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Locating stuff with /commune/

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Anonymous
March 19, 2005 2:02:13 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

The "twenty questions" nature of the /commune/ spell bothers me a bit.
My players have often used it to conduct a binary search:

Is the bad guy on this plane?
Is he on the western continent?
Is he in the Holy Empire?
Is he in the Province of Foo?
Is he in a major city?

.... et cetera. You can locate stuff pretty easily that way. However, I
don't particularly like this mini-game. It's too easy for the players to
screw up when there characters would not, and vice versa. Plus, it's a
big waste of time, as the players carefully plan out their binary search
pattern in advance.

Instead, I thought of an alternative approach: In addition to yes or no
questions, you can ask for a location or an identity. Examples: "Where
is the Legendary Amulet of Power?" "Who killed Abbot Costello?" These
open-ended questions use up one yes-or-no question per level of the
subject. If the Legendary Amulet is a CL 20 item, it uses up 20
questions. If the abbot's murderer is a 3rd-level character, it uses up
three questions.

I'd need to tighten it up a bit (i.e., should you use character level,
effective character level, or challenge rating for NPCs), but what do
you think of the basic idea?
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd

More about : locating stuff commune

Anonymous
March 19, 2005 2:02:14 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
> The "twenty questions" nature of the /commune/ spell bothers me a
bit.
> My players have often used it to conduct a binary search:
>
> Is the bad guy on this plane?
> Is he on the western continent?
> Is he in the Holy Empire?
> Is he in the Province of Foo?
> Is he in a major city?
>
> ... et cetera. You can locate stuff pretty easily that way. However,
I
> don't particularly like this mini-game. It's too easy for the players
to
> screw up when there characters would not, and vice versa. Plus, it's
a
> big waste of time, as the players carefully plan out their binary
search
> pattern in advance.
>
> Instead, I thought of an alternative approach: In addition to yes or
no
> questions, you can ask for a location or an identity. Examples:
"Where
> is the Legendary Amulet of Power?" "Who killed Abbot Costello?" These
> open-ended questions use up one yes-or-no question per level of the
> subject. If the Legendary Amulet is a CL 20 item, it uses up 20
> questions. If the abbot's murderer is a 3rd-level character, it uses
up
> three questions.
>
> I'd need to tighten it up a bit (i.e., should you use character
level,
> effective character level, or challenge rating for NPCs), but what do
> you think of the basic idea?

I like it! Actually I think you could basically do a knowledge
(whatever) check, and just have the spell give you a bonus instead.

I personally hate the way these spells work, and always have, anything
is an improvement. I've currently got them banned from my game after
23 years I just got fed up. I might let them come back if we can come
up with something on it that's not f'ing annoying.

- justisaur
Anonymous
March 19, 2005 2:02:15 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Justisaur wrote:
>
> I like it! Actually I think you could basically do a knowledge
> (whatever) check, and just have the spell give you a bonus instead.

Oooh, I *like* that idea!

-Bluto
Related resources
Anonymous
March 19, 2005 2:49:29 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

In article <slrnd3mnfl.49i.bradd+news@szonye.com>,
Bradd W. Szonye <bradd+news@szonye.com> wrote:
>The "twenty questions" nature of the /commune/ spell bothers me a bit.
>My players have often used it to conduct a binary search:
>
> Is the bad guy on this plane?
> Is he on the western continent?
> Is he in the Holy Empire?
> Is he in the Province of Foo?
> Is he in a major city?
>
>... et cetera. You can locate stuff pretty easily that way. However, I
>don't particularly like this mini-game. It's too easy for the players to
>screw up when there characters would not, and vice versa. Plus, it's a
>big waste of time, as the players carefully plan out their binary search
>pattern in advance.
>
>Instead, I thought of an alternative approach: In addition to yes or no
>questions, you can ask for a location or an identity. Examples: "Where
>is the Legendary Amulet of Power?" "Who killed Abbot Costello?" These
>open-ended questions use up one yes-or-no question per level of the
>subject. If the Legendary Amulet is a CL 20 item, it uses up 20
>questions. If the abbot's murderer is a 3rd-level character, it uses up
>three questions.
>
>I'd need to tighten it up a bit (i.e., should you use character level,
>effective character level, or challenge rating for NPCs), but what do
>you think of the basic idea?

