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OneFamiliarFace
2008-05-27, 05:01 AM
So I don't know about you other DMs, but I often have trouble getting players involved in my religious pantheons, which I usually think are quite well thought out and full of character and possible plot hooks. But my players' usual responses to such rubbish rarely vary.

Cleric: "I worship Pelor, I guess."
DM: "Pelor isn't in my campaign, would you like to try one of the following selection?"
Cleric: "Well which one of those gives the same domains as Pelor?"

The other players, when asked what God/gods they worship usually say something along the lines of

Player: "Oh, I'm Chaotic Neutral, I don't have a god. My character was (disillusioned with, defeated by, never raised to believe in) gods, and generally doesn't like holy rollers anyway. By the way, I will cause no end of trouble making fun of the paladin."

So I finally discovered the problem. My players lack an actual connection to the gods. There is nothing for them personally in worshiping the God of the Fields or some such nonsense, so I decided to begin to flesh out a pantheon that fits more into the style of the player who, essentially, plays himself. I think this covers most Gods a player could care for, so without further fanfare, I present:

The Pantheon of Adventurers!
Dray Gonatak Lord of Orphaned Children and Rangers (sometimes called Baksto Ree)
Darkbrim Blackcloak Lord of Mysterious Adventurers and Rangers
Deet Welve Lord of the Barbarians
Friedrich Nietzsche Lord of Chaotic Neutrality
Monty Hall Patron Saint of Adventurers
D'r'zz'd D'o'urd'el'n Lord of Reformed Dark Elves
Evilla Spiderlegs Lordress of the rest of the Dark Elves
Elalarien von Vania Icksputter Silverwing Lord of Half-dragon, fiendishly vampiric elves
Timson Hrolfstein Lord of the Poorly Named Elves
Short Elf Lord of the Gnomes and Halfings
Woodbow Moonbow Lord of the Wood Elves
Elf Elfington Lord of the Elf Elves

If people are interested, I could start stat'ing this stuff, but otherwise, it's just a list for fun. Did I miss any?

Storm Bringer
2008-05-27, 05:08 AM
yhea, a dwarven god!

may i suggest either Ronald Macdonald, god of dwarfs (and fast food), and/or Bubvar Brewmaster, god of drink (and de facto god of dwarves).

Kol Korran
2008-05-27, 05:11 AM
you've forgotten one of the most importent if elusive gods:
whatever- god of not realy giving a damn adventurers.

but more seriously, as to your difficulty with your players, and their interest in religion: most players consider religion, lawfullness, and the like as restrictions to the character, instead of added aspects for roleplay (even roleplay heavy players) so, they prefer to choose the path of least resistence.

also, in this world where the perception of sceicne gains strength by the day (at least in most west world countries), religion is usually comes into conflict with many players thought process.

what i'm saying is- if they aren't into it bythemsleves, nothing will do will get them interested. if any seem inclined, then start bringing in the various pantheons.

if you however what to indulge your creativity, do it with the NPCs, mainly major ones like Cohorts and so on. just be prepared for the palyers to ignoe that all together.

that is all from me,
Kol.

Xuincherguixe
2008-05-27, 05:19 AM
Make your gods more badass. Have one of them smite fifty people at once by ripping their spines out, and then impaling them on their own spines. And, turn their blood into cherry blossoms.

Or, throwing their axe so that it carves out a path for a river, in order to save people having a drought.

Or, the goat that's being offered as a sacrifice gets devoured in front of everyone. despite the fact they can't see the god.


Frankly, if the gods aren't awesome, I can't blame the players for not worshiping it.

Morty
2008-05-27, 05:28 AM
Great pantheon. But I'd also add Bookworm McStaffington, Generic God of Generic Wizards & Magic as well as Blooddrinker The Babyeater, Patron God of Evil XP Fodder. And maybe Minus Maximus, patron god of powergamers. His domains would be only the best in all rulebooks.

Roderick_BR
2008-05-27, 06:07 AM
yhea, a dwarven god!

may i suggest either Ronald Macdonald, god of dwarfs (and fast food), and/or Bubvar Brewmaster, god of drink (and de facto god of dwarves).

Isen't Ronald too tall and skinny to be a dwarven god? Maybe Burger King would be better. He at least have a beard... :smallwink:

As for the OP: If your players are not religious, no much you can do, really. But you could insert into your campaign more reminders that gods in D&D exist and are a present force.
If any character use divine-based magic, demand him to explain how he worships his deities, or nab his magic. It's in the rules, you can do it, even without rule 0.
Any NPC with divine-based magic would call him his god when doing so.
Towns with single temples will usually be easy to notice what deity it worships. People are used to do things related to the local faith, the looks of the town may reflect it. A town that worships a nature deity may have their farmlands merging better with the florest, a town that worships Pelor will have many motiffs of him, and people will be generally nicer. A town that worships a sea deity will probably near rivers and comercialize lots of seafood, and sea-based artwork.
For players that like to make fun of paladins, leave them be. The paladin shouldn't do anything about it.... but he can flash an "I told you so" smirk when he needs to save their asses when they need the help. And sooner or later they may piss off some divine caster that is NOT a paladin... :smallwink:

Interesting work on the deities, though. :smallbiggrin:

Solo
2008-05-27, 06:13 AM
Well, an awesome deity helps people get interested in his religion, because they would enjoy the RPing.

