want to spend some time perusing the Epic Level Handbook.

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