So, you know me, always thinking and all. As I write this I am currently stuck in Kuwait, waiting for a flight back the States, my cheap ass refuses to pay for Internet and the phones have long lines, thus being a bit detached from the world at large (read: no Internet!!!). I have watched a few movies and am currently reading an excellent book called “Medieval Lives” by Terry Jones…yes, that Terry Jones. (I plan on reviewing this book at a later time, well worth the read.)
One of the movies I watched tonight was Season of the Witch with Nick Cage, all in all, not a terrible movie, but one that focuses on religion in the middle ages, around 1350 or something like that. Smack dab in the middle of the times this book is focusing on. Book. Religion. Movie. Religion. See where I am going with this?
Yeah, I didn’t think so.
This all led me to my current state. I have been thinking about Sylnae often lately. I have been wanting to rework it, mainly as a tool to explore and write about the places, people, and history. In creating worlds, I have always thought the religion of any made up world is very important. After all, think about how important religion is in our world, how it has shaped the very world we live in. Heck half the wars have been fought for religion. (I have a saying that all men fight for either women or religion…true, it can be said men fight for power, but they only want power so they win a woman or to honor their god.) So, naturally I turn to religion when taking my first steps into a new world.
So the base question is: One god or many?
In my original Sylnae, the main kingdom had a single human god, Aesir and I wrote an elaborate background that was very very christian like. In my story the one god came down to his people at a time of great need and sacrificed himself to save them. He later rose again and ascended to the heavens. At first I was reluctant to take this path, concerned that the players might reject as being ‘too close to home’ but what I discovered is that my players, most of them, actually seemed to prefer this. One player who’s character was a cleric of the single deity jumped at this chance and always had an underlying plan of converting, or saving, the masses. It was odd to see him dutifully tithe his money and treasure to the church, this coming from a player who was not in actuality very religious. Truly masterful role-playing I guess.
I also had many other gods as well the northern humans have norse like gods, the elves had their own, as did the Kiskovians. The Kiskovian people, a very tribal sort of minotuar people also had but one god. Sai, sometimes called The Sitting God was a more ‘islamic’ stylized deity that required ultimate devotion for his followers. There were four pillars that defined the faith: Prayer, Faith, Karma, and The Will. These guided the believers in the path of their life and taught them how to live in their god’s image.
It all went smashingly well.
I do not recall many games that have but one god, I always assumed this was sort of taboo, hitting too close to our own world for many gamers. However, the forays mentioned above have proven to me that it can be done, and that some players will actually enjoy this more than the more common polytheist views seen in many games see days. So I pose this question, is one god taboo in games?