Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pondering magic systems for ADOM II 0.4.x and 0.5.x

While I'm still working on finishing ADOM II 0.3.0 (with the major new addition of working ranged combat) I also have been thinking quite a bit about how I am going to approach magic in the release lines ADOM II 0.4.x (which will introduce arcane magic) and ADOM II 0.5.x (which will introduce religion and miracles). Here are my current thoughts and I am highly interested in comments and feedback.

First of all there will be a major change compared to ADOM in that arcane and religious magic are going to feel quite differently in ADOM II. Major differences will arise due to how you learn magic, advance your skills in magic, replenish magical energies and in general in which kinds if magic are available to you in any case.

For arcane magic I will be using a similar to the one in ADOM with quite a few elaborations. The arcane basics are:

  • Spells are learned from spell books. Additionally spells probably can be learned from trainers in arcane academies in larger cities (by paying or procuring rare ingredients).
  • The more you read about a spell the more often you will be able to use it (a degrading knowledge system similar to the one in ADOM).
  • The more often you use a spell the more skilled you will be in the spell (increasing its power, lowering its power cost, increasing range and effects as well as making it harder to resist the spell).
  • Spells cost power points in usage.
Now the arcane elaborations with ADOM II will begin:
  • Spells will be typed (similar to what AD&D 2nd Edition did) in that there are different kinds of categories for spells (haven't decided on the final ones) like e.g. Transmutation, Necromancer, Evocation, Conjuration, Divination, Abjuration, Elemental and others.
  • Spellcasting classes will favor certain categories while they increase the difficulty of other categories. The generic wizard will be of average capability with all (or most) spells, specialists (like the conjurer, the elementalist, etc.) will be much better with spells of their favored categories (resulting in less experience being required in raising those spell skills, automatic spell knowledge gains with each level and higher learning rates when reading from spell books as well as reduced power point costs) and fare worse with disfavored categories (roughly the opposite effects of favored categories).
  • Arcane spells will focus on matter manipulation, contacting the outer planes, elemental magic, combat magic and protective magic with a mix of other things added in.
  • Some spells will have prerequisites (probably minimum levels, certain attributes and other stuff). If you fail to fulfill prerequisites it either might be much harder or impossible to learn the corresponding spell. Prerequisites will be limited to particularly powerful and exotic spells -the majority still comes with prerequisites. The prerequisite feature will allow for great story arcs (just imagine finding the lost city of star elves in the forest of Magnadan and there discovering the ancient spell books of Shazzak, the sorcerer, containing the "Spell of Fiery Rain of Damnation", only learnable by either beings with silver elven blood or wearing some silver elven artifact).
As ADOM II also already differentiates between basic professions (the ones you can choose at the start), advanced professions (kind of specializations of basic professions) and master professions (highly specialized expert paths) these will also be available to specialize as a magician (e.g. a necromancer might become a "Bone Master" as an advanced profession and then rise to the "Lich lord" master profession effectively gaining undead status and more). This is an idea derived from the prestige classes of D&D 4rd edition and the profession system of Warhammer. These advanced and master professions won't all be in the game right away but will get added over time, especially as I want some of them only to be available as the results of finding specific locations, completing quests, etc. Again advanced and master professions will provide extra bonuses in highly specialized areas and provide new special powers.

Characters without any arcane professions will have a very hard time of learning arcane magic so it won't be quite so easy to cast spells as a pure fighter, etc. (ignoring details like the much lower number of available power points).

So far nothing revolutionary but IMHO a big step forward in enhancing the arcane magic system laid out in ADOM. The underlying topic here is that arcane magic mostly is influenced by the skill and might of the caster and not so much by external factors.