Its a nice idea but it does give away the _level_ of the challange
(at a metagame level at least). how about adding a random element
ie some sort of roll DC vs Encounter levle to see if the next
question is answered.
--
Michael
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
NPC rights activist | Nameless Abominations are people too.
Anonymous
March 19, 2005 3:34:46 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Senator Blutarsky" <monarchy@comcast.net> wrote in message
news:423B8D5E.7BCBAC93@comcast.net...
> Justisaur wrote:
>>
>> I like it! Actually I think you could basically do a knowledge
>> (whatever) check, and just have the spell give you a bonus instead.
>
> Oooh, I *like* that idea!

Agreed. It could be used sort of like Bardic Knowledge, even. Personally,
I go for the type of answer that steers the characters in the right
direction, without spoiling things.

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
Anonymous
March 19, 2005 3:45:21 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Bradd wrote:
>> ... I thought of an alternative approach: In addition to yes or no
>> questions, you can ask for a location or an identity. Examples:
>> "Where is the Legendary Amulet of Power?" "Who killed Abbot
>> Costello?" These open-ended questions use up one yes-or-no question
>> per level of the subject ....

Mr. M.J. Lush wrote:
> Its a nice idea but it does give away the _level_ of the challange (at
> a metagame level at least). how about adding a random element ie some
> sort of roll DC vs Encounter levle to see if the next question is
> answered.

I thought of that, but I don't think it's worth "fixing."
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Anonymous
March 19, 2005 8:35:57 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Bradd W. Szonye" <bradd+news@szonye.com> wrote in message
news:slrnd3mnfl.49i.bradd+news@szonye.com...
> The "twenty questions" nature of the /commune/ spell bothers me a bit.
> My players have often used it to conduct a binary search:
[snip]

Personally, the spell "commune" has always basically been viewed as a direct
call to the gods. Wasting a god's time is not something to be done lightly,
so characters in our campaign always make sure that the questions are
important enough to warrant a god's response. If they start asking
questions that a god would not waste his time answering, he's quite likely
to hang up the phone, as it were. As such, in our campaign, "twenty
questions" in a commune spell would NEVER happen, mainly because after about
2 questions, the god being queried would stop answering questions out of
sheer annoyance with the party. That's how *I* would handle your binary
search problem. But most people find my suggestions stupid, insipid and
banal, so there is that...

--
Jeff Goslin - MCSD - www.goslin.info
It's not a god complex when you're always right
Anonymous
March 19, 2005 1:00:11 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

bradd+news@szonye.com wrote:

> The "twenty questions" nature of the /commune/ spell bothers me a bit.
> My players have often used it to conduct a binary search:
>
> Is the bad guy on this plane?
> Is he on the western continent?
> Is he in the Holy Empire?
> Is he in the Province of Foo?
> Is he in a major city?

IMC, it was even more jarring.

Is the temple in the southern half of the city? No.
Is the temple in the western half of the northern half? Yes.
Is the temple...

I don't really mind PCs being able to get the answer they want, it's
just that playing a 9+ question guessing game gets tedious.

> I'd need to tighten it up a bit (i.e., should you use character level,
> effective character level, or challenge rating for NPCs), but what do
> you think of the basic idea?

Good.


--
Jasin Zujovic
jzujovic@inet.hr
Anonymous
March 19, 2005 1:00:12 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Mere moments before death, Jasin Zujovic hastily scrawled:
>bradd+news@szonye.com wrote:
>
>> The "twenty questions" nature of the /commune/ spell bothers me a bit.
>> My players have often used it to conduct a binary search:
>>
>> Is the bad guy on this plane?
>> Is he on the western continent?
>> Is he in the Holy Empire?
>> Is he in the Province of Foo?
>> Is he in a major city?
>
>IMC, it was even more jarring.
>
>Is the temple in the southern half of the city? No.
>Is the temple in the western half of the northern half? Yes.

Tell your players that the "...of the northern half" bit is redundant.



Ed Chauvin IV

--
DISCLAIMER : WARNING: RULE # 196 is X-rated in that to calculate L,
use X = [(C2/10)^2], and RULE # 193 which is NOT meant to be read by
kids, since RULE # 187 EXPLAINS homosexuality mathematically, using
modifier G @ 11.

