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robbi320
 
PostPosted: Sun, Dec 01 2019, 18:02 PM 



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Joined: 04 Jan 2015

So... Hi everyone!

I know this topic has had quite some discussion in the past, and it's changed quite a bit, but it's something I'm interested in. I'm aware that domains are something rather strange, in a way. They work a lot differently in PnP than they do on here. Rather than giving you access to two to five new spells, that simply get added to your spell list, you get one extra spell slot, which can only be used for domain spells, and each domain has one extra spell for each spell level. (save orisons, because orisons are boring)
In a certain way, both comes down to be a "here's free spells, you can choose which you want most", but they have different roles, essentially. Among other things, if a spell as vital as important as ImpInvis was a domain spell in with the PnP spell rules, it might be a boon, yes, but you could still only cast it once. Compare this to Amia, where this means that you can, all of a sudden, supply a full team/rest cycle with a spell, and by proxy, an effect (50% conceal and haste being the most popular ones) domains cover a different role.

Though, it does somewhat beg the question: What are domains? In essence, it is some value a cleric find especially important in their deity. A cleric of Tyr, while, of course, in general approving and promoting the entire faith of Tyr, might find special significance in finding out the truth, so he may judge fairly. (knowledge domain) Another cleric might think Tyr's most important, most great teaching to be to judge others, and through this judgement right the wrongs the criminal has committed. (retribution domain) Tyr even has two divine orders associated with him, one focused on the lawful side, (law domain) and one on the good side of his dogma. (good domain)
A cleric has a domain that emphasises a deities interest, and the cleric, in a way, lives the domain.



That said, insane ramblings about domains aside, here's my actualy suggestion: As it stands, domains are a rather rigid thing, and due to this, there is a certain divide between different deities: Those that have useful domains, and those that don't. Based on the sidebar, this wasn't always completely the case. From that, and a few talks with people, it used to be the case that you only required one of your domains to match the deity. From what I gather, this was before the new domains were added, and I can only assume they are also the reason for the change. The logic essentially being "you now have more domains to choose from, so we're getting rid of the ones that don't fit". In a way, I like it. It means your cleric is forced to adhere to the the rules and teachings of the church. It does, however, in my opinion, diminish the idea of adventurers somewhat. They are supposed to be extraordinary. That, coupled with the fact that locking certain domains behind certain deities stifles their options.
The lack of war/elf/animal domain on a deity means it essentially impossible to make a dex-based cleric. The lack of Strength/courage/orc makes any sort of battlecleric have harsh difficulties slotting their spells properly. Good luck explaining to a Velsharooni why he's just about the worst necromancer there is, and that an Ilmateri is far better. There's a couple examples of this.

For this reason, I would like to propose opening domains up again, at least to an extent. I see that there is a certain problem: Clerics should still represent their deities. So, a suggestion I heard and actually liked somewhat was this: Keep the rules on clerics requiring to be within one step of their alignment the same. A cleric of Tyr who is, perhaps, a tad harsher in his judgements, a bit more proactive in his punishments, and for that reason has strayed into Lawful Neutral would still require complete adherence to the faith, in the most direct sense. If he were to stray to a domain that wasn't of Tyr, he would still fall, just as he would under the current rules.
The change would be this: If a cleric who is within the alignment of his faith were to stray from the dogma of his faith slightly, he would be tolerated just as much as one who strays from the exact alignment. A gargauthian, perhaps, who knows that strength, sometimes, can be more persuasive than even the most well-schemed trickery. The cyricist who believes his lifes work to be to spread as much suffering as he can. On a less... violent note, perhaps the chauntean who strives to heal animals, plants and people from their malady, recognising the importance of renewal, but perhaps prolonging said renewal, or even just lessening the pain of its coming.

It would open up quite a few options for clerics, aside from lessening the impact of choosing a deity that simply has shit domains. They exist, and are actually quite common. That said, opening it up only to those clerics that otherwise adhere to the deities' dogma means you still don't have absolute freedom to do whatever you want, and instead have the options to build a character that fits into the setting, doesn't break anything, and still isn't stunted by arbitrary rules on which domains are powerful, and which are terrible choices.


