Need feedback on Child of Derketo template.

SableWyvern

Mongoose
One of my players is playing a Zembebwean priest of Dagon. In discussion with this player, we have decided that he is in fact a son of Derketo (carried and birthed by one of the temple prostitutes).

Although we have yet to develop a full explanation for this, a brief summary of the background and effects is that this occurs only very rarely (perhaps once every few generations). The True Child of Derketo is ageless. Ragu (the PC), being a new Child of Derketo is doomed to lead a mortal life and die, unless he can find and kill the current True Child of Derketo.

Anyway, the background aside, I am looking for some feedback on the mechanical effects we have settled on for the Child of Derketo template.

- +2 Con, +2 Cha.
- +2 to Magical Attack rolls for spells of the Nature Magic sorcery style.
- +2 Power Points.
- May learn spells from the Divination, Counterspells and Nature Magic sorcery styles without requiring a Knowledge (arcana) check.
- Gains all the effects of the Priest feat.
- Favoured Class becomes Scholar.
- Amazing sexual prowess.
- Any woman who sleeps with a Child of Derketo will become pregnant, carry safely to full term and bear a healthy child.
- ECL +1

Feeback welcome, mainly with regard to the mechanics. I certainly don't think this is an ECL +2 template, but it may be slightly more powerful than a typical ECL +1.
 

Iron_Chef

Mongoose
Seems kind of powerful for ECL +1. What are the minuses to acquiring this template? There are none listed, just bonuses.
 

SableWyvern

Mongoose
Currently, the only drawback is the potential problem of leaving a horde of pregnant women in your wake (and the ECL mod, of course).

I agree it may well be a little beyond an ECL +1. Any idea on some appropriate drawbacks?

BTW, we have settled on the title Seed of Derketo, rather than Child of Derketo (which was only ever a working title).
 

Iron_Chef

Mongoose
Not having my books in front me, I'd say look at Spawn of Dagoth Hill for drawbacks. Maybe Spawn doesn't have any, either... can't recall, but it seems too good as is without penalties or reducing/removing benefits.
 

SableWyvern

Mongoose
Spawn of Dagoth Hill is considerably weaker: the single ability increase is balanced with a penalty and there is a -2 Fate Point mod (something I considered for this template, but dismissed because it would simply serve to make the PC more likely to die -- not really much fun). Additionally, it requires a Feat.

However, SoDH also has no level adjustment, and thus should be much weaker than SoD.
 

thulsa

Mongoose
I agree with Chef, the template is too good, with only benefits listed. There should be some kind of nasty drawback appropriate for the setting.

The Spawn of Dagoth Hill has reduced Fate Points, and increased Corruption. Plus, of course, the social stigma of being a half-demonic creature.

Depending on how far you want to go down "that route", you could require that the Seed of Derketo develops more and more depraved lusts and desires, which could eventually turn him into a slave of his own passions as he accrues Corruption...

Also, you should consider dropping some of the benefits. Even one or two of those benefits would make the template good; I don't see why you should throw all these benefits upon the player.

I like the general theme and background, though; the "find and kill the current True Child" is a great PC motivation if there ever was one! ;-)


- thulsa
 

SableWyvern

Mongoose
I've decided to drop to bonus to Magical Attack rolls, as a start.

I certainly want the template to be more potent than the SoDH. The Spawn is a part demon, really only little more than a human. The Seed, on the other hand, has the blood of a god flowing through his veins (even if much diluted).

I'm not sure how much the player would be interested in playing a character too driven by lust and desire, although I have already suggested Carouser and Debaucher as in-theme feats, and he seems pre-disposed to going down this route to some degree.

Adding a feat cost, and some drawback along the lines of Salome's requirement to experience new pleasures or loose PP, will probably be enough to balance the template in my eyes.

Further comments and suggestions are still welcome, though.

Oh yeah, and I'm keeping open the option of adding benefits and drawbacks later on as well, as the character learns more about his true nature (I don't plan to let the player know this until/unless I choose to implement the alterations).
 

JamesMishler

Mongoose
One thing is for certain—he should be amazingly attractive to females and males of that persuasion. So attractive that in some cases (if they have a "Helpful" reaction to him, they become obsessed with him, and will not leave him alone—ever. They must possess him, and let no other woman (or man) near him. Some may become so possessive that they will want him to themselves, dead or alive!

Try this on for size for a drawback:

Lust Magnet (Ex): Any female (or male of the right persuasion) who has a "Helpful" reaction to this character, must make a Willpower save against DC 10 + Cha bonus of the character, or fall into abject lust with the character. How this NPC deals with the adject lust is up to the character of that NPC. A common peasant woman might simply follow him around, fighting other such women for his attention, and become a general nuisance. A noble woman might kill rivals and his friends, trying to make him her own. Adventuring women or harlots might put themselves in direct danger, in order to elicit the assistance of the character. Note that if the character actually has sex with the subject, the Willpower save is DC 20 + Cha bonus. NPC's who lust after the character may make Will saves every week for the effect to wear off. A "natural 1" on such an obsession role means the obsession is permanent, and totally psychotic in nature.
 

