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Lore/Fluff--How much is too much or not enough?

baakyocalder

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Deities don't need stats; once they have stats they are going to be targets for PCs. On the other hand, if someone is to roleplay a worshipper of a deity, they need information on the religion and how the deity is venerated to be able to roleplay their character.

Otherwise, you have priest types that fit the 'healbot' caster definition and are just there as a resource. If there's no difference between the priest and the other casters except spell lists but you say the priest has to worship a deity, then you're disconnecting setting and system mechanics.

Thus, I favor the Kingdoms of Kalamar approach as in the books Divine Masters and the current edition of HackMaster. There's some core tenets for each deity and a few things to know. Then there's a bit more theology for the clerics. Each deity's clerics have their own spell list. So, all have some measure of healing magic (it's too useful not to have at all) but the best healer is the deity devoted to healing. The lawful and chaotic deities of war have pretty good martial powers, but their flavor is different since the lawful deity of war is about the group strategy and the chaotic deity is about individual glory (and pretty much has berserkers).

Lore helps people immerse themselves in the game and create characters they can play within the vision. So, if the text excerpts for mechanics match up with things that can and should be done in game and provide a little lore, they are doing great service!
 

Heavy Arms

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It's worth noting that in some setting deities becoming targets for the PCs is part of the game so then yeah... stats might be important.

That said, there's a lot of approaches that can depend on the goals of the design.

Realms of Pugmire has pretty in-depth discussions on how religion/faith is expressed, and it impacts what Callings (aka Classes) a society has. Dogs have their Church of Man, and the Shepherd (Clerics) and Crusaders (Paladins without mounts introduced in Pirates of Pugmire), while Cats more individualistic concept of spirituality and faith is see in their Ministers (Bards), Wanderers (Monks), and Mystics (kinda sea-Druids introduced in Pirates).

Though Realms of Pugmire doesn't do a more fantasy style pantheon of deities and instead Man/the Old Ones/etc. fit a similar but different narrative goal that requires a decent amount of discussion.
 

Eled the Worm Tamer

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My rule of thumb, I was told this by a much loved high school English teacher about essays but it serves here, is that a written work like setting information should be like a miniskirt. Long enough to cover the essentials, but short enough to keep things interesting.

In practical terms for me that means I try to give any setting element a reason to care, somethig to do, and something for others to riff off and build from.
 

SecretsAndSaucers

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Deities don't need stats; once they have stats they are going to be targets for PCs. On the other hand, if someone is to roleplay a worshipper of a deity, they need information on the religion and how the deity is venerated to be able to roleplay their character.

Otherwise, you have priest types that fit the 'healbot' caster definition and are just there as a resource. If there's no difference between the priest and the other casters except spell lists but you say the priest has to worship a deity, then you're disconnecting setting and system mechanics.

Thus, I favor the Kingdoms of Kalamar approach as in the books Divine Masters and the current edition of HackMaster. There's some core tenets for each deity and a few things to know. Then there's a bit more theology for the clerics. Each deity's clerics have their own spell list. So, all have some measure of healing magic (it's too useful not to have at all) but the best healer is the deity devoted to healing. The lawful and chaotic deities of war have pretty good martial powers, but their flavor is different since the lawful deity of war is about the group strategy and the chaotic deity is about individual glory (and pretty much has berserkers).

Lore helps people immerse themselves in the game and create characters they can play within the vision. So, if the text excerpts for mechanics match up with things that can and should be done in game and provide a little lore, they are doing great service!
I disagree. You can have a relatively mysterious religion that worships the Divinity without adding in the lore of how it's worshipped.
 

Heavy Arms

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The important part of baakycalder's post that you're skipping is, "...if someone is to roleplay a worshiper of a deity."

A PC that's a follower of a deity needs to know what, at least in broad terms, that means.
 

SecretsAndSaucers

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The important part of baakycalder's post that you're skipping is, "...if someone is to roleplay a worshiper of a deity."

A PC that's a follower of a deity needs to know what, at least in broad terms, that means.
So keep the terms broad is what I'm saying.
You don't need to detail religious holidays or a favoured weapon.
You don't need to make a creation story or a list of commandments.
You don't even need to list rival gods; the power of undeath is enough.
 

fheredin

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My rule of thumb, I was told this by a much loved high school English teacher about essays but it serves here, is that a written work like setting information should be like a miniskirt. Long enough to cover the essentials, but short enough to keep things interesting.

In practical terms for me that means I try to give any setting element a reason to care, somethig to do, and something for others to riff off and build from.
I agree with this. I don't terribly mind fluff as long as it's sectioned off and optional reading. But the mandatory reading for your setting should be as little as possible and players should know when they've left the mandatory material. The worst crime a setting can commit is for players to not know if they missed an important tidbit of lore. While this is obvious to the writer, it is not to the reader.
 

Heavy Arms

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So keep the terms broad is what I'm saying.
No you're not... what you're coming off as saying is "don't put in any details at all in any circumstances," which is beyond, "keep it broad."

You don't need to detail religious holidays or a favoured weapon.
You don't need to make a creation story or a list of commandments.
You don't even need to list rival gods; the power of undeath is enough.
Whether you need to detail these things or not is wholly dependent on the needs of the game, not some appeal to keeping things broad.
 

SecretsAndSaucers

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Well what kind of details do you think matter?
I guarantee you there's a way to hand-wave having to fill them in at all, or just wait until the players come up with something as you play.
 

Heavy Arms

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It's on the game in question.

Like, "favored weapon," depends on if that matters. If characters in your game get a bonus for using their deity's favored weapon, and the game has detailed weapons... yeah, it matters to define that for your deities. If favored weapons are purely stylistic with no mechanical weight? Sure, you can hand-wave it.

It can also be variable. If you have a game based more on real world mythologies rather than fantasy deities, weapons can be a major part of a deity's story/iconography/etc. and might not. Mjolnir might not inspire people to use hammers in battle, but is incredibly important to Norse iconography as a symbol of Thor and specifically Thor being the Aesir most invested in battling on behalf of humans. That doesn't mean you need a favored weapon for Loki because it's not actually important for Loki to have something like Mjolnir just to "match" Thor.

I referenced Realms of Pugmire earlier. You cannot have Pugmire without the Code of Man (aka a list of commandments). The Code of Man is the basis of Dog society and how they interpret a world where Man uplifted Dog, and then left Dog behind on Earth. It's one of the most defining aspects of the setting (as are the different precepts the Houses of Cats follow), that is the building block you use to hand wave lots of other things on.
 
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