Monday, April 30, 2012

Let us pray, Part 1

Representation of a Templar
(Duinenabdij, Koksijde, Belgium)
Next on Ray Winninger's Dungeoncraft hit parade is how to create the gods and myths of your setting in 5 easy steps. Here I'll develop some background for clerics in the Arche realm of Icosa. Since I will be using Lamentations of the Flame Princess (LotFP) as my game engine for this campaign, I will let the rules for that system guide me in making my decisions. Also, in keeping with the First Rule of Dungeoncraft*, I will stay focused on the major faith in the setting as it would relate to the player characters (PCs).

1. Choose Polytheism or Monotheism

This seems like a simple question at first, most fantasy settings are Polytheistic. There exist great pantheons of gods to be worshiped for all manner of reasons. This is great if you have a character class that supports varying faiths with unique abilities. LotFP has only a single cleric class to cover this option for players. 

I'm not saying this is a bad thing about LotFP, I love the fact that the game takes a simplified approach. It does make my life a little bit easier when it comes to making this decision. Even if there are multiple deities, they grant the same abilities to their clerics. So, no need for a huge pantheon, a pantheon of three will suffice (bonus points to readers who guessed the correct number) - a divine trio.

This, and my catholic upbringing, puts the Christian Trinity to mind. This also resonates with Lotfp. While the game does not imply a particular type of religion, much of the artwork associated with the game includes images of crucifix-wearing priests and adventurers. The historical old school prototype for the cleric are the Knights Templar, which is a very cool image for the clerics of Arche

So, for my first step I pick monotheistic religion with different entities that are considered as one.

2. Determine the Nature of the Major Gods

Here Ray suggests determining if the gods are personifications or not, use a few adjectives to describe personality and demeanor of each, and define their relationships and interactions with each other. I think in keeping with the divine trio approach, these deities will be personified as follows:

  • Father - noble, stern leader; aloof and distant; wise, all seeing, all knowing.
  • Son - swift to anger, vengeful; strong and powerful; frightening in visage.
  • Mother - inventive and quick witted; practical and pragmatic; caring and kind.
The father and son will be seen as being at odds at times, with the son ignoring the council of his father. The mother is the peacekeeper between the two.

That's all for this time. We'll pick up next time with the remaining steps to fleshing out the faith of Arche.


Follow Your Bliss,

* "Never force yourself to create more than you must."
** By JoJan (Own work - own photo) [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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