Iron_Chef

Mongoose
JamesMishler said:
One thing is for certain—he should be amazingly attractive to females and males of that persuasion. So attractive that in some cases (if they have a "Helpful" reaction to him, they become obsessed with him, and will not leave him alone—ever. They must possess him, and let no other woman (or man) near him. Some may become so possessive that they will want him to themselves, dead or alive!

Try this on for size for a drawback:

Lust Magnet (Ex): Any female (or male of the right persuasion) who has a "Helpful" reaction to this character, must make a Willpower save against DC 10 + Cha bonus of the character, or fall into abject lust with the character. How this NPC deals with the adject lust is up to the character of that NPC. A common peasant woman might simply follow him around, fighting other such women for his attention, and become a general nuisance. A noble woman might kill rivals and his friends, trying to make him her own. Adventuring women or harlots might put themselves in direct danger, in order to elicit the assistance of the character. Note that if the character actually has sex with the subject, the Willpower save is DC 20 + Cha bonus. NPC's who lust after the character may make Will saves every week for the effect to wear off. A "natural 1" on such an obsession role means the obsession is permanent, and totally psychotic in nature.

Sounds a bit like Karela the Red Hawk's psychotic obsession with Conan in the Robert Jordan novels... :wink:
 

InsomNY

Mongoose
SableWyvern said:
I certainly want the template to be more potent than the SoDH. The Spawn is a part demon, really only little more than a human. The Seed, on the other hand, has the blood of a god flowing through his veins (even if much diluted).

In most cases, the difference between "god" and "demon" in Howard's Hyboria is one of public relations. While there are clearly beings of different power levels, anything that draws worship (whether from awe or terror) is a god. Yogah of Yag was worshipped as a god. Thaug the Amorphous Blob of Easily-Killable Evil was also. Yogah had a large following (until he was taken from Khitai by Yara); Thaug did not. Which one is remembered as a god, and which as a demon? Neither is deserving of the title of god, but either one is just as likely a candidate as Derketo.
 

Iron_Chef

Mongoose
InSomNY wrote:
In most cases, the difference between "god" and "demon" in Howard's Hyboria is one of public relations. While there are clearly beings of different power levels, anything that draws worship (whether from awe or terror) is a god.

Absolutely, you hit the nail on the head.

Also worthy of note is that any weird looking monster that gets proclaimed to be a "god" is not likely to be attacked by most people. Unless your name is Conan. Then you are pretty much dead as soon as he happens to wander by and be manhandled by your evil followers... and becomes angry/curious enough to seek revenge/treasure. :wink:
 

SableWyvern

Mongoose
I take your point on the god/demon thing, and in fact I like this aspect of Hyboria.

Regardless, I still envisage something more potent than the SoDH for this character.

Regarding JM's Lust Magnet idea, I'm giving it some thought, but I'm worried that it may become disruptive to general play (especially the rest of the group), or that it may become too comical. A fine idea, I'm just not sure it will mesh too well with my group and GM style.

I'm thinking I'll probably add a variation of the Lust Magnet in, but avoid giving any mechanical specifics, so that I can regulate the frequency with which it occurs. I'll probably also run it with a gernerally dark twist,as affected women who cannot have the Seed are driven to despair.
 

Iron_Chef

Mongoose
I don't really get the point of this template. It's overpowered and disruptive to play. I would not want to be in a party where another player is godlike. If it was an NPC, sure, particularly if it was my boss or object of worship, LOL, but otherwise, it singles that player out for too much attention and every plot would eithre revolve around his character, or dissolve into being about his character. Why? Because anybody of importance (meaning power) who finds out the character is a godspawn will try to either banish, exploit (e.g., priests of Derketo), imprison (perhaps to drain his power into themselves) or kill him. This will get old fast, but is realistic. That's what powerful people do when they run into things like that. Allowing a player character more powerful than a Spawn of Dagoth Hill or Salome into your game is asking for trouble.

Here's a damn fine idea to curb your template's power level: You could make a chain of Seed-only feats... This forces those with the template to burn feats if they wants to access more of his or her divine heritage.
 

SableWyvern

Mongoose
Chef: I've actually considered the option of the feat chain, and agree it is certainly a potentially good way to go. I have yet to decide finally whether or not I will go down this route.

As to your other point: I can't see the character in question overshadowing other characters, nor will it necessarily become common knowledge as to the character's nature. I believe that the character will be keeping this information from his fellow PCs for as long as possible; add to that the fact that any pre-existing knowledge of his origins will be largely limited to the distant realm of Zembebwe.

