Author Topic: Help with epic gestalt cleric needed  (Read 7159 times)

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Madwand

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Re: Help with epic gestalt cleric needed
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2009, 03:24:56 AM »
Thanks for the tips! Ring of nine lives seems like a good idea, and the maneuvers you mentioned also sound better than what I had before.

Some of the other stuff I'm not sure about though. Delay Death/Beastland Ferocity only helps until -9 hp, unless you know of a ruling otherwise. Also, I do have a starmantle cloak and evasion from rogue 2, but I've seen posts on ENWorld discussing a CustServ ruling that they don't work together, and I tend to agree with that ruling.

Disciple of the Sun/Turn Anathema seem like an insane combination - starting from level 3, a turn-focused cleric can make almost any level-appropriate evil encounter go "poof". That's amazing! I don't know why this hasn't been discussed on the CharOp boards before.

I'm still looking for thoughts about dealing with high SR. I know of almost no "SR no" cleric spells. Assay Spell Resistance is all well and good for 1 shot, but that can't be the only answer.

Owl's Insight is a touch-range spell, and therefore by my reading, is most definitely non-persistable. If there has been a sage advice ruling allowing persist spell to apply to touch-range, I'd be glad to know about it.

Echoes

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Re: Help with epic gestalt cleric needed
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2009, 04:35:43 AM »
Touch is a fixed range, ergo you can persist it just fine.

What is the CustServ ruling? If it's the "Evasion only works on spells/magical effects" line I've heard before, that's crap. Evasion works on "an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save ...". The starmantle cloak makes any attack by a magical weapon have a Reflex save for half. Thus, Evasion applies. Because of the word normally, people think that means that the original attack has to provide a save. However, if you wear a starmantle cloak attacks made against you with magical weapons allow a Reflex save for half, thus changing what is "normal" for you. The cloak itself alters what attacks normally do against you, which is all Evasion cares about.

The interaction between beastland ferocity and delay death work like this: beastland ferocity allows you to remain active while disabled or dying, though you still die at -10 HP, while delay death extends the -10 cap to infinity. Since you don't die at -10 thanks to delay death, beastland ferocity keeps you going until the spell(s) run out. Although RAW you wouldn't gain the +4 Enhancment bonus to Strength once you drop past -9 HP, the remaining active while disabled or dying part of the spell is not tied to a particular HP total. So long as you would normally be disabled or dying, you can act normally.

Edit: I finally found turn anathema. From the wording, I don't think it works with Disciple of the Sun. Turn anathema is pretty specific in saying "This spell allows only turning, not rebuking or destroying, even if you normally rebuke rather than turn." Even with the feat, it seems the spell itself automatically alters the attempt to only turn (the rebuking example), regardless of what other effect you would normally generate. Planar Turning + Disciple of the Sun works, but the SR-as-Turn Resistance schtick kicks that in the teeth pretty hard (even without the normal doubling for turning, Epic creatures tend to have crazy-go-nuts SR).
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 04:44:11 AM by Echoes »
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Madwand

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Re: Help with epic gestalt cleric needed
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2009, 05:24:59 AM »
http://www.enworld.org/forum/d-d-3rd-edition-rules/159853-starmantle-cloak-improved-evasion.html

Which is more than enough for me, because becoming immune to attacks is broken, especially once all the DMs critters get it. After all, why wouldn't every epic critter or character get this combination? It's just too good not to. An AC of 100+ should be enough, and if it isn't, I can find ways to raise it even more. I can probably get an AC well over 200 if necessary using epic spells.

I see how you interpret Beastland ferocity, I just disagree with the interpretation. Fortunately, because it is again a broken combination. Infinite hitpoints = bad, especially when killing things any other way is that much harder at epic levels.

Just as well with Turn Anathema. It would, again, probably be broken and get characters banned. It's probably balanced with Planar Turning.

Brainpiercing

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Re: Help with epic gestalt cleric needed
« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2009, 05:52:24 AM »
Sounds good. I plan to try to get around the "Random spells" thing using Ordained Champions channel spell ability.

I don't like Greater Consumptive Field. It's either completely abusive, or it interferes with my other class abilities like Delay Death and Immortal Fortitude.
Well, GCF IS one of those "writers were on crack" spells. So while I think a properly nerfed GCF (For instance to kill only half unbuffed CL creatures) is perfectly fine in epic, it's understandable to not use it.

Quote
ToB in epic worries me. I've done my best to take useful maneuvers. These are the one's I plan to typically ready, if there are better options I'd like to know:

[spoiler]
Crusader Maneuvers:
White Raven Tactics
Shadow Blink
Order Forged from Chaos
Greater Divine Surge
Diamond Nightmare Blade
Time Stands Still
Strike of Perfect Clarity
Adamantine Hurricane

Swordsage Maneuvers:
Rapid Counter (Counter)
Moment of Alacrity (Boost)
Iron Heart Focus (Counter)
Scorpion Parry (Counter)
Iron Heart Surge
Quicksilver Motion (Boost)
Comet Throw

Stances:
Iron Guards Glare
Leading the Charge
Thicket of Blades
Aura of Perfect Order
Immortal Fortitude
Stance of Clarity
[/spoiler]

Well, you obviously have more maneuvers than you will use, but perhaps shift them around to using only those that allow either a supercharge (Sudden Leap/Battle Jump shenanigans) or huge damage in combinations, and use only utility stuff for the rest, and use more boosts or counters rather than strikes. You have a number of boosts already, which is good.
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I plan to cast persistent wraithstrike with Miracle. Giant Size is situational, but excellent. Owl's Insight isn't persistable, so it will be situational. I'm not worried about saving throw DCs nearly as much as I am worried about spell resistance.
Owl's Insight is persistable via the Hierophant dip that gives a fixed 30ft range to touch spells. (Divine Reach.) NOT having it is a pain, so I would do that.
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A (partial) Mindblank effect will be available via epic magic. These are the epic spells I've planned on using:
Fortify: +20 enhancement bonus to any chosen stat
17+2*19=55
-23 Fortify: 0 spell resistance
30 Duration 12.5 days
Mitigating Factors:
-42 Backlash 42d6
-18 10 minute casting time
-2  Personal target
Total 0
Backlash damage does NOT work like that. You take Backlash damage PER ROUND of duration!!! Those spells would kill you.
Quote
In conclusion: Epic spells are totally broken. I'm not even trying hard here! +20 to all stats for 1 feat is stupid.

I'd still like to hear some thoughts on the "Disciple of the Sun" divine feat. Would it work in conjunction with "Planar Turning" or the "Turn Anathema" spell?

Epic spells are certainly broken in the sense of normal D&D, but Epic itself isn't normal D&D anymore. The world becomes all skewed. BUT those you had all don't work like that, anyway, so you're going to have to find other mitigating factors. If you wish to keep a semblance of balance you could suggest a houserule that only half the DC can be made up by mitigating factors. That's what we did after I got my ritual casted +70 stat spells on the table for no money (thanks to 19 Lvl 7 spells contributed to the casting or so.)

I wouldn't bother with the turning, myself. The reason being that with the amount of damage you and the other players will be able to churn out, it's highly likely that your DM will have to give bonus HD to monsters on a regular basis. My epic group at lvl 30 got to fight a monster with 258HD!![Well, in the campaign it was supposed to be Asmodeus, except I don't buy it, he acted like a retard - as necessarily at that level, I guess.]

On the Starmantle issue: IMHO the entire Starmantle thing is retarded, and I use neither the spell nor the cloak. It's not inherently broken to be immune to melee damage in epic, but you SHOULD have to work a LITTLE BIT for it.

