Monday, April 2, 2012

A to Z Challenge: B is for Belief (Player Chosen Stats)

Today I am fortunate enough to have the A-Z challenge line up with the next post I planned on doing in my Player Chosen Stats series.  In this series I discuss a set of ability scores player's may choose to make their characters more distinct without overcomplicated the quick and easy character creation rules so adored in Original D&D.  The basic premise is addition to the four primary ability scores players could choose two ability scores that best reflected their character's quirks and virtues.    The most noteworthy aspect was that a low score was not necessarily a punishing score opening a lot of room for flawed characters.  Instead a low score functioned in a complementary fashion to advantage granted by a higher score, the detailed version can be found here.  This time we're going to look at Belief.

Belief originally started off as two scores, faith and drive.  Faith was a measure of how pious your character was in the supernatural, whether that was your prototypical deity, animus or spirit was left up to you.  Your piety could grant you certain boons like Armor of Faith, a supernatural bonus to defense while you were unarmored as your belief was the only shield you required.  It could also be manifested as a resistance to spells which would wash over the cloistered mind as well as earlier access to spells and miracles.  Drive on the other hand was the grim determination you possessed, a faith in your own abilities and the will and motivation to accomplish them.  Characters with a high Drive were very hard to dissuade, their mind was an iron will and sometimes not even death could stop them.  As you can see there's a bit of an overlap here, so the logical step was to combine the two into Belief.

Belief in oneself and in others, belief in a higher power or an ideal. This is what defines you. This is what drives you. Without it you are nothing, with it you are unfettered.  You can be a man of strong convictions or a woman of esteemed virtue, never allowing yourself to be browbeaten by sly rhetoric, silver tongues and defacing falsehoods.  Else you can be a doubter, a skeptic, unimpressed by legends and rational of the supernatural.  Difficult to ensorcell and free of the mob's sway and the senates call.  Be wary though, for too much of one breeds ideologues and too much of another creates nihilists.  In a world as precarious as this, neither of these are desirable nor are they particularly longevous.

Here are some proposed areas for Belief to affect a character.  The exact mechanisms for which were never fully defined and now that we've transitioned away from ability modifiers we have to start over from scratch.
  • Benefits of a High Belief
    • A Favored Enemy Bonus
      • A Holy Avenger who routes out demons
      • A rangers that removes dangerous creatures from the delicate ecosystem
      • An inquisitor that smites infidels
      • Hobgoblins that rally against human's manifest destiny
      • A Mage Bane vs practitioners of sorcery
    • Armor of Faith
      •  Unarmored Defense Bonus
    • Inspire Others
      • As well as Follower & Disciples
      • A counterpart to Courage's Henchmen & Retainers
    • Zealotry Defensive Combat Style
    • Pushing yourself beyond your limits
      • An Iron Will fueled by a burning drive
  •  Benefits of a Low Belief
    • Resistance to Magic
      • Perhaps also it is easier to understand magic rather than be galled by superstition
    •  Resistance to Social Influences 
      • And perhaps trickery and deceit
      • An all-purpose Mind-Affecting resistance may be better served