Friday, July 13, 2012

Rolang's Creeping Faith

Rolang, of Rolang's Creeping Doom, has been posting some great stuff lately in regards to Clerics.  One of the most interesting is a form to help you figure out, or record, the details of a particular faith in your setting.  If you are building a more structured, or at least non-gonzo world, inevitably you are likely to have a major religion, which has a structure, dictates, temporal power, and clergy (which may be where the clerics of your world come into the picture).

While many probably just run with a fantasy version of the Roman Catholic church circa 1200 with minor gods subbing in for saints, or possibly a Greco-Roman style pantheon, occasionally you want something more complicated, either for the RP purposes presented, or because it fits your setting better.

Enter this form, which helps you to work through the details of said religion, creating in effect a "character sheet" for it.  Here is one for the Orthodox Shepardic religion in my Deepest Sea setting:

Deity Name: The Shepard
Titles, Aliases:
Image or Symbol: Crozier
Church Name: Orthodox Shepardic Church
Domains (Purviews): Creation
Alignment: Lawful Good
Color: White
Special Spells:
Remove fear [plus 1 turn per level]
Forbidden Spells:
Cause wounds, other reversed spells
Rituals: Mass, wind baptism, burial

Offerings: Burnt livestock portions, money.
Special Clerical Requirements:
Use of blunt weapons, celibacy

Specific orders may require poverty or other restrictions
Physical Description:
The Shepard is not depicted in person, but sometimes is seen as a cloud, or as a man seen from behind with a flock.
Taboos: Dead animals, blood

Orthodox oath: I will to my Lord and Master the Shepard, be faithful in all things, love all which he loves and shun all which he shuns, according to His laws and the order of the world. Nor will I ever with will or action, through word or deed, do anything which is unpleasing to him, as He will hold to me as I shall deserve it.
Enemies: Sufic Shepardic tradition, other monotheistic religions

Attributes on scale of 1-20
Strictness : 15
Jealousy : 16
Revelations : 15
Organization : 19
Astounding at all levels, but diffusely spread amongst the various dioceses.  Tithing is a set 10% of income.

Popularity: Popular where ever humanity is found.  Particularly strong in Brémdy and Chénez (19), and large basilicas are found there.
Less popular in Turq lands (5).
Holy city and places:
Empty pastures, and churches, various sites related to saints.
Potential Afterlife(s): The endless field, where humanity flocks together under his guidance.

This looks like it could be useful, however, I wonder if it would make sense to use some of the ideas from Stars Without Number factions for the organization of the church itself, i.e. Hit Points, Force Rating, Cunning Rating, Wealth Rating,  and FactionCreds, as well as Assets (armies, agents, and influence), and Tags (Machiavellian, secretive, plutocratic etc.) .  Working with the SWN system in a fantasy setting should help to figure out how the organization interacts with other political players, and for a major world spanning faith, could be set up for functional sub-divisions, such as the church in a certain country, or a synod.

Anyway, food for thought, and certainly a useful tool.

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