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#1: An Introduction

Tom_K

Registered User
Validated User
You guys are totally anticipating a couple of columns I have planned. I am going to write on the D and D/polytheism thing. I don't want to say too much, but I think the best solution is to focus on a mystery-cult model for individual PC's, with a specific patron deity that they dedicate themselves to. Also, I did mean I was going to be using primarily Judeo-Christian terminology and language. Thanks for all of your feedback. It's really gratifying to see that there is interest in this idea.
 

lemurbouy

Retired User
Greetings all. As someone who has had the pleasure to game under Mr. Kolar, I felt I would make an appearance in order to keep him honest. I am very interested in seeing the response to a lot of what we talked about and to see what new ideas he's crafted. I think one of the real questions that needs addressing is where should the responsibility of having well defined or at least well thought religious content lie? Game writers, GMs or players? I know that when I play clerics or religious types, I feel it's my personal responsibility to make myself much more than a zombie-turning bandaid who objects to the occasional party decision. I also know that as a GM, it's crucial to work out how much you want the world's religion to play a part in the game. I hope Mr. Kolar brings up the religions of the Iron Kingdoms because I feel that that is a setting where some real thought has been put into how religion shapes a people. (also I'm GMing a game there so kind of biased) Regardless, this should prove very interesting.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
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
The problem with this is that there's no particular reason the way gods worked in the real world should port over, because as far as anyone knows, the gods in the real world _didn't work_. People had all kinds of expectations about frames of influence and such that don't necessarily apply. In addition, your take isn't universal; the Romans, much as they really believed in gods at all, believed that any of them could work anywhere; that's why you had the business of them "god shopping" by the middle period of their history.

I do agree you get a lot of pseudo-monotheism, but I don't think the ability of powers granted working outside their physical zone means anything other than the fact you can't port over real world attitudes directly to situations where gods are veridical and functional.
 

Dalinks

Ready for Adventure
Validated User
The problem with this is that there's no particular reason the way gods worked in the real world should port over, because as far as anyone knows, the gods in the real world _didn't work_. People had all kinds of expectations about frames of influence and such that don't necessarily apply. In addition, your take isn't universal; the Romans, much as they really believed in gods at all, believed that any of them could work anywhere; that's why you had the business of them "god shopping" by the middle period of their history.

I do agree you get a lot of pseudo-monotheism, but I don't think the ability of powers granted working outside their physical zone means anything other than the fact you can't port over real world attitudes directly to situations where gods are veridical and functional.
Real world attitudes are baseline in my opinion. If there is deviation, it should be noted, as well as the changes that come about because of it. If you want your polytheism to be pseudo-monotheism thats ok, but explain why it would work like that.

I figure the gods don't have zones for the same reason everyone speaks common: convenience. I'll accept convenience substitutions; not everyone cares about religion in games. However, I want everything else to make sense. Non-convenience changes should be explained.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
Real world attitudes are baseline in my opinion. If there is deviation, it should be noted, as well as the changes that come about because of it. If you want your polytheism to be pseudo-monotheism thats ok, but explain why it would work like that.
The problem with this is "real world" means a variety of things; the peoples of the Middle East, for example, had a rather different set of expectations about gods than the Meso-American peoples. So I don't think there's as much a baseline as you think.

I figure the gods don't have zones for the same reason everyone speaks common: convenience. I'll accept convenience substitutions; not everyone cares about religion in games. However, I want everything else to make sense. Non-convenience changes should be explained.
Whereas I'd say the reason gods don't have zones has as much to do with lack of any in-game reason they should. Like I said, that's a specific cultural set of expectations, its anything but universal.
 
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