[5e] Belief System

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zontoxira
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[5e] Belief System

Post by zontoxira » Sun Apr 01, 2018 4:13 pm

Belief is power on the planes.
- Planewalker's Handbook, pg 142
Planescape teems with philosophical debates, perhaps more than any other D&D setting. And one of the most interesting aspects is the belief system introduced in The Planewalker's Handbook, giving the players the opportunity, through good roleplaying and adhering to their personal or faction beliefs, to occasionally get an edge in their adventures.

While attempting to convert this system in my Planescape campaign, I wanted to incorporate it into the faction system. After all, much of Planescape material revolved around those 15 distinct ideologies and their struggle for power in Sigil and beyond. And belief points were a way of rewarding your players for sticking to their firmly-held convictions (sometimes at a cost).

Problem is, most if not all of the attempts to convert the factions treated them more as backgrounds. While the ideas behind this design may seem logical and simple, IMO they all fail in one key feature: backgrounds serve as occupation of the past, the sort of specialties and knowledge your character has gained before becoming an adventurer. Like our friend Ryke, before he picked up his sword and board to fend off the goblin raiders threatening his peaceful village, he used to work as a forester. His skills as a woodsman may still be handy in his adventuring, but it's a thing of the past.

But not in the case of factions. "Once a Hardhead, always a Hardhead" goes the saying in the Great Bazaar. Belonging to a faction isn't some sort of backstory, because it doesn't equip you with the necessary tools and skills to survive (some leatherheads would say otherwise), but with a certain ideology and the sense of being a member of said philosophical group. By supporting and promoting this ideology, your character can rise amongst the ranks of a faction, gain the power and respect from its peers, and better understand (and even influence) the multiverse. To me, Planescape factions work perfectly with the FR factions mechanic introduced in AL, with the added trait of occasionally shaping the planes according to your faction's philosophy. Enter Belief System.

The system of belief points kinda works like Inspiration, in that your character is rewarded with a limited amount of resources for excellent roleplaying that you can use to gain the upper hand in a given situation. Not only is Belief System to replace Inspiration, but also to expand on this mechanic. Depending on how closely you follow your beliefs and convictions, and at what cost, you can earn belief points (capped at 3) that you may expend and do one of three things:
  1. Activate your faction's ability. Clearly, this is the best choice for faction members (and only).
  2. Gain advantage on a roll (per Inspiration rules). Perhaps the most common option.
  3. Gain an intuitive clue, pertaining to the plane the character is at the moment, like location of a portal, creature, or object, information about denizens, hazards and the nature etc.
In most of the cases, a faction ability grants you a belief die, its value depending on how strong is your conviction and how involved are you in the faction's affairs.

Image
* Can't display a table, so excuse the image.

In a later post, I shall list the abilities that each faction grants.
Last edited by zontoxira on Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Have a look at my Dark Sun 5e Reconstruction or Planescape 5e Belief System
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zontoxira
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Re: [5e] Belief System

Post by zontoxira » Sun Apr 01, 2018 4:47 pm

What follows is a list of abilities, granted by each faction. They have yet to be playtested, even though I've strived to make them as balanced and closest to their philosophy as possible. Feedback is more than welcome, as always.

Athar
Defy the Powers: You add your belief die on saving throws against divine magic for 1 minute.

Believers of the Source
Voice of the Divine: You add your belief die on Charisma checks for 1 hour, or you double your Charisma modifier for 1 minute.

Bleak Cabal
Madness Reigns: You add your belief die on Intelligence and Wisdom saving throws against magic for 1 minute.

Doomguard
Touch of Entropy: You add your belief die to your attack rolls for 1 minute, or you reroll any 1s on your damage dice for 1 minute.

Dustmen
Dead Truce: The undead ignore you, as long as you do nothing to harm them, for 1 hour.

Fated
The World is Mine: You may use any skill and tool as if proficient for 1 hour.

Fraternity of Order
Loophole in a Law: You can cast any cantrip or 1st level spell for 1 belief point. You can cast any 2nd or 3rd level spell for 2 belief points. You can cast any 4th or 5th level spell for 3 belief points. You do not require any material components to cast the spell, and Intelligence is your spellcasting ability. You must be of a level equal to a caster level able to cast this spell (i.e. 5th level for 3rd level spells).

Free League
Sod Off: You add your belief die on saving throws against being charmed and restrained for 1 hour. Gain an automatic saving throw if already charmed or restrained.

Harmonium
Do It Our Way: You can innately cast bane, charm person, or ensnaring strike for 1 minute. Choose Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma as your spellcasting ability.

Mercykillers
Justice for All: You add your belief die on Wisdom (Insight) checks for 1 hour and can innately cast suggestion once requiring no material components. Choose Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma as your spellcasting modifier. If you are an arcane caster, you can instead cast shocking grasp for 1 minute. If you are a divine caster, you can instead cast command for 1 minute.

Revolutionary League
Infiltration: You can innately cast disguise self for 8 hours. You add your belief die on Charisma (Deception) checks when posing as a member of any other faction.

Sign of One
Centre of the Multiverse: You add your belief die on saving throws against illusions for 1 minute.

Society of Sensation
Keen Senses: You add your belief die on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing, sight, or smell and on saving throws against being poisoned, for 1 hour.

Transcendent Order
Unity of Self: You add your belief die to your initiative rolls for 1 hour.

