Cult of the Übermensch

So talking to a friend regarding ACKS and its tampering with mortality table and he pretty much instantly came up with the idea for a Cult of the Übermensch. Basically you'd have a group of 1000+ (however many you need) who you constantly cast Restore Life and Limb on waiting for them to hit that 26+ and roll a 6 to improve their prime requisite by 2. Then you cast again on those who improve their stats, probably cast reincarnation on those with terrible problems and so on ad infiniteum. So eventually you'd have someone who'd auto-pass the roll because their wisom was simply that high. 


Initially I thought it might be a problem that they'd roll too many 2's with its -10% to xp penalty, but you have 2 results which remove all negative effects (also means they'd get to eat meat). Then you can simply kill them over and over and cast reincarnate till they roll max on their strength. 


Of course you'd have this cult be made out of Monks who have 4 prime reqs. Once you had high enough Wisdom (+30 just to be safe) you could start improving their Dex to make them unhittable, their Con to make them nigh immortal and their Charisma so they can take over the world (of course!).


I see no problems with this plan whatsoever.

I’m pretty sure human stats are capped at 18 in ACKS…

Yes, but even then it could work a 18 wisdom 18 charisma 18 dexterity 18 constitution monk is a powerfull character. 

and a hell of a commander/general

The "-1 for each effect already suffered" will eventually bite the cult. Let's assume you start with an 18 WIS and a 14th-level cleric in their temple, which is the most advantageous set of circumstances. That's +10 to your roll. You need a 16+ to get onto the line with +2 stat, so that's a 25% chance, and you have a 1/6 chance of getting the +2, so it's roughly a 4% chance of getting the result you want. If you don't get it, you're down to a 20% chance on the next roll, due to the -1. Working out the math, you have five chances to get the +2 to prime, and those five chances have a cumulative 12% chance of occurring, so if you start with 8 characters with 18 WIS, 1 of them will succeed. So, that's 1,728 people (since 1-in-216 have an 18 WIS) to get a single +2 to a prime attribute.

I always interpreted "each effect already suffered" as only applying if there are permanent effects, so "You wake up fine!" doesn't increase your count.

I personally consider anything other than a ‘no side effects’ result to be a side effect, and thus incur the -1.

(This includes the beneficial results.)

I also would rule that removing the negative side effects does not remove the penalty; they were still suffered, just because they’re healed doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.

Not including the 12 "you don't wake up" results, 26 of the 36 "it's alive!" results (72.2%) have permanent effects. Working off the +10 chart that is the absolute best you could possibly get, 14 out of 24 (58.3%) have permanent effects, and it gets worse from there on down. It helps a bit, but it's still poor odds.

Well with regards to scale that can always be increased :D 

With regards to morale, you don't actually have to kill anyone (well, you do but you do that after all the side effects get too much). Just casting Restore Life & Limb on someone means they have to roll on the table (side note, that can actually make it a pretty devestating offensive spell. Cast it on something that has high enough saves to deal with anything else, they have to roll on the table and assuming they don't actually get the 26+, they instantly require bed rest at best, and bad things happen to them at worst :D).

When side effects become too much of a problem, *then* you kill them and cast Reincarnate to remove all the major problems (it may bring other problems).

Someone also mentioned that humans couldn't exceed 18, but honestly thats just from natural sources, which lets face it, the gods certainly don't count in that :P. And there are a few forum posts with people asking Alex for how bonuses work above 18 (usually through casting of wish or homegrown magical item).

In terms of recruitment, you basically delegate, you find a henchmen with 18 cha, with diplomacy and with leveling up get them to have mystic aura to improve your recruitment drive!

On further reflection, morale and demographics may also pose difficulties to this plan.

To be a monk at all requires 9+ in their prime reqs, which means that ~30% of 1st level adventurers are qualified to be monks.

If you have a 9th level cleric doing your RL&L, then you need input monks with at least 16 Wis. This additional constraint drops the percentage of qualified 1st-level adventurers down to 1.8% (assuming all characters qualified to become monks become monks; call it a cultural factor). 1 in 12 characters are 1st level, so that means that 1 in 1 in 600 are qualified monks for this cult. If you need 1000 monks, then you need to be recruiting from a population of 600,000 people, or 120,000 families, and that’s making some dubious assumptions about distribution of characters among classes.

