Sunday, December 26, 2010

Divination, not the answer to who, when & where

So, to summarize what I said previously - we want a Divination to give useful advice commensurate to the level of the spell being consumed without spoiling a good time by solving the adventure outright. 

In my current campaign the party is in search of a powerful artifact/weapon.  They have found an ancient city in ruins occupied by a combination of humans, humanoids and nasty creatures in an uneasy and shifting balance.  They have reason to believe the artifact is in the city, hidden in the tomb of the original owner.  They have reason to believe they need a descendant of that owner, one of her bloodline, to overcome the protections surrounding the artifact.  They have reason to believe those protections are potent and dangerous.  They have a lead on a solution, but it is inconvenient.  They decide they want to find an alternate solution.  So far so good; I like it when they use their heads.

So they decide to ask the gods.  Priestess, fire up the Divination spell!  Now what to ask....  The first thought was "where and who is the closest bloodline and how do we overcome the protections on the artifact?"

Rather than just let them try the question and have it fail, I maturely interject as DM.  "Bzzzzzzzttttt, sorry that will not work."  Disappointed and confused look from the player.  So then I take a little time to explain the limits of Divination.  'Similar to augury but more powerful, a divination spell can provide you with a useful piece of advice in reply to a question concerning a specific goal, event, or activity that is to occur within one week.'  More confused looks.  I followup with examples of what successful and unsuccessful divination castings might look like; your character would have had some training at the temple and this is what you would know.  More player discussion ensues and they finally decide on the question.

“If we return to Penchawn to get the bard Faynie, is it our only chance to retrieve Gray Razor?”

The response is as follows:  Tula's children were few, and what still lives are spread far and wide. No path is certain, and no path is sure. A journey to Penchawn to seek the bard may yield what you seek through wise actions and honeyed words.

They think long and hard about this and decide, for now, they do not want to take the time to go all the way back to Penchawn.  They decide there must be a solution here in the ruined city.  So they set about finding the small pockets of humans left in this ruined mess.  At one stop, a middle aged man named Escovar claims to be in the bloodline of the artifact owner, a famous barbarian princess.  The party, ever suspicious, decides another Divination is in order.

"If Escovar joins us in our quest will we be able to obtain Gray Razor?"

The response is as follows: A cloud of doom hangs over this action. The path remains dangerous and the vision of death is imminent.

They decide against sharing this little bit of good news with Escover, telling him they will get back to him.  Away from Escovar they have a long discussion about the meaning of this divination.  Perhaps there is just trickery in the words, and the vision of death is simply the occupant of the tomb.  Ever confident, they discuss their chances of figuring out how to overcome the danger called out in the divination.  After all, the divination did not say absolutely it would not work and they would all die.  Next outing I find out what they decide as their next action.

Ah, the fun I have with Divination. 

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