Madwand

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Re: Help with epic gestalt cleric needed
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2009, 06:40:06 AM »
I've tried to make sure the ToB maneuvers I use have only a few (of the best) strikes. Most of the rest are utility effects, many of which I can use several at a time due to RKV's "Divine Impetus".

I've looked at the Divine Reach ability of Hierophant, and I don't believe it makes touch spells persistable. It doesn't change the "Range" entry of the spell at all, just "allows" the spell to be cast at 30'. Still, it's a good ability and I imagine I'll want to pick it up eventually. It's also nice that Heirophant levels specifically stack for spellcasting.

The Backlash thing... yeah, I saw that too. But I also saw that the Epic writers completely ignored that "gotcha" when they designed the epic spells themselves. The worst offender is the "Origin Of Species: Achaierai" spell here:
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/spells/originOfSpeciesAchaierai.htm
...which has the spellcaster taking 50d6 damage each round for the rest of his life! Not only that, even on a short duration spell that kind of backlash damage just doesn't make sense as a penalty, the mitigating factor just wouldn't be worth it. My conclusion is to just ignore it as something that _should_ have errata, hopefully the DM agrees. Maybe I've missed something and this kind of penalty is justified?

As for being immune to melee/ranged damage... I would be very worried if this were possible in all but the rarest of cases. This is because, from what I've seen, it becomes very easy to become almost entirely immune to magic at epic levels. The simplest example is using the epic "Ward" seed to become immune to spells of level 1-9, but just having super-high SR serves a similar purpose. I would expect a game in which epic powers can do both of these things (relatively) easily that epic play would become a war of superpowers unable to hurt each other. Maybe I've missed something and it won't turn out like that. I expect that any good DM will leave some way for players to actually kill the enemies they fight.

Echoes

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Re: Help with epic gestalt cleric needed
« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2009, 07:01:53 AM »
Right, that's two Sage answers that were written by someone on crack. How "Touch" can be anything other than a fixed range is beyond me :rollseyes. If it's really a sticking point, a 1-level Hierophant dip as suggested makes it work regardless of substance-induced babbling. Incidentally, why is the Hierophant so much crappier than the Archmage? They serve the exact same function PrC-wise, but the divine casters get no spell advancement. WTH?

On starmantle + Evasion: lts your call. Same with delay death + beastland ferocity. Still, I'd highly advise you find some way to not care about HP damage, because AC will not save you at Epic levels. Miss chances help, but most of the ways of acquiring them become useless at that level. You need to either be immune to damage (Ikea Tarrasque) comes to mind, or else you need to just not care.

Likewise, you'll need to have a way to cope with dispelling/disjoining. It should be damn common pre-Epic, and should appear in every Epic-worthy combat. Either make an Epic spells to render yourself immune to dispelling effects, or else find a way to negate them (Divine Defiance, antimagic field + Initiate of Mystra, whatever) because they should be showing up left and right.
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Quotes I Found Entertaining:

Huge amounts of people are fuckwits. That doesn't mean that fuckwit is a valid lifestyle.

As a general rule, murdering people and taking their stuff is pretty much superior to breaking their stuff, murdering them, then not having any stuff to take.

Out of Context Theater
[spoiler]
Oh I'll make a party. I'll make a party so hard... I'll make a party that makes you feel so awkward downstairs.

You'll see the party and only be able to respond, "Oh yeah baby."
[/spoiler]

Brainpiercing

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Re: Help with epic gestalt cleric needed
« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2009, 10:06:54 AM »
well, most immunity to damage should come with a time limit, or the danger of being dispelled. Even beatsticks can make it happen, (A Frenzied Beserker, for instance), so a caster should be able to do it, too.
AC WILL NOT save you at all, I assume, unless the DM only uses ELH monsters, most of which have rather crappy attack bonuses.