Now if there was only a suitably awesome deity somewhere...

OneFamiliarFace
2008-05-27, 06:15 AM
Ah yes, thank you m0rt, those are some helpful additions.

And I would have included a dwarven God, Stormbringer, if I knew anyone aside from myself who actually plays a dwarf. One that isn't a barbarian that is.

And, more seriously, I think you are right Kol Korran, but I think there is a way to bring people into your pantheon a little more strongly that can satisfy both the players and the DM: magic items. I had a system in one of my homebrews where the majority of spiritual figures who took an active role in the world were actually more like Saints than they were Gods. So, they had a history to which the players could better relate. Inherent in this stories were class features or magic items.

For example, the Dwarven saint of the fallen was an old woman who would scribe the names of the dead on a large wall. Dwarven bards were then brought into the realm of being servants to this woman, and they would inspire the party by reading off the names of the dead in list fashion or singing specific tales of Dwarven heroes' brave deaths. Alternatively, a saint that had to do with protective warfare, when he was alive, would go to a specific underground waterfall and shed a single tear. These tears could be found by the players and used for small, almost role-playing level bonuses (I think they were a plus to save vs fear). Any given region or race would only have a few saints, and clerics would worship the God above them.

These not only gave the players a richer world in which to exist, but made them want to participate more in the religion, as it helped their characters. One can also have religious holiday and festivals that provide bonuses if the DM deems the character faithful enough.

That being said, the dwarf god would be called:

Ima Dwarf Domains: Gotta Problem with That?, Gruffness, Beards, Gimli, Commenting on fine weaponry, Drinking, Complaining

Because if it is anything else, it is probably a gnome.

Bayar
2008-05-27, 06:16 AM
Add a Gnomish god of artiery. That always works.

Azerian Kelimon
2008-05-27, 06:16 AM
Indeed. If your players do not like your gods, you have to refrain from plots with them, full stop.

Really, I chalk it up to being really hard to administer concepts and make an interesting god. Look at gods of justice, for example: NONE of them seem to include compassion and valor (AKA none of them seem to follow a NG view of justice, Goddangit!), and about the best of the bunch is Tyr (Who is admittedly cool). NONE of them seem to embody the whole idea of justice, or beauty, or knowledge, etc. Put simply, they seem too singleminded and alien to be interesting.

Tengu
2008-05-27, 06:29 AM
As for the OP: If your players are not religious, no much you can do, really.

I disagree, from personal experience - I am an agnostic/atheist (not completely decided), yet I have played many deeply religious characters.

And to the OP: Your gods are great. I love such tongue-in-the-cheek approach. By the way, feel free to personally punch player #2 in the face for me.

OneFamiliarFace
2008-05-27, 06:29 AM
Yeah, this is mostly why I have tried to pull away from polytheistic pantheons with the saints. When players don't like an element, stop. I have a great group of friends to play with now (but we are on different continents) who want the fluff and extra stuff. I think it's about finding the right group.

Living outside of the western world though, one sees that religion plays a fairly large part in the every day lives of what is probably a majority of the people currently living on the planet, just as it probably did in the western world up until more recent times. A religion, ordered correctly, can provide for morality outside of the alignment barriers, so that PCs can roleplay a little more, test their boundaries, and still have something to link them to the world.

Yeah, the elemental gods, gods of justice, god of ultimate evil...these have all kind of lost their flavor. Not because of any lack of religion on players' parts, but because they have been worn out by now. Actually, where I see more religion taking place is in campaigns where DMs reduce gods' influence while increasing organized religion's influence. I guess it make more sense to place faith in something that is slightly more intangible than a God you can shake hands with.

That being said, here, apparently would be the god for me:

Fluffario - Lord of Putting Other People to Sleep. Arch-enemy of Dray Gonatak.

Azerian Kelimon
2008-05-27, 06:41 AM
Actually, y'know what the problem is?

Gods are alien. They're very singleminded, with a very small scope. That's why many opt to serve concepts, because it encompasses many styles, not just Justice through Obscene gestures with Pickles, for example.

MorkaisChosen
2008-05-27, 06:50 AM
I seem to be a bit of an exception to the general rule here. Religion is important to quite a lot of my characters (it varies, obviously), but in different ways.

