View Full Version : Bible Based D&D 3.5 Campaign?

2012-01-11, 03:13 PM
I've been thinking about GMing a campaign based off of the old testament, but in a D&D world.

I know, it sounds kinda cheezy, but I think I can make it work.

In the book of II Kings the prophet Elijah was taken up into the sky in a fiery chariot and the Bible never really says where he went from there... so what if he were to land in Toril or another D&D style setting and God tells him to spread his law across that world?

It may be tough to make this work, but just think of the conflict that would be stirred up in that world!

So, please, I would love some feedback. Good idea? Bad idea? Blasphemy (lol)? Got ideas to add?

I think what I would do is have my PC's be added into the fray, several hundred years after the propohet first entered the world, so he's long gone, but there's basically a ton of converts to, basically Judaism all across the world.

2012-01-11, 03:15 PM
I think it sounds interesting as a solo campaign, but obviously, be careful who you play it with, so as to not upset anyone.

Alex Star
2012-01-11, 03:31 PM
You could absolutely run this as a "new faith" type campaign. Elijah comes to whatever setting you choose and begins to spread the word of God.

The Heroes would come upon him and the first part of the campaign could revolve around them being converted. Make it easy for them to see Elijah as one of those crazy psycho prophet on the street corner type guys. Shouldn't be too hard to steer them in the direction of being cautious of this "shady" character.

Have them be introduced to some of the early converts that Elijah gets, let them see that they are just regular people, striving for something more. Then put those people in harms way, give the Heroes the opportunity to intervine on their behalf.

During this have God reveal himself in some small way to them, some minor miracle or such (The kind that can not be easily replicated by a spell *I know that might seem hard but there is an awful lot that magic either can't do or can only give the appearance of being able to do).

Finally have them meet Elijah in person finally, let them see that he's not crazy. Have Elijah give them a quest, during which they will undoubtedly encounter some form of serious temptation. Give them basic tenets as a guideline, and present them with situations that display those in a favorable light.

Culminate the Quest with some encounter that shows them how their current gods FAIL to produce an acceptable result, but shows them how the power of God is capable of overcoming such an obstacle. (note this is difficult to do without Deus Ex but you can.)

From this point it should be easy for your Heroes to be converts, and story arcs present themselves from here. Finding a Homeland for their new Faith, Religious Persecution by the existing Gods, The lives of various Prophets, the birth of the Savior.

It could be a very interesting campaign.

2012-01-11, 03:32 PM
Go wild. (http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/9/9706.phtml) You know you want to.

2012-01-11, 03:38 PM
Well, make sure players are ok with it first. Don't want to upset anyone or accidentally insult anyone's religious beliefs. That said, the bible covers rather a lot of stuff, so you'll probably want to narrow your focus a bit. Ancient egyptian era? Great setting, lots of non biblical lore to pull from as well. Apocalyptic, as per revelations? Bust out the ELH, and crazy things start happening.

2012-01-11, 03:46 PM
Speaking as one o' them nutcase conservative Christians, it's very tricky to use a real-life religion in a role-playing campaign because if you get it wrong, you're going to get called out for blasphemy.

And given the immense number of Jewish and Christian people out there, and the many different trads, SOMEONE is going to find it blasphemous whatever you do.

That's why people go for fantasy. If you misrepresent Tor or Mystra or Paladine, well, no one cares. But if you say something about a real-life religion you're bound to touch a nerve.

So I think your campaign idea has merit, but I suggest you go the Crystal Dragon Jesus (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CrystalDragonJesus) route. Instead of taking Elijah and the Jewish faith directly, invent something that is inspired by Elijah and the Jewish faith. Not only will you run less risk of offending people, but you'll also have more artistic freedom to do with it as you wish.


Brian P.

2012-01-11, 04:21 PM
Maybe set it in a biblical era (say, during the Time of the Judges or after Judah and Israel separated, or even around the time the Jews returned to Jerusalem) rather than in a particular Biblical story. There is several advantages to this. Since you are not converting a particular event, you, and the players, have much more freedom to affect and change around things, which has the advantage having less potential for stepping on someone toes and less of the railroading inherent in adapting an existing work.
Also, do research, do a lot of research, do more than what you think is enough research on the customs and life in the places and era you choose.
I would actually use D20 modern with ancient weapons and armour instead of 3.5.
Less of a can of worms because it is mostly mundane.
I hope you can understand why without my getting into details.
With the right group, this could work, but make sure you have the right group.
I admit I am both leery of and intrigued by the idea.

2012-01-11, 04:44 PM
GURPS Banestorm is an alternate earth where the humans are descended from ones who were pulled from our earth. They brought thier religions along with them.

Even if you're not going to play gurps, or actually in the world of the banestorm... it does have some good thoughts on how non humans, and magic fit in.

2012-01-12, 12:05 AM
I think it's a clever idea, but it has been repeatedly abused by poor storytellers. So, that area can be a bit tender.

If you can pull it off, you're going to have an epic campaign, but the trick is this:

1. Living religions always been, and always will be, a touchy subject.

2. Going too "Hollywood" will cause the more theologically educated to eye-roll their way through the session until they can't stand the cheezy pseuodo-catholic Dan Brown/every-horror-movie-ever "theological overtones" one second longer. Then, I make no guarantees about what happens next.

3. Not going "Hollywood" enough may make the plot feel rigid and uncompromising... possibly even overly heady and dull, and will cause your less-theologically-educated friends to feel like they are being preached to.

4. What do you do if the players decide not to align themselves with God, and do what so many de-railers have done in the past and attempt to kill God? :smalleek: Talk about tossing fuel on a fire. Enough people out there still think D&D is anti-Christian as it is.

I wish you the best of luck though.

I tried laying out a theological campaign with some of my more conservative Christian friends once who were willing to be open minded, and give it a go, but finally decided it wasn't worth the risk and scrapped the whole deal. We ended up doing a series of simple one-up campaigns that felt more comfortably like The Lord of the Rings instead. They only mildly enjoyed it, and lost interest after a few sessions, but I appreciated the effort to meet me halfway. So, in all reality, my advice is based almost entirely on theory. I did discuss some of my original plot ideas with them later. They resulted in riveting theological discussions, but they confirmed my suspicions. In best case scenarios, the plot hook was better left to discussion, in worst case scenarios, they felt the plot hook would have made them feel uncomfortable.

2012-01-12, 03:29 AM
As a devote Christian and avid RPGer, its best if you left the (IMO, I know) real God out of settings where other gods are real. Christianity and Judaism don't actually teach that God is "better" than other gods, but that he is alone as the Divine. This doesn't roll well with the typical DnD setting, for two major reasons.

1: It's just plain unquestionably untrue in most settings. Which would destroy so many aspects of the theology that your final result would be Crystal Dragon Jesus anyway.

2: You turn your heroes into a rampaging band of Crusaders. (Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition!)

I'm against any literal combining of DnD and real-world religion.

Now taking Ideas from the Biblical setting and using them to make a cool fantasy world? That's an awesome idea.

Also, careful everyone this flies just above the forum rules. If we aren't careful we can't have this conversation.

2012-01-12, 03:41 AM
Dibs on the Raptor Cleric!