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View Full Version : Please help me clarify the wording of these tithing rules.



gadren
2016-01-02, 06:54 AM
For a Pathfinder campaign I'm running, I've added tithing rules for paladins, but I'm struggling with communicating them as clearly as possible. Please read the following, and let me know if 1) You understand them and 2) Could word it more clearly than I have:

Most paladins are expected to tithe a considerable portion of the treasure they find to their church or charity. They are not penalized mechanically if they don't, but the total gp value of the paladin's tithings should be tracked.

The Divine Forces smile on a generous paladin. She can acquire blessings from her faith that grant the equivalent benefits of magic items of the player's choice (except for weapons or armor), except they don't take up a slot. The total gp value of the equivalent magic items cannot exceed 1/3 the total value of treasure tithed. The form of these blessings cannot be changed after being selected (except for improving any bonuses granted).

For example, Sijesca the paladin has donated a total of 15,000 gp to various orphanages she has visited in her travels. Her player decides that her blessing should take the form of a +2 enhancement bonus to strength, the same benefit granted by a Belt of Giant Strength +2, which has a value of 4,894 gp. 48943= 14,682gp, leaving 318 gp over for future blessings. After she had tithed a total of 93,309 gp or more, she could increase the enhancement bonus to strength to +4, since a Belt of Giant Strength +4 has a value of 31,103 gp, and the amount she paid toward the +2 would count toward the +4.

It should be noted that though, mechanically, the player chooses this bonus, the character does not. In other words, Sijesca the paladin does not ask to "cash in" her tithings for that bonus to strength, it takes the form of a spontaneous blessing from her deity. Sijesca's player, Caitlin, chose for it to take the form of that bonus, but should roleplay such blessings as an unexpected surprise, not something they are "saving up for" via tithing.

Debihuman
2016-01-02, 08:11 AM
While tithing is a good thing, expecting to be rewarded for it does not make one particularly generous. Furthermore, are these enhancement bonuses permanent?

I'm not saying that a particularly good Paladin shouldn't be rewarded for doing good things but tithing in exchange for enhancement bonuses is a bit too heavy handed. It depends on your campaign. I've seen some pretty big Monty Haul campaigns where donating would be akin to racketeering.

Debby

ylvathrall
2016-01-03, 11:05 AM
Mechanically, I think this would end up being a bit too powerful. The effective price increase of 1/6 (assuming they can donate treasure at full value, rather than selling it for half) is extremely cheap. Consider that you're getting:
1) Exactly the item you want, rather than being constrained by the limitations of the market's size, what the dice say is available, and what the GM says definitely isn't.
2) An item which is slotless and can be worn in addition to other items that usually take up the same slot.
3) An item which is effectively impossible to steal, break, or otherwise remove from play.
4) An item which can be upgraded or changed in at will, at full value (this is the impression I got from your example).

Also, on a fluff level, I have a hard time imagining that most churches or charities even know what to do with the kind of money a high-level adventurer has access to. I also see this encouraging paladins to give money to church and not worry about actually doing things to help people themselves, which I think is the opposite of what you're trying to achieve.

gadren
2016-01-03, 04:59 PM
Well, while I appreciate the input, you guys are kind of answering a question I didn't ask while not directly answering the one I did ask.

I didn't ask about the mechanical balance because it is for a game where all tier 4 and tier 5 classes receive buffs, so it would be unfair of me to expect you to go over all the changes and make the call on whether this one change is balanced. This feature is just meant to be akin to receiving a few item creation feats, mechanically.

What I was asking about was the clarity of how I wrote the rules, and how to improve it. I can at least infer from your replies that you didn't understand all of it, which is part of the problem. Though at least I can see a few things people are confused on, now.

Let me break down what I am trying to accomplish here:

Fluff-wise: the church-states in the campaign are rather powerful, thanks in no small part to the income acquired from their crusading paladins (in addition to the more numerous but individually much smaller donations from hundreds of thousands of faithful peasants). Paladins don't tithe to get something in return. Just like how they don't go out and fight for the church so that they will be granted better spells, they don't tithe in order to receive the blessings. The paladin does not know that there is a guarantee that they will receive a blessing for tithing enough gold any more than there is a guarantee that they will receive access to 2nd level spells if they go out and kill enough demons. The specific choosing of the benefits is done by the player only.

Mechanic-wise: I'm increasing the power of the paladin a bit, particularly in terms of versatility over raw DPR. I figured giving them this sort of variant item crafting would be more flavor-appropriate than the paladin having a magic item workshop. The point was brought up about value of items donated over pure gold, and upon further thought perhaps I should reduce the tithe value of items to 1/2.

ylvathrall
2016-01-04, 01:31 AM
Well, as far as wording goes, here are the things that I would say are unclear.
1) What counts as "tithing to their church or charity?" Can a paladin be affiliated with multiple churches and/or charities? What about giving money directly to those in need? Do you donate purely cash, or can items be donated?
2) How does this interact with items that can only be used a limited number of times?

As far as the stated intention of the addition, I don't really see this improving the versatility of the paladin much. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I think most paladins will probably end up taking the "standard" set of magic items anyway. All this is really doing is giving the class slightly more wealth than usual to spend on them. This is particularly true if they can't change the bonuses by any means, since anything other than flat +X items will quickly become obsolete.

gadren
2016-01-04, 01:35 AM
Well, as far as wording goes, here are the things that I would say are unclear.
1) What counts as "tithing to their church or charity?" Can a paladin be affiliated with multiple churches and/or charities? What about giving money directly to those in need? Do you donate purely cash, or can items be donated?
2) How does this interact with items that can only be used a limited number of times?

As far as the stated intention of the addition, I don't really see this improving the versatility of the paladin much. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I think most paladins will probably end up taking the "standard" set of magic items anyway. All this is really doing is giving the class slightly more wealth than usual to spend on them. This is particularly true if they can't change the bonuses by any means, since anything other than flat +X items will quickly become obsolete.

Hmm okay. I'll take those into account in the rework. Perhaps have a set list of available blessings instead.

JBPuffin
2016-01-04, 02:12 AM
It's not a bad idea, but the execution could be better. If you are trying for utility, give them daily uses of some things like personal flight, ranged attacks - in short, maybe they get angel-like powers based on their tithe total? These should be things that fix the flaws of a paladin decently while also feeling unique.