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Real Religion in Adventure Design

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
These are important, and good notes.

But when you get to the public sphere, realize that you are making assumptions about your audience, and who they are. Check those assumptions for validity if you can.
Sure market research is a damn good idea if you are planning on writing something to publish. Particularly if something is niche.
 

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AnotherGuy

Explorer
I've always wanted to do a Transylvannia-Wallachia setting adventure with the characters hunting down Dracula/Vlad with the religions of Islam, Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, Judaism and Paganism in the background with a mechanic for miracles/rituals for priests/clerics and mostly martial-styled characters (fighter, rogue, ranger) and perhaps an alchemist as your stand-in Mage but I have never gotten around to it sadly.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Sure market research is a damn good idea if you are planning on writing something to publish. Particularly if something is niche.

Not just market research. You should be able to go a long way with a bit of serious thought.

This is especially relevant on the topic of religion - your choices about audience here can be liberating (in that they may free you to write things), but also limiting (making it so your creation is unattractive, and paints you in ways you don't like). Make sure they are the ones you want to make.
 

MGibster

Legend
Sure market research is a damn good idea if you are planning on writing something to publish. Particularly if something is niche.
It's been made abundantly clear that RPGs are not the most profitable of business ventures nor do most publishers have deep pockets. Other than some of the big boys, which RPG companies have the resources to conduct this kind of market research?
So many RPGs already engage with real-world religion in one way or another I don't really see the argument for avoidance.
When I saw the thread I immediately thought of Vampire the Masquerade which incorporated the Old Testament story of Cain and Abel into vampire mythology. And throughout the years, various World of Darkness books incorporated religious ideology. And th game is much better because of that.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
"So many people light their own houses on fire, I don't really see the argument for not doing it..."

<snip>

Who, I wonder, puts forth that chestnut? Surely, it could not be people who have some sort of interest in being able to deflect responsibility for their words!
I don't get the need for that last bit. It seems needlessly personally considering that I'm not talking about my words. If you don't like the way a game engages with religion, then don't buy it, or don't play it, but you (or I) have no business telling other people what to write about, which seems to be where you're headed here.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I don't get the need for that last bit. It seems needlessly personally considering that I'm not talking about my words.

Oh, this isn't about you, personally. It is about the position. You are relying on a chestnut, a piece of supposed "common wisdom" as support.

You don't see a need to examine where that supposed wisdom comes from when you are using it for support?
 
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Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
You are relying on a chestnut, a piece of supposed "common wisdom" as support.

You don't see a need to examine where that supposed wisdom comes from when you are using it for support?
The argument stands up just fine without it. Focusing on this is some pretty bad faith engagement with my overall point too, IMO. Please don't cherry pick my posts. If you want to engage, great, but I don't have a lot of use for your casual dismissal and wacky reframing.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
It's been made abundantly clear that RPGs are not the most profitable of business ventures nor do most publishers have deep pockets. Other than some of the big boys, which RPG companies have the resources to conduct this kind of market research?
I’m not really talking about hiring big marketing firms to poll huge samples. I’m talking about having a clear vision of a product and therefore who your audience is. Rather than just winging it as you go along. Measuring your product against metrics is a sensible one.

Market research can be as simple as looking what is out there in the industry at the moment and who is buying that kind of product. If your product is unique (unlikely) you can canvass forums, FLGS, and Facebook for feedback on ideas. This very thread is a form of market research. With Kickstarter info, and sales info on Amazon and DM’s guild we’ve never had so much info about what sells. Read reviews, for detailed feedback on specific issues. Look at star rating etc etc.

In this abundant RPG market it’s never been more important to have a clear vision of your work. I genuinely think for an independent publisher to try and please everyone they’ll end up pleasing nobody.
 

MGibster

Legend
’m not really talking about hiring big marketing firms to poll huge samples. I’m talking about having a clear vision of a product and therefore who your audience is. Rather than just winging it as you go along. Measuring your product against metrics is a sensible one.
I don't think of having a clear vision as market research. I think of it in the same way that a research paper might have a strong thesis or the author of a work of fiction has found their voice.

In this abundant RPG market it’s never been more important to have a clear vision of your work. I genuinely think for an independent publisher to try and please everyone they’ll end up pleasing nobody.
I'm certainly in agreement on this.
 

I tend to share @Fenris-77 ' concerns here but I also think this illustrates why forums aren't a good medium for this kind of nuanced discussion. I can't speak for @Fenris-77. My sense is he is simply saying there is a danger in catering to a desire to protect religious sensibilities where you start to impose religious taboos on artists, writers and designers and restricting how they can express themselves. I don't think he is weighing in on how he personally feels they ought to express themselves. His point is we are free to engage what we want, and to an extent our reactions are also a matter of our own choice. So this is very much a two way street. Again, beyond that, I am increasingly of the mindset that these topics don't benefit from this kind of medium (Forums) because there is a tendency to misunderstand, reframe or distort (often without realizing it) what a person is actually trying to say.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Can you write RPG content based on real-world religions? Sure, it's done in other media all the time including novels, comics, movies, and video games . . . why not also in TRPGs?

But it is certainly a topic with plenty of landmines for the author/publisher, as others have pointed out in this thread. Doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, but if you do . . . proceed with care, caution, and a willingness to deeply examine your own assumptions.

