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How Might D&D Religions Differ From Real Life Religions?

Snoweel

First Post
Rulership is about politics, politics is about power, and the greatest power, in a fantasy setting, is god(s).

It seems to me that the only way a setting would have religion NOT be in the supreme rulership position is when the evil deities are of sufficiently lesser power than the good deities that the good guys can take a hands off approach

I came to this conclusion myself, but didn't like the constraints this would put on the kinds of settings and adventures that would be possible.

So I decided to make gods all but nonsentient - effectively insane or maybe just eternally sleeping (I'm sure I've picked this up from something I once read).

The end result of this is that priesthoods are only as powerful as their priests and followers.

Once you're there it's a simple matter to limit the powers of individual religions by making them compete with each other.

So if they're competing for both the goodwill of the ruling class and the hearts and minds of the common folk, they're all of a sudden no more powerful than any other organisation.

And we're alowed to continue with such fantasy tropes as secular martial aristocracies, magocracies, and any other power base that is not a theocracy.

Because a fantasy world full of theocracies might be fun for one campaign but the lack of diversity would wear pretty thin before long.
 

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Azzemmell

First Post
I came to this conclusion myself, but didn't like the constraints this would put on the kinds of settings and adventures that would be possible.

So I decided to make gods all but nonsentient - effectively insane or maybe just eternally sleeping (I'm sure I've picked this up from something I once read).

The end result of this is that priesthoods are only as powerful as their priests and followers.

Once you're there it's a simple matter to limit the powers of individual religions by making them compete with each other.

So if they're competing for both the goodwill of the ruling class and the hearts and minds of the common folk, they're all of a sudden no more powerful than any other organisation.

And we're alowed to continue with such fantasy tropes as secular martial aristocracies, magocracies, and any other power base that is not a theocracy.

Because a fantasy world full of theocracies might be fun for one campaign but the lack of diversity would wear pretty thin before long.


Excellent point, and I guess this is sorta how I've resolved this conflict in several of the most recent campaigns I've run. Lower the power of deities or make them less directly involved. I like the idea of all the gods sleeping. Seem to remember lots of insane gods from a David Farland book several years ago. Think it was called The Waterborn.

I like the idea of removing cleric's getting-their-power from the direct action of the deity. Changing it into a GOD - ESSENCE/IDEAL - CLERIC is cool.
 

Snoweel

First Post
An important point we haven't yet touched on is that of the afterlife.

I mean, any powerful extraplanar ('immortal' in 4e) being that can kick your ass can demand worship - and receive it when they or their agents are around to enforce this worship.

But what about when they're not around?

4e deities are explicitly stated as not being omniscient.

On top of that, but real-world religions (which is where the idea of 'gods' come from) all offer some kind of eternal afterlife. Or maybe not all of them do but the big (ie. most successful) ones all do to some degree.

This is perhaps their biggest appeal, as well as the main reason they have been embraced by the ruling class - their promise of a blissful afterlife is an important element in their function of social control.

Sure your life might be comparatively crap now but if you stay faithful and behave yourself an eternity in paradise awaits.

Do D&D deities need to offer a similar 'afterlife' package to make them gods?

Certainly the idea of power in this life is an incentive but if that power only goes to the gods' chosen (ie. clerics and other 'divine casters') then what's in it for the little people?

Sure the clerics of said deity could feel compelled to offer free (or cut-price at least) magical aid to the faithful but if that was the long and short of what a god offers its followers then the 'worship' (or at least the loyalty) would end up focused on the clergy, rather than the god.

Your thoughts (yes you).
 

Azzemmell

First Post
An important point we haven't yet touched on is that of the afterlife.

I mean, any powerful extraplanar ('immortal' in 4e) being that can kick your ass can demand worship - and receive it when they or their agents are around to enforce this worship.

But what about when they're not around?

4e deities are explicitly stated as not being omniscient.

On top of that, but real-world religions (which is where the idea of 'gods' come from) all offer some kind of eternal afterlife. Or maybe not all of them do but the big (ie. most successful) ones all do to some degree.

This is perhaps their biggest appeal, as well as the main reason they have been embraced by the ruling class - their promise of a blissful afterlife is an important element in their function of social control.

Sure your life might be comparatively crap now but if you stay faithful and behave yourself an eternity in paradise awaits.

Do D&D deities need to offer a similar 'afterlife' package to make them gods?