If you really want the players to identify with the gods, make the gods do more. If they're just abstract beards in the sky, they won't be interested; if the Gods do occasional miracles, they will be (the one with the spines is good, as would some Generic NPC in a temple of an evil god blaspheming against them and having their blood turned to maggots).

On these: The Nameless One: The most worshipped God of the pantheon, but paradoxically the least powerful. The other gods forget who he is, steal his stuff and generally ignore him.

Scintillatus
2008-05-27, 06:52 AM
For examples on how to make Gods actually cool, try and borrow the Scion: Demigod book. And see if you can get a peek at the Tuatha De Danann addition in Companion.

Gods are far far more interesting when they have human motivations.

Azerian Kelimon
2008-05-27, 06:52 AM
The Nameless One: The most worshipped God of the pantheon, but paradoxically the least powerful. The other gods forget who he is, steal his stuff and generally ignore him.

Wha? He's killing the multiverse! Even Vecna couldn't come close.

Pyroconstruct
2008-05-27, 07:01 AM
I also recommend not "fixing" a Domain list; give a Portfolio instead and give some "suggested" domains, but leave it open to anything within the range of their portfolio. I always hate how gods have only 4 or 5 domains, and of course they're always released in splats and so are new domains, so they only have ones from the splats they are in, and are missing really appropriate ones for this reason.

Xsjado
2008-05-27, 07:01 AM
I found the Complete Champion to serve as an excellent guide to the major religions and some of them are a lot more interesting than the usual fluff indicates. It also includes benefits for aiding your church and combat bonuses (even modest ones) are often enough to get players drooling. Then you've got the extended domain descriptors and divine core class enhancements so its good for creating your own religion as well. The prestige classes look a bit rubbish though.

The problem is mainly that unless a player has a good reason to worship a god then they won't really play it that way even if their roleplay is otherwise good. Of course their souls will be in a spot of bother if they die but most players don't at that point unless there is the chance for a timely resurrection. Could still be an interesting element to work in though. Character gets ressed and finds they've been mentally scarred by the time in limbo and get a permanent/semi-permanent stat hit.

PS: Dwarves got it right, Moradin was the first god and his influence reaches far further than that poncy Pelor or Corellon.:smallwink:

bosssmiley
2008-05-27, 07:06 AM
Isn't Ronald too tall and skinny to be a dwarven god? Maybe Burger King would be better. He at least have a beard... :smallwink:

Moradin of the Dwarves, yesterday
http://elitemrp.net/cgi-bin/wiyg/wiyg.pl?l1=WHERE%20IS%20YOUR%20GOD%20NOW%3F&back=king1&ft=.jpg

"Runequest" managed to make the gods fun and interesting, and, along with "Planescape" also made going to the Outer Planes (the Astral Sea in 4th Ed-ese) a bit more than just another 'planeshift-explore-kill-loot' sequence.

PS: Anyone who can find the Heironeous & Hextor love/hate thing, or the idea of a goddess of law, love, magic *and* death (Wee Jas) dull has no soul. :smalltongue:

Pyroconstruct
2008-05-27, 07:10 AM
Yeah, the CC affiliations would be a good idea; it gives players a small but present mechanical incentive to participate in religion, and often that gets them to actually start thinking their god is kinda cool.

I also recommend trying to work your deities into the history of your world; it makes them seem a lot more relevant and like they actually do stuff.

OneFamiliarFace
2008-05-27, 09:44 AM
I also recommend trying to work your deities into the history of your world; it makes them seem a lot more relevant and like they actually do stuff.

Yeah, and my most successful pantheons have been the ones where such is the case. But when the Gods are too heavy handed, the players again lose interest. I personally like it, and I have found players like it, when gods can influence the world, but only through human (here meaning sentient race) intervention. My players tend to prefer it when Gods aren't jumping out of the woodworks as well (why do troglodytes need their own god?).

My most successful pantheon grew from a one off, where I designed a dungeon around a world-famous gnome: Gazbo the Great. He was a Harry-Houdini-esque escape artist whom no one could catch. So individual architects started building dungeons around a certain part of the country side in the hopes that they would be the first to get him. (Note: A great excuse for random dungeons everywhere.)

When I sat down to flesh out the world, I couldn't stop thinking of that guy (the session had gone really well), so I set aside what I was doing, and incorporated him into a gnomish pantheon. Though he didn't feel right as a god. So I decided gnomes didn't have gods. Rather, they had heroes they had immortalized through oral history, and they believed that their different heroes' spirits, when evoked through story could bring them fortune in specific endeavors. This really appealed to me, as it also cut down on the total number of gods in the actual pantheon, and provided some interesting tie ins when say, even the gods couldn't caputre Gazbo the Great! I never got around to completing the PrC: Gazbonian Escape Artist though. Sigh.

Roderick_BR
2008-05-27, 02:16 PM
I disagree, from personal experience - I am an agnostic/atheist (not completely decided), yet I have played many deeply religious characters.

