This thread brings to focus what I do not like about D&D religion and alignment. I do think that the wall of the faithless does offend my sense of justice. If they lead otherwise good lives., why should they have to suffer for their beliefs. I also think there should be some element of re-incarnation in the FR. That said I have never delved deeply into the religious aspects of D&D.
As for the Cataclysm, well here is one of the issues I have with alignment. At some point, in my opinion, lawful good warps around to evil or to static order and so on.
Nor do I think there's anything wrong with having that in a fantasy world.The reality is, it's a grim and even vile concept that really undermines the entire idea of faith in any god in the Realms, by making it essentially coercive in nature, which seems, oddly, to be what Ed Greenwood intends. His own most recent major FR book certainly seems to portray FR worship as somewhat coercive in nature, and he doesn't seem to think anything is wrong with that.
Greenwood has written many FR novels, short stories, and sourcebooks over the past thirty-three years that mention Kelemvor.Greenwood himself doesn't seem to acknowledge the Kelemvor exists, at least recently.
I definitely won't argue with the assertion that FR canon is a mess. It's the "terrible" part I disagree with. But I understand your point of view.(And we all know exactly how petty and mean-spirited even many of the G-aligned gods in the FR are)
Also, the entire idea of "faith" and "true believers" is pretty silly when the gods walk Toril. It's a bit like having "faith" or being a true believer in Superman (were Superman real). That's a circle the FR has never been able to successfully square, because contrary to what you're saying about modern views on faith being incompatible with the FR and so on, it's clear that FR writers have consistently striven to somehow jam together a sort of Greco-Roman take on the gods with a modern Christian-style view of "faith" and it's value and so on. And the result has been a terrible mess.
That reads like cover-your-ass language on TSR's part to me. I'm glad that characters' religious and ethical beliefs are sometimes central to modern games.More and more, I think Mentzer Basic had the right idea when it said "The D&D game does not deal with the religious or ethical beliefs of characters in the game."
Atheism is irrelevant. The Wall of the Faithless is not made up of atheists (who would be a vanishingly small minority in FR); it's made up of people who did not choose a patron god.Athiests dont go to Heaven or Hell and instead get non existence after death.
Which is what they believe isn't it?
In terms of the general "Great Wheel" cosmology of AD&D 2E, this was established in On Hallowed Ground, though it clarified that "atheists" strictly meant those who believed in no afterlife whatsoever, and that death was the final, ultimate end.Athiests dont go to Heaven or Hell and instead get non existence after death.
No, it isn't. That's a common misconception.Atheism is irrelevant. The Wall of the Faithless is not made up of atheists (who would be a vanishingly small minority in FR); it's made up of people who did not choose a patron god.
To be fair, some FR materials are very clear about that.That's a common misconception.
Forgotten Realms materials were very clear that if you didn't actively chose a patron god, you didn't end up among the Faithless. Instead, your soul would be picked up by a deity of appropriate alignment or relevant portfolio to the deceased.
I think that this is the source of most of the problematic elements of D&D. Lazy trope base writing, probably the writers are dashing stuff out to very short deadlines, with little consideration of the deeper implications of this. No actual malice intended but no real curation of the material, so that people like us with time on our hands go "WTF! that makes no sense"I think an awful lot of it is just down to people making broad assumptions about what's "okay" without either thinking it through, or having even the light philosophical basis to say "Wait, this seems kind of messed-up", instead just leaning into their own cultural biases.
Combine that a lot of different writers with different takes messing with stuff, again a lot of them without being terribly interested in the ideas, or really thinking them through, and you get a mess like the Wall of the Faithless. The Cataclysm seems to be similar but just with one or two writers turning their own perfectly reasonable idea into a bizarre and hard-to-take one.
When I ran Dragonlance in 1e and 2e I kept thr cataclysm. I still run FR and the faithless suffer their punishment. I'm no so much defending those ideas as much as I just don't see a need to change them. They are what they are.In the vein that they view the Cataclysm that the gods sent to the mortal world for Istar's corruption as justified to some extent. Or believe that consigning antitheists and atheists to cosmic building blocks is a necessary evil for the greater good.
Dragonlance has been on my mind lately for various reasons, and between it and Forgotten Realms I notice that the tabletop social circles I notice certain acts of divine violence as a big dealbreaker for people who'd otherwise be interested in the settings. Or they like the settings but would either retcon or alter said aspects, or even cast the gods in a more antagonistic role.
But the number of Wall/Cataclysm defenders I know of can be counted on one hand. And I've been on quite the number of forums.
Has anyone here encountered such defenders? What was their reasoning?
And if any posters happen to be such defenders, I wouldn't mind hearing your rationales.
I don't play 5e and don't know what they've written about it for 5e.To be fair, some FR materials are very clear about that.
Others, such as the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, are much less clear. The relevant section of that book says "the truly false and faithless" without explaining what "truly" means.
SCAG also hedges a little closer to the Greenwood-preferred "this might or might not even be true at all" interpretation by opening the whole section with "Most humans believe . . . ," suggesting some variance in belief even among humans and evidently excluding demihumans and other intelligent beings.
FWIW, so far as I know, that's still the only official 5e game book that even mentions the thing.
Being slowly and torturously turned into a non-sentient brick is not the same thing as instantaneously joining the void and ceasing to exist.And ceasing to exist completely after you die is precisely the sort of thing atheists expect will happen when they die isnt it?
'A very small handful of sentients in the Realms truly don't believe deities exist (less than 0.5%); they would be the "Faithless." Most DO "believe in" all the gods, even if they profess to repudiate them. Many 'cleave to' one deity above others, even if slightly. That 'ever so slightly favored' deity is their patron deity, if they don't openly profess and embrace a patron (as clerics and paladins do). The Wall of Faithless is more of a bugaboo tale told by priests and spread over tavern tables than it is a Great Big Doom.'
Why should those tiny minority of people be punished, though? That’s the salient question.Of course, when it comes to the Forgotten Realms, there are at least two horses' mouths: Ed Greenwood, and TSR/WotC.
But still, from the horse's mouth, just now, in response to a couple of questions I asked Greenwood this morning based on issues brought up in the present thread: