Making Religion Matter in Fantasy RPGs

Status
Not open for further replies.
Religion is a powerful force in any culture and difficult to ignore when creating a gaming setting. Here's some things to consider when incorporating religions into your campaign.

fantasy-3186483_960_720.jpg

Picture courtesy of Pixabay.

The Question of Gods​

When we look at religion from a gaming perspective, the most interesting thing about it is that in many settings, the existence of deities is not in question. One of the most common arguments over religion is whether there even is a god of any form. But in many fantasy games especially, deities offer proof of their existence on a daily basis. Their power is channelled through clerics and priests and a fair few have actually been seen manifesting in the material realm. This makes it pretty hard to be an atheist in a D&D game.

While the adherents of any faith believe the existence of their deity is a given fact, having actual proof changes the way that religion is seen by outsiders. In many ancient cultures, people believed in not only their gods, but the gods of other cultures. So to win a war or conquer another culture was proof your gods were more powerful than theirs. While winning a war against another culture can make you pretty confident, winning one against another culture’s gods can make you arrogant. Add to that the fact you had warrior priests manifesting divine power on the battlefield, you are pretty soon going to start thinking that not only is winning inevitable, but that it is also a divine destiny. Again, these are all attitudes plenty of believers have had in ancient days, but in many fantasy worlds they might actually be right.

Magic vs. Prayer​

If a world has magic, it might be argued that this power is just another form of magic. Wizards might scoff at clerics, telling them they are just dabblers who haven’t learned true magic. But this gets trickier if there are things the clerics can do with their magic that the wizards can’t do with theirs. Some wizards might spend their lives trying to duplicate the effects of clerics, and what happens if one of them does?

The reverse is also interesting. Clerics might potentially manifest any form of magical power if it suits their deity. So if the priest of fire can not only heal but throw fireballs around, is it the wizards that need to get themselves some religion to become true practitioners of the art? Maybe the addition of faith is the only way to really gain the true power of magic?

Are the Gods Real?​

While divine power might be unarguably real, the source of it might still be in contention. A priest might be connecting to some more primal force than magicians, or tapping into some force of humanity. What priests think is a connection to the divine might actually just be another form of magic. As such, it could have some unexpected side effects.

Let’s say this divine power draws from the life force of sentient beings. As it does so in a very broad way, this effect is barely noticed in most populations. A tiny amount of life from the population as a whole powers each spell. But once the cleric goes somewhere remote they might find their magic starts draining the life from those nearby. In remote areas, clerics might be feared rather than revered, and the moment they try to prove they are right by manifesting the true power of their deity, they (and the townsfolk) are in for a very nasty surprise.

Can You Not Believe in Them?​

There are ways to still play an atheist character in a fantasy game. However, it does require more thought beyond "well I don’t believe in it." That's a sure way to make your character look foolish, especially after they have just been healed by a cleric.

What will also make things much tougher is having a character that refuses to benefit from the power of religion due to their beliefs. They might insist that if they don’t know what in this healing magic, they don’t want any part of it, especially if the priest can’t really explain it outside the terms of their faith. That this healing works will not be in doubt. So are they being principled or a fool? If the explanation for magical healing isn’t "this is just healing energy" but "it’s the power of my deity, entering your body and changing it for the better" the character might be more reticent about a few more hit points.

When it comes to deities manifesting on the material plane, it’s a little harder to ignore them. But this isn’t always evidence of the divine. A manifesting deity is undoubtedly a powerful being, one able to crush armies and level cities, but does that make them divine? While the power of a deity is not in dispute, the definition of what is actually divine in nature is a lot muddier. This is ironically harder in a fantasy world where lich-kings, dragons and powerful wizards can do all the same things many deities are supposed to do.

What Are Gods?​

So we come back to the question: Whether you are a cleric, adherent or atheist, of what actually is god? What quality of them demands or inspires worship beyond the fact they are powerful? Plenty of philosophers are still trying to figure that one out. While in a fantasy game their existence and power may not be in question, whether they are holy or even worthy of trust and faith might be much harder to divine.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

log in or register to remove this ad

Andrew Peregrine

Andrew Peregrine

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Fantasy religion can be fun because it allows for a different worldview from our own reality; earthquakes aren't because of plate tectonics but because a god became angry, the world really is flat, stars are ascended heroes, there's an underworld you can walk to if you're crazy enough, and all these rituals and superstitions are actually real and important. For me, embracing this weirdness and mysticism is part of the fantasy of the game.

*I think this is totally in-character for a wizard, since wizardly magic has a natural philosophy/protoscience aspect to it.

There seems to be a lot of great fiction out there for DMs looking to incorporate religion in various different ways that might be fun to explore.

Narnia for a view of.what happens when the divine is sometimes exceptionally close but mostly far and silent. And also for a take on when the divines actions are limited in a world because of the rules they imposed.

"The Silmarillion" for an example of an overgod with a bunch of gods/powers/archangels/whatnot under them, and example of where the land of the gods is reachable and of various ways they interact with people.

The Percy Jackson and related books are set in the modern world, but can give a view of how the ancient Greek gods might behave if they didn't want to be so open about it.

Glen Cook's "Petty Pewter Gods" for an example of where the gods depend on the worshippers. His "The Tower of Fear" for a much more serious take on people of different cultures and religions living in proximity (even if not much detail on the religion comes up).

Neil Gaiman's DC Comics "The Books of Magic" 4 issue series from 1990 gives a beautiful trip through a magical multiverse. His "Season's of Mist" in the Sandman series is a tour de force in exploring several different religious ideas.

I really liked "The God Butcher" (Thor: God of Thunder issues 1-11) and "The Asgardian/Shi'Ar War"(Mighty Thor 15-19/.by Jason Aaron which get into the morality of different gods and how they're viewed by their worshippers. (Also, Norse longships.in space).

What are some other favorites?
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad


Oofta

Legend
Most books I've read that dealt with fantasy religion either use quite D&D like system or the gods are beings created and fueled by worship. For the latter there's The Hammer and the Cross by Harry Harrison or the Iron Druid Chronicles.

In my own campaign, I let people know that most temples are not dedicated to a single god and may include all of the Aesir and gods of dwarves, elves, gnomes, etc. Clerics and paladins do not have to follow a specific god, most lay priests are simply wise men and women. Even if a cleric is dedicated to Tyr (god of justice and war) they will call to Frigga (Odin's wife) to bless a marriage.

Large cities may have temples dedicated to specific gods, a city or group my have a stronger tie to a specific deity. In most cases the most a specific deity will have is a small shrine here and there. People may gather for special occasions and rituals but there is no sabbath day set aside specifically for worship.

I try to throw small festivities and holy days into the mix now and then, but they tend to be regional in nature. For example there's a festival celebrating the new year when Odin takes over the wild hunt and visits people asking for gifts. Since Odin may take any form, it's kind of like Halloween where people (especially kids) dress up and go around asking for small gifts or treats. If Odin is satisfied with your tribute he leaves his own gift ... so it's kind of Halloween + Christmas.

P.S. Sorry for the derailment about my atheist PC, but the OP did have a section on "are the gods real". Out of all the PCs I've had over the years, many have been devout, others accepted gods but weren't particularly religious potentially to the point of being agnostic, I've had exactly one atheist.
 

Sheesh, how many people have you had to play with that have turned out to be jerks? :.-(
Well, there's a thread all its own...

Probably just as many as anyone else. I do run a "serious" game. People can be goofy or silly, but their actions form the history of future groups or campaigns. Being demanding or insulting to people or entities of power has consequences, however. Mooning the king in his hall is ill-advised; when one player told me he was going to do that I asked him if he was sure. "This is a guy who commands respect and has nobles and knights under his command. Do you really want to do this?" "Yeah! He can [puerile statement / activity]!" "Okay..."
 

Voadam

Legend
What are some other favorites?

Conan stories. Set isn't a direct villain. A priest of Set is.

Lankhmar I remember enjoying the Issek of the Jug one.

Stormbringer stories have a lot of fun pact relationships between mortals and D&D type gods.

Thieves World had interesting stories about non LG god champion paladin type characters like Tempus and multiple cultures and pantheons and religions interacting.

Lois McMaster Bujold McMaster's Curse of Chalion stories were fairly fun paladin religion type of fantasy stories.