Certainly the idea of power in this life is an incentive but if that power only goes to the gods' chosen (ie. clerics and other 'divine casters') then what's in it for the little people?

Sure the clerics of said deity could feel compelled to offer free (or cut-price at least) magical aid to the faithful but if that was the long and short of what a god offers its followers then the 'worship' (or at least the loyalty) would end up focused on the clergy, rather than the god.

Your thoughts (yes you).

Ah yes, the afterlife. :) This seems like a whole 'nuther aspect that that will determine the role of religion/gods in a setting. I mean that primarily in this regard: do the gods control what the afterlife will be?

In our real world each religion is in control of what it's afterlife is. But imagine an existence where the gods DON'T control what it will be. If they don't, it would seem to hint at an organizing force or power above themselves, something to which even THEY must give way to. But this doesn't have to be a SUPREME GOD OF GODS [trumpets blaring], it could be a force or law of nature like gravity or such (or a supreme god, but a deist type who set the clock ticking and sort of wandered off).

In such a case a great deal of control is removed from the gods (depending on what the afterlife is - everyone going to hell no matter what is kinda a break-even deal, but in a sucky way), though only if the gods admit the truth to their followers.

Which brings me to the question of: can mortals learn the truth of the afterlife before they die? If afterlife is beyond the control of the gods, and everyone can find proof of this, then doesn't that lower religions in the game world to, as you said, just another social or political organization (albeit very powerful ones)? Hmmm...

On another note, the control a religion may have over a society or culture doesn't HAVE to be based on whether they can give the regular folks a pass to paradise. It could be voluntary control given by the masses based on their perception that the god and church really do have the best intentions (and the power to carry such things out) for the masses. Imagine the public works projects a vast church with thousands of magic using clerics could undertake. I daresay that in a world such as that, those folks quality of life would easily rival or surpass anything that has been seen in the real world. Clean water, very little disease, very few life threatening injuries, abundant and clean food, ... and the use of spells like Zone of Truth in the hands of a clerical judge would ... well, you get the idea.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Ah yes, the afterlife. :) This seems like a whole 'nuther aspect that that will determine the role of religion/gods in a setting. I mean that primarily in this regard: do the gods control what the afterlife will be?
I've always had it that each deity ends up with the spirits of some or all of its worshippers; each divine plane is its own land of the dead, in a way.
Which brings me to the question of: can mortals learn the truth of the afterlife before they die?
In the game world, yes. Spells like Commune can give verbal answers, and spells like Planeshift can give you firsthand experience. Dying and coming back can give firsthand experience also, if your DM allows you to remember what you did while dead.

Lanefan
 

Quickleaf

Legend
reviving an old thread here...

This actually gives me an idea. Consider in the real world, if you pray before you eat (Thor, thanks for the gruel, please make sure I don't bite another rock in it), or if you pray you're next shot hits, there's not real way to know if it did any good. If you miss or chip a tooth, I suppose you can assume it didn't, or you might be out of favor with thor.

Now in D&D, imagine if there were a bunch of "cantrip" like prayers people could do that gave a real GAME effect. Bless my next attack, get a +1 to-hit on next attack within 1 round. Bless my food, get some sort of bonus towards health or purification against disease.
This reminds me of RuneQuest a bit. I love the idea and am trying to incorporate this into my campaign setting, but realized that anything I came up with was on par with Channel Divinity: Divine Fortune. Since clerics are supposed to be the "big guns", this is problematic.

I'm still searching for a solution, but the concept is great and really reinforces a world where religion influences many aspects of life.
 

Celebrim

Legend
I think the single biggest difference would be the degree to which religion would control life.

The surviving popular religious traditions assume a diety that is not overtly involved in the day to day affairs of creation, and is at most looking in and subtly nudging things behind the scenes. Religious traditions with this belief tend to emphasis perfection of secular living over religious ritual. That is, for the most part, religious ritual is confined to certain holy days and often only portions of them.

But historically, this isn't the only sort of religious practice that has flourished. The alternate view, that supernatural things are occuring all the time, also has held sway. As science succeeds in giving natural explanations to most things that we observe, religions that are incompatible with the idea of a subtle and mysterious supernatural world tend to fall by the way side. As a practical matter, I think they also fall by the wayside by demanding too much sacrifice on the part of their practicioner compared to religious practices that demand less departure from mundane matters to tend to the sacred. The classic example would I think be Rome's triumph over the Etruscans.