Which gets us to divine magic. Here I want to introduce big changes into the game to make divine magic much different in look and feel from arcane magic and by radically enhancing the whole system of religion in ADOM II. Although there are quite a few areas where I still am fighting with design concepts (see below) some basics already are finished (for now ;-) ):
  • Deities will have great influence on the abilities of divine spell casters. Priests will follow a specific deity while druids will revere nature in general. Priests and druids thus also will be mutually exclusive professions.
  • Divine magic will introduce special abilities (dependent on the deity you choose to follow and your piety) as well as the ability to cast a subset of spells (governed by the spheres of influence ruled by your deity of choice).
  • Spells will not need to be learned explicitly but will be automatically available when choosing a divine profession.
  • The spell knowledge will depend on several factors: the level in your divine profession, your piety (the internal piety score). With each miracle invocation the knowledge score will be lowered, with each new level or piety gain it again will be increased.
Again there will be some divine elaborations:
  • Deities will govern spheres of influence (like war, love, trade, agriculture, nature, death and others).
  • Spells will be associated with spheres of influences and divine spell casters automatically gain access to all spells that are governed by the sphere of influence of their deity.
  • Spheres of influence might provide additional talents.
  • Divine spells will be closely connected to the spheres of influence - in general I want divine spell casters to be more introverted, defensive and passive than arcane spell casters which I see as much more extroverted. Nonetheless each sphere might have one or two special spells that will pack quite some punch and only are available to them (so you can expect some nasty support from the God of War ;-) ).
Piety obviously will be a major factor for divine spell casters. Additionally it will allow all characters to pray for miracles (like in ADOM). The available miracles probably will be divided in small set that can be provided by all deities and more specific miracles that depend on the specific deity you follow. Piety will be increased by either sacrificing things (which will vary according to the deity you follow) or by engaging in specific deeds peculiar to your religion (details still need to be decided).

The deities contained in the ADOM II pantheon still are a major point of uncertainty for me:
  • I'm sure that deities will be connected with a specific alignment - as ADOM II has nine alignments (basically the classical (A)D&D alignment system that I love dearly) there is a lot more variance compared to ADOM Classics three alignments. Thus your piety might take a major hit if your alignment changes as this also means that you disconnect from your deity and so on. Details yet have to be decided.
  • I'm totally unsure about the specific deities: I always loved the racial pantheons of (A)D&D but I fear that having up to nine (or even more) deities (due to the available alignments) for all major pantheons will become somewhat unwieldy (even with the basic races you'd have many dozens of gods). On the other hand I never liked cosmologies with one set of deities for very different races - this just doesn't feel right to me as even our one-race-Earth has so many different deities and religions. Comments, feedbacks and wishes regarding this point is particular welcome.
Regarding effects on piety I envision the following:
  • Adherence to alignment will be important. If you act against your alignment, you act against your beliefs and thus hurt your piety.
  • There should be a set of actions that your deity looks favorably upon. I have no details specified for that so far.
  • There should be a set of favored sacrifices that are welcome at altars.
  • It should be possible (to a much lesser extent) to sacrifice money to get back to some basic standing.
That's where I'm standing right now with my design thoughts and while the next weeks (if not one or two months) surely will be completely taken up by developing the 0.3.x release line of ADOM II with all its missile related things (and more feature completeness in some areas) I'm very much looking forward to the 0.4.x and 0.5.x development. And I'm dreaming of how much I could get done if I were able to spend 8-12 hours a day on ADOM II development like I'm right now doing for day to day work. *Sigh* ;-)


  1. A simple way to solve the Deities issue is simply to have nine different entities that go by different names among the different races. So an Orc might worship Qua'alth and a Gray Elf might worship Contrah, but they're both Lawful Evil dieties that are exactly the same in gameplay.
    In order to differentiate them a bit more, you could add one or two specific divine "spells" to each group of deities. So Qua'alth might allow an Orcish priest to get a massive damage/regen buff for a short time, and Contrah grants his Gray Elves an AoE attack "spell."

    If you go with an approach that has more distinct gods, different races might have different numbers of gods in their pantheon. Perhaps Trolls, being inherently cruel and individualistic, lack any gods for Lawful or Good alignments and only have 4 total. (NE, N, CN, and CE.) Or certain race's gods might not care so much about certain parts of the alignment system: A god might just be "Good" and doesn't care whether the trappings are "Lawful" or "Chaotic." Or a god might teach his subjects that the most dangerous thing in the world is Chaos, because even a cruel world is better than a chaotic one.