I always enjoyed the portrayal of gods in mythological direct stories about the gods more than the ones where they were behind the scenes deus ex machina patrons, so more Odin tricks his way into obtaining the Mead of Poetry and less the sagas where Odin sets something up for a mortal hero.
 


Oofta

Legend
Well, there's a thread all its own...

Probably just as many as anyone else. I do run a "serious" game. People can be goofy or silly, but their actions form the history of future groups or campaigns. Being demanding or insulting to people or entities of power has consequences, however. Mooning the king in his hall is ill-advised; when one player told me he was going to do that I asked him if he was sure. "This is a guy who commands respect and has nobles and knights under his command. Do you really want to do this?" "Yeah! He can [puerile statement / activity]!" "Okay..."

I've rarely had jerk players and I've been DMing for decades. Had one guy who thought he was a werewolf in real life, a few that just didn't work out because it wasn't a good fit, but probably only 1 that went out of their way to be disruptive. Maybe I've been lucky or maybe you just need to be better at setting expectations? Or not, I'm not trying to blame you for having problems.

But like you said, it's a different topic.
 

Voadam

Legend
Sorry for the delay in this response, I had ro check a bit.
1) reincarnation is not raise dead. You just get a new character with the memories of the previous one.
Right, brought back from the dead reincarnated into a new body but with the memories of the old one.
2) Yes are tenth level bards could read written spells devices (aka scrolls) but there were risks.
And also 2e bards could cast wizard spells directly, up to 6th level spells including wizard reincarnation.
3) the process to be a bard in 1ed was so ridiculous, that I saw only one ever made. And even then, it would-be screwed to read scrolls as he would be 7th level or so. And again, reincarnate is not raise dead.
1e sort of prestige class druid spellcasting bards are an impractical mechanical mess in a number of ways. 2e makes them much more mechanically straightforward.
And screw bards.
Bards are generally fantastic. I've seen them as fantastic healers in 3e, 4e, and 5e. I had great fun playing a 5e viking concept valor bard as a type of WWE wrestling superstar characterization. :)
 


We're currently between segments of a campaign where all of the gods were widely worshipped and integral to day to day life -- and it was not known to any except a few in the high ups of the religions that they were all ascended mortals. At the end of the first arc all of the gods died at the same time and all of the powers they granted their worshippers just stopped (no spells, etc...)

The follow-up arcs with other characters feature characters that used to be clerics of those gods dealing with the aftermath (starting at 3rd level with 2 levels of cleric, druid, or paladin, and one level of another class - many of the original class abilities don't function anymore).

The characters are each struggling to come to grips with this; mine is trying to take that the gods before were originally mortals to mean that a world full of mortals should be able to carry on and it could be a hope of optimism (we can all be heroes if we just try). We'll see if the folks who are really angry kill the party when they find out we all used to be priests before we can make something of our plans.
I have a similar system, where there are Elder Gods sure but in the end everything must end and change in order to fit into their roll as a God. So I have it that if you embody the values and essence of a God you are able to kill it and take its place.
I used it primarily with the current version of the God of the Sea ((Davvi)) who was someone who suffered as a slave in a Atlantis like city, his personality, his struggles, all made for the perfect package of what people thought this God should be, and in the end Davvi killed the old one and became the current version of it.
It really forces people to come to terms with it, Gods are only what we believe them and need them to be, so it changes over generations. And now Davvi has to wait until someone is the better improved version of him in order for him to pass on.
 

I've rarely had jerk players and I've been DMing for decades. Had one guy who thought he was a werewolf in real life, a few that just didn't work out because it wasn't a good fit, but probably only 1 that went out of their way to be disruptive. Maybe I've been lucky or maybe you just need to be better at setting expectations? Or not, I'm not trying to blame you for having problems.

But like you said, it's a different topic.
I think it's telling that the most disruptive players I had was when I was 18-25. People were still figuring themselves out post-high school.
 


Anyways, one thing that has worked for me: whenever I play a cleric, paladin, warlock or other character of faith, I like to spend a lot of pre-game time nailing down what their religion is and how it fits into the world. What do they believe, what daily/weekly rituals do they observe, et al.