 
      
Pinkhaml86
 
PostPosted: Sun, Dec 01 2019, 18:30 PM 



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Joined: 12 Dec 2015

I'll +1 this. and add.

old server I was on you could have 1 different domain, but your penalty for it was you had to be the same alignment as your deity.

if you wanted to be stepped of the alignment you had to have 2 domains.

it was watched pretty strictly by the dm team and made sure people played their alignment.

just my cents.

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maglorine
 
PostPosted: Sun, Dec 01 2019, 19:15 PM 

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I hear you on Domains Robbi but don't think this is the way to address it. I mean, who wants even more Travel and Trickery Clerics wandering around? Not me.

Anyway, if I recall correctly, the Spell selection was intended to only be part of the equation. The domain abilities and prayer functions being the other two. While I'm certain enormous effort went into balancing them originally, we now have many years of experience with the practical outcomes which the original Devs could only hope to estimate.

This gives us an opportunity in the present day to examine Domain usage for strengths and weaknesses. With data. For example, is it possible to delve into the module database and examine Domain selections for all Clerics above Level 27 in the Vault and Archive? I'm going to bet there are themes and trends that are easy to identify with a bit of statistical analysis.

There are certainly Domains that are almost never taken and others taken with enormous frequency. That's not random no matter what anyone says. Players are largely rational and given that every selectable domain is thematic with the Diety they will, all other things being equal, select Domains that will provide them with some utility, or at least avoid selecting the most useless possible domains.

In other words there are domains that are unattractive in the extreme and need buffing to enhance their value. That may be in Spells, Domain Abilities, or Prayer functions.

I'd volunteer to do the raw statistical analysis and provide it to the team for their deliberations. I do this kind of thing for a living anyway.

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lilmarcat
 
PostPosted: Sun, Dec 01 2019, 19:42 PM 



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As a note - Domain changes will require a HAK update.
One is planned for EE when we eventually move there.q


 
      
robbi320
 
PostPosted: Sun, Dec 01 2019, 20:08 PM 



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maglorine wrote:
I mean, who wants even more Travel and Trickery Clerics wandering around?
That logic is flawed. If T/T is a problem, it shouldn't exist. Apart from being a hugely lame choice, being the choice most clerics take, if they have the chance, it is incredibly overhyped, given the prevalence of UMD, and the ease of getting both ImpInvis and Haste.
But even that aside, using T/T as this boogeyman is a really cheap way of dismissing the disussion. It is essentially the same as, with the old BG summons, saying "LE had a good summon, we don't need to touch BGs at all". That said, would I mind more T/T clerics? No. I wouldn't. Considering clerics are already rather rare, in my mind, more of them, even if they are T/T, wouldn't be something bad. I've heard people say T/T is so good, there is just about no point going anything other than T/T. I personally disagree, but it does show the problem T/T presents.

If T/T is brokenly overpowered, it should be nerfed. If not, it then keep it as it is. Don't make every other cleric suffer, just because you dislike two domains.

I'll just ask you like this: What is the problem with more Travel/Trickery, apart from the fact that they are the most common?



As for the domain abilities and prayer functions... They're a fickle thing. And they are intended such. And that's the problem. There's some decent ones. Hatred comes to mind as being a somewhat decent power on a battlecleric. 6-8 extra damage is pretty decent. Repose domain is a meme in how good it actually is. A few others aren't bad, but they tend to vary somewhat, and the fact that they are 1/day, or a feat, makes them rather iffy to use, often. There's some good ones, but all in all, domains are generally chosen for their spells. Prayer, I've only very seldomly seen, and half of the time, it was me who used it. Again, they're generally not bad things, but using them through rest menu, and varying vastly in usefulness, it's one of those things that aren't too relevant in day-to-day activity of a cleric. Spells, generally, are the bread and butter. You don't go dragon domain for the skill focus. If that was what you wanted, you'd just get the skill focus. You can say courgae domain, both prayer and domain power, are decent. Immunity to fear is rather helpful, sometimes, but having it required to be activated, one lasting 15 rounds, the other being activated though resting has certain... difficulties.
Healing domain isn't bad, auto-empowered cure spells, you can argue the alignment ones wouldn't be bad, after all they are an epic feat, right? Not really. The feat is terrible, and they are a worse version of the feat.

Spells, on the other hand, at least if they are useful, generally are what your cleric uses. How many Hastes would you have slotted? Many. Just think about how many people would take Travel domain if, instead of getting haste as a spell, they would get it as their domain power. Not very many, I can tell you that much.
Spells are generally what makes a clerics domains go round.