And to the OP: Your gods are great. I love such tongue-in-the-cheek approach. By the way, feel free to personally punch player #2 in the face for me.
Sorry, my mistake. I meant no much to do for the players beliefs, not the characters. I just meant that personal belief shouldn't be brough to the game table at all (I'm Roman Catholic, and doesn't believe into forcing faith and religion on others, either). That's why I suggested making the deities feel more like the ones from legend, where their mark is felt everyday, instead of just the guys up there handing spells to their clerics.


Moradin of the Dwarves, yesterday
http://elitemrp.net/cgi-bin/wiyg/wiyg.pl?l1=WHERE%20IS%20YOUR%20GOD%20NOW%3F&back=king1&ft=.jpg
WIN!

Dan_Hemmens
2008-05-27, 02:39 PM
Actually, y'know what the problem is?

Gods are alien. They're very singleminded, with a very small scope. That's why many opt to serve concepts, because it encompasses many styles, not just Justice through Obscene gestures with Pickles, for example.

I've always felt the opposite actually. D&D gods always bore the crap out of me because they're so broad and pluralistic. "Ooh, I'm the god of Elves, I love Nature and Happy Things and General Goodness. My sister is the Goddess of the Moon, she has power over shapeshifters and mysteries and possibly women and stuff."

For me to be interested in a God they pretty much have to be specific. I can't be arsed with a generic God of Justice, but a Mad Blind Crippled God of Justice who demands that his priests cut out their tongues that they may speak no falsehood that I can get behind.

Hal
2008-05-27, 04:12 PM
Here's your new god:

Ed the Fourth, god of change, whining, and the crafting of war (but not in that order, necessarily).

Humor aside, one of the reasons I think players have a hard time caring about religion is because it doesn't translate into much at the table.

Even if you have a player who wants to play a religious character, a lot of times it just turns into, "I spend an hour at dawn dancing naked in the fields to my deity. Or maybe praying quietly, if I can't find a field." There might be some RP aspects to being religious, but how often does it come up?

For example, Rogues and Bards tend to worship Olidammara, but how often does that mean anything other than filling in the blank on the character sheet? Even if the character says a little prayer before filching gold or stabbing someone's throat, how often does that come up in the RP?

I tried to play a religious character in my last game (A Duskblade who worshipped Boccob and Corellon), but the only application it had in game was giving me a place to work and sleep (guard duty at the temple). I was a bit disappointed.

sonofzeal
2008-05-27, 04:28 PM
Friedrich Nietzsche Lord of Chaotic Neutrality
I'd argue that Nietzsche is about as close as we're ever going to see to a CE philosopher. To me, Neutral is a willingness to sacrifice on morals for the sake of convenience; Evil is the abandonment of morality altogether. Neitzsche, in his dismisal of "Slave Morality", did the latter.

I'd say "Princess Aura" (from Flash Gordon) as the goddess of Chaotic Neutrality and Rogues. She switches sides whenever convenient, deals underhandedly to get what she wants, and while she almost certainly isn't a hero, she's not a villain either and sometimes does the right thing (although rarely without an ulterior motive). As a plus, she's obscure enough that she's unlikely to be recognized and spoil suspension of disbelief.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-05-27, 04:40 PM
There still aren't enough Gods of Elves.

Talya
2008-05-27, 04:41 PM
I'd argue that Nietzsche is about as close as we're ever going to see to a CE philosopher. To me, Neutral is a willingness to sacrifice on morals for the sake of convenience; Evil is the abandonment of morality altogether. Neitzsche, in his dismisal of "Slave Morality", did the latter.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master-slave_morality

Read it. It's certainly not CE...

Mr the Geoff
2008-05-27, 04:42 PM
You could try making your gods take a more personal interest in your PCs.

By the time they reach high levels they probably represent the most powerful worshippers a given god has on the material plane. In the last campaign I played prior to my own (rather shaky) attempt to run one myself, my character (a deeply superstitious CG barbarian) knew full well the power of his god as that god had a habit of sending his avatar down to watch proceedings (and only my character could see him). it was a great reminder that if he should step aside form the path his god had laid out for him, he was in a world of trouble.

This had the effect of making my character very very religous, and also making the rest of the party think he was hallucinating (what do you mean you can't see the 8 foot tall viking over there in the bright shining white armour?). Other characters had similar experiences and it all culminated in our party being personally selected by 4 seperate deities (ranging for LG to CN) as their tools to banish a demon prince back to its home plane (at some point in the past the gods had declared the material plane neutral ground and agreed not to take direct action but work through their followers instead. This demon had broken the rules but the gods, even the CN one, would not stoop to its level all the while they had us shmucks instead).

By the end of the campaign 6 members of the party had met their god face to face on we never worked out what plane (and half of the campaign setting was a smoking crater).