However, having a typical D&D party (in a typical D&D setting) meet Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed or any other religious figure of modern day religion sounds like a really bad idea. Perhaps in a non-D&D game, or a modified D&D game . . . even then, while I'm sure it can be done . . . so, so many landmines.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
The argument stands up just fine without it.

Then why did you bring it up?

Focusing on this is some pretty bad faith engagement with my overall point too, IMO

Yeah, well, if you are using the term "bad faith" this poorly, your opinion on the matter is rather suspect.

For one thing, nobody is under any onus to engage with your overall point at all, much less in the way you feel is appropriate. You don't get to accuse folks of, in effect, lying, based on what bits they want to discuss or not. That's not acceptable behavior.

For another thing, I've only made a couple of posts. Trying to divine my entire intent off that is dreadfully premature.

Please consider not ever using the term "bad faith" in an accusative manner again. Personal accusations are not a valid rhetorical technique.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Then why did you bring it up?



Yeah, well, if you are using the term "bad faith" this poorly, your opinion on the matter is rather suspect.

For one thing, nobody is under any onus to engage with your overall point at all, much less in the way you feel is appropriate. You don't get to accuse folks of, in effect, lying, based on what bits they want to discuss or not. That's not acceptable behavior.

For another thing, I've only made a couple of posts. Trying to divine my entire intent off that is dreadfully premature.

Please consider not ever using the term "bad faith" in an accusative manner again. Personal accusations are not a valid rhetorical technique.
Ugh. Bad faith = lying?! Huh? Anyway, I wasn't writing a Phil 101 essay. The chestnut was simply an index to an opinion, not a proof. Why you feel the need to ride this hobby horse so hard I don't know. Feel free to go pick on someone else, I'm not interesting in being your whipping boy. I'll also avoid responding to any more of your posts in this thread. Have a nice day. (y)
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
I don't think of having a clear vision as market research. I think of it in the same way that a research paper might have a strong thesis or the author of a work of fiction has found their voice.
Ok. Well knowing what product you’re testing is a pretty important part of market research. You need to know what it is currently even if you later change that based on the results. Market research can be used in several stages of development. Your also clipped out of the quote all the examples I gave of market research the OP might want to do without spending big bucks.
 

AnotherGuy

Explorer
As for people being offended, meh, whatever, don't consume media that offend you. There's that old chestnut that applies here: offense is something that can be taken but not given. While that might not be true in every instance, I think it holds up well a maxim for consumption of media.
Oriental Adventures, Baron Urik Von Kharkov, the Vistani, D&D depiction of Shamans, Savage Warrior in 2e Fighter Handbook, Gnolls, Orcs, Hobgbolin armour...bards, kender, warlords. I cannot see how depicting Mohammed, Jesus or Buddha in RPGs will be any less controversial or offense-incurring.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Is it a problem that writing of any sort might be controvesial? I think not. Of course, we would like to see people avoiding some of the particular issues of those books you mention, of course, but that's hardly the only sort of 'offense' that might be in the offing here. I would avoid reducing the issue to just that one thing.
 

Ixal

Adventurer
Oriental Adventures, Baron Urik Von Kharkov, the Vistani, D&D depiction of Shamans, Savage Warrior in 2e Fighter Handbook, Gnolls, Orcs, Hobgbolin armour...bards, kender, warlords. I cannot see how depicting Mohammed, Jesus or Buddha in RPGs will be any less controversial or offense-incurring.

On the internet maybe, but in the real world its much less of a problem (unless you make a picture of Mohammed, that can be deadly).
There are several RPGs out there which use real world religion, both specifically religious RPGs which cater to one religion or many modern games like World of Darkness or Shadowrun where religion is a factor in the game and various churches also play a not insignificant role. But as that was before the creation of Twitter the controversy was a lot smaller than what would happen today.
Still, considering all those examples I doubt all the care some people here suggest is needed.
 
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AnotherGuy

Explorer
On the internet maybe, but in the real world its much less of a problem (unless you make a picture of Mohammed, that can be deadly).
There are several RPGs out there which use real world religion, both specifically religious religious RPGs which cater to one religion or many modern games like World of Darkness or Shadowrun where religion is a factor in the game and various churches also play a not insignificant role. But as that was before the creation of Twitter the controversy was a lot smaller than what would happen today.
Still, considering all those examples I doubt all the care some people here suggest is needed.
Of late publishing companies yield to the noise. It happened for D&D and its happened for WoD.
Also, I reckon statting up Mohammed would be way worse than a pic.

And the RPGers motto is If it has stats it can be killed existed ever since Deities and Demigods.
Hell, I tried to kill Drizzt in the PC games.
 
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Asisreo

Hero
Of late publishing companies yield to the noise. It happened for D&D and its happened for WoD.
Also, I reckon statting up Mohammed would be way worse than a pic.

And the RPGers motto If it has stats it can be killed existed ever since Deities and Demigods.
Hell, I tried to kill Drizzt in the PC games.
In terms of accuracy, if a Deity is unable to be killed within the canon of the practicing religion, then I'll make it unkillable in the game. Probably with no actual statblock.

If there's a holy prophecy about their death, they will be essentially untouchable until their death prophecy is fulfilled.

That's my intentions. Not to show that "The Gods you worship are mortal, haha!" But to share the stories of the various religions.
 

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