Competitor Games

We are the Competition

Monotheism in D&D, w/out changing the crunch much, if any.

Game design for the d20 system

Monotheism in D&D, w/out changing the crunch much, if any.

Postby Draco Dei » Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:53 pm

The thread GitP didn't want you to see! :o
:P :P :P :P :P
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:


Before I get to the meat of this, I have a few notes:
  1. This is for Christianity, but from what I know, I think it could easily be adapted for Judaism, or Islam. Not sure about other Monotheistic religions. Basically, take what you like (including absolutely nothing if you happen, for instance, to be a staunch atheist who doesn't want to complicate his games' settings) and leave the rest.
  2. My cousin is now a Catholic Priest (I am not Catholic), and used to run D&D all the time and still heartily approves of it (still has his OD&D books to pass on to someone worthy in the family). He didn't change anything, and tended to base his campaigns on anchient myths. All this to say that I am hardly claiming, by posting this, that even Christians necessarily NEED to change anything. Some people might not feel comfortable playing that sort of game, or might have short-sighted parents etc who would misunderstand. Do as your conscience, and the conscience of the people you play with leads you.
  3. Credit for most of this goes to The Grand User, although C.S. Lewis used similar concepts in his Narnia (members of the greco-roman pantheon being subserviant to Aslan). I have made my own tweaks and refinements, including most of the smaller details, such as the "afterlives" and the symbolism of revivification.
  4. My thanks to the founders of this board for providing me a place where more people can read this (I also posted it on the RPG section of the forums of Fans For Christ). EDIT: But here it is actually getting critique!
  5. I welcome critique to improve this in accomplishing its original goal. Critique about getting it working for non-christian religions will be politely ignored by me, although I certainly don't object to people mentioning such in this thread, unless it starts to take over the thread, in which case, just as I would with any major de-rail of any thread, I would politely request that the spin-off topic be given its own thread.


Ok, now for the actual content.
Theological Cosmology:
In this multiverse the archangels are a good bit more involved in the day to day management of the world (keeping the weather doing what it should etc). God exists and is exactly who he is in our world, which is to say that he doesn't do much that is blindingly obvious to most people, but if you look for his hand with open eyes it is there. Jesus came in approximately the same way, and died for sins, etc... (I haven't decided on the existence or history of the Patriarchs or Israel for sure).

In this place it wasn't just one archangel (Lucifer) who fell, it was a LOT: Hextor, Nerull, Erythnul, and Gruumsh to name a few...

Others fell, but not as hard, either too timid to use their power beyond their strictly assigned duties, or grown weary with the continued sins of the mortal races so they stopped trying to reach them... Boccob, St. Cuthbert*, Wee Jas (the angel of death), Fharlanghn (the traveller), Obad-Hai, and Olidammara
*a NASTY guy in my games... his realm is the one that the souls of something like the top 0.001% of the wicked are dispatched to by the forces of justice when they can, via executing them in a magical cerimony on an altar of his. These are tortured for many centuries before being released to actual death. In the very worst cases, the punishment will continue until the end Times (See Revivification below), or someone manages to raid the plane and release them.

Others stayed true and active in their mission not only to physical reality, but to the fallen mortal races: Heironious (created as the twin of Hextor), Moradin (who was granted the privilege of making the dwarves according to the Almighty plan, and even of filling in some of the details himself), Corellon Larethion (Ditto for the elves), Bahaumet (ditto for the dragons, althought his fallen mate, Tiamat helped, and took half of them when she fell), Garl Glittergold (Ditto for the gnomes)....

Anyway, most or all of those names should be familiar to some of you, since they are just the standard D&D pantheon, redone as archangels. I haven't listed them all, since a lot of the "monstrous" races have their own Warders (which is what the archangels who serve in this role are called).

And I have made up one of my own: Allurehn. Allurehn is the patron of the wereskunks, but not because she made them... They ROYALLY ticked her off at one point and she went to a lot of trouble to curse the lot of them. They took it to heart, learned their lesson, and became her devoted servants.