But with the possible example of folk Hinduism, you'd be hard pressed to find a widely practiced Etruscan style religion in the modern world.

However, in a fantasy world, supernatural things actually would be occuring all the time, the gods are (at the very least through clerics) actively manifesting there power in far from subtle ways all the time, the gods have fairly sizable control over their spheres and apparantly the will to use it, and almost certainly the successful cultural practice would be paying attention to the gods all the time in hourly rituals of propituation, celebration, and worship.

A person crossing from the average D&D world to medieval Europe would I think be struck by how limited of a role religion played in daily life, the economy, culture, and the government. The visitor from the D&D world would be completely familiar with the monastic rituals of unceasing prayer, but would be struck how confined these rituals were to a particular class of people and by the fact that only a single diety would need to be propitiated for the whole of society. The visitor from the D&D world would be completely at home with the notion of every trade having a patron saint, but would be shocked at how little of a role worship of that saint played in the every day practice of the craft. The visitor would be used to every aspect of the craft having a religious role and meaning, and that everything would have the ritual formalism of a Japanese tea ceremony (Shintoism incidently, being a relatively ritualized religion which perhaps in antiquity had something of what I'm describing) where as everything he'd witness would seem so pragmatic, unadorned, and casual by comparison. The visitor from the D&D world would be perfectly at home with clergy being great lords, but perhaps uncomfortable with the idea that head of the mason guild wasn't the high priest of the God of Masons, the Mayor the high priest of the God of Cities or Trade or something similar, and average streetsweepers not noviates at the temple of something.

I think pretty much everyone would be engaged in mutliple religious observances round the clock. The Moslems daily reutine of prayers would pale in comparison to such proper homage to a half dozen deities reutinely, and any number of other dieties as their spheres of influence crossed your path.

I think our visitor might ultimately be struck by how free we are to excercise our lives without the continual meddlesome intervention of some god or the other, and just how little reutine smiting for failing to offer this sacrifice or the other seemed to occur. Battles would be reutinely decided by tactics on the field, not by which side had accidently trod across this sacred field or the other without offering a proper tribute. Peoples lives would be largely theres to live as they wanted without fear that they'd get caught up in a dispute between the Goddess of Love and the Goddess of Marriage that would consume their lives and make a mockery of their choices.
 

Voadam

Legend
On top of that, but real-world religions (which is where the idea of 'gods' come from) all offer some kind of eternal afterlife. Or maybe not all of them do but the big (ie. most successful) ones all do to some degree.

This is perhaps their biggest appeal, as well as the main reason they have been embraced by the ruling class - their promise of a blissful afterlife is an important element in their function of social control.

Sure your life might be comparatively crap now but if you stay faithful and behave yourself an eternity in paradise awaits.

A lot of afterlives suck.

Sheol.

Hades. (Elysian fields for heroes only, and they are not pictures of piety)

Hel. (Valhala for warriors who die bravely in battle only)

The Mesopotamian one.

Most dead are pale shades, the afterlife is not a reward for faithfulness.
 

Voadam

Legend
The surviving popular religious traditions assume a diety that is not overtly involved in the day to day affairs of creation, and is at most looking in and subtly nudging things behind the scenes.

I don't think that is an accurate description. I think it is as easy for surviving popular religious traditions to assume a deity behind every illness, natural disaster, turn of fortune, victory, or perceived blessing as it is for them to assume a removed one. An assumption of deity being directly, personally, and intimately connected to everything is not contrary to popular surviving religious traditions. I believe there is a wide range of assumptions on deity involvement within surviving traditions.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
Just wanted to pop in and say...

1. Great thread.

2. I once played (in 2e) an atheist cleric. He went around trying to convince the other clerics that they were their own battery of power, and the whole religion aspect of everything was hocus.

3. I think that your afterlife plans would have a lot do to with what god you "follow" in DnD. Most folks would believe in all the gods and not necessary "follow" one in particular except the clergy. People would be more friendly to the good guy clergy, however, since when they died they might want to end up on the good guys playing field.

DS
 

I think it would be interesting to put greater emphasis on faith (or not) in a D&D campaign. I could imagine the setup being something like:

- The majority of a church are laymen, scholars and the faithful.