"I always feel left out when someone *else* gets killfiled."
--Terry Austin
Anonymous
March 19, 2005 5:51:22 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Jeff Goslin wrote:
> But most people find my suggestions stupid, insipid and
> banal, so there is that...

Then again, the usual reply around here is RTFM. I happen to like your
idea.


Ralph Glatt

Member, Old Farts Club
Anonymous
March 19, 2005 5:58:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

One thing to think about is that a god has how many hundreds of
thousands (millions?) of worshippers, all begging for attention, while
the god is busy trying to fulfil his agenda. He's going to get pretty
testy if the PCs are pestering him for information. They should be
using commune as a *last* resort.

Ralph Glatt

Member, Old Farts Club
Anonymous
March 19, 2005 8:33:41 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Justisaur wrote:
>>> I like it! Actually I think you could basically do a knowledge
>>> (whatever) check, and just have the spell give you a bonus instead.

Bluto wrote:
>> Oooh, I *like* that idea!

Malachias Invictus wrote:
> Agreed. It could be used sort of like Bardic Knowledge, even.
> Personally, I go for the type of answer that steers the characters in
> the right direction, without spoiling things.

I'm curious how you'd implement this. I'd like to keep the current
ability to ask more than one question, just eliminating the "twenty
questions" aspect of it. I think the spell is OK once you get rid of the
mini-game.

One possibility: Assign a Knowledge or Bardic Lore DC for the question,
and have the player make the check before casting /commune./ If the
character succeeds, there's no need to cast the spell. If he fails, then
getting the correct answer uses up one "question" for every 2 points he
missed the check by. Instead of playing twenty-questions, the character
says, "Hey, god, I figured this much out; what am I missing?" The more
homework you do in advance, the more useful information the god will
give you.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Anonymous
March 19, 2005 8:38:19 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Jeff Goslin wrote:
> Personally, the spell "commune" has always basically been viewed as a
> direct call to the gods. Wasting a god's time is not something to be
> done lightly, so characters in our campaign always make sure that the
> questions are important enough to warrant a god's response. If they
> start asking questions that a god would not waste his time answering,
> he's quite likely to hang up the phone, as it were ....

Locating a major villain isn't wasting the god's time; it's a valid use
of the spell. Even doing it in twenty-questions style doesn't really
waste time. After all, it only takes a minute or so in game time. The
spell only wastes the /players'/ time, because any non-trivial use
requires them to play an annoying mini-game.

In short, you're throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

> But most people find my suggestions stupid, insipid and banal, so
> there is that...

Gee, I wonder why that is.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Anonymous
March 19, 2005 9:47:02 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

autockr@comcast.net wrote:

> As such, in our campaign, "twenty
> questions" in a commune spell would NEVER happen, mainly because after about
> 2 questions, the god being queried would stop answering questions out of
> sheer annoyance with the party.

Why does he grant his clerics the ability to ask one question per level,
then?


--
Jasin Zujovic
jzujovic@inet.hr
Anonymous
March 20, 2005 12:56:20 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Sat, 19 Mar 2005 09:50:20 -0500, Ed Chauvin IV wrote:

> Mere moments before death, Jasin Zujovic hastily scrawled:
>>bradd+news@szonye.com wrote:

>>IMC, it was even more jarring.
>>
>>Is the temple in the southern half of the city? No.
>>Is the temple in the western half of the northern half? Yes.
>
> Tell your players that the "...of the northern half" bit is redundant.

You sure about that?

Take a look at a map of Ontario sometime: Just saying western half will
include none of southern Ontario.

--
Phoenix
Anonymous
March 20, 2005 1:05:15 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Sat, 19 Mar 2005 17:38:19 +0000, Bradd W. Szonye wrote:

> In short, you're throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

A fix that just came to mind would be to have each question allowed
improve the PC's information one 'step'.

Using finding something as an example, you might have steps like:

Plane
Continent
Large nation/Region
Province/Small nation
City/County
Neighbourhood/Town
Building
Floor/Wing
Room

You know that it's in the Holy Empire, (a large nation). You need to
know what building? It uses four questions. You need to know the room?
Six questions.