As for the statistical analysis... I don't think it's feasible, and I don't think it would give proper results. Eilistraee and Bane come to mind immediately as popular deities that are outclassed by others, domain-wise. They're not bad, but quite a few deities have a more well-rounded selection. And yet, players chose to make clerics of these deities. Not because they are out to play the most powerful character, but because they wanted to make a cleric of Bane, a cleric of Eilistraee, a cleric of Velsharoon. At the same time, I haven't seen a cleric of Oghma, despite him having that sweet T/T. Domain selection might be rational, but deity selection isn't. You don't make a cleric of [insert god here] to be the most powerful, you make a cleric of [said god], and then chose the domains he offers to be most powerful, within the confines of domain selection.

And all that aside, battleclerics are just as much clerics as casters, and taking in only clerics level 27 and above will exclude those. You can argue "look at the domain selection of epic clerics", but even then, a multiclassed cleric will say "Hey, I'm still a cleric". So, if you were to look at statistical examples, you would have to look at all clerics, not just the ones above 27.

lilmarcat wrote:
As a note - Domain changes will require a HAK update.
Would changing the deity system, and the question when you would consider fallen, require a hak?


 
      
lilmarcat
 
PostPosted: Sun, Dec 01 2019, 20:31 PM 



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Joined: 27 Dec 2013

No. Those are script based.


 
      
maglorine
 
PostPosted: Sun, Dec 01 2019, 23:30 PM 

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robbi320 wrote:
That logic is flawed. If T/T is a problem, it shouldn't exist. Apart from being a hugely lame choice, being the choice most clerics take, if they have the chance,.....

But even that aside, using T/T as this boogeyman is a really cheap way of dismissing the discussion.


Which is it then? Is it the choice most clerics take if they have the chance? Or is it an over hyped boogeyman? I'm not dismissing arguments, I'm making them.

robbi320 wrote:
If T/T is brokenly overpowered, it should be nerfed. If not, it then keep it as it is. Don't make every other cleric suffer, just because you dislike two domains.


Brokenly overpowered compared to what? Why should they be brokenly overpowered compared to other Domains? Also, I don't dislike anything. I'm not sure why you'd say that. I favor diversity. If we're going to have a huge list of domains, they should be used. If we have 50 domains and only 10 that get used I see that as a problem. It's not necessarily a problem with the 10, it might be a problem with the other 40. That being said, I'm not against nerfing them either.

If any of them are brokenly overpowered your suggestion basically opens them up to be exploited by clerics of any faith. I'd rather improve balance among domains, understanding it can never be perfect.

robbi320 wrote:
As for the statistical analysis... I don't think it's feasible, and I don't think it would give proper results.


I'm not sure how to respond to this. It's certainly feasible given the right data set. Of course there are multiple variables and qualitative factors to consider but many problems face this. Just because a statistical analysis doesn't provide a direct answer doesn't mean it's not valuable information and you can normalize for some of the factors mentioned.

robbi320 wrote:
And all that aside, battleclerics are just as much clerics as casters, and taking in only clerics level 27 and above will exclude those. You can argue "look at the domain selection of epic clerics", but even then, a multiclassed cleric will say "Hey, I'm still a cleric". So, if you were to look at statistical examples, you would have to look at all clerics, not just the ones above 27.


I meant >ECL 27 with Cleric as a class not >27 Cleric levels - just to restrict out lowbies not multiclassed.

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exquisitelyme
 
PostPosted: Mon, Dec 02 2019, 2:45 AM 

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Oddly enough I took Maglorine's first sentence as agreeing with the OP in that something could be done to domains, just maybe not exactly what he proposed. I certainly couldn't read anything there as a "bogeyman" or "dismissing the discussion".

My 2 cents for what they are worth, this suggestion is asking for power for power's sake, and I think there is enough power creep as it is. I also think the "exceptional characters" argument is overused and can be used/exploited to justify all sorts of things one wants to change for whatever reason. Where do you draw the line? Paladin Palemasters? Just as "exceptional" in this context as a cleric of Eldath with Death domain, a cleric of Kossuth with Water domain or a cleric of (insert deity) with Law and Chaos domains, all very possible in the aftermath of this suggestion being accepted. It looks like an attempt to squeeze any little extra bit of mechanical efficiency in a couple builds at the cost of a fundamental and canonical approach to clerics, and specially deities, in DnD.

