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We've lost that quality now

Something Cobb said in his Facebook Live thing this afternoon got me thinking about a subject I hadn't thought about for a long time, but which used to irritate the shit out of me when I was playing D&D and related fantasy RPGs. There was a definite aversion on the part of most DMs to having a monotheistic religion in charge despite the fact that historically, the Middle Ages on which most fantasy RPGs were based were extremely monotheistic, and failing to conform to whatever flavor of Christianity was in effect in your part of Europe (or Islam, for that matter) could drastically shorten your life expectancy at worst or make you a second-class citizen at best.

So referees would set up one or another of the traditional pantheons, or maybe make one of their own up, and inevitably the players would pick a god to worship, and the DM would say nothing. Now, I don't claim to be an expert in religions, not even my own, but one thing that I do know about the pagan religions was that's not how it worked. You might have a special devotion to Athena, but you sure as hell were going to make offerings to Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, and the other gods as well. It was a package deal, because ignoring the other gods was...unwise. I think it says depressing things about education in our country that more people didn't see that as a problem. Maybe now that there are several flavors of paganism loose in the land, this has changed, but the cynic in me rather doubts it.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 22nd, 2018 07:37 am (UTC)
You do have a definite point about that. While (in a fantasy RPG world) a female thief might be especially devoted to the god(dess) of thieves, she would make offerings to the god(dess) of health if she came down sick, and if she married, she would pray to the god(dess) of married women for a good marriage. If she were conscripted into the army and sent to war, she would pray to the god(dess)(es) of war, to bring her home safe and bring her side victory. And so on and so forth.

Part of this is because most moderns know little of how those old religions worked, and what they know of them mostly comes from children's-level books of mythology.
Apr. 25th, 2018 07:47 pm (UTC)
Indeed. Not too may kids read the classic works from Greek and Roman days, much less in the original. Probably the closest a lot of kids these days get to learning anything about polytheistic religions is anime, unless there's Hindu kids in the neighborhood that they're friends with.
Apr. 25th, 2018 05:13 pm (UTC)
...it's a game. With magic.

So, maybe let's not get too picky about the "realism"
Apr. 25th, 2018 07:45 pm (UTC)
That speaks to a major difference in RPG players - people like me who came out of wargaming and want the world we're playing in to make a certain amount of sense, and other gamers who are more interested in the story of the adventure. Obviously I'm in the former camp.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )



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