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Worlds of Design: RPG Gods – Benign or Malign? | EN World | Dungeons & Dragons


Most RPG settings have some type of godhood. But there are some age-old questions that come into play as you create religions.
Gods and “hokey religions” (to cite Han Solo in Star Wars a New Hope) are often a part of fantasy and science fiction role-playing video games. From a world-building standpoint, you may method faith as a type of philosophy, a strategy to information one’s life, however much more persons are into faith than philosophy. Slightly than utilizing a faith that resembles a modern-day equal, let’s begin from scratch by asking some elementary questions:

How Many?​

What number of gods are there? In human historical past, historical gods usually had been members of a pantheon, a gaggle of gods. So it’s with many RPG campaigns and settings. Gods from these historical pantheons (Greek and Roman most prominently) had been superpowerful and immortal, however in any other case behaved very similar to people. Much less frequent was a single god, or a god who has an oppositional facet (successfully one other god) as in Manichaeism or Persia’s Zoroastrian faith (Ahura-Mazda and Ahriman). It has been unusual to suppose that solely “my” gods exist, and no others. The assumption is extra doubtless when there is just one (or two) god(s) in a faith moderately than a pantheon. In any case, if you can have a bunch of gods, why cannot another person, and people gods compete with each other?


Male vs feminine? Nearly all the traditional religions had been closely male-oriented, simply as societies had been closely male-oriented. Some did have highly effective goddesses usually associated to fertility. However male orientation shouldn’t be obligatory in a fantasy world wherein ladies are sometimes handled a lot otherwise than ladies within the historical world. There’s some notion that in prehistoric occasions, some religions had been closely feminine oriented.


Do you imagine? Simply as in the actual world, some characters are going to need nothing to do with gods, whereas others will commit their lives to them. Some will assume that gods are solely dangerous for humanity, others that gods present nice good for humanity. A GM/World-Builder can affect this strongly by the precise conduct of the gods.

Do You Have a Selection?​

Is there State Sponsorship (forcing everybody to evolve)? In the actual world, typically persons are free to decide on their faith, different occasions they’re required to evolve to the state faith. And you’ve got instances the place the legal guidelines are devised to encourage somebody to transform (as when non-Muslims paid a further tax within the early centuries of Arab enlargement). The Roman Empire modified state sponsorship from their pagan faith to Christianity within the fourth century CE. And so forth. The participant characters may very well be religionists resisting state-imposed faith.

Divine Proper?​

What about males/ladies worshiped as gods? There have been many occasions in human historical past that rulers justified their proper to rule by declaring themselves to be gods. Amongst these are the Pharaohs, the later Roman emperors, and lots of medieval kings of Europe. For some it was simply an excuse, however others appear to have actually believed it.


How a lot do gods manifest in (seem or immediately affect) the world? Some historical gods, e.g. Greek, had been thought to continuously meddle with the world. Egyptian gods had been much less current on the earth. If gods do meddle with the world, how do they do it? Present route for worshipers (even holy battle?)? Give boons to their most outstanding worshipers?

Concern or Love?​

Do characters worry their god(s) (and for that matter, rulers), or love him/her/it/them? This is dependent upon the priesthood, or on the conduct of the “precise god(s)”. It additionally is dependent upon what the ruler thinks is greatest. It’s straightforward to make folks worry him/her/it when the gods themselves are concerned.

The Outdated Gods?​

What concerning the “outdated gods,” those who not have worshipers? Do they fade away completely, or do they hand around in the background, so to talk—maybe offering quest materials for gamers? In the event that they hang around, do they grow to be impartial, or benign, or malign?

What Are They Actually?​

“Gods” as Aliens – or Monsters. What are the gods, actually? Maybe they’re all a part of an enormous rip-off?

For an in-depth exploration of various methods to implement faith in your marketing campaign (and solutions to a few of these questions), see Andrew “Corone” Peregrine’s wonderful sequence of articles on the subject.

Your Flip: What questions did I miss?


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