God doesn't speak to the warders very directly any more than he does to a mortal, so it is possible for even the Good aligned ones to get off-track.

God granted the warders a pool of raw power... Even the Evil ones can still access it as their creation-right (just as many good things God gives to mankind as abilities are self-evidently granted to both the righteous and the wicked). This pool is VAST... so vast that if every warder in existence were to simultaneously try to draw on it to drain the flow dry, just for an instant, they would all explode from the overload. However, as well as using it directly, they can grant mortals the right to use it, including in ways that are distinct to the warder in question. The warders each have their own interests, and for various reasons mortal agents are useful things their own power can't accomplish very well... These individuals are known as clerics, at least commonly....

Your average preaching guy (regardless of denomination) is NOT a cleric by class. In fact the two actually have very little to do with eachother per se.


"Behind the Scenes" on being a cleric:

Being a cleric (or varient of such) is a bit like putting a job application in to the Red Cross (or something else depending on the warder in question... the god of kobolds (whose name I refuse to try to spell from memory) would maybe be more like Hamas)... and getting told "Sure you are hired, here is the key to one of our warehouses, go find something useful to do, and don't bother us unless it is really important. We can't be bothered to fill out the paperwork to actually pay you any cash, so you should just set yourself up as a pharmacy and sell the drugs from the warehouse for cash. And by they way, if you don't do something worthwhile or if you EVER act against our interests we are changing the locks on the warehouse." The difference is that (unlike opening a warehouse and loading stuff up) accessing the "divine" power takes PRACTICE for a mortal... there is no danger of making your head explode, but pulling it in is HARD. That is why clerics have class levels, just like wizards. However, in some cases, you can access that same power through other means... One is a pure love for God's creation, regardless of the state of your soul(Druids, although they got some traditions mixed up in it that nobody has figured out how to extricate from the underlying structure of the process of their most basic instruction... thus the armor and weapon restrictions). The other way is shear persistence and a certain gift. This second is the way that clerics of concepts get their power, it is harder to start with, but you can do it. The other way is that the evil warders will " 'accidentally' drop the key where the right person will find it" to those who would never follow them directly, but who can be drawn to evil acts by giving them enough rope to go lynch someone (and eventually hang themselves). The Evil warders have a tacit agreement with eachother to claim that God does not exist, and the power of the warders comes from their mortal adherents. This is a complete lie, but allows them to accuse the Good warders of a grand conspiracy to create a lie... namely Christianity/The Existence of God. They claim that the worship of God creates power which is redirected and divided between the Good warders. The Evil Warders usually call all warders, regardless of alignment 'gods'. Thus you have the false religions, and even misguided individuals worshiping even the Good warders. Similar to how IRL, some Protestants will accuse at least some Catholics of worshiping the Saints. (Note that I was careful to phrase that to not be taking a side on that issue just at this second, although I do have some views on it).


Revivification:

There are certain spells in the Players Handbook that return a person (or animal, but it would have to be a REALLY special animal for anyone to bother), to life: Clone, Reincarnation(which has about zilch to do with the real world concept BTW), Raise Dead, Resurrection, and True Resurrection. Those exist and work fine in this world... BUT, they only came into existence when the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ broke the sting of death and triumphed over the grave. Before that, only the direct power of God could bring people back to life. The warders couldn't do it, and mortals CERTAINLY couldn't do it. Some question why evil the most depravedly evil cleric can use those spells effectively, but theologians generally argue that it is so that even the foulest can potentially have a second chance and also that it is an enduring symbol of the breaking of the power of death. To draw parallels from the real world, just cross the meaning of the rainbow ("I will not destroy the Earth again with water.") with the rending of the veil in the temple.


