Author Topic: RPGs about religion  (Read 14081 times)

Zombieneighbours

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RPGs about religion
« on: November 19, 2014, 06:04:07 PM »
So lots of RPGs have religions, but none of them I have ever come across really 'do' religion. It nearly always feels distant and weird, more a source of power, than a thing that touches people as deeply and oddly as real religion does.

There are accepts, such as Artesia: Adventures in the known world, and Dogs in the vineyard, but they are really the only ones I can think of. Are their other games that really deal with what it means for their to be gods, and for your character to have a connection with them?

Gorkamorka

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Re: RPGs about religion
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2014, 01:21:36 AM »
There is a game about being a god and trying to get people to worship you.  I can't remember the name thou.  Maybe someone else can help us with that.

Mythender is about killing gods.  The PDF is free.

EDIT: The game about being a god is by John Wick and is called Enemy gods.
http://www.johnwickpresents.com/market/products/enemygods.html
« Last Edit: November 21, 2014, 04:01:29 AM by Gorkamorka »
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Ezechiel357

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Re: RPGs about religion
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2014, 09:07:38 AM »
I guess it is not easy to design "Gods RpG" which feels different that high level Super-Heroes. If they are fighting other Gods or existential threats, it won't be that different than a fight between high level magus/fighter/jedi/superman.

What really differentiate a god from a person with god-like power is probably his connection with his clergy and worshippers.
And if Gods are competiting for the faith of worshippers, it probably means that players are opposing - at least to some level - each other, which is rather unusual in RpG.

But aside from that, no, I am not aware of RpG tackling gods-business.

Zombieneighbours

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Re: RPGs about religion
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2014, 11:51:10 AM »
Looks like I expressed that badly.

I am talking about games where you play worshippers, not gods.

But at the same time, ones that really gets into what it means for religions beliefs to be real.

an example of what I DONT WANT would be DnD. DnD as a game has gods and divine magic, but that fact is almost meaningless in game. You can literally strip the gods from the cleric class and all they are is another kind of wizards. The settings of DnD rarely get into the nitty gritty of what it means that their are gods. Characters don't as a rule collect holy relics, they don't spend time fasting or praying, they don't go on pilgrimages, nor do they make sacrifices.

By contrast, Artesia: Adventures in the Known World actively promotes activities such as ritual cleansing, fasting, sacrifice and the like, and work it all into the way divine magic works. It is not unreasonablecharacter behaviour in a game of artesia, for the PCs to sacrifice a ram, before going on a quest, because it will give them access to divine magic. On top of that, the whole setting is about the clash of cultures and religions, with grand religious wars being faught between sects and/or religions.

So what I am looking for are games that meaningfully explore in theme (or mechanics), polytheistic religion.

Claive

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Re: RPGs about religion
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2014, 12:18:12 PM »
2nd / 3rd edition Rune-Quest set in the default setting of Glorantha seems related to what you are talking about.  Each character is the devotee of a deity and through divine magic or devine intervention, your deity can show up and act in the world at your behest.  As your character advances in his cult (yes they call them cults) you are expected to act and behave more and more "in tune" with your deity.  Or you can be a sorcerer and give the gods the finger.
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Leshrac

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Re: RPGs about religion
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2014, 12:54:35 PM »
Dogs in the Vineyard.  It is a hell of a game.  And definitely is all about religion.

And as I note its already on your list: InNomine.  You play in the core game Christian archetype style angels, in a world where god has simply gone silent, and how they make sense of a reality without their guiding force.  You can also play humans with one of the extra books, and live in a world where you serve angels or demons and harness a small bit of their power and get caught up in their games and manipulations.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2014, 12:56:13 PM by Leshrac »

Zombieneighbours

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Re: RPGs about religion
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2014, 01:49:06 PM »
Dogs is great

I had considered InNomine, and all the white wolf demon games and similar.

clockworkjoe

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Re: RPGs about religion
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2014, 02:38:21 PM »
Witch Hunter: http://paradigmconcepts.com/witch-hunter/

Colonial Gothic: http://www.rogue-games.net/games/Colonial-Gothic/

Both deal with historical Christianity, so there's that.

Fading Suns deals a lot with religion from what I remember: http://fadingsuns.fasagames.com/

It would be easy to incorporate rules for religious rituals/acts/piety in universal/generic games like GURPS and Fate.

The thing is, most RPGs ignore 'common' subject grounds for most of humanity. Notice that there aren't any business-focused RPGs, despite the importance of commerce? (Red Markets isn't out yet)

RPGs are overwhelmingly themed around speculative fiction subgenres and tropes and those revolve stories about atypical experiences - war, conflict, mystery, quests, etc.  They're also meant to be fun and exciting. How do you make a game about religion fun and exciting? Most game designers would rather grab the low hanging fruit of epic quests or investigating the supernatural than try to puzzle out how to make a religious fasting ritual or pilgrimage fun in a game. I'm not saying that speculative fiction ignores religion, but games are designed to be played and that requires the interest of the players. It's very hard to make business fun, which is why it has been ignored. Religion, is not perceived to be fun or exciting by most gamers. I think that's why it's been treated like it has been in games.

edwardian_adventurer

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Re: RPGs about religion
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2014, 02:56:38 PM »
As a religious studies major, I feel tempted approach this oversight in gaming. Perhaps that will be the next major goal in my life after I graduate.

trinite

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Re: RPGs about religion
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2014, 05:43:24 PM »
It's really tough to deal with religion seriously in a fantasy setting in which the gods are overtly and obviously active. When you can just get Pelor (or Zeus, or YHWH) on the phone, then it really does become just another form of magic, which is to say just another form of technology for getting things done.

Here's an idea I'm going to throw out there: a tweak of Better Angels in which each player plays a god (in a pantheon) and a worshipper of the god next to them. The worshippers are all cooperating in some venture, but the gods, while not evil, are in competition with one another and don't tend to get along.  Unlike in Better Angels, the gods have the option of taking direct action without their followers, but doing so damages their follower and can have unpredictable collateral damage on the universe. And the followers can oppose or ignore their gods, but they risk losing favor and being denied power.
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Kamen

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Re: RPGs about religion
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2014, 05:51:00 PM »
Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff has done a few episodes on religion in RPGs. A fairly recent episode had them talking about making homebrewed religions feel more real, definitely check it out.

Zombieneighbours

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Re: RPGs about religion
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2014, 06:02:56 PM »
Thanks Kamen.

Zombieneighbours

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Re: RPGs about religion
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2014, 06:06:52 PM »
Trinite: I gotta say, given my memory of Greek mythology, the last thing you want as a person in mythic Greece is Zeus turning up. It all gets a little ...well you know woman being "seduced" by swans and stuff.

clockworkjoe

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Re: RPGs about religion
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2014, 06:44:10 PM »

Tim

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Re: RPGs about religion
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2014, 06:58:29 PM »
Zeuz and Lord Byron had a lot in common



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