I'm usually vague about gods - I know what the character thinks they're all about but the actual motives are a mystery to me as a player - and I like to leave churches imperfectly defined so there's room to add stuff as needed by the plot. I might have a couple titles/ranks spelled out (ie they have abbots and bishops) but I never try to build the whole org chart. For example, most churches have "several" orders dedicated to stuff the church thinks needs doing in the world. My character is an undead hunter, but there could be any number of other groups like heresy- hunters or demon-cult hunters. Those aren't detailed until they come up, if at all.

And this is a conversation - I read what they have about the setting, I present my ideas to the dm, trying to incorporate what I feel I need for the character while making it fit the setting as much as possible. They come back with changes/suggestions, and we go back and forth until it's ready. In practice, this works with almost every dm.
 
Last edited:

Does everyone in the party have to agree about every feeling, belief and motivation? Why do people equate having a belief with proselytizing that belief? Can't it just be an interesting motivation and thought experiment that occasionally gets calmly discussed amongst friends? Have you never had a polite conversation about how you completely disagree with someone even though you still respect that person and their beliefs?

It feels like people want anyone with a different opinion and idea to be the bad guy, screaming in their face that not only are they wrong, but they're an idiot. My PC was never a jerk about his atheism. He didn't denigrate people for believing. He just didn't believe gods were anything special or worthy of worship. He thought that when you died, you just ceased to exist.

You can be respectful while disagreeing. You can believe that something exists, even has power, without elevating it to the level of divine. If you automatically assume that anyone who disagrees with you is mocking you, maybe the problem is not the person that disagrees.
Of course not. But if someone seeks conflict, that someone is usually able to find it.
A different opinion, a bad person does not make you.
Respect while disagreeing is something modern, but in religions, it is rarely the case.

Let me elaborate a bit.
The pantheon approach.
A priest of a pantheon worship the pantheon as a whole. He does not just worship Zeus, but all the other gods. He will have a "patron" god that gives him his power but he will be respectful of Hades, Ares, Athena, Poseidon and all the other gods as they are all of the Greek pantheon. As such, you can have a priest of Zeus and one of Hades working side by side in an adventuring party without too much trouble. Their goal might differ, but they ultimately work for the pantheon.

This means that campaign worlds with many pantheons can and will have third approach. The religious/cultural approach. Where some campaigns will insist on the Law vs Chaos or the Good vs Evil (about the most common one we must admit it here) the campaign will focus on the pantheon/cultural approach. Alignment will mean almost nothing. It will simply be a general behavioural note on the character sheet. What you will see, is pantheons/cultures vs pantheons/cultures. Where some pantheons/cultures will work quite well with each other (friendly rivalries or similar concerns) there will be other pantheons/cultures that will become deadly enemies. A good examples is Aesir/Vanir. One patheon warred with the other and absorbed the other pantheon into its own. The Greek pantheon changed into the Roman pantheon and conquered other pantheons, forcing other cultures to worship their pantheons.

A pantheon like approach implies that if you have different religions in your party, the DM must make sure that these religions are either from the same pantheon or that the religions are allied. Using two rival religions in this context is calling for trouble.

With the pantheon approach, A priest of Corellon will have no trouble to heal and fight alongside a Priest of Moradin (there will be bickering in their approach, but no outright hostilities) as both clerics work for good. Here the pantheon will use a good vs evil approach but it really should work out. On the other hand, the same priest of Corellon will not even consider to work with a priest of Gruumsh. Not only are they not from the same pantheon, but they are mortal enemies. The same goes with a priest of Lloth same pantheon but so removed in goals and practice that they might as well be from a different pantheon. You could see a priest of Moradin working side by side with a priest of Abbathor in a campaign against the Orc pantheon or some other inimical pantheon (such as Maglubiyet).

The monopantheon approach.
This is the basic approach of many campaign world as creating whole pantheons can be quite excruciating. This make it so that the gods do not work together as a pantheon unless there is some cosmic level threat. Otherwise, they are fighting each other and, as in real life, will form alliances depending on their alignment and focus. Here you could have law vs chaos axis or a good vs evil or a mix of the two. One thing is for sure, never mix clerics of the opposing deities together. One or the other will die.

