Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-20-2021, 10:38 AM   #1
Sam Baughn
 
Sam Baughn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: United Kingdom of Great Britain and some other bits.
Default [Banestorm] What's the religious position on elementals among the Abrahamic faiths?

It seems like most spirits are considered dangerous at best and often outright diabolical even if they aren't obviously monstrous (like demons, skull-spirits, etc.)
Are elementals (which lack the spirit meta-trait) an exception to this, or are they seen as just as bad as the rest?
Also, what's the position on creations which can do stuff on their own, like golems, dancing objects, illusions with initiative, created servants, etc? Are they also haram?
__________________
My blog.
Sam Baughn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2021, 10:44 AM   #2
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: [Banestorm] What's the religious position on elementals among the Abrahamic faith

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Baughn View Post
It seems like most spirits are considered dangerous at best and often outright diabolical even if they aren't obviously monstrous (like demons, skull-spirits, etc.)
Are elementals (which lack the spirit meta-trait) an exception to this, or are they seen as just as bad as the rest?
Also, what's the position on creations which can do stuff on their own, like golems, dancing objects, illusions with initiative, created servants, etc? Are they also haram?
Elementals are first and foremost regarded as creatures of the natural world. They aren't demons or spirits of the dead. Essentially they are just potentially useful or dangerous animals.
David Johnston2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2021, 10:51 AM   #3
RyanW
 
RyanW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Southeast NC
Default Re: [Banestorm] What's the religious position on elementals among the Abrahamic faith

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Baughn View Post
Also, what's the position on creations which can do stuff on their own, like golems, dancing objects, illusions with initiative, created servants, etc? Are they also haram?
I don't know about the rest, but the golem is specifically a Jewish legend. Several rabbis have been said to have created golems to defend their communities, to mixed outcome.
__________________
RyanW
Gondor has no king. Gondor needs no king. Gondor doesn't have to show you any stinking king.
RyanW is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2021, 11:14 AM   #4
Michael Cule
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Default Re: [Banestorm] What's the religious position on elementals among the Abrahamic faith

I think that the question depends on things you would have to decide on the truth of in your particular Yrth.

The basic GURPS Magic system gives you a lot of tools that could be used to investigate the truths behind magic but no clear guidance about the implications of it.

I think what the attitude of the religious authorities would be towards Elementals would come from what the Thaumatological facts were and you have to think about that. (Well, except for the authorities in Al-Haz because they would be agin them and not interested in further investigations.)

Which comes down to: how are elementals summoned? Are they created or pre-existing? What happens to them after their bodies are destroyed? Are they people? Animals? What?

The rules seem to imply that they are created at the first point of their summoning and imbuded with what sentience they have by their first summoner. But that is rather disturbing. You are creating something with intelligence and awareness in the human range and giving it indefinite existence. This might be seen as usurping God's powers and function.

Do they have souls? (This can be determined using magic.) Are they automata or do they have something approaching free will?

How did the elves (who presumably taught the humans the spells to Create, Summon and Control Elementals) think of them? Do the human religious authorities believe the elves?

All has to be determined by the GM. Personally, since I have all the moral angst I need from magic with questions of when a foetus gets a soul, where they come from, whether damnation and salvation are real and other stuff, I tend towards:

They are magically created Automata.
They have no souls but do have low level minds without any initiative beyond what is needed to survive.
__________________
Michael Cule,
Genius for Hire,
Gaming Dinosaur Second Class

Last edited by Michael Cule; 05-20-2021 at 12:00 PM.
Michael Cule is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2021, 11:33 AM   #5
Sam Baughn
 
Sam Baughn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: United Kingdom of Great Britain and some other bits.
Default Re: [Banestorm] What's the religious position on elementals among the Abrahamic faith

I think 'Create (Element) Elemental' certainly implies that they are actually created rather than summoned from an elemental plane (would Yrth even have connected elemental planes? Can elementals be banished like demons?) which does seem to be intruding on God's domain of creating 'life'.
Controlling and summoning elementals seems more permissible. They look alien enough that despite having IQ 8 and no mental disadvantages, I expect most people aren't going to think of them as people, so issues of free will might be ignored.
That raises the next set of questions though:
  1. What do elementals do when they aren't being controlled by mages? Do they have a culture? Are there elemental languages?
  2. How common are elementals on Yrth? Magic gives no rules about how far away one can be called from only 'the GM should assume that an elemental is available if the location is appropriate'.
  3. How do elementals feel about being summoned and commanded by mages? Do they ever express their opinions to humans?
__________________
My blog.
Sam Baughn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2021, 09:09 PM   #6
Inky
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: UK
Default Re: [Banestorm] What's the religious position on elementals among the Abrahamic faith

Quote:
The rules seem to imply that they are created at the first point of their summoning and imbuded with what sentience they have by their first summoner. But that is rather disturbing. You are creating something with intelligence and awareness in the human range and giving it indefinite existence. This might be seen as usurping God's powers and function.
I mean, mummies and daddies create intelligent beings all the time. But what people might think is somehow fundamentally different from that and is usurping God's powers is another question.

Regarding summoning elementals, it sounds as if it's usual in fantasy RPGs to say that there's some kind of separate world that they come from, but I'd always thought of it as "fire already has a mind and you're just summoning it and turning it into a person shape", same as tree spirits. Which, if that was the case, would, I suppose, make Yrth a lot odder than we thought it was and it was already quite odd.
__________________
Looking for online text-based game at a UK-feasible time, anything considered, Roll20 preferred. http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=168443
Inky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2021, 04:10 AM   #7
zarawesome
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Default Re: [Banestorm] What's the religious position on elementals among the Abrahamic faith

Some thoughts on this:

- Historically, the Christian church position is that if you're asking someone for magical favors, and it's not Jesus (or someone that's a big friend of Jesus, in a pinch), it's a demon. Yrthian churches might be forced to become more flexible in this regard.
- One workaround: If an elemental has IQ and can speak, it might be possible to baptize them.
- Ars Magica talks a lot about the debates of church and magic, but the power balance is different: the Divine is expressly more powerful than any magic.
- The use of elementals for convenience might be of interest to orthodox Jews, which have spent a long time discussing what counts or doesn't count as work in the Shabbat (ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_on_Shabbat)
zarawesome is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2021, 07:03 AM   #8
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: [Banestorm] What's the religious position on elementals among the Abrahamic faith

According to Benedek Láng's Unlocked Books (which I consulted while working on the Worminghall supplement), medieval Catholic doctrine considered any magic that involved calling on spirits to be illicet, because it had an element of ritual that could be viewed as idolatrous or as "worshipping false gods." Most other forms of magic were or could be licit, though divination was problematic, other than oneiromancy, which had scriptural precedent.
__________________
Bill Stoddard

I don't think we're in Oz any more.
whswhs is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
banestorm

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:14 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.