Chaplain and Prayer: The Guide

WIP:

  • Not too much to talk about for this, so I’ll do it as a quicky to warm up for finishing up my Botany guide.
  • Oh dear. I didn’t expect there to be this much code relating to the Chaplain. Oh well. I’ll leave this here, finish up after I’m done with Botany.
  • Botany part 1 is done, just going to add to this a bit, since some parts don’t require technical research.
  • Added Sermons guide, and some stuff about Null Rods
  • Added a big chunk to Prayers, and a big fat disclaimer in the intro
  • Brief initial examination of religion/faith RP in SS13, last section

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Job Responsibilities and Abilities
  3. Tools
  4. Preset Religions
  5. Sermons
  6. Prayer
  7. Opposing Antagonists
  8. Religion in Space Station 13
  9. Conclusion

Introduction
As one of the primarily roleplay jobs, Chaplains often do not utilize the role to its full potential. It’s a position that has only moderate, situational mechanical utility - if the round lacks administrative staff willing to indulge one’s prayers.
This guide will cover aspects of maximizing both mechanical and roleplaying utility, as a Chaplain.
Additionally, this guide will also cover how to get the most of the “praying” mechanic, which is available to all players.
I’ve tried to be as secular as possible in my examination of this topic. This guide relates entirely to the mechanics of the game, and is in no way a commentary on any real-life faiths. Don’t post about real-life faith or religion in this thread, and don’t respond to those who do.


Job Responsibilities and Abilities
The function of an effective Chaplain is two-fold.
Primarily, a Chaplain should concern themselves with the mental well-being of the crew. They execute this function by attending to “spiritual” based roleplaying. This manifests in many ways - from sermons, to funerals, to counselling. A superior Chaplain can help defuse non-antagonist conflicts between crew, and focus the crew towards a certain pursuit or project (typically in line with the goals of a Chaplain’s religion). To be as effective as possible in this pursuit - it’s absolutely vital to establish oneself among the regulars of the crew. A reputation for being a good-natured diplomat will aid one in interacting with the other members of the staff.
The second function of a Chaplain is to aid Security in combating certain antagonists. The methods to do so will be covered below.

The Chaplain is a member of the Civilian department. This means that they report to the Head of Personnel. As I described above, establishing a reputation is paramount in reaching the hearts and minds of the most crew possible. To facilitate this, it’s advisable to constantly introduce and make one’s services available to the HoP.

A Chaplain has Chapel Office, Crematorium, Morgue, and Theater access.

A Chaplain’s “mind” has the “holy” variable enabled by default. Aside from Admin spawns, and use of the Syndicate Bible (which makes the user “holy”, and causes 10 Brute damage in the process) - the Chaplain is the only member of the crew with this variable enabled.
One can only use the functions of a Holy Book if one is “holy”.
If one is “holy”, the alcoholic drink “Trappist Beer” restores 2.5 burn damage per tick.
If someone with the “Spiritual” quirk is within five tiles of someone who is “holy”, they will receive a minor mood buff.

The Chaplain begins a shift with a Null Rod, a Camera Obsurca, and a Holy Book.


Tools
There are a few tools available to a Chaplain. Variety comes in the form of selecting particular variants of tools, used to more effectively function in the context of a particular Preset Religion.

Holy Book
The job’s Bible - both literally, and figuratively. Likely the most useful tool in a Chaplain’s arsenal. In order to utilize any of the below functions, one must be “holy”. If a non-holy user attempts to use a Holy Book, it will inflict 10 Burn damage on them.

A Holy Book can heal others. You can accomplish this by simply attacking a human-type mob (though not necessarily a human species-type) with the Holy Book. Each damaged body part in the target will be healed by up to 10 Brute, and 10 Burn. By default, if the target has any mechanical limbs, it cannot be healed in this way. There is a 40% chance of inflicting 5 Brain damage to the target (up to 60 maximum), if the target is not wearing a helmet. If a user has the “clumsy” variable enabled, there is a 50% chance that healing will fail, inflict 10 Brute damage on the user, and render the user unconscious for 400 cycles.

A Holy Book can “bless” the Water reagent, contained inside any reagent holder - transforming into the Holy Water reagent.