The monotheistic and the NO god approach
Here there should never be problems, but unfortunately, there will be. If the mono god is silent or simply does not exist and clerics receive their spell through faith only never seeing an agent of the god, many sects will spring often working against each others (and we are back at pantheons). If the god is vocal and all priest follow the same cult, then there will never be conflict between priests. What we will have here, is invaders from the Far Realm or Demonic/Infernal Entities (any Diablo fans here? ;) ) or any variations in between. Here priest will be working together and different sects might focus on different aspect of what they want to promote for the one god but they will usually work together as the "One" god is vocal. Here the "One" god can be anything from simply God, The Light, The Sun and so on. The enemies will always be of undead or extra planar in origin (World of Warcraft is a good example of this approach). The different humanoids either worship the "One" god or simply worship some extra planar threat.

And all this brings us to
The role of a cleric.
The cleric is not only a healer, but he is also charged to spread the word of his god. A cleric must preach to the masses but a cleric is also a warrior. Yep, a warrior. They have some training in weapons and armor and are expected to fight the threats to their religion/pantheon. There can be no other way. There is no we will agree to disagree with a cleric. There will be: "We are temporary allies in this fight", "I will teach you the way through my example" up to "You will convert or else...". Yes, you can have allies that are not actively worshipping your deity, but they must at least acknowledge its existence and show a modicum of respect. Outward hostility, be it verbal only or in action is something completely unacceptable to a religious type character. Coexistence is possible, but it must be peaceful and cooperative. As soon as the cleric's deity is mocked or belittle, the one doing the insult is in big trouble. This is why you have spells like Geas. Geas were given to let a person atone for the sins committed against (a) god or one of its representative (read here, cleric).

End note: The problem with bards able as best as a cleric means that the religious and miraculous aspect of healing in D&D is now dissociated with the gods. A bard will be able to do the same as a cleric without the religious hassles that comes with a cleric. This can be a blessing in some campaign as it promotes more different character orientations and goals. But it is also a very bad choice for 5ed as most if not all examples of Fantasy usually put the true healing in the hands of clerics/druids. Bard types are, at best, surgeons and herbalist in most fantasy novels (in addition to their musical/lyrical talents). This is why I removed raise dead (and similar magic) from their list. A bard should be restricted to alterations, enchantments/charms and illusions spells. Or should simply be persons with a good performance skill. SCREW YOU BARDS!!!!!!
 
Last edited:

Oofta

Legend
Of course not. But if someone seeks conflict, that someone is usually able to find it.
A different opinion, a bad person does not make you.
Respect while disagreeing is something modern, but in religions, it is rarely the case.

Let me elaborate a bit.
The pantheon approach.
A priest of a pantheon worship the pantheon as a whole. He does not just worship Zeus, but all the other gods. He will have a "patron" god that gives him his power but he will be respectful of Hades, Ares, Athena, Poseidon and all the other gods as they are all of the Greek pantheon. As such, you can have a priest of Zeus and one of Hades working side by side in an adventuring party without too much trouble. Their goal might differ, but they ultimately work for the pantheon.

This means that campaign worlds with many pantheons can and will have third approach. The religious/cultural approach. Where some campaigns will insist on the Law vs Chaos or the Good vs Evil (about the most common one we must admit it here) the campaign will focus on the pantheon/cultural approach. Alignment will mean almost nothing. It will simply be a general behavioural note on the character sheet. What you will see, is pantheons/cultures vs pantheons/cultures. Where some pantheons/cultures will work quite well with each other (friendly rivalries or similar concerns) there will be other pantheons/cultures that will become deadly enemies. A good examples is Aesir/Vanir. One patheon warred with the other and absorbed the other pantheon into its own. The Greek pantheon changed into the Roman pantheon and conquered other pantheons, forcing other cultures to worship their pantheons.

A pantheon like approach implies that if you have different religions in your party, the DM must make sure that these religions are either from the same pantheon or that the religions are allied. Using two rival religions in this context is calling for trouble.

With the pantheon approach, A priest of Corellon will have no trouble to heal and fight alongside a Priest of Moradin (there will be bickering in their approach, but no outright hostilities) as both clerics work for good. Here the pantheon will use a good vs evil approach but it really should work out. On the other hand, the same priest of Corellon will not even consider to work with a priest of Gruumsh. Not only are they not from the same pantheon, but they are mortal enemies. The same goes with a priest of Lloth same pantheon but so removed in goals and practice that they might as well be from a different pantheon. You could see a priest of Moradin working side by side with a priest of Abbathor in a campaign against the Orc pantheon or some other inimical pantheon (such as Maglubiyet).

