Posts Tagged ‘Religion’


Review – Divine Favor: the Oracle

9 October, 2011

Oracles are defined by mysteries and curses, and this product provides an expansion for options for both.  If Oracles are popular in your campaign, this product should prove to be a very good resource.

Divine Favor: the Oracle is an 18-page PDF (16-pages if you remove the cover and OGL page) for the Pathfinder RPG written by Stefen Styrsky and published by Open Design.  This is part of Open Design’s Advance Feats line for Pathfinder.

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Henotheism, Kathenothism and Polytheism

14 June, 2011

The gaming journals have suddenly been discussing polytheism, Evil Machinations talks about Fantasy Pantheons: Deities are more fun when there’s more than one, over at Harbinger of Doom there is Religion in Fantasy and Fantasy Gaming (which references Why D&D Polytheism is Flawed).


But, let me define my terms (all definition from wiktionary):

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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.


New Magic Item – Codex of Sublime Understanding

4 February, 2011

Old book (1882)photo © 2009 Maarten Van Damme | more info (via: Wylio)
“One book,” the old man said, walking through the ruins of the grand temple, “one book brought down the church.   It was found by a young priest, Aeli, who had been sent off to gain funds for the faith by aiding a group of venturers.  It was a common practice.”

He ran his hand along a shattered bench.  “Aeli came back from one of their missions, with the book.  He had changed, he became a man of fiery passion and belief.  His companions were already converted to Aeli’s vision of the faith.  The younger members of the faithful soon started turning to him for guidance.  The lines were already starting to be drawn.”

The old man sat down on a broken pillar, he gestured to a shattered statue and the scattered remnants of an altar.  “The final confrontation took place here.  Aeli and his followers confronted the old guard . . . and it all came tumbling down.”  He began to weep.

Codex of Sublime Understanding

This large book is heavily bound in metal reinforced leather or canvass but seems filled with so much gibberish.  Until it is handled by a person of true faith, at which point it reveals the symbol of their faith hidden in the metal work and the text resolves itself into the holy writings of the faith.

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Through the Lens of History XVII: “By Jove!” Roman Religion and Superstition

13 December, 2010

Through the Lens of History: Using History for Better Gaming
Vision XVII: By Jove! Roman Religion and Superstition

The thief who stole this, may you consume his blood and take it away, Lord Neptune.”
– Inscription on a Roman curse

The Roman World of the Republic and Empire was rife with gods, cults, rituals and superstitions. Few events were so unimportant that they did not need the blessing of the gods and the approval of the heavens. Seeking divine approval for actions taken – and yet to be taken – was an important part of Roman civic and personal life.

Equally, the Romans believed magic and spirits were everywhere and that everyday life was rife with tasks to avoid ill fortune and bad luck. This vision looks at how to incorporate these thoughts into play.

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Through the Lens of History Vision 11: With Scimitar, Veil and Book – Muslim Women Warriors

15 May, 2010

Through the Lens of History: Using History for Better Gaming
Vision 11: With Scimitar, Veil and Book
Muslim Women Warriors

Before beginning this month’s article the Lens wishes to shed some light on Islamic practices that are often imperfectly understood.

The term jihad is usually used in an overly simplified way.  Muhammad taught that there are two jihads: a greater and a lesser.  The greater jihad is each Muslim’s personal struggle to be true and faithful to God.  The Prophet defined the greater jihad as the fight against the souls inclination to do evil.

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Through the Lens of History 3 – Winter Festivals of Old Europe

13 December, 2009

Tis the ideas of December and time to look through the lens:

Through the Lens of History: Using History for Better Gaming
Vision 3: Winter Festivals of Old Europe

People have always sought meaning for natural events and an opportunity to have a good time.  Festivals celebrated important events, such as Winter Solstice, and people celebrated during the festivals.  This vision looks at some of the European winter festivals from ancient history.

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Through the Lens of History 1 – By the Gods!

15 July, 2009

Tis the ides of July, and time to journey back in time.  Welcome to:

Through the Lens of History: Using History for Better Gaming
Vision 1: By the Gods! The Faiths of Ancient Greece and Rome.

Ave and well met.  Welcome to the first installment of Through the Lens of History where I will take various pieces of history and show how they can be used to make compelling settings and scenarios for games.

The subject of this installment is Ancient Religion; focusing on those of Greece and Rome.  Modern religion in the West is heavily shaped by the success in the Western world of the various Christian denominations and the prevalent separation of Church and State but it was not always so . . . Read the rest of this entry ?

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