"heavens", "hells", and other "afterlives":

The breaking of the power of the Grave also allowed what were previously merely the private domains of the warders to be expanded into "afterlives" (note the quotes). Most people DON'T go to one of those... Either a warder REALLY likes you and decided he wants your company (vaguely like a housepet in some ways) around his place now that you are done on the mortal realms, or someone killed you in a powerful and elaborate magical ritual to send you to one of the NASTY ones (such as St. Cuthbert and most of the Chaotic Evil warders)... or you sold your soul to an evil Warder. It is possible to break a warder's hold on a living soul (regardless of alignment), but very difficult and can only happen with that persons consent (the link can be broken by the warder with trivial ease). If someone dies and DOESN'T go to one of the "afterlives" and is later resurrected, it is as if no time at all had passed for them between their death and the call to return to life (which, BTW, by the rules can be refused). The last trumpet will throw open the gate of every "heaven" and every "hell" and call forth the souls form the "afterlives" just as surely as it makes the sea give up its dead. The same goes for barghests, spheres of annihilation, and other "permanent" forms of destruction. So basically, avoiding Final Judgement, and the resultant destination of True Heaven, True Hell, (or, depending on your group's theology, True Purgatory if you still have sins to atone for, but will be Heaven-bound afterwards) doesn't have any exceptions just because you sold your soul to Vecna, were great pals with Pelor, or got killed and eaten by some Goblin-Dog-Thing. Raiding the "hells" of Evil warders to free souls is an especially common thing for very high level Good adventurers to do (which partially explains why they aren't available for solving all the world's problems).
Last edited by Draco Dei on Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Draco Dei
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:21 pm
Location: Near Atlanta, GA

Re: Monotheism in D&D, w/out changing the crunch much, if an

Postby LOTRfan » Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:10 pm

I like how you incorporated the standard gods into this version of a monotheistic D&D. In my settings, I portrayed them as a race of celestial older than angels, who committed hubris and convinced mortals to start worshiping them, but I like the powerful fallen angel idea. I haven't read the entire thing yet, but I felt like I had to share this little detail.
LOTRfan
 
Posts: 59
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: Monotheism in D&D, w/out changing the crunch much, if an

Postby Gralamin » Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:29 pm

Interesting. How do powerful being which are not "gods" fit? Asmodeus, the Lady of Pain, Demigorgon, etc? Equivalently, how do mortals that achieved god hood (Such as Vecna) fit?
User avatar
Gralamin
 
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 5:53 pm

Re: Monotheism in D&D, w/out changing the crunch much, if an

Postby Draco Dei » Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:06 pm

LOTRfan wrote:I like how you incorporated the standard gods into this version of a monotheistic D&D. In my settings, I portrayed them as a race of celestial older than angels, who committed hubris and convinced mortals to start worshiping them, but I like the powerful fallen angel idea. I haven't read the entire thing yet, but I felt like I had to share this little detail.

Thank you, and I look forward to any more comments you might have.

Gralamin wrote:Interesting. How do powerful being which are not "gods" fit? Asmodeus, the Lady of Pain, Demigorgon, etc? Equivalently, how do mortals that achieved god hood (Such as Vecna) fit?

Take all of this with a grain of salt, since my knowledge of the default pantheon is rather lacking in depth.

I suppose, Asmodeus would be a very very powerful fallen angel, but not quite of Ex-Archangel status. He might or might not be answerable to one or more of the Ex-Archangels, but I don't know enough about him(in the original) to comment with any certainty on that last bit.

The Lady of Pain... isn't she an Overdiety? If so, it would be simpliest to demote her to warder status equal to any of the other warders, but say that her power is focused so much onto her plane that she could hold off any 5 of the other warders who tried to invade it (or more if most warders could do that with their own realms), but is nearly mortal in her power beyond it (Effective Divine Rank 0???). She is perhaps the neutral go-between of the warders, sorta like how lots of diplomacy happens in Switzerland IRL? The portals would be a side effect of this, which she allows/encourages, so that more things of interest may come to where she can safely look upon them with her full powers.

Demogorgon... the only thing I really remember about him is that every time I hear his name I think of a Gorgon that someone has throughly worked over with a nerf-bat as far as its abilities go (or which has its full abilities, but which has an illusion above it displaying a countdown and if it reaches zero (a few weeks) before you pay the dealer for the counterspell, it drops dead), and which is given out by a seller of magical gaurdian creatures to encourage people to buy his products... I really should brew that up some time...

