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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Games We Play: Pantheons

I think it's safe to say that there are not many games that are run where the prime focus is on religion or religions. In a way, this idea saddens me because I personally feel that if more people had a better understanding of other religions that they would be more tolerant of other people's beliefs. Please don't think that I'm going to go on a rant about religious freedom or how a single religion is the way to go. On the contrary, my mind is open to most religions and I openly welcome their use inside my games.

When I play a fantasy RPG like D&D or Pathfinder, 9 times out of 10 I am relegated to the role of Cleric so the party is covered for healing and "buffs". I don't ever mind this, until my character is hassled about his religious choice for no reason. I try to play by character's faith to the best of my ability, but I never go so far as pushing my religion onto any other characters. Instead, when my character is able to perform feats that may seem miraculous, I make sure the character gives open thanks to their chosen deity. For instance, in the Pathfinder game I'm currently playing...

Our characters were put through several tests to see if we were worthy of a minor artifact. One of the tests seem to be a test of penitence and humility. My character took it upon himself to weather the test, only to find out that it was actually a test to see if any of us would succumb to an evil deity. Long story short... 2 fire elementals unleashed 3 rounds worth of lava on my poor Cleric character. He survived and gave praise to his deity. Not bad for only being 4th level.

In the a Hunter: The Reckoning game I ran, I decided that each of the characters were going to be tied to a specific Greek god. Unfortunately, this aspect was never explored because a) the game didn't last very long -and- b) the players never really caught on to the few hints I was able to drop about this. The biggest hint was a painting of the characters, created by one of them, which had each character with a glowing symbol of a different Greek god. I was going to run it as each character was guided by a specific deity that they were linked to. I'm not sure how that would have played out, but I think it would have been interesting.

I would invite storytellers and players alike to bring an aspect of religion to your games to see how your fellow players respond. With the right group dynamic, I belief that it will create an interesting aspect to your games.

Help to eliminate this common issue with Clerics in your games. :-)

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