- Most of the "Clerics" (that is with actual Divine Power) are very low level. All the magic that these low level cleric's perform is based on faith. All the "magic" they wield has no obvious effect. For example, the classic "Bless" gives a +1 to a particular character's activity. The character will succeed or fail with a percentage (5%) that the Bless turned a fail into a success (assume the character can actually succeed or fail at the task). Did the Blessing work? Surely the faithful would say of course it did, whereas those without faith would be equally as justified saying that the Cleric's blessing was all poppycock and for the gullible and insane. A faithful cleric receives a vision (or at least says he does). Is it true? Does it turn out to be true? Luck for the faithless but a sign of divine intervention and power for the faithful.

- Very few Clerics have obvious power, most likely being referred to as Saints. Or perhaps certain powerful rituals are only performed by such Clerics in private in a sanctified area? Perhaps these Saints become leaders in the Church, or perhaps due to politics they become pariahs or even heretics.

I like the idea that this gives the Cleric a chance to become someone of power and distinction, but at the same time holds tightly to the concept of faith (something perhaps normally taken for granted in typical D&D campaigns).

And then for the twist. Have a new faith where the divine power of Clerics is not only obvious but relatively abundant. The ambitious, greedy, political and most likely evil would flock to such a faith, possibly even fracturing it into sects as no group can maintain complete power over the church. Is the God they follow evil? Sounds like an interesting campaign concept to me.

Best Regards
Herremann the Wise
 

Stogoe

First Post
Take a hypothetical religious ritual, lets say, " Say a prayer to Saint X and he'll help you find your lost car keys."

I'm just saying that a religious belief like that is much, much less likely in a world where there is a religion-keyed ritual called "Find Lost Car Keys" that always works and invokes explicitly magical effects.

After all, why would you pray to Saint X for help finding your car keys? You know the proper way to do that. With the ritual, not the quiet prayer.
I would ask, then, what the difference is between a Prayer to Saint X and a Religion-keyed Ritual to Saint X? Isn't a Religion-keyed Ritual just a prayer with codified game rules?
 

ProfessorPain

First Post
What features of real life religions couldn't apply to D&D religions?

What features probably wouldn't apply?

In what ways would (or could) D&D religions mirror real life religions?

There are no wrong answers, or at least I don't think there are.

Your thoughts?

1) None. All features are fair game when I make a setting. The only feature that would be hard to explain in my view is skepticism. Because you know the gods exist. Or at least see that their clerics have real power (perhaps though it could be explained as a arcane magic wrapped up fancy 'god talk'

2) I can't think of any that wouldn't apply.

3) One that designers should incorporate into D&D more is different churches, sects or religions around the same God(s) or principal. Think about how many different Christian sects there are. And how distinct their visions are of how to serve God. Or you could even have three different religions surrounding the same God (as you have with Christianity, Islam and Judaism)-- though this is harder to do because you really need a good explanation for why one group follows this prophet or believes another prophet to be divine.
 

Jack7

First Post
I can see some differences very easily. One major difference between most D&D gods and religions and a real world God and religion is that of subversiveness, and a Cosmic Plan.

For instance it is very easy for me to imagine, and believe, in a subversive Cosmic Plan of God, one which basically overthrows the nature of the world in which people live, and which has all kinds of secret and covert components. That is to say God has secret plans for the world, which the followers would find hard to imagine or conceive of, and hard to fathom correctly (though they might very well understand or even just intuit the basic implications of the plan). Because God would have no "real interest" in the world, per se, but rather it would be a stage, or construct upon which to play out his Cosmic Plan. But he has no real desire to see the "world" (as it is currently construed, functions, and is imagined) or the world system continue indefinitely. He has other things in mind. Because of this he would operate quite differently, even towards and in conjunction with his followers, than he would if he did not have such objectives.

A D&D god however is far more likely than not to be "a part of his world" (rather than existing independently of it) and therefore his plans would be objectives of intrigue, rather than of a secretive, covert, Cosmic Nature. A D&D god is "of his world" and is therefore intimately tied to it, and the fate of his world is to a large extent his fate as well. Yes, some gods, especially evil ones, might want to undo the world even, to a certain extent, or kill off all others deities, but mainly to gain power, than for other reasons. The Greek gods for instance were prone to much intrigue, playing their worshippers and followers in games of personal interest, for entertainment, out of basically human desires of lust (Eros) or greed or revenge, or for the sake of power. (The Trojan War is an excellent example of the same pantheon of gods engaged on different sides for different reasons. Many were involved in the war directly for personal aims, or to accomplish personal objectives, but none, not even Zeus, had a long-term Cosmic plan for the outcome of the war, or what it would ultimately achieve. In truth they did not know what it would achieve because few of the gods, Apollo could to a degree sometimes, could foresee the future.) But none of them could be said to have a true Cosmic Plan about the Cosmos, or life in general, or human life in particular. They weren't even really creators, they were usurpers who had assumed power from far more cosmic gods and forces far older than themselves.

And that was true of almost all polytheistic pantheons. Creator Gods and gods were very different things and had very different interests and motivations and objectives. Because a Creator God is not limited or absorbed in time as a god is so limited or absorbed. You can pray to a god, "what is your plan for the future?" but the god really knows only what he wants to happen, not what will actually happen. A Cosmic God with a Cosmic Plan, well, in that case you pray to him to try and help you understand what the future will be. Because he is not limited by time or the world, he stands beyond them, even when absorbed in them.

So as far as differences go, then I'd say gods are full of intrigue, but they have no real "End-Game."
But real God, especially a Creator God, he would very likely have an ongoing objective, even if that wasn't readily apparent to anyone else, or what they anticipated. He'd likely have a real objective, or set of them, far greater than sectarian interests or even worldly interests. He'd have a "Cosmic Plan" and so he'd operate completely differently than any god.

And any religion built around a God with a Cosmic plan is also going to be very, very different, and operate very, very differently than that of a god with individual and immediate interests. A god can to a certain extent control space, God would control, even if he choose to do so in a completely unforeseen or unanticipated manner, both space and time.

A god will have tactical interests. But he cannot know the ultimate fate of the world, only what is prophesied or assumed about it.

God on the other hand would have strategic interests and what is prophesied would be only a sort of assumption of his real objectives.


3) One that designers should incorporate into D&D more is different churches, sects or religions around the same God(s) or principal. Think about how many different Christian sects there are. And how distinct their visions are of how to serve God. Or you could even have three different religions surrounding the same God (as you have with Christianity, Islam and Judaism)-- though this is harder to do because you really need a good explanation for why one group follows this prophet or believes another prophet to be divine.

I like and agree with that idea.
 

WayneLigon

Adventurer
Of course there are infinite variations on D&D worlds, so this mainly applies to the 'default D&D world' that you can extropolate from the rules.

What features of real life religions couldn't apply to D&D religions?

Doubt, for one.

There's Detect Evil. You never again have to worry about if someone is truly evil, only if they are insane, under some form of mind control, or just marginally bad. And you can cure the insane or the controlled.

It's only because it would remove the game too far from the realm of what we know that there are many actually Evil people at all in a D&D world. I mean, if you knew someone was Evil, would you honestly have anything to do with them even if they've been nothing but nice to you? I think not.

Sure there are ways around it, but they either don't last long or they're just as much a giveaway eventually.

Likewise, you can tell if someone is truly a Good person. They would naturally gravitate to positions of trust and honor. You can tell if someone is Lawful or Chaotic, as well. You don't want the chaotic type in a position of true responsibility (not that they'd accept anyway, but still...).

There's a fascinating and cheap magic item called the Phylactery of Faithfulness. It tells you if you're about to do something that could jeapordize your alignment, or your standing with your diety, before you do it. Can you imagine the boatloads of sorrow, stress, tears, anger and sadness that item could prevent? "Bob, that's stealing; you're in danger of falling from the path of Good if you do it." "I'm about to kill a man, and... the phylactery isn't saying anything. God must approve!" "Cera the Merciful doesn't like what you're doing there, Sally. You're in danger of displeasing Her."

There are no real questions about the afterlife. Sufficiently high level priests can go there, and take others with them. They can look around, take souveniers, speak to the servants of their God and get answers, see loved ones and ask how things are going, etc.

You know there is a Hell, and that bad people go there. You know there are in fact such things as demons and all sorts of other horrible monsters that can make you a bad person, even if you didn't want to be one. You can be destroyed by a demon or evil spell or such and have your soul taken to Hell even if you've never done a single bad thing in your life.

What features probably wouldn't apply?