Perhaps a better avenue for the demographic argument might be through Domains at War: Campaigns’ realm-scale recruiting system. Treating 1st-level monks as Exotic mercenaries with a monthly wage of 25gp (per ACKS Core p51), we observe that in a Principality there are 77.4 monks available per month (at a cost to find them of 1750gp/mo, on average). Of those, assuming a +1 Charisma for your cult leader (they are a cult leader, after all, but still a cleric so Cha is not a prime req), only about 40% will enter your service, so you’re getting about 31 monks per month. Consequently, gathering 1000 monks will take almost three years, at a total recruiting cost of ~56,500gp (plus wages for the monks you hired from the beginning, which total another ~409,000gp if I’m doing my math right). And you will need permission from a prince to recruit in his territory for that entire time. Once you have 1000 monks, you will need 25,000gp/mo to keep them paid (curiously, monasticism doesn’t seem to effect henchman wages).

So: gathering 1000 monks requires about three years, half a million GP, and political connections.

So let’s say you finally have your thousand monks with +1 morale, on average (from your cult leader’s +1 Cha, recall). Every time you kill one of them to RL&L him, his morale permanently goes down by 1, because dying is a calamity. My simulations suggest that if your cult leader has only +1 charisma, you will run out of monks (in expectation) after six resurrections each. If you have +3 charisma (or +1 and Command), about 1.5% of your monks get stuck in a Fanatical loop, where their morale increases without bound (assuming that Fanatical results on loyalty rolls stack with each other), because once you have morale of +10 or so, you always roll Fanatical and the +2 from Fanatical more than offsets the -1 from the calamity. With higher input morales (from Command and similar), that proportion gets higher; about 29% become fanatical death-addicts at +5 input morale. At +2 morale, about 0.1%, a single one of your thousand monks, becomes a fanatic. This is, of course, ignoring any early “retirements” due to buildup of side effects. So… depending on your charisma, you may want more monks than you initially thought.

Continuing the +1 cha example, you’re also looking at difficulties making this process efficient in terms of time as a result of spellcaster availability. If you’re a 9th level cleric, you only get 1 RL&L per day. Bringing the process to its morale-failing conclusion involves casting on the order of 2000 Restore Life and Limbs, with a total market value of another million gp and (at 9th-10th level with a single caster) another three years of opportunity cost in adventures not taken (oh, and another million GP or so in wages for the monks as they gradually resign, in the best case). I suspect that with a budget of 2.5 million GP and six years of adventuring time, there are probably better ways to take over the world than producing one monk with 18 in four stats.

Going up to a Kingdom only raises your monks per month to 108 (43 instead of 33 after hiring rolls). Good luck getting personal permission from the Emperor of Aura to recruit all the monks in the realm for your crazy death cult (520/mo base, 208 after hiring rolls, still almost six months, 16kgp in recruiting costs and ~100kgp in paid waiting wages).

“This spell restores life to a deceased creature” is pretty unambiguous in terms of what constitutes a valid target.

That depends on your theology and cosmology.

Honestly the correct way to play this is probably as a bard PC, with one or more cleric henchmen.

“This spell restores life to a deceased creature” is pretty unambiguous in terms of what constitutes a valid target.

To be fair, it can also be used to restore mortal wounds. I had never assumed that you needed to kill them first so you could fix their broken leg. (ACKS Core page 104 suggests that you can cast it on a still-living target.)

Eh, now we're just haggling over *how* we're creating a god amongst man :P

I'd say it should be within the gods power to improve stats, as Miracle is basically asking for the God's help and it's the counterpart of Wish, which is capable of improving stats. 

Bard might be the best option, although I could see this as the endgame of a Lich-ified mage with way too much time on their hands (bonus points, they probably could have already conquered the world and this is what they do to pass the time)

As stated above, the spell is also used to cure people of mortal wounds, its just not often used for that as generally the side effects are things you want to avoid.

Fair enough! (We’ve always played it the same way, TBH) Nevertheless, the spell’s text does imply that it is not useful offensively: “Each time a character benefits from restore life and limb, he must roll on the Tampering with Mortality table in Chapter 6 and apply these results.” As casting it on a perfectly healthy, unmaimed and living target provides the target no benefit, it would also not provide the target a side effect. Consequently, you still need to inflict a mortal wound per cycle on each of your monks, which is still a calamity and potential morale problem.

But of course we are! I did not claim it would never work, just that it would be more difficult and expensive and less effective than you anticipated, and that those resources would likely be better used, say, on a horde of horse-archers.