--
Phoenix
Anonymous
March 20, 2005 2:25:58 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

In article <1111273114.956201.118060@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com>,
<julian814@hotmail.com> wrote:
>One thing to think about is that a god has how many hundreds of
>thousands (millions?) of worshippers, all begging for attention, while
>the god is busy trying to fulfil his agenda. He's going to get pretty
>testy if the PCs are pestering him for information. They should be
>using commune as a *last* resort.

Goodness me! Its a lucky god that has hundreds of thousands (millions?) of
worshippers who are all 9th level clerics with a Wisdom of 15+


--
Michael
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
NPC rights activist | Nameless Abominations are people too.
Anonymous
March 20, 2005 2:28:34 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Mere moments before death, Rick Pikul hastily scrawled:
>On Sat, 19 Mar 2005 09:50:20 -0500, Ed Chauvin IV wrote:
>
>> Mere moments before death, Jasin Zujovic hastily scrawled:
>>>bradd+news@szonye.com wrote:
>
>>>IMC, it was even more jarring.
>>>
>>>Is the temple in the southern half of the city? No.
>>>Is the temple in the western half of the northern half? Yes.
>>
>> Tell your players that the "...of the northern half" bit is redundant.
>
> You sure about that?

Positive.

> Take a look at a map of Ontario sometime: Just saying western half will
>include none of southern Ontario.

And?



Ed Chauvin IV

--
DISCLAIMER : WARNING: RULE # 196 is X-rated in that to calculate L,
use X = [(C2/10)^2], and RULE # 193 which is NOT meant to be read by
kids, since RULE # 187 EXPLAINS homosexuality mathematically, using
modifier G @ 11.

"I always feel left out when someone *else* gets killfiled."
--Terry Austin
Anonymous
March 20, 2005 5:10:03 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Mr. M.J. Lush wrote:
> In article <1111273114.956201.118060@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com>,
> <julian814@hotmail.com> wrote:
> >One thing to think about is that a god has how many hundreds of
> >thousands (millions?) of worshippers, all begging for attention,
while
> >the god is busy trying to fulfil his agenda. He's going to get
pretty
> >testy if the PCs are pestering him for information. They should be
> >using commune as a *last* resort.
>
> Goodness me! Its a lucky god that has hundreds of thousands
(millions?) of
> worshippers who are all 9th level clerics with a Wisdom of 15+

Have you ever seen the movie "Bruce Almighty"? People of all levels
would be praying for favors from their god. That's what I'm talking
about.


Ralph Glatt

Member, Old Farts Club
Anonymous
March 20, 2005 10:52:02 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Sat, 19 Mar 2005 23:28:34 -0500, Ed Chauvin IV wrote:

> Mere moments before death, Rick Pikul hastily scrawled:
>>On Sat, 19 Mar 2005 09:50:20 -0500, Ed Chauvin IV wrote:
>>
>>> Mere moments before death, Jasin Zujovic hastily scrawled:
>>>>bradd+news@szonye.com wrote:
>>
>>>>IMC, it was even more jarring.
>>>>
>>>>Is the temple in the southern half of the city? No.
>>>>Is the temple in the western half of the northern half? Yes.
>>>
>>> Tell your players that the "...of the northern half" bit is redundant.
>>
>> You sure about that?
>
> Positive.

You might want to rethink your position then, because it is in error.

>> Take a look at a map of Ontario sometime: Just saying western half
>>will include none of southern Ontario.
>
> And?

Depending on the shape of the city, (say it's on the SW corner of a
lake), the temple could be right on the western edge but not be in the
western half.

Thus, just asking if the temple is in the western half, knowing that it
is also in the northern half, might not gain you any more information: As
the entire western half of the city lays within the southern half.

--
Phoenix
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 12:49:26 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Mere moments before death, Rick Pikul hastily scrawled:
>On Sat, 19 Mar 2005 23:28:34 -0500, Ed Chauvin IV wrote:
>
>> Mere moments before death, Rick Pikul hastily scrawled:
>>>On Sat, 19 Mar 2005 09:50:20 -0500, Ed Chauvin IV wrote:
>>>
>>>> Mere moments before death, Jasin Zujovic hastily scrawled:
>>>>>IMC, it was even more jarring.
>>>>>
>>>>>Is the temple in the southern half of the city? No.
>>>>>Is the temple in the western half of the northern half? Yes.
>>>>
>>>> Tell your players that the "...of the northern half" bit is redundant.
>>>
>>> You sure about that?
>>
>> Positive.
>
> You might want to rethink your position then, because it is in error.