It's worth remembering that the character will always be one level behind the rest of the group. I don't think a few ability increases and a couple bonus PP equate to godlike, and I am still looking for another counter-balance option which will bring things in line.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that the character's ability scores are already somewhat below average (using 8 + d10). Although I still want to keep the template relatively balanced on an objective level, I am willing to allow it to be a bit more powerful than perhaps it should be given that the player will not be able to use it as a min-max device, even if he wanted to. It's worth stressing this point: I am not looking to make a generic template that easily integrates into anyone's game. I am looking for something to suit this particular set of unique circumstances.


Hmmm ....

Thinking about it, here are a couple of options I like for drawbacks (I will probably add them all to the template:

The Circle of Life
Life and Death form a natural cycle. However, a Seed of Derketo is naturally and strongly attuned only to the birth and growth aspects of this cycle. As such, it requires more than the usual effort to gather power from death. In order to gain PP from sacrifices, the Seed must perform a 10 minute ritual before employing a coup de grace. A Seed with the Opportunistic Sacrifice feat may sacrifice without this 10 minute ritual, but does not gain any of the normal benefits of the feat (ie, only a coup de grace attack can ever provide the Seed with PP).

Honour they Mother
The Seed must participate in at least four orgies per year; and at least two of these must be dedicated specifically to Derketo. Failure to engage in an orgy for three months means that the Seed is treated as if obsessed with relation to orgies. This is a -1 obsession, increasing by -1 for each orgy missed. Overcoming the obsession will eliminate the penalty, but will not provide an increase in Base PP.

Paternal Instinct
The Seed of Derketo must protect his offspring. If he becomes aware of any danger to his progeny, he must assist and defend them to the best of his ability. This responsibility can only be ignored with a successful Will Save, DC 25.

If this save is made, the Seed can choose not to protect his children, but will suffer a -2 penalty to all actions as long as he remains aware of the danger, and for 1 week thereafter. This penalty can be removed earlier by choosing to help his children, and then succeeding at a DC 15 Will save.

Further, if the Seed successfully chooses to ignore danger to his offspring, he must still make further Will saves at DC 15 every day as long as he remains aware that the danger has not passed.
 

SableWyvern

Mongoose
Oh, and I do agree that there will be ramifications when people who matter do find out what the character is.

As to "story control", each player will have just as much opportunity to affect the direction the campaign will take in their own backgrounds. There is no particular reason why this PC's background, ambitions and ties should influence the world about the party more than any other. In fact, I should be able to eventually tie a range of PC motivations and backgrounds together into comon purposes (or cross-purposes) as required and as the campaign progresses. That, after all, is a large part of the GM's basic task, IMO.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Isn't a child of Derketo - regarding rule questions - something like Salome? The Salome-template is of a very sensual kind, maybe you could change the Curse spells +1 to Hypnotism +1 (for a really man- / woman-eating character: see RoK p.119 for Derketo as a deity who takes lovers against their will) or to Necromancy +1 (if you want to emphasize her aspect as a death-goddess: see Atlantean Edition p.286).

The big advantage of Salome-template = Child of Derketo-template is that you have a balanced solution that is already playtested. And since Salome is a very rare entity (one incarnation per century), a lot of game groups won't encounter a Salome, so imho it is justified to use Salome as Child of Derketo.
 

JamesMishler

Mongoose
Ya know, you could also go with a kind of "Derketo the Demoness" kind of play on this.

Think about it. Derketo is a "goddess" of dark sensuality and fecundity... who else in the Lovecraft/Howard Mythos fits that bill? Hmmm? Perhaps she is a "daughter" of Shub-Niggurath... think on that for a bit.

Then add in a dash of Japanese style "tentacle" manga, and all the "things that go drastically wrong with the young hero who has the strange powers and ancestry."

Stir well. Add in all sorts of bad things that can happen if he uses his powers too much...

Okay, now I'm starting to creep myself out...
 

SableWyvern

Mongoose
Better than great ideas, they have brought me to realise something important. I have already been drifting away from the style of campaign I'm looking for to something more vanilla. BAD ME.

This template should certainly be focusing more on the darker, more demonic aspects of godhood. Away goes the sacrifice penalty, in comes corruption, corruption save penalties, and a single fate point penalty.

Plus, JM has given me a truly inspired idea. Unbeknownst to the player (and his PC) in question <<<BERT, IF YOU'RE READING THIS THREAD, STOP NOW!!!!!>>>

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the True Seed of Derketo is in fact a Dark Young. Further, there may well be more than one True Seed. And who knows what else the PC doesn't really know about what's going on? Or what the clergy do know, but haven't bothered to mention for their own nefarious reasons?

I would really like to thank everyone who has posted to this thread, especially JM. You've really helped me define and focus on the things that should really matter in this campaign. This campaign is about ancient horror, eldritch mystery and vitiating evil (plus tentacles). :twisted:

I will no doubt settle on a template that is more potent than the consensus indicates is appropriate. But the theme is going to be perfect.

Oh, and feel free to keep those comments coming.
 
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