Eh, a creative DM will find a way. Wishes lack deific oversight. Perhaps the gods of Law and Chaos have agreed to rules of the Great Game, and raising stats over 18 is a violation, which will provoke concessions for Chaos. As a result, Law refuses. Do you think to demand, to take advantage of the beneficence of the gods, mortal? Such hubris! (This is one reason that I hate clerics - there is no sense of the capriciousness, the pettiness, of old-school, Old World deities. When was the last time one of your cleric’s henchmen was turned to a pillar of salt for a minor transgression?) Perhaps arbitrarily high stat-boosting is how the gods got to be gods, and hence they deny this to mortals out of self-interest. Perhaps any character with Wisdom over 18 is enlightened enough to reject the material world, seeing it for what it is, and is compelled to live the simple and Stoic Good Life rather than adventuring or pursuing power. The final DM hard-counter is, of course “You may be the first one to have thought of this in real life, but that doesn’t mean you’re the first one to think of it in the gameworld. So either this doesn’t work for some cosmological reason, or someone has already done it, in which case a whole cadre of custom-classed religious assassins with infinite Str, Dex, and Wis will come find you as soon as their circle of custom-classed cleric/wizards with infinite Wis and Int divine your intention. So… your call.”

Depending on the heritability of ability scores, I suspect selective breeding would be easier than grinding RL&L side effects if you actually had immortal quantities of time on your hands.

Per my reply to Aryx, RL&L does specify that it produces a side effect only if a target “benefits” from it. Since an unmaimed target receives no benefit, you still need at least a mortal wound per cycle, which is still a calamity and carries the same morale consequences.

I love this thread! I have nothing add other than "huzzah!"

Hmm, honestly I'd say just knife 'em one first. Go in with 1d4 damage, then 'heal' them. Congrats, you just 'benefitted' from life and limb, the gods are now playing russian roulette with your soul :D

Oh, actually *using* this in a game is kind of like wanting to play as Pun Pun. Allowing anyone to even try would probably ruin the game for most of the people involved (either DM lets you do it and you distort the power balance too much, or they don't through some method and the player is just angry at being screwed over). 

Any sane DM would simply stop this before anyone even started this, and there are so many ways to do it like simply saying Restore Life & Limb is *all* the gods judging a soul, and they don't look kindly on having it turn into a real job, it's more a hobby. There are boatloads of ways to stop this, and honestly the only way it would work in a real game is if everyone was involved in it.

And to be fair, that actually sounds pretty damn cool. Basically you're entire party are playing the evil cult, with some people working on 'recruitment' some on securing the finances, some on handling the magical side of things. You could basically play it as sort of some 'heroic party' who constantly have 2 faces, one to convince the masses and any form of government/overlord, and one moving in the shadows towards their own goals.

You could even say that the reason why you'd have to come up with this method as opposed to a god simply 'giving' you the power, is that perhaps its a pantheon where rules between deities (good, evil, other) are set out, with minimal interference in the mortal realm beyond empowering certain levels of cleric with certain levels of spells. As clerics 'level' their god is allowed to give them access to more power. Basically the parties god (prooobably evil in this circumstance :D) has found a loop-hole within the rules between deities that allows them to gift more power, but the party has to set it up. 

It'd even work as a general thrust of a campaign, as when the plan really starts rolling, other deities notice whats going on and send their followers against the parties' cult, leading to a massive confrontation where the party is rushing to finish the ritual before the heroes can bust in and stop them.

Just whip them once for 1d2 damage - it's a bit safer in case someone rolled poorly for HP.


(Or, if you're using my house rules for weapon sizes and materials, have a halfling with a wooden dagger stab them for 1 damage)

Except that nothing in the rules as written implies that Restore Life and Limb ever heals hit point damage under any circumstances. While the Resurrection ritual spell specifies that its subject returns at full HP, RL&L is tellingly silent on the issue of hit points for targets which are not dead at the time of casting (and the section on using it to heal living subjects is explicitly predicated on permanent damage, ie mortal wounds - “If a character suffers permanent damage, a restore life and limb spell, regeneration spell, ring of regeneration, or similar magic can eliminate any penalties caused.”). Further, the fact that a character on bed rest after RL&L cannot regain HP naturally or magically also suggests that RL&L does not heal HP damage. This is consistent with the general interpretation of HP in D&D; that losing them is representative of minor, superficial injuries and fatigue, rather than bodily harm. This is made particularly explicit in ACKS via the clear separation between mortal wounds (serious bodily harm) and HP. A spell which so drains you that you must rest for a week should not be expected to fix your fatigue!

I believe that a charitable interpretation of the effects of RL&L, supportable by the text, is something like this: if cast on a living, HP-damaged, but unmaimed subject, nothing happens. If cast on a living, damaged subject with one or more permanent injuries, those injuries are fixed, a side effect is acquired, and the subject is stuck at its current level of damage for the duration of its bedrest period (as it is unable to heal during that time). If cast on a dead subject, they return to life with 1HP (consistent with recovery from unconsciousness following a mortal wound), and remain there for the duration of their bedrest.