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Old 05-06-2019, 02:14 PM   #9
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Alsea, OR
Default Re: What could a D&D like setting realistically look like?

Originally Posted by WaterAndWindSpirit View Post
What with the gods actually speaking to their priests and granting them repeatable miracles (that can thus be studied using the Scientific Method)
You've made quite a leap there. Actually two leaps.

Two different regimes of D&D have different answers...
Old D&D is 0E, AD&D 1E, AD&D 2E, BX, and BECMI
New D&D is 3.x and 5E

In Old D&D, the gods are capricious, and clerical magic is subject to deific approval. The Cleric player asks for a list of spells. The GM then gives them a list of spells supplied. They are not required to match. If the cleric is not following the rules, they can even be absent.

The gods also do not normally communicate with their clerics other than to grant or deny spells. important ones, usually heads of high temples, may get a daily talk... but for the most part, high level clerics may occasionally be granted the spell for

The last thing the gods want is people not worshipping them, and sciencing clerical magic is going to do that. Besides, if they could, they would have already, as Arcane magic is already scienced. Specific components cause speciifc effects already.

So, Cleric tries experimenting. He no longer gets spells asked for. Then, he loses all 3rd and higher. Finally, if he continues, all spell casting and turning goes away.

Oh, and on Mystara, you get too obnoxious, and your patron immortal zip-yanks you off world, if agents of others don't kill you first. The immortals of Mystara are busy as a behive. And they do show upo and talk to their senior (typically 9th+ level) clerics. Not always to the temple heads, either. Further, on mystara, that wandering guy who quotes annoyingly constraining passages from the holy texts might actually be the guy who wrote it.

Further, clerical magic at casting is subject to divine oversight... you be a heretic, the proof is that healing magic stops working on you. All the gods have been warned you're tyring to replace them... No one's healing spells work, because every immortal now knows you.

Heresy is easily proven. Cut you, then ask for a spell specifically to heal you. Granted, you're orthodox; simply denied, or replaced with a non-damage spell, you're no longer considered one of the flock. Replaced with a combat spell? the spell is probably intended to order your demise. Continual Light or Continual Dark being granted instead? your god has ordered you blinded!

Further, if you change deities, you can lose up to 3 levels. And you have to be even stricter to the teachings on the new deity's faith. Which almost invariantly will include, "No sciencing your spells"...

Oh, and in AD&D 1, a cleric can mark you a heretic... I forget the name of the spell... and it is visible to all clerics.

New D&D, it's all or nothing. Abandon the strictures, no spells for you. And no recharges of manifestations, either. You drop to a second rate fighter..

And, if word gets out you're on the outs with a god of the same non-chaotic-evil alignment, other clerics want ABSOLUTLELY NOTHING to do with you, because it could cost them their own power, prestige, and missions.

Again, the gods do not routinely talk to clerics.
Again, they want worshippers. Anything looking to change the paradigm of worship? No more clerical magic.

Again, arcane is already a science. Or, at least, a well known experimental process has shown time and again that the components work when the magic in the area is undisturbed.


The nature of a cleric's prayers is different for each deity... the time taken is fixed, but exactly what, when, and how can vary.

Plus, deities are, unlike the major world-spanning religions of Earth, not presented as contractual deals. (Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians, and Muslims all have a contractual relationship with their deity, for reward in the afterlife. This is at stark odds with the polytheists who asked for minor boons in this one.) Given that the boons are real, but only to a fraction of the population are prayers directly answered with magic... it utterly changes the dynamic in both contexts. Further, one can contact the dead. One can, in fact, find out if one's rapist went to hades, gehenna, or the abyss... and, if one is powerful enough or wealthy enough, go there and eternally end them. Poof! Gone.

So, religiousity will be VERY high. Even the folks not choosing sides will not be openly challenging the faiths, because the proof is obvious, and a glowing "Hit Here" mark is going to be ugly.

Even in variant worlds, where clerical magic isn't any different from arcane magic save for what spells are available, that clerics can do things in the name of their gods, who might just be shared delusions, religions will be insanely potent by comparison to real world history, where, with few exceptions, what appears to be divine intervention is easily dismissed.

We had executions based upon trials that suggest unrepentant sinning. They're going to have public executions with certainty... the high priest asks the deity, "Is this one a heretic? And this one? and this one?" THey will know with absolute certainty whether their deity considers you a problem. And if they do, whether to kill you or not.

Likewise, truth spells ensure fair trials...
Morality can be VERY black and white.... because, unlike magic itself, the deities have very good ways to show when someone is wrong.
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