The Common Commoner - Page 15




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  1. #141
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    But Barsoomcore doesn't the Alignment-based cleric option take care of the "false deity" problem? I mean, what if I'm a cleric that really believes in a god of purity and goodness, which in fact, does not exist? Wouldn't I then be worshipping Good (as in the alignment), if in a very unusual form? I could do anything a cleric of Pelor could do, but my god doesn't really exist. Basically, the only way that I could be proven wrong is for some really powerful celestial creature to tell me so whenever I summoned them, and by that point I'd have to be pretty high-level. I'd have invested so much into worshipping that "deity" that I might still not believe him (even if he was a Solar).
    Just a thought.

 

  • #142
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    In D&D beliving or not in the gods is not an issue you see their powers very often through at least the adept in your town. Also any Church should have a cleric able to plane travel (9 or 11 level don't remember if it's a 5 or 6 th level spell) This cleric can then go and verify by himself the existence of the god.

  • #143
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    Spellcasting

    Except for opportunity cost. They can swing a sword around, but while they do that they aren't doing anything else. So how will they afford to feed themselves?

    Whereas spellcasting doesn't take much time at all. Up to an hour to prepare your spells for the day, then a few minutes at most (for almost all spells). So the opportunity cost of spellcasting is very low.
    Casting a spell takes the same amount of time it takes for a trained warrior to slash his 6-foot hunk of steel five or more times.

    Grab a six foot hunk of steel, and swing it five times, as if you're hitting something, and tell me you're not a little fatigued. Bonus points if you can do it in 6 seconds, and still have time to run five feet.

    Just because it only takes 3-6 seconds to cast the spell doesn't mean it's effortless. Just like just because there is no penalty for swinging around a six foot hunk of steel for nearly days in a row under D&D rules. That doesn't mean it's effortless, though. That doesn't mean it's a wave of the hand. It's as mentally draining as, say, taking an exam.

    Except that's not how D&D works. You just can't cast spells beyond your limit, period. You can't even try.
    Right, because your brain won't let you exhaust yourself...it's like how you can't hold onto a pot that's burning you, you can't even try...your body won't let you. Casting a spell is the equivalent of sticking your hand on a stove's burner. You don't WANT to do it. And your body won't LET you do it for more than a second.

    It doesn't have anything to do with your body or mind; all spellcasting does is take away your ability to cast more spells. So there's something expended there, in the amount of spells you can cast per day, but that's it.
    I'd say this is too metagame to be the explanation for spellcasting. Think of what those spells represent, of why they have those limits, of what you're actually doing when you're casting the spell, and think of that as as much, if not more effort, than taking a test in 6 seconds, swinging a six foot peice of steel five times and then running five feet in the same time, or just sprinting 30 feet.

    That's not effortless. That's not even close. Players may see them as just power to spend. The average NPC adept sees that as an extra 30 feet they have to sprint if they want to do it.

    There's no evidence suggesting that it's effortless, that it's just a wave of the hand. In fact, if you think of why, in the world, this limit on spells per day exists, it suggests that it's considerably harder than spending the same amount of time doing anything else. Your body will let you thrust a hunk of steel more than once per day....it won't let you cast spells more often.

    they consume zero resources on the part of the spellcaster and so the spellcaster has no reason to NOT cast them. He or she gains nothing by withholding those spells.
    You assume spells take no effort to cast. This is a pretty big assumption. If they take as much effort as I'm suggesting above, then there is a pretty obvious reason not to cast them. Whether they do or not seems particularly up to the campaign -- nowhere is it suggested that it's strenuous, but nowhere is it suggested that it's effortless, either. If you need a reason, there is one. If you don't need a reason, no one's trying to convince you.

    In contrast to the moron who spends all day swinging his sword in pointless circles around him -- he's NOT eating, NOT killing bad guys (or good guys), NOT making friends and influencing people, NOT putting away a little for a rainy day, NOT helping out his community -- he's just obviously a mental case. Casting spells accomplishes stuff AND costs nothing. We don't have anything like that in our world.
    The comparison was for effort. Only if you assume that spellcasting is as easy as wiggling your fingers does it suggest that they have no reason to use them. But then, it also suggests that they should be able to do it more often -- how many times can you wiggle your fingers each day? Why would casting a spell require any less effort that swinging a 6 foot hunk of steel within the same interval of time?