It most certainly is not.

>>> Take a look at a map of Ontario sometime: Just saying western half
>>>will include none of southern Ontario.
>>
>> And?
>
> Depending on the shape of the city, (say it's on the SW corner of a
>lake), the temple could be right on the western edge but not be in the
>western half.

Just because the western edge does not always lie within the western
half does not change what you already know about the north/south axis.
In fact, by phrasing the second question the way it is above reduces
it's informative value in some situations.

> Thus, just asking if the temple is in the western half, knowing that it
>is also in the northern half, might not gain you any more information: As
>the entire western half of the city lays within the southern half.

If it were in the western half in such a city, the answer to the first
question would not have been no.



Ed Chauvin IV

--
DISCLAIMER : WARNING: RULE # 196 is X-rated in that to calculate L,
use X = [(C2/10)^2], and RULE # 193 which is NOT meant to be read by
kids, since RULE # 187 EXPLAINS homosexuality mathematically, using
modifier G @ 11.

"I always feel left out when someone *else* gets killfiled."
--Terry Austin
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 12:49:27 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Mere moments before death, julian814@hotmail.com hastily scrawled:
>Mr. M.J. Lush wrote:
>> In article <1111273114.956201.118060@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com>,
>> <julian814@hotmail.com> wrote:
>> >
>> >One thing to think about is that a god has how many hundreds of
>> >thousands (millions?) of worshippers, all begging for attention, while
>> >the god is busy trying to fulfil his agenda. He's going to get pretty
>> >testy if the PCs are pestering him for information. They should be
>> >using commune as a *last* resort.
>>
>> Goodness me! Its a lucky god that has hundreds of thousands (millions?) of
>> worshippers who are all 9th level clerics with a Wisdom of 15+
>
>Have you ever seen the movie "Bruce Almighty"? People of all levels
>would be praying for favors from their god. That's what I'm talking
>about.

Meanwhile, everyone else is discussing the use of the Commune spell,
which is available only to a specific subset of any given god's
worshippers. When were you going to read the damn thread?



Ed Chauvin IV

--
DISCLAIMER : WARNING: RULE # 196 is X-rated in that to calculate L,
use X = [(C2/10)^2], and RULE # 193 which is NOT meant to be read by
kids, since RULE # 187 EXPLAINS homosexuality mathematically, using
modifier G @ 11.

"I always feel left out when someone *else* gets killfiled."
--Terry Austin
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 3:04:04 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Ed Chauvin IV wrote:
> Mere moments before death, Rick Pikul hastily scrawled:
> >
> > Depending on the shape of the city, (say it's on the SW
> > corner of a lake), the temple could be right on the western
> > edge but not be in the western half.
>
> Just because the western edge does not always lie within the
> western half does not change what you already know about the
> north/south axis. In fact, by phrasing the second question
> the way it is above reduces it's informative value in some
> situations.
>
> > Thus, just asking if the temple is in the western half,
> > knowing that it is also in the northern half, might not
> > gain you any more information: As the entire western half
> > of the city lays within the southern half.
>
> If it were in the western half in such a city, the answer
> to the first question would not have been no.

How so? Given a city layout of (non-proportional font):

.. ABCD
.. EFGH

A and B are the western half of the northern half of the city.
C and D are the eastern half of the northern half of the city.
E and F are the western half of the southern half of the city.
G and H are the eastern half of the southern half of the city.

Asking "is <X> in the southern half of the city?" would result in: Yes
(<X> is in A, B, C or D) or No (<X> is in E, F, G or H).

Following a No answer with "is <X> in the western half of the city?"
would result in: Yes (<X> is in A) or No (<X> is in B, C, or D). This
might take two more questions to pinpoint (though, obviously, it
*could* pinpoint <X> right away).

Instead following a No answer with "is <X> in the western half of the
northern half of the city?" would result in: Yes (<X> is in A or B) or
No (<X> is in C or D). This, while not pinpointing <X> right away,
has the advantage of being able to pinpoint <X> in the very next
question, without error.

If the city's layout was instead:
.. AB
.. CD
Following a No on "southern half" with "is in western half?" is a
useless question.

