#1: An Introduction

#2
I have a comment, but you're not going to like it :)

As a religious gamer, I feel that I can only play a game if the religious elements were deliberately left vague and unspecified. Once you get to describing rituals and gods in more detail, I have to let the game go.

That's just a personal decision. I fully see how others would love to play religious rituals and orders in more detail. That's why you have Deities and Demigods and other books of that sort.

By the way, when I first saw the title "religion in gaming" I was thinking I was going to see discussions about real world religious issues and gaming, not how to add realistic religious elements into gaming. Just noting that it was ambiguous, that's all.

Yehuda
 

Dalinks

Ready for Adventure
Validated User
#3
As a religious gamer, I feel that I can only play a game if the religious elements were deliberately left vague and unspecified. Once you get to describing rituals and gods in more detail, I have to let the game go.

That's just a personal decision. I fully see how others would love to play religious rituals and orders in more detail. That's why you have Deities and Demigods and other books of that sort.
I too am a religious gamer, and I feel the opposite. I feel that religion has been treated shallowly in games, and is often poorly thought out. I want to see religion done well. I play a cleric in D&D and I want to be more than a band-aid. I want my chatachter to have a well thought out religion with tenets and everything.

Thats my personal decision, and I can see how others might feel differently. However, I think that by thinking through and experiening other religions (both real and fictional) I have learned a great deal about religion in general which can be applied to my personal faith. Just my .02.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
#5
I have to admit, as an old RuneQuest player, my perception of the function of religions in games, especially fantasy games, has never been the same; I spend a lot more time focusing on deities and the religious structures in society than I otherwise would. Of course, having once majored in Folklore and Mythology doesn't hurt. :)
 

Tom_K

Registered User
Validated User
#6
Thank you all for your comments. What I am really hoping to do with this column is not coming up with specific gods or rituals but just giving players and GM's tools to make their religions more in-depth and realistic. I hope even if you don't use my thoughts, you find them interesting. The "Playing Dice with the Universe" Column seemed more theoretical than what I am planning.

Also, Shade_John, what do you mean by "world religious issues and gaming?" I am always open to suggestions for discussion topics.
 

Binkley

Yorked by Bond
Validated User
#7
Hi Tom,
After the not exactly ringing endorsement you have received I thought I would add my two cents worth. Personally, I think this is an excellent topic for a column. What I would like to see are some ideas for making players sit up and go "huh" and to get a feel for an otherliness in a religion.

As everyone else seems to have disclosed their backgrounds I guess I had better disclose mine. I had a very secular upbringing and am not at all religious myself. But when I enter a church or a mosque or a temple I am always left with a real sense of there being some huge part of people's lives that is mysterious and strange and very, very different. If I am GMing a game where religion plays a role, I would love my players to be left with that same sense.
 

smascrns

New member
Banned
#8
A couple of comments:

First, I would be more happy if you started your column by saying something like "this is abour religion in D&D games". The reason is that there are several non-D&D games that treat religion seriously (RuneQuest has been mentionned). You generalise too much when you say that religion is under-treated in rpgs at large. Just a minor problem, notice. I look forward to your column anyhow.

Second, a more serious issue with the column. You say that you are going to work from Judeo-Christian concepts. It also seems that you are going to focus on fantasy (the cleric reference). Now, this creates problems. Most fantasy games lean towards polytheism. Monotheistic concepts are not the best to handle polytheism. Indian or Greco-Roman religions are a much better starting point.

Unless, of course, you take a very different take on Judeo-Christian concepts, a take where saints and profets are the equivalent of gods in polytheism...
 

jdagna

Retired User
#9
Second, a more serious issue with the column. You say that you are going to work from Judeo-Christian concepts. It also seems that you are going to focus on fantasy (the cleric reference). Now, this creates problems. Most fantasy games lean towards polytheism. Monotheistic concepts are not the best to handle polytheism. Indian or Greco-Roman religions are a much better starting point.
I think he's just talking about terminology and not necessarily content.

However, it's always been my pet peeve that the polytheism in most RPGs (especially D&D settings) is really just multi-monotheism or polytheism as interpreted by people who've never heard of anything but monotheism.

For example, if your cleric follows the god of battle, you expect to be able to use your powers anywhere you go, so long as you follow the tenets, right? But I can't think of any real polytheistic religions that worked that way. For one, the gods were all localized. The Biblical story of Daniel in the lion's den wasn't amazing because God stopped the lions from eating Daniel; it was amazing because God did it in Babylon. The idea of a god that could work in another god's territory was news to those folks. Also, most polytheistic religions involved sacrificing to gods to get them to do anything for you; the idea of a god that helps you as long as you don't do bad things is a relatively Judeo-Christian concept. A lot of polytheistic religions honestly worked more like the Mafia - they didn't really care what you did, so long as you paid your portion to the right people.

Anyway, this is my way of saying that I'd love to see some attention paid to treating polytheism like polytheism.
 

smascrns

New member
Banned
#10
Justin, that's the kind of issues where I think that to focus too much on monotheism may be detrimental. Another issue is the fact that most polytheisms are non-exclusive. I mean, a person may "associate" with several gods, even fighting gods, instead of having to be faithful to one and one only.
 
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