    As an atheist in RL, I find gods in videogames to come with a very interesting question: How can you deny the existence of any deity that's having a very clear effect on the world? How do races and religions account for the existence of other gods? Here on Earth most religions come with a "This is the only true religion" clause, but that clearly can't apply to a videogame. If that Orc Shaman is casting a miracle "spell" on you, that's an undeniable proof of some sort of power. That might be a strong argument in favor for a single united pantheon or having the same/similar gods under different names.

    Alternately, (and this idea is growing on me), have different gods for different races, with universal acceptance of the _existence_ of other gods, but without worshiping them. That also adds the possibility of switching gods to that of a different race, or making some choice at character creation to worship an alternate group of gods. Switching mid-game should be hard if not impossible, and a character creation change should cost some points, and be included with a change in character history (Halfling raised by Dwarves: worships Dwarf gods, not Halfling). The exception to that is that Half Elves and other mixed races get a free choice of which faith to start following, and probably easier mid-game switching if that's implemented. Possibly a good way to make mixed racial creatures strong generalist priests.

    Any good thoughts in there?

    1. My general thoughts regarding pantheons in fantasy campaigns have been along the following lines:

      - Deities are potentially powerful (sometime extremely powerful) kind of immortal beings that live in other spheres of existence.
      - Their power is based on many factors: number of followers, source of power, spheres and probably more).
      - Deities of various pantheons can co-exist and mostly control their spheres of influence regarding their chosen race(s).
      - If conflicts arise that also might result in conflicts between pantheons or deities.

      So a kind of AD&D view on the whole thing ;-) Works pretty well for me :-)

  2. Definitely approve of the general thinking to differentiate the divine and the arcane---though I wonder where this leaves Psionics in the mix?

    As to the Atheist angle referenced above, there are more interesting ways about it that have yet to be done, though my good nature harassment has got some of it going in Triangle Wizard---a Roguelike with a Pantheon dozens strong that, while still developing, makes it work.

    For instance, allow for Atheist play with the angle of Self-Determination. In that, beyond praying/converting/corrupting an Altar to whatever deity, you can opt to reject them entirely via destroying it. This would likely garner you deity wrath perhaps in the form of summoned champions and the like, but on the flip side increase all your natural characteristics by a small amount.

    The trick to making it interesting and beyond? Deity potency, with some variance, comes from the amount of shrines/altars they have in their name. Lack of an altar in a region leads to rather weaker influence possible, and with the above, should all of the altars to a particular one be destroyed it effectively wipes them from the slate (Reducing their enemy adherents to insane/chaos status from being cut off from their vaunted power?) as such an ultimately difficult feat would in and of itself showcase vulnerability/fallibility from mere, very resourceful/powerful mortals. Clearly a challenge mode where you have to somehow effectively defeat the entire pantheon and win the game would make for a maddening challenge with unique quirks aplenty.

    Conversely then, adherents to a given god could convert and perhaps create new altars in an area to further bolster their powers as to further ascend supernaturally while also bringing the issue then to bear that it amounts to a "hot" war between the gods, via their agents on up on Ancardia, which would result in a mess of a different sort entirely than the Atheist situation above and also result in great questline potential and challenge mode fodder.

  3. I personally love the idea of more dieties and having them have a larger affect on gameplay (for Priests and Paladins at least). Piety is a great resource that ADOM didn't utilize to its full potential, but your thoughts in ADOM II make it far more useful and, in my opinion, fun.

    I do have a question concerning divine magic: How are the 'castings' created? It seems like your idea is that the higher piety you have, the more spelled you are 'tought' (by divine intuition?). Do these spells use piety points to cast, or what is the limiting factor here? If it is still power points, I think it would be a great class ability for the divine professions to be able to, once out of power points, use piety points instead of health to cast spells that they wouldn't normally be able to afford. This could be one of the 'miricles' you talked about.
    I think that a lower focus on spells and powerpoints would be a good way to have a larger difference between the divine and arcane casters (in ADOM, priests and wizards were very similar). Your suggestion of giving them special abilities would be a potential solution.

