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Old 07-25-2016, 04:39 PM   #1
b-dog
 
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Default Monotheism in Epic Fantasy (Just like DF but with culture)

The simple way to have a monotheistic faith in DF style high fantasy game world. Just make all supernatural beings be affected as though they are evil. For example, a good cleric in a typical DF game is able to turn undead and resist evil powers from demons and so on. They only have power over those that are violating the rules of the gods or the supernaturally evil beings
A monotheistic cleric would have the powers of the standard cleric but also be able to treat neutral or good supernatural beings the way the standard cleric treats evil supernatural beings. Thus a monotheistic cleric can turn the fey and they can exorcise the temple of a good polytheistic faith (to the monotheistic cleric that was a temple to a false god). What do you think?
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Old 07-25-2016, 04:48 PM   #2
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Default Re: Monotheism in Epic Fantasy (Just like DF but with culture)

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Originally Posted by b-dog View Post
The simple way to have a monotheistic faith in DF style high fantasy game world. Just make all supernatural beings be affected as though they are evil.
So, no supernatural beings can be good? If this resonates with your players, sure, why not? But it seems pretty B&W.
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Old 07-25-2016, 05:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: Monotheism in Epic Fantasy (Just like DF but with culture)

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So, no supernatural beings can be good? If this resonates with your players, sure, why not? But it seems pretty B&W.
Yeah, lots of supernatural beings are good, it is just that the monotheistic clerics have powers over them as if they were evil. Say a monotheistic cleric were to encounter a fairy, he could turn it as if it were undead and resist it's fairy powers as if it were evil even though the fairy is good.
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Old 07-25-2016, 05:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: Monotheism in Epic Fantasy (Just like DF but with culture)

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Originally Posted by b-dog View Post
The simple way to have a monotheistic faith in DF style high fantasy game world. Just make all supernatural beings be affected as though they are evil. For example, a good cleric in a typical DF game is able to turn undead and resist evil powers from demons and so on. They only have power over those that are violating the rules of the gods or the supernaturally evil beings
A monotheistic cleric would have the powers of the standard cleric but also be able to treat neutral or good supernatural beings the way the standard cleric treats evil supernatural beings. Thus a monotheistic cleric can turn the fey and they can exorcise the temple of a good polytheistic faith (to the monotheistic cleric that was a temple to a false god). What do you think?
I think it makes no sense. Why would the polytheistic religions exist? There's no balance in the concept.

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Yeah, lots of supernatural beings are good.
No they aren't. They're evil. In a monotheistic setting, the one god is the only good.
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Old 07-25-2016, 05:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: Monotheism in Epic Fantasy (Just like DF but with culture)

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So, no supernatural beings can be good? If this resonates with your players, sure, why not? But it seems pretty B&W.
It's not atypical of later medieval Christian thought. The earlier theology (as I recall) was that fae, et al. were not evil (servants of the devil), but did not have souls either.

Where that goes depends on the metaphysics you want. A thought that occurs to me is that while undead, etc., are powered by diabolic forces (and can be turned), blessings are actually something of a 'booster' to the soul, so they fey can neither be blessed nor turned (nor really affected by any 'divine' power). Which is exactly the type of thing to make theologians nervous in the same ways they were historically.
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Old 07-25-2016, 05:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: Monotheism in Epic Fantasy (Just like DF but with culture)

To the standard cleric there is good and evil while to the monotheistic cleric there is good and evil and false good (good that is not derived from the monotheistic god)
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Old 07-25-2016, 07:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: Monotheism in Epic Fantasy (Just like DF but with culture)

I've got a setting fairly well described by that thread subject. The primary deity of the setting is the Lord of Light, and as far as most of the civilised and/or adventuring population is concerned, there is no other god. The world is thusly divided up three ways:
  • There is Light, which is variously Good and Order. Light comes from the Lord of Light, has power over Substance, and is inimical to Darkness.
  • There is Substance, which can be Good or Evil, Ordered or Chaotic, or often none of the above and simply Natural. Humans are of Substance, as are elves, dwarves, gnomes, the plants and animals of the world, fae, elementals, and so on — things that are part and parcel of the natural world (as long as you consider that the natural world has things like magic, and elemental planes).
  • There is Darkness, which is variously Evil and Chaos. Current theodicy as the Church of Light has it is that for Substance to exist, there must be Darkness, or else everything would just be pure Light. Demons, undead, and all the standard “unnatural” beasties (as opposed to supernatural beasties) are of Darkness.

The way this works out in play happens to be almost exactly like standard Dungeon Fantasy when using Dungeon Saints/Divine Favour. My, my, imagine that?
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Old 07-25-2016, 07:38 PM   #8
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Default Re: Monotheism in Epic Fantasy (Just like DF but with culture)

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To the standard cleric there is good and evil while to the monotheistic cleric there is good and evil and false good (good that is not derived from the monotheistic god)
Nobody cares what the cleric thinks. What you have established is that the polytheistic cleric is objectively wrong. And evil. And inferior in every way so there's no reason to ever become one.

Last edited by David Johnston2; 07-25-2016 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 07-25-2016, 08:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: Monotheism in Epic Fantasy (Just like DF but with culture)

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Nobody cares what the cleric thinks. What you have established is that the polytheistic cleric is objectively wrong. And evil. And inferior in every way so there's no reason to ever become one.
This seems to be a running theme in these particular threads, actually. Why, as a player, would I play a polytheistic cleric when I'm nerfed in this particular manner?
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Old 07-25-2016, 09:12 PM   #10
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Default Re: Monotheism in Epic Fantasy (Just like DF but with culture)

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This seems to be a running theme in these particular threads, actually. Why, as a player, would I play a polytheistic cleric when I'm nerfed in this particular manner?
Generally... you wouldn't. The entire problem is that in a cosmology where divine magic is real, either you have a monotheism with a One True Gawd and all the polytheists are heretics, or you have a polytheism (or competing polytheisms) and the monotheists are restricting themselves by only acknowledging and accepting power from one deity instead of several.

The two ideas are mostly (not entirely) incompatible. I think GURPS Religion goes into this, but it's been too long since I've read through it in detail to remember.
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