Sunday, April 15, 2012

Priests

I’m not going to talk about alignments. I have to keep telling myself that.
Priests - In Legend Quest, healing magic is performed by mages who have power levels in healing magic or by wizards who can cast all six schools. Healing magic does not come from the gods. The main reason for that is that when I wrote LQ, I wanted each religion to teach things that made sense to that religion. Yes, the god of healing teaches his priests to be healers. But the god of evil magic teaches his priests to be sorcerers. And the god of war teaches his priests to be warriors. And the goddess of beauty teaches her priestesses to be artists, or possibly illusionists.
Not every priest should be a healer! OK, I only really know my religion well, but there are a billion of us worldwide, so I’m going to claim some common ground. We have those who lead the parishioners. They preach, they hold services, they even counsel. But we also have those who work primarily as teachers - lots of those! We do have some who run hospitals (healers). We have some who pray all day long, often in seclusion. We have some who administer the workings of the individual churches or the larger regional or national or global communities - yes, bureaucrats. Most have other things they do. Some coach kids, some maintain the grounds, some cater to the poor or sick (by going to them, which is different than just being a healer). What about the ones who study the scriptures? These guys are historians, detectives and translators all wrapped in one. There are lawyers and diplomats, and I think I’m done going on and on. (Can add musicians? organists, singers, etc.?)
Here’s the point: Are we supposed to assume that every priest, no matter who he or she serves, learns magic? So in order to run a decent sized church, you must be a powerful spell caster, likely with the ability to bring the dead back to life? What if you’re just charismatic and have a great speaking voice? Can’t minister to a flock of believers? How did all those high priests get to be high priests? Did they all wander the countryside slaughtering horrible monsters? Isn’t that the only way to gain experience points? I tend to think that while adventuring priests are fine, it isn’t for everyone. Someone needs to stay home and tend to the faithful, the church itself, the books, etc. The adventurers and the missionaries (I forgot to mention missionaries?) can go out into the wilds.

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