I personally count myself an atheist but this is a fantasy game, and in a campaign setting where gods do exist and occasionally show up wielding lightning bolts, having a religious character can be really fun.

If your gods are just paintings and statues in a temple full of clerics that are basically a one stop shop for cure potions and resurrections (in one campaign one church sold adventurers insurance... every 5th res free) then the players will not get engaged with their gods.

If instead your gods are having huge religious wars using mortal armies as pawns, and turning simple peasants into prophets and generally getting their hands dirty and taking an interest, the players will get a lot more involved.

Trog
2008-05-27, 04:48 PM
Don't forget DaMan, God of Fate, Plot Railroading, and generally screwing PCs over.

And Snackbowl - Lord of Gaming Sustenance

Azerian Kelimon
2008-05-27, 04:54 PM
Actually, I'd classify Nietzsche as Neutral, or possibly CN. The apathy presented in *Warnung: extreme simplification* "Mah, we're all gonna die so why not just kill each other?" is classic of indecisiveness taken to a paralyzing extreme, which is Neutral's philosophy. The CN idea comes from the thoughts he had with his sister.

Lemur
2008-05-27, 05:02 PM
Well, there are several other things you could do:

-Remove gods from your game completely. There's either no divine magic at all, or you could have something along the lines of the Mystic from Dragonlance. Maybe if you're feeling charitable you can replace divine magic with another power source, like psionics.

-Clerics are attuned to the world somehow, which grants them spells, but they don't get domains or domain spells unless they have a patron god. The only way to do this is via some sort of quest or trials that is played out in game. In other words, all clerics start out without domains, and acquire them by proving their devotion to a god. If they don't care to learn and understand enough about said god, they won't be able to pass the trials.

-Stop putting so much effort into your pantheons. Your players aren't interested in that element, and probably want to play a more smash and grab sort of game without worrying about otherworldly affairs.

Hallavast
2008-05-27, 05:13 PM
All this talk of dwarves gets me to thinking... the problem is not in your subject matter. It lies in your players. Get a good amount of alchohol flowing around the gaming table. If properly executed, your players will be shouting praises to your imaginary diety till 4 in the morning.

Of course I only recomment this aproach if all players are above the legal drinking age. This office does not endorse underage drinking, smoking, or consorting with troglodytes.

sonofzeal
2008-05-27, 08:52 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master-slave_morality

Read it. It's certainly not CE...
When Nietzsche talks about "Master Morality", he's using the word in an entirely different way than most of us would use it; defining "good" as "noble, strong and powerful" has nothing to do with morals, in my opinion. I do respect your right to disagree; alignments are rarely perfect fits in the real world.

But this isn't really the place to debate philosophy, and whatever Nietzsche's alignment, I do think that Princess Aura demonstrates the mentality that I've seen in CN players much more strongly than he ever did. Plus, it's way easier to say "Princess Aura" in-character and keep a straight face, even if it is a little fruity at first, and that can be solved by concocting some lovely legend of betrayal and manipulation associated with her.

Kol Korran
2008-05-27, 10:05 PM
hhmmmmm... in some of your more recent posts One FamiliarFace you've broached more into the subject of religions than the subject of gods. if you want to make religions more prelevent, then try mimicking christianity and islam in the years of their rise and expansion in our world (i'm only talking history here folks, not trying to pick a fight with anyone). all of the following makes the World more "alive with religion". i doubt that it would make the PCs more so, but it just might. it will however, make them consider and take into account religions central impact upon society:

- both deemed themselves as the "one true faith", and were on a mission to convert the world (whether it was from true faith, or just as a means to power remains to be seen). this "expanding" influence came in many forms, from education, militaristic, public conventions and more. have the priests of some major pantheon penetrate and influence nearly all walks of life.

- positions of power: many of the greatests efforts religions have exorted were to either convert, or to keep people in power worshiping their own religion (just look an england's history for example). you can have struggles, both open and discreet over someone's "soul", and the PCs might take part in that. working so closely with (or against) some religion, the PCs might experience from up close the intricities of faith.
i'd suggest you also add an NPC (cohort, watcher, accompanying priest) strict worshiper to the party (under some reason such as "make sure you act accordingly to the spirit of the church") in order to introduce soem of the "enlightened/ spiritual" observations of that person, as well as the more restricting aspects. give them a religious experience

- PCs become powerfull too: as the PCs gain power and fame (or notoriety), the religions, especially expansionist ones, start taking an interest in them. at first they might try and persuade them to join the faith, maybe even wine and dine them sort to speak. if the players remain aloof to these tries, then the religion in question might get more... urgent in it's... persuaion tactics. the religion can't simply allow such influential people to fall to another faith! they might draw all the poepl who follow or ideloize them as well!

don't overdo this angle though, as the players might grow to realy hate it. the idea is to give the impression of an organization that doesn't take "no" for an answer, but not actually push that far.