There probably are not nearly as many 'sects'. Any sect that drifts too far afield from the view of the god loses it's power, or has an Archon show up to correct them. Your chaotic religions will have more, perhaps, and your lawful ones very few disagreements.
 

steamboat28

Explorer
There's Detect Evil. You never again have to worry about if someone is truly evil, only if they are insane, under some form of mind control, or just marginally bad. And you can cure the insane or the controlled...

There's a fascinating and cheap magic item called the Phylactery of Faithfulness. It tells you if you're about to do something that could jeapordize your alignment, or your standing with your diety, before you do it...

There are no real questions about the afterlife...

You know there is a Hell, and that bad people go there...

There probably are not nearly as many 'sects'...

As true as all these statements are from the standpoint of PCs, it's highly unlikely that any of these assurances are found among the average person in a D&D society.

The average member of a D&D society isn't going to necessarily have access to the "high-level" clergy that can cast these spells regularly. And if they did, they wouldn't spend all their divine power (spell slots) and time doing this for every Tom, Dick, and Hrothgar. There are priests and laymen that run the local congregation, while the Paladins champion their gods' agendas and Clerics either undertake missions to put that much divine power to good use, or cloister themselves in a congregation of their own, communing with the divine.

I think one thing that we, as players, take for granted when playing is that PCs are the best their race has to offer. Even at level 1, by having a single class level in a PC class, you're better at whatever it is you do than most of your race. Adventurers do not people the whole of Oerth or Eberron or wheresoever-have-you, and the vast majority of everyone you meet is much more normal than you.

That means Clerics, as we (the players) know them, are the equivalents of high-ranking bishops, arch-bishops, and saints. The jobs aren't necessarily analogous, but the amount of spiritual authority and spiritual purpose are. Clerics have better things, more important things, to do than spend their times doing priestly duties and nothing else. They are granted miraculous powers by their deity to change the very face of the world. That's not to say that some aren't content summoning a feast to feed the hungry, or handing out Tiny Huts for the homeless, but it is to say that they do more than lead a congregation (however you might determine "more".)

I said all that to say this: because Clerics have so much on their plate ("With great power..." and all that Uncle Ben stuff), there is still room for doubt. The average person may hear about Father Boniface, Priest of St. Cuthbert, bringing justice to a faraway town with his blessed cudgel, but they probably didn't see it first-hand. They may have been told about Priestlord Argus, Blessed Paladin-Defender of Pelor, wiping out an entire infestation of undead in their town centuries earlier, and becoming a local saint.

So what? I've heard many stories of people in my faith displaying Cleric-level abilities, but I didn't see them occur; I still have doubt, why can't the peasants?
 
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Greg K

Hero
Especially when the 3e rules explicitly state you can have clerics and paladins who don't follow gods.

Personally, I and everyone I knew regardless of group found the above to be lame in a world where deities exist and grant powers. One of the first house rules from everyone I have, personally, met was you have to worship a deity to be a cleric, paladin. YMMV.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Has anyone else been slightly puzzled by how D&D religion is often basically a henotheistic theology (pick your god of choice) that does not really follow similar polytheistic ecclesiastical structures of let's say the Greco-Roman pagan world, but more monotheistic-like (i.e. medieval Christian) ecclesiastical structures?
 

Greg K

Hero
I think that are too many variables. Do deity's have exclusive access to domains? How active are they in mortal affairs? What are relationships like between members of the pantheon? Are these relationships played out in the mortal realm? Are priests generic to the pantheon or are priests dedicated to individual deites? If dedicated priests, do deities grant all priests some ability to cast minor spells or to priests of deities aligned with them and save more powerful spells for their own priests? If dedicated priests, do they only grant spells to these dedicated individuals?

I think people in general are going to be mindful of all the deities (if they are active or there are people that cast "miracles" in their name. Some individuals or a whole nation may have a patron based on occupation or subsistaece, but the other deities control domains that still affect their daily lives. In some cases you may not want to piss off the dark god, if there is one, and attract his wrath, in which case you do rituals do appease him. Other times or pantheons, you perform rituals to keep him or her at bay.

In some instances, the dark gods are going to be the one's that punish the sinners. They may be the dark that takes the form of a beautiful woman and uses her wiles to lure drunk men that stray into the forest at night further into the forest where she can devour them. This could affect social mores and behavior where people don't drink or not to excess and stay to the roads at night.

Regardless of deities and their , you may still have people that turn to the dark adversary god if one exists. They may do so for power, greed, envy, love, lust, revenge, having been deceived or a host of other reasons.
 

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