Hmm, the Priest (or #worldofadventures ‘s Cleric for that matter) ask to define your religion with these questions.

Hmm, the Priest (or #worldofadventures ‘s Cleric for that matter) ask to define your religion with these questions.

Hmm, the Priest (or #worldofadventures ‘s Cleric for that matter) ask to define your religion with these questions.

What do they Control (the sun, the seas, the skies, etc.)?

What do they Represent (love, death, war, wind, etc.)?

Who are their Worshippers (nobles, dwarves, wizards, etc.)?

Who are their Enemies (demons, undead, heretics, etc.)?

What are their Demands (sacrifices, secrets, victories, etc.)?

I feel like these questions don’t fit my setting as my gods all represent broader concepts, virtually everyone in the world are polytheist, they don’t have defined enemies or friends and they don’t really demand anything. If anything, they are more like ideologies and people interpret them how they like (hence the existence of numerous churches of the same god that have different beliefs and rites… much like we see with Christians, Protestants, Baptists, Anglicans, Puritants and whatnots).

So I came up with a set of different questions.

Here’s with an example.

Name: Ur

What do they Represent?

The eternal cycle of life and death.

What is one of their Gospel?

For one life taken, one should be given.

What is one of their Rite?

Proper burial of friend or foe by burying them in soil.

I feel like it’s missing 1 or 2 other but I can’t think of something interesting.

Does the Hivemind have ideas?

19 thoughts on “Hmm, the Priest (or #worldofadventures ‘s Cleric for that matter) ask to define your religion with these questions.”

  1. Michael Prescott why do you say that?

    I mean, I get that in the real world, “religious” dictates and behaviors and norms are often just cultural practices wrapped in dogma, often with no theological basis.

    But I’ve always seen these types of moves/questionnaires as worldbuilding opportunities given the cleric’s player. And, like, if I’ve got a question about how Ur is worshipped (here in this town, in the world as a whole, by your weird little cult, whatever), doesn’t in make sense to ask the character that’s defined by their relationship to Ur?

  2. A lot of deity-focused religion-building winds up with these neat and tidy pantheons – this one’s war, this one’s healing, this one’s death, this one’s money – and then you (often, anyways) get monolithic religions devoted to them. Like football clubs.

    I really like messy pantheons – these guys worship Zeus, but the aspect of him as a guy who gets around. A few hundred leagues over they call him Zos, with exactly the same reputation, but then they have another god ‘Zeus’ who’s worshipped as the son of Zos, but during storms. Immigrants from Skee also revere ‘Zos’, but there he’s something different, etc.

    Put the mystery back in, make it human, make it political.

  3. Religion is there to shape human behaviour, not gods, though. How your priest behaves is the legacy of hundreds if not thousands of years of (more or less) human tradition that is necessarily shaped by politics and culture of the day. Unless you want your gods to have a daily influence on everyone in this world (what we’d consider miracles, I guess but is it still a miracle if it’s a daily occurrence?), them talking to your hero and granting his prayers would have to be an outlier, not the norm of priesthood. She is a hero priest, therefore she gets her prayers answered to fulfill her god’s charge and justice; her best friend from school doesn’t, he goes on cleaning latrines of the senior priests and moving through the ranks.

    Priesthood comes with organized religions that are necessarily monotheistic even in polytheistic societies-yeah, all these gods exist, but you should build a temple to Zos because he’s the best one. Anything less than that, anything less structured and organized, and you’re moving into shamanism and druidic waters.

  4. Jeremy Strandberg thanks, I think that did it!

    Came out with this (mostly stolen your stuff)


    Name: ____________________________

    (Sucellus, Zorica, Balashi the Radiant, Ür)

    Domain: __________________________

    (sun, secrets, knowledge, storms, love)

    Gospel: ___________________________

    (pain is enlightening, overcome fear)

    Rite: _____________________________

    (monuments, offerings, pilgrimage, fasting)

    Sin: ______________________________

    (tyranny, speaking their name, undeath)

    Mysteries (choose 1-3):




    (ascended mortal, High Priest is a puppet, imprisoned for eternity, stolen children)

  5. Yeah, well for me like Michael Prescott mentioned, all of this is already covered in my pantheon : you have the god’s name (with often 2 or 3 variants from other cultures or beliefs), their domain and their religious symbol. All the rest, I let the players define as they see fit.

    Then I guess if so many different churches exist of each religion, they surely have their own symbol… hmm. Lemme think about this… 🙂 (I’m limited in space on the sheet though)

  6. Turned out I changed Name and Domain to represent the specific church the PC follows. Much more personal and allows for player’s input vs just copying info from the pantheon.

  7. I think denomination is the perfect definition, according to this wiki. Thanks! Sect would mean it is seen as heretic to the “main branch”, which isn’t necessarily the case here.

  8. It sort of depends on how much “organization” you want to imply.

    Churches, temples, and denominations all strongly imply institutions & organizations.

    Faiths sorta has a modern implication of democratized personal belief, but that might be more personal and individual level than you’re looking for.

    Sects definitely implies different sub-strains within a broader civilization, and might be the best term for what you’re looking for, where the folks in Thenios worship Zos as lecherous patriarch and the folks in Artania worship Zos as sky-god and divine ruler.

    Cult is arguably the best term for the worship of a god across multiple cultures or sects. Like, scholars refer to “the Cult of Zeus” as both the localized formal worship of Zeus in a particular place but also the fact that Zeus got worshipped as a recognizable entity in all sorts of disparate places.

    Personally, I think “sect” is probably the best term for what you’re describing, but I’d prefer calling every organized group of worshipers a “cult.” If the priests and priestesses of even of good, benevolent deities are referred to as “cults,” it makes the whole culture feel pleasantly weird.

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