Sunday, November 3, 2013
Followers of the Faith
We published Gods & Demons because we knew that many role-players liked to have lots of gods to choose from. But there is a companion book that we probably won’t publish: Followers of the Faith. Followers is a book of religions. I don’t recall ever seeing a game world or role-playing game where there was more than one religion for a particular god. But let’s think about modern religions; the ones that agree most closely are the ones that fight over the more minor differences. Why wouldn’t that be the same in our multi-divine game worlds? Let’s do a quickie example: Marina is the goddess of water and the seas. The religion Marina the Bountiful sees Marina as the goddess who bring the fish to the fishermen and rain to the farmers. Waters of the Rain religion ignores the fact that Marina has anything to do with the seas and see her only as a rain goddess. Marina of the Rivers sees her as the goddess of fresh waters and believes she manifests as a huge catfish. Everpresent Aquatics (also known as Marina the Jellyfish) is a religion once again focused on sea water and sailors. They believe that Marina has an enormous number of tentacles, and each one follows those ships that she has blessed in order to keep them safe. But it’s more than just multiple religions for the same god - What about the religions that might revere more than one god? The best example of this is the War Twins: the brother and sister gods Manoto and Shade being worshipped as twin war gods, where most religions see Manoto as war god and Shade as the goddess of death. Who cares? Right, that’s the question we always have to answer. First off, for player characters, can they only worship one god? and if they do, what are the relationships with the other gods? Not every person who worships a particular god will see in them everything that everyone else sees. In other words, gods should not be one dimensional characters. For the game master, these little differences are typically the cause of religious conflicts. Sure, you can have the god of fire fight against the god of frost, but if you want civil conflicts, rivalries and even battles, you need people who worship the same goddess but in different ways. Look at Earth History, especially England. Think of the Puritans and all the problems they caused. (Yes, I blame the Puritans, yes, right before Thanksgiving when everyone pretends they were the victims.) If you want to add more to your game world, you need to diversify your gods and religions.