    Instead of running around just casting firebolt at every line of monsters you come accross, it would be neat if the specific diety you worshipped gave you abilities that either took more energy points (like the barbarian's mighty blow (or was it beastfighter?)) or can only be used once in so many turns (like the cure disease ability in ADOM).
    If a priest worships the god of war, then, once certain piety levels are reached, the priest gets abilities like "Chaos" (making a group of enemies fight eachother), and "Avatar" (channeling the god of war into one's own body, making the character himself a much better fighter for a time (perhaps mitigating weapon skill learning penalties while in that form? Nice passive bonus for his worshippers). These abilities can be cast based on 'turns since last casting' rather than just power points.

    Passive bonuses can be a great addition to divine magic as well. A god of love can grant you so much reduced shop prices all the time (like 10-30% based on piety). God of War, increased weapon and spell 'experience' rates. God of life, increased health regen and continuous bonus damage against undead. God of death, healing so much everytime you kill a unit.

    I think traits like this could make the diety-character relationship much more intersting, without the worshippers running around wielding the same magic as wizards, just with different brand names.

    One more thing that I think this style of Divine-relationships requires is a more gaurenteed way to train up piety. Normally, in ADOM, I didn't bother with it until I came across an alter, dragged monsters back to it to sac, and repeating this until I got crowned. This sort of thing should be a little different in ADOM II, so that the divine classes won't just sit in a dungeon waiting for things to spam-sac. Perhaps you should always have the choice to 'sac' corpses, even without an alter (but obviously, the piety gain rate from this would decrease significantly). A priest can say, "Oh Morgia, I slew many orcs, the most hated race of thou! I burn these corpses to appease you and quench your thirst for orc blood!" (+piety). Perhaps flint and steel is neccessary, and well as some wooden sticks? I just think it should be easier to build up piety over time, through continuous sacrifices rather than waiting till the alter is found and going all out then. It could make the game much more enjoyable, and give priests and paladins a better way to have a long-term relationship with their god.

    Those are some of my thoughts. Your ideas for Arcane magic obviously work very well (I am looking forward to the class-derived specialities you mention. It would be hard though to play some. Having just one 'bolt' spell as any spellcaster was almost a neccessity in ADOM, just to clear waves of monsters). Hopefully I had some useful ideas here.

    1. I also have been pondering a sort of 'ultimate' quest given to each divine-class: Defeat and destroy opposing god. Each good/evil god for each race has an opposite (I think this was already the case in ADOM). After a certain point, the God shows you how to access the plane where their arch-enemy lives. Then you and your god battle it out against the enemy. I have no idea how exactly this would work, but the thought of having that option is very nice for the ultimate challange.

  4. As for conversions... just imagine the ability to build new altars... prerequisites being a couple of levels as priest or druid, a pretty decent piety, a level or two as tinker and some materials. That would allow for conversion attempts, etc.

    1. I would think a priest who had invested a good bit in Construction would be more than able to design an altar. Certainly tinker levels would speed up the process, but i don't think they should be a requirement.

    2. I think it would be far more interesting, and far more productive for multi-classing if some level of tinker is required to build an altar. Just imagine all the various combination possibilities you'll be able pursue. Not only would Priest + Tinker include the ability to build alters but what about Priest + Weaponsmith and the ability to produce say weapons of Divine Power.

      Additionally if you included a lot of factors that played to multi-classing in this way you could do more to limit certain skills to specific classes.

      My favorite part about ADOM has always been the Weaponsmith. No idea why but I would rather build a cooler sword than bash a bigger monster. All this talk about special quests to get special spells, and building your own altars has me excited all over again about ADOM.

      Personally I would like to play a Weaponsmith/ Wizard/Priest/Miner/Tinker, who can build his own workshop complete with forge, and altar, after going on quests to furthest reaches of the planet I want to forge a +5 Sword of Vampirism blessed by my diety on the altar, and Socketed with a gem infused with Arcane power.