By using a Holy Book in hand, a Chaplain can select the appearance of the Holy Book.

A Holy Book will be entitled “The Holy Book of [Religion]” - unless the selected Religion is included in the the “Preset Religions” section of the guide.

Null Rod
If the Holy Book is the Chaplain’s primary tool, The Null Rod is a Chaplain’s primary weapon. By default, it’s already an incredibly strong weapon - dealing 18 Brute damage, and is a Tiny item. By using it in-hand, one can “reskin” it. Some Null Rod “reskins” carry additional benefits.

  • God Hand
    The Null Rod takes on the appearance of a fiery hand, and is permanently stuck to one of the user’s hands. Damage becomes Burn, no other changes.

  • Blue/Red Staff
    Damage is reduced to 5, however - the Staff grants a 20% Block chance. It becomes a Huge item, which may only be stored on the Back slot.

  • Claymore
    If you want a proper weapon, this is it. The Null Rod becomes sharp, and now has a 30% Block chance, while maintaining its 18 Brute damage. It becomes Huge, but still fits on the Back and Belt slots.

  • Dark Blade
    As Claymore, with a cult-like asthetic twist. No mechanical differences from the Claymore.

  • Chainsaw
    Mechanically identical to the Claymore, except that it has all the functionality of a real chainsaw - albeit at a tool speed rate that is reduced to 1.5. It only fits in the Belt slot.

  • Glowing Claymore
    Mechanically identical to the Claymore, but only fits in a Belt slot.

  • Katana
    Mechanically identical to the Claymore, without the block chance.

  • Extradimensional Blade
    Mechanically identical to the Claymore, except the power of an attack is randomized between 1 and 30 Brute. Only fits in a Belt slot.

  • Light/Dark/Nautical Energy Sword
    Mechanically identical to the claymore. Only fit on the Belt slot.

  • … (TODO)

Holy Water
Holy Water has wide utility, especially in the context of combating certain antagonists. Antagonist-specifics effects of Holy Water will be covered below. General effects are included here.


Preset Religions
There is a selection of religions which deviate slightly from custom religions. In most cases, this simply manifests as an alternative title or description of a Holy Book.
Entries with more than one potential alternate Holy Book title all generate an equal chance of that title being picked. Additional effects from selecting a particular religion are also indicated.

  • Christianity:
    The Holy Bible, The Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Buddhism:
    The Sutras
  • Clownism, Honkmother, Honk, Honkism, Comedy:
    The Holy Joke Book, Just a Prank, Hymns to the Honkmother
  • Chaos:
    The Book of Lorgar
  • … (TODO)

Sermons
This is partly where the roleplay-heavy aspect of the job comes in. It’s entirely optional. No one forces a player to do this. However, as a way to increase the potential power of prayers, and to effectively communicate what your goals for the shift are, one can’t be some good old fashioned preaching.
To ensure the maximum number of people attend a sermon, it’s a good idea to do it more or less at the start of the shift. Have the AI, Captain, or HoP make an announcement - explaining that you’re doing a sermon, when you’re doing it, and for what religion. You want to phrase your announcement in such a way that is concise, but attractive to the most number of people.
There are two ways to approach the creation of a sermon - ad-libbing, or pre-planned. In either case, the best way to create a sermon is to have a topic in mind, and then address that within the context of how your religion views the world. Use this topic as a pretense to give directives to the crew, that they can optionally follow.
Keep sermons short. Three to five minutes, at the absolute upper limit. Don’t stop for anything. Ignore cat-calling, and just keep motoring on until you’ve said what you’ve needed to say.
Make careful note of how many people attended your sermon. You can use this as the basis of an effective prayer later.
It’s certainly possible to have more than one sermon in a shift - but you garner the increasing risk of fatal disruptions, or simple lack of attendance - as people become busy in their work.
Make yourself available after the sermon to answer questions. Be provocative in your selected topic to encourage this. Get people engaged!