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lilmarcat
 
PostPosted: Mon, Dec 02 2019, 4:36 AM 



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Speaking personally I'd probably promote a system of 1 domain from your Deities list with the possibility of 1 domain not on your deities list via a request. This should help prevent weird cases that make no real sense RP wise. Such as a water domain cleric of Kossuth.

The domains are also quite unbalanced in regards to what they give you which is one of the main points raised above. Consider these two for example
Dwarf
Special Ability: Bonus Feat - Skill Focus: Discipline
Spells: 1 - Ironguts, 4 - Stoneskin(Available as potions in shops), 6 - Stonehold
Cavern
Special Ability: Bonus Feat - Darkvision
Spells: 2 - Darkness, 6 - Stonehold, 7 - Earthquake


Balancing these could be quite difficult, especially with so many whilst trying to keep them to theme. If redone I'd recommend ignoring the prayer effect power wise and try to give each domain one or two things that really stand out such as the lower level Earthquake or Reposes unique summon and access to bless weapon.


 
      
robbi320
 
PostPosted: Mon, Dec 02 2019, 12:57 PM 



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Joined: 04 Jan 2015

maglorine wrote:
Which is it then? Is it the choice most clerics take if they have the chance? Or is it an over hyped boogeyman? I'm not dismissing arguments, I'm making them.
You brought it up. I personally don't see how it would be relevant to the discussion, if it were well-balanced and in line with every other domain. I, personally, find them both to be rather over-hyped. But I have heard people say things along the lines of "no point making a cleric if you don't have T/T". Which definitely says something about how good they are.

That said, yes. Diversity is nice. It would be really nice if nobody would ever take the statistically most popular choice, and instead every single cleric would be a unique thing. No one a copy of the other, no build standing out as the best. The sad thing is, though, it's impossible. Look at Set. Air, Darkness, Evil, Hatred, Law, Scalykind. Air isn't all too bad, chain lightning is a pretty mean spell, if you have ESF Evocation, which caster clerics generally will have. Apart from that, his domains really aren't great. Hatred gets wail, but the lack of suffering means it's hardly worth going into necromancy. Now, what is a good way to fix it? Improve every single lackluster domain, in an attempt to bring them in line with Trickery and Travel domain? I wouldn't mind, I love clerics. I would love them getting a massive buff. The big question comes in as 'how'. Is hatred a good domain, considering it gives you Wail? Personally, I don't think so. The lack of other spells that synergise with necromancy, along with the general 'meh' of a save-or-die spell, where everyone has 39+ fort, and the fact that implosion does just about the same as an evocation spell, which has a far better synergy makes wail a pretty terrible choice for most clerics.

Next up: Darkness domain. This is one of the worst cases of "keeps to theme" I see. You get an earlier Darkness, level 1. That's pretty decent. You can argue that Clerics don't really have a way to back up the Darkness, lacking high sneaks, but even just using it to disorient someone is decent. That said, it's a spell clerics already get, at spell level 2. getting it one spell level earlier hardly helps them. Neither 1st, nor 2nd level spells really have any competition. I'd even argue if you'd want it extended, your 2nd level spells are generally full of extended divine favor, at least for a battlecleric, so it's easier to slip in an extended 2nd level darkness, to bring it to 3rd. Mass blindness/deafness... Evo clerics have a way of inflicting blind, on-hits can do it, and both, wwhile being a 1-fest, generally are simpler and easier to do than hoping for a 1 on an 8th level spell. And even if you get that 1, the opponent stil isn't dead. Now, next up, we have deeper darkness, their power. On a caster-cleric, this will be just about useless. Caster clerics generally don't need, nor use charisma. So there's items that would give you an equivalent duration. On a battlecleric, you might even have a +10 cha mod. So 15 rounds of darkness. Even then, one cast will generally be longer. Is a free darkness bad? No. Is it really worth getting the domain for it? Not really. Now, lastly, there's the prayer. Apart from the difficulties with prayer, ignoring light sensitivity isn't bad. Not really. But still, it's something only a handful of characters have, making it very situational. Even if we are just comparing it to other domains, which is something rather tricky, considering you can't just swap one domain for another, cavern domain does the same, but that earlier EQ is really powerful.

