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D&D 5E The Bible Is A New 5E Setting

The Adventurer’s Guide to the Bible is a 5E setting and adventure set in the first century AD.

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The 350-page book, created by Bible enthusiasts, included four new lineages, a range of subclasses, and an adventure for character levels 1-10, along with a full first-century AD setting with locations like the Library of Alexandria and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, NPCs, and monsters such as giants, seraph serpents, angels, and demons. The adventure itself involves a search for three missing Magi.

It's $25 for a PDF, or $39 for a hardcover.


Cleopatra is dead. Rome and Parthia struggle for control of the Fertile Crescent in a bid for world domination, while local politics in the Middle Kingdoms become increasingly divisive. The prophecies of the so-called “Messiah” have long been forgotten, and an ancient Evil lurks in the shadows, corrupting the hearts of humankind. Three of the wisest mystics known as the “Magi” travelled to Bethlehem following a star they believed to be a sign. They never returned. Hope grows dim as the world descends into darkness. What we need are answers... and those brave enough to seek them.


This isn’t the first biblical era setting for D&D, although it might be for 5E. Green Ronin released Testament: Roleplaying in the Biblical Era for 3E over a decade ago.

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Well, there's also the simple solution that the PCs don't know what's going to happen.

Like I said, this isn't really for me, but it would be odd to have the PCs directly cross paths with JC. How do you RP that?

You can go the more historical approach, rather than the religious, and meet more than one, since Jesus is supposed to be a composite, or combination, of several rebel figures of the time.
 

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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
You can go the more historical approach, rather than the religious, and meet more than one, since Jesus is supposed to be a composite, or combination, of several rebel figures of the time.
There's a lot of conjecture on the entire topic, but the target audience is probably going to go with the traditional narrative.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
You can go the more historical approach, rather than the religious, and meet more than one, since Jesus is supposed to be a composite, or combination, of several rebel figures of the time.
yeah thats not a popular theory, but yeah Yeshua was a really common name at the time and as we see with John the Baptist, there were also lots of itenerant preachers around too.

As to meeting Yeshua, the book/film The Robe does a great job of telling a fictional story where the PCs are the the household of the Roman Centurion who oversaw the crucifixion (and won the dice game to possess Yeshuas robe).
 

Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
Well, there's also the simple solution that the PCs don't know what's going to happen.

Like I said, this isn't really for me, but it would be odd to have the PCs directly cross paths with JC. How do you RP that?

Especially if it's during the scene where this NPC is actively disturbing a lawful activity within the temple of the setting's main god's ground. How would/should a PC (being, at this point, granted divine magic by that same setting's god) is supposed to react? How does the character (and the player) realize that the NPC disturbing the peace is actually right in the metaplot because he got instructions directly from the setting's god? What if the PCs roll really well on their Persuasion roll to ask him to stop?

Avoiding railroad is easier if the PCs don't meet any high level NPCs at all. Because the same problem goes with many named NPCs: having the governor of the setting's secular authority turned into a newt by a Baleful Polymorph-happy PC group would lead to a blatant deviation from the metaplot. Same if some players use OOC knowledge to preemptively off a certain follower of the NPC...
 
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Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Especially if it's during the scene where this NPC is actively disturbing a lawful activity within the temple of the setting's main god's ground. How would/should a PC (being, at this point, granted divine magic by that same setting's god) is supposed to react? How does the character (and the player) realize that the NPC disturbing the peace is actually right in the metaplot because he got instructions directly from the setting's god? What if the PCs roll really well on their Persuasion roll to ask him to stop?

Avoiding railroad is easier if the PCs don't meet any high level NPCs at all. Because the same problem goes with many named NPCs: having the governor of the setting's secular authority turned into a newt by a Baleful Polymorph-happy PC group would lead to a blatant deviation from the metaplot. Same if some players use OOC knowledge to preemptively off a certain follower of the NPC...

most scholars consider that to be the main action that lead to Yeshua arrest - Yeshua was crucified a week later.
it’s speculated that the Romans didn’t act for fear of riots from the poor Jews flooding into the city - plus the Roman soldiers couldn’t be bothered intervening in Jewish affairs.
(It’s also possible that this particular event was an exemplar Of a series of Riots by Yeshua/Johns followers)

but yeah it does require certain NPCs to get auto saves AND for certain DND Magic’s to not exist
 
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damiller

Explorer
I don't see major NPCs/Plotlines in this setting any different than I would major NPCs/Plotlines in any published setting: a discussion at the table how and what is canon and if it it is alterable. I for one would let the players know that they would be unable to kill the Messiah in Star Wars. Its the same with LOTR. It just won't happen. And one way to deal with that is to keep the adventures on the margins of the canon. But I don't think that has to happen, it just makes what the group does matter more because their choices matter.

And if after that discussion a player attempted to kill canon NPC/Plot line, they would quickly find themselves out of my game.
 


Tallifer

Hero
The Prophet Isaiah obviously played Dungeons & Dragons (from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, Chapter 3):

2 The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient,

3 The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
The Prophet Isaiah obviously played Dungeons & Dragons (from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, Chapter 3):

2 The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient,

3 The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator.
I was checking out the Hebrew original (Isaiah 3.2):

גִּבּוֹר וְאִישׁ מִלְחָמָה שׁוֹפֵט וְנָבִיא וְקֹסֵם וְזָקֵֽן

I would translate this as:

"Hero and soldier of war, judge and prophet and enchanter (wizard!), and elder".



The "enchanter", Kosem קֺסֵם , relates to divination, whence enchantment, magic, and wizardry. It reminds me of the Middle English term "fairie", meaning magic, but deriving from "fate". Fortelling a fate came to associate using words to alter fate, whence speaking to produce magical effects. Specifically, the Kosem uses various techniques to self-induce a trance, and then speaks a fate while in the trance.



