Divine Daily/Encounter Limits

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It was a thought that came to me the other day, but I don't really understand how the limited daily/encounter system works (logically) with divine powers. From a balance perspective I do, and I even know how it's supposed to be, but it just doesn't make sense.


Primal, Shadow, and Psionic powers tax your body, soul, and mind respectively. That all makes sense. Arcane makes sense as only being able to hold so many spells at the edge of your mind (though why you can't re-prepare daily spells mid-day confuses me). Even Martial powers, which are what most people seem to get confused about, seem to make sense as a combination of a character not doing a risky move after exhausting themselves and battlefield circumstances. But the Divine spells are granted by the character's deity, and I don't really see it as being a limitation of the character sort of thing.

The best answer I've seen is that the deity places limit on the amount of power they will grant, but why? If it's a matter of not making a worshipper compacent with divine power, why penalize them in the event of an ambush after exhaustingly using their alloted blessings to halt an undead horde? Why, when the follower is doing your direct commands in asssaulting your rival god or an Archdemon, would you decide to just cut them off?

If I have missed something obvious, or posted this in the wrong sub-section or something (new poster!) I appologize in advance.
Divine magic comes from the gods, which grant power to their devotees that they access through prayers and litanies. Some prayers can be recited at-will, some prayers can only be recited after  meditation and or meals and some daily prayers can only be recited a limited number of time in a day according to their ethos, rite, practices etc...

How is that?

RC
 111 Divine: Divine magic comes from the gods. The gods grant power to their devotees, which clerics and paladins, for example, access through prayers and litanies. Divine magic excels at healing, protection, and smiting the enemies of the gods. Divine powers are called prayers.

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

I was aware that it was the deity answering prayers and other religious rites. What you provided about being limited by tradition or some secular practice is certainly an answer that makes some sense (enough to work with certain flavored characters, anyway), but it still doesn't seem like something that would expressly limit the number of "higher" powers you can use each encounter/day.

I'm not looking for an answer that HAS to be from the sourcebooks (although I'll gladly take one from them) or one that has to fit every last power, but I would like to know any explanations people have found/thought out.
You could look at it as the character petitioning the gods generically for aid, and the gods deciding what aid they would most benefit from according to their capricious whims.  It's only the PLAY who knows his character is about to cast Moment of Glory - the CHARACTER might just be screaming to Tempus for aid, and taking what comes.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
It's all the primal spirits' doing, ultimately. The gods are strictly limited in how much they are allowed to meddle in the mortal world because of the Primal Ban enacted at the end of the Dawn War. Think of it as each divine character having a broadband internet connection with a monthly bandwidth limit imposed by the primal spirits. A cleric's power source (his deity) is theoretically infinite: it won't run out any more than the internet will run out of porn data. But his link to that power source relies on the agreement of the primal spirits, who can regulate the flow of divine power, just as your internet connection relies on the agreement of your ISP (and government) and can be regulated by them.

"My flying carpet is full of elves."

But the Divine spells are granted by the character's deity, and I don't really see it as being a limitation of the character sort of thing.



If I understand correctly, this was the case before, but not anymore in 4th.

In 4th, Divine spells are energy taken from the Astral Plane and given shape and are no longer directly granted by dieties anymore. It's most clear with the Paladin class who no longer loses any of their class powers if they betray their oaths or go against the precepts of their patron diety.

In fact, being a cleric or paladin of a diety probably doesn't offer you any direct connection to said dieties. Which sorta makes more sense considering that dieties in D&D were never omnicient, and probably don't really answer prayers, let alone listen to them all. Dieties in D&D are just superpowered, trans-dimensional, immortal beings.

This makes divine casters more like arcane caster that can only pull energy from another plane so many times before they need to recover themselves, sorta like a spiritual muscle getting exhausted.

To me this makes a lot more sense than a diety having to grant spells to all their followers every day.
It was a thought that came to me the other day, but I don't really understand how the limited daily/encounter system works (logically) with divine powers. From a balance perspective I do, and I even know how it's supposed to be, but it just doesn't make sense.


Primal, Shadow, and Psionic powers tax your body, soul, and mind respectively. That all makes sense. Arcane makes sense as only being able to hold so many spells at the edge of your mind (though why you can't re-prepare daily spells mid-day confuses me). Even Martial powers, which are what most people seem to get confused about, seem to make sense as a combination of a character not doing a risky move after exhausting themselves and battlefield circumstances. But the Divine spells are granted by the character's deity, and I don't really see it as being a limitation of the character sort of thing.

The best answer I've seen is that the deity places limit on the amount of power they will grant, but why? If it's a matter of not making a worshipper compacent with divine power, why penalize them in the event of an ambush after exhaustingly using their alloted blessings to halt an undead horde? Why, when the follower is doing your direct commands in asssaulting your rival god or an Archdemon, would you decide to just cut them off?

If I have missed something obvious, or posted this in the wrong sub-section or something (new poster!) I appologize in advance.

You could explain this a few ways:

The mortal being can only accept so much divine power in a single day. Higher level PCs are spiritually stronger and can conduct more divine power.

The primal spirits/laws of magic/etc make it hard to draw forth the magic of the gods, a character becomes tired when doing this.

Divine power can only be directed in certain specific circumstances, divine powers are simply plot coupons that the player uses to determine when and where the gods can intervene.

Finally there are no hard and fast limits. The DM is free to grant PCs boons and extra powers in whatever degree he sees fit in keeping with the narrative. The rules only provide for the ordinary case, which could represent what the gods will grant without any greater consideration. Once the PC attempts to draw more power (IE basically if you say "Oh great Kord, grant your servant the power to destroy your enemy!" when you have no powers left) then Kord may look down and say "Oh, yeah, sure" or he might look down and say "Ho, hum, you better use your own strength", or "I already invested more than you were worth", etc.

1e AD&D actually had guidelines in the DMG for this kind of thing. If a character literally requested direct divine intervention then the DM was supposed to go through a long laundry list of possible factors to decide just how likely it was that aid would be forthcoming. Of course it wasn't always a good thing when the gods took notice of you, but as a last ditch throw of the dice...
That is not dead which may eternal lie