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Priests as opponents

Posted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 3:06 pm
by SkinnyOrc
Priests get all their magic at the start and then don't get any more except possibly via talents. You can say the same about sorcerers but they can increase how often they can use their magic through their advances. I've heard the arguments that priests have other uses in a party than magic but I got thinking about how they'd work in an adventure as opponents, and for that it is all about combat ability.

I was thinking about having an encounter with four lesser priests of Slaang and the problem is they're a bit too powerful! It doesn't matter they can only use each power once a day if they're not likely to survive their first encounter. Slangg's specific power of hatred is dangerous with a character changing sides and no test for LUCK. Curse and Smite aren't complete rubbish either.

On the other hand I'd like a high priest of Slangg as an arch villain and have the opposite problem. Unlike a powerful wizard you're a bit limited in options to amp up his threat. The Holy talent is the main thing, that would make the hatred power work on two characters at once which is nasty. The Blessed talent would let him use the hatred power a second time. But apart from that all you can do is raise SKILL and STAMINA. I guess a couple of handy limited use magical items could round him off to be a decent challenge. But every high priest is going to be similar, there just isn't that much you can do.

Within the rules as written the only option I can see is to use proper priests sparingly and have the rest be without the Magic - Priestly special skill. I can't see that given how powerful priest magic starts off that they wouldn't hold higher rank, so the rest would be trainees or acolytes. If priest magic was more subtle then rank might be a separate thing but it's really not.

What about priests with the three common powers but not the Slangg specific hatred power? Character priests always start out with the their gods unique power. However AFF PCs seem to start out quite capable so can this be justified as them already being "full" priests, but to get there they did go through a stage of just having the common powers?

Re: Priests as opponents

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:15 pm
by Nuvole!
I think you didn't mention enough one of the biggest priestly powers, that is influencing and leading fellow believers into doing whatever they want.

Re: Priests as opponents

Posted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:33 am
by SkinnyOrc
That's true of course, and the high priest in question has a bodyguard in tow as well as being in a temple full of followers. But that doesn't really change that a basic priest has a fair bit of magic to call on while a high priest has... pretty much the same.

I expect the first thing most adventurer parties would do on meeting a high priest of Slangg would be lightning bolt them (I might be misjudging but I don't think they'll be inviting him to tea). So a magical item that protects against a limited number of those would be really handy. Which got me thinking, I can imagine priests refusing to use normal magical items. After all what is wizardly tinkering compared to the power of their god? So how about this...

Sacred Items

A high priest is able through ritual magic to imbue items with the power of their deity. These items can by of any form but will usually be finely crafted and made from precious materials. Sometimes the item will incorporate a piece of bone from an early high priest or something else of great significance to the sect, in which case it will be considered a relic. Most Sacred Items are equivalent to Trinkets but some have the power of an Enchanted item, while relics will be Enchanted if not Artefacts.

Periapt of Protection

A brooch that is pinned to the wearers clothing, each protects up to three times against a particular danger. The most popular is the Periapt of Lightning Protection as such an attack is a favorite of powerful magic users. It is effective against the Lightning Blast or ZAP spells, a Rod of Lightning Bolts or any similar effect, the energy appearing to attract to the periapt and disappear harmlessly.

Re: Priests as opponents

Posted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:23 pm
by shintokamikaze
Great idea, did you ever run them in a game?

Re: Priests as opponents

Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 7:41 am
by SkinnyOrc
Sadly no, I'd love to see the player's faces when a lightning bolt just disappears! It's just one section of a much larger adventure for another system. I was looking at what it would take to convert it and this looked like the trickiest bit, just because AFF priests are quite different.

I haven't improved on the ideas I had before. Sacred Items give you a way to enhance the abilities of senior priests as opponents, and it stands to reason the high priest will keep the best for themselves. Relic items could also be central to the cult's ceremonies.

I also still like the idea trainee characters have weaker abilities than starting adventurers and that would include trainee priests having less than the full set of powers. I have no problem that AFF characters start out capable (why would a trainee even be allowed to wander off into danger?). But certainly fighting skills and magical spells have to be built up over time, so there must be NPC warriors and wizards around that are less powerful than starting characters. Priests maybe do go overnight from having no magical powers to having their full set, but I prefer to think they also get them gradually over time through devotions and training.

Has anyone come up with rules for generating characters that are less experienced than starting player characters?

Re: Priests as opponents

Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:57 am
by Nuvole!
Yes, I did and I already playtested them.
After I will complete the Gazzetteer of Barsoom (almost there, see dedicated discussion on this Forum viewtopic.php?f=13&t=837) and the Gazzetteer of Rimon and the Pirate Coast (not too far, but I will need some help with maps), I will finalize First steps into adventure as well (the ruleset for inexperienced characters is done, but I need to do quite some work on the adventures, as result of betatesting feedback).
In first steps into adventure the characters are fundamentally farmers and not heroes yet.