Balancing domains is a tough thing, and especially considering the vast amount of them, having every one in line with every other is something that will probably never be possible. It gets even worse when you consider the fact that different deities have different domains, and different combinations. Some deities have really good/powerful combinations, and others are... well, Set. The problem I personally see with changing the domains themselves is what lilmarcat mentioned. it requires a hak update, and the next hak update would be EE. Which currently, has no planned release date, and can take quite a long while until it will be released.


I see the problem of domains that wouldn't fit to the character. I'd argue we have cases of that already. The Ilmateri who is great at spreading Suffering through necromancy spells. The Velsharooni who, especially when compared to said Ilmateri, is terrible at necromancy. That Fenmarel has Darkness domain seems rather random, considering it otherwise is used more in a "they stalk in the dark" or "is the god of caverns and darkness and the UD" way, and the best way I can see Fenmarel using it being "he says a hunter should use camoflage".


exquisitelyme wrote:
My 2 cents for what they are worth, this suggestion is asking for power for power's sake, and I think there is enough power creep as it is.
This is an interesting statement. In a way, I wouldn't disagree. Am I asking for certain clerics to be made stronger? Yes. I'd be lying if I said anything else. Is it power-creep? That begs an interesting question: is the fact that Set has terrible domains an intended balance-issue, or is it an arbitrary nerf? Is it intentional that Bane has one domain that is useful to a battlecleric, and very little that enhances a caster? Is it supposed to be canon that a battlecleric of Grazzt is stronger than a battlecleric of Kelemvor, or that a caster cleric of Imbrandul is better than one of Leira?

If this is deliberate, and purposeful, I suppose this discussion is moot. Otherwise, I would argue, it bings the deities in line, power-wise. I don't see how this would be power-creep. If I wanted to make a cleric with T/T, I could make a cleric of Mask, Oghma, Sharess, Akadi, a vast number of others. Repose/Travel? Kelemvor. War/Charm or War/Trickery? Grazzt. Courage/War or Courage/Protection? Helm, Tempus, and various racial deities. Cavern/[Haste]? Grumbar or Ibrandul. Cavern/Trickery? Shar.
Many combinations already have some way of being combined, so you are not directly adding any power. At least not to the class "Cleric". You are adding power to the clerics of deities that, by the semi-random distribution of domains and their strengths, got screwed over.

This is also why I brought up the "Is it over-powered" question. If one or more of the domains are, it might be a problem. After all, you would now open this combination of powerful domains to many clerics, and not just the ones that got lucky. If T/T, and the other rather powerful domains are in line, I don't see the problem of opening them up. It's not powercreep. It's bringing different clerics in line, where some just are more powerful than others, for no other reason than "we figured Darkness domain should be a thematic domain, and Trickery and Travel domain should be unchanged".


 
      
exquisitelyme
 
PostPosted: Mon, Dec 02 2019, 17:25 PM 

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@lilmarcat: IMHO if it's meant to make sense "RP wise" than just stick to what domains were assigned to the deities by their creators, or the ones the DMs changed/created/adapted that are relevant to Amia as a campaign. Special requests in that case would bring unnecessary work to the team (by having to help with, review and approve yet another type of request), possibly give whoever is in charge of balance more variables to consider, and inevitably open the door for claims of perceived favoritism when player X gets his oddball/snowflake combo of domains approved and player Y doesn't.

@robbi320: I can't speak for the inner workings of Amia as a campaign, but in fact, yes, not all deities are supposed to be the same if you are approaching them from a mechanical or "build" perspective. The classification is in place and it goes Demigod/Lesser Deity/Intermediate Deity/Greater Deity. It is not as clear cut as this, and their personalities matter a great deal too, as in another example you used, Bane. It's of course somewhat open to interpretation but I could easily see Bane favoring martially oriented clergy. Now if the deities and their ranks and domains are/should be balanced /mechanically/ in the Amian campaign, is not for me to decide.

As for power creep, we have all heard how delicate the balance in Amia is. The addition of more variables, which in the case of domain /combinations/ can be numerous, will and should be taken into consideration. Comparing to the item requests we see often in the forums, when a "small" change in allocating 1 Ability Score, or a couple Skill Points needs (rightfully so) to be discussed and approved, if the team wants to have some leeway in creating NPCs, new items, approving characters and stories, etc, those extra variables will likely cause some bars to be raised, and thus at least some power creep seeps in.

