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Divinity
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Divinity
Publisher: Avalon Classic
by Andrew B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/26/2007 00:00:00

Divinity is a roleplaying game in which players take on the role of a god or similar divine being. Game play focuses on the interaction between the gods, their mortal followers, and other divine entities. Characters interact with their world in a number of predefined ways, depending on their personality and focus. A stealthy or tricky character, for example, might be good at using subterfuge, while a particularly benevolent divinity would likely have skill in empathy and etiquette. Task resolution is diceless, with players succeeding or failing at a given attempt based mainly on their power level. Players also have the option to bid "will points" to achieve more difficult tasks or overcome rival characters.

Divinity is a "rules light" game that stresses story over hard mechanics. In most cases, the rules exist primarily to encourage the players to stay in character and behave within the confines of the genre. Characters who use power beyond their normal abilities, or act in violation of their portfolios, run the risk of diminishing in worship and, eventually fading completely into obscurity. On the other hand, characters can grow in power by working within the confines of their defined roles, granting succor to their followers, and interacting with their divine peers.

By design, divinity is very abstract. It's a largely story-driven game, in which the rules take a back seat to character actions. I consider this design style a strength, but in some ways the rulebook suffers for it. The author seems to be writing somewhat stream of conscious, with thoughts and ideas presented in a disorganized fashion. For example, the first chapter gives a very brief listing and description of skills. Chapter two then gives a slightly more detailed skill list. Unfortunately, there's no clear design or layout reason for this division. There are a few other places where the author mentions a rule in brief, only to refer the reader to another, slightly more detailed section of the book where that rule is explained again. In another example, a section in chapter 3 actually refers the same chapter for more detail. I'm sure it was just a typo, but that sort of thing is potentially very confusing when you're trying to use this reference in actual game play.<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: I really like the idea behind this book. Playing a deity in a roleplaying game like this interests me, and I think that making it a largely abstract and story-driven game was a wise move. The rules, though light, support the intended style of play.

I should also point out that Divinity contains notes on using it for live action roleplaying. I have no experience or interest in LARPing, but it seems that these rules would lend themselves well to that sort of gaming. <br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Divinity lacks polish. The book needs stronger examples to help players understand how the game is meant to be played. The rules should be cleaned up and compiled, with all the mechanics kept in one location for ease of use. With stronger organization and the removal of a number of typos, Divinity could be turned into a nice little game.

I'm calling this book 2 and a half stars. I think Divinity would play fairly well at the table, as long as the GM has a good idea what he's doing. The typos and lack of clarity, however, drag the book below a 3 star rating. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Disappointed<br>



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