The idea of censers/meditations was to introduce a new build archetype for more healer-type characters that can use protective and healing chants while giving up on sharp weapons and have a little of a conduct. I still like the idea, but the implementation didn’t work out great. Here are some problems:
- It is very easy to unequip your sharp weapon and still benefit from instant meditations. Sure, you’ll have to pay the Ep cost when re-equipping the sharp weapon, but that’s often low price to pay, and it also leads to tedious gameplay.
- Similarly, it is trivial (but tedious) to use a healer’s services by just unequipping your sharp weapon(s) temporarily.
- The aggravation penalty for stealing doesn’t really prevent you from using meditations since you can just rest it off, and the aggravation penalty is really not that bad.
The largest problem here is that optimal play leads to tedium, but it also kind of defeats the roleplaying/character archetype aspect since you can easily play around it. So, I’ve scraped this system in favour of a reputation system.
The Healer’s Guild
In the next version, censers are devices created by a mysterious underground faction called the Healer’s guild (which you will learn more about when playing). The healers live by certain rules which are basically the same as before: they don’t like sharp weapons, and they hate stealing and attacking helpless monsters etc. The game will track your reputation with this faction. Breaking their rules will reduce your reputation with them, while doing things they like (donating money to them, killing undead) will increase your reputation with them. A positive reputation means that you are on friendly terms with them, and a negative reputation means that you are not.
Your reputation with the healers is persistent and does not reset on rest. For example: attacking living monsters with a sharp weapon will have a chance to reduce your reputation (if positive). This loss of reputation cannot be undone by just unequipping the sharp weapon; the damage is already done. However, you can donate money to the healer’s guild to increase your reputation again. This means that it is not impossible to have sharp weapons while being on good terms with the guild, but it is expensive…
Healer NPCs are now members of the Healer’s guild and will now only cooperate with you if your reputation with the guild is positive and refuse service otherwise. If your reputation is very low, you’ll have to do more than just unequipping your sharp weapon to get them to help you.
I’ve made a great deal of changes to how censers work:
- They are known when you find them, you don’t need to identify them.
- You can now have several censers active simultaneously, they are not limited to one at a time.
- You no longer directly pay gold to use them (see below, you pay in advance)
You pay with reputation points to use censers. This means that you have to have a positive reputation with the Healer’s guild in order to use them. Reputation points essentially work like magic points for censers except they don’t regenerate on rest. This means that you have to earn enough reputation with the Healer’s guild in order to use censers. The most effective way of gaining reputation is to donate gold to the Healer’s guild. The game now spawns donation boxes all over the place so you can donate when you need to (they are slighlty more common than campfires and are guaranteed to appear in the castle).
In other words, instead of paying gold every time you use the censer, you now instead pay gold in advance to earn reputation points (or raising your reputation in other ways). In this way, the idea of paying money to charity in order to use censers is still there (although the gold now goes to the Healer’s guild instead of charity…).
No More Aggravation
The aggravation mechanic is now completely gone (I never really liked that mechanic anyway). Everything that used to incur aggravation now instead reduces your reputation points. I also feel that this makes much more sense for in-game logic and for flavour: the Healer’s guild have spies everywhere that register your actions, and it is them who have a problem with sharp weapons etc (there is no longer some magical thing that prevents you from using a censer if your weapon happens to be sharp…). It also means that Healer NPCs are a bit more reasonable: they are willing to accept you holding a sharp weapon if you have proven yourself to them in other ways, but may refuse service to you if you’ve been using them a lot in the past, even if you don’t wield one now.
Being on (very) bad terms with the Healer’s guild can be dangerous. They are quite resourceful (thanks to all the donations..), and if your reputation get particularly low, they might just send out someone to do something about it…