Magi = "mage" = magic-user

Relating to the original post, The Bible setting features the three "magi" that visit Jesus when he was a child. Going by the Greek term Magos, it is ambiguous whether this refers to the Magu, who is a member of a Zoroastrian priestly sacred caste in Iran, or else refers to the Magos, who is a "mage" in various places across the Hellenistic world. In his encyclopedic work, Naturalis Historia, Plinius hates the Hellenistic mages and describes them in some detail. They seem to use protoscientific methods that exploit the magical properties that are inherent in natural objects.

Are the "Magi" of the New Testamant to be understood as Iranian Magu priests or else Hellenistic Magos magic-users?

Judging by the Septuagint Greek translation of the Book of Daniel, the Greek term Magos is used to translate the Hebrew-and-Aramaic term Ashaf אשף , which is a member of the imperial court in Babylon. From this textual source, the story of the Magi probably refers to the Ashaf, and doesnt refer to the Zoroastrian Magu priest.

In other words, the three magi are literally three "mages". Probably from in or around Babylon. The New Testament describes them using astronomy, astrology, and dream interpretation, as examples of the magical techniques these Babylonian mages were known for. Astrology is central to Babylonian cosmology. And these three magi are probably Babylonian versions of Hellenistic mages. The magi are magic-users.
 

HammerMan

Legend
We probably can't go there, but this isn't a widely held theory. I am not saying it is right or wrong, but it isn't the mainstream historical consensus.
if I were to do this I would run it tongue in cheek (I am and was raised Christian) I would base it more on Hercules the Legendary Journeys it is loosely based on the legends/myths... but not really,
 

if I were to do this I would run it tongue in cheek (I am and was raised Christian) I would base it more on Hercules the Legendary Journeys it is loosely based on the legends/myths... but not really,

Yeah. I honestly can't see this going great if you try to do it all with a straight face.

I'm a bit surprised at the era this is set in. I was expecting a much older setting- Judges or Kings- or even maybe the Babylonian occupation. Especially with the lineages they've presented, I kind of think that 1st century AD is a bit late for all of this (and it is kind of after the parts in the Bible with all the exciting combat).
 

if I were to do this I would run it tongue in cheek (I am and was raised Christian) I would base it more on Hercules the Legendary Journeys it is loosely based on the legends/myths... but not really,

I could go in either direction. I was raised very religious, and would call myself religious presently, but I also think art, entertainment, and games serve very different functions than religion. But I also had phases of agnosticism and atheism and like engaging all the different arguments for and against the existence of God. I think I am pretty open minded on this stuff. So I could see taking an earnest approach to the biblical source material if everyone is on the same page, or taking a more light hearted approach (like that famous Last Supper scene from History of the Worlds). And I could see running it in a way that is totally secular as well.
 

I still think that you need to go Old Testiment in order to find stuff that matches up with how RPGs work.

When you get a few decades into the AD, all you've got is protagonists going to various places and repeating what Jesus said to them and eventually getting themselves killed by the locals while maintaining a pacifist attitude. If you do run into some demons, you gotta evoke Jesus a bit and have a sort of faith duel, but you still don't get to use swords.

I really don't see how that could be as interesting as some of the giant slaying that goes on in the Old Testament. There was a one boss fight where the bad guy was so absurdly obese that his rolls of fat completely engulfed the rogue's dagger after a sneak attack.
 


I still think that you need to go Old Testiment in order to find stuff that matches up with how RPGs work.

When you get a few decades into the AD, all you've got is protagonists going to various places and repeating what Jesus said to them and eventually getting themselves killed by the locals while maintaining a pacifist attitude. If you do run into some demons, you gotta evoke Jesus a bit and have a sort of faith duel, but you still don't get to use swords.

I really don't see how that could be as interesting as some of the giant slaying that goes on in the Old Testament. There was a one boss fight where the bad guy was so absurdly obese that his rolls of fat completely engulfed the rogue's dagger after a sneak attack.

I think it would be interesting, it just wouldn't be like a standard D&D campaign. It would probably be more like Call of Cthulhu
 


ART!

Legend
if I were to do this I would run it tongue in cheek (I am and was raised Christian) I would base it more on Hercules the Legendary Journeys it is loosely based on the legends/myths... but not really,
This would be a very tempting way for me to go with it, too:

Two-Fisted Tales of the Messiah!*

Look out for Jesus and His Twelve A-Posse!*

*I mean this all good-naturedly - I was raised Catholic. I'm seriously considering backing this, but more than partly because I like to support non-Eurocentric 5E supplements.
 

I'm seriously considering backing this, but more than partly because I like to support non-Eurocentric 5E supplements.

Is there anything in the initial info that says Jesus won't be painted as a white western European, though? You go accurate for the region and you know certain groups will be all riled up that he does not look like them.
 

My thoughts:

The goal for this setting is a D&D version of Ben-Hur, Quo Vadis? and other stories from the petlum genre where PCs run their adventures parallalel to historical facts.

Not only slavery and gladiator games in the Roman empire, but that is was allowed with child slaves.

Besides here but in all TRPG settings based in History the PCs aren't allowed to alter the timeline. What if PCs avoid Caesarion (Cleopatra and Julius Caesar's son) to be killed by Octavian?

Somebody says Jews were the 10% of Roman empire population in the times of August.

The players who wish to buy this setting want nothing by Mark Millar or Garth Ennis's fiction with religious elements.

I can't say Hindu mythology but Hindu religion. Do you undertand? Christian mythology is the tales from popular folklore with saints as characters.

This setting shouldn't be only for first century, but for more ages from History.
 

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