    Your entire argument about this falls apart if you consider the option (not stated, but having evidence that could support it in the rules) that spells are not as easy as a wave of the hand. In that case, there is plenty of reason to not cast a spell -- it's hard work, and no one wants to do hard work when they don't have to.

    If I were king, I'd ORDER everyone to learn magic. Especially if even my big cities are getting attacked by deadly creatures on a daily basis. Your society could easily take the short-term effort of getting everyone at 11 or higher Intelligence or Wisdom casting spells for the long-term benefit of having thousands upon thousands of spell-casters available throughout the kingdom. It just makes sense.
    Why would you order them to learn magic when you're having trouble feeding everyone? Just because monsters are attacking you doesn't mean you don't still have a population of hundreds or thousands to feed. If one village falls, there has to be enough food for the refugees, and for the rest of the people there.
    Last edited by Kamikaze Midget; Friday, 20th August, 2004 at 01:03 AM.
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  • #144
    D&D religion is more like politics.

    Dragonlance actually captures this flavor fairly well, in the eras when its gods aren't popping in and out of availability. You don't have to be much of a believer to know that one side of the pantheon grants miraculous power to the people, goblinoids, dragons and assorted nasties trying to conquer the world, and the other side grants it to those trying to stop them in their tracks. It's us vs. them. And it, basically, works.

    Does this suffice for a religious experience? Hard to say. History seems to indicate that humans need more than secular nation-states or concepts to cling to and defend, but do they need more than demonstably immortal and nigh-all-powerful beings? We have no way of judging from historical evidence, because immortal and nigh-all-powerful beings don't subject themselves to the kinds of rigorous pseudo-scientific testing D&D gods do.

  • #145
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    Dyir: Yeah, that'll work, as long as you're actually worshipping Good in such a fashion as to generate divine energy (or however that works). It still means you can identify people who are just wrong about the way the world works -- people whose behaviour does NOT generate such energy. You'd still have a distinction that we don't have in this world -- between folks who are "onto something" (even if they're misguided as to what it is) and folks who are just loonies.

    You're pointing out what becomes another interesting distinction in a world where the former distinction exists -- but the former distinction still exists.

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  • #146
    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget
    Casting a spell takes the same amount of time it takes for a trained warrior to slash his 6-foot hunk of steel five or more times.

    Grab a six foot hunk of steel, and swing it five times, as if you're hitting something, and tell me you're not a little fatigued. Bonus points if you can do it in 6 seconds, and still have time to run five feet.
    That's a spiffy Barbarian/Fighter/Shou Disciple build you've got going there, doing a flurry of blows with a greatsword. But he'd be better off if he had at least 6 levels of monk - then he could use greater flurry and swing his 6-foot hunk of steel six times

  • #147
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    Church & Corruption

    That's a spiffy Barbarian/Fighter/Shou Disciple build you've got going there, doing a flurry of blows with a greatsword. But he'd be better off if he had at least 6 levels of monk - then he could use greater flurry and swing his 6-foot hunk of steel six times
    Yeah, I should've said swing it once and run 20 ft. in full plate. Still, the basic principle stands.

    still means you can identify people who are just wrong about the way the world works -- people whose behaviour does NOT generate such energy. You'd still have a distinction that we don't have in this world -- between folks who are "onto something" (even if they're misguided as to what it is) and folks who are just loonies.
    You can believe in a philosophy. Or a force. Or an abstract concept. As long as you believe in *something*, divine magic works for you. You could believe you're the second coming of Christ, and you'd have spells that you grant yourself.

    That's how small-scale corruption can exist in churches. Just because two people share an alignment doesn't mean their goals and duties are the same, and they might not even share an alignment (actual clerics would, but adepts, the experts who serve as clergy....?).

    The line is drawn at large-scale corruption, which must happen from the 'top down' to be effective. It's easy to find the one evil cleric who's not part of the group. It's harder when they're all running the church, know they're evil, and don't really care...the peasants don't know any better, after all...