  5. I think that ideally there should be a bunch of different deities who have different types of requirements for who can worship them. So, one deity could accept lawful evil worshippers of any race, another might be for dark elves of any alignment, another could be for dwarves and gnomes of any of the good alignments, and so on.

    With a system like this, you can start with 9 deities, one for each of the alignments, which would be enough to ensure that everyone has at least one god they can be worshipping, and then add more as time passes.

    I also think that the asymmetries of having different deities have different criteria for their followers helps the world feel more real and lived in, rather than just a rigid system where every divine being is followed by exactly one alignment of one class and that's it.

    You'd also be able to add more specific deities, as you saw fit. Maybe a god that will hear the prayers of all commoners, of any race or alignment. Or maybe the dwarven god of the forge, available to any dwarven smith, and to other smiths who complete a quest to reforge a lost dwarven artefact. Or a goddess of the hunt, who favours archers, unless they are evil.

    1. I really like that. Prerequisites for fellowship :-) Please send me your real name to creator(at) for the credits ;-)

  6. id like to see the ability to worship gods not corresponding to your on race. religion in ADOM felt impersonal because every god said the same things. i think ADOM II should just have tons and tons of gods, and like vishnu, a bigger god above them all almost everyone reveres and believes in (even if they dont worship and serve him)

  7. I think a possible idea for the deities is to NOT base them off the alignments, since you've already mentioned they will have sphere related powers. Why not create racial pantheons for each role? Smith god, war god, etc etc.

    Also, for arcane magic, would there be spells with other spells as requirements?

  8. I'll be honest - i never liked the way spell knowledge worked in ADOM. There were two conflicting things happening when you used a spell - you gained familiarity with it, making it more powerful and more efficient, and you lost knowledge, which didn't have any effect. The end result was that one day, after days/months/years of honing your skill with that spell, it suddenly became more difficult to cast and then faded from your mind altogether. As i understand it, there are two reasons for the system - limiting spell use by non-casters, and preventing casters from using the same spell all the time. The first goal shouldn't be a problem in ADOM II - you won't be able to cast spells unless you take a level in some caster class, and your caster level won't increase unless you continue to take them (unlike in ADOM where your caster level was just a function of your character level). Thus, if there's a way to discourage a wizard from just casting Magic Missile at everything in sight, there shouldn't be a need for finite castings.

    My idea for meeting that goal is the concept of semantic satiation (basically, the way words begin to sound like nonsense if repeated for long enough). Using this construct, each spell has a semantic satiation (SS) value, initially zero, that increases every time the spell is cast. As SS goes up for a given spell, occasionally "The magical incantation sounds strangely foreign on your tongue." Once it passes a certain threshold, there is an increasing chance for the spell to fail ("Your words of power sound like gibberish!") or eventually backfire ("Magical energy burns through you as you mispronounce the spell!" [PP loss / HP loss / confusion / other]).

    There are two ways to decrease the SS counter: letting time pass and casting other spells. You should have to do both to decrease it quickly. For example, suppose you've cast Sunburst so many times that your tongue is tripping over the words, and now the undead horde is bearing down on you. You shouldn't be able to just wait for the spell to become usable again, so each turn should decrease SS by something like 1%. On the other hand, while casting Fireball might decrease Sunburst's SS by a moderate amount (although not a ton because they're both Energy / Evocation spells), you shouldn't be able to keep casting it until Sunburst is back at 0. So perhaps the maximum decrease is capped somehow, or there can only be a big drop every N turns, or the amount Fireball decreases other spells by is inversely proportional to its own accumulated SS. This sort of system, where there are diminishing returns on overuse of a spell without the weird problem of forgetting it because you use it too much, makes a lot more sense to me.

    1. Divine magic is different, of course, since you are not using arcane phrases and gestures to create magic out of nowhere. When you cast a divine spell, you are channeling the extraplanar energy of the extremely powerful immortal you serve, and some of that divine power lingers within you. If you cast a ton of spells without giving that energy time to dissipate, your body becomes suffused with the power of your deity. At first this might just manifest as your eyes glowing or some kind of holy aura, but eventually the built-up godly power increases your abilities in accordance with the qualities of your deity (a priestess of the god of war might gain to-hit and to-damage, while a priest of love might gain charisma and appearance).