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robbi320
 
PostPosted: Mon, Dec 02 2019, 19:15 PM 



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If you can show me one combination that seems overpowered and isn't possible in the current system, I'll grant you what you're saying. As it stands, every powerful combination possible is there.

As for a Banite cleric focussing on melee. Yes, and no. In general, Banites aren't supposed to use defensive spells. According to their teachings, it's basically a cowardly thing to do that leeches power away from "real important stuff" (aka, killing stuff, showing power, etc) Secondly, Maybe a Banite would be more offensively powerful than, say, a Sharessian, yes. But then there's Geb. A deity that really doesn't directly have anything to do with war, or conquest, and yet, his domain selection is better, for a battlecleric. That's the problem. I'm not saying there aren't differences in the power of the deities, and I understand that the power of a deity would somewhat correlate to the power of a cleric, but that isn't the case. The domain selection, powerwise, is rather arbitrary. I'd see the clergy of Set more militant and ready to fight stuff than that of Geb. A demon, no matter how powerful, generally is weaker than a full deity, as is an archdevil. And yet, that isn't represented. Grazzt and Asmodeus both outclass Lolth, based off the domains they get.


 
      
exquisitelyme
 
PostPosted: Mon, Dec 02 2019, 20:09 PM 

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robbi320 wrote:
If you can show me one combination that seems overpowered and isn't possible in the current system, I'll grant you what you're saying.


On the same vein then you'll have to provide a clear explanation of what constitutes "overpowered".

robbi320 wrote:
As it stands, every powerful combination possible is there.


Then why is there a need or desire for a change? It sounds like a lot of hassle just to fundamentally change how deities work in the DnD universe to allow for "exceptional" mechanical builds, not characters, in Amia.

And to clarify I am not against changes in the domains themselves, or the Pray system, I am totally neutral on those.

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robbi320
 
PostPosted: Mon, Dec 02 2019, 20:34 PM 



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I'm not the one saying it will break balance. So how about you demonstrate which options will break balance?


The reason why you'd want to change something is because in the current system, power is handed out to certain clerics, and restricted to others. I ask again, why is a cleric of Grazzt better than a cleric of Lolth, in just about every way?


 
      
exquisitelyme
 
PostPosted: Mon, Dec 02 2019, 21:12 PM 

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I don't crunch numbers enough to claim it will break balance. I never wrote in any post anything about balance per se, but rather, variables being added for those who work to keep the setting balanced.

I will try to express my opinion once again: I don't have an opinion on the mechanical efficiency of clerical domains. I think a PC/NPC with Cleric levels should have domains that are either canonically correct for their deity, or domains deemed appropriate to the setting as decided by those writing the campaign. I don't agree that mechanical efficiency should be a factor in determining what domains a Cleric PC/NPC should be able to select.

As for your last question, it is not worded in a way I can respond to. I may find my interactions with any of those clerics enjoyable or not, and their stories interesting or not. From the point of view I am approaching this subject, there is no better or worse.

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Dark Immolation
 
PostPosted: Tue, Dec 03 2019, 0:36 AM 

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My experience with clerics on Amia is admittedly limited. Just my general thoughts thus far in bullet form:

>Trickery/Travel, Haste/Improved Invisibility

A general rule of game design that I've found to be true more often than not is this: if a thing seems too powerful or useful to pass up as an option, it isn't an option. Either the other options should be buffed, or it should be nerfed, or it should be incorporated into the core abilities of a class/loadout/character.

I don't believe there is any problem with Travel/Trickery in itself. It's just that haste, historically speaking, was the only way for a caster to double up their spell output short of the unattractive Quicken Spell feat. Though I opposed it at its creation and still have plenty of reservations about it, the Haven spell given to all clerics does at least allow Clerics to buff quicker. Thus somewhat performing the "incorporating into core abilities" thing I mentioned. Given that a majority of the clerics on Amia are the buff-n'-bash sort, I don't think "T/T" is as much as a problem as it used to be. At least as far as Haste is concerned. Improved invisibility is somewhat of a similar case, as Concealment is generally only accessible through spells, or the, again, somewhat unattractive Concealment feats. Concealment literally translates to being able to ignore a percentage of melee attacks, and is thus very valuable to any melee-oriented build. I feel again that it is not so much a problem with Travel/Trickery, or even Improved Invisibility, but instead a call to find other viable ways for builds to gain access to Concealment. My personal vote has always been some sort of passive Parry->Concealment mechanic, but that's for another topic.