    But when you could just go off and found your own Church of Big Badness, and have thousands of followers of various wicked peoples within a week or two, there's no real reason to corrupt -- if you can heal, power is yours for the taking, even if your heal because of your devout belief in nihilism.
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  • #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget
    As long as you believe in *something*, divine magic works for you.
    Um, no. The rules do not say that, at any rate. They do say that there are clerics who, rather than devote themselves to a particular deity, but "to a cause or source of divine power". Not *something*. There's nothing to suggest that a guy who believes the world was created by sentient bananas gains spellcasting abilities simply because he REALLY believes it. I mean, if you want your world to work that way, great, but that's not what the rules say.

    They say that there exist sources of divine power besides the gods. That doesn't mean that anyone can make up any source of divine power anytime they like, just by wishing really hard.

    People will still see that some people's worldviews result in them getting free power, and some people's worldviews do not. This is different than anything that happens in our world, and it's unlikely that a world that demonstrates such behaviour would resemble ours. And I submit that such demonstrations of power will not supply the human need to believe in something greater than we can comprehend.

    And what sort of moron joins a Church of Big Badness, anyway? Where's the fun in being bad if everyone else is bad -- they'll just be bad to you, and your badness won't give you any advantage. Being bad is only advantageous as long as most other people are being good.

    It's like driving on the shoulder of the road. Sure, you can zip by all the suckers who are playing by the rules -- as long as they keep playing by the rules. Once everybody decides to break the rules, nobody gets ahead by breaking the rules, so there's no real incentive to breaking the rules. So what's the incentive to join up with a bunch of rules-breakers? Well, you might be stupid, I guess. Never been a shortage of stupid people around.

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  • #149
    Quote Originally Posted by barsoomcore
    Um, no. The rules do not say that, at any rate. They do say that there are clerics who, rather than devote themselves to a particular deity, but "to a cause or source of divine power". Not *something*. There's nothing to suggest that a guy who believes the world was created by sentient bananas gains spellcasting abilities simply because he REALLY believes it. I mean, if you want your world to work that way, great, but that's not what the rules say.


    People will still see that some people's worldviews result in them getting free power, and some people's worldviews do not. This is different than anything that happens in our world, and it's unlikely that a world that demonstrates such behaviour would resemble ours. And I submit that such demonstrations of power will not supply the human need to believe in something greater than we can comprehend.
    Good point.
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  • #150
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget
    Casting a spell takes the same amount of time it takes for a trained warrior to slash his 6-foot hunk of steel five or more times.
    Your original argument compared chopping down trees all day to casting all your spells. That argument doesn't make sense because you can't cast spells all day (unless you're casting one of the few spells with longer casting times). There's no opportunity cost to casting spells, except the hour or so it takes you to prepare them in the morning. The same doesn't go for chopping down trees all day.

    If we go by the rules, there is no effort involved (except for the fact that there's nothing else you can do). If you want to extrapolate from the rules, for either physical actions (save for movement) or for spell casting, that's fine; but it isn't in the books.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget
    Right, because your brain won't let you exhaust yourself...it's like how you can't hold onto a pot that's burning you, you can't even try...your body won't let you. Casting a spell is the equivalent of sticking your hand on a stove's burner. You don't WANT to do it. And your body won't LET you do it for more than a second.
    Haven't read Dune lately, have you? "What's in the box?" "Pain."

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget
    I'd say this is too metagame to be the explanation for spellcasting. Think of what those spells represent, of why they have those limits, of what you're actually doing when you're casting the spell, and think of that as as much, if not more effort, than taking a test in 6 seconds, swinging a six foot peice of steel five times and then running five feet in the same time, or just sprinting 30 feet.
    So casting a spell is about as effortless as swinging a baseball bat. Cool.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget
    There's no evidence suggesting that it's effortless, that it's just a wave of the hand. In fact, if you think of why, in the world, this limit on spells per day exists, it suggests that it's considerably harder than spending the same amount of time doing anything else. Your body will let you thrust a hunk of steel more than once per day....it won't let you cast spells more often.
    There's no evidence to suggest that it takes any sort of effort, either. There is some kind of limit on casting spells that seems to come from nowhere - you can increase your spells per day by doing things like killing goblins, or sneaking back home past curfew, or winning the hand of Snow White. There's nothing to suggest that the number of spells you can cast per day is tied to anything except the number and difficulty of challenges you've faced in your life.

    Extrapolating is good for the game, but if you want to get all anal retentive (and apparently I do), that's what we're left with.
    "If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry."
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