Locating stuff with /commune/

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
34 answers Last reply
More about locating stuff commune
  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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.
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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.
  23. 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."
  24. 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
  25. 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.
  26. 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."
  27. 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
  28. 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?
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. 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
  32. 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.
  33. 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>>
  34. 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")?
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