Friday, February 10, 2012

Deities and DDI

I've been thinking about DnDNext and the DDI Character Builder (CB) tool and had started walking through some thoughts about choices in my previous post. I did want to expand that topic a little further but I decided to break it out as a separate post, specifically the use of the choice of a deity as part of the process of building a character. The option to choose a deity is available and the title of your chosen deity will be prominently displayed on the character sheet, but for the most part that is about as far as it goes.

I assume most players do choose a deity when creating a character. Deities are certainly a part of most fantasy literature, albeit in varying degrees, and the idea of deities has been a part of DnD for a long time as well. Once a player chooses their deity for their character they can look at the character sheet and can see that choice displayed right there on the top of the first page, but that's all. How about on page three of the character sheet - the half-full page that briefly details the racial and class features and feats - that a sentence or two of deity based flavor text be included?

When building a custom character there are entirely too many choices of deities to choose from - 133 in all. For a long time the CB didn't even provide basic text as to who and what each deity was, although now it appears that they all have at least a paragraph's worth of identification. I am assuming that many of these choices are environment specific, but if I am not playing Dark Sun or Eberron why are these choices cluttering up my browser? As I mentioned previously these choices need to be somewhat pared down by the time it comes time for choosing a deity in a fashion similar to what the CB Essentials option does. For instance I worked up an Essentials Dwarf Fighter and there were only 11 choices of deities available to pick from.

There are a few feats and powers that are affected by deity choice, but not a lot. I will admit that I have not done an exhaustive search here but I have only occasionally seen a requirement of "must follow" for Moradin or The Raven Queen. I have also seen some of the Paragon Level choices that have a "must follow" for The Raven Queen. The use of a deity as a character development driver is not a new concept in the DDI tool, but more likely one that just hasn't been fleshed out due to other priorities.

I realize I argued about too many choices previously, but what I am really arguing for a more focused selection process. How about a specific pantheon of deities for which a selection of feats are available to choose from and some powers have the chance to be enhanced by. If my dwarf fighter is a follower of primary deity of choice for dwarves then where is the selection of Moradin related deity feats, similar to the racial and class feats that are available to be chosen from.

I will admit there doesn't seem to be much clamor for additional development in the area of deities and there is certainly a lot of work going on in other areas, but it is just something that seems to have been overlooked as part of the CB development process.

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