So, while I agree that standard layouts are simpler to reduce question
ambiguity, oddly-shaped cities do not support the same logic.

--
Nik
- remove vermin from email address to reply.
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 12:37:37 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Sun, 20 Mar 2005 03:36:34 -0500, "Jeff Goslin"
<autockr@comcast.net> carved upon a tablet of ether:

> I guess more to the point, it doesn't take much to screw up even the most
> powerful creature's schedule. Imagine, for a moment, that you have
> (literally) the direct line to the Oval Office. The Prez is in conference
> with 15 world leaders, and you call him up to see if he knows the number of
> a local pizza joint. That would be somewhat equivalent to asking a god to
> find some piddlyshit temple for you.

That's why gods have minions, and why they are able to handle multiple
tasks at once. Are your gods really so limited they can't have a small
chunk of their conciousness deal with such requests without bothering
the rest of them?


--
Rupert Boleyn <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz>
"Just because the truth will set you free doesn't mean the truth itself
should be free."
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 12:37:38 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Rupert Boleyn" <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz> wrote in message
news:m6rr31tjltqk0i608487s5amdhmls78kmk@4ax.com...
> > a local pizza joint. That would be somewhat equivalent to asking a god
to
> > find some piddlyshit temple for you.
>
> That's why gods have minions, and why they are able to handle multiple
> tasks at once. Are your gods really so limited they can't have a small
> chunk of their conciousness deal with such requests without bothering
> the rest of them?

I'm sure they have minions, and I'm sure they can multitask, and they are
not terribly limited. I guess our deities are not terribly concerned about
the things that concern men as a general rule. If you want to commune with
a deity in our campaign, it had BETTER be about something the GOD would want
to talk about, not just what YOU want to know about.

A chat about finding some temple is not terribly important in the grand
scheme. Questions about a plot that threatens to end the deity's worship on
that planet is a different story. We reserve our communes for those special
events where it's REALLY important, and use the lesser spells to get other
information.

--
Jeff Goslin - MCSD - www.goslin.info
It's not a god complex when you're always right
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 12:37:39 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Sun, 20 Mar 2005 23:03:14 -0500, "Jeff Goslin" <autockr@comcast.net>
scribed into the ether:

>"Rupert Boleyn" <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz> wrote in message
>news:m6rr31tjltqk0i608487s5amdhmls78kmk@4ax.com...
>> > a local pizza joint. That would be somewhat equivalent to asking a god
>to
>> > find some piddlyshit temple for you.
>>
>> That's why gods have minions, and why they are able to handle multiple
>> tasks at once. Are your gods really so limited they can't have a small
>> chunk of their conciousness deal with such requests without bothering
>> the rest of them?
>
>I'm sure they have minions, and I'm sure they can multitask, and they are
>not terribly limited. I guess our deities are not terribly concerned about
>the things that concern men as a general rule. If you want to commune with
>a deity in our campaign, it had BETTER be about something the GOD would want
>to talk about, not just what YOU want to know about.

Thus eliminating the whole purpose of the commune spell altogether. Spells
are granted by the wishes of the deity...if the deity doesn't want to be
bothered, then nobody can cast Commune. Since deities are able to determine
these sorts of things well in advance, why not just cut out the middleman
and send a messenger to the cleric in question and answer him directly?

It's not as though Commune is overriding the god's will with the cleric's,
it is just asking questions.
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 8:22:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Sun, 20 Mar 2005 23:03:14 -0500, "Jeff Goslin"
<autockr@comcast.net> carved upon a tablet of ether:

> A chat about finding some temple is not terribly important in the grand
> scheme. Questions about a plot that threatens to end the deity's worship on
> that planet is a different story. We reserve our communes for those special
> events where it's REALLY important, and use the lesser spells to get other
> information.

If our God had not meant for us to cast Commune, he would not have
granted us its use. Why shouldn't you use Commune to locate that
temple? As a high level cleric you are a powerful and important
representative of your god, and your time is valuable, so casting
Commune and then just going to the temple and doing whatever needs
doing there is a much better use of your time than doing a hjeap of
legwork looking for the darned thing.