- religiously based mission: crusades, conversions, and more. the effect is best accomplished if the PCs are required to follow a code of ethics (and somehow are also supervised. such as with the "accompanying" priest example above).if the religion's actions follow the PCs own personalities and motives, they might get mroe interested in it.

and on another note, a method that might help bring more religion into the PCs roleplay, but that i consider fairly cheap: (note- i don't have many books, soemthing similar may be in one of them)

- the bribe option: bribe to the PCs that is- make joining a religion have some benefits. the benefits should be small at first, but if the member shows piety, and adherence to the spirit of the god's teaching (or soemthing like that) then the benefits increase. you could claim it is from the god, or from belief.

the benefits could be in the form of minor powers (supernatural abilities mimicking spells?) or it could be organazational ones: the character can find experts and proffesional easier, it pays less for spells, might hire a devout follower of some level to assist (an extra cleric always helps), or maybe even temprary use of magic items? (some may even work only for those of the faith). you could even make a system of "devout ranks", which increae or decrease depending on the PC's actions.

i don't like the system because it doesn't realy encourages roleplay (to my opinion), as "cost/ benefit" players will try to "token roleplay" just for the added benefits, not becuase they feel it enriches their experience. also- if a player then choose a paladin/ monk/ cleric/ druid/ similar faith based class, s/he must now try and play accordign to this new system, or it gets rediculeous. some players seek these characters for other reasons though, so this might hinder that.
i did suggest it because it may work, mostly if your players aren't rolepalying because that was what they were accustomed to, not because they chose not to. in this case, the system might give them a push in the right direction, through utilizing game considerations they allready know.

a bit of a long post, hope it helped,
Kol.

Aquillion
2008-05-27, 11:18 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master-slave_morality

Read it. It's certainly not CE...It's worth pointing out that that article is not very good, and oversimplifies things to the point where they're barely recognizable. The main article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_Friedrich_Nietzsche) on his philosophy is slightly better. Less simple, but that's the point. Nietzsche is one of the hardest philosophers to get on a simple reading, and one of the most frequently (and, at times, catastrophically) misunderstood even into the present day, so this is a sore point... don't take anything you read about his philosophy on someplace like Wikipedia seriously. There are writers who devoted entire carefully-researched books to him and still got it wrong; Wikipedia hardly has a chance.

Regarding religion, a few things can help.

First, good names and titles. Never underestimate those. "Mung, Lord of all Deaths between Pegana and the Rim" is a much better name than simply "Mung", and lets the players know immediately how to relate to this deity.

Don't just think of them as deities. Think in terms of entire religions, since most people (and even players, most of the time) are going to encounter the deity's religion vastly more often than they do the deity themself. Consider how followers of the deity are supposed to behave, what rituals they observe -- do they try to convert others? Do they have restrictions or observences they must obey in their day-to-day life? Don't force these on the PC, but let them see it in the world around them.

Have other people in your world be faithful to the gods, too. See if you can have the day-to-day observences of the deities intersect with the player's actions, and try to work in bits about the deities during other things. For instance, they could have to interrupt a stage play telling the story of one of the deities, or they could have to do something in a town during a large festival.

You could set an adventure in a ruin dedicated to a deity, with much of the treasure, architecture, and even monsters related to that faith. (Perhaps the players were even sent to the ruin by the faith, who wants to recover a ceremonial artifact.)

You can't really force the PCs to play religious characters (or at least, you probably shouldn't), but you can give them the impression that the deities and religions you create are vibrent things that influence a great deal in the world around them. There should be religious wars, vast works of religious art, religious artifacts, and so forth.

Religion is probably going to affect the PCs much more directly than the distant panthions do. Focus on that -- on the symbols, the artifacts and treasures related to the faith that PCs are likely to find, the powers and monsters that that faith has itself or has as adverseries, its goals and the rules it sets down in the areas it controls, and so forth. The PCs are going to see a lot more of that than they will the backstory you wrote for some distant goddess.

(Note that per RAW, most Paladins are not religious, at least in the default core setting; the call is non-denominational and not governed by any deity, though some Paladins do follow it in the name of their god.)

OneFamiliarFace
2008-05-28, 05:52 AM
Heh, as far as the Nietzsche thing goes, I don't want to go too far into it, other than to say that he attempts to reconstruct a new morality in his writings, but I was playing on the fact that he wrote Beyond Good and Evil. I assume one finds neutrality there, depending on which way one is traveling.

And yes, yes, this discussion is going great. And for those telling me to drop the pantheon thing, I know when to drop an element :-p. But it turned out there was a dichotomy between me and a good number of my players: I liked fluff, they liked having kick-ass characters. Gods can get in the way of that. There's nothing wrong with either style, but I just went ahead and found a group that loved the fluff. Now we have both!

