Daily Archives: 8 July 2011

Divine Intervention: Bringing Deities Down to Earth

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Two weeks ago, I discussed ways to make religion more meaningful in your game. If you haven’t read it yet, do so before reading this. It’s okay, we’ll wait.

Back again? Good. Now, here’s the list of divine interventions I promised in that post. I’ve numbered them so you could use it as a random effects table, but I recommend choosing something appropriate instead of rolling for an effect.

  1. +1 bonus on skill checks for one attempt
  2. +1 to +3 bonus on to-hit or damage rolls for one round or one combat
  3. +10% value to all gems or other valuable items sold at one sale
  4. PC is surrounded by an invisible (or glowing–GM’s choice) field that deflects attacks and gives a +1 or +2 to armor class for one round or one combat
  5. +1 to attribute bonus for one attribute check
  6. Earned treasure includes a map of the tower or dungeon PCs will go to in the near future
  7. Earned treasure includes a map of a town the PCs frequent with secret entrances and exits to key buildings clearly marked.
  8. Found treasure is +10% higher in value than it would be otherwise
  9. PC gains a Protection from Evil (or Good, or Law, or Chaos) for a limited duration, say one round, one turn, or one combat. If your games doesn’t use alignments, substitute a protection from hostile creatures
  10. PC knows immediately that someone he’s currently talking to is lying or he knows the person is absolutely telling him the truth.
  11. NPCs react more favorably to the PC for a set duration time.
  12. Animals respond more positively to PC for a set duration time.
  13. A monster’s breath weapon leave PC completely unharmed for one attack
  14. The answer to one particularly important question simply appears in PC’s mind
  15. PC is able to find a particularly helpful NPC for a specific adventure or task
  16. PC’s vehicle or mount lasts 10% longer than it should — i.e. mount goes an extra 10% distance before tiring, modern vehicle goes 10% longer on one tank of gas, etc. This causes no harm to the vehicle or mount. Alternatively, you could have the vehicle or mount just make it to the next town when, in all rights, it should’ve been unable to.
  17. PC finds necessary item for survival in a hostile environment (water in the desert, shelter in a blizzard, food while lost in the wilderness).
  18. PC is able to persuade an NPC to do one thing she wouldn’t normally do (as long as it doesn’t go against the NPC’s deeply held beliefs).
  19. PC can understand and talk to animals for a limited amount of time
  20. PC can understand a language he doesn’t know for a short period of time

This is only a small number of things that a DI can do, a short list to get your creative juices flowing. Don’t make your DI results too powerful–you don’t want to give away the whole adventure, just give an appropriately devout character a leg up during a particularly dangerous or difficult event. And you can scale the effects of the DI depending on how devout the PC has been in her observances and how long it’s been since the gods last gave her a helping hand. By divine help minor and rare, you help keep the PCs from relying on it too much.

If you’ve ever used divine intervention in your game, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.

[Photo courtesy of ~MVI~ (has found pansit in Hyderabad) via Flickr Creative Commons]

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