Forums Gaming Chat Roleplaying [D&D and its cousins] Commune & Contact Other Plane

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    Hafwit 2.0
    • Posts : 160
    • Orc

    What is you experiences with using or GM’ing the use of these spells? What was fun? What was cumbersome? 


    Commune: Do you get to talk to an actual god of just a functionary? How much useful info can you get from a god anyway?


    Contact Other Plane: Who or what answered? 



    • Posts : 5728
    • Mind Flayer

    There’s a good discussion about Contact Other Plane on the Pathfinder subreddit, which even includes a detailed set of calculations on how to minimize the risk of having your brain reduced to mush by the spell.
    Also, this anecdote:

    Honestly it’s a trap spell if I’ve ever seen one. Also highly dependent on your GM to many reasons to not use it imho.

    I do have an example though. Back when I was a nooby noob I used this spell asking about a thief who had been terrorizing the country side and the only answer I got was “Behind” for everything.

    I turned around to see a literal shadow stealing something from one of our bags. And that’s how we found out the BBEG was a summoner with access to some crazy item that let him make several much weaker eidolons and he has done literal shadows to steal stuff

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 8 months ago by Pencil-Monkey.
    • Posts : 7755
    • Treant

    I have to say that in my experience running and playing games I have only seen these kinds of things used a few times and most of the time it was plot driven. Either an NPC or enemy cast the spell or there was a scroll or ritual involved.

    I guess it may just be the flavor of game I end up playing and running but most players I have ever run for do not really choose to go around casting these kinds of things.

    They are all very much story spells in my mind. Not to be cast every day.


    • Posts : 5728
    • Mind Flayer

    Unless you’re an epic-level character, in a long-distance relationship with a god/goddess. Cast Commune just to ask: “Sooo… Whatcha doin’? What was your day like?”

    • Posts : 46
    • Flumph

    Contact Other Plane sees little use in our games, because seeking out unmotivated entities that might fry your brain in response is rarely ever a good idea.

    Commune (3.5 / Pathfinder), on the other hand, sees plenty. I’ve always run on the GM assumption that your Deity wants to help you (because you’re a mid-to-high-level cleric supporting their goals in the world), so they’re motivated to attempt to answer your questions. It would be perfectly valid to limit their knowledges to situations within their portfolios if you wanted a de-power (so Desna, goddess of travel, can tell you if the Lost Temple of Zinj is in Mwangi or not, but doesn’t know who killed Lord Mayor Gregor, but Pharasma, goddess of death, can answer the latter).

    I tend to assume general omniscience on the part of the Deity, although, with the exception that answers can be blocked by a direct intervention of another deity if you tred on their portfolio and work against their interests (if you were trying to uncover the high priestess of a deity of secrets, for example). The number of questions you get is pretty open-ended, given that it’s at least 9 or 10 minimum, and can help you solve yes/no problems… but if you’ve never heard of the Entity that killed Lord Mayor Gregor, you can’t ask if it was Entity because you lack the knowledge to ask in the first place. You can easily winnow out another 10 suspects, though!

    My players have tended to run on the assumption that the gods are not to be bothered by trivialities, and tend only to ask when they’re either stuck or need a confirmation to act on. Most clerics rarely bother to prepare Commune as part of their regular spell loadout, but I’ve run one (Koya, from the Jade Regent), who prepared it on a daily basis, and the party got great use out of it.

    I advocate for making it portentious, with the cleric’s voice disappearing and their deities booming out in YES… NO… terms, and we’ve had great joy with the dawning realisations on players as they get an unexpected answer and ponder what it means.

    In Savage Worlds campaigns I’ve run, we’ve used a spell called Divination, which is 1 question only version of Commune (Yes/No/Maybe question, 5 word answer if you succeed well on your roll). The fun part of this is that if you actually know the spell, you can always cast it (you tap into your deity, or spirit advisor, or “the knowledge of the earth” depending on your trappings). However, you can cast it with just the Occult skill without needing to spend Advancements on the spell, but you need to be in a place with an entity in it you can summon, and the question must be within their purview (so a seance to whistle up a spirit to ask if X killed them is a perfect use of it), which has led to players questing out for ‘sites of suitable spiritual power’ to answer a burning question.

    In the Crap That Wouldn’t Fly In My Games camp, you can, technically, use Commune to play 20 Questions endlessly and get a lot answered like that. Enough Communes could go through everyone in the city to find the murderer. To find the Lost Temple of Zinj, you ask:
    “Is it east of us at present?” Yes.
    “Is it between us and the city of Magnimar?” Yes.
    “Is it over 2000 miles from us at present?” No.
    “Is it between 1500 and 2000 miles from us?” No.
    “Is it 1000 to 1500 miles from us?” Yes.
    (A bit of walking later).
    “Is it a day’s walk east from us now?” No.
    “Is it a day’s walk north?” Yes.
    “Is it in the hill I’m currently looking at?” No.
    “Is it in the hill I’m looking at NOW?” No.

    Then the gods get angry with you wasting their time, and turn off Commune.

    • Posts : 5728
    • Mind Flayer

    Another fine post with lots of food for thought. 🙂

    I advocate for making it portentious, with the cleric’s voice disappearing and their deities booming out in YES… NO… terms, and we’ve had great joy with the dawning realisations on players as they get an unexpected answer and ponder what it means.

    Unless the deity answers only with YAY or NAY, and the PCs get so overwhelmed by the booming voice of divine power, they eventually have to make Perception checks to tell if the replies are positive or negative, because the two options sound so similar. 😉

    • Posts : 5728
    • Mind Flayer

    Also, this discussion on Contact Other Plane has some interesting thoughts and ideas:

    Delta said:

    As an aside, here’s another possible cheesy use of the spell: pick the lowest-level (safest) plane, ask your questions, and then just flip the answers, since most of them will be false by nature. In fact, the greater the falseness probability, the more reliable this tactic would be.

    Will said:

    Actually, I think that is something that could work well – it is certainly something my group might do. However, the gods don’t generally like it when mortals try to play them:

    “”This is very similar to the suggestion put forward by the Quirmian philosopher Ventre, who said, “Possibly the gods exist, and possibly they do not. So why not believe in them in any case? If it’s all true you’ll go to a lovely place when you die, and if it isn’t then you’ve lost nothing, right?”

    When he died he woke up in a circle of gods holding nasty-looking sticks and one of them said, “We’re going to show you what we think of Mr. Clever Dick in these parts…””
    -Terry Pratchett, /The Hogfather/

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