>Domains in Concept

Our own Cosmic Consequences didn't so much bring us in line with P&P(there are a couple differences already mentioned) as much as it attempted to match our lore to how we wished the class to function. From a lore standpoint, I personally think it makes sense that clerics are bound to the domains represented by their gods. The overall nature of faith may deal with both the belief of the clerics/laypeople and their image of the god, but ultimately the spells do come from the god as it is. To that end, it really shouldn't matter how much I believe that Lathander is a purveyor of Courage and a beacon that burns bright to all that War against darkness... he's either got that to give in his powers or he doesn't. I do wholly believe that in Forgotten Realms it is possible for belief to change the deity itself--meaning that if enough of his followers began to picture him as a being of Courage and War his essence would necessarily shift to accommodate it--but until then, it's no different than petitioning him for a Moon related spell. As much as it might make sense in our own minds that he could sponsor Courage/War, and even as nebulous and abstract as godhood should feel IMO, the setting and the game itself requires it to become a binary matter at a certain point.

From a mechanical sense, I also believe the domains are quite generous as is. They allow Cleric to rifle through the pockets of every other casting class and pull out sensible things that their god could grant. I.E. I'm a Tallassan Air Domain cleric... why wouldn't Talos grant me Call Lightning, if he had it to give? As a class, it already gets its entire spell list at each level up, in addition to getting a slew of specialty spells. Compared to PnP like OP mentioned, I think our Clerics are spoiled by comparison.

>Domains in Practice

To pick apart my own stance, though, NWN and P&P by virtue of the cleric spell list already blurs the lines some extent. Lathander apparently grants stuff like Battletide and Blade Barrier, despite him again not having the Courage or War Domains. It's sort of a gray area then when you compare it to other baked-in things that would explicitly go against the god's nature or things that they should be able to give. I.E. Clerics of Deep Sashelas casting Firestorm, clerics of Eldath being granted anything that isn't a soft pat on the back or a stern talking-to. These of course fall under the "common sense" clause, but if my own personal stance is "deities can only grant what is within their purview," there's obviously some needed middle ground between Implosion-wielding Eldathans and a Lathanderite who just wants a little War-juice to go undead bopping.

With all of that in mind, I could see us having some sort of domain-for-request system, as long as it was used sparingly. It shouldn't be a way to just "get a domain you want with a god you want," rather represent a particularly powerful if somewhat heretical belief that has enough traction with the god that they could slowly begin to grant those powers. I.E. A Risen Sun Heretic of Lathander believing that he is indeed Amaunator and requesting the Time Domain accordingly. The argument of "adventurers are exceptional" doesn't really fly for me here. A cleric is already an extremely exceptional being, like any PC class. Adventurer-Mecca Amia notwithstanding, there's not one on every street corner. If their abilities feel rigid, it's largely because godhood is a pretty rigid thing in the Realms compared to other settings for better or worse.

But it's not like there's an easy answer here. Open the domains up and you'll still have some that are heavily preferred due to the PVP/PVE-oriented nature of NWN. Keep it as is, then it's just the gods that remain preferred for the same reason. Buffing the domains only works in so much. A Charm/Community cleric shouldn't be frankensteined into being a melee-beatstick any more than a Diviner Wizard should be given extra damage spells just so it "stacks up" to say an Evoker. You can and should make them good at what they're supposed to do(buffing and utility), but people will ultimately choose options that align with how they want to play the class. And, for clerics on Amia at least, that is most often a self-buffing fighter.

TL;DR: Buffing some domains might be in order to promote other playstyles, but little is solved by simply opening up the domains themselves. It just leads back to preferred domains rather than preferred gods, IMO. Change, if needed, probably deserves a more holistic approach than trying to make all domains or access to those domains somehow "even."

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You think Magic is your ally... but you merely adopted the Art. He was born in it. Molded by it.
Sometimes, an angel is simply a devil with better intentions.


 
      
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