I think the reason I have interest in this as a continued serious issue is that I know many players who will outright demand that no oriental elements be added into a game because it disrupts the medieval flavor, but will pleasantly go about as staunch atheists who think gods are d-u-m, when that disrupts the flavor of a time when religion played an important part in every day life. Now, in the past, this is definitely mostly my failing, but as with all DnD games, it takes players and DMs working together to create the best sessions and campaigns.

This new turn towards religion instead of just gods is something I'm liking. I think it's what turned me off Forgotten Realms for a long time until I played the Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale computer games (Icewind Dale, still one of the best video game RPGs out there), where I actually saw the religion at work and not just a random assortment of Gods shaking hands over creating the world.

And that is why I am now more interested in festivals, holidays, magic items, etc.: Things that bring the Gods into the world without having, say, Pelor turn off the sun because he is angry, or demons being summoned because Evilsaurus Rex wants to take over the world. That being said, more gods:

Evilsaurus Rex - Lord of Guys who want to take over the world for no reason...I don't know. Go ask them!
Evilsaurusalethian Rexbow - Lord of Elves who want to take over the world for no reason.
Legolas' Mirror - Lord of Legolas...the Elf
Jim the Archer - Lord of 120yr old Elves who act like 19yr old boys
Whenever anyone wants to take this over to the homebrew thread and get to some serious creation, I'm raring to go.

MorkaisChosen
2008-05-28, 06:21 AM
Even if you have a player who wants to play a religious character, a lot of times it just turns into, "I spend an hour at dawn dancing naked in the fields to my deity. Or maybe praying quietly, if I can't find a field." There might be some RP aspects to being religious, but how often does it come up?

For example, Rogues and Bards tend to worship Olidammara, but how often does that mean anything other than filling in the blank on the character sheet? Even if the character says a little prayer before filching gold or stabbing someone's throat, how often does that come up in the RP?

I tried to play a religious character in my last game (A Duskblade who worshipped Boccob and Corellon), but the only application it had in game was giving me a place to work and sleep (guard duty at the temple). I was a bit disappointed.

Olidammara's not so bad. I fondly remember my cleric of Olidammara with some Faith feats- I definitely played up the religious aspect, resulting in the following exchange between me and the DM:

Me: "Let's all get drunk!"

DM: "Faith point."

Funkyodor
2008-05-28, 08:22 AM
Well, what we did is make specific knowlege of a deities characteristics beneficial to the characters. After adventuring for a while, all characters gain beneficial deeds (either good/evil/glorious/insane depending on the characters alignment and the deity worshiped). This is determined by consensus if the DM has questions about how the deeds played out. IF a character dies, then some random rolls depending on the number of deeds and "Worldly" involvement (Characters even got experience for *Bwaum-chika-bwaum-bwaum* action). If the character is lucky enough to get noticed upon entry to whatever afterlife is applicable, the deity asks questions about itself. Players answer some correctly they get a wish, without error it is "I wish I was alive" or something like that. Get them all right and some other special stuff could happen like Ressurection, or 2 Wishes. Get them all wrong and bad things like "Go to hell!" or somesuch. Mostly it let the DM have fun with characters that wrote down who they believed in while knowing nothing out of the book except "Hes LG with Healing and Sun domains...".

Standard questions were, Deities Symbol? Plane of residence? Slogans or Sayings? Favorite way to surprise or attack enemies? Name of hated foe?

Only after the character has died 3-4 times and been lucky enough for diety interaction do the strange and hard questions come out, like... Name of Favorite pets? Now Spell them... Or, What is the plane of residence of my hated foe? Or, What is the symbol of my greatest ally? Or, Who is the leader of my Pantheon?

Oh yeah, we use 1st and 2nd edition Deities & Demigods / Legends & Lore biographical information. Might as well get some use out of old books. Espescially when the text in there is so flavor and colorful.

sonofzeal
2008-05-28, 11:30 AM
Heh, as far as the Nietzsche thing goes, I don't want to go too far into it, other than to say that he attempts to reconstruct a new morality in his writings, but I was playing on the fact that he wrote Beyond Good and Evil. I assume one finds neutrality there, depending on which way one is traveling.
Well... I use a 5 point system rather than a three point: Exalted-Good-Neutral-Evil-Vile. "Exhalted" is strict adherance to moral standards ("thou shalt not lie!"), "Good" is willingness to compromise in a good cause ("these aren't the droids you're looking for"), "Neutral" is willingness to compromise for the sake of convenience ("my dog ate the homework"), Evil is total apathy to conventional moral standards ("he did it! I saw him do it!"), and Vile is a deliberate violation of moral standards at every opportunity. Nietzsche certainly isn't Vile, but I'd classify him under Evil - whatever his "Master Morality" is, it certainly isn't conventional social morals. If you use a different Good-Evil scale, that might explain why we categorize him differently.