Xaositects
Beautiful is Chaos: For 1 minute, you can use your reaction and point at a creature that has just cast a spell of 1st level or higher. That creature must roll on the Wild Magic Surge Table (PHB 104). Or, for 1 minute, you can use your action and roll for a random 1st-level spell:

d6 | Random Spell
1 | colour spray
2 | faerie fire
3 | fog cloud
4 | grease
5 | sleep
6 | Tasha's hideous laughter

Except for colour spray and Tasha’s hideous laughter, all spells are centred on you. Alternatively, you may expend 1 belief point to cast confusion, centred on you. Or make illusory pink butterflies flutter around you. Or open a portal that takes you and up to five more creatures of your choice that you can see to a random plane.
Have a look at my Dark Sun 5e Reconstruction or Planescape 5e Belief System
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willpell
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Re: [5e] Belief System

Post by willpell » Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:21 pm

Neat. Makes me think of the 3E Faith Points feats (which was reworked into Action Points for Eberron).

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Re: [5e] Belief System

Post by zontoxira » Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:43 pm

willpell wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:21 pm
Neat. Makes me think of the 3E Faith Points feats (which was reworked into Action Points for Eberron).
I'd found it strange that with Planescape's Belief System being similar to the way Inspiration works, the only conversion I could see on the internet presented the factions as backgrounds. I'm not aware of 3e's faith points, but I've heard about Eberron's action points (thank to a friend of mine who's also a fan). To my knowledge, action points work like 5e's plot points, in that a player can make an unexpected change to the story, furthering the plot. It is, of course, meant for a more open-ended game.
Have a look at my Dark Sun 5e Reconstruction or Planescape 5e Belief System
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willpell
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Re: [5e] Belief System

Post by willpell » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:17 am

zontoxira wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:43 pm
willpell wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:21 pm
Neat. Makes me think of the 3E Faith Points feats (which was reworked into Action Points for Eberron).
I'd found it strange that with Planescape's Belief System being similar to the way Inspiration works, the only conversion I could see on the internet presented the factions as backgrounds. I'm not aware of 3e's faith points, but I've heard about Eberron's action points (thank to a friend of mine who's also a fan). To my knowledge, action points work like 5e's plot points, in that a player can make an unexpected change to the story, furthering the plot. It is, of course, meant for a more open-ended game.
Plot points are an optional, experimental "players partly take over from the DM" mechanic (Wotco attempting to jump on the bandwagon of more cooperative indie-style roleplaying that's currently in vogue). Action points are built into Eberron character creation by default, and they have a very specific mechanical effect. They don't mess with the DM's worldbuilding at all; they just make Eberron PCs even more hypercompetent than those in other CWs, by letting them succeed in their actions even when the dice aren't quite cooperating. Faith points are different, resembling Plot Points in how optional and ill defined they are, but their mechanical effect is probably even smaller than that of action points.

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Re: [5e] Belief System

Post by zontoxira » Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:35 am

willpell wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:17 am
Plot points are an optional, experimental "players partly take over from the DM" mechanic (Wotco attempting to jump on the bandwagon of more cooperative indie-style roleplaying that's currently in vogue). Action points are built into Eberron character creation by default, and they have a very specific mechanical effect. They don't mess with the DM's worldbuilding at all; they just make Eberron PCs even more hypercompetent than those in other CWs, by letting them succeed in their actions even when the dice aren't quite cooperating. Faith points are different, resembling Plot Points in how optional and ill defined they are, but their mechanical effect is probably even smaller than that of action points.
So I was wrong in my assumption. Thanks for the clarification!
Have a look at my Dark Sun 5e Reconstruction or Planescape 5e Belief System
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Coronoides
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Re: [5e] Belief System

Post by Coronoides » Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:28 am

Where the feature has a duration would you roll once and apply that result to all saves (or whatever) or roll the die again in each instance?
Would characters begin as rank 0 or rank 1 in their faction?
Ranks in a faction usually provide additional access to resources and respect. Do you intend to provide these kinds of details?
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Re: [5e] Belief System

Post by zontoxira » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:42 am

Coronoides wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:28 am
Where the feature has a duration would you roll once and apply that result to all saves (or whatever) or roll the die again in each instance?
It should work something along the lines of a spell (like bless). You get to roll every time. And to answer a possible follow-up question, yea, this could stack with spells and other effects. So, you could have bless on you, use bardic inspiration, and also expend a belief point so you can send your enemy into orbit around the sun.
Would characters begin as rank 0 or rank 1 in their faction?
For primes fresh into Planescape I'd start them off as Namers (rank 1). Planar characters could have the option to begin as Factotums; in that case, I'd remove the level requirement for rank 2, to avoid any complications. But I think it all depends on the DM's and player's playstyle. I've had occasions where some planar characters began as new recruits. What's interesting is, you might ditch your old faction (a rare thing and good luck surviving after that) in order to join another one, only to begin play as a Namer again - it's not easy to switch ideas and it takes time to fully grasp your new conviction.
Ranks in a faction usually provide additional access to resources and respect. Do you intend to provide these kinds of details?
Righto, haven't delved into that so far, but you could generally have an easier access to those things you mention, like training, spells and magic items, protection, inns and taverns that cater to your faction, and other stuff. For instance, only Doomguard characters can have access to the inner vaults of the Armory, where the exotic, the absurd, and the plain devastating arms can be found.
Have a look at my Dark Sun 5e Reconstruction or Planescape 5e Belief System
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