Archive for May 2nd, 2011

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“The Good Book” – Religious Works in RPGs

2 May, 2011
Tyndale's Gospel of John

Tyndale's Gospel of John

It is the four hundredth anniversary of the publishing of the Authorized King James Version of the Bible.  Now the first printed translation of Bible into English was by William Tyndale back in 1525

Now, one does not need to be a Christian to appreciate the effort and craftsmanship of language that went into the KJV especially as many of the phrasings from it continue in common currency (including the much loved by many gaming group I have played with “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live.”).

The impact of books, especially books such as Bibles that frame how a faith is understood by a group, should not be underestimated especially in a game world.  Though how common books is a setting is highly variable.  In a world without printing presses, religious texts are likely to be strictly controlled by the church hierarchy limited the ability of outsiders to fully understand them.  This could lead to clashes with Church authorities if understanding of a prophecy or omen is needed, especially if the characters are not on best of terms with the church.

The hunt for lost books, scrolls, famous commentary on the faith are all viable quests.  Additionally they are one that can be opposed by rivals to the faith as well as competing factions within the faith.  Additionally, such works may open up additional quests for lost temples and shrines, ancient relics of the faith and such.

A secret war of religious scholars, all trying to reshape current doctrine, could be an interesting frame for a campaign.  As could a post-apocalyptic search for “the true faith”.  Knowledge is power after all.

Notes: Art from wikipedia and is public domain.

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