The monopantheon approach.
This is the basic approach of many campaign world as creating whole pantheons can be quite excruciating. This make it so that the gods do not work together as a pantheon unless there is some cosmic level threat. Otherwise, they are fighting each other and, as in real life, will form alliances depending on their alignment and focus. Here you could have law vs chaos axis or a good vs evil or a mix of the two. One thing is for sure, never mix clerics of the opposing deities together. One or the other will die.

The monotheistic and the NO god approach
Here there should never be problems, but unfortunately, there will be. If the mono god is silent or simply does not exist and clerics receive their spell through faith only never seeing an agent of the god, many sects will spring often working against each others (and we are back at pantheons). If the god is vocal and all priest follow the same cult, then there will never be conflict between priests. What we will have here, is invaders from the Far Realm or Demonic/Infernal Entities (any Diablo fans here? ;) ) or any variations in between. Here priest will be working together and different sects might focus on different aspect of what they want to promote for the one god but they will usually work together as the "One" god is vocal. Here the "One" god can be anything from simply God, The Light, The Sun and so on. The enemies will always be of undead or extra planar in origin (World of Warcraft is a good example of this approach). The different humanoids either worship the "One" god or simply worship some extra planar threat.

And all this brings us to
The role of a cleric.
The cleric is not only a healer, but he is also charged to spread the word of his god. A cleric must preach to the masses but a cleric is also a warrior. Yep, a warrior. They have some training in weapons and armor and are expected to fight the threats to their religion/pantheon. There can be no other way. There is no we will agree to disagree with a cleric. There will be: "We are temporary allies in this fight", "I will teach you the way through my example" up to "You will convert or else...". Yes, you can have allies that are not actively worshipping your deity, but they must at least acknowledge its existence and show a modicum of respect. Outward hostility, be it verbal only or in action is something completely unacceptable to a religious type character. Coexistence is possible, but it must be peaceful and cooperative. As soon as the cleric's deity is mocked or belittle, the one doing the insult is in big trouble. This is why you have spells like Geas. Geas were given to let a person atone for the sins committed against (a) god or one of its representative (read here, cleric).

End note: The problem with bards able as best as a cleric means that the religious and miraculous aspect of healing in D&D is now dissociated with the gods. A bard will be able to do the same as a cleric without the religious hassles that comes with a cleric. This can be a blessing in some campaign as it promotes more different character orientations and goals. But it is also a very bad choice for 5ed as most if not all examples of Fantasy usually put the true healing in the hands of clerics/druids. Bard types are, at best, surgeons and herbalist in most fantasy novels (in addition to their musical/lyrical talents). This is why I removed raise dead (and similar magic) from their list. A bard should be restricted to alterations, enchantments/charms and illusions spells. Or should simply be persons with a good performance skill. SCREW YOU BARDS!!!!!!
All I can say is that I disagree. Is the person that needs healing helping the cleric? Does the cleric advance their goals by healing? Is it simply the right thing to do?

If any of those is yes, they heal. Requiring allegiance to the same deity or pantheon would not fly at my table or with any other group I have ever played with.
 

All I can say is that I disagree. Is the person that needs healing helping the cleric? Does the cleric advance their goals by healing? Is it simply the right thing to do?

If any of those is yes, they heal. Requiring allegiance to the same deity or pantheon would not fly at my table or with any other group I have ever played with.
Recognition and allegiance are two different things.
Two clerics of different but allied deity can and will work together without requiring allegiance.
More over, forcing conversion onto someone is not what the cleric does. What the cleric will do is the following:
See how (insert god's name) can cure you. or May (insert god's name) heal you my friend.

After all, PCs in a party are supposed to be allies. This should be more than enough to make it a good reason for the cleric to heal.