Generally we're well into Diablo country, there. My epic characters won't manage more than a thousand HP, ~170AC, and can do well over 2000-3000 damage per round.

jameswilliamogle

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Re: Help with epic gestalt cleric needed
« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2009, 01:45:50 PM »
Being able to rebuke literally armies of fiends to turn against their masters is a great way to gain power at the expense of your enemies.
Just do this, but while you do be Shapechanged into the form of one of the other demon lords.  Best way to defeat demons = have them fight amongst themselves.

Brainpiercing

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Re: Help with epic gestalt cleric needed
« Reply #28 on: February 17, 2009, 01:49:14 PM »
Being able to rebuke literally armies of fiends to turn against their masters is a great way to gain power at the expense of your enemies.
Just do this, but while you do be Shapechanged into the form of one of the other demon lords.  Best way to defeat demons = have them fight amongst themselves.
Wasn't there a non-unique clause in Shapechange, too?

jameswilliamogle

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Re: Help with epic gestalt cleric needed
« Reply #29 on: February 17, 2009, 02:08:43 PM »
Being able to rebuke literally armies of fiends to turn against their masters is a great way to gain power at the expense of your enemies.
Just do this, but while you do be Shapechanged into the form of one of the other demon lords.  Best way to defeat demons = have them fight amongst themselves.
Wasn't there a non-unique clause in Shapechange, too?
Maybe... but one could always use it for a disguise.

A Dread Necromancer on one side, using Fiendish undead might work.

Brainpiercing

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Re: Help with epic gestalt cleric needed
« Reply #30 on: February 17, 2009, 03:30:26 PM »

anomalousman

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Re: Help with epic gestalt cleric needed
« Reply #31 on: February 17, 2009, 10:15:38 PM »
Given your likely source of death is a save-or-die, I'd recommend that your highest priority high level stance is actually Stance of Alacrity.  That's absolutely amazing for action advantage when trouble is flying.  If there's any way to get both, I'd consider it strongly.

Madwand

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Re: Help with epic gestalt cleric needed
« Reply #32 on: February 17, 2009, 10:23:11 PM »
Stance of Alacrity is, I believe, redundant with Divine Impetus. I'll be able to counter as many times as I like in a round as long as I don't run out of turn attempts. Air and Water domains triple those, for a total of 63 turns/day without nightsticks. The first session or two when I don't have my equipment and have to persist spells off my main pool might get hairy, but I should be OK.

Madwand

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Re: Help with epic gestalt cleric needed
« Reply #33 on: February 18, 2009, 12:50:01 AM »
Well, I've had my first game, and things did not go well. I thought you all should deserve an update after all your great help with this character.

Before starting, I made sure the DM had a few days to look over my character sheet. I discusses exactly what the character would be capable of, and asked him to approve all the epic spells I used. Everything was easily approved, which worried me. Most DMs will ban a few things. Still, the DM seemed to really want to run a high-powered campaign. I also explained that the character was willing and able to attack any sort of evil, including gods.

Tonight, we started. We began in a prison where we had been kept for 5 years. No explanation about how the demons had kept us from escaping for that long. We were just told to "move along". The DM also explained that the "random magic" effects only caused spells to have random damage types, which only affected my healing spells, so I wasn't concerned any more about spells.

In the party we had some sort of nymph, an archer, and a lich wizard of some sort. Although I asked many times (before and after character creation), I wasn't told why I might cooperate with a lich, only that it "wasn't a problem". Hmm. I wish I'd known about this before making a saint/cleric/paladin.

Moving along. The escape was simple, we just punched an orc guard in the face. Proceeding to the armory, we quickly regained our gear, and ran outside, only to meet... Tiamat! And three invisible Succubi.

I was quite excited. A worthy battle! I would probably die, but maybe those chains tying Tiamat down would keep her from using her most powerful spells. The group charged in to fight. The succubi dropped first, and quickly. Tiamat began pleading, "help me" and saying how we needed her to escape the prison. A quick Detect Evil determined that, yes, in fact, she was Evil, so I attacked. A few previous whacks had revealed that Tiamat's AC was insanely high, so I put eveything I could into attack bonus, Giant Sized, and whacked away with Time Stands Still. And here, the problem began.