--
Rupert Boleyn <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz>
"Just because the truth will set you free doesn't mean the truth itself
should be free."
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 8:22:56 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Rupert Boleyn" <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz> wrote in message
news:qbms31hbe7uno151n34t8b65lnbe6o2pnk@4ax.com...
> If our God had not meant for us to cast Commune, he would not have
> granted us its use. Why shouldn't you use Commune to locate that
> temple? As a high level cleric you are a powerful and important
> representative of your god, and your time is valuable, so casting
> Commune and then just going to the temple and doing whatever needs
> doing there is a much better use of your time than doing a hjeap of
> legwork looking for the darned thing.

Hey man, use commune in your campaign however you like. In our campaign,
commune should be used only when it can "respect the awesome power that is
the god X". You would no more seek to impose your desires upon a deity than
you would seek to interrupt any powerful or authoritative figure unless it
was of supreme importance. Finding a temple with commune when a variety of
other less invasive methods could easily produce the same results is just
such an interruption. At least that's how it would be in our campaign.

In other words, it's not about the priest in question's time, it's about the
deity's time. You can be as important as you like in your world, but that
doesn't even begin to compare to the importance of a deity. So, when you
commune with them, you better be wanting to talk to a deity about something
they would be interested in. The more earth-shattering the better.

That's how it works for us.

--
Jeff Goslin - MCSD - www.goslin.info
It's not a god complex when you're always right
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 8:22:57 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Mon, 21 Mar 2005 02:01:21 -0500, "Jeff Goslin" <autockr@comcast.net>
scribed into the ether:

>"Rupert Boleyn" <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz> wrote in message
>news:qbms31hbe7uno151n34t8b65lnbe6o2pnk@4ax.com...
>> If our God had not meant for us to cast Commune, he would not have
>> granted us its use. Why shouldn't you use Commune to locate that
>> temple? As a high level cleric you are a powerful and important
>> representative of your god, and your time is valuable, so casting
>> Commune and then just going to the temple and doing whatever needs
>> doing there is a much better use of your time than doing a hjeap of
>> legwork looking for the darned thing.

>In other words, it's not about the priest in question's time, it's about the
>deity's time. You can be as important as you like in your world, but that
>doesn't even begin to compare to the importance of a deity. So, when you
>commune with them, you better be wanting to talk to a deity about something
>they would be interested in. The more earth-shattering the better.

If something earth shattering is going on, why is this deity not already
sending a Planetar to deliver the information to the party before the
question is even asked?
Anonymous
March 22, 2005 2:57:35 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Bradd W. Szonye" <bradd+news@szonye.com> wrote in message
news:slrnd3oojl.a0b.bradd+news@szonye.com...
> Justisaur wrote:
>>>> I like it! Actually I think you could basically do a knowledge
>>>> (whatever) check, and just have the spell give you a bonus instead.
>
> Bluto wrote:
>>> Oooh, I *like* that idea!
>
> Malachias Invictus wrote:
>> Agreed. It could be used sort of like Bardic Knowledge, even.
>> Personally, I go for the type of answer that steers the characters in
>> the right direction, without spoiling things.
>
> I'm curious how you'd implement this. I'd like to keep the current
> ability to ask more than one question, just eliminating the "twenty
> questions" aspect of it. I think the spell is OK once you get rid of the
> mini-game.

Assign your DC, have a Caster Level + Save Modifier (Wisdom plus spell
level) check, if it is successful, then drop a load of clues. If it is not,
drop a smaller amount of clues, depending on how much they missed it by.
Alternatively, answers like "the answer you seek lies in Town X - find the
blah blah blah..." (make a cool riddle about it) work nicely.

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
Anonymous
March 22, 2005 12:45:07 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Bradd W. Szonye" <bradd+news@szonye.com> wrote in message
news:slrnd3oosa.a0b.bradd+news@szonye.com...
> Jeff Goslin wrote:
>> Personally, the spell "commune" has always basically been viewed as a
>> direct call to the gods. Wasting a god's time is not something to be
>> done lightly, so characters in our campaign always make sure that the
>> questions are important enough to warrant a god's response. If they
>> start asking questions that a god would not waste his time answering,
>> he's quite likely to hang up the phone, as it were ....
>
> Locating a major villain isn't wasting the god's time; it's a valid use
> of the spell.

The does not even take into account that you are likely not dealing directly
with the god, and, even if you are, you are likely only taking up a fraction
of his consciousness. Goslin seems to think the god has to drop whatever he
was doing to answer a spiritual cell phone.