As for Vecna, his having been a mortal at one point is probably a lie, intended to convince people that sufficient arcane power can elevate one to a higher state of being.

St. Cuthbert probably found his followers being taken in by the lies of such as Vecna (see above), and just sorta decided it was easier to go with it, since it would make his followers more zealous, and he couldn't be bother to stamp out every little heresy if it wasn't causing him any or the cause of Law any grief. Probably doesn't actively promote it, but doesn't bother to deny it either.
User avatar
Draco Dei
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:21 pm
Location: Near Atlanta, GA

Re: Monotheism in D&D, w/out changing the crunch much, if an

Postby DragoonWraith » Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:13 pm

Asmodeus is intended by TSR/WotC to be rather like Lucifer, if I'm remembering my Christian mythos correctly.
"change the world..."
User avatar
DragoonWraith
Site Admin
 
Posts: 307
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:23 pm

Re: Monotheism in D&D, w/out changing the crunch much, if an

Postby Draco Dei » Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:34 pm

You went into a bit more detail on IRC, so I am going to quote you from there and then reply to that, rather than the short version you gave here.
[22:14] <DragoonWraith> Asmodeus is kind of like a Lucifer who chose his position
[22:14] <DragoonWraith> of course, Asmodeus's backstory revolves around him tricking everybody
[22:14] <DragoonWraith> which doesn't mesh with the Christian god well

Well, I may still be missing some important details... but it sounds to me like that would work out to:
Some of the warder's fell. In Asmodeus's case, his particular set of powers allowed him to disguise the fact that he had fallen. He was later found out by the Good warders, and... well from here on, the mythology is probably nearly the same, but just make sure to remember that God doesn't necessarily tell the warders everything (or even most things), and that even the unfallen warders can make honest mistakes of understanding.
User avatar
Draco Dei
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:21 pm
Location: Near Atlanta, GA

Re: Monotheism in D&D, w/out changing the crunch much, if an

Postby DragoonWraith » Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:41 pm

Sounds about right. Asmodeus was an angel who basically offered a solution to the problem of Evil and the Abyss: "Look, give me control over this convenient, empty plane over here (Baator), and send the Evil souls to me: as punishment for their crimes, I'll have them fight the demons, killing two birds with one stone," and the Lawful deities (LG and LN) bought into this, signing the Pact Primeval that gives Asmodeus control over Baator and dominion over certain evil souls - they were shocked when they noticed that Asmodeus, far from providing discouragement for mortals to commit evil, was actively enticing them so that their souls would go to Baator and increase his power. He does continue to fight the demons (it's in the contract and he is Lawful Evil, after all, and besides he probably does honestly hate the demons about as much as any of the Good side do).

He does have a sort of "alternate" backstory which has him cast out of heaven and chained to the bottom of the Pit that is Baator, which is far more Luciferian, but the retconning/counter-retconning there gets confusing. Also, Lucifer appears in the D&D mythos as well, though I don't know what his role was or is. I think Asmodeus ended up kicking him out of Baator or something like that.
"change the world..."
User avatar
DragoonWraith
Site Admin
 
Posts: 307
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:23 pm

Re: Monotheism in D&D, w/out changing the crunch much, if an

Postby WhiteShark » Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:29 pm

Draco Drei wrote:"heavens", "hells", and other "afterlives":
The breaking of the power of the Grave also allowed what were previously merely the private domains of the warders to be expanded into "afterlives" (note the quotes). Most people DON'T go to one of those... Either a warder REALLY likes you and decided he wants your company (vaguely like a housepet in some ways) around his place now that you are done on the mortal realms, or someone killed you in a powerful and elaborate magical ritual to send you to one of the NASTY ones (such as St. Cuthbert and most of the Chaotic Evil warders)... or you sold your soul to an evil Warder. It is possible to break a warder's hold on a living soul (regardless of alignment), but very difficult and can only happen with that persons consent (the link can be broken by the warder with trivial ease). If someone dies and DOESN'T go to one of the "afterlives" and is later resurrected, it is as if no time at all had passed for them between their death and the call to return to life (which, BTW, by the rules can be refused). The last trumpet will throw open the gate of every "heaven" and every "hell" and call forth the souls form the "afterlives" just as surely as it makes the sea give up its dead. The same goes for barghests, spheres of annihilation, and other "permanent" forms of destruction. Raiding the "hells" of Evil warders to free souls is an especially common thing for very high level Good adventurers to do (which partially explains why they aren't available for solving all the world's problems).