Prayer
((TODO: Precise Prayer code mechanics, shuffle around some sections so that they make more sense/are easier to read))
A prayer is an in-character message to the Administrative staff. One uses the “pray” verb, found in the IC tab, to open up a text input box, which then appears for Administrators to view. The path to an effective prayer is to have a dual perspective. As a player, one knows that one is simply addressing another human. As a character, one should be motivated by the inherent “faith” of one addressing their “God”. By weaving these perspectives together - a prayer that accomplishes its intended function is born. There are two primary functions of a prayer. The first is to request. The second is to inform. One can wind the latter into the former, to make a request more likely to be received with favor. Always remember - any kind of prayer permits Administrators to do whatever they want to the one who prays.

The first thing one should do when attempting to interact with the “Gods” through prayer is to check and see if there are any on the server. Use the “adminwho” verb in the Admin tab. If there are none online, then one cannot expect a prayer to be answered. A crucial variable in the formula that determines if a prayer is attended to are the number Administrators online, in proportion to the number of players online. The more Administrators, and the less players, the greater the chance.

The key to prayer from an OOC perspective is to be noticed, and to elicit a response. One needs to make an overwhelming “argument” to the Administrator, denoting why one deserves their special attention. So much so, that the Administrator is willing to come back time and time again through the round, between answering tickets.
Some basic psychology - one tends to notice things in a sequence that come first, and last. Approaching this from the perspective of a Chaplain, the first thing one should do in a round is pray. Do not include a request in this overture, even for direction. Its purpose is to establish one’s entire round is free game for the Administrator, and to inform them one exists.
Being that one’s initial goal is to attract attention, place great emphasis on any kind of attention. Positive, negative, major, or minor. If an Administrator responds in any way, no matter how slight, one should blow it completely out of proportion. Make a gigantic fuss about it, extremely publicly. This allows the Administrator to feel the agency of their interaction with oneself.
For example, after one particular prayer, an Administrator sent down a bikehorn to me, in a very slow pod. I had my character completely flip his lid, and demand that the entire crew come to the Chapel to see this “Relic of the Gods”. To briefly touch on an IC aspect of this - imagine if one prayed to one’s God in real life, and they sent something down, literally from the heavens. How would one react to that? Mirror that with the reaction of one’s character.
If one is a Chaplain - sermons, as described above, are an excellent way to get noticed. Include the exact number of people who attended in your prayer. Partially, the OOC goal is to provide “faith” based roleplaying to the crew. Place emphasis on this. Gather as many “followers” as one can. A great way to visually represent this without taking people away from their jobs is to have them contribute some kind of physical item. Perhaps have them each light a candle on their way out of the sermon, or something of that nature.
Persistence often yields rewards as well. If all else fails, this may provide a route to opening interactions between oneself, and the Administrator attending to one’s prayers. However, one needs to walk the razor’s edge between irritating, and insistent. An excellent way to accomplish this is to make one’s prayers progressively longer, and maintain a steady interval of about one prayer per 5 to 10 minutes. This illustrates to the Administrator that one cares about the prayer, and thus helps to minimize potential reprisals. Use the intervening time to add to the list of actions that one has done in the name of one’s “God”. The more dramatic, and appropriate to the tenants of one’s “faith”, the better. For example, sacrificing a monkey on the alter is not as likely to yield results if one is of the in-character “Christian” faith. A better way to gain attention might be to heal the sick, or feed the hungry, or something of that nature. Conversely, if one follows “Cthulhu” in-character, a blood sacrifice would be entirely appropriate.

Now, to shift to the IC aspects of a prayer, and how to optimally go about them.
The format of a prayer should be that of a faithful person addressing their “God”. Remember - this is an entirely in-character format of communication. One would not kneel in a church, clasp their hands together, and send the thought “lol can I have some clown shoes?” spiraling up to their maker. For example, one might start all prayers with “Lord,” - and finish with “Amen”. One should modulate this formula, based on the “religion” that one’s character follows.