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
Anonymous
March 23, 2005 3:15:05 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

capt_malachias@hotmail.com wrote:

> >>>> I like it! Actually I think you could basically do a knowledge
> >>>> (whatever) check, and just have the spell give you a bonus instead.
> >
> > Bluto wrote:
> >>> Oooh, I *like* that idea!
> >
> > Malachias Invictus wrote:
> >> Agreed. It could be used sort of like Bardic Knowledge, even.
> >> Personally, I go for the type of answer that steers the characters in
> >> the right direction, without spoiling things.
> >
> > I'm curious how you'd implement this. I'd like to keep the current
> > ability to ask more than one question, just eliminating the "twenty
> > questions" aspect of it. I think the spell is OK once you get rid of the
> > mini-game.
>
> Assign your DC, have a Caster Level + Save Modifier (Wisdom plus spell
> level) check, if it is successful, then drop a load of clues. If it is not,
> drop a smaller amount of clues, depending on how much they missed it by.
> Alternatively, answers like "the answer you seek lies in Town X - find the
> blah blah blah..." (make a cool riddle about it) work nicely.

Isn't that the divination spell? Not that there's anything wrong with
divination, but this isn't quite a suggestion on how to fix commune;
it's more like "drop commune, and have people use divination instead".
(Which might not be an entirely bad idea...)


--
Jasin Zujovic
jzujovic@inet.hr
Anonymous
March 23, 2005 4:14:56 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Bradd W. Szonye" <bradd+news@szonye.com> wrote in message
news:slrnd3mnfl.49i.bradd+news@szonye.com...

> Instead, I thought of an alternative approach: In addition to yes or no
> questions, you can ask for a location or an identity. Examples: "Where
> is the Legendary Amulet of Power?" "Who killed Abbot Costello?" These
> open-ended questions use up one yes-or-no question per level of the
> subject. If the Legendary Amulet is a CL 20 item, it uses up 20
> questions. If the abbot's murderer is a 3rd-level character, it uses up
> three questions.
>
> I'd need to tighten it up a bit (i.e., should you use character level,
> effective character level, or challenge rating for NPCs), but what do
> you think of the basic idea?

I think the problem is that so long as the binary search option is cheaper
(or maybe even the only method you can afford to use) you'll still see it
used. The "tightening up" would have to end up in some pretty rigorous
definitions . Is "who killed Abbot Costello" based on Costello's ECL or
the murderers? What happens if you already know that the amulet is in the
possession of an ECL 30 NPC? Should this be a cheap if slightly riskier
way of revealing his location?

The principle is sound though, the binary method is irritating. I've
traditionally limited the knowledge of the deities or entities contacted
in order to nerf that type of functionality but that isn't the best way of
doing things. Someone else mentioned a knowledge type check didn't they?
That sounds like an interesting platform.
Anonymous
March 29, 2005 5:14:36 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Jeff Goslin wrote:
> I'm sure they have minions, and I'm sure they can multitask, and they are
> not terribly limited. I guess our deities are not terribly concerned about
> the things that concern men as a general rule. If you want to commune with
> a deity in our campaign, it had BETTER be about something the GOD would want
> to talk about, not just what YOU want to know about.

If God wants to talk about it, God would just pop you up in the area. :) 
--
"... respect, all good works are not done by only good folk ..."
--till next time, Jameson Stalanthas Yu -x- <<poetry.dolphins-cove.com>>
Anonymous
May 6, 2005 4:50:44 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

In article <slrnd3mnfl.49i.bradd+news@szonye.com>, bradd+news@szonye.com
wrote:

>The "twenty questions" nature of the /commune/ spell bothers me a bit.
>My players have often used it to conduct a binary search:
>
> Is the bad guy on this plane?
> Is he on the western continent?
> Is he in the Holy Empire?
> Is he in the Province of Foo?
> Is he in a major city?
>
>... et cetera. You can locate stuff pretty easily that way. However, I
>don't particularly like this mini-game. It's too easy for the players to
>screw up when there characters would not, and vice versa. Plus, it's a
>big waste of time, as the players carefully plan out their binary search
>pattern in advance.

It's been awhile since I've seen anyone use Commune in my game and my
books are on-hand, but doesn't Commune allow a short answer (including "I
don't know")?
!