"Realistic" things that no-one actually wants to deal with in fantasy games

Dalillama

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On the subject of faith in a setting with gods that show themselves: afterlife matters, even in D&D. Regardless of what your god can do or not do on the material plane, the real power is in the afterlife.
And the afterlife is a lot more verifiable in the average D&D world than on Earth as well, for similar reasons: Ghosts are absolutely real and can really, verifiably, kill you no matter how much you disbeleive in them. People come back from the dead, not just in the sense of 'heart stopped on the operating table' or 'Maybe could've actually just been in a coma' but 'was gutted like a fish and then had his skull caved in and left to rot for a week and is now guzzling beer at the inn, fresh as a daisy', permanently dead people can come back as spirits that manifest in a way that everyone can easily perceive, not talking through a medium or the like, you really can't make a case for there not being an afterlife in D&D land.
 

Rupert

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A position informed by reading Greek myth and epic, which seems far more transactional than numinous. "Thank you Poseidon for not murdering me on the ocean, I will now sacrifice this bull."
That's normal for a lot of religions, and "Here's a prayer for rain, along with the specified sacrifice, so now we expect you to fill your side of the bargain and provide rain", effectively the same as casting a magic spell where you follow the rules and the god(s) are compelled to also do so and provide the specified result in exchange for your prayer wasn't uncommon either.
 

DavetheLost

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Well, there we'd get into the whole question of how much D&D's whole divine/arcane magic split even makes sense. :) I mean, if people legitimately can do magic without needing any help from the gods at all, that makes magic just another "mundane" part of the world -- and then what does that in turn make the gods other than perhaps just another sort of powerful wizards? How would you be able to tell the difference?
Is D&D's divine/arcane magic split even real? I mean the mechanics of spell casting are the same in most editions, 5e has a few mechanical differences in the way different class interact with spell casting. The most significant difference between different favors of spell caster in terms of magic is the spell list they can choose from. A few spells have different levels, or slightly different effect parameters, but the basic mechanics are identical. It doesn't seem to make a difference if a spell is cast by a cleric, a magic user, a druid, or an illusionist.

In Beyond the Wall there is no divine/arcane divide. There are cantrips, spells, and rituals, some characters can cast all, some, or none of these. Whether the character is a secular or religious caster is a matter of roleplaying.

In RuneQuest there are various types of magic which have different sources and do not have overlapping spell lists. The different types of magic also have different mechanics.

In Tunnels & Troll the "gods" are in fact just hyper powerful wizards they are known as the god-wizards.
 

mindstalk

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That's normal for a lot of religions, and "Here's a prayer for rain, along with the specified sacrifice, so now we expect you to fill your side of the bargain and provide rain", effectively the same as casting a magic spell where you follow the rules and the god(s) are compelled to also do so and provide the specified result in exchange for your prayer wasn't uncommon either.
Agreed. I think it's far more common (across religions) than Christian style theology. But your average Western geek is more likely to have read Greek myths than any other alternative.

The most significant difference between different favors of spell caster in terms of magic is the spell list they can choose from.
Also the fact that divine casters automatically get access to their whole list, vs arcane ones having to learn each spell. And better compatibility with armor.

But yeah, RuneQuest did better at "these are fundamentally different".
 

Hituro

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In Tunnels & Troll the "gods" are in fact just hyper powerful wizards they are known as the god-wizards.
And of course in Dark Sun the god-wizards are right there handing out divine magic. Seeing Templars statted out as Paladins has always made me smile.
 

Dagor

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Is D&D's divine/arcane magic split even real?
Well, in the sense that it's all just part of a game it's of course all imaginary. :) But depending on the exact edition you're looking at, sure, there are differences in the rules despite the fact that either kind of magic can detect and dispel the other just fine as though it was all the same thing; for one fairly long-standing instance there's armor only ever hampering users of arcane magic, but not folk employing the divine type. You'd think that if it was all the same thing, eventually some (possibly multiclassed) wizard would have eventually figured out and simply copied the clerics' technique...

Not that I'm personally convinced the split is needed, mind. I could easily go equally well with either "all magic is a gift from the gods" or "if you're a priest and want to have magic, make like everybody else and study!", and for that matter the two aren't even mutually exclusive (magic could always be a divine gift that nonetheless takes active effort to unlock and properly earn) -- it's the curious mix of both "you actually have to learn stuff" and "your deity just downloads spells into your brainmeat" coexisting side-by-side-but-not-the-same in D&D that raises all sorts of questions in the setting metaphysics department.
 
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Dalillama

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I mean, if people legitimately can do magic without needing any help from the gods at all, that makes magic just another "mundane" part of the world -- and then what does that in turn make the gods other than perhaps just another sort of powerful wizards? How would you be able to tell the difference?
The Immortals of Mystara weren't all wizards to start with. But yeah, apotheosis is a possibility in a lot of D&D worlds (and a considerable number of IRL belief systems), which might make them hard to distinguish from wizards of the power levels D&D assumes.
for one fairly long-standing instance there's armor only ever hampering users of arcane magic, but not folk employing the divine type.
Also that healing magic is divine only. Arcane casters are never allowed to have actual healing spells.
"if you're a priest and want to have magic, make like everybody else and study!"
That's how GURPS' Banestorm setting does it.
 

Law Orc

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Agreed. I think it's far more common (across religions) than Christian style theology. But your average Western geek is more likely to have read Greek myths than any other alternative.
And, of course, Greek myths have surprisingly little to do with Greek religious practices.
 

Hituro

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Going back to the original post, I ran a long campaign where all of the money was real.

I got a variety of coins — mostly coppers of various denominations, but also out of circulation ones like thruppny bits, farthings, halfpence coins, random foreign coins of no real value that I picked up at carboot sales — and gave them out whenever the characters got money. Each player had an actual coin purse, and we had a box of little bags labelled with things like "hidden under my bed" or "behind the skirting" for money they weren't actually carrying. If a player found something ancient or weird I gave them weird coins, which made it easy to remember to have people treat them funny when they tried to spend them at the bar. I even managed to slip them the occasional fake, clipped, or marked coin when they got change from somewhere; which caused all sorts of trouble when they used them later.

Also ... are there really games where every second player doesn't have a named horse, pet, familiar, distinctive chicken, bedraggled owl in a cage, or truffle hunting pig? Because I never get to play in those games.
 
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