Friday, September 30, 2016

Gods of the Fall - Paths of Divinity

That is some gnarly doggie breath...

I mentioned previously that I am going to abandon the idea of XP for advancement entirely when I finally start a Gods of the Fall campaign. This is a personal choice with the intent to help smooth out some of the potential for power variation.

Another thought I've had about dealing with power variations is with regard to the rate at which divine shifts are awarded. This has two potential impacts to play. Firstly you you can reward power shifts singly to allow players to see how their "purchases" impact play individually. If you are already awarding advancements instead of experience this fits well as a player may gain a shift when they achieve Tier 2, but the GM can then wait to award the other two Tier 2 shifts after major story milestones related to their dominion and their labors.

Secondly a GM could directly alter the progression of characters toward full godhood, potentially awarding fewer shifts at Tier 2 and greater numbers at higher tiers. or smoothing out the gain of shifts over the full campaign scope.  Some ideas on this include:
  • Struggling Toward Apotheosis
    • The characters advance slowly in divine power, amassing divinity through trial and strife and only truly gaining their full birthright at the end of their journey. 
    • Award 1 shift at tiers 2, 3, & 4, and 2 shifts each at tiers 5 and 6.
  • Gradual Godhood
    • The characters accumulation of their divine power is evenly spread out as they complete their labors.
    • Award 1 shift at tiers 2, 4, & 6, and 2 shifts each at tiers 3 & 5.
  • Godhood Attained
    • Once the characters embrace their destiny and their role in things they gain the power of gods in short order. Divine power is front loaded with the completion of early labors, for the restoration of Elanehtar, the people's' faith, and Soulrest are tasks only a true god could complete. 
    • Award 3 shifts at tier 2, 2 shifts at tier 3, and 1 shift at tier 4.
All of these assume 7 shifts over the course of tiers 2 through 6, but a GM could decide to award more shifts, or fewer shifts, and adjust the cadence accordingly.

Awarding more shifts will probably accelerate the end of your campaign, or require you to consider increasing the maximum level of difficulty from 15 to 20. I asked both Monte and Bruce about this at GenCon this year and both seemed to think that once you start past level 15 difficulty the game will get a little weird, mechanically speaking, so maybe try that at your own risk.

Awarding fewer shifts allows you to play more of a demi-god type game, a la Hercules trying to earn his way to Olympus. A GM could use this to play a game where the gods are not dead and the players are their half mortal children fighting the evils of the world to gain godhood. Alternately it could mean a campaign at a more mortal level with the apotheosis of the characters being the ultimate endgame with true godhood being achieved only at the end of the campaign.

These kinds of alterations can also be applied outside of Gods of the Fall to other games where you are using Power Shifts. Superhero games where the characters' power increases over time. Space Opera type games where the PCs take on greater and greater scope of power.

How would you use this?