Apparently, we weren't supposed to attack Tiamat. The DM was (I think?) upset that I could hit her 100 touch AC (barely) , and that I could do enough damage to kill her. She saved herself via some sort of Alter Reality thing, and retaliated for 200 damage (untyped, unrolled). At this point I was growing worried that I had brought the wrong character into this campaign... but I didn't have time to ask the DM what he expected from me, because he suddenly quit.

In any case, that's it. About 40 hours of character creation gone, some really nice spreadsheets, etc. Le sigh. I really wish I had some way of telling what kind of power level a DM expects for their game, because certainly asking them doesn't seem to work.

Operation Shoestring

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Re: Help with epic gestalt cleric needed
« Reply #34 on: February 18, 2009, 02:21:46 AM »
Stance of Alacrity is, I believe, redundant with Divine Impetus. I'll be able to counter as many times as I like in a round as long as I don't run out of turn attempts. Air and Water domains triple those, for a total of 63 turns/day without nightsticks. The first session or two when I don't have my equipment and have to persist spells off my main pool might get hairy, but I should be OK.

So either you've been houseruling heavily or you just broke the rules left and right.  Turn attempt powered feats and abilities can only be powered by turn undead or other abilities that SPECIFICALLY work as turn undead when powering class abilities or feats.

Divine impetus was ruled to be 1/round, so SoA is still good.  Now if only they'd do the same for Cunning Surge.

Also, your DM has issues.  Seriously, he should have worked out the alignment thing before the game started.

Echoes

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Re: Help with epic gestalt cleric needed
« Reply #35 on: February 18, 2009, 04:11:23 AM »
Stance of Alacrity is, I believe, redundant with Divine Impetus. I'll be able to counter as many times as I like in a round as long as I don't run out of turn attempts. Air and Water domains triple those, for a total of 63 turns/day without nightsticks. The first session or two when I don't have my equipment and have to persist spells off my main pool might get hairy, but I should be OK.

So either you've been houseruling heavily or you just broke the rules left and right.  Turn attempt powered feats and abilities can only be powered by turn undead or other abilities that SPECIFICALLY work as turn undead when powering class abilities or feats.

Divine impetus was ruled to be 1/round, so SoA is still good.  Now if only they'd do the same for Cunning Surge.

Also, your DM has issues.  Seriously, he should have worked out the alignment thing before the game started.

It's possible that his DM house-ruled the Domain turnings to count, I can't recall if it was even mentioned or not.

As to Divine Impetus being 1/round, that was covered in the FAQ. I used to argue that the FAQ is official errata, but I've since been convinced otherwise (both by the arguments made here and elsewhere and the sheer level of stupidity displayed in many, many sections of the document).

As to the session: um ... wow. I'm gonna echo the above on the issues thing. Seriously, he OK'd an Exalted character into his campaign and then was upset when you tried to kill the mother of all evil dragons? Seriously? Moreover, he looked at your sheet and yet was still shocked that you could hit it?

On the power level issue: he started a gestalt epic game. I can't see how he expected anything else, unless he expected people to do things like go Fighter 20//Barbarian 20, or something.
BrokeAndDrive speaks the Truth (linked for great justice and signature limits)

Quotes I Found Entertaining:

Huge amounts of people are fuckwits. That doesn't mean that fuckwit is a valid lifestyle.

As a general rule, murdering people and taking their stuff is pretty much superior to breaking their stuff, murdering them, then not having any stuff to take.

Out of Context Theater
[spoiler]
Oh I'll make a party. I'll make a party so hard... I'll make a party that makes you feel so awkward downstairs.

You'll see the party and only be able to respond, "Oh yeah baby."
[/spoiler]

Brainpiercing

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Re: Help with epic gestalt cleric needed
« Reply #36 on: February 18, 2009, 04:23:02 AM »
So you've been hit by the train. That's harsh, I have to say. The guys must have been a pretty bad railroader.  That's why you should only play epic with DMs you really know.

