More Godly Bits

How much of the way we deal with religion in RPGs is dictated by its american protestant origins?  Probably all of it that isn't orientalism. Daddy-god, looking after me, giving me gifts when I do good things. "Good" things, rather than "evil".

Typically the trappings change but the relationship doesn't, and the relationship is the interesting part.

On top of this list of divine miracles we can add a further layer of mad-libs:

Priesthood's relationship with god

  1. Antagonistic - The priests prevent the god from awakening, arriving, sleeping, or some other transformation.
  2. Daddy god - He watches over you in a paternal capacity, the priests are bigger brothers to the lay members
  3. Indifferent - The god just is, no need to milk it
  4. Fearful - God is imminent, angry, harmful, barely contained
  5. Paternal - God must be cared for, is weak, dying, wounded
  6. Seeking - God is lost, hiding, sending them somewhere
  7. Businesslike - An exchange of services, exact costs and measures
  8. Intimate - Possession, sex, transubstantiation 
  9. Open - Many gods, specific circumstances only
  10. Casual - Only on Sundays
  11. Shifting - Friendly to violent to indifferent to etc.
  12. Roll twice

Source of priesthood's magic

  1. Taught - Academic traditions, books, teachers, classes
  2. Miracles - Meditation, communing with the deity
  3. Relic - Possession of a single or many objects that grant gifts
  4. Traditions - Ritualistic acts, rote traditions, repetitive work
  5. Drugs - Potions, vision quests, hallucinogenic audiences with the divine
  6. Direct - The god physically instructs

Priesthood's primary relationship with lay worshippers

  1. Non-existant - Priests are cloistered, separate, physically or spiritually distant
  2. Paternal - Guiding, protective, punitive
  3. Gatekeepers - They communicate with god on their behalf
  4. Psychopomps - Ushering worshipper towards an ideal spiritual state, condition, place
  5. Authoritative - Distant leaders, control over every day life, dictators, directors
  6. Political - Spiritual and temporal power combined
  7. Martyrs - Priests suffer, pray, battle demons, on their behalf
  8. Roll twice

Lay worshipper relationship with god

  1. Direct - through prayer, messages in bottles
  2. Indirect - Through priests, designated representatives, animals
  3. Present - Talk directly to a physical god, object, possession
  4. Distant - Works in mysterious ways
  5. Absent - Force of nature, abstract presence, no direct force on single life
  6. Practical - the god is a tangible force that is dealt with as a mundane necessity

Lay worshipper relationship with priesthood

  1. Fear - Superstition, tradition, taboos, or they are dangerous
  2. Love - Admired, worshipped in their own right, sought out
  3. Indifference - The priests do not serve a function for them, only god or other
  4. Practical - Serve a purpose, officiate
  5. Temporal power - Priests occupy a position of actual power over worshipper
  6. Symbolic - maintain temples only, ritualistic engagement
  7. None - the priests are separate entirely, a different level of engagement with god
  8. Community leaders - Practical engagement as advisers, administrators, landowners, businessmen

And now some weird traditions. 

  1. Transubstantiation/symbolic cannibalism
  2. Mortification of the flesh - Drowning, burning, beating, bleeding, mutilation, flagellation, circumcision, foot/skull binding
  3. Burial rites - Post-mortem consumption, burial, sea, worms, magic, alchemical, mummification etc.
  4. Worship of the dead - Saints, mummies, relics
  5. Eating habits - rocks, only one thing, everything but one thing, nothing with eyes, nothing above the ground etc.
  6. Symbolic god - Popes, caliph, festivals, ritual sacrifices
  7. Theatre - Religious recreation, hero quests, passion plays
  8. Anchorage - remote meditation, starvation, walling yourself up and taking questions through a letter box
  9. Holy sites - crusades, pilgrimage
  10. Inherent holiness in a state - Women, men, children, eunuchs, mentally damaged, whores, soldiers, etc. etc.
  11. Holy object - an animal, type of animal, specific object or category of objects
  12. Roll twice


  1. Now this, THIS makes me want to use Clerics.

  2. great stuff

    something about priests keeping secrets for self and encouraging false beliefs for the common worshipers - worshipers think sky daddy kills cows with lightning bolts - priests know godhood is abstract mystical material and uncaring