Now that an effective prayer has been constructed - it’s almost finished. We’ve constructed the rocket to bring our message skyward, but it lacks a payload. This is why the most essential ingredient in a prayer, is a request. Many understand this, but they focus on it exclusively - a payload without a rocket, to carry the metaphor.
The key to an effective request is to make it somewhat vague, and mechanically easy for an Administrator to execute. My first request is always centered around asking my “God” for a directive. A goal that needs to be accomplished. As mentioned above, it’s important for an Administrator to feel as if they have some level of agency. As one who prays plays the role of a member of faith, it’s the Administrator’s job to play the role of a “God”. Play into that! The request for a directive also provides a platform for further requests, as more aspects of that directive are accomplished. If one fails to perform the given directive, one might request some kind of additional tool or information to accomplish it.
Once a mutually beneficial relationship has been established between player and administrator, the fun can begin. As denoted above, requests should be easy for the Administrator to fulfill. Information that isn’t too critical or clear is an easy thing for them to give. Sending items via a pod is a little more mechanically involved for them. Making changes to the game map requires total concentration of the Administrator’s attention. Requests should scale with the amount of effort placed into one’s actions in the name of one’s “God”.


Opposing Antagonists
The Chaplain has several tools at their disposal which can magnify the effectiveness of Security in their struggle against some antagonists. As a Chaplain, one should never be a front-line combatant, or look for a fight alone. Consider oneself in a supporting role in this context. This section covers exclusively mechanical aspects of combating antagonists as a Chaplain.

General

Blood Cultists

Clockwork Cultists

Wizards

Revenants


Religion in Space Station 13
Religion in the game, as with prayers, is the function of an in-character and out-of-character perspective. Good roleplayers leave little seeds of themselves in their characters, to give them points to anchor realistic responses to. Because of this strange amalgamation, faith-based roleplaying can be difficult to execute effectively. Outside of the Chapel and Chaplain, I have only very, very rarely seen a player discussing the faith of their character. Mechanics bolster roleplaying, as roleplaying should bolster mechanics. The cycle falls flat because there’s generally no perceived mechanical interaction. The mechanics of religion in Space Station 13 are much more ethereal, because it relies almost exclusively on a dialogue between player and Administrator, with next to no automation. The sensation of ineffectiveness in this sphere or roleplaying comes from this lack of automation. It is devoid of the formula which dictates that a certain given input should result in a certain given output.
This considered, one should reexamine the entire premise. Instead of the expectation of simple input to output, one should use religion in the game as a foundation for interaction. One should use faith-based roleplaying to foster a sense of a moral code in the eyes of other players, and then allow that to grow into either allegiance, or rivalry - based on the faith of the character with whom one is interacting with. Making one’s beliefs known influence one’s image in the eyes of others. Consider how this might yield very positive, palpable benefits. For example, the impact of something like - “No officer, I couldn’t have murdered that man - my faith forbids it” - is magnified if one is consistent in the application a character’s faith, not just for the span of a single round, but over many.


Conclusion

4 Likes

Dont forget that farting on a bible ends horribly

1 Like

Ha, I won’t. Still a ton more of this to fill in - I hugely underestimated how much code goes into the Chaplain/Prayers. Such is life.

Posting this update, because the “Prayer” section is mostly finished now - and that’s half the purpose of this guide. I’ll not make further update posts, and instead just edit the OP, then make a final update post when the whole thing is done.

Input, thoughts, feelings on it so far?

EDIT: If more experienced administrators who regularly answer prayers could weigh in, that’d be very valuable.

Emmm if you are talking about the hanzo steel, im preety sure it can block bullets like 100% of the time but your hand gets stamina dmg.I once blocked like 3 slugs in a row.

I’m going from the Null Rod code. I do need to examine the precise mechanics of blocking, as this is WIP so far and I haven’t yet, but I highly doubt any block chance can reach 100%. If I do find that it somehow has a 100% block chance, I’ll immediately make a github issue to get that tweaked.

Dude it doesnt block when people hit you but if someone fires a projectile you block it almost always.But after like 2 blocks your hand stops being usable and you drop the sword.I think its an intended feature.

Interesting! I’ll lay out the specifics of the code mechanics later.

Or just get lucky that I don’t feel like gibbing your ass.

Just kidding, nice prayer is good and might be listened to.
Bad one? Well, prepare for cluwne :flushed:

My deity is the honkmother, I dream of cluwne

Sacred chainsword is pretty based, someone tries disarming you they get attacked