First of all epic is quite different from normal D&D, and secondly for issues like yours. I've spent probably a hundred hours or more for epic character creation on ONE character, and my campaign is on shaky feet right now because one of our only three players left, but at least we WILL continue, even with only two players. Unfortunately we play at the table, or I'd ask you to join :).

But yeah, I feel your pain.

Madwand

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Re: Help with epic gestalt cleric needed
« Reply #37 on: February 18, 2009, 05:17:34 AM »
Thanks for the support, guys, it's nice to share the misery :-)

So either you've been houseruling heavily or you just broke the rules left and right.  Turn attempt powered feats and abilities can only be powered by turn undead or other abilities that SPECIFICALLY work as turn undead when powering class abilities or feats.

Divine impetus was ruled to be 1/round, so SoA is still good.  Now if only they'd do the same for Cunning Surge.

Also, your DM has issues.  Seriously, he should have worked out the alignment thing before the game started.

Whoa there. I am very much a stickler for rules and am not trying to break anything here. I may have made a mistake though. I read the cleric's handbook linked to on these forums, and the trick of using alternate turning attempts was mentioned (which was where I got the idea). Apparently I forgot that this was a "debatable" trick and I probably should have discussed it with the DM. My bad. Fortunately this never made any difference, I only used up 20 turning uses in the 2 rounds I was fighting.

The Divine Impetus 1/round thing I didn't know about either, although I would personally be inclined to ignore that unless it is actual errata. There are a few other things the ToB FAQ completely contradicts the text on, too, which I might sometimes ignore or just discuss with the DM. In general I tend to rely on FAQs only for clarification where there is some doubt, not errata. I guess this point is just as "debatable" as the previous one, though. Anyway, it's good to know about this stuff. I guess with any complex character mistakes are nearly certain to crop up, which is why I prefer close DM involvement with high-level character creation.

It's a good idea to only play high level with DMs that I know. I think the lure of playing a high-level character was just too tempting. It's something I've never really had the chance to try before: my highest level long-term character has only reached level 15 (in Living Greyhawk).

anomalousman

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Re: Help with epic gestalt cleric needed
« Reply #38 on: February 18, 2009, 05:53:39 AM »
1) Sorry to hear about your campaign.  That's so heartbreaking.

2) From purely statistical reasons, I totally expected it to die within one combat.  Every epic campaign I've seen (now about mid-teens) has died.  Every epic gestalt game I've seen before this one folded before the first combat.  And this DM's power rules suggested to me that care was not being taken.

3) Stance of Alacrity has the fabulous side-effect that you can respond with a counter even when flat-footed (and unable to take immediate actions).  Man, has that saved my PCs more times than I can remember.

Brainpiercing

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Re: Help with epic gestalt cleric needed
« Reply #39 on: February 18, 2009, 06:58:33 AM »
2) From purely statistical reasons, I totally expected it to die within one combat.  Every epic campaign I've seen (now about mid-teens) has died.  Every epic gestalt game I've seen before this one folded before the first combat.  And this DM's power rules suggested to me that care was not being taken.
Having completely over the top character sheets doesn't mean you can't play a fun campaign. For instance, I think my DM right now doesn't want to let us fight anything, and we have to use our super-powered Lvl 40 characters for things like solving his puny plot puzzles. How DARE HE??
I've already made the side-line plan of just invading the Abyss or conquering a pesky country like Thai if he can't give us anything to beat up.:)
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3) Stance of Alacrity has the fabulous side-effect that you can respond with a counter even when flat-footed (and unable to take immediate actions).  Man, has that saved my PCs more times than I can remember.
While I agree that most likely limited Divine Impetus to 1/round is a fair deal, the Stance of Alacrity is pretty good in any case as a generally active stance. You can always switch in combat.