However.
If a PC is actively diminishing the importance of the cleric and the cleric's god; there should be some drawbacks. And major ones at that. The gods are not to be trifled with.
In addition, raise dead is largely dependant on the gods. If the PC is not worshipping the cleric's god, then the spell should fail. That the player want his character back is irrelevant. If that player had his character going against everything that god holds dear or simply lacked the proper respect, I do not see why a god would allow the spell to work on that character.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Edited in note from a day in the future: The diversion on interparty conflict, atheist characters, and being a jerk continues on the next page of responses and goes for a few pages. If we ignore those parts (including my contributions to it ), we might get back on topic and not get the thread closed. I hope.

-----

After all, PCs in a party are supposed to be allies. This should be more than enough to make it a good reason for the cleric to heal.
<snip>
If the PC is not worshipping the cleric's god, then the spell should fail.

It feels like resurrection and raise dead would really differ from world to world and god to god. In some, an ally of the cleric who worshipped some other deity might get raised just as easily as they would healed. In others rising from the dead might be a thing of legend and not distributed nearly as easily.
 
Last edited:

Oofta

Legend
Recognition and allegiance are two different things.
Two clerics of different but allied deity can and will work together without requiring allegiance.
More over, forcing conversion onto someone is not what the cleric does. What the cleric will do is the following:
See how (insert god's name) can cure you. or May (insert god's name) heal you my friend.

After all, PCs in a party are supposed to be allies. This should be more than enough to make it a good reason for the cleric to heal.

However.
If a PC is actively diminishing the importance of the cleric and the cleric's god; there should be some drawbacks. And major ones at that. The gods are not to be trifled with.
In addition, raise dead is largely dependant on the gods. If the PC is not worshipping the cleric's god, then the spell should fail. That the player want his character back is irrelevant. If that player had his character going against everything that god holds dear or simply lacked the proper respect, I do not see why a god would allow the spell to work on that character.
Allied, allegiance, po-tae-toe, po-ta-toe.

A cleric not healing an ally for any reason at all is grounds for the cleric being booted. A cleric not healing simply because it was the right thing to do, the same.

End of story. Do whatever you want in your game, it would not be acceptable in any group I've ever played with
 

Oofta

Legend
It feels like resurrection and raise dead would really differ from world to world and god to god. In some, an ally of the cleric who worshipped some other deity might get raised just as easily as they would healed. In others rising from the dead might be a thing of legend and not distributed nearly as easily.
Raise dead is a different story, but that's true in many ways.
 

Hussar

Legend
It seems to me that it always has mattered, in fact some of the first supplements were all about it. RPGs are a great way to play with faith!
In theory, this is totally true. And there are some fantastic books out there. But, in play, I find that most of the time, the players couldn't give a rat's patoot about it unless they specifically need something. So, unless the character is a divine class of some sort, faith doesn't exist. Which is kinda the point of this thread.

How do you make it matter in play?

-------

Allied, allegiance, po-tae-toe, po-ta-toe.

A cleric not healing an ally for any reason at all is grounds for the cleric being booted. A cleric not healing simply because it was the right thing to do, the same.

End of story. Do whatever you want in your game, it would not be acceptable in any group I've ever played with
And yet you would never consider booting the player for being the reason why the cleric is refusing to heal? That's the issue I've been having all the way along. I've been told that we absolutely should never tell another player how to play their character, and yet here, you are 100% forcing the cleric player to do something, regardless of what the cleric player wants, and then blaming the cleric player for the problem. Remember, in the context of this thread, that the only reason that the cleric player is doing this is because another player deliberately chose to play a character that would cause conflict in the party. Never minding that the player is also 100% forcing the DM to accept this character concept and forcing the DM to treat the character a certain way, regardless of the setting. How is that player not at least part of the problem?

-------------

As far as favorite genre stories goes:

Pratchett as mentioned (Small Gods, Feet of Clay, various others)
Neil Gaiman's American Gods and Ananzi Boys.
Not a novel series but the Scarred Lands setting is fantastic for making religion matter. It's the core element of the entire setting. Set within living memory of the war between the Titans and the Gods, everywhere is impacted. Heck, you have the elves be a dying race because their god died in the war and they can no longer have offspring.
Lucifer - TV show
Supernatural - TV Show
Magi - anime (not specifically gods, but, close enough)
 

Status
Not open for further replies.

Related Articles

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top