      The downside of this is that channelling all that energy is very taxing, both on your body as a conduit and on your mind as it shapes the energy into spells. Staying in a state of divine suffusion for too long might abuse your ability scores, etc. In such a state, spells might also cost additional PP and even HP. It should be quite possible for your god's magic to rip your physical form apart, causing you to become an angel in his service but also ending your Ancardian adventure.

    2. I agree that the "knowledge" functionality in ADOM had the problem that you describe, but I think the semantic satiation mechanism that you propose would feel a bit unnatural, casting spells that you don't need just to increase the counter.

      Actually I don't think there's anything wrong about getting specialized in a spell and casting it all the time.

      Maybe it could be the other way around, i.e., if you never use a spell, you end up forgetting it. It sounds rather natural.

    3. Yes, forgetting of actively used spell felt quite unnatural in ADOM. What probably makes more sense is a limit to a number of spells character can remember at a time, determined by a character's level, weared items effects, etc. This way you actually have a reason to carry around all those scrolls and books - you can't just remember everything. To makes things a bit more tricky some spell can be mutually exlusive so that you can't remember both at the same time.

  9. There was a thread about the religion system in ADOM II soon after the forums were created:

    Grey notably posted a suggestion for a deity list, with lots of great ideas:

    1. Thanks for the reminder. Noted and will be taken into account once I get into the "hot" design phase!

  10. I don't think druids need to be barred from being clerics - some deities (perhaps those with the nature domain) might allow their clerics to be druids, and druids to be their cleric. Similarly, some gods might not allow other classes; the barbarian god might not allow tinkers, or the god of magic would not allow fighters.

    This might make clerics a bit more complicated overall, though, so I guess it's always the creator's call.

  11. First off, love the ideas for arcane wizards, they're sounding fun!

    I'd simplify gods to being able to cover more than one alignment type. A god for a specific race might not distinguish at all between alignment (unless that race is naturally inclined towards an alignment) whilst other gods might just favour one axis (so an Evil god or a Lawful god).

    Further restrictions on alignment type (Not Good -> Only Evil -> Only Chaotic/Neutral Evil -> Only Chaotic Evil) allows quicker gaining of piety for them so long as you adhere to their alignment, but causes much worse piety loss if you change alignment. Whilst gods of races and other "open" gods won't mind alignment shift within reason but are generally harder to gain piety for.

    As for gaining piety, converting and *destroying* alters of rival or opposing gods is a nice way of gaining piety (a "only chaotic" god might demand alters be destroyed whilst a "only neutral" god might demand all alters be converted) - both can be done without sacrifices (unlike classic ADOM) but can/will call down the wrath of the god who currently owns said alter - more so if you can have different levels of alters (bigger ones being worth more when you get them onside/destroyed and give better conversion rates when used).

    Killing creatures that are high in piety towards another *rival* god or naturally always one alignment that your god doesn't favour gives a slow gradual piety gain without having to go out of your way to sacrifice things.

    Getting to distant sacred sites to pay homage etc, as well as other divine quests which are handed out by churches/priests etc of your god (or a friendly/allied god) can also gain piety or/and be required to adopt a new god.

    I'd then track piety levels for each god so you can slowly accrue piety for other gods just incase you wish to change or have yet to 'pick' a god (if you're allowed to choose a god, I would assume this to be the case).
    This is first made much easier as there are less gods thanks to many gods overlapping several alignment types - but I'd also double up many of the "races" gods.
    The god for the Dwarves will support any Not Evil dwarf, but only Not Evil and Not Chaotic members of other species for example - his domains of War and Smithing (for instance) are therefore much easier to get as a dwarf, but anyone can get them.

    1. To clarify, tracking piety for each god is so that you can convert gods and be less punished by gods you've gained favour with.