Evilsaurus Rex - Lord of Guys who want to take over the world for no reason...I don't know. Go ask them!
Evilsaurusalethian Rexbow - Lord of Elves who want to take over the world for no reason.
Legolas' Mirror - Lord of Legolas...the Elf
Jim the Archer - Lord of 120yr old Elves who act like 19yr old boys
Whenever anyone wants to take this over to the homebrew thread and get to some serious creation, I'm raring to go.
Heh, fun stuff there.

And yeah, Religion is a nice way to go. Have you read how stuff works in Eberron? The gods are very distant (but form a proper pantheon, not just a scattering of individuals), and church politics are huge. There's plenty of plothooks in there. Maybe one church organization wants you to dig up dirt on another, or one senior cleric is taking bribes, or one church is going through a schism due to theological divergeance (either a "Protestant Reformation" type grassroots movement, or an "Arianism" type high level discord). Options are endless.

OneFamiliarFace
2008-05-30, 08:47 AM
Oops, I almost forgot the racial pantheons.

Morgardin - Lord of Rocks, Beards, Gruffness, and Scottish accents attached to Norse names.
Illarien Silvermoon - Lord of men who play women
Whizbang Magicbolts - Lord of noses, being good with magic, technology, alchemy, having more hps than a half-orc while being a third the size, and burrowing mammals?
Uselessguy - Lord of half-elf bards
Barbarianguy - Lord of Half-orcs and their only class
Harrington Leafthistle - Lord of finding roleplaying excuses to steal things.
Some sun god - God people would worship if anyone played humans.

Kol Korran
2008-05-30, 09:08 AM
loved the last editions to the gods OneFamiliarFace...
got nothing more. but had to compliment on those.
Kol.

MorkaisChosen
2008-05-30, 09:31 AM
Everyone plays humans. The alternative Human god:

Feat O'Skill-Points

No explanation required...

OneFamiliarFace
2008-05-30, 07:35 PM
(Thanks, Kol!)

And yeah, sorry. That should have been, "If anyone played humans for more than a cool build idea." :smalltongue:

It just so happens my favorite flavor of ice cream is vanilla, but many players seem to like vanilla with three templates, two flaws, and a handful of PrCs. Their god?

What God? - I am god. Any questions?

Jorkens
2008-05-30, 07:54 PM
Noone's mentioned the most powerful, cruel and terrifying God of all (http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/R/Random-Number-God.html)...

SolkaTruesilver
2008-05-30, 08:00 PM
Jokes appart, I always force my so-called religious characters (Ranger, Paladin, Clerics, Druids) to learn the Dogma of their religion. It is the central point around which the whole religion is based upon, and should be considered a "pure truth".

Also, think about doing a Warhammer-esque religious conditions. In Warhammer, every priests have to respect a certain number of rules. These rules are related to the history of the god, and (that's the fun part) can be interpreted in different ways

For example: The Strictures of Shallya (god of peace and healing, mercy and childbirth)

- Avoid Killing
- Never refuse healing to a supplicant genuinely in need
- Never halt a soul when it is time for it to depart
- Go about your life unarmed. A stout walking staff is all you'll ever need
- Abhor the Fly Lord in all his form

(note Fly Lord = Nurgle, Chaos God of pestilance and sickness)

TheCleric
2008-05-30, 08:06 PM
Deities and Demigods is one of my favorite books. Unfortunately, it's not always up to the player to decide how much of the rules, regulations, dogma and what have you is called up in the game.
Oh how I wait for the day when my knowledge of there being a forge in every temple of Moradin comes in handy.

OneFamiliarFace
2008-05-30, 08:07 PM
Noone's mentioned the most powerful, cruel and terrifying God of all (http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/R/Random-Number-God.html)...

Even the Gods are subject to random numbers my friend. Some call it fate. I call it the DM. (It's like the BB, but this universe starts with a tavern and explodes outward from there.)

And yes, I like the warhammer priests. 40k Marines may be cooler, but that's a little more militant than I'm willing to go :-p. That's a way to bring religion in as well. If players like politics, make a politician (or ruler) to be/claim to be the embodiment of a god. If players like war, have them do battle with avatars (or have wars based on religious reasons). If players like hack'n'slash, have em play Diablo. (I kid, I kid.) If players like drinking, then I usually have some blessed ale at some point for them. You know people would do it.

Actual, it might be interesting to have a religion slightly based on that (through an agriculture theme), because in some places, people drank beer or wine because the water was not reliable.

SolkaTruesilver
2008-05-30, 08:10 PM
Deities and Demigods is one of my favorite books. Unfortunately, it's not always up to the player to decide how much of the rules, regulations, dogma and what have you is called up in the game.
Oh how I wait for the day when my knowledge of there being a forge in every temple of Moradin comes in handy.

It's merely because I don't want my clerics and druid ending up like "alternate wizards". It's a ROLE PLAYING game.