Would the souls in the "afterlives" be resurrected and sent to Heaven or Hell at the final Judgment? That would make more sense to me from a Christian standpoint. You can be sent to an afterlife, but it's temporary; at the final Judgment you still go to Heaven or Hell.
WhiteShark
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:50 pm

Re: Monotheism in D&D, w/out changing the crunch much, if an

Postby Draco Dei » Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:55 pm

WhiteShark wrote:
Draco Drei wrote:"heavens", "hells", and other "afterlives":
The breaking of the power of the Grave also allowed what were previously merely the private domains of the warders to be expanded into "afterlives" (note the quotes). Most people DON'T go to one of those... Either a warder REALLY likes you and decided he wants your company (vaguely like a housepet in some ways) around his place now that you are done on the mortal realms, or someone killed you in a powerful and elaborate magical ritual to send you to one of the NASTY ones (such as St. Cuthbert and most of the Chaotic Evil warders)... or you sold your soul to an evil Warder. It is possible to break a warder's hold on a living soul (regardless of alignment), but very difficult and can only happen with that persons consent (the link can be broken by the warder with trivial ease). If someone dies and DOESN'T go to one of the "afterlives" and is later resurrected, it is as if no time at all had passed for them between their death and the call to return to life (which, BTW, by the rules can be refused). The last trumpet will throw open the gate of every "heaven" and every "hell" and call forth the souls form the "afterlives" just as surely as it makes the sea give up its dead. The same goes for barghests, spheres of annihilation, and other "permanent" forms of destruction. Raiding the "hells" of Evil warders to free souls is an especially common thing for very high level Good adventurers to do (which partially explains why they aren't available for solving all the world's problems).


Would the souls in the "afterlives" be resurrected and sent to Heaven or Hell at the final Judgment? That would make more sense to me from a Christian standpoint. You can be sent to an afterlife, but it's temporary; at the final Judgment you still go to Heaven or Hell.

Did I phrase it unclearly in some way? That is exactly what I meant...

The relevant part of what you quoted is:
The last trumpet will throw open the gate of every "heaven" and every "hell" and call forth the souls form the "afterlives" just as surely as it makes the sea give up its dead. The same goes for barghests, spheres of annihilation, and other "permanent" forms of destruction.


Do I need to explicitly specify that afterwards they will go to the True Heaven and the True Hell (and the True Purgatory if one is playing a Catholic version)?
User avatar
Draco Dei
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:21 pm
Location: Near Atlanta, GA

Re: Monotheism in D&D, w/out changing the crunch much, if an

Postby WhiteShark » Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:23 pm

Oh, I guess I didn't read that carefully enough. Still, I think I would throw in a sentence on the end of that bit stating explicitly that they do end up in the True Heaven or the True Hell.

Mostly my mistake, I guess. Carry on. I love the idea here. :)
WhiteShark
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:50 pm

Re: Monotheism in D&D, w/out changing the crunch much, if an

Postby Draco Dei » Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:25 am

I have put in said sentence, added more section headings (splitting off the bit about how divine casting works from the "Theological Cosmology" section), and bolded all the section headings. I also put in slightly more detail about Druids, and why wereskunks tend to follow Allurehn.

At some point, I am going to have to put in my ideas for re-working the fluff of the Binder class, basically taking it from "Spirit Channelling" to "Magical rituals with a striking resemblance to shooting up with combat-drugs with noticable psychological side-effects".
User avatar
Draco Dei
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:21 pm
Location: Near Atlanta, GA


Return to d20 Design

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

cron