      But also so that when you pray, if your main god refuses to answer, but you have high enough piety with another (no doubt similar) god due to your previous deeds - they might choose to answer in an attempt to convert you. You'd get the miracle regardless, but lose a lot of piety if you don't convert (and lose a lot more with your current god if you do convert).

      There might be special cases where allied gods might help each other out without too much piety loss - more so if its against a rival god. Or due to epic quest lines your god might die/be weakened in an area forcing you to rely on other gods for support (more so if you're a cleric).

  12. When speaking about altars and gods - will the follower be able to chose the god he worships? In ADOM each race/class combination has it's own starting alignment, but it wouldn't allow a priest to worship god of the different alignment (BTW - what if opening question system was influencing the alignment?). It feels very unnatural to me to see every high elven priest converting as soon as possible just to worship their chaotic deity of choice, who technically, they were worshiping for the whole life.

    Also, if the character is sacrificing something at the altar, he should probably make a prayer, right? Thus converting an altar should be both:
    -possible even with co-aligned altar (by praying to the other god)
    -much safer, as your own god knows your intentions, and will not reprove you for such deed.

  13. Lots of great ideas here, and I love the direction you're taking to differentiate arcane and divine magic. Just a couple of things to add:

    I hope that full spellcasters still have a reasonable chance of learning spells outside their domain, such as a wizard learning cure light wounds and a cleric learning fire bolt (though with different names, of course). I don't have a problem with spell knowledge decreasing over time; the fluff you have in the ADOM I manual about the chaotic nature of magic causing spells to degrade over time, once learned, works fine for me. Entropy rules!

    I like the implication in ADOM I that altars are actually something apart from deities, since they can so easily be converted to different alignments and crop up in random locations. I think altars in ADOM I are more something akin to ley line intersections or other generically sacred locations, that can be consecrated to any deity or faith with the appropriate ritual. And that's cool.

    I agree with several posters that you don't need one deity per race per alignment; you can divide the 3x3 grid up into 3-6 pieces depending on race, with one god per piece. Heck, the "alignment domains" of different deities in the same pantheon could even overlap.

    I'd like to see piety a little more difficult to gain than in ADOM I. A simple way to limit it would be to disallow multiple sacrifices on an altar within a short time frame. This would encourage players to wait for a very powerful monster to come along for that live sacrifice, or to sacrifice one of their more valuable items right away instead of grinding low-level monsters.

    And last, a very minor point--it always bugged me in ADOM I that druids couldn't hunt without taking a huge alignment hit, even when starving. I understand the ethos of protecting animals, but c'mon--hunting for food, in my mind, is very druidic as long as it's not wasteful.

    Thanks for a great game!

  14. I have a thought on how to have diverse racial pantheons without bogging the game down with dozens or hundreds of deities. Have a mix of racial specific and non specific deities. My reasoning for this is, many of the races are typically only a few of the alignments. Take Orcs for example, the race as a whole is typically some flavor of evil. It seems unlikely they would have any good racial deities. The few Good Orcs could worship a non-race specific good deity. Also, related races could share some deities, like the various types of elves. Some conceptual deities could also be allowed by multiple races, like a god of mining might have once been a dwarf, or a goddess of beauty could be elven, but they are still worshiped by many different races. This way you could have a nice, diverse pantheon for the world without having to come up with a racial deity for every alignment, and avoid making basically the same deity multiple times. The smaller number would also make it easier to flesh them all out, and give them unique domains.

    My apologies if something like this has already been suggested, I just got back from a long trip and have only had a chance to skim through the posts. Whatever path you take, I look forward to the future development of Adom II.

  15. You could also introduce localized dieties. There was mention of specific gods for separate races or classes etc, which I like the idea of, but you could also introduce localized gods that only had sway over a certain area of the map, but also could be included in specific quests and that rewards.

    Most likely not as powerful as the major gods, but also don't require that you forsake your current diety.

    You could simply leave the C - N - L scale in place, and place each separate diety within that scale. That way players could serve multiple gods within their chosen alignment.